Home ACC Football Power Rankings: Clemson, Florida State open as the Power 2

ACC Football Power Rankings: Clemson, Florida State open as the Power 2

Scott German

acc Finally, we can put all the ACC expansion talk on the shelf as the focus now shifts to the field. ACC football 2023 kicks off this weekend.

As usual, some of Week 1 matchups aren’t exactly must-see TV, but it’s better than talking about who is coming and who is leaving the conference.

There are two ACC games on the slate: Clemson at Duke and Louisville at Georgia Tech.

The marquee matchup is a Top 10 showdown in Orlando between FSU and LSU.

The Seminoles are ranked No. 8 in the preseason AP Top 25, while Clemson starts the season at No. 9.

From the start, both Clemson and FSU appear to be the cream-of-the-crop in the conference, but there are some capable challengers lurking in the weeds.

The conference scrapped its two-division format, and every school is battling to finish in the top two spots and earn a December trip to Charlotte in the ACC Championship Game.

The conference has plenty of depth, with UNC, Miami is poised to push to the top.

So, this is how I rank them entering Week 1.

Subject to change, weekly.

  1. FSU. Could the game with LSU be a preview of a future SEC game? The Seminoles are looking for their first ACC title since 2014, and with 16 returning starters that’s certainly possible.
  2. Clemson. A new offensive coordinator, Garrett Riley and returning quarterback Cade Klubnik could spark a high-powered Tiger offense.
  3. North Carolina. The biggest offseason pickup for the Tar Heels was keeping dynamic signal-caller Drake Maye in Chapel Hill. The defense will need a significant improvement if UNC ends up in Charlotte.
  4. Miami. The Hurricanes have loads of talent. But that’s not anything new. A revamped staff and another great recruiting haul should improve on last year’s 5-7 record.
  5. Pitt. Hometown product Phil Jurkovec, a Boston College transfer, will lead the Panthers offense. Pitt lost several key players from a solid defense and will need to navigate that successfully if they are to finish in the upper half of the league.
  6. NC State. A difficult home schedule faces the Wolfpack. Notre Dame, Louisville, Clemson, Louisville, and Miami all pay a visit to Carter-Finley Stadium. Brennan Armstrong, a Virginia transfer, is reunited with former OC Robert Anae.
  7. Duke. A surprising 9-4 record under first-year coach Mike Elko might be hard to duplicate or improve on. The Blue Devils face Clemson right out the gate and have matchups against Notre Dame and FSU. Ouch.
  8. Louisville. The depth chart shows just nine returning starters. But first-year head coach Jeff Brohm has a solid record of accomplishment of engineering high-powered offenses. The Cardinals found gold in the transfer portal, by adding QB Jack Plummer (Purdue) and speedy receiver Jamari Thrash. (GT)
  9. Wake Forest. First the unwelcome news. Star quarterback Sam Hartman is in South Bend playing for Notre Dame. The good news is that the Demon Deacons have a solid replacement under center in Mitch Griffs, and a receiving corps that has the NFL scouts’ attention.
  10. Syracuse. New offensive and defensive coordinators may slow down the Orange early in the season. Quarterback Garrett Shrader returns and could mesh nicely with OC Jason Beck.
  11. Georgia Tech. After a disastrous start last season, GT finished the year 4-4 under new coach Brent Key. Can the program pick up where they finished in 2022? The Yellow Jackets worked the portal heavy in the offseason; hopes are high in Atlanta.
  12. Virginia Tech. The Hokies will need to count on an improved offensive line to increase last season’s scoring average of just over 19 points a game. Tech picked up some solid transfers in receivers Ali Jennings and Jaylin Lane.
  13. Virginia. To improve on last year’s three-win season, the hopes will hinge on the offense. The Cavaliers are again rebuilding the offensive line, and Monmouth transfer quarterback Tony Muskett will need that line to provide protection.
  14. Boston College. The Eagles finished 3-9 in 2022. A favorable early schedule that features home games against Northern Illinois and Holy Cross should jumpstart the 2023 season.

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.