ACC Power Rankings: Week 3

ACC Power Rankings: Week 3

As a conference, the ACC went 10-4, including 2-2 against Power 5 opponents last week. With Florida State and Louisville both struggling against FCS competition, the depth of the conference is definitely in question.

This week the ACC standings will begin to take shape, with 3 conference matchups taking place, beginning Thursday with Boston College at Wake Forest.

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

Last Week: at Texas A&M Aggies (1-1) – W 28-26

Next Week: vs. Georgia Southern Eagles (2-0)

What do we make of this Clemson team? They looked dominant for 3 quarters, responding to every punch Texas A&M was able to land, but then the wheels started to come off. They were outscored 13-0 in the 4th quarter and were a possible blown call and a 2-point-conversion away from going to overtime. Obviously, this was a heated affair as Jimbo Fisher wanted to make a statement against his former conference rival, and at the end of the day it still goes down as a road win against an SEC school, but this was not the convincing win the Tigers were hoping for. In the 2 QB system, neither Kelly Bryant nor Trevor Lawrence posted a QBR over 50.

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

Last Week: vs. William & Mary Tribe (1-1) – W 62-17

Next Week: vs. East Carolina Pirates (1-1)

The Hokies took care of business against the Tribe and have another easy one coming up when they play host to East Carolina. Through 2 games, VT has a +6 Turnover Differential, with Josh Jackson yet to turn it over.

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

Last Week: vs. Savannah State Tigers (0-2) – W 77-0

Next Week: at Toledo Rockets (1-0)

The first quarter was not pretty, with Travis Homer fumbling on the first drive, but then the Canes settled in and destroyed Savannah State just like we all expected they would. Miami’s defense gave up just 5 first downs and 78 total yards throughout the entire game. On the offensive side of the ball, Malik Rosier got to work out some kinks, while N’Kosi Perry saw his first action of his collegiate career, throwing for 3 touchdowns and 1 INT.

4. Boston College (2-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 4)

Last Week: vs Holy Cross Crusaders (0-2) – W 62-14

Next Week: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0, 0-0)

BC ran over another lackluster opponent, but this week will finally be tested as they head down to Winston-Salem on a short week to take on the Demon Deacons. There has been a lot of excitement around this BC team all preseason and now they will have a chance to prove themselves. In the victory against the Crusaders, AJ Dillon rushed for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 6 carries for a whopping 24.8 yards per carry average.

5. North Carolina State (2-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 6)

Last Week: vs. Georgia State Panthers (1-1) – W 41-7

Next Week: vs. #14 West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0)

Ryan Finley continued to rack up yards going 31-38 for 370 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. That gives Finley 679 yards in 2 games, good for 10th in the nation. He will need to continue putting up yards and points if the Wolfpack are going to pull off the upset against Heisman candidate Will Grier and the Mountaineers.

6. Duke (2-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 7)

Last Week: at Northwestern Wildcats (1-1) – W 21-7

Next Week: at Baylor Bears (2-0)

Duke’s defense looked incredible against Northwestern, giving up a touchdown on the opening drive, before shutting the Wildcats down for the rest of the game. On offense, Daniel Jones threw three touchdowns in the 2nd quarter to put the Blue Devils ahead for good. The bad news for Duke: Jones fractured his clavicle and is out indefinitely, while starting cornerback Mark Gilbert is done for the season with a hip injury. These are two huge losses for Duke. Backup QB Quentin Harris threw the ball only twice in the relief effort, so it won’t be known until next week how well the offense will operate under him.

7. Wake Forest (2-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 10)

Last Week: vs. Towson Tigers (1-1) – W 51-20

Next Week: vs Boston College Golden Eagles (2-0, 0-0)

Wake gets a bump this week because almost everyone else below them looked absolutely terrible even if they won. After a tough first quarter where the Demon Deacons exchanged touchdowns with the Tigers, Wake tightened up and easily pulled away. The defense played much better after the first quarter, holding the Tigers to just 6 points, including a scoreless 2nd half. But the most impressive thing about this game was wide receiver Greg Dortch, who scored 3 times, including two punt returns of 70 and 60 yards.

