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.
After a week where everything appeared to go right in the ACC, everything sort of went wrong in the early goings of Saturday this week (except one team in orange, of course), then went very right again in the later hours thanks to BC. Unfortunately, all that did was create a crowded, nonsensical pack of teams after Florida State though, that pretty much encompasses the second- through 13th-best teams in the conference. "Fun." Also, curious who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.
1. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: vs. Clemson
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
The Seminoles went ahead and rested up for a huge (College Gameday-worthy) matchup with Clemson this coming Saturday, and to be honest, a win probably wraps up the Atlantic Division for them, as crazy as that may seem in mid-September. When you peruse the the list of team accomplishments (and lack thereof) below, it's getting less and less likely any team can really challenge the 'Noles for supremacy at all. Welcome back to the nine-team ACC of the 1990s.
2. Clemson Tigers (1-1) (0-0) (LW: 3)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at Florida State
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
It's weird, because we thought things had changed and that Clemson had been removed from the ACC's highest perch with Florida State (it still has been, by the way). But yet, the Tigers still find themselves at No. 2 just the same. Good thing that's changing soon enough, though. The Tigers head down to Tallahassee on Saturday and based on what we saw from them against Georgia, Clemson could be in for a very rude awakening. Still, despite the forthcoming lopsided loss... they might be the second-best team in this conference at year's end somehow.
3. Duke Blue Devils (3-0) (0-0) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 41-3 over Kansas; Next Week: vs. Tulane
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 8
...That is, unless that team is Duke. While other teams succeed or fail in some sort of spotlight, the Blue Devils have managed to trudge aggressively and anonymously through three straight opponents and now sit at 3-0 with a fairly easily game against Tulane up next. This Duke team has already found its calling card -- somehow a running game -- and you'll watch them beat nearly every team on the schedule over the head with it for the rest of the season. Halfback Shaun Wilson is currently averaging 15.9 yards per carry. Time to start panicking about that November matchup, Syracuse.
4. Virginia Cavaliers (2-1) (0-0) (LW: 9)
Last Week: W, 23-21 over Louisville; Next Week: at BYU
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 7
This could blow up in our faces. And this is also a site whose podcast said UVa would finish 2-10. But for now, let's marvel at what Virginia has done through three weeks of a young season. They took then-No. 7 UCLA to the brink of extinction and then thoroughly trounced (ignore that score above) a ranked Louisville team in surprising fashion too. This defense is electric, and they'll be tested by yet another "top-flight" offense in BYU next week. Should they beat the Cougars, all bets are off on where this team's ceiling may be in a wide open Coastal.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-0) (1-0) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 42-25 over Florida International; Next Week: vs. Iowa
Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 7
Sure, Pitt beat FIU. But applying the Syracuse rule of "a close win against an inferior opponent is a loss," the Panthers sure didn't look great picking up that victory. James Conner continues terrorizing teams from the running back of course, and QB Chad Voytik has some wheels. But through three games, he's increasingly shown himself to be a liability in the passing game too (just 9-for-17 for 89 yards this week). The one-dimensional attack may work now, but they'll need to develop the pass if they hope to go further this season.
6. Louisville Cardinals (2-1) (1-1) (LW: 2)
Last Week: L, 23-21 to Virginia; Next Week: at Florida International
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 8
Louisville could see Saturday's rude awakening against the Hoos as the type of thing that inspires the rest of their season, or one that causes the rest of the year to come unhinged. The Cardinals were not perfect heading into this game -- just seemed to be catching on to the new way of things pretty easily. Now, they'll have to course-correct, and avoid the sorts of errors and breakdowns that could have been bred by some resulting over-confidence.
7. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) (0-0) (LW: 4)
Last Week: L, 28-21 to East Carolina; Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 12
In typical Virginia Tech fashion, the Hokies gained a ton of momentum and respect in the national polls only to lose it all the next week by falling to a perceived "lesser" opponent. East Carolina's a very good team, mind you, but Saturday's loss was a stark reminder of what happens when Tech can't put the ball in the end zone. They just don't play well at all from behind, and that could be a problem heading into conference play. Not so much of a problem they'll fail to beat Georgia Tech next week, mind you (we'll get there). But a problem nonetheless.
