ACC football rankings heading into Week 11 of the 2016 season. Lamar Jackson had another Heisman-esque performance for Louisville.
Lamar Jackson does it again. The Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite threw for four touchdowns and ran for three more in Saturday’s blowout of Boston College, helping the Cardinals boost their resume for a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Clemson got a scare when Deshaun Watson left Saturday’s game against Syracuse with a shoulder injury, but it doesn’t seem serious. The Tigers remained unbeaten with a big win over the Orange.
Here’s a look at how the ACC teams rank heading into Week 11 of the season.
Week 11 ACC Football Rankings
14. Duke (Last Week – 14)
The Blue Devils remained the ACC’s lone winless team in conference play after coming up short, 24-21, against Virginia Tech. It’s their second consecutive three-point loss after losing to Georgia Tech last week, but they weren’t exactly heartbreakers. Duke had plenty of opportunities down the stretch to overcome the deficit but failed to capitalize.
13. Boston College (13)
The Eagles have lost three of their last four, including blowout defeats against Clemson and Louisville. Their 207 total yards this week against the Cardinals marked their second-fewest of the season, and they let Lamar Jackson run for 185 yards and three scores in the 52-7 loss. But hey, at least Boston College can look forward to next week’s game at (gasp) Florida State.
12. Virginia (12)
One week after nearly shocking Louisville, the Cavaliers allowed a Kurt Benkert interception to be returned for a touchdown with less than seven minutes left that proved to be the deciding score in a 27-20 loss to Wake Forest. That three straight losses for Virginia, which beat only lowly Duke in conference play.
11. North Carolina State (11)
Another week, another tough loss for N.C. State. The Wolfpack led going into the fourth quarter against Florida State on Saturday, then allowed the deciding touchdown with three minutes left in a 24-20 defeat. They led in the fourth last week against Boston College before falling, 21-14. And who can forget missing an opportunity to upset Clemson and losing in overtime? Ouch.
10. Georgia Tech (10)
Three of Georgia Tech’s four losses have come against ranked foes, but that’s still not going to cut it for Paul Johnson’s team. Saturday’s 48-20 loss was competitive for 2 1/2 quarters before the Tar Heels scored the final 21 points. That comes a week after the Yellow Jackets blew a 21-point lead against Duke before pulling out a three-point victory. Being ready to play in the second half is becoming a real issue.
9. Syracuse (8)
One has to wonder how this Syracuse team beat Virginia Tech. It was manhandled by Clemson, 54-0, on Saturday despite Deshaun Watson not playing in the second half, and it also lost by 34 to Louisville earlier in the year. The Orange still have to play Florida State in two weeks and have to beat two of the Seminoles, N.C. State and Pittsburgh to become eligible for a bowl game.
8. Wake Forest (9)
Wake shook off last week’s loss to Army by beating Virginia on Saturday to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011. The Demon Deacons don’t have much time to celebrate, though, with Louisville and Clemson awaiting the next two weeks.
7. Pittsburgh (6)
Pittsburgh’s three-game winning steak is a distant memory. After falling 39-36 to Virginia Tech last week, the Panthers were routed, 51-28, by Miami on Saturday and dropped to 5-4 on the season. That’s tied for the most points they’ve allowed in three years, something that can’t make defensive-minded coach Pat Narduzzi too happy. If Pitt is giving up that many points against Miami, it might be in for another long day next week at Clemson.
6. Miami (7)
The Hurricanes snapped their four-game losing streak in resounding fashion by blowing out Pitt in a much-needed victory for Mark Richt’s sinking squad. That marked its first win since beating Georgia Tech on Oct. 1 and came on the heels of a loss to Notre Dame – a team that’s been beaten by the likes of Michigan State, Duke and Navy. Miami has a legitimate shot to finish with a respectable 8-4 record as Virginia, N.C. State and the Blue Devils remain on the schedule.
5. Virginia Tech (5)
That slip-up at Syracuse could be costly down the road, but as it stands now, Virginia Tech controls its own destiny in the ACC Coastal after improving to 5-1 in the conference with a narrow victory at Duke. The Hokies have won three straight since that defeat and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over North Carolina, which also is 5-1 in league play. Both teams have easy scheduled down the stretch, with Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Virginia remaining for the Hokies.
4. North Carolina (4)
Make it three straight wins for the Tar Heels since being destroyed by Virginia Tech. Mitch Trubisky has thrown six touchdown passes without a pick in that stretch and seems to be back on track after the dismal performance against the Hokies. With games against Duke, The Citadel and N.C. State remaining, UNC has a very realistic shot at finishing 10-2.
3. FSU (3)
Close games seem to be in the Seminoles’ DNA. Four of their last five have been decided by four points or fewer, splitting those contests. They missed a chance to knock off Clemson in last week’s 37-34 loss, but they were able to survive against N.C. State. Deandre Francois came to the rescue with the Wolfpack shutting down Dalvin Cook.
2. Louisville (2)
It’s just getting ridiculous now. Barring some unfortunate setback, Jackson is going to win the Heisman Trophy, and it might not even be close. Jackson now has accounted for 45 touchdowns on the season, which is an insane number considering that only 11 teams the FBS other than his own entered Week 10 with at least that many. Jackson is now three touchdowns away from breaking Deshaun Watson’s ACC record, which was set just last year. More importantly, the Cardinals have won four straight since losing to Clemson and should move up in the College Football Playoff rankings this week after Texas A&Ms loss.
1. Clemson (1)
Watson’s shoulder injury doesn’t seem serious, and it’s likely he was held out of the second half Saturday only for precautionary reasons. Given the schedule, it’ll be interesting to see how coach Dabo Swinney elects to use Watson if he’s not 100 percent. The Tigers finish the regular season with Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and South Carolina before a potential ACC title game. Then again, Swinney might not want to take any chances and at least start Watson until games get out of hand.