Now that every team has played at least two games, it feels like ACC football is officially back. There are five remaining unbeaten teams, four of which are in the top ten of the AP rankings. Moreover, four of those unbeaten teams are set to play against each other this coming weekend. Without further ado, here are your week 5 ACC power rankings.
1) #1 Clemson Tigers (3-0, 2-0)
The Tigers went up 10-0 on Virginia in the first quarter and while the Hoos managed to hang around for most of the game, they were never able to get the lead back under double digits. Trevor Lawrence had another solid day passing the football with 329 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. So far, there hasn’t been too much reason to question Clemson’s standing as the top-ranked team in both the ACC and the country, but a confident-looking Miami team could have something to say about that this weekend.
2) #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0 1-0)
The Irish had a bye this past week and their matchup with Wake Forest that was originally set for September 26th was rescheduled for December 12th due to COVID. Thus, they will have had three weeks of rest when they welcome in Florida State this Saturday. It may be some time before we truly find out how Notre Dame fits into the ACC as their first two conference games will have come against the teams at the very bottom of our power rankings.
3) #8 North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0, 2-0)
Mack Brown said before the Tar Heels’ tilt with Boston College that he was expecting a fight, and he got one. The game was essentially decided when Trey Morrison intercepted a pass and ran it all the way back on a two-point conversion attempt from BC that would’ve tied the game with less than a minute remaining. Similar to Notre Dame, the Heels had three weeks in between this one and their opener against Syracuse, so some of their struggles can be attributed to rust. The Heels host Virginia Tech this Saturday in a top-20 matchup.
4) #7 Miami Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0)
The Hurricanes have looked really good so far, but they also haven’t played anyone particularly noteworthy. Louisville hasn’t lived up to their preseason top-20 ranking and while a 52-10 win is nothing to just ignore, Florida State has been worse than shaky thus far under first-year coach Mike Norvell. Miami will get a chance to prove itself once and for all this weekend when they face Clemson on the road.
5) #19 Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0, 2-0)
Despite the loss of some personnel due to COVID, the Virginia Tech is undefeated with wins over NC State and Duke. The Hokies have really established themselves on the ground, amassing over 300 yards in each of those games. They’ll look to make it three straight against teams from North Carolina when they take on the Tar Heels this Saturday.
6) Virginia Cavaliers (1-1, 1-1)
Virginia held its own against Clemson better than expected, especially given how much the Hoos lost since these teams met in the ACC Championship last year. Having only played two games (one of which came against winless Duke), it’s hard to know exactly how good this Virginia team actually is. We should know a little more when the Cavaliers take on NC State this weekend.
7) Pittsburgh Panthers (3-1, 2-1)
Pitt suffered a heartbreaker at the hands of the Wolfpack, who completed a touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining to go up by one. I know what you might be asking: why are the Panthers still slotted above NC State? To put it simply, I think Pittsburgh could’ve played a lot better than they did and I still think they belong in the top half of this conference. They’ll look to bounce back at Boston College on Saturday.
8) NC State Wolfpack (2-1, 2-1)
NC State is really just a few plays away from being 0-3, yet here they sit. The Wolfpack should have an extra boost of confidence after that exciting win over Pitt. We’ll see if they can keep it going when they travel to take on Virginia this Saturday.
9) Boston College Eagles (2-1, 1-1)
BC very nearly lost to a Texas State team that they were favored to beat by three touchdowns, but some fourth quarter heroics from QB Phil Jurkovec and a late field goal from Aaron Boumerhi allowed the Eagles to escape with a win. They followed that up with a hard fought game against a top-15 opponent in UNC that came down to the last minute. First-year coach Jeff Hafley has Boston College playing inspired football here early, which should set the stage for a good matchup with Pittsburgh this weekend.
10) Louisville Cardinals (1-2, 0-2)
The Cardinals suffered a pair of frustrating losses to Miami and Pittsburgh. With a bye this past week, Scott Satterfield had a chance to go to the drawing board and figure out what exactly went wrong. Louisville will have a nice chance to bounce back in a Friday night game this week at Georgia Tech.
11) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-2, 0-2)
As expected, Wake Forest took care of business against Campbell, winning 66-14. The Demon Deacons are still winless in the ACC though, as they squandered an opportunity to take down NC State in what was ultimately a 45-42 loss. Wake Forest is another team we really don’t know too much about yet, but I think we can safely keep them towards the bottom of these rankings for now. They are off this weekend.
12) Syracuse Orange (1-2, 1-2)
Syracuse had really struggled to score the ball until the offense came alive against Georgia Tech in a 37-20 victory. Tommy DeVito threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns while Sean Tucker added 112 yards on the ground and a pair of scores himself. Having been off this past weekend, the Orange will have had two weeks to prepare for their upcoming tilt with Duke on Saturday.
13) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-2, 1-1)
After kicking the season off with an exciting 16-13 victory over Florida State, the Yellow Jackets have now lost two straight games, neither of which they were particularly competitive in. They’ll try to get things headed back in the right direction on Friday night against Louisville.
14) Florida State Seminoles (1-2, 0-2)
The Seminoles have looked abysmal thus far under first-year coach Mike Norvell. They kicked things off with a loss to last year’s conference bottom-dweller in Georgia Tech. Then, they got absolutely annihilated by Miami. This past week, they got down by two touchdowns against Jacksonville State but ultimately seized control in the second half. Things don’t get any easier this weekend as FSU travels to South Bend to take on #5 Notre Dame.
15) Duke Blue Devils (0-4, 0-4)
Duke has had a rough start to the season, to say the least. After what could’ve been seen as an encouraging performance in a losing effort against Notre Dame, the Blue Devils have now lost each of its first four games. I’m not convinced this is actually the worst team in the ACC, but the simple fact that Duke has at least twice as many losses as any other team in the conference leaves me no choice but to put them here. They’ll try to pick up their first win of the season at Syracuse this Saturday.