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ACC Power Rankings: Opening Weekend

Clemson rolls, Georgia Tech stuns FSU, and some bad news from Virginia Tech.

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Clemson (1-0, 1-0). Last Week: #1. Next Game: 9/19 vs The Citadel, 4:00 PM, ACCN.

That was a very comfortable beating of Wake Forest. Trevor Lawrence looks more relaxed and comfortable than he did in parts of last season. Bryan Bresee is absolutely legit. It’s pretty outstanding that Clemson was down its two starting defensive ends, two starting defensive backs, plus missing James Skalski for the first half, and was still able to dominate a conference opponent that way. My main complaint is that I wish we could have seen more from DJ Uiagelelei and Taisun Phommachanh in the second half. My guess is I will get that wish in the Citadel game. Speaking of the Citadel.

Yeah, this happened during USF’s 27-6 win over the Bulldogs, giving Jeff Scott his first win as head coach. To be fair, special teams were extremely sloppy on a national level (except Clemson, who had a great showing from the kicking game).

#2 Notre Dame (1-0, 1-0) Last Week: #2 Upcoming Game: 2/19 vs USF, 2:30 PM, USA.

In their first game as a true ACC football member, the Fighting Irish held off Duke for a 27-13 win. One thing I need to commend the Irish on is having a good yet socially distanced atmosphere (unlike a certain other ACC school that will be named later). Notre Dame will return to action on Saturday hosting Jeff Scott and the USF Bulls on the USA Network. honestly forgot the USA Network existed and had to check to see if I even get it on Youtube TV. I apparently do, so I guess I can tune into this game for a while.

#3 North Carolina (1-0, 1-0) Last Week: #3 Next Game: 9/19 vs Charlotte, 3:30.

UNC started out kind of flat against Syracuse, but finished strong for a 31-6 win. It’s hard to read too much into any of this because week one was messy and Syracuse is pretty bad. Probably won’t be able to gauge much from this week against Charlotte either.

#4 Louisville (1-0) Last Week: #4 Next Game: 1/19 vs Miami, 7:30 PM, ABC.

Louisville had a nice 21-point second quarter en route to a 35-21 win over instate foe Western Kentucky. We’ll see the Cards in action under the lights Saturday as Miami comes to the ‘Ville.

#5 Virginia Tech (0-0) Last week: #5, Next Game: 9/26 vs NC State

Va Tech didn’t play last week, and unfortunately due to Covid upticks, their opener next week against UVA has been postponed. This may be a more common factor this season than we would like. As we see Clemson return to on-campus instruction this week, along with students flooding the downtown bars to watch the game this past Saturday, this is sadly something we, like any school, could face. Please wear your face masks and practice safe protocols. Not just for football season, but for the health of the community.

#6 Virginia (0-0) Last Week: #6, Upcoming Game: 9/26 vs Duke.

UVA also did not play this week. Here’s hoping we can see the Wahoos play in a few weeks against Duke.

#7 Miami (1-0), Last Week: #8, Upcoming Game: 9/19 @ Louisville, 7:30 PM, ABC.

It was touch-and-go early on, but the Canes emerged with a 31-14 win over UAB. The Canes played in an empty Hard Rock Stadium, which isn’t that different than a regular season game for them. D’Eriq King had an okay debut, going 15/23 with 141 yards and one passing TD, and gaining 82 yards on the ground with one rushing TD. The Canes’ defense will get a bigger challenge this week at Louisville.

#8 Georgia Tech (1-0, 1-0) Last Week: #14 Upcoming Game: 9/19 vs UCF, 3:30 PM, ABC.

Just an amazing day overall for Georgia Tech. They rallied from down 10-0 to beat FSU, and Jeff Sims completed over 70% of his passes for 277 yards. Geoff Collins’s overhaul of Tech from option to having a passing game is ahead of schedule. GT did have some sloppiness on special teams and turnovers, but baby steps, Jackets.

#9 Pitt (1-0), Last Week: #11 Upcoming Game: 9/19 vs Syracuse, 12:00 PM ACCN.

Pitt’s offense was electric against Austin Peay. Pitt rolled up a 42-0 lead at halftime. Fortunately, the Governors agreed to go to 10-minute quarters in the second half. Personally, I think more FCS teams should agree to that when getting crushed. Throw your pride aside, take your payout, and just head out with your loss and, hopefully, no injuries. We don’t need full fifteen-minute quarters for that.

#10 Florida State (0-1, 0-1), Last Week: #7. Upcoming Game: 9/26 @ Miami.

Ooooooh, boy. Where to begin? Well, first off, after sitting through hours of weather delay, the Mike Norvell era began with FSU blowing a 10-0 lead to lose to Georgia Tech despite being 11.5 point favorites. FSU losses are the gift that keeps on giving for many reasons, such as the memes.

While sad FSU fans are funny, I think we need to discuss something else going on with Nole fans.

FSU fans just apparently don’t care about using masks, practicing social distancing, or any of it. Florida had issues during the spring and summer with people flooding the beaches amidst a pandemic, and it looks as if football season won’t be different. Hopefully Noles fans had fun this weekend, because at this rate their season may not last too long. But given how quickly #FireNorvell popped up on twitter Saturday night, no football may not be the worst thing for FSU fans. With a week off, the Noles have to get it together before heading to rival Miami.

#11 Duke (0-1, 0-1) Last Week: #10 Upcoming Game: 9/19 vs Boston College 12:00 PM, Regional Network.

Not an awful start for Duke. They hung well with a top #10 Notre Dame team for about 3 quarters on the road before Notre Dame took over. They also covered as +20.5 ‘dogs. Our beloved son Chase Brice had a nice debut going 20/37 for 259 yards. Saturday’s matchup with BC should be a good opportunity for Chase to show off his stuff for Duke fans.

#12 NC State (0-0) Last Week: #12. Upcoming Game: 9/19 vs Wake Forest, 8:00 PM, ACCN.

NC State did not play Saturday. Hopefully we’ll see the Pack in action Saturday night.

#13 Wake Forest (0-1, 0-1) Last Week: #9. Upcoming Game: 9/19 @ NC State, 8:00 PM, ACCN.

While most folks didn’t expect Wake to get the win (I’m sure despite his Gameday pick, even Chris Paul knew what was coming), it is glaring that Wake certainly has some holes to fill. Sam Hartman seems like a fine QB. It did make me wonder what would’ve happened if Sage Surratt had played in this game against Clemson’s young defensive backs. Donavan Greene had an outstanding catch over Andrew Booth, but outside of that the Wake offense felt stagnant. There were some bad drops and their scoring drives were often aided by a Clemson mistake. The biggest surprise in this game was Nick Sciba’s kicking struggles, given that he’s a 2019 Lou Groza finalist and a lauded kicker. I haven’t watched the replay yet, but I’m pretty sure Bresee got one of those big paws on that first kick so I can’t hold that against him. I think Wake should see a better showing all around in Raleigh this weekend.

#14 Syracuse (0-1, 0-1) Last Week: #13. Upcoming Game: 9/19 @ Pitt, 12:00 PM, ACCN.

‘Cuse gave a decent showing at first before UNC eventually just ran away with the game. After the clinic Pitt put on Saturday, I don’t expect the Orange to have much better luck this weekend, but then again expecting Pitt to do one thing and ‘Cuse to do another is a dangerous game to play, so who knows? Tommy Devito was sacked 7 times on Saturday. This could be a long season if he can even stay healthy.

#15 Boston College (0-0) Last Week: #15 Upcoming Game: 9/19 @ Duke, 12:00 PM Region Network

BC didn’t play Saturday. We’ll get to see what the Eagles have in store this weekend.