ACC Football Power Rankings, Oct. 18: Top holds steady, Wake Forest and Pitt lead the way

Busy times, busy times, Kenny Pickett dropping dimes.

Another weekend of ACC football action has come and gone; the top of the league continues to solidify, as does the bottom third. With that in mind, here are this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings.

 

1. Tied: Pittsburgh and Wake Forest

Pitt

The Panthers used a balanced offense to cruise by the Virginia Tech Hokies; Kenny Pickett threw two more touchdown pass, which brings his total to 21 on the season, a top-four number in the FBS. Pitt also ran for 208 yards and two more scores in the 28-7 victory.

Wake Forest

Wake Forest exits its open weekend with a pristine 6-0 record. Now, the Demon Deacons must get set for a midseason non-conference affair at West Point vs. Army and the No. 2 rushing offense in the country.

 

3. NC State

The Wolfpack may have caught one or two breaks up in Chestnut Hill; however, NC State used a monster second half (+23) to blitz Boston College — winning 33-7. Game ball goes to Devin Leary, who threw for three touchdowns and averaged 10.5 yards per attempt.

 

4. Clemson

The defense and special teams unit remain efficient; however, Clemson’s offense continues to slump. The Tigers (No. 88 in the FBS in offensive efficiency) squeaked one out at Syracuse, winning 17-14.

All three of Clemson’s ACC victories this season have been one-possession contests — winning by six or fewer points. That’s a major departures from years past.

 

5. Virginia

Virginia’s offense slashed Duke in a 48-0 blowout win in Charlottesville: 528 total yards of offense, an average of 6.7 yards per play.

Brennan Armstrong continues to have arguably the greatest individual season of offensive performance in program history. Armstrong threw for 364 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions vs. the Blue Devils.

 

6. Boston College

NC State locked up Boston College’s star wideout, Zay Flowers, on Saturday night; without Phil Jurkovec, the adjust, the offense froze up. Flowers finished with only two catches for seven yards. Yikes.

 

7. Tied: Louisville and Virginia Tech

Louisville

Louisville had an open weekend, yet the Cards managed to win — in pretty cool fashion, for that matter.

 

Virginia Tech

The Hokies struggled mightily on offense against the Pitt Panthers: 3.7 yards per play. It’s now been over a month since Virginia Tech beat an FBS opponent.

9. Georgia Tech

This Saturday brings an interesting matchup: Georgia Tech’s top-40 defense (in terms of ESPN’s efficiency metric) vs. Virginia’s top-20 offense. The Yellow Jackets exit off a bye week, too.

 

10. Florida State

Things are about as good as they’ve ever been in Tallahassee under Mike Norvell: FSU is coming off a bye week, with two straight wins beforehand. Now, Florida State can look to stack another victory with an out-of-conference matchup: UMass at Doak Campbell Stadium.

 

11. North Carolina

UNC almost let it slip away vs. Miami in Chapel Hill, but you know the saying: a win is a win. Josh Downs was really good, again: 96 receiving yards and his 8th touchdown grab of the season, which ranks second in the ACC. Ty Chandler had one of his better games in a North Carolina uniform as well: 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The defense is a big…BIG problem, though.

 

12. Syracuse

We’ve reached the good of the ACC football season where Good Loses are things — in theory at least. Syracuse played Clemson tight on Friday night; the Orange have jumped over Miami and Virginia Tech in ESPN’s catch-all efficiency metric.

 

13. Miami

It’s hard to draw too many positives from a tough loss at North Carolina; however, Miami showed fight in Chapel Hill.

Also: Tyler Van Dyke made some plays. So there’s that, too, right?

 

14. Duke

Following three straight defeats, Duke head into an open weekend. On the other side of that break, though, things ramp back up quickly: a road matchup with undefeated Wake Forest.

 

Consensus Rankings

 BGJGConsensus  
1PittWake ForestWake Forest
2Wake ForestPittPitt
3NC StateNC StateNC State
4ClemsonClemsonClemson
5VirginiaVirginiaVirginia
6Boston CollegeBoston CollegeBoston College
7LouisvilleVirginia TechLouisville
8Virginia TechLouisvilleVirginia Tech
9Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia Tech
10FSUFSUFSU
11UNCUNCUNC
12SyracuseSyracuseSyracuse
13MiamiMiamiMiami
14DukeDukeDuke