LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- As bad as losing to Miami by more than three touchdowns was for the Louisville football team, another score from Saturday made the evening sting a little longer:
Virginia Tech 36, Wake Forest 17.
Who cares about the Hokies and Demon Deacons outside Blacksburg and Winston-Salem? What’s the problem with that score?
Just this: By losing big to Miami, Louisville lost its claim to call itself the second-best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Cards beat Virginia. They beat Wake Forest. Add a victory over the Hurricanes to the discussion and Scott Satterfield’s team would have been right there with anybody in the discussion.
By losing by 25 to Miami, the Cards (5-4, 3-3) became just another team scrambling in the considerable chasm between Clemson and the 13 ACC pretenders.
Their scramble will continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at sagging North Carolina State. Satterfield said he expected his team to regroup and eliminate the uncharacteristic string of penalties and turnovers that doomed them in Hard Rock Stadium. He also said he expected most of the teams injured players to perform, although a determined about offensive left tackle Mekhi Becton will not be made until later this week.
“Yeah, it was one game,” Satterfield said. “Like I told them Sunday, whether you did play well or if you didn’t play well, it doesn’t matter. You have to come back this week and give it everything you have in your preparation There were a lot of hard meetings (Sunday) …
“… obviously you have different conversations after a game like that. It is all of us in the building. The strength staff in the weight room to the training room to all of our meeting rooms.
“So things are said differently. We are going to try to get better and we are going to look at what we did bad and correct it.
“Sometimes when you come in on Sunday, players are going to have to have thick skin. They’ve got to be able to take coaching and know that what we are trying to do is make them a better team and better individual players.”
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, Clemson has already clinched another ACC Atlantic Division title. The Tigers should sailed into the playoff with an opportunity to defend their national title.
How large is the gap between Dabo Swinney’s team and rest of the ACC?
“Seems like it’s pretty big,” Satterfield said. “At least 35 points a game bigger. It seems like every time you turn the scores on Saturday night, they won by 30 or 40 points and their starters aren’t even playing in the fourth quarter. It is incredible.”
But after Clemson?
There is incredible chaos in the rest of the league. And confusion.
I checked the rankings from the six computer formulas that were used in the Bowl Championship Series system that decided the college football champion before the current playoff system started in 2014.
The consensus was no consensus. This is where the Cards were ranked:
- Sagarin: 11th best in the ACC, 70th in the nation.
- Anderson & Hester: fourth in the ACC, 35th in the nation.
- Billingsley: seventh in the ACC, 51st in the nation.
- Massey: ninth in the ACC, 60th in the nation
- Colley Matrix: third in the ACC, 31st in the nation.
- Dr. Peter Wolfe: fifth in the ACC, 40th in the nation.
Massey collected the data from those six polls and 77 others. This was the average read on the Cardinals: seventh in the ACC and 49th in the nation.
According to Massey, here are the ACC consensus numbers:
- Clemson: No. 3
- Virginia: No. 35
- Wake Forest: No. 36
- Miami: No. 37
- Pittsburgh: No. 38
- Virginia Tech: No. 46
- Louisville: No. 49
- Florida State: No. 52
- North Carolina: No. 54
- Duke: No. 68
- Boston College: No. 70
- North Carolina State: No. 95
- Syracuse: No. 99
- Georgia Tech: No. 104
Satterfield said he has looked at the league and is not certain which ACC team is the league’s second-best squad.
“You look for the No. 2 team and there isn’t a clear No. 2 … ” he said. “… not right now.
“It just shows you how much better Clemson is than everybody else. People want to write and say how the ACC isn’t that good. Clemson is just at another level.
“They are at the level with the LSUs and the Alabamas that played this weekend.”
And the rest of the league?
The rest of the league has three more weekends to sort it out. The Cardinals had a chance to claim second-best status last weekend. They still have games against N.C. State and Syracuse to make their case.
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