Sports

ACC football gets off to slow start but it could have been worse

NC State's JaySam makes a fantastic catch

Watch a timelaspe of NC State's Jaylen Samuels making a fantastic catch during the Wolfpack's game against South Carolina Gamecock in the Belk College Kickoff at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.
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Watch a timelaspe of NC State's Jaylen Samuels making a fantastic catch during the Wolfpack's game against South Carolina Gamecock in the Belk College Kickoff at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

Well, at least that wasn’t a total disaster for the ACC, thanks to Virginia Tech.

It also wasn’t the start the ACC had wanted.

Florida State (24-7 to Alabama) and N.C. State (35-28) lost the ACC’s high-profile matchups with the SEC on Saturday and North Carolina lost to a Pac-12 team (Cal) at home (35-30).

To make matters worse, Florida State — the preseason favorite in the ACC — lost quarterback Deondre Francois for the season to a knee injury.

The only real bright spot was Virginia Tech’s neutral site win (31-24) win over a Big 12 team (West Virginia). Georgia Tech, which plays Tennessee on Monday night, could still help the ACC’s cause but 2017 did not start how 2016 ended for the ACC.

The ACC went 9-3 in the postseason, including a 4-1 mark against the SEC, to stake its claim as the best conference in the land. Such bragging rights come with an expiration date and the only real path to supremacy is consistency.

That’s how the SEC got to where it is, not with one good season but several strung together in a row. There’s still time for the ACC this season, of course. Clemson hosts Auburn on Saturday and there are the five traditional rivalry games with the SEC to end the regular season.

But as far as starts go, that was about as bad as it could get for the ACC.

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

Ranking the ACC

1. Clemson (1-0)

This week: beat Kent State, 56-3. Next: vs. Auburn

Everyone looked good in an easy win over a MAC team. Auburn, who nearly beat them last year, offers a stiffer test.

2. Louisville (1-0)

This week: beat Purdue, 35-28. Next: at UNC

Needed a late rally to top the Boilermakers but Lamar Jackson (378 passing yards, 107 rushing yards) is still Lamar Jackson.

3. Miami (1-0)

This week: beat Bethune-Cookman, 41-13. Next: at Arkansas State

Good opener for new QB Malik Rosier (3 TD passes) but the second act, on the road against a frisky Arkansas State team, will be trickier.

4. Florida State (0-1)

This week: lost to Alabama, 24-7. Next: vs. Louisiana-Monroe

It’s only one loss, and it was against Alabama, but starting over again at QB and behind that shaky line leaves Jimbo Fisher in a deep hole out of the gate.

5. Virginia Tech (1-0)

This week: beat West Virginia, 31-24. Next: vs. Delaware

Jerod who? Josh Jackson steps into Jerod Evans’ starting spot and throws for 235 yards and rushes for 101. The Justin Fuente hire looks better every minute for the Hokies.

6. Georgia Tech (0-0)

This week: vs. Tennessee (Monday). Next: vs. Jacksonville State

Nothing to see yet, which puts them ahead of what we have seen from the teams below.

7. N.C. State (0-1)

This week: lost to South Carolina, 35-28. Next: vs. Marshall

An outstanding offensive performance undone by a few special teams mistakes.

8. UNC (0-1)

This week: lost to Cal, 35-30. Next: vs. Louisville

The home loss is not good but on the bright side, has the future been found at quarterback in redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt?

9. Boston College (1-0)

This week: beat Northern Illinois, 23-20. Next: vs. Wake Forest

There are no pictures on the scorecard. All wins count the same.

10. Virginia (1-0)

This week: beat William & Mary, 28-10. Next: vs. Indiana

A home win over I-AA team doesn’t unlock “sleeper” status but a win next week would.

11. Wake Forest (1-0)

This week: beat Presbyterian, 51-7. Next: at Boston College

Was Wake that good or Presbyterian that bad? This week’s trip to Boston College will tell more about the Deacs.

12. Duke (1-0)

This week: beat N.C. Central, 60-7. Next: vs. Northwestern

If Brittain Brown (120 rushing yards) is the real deal, Duke has a nice 1-2 punch with Brown and quarterback Daniel Jones.

13. Syracuse (1-0)

This week: beat Central Connecticut State, 50-7. Next: vs. Middle Tennessee

Eric Dungey (328 passing yards) can sling it. The Orange need to keep it going the next two weeks (Middle Tennessee and Central Michigan) to have any shot at a bowl.

14. Pittsburgh (1-0)

This week: beat Youngstown State, 28-21 (OT). Next: at Penn State

The Panthers made that way harder than it needed to be. Can they knock off Penn State for a second year in a row?

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