1. Clemson Tigers: The unanimous No. 1 team in the country had a bit of a fight on their hands when they faced Syracuse this past weekend, but the Tigers controlled the scoreboard for the mass majority of the game. Clemson seems to be maintaining its strength and improving on weaknesses. They are a complete football team and playing great. With Wake Forest and South Carolina their remaining foes for the regular season they should have little trouble finishing the regular season undefeated.
2. Florida State Seminoles: Florida State is still a good football team. I think GT has shown that their defeat of the Seminoles was not some flash of their true ability, but more a flash of pure circumstance. The 16th ranked Seminoles are still a powerhouse team and when there is a player like Dalvin Cook on the field they are never really out of any game.
3. Louisville Cardinals: All the way back in week three my love affair with the Cardinals began when I said that Louisville was the best 0-3 team in the country and that regardless of their poor start they would earn a bowl berth. Well, that time has now come. Since their 0-3 start the Cards have gone 6-1. Now, the reality is that the impressive comeback has been against ACC bottom feeders. Next week when they face Pitt we will get a good feel of how good this team really is. Regardless, they had a fantastic recovery from the first three games of the season, and I believe they will be a big factor in the ACC next season. (I will link this article next year when Louisville is crushing faces).
4. N.C. State Wolfpack: The Wolfpack is probably the biggest shoulder shrug in the ACC. Everyone knows they bolster their nonconference schedule with cupcakes. The only ACC wins they have are against Wake and BC. Any teams with a modicum of ability generally dominate them. They face Syracuse next in a battle of… which team will be ranked slightly higher in my next ACC rankings. After that they will go on to play in-state rival UNC where they will be liquefied.
5. Syracuse Orange: Yeah they will not get a bowl game, but man did they play both Clemson and LSU to the final second of the clock. They’ve dropped seven in a row, but contained in that losing streak are LSU, Clemson, FSU, Louisville, and Pittsburgh. I daresay if the Hokies faced the same schedule they too would be 3-7. It would not surprise me, in the least, if the Orange beat up on the Wolfpack next week.
6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Notre Dame scored the longest touchdown (98 yards) in the team’s billion year history and was never in danger of losing to the WF, BUT the Deacons did not get blown out and have shown steady improvement. With Clemson and Duke coming to call, closing out the season at 3-9 is all but a reality.
7. Boston College Eagles: Okay. They are bad on offense, but their early season injuries to both their starting QB and starting RB resulted in them starting a freshman, walk-on QB against the Hokies and the Wolfpack. Their impressive defense has kept them in games, but it just was not enough. Their next game against Notre Dame will likely be ugly, but they could find a positive point against Syracuse to close the year out.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC is playing lights out at the right time of the year. They’ve outscored their last two opponents (Duke and Miami-Florida) by a score of 125 – 52. Their defense seems to be improving while their offense continues to dominate. They have the most points scored in the entire ACC, and they are fourth in points allowed. At No. 12 they represent the only ranked team in the Coastal, and one cannot help but think about "what if?" scenarios when they think about their four point loss to South Carolina to start the season. The Tar Heels seem destined to face their rivals to the South in the ACC Championship game, and are the only real threat to Clemson’s place (and maybe the ACC’s place) in the College Football Playoff.
2. Pittsburgh Panthers: The best of the rest. The Panthers were able to stop a two game skid against Duke. To be fair their two game skid was against UNC and Clemson so…
3. Duke Blue Devils: Poor Duke. After a gutsy 4OT win against the Hokies in hostile Blacksburg the Blue Devils suffered a loss against Miami in a horrifically officiated lateral filled TD. This is still a good football team, and they will look to comport themselves against UVA and WF before their bowl game.
4. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: Everyone knows that Miami should’ve lost the game against Duke, but they did manage a two win game streak after HC Al Golden was relieved of his position. All that came crashing down when UNC came calling and utterly devastated the Hurricanes. Next up they face the sickly Yellow Jackets.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies: After an ugly Thursday night win over Georgia Tech the Hokies have recovered to 0.500 record. At 5-5 Virginia Tech needs only a single win to earn bowl eligibility and extend their 22 year bowl streak. This has become the norm as the Hokies have needed the last game of the season to become bowl eligible in two of the last three years. This need is likely to continue with UNC next coming to visit in Frank Beamer’s last home game.
6. Virginia Cavaliers: In the last two weeks UVA has lost close games against Louisville and Miami. This last loss is the fourth time that the Cavaliers have dropped a game by less than one score. UVA next faces the Blue Devils.
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Hands down the most disappointing team in all the FBS. GT was favored by many to win the Coastal and be a factor in the ACC Championship game. They have had an absolutely brutal schedule, arguably the hardest in the ACC. They have had to face Notre Dame, Duke, UNC, Clemson, Pittsburgh, and Florida State. The Yellow Jackets fought the Hokies hard this past Thursday, but in the end came up short. They are one absurd luck play from being completely defeated in the ACC and an eight game losing streak.
Total Conference Rankings
1. Clemson Tigers (10-0)
2. North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)
3. Florida State Seminoles (8-2)
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3)
5. Louisville Cardinals (6-4)
6. Duke Blue Devils (6-4)
7. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (6-4)
8. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-5)
9. N.C. State Wolfpack (6-4)
10. Virginia Cavaliers (3-7)
11. Syracuse Orange (3-7)
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-7)
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-7)
14. Boston College Eagles (3-7)