The ACC used to be able to hang our hats on Clemson and Miami every now and then and FSU used to be good and UNC was supposed to be the prince that was promised.
Here’s how this week’s power rankings shake out:
1. Clemson Tigers (2-1, 1-0)
Last week: win 14-9 vs. GT. This week: at NC State
Clemson hasn’t looked that bad in literally a decade. Yes, they’ve lost games to less opponents since then, but they played significantly worse against Georgia Tech last weekend. Quick turn around for a big Atlantic Division game in Raleigh this weekend where Clemson has historically had some problems.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1, 1-1)
Last week: win 59-39 vs. UVA. This week: vs. GT
After losing the Heisman in week 1 against VT, Sam Howell might be back in the race after a stellar performance against the Hoos. GT, Duke, and FSU for the next three straight weeks means Howell might get to pad those stats even further.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 1-0)
Last week: loss 27-21 at WVU. This week: vs. Richmond
Hokies nearly stole victory from the jaws of defeat in Morgantown last weekend but were unable to convert at the goal line. They get to lick their wounds this week against FCS Richmond, but need to avoid the look ahead with Notre Dame on the horizon, albeit in two week after a bye next week.
4. NC State Wolfpack (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: win 45-7vs. Furman. This week: vs. Clemson
The Wolfpack failed their first test two weeks ago at Mississippi State, but they have an even bigger chance to prove they’re different this year against Clemson on Saturday. They have UNC at the end of the season, but a win this weekend will clearly put them in the Atlantic Division driver’s seat.
5. Miami Hurricanes (1-2, 0-0)
Last week: loss 38-17 vs. Michigan State. This week: vs. Central Connecticut State
We thought the Canes might play inspired against the Spartans after a lackluster performance against App State the week before, but maybe that is just who Miami is. They’ll avoid Clemson this year, but start their ACC slate next weekend with UVA then have UNC, NC State, and Pitt.
6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0, 1-0)
Last week: win 35-14 vs. FSU. This week: at UVA
It looked like Wake might get a test from FSU after not getting one the first two weeks against ODU and Norfolk State. Nope. Sam Hartman is good. We’ll see if he can throw for 500+ yards against UVA this weekend.
7. Pittsburgh Panthers (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: loss 44-41 vs. Western Michigan. This week: vs. New Hampshire
Pitt beat Tennessee in Knoxville. Pitt then lost to Western Michigan at home. Such is life when you are a team in the Coastal Division.
8. Boston College Eagles (3-0, 0-0)
Last week: win 28-3 vs. Temple. This week: vs. Mizzou
BC has won their first three games by a combined 93 points. No, beating Colgate, UMass, and Temple isn’t all that impressive, but you can only win the games on your schedule. Bigger test this week when they get to play an SEC team before traveling to Clemson next week.
9. Virginia Cavaliers (2-1, 0-1)
Last week: loss 59-39 at UNC. This week: vs. Wake
Outsiders seem to think this Cavaliers team is still a top 5 ACC team. They might be, but when you give up 59 points and nearly 700 yards to a rival, the fans think you stink.
10. Louisville Cardinals (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: win 42-35 vs. UCF. This week: at FSU
The Cardinals pulled off an impossible win thanks to a pick six nearly at the buzzer when UCF was setting up for a game winning field goal. Cardinals’ head coach might parlay that win over Gus Malzahn into a lower level SEC job.
11. Syracuse Orange (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: win 62-24 vs. Albany. This week: vs. Liberty
2-1 through 3 games is better that most anticipated the Orange to be. They’ll be home underdogs again this weekend when they host Liberty. We here at STL will certainly be cheering for the Orange and hope they are the last ACC team to schedule Liberty....in any sport.
12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-2, 0-1)
Last week: loss 14-8 at Clemson. This week: vs. UNC
Moral victories aren’t really a thing college programs can use, but GT isn’t a normal program. We would have made them No. 1 this week if they had pulled off the seemingly impossible.
13. Florida State Seminoles (0-3, 0-1)
Last week: loss 35-14 at Wake. This week: vs. Louisville
I don’t know how long a team is allowed to be a “blue blood” and still be a Top 15 job in the country while being awful, but FSU needs to be reconsidered for all of the above. They won a damn national championship not long ago and now they’re 0-3 to start the year.
14. Duke Blue Devils (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: win 30-23 vs. Northwestern. This week: vs. Kansas
Duke might have two power 5 out of conference victories on the season and they’ll be against Northwestern and Kansas. Whoever scheduled these for Duke deserves a raise.