Sports, Football, Fall

ACC Power Rankings: Florida State Surges to Top Spot Heading Into Week Two

Week One is in the books. Some teams in the ACC looked like world-beaters while others looked like they were at the first day of training camp.

While Week Two offers most teams in the conference a chance to find a groove and dominate against weaker competition, some teams, such as NC State and Miami, have tall tasks ahead of them, each hosting a ranked opponent.

  1. Florida State (1–0) ↑1 

Sunday night’s 45–24 rout of No. 14 LSU was everything the Seminoles could have hoped for. Star quarterback Jordan Travis was tremendous, throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns, and wide receiver Keon Coleman emerged as a serious weapon, snatching three touchdown passes. No. 4 Florida State cemented its status as one of the nation’s elite teams in week one and should remain the top dog in the ACC all season.  

Next Up: vs. Southern Mississippi, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

  1. North Carolina (1–0) ↑1

No. 17 North Carolina picked up an impressive 31–17 victory over South Carolina, with its defense shining. The Tar Heels sacked South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler nine times and limited the Gamecocks’ rushing attack to -2 yards. North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye looked the part of a Heisman Trophy candidate, tossing two touchdown passes. The Tar Heels will look to avoid a letdown in week two against Appalachian State, who has given them fits in recent years.

Next Up: vs. Appalachian State, Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

  1. Duke (1–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) ↑1

The Blue Devils posted one of week one’s best upset victories in their demolition of No. 25 Clemson. The 28–7 shellacking was No. 21 Duke’s first win over an AP ranked top 10 team since 1989. Dual-threat quarterback Riley Leonard was superb, and Duke’s defense dominated the Tigers in the second half, forcing three turnovers and holding them scoreless. A Week Two home matchup against Lafayette should be a cakewalk for Mike Elko’s squad.

Next Up: vs. Lafayette, Saturday, 6 p.m.

  1. Clemson (0–1, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) ↓3

These are not the same Clemson Tigers that college football fans have come to know over the past decade, and Monday’s disastrous outcome in Durham was the greatest indicator of that. Clemson posted a measly seven points en route to ending its 12-game winning streak in ACC play. Despite 422 total yards of offense, sloppy play plagued the Tigers. Dabo Swinney’s squad needs to run the table or else more of the Clemson faithful may jump ship.

Next Up: vs. Charleston Southern, Saturday, 2:15 p.m.

  1. NC State (1–0) ↔

Dave Doeren probably wishes his team looked better on Thursday against Connecticut, but he’ll take the win. The Wolfpack defeated the Huskies 24–14, and quarterback Brennan Armstrong was not especially great. Aside from 96 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, Armstrong was pedestrian, totaling 155 yards on 17-of-26 passing. NC State has a tall task this week, as No. 10 Notre Dame visits Carter-Finley Stadium. 

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

  1. Pittsburgh (1–0) ↑1

Pittsburgh rolled past Wofford on Saturday, nearly blanking the Terriers before a last-minute touchdown. New quarterback Phil Jurkovec was efficient through the air and on the ground, leading the Panthers to 491 total yards of offense. The competition gets stiffer for Pitt, with zero Group of Five or FCS teams remaining on its schedule, and those matchups should be more telling than Week One’s affair.  

Next Up: vs. Cincinnati, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

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

Louisville needed a second-half rally to get past Georgia Tech on Friday. The Cardinals erased a 15-point halftime deficit behind a pair of Jamari Thrash touchdown receptions and held the Yellow Jackets to just six points in the final 30 minutes. Louisville’s second-half performance was what most expected from the Cardinals this season, and Jack Plummer and Co. will have another opportunity to show their dominance in Week Two against a lesser opponent. 

Next Up: vs. Murray State, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

  1. Miami (1–0) ↔

The Hurricanes trounced Miami (OH) in a 38–3 blowout victory in Week One. Head coach Mario Cristobal’s offense was explosive, totaling 493 yards and 8.1 yards per play. Most importantly, oft-injured quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was effective and finished the game without any new ailments. Miami has a much more significant test this week when No. 23 Texas A&M comes to Hard Rock Stadium. 

Next Up: vs. Texas A&M, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1. Wake Forest (1–0) ↔

New full-time signal caller Mitch Griffis passed his first test as a Demon Deacon against lowly Elon, throwing for 329 yards and three touchdowns in Wake Forest’s Week One 37–17 win. Junior Jahmal Banks was a popular target for Griffis, as the junior wideout reeled in six passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. The Demon Deacon defense was also impressive, registering four sacks and two interceptions. Week Two will undoubtedly be more challenging for Dave Clawson’s crew.  

Next Up: vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday, 11 a.m.

  1. Syracuse (1–0) ↔

The Orange opened the season by steamrolling Colgate 65–0. Syracuse compiled a total of 677 yards of offense against the Raiders, and quarterbacks Garrett Shrader and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson combined to throw seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Umari Hatcher had a standout performance with 105 receiving yards and a touchdown. Syracuse should continue to cruise this week. 

Next Up: vs. Western Michigan, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

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

Georgia Tech showed a lot of fight and potential in its disappointing 39–34 defeat to Louisville in Week One. Despite blowing a 15-point halftime lead, quarterback Haynes King led the Yellow Jackets into the end zone four times during the second quarter alone. And if not for a fumble late in the fourth quarter, King might have engineered the game-winning drive. Georgia Tech certainly looks like a team that can compete every week, at the very least. 

Next Up: vs. South Carolina State, Saturday, 1 p.m.

  1. Virginia Tech (1–0) ↓1

The Hokies finished their Week One tilt against Old Dominion on the winning end of things, avenging their loss to the Monarchs from a year ago. Quarterback Grant Wells was good, throwing for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Virginia Tech’s defense wasn’t tested much, as Old Dominion struggled through the air, accumulating just 94 passing yards. A concerning stat is the 201 rushing yards that the Hokies allowed. Week Two should be more indicative of the type of team Brent Pry has this year in Blacksburg. 

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

  1. Boston College (0–1) ↓1

Saturday’s performance against Northern Illinois was an unmitigated disaster for BC. Head coach Jeff Hafley questionably insisted on deploying two quarterbacks, and BC’s offense unsurprisingly fell flat. The Eagles also totaled nine penalties—including countless pre-snap and personal foul infractions—which only accentuated the lack of preparation that was already evident. Hafley’s time in Chestnut Hill will be over if the embarrassing losses continue to pile up. 

Next Up: vs. Holy Cross, Saturday, 12 p.m.

  1. Virginia (0–1) ↔

The Cavaliers got slaughtered by No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday, 49–13. They finished the game with just 201 yards of offense and were 5 for 18 on third down. To make matters worse, quarterback Tony Muskett, who was mediocre, at best, against the Volunteers, went down with a shoulder injury. Muskett is a game-time decision in this weekend’s game, according to head coach Tony Elliott. It’s going to be a long year in Charlottesville. 

Next Up: vs. James Madison, Saturday, 12 p.m.

September 8, 2023