As the weeks creep by, the narrative shifts.
A little over a week ago, it was "is this the strongest ACC football has ever been?" After all, the conference had 3 undefeated teams, including 2 in the top 5, and Virginia Tech sneaking up on the outside, with only a loss to the unstoppable juggernaut that is Alabama.
But that was two weeks ago. One of those undefeated teams got stomped like a grape at a wine festival. Another goes up against FSU next week after a few consecutive weeks of tightrope walking against inferior competition. And Virginia Tech, well, everyone ignored the warning signs of close calls against teams like East Carolina. Can't do that any more, I'm afraid. And now we're back to the "Gosh darn it, the ACC sure is unpredictable" days. Which is another way of saying "nobody's really that good."
So on to business, and the taking care of thereof:
Florida State 49, NC State 17 - Let's put it this way: I was so sure of the outcome of this one that I scheduled my birthday party for a bar across the street from State's campus for that evening. To be fair, the Pack put up more of a fight than Clemson did, but at this point it's like the old days of the ACC, where there's the former Free Shoes U. and then there's everyone else.
Georgia Tech 35, UVa 25 - It's not a surprise that Tech won this game. It's a surprise that they had to come from behind to do it, because Virginia is bad. Then again, fork over 5 turnovers and still win by double digits and you're doing all right.
Clemson 40, Maryland 27 - Now that Maryland's been exposed as the new Indiana, or perhaps Purdue, it makes sense that Clemson would roll up on them like that - particularly coming off the bludgeoning that Florida State delivered last week. On the other hand, allowing the Terps to hang around until the 4th quarter, and allowing them to run up 27 points, that's not a particularly good sign. Or as the great sage once asked: Name two things that are orange and don't show up in late October - The Great Pumpkin and Clemson's D.
Miami 24, Wake Forest 21 - And a near miss at that. Al Golden deserves all sorts of credit for keeping the Ibises unbeaten this far into the season, but you keep playing with fire, you're going to get blasted through sheetrock by a firehose sooner or later. Combined with the NCAA's pattycake disciplinary judgment earlier in the week, that's two gifts the U got within seven days. Next week, though, their luck's going to run out.
UNC 34, Boston College 10 - Clearly, da Sawx gots all da karma this week. BC had established itself as, if not good, then at least solid. UNC had established itself as a speed bump. Mind you, they still can't stop the run, but when you hold the opposition's QB to passing yardage Sammy Hagar probably couldn't drive, well, you're going to win a game now and then. UNC's schedule is relatively soft the rest of the way, so Larry Fedora might be able to salvage a faintly respectable final record. But the empty seats visible in any picture from Saturday's game will tell you this season's already lost.
Virginia Tech 10, Duke 14 - Yes, it's a great win for Duke. Yes, they're bowl-eligible for the second year in a row for the first time EVER. It's a big deal, I'm very proud of them, such nachas, etc. But. For all the national yammering, Virginia Tech simply isn't that good this year. The fact that they dropped this game to a team that converted precisely zero - that would be "0" - third downs and gave away 4 turnovers says that Virginia Tech was in no way ready for prime time. Good teams let lesser opponents take a swing, absorb the punch, and come back and win. Overrated teams go 4-18 on 3rd down conversions against a team that couldn't stop Pitt.
Navy 24, Pitt 21 - Speaking of which...
So next week the big show is down Florida way, with FSU taking on Miami, and presumably taking them apart as well. Everything else is in-conference, with the UNC-NCSU grudge match being perhaps the biggest game on the docket.