Four weeks into the season, one thing seems clear: Clemson is once again the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers, in position to take home their third straight ACC Atlantic Division crown, are here to stay, but have another major road test this weekend.
As for the rest of the conference, it remains quite an open race. Some teams, Florida State most notably, have failed to meet their lofty preseason expectations. Others, Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia Tech, among others, have impressed. Some others still need more information gathered to learn the team’s true identity.
As conference play kicks into full gear, these questions should be answered in quick succession.
1. Clemson (4-0, 2-0 in ACC, no change from last week)
The Tigers had a bit of a scare in their home conference opener before rattling off the final 27 points to finish with an impressive looking 34-7 win over Boston College on Saturday.
Up next: After a brief reprieve, Clemson has a tough task again this weekend, traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech in their second road College GameDay matchup in three weeks.
2. Virginia Tech (4-0, 0-0, up one spot)
The Hokies blanked Old Dominion 38-0 to wrap up their non-conference schedule with a perfect 4-0 record.
Up next: VT will host College GameDay for the first time since 2007 when the Clemson Tigers come to town in a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship.
3. Louisville (3-1, 0-1, up one spot)
Louisville bounced back from its loss to Clemson with a 42-3 thrashing of Kent State as Lamar Jackson had one of the more accurate games of his career, going 18-22 for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Up next: The Cardinals complete their non-conference slate with a likely cakewalk at home against FCS opponent Murray State.
4. Miami (2-0, 0-0, up one spot)
The Hurricanes trailed at half, but responded offensively in a big way to beat MAC favorite Toledo 52-30 in their first game in three weeks.
Up next: UM’s biggest challenge of the year so far lines with its first road game of the 2017 season, a matchup with 4-0 Duke in Durham.
5. NC State (3-1, 1-0, up one spot)
The Wolfpack turned some heads with an impressive gameplan and execution that led to a 27-21 upset at FSU to kick off conference play. Is it possible NC State is a good bit better than early returns showed?
Up next: After the upset, NC State looks to keep its positive momentum going at home Saturday against Syracuse.
6. Florida State (0-2, 0-1, down four spots)
The three-week layoff seemed to hurt the Seminoles as their 27-21 loss to NC State in their home opener makes them 0-2 for the first time since 1989. Jimbo Fisher and staff have their work cut out for them to stabilize an extremely rough start.
Up next: That begins this weekend when the Seminoles head to Winston-Salem to take on an upstart Wake Forest team that has turned some heads across the conference.
7. Duke (4-0, 1-0, no change)
The Blue Devils matched their win total from 2016 four weeks into the season off a 27-17 win at rival North Carolina and may be legit contenders in the Coastal Division.
Up next: The Blue Devils carry on their ACC schedule at home against Miami. Remember how that game ended the last time these two teams met in Durham?
8. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-0, no change)
After having its Week 3 matchup with UCF cancelled, the Yellow Jackets picked up right where they left off, coming away with a convincing 35-17 home win over Pitt in their ACC opener.
Up next: Georgia Tech will look to keep its positive momentum going at home this weekend against a North Carolina team in desperate need of a win.
9. Wake Forest (4-0, 1-0, no change)
A blocked field goal as time expired preserved Wake’s 20-19 win at Appalachian State Saturday, keeping the Demon Deacons undefeated. For the first time ever, Wake and Duke, two of the less appreciated ACC football programs, are both 4-0 to start a season.
Up next: Wake Forest’s schedule difficulty ramps up significantly when the Florida State Seminoles, a preseason top-three team who are shockingly 0-2, come to town.
10. Virginia (3-1, 0-0, up three spots)
The Hoos shocked college football fans across the nation with their dominant 42-23 win at Boise State last Friday, surpassing their 2016 win total just four games into the season. Have Bronco Mendenhall’s Cavaliers turned a corner?
Up next: Fresh off the impressive victory, Virginia will be the first ACC team to have its official bye week, taking time off to prepare for its eight-game stretch to close out the regular season.
11. North Carolina (1-3, 0-1, down one spot)
The Tar Heels, who needed some breaks to fall their way this year in order to keep their postseason streak alive, are off to a rough start, falling to 1-3 after Saturday’s home loss to Duke.
Up next: UNC’s road game against Georgia Tech just became that much more important as the Tar Heels underwhelming defense will look to stifle the Ramblin’ Wreck’s triple option attack.
12. Pittsburgh (1-3, 0-1, down one spot)
Pitt’s tough start to its 2017 season continued last weekend in the team’s ACC opener, a 35-17 loss at Georgia Tech which saw the Panthers get outscored 14-0 in the second half.
Up next: Pittsburgh returns home, wrapping up its out-of-conference schedule at home against fellow 1-3 team Rice.
13. Syracuse (2-2, 0-0, down one spot)
It was close but no cigar for the Orange, who battled throughout in keeping it close before coming up short in a 35-26 loss at LSU on Saturday. The Orange now must go 4-4 in conference play to reach their first bowl under Dino Babers.
Up next: Syracuse kicks off its ACC slate on the road in Raleigh this weekend against NC State.
14. Boston College (1-3, 0-2, no change)
After three quarters, BC had pulled the seemingly impossible task of staying level at Clemson, 7-7. That does little to console Steve Addazio after the Eagles ended up on the wrong side of a 34-7 loss Saturday.
Up next: Boston College’s non-conference slate is concluded Saturday when the Eagles play host to a Central Michigan team that Syracuse thoroughly defeated earlier this season.