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Week 12 ACC Power Rankings

Once again, we start by ranking all 14 ACC teams, then we'll discuss the Clemson debacle, and finally we'll walk through the rest of the happenings across the conference.

Daniel Shirey

Neither Hit-and-Runs nor Fumbles Will Stop Them

1. Florida State: 10-0 (7-0)
Last Week: W 30-26 at Miami
This Week: Boston College
Previous Ranking: 1

Better than the SEC East

2. Georgia Tech: 9-2 (6-2)
Last Week: W 28-6 vs. Clemson
This Week: at Georgia
Previous Ranking: 5

3. Louisville: 7-3 (5-3)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Notre Dame
Previous Ranking: 3

4. Miami: 6-4 (3-3)
Last Week: L 26-30 vs. Florida State
This Week: at Virginia
Previous Ranking: 6

5. Clemson: 7-3 (6-2)
Last Week: L 6-28 at Georgia Tech
Next Week: Georgia State
Previous Ranking: 2

6. Duke: 8-2 (4-2)
Last Week: L 16-17 vs. Virginia Tech
This Week: North Carolina (Thursday)
Previous Ranking: 4

7. Virginia Tech: 5-5 (2-4)
Last Week: W 17-16 at Duke
This Week: at Wake Forest
Previous Ranking: 11

8. Boston College: 6-4 (3-3)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Florida State
Previous Ranking: 7

Almost as Bad as Clemson's QB Play

9. North Carolina: 5-5 (3-3)
Last Week: W 40-35 vs. Pittsburgh
This Week: at Duke (Thursday)
Previous Ranking: 8

10. Virginia: 4-6 (2-4)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: Miami
Previous Ranking: 9

11. Pittsburgh: 4-6 (2-4)
Last Week: L 35-40 at North Carolina
This Week: Syracuse
Previous Ranking: 10

12. NC State: 6-5 (2-5)
Last Week: W 42-13 vs. Wake Forest
This Week: Bye
Previous Ranking: 12

13. Syracuse: 3-7 (1-5)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Pittsburgh
Previous Ranking: 13

Cole Stoudt Had Three TDs Against You!

14. Wake Forest: 2-8 (0-6)
Last Week: L 13-42 at NC State
This Week: Virginia Tech
Last ranking: 14

Clemson at Georgia Tech

Clemson lost in Bobby Dodd for the fifth straight time, but it's worse than just that. David Beasley and Deshaun Watson both left the game with knee injuries. These injuries, if they are not healthy in time for the Palmetto Bowl, certainly decrease the chances of the Tigers ending their five game losing streak to South Carolina. It was originally reported by TCI that both Beasley and Watson had torn ACL ligaments, but more recently, we've heard that Watson has a sprained LCL and a bone bruise and Beasley has tendon inflammation.

Clemson was looking strong early. Deshaun Watson was playing well and the defense was stonewalling GT's dive play. Then it happened. 3rd-and-1 on the GT 21, Deshaun Watson ran the good ol' QB Power that was a guaranteed first down with Boyd behind the helm. It worked, as he found a hole and ran for seven yards before falling without being tackled. He immediately grabbed his left knee and left the game. A few plays later, from the 8-yard line, Cole Stoudt threw an interception that got returned 85-yards for a TD. Tech missed the PAT and held a slim 6-3 lead, but looking back, the game was over at that point. Stoudt was flustered and would end up having probably the worst game for a Clemson QB in over a decade. He finished with only three completions for 19 yards, and threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. GT defensive backs ran with his passes for 128 more yards than Clemson receivers.

Ironically, I had a conversation with a Clemson fan during the Wake Forest game regarding where Stoudt stacks up against historical Clemson QBs. I was arguing that Cole was worse than any of the Tiger QBs since Tommy Bowden took over, but he said, at least he doesn't roll right and throw interceptions across the field like Kyle Parker. Well, in this one Stoudt broke out a vintage special we had almost forgot about, and it was that pick-six that started the avalanche.

Nick Schuessler had to take over for Stoudt, but the change came too late. It'll be interesting to see who starts the remaining games. I just hope logic and not emotion or sentiment is used, because in hindsight they were almost certainly used at the beginning of the season when coaches thought Cole Stoudt was the QB that gave Clemson the best chance to win. If Watson is able to play without aggravating the injury--even at 50%--he's likely Clemson's best option. Schuessler looked decent in limited action, but the sample size is far too small to make a sound judgement.

Clemson's defense was very good. They stopped the dive play all day, but inexplicable struggled to stop the Jackets' passing game. DeAndre Smelter beat Mackensie Alexander on multiple key third-downs, often finding himself in one-on-one coverage and snagging back shoulder throws. Still, when you take away the pick-sixes, the defense allowed only 16 points. Even then you could argue another field goal was the offense's fault.

In our Q&A with From the Rumble Seat we said GT would win if Watson wasn't back. I believe we were right. We were just moments away from taking a 10-0 lead, but Watson wasn't back long enough. Thank goodness it's basketball season, where lower expectations make being the 50th best team in the country an absolute blast.

Around the ACC

Florida stale fell down by 16, but as they always do, they came back and stole the win. Miami seemingly came up with a big red zone stop when they deflected a pass, but it ricocheted right to Karlos Williams who grabbed it and waltzed into the end zone. Later, on what would end up being the game winning drive, TE Nick O'Leary leaped up and made a first down catch, but the ball was jarred lose just a moment after both feet landed. It was ruled an incomplete pass rather than a fumble, and inexplicably not reviewed. The breaks may never end for the villains of college football.

Despite the loss, Brad Kaaya looked very good for Miami. It's clear the 'Canes are improved tremendously since that Labor Day blowout to Louisville. With Watson re-injured, I can no longer continue to hold Clemson high in the rankings assuming Clemson will be fine when he returns. I don't believe Clemson could beat Miami if they played sans Watson. With DeVante Parker back, I don't believe they could beat Louisville either.

The #21 Duke Blue Devils took a 10-0 lead over the struggling Hokies and entered the game with the best turnover margin in the conference, but it wasn't meant to be. Anthony Boone threw two interceptions and DeVon Edwards fumbled a kick return allowing VT to take a 17-16 lead. Duke would then miss a FG and turn the ball over on downs to end the game. Duke must turn around and beat UNC on Thursday to win the Coastal (they'd still need to beat Wake, but that's a given).

UNC and Pitt got into a shootout and UNC pulled it out. Pittsburgh is now 4-6 and will have to beat Syracuse and Miami to reach bowl eligibility. UNC only has to beat Duke or NC State.

Speaking of NC State, the Wolfpack absolutely blasted an ACC opponent. In fact, they were up 42-6 going into the fourth quarter. Who is this opponent you ask? Well, you have to go back 13 years to find an ACC team worse than them (2001 Duke). So who is this historically bad ACC team? If you guessed the 2014 Demon Deacons you are the big winner. They finish their year with Virginia Tech and Duke, two more likely losses in a brutal 2-10 campaign. Jim Grobe left them with nothing!

For NC State, they're now bowl eligible. I guess they were smart to play such a soft schedule. Their best win was either Georgia Southern or Syracuse, but they'll get into a bowl game anyway. Maybe we should stop giving out participation trophies.