Welcome to your weekly ACC Football update, where nothing is as it appears. If you like conference races where upsets are almost the rule, rather than the exception, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for a team or more than one, to make a real national impression and/or possibly play for a national championship, steer clear. This isn’t that type of conference, not this year.
Start with last Thursday-Florida State, going in as one of two undefeated teams left in conference play faced off against N.C. State. The Seminoles saw their five-game winning streak snapped by the Wolfpack in dramatic fashion, losing in Raleigh 28-24. The Seminoles had a chance to win, but fumbled inside the Wolfpack 5-yard line late in the game. While Florida State still leads the Atlantic Division, it doesn’t control its own destiny, as N.C. State would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker to their advantage should the two teams tie for the division lead. Maryland’s Terrapins may also have something to say about the outcome of the Atlantic Division, as they also only have one conference loss. The Terps come off a win over Wake Forest that made the Terrapins bowl eligible, quite a turnaround from last season’s 2-win campaign. The Terps have a tough road ahead, starting this weekend where they will face a Miami team that may or may not have Jacory Harris at quarterback. The Terps also have games against the Seminoles and Wolfpack ahead.
Elsewhere, two struggling teams managed to pick up their first conference wins and kept alive their hopes to go to a bowl game. Boston College and Virginia put up W’s against Clemson and Miami, respectively. BC’s win all but knocks out Clemson’s chances to win the Atlantic Division, and the Cavaliers put a serious dent in Miami’s hopes in the Coastal. Clemson will try to bounce back against the Wolfpack at home, and the Hurricanes face the Terrapins at home. In out of conference action, North Carolina had to rally from 10 points down to stave off another embarrassing loss to an FCS team, as the Tar Heels defeated William & Mary 21-17, and Duke defeated a Navy squad coming off a victory over Notre Dame 34-31.
Virginia Tech now looks to be the conference’s best team, and their road to a possible Coastal Division title begins with a home game against the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech on Thursday. The Hokies and Yellow Jackets avoided last Saturday’s shenanigans, as both teams had a bye. A Virginia Tech win would put them firmly in control of the division, while a loss would bring them back to the pack. It would also lessen the appeal of the conference title game, as at least one representative will have at least 3 losses. A conference with a bunch of good, but not great teams that beat up on each other in conference play isn’t going to have a great national perception; the Big East conference may be the only conference with a lower national perception than the ACC right now.