8. Boston College Eagles (2-1) (0-1) (LW: 13)
Last Week: W, 37-31 over USC; Next Week: vs. Maine
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 11
You can't say much negative about Boston College after watching what they did to USC -- as much as we may want to around these parts. The Eagles were astoundingly effective on the ground (over 450 yards), and Tyler Murphy finally appeared to come into his own within this offense. The Trojans lack for depth -- though their starters are among the country's best -- and it showed as Murphy ran that USC defense ragged all game. If you're looking for where Syracuse needs to get to again as a program: a win like this. Sooner rather than later, please.
9. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 7)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at East Carolina
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 11
It's tough to get a read on North Carolina after two lackluster wins to start the year, and as a result, they find themselves firmly in the bottom half of our power rankings in spite of being nationally ranked by press and coaches alike. That may all change come Saturday, though, when ECU hosts them over in Greenville, N.C. The Pirates are fresh off a big upset over Virginia Tech and would love to duplicate last year's 55-31 drubbing of the Heels. They have the offensive firepower to do so, and as they're hosting UNC, the visitors will be at a high risk for its first loss of the season.
10. Miami Hurricanes (2-1) (0-1) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 41-20 over Arkansas State; Next Week: at Nebraska
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 11
Miami's bounced back nicely enough after a rough season opener against Louisville, but it's still getting tougher and tougher not to see them as an afterthought in this conference -- or at least just another member of a large group of also-rans. That could be changing, however, as we shift focus to week four. QB Brad Kaaya has been growing steadily since taking the reins as starter, breaking out for 342 passing yards and four scores last week. If he can duplicate that against Nebraska in front of a national audience, the 'Canes may find themselves back in the spotlight.
11. Syracuse Orange (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 11)
Last Week: W, 40-3 over Central Michigan; Next Week: vs. Maryland
Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 11
What a difference a couple weeks make. The Orange absolutely laid waste to Central Michigan this week with a surprisingly effective offensive attack and a blitz that prevented the Chippewas from ever really forming a passing or running rhythm. Granted, CMU's top receiver and running back both were unavailable in the game, but it's tough to say how much either could've done to prevent this rout. SU was too good on both sides of the ball, playing its most complete game in at least a season if not more.
12. NC State Wolfpack (3-0) (0-0) (LW: 12)
Last Week: W, 49-17 over USF Next Week: vs. Presbyterian
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
After two close calls to start the year, NC State finally busted out and appeared to give a glimpse of what it's capable of -- either now or in year three of Dave Doeren's time in Raleigh. The Wolfpack's rushing attack was varied and relentless against USF, with 10 different players combining for 315 yards on the game. QB Jacoby Brissett proved plenty capable of throwing the ball too, with another 266 yards through the air. No, USF may not be the best measuring stick for progress, but it's hard not to project out where this offense could be by season's end.
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0) (0-0) (LW: 10)
Last Week: W, 42-38 over Georgia Southern; Next Week: at Virginia Tech
Highest Position: 12; Lowest Position: 13
It's been three weeks now, and Georgia Tech still appears like they're just sleep-walking through the early parts of the season. Following two lackluster wins over Wofford and Tulane, respectively, they should've at least been able to put Georgia Southern away no problem. Instead, they found themselves in a dogfight that pretty much lasted till the final whistle. While they're scoring points for sure, the Wreck look to be a mess on defense right now, and Paul Johnson's recruiting woes are starting to show themselves against "inferior" state opponents.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-2) (0-0) (LW: 14)
Last Week: L, 36-24 to Utah State; Next Week: vs. Army
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
John Wolford appears to be getting better, but if you let anyone throw the ball 50 times in one game, they'd probably be able to complete 20 passes, right? Wake looked alright in the second half against Utah State, but overall, they're still very overmatched at most positions on the field and that's not helping them win football games at all. In particular, at running back, there are absolutely no answers and it's killing their ability to run an effective offense. No non-Air Raid team can run for negative yardage each week and expect to win, as the Deacs are probably learning.