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ACC Power Rankings: The Grand Finale

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Clemson has one more game to play, but for the rest of this conference, the season mercifully is over.

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Capital One Orange Bowl - Virginia v Florida Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

#1 Clemson 14-0 (9-0) (LW:#1)

After cruising through the ACC, it was reassuring (if not stressful) to see the Tigers respond to Ohio State laying some wood. The game to me reminded me of the win in Tampa over Alabama. It took the Tigers about a quarter and a half to get used to someone punching us in the mouth, but once we settled in we were more than ready to trade blows. We also finally got to see Trevor Lawrence need to be clutch against an elite team. Deshaun had the benefit of getting to duke it out against good FSU teams, Lamar Jackson, Notre Dame, and even a solid Auburn team, plus some physical NC State teams. Save for the North Carolina win and the early injury vs Syracuse in 2018, Trevor Lawrence has been able to cruise easily against everyone. Clemson will certainly not be able to cruise against LSU, so it’s nice to see Lawrence display his grit before this big matchup looming.

#2 Notre Dame (11-2, 5-0 vs ACC) (LW:#2)

The Irish cruised to a 33-9 win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl. Usually a Notre Dame win isn’t much to cheer about but this is big for Clemson. Notre Dame finishes with 11 wins and Ian Book has announced he’s coming back for one more ride in South Bend. This means we should get a top 10 Notre Dame, thus a primetime (or whatever NBC gives us) showdown with Notre Dame, which will be a nice schedule boost and hopefully stifle the “em Tigers ain’t played nobody Pawwwwl!” talk for a little while.

#3 Virginia (9-5, 6-3) (LW:#3)

After the shellacking in Charlotte, many counted UVA out in the Orange Bowl, but even in a loss, the Wahoos showed a lot. Bryce Perkins went 28/40 for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 36-28 loss. The Cavs even busted out a clutch big man touchdown, that was unfortunately called back because the refs hate fun.

Despite losing Perkins, expect a bit more hype on UVA for next year, which also helps our schedule (they go to Clemson).

#4 Louisville (8-5, 5-3) (LW#5)

As I stated in the bowl preview, the Music City Bowl could be the perfect shot in the arm for an up and coming coach, just as it was for 2009 Dabo Swinney. A 38-28 win over Miss State is a fantastic way to end year one for Scott Satterfield, and while they’re still probably a few years out before posing any kind of threat to Clemson, the Cards are looking like a team that could be consistently in the conversation for the Atlantic title, much like what NC State was in 2017 and like Syracuse was supposed to be. Miss State, the loser of the Music City bowl, promptly dismissed Head Coach Joe Moorhead and just interviewed Mike Leach.

#5 Virginia Tech (8-5, 5-3) (LW:#4)

Virginia Tech lost to Kentucky in the Belk Bowl. And this isn’t “Benny Snell fun” Kentucky. This is “blown out by South Carolina” Kentucky and “Zero points againt UGA” Kentucky. It’s a shame that Bud Foster goes out this way, but as they say, life’s like an old, rusty lunch pail, you never know what you’re gonna get.

#6 North Carolina (7-6, 4-4) (LW:#7)

Why, what’s that I hear? That loud, rumbling noise coming from the Research Triangle area? Oh, it’s the MACK BROWN OFFSEASON HYPE TRAIN! UNC stomped Temple 55-13, so that, seven wins, and the one-point loss to Clemson means UNC will be one of the most talked about teams going into 2020, and probably will be a trendy pick to win the Coastal. This also gave us an amazing gift: Mack Brown dancing to Waka Flocka.

This is great, but next year I need Mack dancing to Petey Pablo spinning his shirt like a helicopter.

#7 Pitt (8-5, 4-4) (LW:#9)

Pitt eeked out a 34-30 win over Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane bowl, but never say EMU didn’t go down swinging.

Now, Mike Glass has since apologized for this, but, man, what a way to close a college career. But the real story is Mike popping the second Pitt player, glancing the ref, and the ref hitting the turf. Sure, maybe Mike hit the ref just right, but there may have been a bit of acting on the ref’s part. If it is a flop, Coach K is probably knocking on the ref’s door as we speak.

#8 Wake Forest (8-5, 4-3) (LW:#6)

A once promising season for the Deacs ended in heart break in a chilly Yankee Stadium, just as many seasons have for the Bronx Bombers in recent years (that’s for our resident Yankee lover Ryan Kantor). It gets even worse when you see that Jamie Newman is hitting the transfer portal, and appears to be the clubhouse leader among Georgia twitter to replace Jake Fromm in 2020. Wake’s brief moment of glory appears to be fizzled out.

#9 Boston College (6-7, 4-4) (LW:#8)

A Steve Addazio-less BC team fell flat against a good Cincinnati Bearcats team 38-6 in Birmingham, in a lighting delayed game. This is a step down from last season when BC’s bowl was just flat out cancelled due to weather. It’s not all cloudy for BC, as they got Ohio State co-DC Jeff Hafley as the new head coach. So if you’re looking for something to wear up to Chesnut Hill next year for the game, might I suggest a new t shirt.

Shoutout to our own John McElhaney for this amazing concept and to BreakingT.com for bringing it to life in this amazing design that made soooooo many Buckeyes fans Mad Online.

#10 Miami (6-7, 4-4) (LW:#10)

Miami was shutout 14-0 by Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. Not Louisiana State, Louisiana Tech. This really may be rock bottom for the Canes, who went 0-2 against Conference USA this season. Manny Diaz has a tall task ahead of him to try to get this program back to even a glimpse of what it once was. Miami has replaced their OC with Rhett Lashlee from SMU. They can go only go up.

#11 Florida State (6-7, 4-4) (LW:#11)

Florida State fell to Arizona State 20-14, which was nice for a guy like me who has enjoyed many hours of Herm Edwards football after dark. FSU hired Mike Norvell from Memphis. Seems like a good hire, but we’ll see.

#12 Syracuse (5-7, 2-6) (LW:#12)

No bowl for Syracuse. We’ll see what Dino Babers has next year.

#13 Duke (5-7, 3-5) (LW:#13)

No bowl for Duke. The thing that UNC and Louisville have shown us is that it’s not hard to make a significant jump in the conference quickly. Would be nice to see David Cutcliffe have a bit more success next year.

#14 Georgia Tech (3-9, 2-6) (LW:#14)

Year one of Geoff Collins post Paul Johnson rebuild went probably about as well as it really could, and, if you’re a Georgia Tech fan you’ve got to like the energy and recruiting uptick Collins is bringing. As stated before, there’s definitely opportunity to move up in the ACC Coastal, and I think Collins is certainly a guy that could capitalize on that in a few years. Should see improvement next year. GT’s rebuild will probably be a bit longer than UNC and Louisville’s due to changes in offensive philosophies along with recruiting players for a new system, but once it hits it could definitely be fun to watch.

#15 NC State (4-8, 1-7) (LW:#15)

NC State wasn’t in a bowl game, and there’s not much hope under Dave Doeren, so I’m just going to say how bout those Clemson Basketball Tigers getting their first conference win against a solid NC State team!