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King of the Hill: ACC Football Power Rankings (Week 1)

NCAA Football: Virginia at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

So, I hate preseason polls. They give unfair advantages to teams and include an inordinate amount of guesswork.

Don’t get me wrong. — Week 1 polls aren’t too much better. One game isn’t enough to figure out where teams really are and how do you, for instance, rank teams like Duke and Georgia Tech, which were blown out by powerhouses when many teams would be beaten similarly bad?

But now that we’ve got a week of ACC games under our belts, here’s my best shot at rankings for the conference.

  1. Clemson (1-0) - beat Georgia Tech, 52-14
  2. Miami (0-1) - lost to Florida, 24-20
  3. Virginia (1-0) - beat Pitt, 30-14
  4. North Carolina State (1-0) - beat East Carolina, 34-6
  5. Syracuse (1-0) - beat Liberty, 24-0
  6. Boston College (1-0) - beat Virginia Tech, 35-28
  7. Florida State (0-1) - lost to Boise State, 36-31
  8. North Carolina (1-0) - beat South Carolina, 24-20
  9. Louisville (0-1) - lost to Notre Dame, 35-17
  10. Virginia Tech (0-1) - lost to Boston College
  11. Wake Forest (1-0) - beat Utah State, 38-35
  12. Pitt (0-1) - lost to Virginia
  13. Georgia Tech (0-1) - lost to Clemson
  14. Duke (0-1) - lost to Alabama, 42-3

A few things here. The ranking of Miami will probably draw some criticism, but frankly, I don’t know who else you can definitively put at that slot. Virginia? For beating what we saw was a pretty exposed Pitt team? Maybe. But beyond that, it’s a head-scratcher. The Hurricanes had plenty of mistakes in their game against a top ten Florida team but still nearly won. No one else, in my book, did anything as impressive as that so far.

Teams like Boston College and Virginia Tech present interesting problems. Is Boston College really that good or is Tech that bad? And trying to rank the teams from, say, No. 5 to the bottom is nearly impossible at this point. Heck, even No. 2 through No. 5 could probably shuffled in all sorts of ways.

From a Pitt perspective, the No. 12 ranking may be a bit unfair. But I’m not sure they can be higher. North Carolina beat an FBS team that made a bowl last year. Louisville played a better Notre Dame team and kept the game about as close as Pitt did. Wake didn’t beat a great team but Utah State won 11 games last year and is expected to figure into their conference this year. And Virginia Tech played Boston College closer than Pitt did Virginia. Pitt may not finish at 12 but that seems about right for now based on how the opener went.

If you’re the type that gets bent out of shape over dumb polls like this, give it some time. Things will get clearer in a few weeks for all of us.

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