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ACC Power Rankings: Preseason

Let’s look into our crystal ball and predict how the ACC will shake out

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Football is just around the corner and the top and, unfortunately, the bottom of the league seem like known quantities. If you are looking for our beloved North Carolina Tar Heels, keep on scrolling.

The middle of the ACC seems like a toss-up and this ranking might be unrecognizable by the time conference play begins.

The good news is that this is college football and anything can happen. Perhaps in a few weeks, you will not have to scroll as far to find Carolina.

Without further ado, let’s make some guesses on where these ACC teams fall in THB’s ACC Power Rankings.

1. Clemson

The back-to-back-to-back ACC champs are looking to make it four in a row. The prognosticators believe in the Tigers with their No. 2 ranking in the preseason AP Poll and overwhelming margin in the preseason voting for the ACC title. Out of the 148 votes cast, Clemson received 139 to win the ACC Championship. An absolutely insane front seven along with an experienced dual-threat quarterback are just a couple of reasons why the Tigers are a top choice nationally and in the league.

2. Miami

The Hurricanes come in at No. 8 in the AP Poll and are the preseason favorites for the Coastal Division. Led by Jaquan Johnson and Michael Jackson in the secondary, Miami’s defense can make this team elite this season. The U can make their case early with a Sunday night win at AT&T Stadium versus LSU.

3. Florida State

There will be some questions about this FSU team with new head coach Willie Taggart at the helm. The No. 19 Seminoles resolved one question this week with the announcement of Deondre Francois winning the quarterback battle for Week One. In the post-Jimbo era in Tallahassee, what can we expect from Florida State this season?

4. Virginia Tech

The Hokies have an opportunity to make a statement in Week One on the road versus Florida State. However, No. 20 Virginia Tech did not have a smooth offseason with the loss of three defensive starters. One was dismissed from the school, one was ruled academically ineligible, and one transfered. Combined with some questions about quarterback Josh Jackson’s academic status this offseason, it will be interesting to see if VT can bring it all together.

5. NC State

Like Duke in 2014 and Carolina in 2016, is this 2018 NC State team destined to be this year’s Icarus? Or, with Ryan Finley in the conference and national spotlight, can the Wolfpack continue on their upward trajectory from last season? Their creampuff schedule will not do them any favors if considered in the College Football Playoffs rankings later in the season, but it should give them a chance to get things worked out before a Week Three matchup versus West Virginia.

6. Georgia Tech

KirVonte Benson and TaQuon Marshall, 1,000 yard rushers from last season, are back with the Jackets, so the ol’ flexbone should be just fine. However, Georgia Tech’s season will depend on what happens with a new defensive coordinator and switching to the 3-4. If the defense clicks, maybe GT can hang around for the Coastal title.

7. Boston College

The Eagles will boast the preseason selection for ACC Player of the Year in AJ Dillon. There will be a lot of pressure on him because BC’s season will likely go as Dillon’s season goes. If he can build on his ACC Rookie of the Year performance, Boston College could be a dark horse in the Atlantic.

8. Duke

With linebacker Joe Giles-Harris and cornerback Mark Gilbert leading the Blue Devil defense, the team from Durham may improve upon their solid defense from last season. Can quarterback Daniel Jones sustain the offense like at the end of last year? If so, Duke could make some moves in the Coastal.

9. Pitt

The Panthers have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the conference. They host Penn State and travel to Central Florida and quasi-ACC Notre Dame. Injuries played a factor in Pitt’s season last year and there are still some questions in the depth chart.

10. Louisville

In a Lamar-less world in Louisville, what will the Cardinals’ offense look like this year? Louisville fans can breathe a sigh of relief with Jaylen Smith ready to play after an emergency appendectomy earlier this month. But it will not be easy as the Cardinals square off against top ranked Alabama in Orlando Saturday night.

11. Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are returning many starters from their 8-5 squad last season and could be another one of those dark horses in the Atlantic. Wake Forest will ease into their schedule before hosting Boston College and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks. The trajectory of the team may be known by Week Five.

12. North Carolina

Dadgum shoes. Anyways, there is some serious talent throughout the lineup, but can Larry Fedora get all those parts moving together? The Heels need a couple of wins to start the season, otherwise that losing snowball could keep rolling and growing until October.

13. Virginia

The Cavaliers may have the easiest schedule in the conference, but it does mean it will be a cakewalk. After starting 5-1 last season, UVA stumbled to a 6-7 finish. Can Bronco get his team back on the right track this year?

14. Syracuse

After their big win over second ranked Clemson last season, the Orange fell off the map with five consecutive losses to end the season. Will Syracuse be another spoiler this season with a few high profile games?


Who is your vote for No. 1 in the ACC Power Rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    (50 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    Florida State
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Virginia Tech
    (0 votes)
  • 12%
    (8 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now


Who is your vote for No. 14 in the ACC Power Rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Wake Forest
    (3 votes)
  • 31%
    North Carolina
    (19 votes)
  • 26%
    (16 votes)
  • 28%
    (17 votes)
  • 8%
    (5 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now