One normally thinks of weeding the garden as a Spring and Summer activity. This year’s ACC Nation Power Poll has had a similar feel. At times it’s a chore and at others, especially when there’s a positive trend, it’s been a delight. We’ve been plucking out pretenders all season. It’s beginning to look like an organized garden. Granted, more like a wildflower garden with all sorts of colorful participants than a structured vegetable garden. And, frankly, at times we couldn’t be sure if we were weeding or removing the flowers.
There are now two weeks of regular season football on the schedule. It looks as if the final decision as to who the Coastal Division champion will be is set for the very last week of play. But, let’s not assume too much here as Virginia Tech and Pitt still need to grind out a final score. As our colleague Will Ojanen pointed out on ACC Nation Podcast, Virginia’s secondary could be targeted by Liberty so there’s no reason to count the chickens yet.
The ACC has a definitive Atlantic Division champion in Clemson. The Tigers are also ranked at No. 3 in the CFP Top 25 which sets them up for another run at a national title. But, just like the teams above, Clemson still needs to close out the regular season against in-state rival South Carolina. It’s a thorn in the side match up that can’t be over-looked.
We also can’t forget the ACC Football Championship game in Charlotte on December 7. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll say it’s either Virginia or Virginia Tech taking on Clemson. On the face of it most people would pick the Tigers. As a word of warning, you know what happens when people, assume. Dabo Swinney has the right mind-set when he says, take one game at a time.
We’ve made note of the key games in the conference at the front end of this story. Most of the games to keep an eye on this week have more to do with measuring this year’s progress and looking forward. On that list –
NC State – Georgia Tech
Duke – Wake Forest
Syracuse – Louisville
By no means should anyone look past Boston College – Notre Dame or the North Carolina and Miami games.
With all the discussion about which ACC teams would be selected for the Orange Bowl our Managing Editor, Jim Quist has a suggestion. “If Virginia Tech wins the Coastal and loses to Clemson, why not put them head-to-head again with Notre Dame? It was a close game the first time around so we know it’ll be fun to watch the second time around. Notre Dame gets to prove it was a fluke or the Hokies exact payback. What’s not to like?”