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ACC Power Rankings: Week 3

We Recap An Ugly Week For The ACC

NCAA Football: Kansas at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

That was.... a really terrible week for the ACC. I don’t want to talk about it more than necessary. Let’s get to it.

1 - #1 Clemson Tigers (3-0, 2-0)

Another week, another big win for Clemson. This time it was a 41-6 road win against Syracuse. Their defense absolutely dominated the Orange and the offense did more than enough to secure an easy win. The offense cruised with 7.6 yards per carry while the defense stuffed the Orange running game. Trevor Lawrence had a couple of picks, but he also had 395 yards on 39 attempts. This is a good, but not flawless team. They now get an easy week with a home game against Charlotte.

This Week: Win 41-6 at Syracuse

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 vs. Charlotte

2 - #21 Virginia Cavaliers (3-0, 2-0)

Virginia continued rolling on their path to contend for the ACC Coastal with a close win over Florida State (aided by the refs at the end). Given how Florida State has looked this year you would have liked to see them do better, but you know they’ll take conference win. Virginia trailed going into the final quarter, but was able to put up 21 points in the final frame to secure the victory. Bryce Perkins was pretty good with 295 yards passing, 1 TD, and 2 interceptions. Virginia’s defense was pretty good. They played pretty good as a team which was just enough to win. They need to better. They get Old Dominion this week to gear up for a tough two week stretch at Notre Dame and at Miami.

This Week: Win 31-24 vs. Florida State

Next Week: Saturday at 7 vs. Old Dominion

3 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0)

The Deacons notched a huge win this week against in-state rival UNC in a weird non-conference game (the game does not count towards conference standings). This should have been an easy win for them. They hit a 51-yard touchdown pass from Jamie Newman to Sage Surratt to go up 21-0 with 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter. UNC hadn’t even gotten a first down yet. They maintained a 21-3 lead into the fourth quarter before nearly letting UNC quarterback Sam Howell lead yet another fourth quarter comeback. The game ended 24-18 with the Heels driving to end the game (technically there should still be a second left on the clock). The much maligned Wake Forest defense stepped up and had a huge game. This team is probably legitimately good.

This week: Win 24-18 vs. North Carolina

Next Week: Saturday at noon vs. Elon

Warning: It gets ugly from here on out

4 - North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1, 1-0)

Sure, UNC lost this week. Have you seen the rest of the ACC? The Heels still have two pretty decent wins which is more than almost anyone can say. True freshman quarterback Sam Howell finally looked a little bit like a freshman this week. He didn’t throw any picks, but he only mustered 182 yards on 28 attempts. He was briefly benched for backup quarterback Jace Ruder. He finally got things going in the fourth quarter leading two quick touchdown drives and leading a quick final drive as the game ended (one second early). He needs to get the offense going quicker if they want to keep winning games. You can only comeback late so many times. The defense gave up a couple big plays, but for the most part held a very potent Wake Forest defense in check. They should be very glad this game does not count as a conference loss. Their tough schedule continues against Appalachian State this week.

This Week: Lose 24-18 at Wake Forest

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. Appalachian State

5 - Miami Hurricanes (1-2, 0-1)

Yup, we are already to a team with a losing record. Miami had an easy game this week and aced it. They smacked Bethune-Cookman for a 63-0 win. Jarren Williams was good at quarterback. The run game dominant. The defense stifling. Now they need to do it against an FBS opponent and finish them off. They get another game they should dominate this week against Central Michigan.

This Week: Win 63-0 vs. Bethune-Cookman

Next Week: Saturday at 4 pm vs. Central Michigan

6 - Pittsburgh Panthers (1-2, 0-1)

Pitt went on the road to the #13 in the country and was able to keep it a very close game thanks in part to the weather. This was a case of good and bad for Pitt. The good is that Kenny Pickett looked pretty good and had 372 yards passing on 35/51 attempts and no interceptions. They also held Penn State’s passing in check letting them go for only 222 yards through the air on 30 attempts. The bad is that Pitt’s leading rusher had 9 yards on 1 carry. Pitt’s running backs combined for 17 yards on 16 carries. They let Penn State’s running backs go for 162 yards on 25 carries. That was the difference in the game. Well that and that Pitt struggled to finish drives. The Panthers get no reprieve next week as they welcome UCF to western Pennsylvania.

This Week: Lose 17-10 at #13 Penn State

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. UCF

7 - Duke Blue Devils (2-1)

Duke has been at the bottom of my rankings so far this year, but rose quickly. Not really much to do with anything they did though. Duke comfortably took down Middle Tennessee State and the Blue Devils look like they might be adjusting to the post-Daniel Jones era. Quarterback Quentin Harris had a monster game. He passed for 237 yards on 24/27 passing and 4 touchdowns. He also ran for 107 yards on 11 carries. Anybody looking to play against Duke will be looking to shut him down. The defense could have played better. They get a bye week next week before we see how good they really are in ACC play.

This Week: Win 41-18 vs. MTSU

Next Week: BYE

8 - Louisville Cardinals (2-1)

Louisville is just like Duke. They haven’t embarrassed themselves, which puts them in the middle of the rankings. They comfortably beat a not very good Western Kentucky team without their starting quarterback. Louisville moved the ball pretty effectively with both backup quarterbacks. Let’s hope Puma Pass gets healthy though. Defensively they did just fine against the Hilltoppers, but I still have a lot of questions about them long term. We’ll learn a lot about them as they head to Tallahassee to take on Florida State this week.

This Week: Win 38-21 vs. Western Kentucky

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 at Florida State

9 - North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-1)

I really thought NC State was going to win this game. They had dominated their first two games (albeit against poor competition) and West Virginia looked like they were going through the beginning of a major rebuild. Alas this is college football and things don’t always go to plan. NC State gave up 44 points to a team who had mustered just 7 the week before against Missouri. They let the Mountaineers run all over them. Quarterback Matthew McKay, who had looked so good, mustered only 207 yards on 48 attempts for 4.3 YPA. They ran the ball decently, but they were down for so much of the game that they never committed to it as much as they should have. In the second half they barely moved the ball at all. This was a disaster for the Wolfpack. They get a rebound game this week against Ball State while gearing up for ACC season.

This Week: Lose 44-27 at West Virginia

Next Week: Saturday at 7 pm vs. Ball State

10 - Florida State Seminoles (1-2, 0-1)

The Seminoles narrowly lost a tough game this week thanks in part to some questionable time keeping by the officials. Florida State hung in there on the road against the ACC’s second best team, but they need to start finishing some games. The defense was much improved shutting down Virginia’s rushing game and picking Perkins off twice. Mid-way through the third quarter they had held the Cavaliers to only 10 points. But, for the third time in three games they fell apart late. Virginia’s final three drives were touchdown drives of 75, 75, and 72 yards. They need to figure out what is leading to these collapses and fix it fast. They were knocking on the door to score when the timekeepers messed up and ran the clock after a first down not giving FSU the chance to score and tie or win. Clock issues were a theme this weekend. FSU continues ACC play this week by welcoming Louisville. Their team will be looking to prove they can finish off a win and play well for 60 minutes.

This Week: Lose 31-24 at Virginia

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 pm vs. Louisville

11 - Syracuse Orange (1-2, 0-1)

Syracuse has now gotten blown out twice in a row. Any thought that the Maryland disaster was because of Syracuse “looking ahead” to Clemson was exterminated as the Tigers methodically crushed the Orange (Yum, orange juice). Defensively they picked off Trevor Lawrence twice and held the running game somewhat in check. Lawrence still threw on them and Clemson still scored. Offensively Syracuse had nothing. Quarterback Tommy Devito was 15/27 for 172 yards and a pick and was sacked 8 times. Their running backs each got just 2.4 yards per carry. Clemson is really dang good, but Syracuse is not looking good at all. Maryland losing to Temple doesn’t help. We may not get a better sense of this team for a while. Their next three weeks are vs. WMU, vs. Holy Cross, and BYE.

This Week: Lose vs. Clemson 41-6

Next Week: Saturday at noon vs. WMU

12 - Boston College Eagles (2-1, 1-0)

Boston College was an early contender for most embarrassing loss of the week when they got dominated at home on Friday by Kansas. Yes, that Kansas. The one who had not won a road game against a Power 5 team since 2008. This was not a fluky win. BC had a +1 turnover margin. Kansas was just better. Kansas took a different strategy to stopping the Eagles offense. They let AJ Dillon get his while focusing on shutting down the passing game. It worked. Dillon had 156 yards on 27 carries, but Anthony Brown only got 195 yards passing on 36 attempts and it was a miracle that he got away without any interceptions (Kansas secondary needs some time on the jugs machine). Defensively BC was dominated. Pooka Williams ran for 121 yards on 22 carries (5.5 ypc) while Khalil Herbert had 187 yards on 11 carries (17 ypc). Carter Stanley threw for 238 yards on 20/27 attempts. This was a disastrous performance by the Eagles. They now look to redeem themselves with a road game against Rutgers.

This Week: Lose 44-27 vs. Kansas

Next Week: Saturday at noon at Rutgers (can you feel the excitement???)

13 - Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 0-1)

It was not a good week for the Hokies. First, BC got demolished by Kansas at home which made VT’s opening week loss look so much worse. Then Virginia Tech put up the ACC’s second most embarrassing performance against an FCS team from South Carolina. The Hokies trailed at halftime 14-3. They were able to run on the Paladins, at least they could with Keyshawn King and Tre Turner. But, Ryan Willis was only able to throw for 123 yards on 17/21 passing, one interception, and 4 sacks. They could get away with a one-dimensional attack against Furman, but they won’t be able to in the future. Defensively they had no issue against the pass, but weren’t exactly stuffing the Paladins’ run game. The Hokies avoided disaster, but didn’t instill any sort of confidence. They now get a bye before they face Duke in a game that I think will teach us a lot about both teams.

This Week: Win 24-17 vs. Furman

Next Week: Bye

14 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-2, 0-1)

No comment.


Next Week: Bye

Note: There will be no ACC Roundup this week so I’m adding a poll here


Which Team Had The Worst Performance This Week?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Virginia Tech 24-17 Win vs. Furman
    (15 votes)
  • 80%
    Boston College 48-24 Loss vs. Kansas
    (85 votes)
  • 5%
    North Carolina State 44-27 Loss at West Virginia
    (6 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now