ACC: Power Rankings and Predictions
WOW! What an insane week for ACC Football! The ACC had 3 Top-5 teams last week with Clemson, UNC, and Notre Dame. Clemson proved it by dropping 73 points on Georgia Tech, while the other two struggled. Notre Dame snuck out with a 5-point win over Louisville, while UNC lost to a 1-3 FSU to give the Noles their first ACC win. The rest of the top tier ACC teams include Miami, Virginia Tech, and NC State. Each had their own minor struggles, but they all handled business and got a win. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ACC, Wake Forest beat up on UVA and their backup QBs, while Syracuse got smacked by non-conference opponent Liberty.
Boston College 14-40 Virginia Tech
Clemson 73-7 Georgia Tech
Louisville 7-12 Notre Dame
UVA 23-40 Wake Forest
Pittsburgh 19-31 Miami
Liberty 38-21 Syracuse
Duke 20-31 NC State UNC 28-31 FSU
Tier 1: Playoff Teams
1. Clemson Tigers 4-0 (LW1)
Last Game: W @ Georgia Tech 73-7
Next Game: vs. Syracuse 12:00 PM ACCN
I guess Georgia Tech pissed off Clemson when they tied them at 7-7 because Clemson proceeded to drop 66 more points while holding GT scoreless. Clemson once again proves they are far ahead in the ACC and are aiming for another National Title. Dabo continues to play chess, while the rest of the ACC is playing Go Fish!
Tier 2: ACC Competitors
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-0 (LW3)
Last Game: W vs. Louisville 12-7
Next Game: @ Pittsburgh 3:30 PM ABC
I'm not a huge fan of Notre Dame at No. 2, especially after that struggle win against Louisville. Even the best teams have their struggle games, but Notre Dame has yet to obtain an impressive win and likely won't for at least 2 more weeks. Playing at Pittsburgh will surely be a tough game for the Irish, and beating Georgia Tech, after Clemson dropped 73, won't impress many. They should win both, but neither will prove too much. On Nov. 7th they play Clemson; their first real test of the season.
3. Miami Hurricanes 3-1 (LW4)
Last Game: W vs. Pittsburgh 31-19
Next Game: vs. Virginia 8:00 PM ACCN
Miami seemed to be in a bit of a Clemson hangover at first. But, they came through and got a good win vs. Pitt. QB D'eriq King should have another breakout game vs. Virginia and stay on track for a top-25 finish. If they can somehow get by NC State and VT, they'll be in a great position to rematch Clemson in the championship.
4. North Carolina Tarheels 3-1 (LW2)
Last Game: L @ Florida State 28-31
Next Game: vs. NC State 12:00 PM ESPN
I'm not sure if UNC came out too slow or FSU came out that good. Either way, FSU is an extremely talented and underrated team, and this loss isn't nearly as bad as it seems on paper. The second half highlighted UNC's fight and skills as they almost pulled off the massive upset, but with 3 crucial dropped passes on the final drive, it proved too little too late. Hopefully, for UNC fans, the Tar Heels learned their lesson and don't make this mistake again. The offense may have to continue to bail out the defense, but they certainly have the talent to pull it off.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies 3-1 (LW5)
Last Game: W vs. Boston College 40-14
Next Game: @ Wake Forest 3:30 PM ESPN3
Virginia Tech continues to dominate with the run game. The Hokies average 312 rushing yards per game, good for 2nd in the nation. And, yes they're even ahead of triple-option-juggernaut Army. The defense didn't get traditional stops, but they forced 5 turnovers and you have to give them credit for that. The Hokies should remain a one-loss team heading into the Miami game on Nov. 14th.
