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ACC Rankings Week Eight

A new team climbs to the top of the Coastal and Clemson asserts their dominance on the conference and the Hokies find themselves in a precarious situation.

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Atlantic

1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers handily defeated the only other lossless and ranked team in the conference, 41-7. The Clemson rushing attack was held to mortal numbers but threw for 380 yards and got Travis Etienne close enough to the endzone to accumulate three TDs. The defense held NCST to 297 total offensive yards and seven entire points. With the Ohio State loss, the ACC and the SEC have the only undefeated Power 5 conference leaders, but perennial special case Notre Dame also remains undefeated. Clemson is the clear class of the ACC and truly the only team in the conference that looks remotely capable of challenging for the college football playoff. Next weekend the Tigers will face a Florida State team that seems to be finding its footing.

2. N.C. State Wolfpack: The Wolfpack came into the matchup with hopes of an upset on the back of experienced QB play from Ryan Finley. Unfortunately, NCST was never positioned to challenge Clemson, especially with three turnovers. Despite the loss the ‘Pack still look to be the most complete ACC team beyond the Tigers. N.C. State has another challenge next week when they travel to the Carrier Dome and face the Orange.

3. Syracuse Orange: The Orange barely survived the Tar Heels, 40-37, and needed two overtime periods to put the UNC squad away. Eric Dungey was having a hard time and redshirt freshmen QB, Tommy DeVito, stepped in to create the spark, to the tune of three TDs, necessary to carry the Orange to victory. Syracuse is only one win away from bowl eligibility, an achievement that hasn’t been met since 2013.

4. Boston College Eagles: BC was off this weekend but will face Miami on Friday.

5. Florida State Seminoles: FSU earned a dominating victory over Wake Forest, 38-17, but have yet to upend a team with a winning record. Francois threw the ball 40 times, completing 29 and tossing two touchdowns. Cam Akers had a respectable game and added 98 yards and two TDs of his own. Florida State seems to have caught their breath, but every team that remains on their schedule has a winning record, including No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 22 N.C. State, and No. 9 Florida. The only unranked team left on their slate is 5-2 Boston College. The Seminoles are looking much more stable than they did earlier in the season but finding two wins out of that slate might not be realistic. The search for one of those victories starts next weekend against Clemson.

6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: The Deacons were outplayed by the Seminoles, but their bowl hopes remain alive, though it will require some upsets against their remaining slate. WF has yet to earn a conference win, but that might change next week against a staggering Louisville squad.

7. Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals were off this weekend, but off-filed issues abound, and on-field problems are significant. Their match against Wake, this Saturday, might be the only winnable game left on their schedule.

Coastal

1. Virginia Cavaliers: Look, I hate putting them here, but they simply have the best resume in the Coastal. They have a single score loss to Indiana and a loss to N.C. State. They have s win over Miami and they just earned a very nice away-game win against a solid Duke squad, 28-14. Miami lost to them head to head and the Hokies have their own loss to a ranked team, but the Old Dominion falter and the trouble with UNC cannot be looked over. Since I have been writing for Gobbler Country I cannot remember a time that I have ever had the Cavaliers atop the Coastal. Bryce Perkins is no joke, Ellis is helping on the ground, and the Cavalier defense is doing enough to hold foes in check. Looking at their remaining foes, UVA should easily find their way back into bowl eligibility with Perkins under center. In fact, they could qualify for a bowl next weekend against North Carolina. All the Hoos down in Hoo-ville must be clucking about this year being the year they finally break the losing streak against VT.

2. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: The Hurricanes had a bye week to lick their wounds after the loss to UVA. Friday night they visit Boston College.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokies had a bye week but will face the Yellow Jackets Thursday night. Last year GT surprised the Hokies and every meeting with them is a wild card. Records and eye-ball tests don’t matter when these teams meet. The Hokies currently sit atop the Coastal but find themselves at a crossroads. They did enough to survive UNC last weekend but cannot expect to do well every week with so many miscues.

4. Duke Blue Devils: Duke has lost two of their last three after jumping out to a 4-0 record. Against the Cavaliers they were blanked in the first half. UNC was never able to get a running game established and suffered two turnovers while UVA committed zero. Duke was only able to maintain possession for a measly 23:22 and Virginia simply dictated the pace of the game. The Blue Devils are only one win away from earning bowl eligibility and might be able to find that against Pittsburgh next weekend.

5. Pittsburgh Panthers: The Panthers were idle this weekend.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Georgia Tech was idle this weekend.

7. North Carolina Tar Heels: Oh man, what a boon it would’ve been for the program to upset Syracuse. Nathan Elliott threw for 321 yards, two TDs, and no INTs. Williams ran for 116 yards and a TD. North Carolina defense had consistent answers for corralling Eric Dungey, but when the Orange introduced Tommy DeVito they struggled to stop Syracuse through two overtime periods. UNC has close losses against California-Berkley, Virignia Tech, and now Syracuse. This is a team that is just a few offensive mistakes from being 4-2 instead of 1-5. The Heels are off this weekend but find the field against GT on 03NOV.

Overall Conference Rankings

1. (No. 2 AP / No. 2 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (7-0) - Static

2. (No. 22 / No. 22) N.C. State Wolfpack (5-1) - Static

3. Virginia Cavaliers (5-2) - Up Two

4. (Unr. / No. 25) Miami Hurricanes (5-2) - Down One

5. Syracuse Orange (5-2) - Down One

6. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2) - Down One

7. Duke Blue Devils (5-2) - Down One

8. Boston College Eagles (5-2) - Static

9. Florida State Seminoles (4-3) - Static

10. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4) - Static

11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-4) - Static

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-4) - Static

13. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-5) - Static

14. Louisville Cardinals (2-5) - Static