Around the ACC: Week 5
The ACC has had a playoff team in every College Football Playoff, but this year could be the first without any representation of the conference.
The Clemson Tigers have been dominating the ACC since 2015, but this year has been very different. The Tigers are 2-2 on the year, with early losses to Georgia and NC State already on their resume.
No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, and Clemson does not have a strong schedule to help boost their resume for the end of the year. So, on the final day of September, the Clemson Tigers have seemingly been eliminated from playoff contention.
Now, there may be no contending teams in the conference, but the race for the ACC title will be very interesting.
NC State knocked off Clemson 27-21 in double overtime and looked strong. The Wolfpack produced 386 total yards and gained 31 first downs. They also converted 11 third downs on 21 attempts and held the ball for 41 minutes and 48 seconds. The Wolfpack looked strong in their win, and could be making a push for the ACC crown.
Georgia Tech also looked great this past weekend. The Yellow Jackets dominated No. 21 North Carolina 45-22 in Atlanta, and they seem to have turned a corner at the program. They fell in heartbreaking fashion in Week 3, losing to Clemson 14-8, but were able to bounce back against the Tar Heels. Georgia Tech was 3-9 in 2019 and 3-7 in 2020, but the Yellow Jackets seem to have found their winning ways in Geoff Collins' third year.
The ACC slate this week is highlighted by two huge matchups, starting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are 4-0 in 2021 and have risen to No. 24 in the polls. This week, they will be tested by a talented Louisville team, who comes into the game 3-1. This game is a serious battle between two talented quarterbacks.
The Demon Deacons are led by their efficient quarterback Sam Hartman. The sophomore has been great this year, having nine touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 80.7.
The Cardinals are led by star Malik Cunningham, who leads the team in passing and rushing. The junior is coming off a strong performance, where Cunningham scored four touchdowns in the team’s 31-23 win over Florida State. The quarterbacks will undoubtedly decide the outcome of this game.
The other marquee matchup is between Boston College and Clemson. The Eagles are undefeated in 2021, and are coming off an emotional 41-34 win in overtime over Missouri.
The Eagles have been playing with backup quarterback Dennis Grosel, after starter Phil Jurkovec was injured. This has forced the Eagles to rely on their rushing attack, which ran for 275 yards against Missouri.
The Eagles face a struggling Clemson Tigers team, which is feeling the effects of losing Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. The Tigers are averaging 169.3 passing yards per game, and have only four passing touchdowns. They also have four interceptions, which has not helped them.
The Tigers are looking to bounce back in a big way this week, and they will be challenged by a tough Boston College team on Saturday night.
The ACC is as wide open as it has ever been, and it will be interesting to see who is able to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the month of October.
Adam Sheetz is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.