After Pittsburgh defeated Tennessee at Neyland Stadium and Virginia rolled Illinois in Charlottesville, Va. it looked like a good day for the ACC last Saturday.
But then Florida State lost its first ever game to an FCS opponent as Jacksonville State stunned the Seminoles 20-17 and N.C. State laid an egg at Mississippi State.
ACC teams went 11-3 against non-conference opponents over the weekend.
Each week The Clemson Insider ranks ACC teams 1-14 based on their performances in the 2021 season to date. Here are TCI’s ACC Power Rankings entering Week 3 of the new season.
- Clemson – While the Tigers played a far inferior opponent last week in a 49-3 win over South Carolina State in their return to Memorial Stadium, they still looked like the best team in the ACC by a wide margin. Clemson is still finding its rhythm on offense as it hosts Georgia Tech in its ACC opener Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
- Virginia Tech – The Hokies improved to 2-0 with a 35-14 win over Middle Tennessee State last Saturday. Virginia Tech faces a challenge as it travels to a hostile road environment against West Viriginia in Morgontown.
- Pitt – The Panthers had the best win of any ACC team last week as they held on for a 41-34 road win over Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. Pitt scored 27 points in the second quarter after falling behind 10-0 and quarterback Kenny Pickett looked outstanding completing 24-of-36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Pitt hosts Western Michigan on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.
- Virginia – The Cavaliers took care of business in Charlottesville last week as they rolled Illinois 42-14. Virginia moved up five spots in my power rankings behind the play of Brennan Armstrong in the win over the Illini. The Cavaliers face a huge test this week as they travel to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to face the No. 21 Tar Heels at 7:30 p.m.
- UNC – Sam Howell returned to his usual form in a 59-17 win over Georgia State. North Carolina has a big opportunity to bounce back from its season opening loss to Virginia Tech in a home game against Virginia.
- Miami – The Hurricanes skated by Appalachian State at home with a 25-23 win over the Mountaineers. Miami has looked inconsistent so far in 2021 and fell two spots in the power rankings. It hosts Michigan State at Hard Rock Stadium at noon on Saturday and hopes to live up to expectations.
- Boston College – The Eagles rolled UMass 45-28 on Saturday but tragedy struck in the first half. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec left the game and is doubtful for the rest of season with a wrist injury. So while the Eagles played well Saturday they have more questions than answers with Dennis Grosel back at the helm. BC travels to Temple with kickoff set for noon Saturday.
- NC State – Thankfully for N.C. State Florida State looked atrocious last week because it was a massive disappointment at Mississippi State. The Wolfpack got smacked 24-10 in Starkville, Mississippi and lost their two best defensive players in the process. NC State hopes to bounce back against as it hosts Furman at 7:30 on Saturday.
- Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons trounced Norfolk State 41-16 last weekend but have yet to face a true test. Wake Forest hosts the dejected Seminoles at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
- Louisville – The Cardinals bested Eastern Kentucky 30-3 on Saturday. Louisville faces a test on Friday night against undefeated UCF at home at 7:30 p.m.
- Duke – The Blue Devils bounced back against North Carolina A&T with a 45-17 win. Duke hosts Northwestern in the battle of the academically elite at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
- Syracuse – The Orange looked helpless in the Carier Dome as they fell 17-7 to Rutgers last week. Syracuse showed a lack of physicality on offense and slipped at the end of the game.
- Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech rolled Kennesaw State 45-17 on Saturday. Expect a tough weekend for the Yellow Jackets as they play at Clemson at 3:30 p.m.
- Florida State – The biggest loser of the week in the ACC was Florida State by a long shot. The Seminoles lost their first game ever to an FCS opponent since the Division I split in 1978. Jacksonville State scored 13 unanswered points to beat Florida State on its home turf 20-17 on long touchdown pass by former Clemson backup quarterback Zerrick Cooper. Then after the game to add insult to injury an offensive lineman proposed to his girlfriend as the Gamecocks celebrated on Bobby Bowden Field. Florida State showed no fight, no will to win and no progress from year’s past.