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ACC Power Rankings - Week 11

Clemson losses, Virginia Tech is saved by Duke and chaos ensues.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Well we all saw that coming right? It seems like most of the top tier teams in the country took a tumble this week and the ACC was no exception. 3 of the top 4 teams from the week 10 rankings took an L this week, but you won’t see much of a mix up due to the weakness of the lower teams in the conference. The ACC Coastal managed to get even more cloudy while staying the same at the same time, and Clemson’s luck finally ran out. Be sure to sound off in the comments below as to where you think the teams in the ACC stack up.

#1 Clemson Tigers (9-1, 6-1) Last Week – L, vs. Pittsburgh (43-42)

Movement from Week 10 – (No Change)

The Tiger’s nine lives finally ran out on Saturday as they dropped their first regular season contest of the season, and their first regular season game since 2014 at Georgia Tech. Let’s start this power ranking rant with this, I don’t want to hear it about the refs. Clemson had three opportunities to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter and came up empty on each drive. To top it off, Clemson had 2 interceptions in the red zone, a complete abandonment of the running game (Watson threw 70 passes) and a defense that wasn’t prepared for misdirection, getting gashed for 464 yards. The bright side? This loss could be the best thing that could have happened to this Clemson team. With the ensuing madness that occurred in the top 10, Clemson dropped to only 4th in the College Football Playoff, and nothing will get you better prepared than the sting of losing. Clemson hangs on by the skin of their teeth to the #1 spot in the Week #11 power rankings.

#2 Louisville Cardinals (9-1, 7-1) Last Week – W, @ Wake Forest (44-12)

Movement from Week 10 – (No Change)

Clemson may get a lot of flack from the media for not clobbering their opponents, but Louisville hasn’t exactly been doing that lately either. In fact, Louisville turned in another two quarter performance as they just couldn't hang onto the ball in the first half, coughing it up three times and trailing 12-3 going into the half. Now the second half was all Louisville as they scored 44 consecutive points to put the game out of reach, but I’m concerned that we haven’t seen four quarters from this team in a long time. Louisville’s path to the College Football Playoff is clear. In fact, I think it is hard for them not to get in with #2 and #3 yet to play each other. (Although I do think Washington would jump Louisville for the last spot with a Conference Championship) We’ll keep an eye on the Cardinals and see if they can put together a complete performance. If they do, it will be scary.

#3 Florida State Seminoles (7-3, 4-3) Last Week – W, vs. Boston College (45-7)

Movement from Week 10 - (+2)

We weren’t expecting much from this matchup, but I am very impressed by this Florida State team. Again, it is hard to be impressed when you are going up against an inferior opponent, but Florida State had the opportunity to pack their bags and coast through the rest of the season after the Clemson loss all but eliminated them, but they haven’t. Part of Florida State’s ascension to the #3 spot is the continued growth of quarterback Deondre Francois. Francois completed 16-of-24 passes with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions and over the past four weeks has shown continued improvement. Dalvin Cook has now rushed over 100 yards in 6 of the past 7 games and will look to push Florida State into a quality bowl game with their rival Florida looming on the 26th.

#4 North Carolina Tar Heels (7-3, 5-2) Last Week – L, @ Duke (28-27)

Movement from Week 10 - (-1)

A loss to Duke and the Tar Heels only fall to #4? Carolina remains in the top third for a couple of reasons, with the obvious one being that, well, everybody else lost. This is actually the first time this season that the Tar Heels have disappointed me in a game. I wasn’t expecting a win against Georgia and we all now my thoughts on that Virginia Tech game. I also give big stock to the rivalry games. With the Victory Bell on the line, you never know what to expect. So what happened to Carolina? Same old story, the defense wasn’t up to par. They allowed 107 yards to Shaun Wilson, who has rushed for 100 yards only once this season. Here is a stat to explain the defense, North Carolina is the ONLY team in college football without an interception this season.

#5 Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3 5-2) Last Week – L, vs. Georgia Tech (30-20)

Movement from Week 10 – (-1)

Last week I said I was skeptical about the quality of this Virginia Tech football team. Now I’m downright doubtful. I get it, you aren’t going to bring your A-Game every game of the season. Sometimes you are even going to lay an egg and lose to a bad team. (See previous loss to Syracuse) But to lay another one? At home? Against a backup triple option quarterback? Alarm bells are going off for me in Blacksburg. There is coming out flat, and then there is finishing the first half down 20-0 at home flat. I would punish the Hokies even further, but I’m not seeing anybody below them willing to take the #5 slot in this weeks rankings.

#6 – Pittsburgh Panthers (6-4, 3-3) Last Week – W, @ #2 Clemson (43-42)

Movement from Week 10 - (+2)

Say what you want about Pittsburgh’s secondary (It is the worst in the country) and say what you want about their consistency (they have none) but there is no doubt that Pitt can hang with anybody in the country. Think about this, when the College Football Playoff rankings came out last night, would you be surprised if I told you that Pitt has wins over two teams in the top 10? That’s exactly what they have done this season with wins over Clemson and Penn State. Are they a top tier team? With their losses no way, but you have to give respect to the wins on their schedule. This season will always go down as what could have been? But I am more than willing to keep Pitt in the top half of our ACC Power Rankings.

