Despite loss, Florida St. leads Power Rankings

Florida State and Clemson, the ACC's top teams, both lost but remain atop the Power Rankings.

The only positive that occurred this past weekend regarding ACC football is that Virginia Tech become bowl eligible for the 19th consecutive season with a last-second field goal. Otherwise, it was a rather forgetful weekend for a conference desperately in need of a surge forward. 

There wasn’t much shuffling in this week’s rankings, though a couple of teams made moves. Here are this week’s ACC Power Rankings:

1. Florida State (10-2, 7-1) 

The Seminoles’ fans can’t complain about the ACC holding them back when they get waxed at home by rival Florida, as was the case this weekend to the tune of a 37-26 final. Committing five turnovers usually leads to a loss. Yet, Florida maintains the top spot because Clemson failed to take advantage of the Seminoles’ performance.

2. Clemson (10-2, 7-1)

The Tigers’ defense just couldn’t get off the field as South Carolina masterfully kept the Tigers’ offense from getting into much of a groove. The result was a frustrating 27-17 home loss to a Gamecocks team missing its star tailback and starting QB. 

3. North Carolina (8-4, 5-3) 

Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels sure can score some points, but they can’t stop anyone of substance and the kickoff coverage (allowed three TDs this season) needs work. Yet, UNC, which is banned from a bowl game by the NCAA, is easily the ACC’s third best team.

4. Miami (7-5, 5-3)

Miami isn’t going to the postseason, as the school wisely self-imposed a bowl ban last week for the second-consecutive season, but the Hurricanes closed out in solid fashion beating Duke 52-45 in Durham. It wasn’t so much the margin but that they were ready to play after what had to be a disappointing decision to the players, especially the seniors.

5. N.C. State (7-5, 4-4)

This where there’ a significant drop-off. N.C. State has underperformed greatly in the eyes of its just-fired coach, Tom O’Brien, and the media. But at least the Wolfpack beat Boston College 27-10 and is headed to a bowl game. But this was very much a missed opportunity given the talented skill guys the Wolfpack returned this season. 

6. Georgia Tech (6-6, 5-3)

Just as soon as it appears the Yellow Jackets have turned some kind of corner they lay a massive egg. This time it was before a national audience and at archrival Georgia to the tune of a 42-10 pummeling. Georgia Tech is headed to the ACC title game, but the program still needs some serious adjustments.

7. Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4)

The Hokies are going bowling, even though it didn’t appear likely a few weeks ago. Credit the program’s leadership, including its seniors, for fighting through the worst season the program has experienced in two decades. Saturday’s 17-14 last-second win over Virginia could have been the juice injection Frank Beamer’s program needed, too. 

8. Duke (6-6, 3-5)

The Blue Devils gave up an average of 50 points per game and lost four straight contests after becoming bowl eligible a month ago. That includes Saturday’s 52-45 home loss to Miami. But hey, David Cutcliffe’s boys are going bowling, and that’s still a pretty cool thing.

9. Virginia (4-8, 2-6)

At least Mike London’s team almost ended the Hokies’ bowl streak with what would have been a shocking road win Saturday. The Cavaliers still had fight in them. The last-second loss (via a field goal) won’t help the taste in the players’ mouths in the offseason, but maybe can serve as fuel. This program needs something to give it a spark. 

10. Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5)

The Demon Deacons lost three straight and six of eight to close the season mainly because there was no balance in how they performed. Wake Forest allowed 42 or more points four times and eight times scored 21 or fewer points. This team should have been better.

11. Boston College (2-10, 1-7)

Boston College actually improved in the second half of the season, but the program has fallen so much from where it was several years ago, it’s generally not competitive anymore. Saturday’s 27-10 loss at N.C. State was an example of the improvement – the Eagles competed for the most part – but also revealed just how far behind they are.

12. Maryland (4-8, 2-6)

Shawn Petty should have earned everyone’s respect for how he performed at quarterback even though he moved over from linebacker once the Terrapins lost all of their quarterbacks for the season. Petty helped the Terps score 38 points at UNC on Sunday, though Maryland still lost by a touchdown. Even with that, though, the Terps remain at the bottom of the rankings.