ACC Football Power Rankings, Oct. 4: Field Goal Madness, Wake Forest in the top spot, Kenny Pickett domination

Halloween is right around the corner and it’s also Spooky Season in the land of ACC Football. After a chaotic extended weekend of action, let’s dive in on this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings.


ACC Football Power Rankings

1. Wake Forest

  • The Demon Deacons squeaked by Louisville on Saturday — thanks to a game-winning field goal from stud kicker Nick Sciba. Wake Forest ranks third nationally in special teams efficiency, per ESPN, with Sciba playing a big role: 1o-of-10 on field goal attempts this season.


2. Pittsburgh

  • Kenny Pickett is in the middle of a charmed season; the veteran quarterback is averaging 346.2 passing yards per game (No. 2 ACC) and 10.3 yards per pass attempt (No. 1 ACC), while throwing 19 touchdowns (No. 2 FBS) in five games to only one interception.
  • According to Pitt’s SID: Pickett’s 15 touchdown passes over the last three games mark the most prolific three-game passing stretch in program history — usurping Dan Marino’s start to the 1981 season, when he threw 13 touchdowns in the opening three contests.


3. NC State

  • It wasn’t pretty at times, but an NC State program still riding high from the win two weeks ago over Clemson managed to hang on for a victory over Louisiana Tech: 34-27. NC State’s defense forced two turnovers; Ricky Person Jr. and Bam Knight combined for 175 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
  • The Wolfpack now have seven interceptions on the season — tied for the most in the ACC.


4. Clemson

  • Clemson’s passing attack remains stuck in the mud, but the Tigers are an excellent defensive team — ranking fifth nationally in efficiency. During Saturday’s 19-13 win over Boston College, Clemson’s defense recorded four sacks and picked off BC quarterback Dennis Grosel twice.


5. Boston College

  • Heading into an open weekend — with an intriguing Oct. 16 matchup with NC State on the horizon — Boston College lost for the first time this season: 19-13 at Clemson


6. North Carolina

  • It was close for a quarter in Chapel Hill, but UNC used a big second quarter to blitz Duke — winning 38-7 and claiming the Victory Bell. Sam Howell was excellent: 321 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Josh Downs caught eight balls for 168 yards and another touchdown, too.


7. Virginia Tech

  • Things set up nicely for Virginia Tech as the Hokies (coming off a bye week) get set to host a Notre Dame team that lost on Saturday to Cincinnati.


8. Louisville

  • Riding a three-game win streak into the matchup in Winston-Salem, Louisville came this close to defeating Wake Forest. Louisville is a perplexing team in a lot of ways, but the Cards are also pretty good. There’s some upward mobility here for Scott Satterfield’s club.


9. Virginia

  • Virginia’s defense made just enough plays last Thursday to help bag a road win down in Miami. The Hurricanes converted for only five first downs on 15 third-down plays. Oh, and the Cavaliers got a little bit of special teams luck, too.


10. Georgia Tech

  • Jeff Sims had his first two pass attempts vs. Pitt intercepted, which seems not great. Georgia Tech’s defense, which has had its moments this season, was clubbed by Pitt, though: the Panthers posted 580 total yards on offense and ran off the final 8:03 game clock — an 11-play drive that closed out on Tech’s 1-yard-line.


11. Duke

  • Following a 31-point beatdown at UNC, Duke must regroup quickly for an important measuring-stick game this week — in Durham vs. Georgia Tech.


12. Miami

  • Things are moving in the wrong direction, quickly, for Manny Diaz and Miami.


13. Florida State

  • In a weekend of ACC football where special teams mattered a great deal, Florida State came out on the right side: Ryan Fitzgerald drilled a 34-yard kick as time expired to give FSU its first win of the season, 33-30 over Syracuse.


14. Syracuse

  • At 3-2, Syracuse currently holds a winning record; however, Dino Babers must get his club ready for a daunting slate of games as conference play heats up over the next month.


Consensus Rankings

1Wake ForestWake ForestWake Forest
3NC StateNC StateNC State
5Boston CollegeVirginia TechBoston College
6UNCBoston CollegeUNC
7LouisvilleUNCVirginia Tech
9Virginia TechVirginiaVirginia
10Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia Tech