Duke and Wake Forest make history; see who is up, down in the ACC power rankings

Blue Devils celebrate win over Tar Heels

Video: Duke players celebrate with the Victory Bell after defeating rival UNC 27-17 in ACC football action in Chapel Hill on Sept. 23, 2017.
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Video: Duke players celebrate with the Victory Bell after defeating rival UNC 27-17 in ACC football action in Chapel Hill on Sept. 23, 2017.

“Planet X” did not collide with Earth and end the world as we know it on Saturday, as some predicted, but maybe there was a sign of the Apocalypse.

After impressive road wins on Saturday, Duke and Wake Forest both improved to 4-0. That had never happened before, at least not in football.

Duke’s 27-17 win at North Carolina and Wake’s 20-19 win at Appalachian State made some history for the ACC’s two small, private schools in the state. You have to go back to 1947 for the last time Duke and Wake started the same season without a loss in their first four games.

Duke took a 3-0-1 record into its Southern Conference showdown with Wake, 4-0, on Oct. 25, 1947. The Blue Devils won the game 13-6.

The reward for their fast starts? The teeth of their respective schedules.

Wake, which also started 4-0 last year, begins a six-week stretch where it will face FSU, Clemson (on the road), Georgia Tech (on the road), Louisville and Notre Dame (on the road). The last four teams in that group are a combined 12-3. The fifth team is Florida State (0-2), the preseason favorite to win the ACC.

Duke’s stretch begins with Miami (2-0), then a trip to Virginia (3-1), a home game with FSU, Pitt (1-3) at home and then a trip to Virginia Tech (4-0).

By taking care of business, mostly outside the league, Duke and Wake have put themselves in position to survive these difficult stretches.

They also have a chance to top even those fast-starting ’47 teams. Duke and Wake have never been to a bowl game in the same season before. Two more wins each and that piece of history will change, too.

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

Ranking the ACC

1. Clemson

Record: 4-0 (2-0 ACC)

Last game: vs. Boston College; W, 34-7. Next game: at Virginia Tech

Not surprisingly, the Tigers were flat after a big win and with Boston College in town. Freshman RB Travis Etienne (113 rushing yards) and the defense managed to bail them out.

2. Virginia Tech

Record: 4-0 (0-0 ACC)

Last game: vs. Old Dominion; W, 38-0. Next game: vs. Clemson

While Clemson struggled a week before the showdown with the Hokies, Virginia Tech pounded Old Dominion.

3. Miami

Record: 2-0 (0-0 ACC)

Last game: vs. Toledo; W, 52-30. Next game: at Duke

Rusty after a long layoff induced by Hurricane Irma. The defense will have to pick up in ACC play.

4. Louisville

Record: 3-1 (1-1 ACC)

Last game: vs. Kent State; W, 42-3. Next game: vs. Murray State.

Cards breeze in their first “get right” game. They get another before a Thursday night date with the Wolfpack.

5. N.C. State

Record: 3-1 (1-0 ACC)

Last game: at Florida State; W, 27-21. Next game: vs. Syracuse

If DE Bradley Chubb is going to play every game like that, look out.

6. Florida State

Record: 0-2 (0-1 ACC)

Last game: vs. N.C. State; L,27-21. Next game: at Wake Forest

The Seminoles have to figure out how to play smarter. Biggest statistical difference in the loss to N.C. State was in penalties.

7. Duke

Record: 4-0 (1-0 ACC)

Last game: at UNC; W, 27-17. Next game: vs. Miami (Friday)

The Blue Devils have already matched their 2016 win total.

8. Wake Forest

Record: 4-0 (1-0 ACC)

Last game: at Appalachian State; W, 20-19. Next game: vs. Florida State

Other years the Deacs have started 4-0: 1944, 1947, 1987, 2006 and 2016.

9. Virginia

Record: 3-1 (0-0 ACC)

Last game: at Boise State; W, 42-23. Next game: vs. Duke (Oct. 7)

My “surprise” team even surprised me (and everyone else) with a blowout win at Boise State.

10. Georgia Tech

Record: 2-1 (1-0 ACC)

Last game: vs. Pitt; W, 35-17. Next game: vs. UNC

Jackets have a chance to take a 2-0 league mark into their Oct. 14 Coastal showdown with Miami.

11. Syracuse

Record: 2-2 (0-0 ACC)

Last game: at LSU; L, 35-26. Next game: at N.C. State

The Orange poured it out for LSU. It will be difficult to duplicate that emotional effort in Raleigh.

12. UNC

Record: 1-3 (0-2 ACC)

Last game: vs. Duke; L, 27-17. Next game: at Georgia Tech

The Tar Heels need to get healthy. That might not be until next year.

13. Boston College

Record: 1-3 (0-2 ACC)

Last game: at Clemson; L, 34-7. Next game: vs. Central Michigan

For the second time in three weeks, an ACC team is hosting Central Michigan.

14. Pittsburgh

Record: 1-3 (0-1 ACC)

Last game: at Georgia Tech; L, 35-17. Next game: vs. Rice

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson on his team’s four fumbles in a win over the Panthers on Saturday.

“We’ve got clean that up, because against a good team, we won’t be able to survive,” Johnson said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


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