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ACC Power Rankings: The U is Not Back

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Clemson dominates Miami, Notre Dame rolls the Noles, and GT gets another win

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Clemson (4-0, 3-0) LW: #1 Next Game: 10/17 @ Georgia Tech 12:00 PM.

That was fun. Clemson whipped Miami thoroughly. The Tigers really were much more dominant than the 42-17 score showed. It was fun seeing Trevor Lawrence play angry. This was definitely one of the biggest tests of Clemson’s schedule, and the Tigers passed it with flying colors. Hopefully, we’ll see the same fire from Clemson in Atlanta on Saturday.

#2 Notre Dame (3-0, 2-0) LW: #2 Next Game: 10/17 vs Louisville 2:30 PM NBC.

After some early scoring from FSU, Notre Dame settled into a 42-26 win over the Noles. It’s nice to see Notre Dame get back on the field, and the Irish had a nice tribute to the folks that helped them get back.

Classy move from Brian Kelly. ND hosts Louisville on Saturday.

#3 North Carolina (3-0, 3-0) LW: #4 Next Game: 10/17 @ FSU 7:00 PM ESPN.

North Carolina beat Va Tech 56-45, and the Heels are now ranked #5 in the nation. Yes, North Carolina is a top-five ranked team. In football. There is a legit chance the ACC championship could be a top-5 matchup with two playoff contenders in Clemson and UNC. I wouldn’t get too excited about that because I’m sure UNC will find a way to mess it up before season’s end, since this conference isn’t allowed to have nice things. The Heels get a chance to beat up on FSU this weekend.

#4 Miami (3-1, 2-1) LW: #3 Next Game: 10/17 vs Pitt 12:00 PM ACCN.

Wow, what a week for Miami fans. The Miami Marlins were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, the Hurricanes got exposed as frauds by Clemson, and Sunday night the Lakers destroyed the Heat in game 6 to take the NBA championship. You have to be a little shocked at these Miami struggles during COVID given that sports teams in the 305 have been used to playing in almost empty stadiums for years now. But the important thing here is that the U is not back. The U is, in fact, the same program they were under Mark Richt: an undisciplined team that lives off an old reputation that isn’t applicable any more. Miami had 15 penalties for 135 yards. Their offense only produced 210 yards. Yes, that’s right, the U passed for less yards than they had penalties and also ran for less yards than penalties. Back in the old days of the bad boy Miami Hurricanes it was fine when they racked up penalty yards because they were good enough to still win by 30. Now, getting a bunch of penalties while getting stomped by a superior team isn’t a great look. I love players talking some trash, but it looks stupid to flex and celebrate because you tackled a 4th string running back in a game you’re losing by 25 points. We’ll see if the Canes can recover against Pitt Saturday.

#5 Virginia Tech (2-1, 2-1) LW:#5 Next Game: 10/17 vs Boston College 8:00 PM ACCN.

A tough loss for the Hokies against a high powered UNC offense. VT has a chance to get back on track against BC.

#6 NC State (3-1, 3-1) LW: #8 Next Game: 10/17 vs Duke 3:30 Regional Network.

NC State has emerged as one of the more pleasant surprises in 2020 for the ACC. I had pointed out that with the oddities of this season it was basically a good time for Dave Doeren to play with house money, knowing that he probably isn’t going to get fired for any on field performances this season and that all he can do is really boost him self with a decent-to-good season. After UVA giving Clemson some fits, there was a lot of praise for Bronco Mendenhall’s squad, so the Pack knocking them off 38-21 is a huge win. Looking ahead, NC State has a pretty favorable schedule outside of playing UNC and Miami. Seven or eight wins for the Pack is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

#7 Boston College (3-1, 2-1) LW: #9 Next Game: 10/17 @ Virginia Tech 8:00 PM ACCN.

