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ACC Power Rankings: Tar Heels shine, Tigers Survive

In week 11, Syracuse put up a fight and North Carolina gave Tiger fans reason to worry about a matchup in Charlotte.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

1.  Clemson (Beat Syracuse / Previous: 1)
2.  Notre Dame (Beat Wake Forest / Previous: 2)
3.  North Carolina (Beat Miami / Previous: 4)
4.  Florida State (Beat NC State / Previous: 3)
5.  Pittsburgh (Beat Duke / Previous: 7)
6.  Louisville (Beat Virginia / Previous: 6)
7.  Miami (Lost to North Carolina / Previous: 5)
8.  Duke (Lost to Pittsburgh / Previous: 8)
9.  Virginia Tech (Beat Georgia Tech / Previous: 9)
10.  NC State (Lost to Florida State / Previous: 10)
11.  Virginia (Lost to Louisville / Previous: 11)
12.  Syracuse (Lost to Clemson / Previous: 14)
13.  Georgia Tech (Lost to Virginia Tech / Previous: 12)
14.  Boston College (Bye / Previous: 13)
15.  Wake Forest (Lost to Notre Dame / Previous: 15)

Clemson Commentary

We win and move to 10-0, so we're still living in the glory days, but make no mistake, we played poorly. I didn't watch his play closely enough to make a fair assessment, but with Maverick Morris filling in for the injured Tyrone Crowder the offensive line hasn't run blocked as well as before. The pass blocking is just as good, but the run blocking is a step behind where it probably needs to be for the offense to maintain balance. We saw in a previous post that yards per carry is the "stat of eliteness."

We'd been quite lucky with injuries, but last week we lost Crowder and McCloud (hopefully they're back in time for the ACC Championship game). Gallman left this game with an ankle injury (doesn't seem too serious), Mac tweaked a knee (initial reports don't sound too bad), and Hyatt got a stinger. Luckily it doesn't sound like any will be season ending, but you don't want to be playing big games with players at 80%. Wake Forest has no punch on offense. Clemson really needs to get up 28 early and get the first-teamers some rest.

Charone Peake logged 120 receiving and a TD. He's playing very physical at the WR position and has really come around. He and "Tootie" Tankersley at cornerback impressed me today.

We didn't play well, but we escaped with a win and remain in the playoff hunt. A quick look around the country reminds you how hard it is to stay alive. Iowa nearly blew it to Minnesota (40-35) and Oklahoma State nearly blew it to Iowa State (35-31). Meanwhile, Stanford got upset by Oregon and Baylor took their first loss of the season against Oklahoma. Fortunately, Clemson earned their 37th consecutive victory over an unranked opponent. We're still alive.

Around the ACC

UNC Clemson'd the 'Canes. If you weren't taking the Heels seriously, you should now. The Tiger defense cannot play the way they did on Saturday and win in Charlotte. If Zack Mahoney can run for 76 against us, I fear what Marquise Williams might do. Ryan Switzer returned a punt for a TD against Miami. I hate to see him attack out kick coverage.

Pittsburgh knocked off Duke, who is experiencing their traditional second half fade. This keeps the Panthers from being officially eliminated from the Coastal race. Still, UNC would have to lose both of their final two games with Pitt winning out, which is highly unlikely. A Clemson vs. North Carolina ACC Championship would be the first ever ACC Championship game played between original charter members. Here's another interesting piece of trivia, this one from of our great commenters. In 1981, UNC had just one conference loss, and it came to the Tigers. They had one non-conference loss too, which came to the Gamecocks. This championship battle is going to be exciting.

North Carolina jumps Florida State in the Power Rankings this week after consecutive dominant performances. The AP Poll has the Heels at 12th, which feels about right to me. I hope they reach 11-1 and are a top 10 team by the time we play them.

Florida State struggled with NC State before pulling away in the second half. Dalvin Cook is a bad man! He broke Warrick Dunn's FSU single-season rushing record in the win. Among running backs, he'd be my choice for Heisman (though I hope he doesn't win for obvious reasons).

Louisville was tied with Virginia at 24 in the fourth quarter. They continue to use QB depth in interesting ways as Reggie Bonnafon received a HB toss and then pulled up to throw a TD. While I've been talking up the Cardinals all season, they now play Pittsburgh and Kentucky to close the year and struggling with Virginia doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Virginia Tech beat the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Michael Brewer looked bad at QB. It's amazing to think he is clearly better than Brendan Motley who played while he was injured. Georgia Tech played very sloppy and are now out of bowl contention for the first time in 18 years.

Notre Dame took care of business against Wake Forest, though the second half scoring was an even 7-7. If the Irish win out, Southern Cal, Pittsburgh, and Stanford will be their best wins (and all would have 3+ losses). It's a reasonable schedule, but really nothing special.