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ACC football power rankings: Week 4

Can anyone catch Clemson?

NCAA Football: Clemson at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks into the season, the contenders and pretenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference are beginning to sort themselves out.

Most notably, the defending national champion Clemson Tigers have made a case to be among the favorites to win this year’s College Football Playoff.

That being said, two teams, Florida State and Miami, have played just one game each due to hurricanes and one more, Georgia Tech, had a game cancelled this past weekend as well.

These missing variables leave plenty of room for discussion as to where these teams, of which we know little compared to the other 11, fit into the tiers of this year’s ACC.

Here’s a look at this week’s power rankings as most teams near the end of non-conference play and look ahead to ACC matchups:

1. Clemson (3-0, 1-0 in ACC, no change from last week)

In a battle of two ACC frontrunners, Clemson left little doubt which team is better, smacking Louisville 47-21 in its own stadium. This begs the question: Did the Tigers, who lost a generational QB in Deshaun Watson after last season, get even better?

Up next: CU hosts its home conference opener this weekend in a matchup between potentially the best and worst ACC teams as Boston College heads to Clemson.

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

The Seminoles have not played since September 2nd due to aftereffects from Hurricane Irma, but that hasn’t stopped them from remaining high in the rankings.

Up next: More will be known about the Seminoles after true freshman quarterback James Blackman makes his debut this weekend against NC State in FSU’s home opener.

3. Virginia Tech (3-0, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

The Pirates kept it close for a half, but a 34-point third quarter fueled VT’s dominant 64-17 win at East Carolina on Saturday. More information is needed on Miami, but the Hokies are well on their way to potentially repeating as Coastal Champs.

Up next: Virginia Tech returns home this weekend to welcome in new FBS program Old Dominion.

4. Louisville (2-1, 0-1, down two spots from last week)

The Cardinals looked outclassed in all phases in Saturday’s 47-21 home loss to Clemson. Lamar Jackson did all he could, but his supporting cast does not appear strong enough to contend for the ACC crown.

Up next: UL gets a chance to bounce back at home this weekend when it plays host to MAC foe Kent State.

5. Miami (1-0, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Hurricanes were off for the second straight weekend after their planned matchup with FSU was postponed to October 7th. That did stop them from rising to No. 14 in the latest AP Poll.

Up next: UM finally returns to action this weekend, playing at home once again against Toledo.

6. NC State (2-1, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Wolfpack rattled off a 49-16 win over Furman Saturday to make it two straight wins over non-conference opponents. NC State racked up 242 rushing yards in the win, but the NC State defensive line continues to underwhelm its lofty expectations.

Up next: NC State kicks off its ACC slate on the road this week when it travels to Tallahassee for a noon matchup with Florida State.

7. Duke (3-0, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

The Blue Devils, who started the season 11th in these power rankings three weeks ago, are 3-0 for the first time since 2014, most recently coming away with a 34-20 win over Baylor in Durham.

Up next: The Victory Bell will be up for grabs this weekend when Duke travels to Chapel Hill this weekend to take on rival North Carolina.

8. Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-0, down one spot from last week)

GT’s planned road game at UCF was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma’s impact with no plans to make up the game this year.

Up next: The Yellow Jackets begin ACC play this weekend at home, welcoming in Pitt.

9. Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0, no change from last week)

The Demon Deacons are 3-0 for the second straight season for the first time since 1946-47 after a punishing 46-10 win over Utah State Saturday. However, until the difficulty of the schedule ramps up, Wake’s ranking will not reflect the team’s record.

Up next: Wake Forest travels to nearby Boone this weekend to take on a 2-1 Appalachian State team.

10. North Carolina (1-2, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

UNC finally got into the win column with a 53-23 road victory over Old Dominion, led in large part by Jordon Brown’s two rushing touchdowns and 125 rushing yards.

Up next: The Tar Heels look to make it two straight wins and hand their main rival Duke its first loss of the 2017 season this weekend in Chapel Hill.

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

Pitt’s brutal early-season schedule carried on in Week 3 as the Panthers ran into the buzzsaw that is Oklahoma State, trailing 49-14 at halftime and losing 59-21 in front of their home crowd which was bribed to stay after the game was well in hand.

Up next: Pittsburgh’s conference schedule kicks off this weekend in Atlanta in a matchup against Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.

12. Syracuse (2-1, 0-0, no change from last week)

The Orange righted the ship a bit over the weekend, rebounding from a disappointing loss to Middle Tennessee State with a 41-17 drubbing of Central Michigan at the Carrier Dome.

Up next: The back half of a home-and-home series sends Syracuse to Baton Rouge to take on a LSU squad reeling from a blowout loss to Mississippi State last weekend.

13. Virginia (2-1, 0-0, up one spot from last week)

UVA surpassed the .500 mark and climbed out of the ACC basement with a 38-18 win over the visiting UConn Huskies. Hoos QB Kurt Benkert wowed in the smooth victory, throwing for 455 yards and three touchdowns.

Up next: The Cavaliers make the cross-country trek to Boise State for a Friday night matchup against the Broncos this week.

14. Boston College (1-2, 0-1, down one spot from last week)

Home-field advantage proved little help in BC’s game against Notre Dame as the Irish ran away with a 49-20 win on Saturday. The Eagles’ normally stout defense has shown cracks early in their 2017 campaign, allowing 34.3 points per game through three weeks.

Up next: Boston College’s schedule takes a turn for the worse in Week 4 as the Eagles will head to Clemson to take on the No. 2 team in the country.