Heading in to week three of the college football season, how have things shaken out in the ACC after the first two games of the season? Let’s take a look at this week’s ACC Power Rankings.
1. Florida State (2-0)
Who really expected FSU to get up for the game against Charleston Southern with the upcoming game against Louisville? Will the talented FSU defense be able to slow down the gifted Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals’ high-powered offense? I look forward to finding out on Saturday.
Next Game: at Louisville
2. Louisville (2-0)
Louisville moved up to No. 2 because it sounds more fun to have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up this upcoming weekend. Plus, the much hyped Cardinals’ offense has averaged 66 points a game. Lamar Jackson has more touchdowns (runs and passes combined) than every team in the ACC, except for Miami. Will Jackson still be considered a Heisman candidate after Saturday?
Next Game: vs. Florida State
3. Clemson (2-0)
Another close game where their talented offense struggled. That being said, they are still 2-0 (with one of those wins on the road against an SEC opponent), and the law of averages says that their offense will eventually get going. Will this be the week?
Next Game: vs. South Carolina State
4. Miami (2-0)
The offense has scored an average of 54 points a game, while their defense has only allowed 6.5 points per game. That is pretty impressive through the first two games, but the Hurricanes get their first real test of the season this week on the road at Appalachian State.
Next Game: at Appalachian State
5. UNC (1-1)
The Heels bounced back with a nice win against Illinois. No, Illinois is not a big name football school, but the Heels put up 48 points on the road (in front of a sold-out crowd) against a Power-5 school. After six games away from Chapel Hill, UNC returns home to Kenan Stadium to take on James Madison. The Heels will try not to look ahead to the looming match-up against Pittsburgh the following week.
Next Game: vs. James Madison
6. Pittsburgh (2-0)
The Panthers won their renewed rivalry game this past week against Penn State and looked impressive doing so. Pittsburgh is heading into a tough game on the road against Oklahoma State who is coming off a loss that shouldn’t have been a loss. After that, the Panthers travel to Chapel Hill for a big Coastal Division game. The next two weeks will certainly give us a better idea on the direction the Pitt is heading.
Next Game: at Oklahoma State
7. Georgia Tech (2-0)
The Yellow Jackets have literally run their way to a 2-0 record. Through two games, the team has thrown for fewer than 200 yards.
Next Game: vs. Vanderbilt
8. Virginia Tech (1-1)
The Hokies jumped out to a 14-0 lead and it appeared like they were on their way to getting Justin Fuente his first big victory at Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, turnovers (5 total) hurt the Hokies in their 45-24 loss to Tennessee. Virginia Tech leads the ACC with nine fumbles on the season, and they will need to get this corrected before they play a tough Boston College defense.
Next Game: vs. Boston College
9. Wake Forest (2-0)
This may be the only time Wake Forest sits at the top of the ACC Atlantic Division, so Wake fans should enjoy it while they can. Wake Forest sits at 2-0 after a nice victory over Duke, and there is a good possibility that they get to 3-0 with Delaware coming to Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons still sit dead last in the ACC in points per game and yards per game, so they will need to improve on that side of the ball.
Next Game: vs. Delaware
10. NC State (1-1)
A bad loss to in-state rivals ECU this past weekend. The offense doesn't appear to be the problem for the Wolfpack, but the defense could keep this team from playing in a bowl game. This was a game they needed to win, especially with the tough stretch of games they have coming up (Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville). Everyone’s favorite stat from this past weekend: Since 2013, ECU now has just as many ACC wins as Dave Doeren.
Next Game: vs. Old Dominion
11. Duke (1-1)
It is still early, but a home loss to Wake Forest this past week might signal a return to a typical Duke year in football. Daniel Jones had a good game at quarterback, passing for over 300 yards, but the Blue Devils only had 37 yards rushing in the game. Duke also needs to cut down on their turnovers, as they already have eight through two games.
Next Game: at Northwestern
12. Syracuse (1-1)
The Orange have shown that they can put up points in Dino Babers’ up-tempo system (averaging 30 points per game through the first two games). Their defense still leaves a lot to be desired, though, as they gave up 62 points to Louisville (it was 21-0 after the first five minutes).
Next Game: vs. South Florida
13. Boston College (1-1)
Congratulations Boston College, you won a game, but you have still not won an ACC matchup since 2014 (a 28-7 victory over Syracuse). I will give credit where it is due, though; Boston College’s defense has done very well in their first two games. The Eagles are at the top of the league in fewest yards allowed per game (180 yards per game), and they are only allowing 12 points per game.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech
14. Virginia (0-2)
Great effort against the Ducks in Oregon, but we don’t award participation trophies in college football. It is going to be a long year for the Cavaliers and Bronco Mendenhall.
Next Game: at Connecticut