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ACC Power Rankings - Week 5

Clemson reclaims its spot on top, Florida State is in serious trouble and NC State puts their foot in my mouth in Week #5 of the ACC Power Rankings.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

From 54 yard Field Goals to coming up 1 yard short on 4th down, this week was crazy in the ACC. Clemson hung on in the battle of the titans to claim its rightful spot on top of the ACC, but we all know about that right? The rest of the ACC was pretty exciting itself this weekend! Have a look at our thoughts of the rest of the conference through 5 weeks and sound off in the comments below.

#1 Clemson Tigers (5-0, 2-0) Last Week - W, vs. #3 Louisville (42-36)

Movement from Week 4 - (+1)

Still struggling with trying to decide between Trump & Hillary? Try writing in Venables! Venables had his defense ready to go holding down the high powered Louisville offense to just 10 points in the first half. I disagree with the zone switch in the 2nd half, but the defense won the game for Clemson early in this contest. On the other side of the ball, bravo to the offensive line who didn’t allow a single sack against a Louisville defense that blitzes more than any team in the country. I’m still worried about the offense as something seems wrong with Watson who is missing a lot more downfield throws that he is making and we still haven’t seen this team put together a 60-minute performance this year. Never-the-less, Clemson is back on top of the ACC Power Rankings and the favorite to win the conference until somebody knocks them off.

#2 Louisville Cardinals (4-1, 1-1) Last Week - L, @ #5 Clemson (42-36)

Movement from Week 4 - (-1)

Make no mistake, if Louisville wins out, they will be in the College Football Playoff. In their first true road test of the season and boy was it a learning experience. Coach Petrino showed you just how good of a coach he is after coming out with the right adjustments after trailing 28-10 into the break, Louisville scored on its next 5 possessions to storm all the way back and take a 36-28 lead. Although they couldn’t seal the deal, it isn’t a sign of poor performance, just inexperience in these types of games. Like Dabo Swinney stated in his post-game conference, Clemson was built to win those types of game. Louisville isn’t there quite yet…but they will be. Watch out when they get there.

#3 North Carolina Tar Heels (4-1, 2-0) Last Week - W, @ #12 Florida State (37-35)

Movement from Week 4 - (+1)

It’s time to admit that there is a serious possibility that North Carolina could do exactly what they did last year and run the table after a week #1 loss. The number one reason for this possibility is the fact that they have the third best QB in the ACC right now. (Sorry Hurricane fans, I know I’m tough on you in these rankings) Mitch Trubinsky was absolutely phenomenal again connecting on 31-of-38 of his passes for 405 yards and three TD’s with no interceptions. The scariest part of this UNC offense is that they are doing it with Elijah Hood putting up NOWHERE near the numbers that he could be putting up. As good as the offense is, the defense just can’t get it right. I don’t have to say the Defensive Coordinators name because they are STILL showing him on TV every 5 seconds even though he is doing a terrible job, but it is going to be up to him to turn this into an ACC Coastal winning team.

#4 Miami Hurricanes (4-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Georgia Tech (35-21)

Movement from Week 4 - (+1)

This game sent out alarm bells for me for the Canes. In their first game against somewhat decent competition, they didn’t quite put the game away like I was looking for them to do. It took 2 fumble returns for Touchdowns to jump ahead of Tech, but they let the Jackets right back into it by giving up the next two touchdowns. The defense showed some vulnerability allowing 361 yards to Georgia Tech and the rushing attack that was unstoppable in the first 4 weeks was far from it this weekend. They will move up due to the FSU loss, but I’m STILL not sold on Miami. The good news? We will find out who they are next week as they take on the Noles and FINALLY play somebody.

#5 Florida State Seminoles (3-2, 0-2) Last Week – L, vs. North Carolina (37-35)

Movement from Week 4 - (-2)

After the embarrassment at Louisville, I figured that Jimbo would have the Noles ready to go for the rest of the season, but after this weekend, we find ourselves in a scenario where there is a serious possibility that Florida State could be in the middle of a free-fall. Charles Kelly’s seat is seriously hot right now as Florida State is allowing almost 7 yards per-play which is among the worst in college football. Dalvin Cook is coming around as he put up his second straight strong performance with 140 yards and three touchdowns, while Francois was good, but didn’t put the ball in the end zone through the air. Next week’s game on the road in Miami is the true test if Florida State will stand firm and finish the season strong, or fold like a deck of cards.

#6 Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 1-0) Last Week - Idle

Movement from Week 4 – (No Change)

Virginia Tech managed to back its way into the AP Top 25 this week after a bye week. I considered the idea of swapping the Hokies with Florida State in the #5 slot, but I’m still not impressed with the Hokies victories. Three home wins against Liberty, Boston College and East Carolina just aren’t enough to prove to me that the Hokies are ready to move out of the middle of the pack. Virginia Tech will have their chance to show the true pecking order in the mess of the ACC Coastal as they travel on the road to North Carolina, but until then, they hang onto the 6th slot.

