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ACC Football Power Rankings: 2022 Week 6

Louisville Report on FanNation logo Louisville Report on FanNation 10/5/2022 Matthew McGavic
© Provided by Louisville Report on FanNation

An update on the Atlantic Coast Conference landscape through the first five weeks of the season.

CHARLOTTE - We haven't even reached the halfway point of the 2022 season, and the ACC's preseason favorite is already in a position to runaway with the title.

A week removed from going toe-to-toe with Wake Forest, Clemson dispatched of their next-greatest threat to the Atlantic Division crown with a victory against NC State.

While the Deacs and Wolfpack are by no means out of the running, and teams like Florida State and Syracuse (!) could still challenge them, Clemson's grip on the division is now extremely tight. Take into account how nutty the Coastal Division has been, and it's hard to envision anyone else but the Tigers winning it all.

Anyways, it was another chaotic week in the ACC, with everyone but Clemson moving either up or down in our power rankings. So where do things currently stand in the conference following week five? Check out our updated ACC power rankings below:

1. Clemson Tigers

Record: 5-0, 3-0

Last Week's Ranking: No. 1

Week Five Result: W, 30-20 vs. NC State

Not like it has been a huge question throughout the season, but at this point, it's safe to say that the ACC is now officially Clemson's to lose. The Tigers put together arguably their best performance of the year against an NC State team who was generally regarded as the second-best team in the ACC heading into the season. QB DJ Uiagalelei led two crucial drives right before and after halftime, and their stout defense set the tone early. Sure, there's still plenty of football left and a lot can happen, but the race for the Atlantic Division crown seems over now that Clemson has taken down their two biggest threats to it.

2. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Record: 4-1, 1-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 4

Week Five Result: W, 31-21 at Florida State

That's how you respond to a disappointing loss. Wake Forest was so, so close to knocking off Clemson the week before, but they didn't let that result beat them twice. Instead, the Demon Deacons went out and produced their most impressive win of the year down at Florida State. The offense wasn't just QB Sam Hartman, as the Deacs also got an impressive performance out of RB Justice Ellison, and their struggling defense did a good job at containing a potent Seminoles offense. The Atlantic is very much Clemson's to lose, but as of right now, Wake Forest is the second-best int he division and trending in the right direction.

3. NC State Wolfpack

Record: 4-1, 0-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 2

Week Five Result: L, 30-20 at Clemson

I don't want to say that NC State completely squandered the opportunity to take command of the ACC, but at the end of the day, they didn't capitalize on it. They seemed rattled around that crucial stretch before and after halftime, and weren't as consistant as the Tigers were on either side of the ball. Not being able to establish the run, even with Clemson DT Bryan Breese still out, proved to be their biggest detriment. Their stout defense wasn't bad, per se, but didn't come through during the two biggest moments of the game.

4. Florida State Seminoles

Record: 4-1, 2-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 3

Week Five Result: L, 31-21 vs. Wake Forest

I'm trending towards believing Florida State is actually "back," but they definitely have some work to do. It would be easy to blame the defense for their loss to Wake Forest, but the Demon Deacons are just that good offensively. Instead, the Noles' offense is to blame here, despite moments of brilliance from QB Jordan Travis and company. Wake's defense is one of the worst in the ACC, and still held FSU to their lowest-scoring output all season simply because they couldn't get out of their own way.

5. Syracuse Orange

Record: 5-0, 2-0

Last Week's Ranking: No. 6

Week Five Result: W, 59-0 vs. Wagner

Syracuse might actually be good, folks. I won't spent much time here since they played an FCS squad, but the Orange definitely did what they had to do in this situation. Sean Tucker continues to show why he is one of the best running backs in the nation, QB Garrett Shrader continues to make strides as a passer, and the defense pitched a shutout.

6. Duke Blue Devils 

Record: 4-1, 1-0

Last Week's Ranking: No. 9

Week Five Result: W, 38-17 vs. Virginia

Could Duke actually be... good? Sure, Virginia is absolutely one of the worst teams in the league, but the Mike Elko era is off to a 4-1 start, including a domination over the Cavaliers for the Blue Devils' first ACC win in nearly two years. Riley Leonard has definitely proven up to this point that he is a capable ACC quarterback after a three-touchdown day, and Duke's rushing game continues to set the tone. Shore up the defense a little bit, and they could contend for the Coastal with how chaotic that division is.

