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TNIAAM ACC Football 2014 Season Power Rankings: Week 5

Another week in the books -- now where does everyone in the ACC stand?

Ronald Martinez

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.

What is happening here? Arguably all 14 teams in the conference are questionable in one way or another, and with conference play still barely under way for most, the parity could still get much, much more extreme. Considering all the hype, pomp and circumstance around the league just a couple weeks back, this has been a very steep drop. If you're at all curious about who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.

1. Florida State Seminoles (3-0) (1-0) (LW: 1)

Last Week: W, 23-17 over Clemson (OT); Next Week: at North Carolina State

Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1

The deck was stacked against Florida State against Clemson, following news that Jameis Winston wouldn't play at all. And through about three quarters, the 'Noles certainly appeared to be a team far too reliant on its star quarterback, and unable to elevate its own play without him. But then the fourth quarter and overtime happened, everyone on both sides of the ball seemed to pick up their game and FSU walked off their home field with a thrilling OT win anyway. FSU has questions, sure. But this remaining schedule may not be tough enough to force them to find answers.

2. Duke Blue Devils (4-0) (0-0) (LW: 3)

Last Week: W, 47-3 over Tulane; Next Week: at Miami (FL)

Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5

You shouldn't be surprised that Duke's here -- their early-season schedule has not been incredibly difficult. But you should at least be a little surprised by HOW they got here. Rather than relying on its aerial attack, the Blue Devils have been running the ball at a clip of 261 yards per game (22nd in the country). So when QB Anthony Boone has an off-game passing, as he did on Saturday, it doesn't matter much at all. This week, Miami should be their biggest test yet, but there's no reason to doubt Duke's winning ways can continue.

3. Clemson Tigers (1-2) (0-1) (LW: 2)

Last Week: L, 23-17 to Florida State (OT); Next Week: vs. North Carolina

Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5

Through three games, Clemson gets an "incomplete" on the scorecard, because we're still completely unaware of what the Tigers are. But they are starting to get there... Deshaun Watson is obviously this team's quarterback going forward, and the defense is starting to rely more on its elite pass-rushing ability (as was clear when crashing the line against FSU). Clemson is definitely in rebuild mode, so losses to Florida State and Georgia aren't surprising at all. But can they beat a talented (but flawed) squad like North Carolina? If they pull off the win, it should finally give us an accurate picture of the Tigers.

4. Louisville Cardinals (3-1) (1-1) (LW: 6)

Last Week: W, 34-3 over Florida International; Next Week: vs. Wake Forest

Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position:7

Louisville decided to sleep-walk through Florida International, which they're allowed to do. But with a minimal amount of offensive production these past couple weeks (the O has only scored 48 points total), it has to at least make you wonder a little bit about whether Louisville is great-pretending-to-be-good or good-pretending-to-be-great. Wake Forest doesn't clear things up at all, but keep an eye on the running game for 'Ville, which has fallen off tremendously in recent weeks.

5. Boston College Eagles (3-1) (0-1) (LW: 8)

Last Week: W, 40-10 over Maine; Next Week: vs. Colorado State

Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 7

Boston College's ground game has become a terrifying force of nature, topping 400 yards each of the last two weeks. And despite a lack of any sort of passing game, the Eagles do seem to be capable of coasting on the run -- so long as Tyler Murphy can continue making plays with his feet. No, Boston College may not be as good as they were last year, but they may be more well-rounded and less reliant on singular playmakers (like Andre Williams) to get wins. That makes them a dangerous, upset-minded group -- as we've already seen against USC.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-0) (1-0) (LW: 13)

Last Week: W, 27-24 over Virginia Tech; Next Week: Bye

Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 9

Tech still hasn't thoroughly put away an opponent this season, but 4-0 is 4-0, especially after taking down one-time Coastal frontrunner Virginia Tech this past Saturday. Justin Thomas and the defense carried things against the Hokies, with the latter grabbing three picks vs. Michael Brewer and the former totaling nearly 300 yards of offense. As the year wears on, keep an eye out for receiver DeAndre Smelter for GT, who's actually becoming a viable downfield option for this offense.

