Clemson and North Carolina emerged as the top two teams in the conference after an exciting week five in the ACC. Notre Dame also remains near the top as the conference continues to shake out the top from the bottom. Let’s checkout the updated power rankings as we dive deeper into the season.
Clemson Tigers (4-0, 3-0 ACC, No. 1 AP)
When will the Tigers be dethroned? Clemson picked up its 25th consecutive win over an ACC team dating back to 2017. The Tigers also set a number of other records and streaks in their 42-17 victory over No. 7 Miami, including their 47th consecutive win on a Saturday (FBS record) and 33rd consecutive regular season win (ACC record). Clemson also owns the nation’s longest home win streak with 25 straight victories at Death Valley. Dabo Swinney has his team rolling once again as the season approaches the halfway mark.
NEXT: Away at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ABC)
North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0, 3-0 ACC, No. 5 AP)
Mack Brown’s squad looked great offensively in a 56-45 victory over No. 19 Virginia Tech, with quarterback Sam Howell throwing for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The Tar Heels also have an explosive backfield with tailbacks, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, who combined for 383 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the win. The running back duo may be the best combination in the FBS. North Carolina will need to be better on defense to hang with Clemson and Notre Dame, but the Heels have plenty of time before they face either squad.
NEXT: Away at Florida State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0, 2-0 ACC, No. 4 AP)
The Fighting Irish were exposed a tad bit this past weekend when they knocked off Florida State 42-26 in South Bend. Trailing 17-14 after the first quarter, Notre Dame finally got its spark with back-to-back touchdowns, which would be all the Irish needed to secure the win. Ian Book threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns while running back Kyren Williams had his best game this season, rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Notre Dame remained in the top five of the AP poll again this week and is set to move up even higher following this weekend’s matchup between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. A matchup with No. 1 Clemson within the next month is beginning to shape up as one of the biggest in ACC history if both teams stay their course.
NEXT: Home vs. Louisville (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., NBC)
Miami (FL) Hurricanes (3-1, 2-1 ACC, No. 13 AP)
The ‘Canes received a hefty wakeup call this past weekend after getting blasted by Clemson on the road. D’Eriq King struggled to get the Miami offense going, only throwing for 121 yards and two interceptions. We did see flashes of greatness from King, like his 56-yard run in the second quarter that led to a Hurricane field goal. King finished with 84 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but the then top-ten ‘Canes became yet another ranked victim to fall in Death Valley (Tigers have won seven straight ranked games at home). Miami is still a threat in the ACC, however, and will have their opportunity to play spoils later on down the stretch.
NEXT: Home vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ACC Network)
Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 2-1 ACC, No. 23 AP)
Despite the dreadful defensive performance in Saturday’s loss to UNC, the Hokies offense looked good enough to give Virginia Tech a shot in any game it plays this season. Quarterback Hendon Hooker only threw for 136 yards and two scores, but running back Khalil Herbert continued his stellar senior campaign with 138 yards and two touchdowns of his own on the ground. The problems for the Hokies are obviously on defense, as it is not ideal to score 45 points and still lose by double digits. Virginia Tech will not face another offense as good as the Heels’ until November when Miami comes to town, so the Hokies have time to improve on that side of the ball moving forward.
NEXT: Home vs. Boston College (Saturday, 8:00 p.m., ACC Network)
North Carolina State Wolfpack (3-1, 3-1 ACC)
The Pack picked up another victory after defeating Virginia 38-21 on the road. NC State quarterback Devin Leary tossed for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while running back Zonovan Knight rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns as well. NC State has quietly crept into the conversation with the top of the ACC. The Wolfpack lead the ACC in points scored (137), but the bad news is their defense has given up just as many points, which is the second highest in the league. The next three weeks could very well decide NC State’s season, as they play two of the top ACC teams over that span.
NEXT: Home vs. Duke (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3)
Boston College Eagles (3-1, 2-1 ACC)
Another sleeper team in the conference, Boston College has quietly jumped out to a 3-1 record after picking up an overtime victory over Pitt. Eagles’ quarterback Phil Jurkovec had the game of his young career, throwing for 358 yards and three scores in the win. Wide receiver Zay Flowers was on the receiving end of many of those passes, catching six receptions for 162 yards and three scores. The combination of Jurkovec and Flowers, both of whom are sophomores, appears to be one of the next best duos in the ACC.
