ACC Power Rankings: Settling Down at The Top of the Table

acc power rankings

For the first time in a while, the top seven teams in our ACC Power Rankings are unchanged going into Week 11. Clemson continues to take care of business but is still disrespected in national polls, Wake Forest is surging, and the likes of Virginia and Miami had strong performances in Week 10. Here’s the complete rankings ahead of this weekend’s slate of games. 

1) Clemson (9-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast, AP No. 4) ↔

The first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings came out, and despite being perfect through nine games and holders of a 24-game winning streak, the Tigers are on the outside at No. 5. Yes, schedule strength is an issue, but Clemson has bounced back from its close call with North Carolina by winning four straight games by an average margin of 40.8 points.

Next up: at North Carolina State (-32.5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

2) Wake Forest (7-1, 3-1, AP No. 22) ↔

In Week 10, the Demon Deacons did what you would expect from a top-25 team, jumping out to a 21-point first quarter lead against a lesser opponent in North Carolina State and rolling to a 44-10 win. In seven games, quarterback Jamie Newman is averaging a conference-best 294 yards per game and has 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

Next up: at Virginia Tech (-2.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

3) Louisville (5-3, 3-2) ↔

The Cardinals had a week off after a narrow win over Virginia and now boast three conference wins heading into a stretch of winnable games. The Hurricanes have been very up-and-down this year, and Louisville closes with conference bottom-feeders in N.C. State and Syracuse.

Next up: at Miami (+6.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

4) Virginia (6-3, 4-2) ↔

After losing three of four, the Cavaliers righted the ship against UNC, winning a 38-31 shootout behind Bryce Perkins—the quarterback accounted for 490 yards and five touchdowns in arguably his best performance of the year. That was a welcome sign for Bronco Mendenhall’s side, as his team ranks just 13th in the ACC in scoring offense and has had to lean on the No. 5 defense in the conference.

Next up: vs. Georgia Tech (-16), Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

5) North Carolina (4-5, 3-3) ↔

Another week, another narrow loss. The Tar Heels have impressed in head coach Mack Brown’s first year, but are a game under .500 with the five losses by a combined 19 points—or 3.8 points per game. Quarterback Sam Howell is a frontrunner for ACC Freshman of the Year, as he’s now thrown for 2,472 yards and 26 touchdowns with just five interceptions.

Next up: Bye

6) Pittsburgh (6-3, 3-2) ↔

The Panthers get a break after doubling up Georgia Tech, but they only managed three points in the second half and additionally turned the ball over three times in the first 30 minutes. Like UVA, Pittsburgh is hanging its hat on defense—it has the conference’s best rushing defense, limiting opponents to just 2.6 yards per carry, and is fifth in passing.

Next up: Bye

7) Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2) ↔

An Ian Book touchdown in the final 29 seconds handed the Hokies a heartbreaking 21-20 defeat to No. 16 Notre Dame. Virginia Tech went into South Bend and competed with a ranked foe for much of the game but managed just 12 first downs and 240 yards in what was ultimately an expected loss.

Next up: vs. Wake Forest (+2.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

8) Duke (4-4, 2-3) ↔

Head coach David Cutcliffe’s side had a bye, and like many teams, it came at the right time. The Blue Devils were blown out by UVA and then had UNC slip by them, leveling their season record in the process. The path doesn’t get easier, though, as they’ll attempt to spring an upset on the ranked Irish despite having just a 27.8 percent chance, per ESPN’S FPI.

Next up: vs. No. 15 Notre Dame (+8), Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

9) Boston College (5-4, 3-3) ↑1

If you want to talk about bouncing back, the Eagles have been an excellent example thus far. First, they responded to a loss to Louisville by running all over N.C. State and stepping up defensively. Then, after being destroyed by Clemson, they responded by absolutely pummeling Syracuse, setting a program record for yards in a 58-27 win.

Next up: vs. Florida State (-2), Saturday, 12 p.m.

10) Miami (5-4, 3-3) ↑2

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 17-3 first half lead and didn’t look back against Florida State, handing their in-state rivals a 27-10 defeat. Notably, Jarren Williams threw for a season-best 313 yards in the victory. Since losing a stunner to Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes have won two straight and seem to be heating up.

Next up: vs. Louisville (-6.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

11) Florida State (4-5, 3-4) ↓2

Farewell, Willie Taggart. After just 21 games at the helm of the Seminoles, the head coach was fired earlier this week with an $18 million contract buyout. It was a surprising move and now leaves Odell Haggins in charge as the interim head coach as he attempts to salvage a roller-coaster season.

Next up: at BC (+2), Saturday, 12 p.m.

12) North Carolina State (4-4, 1-3) ↓1

After allowing 429 rushing yards to BC in Week 8, the Wolfpack hoped that a bye week would help shore up things heading into a matchup with Wake Forest. Instead, the Demon Deacons racked up 418 yards of offense and 44 points in a blowout. N.C. State is somehow still sixth in total defense in the conference, but has allowed 30-plus points in three of its four conference games.

Next up: Bye

13) Georgia Tech (2-6, 1-4) ↔

The Yellow Jackets couldn’t muster anything offensively against Pittsburgh, managing just 185 yards and 10 points in the setback. Georgia Tech has lost five of six, the lone win a stunning double-overtime decision over Miami, but will likely slump down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets are averaging just 17.1 points per game (last in the ACC) and don’t have the defense (29.1 points per game, 11th) to stay in contests.

Next up: at UVA (+16), Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

14) Syracuse (3-6, 0-5) ↔

Somehow, things just continue to get worse for head coach Dino Babers and the Orange. Syracuse—still without a win over a Power Five opponent—has lost four straight in a variety of ways. The Orange is going downhill week-by-week: It lost to N.C. State by six points, Pittsburgh by a touchdown, FSU by 18, and BC by 31.

Next up: Bye

Featured Graphic by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor

Bradley Smart
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Bradley is the sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, you can't outrun a bear, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.