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ACC Power Rankings - Week 3

There is a new top dog (or bird) in town and we have some teams playing good football, but still have more to prove. After three weeks of football, here is our take on how the ACC is shaping up.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Don't worry football fans, the cupcakes are almost back in the cupboard. Nearly half of the games this week were cake walks, but we did have some exciting games this week against some top notch competition. Let the conversation begin! I know for a fact that we have one team a lot higher and one team a lot lower than you would expect, so let's hear what you have to say fans. Sound off in the comments below and enjoy our take on the ACC after three weeks of play.

#1 Louisville Cardinals (3-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. #2 Florida State (63-20)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

Anymore questions about whether Louisville belongs in the top tier of the ACC? We didn't think so either. In a game where everybody thought that the Cardinals would finally show their limitations against a top tier opponent, not only did they match their offensive output in their previous two games against cupcakes, they somehow managed to exceed them. If the eye test wasn't enough for you on that Louisville offense, consider the fact that they are now the first team in the history of the ACC to start a season by scoring 60+ points in their first three games. Lamar Jackson now has 18 total touchdowns, good enough for tops in the nation and on pace to set the FCS record held by Colt Brennan. (Although these statistics are almost always useless this early in the season) But let's not give the offense all of the credit! Louisville is also 34th in the NCAA in total defense and is willing to blitz on every down and in every situation. It's early, but it appears Louisville only has one more hurdle to climb, which is their first true road test in what could basically be an ACC Atlantic clincher on October 1st at Clemson.

#2 Clemson Tigers (3-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. South Carolina State (59-0)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

Sometimes a little in-state cooking is all that you need to snap the offensive blues. This may be enough to put fans at ease after a rough offensive start, but I'm not 100 percent on-board since this week's game qualifies as the pure definition of a paycheck game. Never-the-less, Clemson came out ready to play for the first time this season, taking a 31-0 lead in the first quarter. Even with the inferior opponent, the timing of this game could not have come at a better time. With a short week coming up, Clemson was able to rest their starters in the 2nd half, and get the Tiger cubs some playing time which will be desperately needed as defensive rotation will continue to be the theme for this young Tiger defense. Clemson opens up their ACC slate on Thursday night in Atlanta, and we will see just how good this coaching staff really is, as they will have to prepare the Tigers to play in a stadium that has caused them fits in the past with a potential top 5 matchup against Louisville waiting in the background. Ask the Seminoles from last year what can happen in Atlanta on a Thursday night. Focus on the birds, and the Jackets will sting you.

#3 Pittsburgh Panthers (2-1, 0-0) Last Week - L, @ Oklahoma State (45-38)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

I'm more than likely going to take some heat for this one, but if you told me that ANYBODY was going to go into Oklahoma State after that train wreck of an officiating performance from last week and almost leave with a win, I would have told you that you were crazy. Pittsburgh did just that as they came back from deficits of 24-10 and 31-17 in an offense that was not supposed to be able to score like this and fell to a late 4th quarter touchdown after a long weather delay. James Conner proved that he can run against anybody, even a stacked box, as he raked in a total of 111 rushing yards. Nathan Peterman isn't going to wow anybody, but he has shown me that he can do enough to keep his team in games and is my textbook definition of a game manager. All of that aside, Pitt showed that it is vulnerable to the big play, and who better to exploit that than Oklahoma State? Mason Rudolph threw for a school record 540 yards which could land the Panthers in trouble down the road against teams like Miami, but the resilience of the Panthers to this point will continue to put them as my favorite to win the ACC Coastal.

#4 Florida State Seminoles (2-1, 0-1) Last Week - L, @ #10 Louisville (63-20)

Movement from Week 2 - (-3)

Showtime is going to have to pull out some pure television magic to make that look respectable. To put it bluntly, what the heck was that? Don't get me wrong, Louisville is an elite program right now and on the road as well, but this may be the first time in my life I have seen FSU just completely outmatched in every aspect of the game. Florida State needed to score 10 late points to ensure that this was not the worst loss in school history, and the program as NEVER given up 60 points in a game before Saturday. Dalvin Cook was held to 54 rushing yards which has people questioning his health, and the Florida State defense just looked confused while Deondre Francois looked like a Redshirt Freshman playing in his first true road game. So with all that, why still in the top third of our rankings? All feelings aside, we all know Florida State is better than that and will rebound. In fact, the biggest loser in this game had to be USF, where the Noles travel next week. Florida State will be a different team after this one.

#5 Miami Hurricanes (3-0, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. Appalachian State (45-10)

Movement from Week 2 - (No Change)

Alright Miami fans, put down your pitchforks. Let's start by saying all of the pieces are in place down in Coral Gables, and they look like they are firing on all cylinders. Brad Kaaya had is best game of the year tossing 3 touchdowns on 21-of-27 passing and looked every bit of the elite QB that he is touted up to be, but that isn't the most impressive part of this team. Bottom line, this running game looks goooooood. Mark Walton pumped out another really impressive game with 130 yards and 2 TD's. So loaded with talent, 3 blowout wins and the AP moving them into the top 15, why are they #5 in the Power Rankings?!?! Bottom line, Miami is still in the pre-season and you have to show it to me against someone. Do I think they are good enough to be in the #3 spot in these rankings? Absolutely, but every team above them has scheduled and won a game that really tested them and Miami hasn't done it yet. And spare me the lecture on how good of a win App State is and how it proves their quality, I'm not buying that. **Spoiler Alert** with Miami Idle next week, they aren't moving anywhere until they show me the money.

