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.
This thing's in flames. So if there's anything that could help you feel better about the current state of SU football, just take a glance below and you'll find a bevy of other teams that are potentially worse off than the Orange, but with more talent. It's frightening. If you're at all curious about who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.
1. Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 43-3 over Wake Forest; Next Week: at Syracuse
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
The 'Noles lit up Wake Forest, just like they were supposed to do, but because the win didn't look as dominant as it did in 2013, there's still that lingering feeling they've dropped off. So have they? I still don't buy it. Florida State is still the nation's top-ranked team, and the offense has been able to overcome injuries and suspensions they never had to deal with last year. They own what should be two quality wins (Oklahoma State and Clemson), and there's a 99.9% chance they're beating the living daylights out of Syracuse on Saturday. Sorry in advance.
2. Clemson Tigers (3-2) (2-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 41-0 over NC State; Next Week: vs. Louisville
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
It may have taken a few games, but Clemson suddenly looks like they're right back where they left off in 2013, and with great timing -- Louisville's up next week. In his second start, Deshaun Watson had 329 total yards and four scores, and looks to be the team's short- and long-term solution at quarterback. That should frighten a lot of teams in the ACC, but let's see how he does against a very strong secondary like the Cardinals' next week before ordaining him as the next Tajh Boyd.
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-0) (2-0) (LW: 4)
Last Week: W, 28-17 over Georgia Tech; Next Week: vs. Duke
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
I don't get it, and I doubt you do either. But the Wreck are 5-0 and look to be the odds-on favorite in the Coastal Division. The key, as always, is the team's relentless run game, which this year seems to be giving a whole lot more carries to Zach Laskey and he's rewarded the team in kind with some great production. Defensively, Tech has also ben able to apply pressure and force turnovers at a much higher rate than expected. Combined with a ball-control attack, that'll make it pretty difficult for any team to mount a comeback against them.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (4-2) (2-0) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 24-19 over Pittsburgh; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 5
The Virginia defense strikes again, and now the Hoos are an impressive 4-2 with two high quality losses. That should scare the rest of the division, which figures to be a knock-out, drag-out battle for the remainder of the regular season. The Hoos playing without starting quarterback Greyson Lambert should be the most concerning part of all, however. Despite backup Matt Johns having an okay day under center, he still managed the game well and let the run game (225 yards) do its thing. If that's all you need for UVa to win, they'll be a very tough out.
5. Louisville Cardinals (5-1) (3-1) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 28-6 over Syracuse; Next Week: at Clemson
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 6
Reggie Bonnafon was not without his mistakes against Syracuse, but he delivered a capable performance while making way for a resurgent run game and stifling defense to do its thing. Louisville benefited from SU avoiding its strength on the ground in favor of a shaky passing game (plus a ton of mistakes by the Orange), and that's how you get this result. Don't be sold on Bonnafon staying the starter for the full season just yet. The Cards will have both him and Will Gardner available against Clemson.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2) (1-1) (LW: 9)
Last Week: W, 34-17 over North Carolina; Bye
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 7
Tech let North Carolina implode and then picked up the pieces, plain and simple. This Hokies squad isn't perfect by any means, and the defense is a bit banged up, but they hold teams long enough to give the struggling offense a chance. Considering the opponents they face, that's not the worst strategy -- QB Michael Brewer is capable but not excellent, though the running game looks sound -- and you have to respect the results considering their modest product on the field through six games.
7. Duke Blue Devils (4-1) (0-1) (LW: 7)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 8
Two weeks ago, Duke figured out that the "Anthony Boone Show" wasn't necessarily going to work, so now they get back to basics and re-dedicate themselves to the running game. Early returns saw a balanced Blue Devils offense that really knew how to run the ball with authority, but the team that lost to Miami looked out-of-sorts and unable to get things going on the ground. Expect that balance to return against Georgia Tech in a key divisional matchup.
8. Miami Hurricanes (3-3) (1-2) (LW: 6)
Last Week: L, 28-17 to Georgia Tech; Next Week: vs. Cincinnati
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 11
Miami's at .500 and through six games, we honestly know very little about them. Sometimes, QB Brad Kaaya looks great. Others, he still looks like a freshman who's prone to mistakes. The defense has shown improvement, but only in spurts. Consistency is the group's biggest problem of all and that should worry 'Canes fans in terms of the team's long-term goals. Al Golden has obviously brought talent to Coral Gables, yet he still can't seem to win with it, Keep an eye on that...
9. Boston College Eagles (3-2) (0-1) (LW: 10)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at NC State
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 9
Boston College's upcoming matchup with NC State is not a "must-win," but at the same time, when you look at that remaining schedule (including Virginia Tech, FSU, Clemson and Louisville), it'll be far from easy for the Eagles to make a bowl game for the second straight season. They'll need every gimme or toss-up, unless they're going to pull another big upset on the year (to go with the USC win). That road to the postseason starts this week.
10. NC State Wolfpack (4-2) (0-2) (LW: 8)
Last Week: L, 41-0 to Clemson; Next Week: vs. Boston College
Highest Position: 7; Lowest Position: 12
At 4-0, State was a surprising team... but only for those that didn't look at a deplorable schedule. Now, they're exactly where you thought they'd be: 4-2, following sizable losses to Atlantic heavyweights, and now forced to fight the rest of the division for third. The Wolfpack are much improved from 2013, don't get me wrong. But without an assist from a poor group of non-conference opponents, this team would likely still be a year away from any notable W-L jump.
11. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3) (1-1) (LW: 11)
Last Week: L, 24-19 to Virginia; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 11
It seems EVERYONE has caught on to Pitt's strategy now, with opposing defenses letting Chad Voytik throw to anyone but Tyler Boyd and containing James Conner on the ground. The results: three straight losses (including a miserable upset at the hands of Akron), and an offense that suddenly can't do itself any favors. As a result, Pitt will rely on its defense for the rest of the year. Not a great thing though, mind you, with the best offenses its opponents have to offer still to come on the schedule.
12. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-3) (0-2) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 34-17 to Virginia Tech; Next Week: at Notre Dame
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
Welp. If there's any ACC team more disappointed by their W-L, it's probably UNC, which started the year ranked and had some high hopes of winning the Coastal. Now? They're very likely looking at a 2-4 start after this Saturday, and appear to be in freefall. Real question: Could coach Larry Fedora get fired this season (or following it)? If North Carolina fails to make it to the postseason (a real possibility), nothing's really off the table, I'd think.
12. Syracuse Orange (2-3) (0-1) (LW: 13)
Last Week: L, 28-6 to Louisville; Next Week: vs. Florida State
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 14
Being 2-3 would be bad enough already, if we all didn't know how we got here. Worse, they'll need to pull themselves out of this hole without quarterback Terrel Hunt, and while breaking in a new offensive coordinator as well (that second one may be a good thing, though). The Orange defense has been aggressive and dynamic, and it's a shame the offense hasn't held up its end of the bargain this year. Syracuse fans, start praying.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-4) (0-2) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 43-3 to Florida State; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 14
Wake Forest had 126 yards of total offense on Saturday. That's it. So if you were going to time a bye week before your last truly winnable game (Syracuse), they did a very nice job of it with this schedule. There are too many things going wrong with the Deacons' offense to make up for its capable defense, and if you're smirking while thinking about the Syracuse blitz coming at this group, you're not alone. Though don't smile too much... most of the above should sound very familiar, SU folks.