#7 Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2, 0-1) Last Week - W, vs. Marshall (43-27)

Movement from Week 4 - (+1)

Pitt just can’t figure out the second half of any of their games this season. They looked to be back on track against Marshall as they had a commanding 4 touchdown lead, but AGAIN, Pitt would suffer a 2nd half meltdown as the game was within a field goal in the 4th quarter before a long Nate Peterman touchdown pass put the game away. I’m not sure that this team has the mindset to finish games against top tier teams after a third consecutive week of blowing big leads. Pitt has shown the ability to come from behind, but I have to question the quality of the coaching staff and their ability to prepare their team.

#8 NC State Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Wake Forest (33-16)

Movement from Week 4 - (+4)

The Wolfpack decided to shut me up one week after I called them a fraud in last week’s power rankings and dropping them all the way down to 12. I questioned the Wolfpack offense and they answered the call as they put up 527 yards against a top 20 ranked defense. Ryan Finley put up over 300 yards and threw for 3 touchdowns while Matt Dayes finally showed how dangerous he could be rushing for 125 yards. While they did look good, NC State couldn’t keep the flags in the officials’ pockets as they racked up 144 yards in penalties. It looks like we have another middle tier ACC team that I just don’t know what to do with…They jump to the 8th spot for now.

#9 – Wake Forest (4-1, 1-1) - Last Week - L, @ NC State (33-16)

Movement from Week 4 - (-2)

We all knew that Wake Forest wasn’t going to run the table and win the ACC, but this week’s game is a game that I expected them to win based on their early season progress. The defense got exposed for the first time this season, and John Wolford could not finish drives as Wake had to settle for two field goals deep in Wolfpack territory. I know that he is banged up, but Wake HAS to go back to Kendall Hinton under center. Wolford may be able to command the offense a bit better, but they lack the explosiveness when Hinton isn’t playing quarterback. We get to see how Wake Forest handles defeat for the first time and whether their early season success was just a flash in the pan.

#10 – Virginia Cavaliers (2-3, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Duke (34-20)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

Is this the same team that got blown out against Richmond in week 1? Here come the Hoo’s! Bronco Mendenhall may finally be getting his gritty coaching style down as Virginia forced 6 turnovers to take over the game, which was never really in question. The Cavaliers have forced 9 turnovers in the last 3 games, and Kurt Benkert has looked decent as he threw for 336 yards and 3 TD’s on Saturday. I don’t expect them to take down Pitt in Charlottesville next weekend, but Hoo Knows?? Clearly I misjudged Bronco Mendenhall and Virginia.

#11 – Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-2) Last Week - L, vs. #14 Miami (35-21)

Movement from Week 4 - (-1)

I was impressed by the way that Georgia Tech handled a Miami team coming in with a lot of confidence. Georgia Tech was in this game for a long time and if they didn’t hand Miami 2 defensive TD’s, this one could have been a barn burner. After handing Miami 2 TD’s on Justin Thomas fumbles, Georgia Tech showed some resilience by coming back to cut the lead to 7 before Kaaya put the game away. I don’t think I have ever seen a game where Thomas has thrown 19 passes, but if Georgia Tech continues to fall behind teams early, we may see the third option more often in this methodical offensive attack.

#12 - Syracuse (2-3, 0-1) Last Week – L, vs. Notre Dame (50-33)

Movement from Week 4 - (-1)

The Orange were in a tough position in this game since I would NOT want to go up against a Brain Kelly team that just lost at home to Duke. I was impressed with Syracuse and how they started the season, but it seems like teams have figured out how to handle their tempo offense, and their defense is giving up big plays in chunks. It really doesn’t matter how fast you snap the ball when you give up 654 yards in total offense. Amba Etta-Tawo had another great game with 134 yards and a TD, but when Eric Dungey is your team’s leading rusher, you are either throwing the ball WAY too much, or have no running game. In this case, both of these are true for the Cuse.

#13 –Duke (2-3, 0-2) Last Week - L, vs. Virginia (34-20)

Movement from Week 4 - (-4)

How do you follow up a program defining win on the road in South Bend by laying an egg at home against the team that opened up the season as the bottom dweller in our ACC Power Rankings? That just can’t happen. This team is just frustrating to watch as Quarterback Daniel Jones has the potential to be good, but as Saturday showed you, he can be REALLY bad as well. Jones threw 5 interceptions as Duke looked helpless against the Hoo’s. Duke has (in my opinion) the hardest schedule remaining of any ACC team so I don’t expect Duke to be much of a mover in these rankings for the rest of the season.

#14 – Boston College Eagles (3-2, 0-2) Last Week - W, vs. Buffalo (35-3)

Movement from Week 4 - (No Change)

Wins against UMASS, Wagner and Buffalo aren’t going to get you anywhere in the ACC Power Rankings. BC did put up its third win of the season, but look at the competition. BC put away its 2nd straight FCS school holding Buffalo to only 67 yards of total offense while QB Patrick Towles threw for two touchdowns, but fumbled the ball away twice. The defense is still great (currently 6th in the nation in overall defense) but they have put up shaky numbers in the two ACC losses.