#6 Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Boston College (49-0)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

This was one of those games that was a little difficult to watch due to the mismatch, but I give the Hokies credit this week for absolutely torching a top shelf defense. Case and point, nobody has put up 49 points against Boston College since Florida State back in 2012. That leads me to believe that the Hokies have the potential to be great on offense, it is just a matter of whether they can do it consistently. Jerod Evans was impressive completing 16-of-23 passes for 253 yards and 5 TD's in only 3 quarters of play. The most impressive stat of the game for the Hokies was the fact that they turned the ball over only 1 time (on an interception that wasn't exactly Evans' fault) since starting the season with 9 turnovers. Tech is going to be fun to watch as they continue to grasp the offense of 1st year head coach Justin Fuente.

#7 North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1, 0-0) Last Week - W, vs. James Madison (56-27)

Movement from Week 2 - (-1)

I'm probably beginning to sound like a broken record already with the Tar Heel squad, but the more that I watch them, the more that they confuse me. Just when I think that maybe the offense isn't as explosive as it could be without Marquis Williams, Hello Mitch Trubisky! Sure it was against the FBS Dukes from James Madison, but Trubisky put up a career high 432 yards on 24-of-27 passes for 3 touchdowns. Elijah Hood looked back to his old self after an underwhelming performance last week. The downside, UNC's defense may be as bad as they were advertised to be. No matter how many times the camera's pan to the great Gene Chizik up in the booth, his squad just gave up 495 yards to an FBS opponent. The defensive line is currently decimated with injuries, but that effort just isn't good enough. Why swap them with Virginia Tech this week? This team racked up 110 penalty yards including 5 unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties. That SCREAMS undisciplined to me and if they don't grow up fast, they will find themselves free-falling in ACC play.

#8 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Delaware (38-21)

Movement from Week 2 - (No Change)

Scoff if you will, but Wake Forest's defense should be considered one of the tops in the ACC and they continue to show it after holding the Fighting Joe Flacco's of Delaware to under 100 yards of total offense. Of course that doesn't mean much if the offense can't put points on the board. The arrival of Kendall Hinton had me excited about the potential for the ground game for Wake Forest. Wake managed to rush for over 300 yards and 4 TD's, but Wake didn't escape this game unscathed. Kendall Hinton and leading rusher Cade Carney went down with injuries which worries me that Wake may revert back to the offense of old. Time will tell on the severity of the injuries, but until then, just enjoy the Demon Deacons looking for their first 4-0 start since they won the ACC Championship back in 2006.

#9 -€” Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Vanderbilt (38-7)

Movement from Week 2 - (+2)

And just when you thought that the beloved Paul Johnson triple-option attack was going to flounder yet again, the Yellow Jackets are 3-0 and just handed a demoralizing loss to a Vanderbilt team who (while not good) was supposed to have a solid defense this season. Not only that, but they actually managed to utilize the third option in their offense as they aired out a surprising 222 passing yards including passes of 77 and 81 yards. Maybe they should have kept those cards in the deck with their upcoming match against Clemson who now knows what they are capable of, but this performance is more than enough to put Clemson on upset alert, as upset as Tiger fans get about that (and we'll talk more about that later).

#10 -€” North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-1, 0-0) - Last Week - W, vs. Old Dominion (49-22)

Movement from Week 2 - (+3)

Not much to report out of Raleigh this week against a fairly weak FBS team in Old Dominion. Ryan Finley looked good in the Wolfpack's new high octane offense completing 24-of-28 passes which caused Old Dominion head coach to call him a ‘Star'. The star of this contest may have been Finley's backup Jalan McClendon. The Wolfpack are expected to use McClendon in short yardage and goal line situations and he did not disappoint scoring 3 times on just 3 touches.

#11 -€” Duke Blue Devils (1-2, 0-1) Last Week - L, @ Northwestern (24-13)

Movement from Week 2 - (+1)

The Saturday night ACC game this week was a game of extremely intelligent head coaches who have both turned programs around in a quick amount of time and showed consistent success, who are both just having incredibly bad starts to the 2016 season. Northwestern got the better of Duke in a score that actually makes the game look closer than it was. Duke scored in the last minute and had MANY special teams blunders including a missed FG, missed extra-point and a failed fake punt.

#12 -€” Syracuse Orange (1-2, 0-1) Last Week - L, vs. USF (45-20)

Movement from Week 2 - (-3)

Syracuse jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead in the first quarter, and then just stopped playing. The Orange were outscored 45-3 for the rest of the contest as the Orange continue to push the tempo, almost unnecessarily and stubbornly at times. When you are throwing the ball 48 times, and coughing the ball up 3 times, it might be time to take your foot off the pedal. 549 in total yards and 30 first downs may look nice, but if the result is a 25-point loss, you might want to re-think some strategies.

#13 -Boston College Eagles (1-2, 0-2) Last Week - L, @ Virginia Tech (49-0)

Movement from Week 2 - (-3)

I actually had to head over to my calendar to make sure that I wasn't actually watching a replay of the Boston College offense from 2015. You guys pointed out to me last week that you thought that I was wrong when I had BC over Georgia Tech and BOY where you guys right...Boston College didn't reach the century mark in total offense until late in the third quarter and their vaunted defense was picked apart by the Hokies high-tempo attach. Bottom line, it doesn't matter how good your defense is when you are on the field for 35 minutes.

#14 -Virginia Cavaliers (0-3, 0-0) Last Week - L, @ Connecticut (13-10)

Movement from Week 2 - (No Change)

They were so close...So close to climbing out of the basement of this week's Power Rankings. Virginia drove down the field on the road in the closing minutes putting the ball on the Husky 10-yard line with 50 seconds remaining. Not only did Virginia not give the kill shot to the Huskies on their own turf by scoring a touchdown, Kicker Alex Furbank missed a 20-yard field goal wide right after being rushed onto the field. I know it hurts Cavs fans, but poor clock management keeps you in the cellar for another week.