ACC Power Rankings: Hokies' win at Miami shakes things up
Virginia Tech's win at Miami means a shakeup in the top five of the ACC Power Rankings.
By LAUREN BROWNLOW FS Carolinas
1. No. 2 Florida State (9-0, 7-0 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 1 (W 59-3 at Wake Forest)
Florida State didn't play well on offense in Winston-Salem .. .and won 59-3. Let that sink in for a minute. Wake Forest is really bad, yes, but Florida State is also really, really good. Especially defensively. Which is why the Seminoles are No. 2 in the AP poll for the first time since 2000.
2. No. 8 Clemson (8-1, 6-1 ACC)
Last week’s ranking result: 2 (Off)
If Clemson can get past this week's game against Georgia Tech, the Tigers will still have just one loss, and that loss will have come at the hands of the No. 2 team in the country. Yes, they were blown out at home, but as we've seen, FSU is pretty good. Clemson is still a pretty good team, even if it is a bit more flawed than maybe we all thought at the start of this season.
3. Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: T-6 (W 42-24 at then-No. 11 Miami)
Maybe we'll all learn our lesson now, and that lesson is not to count out the
Hokies. Ever. Every now and then, Logan Thomas has the kind of game that shows why NFL scouts drool over him. He did that on Saturday, and his team showed the kind of offensive firepower it hadn't shown most of this season, in any game, period. Can they sustain it, though? We'll see.
4. Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 4 (Off)
After a bad start to the ACC season, Paul Johnson is doing Paul Johnson things and he has his team in position to sneak up and win the Coastal Division. (Of course, there are like 4-5 teams still technically in position, so there's that.) But all Georgia Tech needs to do is win at Clemson on Thursday, then the various tiebreakers could...okay, forget it. Too much math. But either way, the Yellow Jackets are right there.
5. Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 5 (W 38-20 over N.C. State)
The Blue Devils have played terribly in the last two games. And they've won both. And both were ACC games. Which says as much about much this program has changed in the last few years as anything; this is a team full of players that believe they are going to win. Duke, though, needs to figure out a way to get something positive going on offense. Struggles were understandable at Virginia Tech, but against a mediocre N.C. State defense at home? Not a good sign with Miami coming to town. Still, if Georgia Tech loses on Thursday, the Coastal Division goes through Durham.
6. No. 24 Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 3 (L 42-24 to Virginia Tech)
Miami had been playing with fire the last few weeks anyway. Now, the Hurricanes were finally burned by a team that was capable of making them pay for their mistakes. Miami is still much better than it was last season or the season before under Al Golden, but it has a ways to go to get back to being the Miami of old. You know, the one that won games like this, or at least didn't get blown out at home.
7. Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 9 (W 28-21 over then-No. 24 Notre Dame)
What a huge win for Pitt and head coach Paul Chryst over Notre Dame. Just can't be overstated. Pitt was being left for dead after not looking good at all the last few games, including losing at Navy. This win revives their season and leaves them one win away from making a bowl game.
8. North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: T-6 (W 45-14 over Virginia)
Tar Heels have won three in a row, and they didn't miss a beat without starting quarterback Bryn Renner as backup
Marquise Williams continues to improve each week. The whole UNC team has improved each week, really. It hasn't been perfect, and the Tar Heels are far from a juggernaut, but they're now two wins from bowl eligibility after a 1-5 start.
9. Boston College (5-4, 2-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: T-6 (W 48-34 at New Mexico State)
Is there an ACC team more up-and-down than the Eagles? Get blown out at UNC one week, beat Virginia Tech the next week, then struggle to put away an awful New Mexico State team (albeit on the road) the next. So does this mean the Eagles will be up or down this week? I'm losing track.
10. Syracuse (5-4, 3-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 10 (W 20-3 at Maryland)
Syracuse is doing what it should do, arguably - beating bad teams and losing to good ones. There are plenty of teams in the ACC who can't say that, though, so kudos to the Orange.
11. Wake Forest (4-6, 2-5 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 11 (L 59-3 to then-No. 3 Florida State)
Everyone knew Wake Forest's offense would struggle without wide receiver Michael Campanaro. But starting quarterback Tanner Price attempted just four passes against Florida State, completing one for three yards - to his own team. The other three were completed to Florida State defenders. An already-mediocre offense has become just plain putrid without Campanaro.
12. Maryland (5-4, 1-4 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 12 (L 20-3 to Syracuse)
Maryland's situation with injuries and the like is what it is. But Maryland's injuries don't have much to do with turning it over repeatedly, either. The Terps just are all out of confidence at the moment, and it's hard to blame them.
13. N.C. State (3-6, 0-6 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 13 (L 38-20 at Duke)
N.C. State had every chance to win at Duke. The Blue Devils were practically begging them to find a way to stay in it or win it. And as bad teams tend to do, N.C. State kept tripping over itself before eventually giving up back-to-back pick-sixes in the fourth quarter. Bad teams find a way to lose.
14. Virginia (2-8, 0-6 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 14 (L 45-14 at North Carolina)
Not much to add here. Virginia is just not a good football team right now, and really hasn't been all year, weird season-opening win over BYU notwithstanding.