Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 5 of ACC football action:
1. The ACC is likely a two-horse race: And unfortunately, one of those teams (Florida State) has already beaten the other (Clemson). The middle of the ACC pack looks more and more questionable each week — with each respective squad having their own obvious weaknesses. While it’s great to actually have a team in the national championship conversation, the conference’s resurgence this year was supposed be be based in a three- or four-team upper crust. Even Clemson, who is head-and-shoulders above the nearest team below them, still has one of the most suspect defenses in the conference, too.
2. Coastal Division still undecided: Miami has started out hot at 3-0 in league play, but just one of those wins is against divisional competition. While Virginia Tech appears to be reeling at 3-2, they — along with Duke — are also undefeated in the ACC, at 1-0. Still plenty of football left to play, and give the small margins of victory for all of these teams, we really don’t know much about their staying power over the course of the season.
3. Duke is making the postseason: Despite a defense that may sometimes look overwhelmed in pass coverage, and that glaring blowout loss against Stanford, Duke’s passing game has been one of the nation’s best. Quarterback Sean Renfree‘s elbow injury from last week will be a lingering concern, but if he can come back without any noticeable effect, there’s a very good chance that the Blue Devils will break the curse and head to a bowl.
4. Maybe Stephen Morris is Miami’s ticket back to “elite” status: All offseason, and going into kickoff weekend, there were tons of questions about whether ‘Canes junior QB Stephen Morris would be able to succeed given all the factors (attrition, NCAA issues, schedule) against him. Well, I believe he’s put those fears to rest at this point. After a shaky first few games, Morris has thrown for over 1,000 yards and seven scores in his last two contests — including a school-record 566 yards last week.
5. Virginia is in trouble: Looking back at the Hoos’ 2-0 start, there were signs it was an aberration. Now, at 2-3, it’s all starting to come undone. Michael Rocco‘s status as quarterback is questioned on a weekly basis, and it shows in his mistake-ridden performances (he’s thrown just six TDs, versus eight picks this year). The secondary, which we knew would be a work in progress, has looked severely outmatched in every game. And the running game — the team’s strength — is currently ranked 99th in the FBS. Is it Phillip Sims time yet? I would certainly think so.