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ACC Football Power Rankings - Week 3

FSU and BC played the dumbest game of the year (so far)

VMI v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Just a reminder: these are point-in-time rankings, not a ranking based on the totality of the season’s work. If there seems to be an indiscernible difference between teams, then I’ll use results from prior weeks to differentiate. These are also arbitrary, so I’ll do what I want.

1. Duke (last week: 38-14 W vs Northwestern)

The Blue Devils controlled this game from start to finish as Northwestern never really threatened. Duke continues to be impressive and Riley Leonard continues to look the part of an upper echelon ACC quarterback. You have to wonder how long Duke’s going to be able to keep Mike Elko in Durham.

2. Miami (last week: 48-7 W vs Bethune-Cookman)

This game was never going to be close, and it never was. The Hurricanes outgained the Wildcats by 424 yards. With Temple, a bye week, and Georgia Tech up next, Miami should be 5-0 heading into their October 14th game at UNC.

3. Syracuse (last week: 35-20 W @ Purdue)

The Orange finally stepped away from crushing lined up tomato cans and came away with a two-score road victory over a Big Ten team. Granted, Purdue’s not one of the top teams in that conference, but this was still a good measuring stick game for Syracuse. Garrett Shrader wasn’t the best at passing, but he didn’t need to be since he used his legs to rip off 195 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. The Orange have Army up next before they jump into ACC play with Clemson, UNC, and Florida State in back-to-back-to-back games.

4. Clemson (last week: 48-14 W vs Florida Atlantic)

This game was over quickly as the Tigers jumped out to a three-score 1st quarter lead and Tom Herman’s FAU rebuild project just wasn’t going to be able to muster enough offense to overcome that. Clemson’s defense was the story of the game, though, as they scored an interception return TD and set up the Clemson offense with a pair of 26-yard TD drives.

5. North Carolina (last week: 31-13 W vs Minnesota)

UNC continues knock down the mid-level P5 teams on their schedule, this time beating the Golden Gophers at home. Drake Maye had another two pick outing, but it didn’t matter since Minnesota starts a QB with a completion percentage that would make Harrison Beck blush. That game likely goes down to the wire with a competent QB since the Gophers were successful on the ground. The Tar Heels start ACC play at Pittsburgh this Saturday.

6. NC State (last week: 45-7 W vs VMI)

The Wolfpack put up a thoroughly convincing win over an out-matched VMI squad, scoring in all three phases of the game. The offense averaged 6.5 yards/play in an effort that saw them tally just a hair under 500 yards of mistake free football. The defense held the Keydets to 191 total yards and allowed only one third down conversion on ten attempts. It was a game that State was supposed to dominate, but dominate they did. Next up is Friday’s ACC opener at Virginia.

7. Louisville (last week: 21-14 W @ Indiana)

The Cardinals pushed the ACC’s weekly win total over the Big Ten to four with their victory over the Hoosiers. Louisville’s offense did all its work in the first half as they were kept off the scoreboard in the second half and only had one of their five second half drives mount more than 20 yards - although that was the game’s final drive where the salted away the clock. Indiana appears to have a solid defense, much to the dismay of the SP+ rankings, having held Ohio State to 23 points and Louisville to 21. Next up is Boston College.

8. Florida State (last week: 31-29 W @ Boston College)

FSU played to the level of opponent this week, struggling to get by Boston College. They’re lucky to have not left Chestnut Hill, but they did survive. Still, for a team that looked like clearly the best in the conference, they played against at an equal level to what had looked like the worst team in the conference.

9. Boston College (last week: 29-31 L vs Florida State)

You kinda have to put BC right behind FSU. The Eagles put up 457 yards of offense, but hamstrung themselves continuously with 18 penalties and 131 yards in the wrong direction. If you know a BC fan, get them some beer or Pepto or maybe both. Apparently the Eagles want to play everyone to a one-score game this year, or Jeff Hafley’s just really fond of the 2006 NC State season and wants his to experience his own.

10. Wake Forest (last week: 27-24 W @ Old Dominion)

Wake was down 24-7 midway through the 3rd quarter in this one before they woke up and finally topped the Monarchs. ODU had a 92.4% win probability (according to ESPN) with less than 11:00 left in the game and still lost. What? Do they think they’re UNC or something? The Demon Deacons offense was the issue in this one, giving up a pair of long defensive touchdowns to dig themselves in the hole.

11. Pittsburgh (last week: 6-17 L @ West Virginia)

Pitt has a legit offense issue. Holding an opponent to 211 yards should get you a win (and granted, it did for West Virginia... yes, there was only 422 yards of total offense combined in this game), but two Pitt INTs set up 10 of West Virginia’s points in this one. Until the Panthers show they have an offense capable of putting up more than 21 points on FBS opponents, reaching bowl eligibility is going to be a step above achievability.

12. Georgia Tech (last week: 23-48 L @ Ole Miss)

The Yellow Jackets kept it close for the first half, trailing 10-3 at halftime. They only had three drives in the first half, and two of those made it inside the Rebels 5-yardline, but they only got three points out of those two drives and their other drive of the half resulted in a missed 42-yard field goal attempt. GT scored TDs on 3-of-8 second half drives, but Ole Miss scored TDs on 5-of-7, so that was that. This GT team is still better than expected, albeit flawed.

13. Virginia Tech (last week: 16-34 L @ Rutgers)

VT did cut the game to a 5-point game early in the 4th quarter, but Rutgers immediately responded and the Hokies weren’t able to respond again. Rutgers is 3-0 with a QB - the only QB who has played for them this year, mind you - who has thrown for 407 yards in those three games and is completing just 51.5% of his passes (a career-high for him, no less). None of that is necessarily pertinent to Virginia Tech, but it’s more interesting than actual Virginia Tech football right now.

14. Virginia (last week: 14-42 L @ Maryland)

The Cavaliers jumped out to a 14-0 lead early with freshman QB Anthony Colandrea looking like a killer. It all went downhill from there with a trio of Colandrea interceptions - he added a lost fumble, too, for good measure - allowing Maryland to score all the remaining points in the game. It was bad, and this Wahoos team is not good right now. Hopefully they stay not-good for at least one more week.