Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 9:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Blue Devils (5-2, 2-1 ACC) will be Louisville’s second visitor in a row to hold a national ranking. The Cardinals (6-1, 3-1) knocked off Notre Dame and might need similar energy after stumbling two weeks ago at Pittsburgh. Duke will be taking on a nationally ranked opponent for the fourth time this season after last week's loss at No. 4 Florida State.
Duke quarterback Riley Leonard returned from an ankle injury to play against FSU, though he was hobbled during the game.
This is only the fourth all-time meeting, and the first with both teams ranked. Both teams were considered overachievers early in the season, but one of them will enter November on a two-game losing streak.
A season ago, Clemson and North Carolina State met with both teams ranked in the top 10. Now it's two unranked teams trying to find consistency. Clemson (4-3, 2-3) lost in two overtimes Saturday night at Miami, while N.C. State (4-3, 1-2) has been off since an Oct. 14 defeat at Duke in which the Wolfpack managed just three points.
Record books will shift either way, too. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney is tied with Frank Howard as Clemson’s winningest coach at 165 wins, while Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren has 76 wins that put him one behind Earle Edwards for the top spot at N.C. State.
Wake Forest (4-3, 1-3) is a 20½-point home underdog against No. 4 Florida State (7-0, 5-0), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But the Demon Deacons will try to win four straight against the Seminoles for the first time in program history.
FSU quarterback Travis Jordan became Florida State’s all-time leader in total offense in last week’s win over Duke. Wake Forest could have sorting out to do at quarterback if Mitch Griffis, who started the first six games, is ready to return from injury.
Santino Marucci didn’t exactly light it up against Pittsburgh, but directed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. That included the winning 15-yard pass to Cameron Hite with 7 seconds left.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Disappointing losses for North Carolina coach Mack Brown became a source of discussion after Virginia upset his Tar Heels. Next up for No. 17 North Carolina is Saturday night’s game at Georgia Tech, which has knocked off nationally ranked UNC teams in each of the past two years. Additionally, Georgia Tech has won 10 of 12 meetings with UNC in Atlanta dating to 1997, which was the final year of Brown's first tenure with the Tar Heels.
Virginia, despite rating last in total defense in the ACC, has benefitted from safety Jonas Sanker’s impact. The safety had seven tackles as the Cavaliers hung in against then-No. 10 UNC's strong passing attack. He's third in the ACC in tackles with 8.6 per game, while he has forced two fumbles and has been among the busiest players in the conference in pass coverage.
Virginia visits Miami this weekend.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll