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ACC Power Rankings: Week 2

Clemson rolls and Syracuse does the opposite of rolling

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday was a very long and fun day of football. Miami and UNC went to the wire. As did Nebraska-Colorado, Army-Michigan, BYU-Tennessee, and most amusingly Florida State and Louisiana-Monroe. Tons of fun football all day long (even after I went to bed). Let’s start on the rankings.

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

Clemson didn’t blow out Texas A&M at home, but they did win comfortably. Clemson got off to a slow start in the game against the Aggies, before slowly turning on the jets. Many thought Clemson’s defense would take a step back after losing a whole ton of experience, but instead they absolutely shut down Jimbo’s team holding them to just 3 points until a garbage time touchdown. Offensively we didn’t see the fireworks many expected with A&M holding Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne largely in check. It doesn’t matter too much. This looks to be the most difficult game all season for the Tigers. They get Syracuse next week which looks a whole lot easier than it did three days ago.

Last Week: Win 24-10 vs. #12 Texas A&M

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 at Syracuse

2 - #25 Virginia Cavaliers (2-0, 1-0)

Virginia took it easy this week with a breezy 52-17 win against William and Mary. Bryce Perkins played shaky, but they had no issues moving it on the ground. They sit firmly in the second spot in this ranking due to Syracuse blowing it this week. Virginia now looks forward to a hyped home game against Florida State.

Last Week: Win 52-17 vs. William and Mary

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 pm vs. Florida State

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

Mack Brown’s UNC team and 4th quarter comebacks. Who’d have thought? For the second week in a row the Heels made a fantastic comeback behind freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Their final drive saw the Heels convert a 4th and 17, drop an easy touchdown, and finally finish off the drive with a fantastic catch right along the sideline complete with a toe drag to put North Carolina up 28-25 with 1 minute left. They then let Miami move the ball down the field into the edge of field goal range, but their 49-yard attempt missed and UNC hung on. For the second week in a row UNC won a thriller against a tough team. Howell was 16/24 for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns and running back Javonte Williams ran for 74 yards on 10 carries. The defense played fine, but not exceptionally. This is a team to watch. The Heels don’t get a break after two tough games heading to Wake Forest this weekend. They are the biggest threat to Virginia in the Coastal, but unlike Virginia they have to play Clemson.

This Week: Win 28-25 vs. Miami

Next Week: Friday at 7 at Wake Forest

4 - North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-0)

The Wolfpack have had a very easy schedule so far after beating Western Carolina 41-0 on Saturday. They have also not had any issues whatsoever dispatching their competition. Matthew McKay had 200 yards and a touchdown on 18-28 passing and Zonovan Knight had 18 carries for 119 yards. Defensively they held the Catamounts to just 106 yards offensively. This is a team to watch...once they eventually play somebody. Next week they head to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the rebuilding Mountaineers. They really should win that one.

This Week: Win 41-0 vs. Western Carolina

Next Week: Saturday at noon at West Virginia

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

Boston College took an easy week this week with a home game against Richmond. The Eagles coasted 45-13 against the Spiders. Anthony Brown had another strong day with 163 yards on 8-14 passing and three touchdowns. He looks like he’s taken a big step forward. AJ Dillon had 86 yards on 17 carries. Defenses are really keying in on him this year. BC’s schedule gets a little bit harder as the Eagles welcome Kansas on Friday.

This Week: Win 45-13 vs. Richmond

Next Week: Friday at 7:30 pm vs. Kansas

6 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0)

Last week Wake had a nailbiter against Utah State. This week they decided to win in easier fashion at Rice. It was close early, but then Wake pulled away for a relatively easy 41-21 win. Jamie Newman had 312 yards on 21/27 passing for three touchdowns. Receiver Scotty Washington 158 yards on 7 receptions and 2 touchdowns. The team had 5.7 yards per rush. This team has a great offense, but the defense is worrisome. They now face a real test with North Carolina coming to town.

This Week: Win 41-21 at Rice

Next Week: Friday at 7 vs. North Carolina

7 - Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, 0-1)

Well, at least they didn’t lose to Old Dominion this year. They avoided last year’s embarrassing fate with a kinda comfortable 31-17 win over the Monarchs. Ryan Willis was better with 272 yards passing and two touchdowns, but the team could not move the ball on the ground. The defense stifled ODU’s passing game, but did give up some on the ground. They get another easy game next week as Furman comes to town.

