That’s great for Florida State. Not so great for the ACC.
Clemson was exposed on Saturday, not only as unable to compete with a top-level team but as having a résumé that wasn’t as impressive as it looked. Georgia’s loss to Vanderbilt took care of that.
Miami remains unbeaten but was very fortunate to beat a 1-5 North Carolina team on Thursday night. It is likely to receive the same treatment from FSU as Clemson received when it plays in Tallahassee in two weeks. Virginia Tech didn’t play and is ranked 16th but has zero wins against anyone that matters — a pattern that will continue until the Hokies play Miami on Nov. 9th. Even a win in that game won’t prove very much at this point other than the fact that Virginia Tech is the lead dwarf.
The rest of the league is its usual mediocre self. Losing to Florida State, 63-0, proved that Maryland can’t compete with a very good team; getting blown out Saturday by Wake Forest proved the Terrapins will likely be up-and-down even with the not-so-good teams left on their schedule. They’ll make a bowl — one that will be attended by dozens.
Virginia won’t even accomplish that. The Cavaliers are 2-5 after a humiliating 35-22 loss to Duke at home Saturday. (Speaking of dozens, anybody glance around Scott Stadium in the fourth quarter after U-Va. had blown a 22-0 lead?). Athletic Director Craig Littlepage confirmed earlier this week that Coach Mike London will return next season, even if the Cavaliers don’t win again this fall — which appears entirely possible.
That said, it doesn’t get much worse than losing to Duke for a fifth time in six years. Cutcliffe is now 5-1 against Virginia. He’s 5-32 against the rest of the ACC. Ouch.
While the ACC clearly consists of one excellent team, three decent teams and everyone else, the depth of the SEC is breathtaking. Sure, Alabama continues to roll, but consider Saturday’s results in the conference: Mississippi, with half its defense out, upset No. 6 LSU; Auburn went into No. 7 Texas A&M and won a wild shootout even with Johnny Manziel again producing more than 500 yards in offense; Tennessee upset No. 11 South Carolina at the buzzer; Missouri, ranked No. 14, traveled to No. 22 Florida and won with a backup quarterback running the team and Vanderbilt (yes, Vanderbilt, coached by the man who could have been Maryland’s coach) stunned No. 15 Georgia.
The case can be made that the top four teams in this year’s ACC might compete with the top four in the SEC. But five through 12? Gene Corrigan would turn away from his TV set and wish it was already basketball season.
For more by John Feinstein, visit washingtonpost.com/feinstein.