6. North Carolina State Wolfpack 4-1 (LW6)
Last Game: W vs. Duke 31-20
Next Game: @ North Carolina 12:00 PM ESPN
NC State sneaks back into the top tier for ACC teams once again with another solid win over Duke. I don't think they're quite on the Miami/Notre Dame level yet, but they are clearly ranked above the rest of the ACC. The Wolfpack's schedule hasn't been terrible but you can't deny they have earned an impressive 4-1 ACC record and are still in the conversation for the championship. Beating UNC will be a huge step forward for the program, but remains a difficult task to do, especially with UNC coming off a bad loss. If Leary's injury ends up being major, the loss would be a huge blow for the offense that has really been brought to life by his presence.
Tier 3: Could Cause Chaos
7. Boston College Eagles 2-2 (LW7)
Last Game: L @ Virginia Tech 14-40
Next Game: vs. Georgia Tech 4:00 PM ACCN
Boston College got dominated on the scoreboard, but it wasn't a terrible game in all aspects. If you ignore VT's dominant run game and take back those 5 turnovers (yes, I realize that's a lot to ask, but) they have a lot of talent especially on the offensive side of the ball. If I told you BC got 435 total yards (to VT's 461) while converting over 60% of 3rd and 4th downs and only punted twice, you'd expect a much closer score. Obviously, you can't just make 5 turnovers disappear, but if the Eagles clean up some sloppiness and build on their newfound passing game behind Phil Jurkovec, they could cause some trouble for more teams this year.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers 2-3 (LW8)
Last Game: L @ Miami 19-31
Next Game: vs. Notre Dame 3:30 PM ABC
Pittsburgh extends their losing streak to 3 after another tough loss to Miami. The offense wasn't able to capitalize on several drives without senior Kenny Pickett at QB. Many drives Pitt settled for a FG when they needed to get 7 points, a consistent theme for Coach Pat Narduzzi (see Pitt @ Penn State, 2019). Turn all the FGs into TDs and you got a 35-35 tie. If Kenny Pickett can return with the spark they need, or Joey Yellen can otherwise step up and provide it, Pitt has a tough team that can always create close games, especially as the weather gets colder.
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2-2 (LW10)
Last Game: L vs. Clemson 7-73
Next Game: @ Boston College 4:00 PM ACCN
It's not often that a team loses by 60 and moves up in ranking. However, losing to the #1 team in the country is better than losing to 0-2 Wake Forest, and to be fair they did beat FSU who is ranked right below, so it's hard to move them down. Georgia Tech had nothing going for them except the 59 yard TD pass and a couple of turnovers. The Yellow Jackets have a rough schedule ahead but don't be surprised when they pull off another upset. Geoff Collins is building something nice, but it clearly needs more work. The irony of Trevor Lawrence throwing for 404 yards against the Atlanta based GT though....
10. Florida State Seminoles 1-3 (LW15)
Last Game: W vs. North Carolina 31-28
Next Game: @ Louisville 12:00 PM ESPN3
Florida State finally got an ACC win and a HUGE one with that. The Seminoles have talent but between the culture, coaching, and player attitudes, something is off and is causing chaos in the program. They've had this problem ever since Jameis Winston came in, then with Jimbo leaving, and the sad hire of Willie Taggert and his "Do Something" attitude. I don't know the answer, but until they figure it out FSU will remain a major up/down team that can beat almost anyone and then loses to the worst.
Tier 4: Bottom Feeders
11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 1-2 (LW13)
Last Game: W vs. Virginia 40-23
Next Game: vs. Virginia Tech 3:30 PM ESPN3
Wake Forest has been able to score, averaging 40 points per game (31.6 in ACC play). The defense though is allowing 35 points per conference game. Wake Forest won the shootout with UVA after the Cavaliers failed to score with backups under center. Their next opponent is Virginia Tech, a great competitor, but definitely subject to a shootout loss, as VT did vs. UNC. I'm not expecting any major upsets from Wake, but they should have a few more fun high-scoring games to watch this season.
12. Virginia Cavaliers 1-3 (LW9)
Last Game: L @ Wake Forest 23-40
Next Game: @ Miami 8:00 PM ACCN
When you put in quarterbacks playing with numbers 36, 98, and 99, you're just asking them to fail, and that's exactly what they did. The Cavaliers combined a total of 202 yards on 45 pass attempts. The defense was supposed to be the highlight of the team this year, but they let up 40 points to an 1-2 Wake Forest team. Bronco Mendenhall had an impressive run at BYU that tailed off when they went independent. Maybe he can string something together in the next few years or maybe they peaked with Perkins. Only time will tell.
13. Duke Blue Devils 1-5 (LW11)
Last Game: L @ North Carolina State 31-20
Next Game: BYE
Duke hasn't had an easy schedule, but all losses were by double digits except the last second FG against VT. Duke just hasn't been able to put much of anything together this season. Chase Brice needs more weapons, protection, and a better defense if they ever want to win more games. The turnovers can't continue if they want to have any chance at a decent record.
14. Syracuse Orange 1-3 (LW12)
Last Game: L vs. Liberty 38-21
Next Game: @ Clemson 12:00 ACCN
Syracuse seems back to its normal 4-8 seasons. They had one streak of luck getting 10 wins, but every other year has been dismal and this year isn't much different. Losing QB Tommy DeVito for the year hurts, but he wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire to begin with. Not having the home field advantage in the Dome doesn't help either. Dino Babers suddenly finds himself on the hot seat after an embarrassing loss to Liberty
15. Louisville Cardinals 0-4 (LW14)
Last Game: L @ Notre Dame 7-12
Next game: vs. Florida State 12:00 PM ESPN3
Louisville gave Notre Dame all it had and was close to pulling off the upset; however, they remain the sole winless ACC team (ACC record). Louisville has been the biggest disappointment by far based on preseason rankings. Where the early season offensive proficiency went is anyone's guess.
Florida State @ Louisville 12:00 PM ESPN3
#23 NC State @ #14 North Carolina 12:00 PM ESPN
Syracuse @ #1 Clemson 12:00 PM ACCN
#19 Virginia Tech @ Wake Forest 3:30 PM ESPN3
#3 Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh 3:30 ABC
Georgia Tech @ Boston College 4:00 ACCN
Virginia @ #11 Miami 8:00 PM ACCN
Locks of the week:
I just don't see much chance for these underdogs this week. The favorites all have too much to lose and much more to prove. I'd feel less confident about UNC if they weren't coming off a loss, but Mack Brown should have them ready.
Syracuse 0-56 Clemson
Virginia Tech 42-33 Wake Forest
Notre Dame 28-21 Pittsburgh
Virginia 14-31 Miami
NC State 10-35 North Carolina
Both Florida State and Louisville have a lot to prove this week on how they're better than they have been so far. I think it'll be a close game, but Louisville gets their first ACC win. Boston College is a solid team, but GT has been a wildcard and I wouldn't be surprised if an upset occurs.
Florida State 21-24 Louisville
Georgia Tech 21-28 Boston College
Odds subject to change
Florida State 60 NC State 63.5
Louisville -5 North Carolina -16.5
Syracuse 61.5 Virginia Tech -9.5
Clemson -45.5 Wake Forest 70
Notre Dame -9 Georgia Tech 56.5
Pittsburgh 47.5 Boston College -3.5
Quick Picks (0-3 last week):
Notre Dame should come out wanting to make a point that last week was a fluke
Miami needs to keep winning these low tier games, UVA looks completely lost without Armstrong
BC is a solid team and shouldn't give up many turnovers to GT, GT could surprise them, but don't see it this week
Over/Under Picks (2-1 last week):
Both VT and Wake are due for a low scoring game, should be under 70 unless OT
VT/WF Under 70
I don't see why Clemson won't drop 60 on them too, Cuse might sneak in a point or 2
CUSE/CLEM Over 61.5
Over just seems to low, even without Pickett back
ND/PITT Over 47.5