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ACC Power Rankings: Week 11

Virginia Tech flops, Wake Forest can’t stop scoring, and there’s a new team on top. All this and more in this weeks edition of the ACC Power Rankings.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week #11 of the ACC Power Rankings presented by Shakin the Southland. For the first time in over two years of putting together these power rankings, we have a new team holding down the #1 slot. Miami waxed Notre Dame to put themselves squarely in the center of the College Football Playoff conversation, Clemson survived a scare from rival Florida State, and Wake Forest put up almost 800 yards of offense and has us questioning whether anyone can stop them. Be sure to sound off in the comments below and, as always, enjoy.

#1 Miami (9-0) (6-0) – Last Week – W, 41-8 vs. #3 Notre Dame

Movement from Last Week (+1)

Sorry folks, but I’m out of excuses. My primary arguments against the Canes have all been answered in the past couple of weeks. We can no longer claim that they haven’t played anyone with wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame (both at home if you want to be picky) and we can no longer say that they are failing the eye test as they made easy work of both of them. Notre Dame was thought of as the most physical team in college football up until this week, but Miami just crushed them in the trenches holding Josh Adams to 40 yards on 16 carries, and allowing Travis Homer to run wild for 146 yards on 18 carries. Since taking over as the primary back, Homer as 546 rushing yards in five games and has scored four touchdowns. Miami will have to stay focused with games against Virginia and Pittsburgh before a potential College Football Playoff showdown with Clemson in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

#2 Clemson (9-1) (7-1) – Last Week – W, 31-14 vs. Florida State

Movement from Last Week (-1)

Speaking of the eye test, the Tigers keep winning despite failing this test for the past couple of weeks. The passing game behind Quarterback Kelly Bryant continues to be a concern as he wasn’t much better with the deep ball after going 0-for-10 on passes beyond 15 yards against NC State. Bryant noted this week that he is working on his mechanics and Tiger fans need to hope that his problems are purely mechanical and not mental. What passed the eye test this week for the Tigers was the defense. Despite missing six starters, Clemson’s defense held Cam Akers to 40 yards on 12 carries and was all over James Blackman before injuries forced the Tigers to drop into coverage. Clemson has a FCS opponent in the Citadel to try and get healthy and get their offensive issues sorted out.

#3 North Carolina State (7-3) (5-1) – Last Week – W, 17-14 @ Boston College

Movement from Last Week (+1)

If you looked at this game on the schedule at the beginning of the year, most Wolfpack fans wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but the way that the Eagles have been playing, this is a good victory for NC State. After two straight tough losses, I expected NC State to come onto the road and lose this game, but the combination of Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels wouldn’t let them. They both scored a touchdown to pick up Quarterback Ryan Finley, who did not have a great game, completing only 13 of his 32 passing attempts. NC State claimed their fifth conference victory for the first time in seven years, and a showdown at Wake Forest next week will clear up the middle of the pack in our ACC Power Rankings.

#4 Virginia Tech (7-3) (3-3) – Last Week – L, 28-22 @ Georgia Tech

Movement from Last Week (-1)

It’s time for us to take a serious look at the Hokies. Virginia Tech is now 3-3 in ACC Play, and what I consider to be the weakest out of conference schedule in the league with the exception of Duke, I’m just not that confident anymore that this is a good team. That being said, I put the blame for this loss squarely on the coaching, particularly in the last drive of the game which sealed the victory for Georgia Tech. Late in the game on 3rd down, Virginia Tech had one yard to go to pick up a first down and extend their drive. For some inexplicable reason, Virginia Tech decided to go deep twice, a decision that would end the game. The Virginia Tech defense could be left reeling after losing safety Terrell Edmunds for the rest of the season, but with games left against Pittsburgh and Virginia, the Hokies are out of chances to make a statement.

#5 Wake Forest (6-4) (3-3) – Last Week – W, 64-43 @ Syracuse

Movement from Last Week (+1)

Don’t look now, but Wake Forest is now the offensive juggernaut of the ACC. John Wolford threw for three touchdown passes, rushed for three more and accounted for almost 500 yards of offense while the offense racked up a school record 734 yards of total offense. Matt Colburn is staking his claim to be included in the top running backs in the ACC as he rushed for 237 yards on 31 carries, and has now rushed for 491 yards in just three games since taking over the Wake Forest backfield. Wake Forest is now Bowl Eligible and will have a chance to notch eight wins on the season as they end the season in state with home games against NC State and Duke.

