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ACC Football Team Power Rankings: Conference Woes Continue Into Week 3

Isaiah ClarkCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2016

ACC Football Team Power Rankings: Conference Woes Continue Into Week 3

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    N.C. State got the ACC started off on the right foot, as they took care of business on Thursday with a non-conference win against Cincinnati.

    Maryland, Clemson and Wake Forest all had their opportunities to help the conference out with key victories against ranked opponents. None of them managed to pull off the upset, but nothing was more heart-breaking then watching Clemson lose in overtime at Auburn.

    Virginia Tech was finally able to shake off the rust against East Carolina, but it took over three quarters for them to run away with the game.

    Florida State bounced back against BYU after a lackluster performance against Oklahoma the week before.

    So after a week of a few quality wins here and there, the rankings haven't changed much.

     

    Week 1 | Week 2

12. Duke 1-2 (0-1) Last Week-12

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    Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

    Any time you play a ranked opponent, it’s going to be a tough game for Duke.

    But when you play a team that has an advantage at every position on the field, it’s merely impossible to put up a fight.

    I was pulling for the upset of the century, but that didn’t happen. Alabama steamrolled through Durham, winning 62-13.

    At least next week gets easier when Army comes to town, but it’ll still be a tough game and a must-win for Duke. If it wins this one, then maybe that momentum can help their chances of making a bowl game this season.

    Next Game: vs. Army 9/25

11. Wake Forest 2-1 (1-0) Last Week-9

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    They had their shot at a statement game, and the only statement they made was, "Our defense is atrocious."

    Stanford throttled them behind Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck and a dominant ground game.

    This may be a bit of a rebuilding year for Wake Forest, but there is no excuse for the way their defense has performed lately. I still believe this team can make a decent run in the ACC, and even pull off an upset or two.

    However, if they don’t fix that defense and do it in a hurry, they could be giving up 30-plus points all season long.

    Next Game: at Florida State 9/25

10. Virginia 1-1 (0-0) Last Week-11

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Cavaliers had the luxury of a bye week this past weekend.

    So they should be well-rested and prepared for an already lesser opponent in VMI.

    They will win this game by at least two touchdowns, which should give them some good momentum heading into conference play.

    Next Game: vs. VMI 9/25

9. Virginia Tech 1-2 (0-0) Last Week-10

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    It started off as another scare for the Hokies, but they were able to get it together and pull away from ECU in the second half, winning the game 49-27.

    They could have been heading into conference play at 0-3, but were able to pull off a quality win against a solid team.

    Starting tailback Ryan Williams is listed as day-to-day, and that may bode as a problem when they head to Boston College for a huge conference opener this weekend.

    Next Game: at Boston College 9/25

8. North Carolina 0-2 (0-1) Last Week-3

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    Even with missing a considerable amount of key players, the Tar Heels managed a 24-17 lead over Georgia Tech in the third quarter, but didn't have enough man power to hold onto that lead.

    They lost the hard-fought battle 30-24.

    With all the suspensions, it’s astonishing that this team is still able to play at such a high level.

    A few defensive stops here, and this team could be looking at a 2-0 record instead of an 0-2 record, even with all the hoopla taking place.

    Next Game: at Rutgers 9/25

7. Maryland 2-1 (0-0) Last Week-6

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    Playing West Virginia was a chance for the Terps to prove all their naysayers wrong.

    They weren’t able to come up with a victory, losing 31-17.

    Most have said that the defense was their anchor, and they let them down on many occasions during the game. They allowed 476 yards of total offense and only managed two sacks during the game.

    A tough FIU team comes to town this weekend in what could be a trap game for the Terps before they start conference play.

    Next Game: vs. FIU 9/25

6. Boston College 2-0 (0-0) Last Week-4

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    Last week was an off week for the Eagles, and it came at a good time. 

    It has given them an extra week to prepare for a struggling Virginia Tech team.

    This is a great opportunity for them to prove their worth as one of the favorites for the Atlantic division.

