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.
Florida State, I hope you got all of those points out of your system against Wake Forest. Or at least, got bored by the end of that game, so now you'll only be half-trying against Syracuse. Needless to say, the 'Noles are the top team in the ACC, and no one else is close. This is a sad march to doom for the rest of the conference's teams. Syracuse is simply next in line.
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1. Florida State Seminoles (9-0) (7-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 59-3 over Wake Forest; Next Week: vs. Syracuse
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
That couldn't have been overly enjoyable, right? The game against Wake Forest was a formality, though the result was even uglier than most of us could've imagined it. Better yet for the 'Noles though, they jumped to No. 2 in the latest BCS Rankings after Oregon lost to Stanford. Nothing (no, not even Syracuse) can realistically get in the way of FSU playing for a national title.
2. Clemson Tigers (8-1) (6-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: BYE; Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 2
Considering Clemson's in line to play in a BCS game should they win out, it's amazing how little folks are talking about them. With the bye week behind them, the Tigers should be rested and ready for Georgia Tech's triple option, and anything but a resounding win would be a major upset this Thursday night.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3) (4-2) (LW: T-6)
Last Week: W, 42-24 over Miami; Next Week: vs. Maryland
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 5
Here's Virginia Tech, once again doing Virginia Tech things. Lose to BC and Duke, beat Georgia Tech and Miami. Now, with just two league games remaining, the Hokies look like the most likely team to win the Coastal and act as a sacrificial lamb for FSU. Again, this only makes sense because this is Virginia Tech.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-3) (5-2) (LW: 4)
Last Week: BYE; Next Week: at Clemson
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 6
No one knows what to think about Coastal teams, of which, the Yellow Jackets are one. At times, they've been impressive enough to potentially win the division. At others, not so much. Like the Hokies, we're all confused by them, though the Wreck's the only team that still has to face Clemson (Thursday). A win against the Tigers sets them up very well, but with a loss, they're pretty much dead in the water.
T-5. Miami Hurricanes (7-2) (3-2) (LW: 3)
Last Week: L, 42-24 to Virginia Tech; Next Week: at Duke
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
Over the past couple weeks, we've discovered that Miami is not as great as once thought, particularly on offense, where Stephen Morris is trying to do his best Jacory Harris impression. Now, Duke Johnson's injury doesn't help matters, but it's not as if Dallas Crawford is bad at all. No excuse for losing to Virginia Tech like that.
T-5. Duke Blue Devils (7-2) (3-2) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 38-20 over NC State; Next Week: vs. Miami
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 7
We're officially in a parallel universe. Duke is receiving votes in national football polls, has a high-powered offense and suddenly, what looks like a competent defense too. We've discussed "program-changing victories" for the Blue Devils before, but it certainly holds true for Saturday's matchup vs. Miami. A win absolutely clinches a winning record, plus it keeps them neck and neck with Virginia Tech in contention for one of college football's most improbable conference title game berths ever.
7. Boston College Eagles (5-4) (2-3) (LW: T-6)
Last Week: W, 48-34 over New Mexico State; Next Week: vs. NC State
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
Boston College does things a lot like Syracuse does them. Most notably, run the ball a ton and make teams beg for mercy. With that in mind, it's highly likely that the Eagles endorse a very similar style of suffocation vs. NC State as the Orange did and rack up a bowl-clinching win on Saturday. Considering where they were the last two years, six wins are quite the feat and a very solid building block going forward.
8. Syracuse Orange (5-4) (3-2) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 20-3 over Maryland; Next Week: at Florida State
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 9
Beating Maryland was a ton of fun, and it at least makes the final three games look more manageable. With a loss to Florida State all but assured, Syracuse still has two chances at making a bowl game remaining. Simple game plan going forward: Just keep running the football, and let the defense do its thing. Oh, and eliminate penalties. If we mange to miss the postseason, it'll be because of that nonsense.
9. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4) (2-3) (LW: 9)
Last Week: W, 28-21 over Notre Dame; Next Week: vs. North Carolina
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 10
Pitt picked a great time to pull off a surprise win, upsetting the Fighting Irish before a difficult end-of-year stretch of games that will decide their postseason fate. Like Syracuse, they struggle with offensive consistency. You'll want to shield your eyes when the two teams face off at the Carrier Dome in two weeks.
10. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-5) (2-3) (LW: 11)
Last Week: W, 45-14 over Virginia; Next Week: at Pittsburgh
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 11
Even without Bryn Renner, this team just keeps on rolling. No, they haven't met expectations handed to them in the preseason, but realistically, this may still end up being a seven- or eight-win team that has a ton of skill players on offense to build upon. Marquise Williams, in particular, seems to present a whole host of new opportunities for the rest of this season and beyond.
11. Maryland Terrapins (5-4) (1-4) (LW: 10)
Last Week: L, 20-3 to Syracuse; Next Week: at Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 13
As a fellow Syracuse fan reminded the Terps from our section at Byrd Stadium, well... Willy Wonka says it best. Maryland looked horrendous against Syracuse, setting the tone for what should be a harrowing finish to the season for them. At this point, missing a bowl game is definitely in play and Randy Edsall's job security -- even if they win six -- is going to be seriously called into question. Do not envy this program.
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-6) (2-5) (LW: 12)
Last Week: L, 59-3 to Florida State; Next Week: BYE
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 12
Wake, you have our sympathies, because we see a similar fate befalling us when we face Florida State this weekend. Without Michael Campanaro, the Deacons offense is non-existent and all hope's pretty much lost. That's a terrible place to be with a couple games still remaining, and at least SU can take solace in still having a legitimate chance at a bowl.
13. NC State Wolfpack (3-6) (0-6) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 38-20 to Duke; Next Week: at Boston College
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 13
Getting bludgeoned to death by Duke can't be fun. Nor can being one of two winless teams in ACC play with just a couple weeks to go. The Wolfpack denied this was a rebuilding year before 2013 started, but it's hard to see it as anything else now. Dave Doeren needs his personnel to run his system. He better hope a lackluster season doesn't deter recruits this offseason.
14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-8) (0-6) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 45-14 to North Carolina; Next Week: BYE
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
Winning in recruiting doesn't equal winning on the field. Just ask Virginia, whose decent performance on the trail in recent years appears to have brought about a downward spiral in on-field performance. The Hoos just get blown out each and every week and are far from even being considered a competitive team at this point. It's been fun, Mike London.