Sports, Football, Fall, ACC Power Rankings

ACC Power Rankings: Clemson Tops List After Action-Packed Week One

1. Clemson (1–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Tigers’ offense was unimpressive for nearly three full quarters on Sunday against Georgia Tech but found its stride in the fourth for a 41–10 win. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei’s 210 yards on 19-of-32 passing in Week One shows no improvement from a lackluster campaign a season ago. Head coach Dabo Swinney’s team dropped to fifth in the AP Poll ahead of a home game against Furman.

Next Up: vs. Furman, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

2. Miami (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Hurricanes put on an offensive clinic against Bethune-Cookman, racking up 70 points and 305 rushing yards. The 70–13 victory is not wholly unsurprising given the opposition, but Miami’s performance in a week when many top offenses—Clemson included—dealt with growing pains is nonetheless impressive. The Canes will look to improve to 2–0 in Week Two against Southern Mississippi before a trip to No. 6 Texas A&M.

Next Up: vs. Southern Miss, Saturday at 12 p.m.

3. Wake Forest (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

Wake Forest got the job done at home against FCS opponent Virginia Military Institute, but head coach Dave Lawson said his Demon Deacons were “really sloppy” in the 44–10 win. Quarterback Mitch Griffis threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in what might be his only start of the season. Sam Hartman was cleared to return on Tuesday and will look to pick up where he left off at the end of his record-setting 2021–22 campaign. Wake travels to Vanderbilt on Saturday for a tougher test against SEC opposition. 

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

4. Florida State (2–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Seminoles beat Duquesne 47–7 in Week Zero and hung on for a 24–23 win in a thrilling Week One contest against LSU in the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff game. Quarterback Jordan Travis took care of the football and directed a balanced offensive attack against the Tigers on Saturday. The game looked to be headed for overtime before the ’Noles blocked a game-tying extra point attempt with no time remaining on the clock. 

Next Up: at Louisville, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

5. North Carolina State (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Wolfpack entered the season ranked No. 13 in the nation but struggled to live up to that ranking in a narrow 21–20 victory at East Carolina. If it wasn’t for a missed field goal by ECU kicker Owen Daffer in the closing seconds, NC State would be even lower in these power rankings. The highly rated Wolfpack defense was less stingy than expected, and standout junior quarterback Devin Leary struggled, throwing for 211 yards and one touchdown plus an interception. 

Next Up: vs. Charleston Southern, Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

6. Pittsburgh (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

Pitt lost standout quarterback Kenny Pickett to the NFL but seems to have found an able

replacement in USC transfer Kedon Slovis. Slovis threw for 308 yards and a touchdown on 16 completions in the Panthers’ 38–31 victory over West Virginia. Pitt’s defense allowed over 400 yards of total offense, but Panthers fans won’t complain too much about a Week One win over Power 5 opposition. The Panthers must improve ahead of Week Two though, as they host No. 24 Tennessee. 

Next Up: vs. Tennessee, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

7. Syracuse (1–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Orange put together what was probably the most impressive performance in the conference in Week One, beating Louisville 31–7. A balanced offensive attack led by dual-threat quarterback Garrett Shrader and running back Sean Tucker propelled Syracuse to over 400 total yards on offense. On the other side of the ball, Syracuse’s defense forced three turnovers. 

Next Up: at Connecticut, Saturday at 7 p.m.

8. North Carolina (2–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Tar Heels jumped to 2–0 against an Appalachian State team that has made strides in recent years, but it’s hard to look past the fact that they gave up 40 points in the fourth quarter. The good news for the Tar Heels is that their offense has been as good as their defense has been bad: They’ve scored 119 points through two games. Quarterback Drake Maye—Luke Maye’s younger brother, for college hoops fans—has thrown for 646 yards and nine touchdowns in two games. 

Next Up: at Georgia State, Saturday at 12 p.m.

9. Virginia (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Cavaliers beat in-state foe Richmond 34–17 in Week One behind a solid performance from quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The senior threw for 246 yards and rushed for 105 in a comfortable win for a team that is looking to improve on a 6–6 season in 2021–22. The Cavaliers head into this week’s matchup at Illinois as 4.5-point underdogs.  

Next Up: at Illinois, Saturday at 4 p.m.

10. Boston College (0–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Eagles stumbled to an embarrassing 22–21 home loss against a Rutgers team that finished near the bottom of the Big Ten standings last year. Poor O-line play prevented BC from establishing any sort of run game, and the run defense faltered against a one-dimensional Scarlet Knights offense. Zay Flowers was the one bright spot, racking up 117 yards and two touchdowns on 10 catches. The Eagles will try to turn things around as they open ACC play against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in Week Two. 

Next Up: at Virginia Tech, Saturday at 8 p.m.

11. Duke (1–0, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

The Blue Devils finished last in the ACC last season after failing to win a single conference game, but they took care of business in their 30–0 Week One win over Temple to open this season. Quarterback Riley Leonard threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns, and Duke’s defense allowed just 179 yards of total offense from the Owls. We’ll get a better sense of Duke’s progress when it visits Northwestern in Week Two.  

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

12. Louisville (0–1, 0–1 Atlantic Coast)

Expectations for Louisville’s offense were high heading into the season, but they laid an egg in a brutal 31–7 week one loss at Syracuse. Quarterback Malik Cunningham did not live up to the preseason hype, as he turned the ball over three times and produced just 186 total yards. The Cardinals will need to improve on both sides of the ball if they want to pull off an upset victory at UCF in their second game. 

Next Up: at Central Florida, Friday at 7:30 p.m.

13. Virginia Tech (0–1, 0–0 Atlantic Coast)

If BC’s loss was embarrassing, then the Hokies’ 20–17 loss to Old Dominion was downright abysmal. Quarterback Grant Wells threw four interceptions, including a critical pick near midfield with 26 seconds left that allowed Old Dominion to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Hokies play host to BC in a Week Two battle of two ACC teams in desperate need of bounceback performances.

Next Up: vs. BC, Saturday at 8 p.m.

14. Georgia Tech (0–1, 0–1 Atlantic Coast)

The Yellow Jackets lost to Clemson 4110 in their season opener, but they held on within a touchdown until late in the third quarter. Quarterback Jeff Sims threw an interception on the first play of the game and struggled to ignite any offense throughout the rest of the game. Georgia Tech’s defense played admirably for about 43 minutes before wearing down in the fourth quarterWestern Carolina. 

Next Up: vs. Western Carolina, Saturday at 7 p.m.

September 10, 2022