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ACC Power Rankings: Week 1

After a long offseason, ACC football is back! Here’s who looked good and who didn’t in their first games

South Carolina v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Welcome back to another year of ACC football! Weeks 0 & 1 provided us with some excitement, some snoozers, and some good laughs. Just a reminder: it’s hard to gauge a team off of one game, so there may be some disagreements with the rankings in this week, and probably will be some disagreements for the first few weeks. Feel free to voice your opinions and post your own rankings in the comment section.

#1 Clemson (1-0)

Opening up with a 38 point win over a conference rival that used to give us fits is always a good feeling. There’s really not much I can say here that my fellow STS writers won’t say better. There were some concerns. Trevor Lawrence looked rusty at times, penalties on the OL, etc. But in recent years Clemson never seems to play perfect games early on, so to still come away with an easy win is great. Travis Etienne absolutely crushed it and jump started his Heisman campaign. And beyond ETN, our stable of running backs all looked good. All in all, a good night.

#2 Notre Dame (1-0)

First off, yes, I’m going to continue to include quasi ACC team Notre Dame in these rankings. Deal with it. Notre Dame had a bit more trouble handling Louisville than expected, but still came away with a 35-17 victory in front of a raucous Cardinal Stadium crowd. Saturday the Irish will host New Mexico, so we still won’t know too much about them, but the following week they go to Athens for a date with #3 UGA, which will be a real test. I’d suggest the Dawgs get their cheerleaders some helmets with Ian Book in town.

#3 Syracuse (1-0)

Syracuse trouncing Liberty 24-0 would probably qualify as one of the least interesting games in week one in most circumstances. However, this time, it became one of the more talked about games of the week.

If you don’t know the story, former Ole Miss and current Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze underwent surgery in mid August after a staph infection caused him an increase in his already intense back pain. Freeze is expected to make a full recovery, but is still dealing with pain from the surgery, making it hard to stand. So instead of letting an assistant coach game one, Freeze had a hospital bed set up in a box, coached from there, video chatted with his players at halftime, and video chatted the media for his press conference. It was quite an interesting scene, to say the least. Anyway, Syracuse got the win, and will go on to face Maryland in week two, who put up 79 points in their shutout win over Howard.

#4 Virginia (1-0)

The Cavs, who many are tagging as an ACC Coastal contender, pick up a 30-14 win over Pitt. Friday night they’ll host William & Mary.

#5 North Carolina (1-0)

”Alexa, play Raise Up by Petey Pablo”

Oh buddy, where to start on this game. UNC, who was absolutely the worst team in the ACC last year, comes in to get the win over South Carolina in Mack Brown’s first game back as the Tar Heel coach. I’m not necessarily saying this Tar Heel team is a Coastal contender or even going to finish bowl eligible, but the Mack era 2.0 is starting off on the right foot.

#6 NC State (1-0)

NC State had a very meh 34-6 win over ECU. They’ll host Western Carolina next.

#7 Boston College

BC edged out Va Tech to open up the season 35-28. They’ll host Richmond Saturday.

#8 Wake Forest (1-0)

Wake needed some late game heroics to get a 38-35 win over Utah State. Utah State was an 11 win team last year in the Mountain West, so this isn’t something to sneeze at, but don’t expect too much from Wake this year. The Deacs go to Rice on Friday.

#9 Louisville (0-1)

Louisville was an absolute dumpster fire last year. They got rid of Bobby Petrino in the offseason and hired Scott Satterfield. They didn’t look horrible against Notre Dame and the fans seemed to be more enthusiastic. The bar is extremely low for this team, but things seem better than last year. They’ll host EKU this week

#10 Duke (0-1)

Cool fact: after the first quarter of the Alabama-Duke game, Bama had gone three straight quarters against an ACC program without scoring. That quickly came to an end as Bama piled on 42 points in the remaining three quarters. Remember when the Cameron Crazies chanted “We Want Bama” at the end of the Duke-Clemson game last season? Well, you got Bama. Hope you enjoyed it. Duke will now host NC A&T, who will be looking to catch the Devils sleeping after their big game.

#11 Va Tech (0-1)

The Hokies dropped a close one to BC. They now will be looking for revenge on instate rival Old Dominion who comes to Blacksburg this weekend.

#12 Miami (0-1)

Miami helped open up the season on week zero in a sloppy 20-24 loss to Florida that actually made people question if week zero games should be scrapped.It was the highest rated college football game for ESPN in like three years and it was still so bad that it left Pat Forde questioning why we’re even doing week zero. Personally, no don’t scrap week zero, but maybe try to find better teams. I feel like Clemson would prefer hosting a week zero game as opposed to trying to coordinate a Thursday opener. Anyway, Miami now gets to head to Chapel Hill to face off with UNC.

#13 Florida State (0-1)

FSU blew an 18 point lead at home against Boise St. They jumped up 21-6 in the first quarter, go to half at 31-19. They don’t have the turnover backpack, Tomorrian Terry is running around in a “Scary Terry” mask.

Everyone’s thinking the “Hey, maybe Willie Taggart is getting it together” and then they get shut out in the second half to lose to an unranked Boise State. Oh and they had two players fight over what should have been an easy fumble recovery allowing Boise St to regain possession.

In only year 2 the seat is getting hot for Taggart. The Noles host ULM Saturday.

#14 Pitt (0-1)

Pitt fell to UVA 14-30. The Panthers host Ohio on Saturday.

#15 Georgia Tech (0-1)

Culturally, there was a lot different about Ga Tech last Thursday. Geoff Collins had some spark and while GT lifting weights in pregame was bizarre, you somewhat admire him for thinking outside the box. Offensively, it was more of the same in a better packaging. I look at Ga Tech as a muscle car from the 80’s that’s been driven hard, not maintained and has engine problems. Geoff Collins is like a high school kid that bought it and can’t afford to do any major work on it, but he can give it a fresh paint job and put in a speaker system. Cosmetic changes that make it look good, but it will be a while before he can fix any real problems. But you have to admire his enthusiasm and if he can ever get those right parts he could have something good.

The other thing is, I have never quite felt as sorry for an opposing QB as I did Tobias Oliver. Dude took so many hits on Thursday. I just can’t see that type of running be sustainable for him or any of GT’s quarterbacks. The Jackets host South Florida on Saturday.