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#GoACC Power Rankings: Week 4

It’s hard to imagine a more #GoACC week than the one which just passed: the two top teams didn’t play, two of the other top teams lost to supposedly inferior opponents and multiple quarterbacks faced discipline for a creative range of offenses, from shouting obscenities to driving under the influence.

1. No. 1 Florida State (no change)
Record: 2-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. No. 22 Clemson

Rested and ready to go, the Seminoles will host Clemson in a game that may very well serve as the de facto ACC Championship and deciding factor in which ACC team — if any — makes the newly-minted College Football Playoff.

Florida State looked shaky in its opener against Oklahoma State, and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is suspended for the first half against Clemson after allegedly standing on a table on campus Tuesday and yelling a sexual obscenity.

At times like these, I remember the words of the great Dwight Schrute: “Before I do anything, I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing.” I wonder if Famous Jameis has ever watched “The Office.”

2. No. 22 Clemson (up 1)
Record: 1-1, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: Bye
This Week: @ No. 1 Florida State

Now that Florida State has brought the swift hammer of justice down on Jameis, the Tigers stand a fighting chance against the Seminoles — at least in the first half. Clemson notably hung with Georgia in the first half, however, before being shut out by the Dawgs in the second.

It will be interesting to see if the Clemson offense can elevate its game to compete with its Seminole counterpart. The Tiger defense might be just good enough to keep the game within reach.

3. Duke (up 1)
Record: 3-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 41-3 W vs. Kansas
This Week: vs. Tulane

Duke’s offense continues to shred its — admittedly weaker — opponents, averaging 42.3 points per game. Senior quarterback Anthony Boone has evenly distributed the ball to his three primary weapons in receivers Jamison Crowder, Max McCaffrey and Issac Blakeney, while freshman running back Shaun Wilson averaged over 20 yards on 12 carries last week against Kansas.

None of the Duke’s next nine opponents are ranked, and the Blue Devils could conceivably run the table to the ACC Championship game. It’s nice to see the athletic program rebounding so nicely after its abject failure during basketball season.

4. Louisville (down 2)
Record: 2-1, 1-1 ACC
Last Week:  23-21 L @ Virginia
This Week: @ Florida International

Louisville represents one of the biggest question marks in the league right now. The Cardinals looked good in their Monday night opener against Miami, but now the ‘Canes look soft, and we’re left to wonder if Virginia is better than we thought with their close loss against UCLA and win against Louisville, or if those two teams are weaker than they initially appeared.

Louisville’s offense can move the ball, but sophomore quarterback Will Gardner needs to limit his turnovers for the Cardinals to reach their full potential. Gardner lost two fumbles against Miami, and threw two picks and lost a fumble in Charlottesville — turnovers which may have cost Louisville the game against Virginia.


5. Virginia (up 2)
Record: 2-1, 1-0 ACC
Last Week: 23-21 W vs. No. 21 Louisville
This Week: @ No. 21 Brigham Young

There’s a sense of optimism brewing in Charlottesville, and for the sake of Virginia fans — but not this impartial viewer — I hope the end result is different from last year’s 2-1 start. The Cavalier defense continues to bully and confound opponents, forcing four turnovers against Louisville and leading the FBS this season with 13 takeaways.

Still, after the Cardinals overcame a 20-7 deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter, I had horrific flashbacks to last year. Never forget that 22-point lead against Duke. No lead is safe.

6. Virginia Tech (down 1)
Record: 2-1, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 28-21 L vs. East Carolina
This Week: vs. Georgia Tech

I take back what I said about the Hokies playing a cupcake schedule — clearly they were the cupcake on East Carolina’s schedule. Right after tying the game up, Tech’s vaunted defense allowed senior quarterback Shane Carden to take his team 65 yards down the field for the game-winning touchdown in three plays and just over a minute.

Virginia Tech’s offense continued to look average at best, posting less than 100 rushing yards and seven dropped passes. Michael Brewer: all the poor throws and interceptions of Logan Thomas, without the size and rushing ability of a MAC truck.

7. Pittsburgh (down 1)
Record: 3-0, 1-0 ACC
Last Week: 42-25 W @ Florida International
This Week: vs. Iowa

Pittsburgh ended the first quarter down 16-0 against Florida International, but running back James Conner carried 31 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pitt back to victory. Sophomore quarterback Chad Voytik’s numbers aren’t necessarily impressive, but they don’t need to be when they have Conner, the FBS leader in rushing touchdowns at eight and second in rushing yards at 544.

