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ACC Football Power Rankings, Week 9: Louisville’s run game continues to hum; Clemson reasserts its power

You have to give it to the ACC: in terms of football performance, the league is up and down, to say the least. However, the conference has still produced some exciting games this season. With that in mind, let’s jump into this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings.

 

No. 1 Clemson

Good golly, Miss Molly: Clemson has some serious depth at wide receiver. In a game where Clemson collected 674 total yards against BC, wideout Diondre Overton caught three ball for 119 yards and three touchdowns.

Overton joins Mack Hollins of UNC in 2015 as the only two ACC player in the last 20 seasons to have three receptions — all for touchdowns — and over 100 yards receiving in the same game.

Up Next: Wofford

 

No. 2 Wake Forest

After an open week, Wake Forest returns to action with its third straight home game: a pivotal Atlantic Division matchup with NC State. How will the Demon Deacons perform in their first game without star linebacker Justin Strnad: 9.86 tackles per game, third in the league?

Up Next: NC State

 

No. 3 Louisville

All of the credit in the world to this Louisville program, which started in the cellar this season with Georgia Tech, and has evolved into one of the league’s top three teams — for the moment. At the crest of Louisville’s powerfully explosive run game is freshman back Javian Hawkins, who now has five games with 120+ rushing yards this season — the most in the ACC.

Hawkins (5.4 yards per carry) now has six rushing touchdowns on the season for an offense that’s averaging over 218 rushing yards per game.

Up Next: Bye Week (at Miami, 11/9)

 

No. 4 Virginia

On paper, this is really talented Virginia team. The Cavaliers have good players and future pros on both sides of the ball, though the defense really stands out. Offensively, Virginia has too many issues on the line, though, and it’s placed a hard cap on this team’s potential.

Virginia ranks last in the ACC in terms of rushing: 105.5 yards per game (No. 123 in the FBS). This team has just one game of 200+ rushing yards this season, which came during a Week 2 win over William & Mary. There’s just so much stress on Bryce Perkins to move this offense behind a line that’s also allowed 3.25 sacks per game.

Up Next: at North Carolina

 

No. 5 North Carolina

North Carolina is coming off an emotional and wild win over Duke, snapping a three-game losing slide to the neighboring rivals. Can the Heels repackage that energy when a strong Virginia squad comes to Chapel Hill?

Up Next: Virginia

 

No. 6 Pittsburgh

Pitt dropped a crucial Coastal game on Saturday against Miami; the conditions were rough, as was the performance on the field. The Panthers turned the ball over three times and averaged a measly 4.6 yards per pass attempt. Next week provides a winnable road game in the division, though.

Up Next: at Georgia Tech

 

No. 7 Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has won three straight and is coming off an open week; however, things get tricky for the Hokies, starting this week. Justin Fuente’s club has two straight games against top-25 foes: at Notre Dame, and then home Wake Forest.

Note: after suffering a tough injury against UNC, quarterback Hendon Hooker returned to practice this week and has, reportedly, looked good.

Up Next: at Notre Dame

 

No. 8 Duke

After a tough loss in Chapel Hill, Duke has a week off to collect its pieces before hosting a powerful Notre Dame team in two weeks. Duke had it chances against UNC. Can the Blue Devils rebound?

Up Next: Bye Week (Notre Dame, 11/9)

 

No. 9 Miami

Yo, shoutout to Jarren Williams for an impressive performance off the bench against a tough defense in Pittsburgh. Williams completed 4-of-8 passes for 50 yards and the game-winning touchdown — a 32-yard strike to K.J. Osborn.

Miami’s offense was far from perfect, but in a battle with Pittsburgh’s Field Goal Militia, it was just enough to keep things afloat.

Up Next: at Florida State

 

No. 10 Florida State

For Florida State’s offense, it’s The Cam Akers Show. As FSU reaches to the far corners of its playbook to drum up offensive production, Akers is central to basically everything. In the win over Syracuse, Akers ran for 144 yards and four touchdowns. Akers, a former high school quarterback, even attempted three passes in Saturday’s victory.

Of course, Florida State couldn’t hit on one of the greatest plays we’ve ever seen without Akers touching the ball, too. This is art.

Things are fairly interesting, for good and bad reasons, as Florida State gets set to host Miami.

Up Next: Miami

 

No. 11 Boston College

It’s hard to play at Clemson, and nothing of note went right for Boston College on Saturday — losing by 52 points in Death Valley. The Eagles completed just 6-of-18 passes for 80 yards in one of the worst passing games in the FBS this season.

Up Next: at Syracuse

 

No. 12 NC State

NC State has lost two straight games against Wake Forest — both one-possession contests, both when NC State was ranked, too. Since taking over at NCSU, Dave Doeren is 1-2 in Winston-Salem against the Deacons.

Oh, let’s check in on the #DevinLearyHive after Monday’s big news: Devin Leary was named NC State’s starting quarterback.

Up Next: at Wake Forest

 

No. 13 Georgia Tech

There should be legitimate excitement around Georgia Tech to see what sort zany stuff Geoff Collins has cooked up during the team’s bye week.

Up Next: Pittsburgh

 

No. 14 Syracuse

Man, this program misses Eric Dungey. Apologies for sounding like a broken record here, but for Dino Babers — a well-thought-of offensive mind — and Syracuse, it’s been a serious struggle in 2019. Things just haven’t worked with Tommy DeVito under center; Syracuse ranks last in the ACC in yards per play (4.81) and 103rd nationally in offensive efficiency, per ESPN.

Syracuse has serious NFL-level pass rushers on defense; however, it’s not enough to prop up an offense that can’t convert on third down and can’t stay on the field.

Up Next: Boston College

 

Contributor Rankings

 David GlennBrian GeisingerJosh GrahamConsensus
1ClemsonClemsonClemsonClemson
2LouisvilleWake ForestWake ForestWake Forest
3Wake ForestLouisvilleLouisvilleLouisville
4VirginiaVirginiaUNCVirginia
5Virginia TechUNCVirginiaUNC
6UNCPittPittPitt
7MiamiDukeDukeVirginia Tech
8PittVirginia TechVirginia TechDuke
9Florida StateMiamiMiamiMiami
10DukeFlorida StateFlorida StateFlorida State
11Boston CollegeBoston CollegeBoston CollegeBoston College
12NC StateNC StateNC StateNC State
13Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia Tech
14SyracuseSyracuseSyracuseSyracuse

 

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