Conference was 5-4 against Power 5 top 10 teams in 2014
The ACC begins its 63rd season of college football when North Carolina plays South Carolina on Thursday (6 p.m.) at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The 16th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Wake Forest and Duke will also play on Thursday night, while Syracuse kicks off its season on Friday. The rest of the conference, including 12th-ranked Clemson will begin the 2015 season on Saturday.
Below is The Clemson Insider’s first ACC Power Rankings of the season. The ACC, which has Virginia Tech and Louisville facing No. 1 Ohio State and No. 6 Auburn this weekend, posted a 5-4 record against non-conference AP Top 10 foes in 2014. The five wins were the most of any of the Power Five conferences last year.
- Clemson (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Tigers host Wofford at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday which will mark the return of Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Clemson averaged more than 40 points and 540 yards a game with Watson at the helm last season. The defense, which led the nation a year ago, will be replacing nine starters.
- Florida State (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The eighth-ranked Seminoles have a 39-3 record the last three seasons, which leads the nation. Notre Dame graduate transfer Everett Golson has been named the starting quarterback by head coach Jimbo Fisher for Saturday’s game vs. Texas State.
- Georgia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Yellow Jackets will host Alcorn State to open the season at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Alcorn quarterback John Gibbs total 32 touchdowns a year ago, including 21 through the air. He totaled 2,482 passing yards and 1,006 rushing yards.
- Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Cardinals open the season against No. 6 Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. The will be the first meeting between these two schools since 1974, when Auburn won 16-3, on its way to a 10-2 season and a Gator Bowl Championship. Louisville still has not named a starting quarterback for this game.
- Virginia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC): Last year, the Hokies stunned everyone when they went to Columbus and knocked off Ohio State, who eventually went onto win the national championship. Virginia Tech has perhaps the ACC’s best defense this season, and will host the top-ranked Buckeyes on Monday Night at 8 p.m.
- Duke (0-0, 0-0 ACC): Over the past two seasons Duke has compiled 19 wins, the most for the Blue Devil program in a two-year span bettering the previous high of 17 wins in 1938-39 and 1935-36. Duke will travel to New Orleans on Thursday night to open the season at Tulane.
- NC State (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The TD pass to interception ratio for NC State’s Jacoby Brissett is 4.6, which is fourth-best among all returning QBs in the FBS. Brissett threw 23 touchdown passes with only five interceptions in 370 pass attempts last year. The 1.35-percent interception rate is the sixth-best in ACC history. The Wolfpack open the year against Troy on Saturday night.
- North Carolina (0-0, 0-0 ACC): North Carolina junior quarterback Marquise Williams accounted for 34 touchdowns, rushing (13) and passing (21) the ball in 2014. That’s tied for the 9th highest single-season total in ACC history. The Tar Heels kickoff the college football season on Thursday night when they play South Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
- Boston College (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Eagles seek their sixth straight win and fourth since 2006 against Maine on Saturday. The series that was first played from 1913 through 1915 (all Maine victories). BC is coming off its second straight 7-6 season and bowl game appearance under head coach Steve Addazio, while Maine won three of its final four games in 2014 to finish 5-6.
- Pitt (0-0, 0-0 ACC): Running back James Conner in his 26 collegiate games has averaged 102.6 yards per game. That average would rank 5th-best in ACC history. Over his last 14 games, Conner has averaged 147.9 yards a contest with 28 TDs. The Narduzzi era begins at Pitt Saturday, as former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi leads the Panthers against Youngstown State at Heinz Field. Narduzzi is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, who began his collegiate career at Youngstown State where his father was head coach for 11 seasons (1975-85).
- Miami (0-0, 0-0 ACC): Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya had a pass efficiency rating of 145.9 in 2014, which led the ACC and ranked second nationally among all freshmen signal-callers in pass efficiency. He also led the ACC in TD passes with 26. The Hurricanes open the season against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday night. Miami is just 28-22 under head coach Al Golden in his five years in Miami.
- Virginia (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Cavaliers and Bruins square off in the season opener for the second straight year following the Bruins’ 28-20 win last August in Charlottesville. This year they will play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. This marks the third consecutive year that the Cavaliers have opened the season against a ranked Pac-12 opponent after falling to second-ranked Oregon at home two years ago.
- Wake Forest (0-0, 0-0 ACC): This will mark the ninth time that the Demon Deacons have played host to Elon (on Thursday night), but only the second time at BB&T Field. Prior to the Deacons’ 35-7 win in the last meeting between the teams in 2009 at BB&T, the two have met seven times at the original Wake Forest, N.C., campus and once at a neutral site (Greensboro, N.C.) between 1920 and 1939 … Wake Forest allowed just 19 points in the previous nine meetings while posting seven shutouts. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 2014 season in which they finished 3-9 overall and 1-7 in ACC play … The Phoenix finished 1-11 overall and 0-8 in conference play in its inaugural CAA season.
- Syracuse (0-0, 0-0 ACC): The Orange look to improve on last season’s 3-9 record, while Rhode Island is coming off a 1-11 year. Syracuse opens this season with four consecutive home games, including next week’s ACC opener against Wake Forest.