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ACC Power Rankings: Week 10

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Miami states their case, NC State throws in the towel and Tobacco Road spares us all this week. All this and more in this weeks ACC Power Rankings.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 10 of the ACC Power Rankings presented by Shakin the Southland. With four teams idle in the ACC this week, luckily, we had our own version of the ACC College Football Playoff to keep us company as #1 Clemson took on #4 NC State and #2 Virginia Tech traveled to #3 Miami. Clemson and Miami cemented their spot at the top of the rankings, and the rest of the ACC will just have to sort itself out as we set up for some desperate contests with teams vying for bowl eligibility down the stretch. Be sure to sound off in the comments below and, as always, enjoy!

#1 Clemson (8-1) (6-1) – Last Week – W, 38-31 @ #20 NC State

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

We’ll get the bad stuff out of the way. Yes, Kelly Bryant played below average on Saturday afternoon (0-of-10 on passes 15+ yards) and yes, the Tiger defensive backfield is absolutely decimated with injuries. Despite all of that, they still managed to pull out a win on the road against a top 20 ranked team. Clemson’s running back duo of Tavian Feaster and Travis Etienne can pick up the slack for the offensive deficiencies and they finally got a nice boost from good old #21, that cornerback Ray-Ray McCloud. Clemson will struggle to get healthy down the stretch as I’m not expecting either Marcus Edmonds nor Mark Fields to play again this week, but if this team gets healthy, the rest of the nation needs to be on notice.

#2 Miami (8-0) (6-0) – Last Week – W, 28-10 vs. #13 Virginia Tech

Movement from Last Week (+1)

Alright, alright, I’ll give it to them, they finally have a notable win and have cemented their spot at the #2 position in these rankings for the foreseeable future. I expected that Malik Rosier would have to go off in this game in order for Miami to come out on top, but he played poorly on the evening, completing only 10 of his 21 pass attempts and threw three interceptions on the afternoon. What is surprising me so much about this Miami team is that they haven’t missed a beat after losing Mark Walton for the season as Sophomore Travis Homer has taken the ACC by storm. We had to see that stupid turnover chain four times throughout the night but as annoying as it is, when it comes out, Miami is going to beat you. Next week’s contest against Notre Dame is the only true remaining test left on the Hurricane schedule before an ACC Championship battle that could send them into the College Football Playoff.

#3 Virginia Tech (7-2) (3-2) – Last Week – L, 28-10 @ #10 Miami

Movement from Last Week (-1)

You have to really question this Virginia Tech team this week after they failed to show up for yet another big game and the fact remains that after West Virginia, their best win continues to be on the road at Boston College. Freshman Josh Jackson looked like a Freshman for the first time in a long time on Saturday as he threw two interceptions and failed to get into the end zone, while the VT offense failed to gain 300 total yards on the day. When you create three turnovers on the day and can’t find the end zone more than once, it is a sign that your team may be in trouble. Next week’s contest against Georgia Tech is going to be the real barometer on whether this team deserves to be at #3 in the rankings, but who else deserves it?

#4 North Carolina State (6-3) (4-1) – Last Week – L, 38-31 vs. #4 Clemson

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

A lot happened in Raleigh this weekend that is being talked about that had nothing to do with the game…but for the purpose of this article, let’s keep the analysis on the field. There seems to be one consistent feature in NC States season so far, and that is if they turn the ball over, the will lose. Ryan Finley threw two interceptions, but put in a solid performance and is still the best quarterback in the league in my mind. A banged-up Jaylen Samuels and Nyheim Hines didn’t help the Wolf Packs case either, but I’m not willing to drop them in the rankings with a tough loss. We’ll see if NC State goes into their typical post Clemson slide down the stretch, but there is nobody in the league that is even close to taking over the #4 slot in the Power Rankings at this time. And you can check the laptop to confirm that.

#5 – Boston College (5-4) (3-3) – Last Week – Idle

Movement from Last Week (+2)

The gap between #4 and #5 in this conference is so large that you can fit Dave Doeren’s ego in it. With the way that they have been playing, there is nobody else more deserving of this spot than Boston College. As a matter of fact, if you look at their resume, they don’t have anything close to a bad loss (Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Clemson and Virginia Tech) and I’m willing to bet that if they played Wake Forest again next week that they would come out on top. The Bye week could not have come at a worse time for the surging Eagles, but look for them to try and put up 35 points for the fourth consecutive week as they host #23 NC State as they look to add a ranked win to their resume.

#6 Wake Forest (5-4) (2-3) – Last Week – L, 48-27 @ #3 Notre Dame

Movement from Last Week (+2)

Where did this offensive explosion come from in Winston-Salem? Better late than never for Matt Colburn who had is second 100+ yard rushing game in as many weeks as he racked up 120 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown for the Demon Deacons. With Greg Dortch set to miss the remainder of the season with an abdominal injury, I didn’t expect the torrid passing game led by John Wolford to continue, but Wolford threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. To put the offensive success of the Demon Deacons into perspective, Notre Dame entered the contest as the only team in the nation to not allow a team to score 20 points on the season. At the end of the day, that was over, and so were my doubts of Wake Forest being able to become bowl eligible.

