Wake Forest, N.C. State and Pittsburgh sit atop the ACC power poll, while preseason Coastal favorites North Carolina and Miami are near the bottom.
Just like we all expected, right?
It’s been a wild ACC season so far. Even though the conference doesn’t seem to have many — or any — College Football Playoff contenders, the second half of the season should be entertaining as teams in each division battle for a spot in the ACC Championship Game.
Voters: Bennett Conlin and John Shifflett (Charlottesville Daily Progress), Mike Barber and David Teel (Richmond Times-Dispatch), Aaron McFarling and Michael Niziolek (Roanoke Times) and Ethan Joyce (Winston-Salem Journal).
1. Wake Forest (6-0, 4-0 ACC, No. 1 last week, five first-place votes): Syracuse came close to ending Wake Forest’s undefeated season, but the Demon Deacons rallied from a 21-10 deficit and ultimately won 40-37 in a thrilling overtime game. A.T. Perry caught three passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Up next: Bye
2. N.C. State (4-1, 1-0 ACC, No. 2 last week): The Wolfpack were off last week. They’re 1-0 in the ACC this year with a win over Clemson. N.C. State hopes to keep pace with Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division race by earning a road win at Boston College this weekend. Up next: at Boston College, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
3. Pittsburgh (4-1, 1-0 ACC, No. 3 last week): The Panthers’ high powered offense — Pitt averages an FBS-best 52.4 points per game — enjoyed last weekend off. Kenny Pickett and company will need their best this weekend to win at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have one of the more talented defenses in the ACC. Up next: at Virginia Tech, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
4. Clemson (3-2, 2-1 ACC, No. 4 last week, two first-place votes): Like N.C. State and Pitt, Clemson didn’t play last week. Will a week without a game help the offense catch fire? Clemson is a two-touchdown favorite against a Syracuse team that gave Wake Forest a tough test last weekend. Up next: at Syracuse, Friday, 7 p.m.
5. Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0 ACC, No. 5 last week): The Hokies hosted Notre Dame and led 29-21 in the final four minutes. The Fighting Irish won 32-29 in regulation. It’s a missed opportunity for Virginia Tech, giving the team two one-possession losses this fall. Saturday’s game against Pitt carries significant weight in the Coastal race. Up next: Pitt, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
6. Boston College (4-1, 0-1 ACC, No. 7 last week): The Eagles were off last weekend. They return to action with an important home clash against N.C. State. Boston College’s most recent game was a narrow defeat against Clemson. Up next: N.C. State, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
7. Virginia (4-2, 2-2 ACC, No. 9 last week): The Cavaliers held on for narrow victories in consecutive weeks thanks to missed last-second field goals from opponents. UVa erased a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Louisville 34-33, effectively keeping its Coastal hopes alive in the process. Winnable home games against Duke and Georgia Tech come next. Up next: Duke, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
8. Louisville (3-3, 1-2 ACC, No. 6 last week): The Cardinals seemed poised to cruise to a win over UVa, but momentum shifted quickly Saturday. Louisville led 30-13 before allowing 21 fourth-quarter points and losing 34-33. It was a devastating loss for the Cardinals, who played well enough to win for the first 45 minutes, but couldn’t finish off the victory. Up next: Bye
9. Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2 ACC, No. 10 last week): The Yellow Jackets defeated Duke 31-27 last weekend, picking up their third win of the year. Jeff Sims completed 12 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 51 seconds left. Georgia Tech has a week off before playing at UVa. Up next: Bye
10. Miami (2-3, 0-1 ACC, No. 11 last week): Entering the year, Saturday’s showdown between UNC and Miami was expected to be a showdown between two Coastal favorites. Instead it’s a battle between two teams near the bottom of the ACC power poll. Miami, which will be without quarterback D’Eriq King for the rest of the season, could use something to go its way. Up next: at North Carolina, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
11. Florida State (2-4, 2-2 ACC, No. 12 last week): After an 0-4 start, the Seminoles are showing signs of life. They backed up a win over Syracuse with a 35-25 victory at North Carolina. Florida State was a significant underdog, but it took care of business against Mack Brown’s team. Quarterback Jordan Travis rushed for 121 yards and a pair of scores. Up next: Bye
12. North Carolina (3-3, 2-3 ACC, No. 8 last week): Talk about a disappointing season. North Carolina entered the year with ACC title aspirations. Flush those away. The Tar Heels now have three ACC losses after losing as a 17-point favorite against Florida State. Outside of quarterback Sam Howell and wide receiver Josh Downs, the Tar Heels don’t have many other players or position groups making dynamic plays. Up next: Miami, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
13. Syracuse (3-3, 0-2 ACC, No. 13 last week): Dino Babers’ team had minimal expectations this fall, but the Orange look the part of a respectable ACC team. Syracuse fell to Wake Forest 40-37 in overtime last week, but the program has yet to be blown out of a game. Syracuse lost to Rutgers by 10, while Florida State and Wake Forest defeated the Orange by three points. Up next: Friday, Clemson, 7 p.m.
14. Duke (3-3, 0-2 ACC, No. 14 last week): The Blue Devils tried to lean on Mataeo Durant on Saturday, but the running back’s 160 total yards weren’t enough to propel Duke to a win over Georgia Tech. The team’s defense allowed 440 yards in a 31-27 loss to Georgia Tech. Up next: at Virginia, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.