While opening week featured high profile contests with Power 5 adversaries, week two in the ACC saw more lower-level non-conference pairings. That's not to say we didn't get a better read on our fellow members. Some teams, like Georgia Tech, maintained their high level of play, while others are struggling to find success. After the previous week's many injuries, starters were shuffled and game plans altered as teams were forced to move forward without their key weapons.
We're another week into the season and moving closer to full-on conference play. Before we get to the power rankings, let's discuss the teams that had the most impact on the standings.
Movers and shakers
Louisville showed promise after their close loss to the then highly ranked Auburn Tigers. In week two, however, as Auburn struggled with Jacksonville State, the Cardinals had difficulties of their own, falling 34-31 to former AAC foes Houston. Houston's junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw for 236 yards on 23 of 33 passing with three touchdowns and an interception. Whereas Cardinals' quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Kyle Boldin, with Jackson giving way to Boldin after two interceptions, combined for 325 yards on 27 of 45 attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions. With five turnovers and 462 total yards allowed, Louisville was fortunate this game didn't get out of hand. Next week won't be any easier for the Cards as conference play begins with welcoming Clemson to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Georgia Tech is vying for first place in our power rankings after another strong performance in their 65-10 victory over Tulane. Sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas threw for 97 yards on 7 of 9 passing with two touchdowns and added 71 yards on 10 carries with a score in the rushing game. The Yellow Jackets defense allowed 248 yards in the blowout.
Pittsburgh, without do-everything back James Conner, beat Akron with relative ease, winning 24-7 in Ohio. The defense which struggled with Youngstown State the previous week, giving up 407 yards and 37 points, held Akron to just 110 yards, showing huge improvement.
Virginia Tech's not down-and-out just yet. After a slow start had the Hokies ahead 14-0 over the Furman Paladins at halftime, Brenden Motley got the offense going with three scoring drives in the third quarter. Motley finished the day with 233 yards on 16 of 24 passing with three touchdowns, including one rushing score.
Syracuse, thought to be an Atlantic Division bottom feeder by many, is impressing early on with their shutout of Rhode Island followed by a 30-17 win over Wake Forest. Wake Forest had more total yards but lost the turnover battle (3-0), as the Orange defense stiffened and held the Demon Deacons scoreless in the second half.
The Virginia Cavaliers were mere seconds away from upending the top-10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Charlottesville. Notre Dame's backup quarterback threw a 40-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to lift the Irish over the Wahoos. Things weren't pretty for the Cavaliers as they allowed 155 yards on 17 carries to Irish running back C.J. Prosise, who barreled through contact and outran defenders at will. A clean performance from Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns, 26 of 38 passing for 289 yards and two touchdowns, kept the game within reach.
Week two in the ACC brought about some changes. Not only have members shuffled, but our power rankings feature a new look, too.
1st - Clemson Tigers (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers (1-1); Result: WIN 41-10
Next Opponent: Thursday, September 17th 7:30 PM ET at Louisville Cardinals (0-2, ACC 0-0)
2nd - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Tulane Green Wave (0-2); Result: WIN 65-10
Next Opponent: September 19th 3:30 PM ET at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0)
3rd - Florida State Seminoles (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. South Florida Bulls (1-1); Result: WIN 34-14
Next Opponent: Friday, September 18th 8:00 PM ET at Boston College Eagles (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
4th - Miami Hurricanes (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Florida Atlantic Owls (0-2); Result: WIN 44-20
Next Opponent: September 19th 3:30 PM ET vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1)
5th - Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Furman Paladins (0-2); Result: WIN 42-3
Next Opponent: September 19th 3:30 PM ET at Purdue Boilermakers (1-1)
6th - Duke Blue Devils (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. North Carolina Central Eagles (1-1); Result: WIN 55-0
Next Opponent: September 19th 12:30 PM ET vs. Northwestern Wildcats (2-0)
7th - Virginia Cavaliers (0-2, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0); Result: LOSS 34-27
Next Opponent: September 19th 3:30 PM ET vs. William & Mary Tribe (1-0)
8th - Boston College Eagles (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Howard Bison (0-2); Result: WIN 76-0
Next Opponent: Friday, September 18th 8:00 PM ET vs. Florida State Seminoles (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
9th - Louisville Cardinals (0-2, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Houston Cougars (2-0); Result: LOSS 34-31
Next Opponent: Thursday, September 17th 7:30 PM ET vs. Clemson Tigers (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
10th - Syracuse Orange (2-0, 1-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1, 0-1 ACC); Result: WIN 30-17
Next Opponent: September 19th 12:30 PM ET vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (1-1)
11th - N.C. State Wolfpack (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Eastern Kentucky Colonels (1-1); Result: WIN 35-0
Next Opponent: September 19th 7:00 PM ET at Old Dominion Monarchs (2-0)
12th - North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies (1-1); Result: WIN 53-14
Next Opponent: September 19th 12:00 PM ET vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)
13th - Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Akron Zips (0-2); Result: 24-7
Next Opponent: September 19th 8:00 PM ET at Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0)
14th - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1, 0-1 ACC)
Previous week: at Syracuse Orange (2-0, 1-0 ACC); Result: LOSS 30-17
Next Opponent: September 19th 12:00 PM ET at Army Black Knights (0-2)