ACC report: Do we know who is supposed to be good yet? -

ACC report: Do we know who is supposed to be good yet?

by Matt Zemek

Posted: 10/15/2020 5:43:01 AM

Most ACC football teams have played three conference games. We still have two months of ACC football left in the regular season. Let’s ask a simple question:

Do we know who is supposed to be good in the conference? It’s a fluid and unresolved question.

Before the season, Louisville was expected to be good — not necessarily great, but certainly good.

Are the Cardinals still supposed to be good, or are we giving up on Scott Satterfield’s team in Year Two of his tenure?

Before the season, North Carolina State was NOT supposed to be good, but offensive coordinator Tim Beck has had his quarterbacks ready to play. Dave Doeren’s team has already accumulated multiple road wins most people weren’t anticipating before the season began. Is it time to consider the Wolfpack a good team, or are we not yet ready to do so?

Before the season, Pitt was expected to be good. The Panthers just lost to North Carolina State at home and Boston College on the road. This losing streak is a real ‘Duzzi. Do we have a consensus opinion on where the Panthers stand?

Virginia Tech is its own unique situation, given the many COVID-19 absences on the roster. We can’t get a fuller read on the Hokies until they have more bodies back in action and available to give Justin Fuente the depth he has to have. Tech had no chance against North Carolina’s starting offense on Saturday in Chapel Hill.

What do we make of Virginia? We knew this season would involve some regression from last season, but so far, the degree of regression is greater than most people probably thought.

Duke looked reasonably good at Notre Dame but has struggled since… and yet still managed to clearly outclass Syracuse.

Miami’s wins over Louisville and Florida State seemed impressive at the time, but the downward trajectories of the Cardinals and Seminoles offered a warning flag about Miami being “back.”

Yet, having said that, Miami might still be a top-four team in the ACC… just not nearly as good as Clemson.

What ultimately seems to matter in the ACC right now is this: Three teams appear to have a real shot at facing Clemson for the ACC championship in December: Miami, Notre Dame, and North Carolina. We’ll add Virginia Tech if the Hokies get more bodies back.

Notre Dame’s defense looked bad against Florida State. North Carolina’s defense gave up 45 points to Virginia Tech. How the Irish and Tar Heels adjust on defense, and how Miami handles its leaky offensive line, will shape the coming weeks and give us a better idea of how those three teams measure up against each other.

In the meantime, who’s good? Outside the top four, it’s all very fluid… as we probably should have expected in a pandemic.



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