#6 – Boston College (5-5) (3-4) – Last Week – L, 17-14 vs. #23 NC State

Movement from Last Week (-1)

The ACC seems to have a bevy of one-dimensional offenses this season, and Boston College is surely at the top of that category. AJ Dillon rushed for 196 yards on an astounding 36 carries and set a school record for rushing yards by a Freshman, but their three-game winning streak came to an end as he didn’t get the support that he needed to pull out a victory. With the potential for Anthony Brown to miss significant time with a leg injury that he occurred in the second quarter, we may see Dillon’s carries surpass the 40-mark for the remainder of the season.

#7 Georgia Tech (5-4) (4-3) – Last Week – W, 28-22 vs. #17 Virginia Tech

Movement from Last Week (+1)

I guess we all should have seen this coming with just how inconsistent this team is on a week-by-week basis, but why not win a close game against a ranked opponent with the passing game! Georgia Tech has lost three games this season by a combined six points, but finally came out on top Saturday taking down the 17th ranked Hokies thanks to two touchdown passes of 60 and 80 yards by TaQuon Marhsall. Marshall added two rushing touchdowns of his own as they move within one win of becoming bowl eligible. I’m willing to bet that goal will be checked off the list next week, as the Yellow Jackets travel to Duke.

#8 Syracuse (4-5) (2-3) – Last Week – L, 43-64 vs. Syracuse

Movement from Last Week (-1)

I’ll give it to Syracuse here, I didn’t expect them to be in this game without the services of Eric Dungey, who missed the game due to injury, but with his level of use on the season Dino Babers had to be prepared for this, and it looks like he was. Syracuse didn’t miss a beat early on, as they led the Demon Deacons at the half by a score of 38-24 and rattled off 17 consecutive points in the second quarter. Syracuse’s up-tempo offense eventually caught up to them in the 4th quarter. Syracuse allowed 24 points and wasn’t able to answer as they let the game slip away. Syracuse will have to win out if they want to get to a bowl game and with a road trip to Louisville and hosting Boston College to end the season, I just don’t see that happening.

#9 Louisville (6-4) (3-4) – Last Week – W, 38-21 vs. Virginia

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

Lamar Jackson became the first FBS player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in two seasons and, unfortunately, now we will be seeing his name brought back up in the Heisman race. Jackson accounted for four touchdowns and 342 yards of offense against Virginia on Saturday, and Louisville clinched bowl eligibility with the victory.

#10 Florida State (3-6) (3-5) – Last Week – L, 31-14 @ #4 Clemson

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

They put up a good fight, but Florida State really has only one option on offense at this point, and Cam Akers was absolutely shut down by the Tigers. The Seminoles abandoned the run game early as they fell behind early 17-0, and the screen game was non-existent. It took a reverse flea-flicker to get FSU back into the end zone for the second time, and that was all that the offense could muster. Florida State has now guaranteed its first losing ACC record since 2006, and its 35-year bowl game run is in jeopardy and will come down to a rivalry matchup against Florida.

#11 Virginia (6-4) (3-3) – Last Week – L, 38-21 @ Louisville

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

It was a game of two halves for the Cavaliers, who had hopes of pulling the road upset as they trailed Louisville by only three points at the half, but the Offense could only muster seven points in the second half on its way to a 38-21 road loss. I actually expected a bit of a letdown from the Hoo’s this weekend after clinching bowl eligibility last week after a two-win season. Unfortunately for them, they can no longer afford that luxury, as they finish the season on the road against Miami and a rivalry game against Virginia Tech.

#12 Pittsburgh (4-6) (2-4) – Last Week – L, 34-31 vs. North Carolina

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

How does that happen? Two wins in a row, hosting the lifeless Tar Heels at home in a must win game if they wanted their decade long bowl streak alive, and they laid an egg. Pitt just wasn’t ready for the opening whistle, as they allowed Anthony Ratliff-Williams to take the opening kickoff to the house and fell behind 14-3 in the first quarter. For all intents and purposes, Pitts bowl streak is over as the would have to beat both Virginia Tech and Miami to reach the .500 mark for the season.

#13 Duke (4-6) (1-5) – Last Week – L, 21-16 @ Army

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

I don’t know who scheduled a road contest against Army on Veterans Day, but they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the scheduling office in Durham for the rest of their life. As if emotions weren’t high enough as Army was looking to finish the season undefeated on their home field, they jumped to a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter and Duke just couldn’t catch up. Duke has now lost six straight games since opening the season 4-0 and with games against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, look for that streak to reach eight, and a potential date with the bottom of our rankings.

#14 North Carolina (2-8) (1-6) – Last Week – W, 34-31 @ Pittsburgh

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

We all should know by now that whenever I make a prediction on these power rankings, its wrong. (Better watch out next week against Virginia, Coach Richt) We can try and make this a feel-good story with a narrow loss to Miami followed by an upset on the road, but UNC is going to have to upset rival NC State on the road to end the season if I am even going to consider moving them out of the basement.