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NCAAF: 2019 ACC Power Rankings

2019 NCAAF ACC Power Rankings

2019-2020 NCAA Football Season

Cover The Spread 365 2019 ACC Power Rankings

The ACC features the defending National Champions in Clemson, but the conference is much deeper than just the Tigers. Do Clemson land in the top spot or can someone top the Tigers in these preseason power rankings

After an absolutely atrocious 2018 season for the Cardinals, expect much of the same for 2019. Even a notable improvement on the defensive side of the ball wouldn’t be enough to significantly change Louisville’s fortunes after allowing an abysmal 485 yards per game a season ago.

In 2018, UNC was bad. How bad? The Tar Heels won only two games, one of which came against non-FBS Western Carolina. The only hope for North Carolina finishing in the top half of the Coastal division is Mack Brown’s coaching as the talent won’t beat many teams on their ACC schedule

The Blue Devils are losing their best player in recent memory as QB Daniel Jones was drafted to the Giants in this spring’s NFL draft. Although Duke won eight games a season ago, all five of the Blue Devil’s losses came within the conference. In 2018, Duke struggled to a 3-5 conference record and will only struggle more after losing their most prolific offensive weapon.

Wake Forest’s recruiting class ranking matches their power ranking for me. 11th. The Demon Deacons play in the ACC’s stronger division, the Atlantic, making it even tougher for a team lacking in talent to climb any higher in these rankings. The teams bright spot is its offense which ranked 35th in the country in points per game a season ago and will get a full season of freshman phenom Sam Hartman.

I see BC as having to most volatility on this list. With a subpar recruiting class (13th of 14 ACC teams) but a plethora of returning talent (AJ Dillon and Anthony Brown headline the offense) the Eagles could find themselves competing for an ACC Championship game birth or fighting to stay out of the ACC’s cellar. 2019 will come down to Steve Addazio’s ability to put his talent in the right places to find consistent wins.

Seeing the Panthers this low on the list might come as a surprise. They won the Coastal division just a season ago after all. Pitt brings in the 12th ranked recruiting class in the ACC. Last year may have been a fluke too as the Panthers didn’t rank in the top half of the country in either offensive or defensive points per game. Pitt can’t afford to drop games to the likes of UNC again in 2019 if the want to compete again in 2019.

In their first season post-Paul Johnson, the Yellow Jackets will move away from the triple option that has long defined them. With the talent to compete in an open Coastal division, Tech’s season appears to hinge upon whether or not a roster recruited to play in the flexbone can figure things out in a more traditional spread setup.

ACC Power Rankings NCAAF 2019

Syracuse beat up on bad opponents in 2018, beating the likes of Western Michigan, Wagner, UConn, UNC, and Louisville. However their offense was legit. The Orange scored 40.2 points per game, good enough for 11th in the nation. Even with a new QB under center, Syracuse’s offense should continue to cause problems for ACC defenses.

The Cavaliers 2018 season came out of nowhere. Virginia found themselves ranked and playing meaningful games in November a season ago, something Cavalier fans aren’t used to. The elite defense that made their 2018 run possible once again should be formidable and frustrate opposing quarterbacks as they did in 2018, holding teams to just 183.0 passing yards a game.

NC State won nine games a season ago and have hopes of cracking double-digits in 2019. A well-rounded team in 2018, sitting inside the top-50 on both offense and defense, the Wolfpack will ask their defense ,who adds three four-star recruits, to take a step forward if they’re to join the upper-echelon of ACC teams.

After a down year in 2018, expect the Hookies to rebound in 2019. Six-win campaigns just down cut it in Blacksburg. Justin Fuente will be feeling the heat to not have a repeat of 2018. A talent-laden roster will mean no excuses for not finishing near the top of the ACC as seven four-star recruits appear ready to step in and make Virginia Tech better from day one.

It seems like every year we’re waiting for Miami to be ‘back.’ 2019 looks to be as good a year as any. A wide-open Coastal division paired with the best Canes roster we’ve seen in years could make ‘The U’ a national contender once again. They will need production from the quarterback position after adding Tate Martell from Ohio State via the transfer portal.

The Seminoles won only five games in 2018. How on earth can they be the second-best team in a power-five conference this year? Well, for one, the ACC is expecting a down-year. Second, Florida State should be good, potentially very good. With the 19th best recruiting class in the country, the ‘Noles should be good. If Willy Tagart can put 2018 behind him, 2019 has the potential to be memorable in Tallahassee.

Is anybody surprised? Clemson is far and away the best team in the ACC. After winning a national championship in 2018, the Tigers once again have College Football Playoff aspirations. Even after losing most of their fearsome front-seven, Clemson’s defense will rank at- or near- the top of the conference again, and with an offense led by Trevor Lawrence, the Tigers will be tough for anyone to beat.