Like NC State, Boston College has also emerged as a pleasant surprise, pulling off an overtime win against a scrappy Pitt team. The Eagles’ remaining schedule isn’t quite as friendly at NC State’s, but there are definitely some more opportunities for wins.

#8 Georgia Tech (2-2, 2-1) LW:#12 Next Game: 10/17 vs Clemson 12:00 PM ABC.

Tech wrecked Louisville 46-27 in Atlanta. The Jackets are definitely showing a lot of growth and development as a program. Jeff Sims sits at 21st overall in passing yards with 944, which places him higher than the likes of D’Eriq King, Kellen Mond, Sam Howell, and Collin Hill. Sims went 11/21 with 249 yards through the air against Louisville. GT’s previous home win against Louisville in 2018 saw the Jackets win going 0/1 on passing. Tech’s offense is becoming more multidimensional. It will be interesting to see Brent Venables’ scheming on Saturday.

#9 Pitt (3-2, 2-2) LW:#6 Next Game: 10/17 @ Miami 12:00 PM ACCN.

It’s become such a meme amongst college football fans, but the highs and lows of Pitt football are absolutely wild. For the second week in a row Pitt found itself snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, this time via a shanked extra point in overtime. It shouldn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they head to Miami this weekend, but when it comes to Pitt football anything can happen. Do the Panthers take advantage of a reeling Miami team off a loss to Clemson? Does an angry Cane squad vent their frustrations on a snake bit Pitt team? Tune in for another exciting weekend of ACC Football!

#10 Virginia (1-2, 1-2) LW: #7 Next Game: 10/17 @ Wake Forest 4:00 PM ACCN.

UVA proved that the Clemson hangover is a real thing as they followed up their loss in Death Valley with a loss to NC State. No knock on UVA, but after Clemson’s win Saturday I think it’s fair to attribute the Tigers’ struggles against the Wahoos to a young defense possibly looking ahead to Miami and a coaching staff going vanilla against an overmatched team, as we’ve been known to do. The Cavs have a good chance to shake off the past two weeks with a matchup at Wake Forest on Saturday.

#11 Louisville (1-3, 0-3) LW:#10 Next Game: 10/17 @ Notre Dame 2:30 PM NBC.

It appears that we were premature in hyping up Scott Satterfield’s Louisville Cardinals. It’s not to say the Cards won’t be a solid squad in a few seasons, but this year isn’t it. It gets worse as Louisville now heads to Notre Dame.

#12 Duke (1-4, 1-4) LW: #15 Next Game: 10/17 @ NC State 3:30 PM Regional Sports Network.

Duke won? Duke won!! The Devils thumped Syracuse 38-24. The Devils now face rival NC State in Raleigh.

#13 Syracuse (1-3, 1-2) LW: #11 Next Game: 10/17 vs Liberty 12:00 PM ESPN3.

Okay, Syracuse we need to have a talk.

Syracuse opens as a two point home underdog to Liberty. This is crazy given that just a few seasons ago Dino Babers was on the short list for many major programs. Liberty comes in undefeated. The Flames have beaten the likes of Western Kentucky and FIU, so Syracuse is probably the most talented team they have faced. I definitely wouldn’t be shocked to see Hugh Freeze and Liberty come out of Syracuse with a win here, though.

#14 Wake Forest (1-2, 0-2) LW:#13 Next Game: 10/17 vs UVA 4:00 PM ACCN.

Wake had the weekend off. They’ll take on UVA, who is on a two game losing streak.

#15 Florida State LW:#13 Next Game: 10/17 vs UNC 7:30 ABC.

FSU showed life early but was ultimately unable to hang with Notre Dame, losing 42-26. So what do FSU fans get now? Another game against a top 5 team on prime time, national television. The hits just keep coming for FSU as they welcome UNC to town. Jordan Travis did go 13/24 for 204 yards and a touchdown through the air, and ran 19 times for 99 yards and another TD. He has certainly been a bright spot over the last few games, and comfortably looks to be the Noles’ QB of the future.