Sports, Football, Fall

Leaders Stay Put While Georgia Tech Rises in Rankings

1. Clemson (5–0, 3–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔

No. 5 Clemson remains at No. 5 in the AP Poll this week after a 30–20 win over No. 14 NC State, avenging its double overtime loss to the Wolfpack from last year. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei showed flashes of the five-star recruit he was supposed to be, throwing for 209 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson’s defense was the real story of the night, allowing 279 total yards and forcing two key turnovers. The Tigers look like they won’t be slowing down anytime soon, and with their light schedule ahead, there’s no reason to assume Clemson won’t be making another trip to the playoffs. 

Next Up: at Boston College, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

2. Wake Forest (4–1, 1–1) ↑

The No. 15 Demon Deacons made a statement in their win against Florida State in Week Five. The score may not reflect it, but Wake dominated the game on both sides of the ball. Its offensive line play stood out, which gave quarterback Sam Hartman excellent protection and allowed running backs Justice Ellison and Christian Turner to combine for 178 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The only concern surrounding Wake Forest’s execution is its ability to close out games. The Demon Deacons had several chances to put the game out of reach in both the first and second half but failed to do so, which allowed Florida State to keep it a close game. Last week against Clemson, the Demon Deacons had a late lead and let it slip away, putting into question Wake’s ability to win clutch games when it needs to.

Next Up: vs. Army, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

3. NC State (4–1, 0–1) ↓

It is tough to demote a team in the power rankings for losing to far and away the best team in the conference, but the No. 14 Wolfpack’s offense didn’t seem ready for primetime against Clemson in Week Five. Quarterback Devin Leary was never able to make a big-time play to help swing momentum in his team’s favor. While most of Leary’s turnovers weren’t his fault, no team is going to beat Clemson—or most good teams for that matter—by scoring only 20 points. The saving grace for the Wolfpack is how good itstheir defense is. The front four of NC State’s defensive line made their presence known throughout the game, but it wasn’t enough to halt the mighty Tigers.

Next Up: vs. Florida State, Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

4. Syracuse (5–0, 2–0) ↑

The Carrier Dome has become a place where opponents’ dreams go to die this season, and No. 22 Syracuse kept its winning ways going in Week Five, obliterating Wagner 59–0. Garrett Shrader was perfect, completing all 17 of his passes for 238 yards and two scores. Not too much can be taken away from this game, though, as Wagner is 0–4, with losses to Fordham, St. Francis (PA), and Rutgers. One thing to spot from the win was Syracuse’s defense only giving up 50 total yards, which is impressive against any team. While I’m not convinced they are the real deal, the Orange hasve earned a top four spot within the ACC. 

Next Up: vs. NC State, Oct 15th, 3:30 p.m.

5. Florida State (4–1, 2–1) ↓

Saturday’s contest between the Seminoles and Wake Forest provided one significant insight into Florida State’s team: Tthey’re not as good as many thought. Yes, Wake Forest is a strong opponent, ranked No. 15 in the nation, tbut at times it seemed like Florida State was completely overmatched. The Seminoles opened the game by scoring a touchdown on their first drive, but then allowed 28 unanswered points. The Seminoles have a second chance to defeat a ranked ACC opponent at NC State on Saturday.

Next Up: at NC State, Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

6. North Carolina (4–1, 1–0) ↑

Against a Virginia Tech defense that had only allowed over 20 points once prior this season, North Carolina put up 41 points, including five total touchdowns from redshirt freshman quarterback Drake Maye against the Hokies in Week Five. What stood out in the Tar Heels’ performance was their improved defense, which had not held a team under 24 points all season prior to playing the Hokies, during which North Carolina held Virginia Tech to 10 points and 273 total yards. The Tar Heels even received five top 25 votes for their efforts. If North Carolina’s defense can play like it did against Virginia Tech for the rest of the season, we might see the Tar Heels skyrocket up both the ACC and national standings. 

Next Up: at Miami, Saturday, 4 p.m.

