2024 ACC Power Rankings: Florida State, Miami Represent the Sunshine State Atop the Conference

    With three teams joining this season, the 2024 ACC Power Rankings are more competitive than ever. Which Florida school sits on the throne?

    Now up to 17 programs playing for the conference crown, the 2024 ACC Power Rankings are more heated than ever. Florida State ran the table last fall, going undefeated before being shafted from the College Football Playoff. Do the Seminoles run it back as the top team in the conference, or does a new contender lead the way?

    2024 ACC Power Rankings

    17) Stanford Cardinal

    Head coach Troy Taylor only won three games in Year 1, but there’s some reason for optimism heading into Year 2. Elic Ayomanor is one of the best WRs in the game, and Ashton Daniels should show growth with a year of starting experience under his belt.

    Nonetheless, Stanford had one of the worst scoring defenses in the entire FBS (37.7 points per game), and that may not change much in a new conference in 2024.

    16) Virginia Cavaliers

    Tony Elliott has won exactly three games in each of his two seasons as Virginia’s leading man. If the Cavaliers win three or fewer contests in 2024, expect a new face in place entering 2025. QB Anthony Colandrea flashed at times as a true freshman, and the school used the transfer portal to bolster the WR corps.

    With 14 players who started 6+ games last season returning, the Cavaliers should show improvement — just not enough to earn a higher placement on the 2024 ACC Power Rankings.

    15) Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Dave Clawson’s Demon Deacons have been a middle-of-the-road ACC competitor for most of his tenure, but they ranked last with a 1-7 conference record in 2023. Hank “The Tank” Bachmeier is now three years removed from his eye-opening 2021 campaign at Boise State, but Clawson is banking on him turning back the clock.

    However, if he doesn’t, Wake Forest is staring down the barrel at another disappointing season.

    14) Pittsburgh Panthers

    How the mighty have fallen. Pittsburgh won the ACC title in 2021 and then went 9-4 in 2022. However, the Panthers face planted to a 3-9 record in 2023, and the pressure is on HC Pat Narduzzi to right the ship.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Projected Win Totals

    Transfers ransacked the defense, and the offense returns nine starters from a unit that ranked near the bottom in most statistical categories last year. I’m a believer in 6’6″ signal-caller Nate Yarnell, but 2024 may not be much kinder to the Panthers.

    13) Duke Blue Devils

    Although Mike Elko was Duke’s head coach for only two seasons, the team had its most successful back-to-back campaigns since 2014-2015. Manny Diaz will attempt to keep the momentum going, which won’t be easy with QB Riley Leonard, RB Jordan Waters, DT Aeneas Peebles, and EDGE RJ Oben all transferring out.

    Texas’ Maalik Murphy is a tools-rich passer, but the Blue Devils just don’t have enough to crack the top half of the 2024 ACC Power Rankings.

    12) California Golden Bears

    Traveling across the country for most away games is certainly a factor, but Cal could make some noise in their first year in the ACC. RB Jaydn Ott is a monster on the ground, and redshirt sophomore Fernando Mendoza showed bright flashes as a first-year starter in 2023.

    FCS transfer LBs Liam Johnson (Princeton) and Teddye Buchanan (UC Davis) were stalwarts at their former programs and should have no issue transitioning to the FBS.

    11) Syracuse Orange

    Ohio State decided to move on from Kyle McCord; that doesn’t mean he is a bad quarterback. He isn’t the athlete Garrett Shrader was, but Shrader wasn’t the passer McCord is. Paired with WR Oronde Gadsden II and OC Jeff Nixon, who helped Matt Rhule turn Baylor from 1-11 to 11-3 in three years, McCord is primed to prove the doubters wrong this season.

    New HC Fran Brown proved to be one of the best recruiters in the country over the last two years at Georgia — now it’s time to prove he can lead a program to on-field success.

    10) Boston College Eagles

    Boston College seemed to be trending up after its first bowl win since 2016, but a bit of a reset is in order with HC Jeff Hafley leaving for the Green Bay Packers’ DC job and Bill O’Brien taking his first collegiate HC position since his time at Penn State.

    With QB Thomas Castellanos and RBs Kye Robichaux and Treshaun Ward in the backfield, scoring points shouldn’t be difficult, but not allowing them could be.

    9) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

    After four straight losing seasons to conclude Geoff Collins’ tenure in Atlanta, Brent Key sparked an instant turnaround, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 7-6 record and a bowl victory. Georgia Tech returns most of its starters, including star QB Haynes King.

