ACC Action Week 6: Conference Landscape Coming into Focus

Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ACC Action! Each week our staff will divide up the conferences, watch the games pertaining to the the assigned conference and then write up an overview with the key takeaways from that weekend.

With 5 inter-conference games this games plus Virginia Tech hosting Notre Dame, there was a lot revealed in the ACC.

Let’s dig into the notable impressions and what we learned from Week 6 in the ACC.

Wolfpack Proving it has ACC's best WR Corps

You read that right. NC State has the best group of receivers in the ACC.

Headlined by Kelvin Harmon who has been dominant this season (33 rec., 534 yards, 2 TDs) his sidekick Jakobi Meyers is also a stud who is dominating top competition.

The tandem both had monster games in the Pack's 28-23 win over Boston College on Saturday, combining for 19 receptions for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. The are both bigger, physical receivers who have dominant ability at the catch point. Harmon is a potential first-round draft pick while Meyers is has transitioned over from quarterback into an intriguing NFL prospect at receiver.

Stephen Louis and rising star Emeka Emeze round out the best receiver room in the Conference.

Qadree Ollison is a Horse

I'm not sure an offensive prospect in the ACC has done more to boost their draft stock this season than what Pittsburgh RB Qadree Ollison has. In a dominant performance on Saturday in Pitt's overtime win over Syracuse, Ollison carried the rock 24 times for 192 yards and a TD. He's up to 92 carries for 596 yards and 5 TDs through 6 games this season.

Ollison stared his career with a standout freshman season that included over 1100 yards and 11 TDs but faded in 2016 and 2017.

He's emerged as Pitt's feature back this season, offering a blend of size, burst and physicality. He's a nuanced runner for his size and definitely has an NFL future after the season he is putting together so far in 2018.

Willis, Jackson Dominating

Miami is riding a 5-game winning streak where its allowing only 15.6 points per game during that span. While several players are performing well, DE Joe Jackson and DT Gerald Willis are making big time splash plays that are leading to wins for the Canes.

Willis, who has climbed to No. 22 in my recently updated 2019 NFL Draft Board, has improved his draft stock as much as any player has this season. He's up to 12.5 tackles for loss in just six games so far this season.

Jackson is amid a hot streak of his own. After just .5 sack in Miami's first three games, Jackson has racked up 4.5 over the last three games, including 2 more against Florida State on Saturday.

They have work to do but the Canes are inching closer towards that ACC Coastal Division title.

Louisville is Lifeless Without Lamar

Louisville is a bad football team and has been for a while but many of its deficiencies were masked by superstar QB Lamar Jackson. With Lamar in the NFL, the Cardinals have been exposed mightily. In 4 games against Power 5 opponents this season, Louisville has been outscored 172-72 which averages out to 43-18 per game. Yes, one of those games was to No. 1 Alabama but the other 3 were to unranked Florida State, Virginia and Georgia Tech.

The Cardinals are a young team but this is year 5 of Petrino's second-stint with the University. He should be retooled but the defensive struggles never seem to go away as evidenced in Louisville's Week 6 loss to Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets hung 66 points on the Cardinals IN LOUISVILLE. Tech had 542 rushing yards on 65 attempts with 8 rushing touchdowns.

It would be costly for Louisville to move on from Petrino but I'm not sure they can get out of the ACC cellar with him leading the program.

NC State vs Clemson is a Big One

Both the Wolfpack and Tigers are idle next week but face each other in Clemson in Week 8. In a matchup between the remaining unbeaten teams in the ACC, the Atlantic Division Title is likely to be at stake.

With both teams featuring soft schedules, going undefeated as the ACC Champion is likely to be the only was the Conference boasts a playoff team this season.

Dabo Swinney has built Clemson into a perennial contender and Dave Doeren is building an outstanding program at NC State who has a chance to spoil Clemson's goals in two weeks. NC State had a chance to take down Clemson last season in a 38-31 loss in Raleigh last season.

Both teams should be healthy and prepared coming off bye weeks for a game that will shape the ACC landscape for the rest of the season.

Quick Hitters

  • Clemson S Tanner Muse is a prospect that offers an appealing blend of size and athletic ability. With that said, he primarily plays in deep zones which limits his production. Against Wake Forest on Saturday, Muse secured his first interception in over 20 games. It was the second of his career. He'll need to secure more takeaways to boost his draft stock.
  • Virginia Tech S Reggie Floyd continued his stellar Junior season with 7 tackles and an interception against Notre Dame. He is playing fast, physical and has excellent size for the position.
  • Hokies WR Damon Hazelton is having a breakout R-Sophomore season. He's caught a TD pass in all 5 games while hauling in 27 catches for 479 yards. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Hazelton offers good size which he complements with athleticism and ball skills.
  • In 4 games against ACC foes this season, Florida State EDGE Brian Burns has 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He's in the running for ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
  • In sad news that broke on Saturday, Miami WR Ahmmon Richards career is over. The Miami Herald reported that a neck injury will prevent him from playing football again.

    Power Rankings After Week 5

    1. Clemson
    2. Miami
    3. NC State
    4. Duke
    5. Virginia Tech
    6. Boston College
    7. Virginia
    8. Pittsburgh
    9. Syracuse
    10. Wake Forest
    11. Florida State
    12. Georgia Tech
    13. North Carolina
    14. Louisville

Written By:

Joe Marino

Chief Administrative Officer

CAO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Member of the FWAA.