Each week, the TNIAAM football staff ranks 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.
It looks like a good amount of ACC teams got some much-needed wins this past week. While others received some ill-timed losses that could spell doom for the rest of their respective 2014 campaigns. As is typical for the ACC, you sort of just look around the room and shrug each week, while staring at something like this. If you're at all curious about who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.
1. Florida State Seminoles (7-0) (5-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 31-27 over Notre Dame; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
Florida State's dominance over the sport since the start of last season SHOULD be the story right now. But as we all know, the continued off-the-field murmurs about Jameis Winston just won't stop stealing headlines. Winston is a star, obviously, but his decision-making is questionable at best. The Seminoles get a bye week to avoid the limelight for now, which is probably best for this group. I (and a lot of college football fans, I'm sure) wish this wasn't the case, however...
2. Clemson Tigers (5-2) (4-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 17-13 over Boston College; Next Week: vs. Syracuse
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
This year's Clemson team is far from one-dimensional, finding a different way to win nearly every week this season. For week nine, with several starters out, they might have to scrounge up yet another unique method of victory against Syracuse. The Tigers defense has been true to form for much of this season, and you can expect the Clemson pass-rush to pull out all the stops against the Orange's banged-up line and true freshman quarterback, A.J. Long.
3. Duke Blue Devils (6-1) (2-1) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 20-13 over Virginia; Next Week: vs. Bye
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
There's nothing surprising about Duke being here -- or at least there shouldn't be. Yet, the Blue Devils' third-straight six-win campaign and very real shot at double-digit wins (again) still feels wrong, doesn't it? As long as David Cutcliffe's around and the Coastal division's a toss-up, we might as well get used to it, though. Against Virginia's stout defense last week, Duke squeaked by and took control of the division. It wasn't pretty, but it didn't need to be and likely won't be for most of the year.
4. Louisville Cardinals (6-2) (4-2) (LW: T-3)
Last Week: W, 30-18 over NC State; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 5
Louisville's defense has been absolutely stifling this season, which makes zero sense if you took a look at their personnel or coaches going into 2014. Yet, here we ware, with a Cardinals group largely focused on stopping the run and forcing turnovers at a significant clip. Most importantly in recent games, however, has been the resurgence of the running game. Michael Dyer, in particular, has turned back the clock on his career and looked absolutely lethal with the football. He could cause some serious problems for Florida State in two weeks.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (4-3) (2-1) (LW: T-3)
Last Week: L,. 20-13 vs. Duke; Next Week: vs. North Carolina
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 5
For a team that prides itself on defense, North Carolina could prove to be an interesting test. The Heels are inconsistent, but they're also electrifying on offense when completely locked in. The South's Oldest Rivalry always adds a little bit extra motivation for Virginia, but this year's iteration could define both team's respective seasons. While the D is typically the focus for UVa (and will continue to be), it'll be worth watching QB Matt Johns too, who's seemingly come into his own as a passer lately.
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-2) (2-2) (LW: 6)
Last Week: L, 48-43 to North Carolina; Next Week: at Pittsburgh
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
Few believed in Georgia Tech prior to league play, though it seems that as they've picked up a couple losses, there may actually be more to like from the Wreck -- especially on offense. This has been mentioned repeatedly, but Tech's offense is SO much more effective when they're actually throwing the ball effectively. QB Justin Thomas has done just that this year, with nearly 1,000 passing yards and 10 scores, but this past Saturday was his best showing yet: a 235-yard and three-TD throwing effort. If only the defense could make a stop or two...
7. Miami Hurricanes (4-3) (1-2) (LW: T-8)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 10
Despite how high-profile the Miami Hurricanes football program is, America has sort of stopped caring about them. And this season, the football-watching public has seen very little of the 'Canes and QB Brad Kaaya. That all changes on Thursday night, though. Because as much as Miami has struggled in 2014, they're still 4-3 and have still yet to show themselves to a national audience. This isn't a "must-win" for the sake of making a bowl, but beating the Hokies could be a perception-changer if nothing else.
8. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-3) (2-1) (LW: 10)
Last Week: W, 21-16 over Virginia Tech; Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
Pittsburgh, what are you? After weeks of offensive struggles, how do you figure things out against Virginia Tech of all teams? The answer's James Conner, obviously, but he's also the same player held in check by lesser defenses in recent weeks. So the Panthers go as this run game goes. But how much longer can it continue to chug along? Playing ball control could be the only way Pitt finds a way against Georgia Tech (as it can't play the same game as UNC), so expect heavy doses of Conner as they try to claw back into the divisional race.
9. Boston College Eagles (4-3) (1-2) (LW: T-8)
Last Week: L, 17-13 to Clemson; Next Week: at Wake Forest
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 12
A disheartening, thwarted upset bid for Boston College means they're still two wins from bowl eligibility. But lucky for them, Wake Forest just marched through the door offering up a fifth win on the season. BC's offense has been struggling to find itself while being completely one-dimensional, yet the defense continues to hold its own and give this group a chance in every contest. With a dynamic QB like Tyler Murphy, sometimes that's all you really need.
10. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3) (1-2) (LW: 7)
Last Week: L, 21-16 to Pittsburgh; Next Week: vs. Miami
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 10
Blacksburg on a Thursday night... whatever you think of the Virginia Tech football program, it's tough to argue against the nearly-annual tradition of a frantic slugfest on the Hokies' home field that has huge implications for the Coastal Division (and more). This time around, it's Miami coming to town with hopes of resuscitating its season while Virginia Tech aims to do the exact same thing. This injured Tech team didn't have the luxury of losing to Pitt last week and now has their backs against the way for the remainder of the regular season.
11. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-4) (1-2) (LW: 12)
Last Week: W, 48-43 over Georgia Tech; Next Week: at Virginia
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 11
Ends up that big offensive show against Notre Dame may not have been all smoke-and-mirrors. For the second straight week, the Tar Heels found a way to top the 40-point mark and this time, came away with a big win against a favored opponent. Believe it or not, Larry Fedora is very much on the hot seat in Chapel Hill and these games are absolutely critical from here on out. This team won six of seven to save the 2013 campaign. Who says they can't pull a similar feat this season?
12. Syracuse Orange (3-4) (1-2) (LW: 13)
Last Week: W, 30-7 over Wake Forest; Next Week: at Clemson
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 12
Things aren't perfect just yet for the Orange, but Saturday's huge victory over Wake Forest was certainly a step in the right direction for a team that needs every win possible going forward. While he's still sort of rough around the edges, A.J. Long appears to be the real deal at QB, and with a renewed running game, SU looks much better than the sputtering end of the George McDonald era at OC. Clemson's a huge test for this group on Saturday. The same mistakes that flew vs. Wake certainly won't vs. the Tigers.
13. NC State Wolfpack (4-4) (0-4) (LW: 11)
Last Week: L, 30-18 to Louisville; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 13
That's 0-12 in the ACC now for the Wolfpack since Dave Doeren took over, and yet another double-digit conference loss (their 10th since the start of 2013). The State offense doesn't look all that bad -- on the contrary, they seem to move the ball well enough through the air and on the ground. But with a defense that can't make key stops and what looks like an inability for the offense to get into the end zone when it matters most, it's tough to see this team improving much for now.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-5) (0-3) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 30-7 to Syracuse; Next Week: vs. Boston College
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
The Deacons simply do not look great this year. The offensive line lacks the size it needs and the team's playmakers lack the speed. On defense, the underneath routes are open and they simply can't get much of a pass-rush. This is a work in progress (which is fine), and one that still needs to find a lot of answers. Especially on the offensive side of the ball, there's a void that may take two or three years to really make up in terms of talent.