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2021 ACC Rankings Week One

As a conference the ACC got off to a rough start, but the Virginia Tech Hokies earned their biggest win since Coach Fuente took over!

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Tech Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Hokies earned a quality win when they upset the then No. 10 UNC! Unfortunately, the conference had a rough start to the season. The SEC swept their three matches against the ACC and there were a handful of embarrassing non-conference losses. No doubt, programs are in the process of knocking off some rust after a non-standard 2020 season. Let’s see where everyone fell out!

Atlantic

1. Clemson Tigers: The only touchdown, for the entire games, was a defensive score that came from a pick-6 when Clemson QB, D.H. Uiagalelei threw an interception late in the second quarter. The game was a defensive clinic, with both Georgia’s and Clemson’s defensive units playing lights out. Neither offense scored more than a single field goal. Clemson’s offense couldn’t get their feet under them, allowing seven sacks, only finding two net yards on the ground, and 180 total offensive yards. It’s tough to say this early in the season, Georgia may simply be that good, but Clemson’s offense seems to be in early trouble. This weekend Clemson will have an opportunity to get back to their winning ways when they face SCST.

2. Boston College Eagles: BC shut out the Colgate Raiders, an FCS squad, 51-0. That is what decent Power 5 teams should do to FCS competition. Jurkovec racked up 303 yards and three TDs on the way to BC’s 525 total yards while holding Colgate to 0-11 third down conversion attempts and 189 total yards. The Eagles should have little issue collecting their second win of the season when they face MASS on 11 September.

3. NC State Wolfpack: NCST shut out the South Florida Bulls, 45-0. The Wolfpack had two 100-yard rushers. Zonovan Knight had 163 yards and a touchdown while Ricky Person Jr. added 105 yards and a pair of TDs. Hopefully, next week, NCST can collect a conference win over a SEC opponent when they face the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

4. Florida State Seminoles: Whoa! My initial assessment of FSU may have been a bit off. Or maybe Notre Dame isn’t that great? The Seminoles played the Fighting Irish to the bone. They forced overtime, but ultimately lost 41-38. Seminole QB, Jordan Travis, threw three interceptions all which Notre Dame converted into touchdowns. With only 40 seconds left in regulation FSU kicked a 43-yard field goal to tie the game 38-38. During overtime, Seminole’s kicker, Ryan Fitzgerald, missed a 37-yard field goal attempt. Notre Dame retorted by making good on a 41-yarder. FSU faces Jacksonville State next week and may be more of a factor in the Atlantic than previously expected!

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Wake Forest beat up on the Old Dominion Monarchs, winning their season opener, 45-10. WF QB, Sam Hartman, threw three TDs and the RBs added two more. Next week, the Demon Deacons continue their hopes of conquest in Hampton Roads when they face the Norfolk State Spartans.

6. Syracuse Orange: The Orange ended their eight-game losing streak by defeating the Ohio Bobcats, 29-9. Syracuse didn’t do much in the air, passing for only 100 total yards. Running back, Sean Tucker, went off for 181 yards on 25 carries (7.1-yard average) and a TD. Syracuse will seek to continue their winning ways when they face off against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

7. Louisville Cardinals: Another loss to the SEC. The Cards dropped their opener to the Ole Miss Rebels, 43-24. Louisville dominated time of possession, but the Rebels only needed 24 minutes to rack up 569 yards. Initially held scoreless in the first half, the Cardinals fought back with a 24-point second half, but Ole Miss answered with 17 points of their own. Louisville looks to get their first win of the season when they face off against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.

Coastal

1. Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokies earned their biggest win, in the Fuente era, and their first win over a top ten team since they beat eventual national champions, then No. 8 Ohio State, in 2014. VT’s defense looked like the Bud Foster squads of yore, dominating Heisman hopeful, Sam Howell. The Hokies intercepted Howell three times, sacked him six times, and had four QB hurries. The Virginia Tech offense struggled to finish drives, but did enough to win, keeping Howell and the UNC offense off the field with time of possession clocking in at 34:57. Suffice to say, VT placed themselves firmly in the Coastal division driver’s seat by defeating the No. 10 Tar Heels. Next week Virginia Tech faces the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

2. Miami Hurricanes: Alabama has a way of making teams look pedestrian. They completely dominated the Hurricanes on their way to a 44-13 win. Miami QB, D’Eriq King, had a tough game and was sacked four times and threw two interceptions. Alabama held on to the ball for 37:02 and picked up 501 yards while holding Miami to 266. Next up the Hurricanes face off against Appalachian State.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC’s dark horse CFB Playoff hopes took a significant hit when they lost to an unranked VT squad. As a division loss, it also hurts them in the hunt for the Coastal crown. Next week the Tar Heels look to get into the win column when they host Georgia State.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers: Pitt beat up on Mass, winning 51-7. Up next they face the Tennessee Volunteers. Another chance for the conference to recoup from this week’s thrashing by the SEC.

5. Virginia Cavaliers: UVA shut out William and Mary, 43-0. The ACC had three shut outs this past weekend! Next week the Hoos should earn their second win when they face Illinois.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: GT’s defeat at the hands of NIU is one of the embarrassing non-conference losses the ACC suffered during week one. Last year, during a truncated COVID season, the Huskies went completely defeated. The Yellow Jackets are going to have a long season but should get their season’s first win next week against the Kennesaw State Owls.

7. Duke Blue Devils: Oof… Charlotte was one of the games the Blue Devils needed to win to have a realistic chance at a bowl. With 33-seconds left in regulation the 49ers connected an 11-yard TD pass to take the lead and win, 31-28. Up next, Duke faces off against the North Carolina A&T Aggies.

Overall

1. (No. 6 AP / No. 6 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (0-1) - static

2. (No. 19 / No. 21) Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) – up three

3. (No. 22 / No. 24) Miami Hurricanes (0-1) - static

4. Boston College Eagles (1-0) – static

5. (No. 24 / No. 22) North Carolina Tar Heels (0-1) – down three

6. NC State Wolfpack (1-0) – static

7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0) – static

8. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0) – static

9. Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) – static

10. Florida State Seminoles (0-1) – up one

11. Syracuse Orange (1-0) – up three

12. Louisville Cardinals (0-1) – down one

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (0-1) – down one

14. Duke Blue Devils (0-1) – down one