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ACC Rankings Week One

NCAA Football: West Virginia vs Virginia Tech Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


1. Clemson Tigers: It didn’t take long for the defending national champions to find their way back to the top of the ACC. A matchup against Kent State provides little insight to how well the Tigers have reloaded. The Golden Flash only mustered one entire yard passing (for serious) and only 120 total offensive yards. Clemson generated 665 yards and three separate QBs spent time under center. Their place at number one has more to do with what happened to FSU than what Clemson managed to accomplish. Next week’s matchup against Auburn will reveal more of what we can expect from Clemson, and is a must win if the ACC wants to maintain the respect they gained from last season’s non-conference performance.

2. Florida State Seminoles: Sophomore QB Deondre Francois was hurried and hit throughout the game. With just under six minutes left in regulation Francois was sacked and left the field with a season ending patellar tendon injury. FSU also struggled at run blocking, earning a paltry 40 yards on 27 attempts. Even with the offensive struggles the Florida State defense was playing lights out, and FSU would’ve kept up if the special teams hadn’t been unforgivably sloppy. A blocked punt, a blocked field goal, and a muffed kick-off return is likely a recipe for failure against any competent FBS squad. Against a team like Alabama it is simply insurmountable. Saturday night was a disaster for FSU, but it doesn’t mean the end of their season or even their national championship aspirations. But, they have a lot to work on, and they don’t have much time. Miami is certainly licking their chops at the impending rivalry game in two weeks.

3. Louisville Cardinals: Lamar Jackson remains a weapon of mass destruction. He accounted for 485 yards, of the Card’s total of 524, and two scores. Offensive output aside, Jackson must limit his fumbles. The team’s objective must be to limit penalties and find some offensive output that isn’t named Lamar Jackson. 16… SIXTEEN penalties for 100 yards. The two LOU RBs combined for 11 total carries, 41 yards, and one score. Purdue could hang around with the Cardinals exclusively due to Louisville’s mistakes. If the Boilermakers hadn’t returned the favor to the tune of four total turnovers and weren’t a perennial bottom feeder of the Big-10 Louisville could have easily lost this game.

4. Boston College Eagles: Congratulations BC, it looks like you have found a reasonably competent and balanced offense… for now. Yeah NIU is no longer the BCS buster they were back in 2012 and 2013, but they are a FBS squad that makes regular bowl game appearances. It’s a solid start for the Eagles in a tough division where wins are hard to come by.

5. N.C. State Wolfpack: Whelp… It didn’t take long to dispel the mystique surrounding the most experienced team in the conference. You can’t be a dark-horse CFB Playoff contender if you lose to a mid-tier SEC squad to start the season. It’s a lot harder to start the year against similar competition, isn’t it? NCSU has been an enigma that last few years and it looks like this one won’t be different. Are they pretenders? Are they legit? It is a non-conference loss and only the beginning of the season, but the vaunted offensive line of the Wolfpack allowed four sacks and five QB hurries against South Carolina. If the line stays porous Clemson and Florida State will have little trouble skewering N.C. State.

6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Hey, how about that? Wake scored over 50 points for the first time since 2010. Yeah it was against an FCS team, but last year it took three games for them to get surpass fifty. They next face Boston College in a battle between two of 2016’s worst offenses. Considering the slate both BC and WF face their week two meeting could have resounding implications regarding both team’s post season aspirations.

7. Syracuse Orange: The Orange also won, but they scored one point less than Wake did against their FCS opponent so, I kept the Orange here. We won’t have a chance to really see what Syracuse is made up of until week three when they face CMU, but beating up on cupcakes is what a competent FBS squad should do. The starting unit for the Orange wasn’t sloppy and executed well. For now, things are as good as they could be for Babers and Syracuse.


