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ACC Power Rankings - Week 4

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Pittsburgh takes a tumble, the Clemson offense shows up and Wake Forest can no longer be ignored.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Here is something you are going to hear a lot this season during the Power Rankings from Shakin the Southland…I was wrong! In the game of the week, North Carolina sent Pittsburgh into a nosedive in this week’s rankings and Wake Forest continued their best start since 2006 while I still just haven’t seen enough to move up the Canes. What do you think of our take on Week 4 of the ACC Power Rankings? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!

#1 Louisville Cardinals (4-0, 2-0) Last Week - W, @ Marshall (59-28)

Movement from Week 3 - (No Change)

Another week and another 50+ point performance for the Cardinals. Lamar Jackson accounted for 7 more touchdowns while throwing for a career-high 417 yards. Jackson, who has become the early favorite for the Heisman Trophy, had his stats padded a bit with Louisville still throwing the ball into the 2nd half with a large lead. While I’m not crazy about the stat padding, this is something that coach Bobby Petrino is famous for, so who didn’t see it coming. Do I think that we are going too far with the Michael Vick comparisons this week? Oh yea. But “Action Jackson” has Louisville as the clear number one for the 2nd straight week in the ACC Power Rankings.

#2 Clemson Tigers (4-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Georgia Tech (26-7)

Movement from Week 3 - (No Change)

On a Thursday night at a place where the Tiger’s haven’t won in 13 years, I couldn’t have been more impressed with how Clemson came out to play. Clemson dominated the first half and showed flashes of the offense that had gone missing in the first 2 games. To answer the question as to whether they are coming around, the Clemson offense has as many wins and exactly as many points as they did through 4 games last season. I was a little concerned with the 2nd half as the Tiger’s lost focus and reverted back to some sloppy play on offense. Swinney needs to stop the offensive line shuffle and stick to a rotation and although Ray Ray McCloud looks fantastic and Mike Williams is Mike Williams, I think we can ease up on #WRU as I’m not seeing much from any other wide out. This week’s missing person report goes out to Artavis Scott.

#3 Florida State Seminoles (3-1, 0-1) Last Week - W, @ South Florida (55-35)

Movement from Week 3 - (+1)

Welcome to the 2016 college football season Dalvin Cook! Cook finally managed to break through for a career high 267 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. I expected Florida State to bounce back after that embarrassment against Louisville, but something just isn’t right with the Noles defense. Sure, South Florida is explosive, but this is a team that shouldn’t be putting up 450 yards against Florida State. Florida State also managed to come out flat in a game where they severely needed a fast start defensively. While they do move back up to 3 in this week’s rankings, I just get the feeling that this team isn’t altogether there. They still have some more to prove in the coming weeks.

#4 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. Pittsburgh (37-36)

Movement from Week 3 - (+3)

You’ll see my thoughts on this Pittsburgh Panthers secondary a little later in our rankings, but there is no more denying that Mitch Trubisky may just be the top notch quarterback that he was hyped up to be. Trubisky was absolutely incredible on Saturday throwing for 453 yards and five touchdowns, giving him 10 for the season without throwing an interception. Ryan Switzer managed to tie a program record hauling in 16 of those passes for 208 yards and a touchdown as well. The UNC defense is still showing its struggles, and if they flash to defensive coordinator Gene Chizik in the booth one more time during the game I’m going to scream, but much like last season, I think the offense is more than capable of picking up the slack. As it stands right now, Carolina is my new favorite to take the crown in the Coastal. (although that is subject to change each week with this crazy half of the conference).

#5 Miami Hurricanes (3-0, 0-0) Last Week – Idle

Movement from Week 3 - (No Change)

No change for the Hurricanes this week through their bye week and we are more than likely going to have the same arguments as last week. They look explosive and ready to play with the rest of the ACC, and they would more than likely be #3 in these rankings if they just had ONE above average win on their resume. Next week against Georgia Tech may not help much either, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep them down at #5 if they put up another lopsided win against an ACC team. The Canes time is coming in our Power Rankings, just not yet.

#6 Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 1-0) Last Week - W, vs. East Carolina (54-17)

Movement from Week 3 – (No Change)

Virginia Tech is the team in the ACC that I have had the most trouble getting a read on in the beginning portion of the season, mainly due to the turnovers that were playing a huge role in their games, but the Hokies impressed me this week. Jerod Evans is playing the part as he is the only QB in the country with 13+ touchdown passes and no more than one interception as Virginia Tech seems to be putting it together more and more each week after that blowout loss to Tennessee. Beamer ball may still be alive and well as VT scored on a punt return and blocked a field goal to put this game WAY out of reach. I’ll be interested to see just how high Virginia Tech can climb and whether they can continue to put together consistent efforts.

#7 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-0, 1-0) Last Week - W, @ Indiana (33-28)

Movement from Week 3 - (+1)

Wake Forest is now 4-0 for the first time since 2006, which is the last time that they won the ACC. Do I think that they have a legitimate chance to accomplish this again? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t take anything away from the improvement that this team has shown in the 2016 season. John Wolford took back the starting QB job (which I think is a huge mistake by the Deacs) but did put up impressive numbers, rushing for 2 scores and throwing for another. The Wake Forest defense got torn to shreds, giving up over 600 yards, but took the ball away 5 times and gave themselves a chance to win on the road. With only 2 more wins needed to become bowl eligible, I say bravo Wake Forest, bravo.

