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    ImposterCauster

    [2021] ACC Power Rankings: Week 5

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    Your mans has been very busy this week, so I'm gonna keep this sort of short and sweet. The conference picked up another very solid out-of-conference win and saw some dominating conference games, as well as one ugly game in the Carrier Dome. A struggling perennial power finally got back on the winning side of things, but another struggling power continued their winless run. This upcoming week will see a lot more action as only three teams get a week off, and the slate of conference games will be some absolute slobberknockers. But for now, here's the current lay of the land.

     

    :vt: 1. Virginia Tech Hokies (3-0, Prev. 1, +/-0)

    The Hokies had the week off after their big win over the Longhorns. Next up is a home date with a Boston College side coming off of a huge OOC victory of their own. Beckett Morrison has been on fire to start the season, but will he have better success against the Eagles than Ryder Shipman and his Mississippi State Bulldogs? This is the premier game of the week, with the winner easily being dubbed the favorite to win the conference.

     

    :duke: 2. Duke Blue Devils (3-1, Prev. 2, +/-0)

    Duke finally put to rest a huge demon, beating the Pittsburgh Panthers for the first time in eight tries. Bryce Thompson and Christian Collins combined for 156 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and Thompson threw for 309 yards and 3 more touchdowns in the dominating 42-21 victory over the Panthers, extending Pittsburgh's woes while keeping Duke on the heels of the Hokies. The Blue Devils go back on rest this week before taking a trip to Ames to take on a very unpredictable Iowa State side.

     

    :bc: 3. Boston College Eagles (3-1, Prev. 4, +1)

    That was an emphatic performance from the Boston College defense. The Eagles looked worlds better against Mississippi State's vaunted receiving corp, holding the Bulldogs to just 189 yards passing and picking off Ryder Shipman twice in a 35-17 out-of-conference win. Neither Bulldog receiver made a big mark on the game, and the Eagles were able to capitalize off these turnovers with an efficient offense, both in the air AND on the ground for once. The grind doesn't stop here as the Eagles travel to Lane Stadium for a huge conference clash with Virginia Tech.

     

    :clemson: 4. Clemson Tigers (1-2, Prev. 3, -1)

    The Tigers fall due to the Eagles' huge win whereas Clemson had the week off. Atlanta awaits for the Tigers, and while Clemson put in a dominant defensive performance in the win over Louisville, the passing defense has looked less than ideal against teams with an actual quarterback. Time will tell if the Tigers can contain the Swanson/Rolle duo.

     

    :louisville: 5. Louisville Cardinals (2-1, Prev. 5, +/-0)

    :wake: 6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0, Prev. 6, +/-0)

    :uva: 7. Virginia Cavaliers (2-1, Prev. 7, +/-0)

    The next three teams on this list were all on bye, and no performance from the teams below them warrant a change here. Louisville and Virginia will clash in Charlottesville this week in what should be a very entertaining battle between solid defenses and very different offenses. Wake takes their undefeated record to South Bend looking to prove that they're the real deal against the team that wiped the floor with Boston College earlier. Wake's offense hasn't been slowed yet, but Notre Dame easily presents the biggest test of the season so far.

     

    :miami: 8. Miami Hurricanes (3-1, Prev. 8, +/-0)

    The Hurricanes took care of business against the visiting Tar Heels, stifling the visiting passing game in a 23-7 victory, giving the Hurricanes their first conference victory of the season. The 'Canes held UNC to just 242 yards of total offense, forcing an interception and even getting to Sebastian Norwood four times in the victory. It wasn't convincing from the Miami offense, but they'll get a week to fine-tune the offense before travelling to division-leaders Virginia Tech.

     

    :cuse: 9. Syracuse Orange (3-1, Prev. 9, +/-0)

    The Orange won the ugliest ACC game of the season so far, beating NC State 16-9. The Orange only managed 272 yards of offense, but an early passing touchdown put pressure on an NC State offense that had not accomplished much of anything this season. The defense forced three sacks and two interceptions, and while the offense wasn't clicking, they did enough to secure a big conference victory. Syracuse hosts struggling Florida State next.

     

    :gt: 10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, Prev. 10, +1)

    The Yellow Jackets were also on break this past week, but they play host to a strong Clemson side. Josh Beckett has emerged after a disappointing sophomore season, but can he carry this Tech side to a massive upset over the Tigers?

     

    :ncsu: 11. North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-2, Prev. 11, -1)

    The Wolfpack played catch-up for most of Saturday's game against the Orange, with Jacob Eubanks throwing 33 times through his sustained injury from last week's game against San Jose State. The defense did well to hold the Orange, but an early passing touchdown proved more than enough for Syracuse, and the Pack could not muster anything offensively to get fully back into the game. It was a pivotal game for the Pack in their hopes of getting to a bowl game, but now they'll have to pull off an upset down the stretch to have a chance, preferably in two weeks against a soaring Wake Forest team.

     

    :fsu: 12. Florida State Seminoles (1-3, Prev. 13, +1)

    The Brett England era has officially started in Tallahassee, but it did not get off to the best of starts in the 'Noles win over Arkansas State. Noah Wooten and the rushing game carried the offense through a hard-fought 33-24 victory over the Red Wolves, putting up 146 of the team's 281 yards. There are still major question marks about this team, and the win unfortunately answered very few of those questions. How many more can be answered in a trip to Syracuse?

     

    :pitt: 13. Pittsburgh Panthers (0-4, Prev. 12, -1)

    The Panthers were unable to keep their winning streak going against Duke, thus extending their 5-game losing streak over the past two seasons. It wasn't the worst performance from Messiah Winston, who threw for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns with just a single interception, but it clearly wasn't enough to keep up with Duke's offense. The defense had absolutely no answers for Thompson and Collins. North Carolina lacks the firepower to explode on the Panthers' defense, but can Pitt finally pick up a W?

     

    :unc: 14. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-4, Prev. 14, +/-0)

    New running back, same problems. Mike Foy replaced Xavier Lancaster in the backfield, but the Heels remained as stagnant as ever offensively, with Foy only managing 38 yards on 10 carries in the 23-7 loss to Miami. North Carolina is averaging 9.50 points per game, nearly half that of the next-lowest in conference (Florida State at 18.50 points per game). Pittsburgh comes to Chapel Hill this week giving up over 35 points per game; can the Heels finally manage some offense?

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