Edwards projects Clemson, ranked No. 3 in both polls, would start at No. 4. He has Florida State right where it is ranked in both polls, at No. 6. Now, we all know this is going to be an impossibility come Oct. 20 -- the day after the two teams play in Death Valley. One of those teams will have a loss.
Still, it is instructive to know where the top ACC team could potentially stand after that game. Alabama is at No. 1 in these projections, to no one's surprise. It also is no surprise that the Pac-12 seems to have the upper hand on the ACC at this point, though the order of its top two teams is reversed: Stanford checks in at No. 2 and Oregon at No. 3 for this week.
One of those teams will eventually have a loss, too, because they are scheduled to meet on Nov. 7. But still, if the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC have one team run the table, it appears as if the ACC may be the odd conference out. Yes, I know, it is way too early to even go there, but this is a valid discussion point. As Edwards writes about Clemson: "The question is whether the Tigers could reach the top two without an upset loss by Alabama or losses by Stanford and Oregon. As of now, that seems doubtful."
Both Clemson and Florida State will get some nonconference help down the road (Clemson vs. South Carolina; Florida State vs. Florida). Their game against each other should also help the strength of schedule. Florida State also has ranked Miami on the docket. But overall, the ACC trails the Pac-12 in conference strength, and that may end up being a decisive factor.