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ACC Power Rankings: Re-loading Clemson still No. 1

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We have Jaylen Samuels

NCAA Football: ACC Football Kickoff Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I will be putting together weekly power rankings during football season this year. Hopefully it’s going to be on Tuesday or Wednesday once the season starts, but I’m really excited and have a lot to do this week so we’ll start early.

1. Clemson. I don’t have a real reason for picking Clemson over FSU, but I’m doing it anyway. Their defense is unreal and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of playmakers even without Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and Mike Williams. They also don’t play Alabama and have FSU at home which gives them a slight edge.

2. FSU. Essentially 1B but the schedule is brutal. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner might be their fourth toughest game. They could probably make the playoffs as a 2 loss team, depending on how things shake out, and they might need to. The offensive line almost got Deondre Francois killed last year and has been an issue for a few years now. This does not bode well against Alabama, Clemson, and NC State.

3. Louisville. They lost a lot of talent and looked awful in the last three games after rolling through the ACC, but they still have Lamar Jackson. I’m not sure if this is a bowl team if you take Jackson off of it, but they looked like a playoff team for three quarters of the season last year.

4. Virginia Tech. I feel obligated to put a Coastal team at this point, and I have no idea which one will win the division. The last time a team from the Coastal went to the championship game in back to back years, it was VT in 2010-11. I don’t feel good about this at all but I don’t feel good about any other Coastal team either.

5. NC State. I won’t make you guys feel old by sharing my earliest memories as a State fan, but this is the best team I’ve seen here by far. It sucks that Clemson and FSU are two of the top five programs in the country AND the defending Heisman Trophy winner are all in our division, when we have this much talent. If we had finished off ECU, Clemson and FSU like we should have, a lot more national media would be picking us to be playoff contenders.

6. Miami. The Hurricanes’ struggles to make the most of their talent is well documented. They have a great opportunity to finally make the championship game this year but I can’t pick them to make the championship game until they prove they actually can.

7. Pittsburgh. I have a soft spot for Pitt because of James Conner and Pat Narduzzi needs more credit as a coach. They aren’t a great team by any stretch, but they’ll make a bowl and could win the Coastal depending on the tiebreaker. Their toughest conference game is the Pack at home. Must be nice to have a schedule like that.

8. Georgia Tech. I’m throwing darts at this point, which is basically what preseason rankings are anyway. The Jackets won 9 games last year and I’m not sure if anybody noticed, but I definitely didn’t. The triple option might be effective, but it should be banned anyway. If you told me they win the Coastal this year, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

9. Wake Forest. I feel bad for Dave Clawson. He’s built a nice program but he’s in the toughest division in the country. They’ll probably make a bowl but they can’t afford any slip ups. If any team doesn’t show up against the Deacons, they will beat them (cc: NC State).

10. UNC-Chapel Hill. This year will be a huge test for the program that Larry Fedora has or hasn’t built yet. Just a friendly reminder that they were just as close to 6 wins last year as we were to 9, with the number two pick in the draft (still haven’t figured out how), and 5 senior skill players.

11. Syracuse. I admittedly don’t know much about the Orange, but they kept it close against LSU and Clemson last year and were on their fourth string QB at one point if I recall correctly.

12. Boston College. I don’t even want to talk about Boston College. I don’t want to think about what they might ruin when we head there after we face Clemson at home. Honestly, I’m more terrified of facing BC than Clemson and Louisville this year.

13. Duke. David Cutcliffe has a real test ahead of him this year. I can’t name one player on their roster but also wouldn’t be surprised if Cutcliffe squeezed 7 wins out of his team.

14. Virginia. The last thing I remember about UVA football is that kid becoming a meme a couple years ago when they gave up a late touchdown to ND. This is the only ACC team I can’t see making a bowl game.