NEXT: Away at No. 23 Virginia Tech (Saturday, 8:00 p.m., ACC Network)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1 ACC)
The Yellow Jackets made the highest jump in this week’s power rankings, jumping up five spots to eighth after picking up a huge victory over Louisville. The Jackets used a big performance from quarterback Jeff Sims, who threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Tech came from two touchdowns behind to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter, where the Jackets scored three times to secure the win. This was the best performance from Head Coach Geoff Collins’ squad in his short tenure, but a quick turnaround awaits as No. 1 Clemson comes to town this weekend, which will be the biggest test Tech faces this season.
NEXT: Home vs. No. 1 Clemson (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ABC)
Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2, 2-2 ACC)
Two points are all that separate the Panthers from being 5-0 at the moment. Pitt suffered yet another devastating loss to Boston College, 31-30 in overtime. After scoring the potential game-tying touchdown in overtime, kicker Alex Kessman missed the point-after-attempt to give the Eagles the victory. This was the second straight week the Panthers lost in the final seconds of the game. Despite these setbacks, Pitt still sits in a good spot in the ACC, only this time the Panthers will be playing the role of spoiler instead of contender, unless something dramatic happens at the top of the standings. The bad news for Pitt? Four of their last six contests are against ranked ACC opponents.
NEXT: Away at No. 13 Miami (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ACC Network)
Virginia Cavaliers (1-2, 1-2 ACC)
Virginia looked disappointing overall in their 38-21 loss to NC State on Saturday, but the bright spot was backup quarterback Lindell Stone throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns after taking over for starter Brennan Armstrong. The Cavaliers junior could start for Virginia this weekend after his impressive performance. The road does not get any easier for the Cavaliers, with Miami and North Carolina looming around the corner on their schedule.
NEXT: Away at Wake Forest (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., ACC Network)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-2, 0-2 ACC)
The Deacons had a bye week this past weekend, so we do not have much more to add about them. Wake Forest still has an uphill climb in the ACC with Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami and Notre Dame left on the schedule.
NEXT: Home vs. Virginia (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., ACC Network)
Duke Blue Devils (1-4, 1-4 ACC)
After a tough 0-4 start, the Blue Devils showed some life on Saturday, knocking off Syracuse 38-24. Chase Brice threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Duke has steadily improved over the last three weeks and finally got into the win column, boosting them out of last place in the ACC. The Devils will try to keep momentum going with a big rivalry game this weekend against NC State.
NEXT: Away at NC State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3)
Syracuse Orange (1-3, 1-3 ACC)
After a promising victory over Georgia Tech three weeks ago, the Orange followed up with a disappointing 38-24 loss to Duke at home. Tommy DeVito did pass for 255 yards and two scores, but the Syracuse defense struggled to keep Duke off the field. The Orange also struggled to run the ball and could not keep pace with the Blue Devil offense either. To make matters worse, Syracuse finds itself as a home underdog to independent Liberty, who comes into the game unbeaten. If the Orange fail to win this one, another losing season could be inevitable.
NEXT: Home vs. Liberty (Saturday, 12:00 p.m., ESPN3)
Louisville Cardinals (1-3, 0-3 ACC)
The dismal second year of the Scott Satterfield era continues as the Cardinals fell apart late in Atlanta on Saturday, losing to Georgia Tech 46-27. Louisville has failed to get the wheels rolling again after the tough loss to Miami in week two. The Cardinals have a lot of questions on defense after giving up 450 yards of offense and nearly 50 points to a Georgia Tech team that had not scored more than 28 points under Geoff Collins.
NEXT: Away at No. 4 Notre Dame (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., NBC)
Florida State Seminoles (1-3, 0-3 ACC)
The ‘Noles showed a little bit of promise in Saturday’s 42-26 defeat to No. 4 Notre Dame. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Travis took over for Florida State in the first quarter, which saw the ‘Noles up 17-14 heading into the second quarter. Once again the defensive problems caused FSU to stumble, but Travis (13-24, 204 yards, 1 TD) appears to be the guy moving forward for the ‘Noles. Tough luck finds Florida State once again this weekend, as Sam Howell and No. 5 North Carolina come to town.
NEXT: Home vs. No. 5 North Carolina (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC