ACC: Power Rankings, Predictions, Picks
Clemson stands tall, Notre Dame pads its playoff resume, and Wake Forest comes up big
Last weekend was a big week for home teams in the ACC, well except Pitt. Louisville got a huge first ACC win over Florida State. Phil Jurkovec led Boston College to a massive victory over the Yellow Jackets. And Sam Hartman pulled off the upset over Virginia Tech. Clemson and Notre Dame remain undefeated and look to remain that way until they play each other on Nov. 7th. UNC and Miami got a win, as both are still in the running for playing in the championship game.
Florida State 16-48 Louisville
NC State 21-48 North Carolina
Syracuse 21-47 Clemson
Virginia Tech 16-23 Wake Forest
Notre Dame 45-3 Pittsburgh
Georgia Tech 27-48 Boston College
Virginia 14-19 Miami
Tier 1: Reigning Champ
1. Clemson Tigers 5-0 (LW1)
Last Week: W vs. Syracuse 47-21
Next Week: vs. Boston College
Clemson had a terrible first half against Syracuse. Luckily for Clemson, terrible for Clemson is still a 27-14 lead and T. Lawrence completing 60% of his passes for 203 yards and 2 TD, 1 INT. 2nd half was all Clemson of course, as they keep on trucking through the ACC.
Tier 2: Competitors
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-0 (LW2)
Last Week: W @Pittsburgh 45-3
Next Week: @Georgia Tech
Notre Dame absolutely dominated Pitt. I thought Notre Dame needed a good win before they play Clemson, and they finally got one. Pitt has struggled more and more without Pickett, but 45 points against that tough defense is impressive. Georgia Tech should be a gimme win before they run into a wall called Clemson.
3. Miami Hurricanes 4-1 (LW3)
Last Week: W vs. UVA 19-14
Next Week: BYE
This was one of those rainy games where it didn’t look that good, but nobody will remember this game in a week. They did what needed to be done, and still have the easiest remaining schedule between Miami, Notre Dame, and UNC. Good chance we see Miami in Charlotte in mid-December.
4. North Carolina Tarheels 4-1 (LW4)
Last Week: W vs. NC State 48-21
Next Week: @UVA
Great win over NC State. UNC continues to have an incredible run game, alongside their future NFL players in the passing games. I don’t think the defense is ready for a Clemson or Alabama, but Mack Brown has this team turning many heads early in his second tenure. Interesting to note, as UNC heads to UVA this week, Mack Brown has NEVER won in Charlottesville.
Tier 3: Mid
5. Virginia Tech Hokies 3-2 (LW5)
Last Week: L @Wake Forest 16-23
Next Week: @Louisville
Virginia Tech had a real sloppy trash game. QB Hendon Hooker struggled near his hometown, but it was bad penalties, defense not getting off the field, and bad rushing play calls that ultimately blew the game. Virginia Tech is usually a disciplined team, and often loses a bad game like this each year, so I’m going to keep them high for another week to see how they respond.
6. Boston College 3-2 (LW7)
Last Week: W vs. Georgia Tech 48-27
Next Week: vs. Boston College
Boston College dominated Georgia Tech offensively. Notre Dame transfer, Phil Jurkovec, has been a huge improvement for the Eagles. It will be interesting to see them match up against Clemson to see just how good they could be over the next few seasons with Jurkovec.
7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2-2 (LW11)
Last Week: W vs. Virginia Tech 23-16
Next Week: @Syracuse
I’m starting to think that I’ve been sleeping on Wake Forest, but I might regret putting them this high so quickly. They got a sloppy win over VT, but Wake definitely deserved that win. Sam Hartman is leading an incredible offense, and the defense really stepped up to stop VT’s rushing attack, and force the pass, then defend the pass to perfection. If the defense can play like that consistently they will continue to rise.
8. NC State Wolfpack 4-2 (LW6)
Last Week: L @UNC 21-48
Next Week: BYE
NC State needs an answer at QB, and they didn’t find it against UNC. Bailey Hockman and Ben Finley both got playing time, but neither excelled. Unless someone steps up soon, the wolfpack will continue to fall, even with a pretty easy schedule to finish it out.
Tier 4: Mediocre
9. Pittsburgh Panthers 2-4 (LW8)
Last Week: L vs. Notre Dame 3-45
Next Week: BYE
Pittsburgh got nothing done offensively, and the defense got torched through the air. Pitt’s fame was in their front four which still has them leading the ACC in sacks, but can only do so much when they can’t get off the field. Pitt has yet to find consistency on either side of the ball and continues to fall in rankings. They head into a much-needed bye week to regroup and potentially bring back Kenny Pickett, but it isn’t looking likely.
