Welcome to the end results of an ugly weekend in ACC football. Call it a collapse, an implosion or go positive and use the word parity. Whatever you call it, the end result is a Power 5 conference featuring one team with juice. And, even that team is beginning to fade in the eyes of voters in the AP Top 25.
It’s mid-season and ACC teams are still trying to find themselves. Some are succeeding while others are stumbling all over themselves and regressing. The boo-birds have been lingering for some time now and hot-seat enthusiasts are openly touting their opinions.
Would it be fair to question the current status of a number of teams? Certainly, and to take it a step further in analyzing what, if any, trend is becoming obvious. Be sure to listen to this week’s ACC Nation Podcast (Subscribe) and read the newest ACC Nation Power Poll for analysis.
Look around the ACC football landscape and you’ll see enough mayhem to warrant a red flag warning. As mentioned before, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. So we’ll take a quick look at other contributing factors, i.e., teams who are contributing to a negative picture of the conference.
It began on Thursday with a messy game between NC State and a preseason pick in Syracuse. The Orange are a long time removed from their flirtation with the Top 25. A presumed number two behind Clemson is now pushing hard (in the wrong direction) to compete with Georgia Tech in the cellar. The Wolfpack didn’t do themselves much of a favor with their spotty play, either.
Then Friday rolled around and Virginia found themselves lost in a corn maze better known as the red zone. Miami had just enough to convince voters to boot the Cavaliers out of the Top 25. Don’t pat yourselves on the back too much Canes fans. This season has been a cluster. The Virginia offensive effort collapsed and they decided to join you for a wallow in the mud.
Louisville fans were elated. After suffering under Bobby Petrino’s second round of ugly the refreshing breath of fresh air brought in by Scott Satterfield must be delicious. Every time Louisville and Wake Forest touched the ball it seemed they were moving the scoreboard thirty seconds later. If you love offense, this was your super, super, super long game to watch. For defensive minded fans this was, well, yet another cluster.
Clemson’s slow start to the season and close win over North Carolina are just a few of the reasons the Tigers slipped in the AP to No. 3. Again, look around the conference. Poor performances by other ACC teams are dinging Clemson in the minds of some. The fact is having more than one strong team in a conference does indeed bolster others. If Virginia and Wake Forest had won their games decisively Clemson wouldn’t have dropped. It’s just that simple. One collapse leads to another.
Notre Dame reinforced their spot in the rankings with a win over a tenacious USC. If the Irish continue to come away with wins over the remainder of their schedule they’ll make their way into the top 6. Only more upsets like South Carolina over Georgia will help push them any further.