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ACC Football Power Rankings, Week 14: Notre Dame and Clemson brace for impact

In this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings, we get ready for Round 2 with Notre Dame and Clemson, admire the effort from NC State LB Payton Wilson and look ahead to UVA-Virginia Tech.

 

No. 1 Notre Dame

With a 45-21 win in the home finale over Syracuse behind them, undefeated Notre Dame now has its schedule clear for a rematch with You Know Who.

As a member of the ACC, can the Irish go 1-for-1 with league titles?

Next up: Clemson, Saturday (Dec. 19), 4:00 p.m. 

Record: 10-0

 

No. 2 Clemson

Trevor Lawrence didn’t have his best stuff up at Virginia Tech, but Clemson’s defense dominated: 12 tackles for loss and three turnovers forced.

Clemson has won five straight ACC titles; the Tigers will have their shot at six two weeks from now in Charlotte.

Next up: Notre Dame, Saturday (Dec. 19), 4:00 p.m. 

Record: 9-1

 

No. 3 Miami

Miami looked as powerful as it has all season with a 48-0 blowout win over Duke. Defensively, the Hurricanes bottled up the Blue Devils — 13 tackles for loss, five forced turnovers, including four fumble recoveries.

On the other side of the ball, D’Eriq King shared the wealth. King (10.3 yards per attempt vs. Duke) connected with three different receivers for touchdowns: Brevin Jordan, Dee Wiggins and Mike Harley.

Next up: North Carolina, Saturday (Dec. 12), 3:30 p.m.

Record: 8-1

 

No. 4 North Carolina

While UNC ran for 251 yards and five touchdowns, Sam Howell completed 20-of-23 pass attempts in a 49-9 win over Western Carolina.

Michael Carter punched in three rushing touchdowns — for the second time in his career. Carter now has 20 career rushing scores at North Carolina.

Next up: at Miami, Saturday (Dec. 12), 3:30 p.m.

Record: 7-3

 

 

No. 5 NC State

Once again, it wasn’t pretty, but NC State got the job done — downing Georgia Tech in Raleigh 23-13. The star of the game was linebacker Payton Wilson, though, who recorded 11 tackles (2.5 for loss) while playing with two dislocated shoulders. Wilson leads the ACC with 108 tackles.

It’s been a strange season for college football, but NC State kept chugging along; the seven ACC wins mark a program record.

Next up: Bowl SZN

Record: 8-3

 

No. 6 Wake Forest

If you forgot that Wake Forest is a good football team, well, that’s totally understandable; it’s been a while since the Demon Deacons played a game. However, that changes next Saturday at Louisville.

Next up: at Louisville, Saturday (12/12), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 4-3

 

No. 7 Virginia

All season long, the deeper team analytics have continued to spit out the same evaluation: Virginia is a good and undervalued football team. That may have been tougher to see when the ‘Hoos were 1-4; however, UVA has surged over the back half of the schedule. Behind a monster performance from QB Brennan Armstrong — 417 total yards, two touchdowns — Virginia defeated Boston College, the team’s fourth straight victory.

Now, Virginia has the chance to win two back-to-back matchups with Virginia Tech for the first time since 1997-98.

Next up: at Virginia Tech, Saturday (12/12), 8:00 p.m.

Record: 5-4

 

No. 8 Pittsburgh

Following an open weekend, Pitt will finish off its 2020 regular season with a Thursday night showdown vs. Georgia Tech.

Tip of the cap to Pitt and its two studs along the defensive line: Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones. Weaver’s successful run this season is one of the better stories in the ACC, as he returned from injury. Playing without All-ACC tackle Jaylen Twyman this year, Jones and Weaver really made an impact along the defensive front.

Next up: at Georgia Tech, Thursday (12/10), 7:00 p.m.

Record: 5-5

 

No. 9 Boston College

Going up against a strong UVA defense, Boston College started the game (its regular season finale) in a hole — down Phil Jurkovec and David Bailey. Without Jurkovec, Dennis Grosel took over at quarterback and had no issues letting it fly: 32-of-46 pass attempts for 520 yards (11.3 yards per attempt), four touchdowns and three interceptions.

As usual, the primary targets for BC were wideout Zay Flowers and tight end Hunter Long, who combined for 16 catches, 289 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Flowers and Long have each had excellent 2020 campaigns.

Next up: ???

Record: 6-5

 

No. 10 Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has dropped four straight games as things continue to unravel; this week’s rivalry game with Virginia seems rather important. Closing the season with five consecutive defeats — the coda coming against UVA — would spell big trouble.

Next up: Virginia, Saturday (12/12), 8:00 p.m.

Record: 4-6

 

No. 11 Louisville

Things are going great at Louisville! Just ask Scott Satterfield.

On second thought, maybe don’t do that!

Next up: Wake Forest, Saturday (12/12), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 3-7

 

No. 12 Georgia Tech

There’s still a lot of work to be down at Georgia Tech. The 2021 season looms large for Geoff Collins and the Yellow Jackets.

Next up: Pittsburgh, Thursday (12/10), 7:00 p.m.

Record: 3-6

 

No. 13 Duke

Duke hasn’t won fewer than three games in a season since before David Cutcliffe arrived in Durham: 2007, the final year for Ted Roof. Duke has never beaten Florida State in football: Can the Blue Devils get off the two-win line this Saturday in Tallahassee?

Next up: at Florida State, Saturday (12/12), 4:00 p.m.

Record: 2-8

 

No. 14 Florida State

Florida State is still looking for its second conference win of the season.

Next up: Duke, Saturday (12/12), 4:00 p.m.

Record: 2-6

 

No. 15 Syracuse

A long, trying season has finally concluded for Syracuse. Looking ahead to 2021: the program received news this week that quarterback Tommy DeVito plans to return.

Next up: 2021 

Record: 1-10

 

Contributor Rankings

 Brian GeisingerJosh GrahamConsensus
1Notre DameNotre DameNotre Dame
2ClemsonClemsonClemson
3MiamiMiamiMiami
4North CarolinaNorth CarolinaNorth Carolina
5NC StateNC StateNC State
6Wake ForestWake ForestWake Forest
7VirginiaPittVirginia
8Boston CollegeVirginia TechPitt
9PittVirginiaBoston College
10Virginia TechBoston CollegeVirginia Tech
11LouisvilleGeorgia TechLouisville
12Georgia TechLouisvilleGeorgia Tech
13DukeFlorida StateDuke
14SyracuseDukeFlorida State
15Florida StateSyracuseSyracuse