This Week: Win 31-17 vs. Old Dominion

Next Week: Saturday at noon vs. Furman

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

Miami may be 0-2, but they also had chances to win in the waning seconds of both games against pretty good teams. Against UNC the offense has a whole lot to like. Jarren Williams made smart decisions although he wasn’t exactly airing it out. He had 309 yards passing on 30/39 attempts and two touchdowns. They had no trouble on the ground either with running backs DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron combining for 24 carries for 167 yards. But, Williams fumbled the ball twice (both recovered by Miami) and was sacked four times and hurried 7 more. The defense couldn’t get a big stop when they needed it. This team is capable of taking a step up, but will they?

This Week: Lose 28-25 at North Carolina

Next Week: Saturday at 4 pm vs. Bethune-Cookman

9 - Syracuse Orange (1-1)

Wow. Wow. I wasn’t as high on the Orange as most people, but I believed this defense would be really good. Instead, they got blown off the field by the Maryland Terrapins. UMD hung 63 on the Orange starting on the first drive. Josh Jackson was good with 296 yards on 21/38 passing with 3 TDs and 1 pick. It was the ground game that did them in. Javon Leake had 107 yards on 7 carries. Jake Funk had 94 yards on 5 carries. Anthony McFarland had 75 yards on 14 carries. I’m not done yet. Tayon Fleet-Davis added 67 yards on just 11 carries. This team may have been looking forward to Clemson next week, but they got straight up beat.

This Week: Lose 63-20 at Maryland

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 pm vs. Clemson

10 - Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1)

This was a tricky game for Pitt. An early start against a solid Ohio team was a recipe for disaster. Pitt had a solid game though. Their defense shut down the Bobcats offense and they did plenty offensively to win. The score was only 20-10, but the game rarely felt in danger. Kenny Pickett had 321 yards passing and 1 touchdown. This team looks primed for bounceback if they can get the offense up and running full time. Now they head to State College to take on #13 Penn State. Good luck.

This Week: Win 20-10 vs. Ohio

Next Week: Saturday at noon at Penn State

11 - Florida State Seminoles (1-1)

A week after collapsing in the second half against Boise State the Seminoles proceeded to...collapse in the second half against Louisiana-Monroe before hanging on in overtime. ULM outscored the Seminoles 31-14 in the second half to tie it up including a 68 yard field goal drive to tie the game with a minute and a half left. This was another disappointing game for the Seminoles as people start to doubt them, particularly their defense. Their saving grace was Cam Akers who had 193 yards on 36 carries. Also the poor Warhawks kicker who missed the extra point in overtime to give FSU the win. Now they have to go to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers.

This Week: Win 45-44 vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 at Virginia

12 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 0-1)

Okay, so it wasn’t the prettiest. But still, Geoff Collins got his first win and against an FBS team to boot. Now the Yellow Jackets look to keep the momentum against FCS Citadel. I really, really, really hope they do. The last three teams could really be in any order.

This Week: Win 14-10 vs. South Florida

Next Week: Saturday at 12:30 vs. the Citadel

13 - Duke Blue Devils (1-1)

Duke recovered from their blowout against Alabama with a blowout win against North Carolina A&T 45-13. Duke quarterback Quentin Harris had a monster game. He had 345 yards on 32/45 passing and 4 touchdowns as well as 83 yards rushing on 13 yards. He needs to keep that up against real competition. Duke next week heads to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to take on MTSU. The Blue Raiders aren’t what they used to be. Duke should win.

This Week: Win 45-13 vs. NC A&T

Next Week: Saturday at 7 at MTSU

14 - Louisville Cardinals (1-1)

Louisville was closer than most expected in week 1 at home against Notre Dame. Then they had an easy win against Eastern Kentucky. Puma Pass was okay, but the run game really shined along with the defense. Maybe the rebuild is ahead of schedule. This week they take on the woeful Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. A win there could be enough to move them up if other teams keep losing.

This Week: Win 42-0 vs. Eastern Kentucky

Last Week: Saturday at 4 vs. Western Kentucky