Maybe the best thing that could’ve happened to the ACC this week was for its ranked teams to be taking a little break and enjoying their bye weeks. It’s the safest place to be in college football this time of year.
Losses by South Carolina and Nebraska this past weekend helped the ACC regain its presence in the top 10 of the BCS standings released Sunday night. While the national title is out of the picture, the ACC has strong representation this week in the form of No. 9 Clemson and No. 10 Virginia Tech; both were outside the top 10 last week. Georgia Tech checked in at No. 21, a bump up from No. 23 last week.
The gap between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech doesn’t appear to be as large as the BCS standings indicate, though, particularly when considered how each of them played in its most recent games. The Yellow Jackets easily had their best performance of the season in an upset of Clemson, and the Hokies were held scoreless in the second half of a 14-10 victory against Duke. We’ll find out just how many points separate the Coastal Division leaders on Thursday night.
The ACC’s top two teams in the BCS standings are on paths to meet again this season, this time in the Dec. 3 ACC championship game in Charlotte, and after the loss to Georgia Tech, it’s the best title Clemson can hope for this year. The Tigers can clinch the Atlantic Division with a win over Wake Forest this weekend, and Virginia Tech needs to win out to defend its division title. Clemson won the regular-season meeting with the Hokies 23-3.
While the ACC race is still open, one thing is for sure: Both Clemson and Virginia Tech need to continue winning to maintain their spots in the top 10.