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ACC Power Rankings: Tigers Dethroned. For Now.

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For the first time since I started this doing this column, Clemson is not number 1.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Notre Dame (7-0, 6-0) LW: #2 Next Game: 11/14 @ Boston College 3:30 PM ABC.

You have to tip your cap to Notre Dame. They came out early and had Clemson on the ropes. They took clear advantage of Clemson’s injury-riddled defense and picked on some young guys. Ian Book played gutsy and overcame a bad fumble that could’ve been the game changer. They made me uneasy every time they had the ball. This is a good team. And I hate them. I hate their annoying fan base. I hate their stupid homerish NBC broadcasts. I hate how their fans possibly infected our guys with Covid-19 by rushing the field. Rudy was an overrated movie and the real Rudy was actually a scumbag. I hate Brian Kelly. I think their gold helmets and bland jerseys look like something a JV squad would wear.

But I do have to respect them. And I think Clemson and ND will rematch in Charlotte. Although I’d love it if they fell flat on their faces and imploded because I’m a petty son of a gun.

#2 Clemson (7-1, 6-1) LW: #2 Next Game: 11/21 @ FSU 12:00 PM ABC.

I’m emotionally drained from that game. I’m extremely proud of our boys for fighting back. I’m proud of DJ for slinging it. There may have been a handful of drives where Trevor makes a play that DJ didn’t, but at no point did DJ Uiagelelei look like a wide-eyed freshman. Cornell Powell played out of his mind. Shout out to Keith McGuire for stepping in there on the biggest plays of the year due to guys in front of him getting banged up. I did not know who Keith McGuire was before this game and now I will literally fight you if you slander him. The off week couldn’t come soon enough. This team is beaten and injured. Some more guys got hurt against Notre Dame. Hopefully a week off will let us get some guys back before FSU.

#3 Miami (6-1, 5-1) LW: #3 Next Game: 11/14 @ Virginia Tech 12:00 PM ESPN2.

The Canes survived a tough shot from NC State and are now sitting at 6-1. If Notre Dame were to stumble somewhere along the way, Miami finds itself right back in the ACC title picture, although at the moment the tiebreaker would favor a one loss Clemson and a hypothetical one loss Notre Dame.

#4 North Carolina (5-2, 5-2) LW: #4 Next Game: 11/14 vs Wake Forest 12:00 PM ACCN.

UNC blew out archenemy Duke to claim the Victory Bell. The Heels can get another rivalry win Saturday against Wake.

#5 Wake Forest (4-2, 3-2) LW: #4 Next Game: 11/14 @ UNC 12:00 PM ACCN.

Wake enjoyed their bye week. Now the Deacs will face rival UNC in Chapel Hill.

#6 Boston College (5-3, 4-3) LW: #6 Next Game: 11/14 vs Notre Dame 3:30 PM ABC.

So the team that scared Clemson barely beat the team that hung with Clemson for 2.5 quarters 16-13. My confidence in BC’s trap game ability against Notre Dame is a lot less now. Phil Jurkovec against his old school and Notre Dame coming off an absolutely emotional double OT win against Clemson felt like the perfect opportunity for the Eagles to get a huge upset, but looking at this game against Cuse, I’m just not feeling it anymore.

#7 Pitt (4-4, 3-4) LW: #10 Next Game: 11/14 @ GA Tech 7:00 PM RSN.

Pitt destroyed FSU 41-17. A nice way to cap off a very big week for the City of Pittsburgh. The Panthers now roll down to Atlanta for a date with the Yellow Jackets.

#8 NC State (4-3, 4-3) LW: #8 Next Game: 11/21 vs Liberty 7:30 PM ACCN.

NC State played a hard fought game against Miami and fell just short. Still, this has been a solid season for the Pack. NC State gets a week off and then plays ACC-slayer Liberty.

#9 Virginia (2-4, 2-4) LW: #9 Next Game: 11/14 vs Louisville 3:30 PM ACCN.

