Every single ACC team played at home this week, with outcomes pretty much playing out as expected (insert frowny face for State fans), minus Pitt’s loss to Cincy, but that was expected to be a close game anyways. Let’s see how the power rankings shake out:
1. Florida State (last week: 66-13 W vs Southern Miss)
Well, we expected Florida State would dispatch Southern Miss without much trouble, and they did just that. FSU gets Boston College next, so they’ll be 3-0 heading to Death Valley on Sept 23rd. A balanced offense, excellent defense, and solid special teams has the Seminoles looking like the class of the ACC. Then again, it’s Week 2, so anything can - and likely will - happen.
2. Duke (last week: 42-7 W vs Lafayette)
Blue Devils QBs were a perfect 20-for-20 passing, with Duke’s only incompletion of the day being a clock-stopping spike to setup a end-of-half field goal attempt. The offense was well balanced, running and passing for over 250 yards each. It’s a win over Lafayette, so there’s really not anything to be taken from it, but Duke didn’t have a letdown after their big win over Clemson, so that’s a test passed.
3. Miami (last week: 48-33 W vs Texas A&M)
Texas A&M looked like the better team early, but Miami turned the tide, erasing a 17-7 deficit in the 2nd quarter to a 15-point win. Texas A&M, of course, isn’t a real Top 25 team - at least not until they prove it - but it’s still a very solid win for Miami against a talented, if under-coached, team. Tyler Van Dyke looked great passing the ball for the second straight week, the offense kept ahead of the chains for the better part of the game, there were a couple big play TD passes, and a kickoff return TD to squash what little momentum the A&M had early in the 3rd quarter. The Canes need to prove they can run the ball, but they look like one of the three best teams in the ACC right now.
4. Louisville (last week: 56-0 W vs Murray State)
Murray State is not good, but Louisville dispatched them soundly, so they jump up to here this week. There are issues that will doom the Cardinals down the road if not cleaned up - a pair of interceptions thrown and three balls that hit the ground, but Louisville was fortunate enough to recover. Is Louisville really the 4th best team in the ACC? Probably not, but the Cards offense has put up 1,178 yards in two games and they still have that come-from-behind victory over GT, so they’ll sit here for now.
5. North Carolina (last week: 40-34 W vs Appalachian State)
You remember last week when everyone was saying UNC’s defense was legit this year and the team was a playoff contender because of it? Well, 494 yards and 34 points to Appalachian State later and I believe the pundits will be pumping their brakes. Then again, it’s UNC, so the media will always pump them up. If App’s QB was more accurate, or if their D-line was more stout, the Mountaineers would have pulled off the win, but instead UNC is 2-0. Gross.
6. Wake Forest (last week: 36-20 W vs Vanderbilt)
Wake wasn’t by any means dominant, but they passed the test against Vandy, slowing pulling away from the Commodores to capture their first win over an FBS team this year. The running game clicked, the defense forced three turnovers, and Mitch Griffis was efficient passing the ball. Even without Sam Hartman running the show, the Deacs may still be a problem.
7. Syracuse (last week: 48-7 W vs Western Michigan)
Syracuse stepped up the level of competition in Week 2, facing an FBS team, but they still went up against an over-matched opponent and the score was as expected. The game was - again - over by halftime. Of course, that’s what you’d want to see if you’re a Syracuse fan if those are your first two games of the year. We’ll know more after next week when the Orange play at Purdue.
8. Clemson (last week: 66-17 W vs Charleston Southern)
Don’t let the final score fool you, this one was a tight game until the 2nd half. Also, don’t let that first sentence fool you, Charleston Southern was never going to win this game. Clemson’s defense held the Buccaneers to 74 yards, but ChaSo was able to take advantage of early Tiger errors to keep things close, even holding a 14-7 lead in the 1st quarter. Still no idea what to make of this Clemson team.
9. Georgia Tech (last week: 48-13 W vs South Carolina State)
Granted, it was against South Carolina State, one of the worst FCS teams, but Georgia Tech looked the part. If not for their 2nd half no-show against Louisville last week, we’d be talking much differently about the Yellow Jackets right now. Next up is a road trip next Saturday against Ole Miss.
10. Pittsburgh (last week: 21-27 L vs Cincinnati)
The Panthers have a major offensive problem. The O managed just 262 total yards, with 134 of them coming in their two early 4th quarter scoring drives that cut a 20-point deficit down to 6 points. Their final two drives of the game went all of 16 yards, even spoiling an interception that set up a Panthers drive at the Bearcats’ 43-yardline. Pitt’s defense doesn’t look like one of Pat Narduzzi’s best, but they’ll keep them in games.
11. NC State (last week: 24-45 L vs Notre Dame)
This was a one-score game heading into the 4th quarter, and then NC State melted down on their way to a lopsided-looking final score. The defensive miscues showed up for the second straight game, which is an alarming trend. Also alarming is that the UConn team that the Wolfpack struggled to put away a week ago got completely run off the field by Georgia State this week. State has a lot of questions to answer if this is going to be anything more than a middling team.
12. Virginia Tech (last week: 17-24 L vs Purdue)
The Hokies mounted a furious 2nd quarter comeback, scoring 17 points in the last six minutes of the 1st half to tie the game at 17 heading into half time. Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, that was the entirety of their scoring on the day. VT’s offense mounted only 286 yards of offense, with an awkwardly low 8 rushing attempts (for 55 yards) in a one-score game.
13. Virginia (last week: 35-36 L vs James Madison)
The Wahoos had a 93.9% chance of winning heading into the 4th quarter, sporting an 11-point lead, but Virginia’s final three drives netted 22 total yards on 16 plays while James Madison mounted a pair of 80-yard TD drives (and a pair of failed two-point conversion attempts) to earn the win. Virginia’s passing game actually worked for once, but the running game was bottled up by the Dukes, netting just 49 sack-adjusted yards on 31 carries.
14. Boston College (last week: 31-28 W vs Holy Cross)
Holy Cross is one of the better FCS programs, having won four straight Patriot League titles and posted a 22-4 record over 2021 and 2022... but Boston College is an ACC program. They shouldn’t need to squeak out a win over an FCS program, no matter how good. Oh, and that 3-point OT loss to Northern Illinois in Week 1 looks even worse considering the Huskies lost to FCS Southern Illinois this week. Boston College is in serious trouble.