1. Clemson Tigers (4-0)
Last week: 1
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was spectacular in the Tigers’ 51-45 overtime win over Wake Forest. Throughout the thriller, DJ displayed composure, composure and confidence, making spectacular throws to keep Clemson in the game time and time again. Clemson’s front seven didn’t dominate as much as I expected, and the Demon Deacons (who ran just 21 yards against Liberty) were able to run the ball effectively against the Tigers (110 yards). Sam Hartman also ripped Wes Goodwin’s defense through the air. If Clemson’s defense doesn’t return to their 2021 form soon, the Tigers could be on guard against No. 10 NC State on Saturday when College Gameday returns to Death Valley.
2. NC State Wolf Pack (4-0)
Last week: 2
The Wolfpack drove to a 41-10 win over the lowly UConn on their home turf on Saturday. The Wolfpack’s defense dominated, allowing just 160 total yards and holding the Huskies to 2/12 on third down conversions. All eyes will be on this team next weekend when they are challenged on the road with Clemson. The Tigers have won 36 straight games at Death Valley, and they’ll certainly have a chip on their shoulder after losing 27-21 at NC State last year.
3. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-1)
Last week: 4
The Deacs went toe-to-toe against the Tigers, gaining a total of 447 yards in offense over an elite Clemson defense. The Deacons had several chances to win this game as the ball was tied at 38-38 with four minutes left and they scored a touchdown on their first possession in overtime. Hartman was incredible in the devastating loss for the Deacons, throwing for six touchdowns, all against the Blitz. He’s the first Power 5 QB since 2011 to pull off this feat. Wake faces another tough game Saturday, this time against Florida State in Tallahassee.
4. Pitt Panthers (3-1)
Last week: 3
The Panthers had another dominant ground and pound win over Rhode Island on Saturday with a 45-25 final. Panthers running back Israel Abanikanda was spectacular again on Saturday, rushing for 177 yards with four touchdowns. He averages 119 rushing yards per game, which leads the conference. QB Kedon Slovis was returning from injury on this occasion and was completing 20/27 passes, good for 189 yards. The Panthers will start the ACC game this weekend when they host a struggling squad from Georgia Tech.
5. Florida State Seminoles (4-0)
Last week: 7
Struggling with a leg injury, Seminole’s QB Jordan Travis surprisingly missed Saturday’s match against Boston College. He went on to lead his team to a 44-14 Boston College win at home, throwing for 321 yards and a touchdown. The Noles have a great chance to prove their legitimacy when they host Wake Forest this weekend. The upcoming three-game stretch for FSU couldn’t be tougher — NC State and Clemson are their next two opponents.
6. Syracuse Orange (4-0)
Last week: 8
The Orange kept their unbeaten season alive with a 22-20 home win over UVA on Saturday. Despite leading 16-0 at half-time, the Oranges needed a game-winning Andre Szmyt field goal in the final 90 seconds to emerge victorious. Szmyt drilled all five of his field goal attempts in this one. After a matchup with FCS Wagner this weekend, Syracuse enters a brutal series of ACC opponents.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1)
Last week: 5
The Tar Heels suffered their first loss of the season this week against Notre Dame with a final score of 45-32. The UNC defense continued to show its shortcomings, allowing 576 total yards for a struggling attack from Notre Dame, who played with a backup QB in Drew Pyne. The Irish simply bullied the tar heels up front. North Carolina will hope to fix those defensive problems when they start Saturday’s ACC game when they host Virginia Tech.
8. Miami Hurricanes (2-2)
Last week: June 6th
The Hurricanes suffered perhaps one of the most embarrassing performances in recent program history with a home loss to Middle Tennessee State, 45-31. The Hurricanes lagged behind for most of the game. Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke struggled before being benched, throwing two picks and just 138 yards. It’s really been downhill since this team finished 13th in the country two weeks ago. Mario Cristobal and his staff will try to turn their season around after the upcoming bye week.
9. Duke Blue Devils (3-1)
Last week: 9
The Blue Devils eventually suffered their first loss of the Mike Elko era as the rejuvenated Kansas Jayhawks emerged victorious 35-27 at home. QB Riley Leonard continued his stellar play, throwing for 324 yards and a TD. Despite the loss, Duke looks like a team who will finally have a tough time in the ACC game. They host Saturday night UVA.
10. Louisville Cardinals (2-2)
Last week: 11
The Cardinals dominated South Florida on Saturday with a 41-3 win. QB Malik Cunningham continues to carry this team with his legs as he rushed for 113 yards and three TDs on Saturday. He is second in the ACC in rushing. The Cardinals will be looking for their second straight blowout when they take on Boston College on Saturday afternoon.
11th Virginia Cavaliers (2-2)
Last week: 12
UVA went into Friday’s matchup against Syracuse as a 9.5-point underdog, but the Cavs put up a very strong fight on enemy soil. They bounced back from a 16-point deficit in the second half to take a 20-19 lead in the 4th quarter. The Orange secured a late field goal to make it 22-20, but it was still a brave performance against an undefeated team. Next up is a duel with Duke in which they seek more than just moral victory.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2)
Last week: 10
The Hokies didn’t have much to do in their 10-33 loss to West Virginia on Saturday. They were down by just six points early in the 4th quarter but were outplayed 17-0 to end the game. Grant Wells continues to disappoint, posting a 37 QBR in this one. The Hokies head to Chapel Hill this weekend and are looking to go 2-0 in the ACC.
13. Boston College Eagles (1-3)
Last week: 13
Quarterback Phil Jurkovec put on another poor performance Saturday, passing for a meager 105 yards from two interceptions. It wasn’t just Jurkovec – this team was bad all round – and they were 0:31 down at half-time. The Eagles have a chance to turn things around when they host Louisville next weekend.
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-3)
Last week: 14
The Yellow Jackets dropped their second straight contest on Saturday, losing to UCF 27-10. That loss puts them 189-20 in their last 18 quarters against FBS competition, one of the main reasons head coach Geoff Collins remains in the hot seat for this program. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Yellow Jackets – next up are the No. 24 Pitt Panthers.