Pitt and Syracuse sit atop the ACC standings

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

We're only about halfway into the season but the early returns for the ACC newcomers are encouraging.

Pitt and Syracuse sit atop the conference and are the only two undefeateds left in ACC play. The pair are both 4-0 and on a collision course in a huge matchup this weekend. And even though Notre Dame is a pedestrian 10-6 and 1-2 in conference, the Irish's lone ACC win came against Duke. All three teams are not only proving the old Big East can hang with the likes of Duke and North Carolina, but thrive against them.

One thing that shouldn't be forgotten when it comes to Pitt and Syracuse is that the teams haven't faced the toughest competition just yet. Three of the Panthers' opponents, Maryland, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest are all virtually in the middle of the ACC in terms of conference records and overall records. The fourth, Georgia Tech, is near the bottom. Syracuse has been tested even less with their four opponents currently in the bottom five of the league. North Carolina, one of their opponents, probably isn't as bad as their conference record, but nevertheless, the Orange hasn't played the best of the ACC, either.

Also, it should be noted that the conference is down as a whole, anyway. Pitt and Syracuse had to wait until this long to even play a top team in the ACC this year ... and they'll be facing each other.

Based on the records right now, after Pitt and Syracuse, Virginia, Florida State, Clemson, and Duke are next in line. All have played well so far, but other than Duke, I'm not sure any of those teams will be left at the end fighting Pitt and Syracuse for the conference title.

It's really too early tell right now if Pitt will contend for the ACC crown and with the season-ending injury to Durand Johnson, that's especially true. But so far, the Panthers and Orange are passing the ACC test with flying colors.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and the site's manager @AnsonWhaley.

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