ACC: Power Rankings/Predictions

Updated: Oct 18, 2020



Many questions were answered in last week's games. We found out a lot about some of the top programs fighting to take down Clemson, and then much of the mid-tier games helped rank out the rest of the conference. The primetime game of the week showed us that Clemson is still the team to beat and although Miami is not back. UNC crushed VT's defense but also got scorched on defense. Notre Dame cruised to a victory over FSU. UVA continued to struggle as NC State continues to strive with their new QB. Georgia Tech continued to impress with upsets, and Louisville continued to disappoint with a third-straight loss. Pitt lost another close one and Duke got their first win.


Scoreboard:


Louisville 27-42 Georgia Tech

#19 Virginia Tech 45-56 #8 North Carolina

NC State 38-21 UVA

Duke 38-24 Syracuse

Pittsburgh 30-31 Boston College

#7 Miami 17-42 #1 Clemson

Florida State 26-42 #5 Notre Dame


Power Rankings:


ELITE!


1. Clemson 3-0

Last Week: W vs. Miami 42-17

Next Week: @ Georgia Tech 10/17 12:00 PM ABC

Clemson remains on top after a beatdown of Miami 42-17. Miami only scored 10 offensive points and only really had success in blocking a few field goals. Clemson heads to Georgia Tech this weekend for what should be an easy win for the #1 team in the country.


Remaining Contenders


2. UNC 3-0

Last Week: W vs. VT 56-45

Next Week: @ Florida State 10/17 7:30 PM ABC

North Carolina's offense finally woke up this season after Sam Howell got back in the groove he was in last year. Howell went off for 257 yards and 3 scores. Partnered with Michael Carter (214 yards) and Javonte Williams' (169 yards) dominant run game, Virginia Tech's already depleted defense stood no chance. UNC now goes into a stretch of 5 winnable games (@FSU, NC ST, @UVA, @DUKE, WAKE) before playing Notre Dame and Miami to round off the year. Their best schedule draw was avoiding Clemson, giving them that much more of a chance of playing in the ACC Championship.


3. Notre Dame 2-0

Last Week: W vs. FSU 42-26

Next Week: vs. Louisville 10/17 2:30 PM NBC

Notre Dame continued its domination with a 42-26 win over FSU. Notre Dame's schedule has been weak with just Duke, South Florida, and FSU, but we all know they aren't a pushover.


4. Miami 2-1

Last Week: L @ Clemson 17-42

Next Week: vs. Pittsburgh 10/17 12:00 PM ACCN

It's official, The U is NOT back. Miami seems to be back to a top powerhouse in the ACC coastal, but until they can at least hang with Clemson, they aren't back to their level of national domination like the 80's.


5. Virginia Tech 2-1

Last Week: L @ UNC 45-56

Next Week: vs. Boston College 10/17 8:00 PM ACCN

I tried my best to be impartial, but I honestly believe the Hokies still have a shot at moving back up in the rankings. Their defense was absolutely ripped apart and beaten on each level, but the offense really started to click when Hendon Hooker came back in at QB. If Virginia Tech can get through the next month of winnable games, get control of the Covid quarantines, and continue to roll on offense behind Hooker and Herbert, they have a shot against Miami.


6. NC State 3-1

Last Week: W @ UVA 38-21

Next Week: vs. Duke 10/17 3:30 PM ESPN3

Since switching over to QB Devin Leary, NC State has looked a lot better than it did against VT. In his last two games, Leary has gone off for 576 yards, 7 touchdowns, and only one interception. NC State still sits at only 1 loss and doesn't have a terrible schedule to finish out. I'm not saying it's likely they'll end up in the mix for the ACC title, but they could make an appearance back in the AP poll soon.


Best of the Rest


7. Boston College 2-1

Last Week: W vs. Pitt 31-30

Next Week: @ #23 Virginia Tech 10/17 8:00 PM ACCN

Boston College seems to be improving each week, and actually have a chance to take down the Hokies this week. If they pull that off, it will be a huge step in the right direction for this program. If they lose, however, they will remain in the middle of the pack.


8. Pittsburgh 2-2

Last Week: L @ BC 30-31

Next Week: @ #13 Miami 10/17 12:00 PM ACCN

Pittsburgh has really dropped from the rankings after back-to-back 1-point losses. Pitt can still prove to be a tough opponent, especially if QB Kenny Pickett can be more productive on offense.


9. UVA 1-2

Last Week: L vs. NC State 38-21

Next Week: @ Wake Forest 10/17 4:00 PM ACCN

UVA's offense continues to struggle without Perkins, and the loss of Brennan Armstrong doesn't help, although he has been listed as day-to-day to return. UVA can still pull out a respectable record as their defense remains strong.


