ACC Power Rankings Week 9

ACC Power Rankings Week 9

PhilWood
Last week, Clemson put a stranglehold on the Atlantic while Virginia continued to prove themselves by taking down Duke in Durham.

This week every team is in action after 6 teams were on bye last week.


1. Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) (Last Week: 1)

Last Week: vs #16 North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1) – W 41-7

Next Week: at Florida State Seminoles (4-3, 2-3)


I think everyone expected Clemson to beat NC State, but I don’t think many expected the dominant performance that the Tigers set forth as they routed the Wolfpack. The Tigers defense held Ryan Finley to just 156 yards and 2 interceptions and gave up just 297 yards of total offense. Travis Etienne scored 3 touchdowns on the ground and Trevor Lawrence threw for 308 yards and a touchdown. Add to this to the fact that Ohio State got smoked by Purdue, propelling Clemson to #2 in the polls. It’s a good time to be a Clemson Tiger.


2. North Carolina State (5-1, 2-1 ACC) (Last Week: 2)

Last Week: at #3 Clemson Tigers (6-0, 3-0) – L 41-7

Next Week: at Syracuse Orange (5-2, 2-2)


NC State doesn’t drop mainly because the ACC just isn’t very good. The Wolfpack looked terrible against Clemson, and were never able to make the game even slightly interesting. The Wolfpack offense, which has been great all season, got dominated from start to finish, failing to score any points until the 4th quarter when the score was already 31-0. NC State has had an easy schedule, there is no doubt about that, and it will be interesting to see how they rebound when they head to Syracuse to take on a tricky and inconsistent Orange team.


3. Virginia (5-2, 3-1 ACC) (Last Week: 6)

Last Week: at Duke Blue Devils (5-2, 1-2) – W 28-14

Next Week: vs North Carolina Tar Heels (1-5, 1-3)


This week UVA proved their win over the Hurricanes wasn’t a fluke. The Cavaliers took a 14-0 lead into the half against Duke and then continued to play solid defense and error-free offense as they shut down Daniel Jones and the Blue Devils. Bryce Perkins and the offense dominated time of possession, holding the ball for over 36 minutes in the game. That’s back-to-back huge wins for the Cavaliers, who won’t have time to relax as they welcome an upset hungry Tar Heel team to town.


4. Miami (5-2, 2-1 ACC) (Last Week: 3)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: at Boston College Golden Eagles (5-2, 2-1)


I’m dropping the Canes behind Virginia, because Virginia followed up their win over the Canes with a one-sided upset of Duke. I refused to overreact to the loss against the Cavaliers last week, but Miami is in must-win territory from here on out. A loss to BC and I’ll hop on the panic train.


5. Virginia Tech (4-2, 3-0 ACC) (Last Week: 4)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-4, 1-3)


The Hokies were rewarded this weekend when Old Dominion finally grabbed their second victory of the season over Western Kentucky. But until Saturday, the Monarchs had only beaten VT and had lost games against Liberty, FIU, Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, and Marshall. So, the Hokies may be atop the Coastal at the moment, but they will need to have a better overall record than the Canes before I move them ahead of Miami, who’s two losses are to #4 LSU and a 5-2 Virginia team.


6. Boston College (5-2, 2-1 ACC) (Last Week: 5)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: vs Miami Hurricanes (5-2, 2-1)


The second half of the season for BC is loaded with the top of the ACC on tap, but the Golden Eagles are in control of their own destiny after NC State fell to Clemson. If BC wins out they will almost surely win the Atlantic, but their road will not be easy. Their next three games are home against Miami, at VT, and then home again against Clemson.


7. Duke (5-2, 1-2 ACC) (Last Week: 7)

Last Week: vs Virginia Cavaliers (5-2, 3-1) – L 28-14

Next Week: at Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4, 2-1)


Duke has fallen twice at home to conference opponents in games they were favored to win. The worst part is that Duke hasn’t looked good in either loss. The offense couldn’t do anything against Virginia, and the defense that has been so good all season couldn’t get off the field. The Blue Devils now face an uphill battle in a wide open Coastal where 4 teams have 1 or fewer losses.


8. Syracuse (5-2, 2-2 ACC) (Last Week: 8)

Last Week: vs North Carolina Tar Heels (1-5, 1-3) – W 40-37

Next Week: vs #22 North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1)


Syracuse was the winner of the craziest ACC game of the week, when they took down the Tar Heels in double overtime of a back and forth game. After a 16-yard Eric Dungey touchdown run, the Orange held a 20-7 lead and looked poised to dominate UNC. They then proceeded to give up 20 straight before backup QB Tommy DeVito saved the day with a game tying touchdown with 1:39 remaining. DeVito was the hero after Eric Dungey struggled and one has to wonder if he will be the new starter for the Orange moving forward.


9. Pittsburgh (3-4, 2-1 ACC) (Last Week: 9)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: vs Duke Blue Devils (5-2, 1-2)


Pitt had an extra week to prepare for the Blue Devils, and a win this week would just about end Duke’s season and send the Panthers into contention for the Coastal crown.


10. Florida State (4-3, 2-3 ACC) (Last Week: 10)

Last Week: vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-3) – W 38-17

Next Week: vs #2 Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0)


Coming off the bye, the Seminoles looked like a much different team. After falling behind 10-0, the offense got going and the defense clamped down as the Noles scored 38 straight points. This hardly means that Florida State is back, as Wake Forest is clearly a bad football team, but maybe the Noles got a bit of their confidence back before they welcome Clemson to Doak in a season-redeeming game.


11. UNC (1-5, 1-3 ACC) (Last Week: 11)

Last Week: at Syracuse Orange (5-2, 2-2) – L 40-37

Next Week: at Virginia Cavaliers (5-2, 3-1)


Since their bye, the Tar Heels have looked like a completely different team, but unfortunately have gotten the same results. The Hokies snagged a game from them two weeks ago, and then on Saturday, they gave up a touchdown with just 1:39 left in regulation, which led to an eventual double OT loss at Syracuse. UNC could easily be 3-3, and 3-1 in the ACC, but Larry Fedora’s team keeps finding ways to lose. With all of that being said, the Tar Heels pass the eye test better than the three teams below them who each have more wins on the season.


12. Georgia Tech (3-4, 1-3 ACC) (Last Week: 13)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: at Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2, 3-0)


The Yellow Jackets had the week off but move up because Wake Forest doesn’t have a defense. Should the Yellow Jackets be ahead of a one-win UNC? Maybe. But do wins over Alcorn State, Bowling Green, and Louisville really add up to more than a win against Pittsburgh? I don’t think so.


13. Wake Forest (3-4, 0-3 ACC) (Last Week: 12)

Last Week: at Florida State Seminoles (4-3, 2-3) – L 38-17

Next Week: at Louisville Cardinals (2-5, 0-4)


Wake Forest doesn’t have a defense. The 63 points against Clemson is almost forgivable because it’s Clemson and maybe they just had an off day. But to give up 38 to Florida State, a team that has struggled offensively all season, means that there are serious problems. The Demon Deacons are playing for pride at this point and could escape the basement of the ACC by taking down Louisville this week.


14. Louisville (2-5, 0-4 ACC) (Last Week: 14)

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-3)


The Cardinals have worked all season to finish last place in the ACC and can’t lose focus now as Wake Forest and their horrific defense come to town, begging to be beaten. It will be a tough task to lose to a team that has been downright awful in their last 2 games, but if anyone is right for the job it’s this Louisville squad.
 

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