1. Clemson (7–0, 5–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔
No. 5 Clemson passed another test this past week in front of a raucous crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Tigers put up 27 consecutive points in the second and third quarters of the game to cruise past Florida State in a relatively comfortable victory. Clemson will have to maintain its focus for one more matchup at home against unbeaten No. 14 Syracuse before it reaches a Week Nine bye. If Clemson can handle the Orange, it should have a good chance to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Next Up: vs. Syracuse, Saturday, 12 p.m.
2. Wake Forest (5–1, 1–1) ↔
After a Week Seven bye, the No. 13 Demon Deacons will look to continue to stack wins onto their already-impressive 2022 campaign. Wake’s only blemish this season was a double-overtime loss to vaunted Clemson, which sets the Demon Deacons up for an opportunity to potentially compete in a New Year’s Six Bowl. Head coach Dave Clawson spoke about avoiding complacency in this week’s media availability, and that will certainly be key as Wake faces some of the weaker opponents in its schedule.
Next Up: vs. Boston College, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
3. Syracuse (6–0, 3–0) ↑1
No. 14 Syracuse’s surprise undefeated season continued Saturday afternoon, as the Orange secured a victory over No. 23 NC State. The Orange have rocketed up the AP Top 25 poll in the past weeks, including four spots from No. 18 to No. 14 after Week Seven. Sean Tucker has proven his value as a dependable tailback this year, and Syracuse’s defense remains stout. Its schedule gets much tougher, however, as the Orange’s next five opponents have a combined 23–9 record.
Next Up: at Clemson, Saturday, 12 p.m.
4. NC State (5–2, 1–2) ↓1
The No. 23 Wolfpack’s offense has been a major issue this season, and a Week Seven loss at Syracuse did nothing to ease its struggles. In its first game without quarterback Devin Leary—out with an injury—NC State put the ball in the hands of backup Jack Chambers. The offense continued to sputter, putting up just three field goals. Head coach Dave Doeren has a lot to evaluate during NC State’s upcoming bye week if the Wolfpack hopes to meet the high expectations analysts had of them ahead of the season.
Next Up: vs. Virginia Tech, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
5. North Carolina (6–1, 3–0) ↔
The No. 22 Tar Heels edged out Duke in a highly competitive matchup in Week Seven to stay atop the ACC’s Coastal Division. North Carolina relied on the play of freshman quarterback Drake Maye in the first half of the season. The rising star has thrown for over 300 passing yards in four consecutive games. If the Tar Heels can take care of business against poorer competition, they should have a decent shot at playing in the ACC title game.
Next Up: vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 29, 8 p.m.
6. Pitt (4–2, 1–1) ↑1
The Panthers may be North Carolina’s biggest threat for the Coastal crown. The emergence of standout running back Israel Abanikanda has given them a new dimension on offense, which has been especially important considering the struggles of transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis. Pitt will need to unlock its passing game in order to go on a run coming off the bye week. Looking ahead, Week Nine in Chapel Hill will be a crucial game.
Next Up: at Louisville, Saturday, 8 p.m.
7. Florida State (4–3, 2–3) ↓1
The ACC’s schedule-makers certainly were not kind to the Seminoles. After a difficult three-week stretch against Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson, Florida State has fallen below .500 in conference play. A bye in Week Eight comes at a convenient time, and head coach Mike Norvell’s squad has an opportunity to regroup with a stretch of winnable games against some teams from the bottom of the conference awaiting it.
Next Up: vs. Georgia Tech, Oct. 29, 12 p.m.
8. Georgia Tech (3–3, 2–1) ↑1
Before having their bye in Week Seven, the Yellow Jackets strung together back-to-back conference victories in thrilling fashion, defeating Pitt on the road and sneaking by Duke in overtime. A team that many had low expectations for this year, Georgia Tech has turned some heads and now has a legitimate shot at playing in its first bowl game since 2018. Interim head coach Brent Key has stepped up for the Yellow Jackets, and Georgia Tech will look to extend its win streak to three games this week.
Next Up: vs. Virginia, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
9. Duke (4–3, 1–2) ↓1
After a 4–1 start, the Blue Devils have hit some adversity for the first time this season. They have dropped two consecutive games by a combined margin of just six points. Moving the ball down the field has not been an issue for Duke, but its defense has let it down. An opportunity to rebound awaits in Week Eight as the Blue Devils will travel to face a lackluster Miami team.
Next Up: at Miami, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
10. Miami (3–3, 1–1) ↑2
The Hurricanes picked up their first conference win at Virginia Tech in Week Seven, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process. Miami squeaked by the Hokies 20–14, and quarterback Tyler Van Dyke finally looked like the player many thought he would be. There is still not a lot of positivity in Coral Gables, however, with the Hurricanes underperforming on preseason projections.
Next Up: vs. Duke, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
11. Louisville (3–3, 1–3) ↓1
Louisville responded nicely to its stunning loss at BC with a convincing victory over Virginia. The Cardinals used the bye in Week Seven to get healthy, and quarterback Malik Cunningham is in line to return from his injury in Week Eight. He should bolster the Cardinals’ offense and provide some energy to a Louisville team that prepares to face three more ranked opponents before the end of its season.
Next Up: vs. Pitt, Saturday, 8 p.m.
12. Virginia Tech (2–5, 1–3) ↑1
Virginia Tech’s losing streak reached four in Week Seven with another disheartening performance in Lane Stadium. The Hokies’ season has been headlined by inconsistency, and Virginia Tech continues to struggle offensively. A Week Eight bye has arrived, and head coach Brent Pry has a lot of reevaluating to do.
Next Up: at NC State, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
13. BC (2–4, 1–3) ↔
Coming off its bye, BC has another tall task in front of it. Quarterback Sam Hartman and Wake Forest’s high-powered offense will host the Eagles, who suffered a 31–3 beatdown against Clemson the last time they played. Many of the same issues remain for BC: a struggling offensive line, inconsistent quarterback play, and a porous defense.
Next Up: at Wake Forest, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
14. Virginia (2–4, 0–3) ↔
Virginia is the only team in the ACC without a conference victory, and it hasn’t scored more than 20 points since Week One. The Cavaliers’ offense has promising pieces, including quarterback Brennan Armstrong, but they haven’t managed to connect the dots this season. Virginia’s only victories have come against Richmond and Old Dominion, and it’s looking like another season down the drain in Charlottesville.
Next Up: at Georgia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.