ACC Power Rankings: Status quo rules the weekend
NOV 24, 2013 9:28a ET
1. No. 2 Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 1 (W 80-14 over Idaho)
Florida State put up 80 points against an FBS team. Eighty points. The Seminoles continue to outdo themselves week after week, and are already the highest-scoring offense in ACC history with at least three more games to go. Two more wins, though, and the Seminoles will likely be in the BCS national title game. And one of those games comes next week at Florida, a team that lost at home to FCS Georgia Southern on Saturday. Hmm.
2. No. 7 Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 2 (W 52-6 over The Citadel)
Clemson hopefully enjoyed its semi-bye week against the Citadel. Because now, it will have the surging South Carolina Gamecocks on the road. Both Clemson and South Carolina will likely be top-10 teams this week, and both have won four games in a row after disappointing losses (South Carolina’s to Tennessee, and Clemson’s a rout at the hands of Florida State). Will this be Clemson’s first win over its in-state rival since 2008? Clemson nearly scored more points on Saturday against the Citadel (52) as it has in its last four games -- all losses -- against South Carolina (54).
3. No. 25 Duke (9-2, 5-2 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 3 (W 28-21 at Wake Forest)
All the Blue Devils do is keep on winning. They’re one win away from winning the Coastal Division. Head coach David Cutcliffe said it would be a process to rebuild the program when he arrived in 2008, and Duke now has the same number of wins in the last two seasons (15) than it did in Cutcliffe’s first four seasons combined (15). Cutcliffe’s 30 wins since 2008 are more than the program had in the 18 seasons prior to his arrival (21).
4. Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 4 (W 66-7 over Alabama A&M)
Couldn’t bump Georgia Tech down for its blowout win over Alabama A&M, nor would I, as that wouldn’t be fair. But one could argue the two teams below Georgia Tech have been more impressive as of late. Still, body of work. Georgia Tech is still technically alive to win the Coastal Division, too, though it is running out of scenarios since it doesn’t have the tiebreaker with Virginia Tech and would need both the Hokies and Blue Devils to lose.
5. North Carolina (6-5, 5-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 5 (W 80-20 over Old Dominion)
Couldn’t put the Tar Heels ahead of Georgia Tech -- they have a worse record and lost the head-to-head meeting -- but is any team in the ACC outside of Florida State playing better right now? Last week’s second-half hiccup at Pittsburgh notwithstanding, UNC has won five in a row -- relatively convincingly, too -- and is now bowl-eligible after starting 1-5 this season. Impressive turnaround, and also ... EIGHTY POINTS?!?!? BY THE THIRD QUARTER? Impressive. But you didn't outscore your basketball team yesterday (82), so.
6. Boston College (7-4, 4-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 6 (W 29-26 at Maryland)
What a huge win for the Eagles and first-year head coach Steve Addazio. It was BC’s first road win this season in conference, and it looked like BC was done multiple times in the game. But Andre Williams -- otherwise known as #Andre2000, in honor of him earning 2,000 yards on the ground this season -- wouldn’t let that happen. BC now has a chance to get to eight wins for the first time since 2009. And the Eagles already have more wins than they had the last two years combined.
7. Virginia Tech (7-4, 4-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 7 (Off)
Again, the Michael Myers of the Coastal Division lives on, even when you think they’re dead. If Duke loses next week, Virginia Tech will sneak out of this disastrous end to the regular season with a Coastal Division crown. Even though it has lost three of its last four games, including two at home. But, hey, that’s the Coastal.
8. Miami (8-3, 4-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 8 (W 46-25 over Virginia)
Through three quarters, Miami’s defense held Virginia to just 13 points. But the Cavaliers still ran the ball practically at will on the Hurricanes, ending with 243 yards on the ground. Miami could still finish this season with 10 wins (pending a bowl win), a nice step forward for this program in Year 3 under Al Golden. But that’s no guarantee, as porous as this defense has been.
9. Pittsburgh (6-5, 3-3 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 9 (W 17-16 at Syracuse)
Pitt has secured bowl eligibility and beat its former Big East rival Syracuse on the road. And so the up-and-down season for Pitt continues. But there’s nothing inconsistent about the play of Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who blocked a Syracuse extra point that ended up being the final margin of victory and had 3.5 tackles for loss. The guy is unstoppable. If he alone were in my power rankings, he’d be near the top. A one-man machine.
10. Maryland (6-5, 2-5 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 10 (L 29-26 to Boston College)
When you ice the kicker, Randy Edsall, bad things happen. And BC’s Nate Freese could not be iced, because he’s already ... frozen. Anyway, Maryland couldn’t build on its big win at Virginia Tech last week and couldn’t stop BC’s offense when it mattered most. The Terps are bowl-eligible, but they’d better hope they actually get one of the ACC’s allotments.
11. Syracuse (5-6, 3-4 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 11 (L 17-16 to Pittsburgh)
For the most part, Syracuse has beaten who it was supposed to beat and lost to who it was supposed to lose to. But that Pitt game was there for the taking, only the Orange couldn’t take advantage, losing a heartbreaker at home. Syracuse still has one more chance at bowl eligibility next week when it hosts Boston College, but the way Andre Williams has been running, that will be no small feat.
12. Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 12 (L 28-21 to No. 25 Duke)
Good job, good effort, Wake Forest. Seriously. Jim Grobe after a bye is as tough a head coach to face as there is in the league, and his Demon Deacons looked rejuvenated early. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get out of their own way on offense and sabotaged some of their better scoring chances, especially in the second half. The Deacs have ensured they’ll finish short of .500 for the fifth straight season and miss a bowl for second straight year, and the 2006 ACC title feels like decades ago now.
T-14. N.C. State (3-8, 0-7 ACC)
Lsat week’s ranking/result: 13 (L 42-28 to East Carolina)
N.C. State is still trying, but the Wolfpack was -- to be fair -- being dominated by East Carolina until scoring a few late garbage-time touchdowns. N.C. State does have a chance to end its season on a nice note as it hosts Maryland next weekend, but this does not seem like a team that has the confidence or ability to beat any decent opponent right now.
T-14. Virginia (2-9, 0-7 ACC)
Last week’s ranking/result: 14 (L 45-26 at Miami)
Virginia could play spoiler to rival Virginia Tech’s Coastal Division title hopes next weekend. But that would mean beating the Hokies for the first time in over a decade. Still, that’s about the only thing left the Cavaliers could salvage from this season. The only question left is if Mike London will keep his job, or if the potential buyout would be too expensive.
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