8. Miami (no change)
Record: 2-1, 0-1 ACC
Last Week:  41-20 W vs. Arkansas State
This Week: @ No. 24 Nebraska

Well, if the Hurricanes weren’t confident in Brad Kaaya, they better be now. The true freshman quarterback looked significantly more poised this week, completing two-thirds of his passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns — it’s amazing what playing Arkansas State will do for your game. He will be the man under center when the ‘Canes travel to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers.

And if Miami was planning on making a switch to backup quarterback Kevin Olsen, that option went down the drain when Olsen was pulled over at 4:11 a.m. Monday for a DUI and having five different driver’s licenses on him. In all fairness, he only had the IDs because he was trying to pretend he played for Florida State instead of Miami.

9. North Carolina (no change)
Record: 2-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: Bye
This Week: @ East Carolina

I’d hate to be the Tar Heels this week. Not only do they play an in-state school on the rise in East Carolina, but they face the Pirates in Greenville after they just beat Virginia Tech — supposedly one of the better teams in the ACC — in Blacksburg.

10. Boston College (up 2)
Record: 2-1, 0-1 ACC
Last Week: 37-31 W vs. No. 9 Southern California
This Week: vs. Maine

Two days after the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11, the Boston College football team honored Welles Crowther, a former Eagles lacrosse player and fallen 9/11 hero, with red bandana-themed gear and a touching tribute before kicking off against the No. 9 Trojans.

Maybe the Eagles are a better team than they showed against Pittsburgh, maybe they were pumped up to honor Crowther’s memory or beat a highly-ranked team — or maybe it was a combination.

What I do know is that senior quarterback Tyler Murphy, who ranks eighth nationally with 401 rushing yards — the first among FBS quarterbacks — and Murphy’s stable of running backs appear to be one of the most lethal ground attacks in the league. Racking up 932 rushing yards through three games, Boston College’s offense cannot be taken lightly despite its pedestrian passing attack.

11. Georgia Tech (down 1)
Record: 3-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 42-38 W vs. Georgia Southern
This Week: @ Virginia Tech

The Yellow Jackets looked poised to cruise past Georgia Southern last week, up 35-10 at halftime behind three passing and one rushing touchdown from sophomore quarterback Justin Thomas. The defense collapsed in the second half and the offense went silent, however, allowing the Eagles to score 28 unanswered points before Georgia Tech managed a game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining.

The triple option offense is alive and well in Atlanta, though, as the Ramblin’ Wreck racked up 348 yards last Saturday. Georgia Tech may have to move the ball through the air this week when the team travels to face a Hokie defense which has been much better defending the run than the pass this season.

12. Syracuse (down 1)
Record: 2-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 40-3 W @ Central Michigan
This Week: vs. Maryland

The Orange: the ACC’s lone hope to exact revenge on conference-defector Maryland. A 40-3 win against the Chippewas was more impressive than Syracuse’s opening 27-26 double overtime win against Villanova, and quarterback Terrel Hunt rebound nicely from his ejection against the Wildcats.

At the same time, Central Michigan is not even close to the team it was when Dan LeFevour sat under center. We’ll see the Orange’s resolve this week against a gang of Terrapins which appears healthier and much improved than last year.

13. North Carolina State (no change)
Record: 3-0, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 49-17 W @ South Florida
This Week: vs. Presbyterian

The Wolfpack may open with the softest four games of any Power 5 Conference team in the country with Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and now Presbyterian. The gravy train ends next week when they face Florida State, followed by Clemson the week after. But in return for their schedule stacking, they will likely be 4-2 midway through the season with six unranked ACC teams left to face and a great shot at the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.

14. Wake Forest (no change)
Record: 1-2, 0-0 ACC
Last Week: 36-24 L @ Utah State
This Week: vs. Army

A rough year so far for the Deacs got even worse this past week. An uninspiring performance against Utah State — highlighted by two first-half turnovers for Aggie touchdowns, backup quarterback Kevin Sousa got pulled over on the quad for a DWI while on his way to get some delicious Subway, AND they couldn’t even book Beyoncé for their recruiting pitch:


15. No. 9 Notre Dame (no change)

Record: 3-0

Last Week: 30-14 W vs. Purdue

This Week: vs. Syracuse

Notre Dame will remain in last place on this list until the Irish just join the conference already. Ball's in your court, Swarbrick.