Familiar face returns to first place at Atlantic Coast conference in week 12

The Atlantic Coast Conference will not have a college football playoff representative for the first time since its inception, but the final two weeks of the league’s regular season promise a lot of drama.

Three teams remain in contention for the Atlantic Division title while four teams remain alive in the Coastal, so there is plenty of potential for upsets, nail bites, comebacks and slumps. It should be fun.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest reclaimed the top spot in the standings after a week of absence, with Pitt – a potential opponent in the ACC Championship game – biting the heels of the Demon Deacons.

1. Forest of Wakes (9-1, 6-0)

Last week: 2

The Demon Deacons passed NC State last week and now face a big challenge in Clemson. Wake Forest is 0-12 against the Tigers since Dabo Swinney took over as Clemson coach in the middle of the 2008 season.

Following: Saturday at Clemson, noon, ESPN

2. Pitt (8-2, 5-1)

Last week: 3

The Panthers’ path to the Coastal Division title is simple: beat Virginia. It helps that Pitt is playing at home and has Kenny Pickett behind center. A win would give the Panthers their second division crown in four years.

Following: Saturday vs. Virginia, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

3. NC state (7-3, 4-2)

Last week: 1

The unlucky Wolfpack, after a 45-42 loss to Wake Forest, lost two league games for a total of four points. State remains alive for the Atlantic crown but no longer controls his own destiny.

Following: Saturday vs Syracuse, 4 p.m., ACC Network

4. Clemson (7-3, 5-2)

Last week: 4

Clemson’s stingy defense will take on the Wake Forest offense this week in what should be a fascinating affair. The Tigers have beaten Wake Forest 152-19 in their last three meetings and held the Demon Deacons to one touchdown during that span.

Following: Saturday Vs Wake Forest, Noon, ESPN

Clemson wide receiver Will Swinney (22) scores a touchdown in the first quarter of his game against UConn at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

5. Virginia (6-4, 4-2)

Last week: 6

The Cavaliers remain alive in the Littoral but are hanging on by a thread. Virginia, who just received a spanking administered by Notre Dame, has lost five of her seven games to Pitt since the Panthers joined the ACC, so the odds are not in their favor this week.

Following: Saturday at Pitt, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

6. North Carolina (5-5, 3-4)

Last week: 5

The Tar Heels are taking a break this week against Wofford, a former FCS powerhouse who has had a hard time. The Terriers are 1-9 and recently gave up 41 points to Western Carolina; North Carolina will score as many points as they want.

Following: Saturday vs Wofford, noon, ESPN3

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell, left, tries to fend off Pittsburgh defensive back Brandon Hill with a stiff arm swing while running in the fourth quarter of last week's overtime game.

7. Miami (5-5, 3-3)

Last week: 7

The Hurricanes lost a late lead in a loss to Florida State last week, increasing discontent in Coral Gables. Miami AD Blake James got the boot Monday night and head coach Manny Diaz may follow suit soon.

Following: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network

8. Florida State (5-4, 3-4)

Last week: 9

The Seminoles gave themselves – and coach Mike Norvell – a bullet in the arm with a comeback victory over state rival Miami. Can they extend the “feel good” finish by eliminating Boston College, who has lost nine of his last 10 games against the Seminoles?

Following: Saturday at Boston College, noon, ACC Network

Miami wide receiver Charleston Rambo (11) celebrates an assist alongside Florida State defensive back Kevin Knowles II (26) during the fourth quarter at Doak S. Campbell Stadium.

9. Boston College (6-4, 2-4)

Last week: ten

Can a talented quarterback make all the difference? If you are Boston College, yes. The Eagles are 2-0 since the return of quarterback Phil Jurkovec and clinched bowl eligibility.

Following: Saturday vs. Florida State, noon, ACC Network

10. Louisville (5-5, 3-4)

Last week: 11

When Malik Cunningham and Company hits the nail on the head, the Cardinals can be pretty dangerous, as Syracuse found out last week. Louisville should be able to pack a bowl berth this week.

Following: Thursday at Duke, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Maurice Burkley of Louisville runs for a first down against Syracuse.  November 13, 2021

11. Virginia Tech (5-5, 3-3)

Last week: 12

Justin Fuente is out at Virginia Tech, and the Hokies could be over as well, with games against Miami and Virginia to complete the schedule.

Following: Saturday in Miami, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network

12. Syracuse (5-5, 2-4)

Last week: 8

Syracuse’s hopes for a bowl offer dwindle week by week. The Orange will face NC State and Pitt over the next two weeks and the odds are not in their favor despite star running back Sean Tucker, who only needs 11 yards against the Wolfpack to become the leader. of all time in a single season in Syracuse.

Following: Saturday at NC State, 4 p.m., ACC Network

13. Georgia Tech (3-7, 2-6)

Last week: 13

Things only get worse for the Yellow Jackets, who have had the fourth toughest schedule in the country according to ESPN. Georgia Tech closes against Notre Dame and Georgia. Enough said.

Following: Saturday at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., NBC

14. Duke (3-7, 0-6)

Last week: 14

It could very well be David Cutcliffe’s swan song after 14 years at Duke. Louisville and Miami are in place over the next two weeks to close out the Blue Devils’ rather forgettable season.

Following: Thursday vs. Louisville, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

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