Last week’s ACC schedule pinned the conference’s top two teams against each other, and the game didn’t disappoint. Notre Dame outlasted Clemson 47-40 in double overtime, putting them in play to make the College Football Playoff.
The victory for the Irish also moves them into the No. 1 spot in the power poll.
Elsewhere, Virginia Tech fell to in-state foe Liberty, suffering its third loss of the fall. The Flames, after their upset win over the Hokies, have a legitimate case that they’re the best football team in the commonwealth of Virginia.
1. Notre Dame (7-0, 6-0 ACC, No. 2 last week): For the first time all season, a team other than Clemson claims the top spot in the power poll. A thrilling 47-40 double overtime victory over the Tigers gives the Fighting Irish an ideal path to the ACC Championship Game. Notre Dame also sits in prime position to make the College Football Playoff. At the same time, injuries and the absence of Trevor Lawrence due to COVID-19 played a role in the upset win. A rematch in the conference title game could lead to different results. Next: at Boston College, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
2. Clemson (7-1, 6-1 ACC, No. 1 last week): The Tigers dropped their first ACC game since 2017, falling to Notre Dame in double overtime. The Tigers will be fine. Getting players back and healthy is the team’s biggest concern moving forward. Clemson needs to win out to guarantee its spot in the conference championship game. Next: Bye
3. Miami (6-1, 5-1 ACC, No. 3 last week): The Hurricanes gutted out a 44-41 win over N.C. State thanks in large part due to an amazing performance from starting quarterback D’Eriq King, who went 31-for-41 for 430 yards and five passing touchdowns. He also added 105 rushing yards on 15 carries. King carried his team to a comeback win. Next: at Virginia Tech, Saturday, noon
4. North Carolina (5-2, 5-2 ACC, No. 5 last week): When North Carolina plays to its potential, it’s one of the best teams in the ACC. Inconsistency and a mediocre defense lead to losses for the Tar Heels. Fortunately for Mack Brown’s team, there was plenty of offense Saturday, when North Carolina rolled past Duke 56-24. Next: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday, noon
5. N.C. State (4-3, 4-3 ACC, No. 7 last week): N.C. State pushed Miami to the brink, blowing a game it likely should’ve won. Regardless, it was a better performance than the previous game, when the Wolfpack were drubbed by North Carolina, 48-21. N.C. State could very easily win out this season with Florida State, Liberty, Syracuse and Georgia Tech left on the schedule. Next: vs. Florida State, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
6. Wake Forest (4-2, 3-2 ACC, No. 8 last week): The Demon Deacons were off last week, using an extra week to prepare for an interesting matchup with North Carolina. The Tar Heels are good, but they’ve shown weaknesses this fall. Wake Forest enters the game winners of four straight. Next: at North Carolina, Saturday, noon
7. Boston College (5-3, 4-3 ACC, No. 6 last week): Perhaps a bit emotionally drained from nearly beating Clemson, Boston College narrowly defeated Syracuse 16-13 last weekend. Despite the iffy showing, the Eagles picked up another win. They’ve now alternated wins and losses in seven consecutive games. They’d love to break that streak and start a winning streak this weekend. Next: vs. Notre Dame, Saturday 3:30 p.m.
8. Virginia Tech (4-3, 4-2 ACC, No. 4 last week): Saturday was tough for Virginia Tech fans. The Hokies dropped a heartbreaker, falling to Liberty 38-35 on a last-second 51-yard field goal. It was yet another loss as a double-digit favorite for the Hokies, who seem prone to upset defeats. Somewhat surprisingly, they’re a favorite this weekend against a top-10 foe. Next: vs. Miami, Saturday, noon
9. Virginia (2-4, 2-4 ACC, No. 9 last week): Virginia enjoyed an unexpected bye week last week after COVID-19 issues with Louisville’s program led to a one-week postponement. The Cavaliers rested up and feel confident after beating North Carolina in their latest game. They’ll look to win two games in a row for the first time this fall. Next: vs. Louisville, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
10. Pittsburgh (4-4, 3-4 ACC, No. 10 last week): The Panthers finally ended their four-game losing streak, beating Florida State 41-17. Kenny Pickett played well at quarterback, completing 21 of his 27 passes for 210 yards. Three interceptions from a trio of Florida State quarterbacks certainly helped Pitt pick up the win. Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday, 7 p.m.
11. Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4 ACC, No. 11 last week): The Yellow Jackets were off last week, and they return from their bye to a home game with the team one place above them in the power poll. Next: vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday, 7 p.m.
12. Louisville (2-5, 1-5 ACC, No. 12 last week): The Cardinals were forced to postpone last Saturday’s game at UVa due to COVID-19 issues. They’re back this weekend, hoping for many of their players to get healthy as they aim to take down the Wahoos. Next: at Virginia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
13. Florida State (2-5, 1-5 ACC, No. 13 last week): Another poor performance from Florida State dropped the Seminoles to just 2-5 this season. FSU threw three costly interceptions in a 41-17 loss to Pitt. Next: at N.C. State, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
14. Duke (2-6, 1-6 ACC, No. 14 last week): The Blue Devils allowed North Carolina to score the first 28 points last weekend and they trailed 42-10 at halftime. Basketball season can’t get here soon enough for Duke. Next: Bye
15. Syracuse (1-7, 1-6 ACC, No. 15 last week): The Orange hung tough with Boston College, losing just 16-13. That’s a positive, but the end result was still a loss. Next: Bye
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