ACC Football: Week 9 Power Rankings
This week’s ACC Power Rankings feature another shift in the Top 5.
With the Virginia Tech Hokies victory 39-36 over the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Hokies become the new leader in the Coastal Division. The Clemson Tigers showed they’re not easily driven backwards by adversity, inking out a 37-34 win over Florida State. It was the Tigers first victory in Tallahassee since 2006 and their first back-to-back victories over the Seminoles since 2005-07.
This week’s ACC Power rankings are shaping up quite nicely as we approach Week 10. However, for some teams the rankings show that success is still a work in progress. The Duke Blue Devils are still winless in ACC play, so with that let’s jump right into the power rankings for the conference.
Duke Blue Devils
Last week: L 38-35 Georgia Tech
Last rank: 12th
The Duke Blue Devils have taken a step back this season in David Cutcliffe’s eighth year as head coach. They begin the power rankings as the last place team. The Blue Devils are on the verge of not being bowl eligible this season after qualifying for a bowl the last four seasons.
Duke lost its fourth straight ACC game last week 38-35 to Georgia Tech. They are the only team in the ACC without a conference win. The Blue Devils defense gave up 605 total yards of offense and trailed 28-7 at halftime on Saturday.
The Blue Devils put up 21 points in the third quarter to come storming back but their 559 total yards of offense wasn’t enough. Injuries continue to bring huge stepbacks to the Blue Devils’ progress on offense.
The Blue Devils lost quarterback Thomas Sirk before the season began and now they will be without leading rusher Jela Duncan. Duncan was injured in last week’s game with a ruptured Achilles’ and will miss the rest of the season.
This Week: Virginia Tech
The Duke Blue Devils host the surging Virginia Tech Hokies next week looking for their first conference victory. The Blue Devils won last season’s meeting 45-40 in overtime.
Boston College Golden Eagles
Last week: W 21-14 NC State
Last rank: 14th
The Boston College Golden Eagles won their first ACC game of the season and rose one spot in this week’s power rankings. They are now 1-4 in ACC play but their victory gives head coach Steve Addazio some breathing room on the hot seat.
The Golden Eagles ended a 12-game losing streak in ACC games with a 21-14 victory over NC State. The defense was dialed in, holding the NC State Wolfpack to just 31 rushing yards in the game. The Wolfpack were held to just 14 first downs and outgained 386-338 total yards on offense. The Golden Eagles forced three turnovers in the game as well.
With 386 total yards of offense, 168 of them rushing yards, the Golden Eagles took a positive step in the right direction. They had 21 first downs, a running back threw for a touchdown, and a wide receiver ran for a touchdown, so all around it was one of those games.
This Week: Louisville
The Boston College schedule doesn’t get any easier next week as they welcome Louisville to town. They’ll need to be well prepared facing arguably the ACC’s best offense this season in the Cardinals.
Last week: L 32-25 Louisville
Last rank: 13th
The Virginia Cavaliers move up one spot in this week’s power rankings despite their close loss to the Louisville Cardinals 32-25. The Cavaliers have lost three straight ACC games since their 1-0 start but they showed progress with one of the tops teams in the conference. They are now 1-3 in ACC play.
The Cavaliers led 10-7 at halftime but were outscored 25-15 in the second half. The offense managed to account for just 322 total yards of offense. The defense gave up 508 total yards but held Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to 88 rushing yards and no touchdowns. They contained Jackson’s running ability but not his passing ability.
The Cavaliers defense gave up 361 passing yards and four touchdowns, including the game winner with 13 seconds left in the game when they lead 25-24. Quarterback Kurt Benkert threw for 238 passing yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. The Virginia offense managed just 17 first downs in the game and was 4-of-14 on third down conversions.
This Week: @ Wake Forest
The Virginia Cavaliers travel to Wake Forest next week to face the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has won the last two meetings between the teams.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Last week: L 21-14 Boston College
Last rank: 10th
The North Carolina State Wolfpack took another step back this week in the power rankings. Since pushing the Clemson Tigers to the brink two weeks ago, the Wolfpack mailed in another performance on the field. At 1-3 in the ACC, head coach Dave Doeren’s seat is heating up.
North Carolina State has lost three straight games and in Week 8, they look abysmal. The Wolfpack managed just 31 rushing yards as a team this week against Boston College. Leading rusher Matt Dayes tallied 45 rushing yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Ryan Finley threw for a career high 307 passing yards and two touchdowns but he also threw two interceptions.
