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.
If you can believe it, the "not that good at football" conference, the ACC, has FIVE ranked teams this week -- Florida State, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina. Does that make any sense to you at all? Me neither, but it's a thing, and now, feel free to just start laughing at the Big Ten, because everyone's doing it today. Also, curious who's a #disloyalidiot? Here's the voting breakdown.
1. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 1)
Last Week: W, 37-12 over The Citadel; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 1; Lowest Position: 1
Florida State may not be running through opponents with the same fervor as last season, but that's to be expected. When you have to replace so many playmakers on both sides of the ball, things take some time to transition. But sleep on this team at your own risk. The 'Noles are still very much a conference and national championship contender, though they do need players beyond Jameis Winston and Rashad Greene to step up on offense. We saw some promise from Dalvin Cook and Nick O'Leary on Saturday. Now they need more players to step up, and do so consistently.
2. Louisville Cardinals (2-0) (1-0) (LW: 2)
Last Week: W, 66-21 over Murray State; Next Week: at Virginia
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 3
Another week in the ACC, another week in which Louisville looks like they're adjusting just fine to their new digs. The Cardinals' offense looked like it was warming up against Miami, and then full-on exploded against an overmatched Murray State squad, which tacked on some garbage time points to make this game seem a little less one-sided. So far, all of the focus has been on Will Gardner and the passing game (as would be the case in a Bobby Petrino offense), but the key for Louisville may actually be running the football. If they can stay balanced, that's where this team may end up most lethal later in the season.
3. Clemson Tigers (1-1) (0-0) (LW: 3)
Last Week: W, 73-7 over South Carolina State; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 5
Clemson was hurting after losing to Georgia in week one, so teeing off on South Carolina State seemed like the best medicine. Perhaps they were imagining it was actually the Gamecocks on the other side of the ball? The Tigers moved the ball very well all afternoon, but don't let that score fool you. It was an unnecessary exclamation point applied in the fourth quarter, as the team continued to try and score despite being up by 50. They might have wanted to save some of those points for the game following this bye week, Florida State, on September 20.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 7)
Last Week: W, 35-21 over Ohio State; Next Week: vs. East Carolina
Highest Position: 2; Lowest Position: 7
The caveat laid out before Virginia Tech's game against Ohio State was "their defense will do well, but can their offense out-score the Buckeyes?" Well, we have our answer, and it ends up that not only is the Hokies' defense as solid as you thought, but the offense may actually be taking a step forward for the first time in at least a few seasons. The turnover-driven defenders still guide this ship, but with Michael Brewer under center, Tech does appear to be able to score points -- which should scare a lot of teams.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0) (1-0) (LW: 5)
Last Week: W, 30-20 over Boston College; Next Week: at Florida International
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 7
Usually you'd deride an offense built entirely on two players. But in Pitt's case, those two players -- Tyler Boyd and James Conner are simply too good. Yes, Chad Voytik still shows some rust at quarterback, but as long as he can get to the speedy Boyd or simply hand off to Conner, the Panthers' offense looks just fine. Conner, in particular, has shown himself to be a terrifying force with the football, and Syracuse fans should not be looking forward to what his power running style could bring to that matchup much later on in the year. Might also caution Conner's carrying a huge load already (50 carries) and could be at risk of burning out by late November.
6. Duke Blue Devils (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 4)
Last Week: W, 34-17 over Troy; Next Week: vs. Kansas
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 8
Duke's just moving methodically through its games, beating up on opponents and then proceeding to the next challenge. That can and does work in non-conference play, but we'll see if it can hold through what should be a very tough Coastal Division slate. On the season thus far, though, QB Anthony Boone looks very sharp, with 562 total yards and seven total TDs. He's not the Blue Devils' only weapon, but as arguably the second-best quarterback in the ACC, he's this team's most important asset for sure.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 6)
Last Week: W, 31-27 over San Diego State; Next Week: Bye
Highest Position: 5; Lowest Position: 9
Despite the high preseason ranking, UNC just doesn't appear on its game through two, despite two victories anyway. Just a week after Liberty seemed to push them for a couple quarters, San Diego State -- despite making a cross-country trip to play in Chapel Hill -- forced the Tar Heels to rally twice, and almost scored the game-winning touchdown on the game's final play. Before the year, we said the Heels would need to sort things out on defense in order to reach their potential. Things aren't "sorted" just yet...
