Sports, Football, Fall, ACC Power Rankings

Virginia and Miami Swap Spots, and Top Three Solidify Placement

1. Clemson (8–0, 6–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔

After a thrilling 27–21 home victory over No. 16 Syracuse in Week Eight, No. 5 Clemson kept its ranking in the AP poll and improved to 8–0 on the season. Clemson trailed 21–10 heading into halftime and had committed three turnovers up to that point. While DJ Uiagalelei was in at quarterback, Clemson had a turnover differential of -4, making its outlook of victory bleak at that point in the game. Enter Cade Klubnik. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pulled Uiagalelei in the third quarter, and it made all the difference. While Swinney affirmed that Uiagalelei was still Clemson’s starter for the rest of the season, he’ll have to play better down the stretch if the Tigers want a shot at the College Football Playoff. Yet, even while on the ropes, right now, Clemson far and away remains the ACC’s best team.

Next Up: at Notre Dame, Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m.

2. Wake Forest (6–1, 2–1) ↔

Sam Hartman Hartman certainly looked like a Heisman contender on Saturday, as he tossed six touchdown passes in a dominating 43–15 win over Boston College in Winston-Salem. With the win, the Demon Deacons improved to No. 10 in AP Poll. With its only loss coming in double overtime at Clemson in Week Four, Wake Forest looks like a mainstay at second place in the ACC, and if Clemson has a mishap, the Demon Deacons could make a run for first. 

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

3. Syracuse (6–1, 3–1)

After a hard-fought defeat down in Death Valley, Syracuse deserves a promotion despite its loss. The Orange, who were 14-point underdogs heading into their matchup with Clemson, jumped out to a 21–10 lead while forcing four turnovers from Uiagalelei in the process. Syracuse’s stars Garrett Shrader, Sean Tucker, and Oronde Gadsden II stood out on Syracuse’s roster but missed some big opportunities in the second half. Of the teams that have played Clemson this year, only Wake and Syracuse have fallen by one possession or less. With Notre Dame coming to the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday, the Orange will look to bounce back and show that their historic start was not a fluke. 

Next Up: vs. Notre Dame, Saturday, 12 p.m. 

4. North Carolina (6–1, 3–0) 1

Look out for Drake Maye and the Tar Heels. Coming off its bye week, No. 21 North Carolina has yet to lose a game in the conference led by Maye and a top-five ACC scoring offense. North Carolina has a light schedule ahead aside from what will be a tough matchup against No. 24 NC State in Week 12. North Carolina faces a Pittsburgh team that is on the decline after a loss to Louisville and should put up a big number at home in Week Nine. 

Next Up: vs. Pitt, Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

5. NC State (5–2, 1–2) 1

Without quarterback Devin Leary, NC State lost to Syracuse by a sizable margin. The Wolfpack has two tough games remaining on its schedule, hosting Wake Forest and going on the road to North Carolina. Aside from that, the Wolfpack has a relatively easy road ahead and should be able to finish with — at most — four losses. The Wolfpack will host Virginia Tech on Thursday night. 

Next Up: vs. Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

6. Duke (5–3, 2–2) 3

Duke has had quite the year. The Blue Devils traveled down to Florida and trounced Miami 45–21 in Week Eight. Riley Leonard and the Blue Devils’ offense were on a mission, dropping 45 points on a Miami defense that has been strong this year despite the Hurricanes’ poor record. After the statement win against the Hurricanes, Duke heads into its bye week before coming to the Heights in Week 10. 

Next Up: at BC, Nov. 4, 7 p.m.

7. Florida State (4–3, 2–3)

The Seminoles have suffered three straight losses in a tough stretch against ranked opponents Clemson, Wake Forest, and NC State. Despite the outcome, Seminole quarterback Jordan Travis managed to record over 250 passing yards in Florida State’s losses to Clemson and Wake. Florida State should be able to get back on track when it hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday. 

Next Up: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 12 p.m.

8. Virginia (3–4, 1–3) 6

Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Georgia Tech in Week Eight. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong overcame a slow start to account for 346 total yards of offense in the victory. The Cavaliers have a chance to defeat Miami on Saturday if Armstrong can play like he did late in the Georgia Tech game. 

Next Up: vs. Miami, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

9. Georgia Tech (3–4, 2–2) 1

Georgia Tech fought hard against Virginia on Thursday night but couldn’t stop Armstrong and company down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets’ defense let up only two touchdowns from the Cavaliers. Florida State will challenge the Yellow Jackets as they travel to Tallahassee in Week Nine, and it will take another strong defensive performance to stop the Seminoles.

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

10. Miami (3–4, 1–2)

The Hurricanes continued a disappointing season on Saturday, falling 45–21 to Duke at home. Losing has been the theme of Miami’s 2022 season, and only one of its three wins has come against an FBS opponent. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke left the game with an injury, and Miami’s offense looked lethargic. Duke forced eight Miami turnovers, the most any Power Five team has committed in a single game since 2009. The Hurricanes will face Virginia in Charlottesville on Saturday, where they’ll look to get back on track. 

Next Up: at Virginia, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

11. Louisville (4–3, 2–3)

For Louisville, an up-and-down season took a turn for the better in Week Eight as Malik Cunningham and the Cardinals collected a 24–10 victory over Pitt. The win was the Cardinals’ second straight victory, marking the first time they’ve won two in a row this season. Cunningham tossed two touchdowns in the win, and he moved Louisville’s offense well against a spotty Panther defense. Louisville’s streak may come to an end on Saturday, however, as Wake Forest and Hartman come to town.

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

12. Pittsburgh (4–3, 2–1) 6

Pitt was ranked No. 24 in the country in Week Five, but since then the Panthers have been on a steady decline. Pitt is 1–2 in its last three games, losing to Georgia Tech and Louisville by five and 14 points, respectively. Quarterback Kedon Slovis has not lived up to preseason expectations. The only bright spot seems to be Israel Abanikanda, who is approaching 1000 rushing yards and has 13 rushing touchdowns on the year—both ACC-leading marks. 

Next Up: at North Carolina, Saturday, 8 p.m. 

13. Boston College (2–5, 1–4)

Week Eight in Winston-Salem told a familiar story to what Eagles fans have seen all season: a porous defense combined with missed opportunities on offense. Against the Demon Deacons, quarterback Phil Jurkovec led the Eagles into the red zone late in the first quarter, but instead of converting a touchdown, the Eagles settled for a 29-yard field goal. Although it was early in the game, the chance to take the lead on a ranked team was too good to be true for head coach Jeff Hafley’s bunch. The Eagles have a winnable game approaching on the schedule, however, as they travel to take on Connecticut Week Nine. 

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

14. Virginia Tech (2–5, 1–3) 2

For quarterback Grant Wells and company, it has been a tough season to bear down in Blacksburg. With just one ACC win, Virginia Tech has dropped three straight to conference opponents and will likely make it four this Thursday as it takes on NC State, even as the Wolfpack lacks its starting quarterback.

Next Up: at NC State, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

October 27, 2022