Sports, Football

ACC Power Rankings Week Two: Back on Track

  1. Clemson (1–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Tigers bounced back from a season-opening loss to Georgia, where they failed to score a single touchdown. In Week Two, though, the offense amassed 28 points in the first quarter and did not look back, cruising to a 49–3 victory over South Carolina State. No. 6 Clemson showed it is clearly still the team to beat in the ACC despite an early non-conference loss.

Next Up: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1. Virginia Tech (2–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) ↑1

VT capitalized on its crucial first win over conference rival UNC and rode the momentum right into Week Two, achieving a comfortable 3514 victory over Middle Tennessee. With Miami and UNC both taking losses in their openers, the Hokies are poised to make the strongest push to dethrone longtime conference superpower Clemson.

Next Up: at West Virginia, Saturday, 12 p.m.

  1. North Carolina (1–1, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) ↑2

The Tar Heels bounced back from a discouraging defeat at Virginia Tech in their opener to destroy Georgia State 5917. Taking advantage of a vulnerable Panther defense, quarterback Sam Howell returned to Heisman candidate–like form, showing off his arm and his speed. The star went 21/29 with 352 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

Next Up: vs. Virginia, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

  1. Miami (1–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast) ↓2

The Hurricanes barely survived a Week Two upset scare from Appalachian State, coming out on top 2523. In Week One, No. 1 Alabama dismantled Miami 4413. D’Eriq King continues to show signs of regression, totaling only 200 yards on 20-of-33 passing against Appalachian State. Miami will look to Michigan State for a convincing victory that can prevent the Hurricanes from dropping from the AP Poll, as they currently sit at No. 24.

Next Up: vs. Michigan State, Saturday, 12 p.m.

  1. Boston College (2–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast) ↓1

After receiving the ACC Quarterback of the Week honor last week, Phil Jurkovec was sidelined with a wrist injury early in the game, forcing backup Dennis Grosel to step in and lead Boston College to a 4528 victory at UMass. He finished with 11-of-14 passing for 199 yards and a touchdown. The run game led the way for the Eagles, however, amassing 250 total rush yards backed by a monster 160-yard performance from Pat Garwo III. The defense did not look nearly as solid as it did in its shutout of Colgate in Week One, surrendering 28 points to a UMass offense that scored a total of 12 points in the entire 2020 season.

Next Up: at Temple, Saturday, 12 p.m.

  1. Virginia (20, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↑3

The Cavaliers easily handled Big Ten opponent Illinois 4214 in Week Two. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong put on another spectacular performance, throwing for 405 yards and five touchdowns on 27-of-36 passing. Jelani Woods had a big game as well, catching five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. The Cavaliers will face their first true test at No. 21 UNC this week to see if they can make a case to remain in the top half of the ACC.

Next Up: at UNC, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

  1. NC State (11, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↓1

The Wolfpack took a step back after blowing out South Florida 450 in Week One, as it fell to Mississippi State 2410 on Saturday. The running game struggled, only managing 32 yards on the ground on 25 attempts. The Mississippi State defense stifled an NC State team that scored 45 points just a week prior, forcing three turnovers, including intercepting quarterback Devin Leary in the end zone.

Next Up: vs. Furman, Saturday, 7:30

  1. Pittsburgh (20, 00 Atlantic Coast)

Like Virginia, Pittsburgh has had a surprisingly dominant start to the season, this time knocking off Tennessee 4134. The Panthers showed that they can be resilient and that their 517 blowout over UMass to open the season was not a fluke. Trailing 100 to start the game, Pitt fought its way back into the game against a tough Tennessee team, backed by a strong showing from Kenny Pickett, who completed 24 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. The defense played a key role as well, forcing two fumbles and grabbing an interception.

Next Up: vs. Western Michigan, Saturday, 12 p.m.

  1. Florida State (02, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↓2

After losing to then-No. 9 Notre Dame by three in overtime, FSU blew its lead in the fourth quarter to suffer a disappointing defeat to unranked Jacksonville State 2017 in Week Two. A 59-yard touchdown pass from Zerrick Cooper in the final seconds broke the hearts of many fans of a team that was expected to be in the top half of the ACC.

Next Up: at Wake Forest, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1.  Wake Forest (20, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↔ 

The Demon Deacons rolled with their momentum from a Week One blowout to similarly shrug off Norfolk State 4116. The running game led the way for Wake Forest, rushing for 161 yards and four scores. The 20 start is deceptive, though, as both wins came over FCS teams. Wake Forest will face its toughest challenge yet this season next against Florida State, another ACC player desperately trying to get back on track.

Next Up: vs. Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1.  Louisville (11, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↑1

Louisville hosted Eastern Kentucky this week and walked away with a satisfying 303 victory. Malik Cunningham asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with, being responsible for all but one of the Cardinals’ touchdowns. After losing its opener to Ole Miss by 19, Louisville looks to be rolling again.

Next Up: vs. UCF, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

  1.  Duke (11, 00 Atlantic Coast) ↑1

Like many of the ACC teams, the Blue Devils were looking for a bounce-back game in Week Two, and they got exactly that. Duke blew out North Carolina A&T 4517 after losing to Charlotte by three. The running game dominated the second game for the Blue Devils, amassing 150 rushing yards and all six of Duke’s touchdowns.  

Next Up: vs. Northwestern, Saturday, 4 p.m.

  1.  Georgia Tech (11, 00 Atlantic Coast)

The Yellow Jackets were also looking for their first win of the season, and they earned it with a 4517 rout of Kennesaw State, leaving Florida State as the only remaining winless team in the ACC. Jordan Yates dazzled in the win, completing 17 of 22 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns.

Next Up: at Clemson, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1.  Syracuse (11, 00 Atlantic Coast)

Once again, the Orange are at the bottom of the barrel, after only managing to score a single touchdown at home and falling to Rutgers 177. The Syracuse offense was ripped apart by an improving Rutgers defense, which forced two fumbles and an interception.

Next Up: vs. Albany, Saturday, 12 p.m.

Featured Graphic by Emma Healy / Heights Editor

September 16, 2021