ACC Football Rankings And Reactions, Week 11

    Week 11 ACC football rankings and reactions. Clemson survived a scare at the Carrier Dome to remain the league’s only unbeaten team. However, no one in the ACC is hotter than North Carolina, which has won nine in a row, including back-to-back demolitions of Duke and Miami.

    November 16, 2015


    Week 11 ACC Football Rankings

    1. Clemson: W, at Syracuse 37-27

    The Tigers survived. Deshaun Watson is healthy. In other words, no need to panic over a close call at the Carrier Dome, particularly the week after an emotional win over rival Florida State to wrap up the Atlantic Division. If there was a concern to come out of Week 11, it’s that Clemson had some issues containing the athleticism of walk-on QB Zack Mahoney. Coordinator Brent Venables must get that tweaked ahead of the ACC title game, where Carolina’s Marquise Williams will likely be the opposing quarterback.

    2. North Carolina: W, Miami 59-21

    This is really becoming an interesting story in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels might have gotten a bit of a pass had they had a hangover Saturday after annihilating rival Duke last week. Instead, Carolina picked up where it left off, treating the Canes as if they were the Blue Devils. The offense has kicked into a new gear as RB Elijah Hood, QB Marquise Williams and the rest of the ground game taking center stage this week. Barring a collapse, the Heels are going to barrel into Charlotte to face Atlantic Division champ Clemson in three weeks.

    3. Florida State: W, NC State 34-17

    The Seminoles woke up just in time Saturday to jet past the Wolfpack. But it might not have been possible without QB Sean Maguire, who came off the bench to ignite a stale Florida State offense. Maguire received plenty of help from RB Dalvin Cook and a defense that was oppressive over the final three quarters. However, he has a bigger arm than Everett Golson, maximizing the breakaway ability of receivers Kermit Whitfield and Travis Rudolph.

    4. Pittsburgh: W, at Duke 31-13

    The Panthers delivered a terrific response to their back-to-back losses by going on the road to defeat the Blue Devils. It was vintage Pat Narduzzi in Durham, with the efficient passing of Nathan Peterman, well over 200 yards rushing and a sound defensive effort leading the way. Pitt is the last remaining team with a shot of catching Carolina in the Coastal Division, though help is needed on the final two weekends.

    5. Miami: L, at North Carolina 59-21

    The Hurricanes walked into a buzz saw at Kenan Stadium that resembled their 58-0 loss to Clemson three weeks ago. Miami has done well under interim coach Larry Scott just to qualify for a bowl game by early November. But the program still lacks the top-end defensive talent to compete with the better offenses on the schedule, one of the many reasons why AD Blake James is searching for a permanent replacement for Al Golden.

    6. Louisville: W, Virginia 38-31

    It was a rare rough outing for the defense, yet the Cardinals found a way, another sign that Bobby Petrino’s offense is gradually peaking this fall. More specifically, the O-line is peaking. The rebuilt unit, which struggled so mightily in the first half of the year, paved the way for 266 rushing yards on 37 carries. After starting 0-3, Louisville has battled back to win six of seven and secure a spot in a bowl game.

    7. Virginia Tech: W, at Georgia Tech 23-21

    In their first game since Frank Beamer announced he’d be retiring, the Hokies rallied in Atlanta to keep hopes for a 23rd straight bowl game alive. Rookie Travon McMillian continues to show signs of being the feature back this program has been missing in recent years, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns. If Tech wins one of two games with North Carolina and Virginia, Beamer will finish his illustrious career at a neutral site.

    8. NC State: L, at Florida State 34-17

    Fast start and then flounder. The Pack’s loss to Florida State on Saturday followed a similar script as a year ago. Despite getting five turnovers and jumping out to an early lead, NC State faded without scoring a point over the final three quarters. It was neither able to run the ball nor slow the Noles after QB Sean Maguire entered the game. The Pack still hasn’t defeated a decent opponent this season, its best coming over 3-7 Wake Forest.

    9. Duke: L, Pittsburgh 31-13

    The Blue Devils have been thoroughly exposed as overrated this month. And Saturday’s third-straight loss wasn’t all about the unavailability of QB Thomas Sirk. Yeah, Sirk was missed, supplanted by Parker Boehme, but it’s been the defense that’s really tanked over the last month. A week after giving up 66 points to North Carolina, Duke was rolled by the balance of the Pitt offensive scheme.

    10. Georgia Tech: L, Virginia Tech 23-21

    The misery continued on the Flats Thursday night, with the Yellow Jackets blowing a late lead on the Hokies with turnovers and general sloppiness. It was a fitting finish for a team that’s won once—over Florida State—since Week 3. Tech has officially been eliminated from the postseason for the first time since 1996, an epic collapse that’ll force Paul Johnson to tinker with an offense that was at the heart of the problems this season.

    11. Virginia: L, at Louisville 38-31

    It’s official. The Cavaliers will miss a bowl game for a fourth consecutive year. It’s unofficial. Mike London will be let go shortly after the Nov. 28 visit from Virginia Tech. Ironically, Virginia fell to Louisville on a day when QB Matt Johns had some improbable success through the air, throwing three of his four touchdown passes to WR Canaan Severin. Too little, too late for a 3-7 program pining for new leadership.

    12. Syracuse: L, Clemson 37-27

    Say two things about the Orange—the team hasn’t quit on beleaguered head coach Scott Shafer, and it backs down from no one in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse, whose losing streak grew to seven games in Week 11, have lost by just 10 points to LSU and Clemson this fall. File that under the ‘moral victory’ heading. Is it enough for Shafer to keep his job? Unlikely, particularly since the university has a new athletic director calling the shots.

    13. Wake Forest: L, at Notre Dame 28-7

    Any longshot dreams of playing in a bowl game in Dave Clawson’s second year died in South Bend. The Deacons lost for the fourth straight week and sixth time in the last seven games. Wake Forest made strides on offense in 2015, but not nearly enough for it to be reflected in the bottom line. Clawson needs to surround QB John Wolford with better blockers and more skill position talent before the start of 2016.

    14. Boston College: Bye Week

    Next week: at Notre Dame

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