Sports, Football, Fall, ACC Power Rankings

Final ACC Power Ranking: Florida State Maintains its Status at the Top

  1. Florida State (12–0, 8–0 Atlantic Coast) ↔ 

No. 4 Florida State pulled out a gutsy 24–15 win in Gainesville against Florida during Rivalry Week. With quarterback Jordan Travis sidelined for the season, Tate Rodemaker took the reins for his first start of the season. Running back Trey Benson starred for the Seminoles, finding the end zone three times. Florida State now prepares for the ACC Championship game against No. 15 Louisville, a matchup it must win for a chance at the College Football Playoff.

Next Up: vs. Louisville, Saturday, 8 p.m.

  1. Louisville (10–2, 7–1) ↔

The Cardinals dropped their first home game of the season to Kentucky last week in what was a largely meaningless game for head coach Jeff Brohm and company. Louisville had already clinched its spot in the ACC title game. For the first time since the 2012 season, the Cardinals still have a chance this weekend to earn an 11th victory. All of Louisville’s stars, including Jack Plummer, Jawhar Jordan, and Jamari Thrash, will have to be on their game if they are going to upset the undefeated Seminoles. 

Next Up: vs. Florida State, Saturday, 8 p.m.

  1. NC State (9–3, 6–2) ↑1

NC State capped off an impressive regular season with a fifth consecutive victory, defeating North Carolina on Saturday, 39–20. The tandem of quarterback Brennan Armstrong and receiver Kevin “KC” Concepcion was too much for the Tar Heels to handle. Armstrong threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Concepcion totaled 131 receiving yards and two touchdowns in addition to rushing for 55 yards. The Wolfpack should be rewarded with an entertaining bowl game.

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Clemson (8–4, 4–4)  ↑1

The Tigers picked up a victory over in-state rival South Carolina on Saturday to extend their winning streak to four games. Clemson’s defense completely shut down Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks, holding them to just 2 of 13 on third down. The Tigers rebounded nicely from their shaky 4–4 start and began to look like one of the conference’s top teams in recent weeks. Clemson now prepares for its 19th consecutive bowl game.

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. North Carolina (8–4, 4–4) ↓2

It was a disappointing end of the season for the Tar Heels. After starting 6–0, North Carolina lost four of its last six games, including its final two matchups of the year. Quarterback Drake Maye will be heading to the NFL this offseason, so head coach Mack Brown has a lot of retooling to do with his roster. Nonetheless, North Carolina will compete in a decent bowl game in December. It will be the Tar Heels’ fifth consecutive year playing in a bowl game.  

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Virginia Tech (6–6, 5–3) ↔

Virginia Tech clinched bowl eligibility this past weekend with a dominant showing in Charlottesville against Virginia. The Hokies annihilated their in-state rival 55–17 in a non-competitive game—Virginia Tech led 24–0 at halftime. The emergence of dual-threat quarterback Kyron Drones this season is one of the most encouraging developments within Brent Pry’s program. The sophomore threw three touchdown passes against Virginia in another impressive outing. The Hokies last played a bowl game in 2021, when they fell 54–10 to Maryland. 

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Duke (7–5, 4–4) ↔

Duke wrapped up the regular season with a 30–19 win over Pittsburgh this past weekend, but all is not swell in Durham at the moment. Days after the Blue Devils secured their seventh victory, Mike Elko accepted an offer to become Texas A&M’s new head coach and quarterback Riley Leonard entered the transfer portal. It’s safe to say that Duke will look a lot different next season. The Blue Devils’ attention shifts to preparing for a bowl game, their second straight year competing in one. 

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Georgia Tech (6–6, 5–3)  ↔ 

Georgia Tech hung tough with No. 1 Georgia Saturday, falling 31–23. The Yellow Jackets had a knack all season long for playing up to their competition and almost pulled off the upset yet again. Brent Key’s squad had already earned bowl eligibility the week prior by defeating Syracuse 31–22 in Atlanta. Quarterback Haynes King was definitely a standout for the Yellow Jackets this year, and he has the makings of a cornerstone piece for the Georgia Tech program. The Yellow Jackets will play in their first bowl game since 2018. 

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Miami (7–5, 3–5) ↑1

The Hurricanes ended their regular season on a high note, stomping Boston College 45–20 on Black Friday. Overall, however, it was a disappointing season for Mario Cristobal’s group. After a 4–0 start, Miami stumbled in conference play, finishing with just three wins against ACC opponents. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke never seemed to reach his full potential and has now opted for the transfer portal. A seven-win regular season isn’t terrible, but it could’ve been much better.

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. BC (6–6, 3–5) ↓1

BC limped to yet another mediocre 6–6 finish. After an encouraging five-game winning streak against some of the FBS’ worst to offer, the Eagles fell flat in their final three games. Quarterback Thomas Castellanos started to show his weaknesses and limitations throwing the ball downfield, and the BC defense was embarrassingly bad to close the regular season. Several BC players such as quarterback Emmett Morehead, running back Cam’ron Barfield, and defensive end Josh Hardy have already announced their entry into the transfer portal. Jeff Hafley’s incoming recruiting class—none of whom are four or five-star recruits—consists of only seven players and is the 106th-ranked 2024 recruiting class in the nation. BC will likely find itself in the Fenway Bowl. 

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Syracuse (6–6, 2–6) ↑1

Syracuse managed to sneak into a bowl game with a 35–31 win over Wake Forest this past weekend. The Orange once again benefitted from a favorable non-conference schedule this season, and those wins helped somewhat offset its struggles in ACC play. Syracuse hired Georgia defensive backs coach Fran Brown as its new head coach with the goal of bringing consistent winning to Upstate New York. The Orange will play in a low-tier bowl game. 

Next Up: vs. TBD

  1. Virginia (3–9, 2–6) ↓1

Virginia closed the season with a clunker, losing to Virginia Tech by 38 points at home. At the beginning of the season, the Cavaliers looked like a team that would struggle to win more than a game all year. They finished with three victories and showed fight even in the games they fell short in—four of their ACC losses were decided by one possession. Head coach Tony Elliott still has significant rebuilding to do, as the Cavaliers’ program lacks talent. 

  1. Pittsburgh (3–9, 2–6) ↑1

Pitt’s disastrous season has finally come to an end. A 3–9 record is certainly not what many would have expected for Pat Narduzzi’s squad, but inept quarterback play sank the Panthers. Transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec was supposed to return to elite form, but he did not pan out, and Pitt struggled offensively as a whole all season. Upsetting Louisville at home is probably the only moment of the season that the Panthers have to be proud of. Major changes could be awaiting Pitt this offseason. 

  1. Wake Forest (4–8, 1–7) ↓1

For the first time since 2015, Wake Forest is not going bowling. The Demon Deacons’ recent run of success was incredibly impressive, but this year’s team was quite the opposite. Dave Clawson’s group really lacked talent all over the field and never had a solid quarterback that it could depend on. Wake Forest had one of the worst offenses in the FBS, and Demon Deacons’ fans didn’t have very many reasons to be excited this season. 

December 3, 2023