ACC Power Rankings - Week 2

10 min read
Week 1 of college football is in the books, and while most of the ACC feasted on weak competition, the conference went 0-3 against Power 5 opponents.

What will the impact be on the conference as a whole come Playoff consideration time, after three of the better teams in the league laid eggs on the national stage?

1. Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 1)

Last Week: vs. Furman Paladins (0-1) – W 48-7

Next Week: at Texas A&M Aggies (1-0)

The only drama in Clemson is whether Kelly Bryant or Trevor Lawrence will ultimately emerge as the permanent starting quarterback. Bryant got the start in the opener and in one quarter of play went 10-16 for 127 yards and 1 TD. Lawrence played nearly every snap after the first quarter and went 9-15 for 137 yards and 3 TDs. Swinney has already announced that both players will be playing again this weekend. For a team as loaded as Clemson, this a nice problem to have, as it seems that no matter who ends up starting, the W’s will continue to pile up. This week the Tigers take a trip to face Jimbo Fisher at his new home, and while Jimbo would love to put a beat down on his old rival, the Tigers should have no problem walking away with a relatively easy win.

2. Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) (Last Week: 3)

Last Week: at #19 Florida State Seminoles (0-1) – W 24-3

Next Week: vs. William & Mary Tribe (1-0)

That’s how you make a statement on the national stage. The Hokies went down to Tallahassee and absolutely whooped the Seminoles from start to finish, announcing to the world that they are the class of the Coastal, and Clemson’s biggest competition for the ACC crown. The opening drive was a clinic, and the defense clamped down after, barely giving the Seminoles a chance to breathe. There were questions surrounding this Hokies defense coming into the season, ones the Hokies answered by preventing Florida State from scoring a touchdown at home for the first time since 2008. They shut down Deondre Francois in his comeback game, picking him off three times, en route to forcing 5 turnovers. Josh Jackson added 207 yards and 2 touchdowns, and played smart, sound football that never gave the Noles defense a chance to make a big game changing play.

3. Miami (0-1, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 2)

Last Week: vs. #25 LSU Tigers (1-0) – L 33-17

Next Week: vs. Savannah State Tigers (0-1)

Well that was hideous, but I refuse to believe that the sky is truly falling in Miami. It’s a week 1 game, against a talented SEC school, and though it was a neutral site game, it definitely felt more like an LSU home game. There were plenty of missed opportunities and bad breaks early on, specifically Trajan Bandy getting ejected for targeting, on a play that really was just bad luck. The defense couldn’t get off the field early and gave up two fourth down conversions on one drive, which helped LSU take a 17-3 lead. While the defense struggled, so did the offense, who moved the ball well on two of the first three drives, but scored just 3 points. Miami gets a rebound game against Savannah State next week, where they will be able to test out some more personnel. Of course, you never want to look as bad as the Canes did Sunday, especially on the national stage. But it’s week 1. So, this isn’t a national championship team, and yes Virginia Tech looked incredible in Tallahassee, but there is no reason to believe this team can’t still make a run at the Coastal.

4. Boston College (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 5)

Last Week: vs. Massachusetts Minutemen (0-1) – W 55-21

Next Week: vs Holy Cross Crusaders (0-1)

Boston College destroyed Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean I’m moving them above Miami. Not yet. Anthony Brown threw for 4 touchdowns and finished with a QBR of 97.4. AJ Dillon added 98 yards on the ground and hauled in a receiving touchdown. UMASS scored two touchdowns in the last 6 minutes which makes the score look closer than it was. Boston College looks like the well-balanced team that they were hyped up to be preseason. We will have to wait two weeks before they are truly tested, but for now things are looking good in Chestnut Hill.

5. Florida State (0-1, 0-1 ACC) (Last Week: 4)

Last Week: vs. #20 Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) – L 24-3

Next Week: vs. Samford Bulldogs (1-0)

Willie Taggart’s first game after replacing Jimbo Fisher went about as terribly as imaginable. The offense looked horrible and Deondre Francois is clearly not the same quarterback he was 2 years ago before his injury. Defensively, other than a few rare instances, the Noles let the Hokies do just about anything they wanted, and were unable to make big stops when needed. This type of performance was exactly what Canes fans needed after watching Miami lose a miserable game on Sunday. But Monday left us with a very important question moving forward: Is Virginia Tech that good or is Florida State that bad? It’s still only week 1, but for now how can you not feel worried if you’re in Tallahassee?

6. North Carolina State (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 7)

Last Week: vs. James Madison Dukes (0-1) – W 24-13

Next Week: vs. Georgia State Panthers (1-0)

It wasn’t always pretty for NC State, but the Dukes aren’t a typical FCS opponent. They’ve gone to back-to-back National Championship games and won it all back in 2016. Though the score was close, the game was never really in doubt for the Wolfpack. Ryan Finley threw for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Jakobi Meyers caught a career high 14 passes for 161 yards. The Wolfpack didn’t do anything flashy, but they got the W.

7. Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 11)

Last Week: vs. Army Golden Knights (0-1) – W 34-14

Next Week: at Northwestern Wildcats (1-0)

Duke is the biggest riser heading into week 2, because they looked great against Army on Thursday. This Army team isn’t as good as they were the last two years, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Duke had the game under control from the start. It was a balanced attack in which Daniel Jones threw just 4 incompletions and Brittain Brown averaged nearly 7 yards per carry. This week the Blue Devils will have a chance to prove they are legit when they head to Northwestern.

8. Pittsburgh (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 8)

Last Week: vs. Albany Great Danes (0-1) – W 33-7

Next Week: vs. #13 Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0)

The Panthers hold steady at number 8 after taking care of Albany, and now have a huge home matchup in week 2 against Penn State. Penn State needed overtime to take care of App State in Happy Valley. One would hope that Pittsburgh is tougher than App State, especially at home. Kenny Pickett’s QBR against the Great Danes was 92.9, though he did turn the ball over twice. He will have to be great on Saturday if the Panthers are going to pull off the upset.

9. Louisville (0-1, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 6)

Last Week: vs. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) – L 51-14

Next Week: vs. Indiana State Sycamores (1-0)

Is dropping Louisville 3 spots for a loss to the number 1 team in the country really fair? It is when you look as bad as the Cardinals did. They fell behind 34-0 before they finally scored their first touchdown and at that point Alabama may have already moved onto their next game. For a team that was talking a lot about how they thought they could beat the Crimson Tide, they showed no signs of life until the game was well out of reach. It looks like the Lamar Jackson hangover is real.

10. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 9)

Last Week: at Tulane Green Wave (0-1) – W 23-17 (OT)

Next Week: vs. Towson Tigers (1-0)

That was a close one. Wake won a hard-fought contest down in Tulane against a Green Wave team that is much better than usual. Freshman Sam Hartman looked solid in his debut, going 31-51 for 378 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Wake fans may be nervous about the fact that they needed overtime, but they have to be happy about Hartman and his potential moving forward.

11. Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 10)

Last Week: vs. Alcorn State Braves (0-1) – W 41-0

Next Week: at South Florida Bulls (1-0)

The Yellow Jackets drop a spot in the rankings despite running all over Alcorn State in dominating fashion. In the victory, Georgia Tech rushed for 439 yards and gave up just 146 yards on defense. Georgia Tech will face a much tougher test this week when they head down to Tampa to take on South Florida.

12. Syracuse (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 12)

Last Week: at Western Michigan Broncos (0-1) – W 55-42

Next Week: Wagner Seahawks (1-0)

The Orange rolled over the Broncos in the first half on Friday night, opening up a 34-7 lead heading into the break. But then the defense disappeared. The Broncos scored three straight touchdowns in the span of 10 minutes and Syracuse’s nearly insurmountable lead looked doomed. But Eric Dungey took over, helping the Orange pull away for the victory. Dungey finished with 184 yards through the air to go along with 200 yards on the ground on just 15 carries. These are the types of numbers you expect from your senior leader, but if the Orange want to be competitive in the Atlantic the defense must get better.

13. Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 14)

Last Week: vs Richmond Spiders (0-1) – W 42-13

Next Week: at Indiana Hoosiers (1-0)

The Cavaliers jump out of the cellar this week strictly because they did what they were supposed to do. They beat a far inferior Richmond team handily, and did so with a great showing on the ground from Jordan Ellis and Bryce Perkins who both went over 100 yards. Next up is Indiana who’s run defense was exposed a bit in their 38-28 win over FIU. Virginia opens as underdogs against Indiana, but looking at the rest of their schedule, this might be a must win game if they want to have any chance at going bowling for the second straight season.

14. UNC (0-1, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 13)

Last Week: at California Golden Bears (1-0) – L 24-17

Next Week: at East Carolina Pirates (0-1)

And that means UNC takes over the basement. I watched every play of the UNC vs Cal game on Saturday, and wow was it ugly. The score suggests that North Carolina kept it close, but UNC scored twice in the last 6:31 to pull within 7. The truth is Cal dominated this game and the Golden Bears didn’t even look that good doing it. The Tar Heels offense is inept. There was a point in the game when Nathan Elliott was 2-11 for 7 yards and 3 interceptions, and yet still UNC was only down 17-0. The Tar Heels finished with 301 yards of total offense, but that is because their last two scoring drives were 92 and 86 yards each. It could be a very long season in Chapel Hill.

Comments (3)

Also FSU is not better than BC, NC State, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse
If UNC hadn't got screwed on the on side kick penalty they would have the ball with a chance to tie the game late after playing a total crapfest of the first 53 minutes.