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ACC Power Rankings: And Then There Were Two

Clemson and Notre Dame will face off in Charlotte, a few ACC teams will finish up over the next few weeks, and bowl bids should be coming soon.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Notre Dame (10-0, 9-0) LW: #1 Next Game: 12/19 vs Clemson, ACCCG, 4:00 PM, ABC.

Notre Dame started off kind of sleepy, but then cruised over an outmatched Syracuse team 45-21. Now, the Irish will get a week off to prep for a trip to Bank of America Stadium, aka Death Valley North, for a date with Clemson.

#2 Clemson (9-1, 8-1) LW: #2 Next Game: 10/19 vs Notre Dame, ACCCG, 4:00 PM ABC.

Like Notre Dame, Clemson sleepwalked early before cruising to a 45-10 win over Va Tech in chilly Blacksburg. There’s a lot to take from this game. First, James Skalski played the first series before being sidelined with groin issues. Fortunately, it sounds as if it was soreness and that him being held out was mostly preventative. Skalski is arguably Clemson’s most valuable defensive player, and one could make an argument that he is the most valuable overall given how well DJ Uiagelelei played in place of Trevor Lawrence. At a minimum, Skalski is in the top 5 of valuable Tigers. Hopefully this was nothing more preventative and he will be good to go against Notre Dame after a week off. This gets even more true as backup middle linebacker Jake Venables left with a broken arm. Eventually Kane Patterson settled in to the MIKE role, but rolling with a freshman third-string MIKE against Notre Dame is less than ideal. I believe the coaches would actually have to tranquilize Skalski to keep him off the field in Charlotte. Reserve linebacker LeVonta Bentley had a great game for the second week in a row. As Dabo said, Bentley looks like the prototypical linebacker, and I love seeing him make plays. Hopefully he can get some more action to help spell the starters. After a mostly lackluster season, Lyn-J Dixon has also stepped it up over the past few weeks. Lyn-J has shown so much explosion over the years that it’s nice to seem him get that burst back.

#3 Miami (8-1, 7-1) LW: #3 Next Game: 12/12 vs UNC 3:30 PM ABC.

Miami easily dispatched Duke 48-0. With Clemson’s win over Va Tech, Miami is not going to the ACC Championship, but this probably works out better for the Canes. If Clemson defeats Notre Dame and both teams make the CFP, Miami probably is getting the ACC’s Orange Bowl slot, assuming they win out.

#4 North Carolina (7-3, 6-3) LW: #4 Next Game: 12/12 @ Miami 3:30 PM ABC.

The Heels ran over Western Carolina. UNC now takes on Miami.

#5 NC State (8-3, 7-3) LW: #5 Next Game: Bowl Game, TBD.

NC State survived a tough fight from Georgia Tech. This has been a really good season for the Pack, and they should be rewarded with a decent bowl trip.

#6 Wake Forest (4-3, 3-3) LW: #7 Next Game: 12/12 @ Louisville 12:00 PM ACCN.

The Deacs did not play over the weekend. They will head to Louisville Saturday for a matchup with the downtrodden Cards.

#7 Virginia (5-4, 4-4) LW: #8 Next Game: 12/12 @ Virginia Tech 8:00 PM 8:00 PM ACCN.

The Cavs had a nice 43-32 win over Boston College. UVA is now looking to get their second win in a row over rival Virginia Tech.

#8 Boston College (6-5, 5-5) LW: #6 Next Game: Bowl Game, TBD.

A tough loss for the Eagles, falling 43-32 to UVA. We’ll see what the Eagles’ bowl destination is.

#9 Pitt (5-5, 4-5) LW: #9 Next Game: 12/10 @ Georgia Tech 7:00 PM ESPN3

The Panthers did not play over the weekend. Pitt has a Thursday night make up game in Atlanta with Georgia Tech.

#10 Virginia Tech (4-6, 4-5) LW: #10 Next Game: 12/12 vs UVA 8:00 PM ACCN.

Credit to the Hokies for hanging tight with Clemson for the half. Also, there was a very scary and bizarre scene with QB Hendon Hooker on the sideline after his second half fumble.

Reports are saying that he got extremely cold and couldn’t get warm. I wonder with the sprinkler mishap if the ground wasn’t wet and he got wetter and colder. Surprisingly we didn’t see more players with issues. They apparently did get him warmed up. Hokies will now take on rival UVA.

#11 Georgia Tech (3-6, 3-5) LW: #11 Next Game: 12/10 vs Pitt 7:00 PM ESPN3.

The Jackets came up short in Raleigh against NC State. Tech hosts Pitt on Thursday.

#12 Louisville (3-7, 2-7) LW: #12 Next Game: 12/12 vs Wake Forest 12:00 PM ACCN.

Ohhh, man. Louisville did not play over the weekend, but did they have an interesting weekend. Head coach Scott Satterfield had a Zoom conversation with the South Carolina folks. Satterfield claims he had no interest in the SC job despite having the conversation. He then came out announced that he would not be leaving Louisville, but not before online discourse would include debates over if South Carolina is actually a better job than Louisville, and if Louisville should bring back Bobby Petrino for a third stint. Satterfield had a lot of support after a great first year in Louisville, but a weak second season and some blatant flirting with a school that would be at best a lateral movement probably isn’t sitting well with Cards fans. He can probably calm some tempers with a win against Wake Saturday.

#13 Florida State (2-6, 1-6) LW: #15 Next Game: 12/12 vs Duke 4:00 PM ACCN.

After three weeks without playing it looks as if the Noles may be back, facing off with Duke. We will see if it actually happens.

#14 Duke (2-8, 1-8) LW: #13 Next Game: 12/12 @ FSU 4:00 PM ACCN.

Duke was shut out by Miami. The Devils season has been bad, but they could end with a high note if they can knock off FSU in Tallahassee.

#15 Syracuse (1-10, 1-9) LW: #14 Next Game: Season Over

And Cuse finishes with just one win on the season. Even with the relaxed rules on bowl eligibility, I don’t expect to see Syracuse in the post season. But at least Syracuse gave us another stupid play to remember them by.

That was a very blatant targeting call from Notre Dame’s win over Syracuse. I think that’s about as textbook targeting as it gets. Just a terrible decision from the Syracuse player there.