ACC Football Power Rankings, Sept. 7: Virginia Tech makes a statement, Club Lit, Wake’s Ja’Sir Taylor shows off

The start of the 2021 college football season didn’t go, let’s say, great for the ACC. That’s just a one-week sample; however, it’s enough to cobble together some ACC Power Rankings.


1. Clemson

    • It feels reasonable to assume that Clemson’s performance in the loss vs. Georgia will be the team’s worst regular season performance in 2021, although replacing guys like Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne will be a real challenge.

2. Tied: Virginia Tech, NC State

    • Virginia Tech and NC State used similar approaches during Week 1 victories: dominate on defense and a slashing rushing attack on offense. The Hokies win over UNC was a statement-setter and a key Coastal Division win. We’ll know more about NC State after next Saturday at Mississippi State.

4. Pittsburgh

    • Pitt took care of business with a blowout win over UMass. Veteran QB Kenny Pickett threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

5. North Carolina

    • The defense looked rough at times against Virginia Tech, but it was an offense that mostly went sideways in Blacksburg that presents the most concern, for now. UNC will likely be just fine on offense, but Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome will be missed.

6. Boston College

    • Phil Jurkovec made it look easy in BC’s 51-0 win over Colgate: 303 passing yards, 12.6 yards per attempt and three touchdowns.

7. Wake Forest

    • Like a sir: Ja’Sir Taylor looked awesome in Wake Forest’s season-opening win vs. Old Dominion. Taylor recorded an interception, which he returned 47 yards, and took back a kickoff return for a 99-yard touchdown.

8. Miami

    • Well, that didn’t go great: No. 1 Alabama steamrolled Miami on Saturday in Atlanta. On the plus side: Bama is really good; Nick Saban has built yet another war machine. Miami will play better as the season roll along.

9. Florida State, Virginia

    • Behind a memorable late-game rally from QB McKenzie Milton — who returned to the field for the first time since the 2018 season at UCF — FSU nearly pulled off a major upset over Notre Dame. Standby: this Florida State team may have some juice. Meanwhile, Virginia shrugged off a slow start and blitzed William & Mary, 43-0.

11. Louisville, Syracuse

    • Even without Lane Kiffin, Louisville fell to Ole Miss during a primetime Monday night matchup, 43-24. The Cardinals played better in the second half, but this was a suboptimal start to Year 3 for Scott Satterfield.

13. Duke

    • At least Club Lit looked like fun. The loss at Charlotte was an exciting game, but that doesn’t mean much when it results in a defeat: David Cutcliffe and his staff have serious work to do in Durham.

14. Georgia Tech

    • Georgia Tech played with its food for far too long in the opener vs. Northern Illinois. The Yellow Jackets started the game by falling behind 14-0. Tech rallied back and grabbed a 21-14 lead late in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 4-yard TD run from Jordan Yates. However, NIU scored a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining in the game and completed the 2-point conversion, which resulted in a 22-21 victory. Not great for Geoff Collins.

Consensus Rankings

Brian GeisingerJosh GrahamConsensus
2Virginia TechNC StateVirginia Tech
3NC StateVirginia TechNC State
14Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia Tech