National Championship Caliber
1. Florida State 11-0 (8-0)
Up Next: Florida
I know it was just Idaho, but 80 points is a lot. FSU had two 100 yard rushers in the game while Jameis Winston pass for four TDs--just another day at the office. He also threw 11 incompletions which must be some sort of career-worst for him.
Next week, they play a garbage Florida team that just lost to Georgia Southern. I'll repeat that again, a Florida team that just lost to Georgia Southern. The Noles will probably be looking to beat their rivals 63-17 or something ugly like that.
Orange Bowl Caliber
2. Clemson 10-1 (7-1)
Up Next: @ South Carolina
What a magnificent day in the Valley. Military Appreciation Day was beautiful as always. Tajh received a proper standing ovation when he walked to the sideline for the last time, and Daniel Rodriguez scored a touchdown on the day Clemson fans wore purple to honor Purple Heart recipients like himself. The only bad news was Travis Blanks hurt his knee and it sounds like he will be done for the season though I have not seen that confirmed. It's a fairly big blow heading into rivalry week. Thankfully freshman, Jayron Kearse, has gotten some experience throughout the season. He'll have to step in and start next week.
So here we are, Tajh has led us to our third straight 10 win season, a major goal we have for the program here at STS. He's arguably the greatest Clemson QB ever and now faces the game that will in-part define his legacy. We'll surely be bringing you plenty of previews for the rivalry game, but first, enjoy Tajh's five touchdowns and curtain call from Saturday.
3. Duke 9-2 (5-2)
Up Next: @ UNC
Duke struggled a bit to get by Wake Forest. They trailed by two touchdowns early but managed to pull out the road win and maintain control of their destiny in the ACC Coastal. They go for a school record 10th win of the season next week at Chapel Hill.
4. North Carolina 6-5 (4-3)
Up Next: Duke
It took long enough, but the offense is clicking. They crushed Old Dominion this week 80-20 as RS sophomore Marquise Williams was brilliant at QB. Taking over for Bryn Renner after his season-ending injury, he tossed five TDs and collected 409 passing yards. This does not look like the team that started 1-5. Of course, the ebb and flow of the season is largely dictated by the schedule, but it's a hot team with a chance to derail Duke's season. For Tar Heel fans, this season could become much like our 2003 season though notably less impressive.
5. Georgia Tech 7-4 (5-3)
Up Next: Georgia
The North Avenue Nerds took care of business this week against their second FCS foe, Alabama A&M. Next week they host UGA in what will be a mostly red Bobby Dodd Stadium. Murray left Saturday's game versus Kentucky with an ACL injury. He'll be out vs. GT, which makes that game much more winnable for the Jackets. A win over Georgia, even as banged up as they are, would be a tremendous boost for a program that looks to be trending in the wrong direction (namely in recruiting).
6. Miami 8-3 (4-3)
Up Next: @ Pitt
I expect everyone to beat Virginia by 40+ so Miami's slow start (8-point halftime lead) wasn't impressive. They were certainly overrated early in the season, but the Miami team we saw a few months ago was pretty darn good. Injuries have taken a toll and they are not playing their best football right now. They really should be able to out-talent Pittsburgh, but I wouldn't be stunned if they lost either. It's up at Heinz Field and it'll likely be frigid this time of year. The ACC should work around sending teams to Boston and Pittsburgh in the season's final week.
Miami will get healthy and should continue to re-grow the program next season.
7. Boston College 7-4 (4-3)
Up Next: @ Syracuse
I know Byrd Stadium isn't exactly Death Valley, but I was impressed that BC mounted a little fourth quarter spurt to overtake the Terps in Maryland. Chase Rettig only had six completions and handed it off 36 times. After Andre Williams' 263 yard performance, he has 2,000 rushing yards on the season and is deserving of an invitation to New York as a Heisman Finalist (along with Boyd and Winston from the ACC). They'll face Syracuse with a chance for an 8-win season.
8. Virginia Tech 7-4 (4-3)
Up Next: @ UVA
They were on bye this week so they couldn't muddle up the ACC anymore. Their band was probably practicing the Hokie Pokie all week which I imagine their fans get real psyched up to hear. They make the trip to lovely Charlottesville next week where even five Logan Thomas INTs can't give the Hoos a win.
9. Pittsburgh 6-5 (3-4)
Up Next: Miami
Once again I've underestimated the Pittsburgh Panthers. They are now bowl eligible and should be fairly competitive against Miami. This week they won at Syracuse in a defensive battle. Their game winning drive in the 3rd quarter was aided by a Syracuse unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Classic Syracuse!
10. Maryland 6-5 (2-5)
Up Next: @ NCSU
Up next, Maryland plays in Carter-Finley, where mediocre teams go to pick-up cheap road wins. Isn't that the mantra these days? The Terps have done well considering their injuries, and they shouldn't have lost this week's game versus Boston College. They were on their way to a game winning drive when a fumble, promptly followed by Rettig to Amidon 74-yard TD swung the game. They punted on their next drive and then gave up the game-winning field goal.
11. Syracuse 5-6 (3-4)
Up Next: Boston College
The gender neutral citrus fruits may have blown their chance for a bowl bid. Even with a win this week, it's no sure thing they'll be getting a bowl invitation. They host Boston College at the Carrier Dome in the season finale, but BC is tougher than any team Syracuse has beat this season.
Didn't someone on this team say their #10 was better than Tajh Boyd? I guess that didn't pan out for them.
Trailing the Pack
12. Wake Forest 4-7 (2-6)
Up Next: @ Vanderbilt
They were more competitive in this one than expected but lost to Duke for the second straight year. Tanner Price was only 12/27 passing with a TD and an INT. They averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and punted seven times.
13. NC State 3-8 (0-7)
Up Next: BC
They lost by double-digits at home to a Conference-USA team. They may find their way below Virginia next week, but we'll give them one last chance.
14. Virginia 2-9 (0-8)
Up Next: VT
They only trailed by eight at halftime before losing by 19. That almost gets you moved up when you're this low.
Next week will be the last ACC Power Rankings of the year before we shift our focus to the bowl game and basketball season, and we'll include our bowl projections. Thanks for keeping the comments alive.