It was a crazy week three in the ACC going all the way to the top which saw an utterly lopsided game in the first matchup between top-ten teams of the 2016 season. How much effect did that major game, as well as the rest of the ACC slate, have on this week’s power rankings?
1. Louisville (3-0, 2-0, up two spots from last week)
UL head coach Bobby Petrino said at ACC Kickoff that he believes his team is good enough to win a national title. After the beyond impressive 63-20 destruction of the previously-ranked No. 2 Florida State Seminoles, it’s hard to argue the fact, especially if QB Lamar Jackson, the prohibitive Heisman favorite at this point, can continue his ridiculous season.
Next up: Before a humongous matchup at Clemson in week five, the No. 3 Cardinals hit the road this week for an away game at Marshall.
2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0, no change from last week)
The Clemson offense bounced back in a big way on Saturday, jumping out to a 31-0 first-quarter lead, albeit against South Carolina State, before coasting to a final score of 59-0. Now that the offense showed it is capable of matching last year’s output, it’s time for the Tigers to do it against an FBS opponent.
Next up: This week, Clemson travels to Atlanta for a Thursday night showdown against an undefeated Georgia Tech team.
3. Florida State (2-1, 0-1, down two spots from last week)
For the first time in school history, an FSU opponent put 60+ points on the scoreboard as the Seminoles were sent back to Tallahassee with their tails between their legs after the embarrassing 63-20 loss. Florida State remains one of the best teams in the nation, talent-wise, but Dalvin Cook’s inability to regain the momentum he had in 2015, the issues on the offensive line, and the defense’s proclivity for giving up big plays are all causes for concern.
Next up: FSU has its second straight road game in week four, traveling down to Tampa for the return trip of a home-and-home series with USF.
4. Miami (3-0, 0-0, up two spots from last week)
The ‘Canes are surging up the rankings after their impressive road victory at Appalachian State on Saturday. Brad Kaaya looks the part of a quarterback who can lead his team to a very successful season but UM stays below the top three for now due to a weak schedule to this point.
Next up: Miami enjoys its bye week in week four, resting up before the toughest stretch of its schedule, which begins against Georgia Tech in week five.
5. Pittsburgh (2-1, 0-0, no change from last week)
Pittsburgh followed up its rivalry win with Penn State by taking Oklahoma State to the wire as a road underdog. In the end, the Panthers came up short, falling 45-38 to the Cowboys in a weird game which had a multiple-hour delay in the middle of the fourth quarter, but they continue to impress as a capable contender in the Coastal.
Next up: In a matchup of the top two preseason-projected Coastal teams, Pitt travels to Chapel Hill for a 3:30 game at UNC on Saturday.
6. North Carolina (2-1, 0-0, down two spots from last week)
It wasn’t always pretty but UNC won its second straight game on Saturday, overcoming an early deficit to soundly beat FCS foe James Madison, 49-28. North Carolina remains very capable of winning the Coastal Division but it seems a much more difficult task now than it did before the season started.
Next up: North Carolina gets the chance for a statement on Saturday in its ACC opener when it plays host to Pitt.
7. Georgia Tech (3-0, 1-0, no change from last week)
GT made easy work of SEC basement dweller Vanderbilt, bashing the Commodores 38-7 at home. The good news for the Jackets? They have already matched their win total from 2015. The bad news? Through three weeks, their wins over Boston College, Mercer, and Vanderbilt have taught us little about the team.
Next up: Thursday provides the first challenging foe for Georgia Tech as No. 2 Clemson comes to town for a Thursday matchup at Bobby Dodd Field.
8. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0, no change from last week)
The Hokies began their ACC schedule on a high note, shutting out Boston College 49-0 in front of a VT-friendly home crowd and showing little hangover from the tough loss suffered to Tennessee in week two.
Next up: Virginia Tech is the next stop on East Carolina’s tour of the ACC and SEC as the Pirates follow up games against NC State and South Carolina with a trip to Blacksburg.
9. Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0, up one spot from last week)
Wake is 3-0 for the first time since 2008 after a 38-21 win over Delaware and its rough 7-3 season-opening win over Tulane is well in the rear-view mirror now.
Next up: The Demon Deacons take a road trip to Bloomington this weekend for an interesting matchup with Indiana of teams normally found towards the bottom of their respective conferences but who have started the year with a combined 5-0 record.
10. NC State (2-1, 0-0, down one spot from last week)
The Wolfpack got back to their winning ways in week three, disposing of Old Dominion, 49-22. Still, their recent loss to ECU looks significantly worse now after the Pirates proved unable to defeat South Carolina.
Next up: NCSU gets it bye this week, healing up before getting into its ACC schedule.
11. Syracuse (1-2, 0-1, no change from last week)
After one quarter, Cuse led USF 17-0. From that point on, however, the Orange were outscored 45-3, falling for the second straight year to South Florida, this time at home. 6-6 may prove to be a difficult challenge in Dino Babers’ first year as head coach.
Next up: Syracuse looks to get back to .500 in a road affair against 2-1 Connecticut, fresh off a close victory over Virginia.
12. Boston College (1-2, 0-2, no change from last week)
BC’s ACC losing streak carried on in week three, worsening to 10 straight games in a resounding 49-0 loss at Virginia Tech in a loss that may have made Steve Addazio’s seat a bit hotter.
Next up: The Eagles finally get their home opener in week four, playing host to FCS opponent Wagner in their attempt to get back to a .500 record.
13. Duke (1-2, 0-1, no change from last week)
Duke dropped its second straight game, falling on the road against Northwestern, 24-13, and giving the Wildcats their first win of the year as a result. In an open race for the Coastal crown, the Blue Devils seem poised to be a non-factor.
Next up: It only gets harder for the Blue Devils in week four as stay on the road for a difficult test at 1-2 Notre Dame.
14. Virginia (0-3, 0-0, no change from last week)
UVA remains the only winless ACC team after week three, falling 13-10 at Connecticut after missing a late-game chip-shot field goal which would have leveled the score. Friendly reminder that Bronco Mendenhall left his head coaching gig at a perennial bowl team in BYU to take over for the Cavaliers.
Next up: Virginia finishes up its non-conference slate with a home game against an upstart Central Michigan team which has begun the year with a 3-0 record.