best ACC qb not in orange

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) surveys the field during a Sept. 28, 2019 matchup against the Clemson Tigers in Chapel Hill, N.C. Howell is fourth in the ACC in passing yards per game and second in passing efficiency in 2020.

Week 4 of the 2020 season is in the books, which means it is time to release our initial ACC Power Rankings. We know who the top dog in the race is, but where does the rest of the ACC stand?

  1. Clemson (3-0, 2-0 ACC)

  • The top-ranked Tigers once again dominated an ACC opponent, Virginia, winning its 24th straight conference contest against ACC competition. Clemson looked a bit sluggish on the defensive end, giving up 417 yards of offense to a Virginia team that did not present much offensive firepower on paper. The Tiger’s offense kept rolling though, and now Clemson gears up for its first top-10 matchup at home since 2016 when No. 7 Miami comes to town (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC).

 

  1. Miami (FL) (3-0, 2-0 ACC)

  • The surprising team within the ACC team this season has been the Miami Hurricanes, who started the season unranked before making a quick leap into the top 10. Miami has vastly improved this season under Manny Diaz and quarterback transfer, D’Eriq King, who has scorched his early opponents to the tune of 736 yards and six touchdowns. King and the ‘Canes will be an early test for No. 1 Clemson this weekend (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC).

 

  1. Notre Dame (2-0, 1-0 ACC)

  • The Fighting Irish have not played since September 19th, but they remain inside the top five of the recent AP poll and have a fairly easy schedule in October. Notre Dame looked great against South Florida in their last game, winning 52-0. The Irish are looking to get more out of their senior quarterback, Ian Book, who has only tossed 407 yards and one touchdown this year. Notre Dame will face a struggling Florida State team this weekend (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., NBC).

 

  1. North Carolina (2-0, 2-0 ACC)

  • After pulling away from Boston College this past weekend, North Carolina hopped into the top-ten of the AP poll for the first time since the 2015 season. The Tar Heels have been the talk of the ACC under Mack Brown, who has revitalized the program with the help of stellar sophomore quarterback, Sam Howell, and a dominating defensive line that is near the top nationally. UNC will face its first big test this weekend against No. 19 Virginia Tech (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ABC)

 

  1. Virginia Tech (2-0, 2-0 ACC)

  • The Hokies have emerged as another contender in the ACC after opening wins over NC State and Duke. Virginia Tech’s run game has been stellar so far in 2020 which has been led by senior tailback, Khalil Herbert, who has racked up 312 yards and three touchdowns on the ground throughout two games. The Hokies are an underdog team within the ACC and are set to face three of the top teams in the ACC this season, beginning this weekend with a matchup against No. 8 North Carolina (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ABC).

 

  1. North Carolina State (2-1, 2-1 ACC)

  • Coming off of a victory over previously ranked Pitt, the Wolfpack have positioned themselves well to be a dark horse in the ACC. With sophomore quarterback, Devin Leary, NC State could be a team that picks up another upset later on in the season. The Wolfpack still have North Carolina and Miami on their schedule, but outside of those two games, NC State looks posed to win eight or nine games this year. Next up is a date with Virginia this weekend (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ACCN).

 

  1. Pittsburgh (3-1, 2-1 ACC)

  • The Panthers suffered their first loss of the season this past weekend to NC State, but Pitt still remains a quality opponent in the ACC. Senior quarterback, Kenny Pickett, has been a monster for the Panthers, throwing for 1,123 yards and six touchdowns in four games. Pitt faces a tough schedule down the road with games against Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Pitt, but this team appears to be one that will compete for a top-five spot in the ACC. The Panthers will travel to Boston College this weekend (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., ACCN).

 

  1. Boston College (2-1, 1-1 ACC)

  • The Eagles gave UNC all they could handle this weekend, but BC came up just short against the Heels. The Eagles are solid on defense this season and there is hope on offense with quarterback, Phil Jurkovec, under center. BC also looks like a solid mid-tier team in the ACC that could give Virginia Tech, Clemson and Notre Dame some troubles later in the season. For now, the Eagles turn their attention to Pitt this weekend (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., ACCN).

 

  1. Virginia (1-1, 1-1 ACC)

  • After an impressive performance against the top team in the country, Virginia should have some confidence as the ‘Hoos navigate through the remainder of their schedule. Quarterback, Brennan Armstrong, gave the Clemson defense fits, which is a good sign for the Cavaliers moving forward. Virginia could quietly be a team that wins eight or nine games. This weekend the ‘Hoos will host NC State, looking for their 10th straight home win (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ACCN).

 

  1. Syracuse (1-2, 1-2 ACC)

  • Following their first win of the season, the Orange have picked up some momentum as the calendar turns to October. Syracuse could not be without star safety, Andre Cisco, who is the nation’s active leader in career interceptions. Head Coach Dino Babers has not announced Cisco’s status for their game this weekend, where the Orange host winless Duke at the Carrier Dome (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ESPN3).

 

  1. Louisville (1-2, 0-2 ACC)

  • One of the disappointments so far has been the Louisville Cardinals, who find themselves losers of back-to-back games after being ranked in the AP polls in the early going. The Cards are looking to get quarterback, Malik Cunningham, back on track after throwing for three picks in the loss to Pitt a couple of weeks ago. There is still promise for Head Coach Scott Satterfield’s squad, which travels to Georgia Tech this weekend (Friday, 7:00 p.m., ESPN).

 

  1. Wake Forest (1-2, 0-2 ACC)

  • The Demon Deacons have not had the terrible start to the year that their record displays. Opening the season with No. 1 Clemson certainly did not help, but Wake played NC State pretty close and dominated Campbell last weekend, giving the Deacs some momentum as they head into the bye week. It will be an uphill climb for Wake as the Deacs still face the top four teams in the conference behind Clemson at some point in their season.

 

  1. Georgia Tech (1-2, 1-1 ACC)

  • Geoff Collins’ second season in Atlanta has once again been bumpy. Following a shocking 16-13 win over Florida State in week one, the Yellow Jackets have dropped back-to-back contests in which they were dominated defensively and struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Things do not get any easier for Tech as Clemson and Notre Dame loom just around the corner. The Jackets need a big win this weekend versus Louisville (Friday, 7:00 p.m., ESPN)

  1. Florida State (1-2, 0-2 ACC)

  • The ‘Noles finally picked up a win in the continued disastrous beginning of the Mike Norvell era. FSU was shocked by Georgia Tech and dominated by rival Miami in week three before pulling away from Jacksonville State this past weekend. The ‘Noles chances of making a bowl game look even grimmer as the team faces No. 5 Notre Dame this weekend (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., NBC) and No. 8 North Carolina next week.

  1. Duke (0-4, 0-4 ACC)

  • The Blue Devils season summary can be summed up in one word: disaster. Duke has been by far the worst team in the ACC, losing all four games so far and failing to get Clemson quarterback transfer, Chase Brice, comfortable in the system. The Devils have the steepest climb in the ACC, but Duke avoids Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech, which will help. This weekend the Blue Devils travel to Syracuse (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ESPN3).

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