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ACC football power rankings: Week 2

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Who sits atop the ACC after one week of action?

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One weekend of college football is in the books and what an exciting slate of games it was, living up to every bit of the hype lauding it as the best week of games ever. But what does the ACC look like after the first weekend of the season? Are the teams what we thought they would be? Here’s where the teams currently lie in our power rankings:

1. Florida State (1-0, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

Late in the first half, the Seminoles seemed unprepared for the national stage provided by their season-opening Labor Day game with Ole Miss, trailing 28-6. However, Florida State flexed its muscle on both sides of the ball for the final 30 minutes, leaving little doubt who the better team was by game’s end. Redshirt freshman QB Deondre Francois had a debut for the ages and looks very ready to lead an exceedingly talented Florida State team to another season of success.

Next up: A Saturday afternoon home matchup with FCS contender Charleston Southern.

2. Clemson (1-0, 0-0, down one spot from last week)

An inability to finish drives with touchdowns, an underwhelming performance from Heisman contender quarterback Deshaun Watson and a highly questionable late-game coaching decision by head coach Dabo Swinney which nearly cost the Tigers the game all combine for a narrow opening game win over Auburn that left plenty to be desired from one of the national title favorites.

Next up: Clemson’s home season opener sees the Tigers go up against visiting Troy.

3. Louisville (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Cardinals were one of three teams to open their 2016 season on Thursday night and had far and away the most impressive performance of the three. Sophomore QB Lamar Jackson looked completely unstoppable, racking up a school-record eight touchdowns in the first half alone and UL coasted to a dominant 70-14 victory over an admittedly weak Charlotte team.

Next up: Louisville gears up for its ACC opener on Friday night which sees the Cards travel to Syracuse for a Friday night showdown.

4. North Carolina (0-1, 0-0, no change from last week)

UNC maintains the fourth spot in the power rankings that the Heels had a week ago due to hanging with UGA in what was virtually a home game for the Bulldogs. At times, North Carolina appeared the better team and at other times, the Tarheels looked like they didn’t belong on the same field. There will surely be more growing pains for this UNC squad which lost a number of key players from last year’s team but Saturday’s opening game was proof of the talent that this Tarheel team has.

Next up: North Carolina hits the road this week, traveling to Champaign for a non-conference matchup against Illinois.

5. Miami (1-0, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

Sure, it was against Florida A&M, a team struggling to compete at the FCS level, but nonetheless, the Hurricanes won in style in their first game at their new home field, Hard Rock Stadium. Miami looked good on both sides of the ball, finishing with a staggering 70 points, the most ever scored by a Mark Richt coached team, while allowing only three points.

Next up: The Canes’ schedule gets tougher, but only by a slim margin, in the second weekend when UM plays host to Florida Atlantic.

6. Pittsburgh (1-0, 0-0, down one spot from last week)

In the feel-good story of the weekend in college football, Pitt running back James Connor scored a pair of touchdowns in the Panthers’ 28-7 win over Villanova after he was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season while undergoing cancer treatments. On the team as a whole, it was a game that Pittsburgh was never in any danger of losing but scoring just 28 points against an FCS foe is a possible cause for concern on the Panthers’ offense.

Next up: Pitt’s first FBS opponent of the year is in-state rival Penn State, who the Panthers take on at home Saturday afternoon.

7. NC State (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

North Carolina State left little doubt in its Thursday opener, running away with a 48-14 win over William & Mary. The Wolfpack’s offense and defense impressed against their FCS opponent but until they begins its ACC slate, we will won’t really know what this team is.

Next up: The test will increase in difficulty a good bit in week two for NC State as the Wolfpack hit the road for a in-state showdown with upstart East Carolina, who is also 1-0 and has beaten NCSU the last two times the teams played.

8. Virginia Tech (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Hokies, in their first game under new head coach Justin Fuente, got off to a rough start against Liberty on Saturday afternoon, falling behind 13-10 early in their season opener. That being said, the response from Fuente’s VT squad was a strong one as Virginia Tech finished the game on a 26-0 run to win 36-13, lwinning convincingly in the end but showing perhaps a bit of weakness in the early going.

Next up: The Hokies are the first ACC team to take part in a College Gameday game this season as their neutral-site game against Tennessee which will take place at the massive Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend has been labeled as ESPN’s game of the week.

9. Georgia Tech (1-0, 1-0, no change from last week)

The good news for the Yellow Jackets? They were the first ACC team to earn a conference victory this season, taking down Boston College 17-14 in Dublin, matching their conference win total from 2015 in week one of the season.

The bad news? GT needed a last-minute drive to overcome BC, who went winless in the ACC last year, and, arguably, was not the better team for the majority of the second half of Saturday’s game. A win is a win, I suppose, but the Jackets’ first game did little to dismiss the possibility that their dreadful 2015 campaign was just a chain of terrible luck.

Next up: Georgia Tech’s home opener is set for this Saturday at 3 PM when the Ramblin’ Wreck welcome in Mercer University, an FCS foe from nearby Macon, Georgia.

10. Syracuse (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Orange made sure to get their 2016 campaign off on a high note, handily dismissing Colgate 33-7 last Friday to notch their first win of the year. Syracuse’s talent level still remains unable to measure up with many of the other teams in the 2016 season but one bright spot for Syracuse is that redshirt freshman quarterback Eric Dungey picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2015 season, going 34-40 for 355 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns in a spectacular showing.

Next up: Syracuse remains at home this week, opening up its conference schedule with a tough matchup against No. 13 Louisville.

11. Duke (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Blue Devils dismantled North Carolina Central in their opening game of the 2016 season, opening up a 49-0 halftime lead before pulling their starters and coasting to a 49-6 win. Daniel Jones, the quarterback called upon to replace redshirt senior Thomas Sirk who went down with another Achilles injury, impressed with a pair of passing touchdowns in addition to one more on the ground.

Next up: Duke opens up its ACC slate this weekend when the Devils play host to Wake Forest in a game slated for a 3:30 start on Saturday.

12. Boston College (0-1, 0-1, up one spot from last week)

BC’s offense had a somewhat more present pulse behind the QB play of graduate transfer Patrick Towles and the defense showed much of the same energy and ability that the Eagles defense had in 2015. However, with the game on the line, the Boston College D allowed the Jackets to march down the field and clinch the game with a methodical touchdown drive, increasing BC’s conference losing streak to nine games.

Next up: Boston College continues its season-opening road trip with an away game in Foxboro against Massachusetts.

13. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0, down one spot from last week)

This Wake Forest team, pinned by many following the sport as a squad poised to take a major step forward in 2016, got off to a far-from-perfect start on Thursday. The Demon Deacons’ offense struggled mightily to muster any production and Wake escaped with a slim and unimpressive 7-3 win over Tulane, a team that went 3-9 (1-7 in AAC) in 2015.

Next up: Wake travels instate this week to take on the Duke Blue Devils in the first conference matchup of the season for each of the two teams.

14. Virginia (0-1, 0-0, no change from last week)

UVA went a long way towards verifying that they are in fact the worst team in the ACC with a miserable 37-20 loss to FCS opponent Richmond. I still believe that Bronco Mendenhall is capable of turning the Cavaliers around but this debut got his Virginia coaching career off to a horrible start and it’s quite possible that this team is even further behind where I thought they were entering the season.

Next up: It gets much more difficult in week two for the Hoos as Virginia travels west for a stiff challenge at No. 24 Oregon.