As we get ready for a holiday weekend of college football, we know that one spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game has been taken. The Florida State Seminoles locked up a position in the game that will take place on December 2 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers last weekend puts the Seminoles in the title game for the sixth time in program history. It is the first time since 2014 for FSU in the championship game. How they will play on the first Saturday in December is still to be determined. However, the Louisville Cardinals (8-1, 5-1) seem to be a good choice as they get ready for Thursday night’s game at home vs Virginia. They have a one-game lead in the loss column on Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-2). The Yellow Jackets are on the road this weekend to play Clemson (5-4, 2-4). There are seven games this weekend, and all are conference matchups. Here is how the league shapes up with three weeks to go.
For the 10th straight week, FSU (9-0, 7-0) is ranked in the top 5 of the Associated Press Poll. They were ranked at #4. Two other teams are also in the poll, Louisville at #11 and North Carolina at #24. In the USA Today AFCA Poll, There are three teams on that list as well. FSU at #4, Louisville at #11, UNC at #25. As the week begins, the league has seven teams that have become bowl-eligible teams. Overall, 51 teams are bowl-eligible. To date, no conference has more teams in the bowl picture than the ACC. The winner of the Clemson vs Georgia Tech game will join that group. Since 2017, the ACC has averaged 10 bowl-eligible teams, with 2018 being the high water mark with 11. One year ago, the league had nine.
Clemson’s head coach Dabo Swinney became the all-time winningest coach at the school after his team’s victory over Notre Dame. He now has 166 career wins at the school. With the win over the Irish, the Tigers have now won at least one game vs an AP team at home for the last nine straight years. The Tigers’ last time without a win over a top-25 team at home was in 2014.
While it has been a difficult year for the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-7, 1-5), one thing they have been very good at is getting to the opposing quarterback. Through nine games, the Panthers defense has recorded 25 sacks. They average 2.78 per game, which ranks 21st in the country. That number also has them fourth in the league. The defense is also 11th in the nation in tackles-for-losses with an average of 7.4 per game this year.
The Duke Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2) turned to a freshman QB to get the job done vs Wake Forest. His name is Grayson Loftis and he tossed his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, a 29-yarder to Jordan Moore. He is the first true freshman quarterback to win his starting debut since Mike Dunn did it vs Army on Oct.11, 1975. He is also the first true freshman to win a conference debut since Jerry Barger in September of 1951.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack (6-3, 3-2) came to play against Miami (6-3, 2-3). The defense of the Wolfpack in particular had a monster game. They created four turnovers, of which three were interceptions. They had three sacks and seven quarterback hurries. They held the Hurricanes to two field goals in the 20-6 win. It is the first time for the Wolfpack defense to hold an opponent without a touchdown since November 5, 2011, when they shut out the Tar Heels 13-0.
That’s all for this week. We will be back next week with more from the ACC.
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