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.
Outside of Florida State and Clemson, nothing is sorted out yet, which sets up what should be a very fun final full weekend. The Coastal could have a five-way tie at the top if Duke loses and Virginia Tech, Miami and North Carolina (by beating Duke) win. Boston College also has something to play for as they look to properly position themselves in the bowl selection pool versus those Coastal counterparts. And of course, Syracuse is still playing for bowl eligibility. Should be quite the ride...
Interested in seeing the individual voter breakdown? Check out the Google Doc here!
1. Florida State Seminoles (11-0) (8-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 80-14 over Idaho; Next Week: at Florida
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
Somehow, this 80-14 win doesn't even come close to describing the carnage on the field when Florida State beat Idaho. As per usual, Jameis Winston & Co. lost interest before halftime even started, going into the break up 42-7 and never looking back. Again, we're going to avoid speculation about what may or may not have happened with Winston off the field last December, but that appears to be the only thing standing between the 'Noles an a trip to the National Championship Game.
2. Clemson Tigers (10-1) (7-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 52-6 over The Citadel; Next Week: at South Carolina
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 2
For someone who was apparently injured going into his final home game last Saturday, Tajh Boyd looked pretty stellar for Clemson against the Citadel. Five touchdown passes and 288 yards padded his impressive career total, but a win over South Carolina and a potential BCS invite could allow him to go down as one of the best in Tigers' history.
3. Duke Blue Devils (9-2) (5-2) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 28-21 over Wake Forest; Next Week: at North Carolina
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 3
I'm just going to keep saying this every week. HOW THE EFF IS THIS HAPPENING?! Now we've got a nine-win Duke team, ranked in the top 25, and just one victory away from a spot in the ACC Championship Game. They looked shaky at times during last week's win, but this almost feels pre-determined, plus a lesser Blue Devils squad beat a better UNC squad last year -- so why can't it happened again?
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-4) (5-3) (LW: 4)
Last Week: W, 66-7 over Alabama A&M; Next Week: vs. Georgia
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 5
Just in time for this year's iteration of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate -- probably the closest matchup of Tech and UGa in five years -- Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray is lost for the year. Now, what was going to be an interesting contest turns into one that may actually see the Wreck favored. If they manage to beat their arch rivals, it could be the signature win Paul Johnson needs to keep his job (a job that's still not incredibly secure at the moment, really).
5. Boston College Eagles (7-4) (4-3) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 29-26 over Maryland; Next Week: at Syracuse
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 7
Andre Williams is a battering ram at this point, simply put on the field to plow down everyone in his path and guide this Eagles team to win after win. Last week's 263-yard performance now gives him 2,073 yards on the year, and 897 in the last three weeks alone. If a BC halfback donning No. 44 runs roughshod over the Orange in the Dome and/or wins the Heisman this year, I'm going to vomit.
T-6. Miami Hurricanes (8-3) (4-3) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 45-26 over Virginia; Next Week: at Pittsburgh
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 8
Are the 'Canes back on track, or simply beneficiaries of a terrible Virginia team last week? Tough to say when the offense didn't have to do much at all and the defense was as dominant as they'd been all season. Miami's defense forced four turnovers (two returned for scores) and the offense simply had to stop screwing up. They did, eventually, keeping Miami in contention for a division title.
T-6. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-4) (4-3) (LW: 7)
Last Week: BYE; Next Week: at Virginia
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 9
The most important team in the Coastal title race, other than Duke, is Virginia Tech. At 4-3, they face a lowly UVa squad to cap the year. A win would mean they'd have a tiebreaker over every other team in contention except the Blue Devils, should they lose to UNC. That chaos theory of five teams at the top would reward the Hokies, who are 3-1 against the rest, and send them to yet another conference championship game.
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-5) (4-3) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 80-20 over Old Dominion; Next Week: vs. Duke
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 8
That 1-5 start feels like ages ago, especially when that same team is now bowl eligible after putting up 80 points over the weekend. While the Heels are still a flawed group for sure, they've found a way to minimize those flaws over the past five games and play to their strengths. The result has been a more dynamic group on offense and a more aggressive, turnover-driven defense. They may end up as just a .500-ish team, but few ACC squads present more of a matchup problem right now.
9. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-5) (3-4) (LW: T-10)
Last Week: W, 17-16 over Syracuse; Next Week: vs. Miami
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
A combination of luck, injuries, execution and Syracuse play-calling land the Panthers in the land of bowl eligibility. "Hooray for them!" While we still don't care about this team in football, a few more contests like this might be able to get the competitive juices flowing a bit. Outside of Aaron Donald, Pitt's a very mediocre football team, as Birmingham will once again discover this December.
10. Syracuse Orange (5-6) (3-4) (LW: 9)
Last Week: L, 17-16 to Pittsburgh; Next Week: vs. Boston College
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 10
Ugh. Why? Injuries have taken an enormous toll on Syracuse over the course of the season, and they appeared to finally catch up against Pitt. Of course, the Orange still had a shot to win the game. They just decided that execution (on the field and play-calling) was optional. Great. Now we have to beat BC to make it to the postseason. I'm concerned, and you should be too.
11. Maryland Terrapins (6-5) (2-5) (LW: T-10)
Last Week: L, 29-26 to Boston College; Next Week: at NC State
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 12
The Terps looked as if they were about to pull off a second consecutive quality win and get their season back on track. Instead, the Eagles came back from down 11 to win and Maryland ends up hanging around the .500 mark. Lucky for them, NC State's an easy contest to wrap up the year, but win or lose, they're likely headed toward the worst bowl possible (courtesy of the ACC).
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-6) (2-5) (LW: 12)
Last Week: L, 28-21 to Duke; Next Week: at Vanderbilt
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 12
Wake put up a valiant effort against Duke, but just couldn't close out what could've been a potential season-saver. With seven losses, and what looks like an eighth on the way, this has been a disaster of a season for the Deacons. While I know expectations at Wake Forest are not what they are at FSU and Clemson, don't doubt Jim Grobe being shown the door once the year's over.
13. NC State Wolfpack (3-8) (0-7) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 42-28 to East Carolina; Next Week: vs. Maryland
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 13
That was predictable, and y'know what? A lot of this season was, too. Dave Doeren's system might work for NC State at some point, but right now, the team is not built for the pistol offense. And they had to replace their entire secondary. And quarterback... And, there were just too many factors weighing against this team for it work out. And at (likely) 3-9 to end the year, that's very obvious now.
14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-9) (0-7) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 45-26 to Miami; Next Week: vs. Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
Just even more terribleness for a team that can't catch a break all season. Facing a depleted Miami team, everything hit the fan in a hurry with an opening drive pick-six. Now comes the rivalry week matchup with the Hokies. Win or lose, this program's about to clean house. The Hoos, more than any program in the conference, is desperate for the offseason to come.