After the initial teams in the ACC Nation Power Poll you take one step off a cliff into the darkness. If you were looking for depth in conference football, well, there is a substantial lack of it. That’s not to say that teams haven’t progressed. Or that more than a handful of players hold great promise for the future. They have and they do. It’s just that we’re at week nine. And, frankly you’d imagine, in a perfect football world, that teams would have their ‘stuff’ together.
The world of ACC football is much like when you forget to give the milk a sniff. Then you eat a bowl of cereal that haunts you all day. You should really know better but there’s this thing called, faith. This season has produced a very similar result. Lot’s of upset stomachs out there among fandom.
The fascinating race is in the Coastal Division where Virginia, Pitt and Virginia Tech are making a mad dash to the finish line. It’s making the annual Commonwealth Cup battle between the Cavaliers and Hokies all the more intriguing.
ACC Nation Power Poll
Who’s Up? It’s All About Depth
Looking at the top 5 in the ACC Nation Poll we see the teams that have earned at spot at the big boys table. Clemson took off slowly but finally demonstrated their offensive prowess against a rising Louisville. Notre Dame holds their spot at No. 2 simply based on performance thus far in the season. Virginia delivered a comeback win over a tricky Duke team. Wake Forest made a comeback against another roller-coaster team in Florida State. Finally, Pitt (speaking of a roller-coaster season) helped shut the door on Syracuse.
The teams that are moving up include Virginia Tech, Louisville, Boston College and Georgia Tech. Before anyone jumps on if either Louisville or Georgia Tech are moving up we’ll explain.
The Cardinals have been making positive moves and winning games. Yes, they lost to Clemson but they made a bit of a game of it in the first half. Couple that with the shuffle of teams in the rest of the poll and you have forward progress. Not quite a touchdown but close to the line.
As for Georgia Tech the same argument can be made in regard to improvement. Granted, the Yellow Jackets didn’t bust out of the cellar, yet. However, a win against Miami can’t be overlooked, therefore they are afforded a nod by the voters but no extra points.
Same Old ACC?
Virginia Tech looks like they are finding some identity after their insane 6OT win over North Carolina. The Hokies are a game away from being bowl eligible and have put themselves into contention for the Coastal.
Boston College is still looking for answers. Will a win over NC State help get them out of a funk? The Eagles looked so much better on paper at the beginning of the season.
This list is far longer than it should be. North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Miami, Syracuse and NC State all slipped in the poll. The top reason for several of these teams is simply a lack of depth. Sure, there’s plenty of talent scattered among all of them but it’s simply too little to count toward a winning season.
We knew there’d be an issue with North Carolina however Mack Brown and his staff have done a wonderful job of getting the most out of every player. The same can be same for David Cutcliffe and his staff up the road from Chapel Hill in Durham where Duke has out-performed reasonable expectations.
A lot of people weren’t thrilled with Willie Taggart being picked as the new head coach at Florida State. The mess that Taggart inherited from Jimbo Fisher can’t be discounted. It shouldn’t be forgotten now as people begin calling for his head. Change takes time but he may not have much left if the Seminoles continue to (seemingly) squander opportunity.
All Mucked Up – No Depth
If you thought the mess was bad in Tallahassee try scooting across state to Miami where Manny Diaz is being skewered by fans and media. There has been a whole lot of wrong about the Canes for years and the sooner everyone comes to that realization, the better. Diaz has been working with what he’s got. There are pluses but there are far more minuses. A recruitment year or two will go a long way toward helping offensive coordinator Dan Enos succeed.
When you ride on the shoulders of one player you tend to have an implosion when they leave. Dino Babers had a tough as nuts quarterback in Eric Dungey who literally willed things to happen. Tommy DeVito isn’t the same kind of guy. Don’t mistake this for saying he’s not talented. That simply isn’t true. But in order for a player like DeVito to help you to a winning season you have to surround him with a solid team.
Finally, in Raleigh Dave Doeren is in the process of putting together next year’s team. The Wolfpack are stumbling their way through this season with too many question marks. It’ll end up just an okay sort of year for the team but next year there should be no excuses.