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2-3 (LW9)
Last Week: L @Boston College 27-48
Next Week: vs. Notre Dame
Georgia Tech has been outscored 121-34 in the last two weeks. The defense clearly needs a ton of help. Expect another huge loss this week against Notre Dame, but don’t sleep on the Yellow Jackets yet. This team is a year away from being competitive but Geoff Collins is clearly building something special in the 404.
11. Louisville Cardinals 1-4 (LW15)
Last Week: W vs. Florida State 48-16
Next Week: vs. Virginia Tech
Louisville finally got their first win and a big win too. Cardinals have been gaining momentum since a close Notre Dame game and head into an up and down VT team on Halloween, where anything can happen. Don’t forget the preseason hype around this team. They might go on a run to end the season, although it’s too late for any program defining season.
12. Virginia Cavaliers 1-4 (LW 12)
Last Week: L @Miami 14-19
Next Week: vs. North Carolina
Virginia looked better with Brennan Armstrong back at QB. Together, the whole team still seemed to be struggling, but the rain definitely had something to do with that. If Armstrong can bring some life to the offense, the defense could perk back up and get better together.
Tier 5: Almost a bye week
13. Florida State Seminoles 1-4 (LW10)
Last Week: L @Louisville 16-48
Next Week: BYE
I still have no idea what to think about this team. They have the talent but lack everything else. They beat UNC, but it’s too much inconsistently to rank them any higher. The passing game isn't there but Travis is a great athlete and gets away with holding the ball too long by scrambling. If the defense can ever figure out the scheme they could be dangerous.
14. Syracuse Orange 1-4 (LW14)
Last Week: L @Clemson 21-47
Next Week: vs. Wake Forest
Syracuse fought hard against Clemson and kept it “close” (closer than many were projecting). Syracuse could try to use this game to string some momentum together going into the back half of the season or fall flat again. Either way, its interesting to see Cuse have Clemson's number every single year regardless of how good or bad either team is.
15. Duke Blue Devils 1-5 (LW14)
Last Week: BYE
Next Week: vs. Charlotte
Well, you can’t lose if you don’t play. We all know Duke is bad in the ACC, but they should still be able to beat Charlotte. Hopefully, they don’t embarrass the ACC anymore.
Boston College @ Clemson Noon ABC
Wake Forest @ Syracuse Noon ACCN
Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech 3:30 ABC
Virginia Tech @ Louisville 4:00 ACCN
Charlotte @ Duke 7:00 ESPN3
North Carolina @ Virginia 8:00 ACCN
Locks of the week: (4-1 last week)
Boston College @ Clemson
BC looks good, but not Clemson good
Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech
Notre Dame is surely focused on Clemson next week, but shouldn’t have a problem with Georgia Tech
North Carolina @ Virginia
Even if UVA could turn this into a shootout, UNC can easily outscore them
Toss Ups: (2-0 last week)
Wake Forest @ Syracuse
Both teams are building momentum, but Wake can score much easier
Virginia Tech @ Louisville
Louisville is heating up, but a bounce back from VT should be able to handle them
Charlotte @ Duke
Do either of these teams even have fans? I reckon duke can pull it off
Game Spread Total
Boston College @ Clemson CLEM -31.5 60.5
Wake Forest @ Syracuse WAKE -11 59
Notre Dame @ Georgia Tech ND -20 57
Virginia Tech @ Louisville VT -3.5 66.5
Charlotte @ Duke DUKE -10 56
North Carolina @ Virginia UNC -6.5 61.5
Quick Picks (2-1 last week):
UNC should be able to hold off UVA by at least a TD if they want to play in the championship
I'm still convinced VT can bounce back and be fine, even though Louisville is hot
Over/Under Picks (3-0 last week):
Not a huge fan of betting overs when the spread is 10+ points, and both VT and UVA have been too inconsistent as of late for me to put money on them. Probably will utilize a teaser here.
2 game teaser (6-point -105): Boston College/Clemson o54.5 North Carolina/Virginia o55.5
BC, Clemson, and UNC all have an offense clearly capable of scoring lots of points this week. UVA with Armstrong should be at least 20 points as well. I think it'll be pretty easy for these 4 teams to score 4TDs on average unless some big storm pops up this weekend.