1. Virginia Tech Hokies: The matchup against the West Virginia Mountaineers certainly delivered! Both teams put up a solid effort, but the Hokies earned the best win of the week for the ACC against a ranked Power-5 opponent. Josh Jackson could not have done more in his starting debut. The redshirt freshmen went 15/26, 235 yards, and a TD in the air. He also led the Hokies on the ground with 101 yards and a TD. Virginia Tech was poised and disciplined, only committing five penalties for 34 yards and zero turnovers. The momentum shifted against VPI several times throughout the game. Regardless of the shifts Fuente had the Hokies focused and demonstrating the same temerity that allowed them to come back in games like Notre Dame and Arkansas last year. There still isn’t enough information to make any solid assertion regarding the Hokie defense. They did allow a stupefying 592 yards of offense, but it is indeterminate whether this is a function of a struggling VT defense or just the reality of a very powerful Mountaineer offense. My personal leaning is that the WVU offense is legitimate and the Hokies did enough to defeat them.

2. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: Miami beat up on an over matched Bethune-Cookman team. Next week the ‘Canes may or may not face Arkansas State due to the impending reality of Hurricane Irma. Miami won’t truly be tested until they face the recently declawed Seminoles in week three.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: UGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH…. The Jackets had a fantastic opportunity to help the Coastal division turn heads by upsetting a ranked SEC foe. The game was GT’s to win, but a late game turnover and deflected field goal attempt allowed the No. 25 Tennessee Volunteers to force overtime. After a missed two-point attempt at the end of 2OT the Jackets left the field 0-1. Regardless, Georgia Tech looks completely dangerous. The Yellow Jackets laid down 535 yards on the ground and earned six rushing TDs. Junior QB TaQuon Marshall was an absolute beast, accounting for 249 rushing yards and five running TDs. GT only passed ten times, but when called upon Marshall was solid during passing situations. The loss was painful, but doesn’t carry too much of an implication regarding their ACC hopes. Georgia Tech is very dangerous and everyone in the Coastal should be on notice.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers: Yes, Youngstown State lost to JMU last year during the FCS championship. Regardless, they should not have been able to erase and 21-point deficit and force the Panthers into overtime. It is entirely possible that Pitt was looking ahead to their week two rematch against Penn State, but their week one performance is concerning.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels: This is possibly the most disappointing loss the ACC faced in week one. UNC was a 13.5-point home favorite and lost 30-35. The Heels allowed three TD passes of 20 yards or more (67 yds, 54 yds, and 20 yds.). Like the NCSU loss to South Carolina this was a game that the ACC needed to win against a mid-tier non-conference P5 opponent. Life gets a lot harder next week when the Cardinals come calling in Chapel Hill.

6. Duke Blue Devils: Duke laid the smack down on in-state FCS opponent North Carolina Central, 60-7. The Blue Devils were blasted by injury last season and face a rather brutal schedule. As with many who faced an FCS foe we won’t really know what they are about until the competition ramps up. Next week’s match against Northwestern should be a solid indicator of what Duke can accomplish when healthy.

7. Virginia Cavaliers: UVA also found their own victory against an FCS foe when they defeated the William and Mary Tribe, 28-10. Considering last year they opened up their season with a loss to FCS foe Richmond this win is already a marked improvement. This week will be significantly more difficult when Indiana comes calling. During week one the Hoosier passing attack hung 420 yards and three TDs on Ohio State, allowing IND to stick with the Buckeyes through the third quarter.

Complete Conference Rankings

1. (AP No. 3 / Coaches No. 3) Clemson Tigers (1-0)

2. (No. 10 / No. 9) Florida State Seminoles (0-1)

3. (No. 18 / No. 18) Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0)

4. (No. 16 / No. 17) Miami-Florida Hurricanes (1-0)

5. (No. 17 / No. 16) Louisville Cardinals (1-0)

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (0-1)

7. Boston College Eagles (1-0)

8. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0)

9. N.C. State Wolfpack (0-1)

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0)

11. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-1)

12. Duke Blue Devils (1-0)

13. Syracuse Orange (1-0)

14. Virginia Cavaliers (1-0)


Do you agree with the Week One rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Yes! Like your snappy wardrobe these rankings are exquisite!
    (32 votes)
  • 33%
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    Hahahahahahaha! N.C. State is a darkhorse?! Remember that garbage, you hack!? BAHAHAHAHA!
    (7 votes)
  • 29%
    Ooooof... 0-3 against SEC foes is brutal... at least we didn’t lose to any FCS teams... but the middle needs to be shuffled around a bit.
    (31 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now