#7 Syracuse (4-5) (2-3) – Last Week – L, 27-24 @ Florida State

Movement from Last Week (-1)

Syracuse really needed this win on the road to prove to everyone that they were a team worthy of being in the top third of the rankings, but they just couldn’t get it done. If you notice, during Syracuse’s successful run of games, the one thing that they all had in common was production from the running back position. Syracuse reverted back to Middle Tennessee form as they rushed Eric Dungey 22 times for 109 yards, while Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland only managed 40 yards on 16 carries between the two of them. With Dungey continually missing game time from injuries due to overuse and Wake Forest, Louisville and Boston College remaining on its schedule, it is yet to be seen how the Orange will finish the season.

#8 Georgia Tech (4-4) (3-3) – Last Week – L, 40-36 @ Virginia

Movement from Last Week (-3)

Why is it always so flipping hard with this team...After a 78-yard touchdown run from TaQuon Marshall to start the second half, and a Bruce Jordan-Swilling pick six extended the Yellow Jcket lead to 28-13 the next play, I pretty much turned this game off as I expected the triple-option to salt away the remainder of the game. Thank goodness for DVR because Kurt Benkart decided that he wanted to tie the score at 28 less than 5 minutes later. No excuses for this loss from Georgia Tech as their consistent defense was gashed in the second half and I continue to scratch my head as to who this team really is, other than really confusing. With Duke still on the schedule, Tech should have enough left in the tank to become bowl eligible, but with the inconsistencies of this team, we can’t call that game a sure thing at all.

#9 Louisville (5-4) (2-4) – Last Week – Idle

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

What are we even supposed to talk about with this team anymore? With the Cardinals Idle this week, even head coach Bobby Petrino finally admitted that Lamar Jackson’s Heisman hopes are finally over, stating that they just haven’t taken care of business enough as a team for him to get the talk. Jackson does lead the nation in total offense with over 3,800 yards, but the Cardinal defense has given up 28 points or more in each of the teams previous four games.

#10 Florida State (3-5) (3-4) – Last Week – W, 27-24 vs. Syracuse

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

At this point, the Seminoles are the literal definition of a one man show, but when that one man has a day like Cam Akers had, sometimes that is all that you need. Akers rushed for 199 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns for the Seminoles and James Blackman held his interceptions in check on the afternoon to allow Florida State to escape with the victory on Saturday. With Jacques Patrick potentially returning to the backfield for the upcoming contest against Clemson, you can throw the records out the window as Florida State now has bowl eligibility hope (now that they have rescheduled their game with ULM). We’ll have to wait and see if the promise of a mediocre bowl game will be enough to get the Seminoles fired up for the remainder of the season.

#11 Virginia (5-3) (2-2) – Last Week – W, 40-36 vs. Georgia Tech

Movement from Last Week (+1)

It is time to celebrate in Charlottesville! After two absolutely horrendous lopsided losses, the Cavaliers returned to the form that saw them win five of their first six games and have clinched bowl eligibility only one year after a dismal two-win campaign. Kurt Benkart completed 21 of his 43 passing attempts and threw for three touchdowns on a rain soaked day that saw the Cavaliers come back from a deficit not once, but twice, capped by a touchdown pass to Andre Levrone with 1:22 remaining on the clock to seal the win. It may not have been pretty, but you have to credit Bronco Mendenhall for the quick turnaround that he has performed on this team, however, I do expect them to lose their last three games, and with this being by far their best victory, I don’t see them rising any higher than 11th for the rest of the season.

#12 Pittsburgh (4-5) (2-3) – Last Week – Idle

Movement from Last Week (-1)

The Pitt Panthers were the first of three teams that I was happy to see Idle this week as they will rest up before their only winnable game remaining on their schedule as they will close the season with Virginia Tech and Miami. Pitt’s only real hope at this point is that Quadree Henderson can make something happen on special teams like he did last week and that whoever is under center next week can just manage the game. I always try and look on the bright side, so at least Pitt doesn’t have to worry about losing yet another offensive coordinator at the end of the season.

#13 Duke (4-5) (1-5) – Last Week – Idle

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

Yes, even on Bye weeks things don’t even go quite right for the Blue Devils. With Virginia upsetting Georgia Tech to end their losing streak, Duke now will be the focus at the bottom of the rankings for everyone to watch just how far they can fall. After claiming the Victory Bell from North Carolina, Duke has lost five straight and will host a 7-2 Army squad that will be no walk in the park. Bottom line is, if Daniel Jones doesn’t revert to his early season form, Duke may be looking at ending the season on an 8-game losing streak.

#14 North Carolina (1-8) (0-6) – Last Week – Idle

Movement from Last Week (No Change)

I’m sure that I’m not the only one that took a look at this week’s schedule and breathed a sigh of relief that both of the blue-blooded basketball schools were Idle this week. Coach Larry Fedora praised his players at their ability to “stay together” despite a 1-8 record on the season, but this team appears to be completely unglued at this point. They will travel to Pittsburgh this week to see if that positive attitude mentioned by Fedora is a real thing or just something to say to the media other than “that was a good team we just lost to”.