Each Monday morning (or sometimes Tuesday), we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 5 of the ACC football season:
1. ACC set to be a factor in BCS National Championship race: For the first time in the conference’s 60-year history, it has four 4-0 teams to start a football season, with three of them ranked among the top 15 in the nation. Most of all, Clemson seemed to grab two victories this Saturday as well — one against Wake Forest, and another in the Georgia–LSU game. By way of the Bulldogs beating LSU, Clemson’s victory over UGA to start the season means even more than it did in week one, and improves their (and the ACC’s) chances of being a real factor in the national title race as this year wears on.
2. Virginia Tech‘s a Coastal Division contender: Following Thursday’s win over Georgia Tech, the Hokies suddenly appear to be one of two teams (the other being Miami) in the driver’s seat in the Coastal Division. Obviously the offense is still struggling, but given the way the defense has been playing thus far, it might just be enough to deliver this team yet another division title. Winning ugly (as they have been) or winning pretty, it’s still a victory on the board, which is all that matters.
3. North Carolina is in deep trouble: The 0-1 start was not shocking, but now at 1-3, the Heels are a team in absolute crisis mode. Their offense is stagnant, the defense has little ability to stop anyone and this squad’s gone from Coastal contender to fringe bowl team in a matter of a month. Larry Fedora’s panicking, and rightfully so. Considering the SEC jobs he was potentially in line for just eight months ago, tough to sit and watch your current team get shipwrecked. There’s zero room for error at this point if they hope to rescue this season.
4. Pittsburgh wins however it needs to: Last week, it was a high-flying shootout over Duke. This week, it was a rough defensive struggle over Virginia. Point is, the Panthers have adopted a chameleon mentality to this season in that they seem to find a way to win by any means necessary. Considering the disastrous start to the season for them, it’s a smart step forward for a team most thought wouldn’t have much of an identity. They’ve turned it into a strength, which could really help them out as the year progresses.
5. Really, Boston College is getting a whole lot better: For Eagles fans, it was certainly disappointing to see Saturday’s game against Florida State get away from them, but the 14-point loss is still a big step forward for this team. Steve Addazio’s done wonders with BC, no matter how many games they end up winning this season, and the FSU game is exhibit A. Still plenty of kinks to work out if they hope to find themselves back in the ACC title conversation, but at various points in 2013, they’ve already shown that both the offense and defense can perform at elite levels.