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.
Syracuse is in a very, very bad spot. This we know. But the only saving grace I can come up to help me out at this juncture is looking down this list of other ACC teams is almost the same terrible situations. Gaze in wonder at the mediocrity and wonder how THIS many teams in the league are struggling to find success. And if you're at all curious about who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.
1. Florida State Seminoles (8-0) (6-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 42-31 over Louisville; Next Week: vs. Virginia
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
They looked dead. Down 21-0 to Louisville, Florida State actually looked dead for the first time since the first half of the 2014 National Championship Game. And just like that game, the 'Noles roared back on the shoulders of Jameis Winston and took down an opponent seemingly hell-bent on defeating them. If it wasn't already apparent, Florida State is the most likely team in the country to get to the Playoff, with very few credible obstacles left.
2. Clemson Tigers (6-2) (5-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at Wake Forest
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
If there was one team pretty thrilled about Louisville potentially upsetting FSU (other than Louisville, of course), it was Clemson, who would've been tossed right back into the Atlantic race. Still, if you're Clemson, you have to like where you're at. Deshaun Watson will return before season's end and their toughest opponents are largely behind them. If things stay as-is, they're playing in the Orange Bowl again. For "down" year, that sounds pretty nice.
3. Duke Blue Devils (7-1) (3-1) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 51-48 over Pittsburgh (2OT); Next Week: at Syracuse
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
For some reason, every time Duke and Pitt meet up, neither team knows how to play defense. At all. But despite the advantageous Panthers FG miss at the end of regulation and a ton of defensive lapses by the Blue Devils, Duke still gets itself to 7-1 now and continues being the team to beat in the Coastal. The Blue Devils are far from flawless, but they simply seem to understand how to win in various fashions. It's a valuable asset that's going to be huge for them over these final few weeks against many different types of opponents.
4. Louisville Cardinals (6-3) (4-3) (LW: T-3)
Last Week: L, 42-31 to Florida State; Next Week: at Boston College
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 5
For about a half, it looked like the top-ranked defense in the country had finally figured out a way to stop Florida State. And then they didn't. At all. Louisville learned a ton about their team on both sides of the ball this past Thursday, and now they need to figure out how to apply that going forward. The Cardinals are a tough team, but they're a year away from being a GREAT tough team. They're young and will get better. You'll fear the Cards next year for sure.
T-5. Miami Hurricanes (6-3) (3-2) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 47-20 over North Carolina; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 7
Two straight weeks against preseason Coastal favorites, two straight blowout wins for Miami. Behind Duke Johnson and an offense that's really come alive, the 'Canes are suddenly a threat in a division where they hold the most important token: a victory over Duke. They'll need to win out and get another loss from the Blue Devils to cash that in, of course. But there's a credible, outside chance this team can get to Charlotte.
T-5. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-2) (4-2) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 35-10 over Virginia; Next Week: at NC State
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 7
No one's going to blame you for being confused about Tech, but yet here they are, with seven wins already and a W over Miami as well. The Wreck have gotten it done in a variety of ways this year -- last-second wins, shootouts, defensive slugfests -- so perhaps that makes them most dangerous in that gaggle of teams called the Coastal division? Either that or just the typical "teams still struggle defending the triple-option" stuff. Either/or.
7. Boston College Eagles (6-3) (3-2) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 33-31 over Virginia Tech; Next Week: vs. Louisville
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position:7
Boston College ALMOST messed up a big lead over Virginia Tech and squandered their sixth win of the season. But they didn't, and now the Eagles are safely among the bowl-eligible teams -- a rough loss to Colorado State away from probably being ranked. I've said it for weeks, but you have to commend BC for trotting out the same, predictable attack each week and getting away with it. Also, they're probably win the Coastal.
8. Virginia Cavaliers (4-5) (2-3) (LW: 7)
Last Week: L, 35-10 to Georgia Tech; Next Week: at Florida State
Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 10
Last week, I mentioned the possibility that Virginia could lose out. Well, one loss in and it's all still very real -- maybe even more likely now given the nature of Saturday's blowout. That quick start for this UVa team? A dream, it appears, though one rooted in some reality after strong showings against better teams. Mike London, that seat's begun to heat up again, I'd assume.
9. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-5) (2-3) (LW: 10)
Last Week: L, 51-48 to Duke (2OT); Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 11
If James Conner runs like he did against Duke, the Panthers are a tough team to beat. Unless you're Duke, of course, who managed to best Pitt by way of a missed field goal in regulation (and just better OT play, too). The Panthers have now allowed 50 points in two straight games, and are firmly displaced from even contending from a Coastal title now. But can they make a bowl? Conner gives them a chance, but chances are not great right now...
10. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-5) (2-3) (LW: 9)
Last Week: L, 47-20 to Miami; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 11
UNC had to win on Saturday to save this season. As you're probably aware, that didn't happen, and they become yet another team with their back to the wall. After a few solid games, Marquise Williams was not what the Heels needed against Miami, nor was the defense, leading to a lopsided loss that seals yet another disappointing season for this program. It's debatable if Larry Fedora can get fired this season, but I wouldn't rule it out if they don't make a bowl.
11. NC State Wolfpack (5-4) (1-4) (LW: 13)
Last Week: W, 24-17 over Syracuse; Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 12
Despite a close win over Syracuse, NC State's offense is still very much hot garbage and they're probably in for a rough weekend coming up vs. Georgia Tech too. That's not to sound bitter about their win over SU. They won fair and square. But nothing that happened on their side inspired any faith they're a bowl-worthy team either. Maybe they get there with one more win. However, it's far from assured based on what we saw at the Dome.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-5) (1-4) (LW: 11)
Last Week: L, 33-31 to Boston College; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
Want to know what's going on at Virginia Tech? Read this article from Gobbler Country, which should at least start shedding some light on a rapidly devolving situation with this program. The Hokies aren't bad, the roster has talent and the coaches obviously have proven pedigrees. But it's starting to look like things are no longer working anymore. At one point, it sounded crazy to dismiss Frank Beamer. Now? I'd bet it's officially in play this offseason.
13. Syracuse Orange (3-6) (1-4) (LW: 12)
Last Week: L, 24-17 to NC State; Next Week: vs. Duke
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 13
The season is pretty much over. You might as well convince yourself of that now to spare the pain later. Maybe we should've seen this coming. Injuries or not, however, it's just too tough of a pill to swallow at this time that Syracuse isn't going to make the postseason. There's a lot to fix and some bright future possibilities too. But for right now, this season is VERY likely to be a sad reminder of how this program's still not really "back."
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-6) (0-4) (LW: 14)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: vs. Clemson
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
Sorry, Wake. If the Deacons struggled with the Syracuse defense's pass-rush, then Clemson should pose an extremely tough time for them on Thursday night. Wake Forest is a developing, growing team, but they're simply not ready to compete with a squad like Clemson. Granted, maybe the two teams' poor offenses cancel one another out this week? I guess we'll see. Assuming we're rooting for Clemson here (I KNOW!) just so Syracuse isn't the first ACC team to be ineligible for the postseason...