Virginia and Miami Swap Spots, and the Top Three Solidifying Placements – The Heights
1. Clemson (8–0, 6–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔
After a thrilling 27-21 home win over No. 16 Syracuse in Week 8, No. 5 Clemson retained his ranking in the AP poll and improved to 8-0 on the season. Clemson trailed 21-10 before halftime and had committed three turnovers up to that point. While DJ Uiagalelei was quarterback, Clemson had a -4 turnover differential, making his winning prospects bleak at this point in the game. Enter Cade Klubnik. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney retired Uiagalelei in the third quarter, and that made all the difference. While Swinney claimed Uiagalelei is still Clemson’s starter for the rest of the season, he will need to play better if the Tigers are to have a chance in the college football playoffs. Yet even on the ropes, right now, Clemson remains by far the best team in the ACC.
Next meeting: at Notre-Dame, November 5, 7:30 p.m.
2. Wake Forest (6–1, 2–1) ↔
Sam Hartman Hartman certainly looked like a contender for Heisman on Saturday, as he threw six touchdown passes in a dominating 43-15 victory over Boston College in Winston-Salem. With the win, the Demon Deacons moved up to 10th in the AP poll. With its only double-overtime loss to Clemson in Week 4, Wake Forest looks like a stalwart in second place in the ACC, and if Clemson crashes, the Demon Deacons could qualify for first place.
Next Up: in Louisville, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
3. Syracuse (6–1, 3–1) ↔
After a hard-fought defeat in Death Valley, Syracuse deserves a promotion despite losing. The Orange, who were 14-point underdogs before their clash with Clemson, took a 21-10 lead while forcing four turnovers from Uiagalelei in the process. Syracuse stars Garrett Shrader, Sean Tucker and Oronde Gadsden II stood out on Syracuse’s roster but missed big opportunities in the second half. Of the teams that have faced Clemson this year, only Wake and Syracuse have lost one possession or less. With Notre Dame arriving at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday, Orange will be looking to bounce back and show that their historic departure was no accident.
Next meeting: against Notre-Dame, Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
4. North Carolina (6–1, 3–0) ↑1
Look for Drake Maye and the Tar Heels. Coming off its bye week, the No. 21 North Carolina is yet to drop a game in the Maye-led conference and a top-five offense in the ACC. North Carolina has a light schedule ahead, aside from what will be a tough game against No. 24 NC State in Week 12. North Carolina faces a Pittsburgh team that is in decline after a loss to Louisville and should put a lot at home in week nine.
Next Up: vs. Pitt, Saturday, 8:00 p.m.
5. NC status (5–2, 1–2) ↓1
Without quarterback Devin Leary, NC State lost to Syracuse by a sizable margin. The Wolfpack still have two tough games on their schedule, hosting Wake Forest and traveling to North Carolina. Other than that, the Wolfpack have a relatively easy road and should be able to finish with – at most – four losses. The Wolfpack will host Virginia Tech on Thursday night.
Next Up: vs. Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
6. Duke (5–3, 2–2) ↑3
Duke has had quite a year. The Blue Devils traveled to Florida and beat Miami 45-21 in Week 8. Riley Leonard and the Blue Devils offense were on a mission, dropping 45 points on a Miami defense that has been solid this year despite the Hurricanes’ poor record. Following the declaration win over the Hurricanes, Duke enters its bye week before coming to the heights in Week 10.
Next Up: in BC, November 4, 7 p.m.
7. Florida State (4–3, 2–3) ↔
The Seminoles have suffered three straight losses in a tough streak against ranked opponents Clemson, Wake Forest and NC State. Despite the result, Seminole quarterback Jordan Travis managed to record more than 250 passing yards in Florida State’s losses to Clemson and Wake. Florida State should be able to get back on track when it hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Next Up: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 12 p.m.
8. Virginia (3–4, 1–3) ↑6
Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over Georgia Tech in Week 8. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong overcame a slow start to rack up 346 total rushing yards in the victory. The Cavaliers have a chance to beat Miami on Saturday if Armstrong can play like he did late in the Georgia Tech game.
Next Up: vs. Miami, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
9. Georgia Tech (3–4, 2–2) ↑1
Georgia Tech fought hard against Virginia on Thursday night, but couldn’t stop Armstrong and company in the process. The Yellow Jackets defense allowed the Cavaliers just two touchdowns. Florida State will challenge the Yellow Jackets on their trip to Tallahassee in Week 9, and it will take another solid defensive performance to stop the Seminoles.
Next Up: At Florida State, Saturday, 12 p.m.
10.Miami (3–4, 1–2) ↔
The Hurricanes continued a disappointing season Saturday, losing 45-21 to Duke at home. Losing has been the theme of Miami’s 2022 season, and only one of its three wins has come against an FBS opponent. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke left the game with an injury and Miami’s offense looked lethargic. Duke forced eight turnovers in Miami, the most Power Five teams committed in a single game since 2009. The Hurricanes will face Virginia in Charlottesville on Saturday, where they will look to get back on track.
Next Up: in Virginia, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
11. Louisville (4–3, 2–3) ↔
For Louisville, an ups and downs season turned for the better in Week 8 as Malik Cunningham and the Cardinals cruised to a 24-10 win over Pitt. The win was the Cardinals’ second straight victory, marking the first time they have won two in a row this season. Cunningham threw for two touchdowns in the win, and he moved Louisville’s offense well against an uneven Panthers defense. Louisville’s streak could end on Saturday, however, as Wake Forest and Hartman come to town.
Next Up: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
12. Pittsburgh (4–3, 2–1) ↓6
Pitt was ranked No. 24 in the nation in Week 5, but since then the Panthers have been in steady decline. Pitt is 1–2 in his last three games, losing to Georgia Tech and Louisville by five and 14 points, respectively. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has failed to meet preseason expectations. The only bright spot appears to be Israel Abanikanda, who is nearing 1,000 rushing yards and has 13 rushing touchdowns this year, both leading in the ACC.
Next Up: in North Carolina, Saturday, 8 p.m.
13. Boston College (2–5, 1–4) ↔
Week eight at Winston-Salem told a familiar story that Eagles fans have seen all season: porous defense combined with missed opportunities on offense. Against the Demon Deacons, quarterback Phil Jurkovec led the Eagles into the red zone late in the first quarter, but instead of converting a touchdown, the Eagles settled for a 29-yard field goal. Although it was early in the game, the chance to lead a ranked team was too good to be true for head coach Jeff Hafley’s group. The Eagles have a winnable game coming up, however, as they travel to take on Week 9 Connecticut.
Next Up: at UConn, Saturday, 12 p.m.
14. Virginia Tech (2–5, 1–3) ↓2
For quarterback Grant Wells and company, it’s been a tough season at Blacksburg. With just one ACC win, Virginia Tech has dropped three straight conference opponents and will likely do four this Thursday as it takes on NC State, even if the Wolfpack are without their starting quarterback.
Next Up: at NC State, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.