Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 7 of the ACC football season:
1. Next Saturday’s top-five showdown is on: After Clemson finally got past Boston College (way to scare the rest of us, Tigers), it officially set us up for one of the biggest weekends in ACC football history. College Gameday returns to Death Valley for the second time this season, and we get a top-five matchup on top of it. Florida State‘s fairly untested and the Tigers have been among the top five or so literally all season. Whoever wins will have both an inside track at winning the Atlantic Division and possibly playing for a National Championship come January. Saturday night will be an electric atmosphere — the type of which this conference needs more of in order to show itself off as one of the nation’s elite leagues.
2. Georgia Tech‘s in a free fall: Ever since dashing out to a 3-0 start, something’s been amiss about the Yellow Jackets. Granted, they’ve had a pretty rough slate these past few weeks (Miami, Virginia Tech and BYU will do that), but now sitting at .500, the season’s taken a bit of a negative turn. With two FCS opponents on the schedule, Tech has to go 4-2 down the stretch in order to wrap up a bowl bid. There’s a significant level of difficulty involved and no guarantees they can pull it off despite fielding a better team than last season’s by far.
3. Boston College is almost back: Yes, BC has lost to both Florida State and Clemson, but let’s focus on the positives: they were incredibly competitive against both as well. In just one year, coach Steve Addazio has this group believing they can win any game on the schedule, which is huge compared to what the last few years entailed. This is a senior-heavy class, so there’s plenty of rebuilding that needs to happen come next year. But with this sort of buy-in so early, the Eagles are well on their way to not just being respectable but competitive once again.
4. Stop judging Louisville: Specifically speaking to the media, who dropped Louisville a couple spots and tossed a couple votes SUNJ‘s way after a 14-point Cardinals win on Thursday. We get it, the Cards are playing a weak schedule as a result of being in American Athletic Conference purgatory for one year. But a win’s a win, and the final scoring total can’t take away from the fact that Louisville’s defense has been incredibly dominant of late — so much so that the offense has been able to coast along and not put up the avalanche of points from the early part of the season. Let’s stop penalizing this team for winning, and start dinging other squads for losing games.
5. Syracuse defense comes up big: The Orange had a pretty rough ACC debut against Clemson, getting lit up by Tajh Boyd and the Tigers’ passing attack for nearly the entire game. Due to those struggles, expectations weren’t overly high for their effort against NC State either, but it ends up SU rebounded just fine. Syracuse spent the entire day aggravating Pack QB Pete Thomas while keeping the offense off-kilter as a rule. Beyond forcing two turnovers, they also held their ground late in the fourth to put a stop to any potential State comeback bid and keep hold of the win for a struggling offense on their own side.