    If he can limit the turnovers (conference-leading 16 INTs in 2023) and the defense improves — which it should under new DC Tyler Santucci, who called the ACC’s top-ranked scoring defense at Duke last year — the Yellow Jackets could upset several favorites.

    8) North Carolina Tar Heels

    Despite Drake Maye’s obvious talent, the Tar Heels underperformed in his tenure, going 17-10 record with two bowl losses. Texas A&M transfer Max Johnson is the favorite to earn the QB1 role, and there’s elite talent around him in RB Omarion Hampton and TE Bryson Nesbit.

    MORE: 2024 ACC QB Rankings

    After taking a year off from coaching, former Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins returns to call UNC’s defense, which is spearheaded by EDGE Kaimon Rucker, LB Power Echols, and CB Alijah Huzzie. There are playmakers on both sides of the ball — it’s up to HC Mack Brown to unlock their potential.

    7) SMU Mustangs

    SMU joins the fray after winning 11 games and the AAC championship a year ago. Of course, all three of their losses came against Power Five opponents, so Year 1 in the ACC may bring the Mustangs down to Earth some.

    Nevertheless, from QB Preston Stone to EDGE Elijah Roberts, Rhett Lashlee’s squad has the goods to put up a fight early on.

    6) Virginia Tech Hokies

    Virginia Tech turned up the heat down the stretch last season, winning five of their last seven games to finish with a 7-6 record. With the terrorizing trio of QB Kyron Drones, RB Bhayshul Tuten, and WR Da’Quan Felton back, the offense should have no issue producing points.

    On defense, EDGE Antwaun Powell-Ryland, LB Keli Lawson, and CB Dorian Strong led the third-best unit in the ACC, and now Duke devastating DT Aeneas Peebles is in the fold.

    5) Louisville Cardinals

    The Cardinals won 10 games and made the ACC Championship Game in Jeff Brohm’s first season at the helm. Jack Plummer is replaced by another longtime collegiate passer in Tyler Shough, who may have more physical tools at his disposal.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Weekly Football Schedule 

    With one of the best transfer portal classes in the nation, which included WRs Ja’Corey Brooks and Caullin Lacy, expect Louisville to vie for another conference title bid in 2024.

    4) Clemson Tigers

    The Tigers added zero players from the transfer portal this offseason, which isn’t exactly a positive after they posted their worst record since 2011 (9-4). T.J. Parker, Peter Woods, Barrett Carter, and Avieon Terrell lead a talented defense, but Dabo Swinney is putting all his chips on Cade Klubnik exploding in Year 2 under OC Garrett Riley.

    It’s a gamble that either results in a conference title bid or another lackluster season.

    3) NC State Wolfpack

    The Wolfpack won five of their last six games to finish 9-4 last season, and that momentum should carry over to 2024. The quarterback room hasn’t exactly been the modicum of consistency for the Wolfpack, but Dave Doeren has rectified the issue by bringing in Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall.

    The three-time Sun Belt Player of the Year is surrounded by 2023 ACC Rookie of the Year WR Kevin Concepcion, UConn’s 2023 receiving yards leader TE Justin Joly, and Duke transfer RB Jordan Waters. Although the defense lost some veteran leaders, namely LB Payton Wilson and EDGE Davin Vann, CB Aydan White can generate turnovers independently.

    2) Miami Hurricanes

    After going 12-13 in his first two years, Mario Cristobal needs results, and he tapped into the transfer portal to get them. Washington State’s Cameron Ward and Oregon State’s Damien Martinez form a lethal backfield duo, and Mark Fletcher Jr. and Ajay Allen proved to be more than competent depth pieces last season.

    Meanwhile, Houston’s Sam Brown bolsters a receiving corps returning its top two playmakers in Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George. And defensively, EDGE Rueben Bain Jr., LB Francisco Mauigoa, and DBs Daryl Porter Jr. and Jaden Davis lead their respective units, each of which has received at least one transfer infusion this offseason.

    Oh, and don’t forget about the ACC’s best kicker, Andres Borregales!

    1) Florida State Seminoles

    Mike Norvell has used the transfer portal as well as anyone in the FBS, and he needed to in an offseason full of turnover. QB Jordan Travis, RB Trey Benson, WRs Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman, and several other starters on both sides of the ball departed for the NFL or graduated.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Strength of Schedule for All 134 FBS Teams

    In comes Oregon State QB DJ Uiagalelei, who spent a year in the Pac-12 to remake his image after playing his way out of Clemson. He should mesh well with FSU’s offense, which now includes Alabama transfer WR Malik Benson and RB Roydell Williams. The Seminoles likely won’t go undefeated again, but they have the talent to challenge for a CFP spot.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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