#7 Miami Hurricanes (6-4, 3-3) Last Week – W, @ Virginia (34-14)

Movement from Week 10 - (-1)

Not much to report out of Coral Gables this week. Another win against another mediocre opponent where the Canes let them hang around a bit to long after putting away the Cavs in the 2nd half. In fact, if UVA didn’t cough up the ball four times, they had a realistic shot to win this game. You’ve heard it all year from me, Miami just doesn’t impress me that much. At least Miami was a bit more balanced this week with 222 rushing yards to 228 passing yards, but nothing left on their schedule leads me to believe that they can climb these rankings any higher without a lot of help.

#8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-4, 3-4) Last Week – W, @ #14 Virginia Tech (30-20)

Movement from Week 10 - (+1)

I admitted last week that I was maybe being a little to hard on the Yellow Jackets in the Power Rankings this season. Boy do these teams love to shut me up. They were so low for so long because their best win this season has been against Vanderbilt, but the Yellow Jackets came out with a backup quarterback and just waxed Virginia Tech to the tune of a 20-0 halftime lead. Paul Johnson probably just saved his job, and Georgia Tech is finally going to get the respect that they feel that they deserve. With Virginia and their rivalry game against Georgia coming up, this team has a realistic shot at 8 wins this season.

#9 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-4, 3-3) Last Week – L, vs. #6 Louisville (44-12)

Movement from Week 10 – (-2)

Talk about a tale of two halves. Wake Forest came in with a game plan to upset the Cardinals, and their game plan was to go after the ball. Wake stripped the Cardinals three times in the first half and took a 12-0 lead into halftime. This isn’t a bad loss, but the reason that I dropped Wake Forest down two slots after this loss is that good teams need to go in and make adjustments at the half. Wake knew that Louisville was going to do a better job of protecting the football in the second half, and Wake came out with the same strategy. That lack of adjustments is going to cost you, and leads me to think Wake has to rely heavily on turnovers in order to beat high level teams.

#10 – Duke Blue Devils (4-6, 1-5) Last Week – W, vs. #17 North Carolina (28-27)

Movement from Week 10 - (+3)

Another team that has had enough of the Shakin the Southland Power Rankings has to be the Duke Blue Devils. I have been saying for weeks that Duke was going to finish the season winless and they managed to bring the Victory Bell back to Durham. What impressed me the most about this victory wasn’t that it was a rivalry game, it was the fact that I believed all season long that in order for this team to win, they needed a big game from Daniel Jones. Jones wasn’t that impressive on Saturday, instead if was reserve running back Shaun Wilson who managed to pass the century mark for the 2nd time this season. Jones did add two rushing touchdowns to bring the Blue Devils back from an early 14 points deficit. Maybe the Blue Devils can pull off another upset in their final two games against Miami and Pittsburgh.

#11 – NC State Wolfpack (5-5, 2-4) Last Week – W, @ Syracuse (35-20)

Movement from Week 10 - (+1)

Dr. Jeckyll decided to show up in Syracuse on Saturday thanks to Matthew Dayes who rushed for 3 touchdowns and racked up 108 yards. Dayes has been a consistent performer for the Wolfpack and it is pretty clear that the system goes with Ryan Finley. Finley was good on Saturday completing 20-of-29 passes with a touchdown and took care of the football. Finley’s inconsistencies has led to NC States inconsistencies and with the pattern he has taken this season, I think we can expect a dud in one of the packs remaining games.

#12 – Syracuse Orange (4-6, 2-4) Last Week – L, vs. North Carolina State (35-20)

Movement from Week 10 - (-1)

Note to Dino Babbers. Slow. It. Down. I know the high tempo offenses are going to potentially catch defenses off guard and give you the chance for chunk plays, but you need the discipline and the players to run the system to perfection, and Syracuse has neither. With only 10 first downs, the only thing Syracuse has been doing quickly on offense recently is getting off the field. I can’t exactly give their defense too much flack, heck, they were on the field for over 40 minutes of the football game. If Syracuse can’t convert first downs, this system is going to fail them, and fail them hard.

#13 –Virginia Cavaliers (2-8, 1-5) Last Week – L, vs. Miami (34-14)

Movement from Week 10 – (-3)

I admitted to not giving enough credit to Georgia Tech last week, time for me to admit that I have been giving the Cavaliers far to much credit this week. With just 2 victories this season, I can’t justify placing the Cavs higher than 13th on the list. They have the potential to win some of these close games, but they have to take care of the dang football. They were in the game and had a chance to win, going into the locker room trailing only by 3 points, but 4 fumbles in the second half? That is the sign of a below average football team. If they could put a lid on the turnovers, I think they could be a lot closer to .500 than they are now, but I think we will have to wait a few years to see that happen.

#14 – Boston College Eagles (4-6, 1-6) Last Week – L, @ #18 Florida State (45-7)

Movement from Week 10 - (No Change)

At this point in the season, any analysis of the Boston College Eagles is simply going to begin, and end with Patrick Towles. Towles has been non-existent all season, but Saturday was an all time low. Towles completed only three of his eleven attempts for 29 yards in an embarrassment in Tallahassee. Eagle defense has gone from very good to average, but who can blame them when they are gaining less than 150 yards of offense per game? Boston College managed to climb out of the basement once this season, but there is no way it is going to happen a second time.