The Wolfpack offense managed just 14 points in the game and turned the ball over three times in the game. They were outgained 386-338 in total yards of offense and in first downs 21-14. It was another week where the NC State defense couldn’t stop their opponent.
This Week: Florida State
The Wolfpack host Florida State this week, another slumping team looking for an ACC victory. The Wolfpack should look to turn things around next week or the pressure cooker get start to rise on head coach Dave Doeren.
Last week: L 30-27 Notre Dame
Last rank: 8th
The Miami Hurricanes fall to the 10th ranked team in this week’s power rankings. They have lost four straight games since starting the season 4-0 and their last three conference games. Mark Richt has hit some bumpy ground in his first season as head coach.
The Hurricanes offense registered 18 total rushing yards as team and were dominated for much of the game against Notre Dame in a 30-27 loss. Miami trailed 17-0 after the first quarter and 20-7 at halftime before climbing back into the game. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was sacked five times in the game but still managed to throw for 288 yards and a touchdown.
The Miami defense has allowed 18.9 points per game on the season but have allowed 30 points or more in their last two contests. The Irish rushed for 148 rushing yards and a touchdown while also passing for 263 yards through the air. The Hurricanes haven’t looked like the team that was once ranked 10th in the AP Poll in Week 6.
This Week: Pittsburgh
The Miami Hurricanes face the Pittsburgh Panthers this week in desperate need of a win. The Hurricanes are 9-1 against Pittsburgh in the last 10 meetings.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last week: W 38-35 Duke
Last rank: 11th
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets broke out of a slump to win their second ACC game of the season. They are the 10th ranked team in the power rankings and 2-3 in conference play.
Quarterback Justin Thomas put the team on his back last week, accounting for 459 total yards of offense and four touchdowns in the game. Thomas ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns while passing for 264 yards and two more scores in the Yellow Jackets 38-35 victory over Duke.
The Yellow Jackets really stepped up this week as they’ve got two road contests coming up with North Carolina and Virginia Tech respectively. It was the most yards the Yellow Jackets gained on offense all season with 605 total yards of offense. Thomas registered his largest passing yard total of the season as well. The Yellow Jackets averaged 9.9 yards per play.
This Week: @ North Carolina
The Yellow Jackets travel to Chapel Hill next week for a game with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Georgia Tech has lost the last two games but have won 5 of the last 7 games.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Last week: L 21-13 Army
Last rank: 7th
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons enter this week’s power rankings one spot down at number 9. The loss for Wake Forest this week snaps a 9-game winning streak they held over Army. Their 21-13 loss still puts their bowl hopes on hold. The Demon Deacons have not made a bowl game since 2010.
Quarterback John Wolford ran for 66 yards and threw for 220 passing yards but he threw three interceptions in the game as well. The Demon Deacons also allowed 238 rushing yards and two touchdowns on defense. The defense was unable to extert its dominance on the field as it has in past weeks. They allow 18.2 points per game, which ranks 14th in the FBS.
Wake Forest has lost two straight games and are looking to turn a corner. Starting quarterback Kendall Hinton is still nursing a knee injury and has missed the last two games. It is unknown at this time if he will return, but his presence is certainly needed as they look for their sixth victory for bowl eligibility.
This Week: Virginia
The Demon Deacons face the Virginia Cavaliers this week. They’ve won the last two meetings between the teams and three of the last six meetings.
Last week: Bye
Last rank: 9th
The Syracuse Orange are coming off a bye week. At 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC, they travel to Death Valley to face the Clemson Tigers. They have the confidence to be in the game but if they can hang around and possibly upset the Tigers, it’ll be an interesting ACC Atlantic division race by season’s end.
Last week: L 39-36 VT
Last rank: 6th
The Pittsburgh Panthers enter this week idle at sixth despite a loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies 39-36. The loss snaps a 3-game losing streak. The Panthers secondary gave up 406 passing yards to the Hokies, three receivers each had over 100 receiving yards in the game.
Running back James Conner ran for 141 yards and three scores but it wasn’t enough as the defense couldn’t hold off the Hokies’ passing attack. Two turnovers to open the game didn’t help the Panthers cause on offense either. The Hokies were up 9-0 before the Panthers got on the board.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman threw for 267 passing yards and a touchdown but he also threw an interception. Receiver Quadree Henderson was responsible for a turnover as well, he fumbled on a kickoff return.
