Fall, Football, Sports

ACC Power Rankings: Florida State Remains No. 1 Despite Narrow Victory over BC

Not many teams in the ACC made big statements in Week Three. Some teams added easy wins against lesser competition while others squeaked by, getting the victory regardless of how ugly the play on the field was. And the bad teams stayed bad. 

Week Four brings some of the most highly anticipated matchups of the entire college football season, none bigger in the ACC than Saturday’s game in Clemson, S.C. 

  1. Florida State (3–0, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔ 

No. 4 Florida State almost got tripped up by Boston College in Chestnut Hill this past weekend. The Seminoles were outgained by the Eagles and nearly blew a 21-point second half advantage. Sloppy turnovers and poor third-down defense were a few concerning developments in FSU’s near collapse. Quarterback Jordan Travis also got nicked up just before halftime, which could be something to monitor. Week Four brings the Seminoles the biggest game of their season.

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

  1. North Carolina (3–0) ↔

No. 17 North Carolina comfortably defeated previously unbeaten Minnesota 31–13 to advance to 3–0 on the year. Quarterback Drake Maye lit the Golden Gophers up through the air, aside from a pair of ugly interceptions. The Heisman Trophy candidate threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Nate McCollum had an outstanding showing—15 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown—to earn ACC receiver of the week honors. The Tar Heels begin conference play this weekend on the road.

Next Up: at Pittsburgh, Saturday, 8 p.m.

  1. Duke (3–0, 1–0) ↔

The Blue Devils stayed on cruise control in their Week Three victory over Northwestern. Quarterback Riley Leonard did it all for No. 18 Duke, accumulating 316 yards of total offense and two touchdowns on the ground. The Blue Devils’ defense was solid again, and it allowed just 28 points through three games. Duke is off to a 3–0 start for the second year in a row, and it’ll get its first road test this week. 

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

  1. Miami (3–0) ↔

No. 20 Miami coasted to a 48–7 blowout win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman last Thursday. The Hurricanes barely broke a sweat and almost posted a shutout before a last-minute touchdown for the Wildcats. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke continued to roll, accounting for three touchdowns and 247 passing yards. Miami heads to Philadelphia as huge favorites in another non-conference tilt.

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

  1. Clemson (2–1, 0–1) ↔

Clemson’s 48–14 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday was not very competitive. The Tigers led 41–0 at one point in the game and were never threatened by the Owls. Cade Klubnik threw for three touchdowns, and Clemson’s defense was stellar, coming up with three interceptions, including a Nate Wiggins pick six on the fourth play of the game. Starting wide receiver Cole Turner, however, suffered a season-ending injury in the win. Clemson now prepares for the biggest game of its season.

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

  1. Louisville (3–0, 1–0) ↔

The Cardinals picked up another victory this past weekend over Indiana to stay unbeaten. Jawhar Jordan is quickly establishing himself as one of the best running backs in the ACC. The junior tailback had another 100-plus yard game on the ground, giving him 344 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the season. Wide receiver Jamari Thrash has also been impressive, totaling 329 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 receptions thus far. 

Next Up: vs. BC, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

  1. Syracuse (3–0) ↑2

The Orange played their first game against a Power Five opponent in Week Three and passed the test with flying colors. Syracuse ran all over Purdue en route to a 35–20 win in West Lafayette. Garrett Shrader is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the ACC, and he showed why on Saturday, throwing for 184 yards and rushing for 195 yards and four touchdowns. Syracuse’s defense has been sharp, as well, having forced eight total turnovers this season, including four against the Boilermakers.

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

  1. Wake Forest (3–0) ↓1

It wasn’t looking good for Wake Forest when halftime arrived in its Saturday matchup at Old Dominion. The Demon Deacons trailed 17–0 at the intermission but made a relentless comeback in the second half to escape with the victory. Wake Forest scored 20 consecutive points to eke out a three-point win in Norfolk. Quarterback Mitch Griffis overcame two interceptions, but wide receiver Taylor Morin found the end zone twice to lead the second-half charge. Dave Clawson’s squad continues to find ways to win games. 

Next Up: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

  1. NC State (2–1) ↓1

The Wolfpack crushed the Virginia Military Institute 45–7 in a bounce-back win from their defeat to No. 9 Notre Dame in Week Two. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong was efficient, completing 27 of his 32 pass attempts, and NC State’s stable of running backs ran all over the Keydets with 234 total rushing yards. The defense also showed up, holding VMI under 200 total yards and taking an interception back for a touchdown. NC State has a favorable matchup in Week Four, as Armstrong makes his return to Charlottesville. 

Next Up: at Virginia, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

  1. Pitt (1–2) ↔

The 106th installment of the Backyard Brawl was not pretty for either team by any means but especially for the Panthers. Pittsburgh’s seemingly broken offense looked terrible, and quarterback Phil Jurkovec had another forgettable performance in the 17–6 loss. Jurkovec completed 8 of 20 passes for just 81 yards and three interceptions. Pat Narduzzi needs to find ways to revive his quarterback if the Panthers are to turn things around this season. The competition only gets tougher in Week Four for Pittsburgh. 

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

  1. Georgia Tech (1–2) ↔

Georgia Tech never stood a chance in its 48–23 defeat at No. 15 Ole Miss this past weekend. The Yellow Jackets were simply overwhelmed by the Rebels’ potent rushing attack, which totaled 299 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in Saturday’s game. One of the positives for Georgia Tech was the performance of quarterback Haynes King, who has been good so far this year after transferring in from Texas A&M. King threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in Week Three. 

Next Up: at Wake Forest, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

  1. Virginia Tech (1–2) ↔

Virginia Tech’s performance this season has been brutal thus far. The Hokies got thumped by Rutgers 35–16 in Week Three to lose its second consecutive game. Head coach Brent Pry turned to Kyron Drones at quarterback, and not much changed for Virginia Tech’s inept offense. The Hokies scored just three points in the first half and turned the ball over twice in total. The Scarlet Knights gashed Virginia Tech’s porous defense for 256 rushing yards and four touchdowns. 

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

  1. BC (1–2, 0–1) ↑1

The Eagles looked dead in the water when DJ Lundy muscled his way into the end zone to make it a 31–10 Florida State lead in the third quarter on Saturday. BC rallied, however, to somehow have a chance at a game-winning drive, despite a program-record 18 penalties. Fittingly, John Pupel committed an egregious facemask penalty to end any hopes of an upset for the Eagles. Nevertheless, BC showed promise offensively, and QB Thomas Castellanos had a stellar, all-around performance. The Eagles go on the road now for the first time this season. 

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

  1. Virginia (0–3) ↓1

The Cavaliers remained the ACC’s only winless team after a 42–14 drubbing at the hands of Maryland this past Friday. Virginia raced out to a 14–0 lead, but everything went downhill from there. A total of four turnovers was the killer for Virginia, and its defense didn’t help matters either. Tony Elliott’s defense allowed 461 yards of offense and 42 straight points to the Terrapins. ACC play begins in Week Four for the Cavaliers. 

Next Up: vs. NC State, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

September 22, 2023