8. Miami Hurricanes (1-1) (0-1) (LW: 9)
Last Week: W, 41-7 over Florida A&M; Next Week: vs. Arkansas State
Highest Position: 6; Lowest Position: 9
Brad Kaaya had yet another shaky outing on Saturday, giving way to backup Jake Heaps to take the reins for a few. While the move may not be permanent, one would assume another mistake-laden performance for Kaaya could spell the end of his time as starter. This team has turned the ball over six times in just two games. Given the questions around this defense, that's a really big problem, and one that needs to be addressed if the 'Canes do want to factor into the Coastal race.
9. Virginia Cavaliers (1-1) (0-0) (LW: 11)
Last Week: W, 45-13 over Richmond; Next Week: vs. Louisville
Highest Position: 4; Lowest Position: 11
Virginia beat Richmond just like they were supposed to, but after Memphis walked into the Rose Bowl and tested UCLA similar to what the Hoos did in week one, it's tough to get a read on just how good this squad may be. The defense is obviously spot-on (especially against the pass), though, so this coming Saturday should at least begin to give us hints on this squad's potential. Louisville will be throwing plenty against UVa, testing the team's secondary from the opening whistle. If Virginia upsets or keeps it close, this is an up-and-coming team.
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 8)
Last Week: W, 38-21 over Tulane; Next Week: vs. Georgia Southern
Highest Position: 8; Lowest Position: 13
Georgia Tech looked shaky for the second straight week, though a win's a win, and the Wreck have two so far. The defense has been a bit shaky versus two weaker opponents, though, and the offense -- while as potent as usual on the ground -- still needs to establish who the main playmakers are. Early returns have seen Zach Laskey, Justin Thomas, Tim Byerly and Tony Zenon all look the part, but in spurts. Perhaps that's an asset, but right now, they still don't look completely ready for a tougher opponent.
11. Syracuse Orange (1-0) (0-0) (LW: 12)
Last Week: Bye; Next Week: at Central Michigan
Highest Position: 11; Lowest Position: 12
Syracuse obviously had a bye week this past week, and a few more close calls by FBS teams against FCS upstarts (hi, Nebraska-McNeese State) should at least calm some of the nerves we had following a close opening week win over Villanova. For those who watched the Central Michigan game against Purdue, you saw a team that could do plenty on offense, I'm sure, but also key in on their line's vulnerabilities too. The Boilermakers rarely brought pressure, but when they did, they were in the backfield immediately. For a blitz-heavy team like the Orange, that's a good sign (though no guarantee of success).
12. NC State Wolfpack (2-0) (0-0) (LW: 13)
Last Week: W, 46-34 over Old Dominion; Next Week: at USF
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
Two games against recently-FCS-now-FBS squads, two close wins for the Wolfpack. They've shown themselves able to score points, which is a nice change compared to 2013, but defensively, there's just so much lacking for this team right now. Allowing 57 total points to Georgia Southern and Old Dominion in close wins is not the best look, and who knows if it's sustainable for the full season (unlikely). USF tested Maryland last week, and should not be taken lightly. State may very well be an underdog on the road next Saturday against the Bulls.
13. Boston College Eagles (1-1) (0-1) (LW: 10)
Last Week: L, 30-20 to Pittsburgh; Next Week: vs. USC
Highest Position: 10; Lowest Position: 13
Boston College is still figuring out its new offense under Tyler Murphy, and that was very obvious on Friday, a 30-20 loss to Pittsburgh. While Murphy was quick to take off and run (and did so pretty well), his ability to throw downfield looked limited and at time, inaccurate. He almost reminds me of another running-prone quarterback in the conference who plays for a team named after a color... As Murphy goes, so will this offense, so the sooner he gets a handle on things, the better. That defense can't be expected to keep BC in games all season.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1) (0-0) (LW: 14)
Last Week: W, 23-7 over Gardner-Webb; Next Week: at Utah State
Highest Position: 14; Lowest Position: 14
They did what they were supposed to against Gardner-Webb, and won. But not at all impressively, and not without furthering many of the lingering concerns from week one. The Wake Forest offense still has to get its head on straight and still needs to find a way to run the ball effectively. QB John Wolford is going to take some time to settle in, so in the meantime, wins will be up to the defense, which does look much better than expected this year. A tough trip to Utah State awaits, and after seeing Army light up Buffalo, this could be one of Wake's last chances to pull a win this year.