With Clemson firmly in the driver’s seat in the conference, a new primary competitor has emerged this week. The Miami Hurricanes, fresh off a dominant victory at Duke, may actually be back this year. We’ll know a lot more after the Canes try to finally get the monkey off their back this weekend in Tallahassee.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s ACC power rankings:
1. Clemson (5-0, 3-0 in ACC, no change from last week)
The Tigers rose to another stiff test without much challenge, coming away with a 31-17 win at Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium Saturday. With the win, Clemson became the first team in college football history to beat three top 15 teams in the AP Poll before the end of September.
Up next: Clemson heads back home this week, playing host to a Wake Forest team fresh off a what-could-have-been loss to Florida State.
2. Miami (3-0, 1-0, up two spots)
Are the Hurricanes actually back this time? A 31-6 victory at previously undefeated Duke Thursday night is by far UM’s most impressive win of the young season.
Up next: With the Hurricanes clicking on all cylinders and the Seminoles struggling mightily, the scenario almost lines up too well for Miami to snap its seven-game losing streak to FSU this weekend in Tallahassee.
3. Louisville (4-1, 0-1, no change)
Business as usual for the Cardinals, who wrapped up their non-conference slate with a dominant 55-10 win over Murray State on Saturday behind four total touchdowns from Lamar Jackson.
Up next: UL’s quest for its first conference win will not be easy when the Cards travel to Raleigh to take on NC State in a midweek matchup.
4. Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1, down two spots)
With College GameDay in town, the Hokies looked completely outmatched in their ACC opener, falling 31-17 to Clemson in a game that felt less close than the score indicated.
Up next: VT is set up well for a bounceback game this weekend, trekking to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College Saturday night.
5. NC State (4-1, 2-0, no change)
NC State kept its positive momentum from its win over FSU going into its home conference opener, outlasting Syracuse, 33-25.
Up next: The Wolfpack has the unenviable task of trying to contain Louisville’s potent offense when the Cardinals head to Raleigh for a crucial Atlantic Division matchup on Thursday.
6. Florida State (1-2, 1-1, no change)
The Seminoles finally got into the win column, barely, in their 26-19 win at Wake Forest, a performance that brought more frustration than rejoicing to the FSU fanbase.
Up next: FSU’s difficult stretch carries on Saturday when it welcomes in a Miami team that is undefeated and favored in Tallahassee for the first time in recent history.
7. Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0, up one spot)
GT took advantage of a depleted UNC roster to pummel the Tar Heels, 33-7, in Atlanta on Saturday. Junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall is tied for second nationally with nine rushing touchdowns.
Up next: The Yellow Jackets enter their bye week in good shape, one self destruction against Tennessee removed from being undefeated.
8. Duke (4-1, 1-1, down one spot)
Duke’s first real test of its 2017 campaign brought the Blue Devils crashing back down to Earth when the visiting Miami Hurricanes handed them a 31-6 loss in their own stadium last Thursday.
Up next: The Blue Devils look to right the ship this weekend on a road trip to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.
9. Wake Forest (4-1, 1-1, no change)
It was close but no cigar for the Demon Deacons, who suffered a close 26-19 loss to Florida State over the weekend, but quarterback John Wolford impressed against a solid FSU defense and left some hope for the rest of the season.
Up next: It only gets harder from here for Wake, who travels to Clemson this weekend to try and put up a test against a Tigers team that has not been seriously challenged yet this season.
10. Virginia (3-1, 0-0, no change)
After a bye week in week five, the Cavaliers are prepping for a stretch of eight straight games to finish their regular season, needing three more wins to return to bowl eligibility.
Up next: UVA’s closing stretch kicks off at home this weekend when the Hoos welcome in a 4-1 Duke team.
11. Pittsburgh (2-3, 0-1, up one spot)
The Panthers snapped their three-game losing streak at home Saturday, beating up on a Rice in a 42-10 win over the Owls behind a near-perfect performance from quarterback Max Browne (28-32, 410 passing yards, 4 touchdowns)
Up next: Pitt finds itself in a matchup of 2-3 ACC teams in desperate need of a win this weekend when it travels to Syracuse to take on the Orange.
12. Syracuse (2-3, 0-1, up one spot)
The Orange played another noticeably better team close on the road, coming up short in a 33-25 loss at NC State on Saturday despite 385 passing yards from Eric Dungey.
Up next: Cuse heads into this weekend facing a Pittsburgh team at home in a game far more important for both teams than it was thought to be at the beginning of the year.
13. Boston College (2-3, 0-2, up one spot)
The Eagles wrapped up their non-conference slate Saturday with a convincing 28-8 victory over Central Michigan.
Up next: BC remains home, playing host to a Virginia Tech team fresh off a demoralizing defeat to Clemson.
14. North Carolina (1-4, 0-2, down three spots)
The Tar Heels had 17 players out (13 out for the season) against Georgia Tech on Saturday and put up an effort you would expect with that level of attrition, falling 33-7 to the Yellow Jackets.
Up next: Despite the game being played in Chapel Hill, UNC is currently a 15.5-point underdog against Notre Dame this weekend.