    A win here would certainly catapult them to the top of the Atlantic division, and potentially to the top of the conference, depending on how everyone else fares this week.

    Next Game: vs. Virginia Tech 9/25

5. Georgia Tech 2-1 (1-0) Last Week-7

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    A week after an embarrassing loss at the hands of Kansas, the Yellow Jackets were able to come away with a quality road win against North Carolina, 30-24.

    It may not be the North Carolina team that most were expecting, but they are just as dangerous because of the huge heart they play with and still having Yates at quarterback. 

    With that being said, they were finally able to get that potent offense going again after struggling the week before. They finished with 448 yards of total offense, and 372 of those yards came on the ground.

    The Yellow Jackets will need this type of offensive showing on a consistent basis if they want to repeat as ACC champs. They also have a tough matchup when N.C. State comes for a visit, in what should be a high scoring game with Joshua Nesbitt and Russell Wilson being involved.

    Next Game: vs. N.C. State 9/25

4. Florida State 2-1 (0-0) Last Week-5

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Seminoles were finally able to put together a complete game in the 34-10 dominating win over BYU.

    The defense came alive and looked solid all game. The tackling was much better, along with the pass rush and coverage in the secondary. 

    It's still may be a little early to figure out just how good this defense is and will be. 

    They have the athleticism, skill, and speed to be a stout defense, but we haven't seen that consistency, yet. They will be put to the test again when they take on a Wake Forest team that is averaging over 40 points a game.

    The Seminoles will put up some points this weekend; there is no questioning that. But who will be leading the offense under center? 

    Christian Ponder has been battling with the shoulder he had season-ending surgery on, and has been very limited in practice this week. 

    So if there is any sign of him having problems with it in the game, expect Fisher to make the switch quick-and-go with E.J. Manuel.

    Next Game: vs. Wake Forest 9/25

3. N.C. State 3-0 (0-0) Last Week-8

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Talk about a surprise team. 

    The Wolfpack are on the prowl after a 3-0 start and a solid win over Cincinnati 30-19 last week.

    This team has plenty of confidence heading into their showdown against Georgia Tech on the road this week.

    Can they keep this play up, or will they crumble under pressure when they finally square off against a high-octane offense like the Yellow Jackets? 

    One thing's for sure: You won't see many mistakes by Russell Wilson.

    He may not always be the best quarterback out on the field when it comes to yardage or completion percentage. But when it comes to making mistakes, or lack thereof in his case, he's the quarterback you want on your team. 

    He has yet to record an interception thus far, and I doubt you will see any this weekend against a sluggish Yellow Jackets defense.

     

    I'm going out on a limb when I say this, but the Wolfpack will get an upset win on the road against the Yellow Jackets this weekend.

    Next Game: at Georgia Tech 9/25

2. Clemson 2-1 (0-0) Last Week-1

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    You may wonder why I still have Clemson in the top two, but the way they played on the road against Auburn in such a hostile environment surely can't go unnoticed. 

    In fact, in my opinion, it was the best performance out of any ACC team against a ranked non-conference opponent, especially with the game on the road.

    Kyle Parker took a beating, but stuck with it and gave his Tigers an excellent opportunity at pulling off the upset. One missed throw and a double-clutch snap in overtime proved to be the difference between a win or a loss.

     

    However, don't expect this team to call it quits just yet. They have a much needed bye week after the physical game against Auburn. 

    Then they will take on Miami when they come to visit. 

    I expect Dabo Swinney to have this team fully prepared and ready for a tough conference matchup against Miami.

    Next Game: vs. Miami 10/2

1. Miami 1-1 (0-0) Last Week-2

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Miami has had over a week to prepare for a familiar foe in Pittsburgh, an ex-conference opponent.

    The Hurricanes will take to the road for their Thursday night rendezvous with the Panthers.

    They are coming off a tough loss at the hands of Ohio State, and look to get things back on track. 

    It will be a tough road game for the Hurricanes, but a win here could solidify them as the team to beat in the ACC.

    Nest Game: at Pittsburgh 9/23

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