Week 6 in the ACC brought continuations of many of the same storylines that had been previously developing.
For one, Clemson continues to run rough shod through all challengers in pursuit of a third straight ACC title. Meanwhile, Clemson’s main projected competition in the preseason, FSU, fell to 1-3 for the first time in 41 years over the weekend.
Some surprising starts carried on as Virginia and NC State continue to fly past preseason expectations.
How do these storylines affect this week’s power rankings? Let’s take a look:
1. Clemson (6-0, 4-0 in ACC, no change from last week)
The Tigers rolled to another victory, taking down Wake Forest 28-14. However, questions about the severity of starting QB Kelly Bryant’s ankle injury could make Clemson’s new few weeks a bit tougher.
Up next: Clemson has a short week to get ready for its road matchup against Syracuse Friday night. If Bryant is unavailable, expect the Tigers to turn to five-star true freshman Hunter Johnson.
2. Miami (4-0, 2-0, no change)
The Hurricanes finally snapped their seven-game losing streak to rival Florida State when Darrell Langham made the game-winning touchdown catch with six seconds left. Miami is a threat in the Coastal Division and, potentially, in the College Football Playoff picture.
Up next: UM looks to carry its momentum back home this weekend where it is set to take on Georgia Tech Saturday at 3:30.
3. NC State (5-1, 3-0, up two spots)
NC State was further legitimized after its impressive 39-25 win over Louisville last Thursday. The Wolfpack have an impressive defense, surprisingly capable skill position players, and a serviceable quarterback in Ryan Finley. Who knows what the team’s ceiling is this season?
Up next: NC State hits the road this weekend to take on a Pittsburgh team desperate for a win.
4. Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1, no change)
It wasn’t flashy, but the Hokies took care of Boston College on the road, winning 23-10 in Chestnut Hill to notch their first conference win of the year.
Up next: VT gets its bye week this weekend, allowing the Hokies to prepare for the Coastal race they find themselves in the middle of.
5. Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0, up two spots)
The Yellow Jackets had their bye in week six, jumping up two spots thanks to two disappointing losses from teams previously above them in the rankings.
Up next: GT will try to improve to 3-0 in conference play this weekend in a matchup with an upstart Miami team on the hunt for its first ACC Championship Game appearance.
6. Louisville (4-2, 0-2, down three spots)
A plethora of defensive issues and an ill-timed pick six from Lamar Jackson doomed the Cardinals in their road loss at NC State last weekend.
Up next: Louisville will look to finally register its first conference win this weekend at home against Boston College. At the time of this writing, the Cards are favored by 22 points.
7. Florida State (1-3, 1-2, down one spot)
Two fourth-quarter touchdowns from true freshman quarterback James Blackman were not enough as the Seminoles allowed Miami to drive 75 yards in the final 1:24 to put an end to the streak with UM’s 24-20 victory.
Up next: FSU travels to Durham this weekend to take on Duke, a team that the ’Noles have never lost to in 19 matchups.
8. Wake Forest (4-2, 1-2, up one spot)
Wake put up a fight despite missing starting quarterback John Wolford to injury, but came up on the wrong end of a 28-14 loss at Clemson Saturday.
Up next: At the halfway point of their season, the Demon Deacons have a bye this weekend.
9. Virginia (4-1, 1-0, up one spot)
After its 28-21 home victory over Duke on Saturday, UVA seems destined to make a return to postseason play in Bronco Mendenhall’s second year as coach.
Up next: Needing just two more wins to ensure bowl eligibility, the Cavaliers will trek to Chapel Hill to take on lowly North Carolina this weekend.
10. Duke (4-2, 1-2, down two spots)
A disappointing loss at Virginia on Saturday sent Duke’s expectations crashing back down to Earth after a surprising 4-0 start.
Up next: The Blue Devils’ task gets no easier this weekend when an underperforming but extremely talented Florida State team heads to Durham.
11. Syracuse (3-3, 1-1, up one spot)
The Orange’s postseason chances were buoyed by a 27-24 home win over Pittsburgh which saw quarterback Eric Dungey rack up 365 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Up next: Syracuse stays at home this week for a much more challenging matchup, a Friday night showdown against Clemson.
12. Pittsburgh (2-4, 0-2, down one spot)
Saturday’s sobering loss at Syracuse is just the latest disappointing failure for Pat Narduzzi and Pittsburgh this season
Up next: The Panthers’ ACC slate gets harder from here, beginning this weekend with a home game against a red-hot NC State team.
13. Boston College (2-4, 0-3, no change)
Trailing 17-3 at half, BC put up little resistance against visiting Virginia Tech, converting two of fifteen third downs in the 23-10 loss.
Up next: The hits keep coming for the Eagles as they follow up matchups with Clemson and VT with a road trip to Louisville to take on the Cardinals.
14. North Carolina (1-5, 0-2, no change)
UNC dropped to 0-4 at home this season after Saturday’s 33-10 loss at home to Notre Dame, an ugly affair hindered by 104 penalty yards and a trio of turnovers. The Tar Heels seem locked into this basement spot in the rankings.
Up next: UNC, already with more losses than in its entire 2016 campaign, will take on a better-than-expected Virginia team looking to move within one game of bowl eligibility on Saturday.