Louisville-UVA was postponed until this upcoming weekend due to COVID-19.

#10 Virginia Tech (4-3, 4-2) LW: #7 Next Game: 11/14 vs Miami 12:00 PM ESPN2.

Oh boy. This is about to be a long rant. Two times in the past three seasons Virginia Tech has lost to a G5 program from the state of Virginia, and both losses have some sort of galaxy-brained scheme that makes the loss even more hilarious/painful. Now, the loss in 2018 to Old Dominion wasn’t painful due to any particular coaching mishap that I can recall, but hilarious on an Athletic Department scheme level with a marketing ploy gone wrong. In that season, Va Tech did an odd thing, which was making the trek to Norfolk, Virginia to play at ODU. Why, you may ask, would a perennial ACC contender play at ODU? Give the Monarchs a fat check and let them come get beat in Blacksburg for homecoming, right? No, the higher ups at VPI felt that this would be a great opportunity to extend the Hokie brand to the Norfolk area and help with recruiting. Instead, the Hokies flopped and lost to ODU 49-35. This was like if UofSC wanted to recruit Myrtle Beach better, so they scheduled a home and home with Coastal and lost in Conway (if Ray Tanner is still employed when this is published he needs to schedule a home and home with CCU immediately).

But all of that brings us to the amazing buffoonery that took place in Blacksburg this past weekend. Va Tech and Liberty were neck and neck in a game in Blacksburg. Liberty scored late, Va Tech answered to tie it up at 35-35, and the Flames had 52 seconds to score or take their chances in OT. The Flames make a nice little march down the field, and on third down elected to attempt a 59-yard field goal with 8 seconds left.

For a team that has a propensity for blocking kicks, a long distance FG is a great set up because the trajectory is typically lower, thus making for easier blocks, Clemson fans can attest to this from seeing Miami’s kick block before the half of that game. So, as Liberty kicks the field goal Va Tech blocks it and runs it back for the apparent game winning touchdown. Or so we thought. Right before the snap, Justin Fuente called a timeout, negating the whole play.

In football, we’ve seen it before. Coach calls a timeout right before a kick at the end of the game to freeze a kicker, the ball is still snapped and the kicker decides to take a practice kick and misses it. The kicker then nails the next kick for the win or tie, and we question the practice of icing a kicker. This was similar to that, except when you add in the fact that Fuentes called said timeout to make sure his kick block team was on the field. He negates a blocked kick because he is worried he doesn’t have his kick blockers on the field.

So, it being 3rd down, Liberty decides to run a little 8 yard out and pick up some yards to cut it to a 51-yard FG - that their kicker then makes. What could have been a beautiful win off the return of Beamer ball becomes Va Tech being the upset victim of the day because of some over-coaching.

It brings me absolutely no joy to say this, but the Liberty Flames are now 2-0 vs the ACC, and if they were in the conference I think there is a good argument they’d be a top five team this year.

#11 Louisville (2-5, 1-5) LW: #11 Next Game: 11/14 @ UVA 3:30 PM ACCN.

The Cards’ game vs. UVA was rescheduled to this weekend due to COVID-19.

#12 Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4) LW: #13 Next Game: 11/14 vs Pitt 7:30 PM RSN.

The Jackets enjoyed an off weekend and will now turn their attention to Pitt.

#13 Florida State (2-5, 1-5) LW: #12 Next Game: 11/14 @ NC State 7:30 PM ACCN.

The Noles fell 41-17 to Pitt. They now have to face a tough NC State team.

#14 Duke (2-6, 1-6) LW: #14 Next Game: 11/21 vs Wake Forest 12:00 ACCN.

Devils fell to their rival UNC. They’ll have an off week before getting a shot at Wake Forest.

#15 Syracuse (1-7, 1-6) LW: #15 Next Game: 11/20 PM at Louisville 7:00 PM ESPN.

‘Cuse dropped a hard fought game against BC. Now the Orange get an off weekend to prep for some Friday night action at Louisville.