This Week: @Miami
The Panthers don’t have an easy schedule going forward. This week, they face Miami then next week on the road at Clemson.
Florida State Seminoles
Last week: L 37-34 Clemson
Last rank: 4th
The Florida State Seminoles lost this week 37-34 Clemson but they’re probably the best three-loss team in the country. They’re fifth in this week’s power rankings, dropping one spot.
The Seminoles defense allowed 511 total yards of offense to the Clemson Tigers. The defense has given up 404 yards on defense on average this season.
Quarterback Deondre Francois was sacked six times in the game, including two on the final two plays of the game. Francois was under pressure all night long but still managed to throw for 286 yards and a touchdown. He also had an interception.
Running back Dalvin Cook turned in another Heisman like performance with 19 carries for 169 yards and four touchdowns. Cook was the best player on offense for the Seminoles, averaging 9.9 yards per carry. They should look to get him the ball more if they want to win.
This Week: @ NC State
The Florida State Seminoles travel to NC State to face the Wolfpack. They look to end for their 3rd conference victory over a slumping NC State team.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Last week: Bye
Last rank: 3rd
Coming off a bye week, the Tar Heels have lost their ACC Coastal lead in the division. They face Georgia Tech this week looking to continue their winning ways. They’ve won two straight games since losing at home to Virginia Tech. They are 4-1 in the ACC.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Last week: W 39-36 Pitt
Last rank: 5th
The Virginia Tech exorcised the demons this week, getting their first victory at Heinz Field under head coach Justin Fuente. The Hokies are the new leader in the Coastal division and control their own destiny going forward. At 6-2 on the season and 4-1 in the conference, the Hokies have responded very well since losing to Syracuse. They’ve won two straight games.
Quarterback Jerod Evans threw for a career-high 406 passing yards and two touchdowns in the game. Three Hokies receivers registered at least 100 receiving yards in the game. Receiver Isaiah Ford had 10 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Cam Philips caught six passes for 109 yards. Bucky Hodges caught six passes for 145 yards.
It was a breath of fresh air for the Hokies offense as their loss two weeks ago is still fresh on their mind. With three more games remaining on the conference schedule, the Hokies could end up in the ACC Championship game. All they have to do is win out.
This Week: @Duke
The Virginia Tech Hokies travel to Durham next week to face the struggling Blue Devils. If they want to win, they’ll need to come out firing on all cylinders. They lost last season 45-40 to Duke in overtime.
Last week: W 32-25 Virginia
Last rank: 2nd
The Louisville Cardinals remain in second place despite their close victory 32-25 over Virginia last week. They remain in second in the power rankings.
At 7-1 on the season and 5-1 in the conference, the Cardinals are enjoying a rather positive season, however, last week let the team know, there’s still work to be done. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was held to just 88 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns but still threw for 361 passing yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target in the game was receiver Jamari Staples. Staples caught seven passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals trailed 10-7 at halftime before rallying back in the second half. They outscored the Cavaliers 25-15 in the second half to pull out the victory. The Cardinals had 27 first downs in the game but were 3-12 on third down conversions.
This Week: @Boston College
The Cardinals travel to Boston College this week. The Golden Eagles should be watching last week’s UVA tape on best ways to contain Lamar Jackson. They have the defense for it, but can they pull of the upset? We shall see.
Last week: W 37-34 Florida State
Last rank: 1st
The Clemson Tigers looked down and out in the last quarter before driving down the field for a final drive and score. They remain at the top in this week’s power rankings after a 39-36 win in Tallahassee. It was their first victory in Tallahassee since 2006.
The Tigers drove 75 yards down the field in five plays to score on a 34-yard pass to tight end Jordan Leggett. Leggett finished with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown to lead the team in receiving yards. Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 378 passing yards and two touchdowns. Running back Wayne Gallman had 82 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The Tigers answered every scoring drive the Seminoles had, the last one taking all the air out of the stadium. The defense frustrated Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois all game, sacking him six times. Clemson is the only undefeated team with three wins over current AP Top 25 teams. As they look to return to the College Football Playoff, they’re on the right track.
This Week: Syracuse
The Clemson Tigers host Syracuse and quarterback Eric Dungey this week. They’ll need to be prepared as this young Orange team will give them everything they have and then some. The Tigers have won the last three meetings.
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