Kickoff Weekend in the ACC featured everything from closely-fought contests in SEC country to a conference clash in Ireland. Before we get to the Power Rankings, we’ll offer brief recaps of the latest happenings around the ACC.
Around the ACC
Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, with the good Lord’s blessing, outlasted Boston College, 17-14, in Dublin, Ireland. The Yellow Jackets, after finishing with the worst conference record in the Coastal Division last season, begin the year with a conference victory.
On Saturday night, at the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game in Atlanta, the North Carolina Tar Heels fell to the Georgia Bulldogs, 33-24. Last season, the Tar Heels ranked dead last in the ACC in rushing defense. As Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb ran for 222 yards on 32 carries, North Carolina’s defensive miscues of yesteryear reared their ugly head yet again. Junior Mitch Trubisky, in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Tar Heels, went 24 of 40 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown.
The Louisville Cardinals put up video game numbers on the Charlotte 49ers, winning 70-14. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson went Super Saiyan, throwing for 286 yards on 17 of 23 passing and six (!) touchdowns. Along with his 42 points scored through the air, Jackson also ran for 119 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons beat the Tulane Green Wave, 7-3, in Winston-Salem.
North Carolina State rolled over the William & Mary Tribe, winning 48-14.
Syracuse beat toothpaste, 33-7.
The Duke Blue Devils pummeled North Carolina Central, winning 49-6. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, in his freshman debut, went 10 of 15 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Jones also rushed for 28 yards on two carries, including a 7-yard rushing score.
The No. 2 Clemson Tigers escaped SEC country with a victory, winning 19-13 over the Auburn Tigers. Early in the fourth quarter, a clutch touchdown throw from Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson to receiver Hunter Renfrow helped stave off the Auburn Tigers.
The Virginia Tech Hokies played a dangerously close first half against Liberty (Hokies led 24-13 at the half); however, they rectified themselves in the second, holding Liberty scoreless, and winning 36-13.
Pittsburgh was in a precarious situation as well, but beat their opponent, Villanova, much more handily, winning 28-7. Panthers running back James Conner, making his first return since a knee injury last September, and then a cancer diagnosis in November, rushed for 53 yards and scored two touchdowns, including a receiving score.
The Virginia Cavaliers weren’t as fortunate. The Cavaliers, in Bronco Mendenhall’s coaching debut, were beaten across the board by Richmond, losing 37-20. The Richmond Spiders led in passing yards, rushing yards, and first downs, won the turnover battle 4-0, and led in time of possession.
The Florida State Seminoles overcame a shaky start against the Ole Miss Rebels, winning 45-34 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Seminoles’ freshman quarterback Deondre Francois led a strong second-half surge, throwing for 420 yards on 33 of 52 passing and two touchdowns, as Florida State quickly erased its 15-point deficit at halftime with a 23-point flurry in the third quarter.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish lost to the Texas Longhorns and that’s always good. Why is Notre Dame not included in State of the U’s weekly Power Rankings? Because.
Those are your quick-hitters from around the ACC. Now, let’s see how those outcomes impacted the Power Rankings.
Atlantic Division Rankings
1. Clemson Tigers (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Auburn Tigers (0-1); Result: WIN 19-13
Next opponent: vs. Troy Trojans (1-0)
2. Florida State Seminoles (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Ole Miss Rebels (0-1); Result: WIN 45-34
Next opponent: vs. Charleston Southern (1-1)
3. Louisville Cardinals (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Charlotte 49ers (0-1); Result: WIN 70-14
Next opponent: at Syracuse Orange (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
4. N.C. State Wolfpack (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. William & Mary Tribe (0-1); Result: WIN 48-14
Next opponent: at East Carolina Pirates (1-0)
5. Syracuse Orange (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Colgate (0-1); Result: WIN 33-7
Next opponent: vs. Louisville Cardinals (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Tulane Green Wave (0-1); Result: WIN 7-3
Next opponent: vs. Duke Blue Devils (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
7. Boston College Eagles (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0, 1-0 ACC); Result: LOSS 17-14
Next opponent: at Massachusetts Minutemen (0-1)
Coastal Division Rankings
1. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0); Result: LOSS 33-24
Next opponent: at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)
2. Miami Hurricanes (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Florida A&M Rattlers (0-1); Result: WIN 70-3
Next opponent: vs. Florida Atlantic Owls (1-0)
3. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Villanova Wildcats (0-1); Result: WIN 28-7
Next opponent: vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0)
4. Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Liberty (0-1); Result: WIN 36-13
Next opponent: vs. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
5. Duke Blue Devils (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. North Carolina Central (0-1); Result: WIN 49-6
Next opponent: vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Boston College Eagles (0-1, 0-1 ACC); Result: WIN 17-14
Next opponent: vs. Mercer Bears (0-1)
7. Virginia Cavaliers (0-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Richmond Spiders (0-1); Result: LOSS 37-20
Next opponent: at Oregon Ducks (1-0)
If you have any thoughts and comments on these rankings, teams, or want to list your own rankings, please do so below in the comments section.