LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After playing four conference games during the first three weeks this season, the Atlantic Coast Conference will crank the volume on league play this weekend with four more ACC games.
That, of course, includes Louisville. The Cards (2-1) will play the first of eight consecutive ACC games when they visit Florida State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Louisville is favored by two points and in position to bury the memories from the Ole Miss game.
Put this in bold type:
According to the Sagarin ratings, Louisville’s victory over Central Florida (No. 34) is the best non-conference win delivered by any ACC program this season. That helps to explain why another power formula web site, WarrenNolan.com, projects that Louisville will finish third in the ACC Atlantic Division. Nolan’s formula puts the Cardinals at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC Atlantic, behind Clemson and Boston College.
Prior to the season, in a vote at ACC media day, the Cards were picked sixth, ahead of only Syracuse.
If you’re Scott Satterfield, you take 8-5, 5-3 and head directly to the clubhouse.
Make note of this: The ACC is looking for a team capable of flexing. No league has looked shakier than the ACC in non-conference play.
Call the roll of the other 13 teams. Clemson looked as shaky against Georgia Tech than it did against Georgia. North Carolina could not beat Virginia Tech, which could not beat West Virginia.
Miami and Florida State fans are clamoring for coaching changes. Pittsburgh backed up its win at Tennessee with a loss to Western Michigan. Pittsburgh isn’t the only ACC team that lost to a Mid-American Conference program. Georgia Tech burped against Northern Illinois.
There’s nobody for Louisville to fear, not even Clemson. Dabo Swinney’s team was outgained by Georgia Tech in a game Clemson led 7-3 midway through the fourth quarter.
Here is another nugget that shows how little ACC teams have achieved in the opening three weeks:
Of the ACC’s 22 non-conference wins, five have come against opponents ranked in Sagarin’s Top 100. Half of the 22 wins were against FCS programs, like Colgate, Albany and Norfolk State.
ACC teams have won 65% of their non-conference games (22-12). Sound OK? Not really.
The ACC non-league performance is better than the Pac-12 (16-16, .500). But it is not as imposing as the Big 12 (23-4, .852); SEC (30-6, .833) or Big Ten (24-7, .774).
In 11 games against Notre Dame or programs in Power 5 Conferences, the ACC has gone 3-8. The wins were over Illinois, Northwestern and Tennessee.
The losses were to Ole Miss, Rutgers, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, West Virginia. Notre Dame and Mississippi State were by an average of nearly 14 points.
Clemson has its usual collection of four- and five-star recruits, but the Tigers also have issues on offense. They’re last in the ACC in total yards, last in yards per play, last in passing yards per attempt and tied for last in passing touchdowns. Clemson misses Trevor Lawrence as much as Lawrence misses ACC defenses.
Clemson has two passing touchdowns and three interceptions in 101 attempts.
If Clemson struggles again Saturday at North Carolina State (the Tigers are favored by 10), the hunt will escalate to find a new favorite in the ACC Atlantic.
Boston College and Wake Forest reign as the ACC’s only unbeaten, but ...
... there’s a reason BC and Wake are ranked No. 38 and No. 39 in the AP poll, one spot behind Kentucky. Neither has played the kind of schedule Louisville has played.
BC has handled Colgate (No. 243) in Sagarin; UMass (178) and Temple (131). That’s a clown schedule for an FCS program.
Wake has been equally timid, beating Old Dominion (151) Norfolk State (205) and Florida State (106).
Louisville’s win over Central Florida is the best win any ACC football team has registered this season. If the Cards can back it up Saturday in Tallahassee, the script fort this season will officially get interesting.
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