ACC Power Rankings, Week 7: FSU Still No. 1
1. Florida State (6-0, 3-0)Last week's ranking/result: 1 (51-14 win at No. 3 Clemson)
Is there a ranking higher than 1? Because Florida State would get that after its 51-14 thrashing of Clemson in Death Valley. Enough's been said and written about that game, but suffice it to say that this Florida State team looks a heck of a lot like the 90's Florida State teams that steamrolled any opponent who deigned to think it could hang with them. Absolutely terrifying.
2. Clemson (6-1, 4-1 ACC) Last week's ranking/result: 2 (51-14 loss to No. 5 Florida State)
The Tigers are still here because I still think they're a good team. And it's not like either Miami or Virginia Tech has done enough yet to prove they're better. Also, Clemson's humiliation at the hands of the Seminoles was much more about FSU than it was about Clemson, although the Tigers' line play is still a concern.
3. Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 4 (Off)
By virtue of not playing, the Hokies move up a spot because they're starting to play well at a good time and they look (again, eye test) like the best team in the Coastal Division right now. To me, anyway.
4. Miami (6-0, 2-0 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 3 (27-23 win at North Carolina)
Yes, Miami lost some playmakers early in its narrow Thursday night win at UNC. And the Hurricanes ultimately gutted out a win that they might not have ordinarily been able to pull out. Those kinds of games aren't easy. But the Hurricanes are vulnerable, as they showed, particularly defensively. Stephen Morris can't have that kind of a game again, or Miami will lose a game it shouldn't.
5. Georgia Tech (4-3, 2-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: T-6 (56-0 win over Syracuse)
Is Syracuse a great team? No. Has Georgia Tech beaten a great team yet this year? No. But the Yellow Jackets just took Syracuse behind the woodshed, and it was as dominant a win over a legit opponent that they've had all year. Maybe this means they've fixed some of the issues that have been plaguing them the last few weeks. And maybe it means nothing. We'll see. Either way, it was impressive.
6. Boston College (3-3, 1-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 10 (Off)
This ranking is more like a nod to the Eagles for hanging with Florida State, a team that showed itself to be head and shoulders above almost every other team in the country. Sure, it was at home, but the fact that the Eagles put up TWENTY more points on the Seminoles than Clemson could muster ... it has to mean something. And the Eagles are on the upswing.
7. Pittsburgh (4-2, 2-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: T-6 (35-24 win over Old Dominion)
Pitt keeps its spot ahead of Duke by virtue of, you know, winning at Duke. But that win over Old Dominion got uglier than it needed to be, and the schedule doesn't get much easier: at Navy, at Georgia Tech and Notre Dame at home. They still have to tighten some things up if they want to to 2-1 in that stretch.
8. Duke (5-2, 1-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 9 (35-22 win at Virginia)
Who said North Carolina football was terrible? Well, on the whole, it's still not great. But Duke did what it needed to do at Virginia, erasing a 22-0 deficit and dominating the second half to score 35 unanswered points. Oh, and if anyone doesn't believe coaching matters in college football, they should watch a Duke game. David Cutcliffe gives Duke such an edge in that department that whenever the talent is close enough, Duke's more likely than not going to be able to win.
9. Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) Last week's ranking/result: 11 (34-10 win over Maryland)
Speaking of coaching, Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe hasn't lost his touch. He has adjusted the offense to make it more suited for quarterback Tanner Price, and it's paying huge dividends. Suddenly, a Wake team that everyone thought was dead after starting 1-2 has won three of its last four games. Wake scored 61 points in its first four games against FBS teams and has 62 in its last two games alone, both wins. The Deacs' schedule leaves them no margin for error, but a bowl is still at least in reach.
10. Maryland (5-2, 1-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 5 (34-10 loss at Wake Forest)
Maryland stays higher than the rest of the teams below it by virtue of its record and what it has accomplished so far this year. But last year’s plague of injuries has returned with a vengeance, and now the Terps are without their best player, Stefon Diggs (who broke his fibula against Wake Forest). And quarterback C.J. Brown is starting to struggle some, too. Not good.
11. Syracuse (3-4, 1-2 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 8 (56-0 loss at Georgia Tech)
Yeah ... not good. Listen, when it's your first time seeing Paul Johnson's offense, we get it. It's jarring. It takes time to adjust. But 56-0? Just not a good look, Syracuse. Not a good look.
12. NC State (3-3, 0-3 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 13 (Off)
NC State might get quarterback Brandon Mitchell back this week. But considering the Wolfpack will be traveling to Tallahassee, is that really a good thing? Will it even matter? NC State is struggling to find some confidence, and it's all but a certainty they'll be losers of three in a row after this week's game. And so they have to figure out a way to get something positive out of it.
13. North Carolina (1-5, 0-3 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 14 (L 27-23 to Miami)
If moral victories counted as real wins, the Tar Heels would be 3-3 right now instead of 1-5, as they played well at Georgia Tech and then Thursday against Miami. Unfortunately, they don't count. And UNC is still 1-5 on a team that continues to do things 1-5 teams do, like sabotage itself with penalties and silly mistakes.
14. Virginia (2-5, 0-3 ACC)Last week's ranking/result: 12 (35-22 loss to Duke)
Since one of Virginia’s two wins was over VMI, I'm going to stop giving the Cavaliers credit for having a better record than UNC and trust what my eyes tell me. And what my eyes tell me is, much like the Tar Heels, this is a team that just doesn't know how to win football games right now. Losing a 22-0 lead, at home? Really? No.