7. Virginia Cavaliers (2-2) (0-0) (LW: 4)

Last Week: L, 41-33 to BYU; Next Week: vs. Kent State

Highest Position: 3; Lowest Position: 8

Based on resume, the Hoos may be the best 2-2 team in the country. Playing BYU and UCLA close and beating Louisville is no easy collective feat, and better yet -- Virginia actually appears to be able to keep up offensively as well as defensively. But it is that defense that's going to decide how far this team goes at the end of the day. They may not always stop teams from scoring, but they do make opponents work. They'll be a tough out in the Coastal all year.

8. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-1) (1-0) (LW: 5)

Last Week: L, 24-20 to Iowa; Next Week: vs. Akron

Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 12

Pitt showed some flaws against FIU, so when things finally fell to piece against Iowa, it was more a culmination of what we've been watching for weeks. The Panthers are a good team with two of the conference's best offensive playmakers: Tyler Boyd and James Conner. Problem is, that's all they have. And even when those two have stellar performances (as they did yet again on Saturday), a lack of supporting cast will doom them against deeper teams.

9. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2) (0-1) (LW: 7)

Last Week: L, 27-24 to Georgia Tech: vs. Western Michigan

Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 11

Rewind to the end of week two, and Virginia Tech looked like a conference title contender with a big-money bowl shot after beating Ohio State. Now? They're back to the same also-ran status applied to them these past couple years. The Hokies defense is very good, but this offense is just too ineffective to get out of its own way -- as evidenced by the three interceptions against Georgia Tech. You just can't win games if you're struggling to put up points, so Virginia Tech's going to struggle until they rectify that.

10. NC State Wolfpack (4-0) (0-0) (LW: 12)

Last Week: W, 42-0 over Presbyterian; Next Week: vs. Florida State

Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 12

Like we said with Georgia Tech: 4-0 is 4-0. And for the Wolfpack, that record is almost entirely a result of not playing any team of consequence just yet. But they're winning, like they're supposed to, and that sets them up well to get back to the postseason this year now, even with a 2-6 record in the ACC. But in the immediate term: State has looked great on the ground so far, and could challenge a lot of teams with the run... including, perhaps, Florida State next week.

11. Miami Hurricanes (2-2) (0-1) (LW: 10)

Last Week: L, 41-31 to Nebraska; Next Week: vs. Duke

Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13

There's nothing to be ashamed of in losing to Louisville and Nebraska. But for Miami, this was going to be the year they took a step forward and finally grabbed that elusive division title. Instead, they appear to be back in the same place as last year: defense can't stop anyone, passing game is hot-and-cold, folding under pressure. On the bright side, though, QB Brad Kaaya is getting better by the week and if not for some mental breakdowns last week, maybe the result's different. All's not lost for the U -- if they beat Duke, they're right back in contention.

12. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1) (0-0) (LW: 9)

Last Week: L, 70-41 to East Carolina; Next Week: at Clemson

Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 14

Ummm... that was embarrassing. Plain and simple. All the smack-talk and posturing from UNC led to yet another beatdown from East Carolina, this time even worse than before. The Pirates set offensive records against the Heels and completely obliterated whatever hope/faith people had left in North Carolina to finally put things together. Amazing that this team was ranked last week. They're unlikely to be ranked again this year.

13. Syracuse Orange (2-1) (0-0) (LW: 11)

Last Week: L, 34-20 to Maryland; Next Week: vs. Notre Dame

Highest Position: 9; Lowest Position: 13

Syracuse beat themselves on Saturday, which is what makes the loss to Maryland so frustrating. Nearly 600 yards of offense, all for naught, in a game that looked much more one-sided than it should have. On top of a defense that struggles with the same things it sees in practice every day (mobile QB and bubble screens), SU's bipolar offense needs to be figured out in a hurry. The upcoming schedule is daunting, and there's no time to stop and sort things out.

14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-2) (0-0) (LW: 14)

Last Week: W, 24-21 over Army; Next Week: at Louisville

Highest Position: 13; Lowest Position: 14

Wake looks better offensively, as QB John Wolford gradually makes his way toward efficiency, and the defense is starting to hold up better. But the running game... this team simply can't improve unless it has some semblance of a reliable ground attack. They collectively hit the 100-yard mark on Saturday, which is progress, but there's still a long way to go before those backs can take some pressure off Wolford and allow him to continue progressing.