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

Last Week: vs. Indiana State Sycamores (1-1) – W 31-7

Next Week: vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (0-2)

Yes, the playing conditions were terrible, but it is hard to ignore the fact that this game was tied 7-7 until 3:29 left in the 3rd quarter. Starting for the second straight week, Jawan Pass played terrible, going 8-14 for 89 yards and 1 INT before being replaced with 8:59 left in the 3rd quarter by redshirt freshman Malik Cunningham. The change proved useful, as Cunningham led 4 scoring drives and finished 6-7 for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. Perhaps Cunningham is the spark the Cardinals needed to get their season moving in the right direction.

9. Syracuse (2-0, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 12)

Last Week: Wagner Seahawks (1-1) – W 62-10

Next Week: vs. Florida State Seminoles (1-1, 0-1)

Other than a bad 3rd quarter in the opener, the Orange have looked great in their first 2 games. Eric Dungey threw for 5 touchdowns to 5 different receivers against Wagner, and Dontae Strickland added 2 scores on the ground. This week, Syracuse plays host to a stumbling Seminoles team. A win would be huge for Syracuse, as they look to not finish last in the Atlantic for the first time since 2015.

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

Last Week: vs. Samford Bulldogs (1-1) – W 36-26

Next Week: at Syracuse Orange (2-0, 0-0)

With 4:03 left in the game, Deondre Francois connected with Tre’ McKitty for the go-ahead touchdown against the Samford Bulldogs. That’s right: the Samford Bulldogs. In Tallahassee. With a QB who beat Michigan in the Orange Bowl two years ago. Sure, that goes down as a win, but you’re not going to see a more pathetic victory all season. Also, the Turnover Backpack sure is fearsome and really shows the swagger of this Noles team.

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

Last Week: vs. #13 Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0) – L 51-6

Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 0-0)

There was a time when people actually thought Pittsburgh had a chance to win this game. Penn State marched right down the field on their first drive, and the Panthers answered immediately. The game became a defensive struggle and Pitt had a few chances to score, but then they imploded and the Nittany Lions scored 44 straight points. QB Kenny Pickett posted a 13.1 QBR, going 9/18 for 55 yards and an INT. So maybe no one actually expected the Panthers to pull out the victory, but being outscored 37-0 in the 2nd half and losing by 45 is certainly not what any fan wants to see.

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

Last Week: at South Florida Bulls (2-0) – L 49-38

Next Week: at Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1, 0-0)

Not only did the Yellow Jackets blow a 10-point lead with just 14:15 left, they managed to do so so convincingly, that they lost by double digits. Georgia Tech racked up 595 yards, but lost the turnover battle 3-1, including a costly interception from TaQuon Marshall with just 3:47 left in the game and down only 4. Before facing Pitt, the Yellow Jackets should consider working on their kickoff defense. USF’s Terence Horne returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns at 98 and 97 yards, respectively.

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

Last Week: at Indiana Hoosiers (2-0) – L 20-16

Next Week: vs. Ohio Bobcats (1-0)

Virginia almost pulled off the upset in rainy Bloomington, but ultimately fell just short on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the game. The defense kept the Cavs in the game as they held the Hoosiers scoreless in the second half. Quarterback Bryce Perkins needs help as he was the entire offense, going 12-24 for 106 yards and 2 TDS, while adding 123 yards on the ground. Cane

14. UNC (0-2, 0-0 ACC) (Last Week: 14)

Last Week: at East Carolina Pirates (1-1) – L 41-19

Next Week: vs. #18 UCF Golden Knights (2-0)

The Tar Heels trailed 21-19 to ECU heading into the half and Larry Fedora made all the adjustments necessary to ensure his team got blown out. And remember, East Carolina lost at home to NC A&T last week. At least Nathan Elliott made it an entire game without throwing an INT.

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