Back ACC Atlantic Power Rankings

Back To ACC

ACC Atlantic Power Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

Led by Clemson, picks for 2020 in the ACC Atlantic Division.

Though there is obvious uncertainty around this college football season, here are our 2020 power rankings for ACC Atlantic

1. Clemson -- The Tigers have the nation's best offensive backfield in superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has lost just once, in the national championship game, in his career, and all-everything running back Travis Etienne. Even with the unfortunate injury to wide receiver Justyn Ross, Clemson has one of the nation's most dynamic offensive units led by two Heisman candidates. Quietly, the front five has been a fixture of the program's consistent success. Brent Venables still has plenty of NFL talent to work with on defense, too. Expect a big year from edge Xavier Thomas to pair with disruptive tackle Tyler Davis inside.  
2019 Record: 14-1
Offensive MVP: Travis Etienne, RB
Defensive MVP: Tyler Davis, DT
Key Game: at Notre Dame, November 7th
Bonus Stat: Clemson has ranked in the top six in college football in tackles for loss seven years running, including leading the nation in that category a remarkable five different times.

MORE: New Stars Aligning for Clemson at WR

2. Louisville -- There may not be a better "big three" in all of college football. Get ready to learn a whole lot more about quarterback Micale Cunningham; only Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa had a higher passer rating than Cunningham just did with a tally of 194.44. Javian Hawkins burst onto the national scene with 1,525 rushing yards as a freshman a year ago. He is the ACC's leading returning rusher. The speedy Tutu Atwell is back after pacing the league in receiving with 1,276 yards and setting a new career-high in the Cardinals' Belk Bowl win. Six of the defense's top seven tacklers from 2019 return and improvement there is needed.
2019 Record: 8-5
Offensive MVP: Micale Cunningham, QB
Defensive MVP: Rodjay Burns, LB
Key Game: vs Virginia Tech, October 31st
Bonus Stat: With Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell, Louisville was the only team in the country last season with a running back and receiver ranked in the top eight nationally in yards per game.

3. Florida State -- Mike Norvell is now the third coach to follow Bobby Bowden and he knows what expectations are in place. The Seminoles have star power in the likes of tackle Marvin Wilson, wide receiver Tamorrion Terry and safety Hamsah Nasirlideen. Quarterback James Blackman is experienced, but will simply need better protection at the line of scrimmage to take the next step. Norvell was busy in the transfer portal, adding, among others, all-conference FIU offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor, Texas A&M running back Jashaun Corbin and FAU corner Meiko Dotson, who led the nation in interceptions in 2019.
2019 Record: 6-7
Offensive MVP: Tamorrion Terry, WR
Defensive MVP: Marvin Wilson, DT
Key Game: at Miami, November 7th
Bonus Stat: Tamorrion Terry averaged an NCAA-leading 57.9 yards per score last season, the highest average in the last 15 years among receivers with at least nine touchdowns

4. Wake Forest -- The decisions of 1,000-yard receiver Sage Surratt and 11-sack edge Carlos Basham to return to Winston-Salem gives the Demon Deacons two of the top players in the entire ACC. Both are elite playmakers. Losing quarterback Jamie Newman to Georgia as a graduate transfer obviously hurts, but Sam Hartman has plenty of starting experience and played well last year, beating Florida State, while Newman was injured. Remember, Wake Forest opened the year with a record of 7-1 in 2019, losing only to Syracuse in a wild 62-59 thriller. This remains a team with a lot of talent and confidence alike.
2019 Record: 8-5
Offensive MVP: Sage Surratt, WR
Defensive MVP: Carlos Basham, DE
Key Game: vs Notre Dame (Charlotte), September 26th
Bonus Stat: In career games where Sage Surratt has topped the 100-yard mark receiving, Wake Forest is 6-1, the lone loss coming in a contest where the Demon Deacons scored 59 points.

5. Syracuse -- A statement season two years ago was followed up by a disappointing one last fall. Though the Orange have some retooling to be done defensively, and they can build around versatile All-American safety Andre Cisco, who can do it all. Syracuse needs to identify more playmakers on offense. Back at quarterback for Dino Babers is Tommy DeVito, who notably compiled a 19-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2019. His experience should help the inexperience around him develop. Syracuse has a star on special teams in former Lou Groza Award winner Andre Szmyt, who has made 47-of-54 career field goal attempts.
2019 Record: 4-8
Offensive MVP: Tommy DeVito, QB
Defensive MVP: Andre Cisco, S
Key Game: at Boston College, September 4th
Bonus Stat: After averaging less than 15 points per game in four previous contests, Syracuse ended the season with 49, 34 and 39 points as the Orange won two of three to end the year. Syracuse finished in the top 25 nationally with 37.3 points per game for the month of November.

6. NC State -- Quarterback Devin Leary has positioned himself to lead the Wolfpack forward. After growing up on the fly as a freshman, he will have to be more proficient throwing the football downfield for an encore. NC State has talented options on the perimeter like Emeka Emezie, an all-conference candidate at tight end in Cary Angeline and multiple proven runners, with Zonovan Knight reaching the 100-yard mark twice in November. The Wolfpack are always formidable up front defensively and tackle Alim McNeill is the next-in-line. Keep an eye on this unit as a strong core returns.
2019 Record: 4-8
Offensive MVP: Zonovan Knight, RB
Defensive MVP: Alim McNeill, DT
Key Game: vs Wake Forest, October 31st
Bonus Stat: Kicker Christopher Dunn converted eleven consecutive field goal tries to finish the year. 

7. Boston College -- As usual, the offensive line will be really good. That will be the starting point for former Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, the program's new leader. Tackle Ben Petrula and guard Zion Johnson headline one of the ACC's premier groups. Behind that unit, expect the physical David Bailey to be the offensive focus; he somehow compiled 844 yards and seven scores as a reserve to A.J. Dillon last year. Dennis Grossel showed a playmaking knack late this past season, though he must become more efficient. Linebacker Max Richardson, the anchor of the defense for the Eagles, has 207 career tackles.
2019 Record: 6-7
Offensive MVP: Ben Petrula, OT
Defensive MVP: Max Richardson, LB
Key Game: Syracuse, September 4th
Bonus Stat: David Bailey was one of just two players in college football last season, joining Kentucky's Lynn Bowden, Jr., with at least 800 yards rushing, ten receptions and a touchdown pass.