7. Pittsburgh (3–2, 0–1) ↓

An uninspiring performance this weekend by the Panthers led to a shocking 26–21 upset loss to Georgia Tech. Pittsburgh held a 7–6 lead at the end of the first half but couldn’t muster up enough offense to secure the win in the second half. The Panthers gave the ball away three times, including two fumbles by senior running back Vincent Davis in a game where Pitt’s offensive players looked tired. If Pitt can turn things around against Virginia Tech in Week Six, Week Five might prove to have just been a fluke for the Panthers.

Next Up: vs. Virginia Tech, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

8. Duke (4–1, 1–0) ↔

In Duke’s 38–17 win over Virginia, the Blue Devils’ offense got off to a hot start, scoring 21 unanswered points capped off by Jordan Waters leaping over a pill of linemen to score a touchdown. It was a great day for Duke’s defense, who—led by leading tackler Shaka Heyward—held Virginia to just under 300 yards of total offense. With a couple more quality wins, Duke could push itself to the top half of the league.

Next Up: at Georgia Tech, Saturday, 4:00 p.m.

9. Miami (2–2, 0–0) ↑

Without playing a game in Week Five, the Hurricanes moved up three spots from last week’s pPower rRankings due to some tough losses from teams who ranked above Miami prior to Week Five. After falling to Middle Tennessee two weeks ago, the Hurricanes have a chance to turn their season around with a win against North Carolina. If quarterback Tyler Van Dyke can play like he did in Miami’s first two games of the season, he can lead “The U” to victory and put Miami in the right trajectory for the rest of 2022.

Next Up: vs. North Carolina, Saturday, 8 p.m.

10. Virginia Tech (2–3, 1–1) ↔

Virginia Tech’s inability to generate any offense against North Carolina, who gave up nearly 500 yards of total offense per game to start the season, was nothing short of a death sentence for the rest of the Hokies’ season. It’s no cakewalk for Virginia Tech in Week Six either as it faces Pittsburgh, who is looking to avenge its upset loss to Georgia Tech. 

Next Up: at Pittsburgh, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

11. Georgia Tech (2–3, 1–1) ↑

Who would have thought? Five days after firing head coach Geoff Collins, the Yellow Jackets pulled off a shocking 26–21 win over then-No. 24 Pitt. Georgia Tech’s defense forced three turnovers, and its offense did just enough to win the Yellow Jackets the game. Kicker Gavin Stewart accounted for 14 of Georgia Tech’s 26 points, scoring all four of his field goal attempts.

Next Up: vs. Duke, Saturday, 4:00 p.m.

12. Virginia (2–3, 0–2) ↓

The Cavaliers’ defense failed to slow down Duke’s ground game in the team’sir 38–17 loss to the Blue Devils. Virginia allowed the Blue Devils to rush for 248 yards and four touchdowns in the loss. Virginia’s inability to stop the rushing attack could stem from a tiered front due to the offense’s inability to sustain a long drive early on, sending the defense back onto the field faster than itthey hoped. The offense did have some better drives in the second half, but it was too late to make a difference. Virginia looks to shake off itsr loss this weekend against a collapsing Louisville team. 

Next Up: vs. Louisville, Saturday, 12:00

13. Boston College (2–3, 1–2) ↑

The Eagles pulled off an upset win in Week Five, defeating Louisville 34–33. Zay Flowers put on a show, hauling in five catches for 151 yards and two scores. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec showed a new poise on the field, throwing for over 300 yards. The only blemish in Jurkovec’s  performance was a failed attempt at a backward pass thatwhich was recovered by Louisville. BC will look to carry the momentum from Week Five into its most challenging game of the season thus far against Clemson. The Eagles have a 6.3 percent chance of winning, according to ESPN, but anything can happen under the lights in the Red Bandanna Game.

Next Up: vs. Clemson, Saturday, 8 p.m.

14. Louisville (2–3, 0–3) ↓

Quarterback Malik Cunningham continued his stellar season against BC in Week Five until he exited the game with an injury ahead of the fourth quarter. Without him, Louisville failed to generate enough offense to top the Eagles. Cunningham is listed as day-to-day ahead of Louisville’s matchup against Virginia on Saturday, and without him, the Cardinals could flounder in Charlottesville.

Next Up: at Virginia, Saturday, 12 p.m.

October 8, 2022