Each week, the TNIAAM football staff will be ranking all 14 ACC teams in a completely subjective manner, just like everyone else on the internet. Feel like we're completely off base? Chime in with your own ACC power rankings below.
There appears to be an increasingly large gap between the top tier of the ACC and the rest of the conference. And even within that top tier, perhaps there's even another demarcation line as well. Things look fairly cut and dry right now, but plenty can and will change in the coming weeks. The conference will be front-and-center yet again when Gameday comes to Tallahassee on Saturday. Will it be another crowning event for Florida State, though?
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown? Check out the Google Doc here!
1. Florida State Seminoles (7-0) (5-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 49-17 over NC State; Next Week: vs. Miami
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
Death machine. That's the only way to describe Florida State right now, which is firing on a level very few teams in the country can compete with. The Seminoles effortlessly put up 35 points in the first quarter on Saturday, and then got bored and coasted their way to a victory. Typical BCS Championship contender behavior...
2. Miami Hurricanes (7-0) (3-0) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 24-21; Next Week: at Florida State
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
Some might feel unimpressed by Miami's recent stretch of close victories, but I'm honestly a bit impressed. Tight game after tight game, the 'Canes just continue to prove their mettle down the stretch, in much the same fashion every time: running the ball down teams' throats. Whether it's Duke Johnson or Dallas Crawford, it just doesn't seem to matter. The Hurricanes have morphed into a very dangerous, power team, seemingly at just the right moment.
3. Clemson Tigers (7-1) (4-1) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 40-27 over Maryland; Next Week: at Virginia
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
It's getting more and more difficult to stand by Clemson nowadays. Since dominating Syracuse in September, the team's defense has faltered, and most surprisingly, the offense appears to be a shadow of its former self. Granted, they've still lost just one game all season, but everything we were impressed by when the year started has just about vanished.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3) (4-2) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 35-25 over Virginia; Next Week: vs. Pittsburgh
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
Has Tech figured out what they are yet? Vad Lee's a shadow of the player we saw at the onset of the year. Sometimes, this defense is a force and others (as we saw against UVa), less than impressive. There's just not a ton of consistency. So are they one of the ACC's top teams? Uhhh... TBD.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2) (3-1) (LW: 4)
Last Week: L, 13-10 to Duke; Next Week: at Boston College
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position:6
... And this is the other side of the coin for Tech. The defense can only carry them so far (and in this game, they carried the Hokies plenty), but when the offense commits four turnovers and special teams can't help put points on the board either, you can't win games. Tech's season is far from over. However, if Duke's defense can figure out how to stop them, then who else can?
6. Duke Blue Devils (6-2) (2-2) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 13-10 over Virginia Tech; Next Week: BYE
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 6
Duke beat Virginia Tech, so feel free to call bull on them being listed right under the Hokies. But it's tough to get a true read on the Blue Devils. The offense was a joke in Saturday's win (less than 200 total yards, 0-for-11 on third down, four turnovers), yet somehow the defense was able to help them come out victorious. For the second straight year, this team's bowl eligible. And somehow, Syracuse might want to start looking toward Durham for how to gain some program consistency.
7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-4) (2-3) (LW: 9)
Last Week: L, 24-21 to Miami; Next Week: at Syracuse
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 9
Wake Forest has to be a bit down and out after losing such a brutal game to Miami. But over the last few weeks, there's also a ton of room for hope. The Deacons have found themselves an offense, and Tanner Price finally appears to be the quarterback everyone has always assumed he'd be. For SU's sake, let's hope he goes back to being mediocre this weekend.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-3) (2-2) (LW: 6)
Last Week: L, 24-21 to Navy; Next Week: at Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 8
Pitt was due for one of these losses like the one against Navy. Other than the 58-point outburst against Duke (which actually looks like a pretty solid win now), the Panthers have scored over 21 points just once since mid-September. The passing game's a wreck, while the running game is trying to carry the load. Everyone seems sold on a bowl berth for Pittsburgh, but we may be jumping to conclusions there.
9. Maryland Terrapins (5-3) (1-3) (LW: 10)
Last Week: L, 40-27 to Clemson; Next Week: BYE
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 10
All things considered last week, Maryland didn't do half-bad with a team full of second-stringers. But can they keep it up? Caleb Rowe's been taking snaps with these players for weeks, and now C.J. Brown will be plugged back in (again) to try and replicate the minor success he's experienced. Brown may be the better player, but I'm not so sure this team's better off with him starting.
10. Boston College Eagles (3-4) (1-3) (LW: 7)
Last Week: L, 34-10 to North Carolina; Next Week: vs. Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 11
The wheels came off the BC passing game yet again this week, and as you'd think, it's taking a toll on the Eagles' ability to compete game-in and game-out. Andre Williams is fine, and he's actually putting up some of the best rushing numbers in the country. But without any sort of ability to throw the ball, Boston College has simply been outgunned of late and figures to be going forward to.
11. Syracuse Orange (3-4) (1-2) (LW: 7)
Last Week: BYE; Next Week: vs. Wake Forest
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 12
That Wake Forest game certainly doesn't look as easy as it once did. It doesn't seem to affect Vegas at all though, since the Orange are still oddly favorites in the contest (by 3.5 points). While we'd all like to believe in the Orange, this team hasn't looked great on offense in weeks. First and foremost, if they want to beat the Deacs, they simply have to figure out a way to score points again.
12. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-5) (1-3) (LW: 12)
Last Week: W, 34-10 over Boston College; Next Week: at NC State
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 14
The Heels needed last weekend's win to resuscitate the season. Fresh off a 24-point victory though, is this team back in business? Against a normal schedule, no, but this team's remaining slate is less than daunting. Even if the running game never really gets going, Bryn Renner should be able to guide this team to some easy wins -- so long as he keeps mistakes down.
13. NC State Wolfpack (3-4) (0-4) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 49-14 to Florida State; Next Week: vs. North Carolina
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 14
We pointed it out last week, but no matter who was at quarterback, FSU was going to run through NC State. We just didn't realize it would get out of hand that quickly. This offense can't score points. And this defense can't really stop anyone either. When you have several high-scoring teams left on the slate and four losses already... things aren't looking good.
14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-6) (0-4) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 35-25 to Georgia Tech; Next Week: vs. Clemson
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 14
This team is bad. That's well-documented. But last week, things were more depressing than anything else. David Watford has the best performance of his career, and things were never very close. If the secondary issues continue and Clemson wakes up this Saturday, how bad could things go? And do Hoos fans really want to know that pain?