Connelly: ACC on the rise, with big weekend ahead

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for

The ACC will have its own mini-moment in Week 6. After grading out as the worst Power 5 conference, in terms of average SP+ ratings, for each of the past two seasons, the league temporarily added Notre Dame and has seen Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all show signs of sustainable growth. It’s obviously quite early, but the strength of the league’s top teams — including Pittsburgh, the ACC now has six teams in the SP+ Top 25 — has boosted its average to third among the Power 5 conferences.

The bottom teams are still quite bad — the ACC has six teams outside the top 50, and three ranked 80th or worse — but there is undeniably more upside than in recent years. And we’ll learn a bit more about the league’s hierarchy when Miami visits Clemson and Virginia Tech goes to North Carolina on Saturday.

Can anyone threaten Clemson’s 22-game ACC winning streak? Who’s the second-best team in the conference? We’ll have a pretty good idea after Saturday. So let’s commemorate this occasion by walking through the key stats and matchups from the ACC’s Week 6 slate.

No. 7 Miami Hurricanes at No. 1 Clemson Tigers (-14, 63.5), 7:30 p.m. ET (on ABC)

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