With every team having played at least two ACC games, we have a slightly better idea about how this conference race might play out. Virginia has emerged as the favorite, while North Carolina and Duke have each suffered two early losses, further validating the competitiveness of the ACC. Here are our current power rankings:
1) #3 Virginia (15-1)
The Cavaliers have separated themselves from the rest of the conference as the frontrunner. UVa answered any questions people had about them with a dominating victory over North Carolina. They have a chance to build on their 4-0 record with a stretch that includes games against NC State, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest.
2) #7 Duke (13-2)
The Blue Devils dropped another road game to an unranked opponent when they traveled to Raleigh to take on NC State. Granted, this one was a rivalry game, but it still brings up major questions about their defense. They won’t be this high for long if they continue to struggle like they have. Duke will likely get back on track with games against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest upcoming.
3) #19 Clemson (14-1)
Clemson is off to a 3-0 start in ACC play. While their schedule hasn’t been the toughest thus far, taking down Boston College on the road was a sneaky good win. They continue to rise in the AP rankings and they have looked like a legitimate threat to take the ACC crown. That theory will be put to the test in a stretch that includes road games at NC State, UNC, and Virginia, as well as home games against Miami and Notre Dame.
4) #18 Miami (13-2)
Miami has been tough to figure out. They followed up their ugly loss at Georgia Tech with an impressive win over Florida State. In just a three-day span, the Hurricanes will have games on the road against Clemson and at home against Duke. Winning just one of those would be big, but if they win both, Miami would prove they are the real deal.
5) #20 North Carolina (13-4)
The Tar Heels would’ve liked to return from their road trip with at least one win, but that was not the case. After losing a tight one at Florida State, they got manhandled by Virginia, as the Cavaliers notched their fifth straight against the Heels in Charlottesville. A dominating home win over Boston College was a step in the right direction, but their upcoming road tilt with Notre Dame might be a must-win if Carolina wants to contend for a third-straight ACC title.
6) Notre Dame (13-3)
Like Virginia and Clemson, Notre Dame is undefeated in conference play, but their level of competition has been poor. While their 30-point walloping of NC State was impressive, especially since the Wolfpack turned around and handled Duke, the Fighting Irish need to prove they can beat top-tier ACC teams.
7) #23 Florida State (12-3)
The Seminoles have had easily the toughest slate to start conference play, with all three of their games coming against top-15 teams. Their 1-2 record is misleading, but it’s likely that’ll improve with home games coming up against Louisville and Syracuse.
8) Boston College (11-6)
Boston College is no longer the bottom dweller of the ACC. Aside from a recent big loss to North Carolina, all of their conference games have been decided by six points or less, with wins over Duke and Wake Forest, and losses to Virginia and Clemson. They are establishing themselves as a team who can be competitive with anyone in the league
9) Syracuse (12-5)
Syracuse let a great opportunity slip through its fingers by allowing Notre Dame to leave the Carrier Dome with a win. They need to be able to protect their home court if they want to hear their name called on Selection Sunday. After unsurprisingly falling to Virginia on the road, the Orange will have another tough away game against Florida State next.
10) Louisville (11-4)
Louisville has been very up-and-down this season. They squandered a great resume-building opportunity when they failed to finish off Clemson. They will have a similar opportunity tonight when they travel to Tallahassee to take on FSU.
11) Wake Forest (8-7)
The Demon Deacons secured a solid win on their home floor over Syracuse, but couldn’t pull out a win at Boston College. They could very well be 2-1 in the conference were it not for a late charge from Carolina in their ACC opener. Wake Forest will look to even their record when they take on Virginia Tech.
12) NC State (11-5)
NC State’s week was a tale of two very different games. They went on the road and got demolished by Notre Dame. However, just three days later, the Wolfpack toppled Duke on their home court. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier with upcoming games against Clemson and at Virginia.
13) Virginia Tech (12-4)
It may seem unfair to have a 12-4 team this low, but VT simply hasn’t beaten anyone noteworthy. After a soft non-conference slate, the Hokies kicked off ACC with double digit losses to Syracuse and Virginia followed by a win over number 15 on this list. They are in decent shape because of their record, but they still have a lot to prove if they want to make the tournament.
14) Georgia Tech (8-7)
After a promising first year under Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech has had a very disappointing start to the season. The Yellow Jackets are trying to turn things around with recent wins over Miami and Yale. They will play Notre Dame tonight for the second time already this season.
15) Pittsburgh (8-8)
It comes as no surprise that Pitt is the lone winless team in the conference. They’ll have a chance to change that, though, when they welcome Georgia Tech on Saturday.