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ACC Power Rankings Week 6: Nail-biters galore across the league

ACC footballThe chaos that is ACC Football 2021 continued Saturday with nail-bitters across the league. When the dust cleared, Wake Forest kept its unbeaten season intact with an OT win at Syracuse.

FSU upset North Carolina, practically ending the Tar Heels hopes of a Coastal Division title. Almost impossible to believe now that UNC was a preseason top-10 team.

In Louisville, Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong threw for 487 yards and almost single-handedly pushed the Cavaliers to victory. Armstrong leads the ACC in passing yards with 2,728. For the second consecutive week UVA got the win on a game-ending missed field goal.

Speaking of field goals, Notre Dame stunned Virginia Tech, rallying from eight down in the game’s final minutes to beat the Hokies, you guessed it, on a 47-yard field goal with 17 seconds left.

It was a light schedule conference-wide as five schools had bye weeks.

An interesting quirk in the ACC scheduling has UNC already having played five conference games while five  schools (VPI, NC State, BC, Pitt and Miami ) each have played just once within the league.

Atlantic Division

  1. Wake Forest (4-0,6-0) The first 6-0 start for Wake since 1944. The Demon Deacons and Syracuse played a back-and-forth game the entire way. After holding the Orange to a FG on their first OT possession, Wake won the game on the arm of quarterback Sam Hartman, who tossed a 22-yard scoring strike for the winning TD.
  2. NC State (1-0,4-1) The Wolfpack maintained the No.2 spot with a bye week.
  3. Clemson (2-1, 3-2) Ditto for the Tigers, another team enjoying the weekend off.
  4. Boston College (0-1, 4-1) I could write that BC enjoyed another bye week Saturday after a very soft 2021 schedule, but I will resist.
  5. Florida State (2-2,2-4) Break up the Seminoles! A modest two-game winning streak for FSU. OK, before “the Seminoles are back” talk starts, the two wins came against Syracuse and a disappointing UNC team.
  6. Louisville (1-2,3-3) The Cardinals slipped a spot from last week. A missed field goal at the horn cost Louisville the win against Virginia. That and a defense that was carved up by the Cavalier air-raid offensive attack.
  7. Syracuse (0-2, 3-3) The Orange had numerous opportunities to pull out a win over Wake, but they didn’t, and thus continue to occupy the basement of the Atlantic Division power rankings.

Coastal Division

  1. Pittsburgh (1-0, 4-1) It’s the Panthers by default. Despite not playing, Pittsburg takes its turn atop the division. The fact that former No. 1 VPI lost and may be searching for a QB for next week makes it difficult to ignore Pitt.
  2. Virginia Tech (1-0,3-2) No.2 for now. The Hokies stumbled down the stretch against Notre Dame, snapping defeat from the jaws of victory. VPI also has some potential injuries as starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister finished the game with an obvious wing injury.
  3. Virginia (2-2,4-2) The Cavalier field goal defense continues to shine. For the second straight week, Virginia capitalized on a potential game-winning field goal gone awry. But seriously, Virginia’s resilience is starting to gain respect. Brennan Armstrong is putting together a season that will shatter the UVA passing marks.
  4. Georgia Tech (2-2,3-3) The Yellow Jackets needed a heart-stopping 36-yard touchdown pass from QB Jeff Sims with 51 seconds left to avoid a devasting loss at Duke. GT, trailing 27-24 with no timeouts, marched 88 yards in six plays to pull out the win, 31-27.
  5. North Carolina (2-3, 3-3) The UNC nightmare season continues. A team that once had College Football Playoff aspirations lost to a struggling FSU team in Chapel Hill. Carolina head coach Mac Brown is 0-for-FSU. The loss dropped Brown, a Florida State alum, to 0-11 against the Seminoles.
  6. Miami (0-1, 2-3) A bye week for the Hurricanes leaves Miami still trying to turn things around.
  7. Duke (0-2,3-3) A defensive collapse cost the Blue Devils an opportunity to come up from the basement in the Coastal. Leading 27-24, Duke allowed Georgia Tech to drive 88 yards in less than a minute with no timeouts to score the winning TD. That clearly explains Duke’s plight.

Story by Scott German