Week 5 is in the books and we almost saw the conference’s world turned upside down, but luckily for Clemson, nothing major ended up happening. The league went 8-6 last week, 5-6 against Power 5 opponents, and 3-1 when facing opponents outside the ACC. Here’s your power rankings as we enter the sixth week of the college football season.
1. #4 Clemson (5-0 Overall, 2-0 Conference) (LW: #1)
The Tigers were able to hang on against Syracuse and retain their No. 1 spot but nearly suffered an upset after a concussion knocked Trevor Lawrence out of the game in the second quarter. And since Kelly Bryant announced his intent to transfer and is no longer suiting up, it was third-stringer Chase Brice who was tasked with saving the day. He did just enough, and Clemson rallied from a 23-13 fourth quarter deficit to remain perfect atop the ACC.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. Wake Forest (3-2) at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
2. #17 Miami (4-1 Overall, 1-0 Conference) (LW: #2)
Miami had no problems breezing past North Carolina in their Thursday night matchup. The Canes forced six turnovers and tied a school record with three defensive touchdowns as two pick-sixes and a scoop-and-score on a fumble powered them past the Tar Heels.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. Florida State (3-2) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
3. #23 NC State (4-0 Overall, 1-0 Conference) (LW: #4)
Even though they didn’t beat Virginia by as wide of an expected margin, 257 yards and 3 TDs from NFL prospect Ryan Finley was enough to help the Wolfpack jump out to their first 4-0 start since 2015 and get a slight bump in this week’s rankings.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. Boston College (4-1) at 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network
4. #24 Virginia Tech (3-1 Overall, 2-0 Conference) (LW: #7)
Up three spots from last week, the Hokies bounced back from their humiliating upset loss to Old Dominion with an upset of their own against No. #22 Duke. Filling in for the injured Josh Jackson, backup Ryan Willis threw for 332 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. All things considered, Virginia Tech is still one of the better teams in the conference, but they’ve got a couple more weeks to atone for their embarrassing loss before they receive any positive reviews around here.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. #6 Notre Dame (5-0) at 7:00 p.m. on ABC
5. Syracuse (4-1 Overall, 1-1 Conference) (LW: #5)
Here’s the deal, despite Syracuse’s loss and the fact that Boston College won underneath them, most people probably have these teams switched. But I’m not going to penalize Syracuse with a one-spot demotion because they lost to No. 3 Clemson, and I’m not going to award Boston College simply because they beat Temple by 10 points. After all, even though they ultimately were unable to stifle Clemson’s rally, Syracuse still led one of the best teams in the nation by two scores until there were just 11 minutes left in the game.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 at Pittsburgh (2-3) at 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
6. Boston College (4-1 Overall, 1-0 Conference) (LW: #6)
No change for the Eagles, see above ⬆️
AJ Dillion, the ACC’s leading rusher, continued to dominate; he racked up 161 yards and 2 TDs. But keep an eye out for him, though, as he left the game with an apparent ankle injury in the third quarter and did not return. Probably more precautionary than anything, but if Boston College were to lose him, that would be the kiss of death to an otherwise mediocre offense.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 at #23 NC State (4-0) at 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network
7. Duke (4-1 Overall, 0-1 Conference) (LW: #3)
Duke slides four spots as they dropped their first loss of the season to Virginia Tech, and right when they had just climbed into the Top 25! Duuuuuuke, c’mon now. It’s hard to argue the strength of the ACC with such inconsistency from teams who are supposed to be solid. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones returned after breaking his collar bone earlier in the season, so at least that’s good news.
Up next: Bye
8. Wake Forest (3-2 Overall, 0-1 Conference) (LW: #9)
How good is Greg Dortch? He leads the conference in receptions and receiving yards, and his 163 yards and 4 TDs Saturday catapulted Wake Forest over Rice, 56-24.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. #4 Clemson (5-0) at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
9. Georgia Tech (2-3 Overall, 0-2 Conference) (LW: #11)
The Yellow Jackets are up a couple spots after their backfield exploded for 8 TDs and absolutely buried Bowling Green, 63-17.
Up next: Friday 10/5 at Louisville (2-3) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
10. Virginia (3-2 Overall, 1-1 Conference) (LW: #8)
The Cavs got another big game from Olamide Zaccheaus, who caught nine passes for 109 yards and 2 TDs and also rushed twice for 39 yards, but two costly interceptions from Bryce Perkins stunted the team’s opportunity to top NC State.
Up next: Bye
11. Florida State (3-2 Overall, 1-2 Conference) (LW: #10)
Willie Taggart was already preparing himself for the post-game ridicule of back-to-back-to-back conference losses, but with two minutes left in the game, an interception from A.J. Westbrook setup a 58-yard go-ahead touchdown pass from Deondre Francois, and the Seminoles won a game in which they had just a 1.02% chance to win prior to the interception.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 at #17 Miami (4-1) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
12. North Carolina (1-3 Overall, 1-1 Conference) (LW: #13)
The Tar Heels turned the ball over six times on their way to a blowout loss against Miami. This bump in their position (and Pitt’s too, for that matter,) is not a reflection of anything they’ve done to deserve an improvement, and has everything to do with Louisville sliding all the way down.
Up next: Bye
13. Pittsburgh (2-3 Overall, 1-1 Conference) (LW: #14)
Back-to-back conference losses don’t bode well if you’re trying to climb from the bottom of the barrel. And even though Pitt is probably a more talented group than UNC, the Tar Heels still won their head-to-head matchup, thus cementing Pitt below them for now.
Up next: Saturday 10/6 vs. Syracuse (4-1) at 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
14. Louisville (2-3 Overall, 0-2 Conference) (LW: #12)
Louisville finally looked as if they had found a little groove. Jawon Pass didn’t look completely awful, and the Cards got emerging performances out of running backs Hassan Hall and Trey Smith. But then Bobby Petrino decided to throw the ball on the Seminole 21-yard line with a clock running under two minutes and only up by three points. That decision was ultimately fatal, as his struggling quarterback threw an interception that setup a game-winning FSU touchdown drive.
Up next: Friday 10/5 vs. Georgia Tech (2-3) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN