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ACC Power Rankings - Week 7

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Clemson barely hangs on and Virginia Tech takes a tumble as the Coastal gets even more cloudy.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Just your typical week of ACC Football. Clemson was handed a gift in their win over NC State and after taking control of the ACC Coastal Division, Virginia Tech handed it right back with a downright embarrassing performance at Syracuse. Be sure to sound off in the comments below with where you think the ACC teams should stack up in Week #7 of our ACC Power Rankings.

#1 Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0) Last Week - W, vs. NC State (24-17 in OT)

Movement from Week 6 - (No Change)

NC State did impress me this week, but Clemson’s opponent last week was clearly themselves, and if not for a chip shot field goal, they would have posted an L. Clemson heads into the Bye week at a perfect time as they need to recover from some key injuries, including RB Wayne Gallman, and coach themselves up. Clemson just can’t hang onto the ball, as they have turned the ball over 16 times making them 122 in the nation out of 128 teams. Clemson’s performance this week deserves a drop in the standings, but nobody in the ACC is close enough to even threaten the Tigers for the top spot in week number seven.

#2 Louisville Cardinals (5-1, 3-1) Last Week – W, vs. Duke (24-14)

Movement from Week 6 - (No Change)

I would expect maybe a bit of a sluggish performance from Louisville after that Clemson game, but the hangover effect just doesn’t apply after a Bye week. There was no excuse for the Cardinals to come out this flat against a Duke team that just simply isn’t that good. Lamar Jackson was very average completing only 50% of his passes, with many of them coming from acrobatic completions from his receivers. It took a stupid penalty late from the Blue Devils in order for Louisville to put the game away and it leaves me questioning how this team will finish the season. Bottom line, much like the Tigers, Louisville played poorly, and walked away with a W, which is what matters at this point in the season.

#3 North Carolina Tar Heels (5-2, 3-1) Last Week - W, @ #16 Miami (20-13)

Movement from Week 6 - (+1)

Well, well! The North Carolina defense made its first appearance of the 2017 season posting an impressive road win over Miami. The North Carolina offense did put up some numbers, wracking up 461 yards of offense with no turnovers and 23 TD’s, but had trouble putting the ball in the endzone, and it turned out to finally be the defense’s turn to win a ball game. This win puts UNC in the driver seat for a birth in the ACC Championship game to me, especially after the Hokies abysmal performance this week…but we’ll discuss that more a little later.

#4 Florida State Seminoles (5-2, 2-2) Last Week - W, vs. Wake Forest (17-6)

Movement from Week 6 - (+1)

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Much like Clemson, Florida State put their game this week in jeopardy because they couldn’t hang onto the ball. Noles fans who see Travis Rudolph on campus should be sure to shake his hand as he finished with one of the best receiving games in school history hauling in 13 receptions for 238 yards. The defense was also much improved, not allowing the Demon Deacons in the end zone all day. If Florida State can finish their drives, they can beat anybody. We’ll see if they can jump back into the top slots of our power rankings in a couple of weeks when they take on Clemson.

#5 NC State Wolfpack (4-2, 1-1) Last Week – L, @ #3 Clemson (24-17 in OT)

Movement from Week 6 - (+2)

2 weeks ago, I called this team a fraud. Big shock to all of my readers, I’m wrong a lot. They did have everything go their way in this game in terms of turnovers and the momentum in the game against Clemson, but the talent of Matthew Dayes is keeping this team in, and winning football games. Dayes has passed the century mark in 5 of his teams 6 games this season and runs HARD. Ryan Finley was below average this week, but if he can just be a game manager and not turn the ball over (he threw his first 2 INT’s of the season this week) the Wolfpack can ride Dayes to some more wins. They may only hold onto this slot for a very short time as they travel to Louisville this week, but credit where credit is due to the Wolfpack this week.

#6 Miami Hurricanes (4-2, 1-2) Last Week – L, vs. North Carolina (20-13)

Movement from Week 6 – (No Change)

I should really just re-name the #6 slot in our Power Rankings the eye of the hurricane. I’v been critical of Miami all season long for not beating anybody, so why not drop them after another close loss to the Tar Heels at home? First, the talent is there. Sometimes with young teams and new coaching staffs, you need to teach your team how to win games, and I don’t think Miami has learned that lesson yet. Secondly, I think Brad Kaaya is hurt. This is PURE speculation, but something just didn’t seem right with his throwing motion when I was watching the replay of the 2nd half of this game. Nevertheless, the Canes hang onto this slot by their fingernails this week. One more loss and they may kiss the top half of the power rankings goodbye.

#7 Pittsburgh Panthers (5-2, 2-1) Last Week - W, @ Virginia (45-31)

Movement from Week 6 – (+2)

After watching the first half of the Panthers win against Virginia, I was ready to destroy their defense yet again and move them down even further from their plummet last week. We’ve all seen one play turn a unit entirely around for the rest of the season, and I am going to go out on a limb for Pitt (again) and say that this occurred with 12 seconds remaining in the first half. Jordan Whitehead picked off Kurt Benkert’s pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown, and the game was over. Pitt gave up only 3 points in the 2nd half and all of the sudden, the Panthers are alive again. They’ve burned me before, but once again, Pitt is in the thick of the race for an ACC Coastal Championship.

#8 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2, 2-1) Last Week - L, @ Syracuse (31-17)

Movement from Week 6 - (-5)

What…the heck…was that…I wasn’t willing to give Va Tech 100% credit for their win over North Carolina due to the on field conditions, and maybe I should have given them less credit than I gave them. After taking control of the ACC Coastal with a wet win over UNC, the Hokies gave control right back with just a horrible performance against the Orange. Excuses about coming down from an emotional win are no excuse to be down 17-3 at the half to Syracuse. Va Tech came back, but this slip up is going to cost them the biggest drop of the season in the ACC Power Rankings.

#9 - Syracuse (2-4, 0-2) Last Week – W, vs. Virginia Tech (31-17)

Movement from Week 6 - (+3)

Well if new head coach Dino Babers was looking for a signature win, they wound one as they took down the ranked Virignia Tech Hokies causing the fans to storm the field and be excited about Syraucse football for the first time since Donovan McNabb wore the orange. They did allow Virginia Tech to jump back into the game, but managed to pull away late leading me to believe that there may be more to this football team than we have seen in the previous weeks.

#10 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-2, 2-2) Last Week - L, @ #14 Florida State (17-6)

Movement from Week 6 - (-2)

It seems to be the same old story for Wake Forest. I continue to be impressed by their performance on the field and once again they showed me that their defense is a force to be reconed with, but they didn’t put the ball in the endzone once this week, and as a result, they had a chance for a signature win snatched away from them by poor offensive performance. Still a team on the rise, but with significant work to do.

#11 – Virginia Cavaliers (2-4, 1-1) - Last Week - L, vs. Pittsburgh (41-35)

Movement from Week 6 - (-1)

Talk about a tale of two halves. I expected this game to be close, and even expected Virginia to pull out the victory over the Panthers, but Virginia got greedy at the end of the first half and not only let Pitt take the lead into the locker room, but grab all of the momentum and go throttled in the second half. I still am interested in this teams progress, but they have a lot of growing up to do if they expect to make major moves in our rankings.

#12 – Duke Blue Devils (3-4, 0-3) Last Week – L, @ #7 Louisville (24-14)

Movement from Week 6 - (+1)

Dear Duke, you confuse me. I just don’t know what you are going to put up on a week-to-week basis. I was impressed by how the Blue Devils came out and played against a superior opponent in Louisville, and even thought that it was a pretty weak roughing the kicker call that handed all of the momentum back to the Cardinals in this game, but I just can’t see you making much of a move until you become more consistent.

#13 –Georgia Tech (3-3, 0-2) Last Week - W, vs. Georgia Southern (34-25)

Movement from Week 6 - (-2)

A win may be a win, and Georgia Southern may be a decent team, but if you are looking to assert your dominance against a team and prove that you are a team to be reckoned with, this was the time to do it, and Tech just simply didn’t. I was uninspired by their defensive play and while their offense consistently seems to put up 30+ points per game, I don’t see Paul Johnson’s stay in Atlanta lasting much longer.

#14 – Boston College Eagles (3-3, 0-3) Last Week - Idle

Movement from Week 6 - (No Change)

Boston College has had a week to recover from its blowout loss at home to Clemson. The number one story in Chestnut Hill remains whether/when Steve Addazio will lose his job. BC has a chance to play for its coach in a winnable game against Syracuse coming up. We will see just how desparate this team is to save its coach in the upcoming weeks.

P.S. If Notre Dame were in the ACC, They would be ranked 11th ;)