7. North Carolina Tar Heels

Record: 4-1, 1-0

Last Week's Ranking: No. 10

Week Five Result: W, 41-10 vs. Virginia Tech

It only took until week five, but North Carolina *finally* played a complete game! QB Drake Maye is starting to make a case for ACC Player of the Year, following a day where he compiled 436 total yards and five touchdowns. Then the defense, who had not been able to stop anyone at all up to that point in the season, was able to finally get on track vs. the Hokies. Sure, it's against Virginia Tech, but you have to start somewhere.

8. Miami Hurricanes

Record: 2-2, 0-0

Last Week's Ranking: No. 7

Week Five Result: Bye Week

If Miami's offense can't fix their issues against North Carolina's defense this weekend, start waving the red flag. Not that the flag isn't already waving after getting waxed by *checks notes* Middle Tennessee.

9. Pitt Panthers

Record: 3-2, 0-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 5

Week Five Result: L, 26-21 vs. Georgia Tech

Good god, Pitt. Not only is that arguably the worst intra-conference loss so far this season, that's the worst loss of Pat Narduzzi era in Pittsburgh, period. Yes, the Panthers do have their various issues on both sides of the ball, but this was a Georgia Tech team who was so bad that they fired both their head coach and the athletic director who hired him. And the final score doesn't even show how dominant the Jackets were down the stretch, considering they were up by double figures on two occasions.

10. Louisville Cardinals

Record: 2-3, 0-3

Last Week's Ranking: No. 8

Week Five Result: L, 34-33 at Boston College

I think I'm done trying to project how this Louisville team is going to play on a week-to-week basis. They can't string together wins to save their life. Facing a BC team that was neck-and-neck with Georgia Tech for the ACC cellar, their defense couldn't seem to stop an Eagles offense that was one of the worst in college football. Even with a four-touchdown game from QB Malik Cunningham, their offense couldn't stop shooting themselves in the foot.

11. Boston College Eagles

Record: 2-3, 1-2

Last Week's Ranking: No. 13

Week Five Result: W, 34-33 vs. Louisville

Just when I thought Boston College's season was done, they pull off a stunner against Louisville in which they were two-touchdown underdogs. The offensive line finally had a competent game against a Power Five opponent, allowing QB Phil Jurkovec and WR Zay Flowers to do just enough to lead them to a win. Even though BC made plenty of mistakes themselves in penalties and turnovers, this is a win that they can use to turn their season around.

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Record: 2-3, 1-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 14

Week Five Result: W, 26-21 at Pitt

Man, how bad of a coach was Geoff Collins? In Georgia Tech's first game after he is fired, the Yellow Jackets not only look competitive against the defending ACC champions, but pull off a stunning upset win in which they were 21.5-point underdogs. Give interim head coach Brent Key his flowers. His defense held Pitt to just seven points through three quarters, and the offense did just enough to ensure a win.

13. Virginia Cavaliers

Record: 2-3, 0-2

Last Week's Ranking: No. 11

Week Five Result: L, 38-17 at Duke

After nearly pulling off the upset at Syracuse, I expected Virginia to maybe get the job done at Duke. Instead, the start to the Tony Elliott era is only continuing to get worse. The offense continues to woefully underperform after how prolific they, and QB Brennan Armstrong, were last year, and their defense (which is much better than it was last year) gave up the most points it has all season.

14. Virginia Tech Hokies

Record: 2-3, 1-1

Last Week's Ranking: No. 12

Week Five Result: L, 41-10 at North Carolina

Welcome to the cellar, Virginia Tech. North Carolina's defense had been hemorrhaging points on a weekly basis, but the Hokies could still only put up 10. Plus their defense one again allowed a Power Five opponent to do pretty much whatever they wanted. Get cozy in the basement, Hokies, you might be here for a while.

(Photo via Anderson Independent Mail - USA TODAY Sports)

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