10. Georgia Tech 2-1

Last Week: W vs. Louisville 46-27

Next Week: vs. #1 Clemson 10/17 12:00 PM ABC

Georgia Tech continues to prove the haters wrong. After being selected by many as the worst ACC team in the preseason polls, their offense went off for 46 points over Louisville. The only problem with that is next week they draw Clemson and will likely drop back to .500.


11. Duke 1-4

Last Week: W @ Syracuse 38-24

Next Week: @ NC State 10/17 3:30 PM ESPN3

Duke finally put enough together to get their first win. They will attempt to keep the momentum and steal one from NC State on Saturday. Other than UNC, the Blue Devils remaining schedule is pretty weak and they could end the season with 4 or 5 wins if lucky.


12. Syracuse 1-3

Last Week: L vs. Duke 24-38

Next Week: vs. Liberty 10/17 12:00 PM ESPN3

Syracuse not only lost a tough one to an 0-4 Duke but lost their QB, Tommy DeVito. Coach Dino Baber reported the injury was "not good" and DeVito will be out "for a long period of time." Syracuse will face off against out of conference foe, Liberty, who is undefeated and actually favored by 3 points over the Orange.


Winless


13. Wake Forest 0-2

Last Week: BYE

Next Week: vs. UVA 10/17 4:00 PM ACCN

Wake Forest remains winless, but came within 3 of NC State, scored 13 on Clemson, and put a 66-14 beatdown over Campbell. Getting a win over UVA this weekend will catapult them a few places in my rankings, but can they pull it off?


14. Louisville 0-3

Last Week: L @ Georgia Tech 27-46

Next Week: @ #4 Notre Dame 10/17 2:30 PM NBC

Louisville certainly hasn't lived up to the pre-season hype. They drop to 0-3 after getting rolled by Georgia Tech and head into Notre Dame where nobody's picking them in that game either.


15. Florida State 0-3

Last Week: L @ Notre Dame 42-26

Next Week: vs. #5 UNC 10/17 7:30 PM ABC

Florida State took another loss from Notre Dame Saturday. After ending the first quarter up 17-14, they showed a little bit of their potential. However, it all fell apart after that. Up next, FSU hosts UNC as they continue with a very tough beginning to their schedule. Even if FSU had an easy ACC schedule, though, I don't see them having more than maybe 1 lucky win after they struggled to hold off Jacksonville State early.


Games next Week:


Saturday October 17th:

#1 Clemson (-27) @ Georgia Tech 12:00PM ABC

Pittsburgh (+10.5) @ #13 Miami 12:00PM ACCN

Louisville (+17) @ #4 Notre Dame 2:30PM NBC

Duke (+5) @ NC State 3:30PM ESPN3

UVA (-2.5) @ Wake Forest 4:00PM ACCN

#5 UNC (-13) @ FSU 7:30PM ABC

Boston College (+11) @ #23 Virginia Tech 8:00PM ACCN

Liberty (-3) @ Syracuse 12:00PM ESPN3


Predictions:


#1 Clemson (-27) @ Georgia Tech Total: 60

Clemson handles business. They can win by 27+ points but could also play it slow and let GT score some late freebies. I'm not a fan of betting blowouts for this reason.

CLEM 54-17 GT


Pittsburgh (+10.5) @ #13 Miami Total: 52

Miami is looking to get back in the win column, but Pitt won't lay down easy.

PITT 17-31 MIA


Louisville (+17) @ #4 Notre Dame Total: 64.5

Notre Dame will prove why they are a top-five team and beat a winless Louisville easily.

LOU 17-45 ND


Duke (+5) @ NC State Total: 62.5

NC State looks decent with Leary under center, and Duke started 0-4.

DUKE 24-42 NCST


UVA (-2.5) @ Wake Forest Total 64.5

Kind of a toss-up game without Brennan Armstrong, but I don't think Lindell Stone is much of a dropoff.

UVA 34-28 WF


#5 UNC (-13) @ FSU Total 61.5

UNC's offense is rolling after the VT win. FSU should get a few points with that talent against an average defense, though.

UNC 41-24 FSU


Boston College (+11) @ #23 Virginia Tech Total: 60.5

VT's offense should be a lot better with Hooker starting, and BC should be trying real hard to upset against a struggling defense.

BC 28-41 VT


Liberty (-3) @ Syracuse 12:00PM ESPN3 Total: 55

Liberty is 4-0 and Syracuse is struggling. The spread is anywhere from -3 to +4. It's a real toss-up game that could go either way.

LIB 21-24 CUSE


Quick Picks


Notre Dame is way better than Louisville

ND -17