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2021 ACC Rankings Week Nine

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The top is still all about Wake Forest, but there has been quite a bit of shuffling below.

NCAA Football: Duke at Wake Forest James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Atlantic

1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: For the first time in program history the Demon Deacons are ranked in the top ten. Their previous best was No. 11 in 1947. Sam Hartman and the offense went off for 677 yards while the defense pitched a shutout until the middle of the fourth quarter when the backups were on the field. Wake Forest remains the ACC’s sole hope for representation in the CFB Playoff. Next week they travel to Chapel Hill and face another in-state rival, UNC.

2. NC State Wolfpack: NCST is quietly putting together a solid season. They did not find much offensive action on the ground, but QB Devin Leary threw for 317 yards and four TDs. The defense was able to hold Malik Cunningham in check and stymie the Louisville passing game. Next up the Wolfpack visits Florida State.

3. Clemson Tigers: Clemson looks the best they have all season, against an FBS opponent, defeating FSU 30-20. The defense set the table, holding the Seminoles to only 241 yards and accounting for two turnovers. The offense allowed a fumble recovery TD which put FSU up halfway through the fourth, but the defense came through by holding the Seminole offense to zero points, during the second half, and scored a fumble recovery TD themselves to close out regulation. Next up Clemson visits Louisville.

4. Syracuse Orange: Syracuse suffered no hangover after their win in Blacksburg, beating up on the beleaguered Eagles, 21-6. Until the third quarter the game was, what we will call, a defensive struggle. Halfway through the third Syracuse had three big scoring plays in five minutes. Two rushing TDs of 51 yards and 48 yards were followed by a 64-yard punt return. The Syracuse running game provided 293 yards, but only completed five passes for a meager 65-yards. The Orange are on a bye this weekend.

5. Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals had a decent first half, holding NCST to a single touchdown and carrying a lead into halftime, but suffered a meltdown in the fourth quarter when the Wolfpack scored three TDs. The defensive success they had in the first three quarters fell away and the Cardinals allowed scoring drives of 83-yards and 75-yards. Louisville travels to Death Valley and faces Clemson this weekend.

6. Boston College Eagles: BC is continuing to feel the loss of starting QB Phil Jurkovec. The Eagles are the only team, besides Duke, that have not earned a conference win. They are riding a four-game losing streak where they have only managed to score 40-points total. The visiting Hokies will look to take advantage of those offensive woes Friday night.

7. Florida State Seminoles: Costly turnovers and an offense that only managed 241 yards put an end to the Seminoles three game winning streak. This weekend they host NCST.


Coastal

1. Pittsburgh Panthers: Pickett’s 519-yards passing and three TDs was not enough to overcome a resurgent Miami team that collected their second consecutive win over a ranked team. Although the defense was largely unable to halt the prolific Panther passer, Pickett threw a critical interception in the red zone, ending a potential game winning drive. The Panthers remain the best in the dust bin that is the ACC Coastal and will look to get back in the win column against Duke on Saturday.

2. Virginia Cavaliers: After spotting then No. 25 BYU a 21-point lead by the middle of the first quarter things looked terrible for the Cavaliers, but they fought back and carried the lead into half time after an absurd second quarter that saw them score five TDs. They were still leading until a devastating fourth quarter where the Hoos allowed three BYU touchdowns and had FBS leading passer Brennan Armstrong leave the game with a rib injury. UVA has a bye week.

3. Miami Hurricanes: Tyler Van Dyke completed 33 of 42 passes for 426 yards, four TDs, and one interception on the way to the ‘Canes 38-34 victory over Pitt. The defense struggled against Pickett but won the turnover battle including a key interception when the Panthers were driving to take the lead. Looking at their schedule, if the Hurricanes play at the same level as the last two weeks, they could easily win out. Miami hosts GT this weekend and looks to get above 0.500 for the first time this season.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies: After a three-game home field slide that ended with fans chanting for head coach Justin Fuente to be fired the Hokies collected a much-needed win during an away game against Georgia Tech. Despite only scoring field goals after the first quarter, true freshmen Malachi Thomas introduced a spark to the offense that allowed the unit to keep the ball away from the Yellow Jackets and run out the clock to end the game. VT looks to feast on the struggling Eagles, at Chestnut Hill, this Friday.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC fought the Irish hard and were within a single score at the start of the fourth quarter before Notre Dame RB, Kyren Williams, ripped off a 91-yard TD run. The Tar Heels got within four again after a Howell 31-yard rushing TD, but TD put the game out of reach, scoring a FG with under two minutes left in the game. North Carolina Hosts the No. 9 Demon Deacons this weekend.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: GT lost another close one largely due to their defense seeming to struggle to cover Virginia Tech’s wide receivers effectively and turning the ball over twice. Next up the Jackets travel to Coral Gables to face off against a surging Miami team.

7. Duke Blue Devils: The Blue Devils have been outscored 93-7 in their last two games, with the seven they have managed coming against WF’s backups after the Deacons had a 45-0 lead. They face yet another brutal QB, after dealing with Armstrong and Hartman over the last two weeks, when they host Pickett and the Panthers this weekend.


Overall

1. (No. 9 CFBP / No. 10 AP / No. 9 Coaches) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-0, 5-0 conf.)

2. (No. 19 / Unr. / Unr.) NC State Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1)

3. (No. 15 / Unr. / No. 25) Pittsburgh Panthers (6-2, 3-1)

4. Virginia Cavaliers (6-3, 4-2)

5. Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 2-2)

6. Clemson Tigers (5-3, 4-2)

7. Syracuse Orange (5-4, 2-3)

8. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 2-2)

9. Louisville Cardinals (4-4, 2-3)

10. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-4, 3-3)

11. Boston College Eagles (4-4, 0-4)

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-5, 2-4)

13. Florida State Seminoles (3-5, 2-3)

14. Duke Blue Devils (3-5, 0-4)