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ACC Power Rankings: Smoke and Mirrors

This is still our league.

NC State v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

#1 Clemson (5-0, 3-0) LR: #1 Next Game: 10/8 @ Boston College, 7:30 PM ABC

The reports of Clemson’s demise were greatly exaggerated. This was a good old-fashioned primetime Clemson win. At this point, you have to start having the conversation of DJ Uiagelelei as a Heisman candidate. He and Clemson are doing what Clemson likes to do: start slow, and hit our stride a few games in. Clemson’s through the toughest stretch of its schedule. This team seems focused and on a mission.

#2 Wake Forest (4-1, 1-1) LR: #4 Next Game: 10/8 vs Army 7:30 PM ESPN3

Despite going 1-1, the last two weeks have had Wake putting everyone on notice. After falling short in the shootout with Clemson, Wake knocked off an FSU team that had been making folks whisper “are the Noles back?” I suppose one day little ole Florida State can hang with big, bad Wake Forest. But not this year.

#3 NC State (4-1, 0-1) LW: #2 Next Game: 10/8 @ FSU 8:00 PM ACCN

Last year Dave Doeren lit up a cigar and sipped what I can only assume was his best whiskey from a red solo cup. This actually inspires a good metaphor for NC State. If you and your friends drink, at some point a friend will tell you about this great stuff they found. Maybe it’s an obscure whiskey, a craft beer, a wine, whatever. Or if you don’t drink, you may have this experience with food. a restaurant, or whatever your social activity is. They’ll tell you how great it is, how it’s the best they’ve ever had. You’ll discreetly pull out your phone and do a Google search on it, and see it’s a little pricey. Not super expensive, but not something you’re breaking out for just anyone. Eventually, the moment comes and you try whatever it is. And it’s fine. Not offensive but you fail to see what was so special about it. Of course, you smile politely and talk about its good points, while secretly being confused over the hype you were hearing.

That’s NC State. They are a fine team. They may win 10 or 11 games. But they aren’t anything better than the other also-rans the ACC has trotted out against Clemson. And I think Dabo and the boys knew that. But of course, they’ll politely never tell.

#4 Florida State (4-1, 2-1) LW: #3 Next Game: 10/8 vs NC State (4-1, 2-1)

I don’t know if FSU will truly ever be back. I just simply don’t know. Bobby Bowden captured lightning in a bottle, and Jimbo was able to ride that along with having one of the most dominant quarterbacks in college football history. But this FSU team is probably the closest they’ve been since Alabama broke the program in 2017. Their upcoming game with NC State should be fun.

#5 Syracuse (5-0, 2-0) LW: #5 Next Game 10/15 vs NC State 3:30 PM ACC

Syracuse drubbed Wagner, which is not a story. The real story is that Wagner agreed to 10-minute quarters in the second half, which is the right move for a paid game when you’re getting blown out. I said this about Buddy Pough and SC State doing this in Death Valley in 2016. You’re getting paid regardless. You know a rally is nearly impossible. Don’t risk your guys getting hurt. Most of the fans will be gone halfway through the third quarter anyway. This is a fine move for a team in their position, and more FCS coaches should put their pride away like this.

#6 Duke (4-1, 1-0) LR: #8 Next Game: @ Georgia Tech 4:00 PM ESPN3

Duke Fetty Wap’d UVA (beat them 17-38). Duke-Carolina next weekend could be Gameday. Nothing makes sense.

#7 North Carolina (4-1, 1-0) LR: #7 Next Game: 10/8 @ Miami 4:00 PM ESPN2

UNC trounced VT last week. Do you know how much it would rule if they had lost to App State and then won the Coastal?

#8 Pitt (3-2, 1-1) LR: #6 Next Game: 10/8 vs Va Tech 3:30 ACCN

Pitt only fell to 8 because I’m not seeing anyone else I can put this high. If Georgia Tech beats Duke, then that changes my perspective.

#9 Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-1) LR: #12 Next Game: 10/8 vs Duke 4:00 PM ACCN

How bout them Jackets?!?!? Geoff Collins got some talent to the Flats but couldn’t quite coach them. I’m not saying Brent Key is GT’s Dabo, but if he keeps this up and gets them to a bowl, why not sign him for the low as Clemson did with Dabo? Again, I’m not expecting him to turn GT into a CFP team but worst-case scenario he’s not your guy and you fire him with a minimal financial commitment. If nothing else, he seems to understand GT as a program, and comes off the Saban coaching tree.

#10 Miami (2-2) LR: #8 Next Game: 10/8 vs UNC 3:30 ACCN

Miami is coming off a bye, which means the 17 Miami fans that actually care had to stew on the Middle Tennessee State loss for an extra week. The Canes finally open ACC play against UNC.

#11 Boston College (2-3, 1-2) LR: #13 Next Game: 10/8 vs Clemson 7:30 PM ABC

I know BC should be below Va Tech because they lost to Va Tech but I’m giving them a little credit for beating Louisville. It’ll be awesome to see the Red Bandana game under the lights!

#12 Virgina (2-3, 0-2) LR:#10 Next Game: 10/8 vs Louisville 12:00 PM ACCN

It’s been a rough go for Tony Elliot over the past few weeks, but a game with a bad Louisville team should be a shot in the arm.

#13 Virginia Tech (2-3, 1-1) LR: #11 Next Game: 10/8 @ Pitt 3:30 PM ACCN

If you are not a Pitt fan or a Hokie fan, and you choose to watch this game over UGA-Auburn or anything else on the 3:30 PM slate, I respect and fear you.

#14 Louisville (2-3, 0-3) LR: #14 Next Game: 10/8 @ UVA 12:00 PM ACCN

I see why Satterfield was so desperate to get out of the Ville less than a year into his contract.