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.
Well, there goes the regular season. That thing we counted down months waiting for has now come to a close, and for Syracuse there's hopefully one more game left to play. For others, at least one more game is assured, and for others (Duke and FSU) they even get two. I'm already depressed thinking next year's regular season is nine months away. To try and distract from that reality, we have an arbitrary ranking of the conference's teams below.
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown? Check out the Google Doc here!
1. Florida State Seminoles (12-0) (8-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 37-7 over Florida; Next Week: vs. Duke
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
After Alabama's last-second loss to Auburn, Florida State is virtually assured a trip to the National Championship Game... all they have to do is beat Duke in Charlotte. That sounds easy on its face, but most of the Blue Devils' opponents have said the same this year. Still, the 'Noles appear poised to play for their first title since 2000, when they lost to Oklahoma. No matter who they play now, I fully expect a resounding victory.
2. Duke Blue Devils (10-2) (6-2) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 27-25 over North Carolina; Next Week: vs. Florida State
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
/Looks up. //Shakes head. ///Wonders (once again) how this is happening. Duke's recorded its first 10-win season in team history, and could end up with as many as 12 victories when it's all said and done. While the focus has been on the Blue Devils' offense through this impressive run, perhaps we should really be focusing on the defense. Since October 12, just one team has topped 30 points vs. Duke. They're not just dealing with blowouts, either. The D's helped hold opposing teams in check during four one-score games during this win streak, too.
Last Week: L, 31-17 to South Carolina; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
This has to be insufferable for Tigers fans to sit through year-in and year-out. While Dabo Swinney's done plenty as Clemson coach, the one thing that's been a perpetual bugaboo is his futility against rival South Carolina. Saturday's loss makes it five straight defeats vs. the Gamecocks, and another disappointing end to the regular season.
4. Miami Hurricanes (9-3) (5-3) (LW: T-6)
Last Week: W, 41-31 over Pittsburgh; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 5
Even without Duke Johnson, this team can still fly on offense. The defense, on the other hand, has a lot to prove if they want to notch win No. 10 this postseason. Miami's feasted on sub-par competition and been bowled over by elite teams over and over again. Given their conference standing, they're likely to face another top-ranked team later this month -- a true test of whether the 'Canes are "back" or not.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) (5-3) (LW: T-6)
Last Week: W, 16-6 over Virginia; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
After years of impressive wins over Virginia, the Hokies have looked less-than-great for the past two seasons now. Back in 2012, sure, the 6-6 team wasn't all that impressive. But this year? This Hokies' team was supposed to be much better, and yet, another lackluster win vs. the cross-state rival Hoos. A win's a win, though, don't get me wrong. Virginia Tech is just fine finishing ahead of Virginia yet again, and will aim for a ninth victory this bowl season.
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5) (5-3) (LW: 4)
Last Week: L, 41-34 (OT) to Georgia; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 8
It was there. Handed right to them. Georgia Tech, after a significant recent history of losses to Georgia, had a shot to pull one off. Granted, the Bulldogs were riddled with injuries going in, but the Wreck would've been thrilled with the results just the same. Instead, yet another disappointment for the school and conference, seeing Tech fall in grueling fashion.
7. Syracuse Orange (6-6) (4-4) (LW: 10)
Last Week: W, 34-31 over Boston College; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 8
Things looked bleak against BC, down 31-27 with just under two minutes to go. But this team mustered up the sort of resolve they appeared to lack all season and with just six seconds left, scored the go-ahead touchdown to take a three-point lead. If you were looking for a great way to restart a rivalry with the Eagles, trust me, this is it. Bowl eligibility or not, beating Boston College will be a cherry on top of any campaign for years to come.
8. Boston College Eagles (7-5) (4-4) (LW: 5)
Last Week: L, 34-31 to Syracuse; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 9
With Andre Williams minimized and the defense exploited, Boston College had to change things up against Syracuse -- and for much of the game, it appeared that strategy worked out perfectly. Chase Rettig was moving the ball well both through the air and on the ground, and looked ready to lead his team to a huge win over their rivals. But a fishy timeout call and a lack of late execution in SU territory made them settle for a field goal with time on the clock, and the rest (like Williams's Heisman bid) is history...
Last Week: L, 41-31 to Miami; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 11
Now that the dust has settled, you're not as pissed at Pitt anymore, right? They lost to Miami, so they truly needed to beat SU, and since we beat Boston College, everyone got to bowl eligibility anyway. Having their defense dominated so thoroughly by Miami proved this team's got a long way to go though. The offense, however, might end up with a bright future once a new quarterback's installed.
10. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6) (4-4) (LW: 8)
Last Week: L, 29-27 to Duke; Next Week: TBD
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 10
The Heels had a golden opportunity to crush Duke's Coastal chances, but could not execute when it mattered most. Of all the non-Tech teams you thought would break the streak of division titles, UNC probably topped the list. But now, Duke's taken the mantle and North Carolina looks a bit lost. Based on early returns, they're still not ready to compete on an elite level, but can obviously beat up on average teams. If they stay in that wheelhouse though, this team will never move beyond "sleeping giant" status.
Last Week: W, 41-21 over Maryland ; Next Week:TBD
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 11
I'm firmly in the camp that believes this team is getting heavily screwed over by the ACC when it comes to bowl selection. Sure, the conference doesn't control bids themselves, but the Terps' own fans don't help their case, either. Even the Military Bowl -- right in their backyard -- stands to fare better picking another team in the Northeast region over Maryland by most accounts. They won't be passed up for a bowl bid necessarily, but they could drop pretty far in the pecking order.
12.(4-8) (2-6) (LW: 12)
Last Week: L, 23-21 to Vanderbilt; Next Week: N/A
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 12
Beating a strong Vandy team would not have redeemed this season for Wake, since they still would've finished with a losing record, but at least it would have provided a solid step toward the future. With another loss, the conclusion of the Jim Grobe era (announced yesterday) appeared to simply be a formality. The Deacs' long-time coach has done some amazing things in his tenure -- most notably, a 2006 league title -- but everything is about to change for this squad, which has known little beyond Grobe for almost two decades.
13. NC State Wolfpack (3-9) (0-8) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 41-21 to Maryland; Next Week: N/A
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 13
What a disaster of a season. The Wolfpack capped off the awful campaign with yet another blowout loss and their worst year since at least 2006. After three months of absolutely everything going wrong, can everything go right in 2014? Not to jump to conclusions, but Dave Doeren's overall job security may depend on it.
14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-10) (0-8) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 16-6 to Virginia Tech; Next Week: N/A
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
It might not have happened how Dan and I predicted this summer, but UVa legitimately finished 2-10 and was so much worse than anyone could have imagined. The fact that Mike London hasn't been fired yet is a surprise, though no guarantee of job security. The Hoos need a severe shake-up, it seems, if they ever hope to reach what appears to be limitless potential. I'm not seeing it under London, and the UVa administration likely feels the same at this point.
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