The first week of the 2020 ACC Football season is (somehow) here. An almost full slate of games is on the horizon — starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday night. Notre Dame is here, too. It’s going to take time to get used to some of this stuff.
Regardless, as the teams get ready to take to the field, here are our Week 1 ACC Football Power Rankings for 2020.
No. 1 Clemson
The Tigers must replace Isaiah Simmons, one of the most dominant defensive players in recent ACC history; however, the band is (mostly) back together for one more tour. The 1-2 punch of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne will power an offense that must move on without star receiver Justyn Ross.
Clemson's best RB and best #9, Travis Etienne (2017-pres.):
-2x ACC PotY
-Doak Walker finalist
-#1 career rush yards (4,038)
-#1 career rush TDs (56)
-#1 career total TDs (60)
-#1 season rush yards (1,658)
-#1 season rush TDs (24)@swaggy_t1 pic.twitter.com/CFOL9b2GVz
— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) September 4, 2020
Next Game: at Wake Forest, Saturday (9/12), 7:30 p.m.
No. 2 Notre Dame
This season could be a one-off in the ACC for a Notre Dame team that absolutely has the goods to make the conference title game.
Next Game: Duke, Saturday (9/12), 2:30 p.m.
No. 3 North Carolina
UNC has one of the premier go-go offenses in college football and oodles of talent: Sam Howell, Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams. Expectations are high; the Tar Heels won’t sneak up on anyone this season. Giddy-up.
UNC avoids Clemson, so it appears the Heels could put one hell of a run together until the 2nd ACC title game spot is decided in those last couple weeks.
(Again, including the previous schedule too just for completionism.) pic.twitter.com/n47SsJd8u9
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) September 4, 2020
Next game: Syracuse, Saturday (9/12), 12:00 p.m.
No. 4 Miami
No Gregory Rousseau is a big loss, but Miami’s defensive line still packs a serious punch; Quincy Roche should emerge as the unit’s Next Big Thing. Can the Hurricanes finally figure things out on offense? There’s a lot on the shoulders of transfer quarterback D’Eriq King.
Next game: UAB, Thursday (9/10), 8:00 p.m.
No. 5 Louisville
Louisville got a boost in late August when transfer safety (Liberty) Kei’Trel Clark was granted immediate eligibility. With some of the best skill position talent in the ACC — Tutu Atwell, Hassan Hall and Javian Hawkins — the Cardinals have a chance to be incredibly dynamic on offense.
among returning returning acc players, louisville football has three players that averaged over 100 all purpose yards per game (hassan hall, javian hawkins, and tutu atwell).
no other acc team has more than one.
— #InvestigateVogel (@ChrisDHatfield) September 8, 2020
Next game: Western Kentucky, Saturday (9/12), 8:00 p.m.
No. 6 Virginia Tech
Even without Caleb Farley, the Hokies return plenty of defensive talent. After a solid 2019 campaign, Hendon Hooker won the starting quarterback job, too, and he has plenty of firepower to work with, including transfer (Rutgers) running back Raheem Blackshear.
Virginia Tech will have to wait one week to start the season, though. VT’s matchup with NC State was moved from Sept. 12 to Sept. 26.
Next game: Virginia, Saturday (9/19), TBD
No. 7 Pittsburgh
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) September 9, 2020
Next game: Austin Peay, Saturday (9/12), 4:00 p.m.
No. 8 Florida State
After a rocky offseason, Florida State gets ready to open up its 2020 schedule and the Mike Norvell era in Tallahassee. There are still so many gifted players in this program, including several immediately-eligible newcomers to the roster. Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is poised for a monster season.
Highest-graded pass-rushing DTs returning to CFB:
1. Marvin Wilson, Florida St – 90.9
2. Christian Barmore, Alabama – 88.1
3. Cory Durden, Florida St – 81.7 pic.twitter.com/Zy5bv3hjJ1
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 8, 2020
Next game: Georgia Tech, Saturday (9/12), 3:30 p.m.
No. 9 NC State
Is Devin Leary ready to make a jump at quarterback? Expectations for NC State remain on the lower end in 2020, yet vaguely optimistic in some regions on the fanbase; however, an improved Leary could change the paradigm in Raleigh.
Next game: Wake Forest, Saturday (9/19), 8:00 p.m.
No. 10 Wake Forest
It’s a double-edged sword to host the No. 1 team in the country at the onset of the weirdest season in college football history. This can be a showcase game for a program that’s on the rise. But there’s also the potential to merely serve as a supporting actor while Clemson stunts in a crowd-less stadium.
Next game: Clemson, Saturday (9/12), 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 Virginia
Turning the page over from Bryce Perkins at quarterback won’t be easy, but on the other side of the ball, Virginia features a pair of edge rushers ready to terrorize opposing backfields: Charles Snowden and Noah Taylor.
UVA is the only college football team in the country that returns three players that had at least 50 tackles and 5 sacks last season.
— Danny Neckel (@DNeckel19) May 12, 2020
Next game: at Virginia Tech, Saturday (9/19), TBD
No. 12 Boston CollegeM
Boston College has the league’s best offensive line and a premier running back: get ready for The David Bailey Show up in Chestnut Hill.
Next game: at Duke, Saturday (9/19), 12:00 p.m.
No. 13 Duke
Next game: at Notre Dame, Saturday (9/12), 2:30 p.m.
No. 14 Syracuse
Syracuse has won six straight season-openers, but things won’t come easy in Chapel Hill against Sam Howell and the Tar Heels.
Next game: at North Carolina, Saturday (9/12), 12:00 p.m.
No. 15 Georgia Tech
The 2020 season will mark just the second year of a rebuild for Geoff Collins. However, keep an eye on Georgia Tech’s backfield: Jordan Mason, Jamious Griffin and stud freshman Jahmyr Gibbs. Mason is one of the most efficient back in the conference.
Jordan Mason deserves to be talked about A LOT more. pic.twitter.com/59nwsvplxC
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 22, 2019
Next game: at Florida State, Saturday (9/12), 3:30 p.m.
|Brian Geisinger||Josh Graham||Consensus|
|2||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|3||North Carolina||North Carolina||North Carolina|
|7||Florida State||Virginia Tech||Pitt|
|8||Pitt||Florida State||Florida State|
|9||Virginia||NC State||NC State|
|10||NC State||Wake Forest||Wake Forest|
|11||Wake Forest||Boston College||Virginia|
|12||Boston College||Duke||Boston College|
|15||Georgia Tech||Georgia Tech||Georgia Tech|