#8 Pittsburgh Panthers (2-2, 0-1) Last Week - L, @ North Carolina (37-36)

Movement from Week 3 - (-5)

500 yards passing against Oklahoma State? Okay, I get it, that’s what Oklahoma State does. But to show no improvement and do it again the next week against North Carolina is unacceptable. It’s a shame because the rest of this Pittsburgh team looks capable of winning the ACC Coastal as Nathan Peterman continues to impress me, but after watching them closely for 2 weeks, this may be the worst secondary in the ACC. They also have shown us that they can’t seem to hold a late lead as they blew a double digit lead late for the 2nd time this season. They have some major work to do in the secondary before they earn my trust back.

#9 – Duke Blue Devils (2-2, 0-1) - Last Week - W, vs. Notre Dame (38-35)

Movement from Week 2 - (+2)

When I re-watch all of the ACC games on Sunday for these rankings, there is always one game that makes me say “Wait, what?” Duke had the honors this week as they managed to travel into South Bend and leave with a 38-35 victory. I didn’t think that the Duke offense had it in them. They managed to rack up 498 yards and didn’t give up after falling behind 14-0 early in the first quarter. Daniel Jones clearly has talent, throwing 3 TD’s on 24-of-32 passing. It will be interesting to see if Notre Dame was getting Duke’s best shot and whether or not they can make a consistent effort on a week-to-week basis. A loss to Northwestern followed by a win at Notre Dame leads me to believe that they can’t.

#10 – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-1, 1-1) Last Week - L, vs. #5 Clemson (26-7)

Movement from Week 2 - (-1)

The Clemson defense is good. Really good, but Georgia Tech just looked lost. Obviously the problem with running the triple option is the fact that if you fall behind early, you need a lot of game time in order to catch up. Georgia Tech had the time, but not only could the offense not score, they could barely run a play that gained yards. Clemson ran more plays in the first half than Georgia Tech did for the entire game, and 19 of their plays resulted in a loss of yards. Even more troubling was the demeanor of Senior Quarterback Justin Thomas, who was found pouting on the sidelines on MANY occasions. With leadership like this on the team, I don’t expect GT to be making great strides in the latter half of the schedule.

#11 – Syracuse Orange (2-2, 0-1) Last Week - W, @ Connecticut (31-24)

Movement from Week 3 - (+1)

Have yourself a day Amba Etta-Tawo. Etta-Tawo hauled in 12 receptions and set a Syracuse record for receiving yards with 270 yards as Syracuse used a 99-yard drive in the 4th quarter to take down the Huskies. It was a pretty average performance by the Orange, but I will always give credit for victories on the road and a team’s ability to drive the field late and come out with a win. I do give them credit for the win on the road, but I they will have to do better as the ACC schedule brings much better competition for the Cuse.

#12 - NC State Wolfpack (2-1, 0-0) Last Week - Idle

Movement from Week 3 - (-2)

Dropping 2 spots on a week when you don’t play may seem a little harsh, but I think this teams revamped offense is fraudulent. Sure, they have put up 48 and 49 points in their wins this season, but those wins come against William & Mary and Old Dominion. Ryan Finley looks like he can be a good quarterback with 6 TD’s and 0 interceptions, but again...Old Dominion and William & Mary. Now that the cupcakes are gone from the schedule, I think a home game against BC on October 29th may be the only other game that this team can win.

#13 – Virginia Cavaliers (1-3, 1-1) Last Week - W, vs. Central Michigan (49-35)

Movement from Week 3 - (+1)

Oh Virginia, perhaps I have misjudged you! With a new head coach and a pretty significant talent gap, I was very unsure as to whether this team would win a game this season. Not only did they do just that this week, but put up some pretty impressive offensive numbers in doing so. Their problems come from the other side of the ball at this point. After racking up an early 28-point lead, the meager Cavalier defense allowed the Chippewas to score on 4 of their next 5 possessions and gave up over 400 passing yards on the day. It is a good win, but I don’t think this defense is going to be able to hold many teams under 28 points this season.

#14 – Boston College Eagles (2-2, 0-2) Last Week - W, vs. Wagner (42-10)

Movement from Week 3 - (-1)

Sometimes, a win just isn’t a win, and this is one of these cases. When you are an ACC team going up against a mediocre FCS school, eventually talent and depth are going to take over. In these games I like to gauge team’s performances on the portion of the game before this talent gap becomes too much. Wagner not only hung with BC for a majority of the first half, but managed to throw the first punch scoring on the 2nd drive of the game. The BC offense had its bright spots, specifically Patrick Towles who accounted for 4 touchdowns on the day, but I think the first half of that game is the true Boston College identity. Unless they get better offensively and FAST, I seriously doubt this team’s ability to win another game this season. Maybe they can build on their 28-0 run to end the game, but I’m just not buying it against superior competition.