The FTRS ACC Power Rankings are coming at you a few days late because I was off in the frozen tundra getting a taste of Big Ten football by watching Wisconsin pummel Iowa. But never fear, I’ve caught up on last weekend’s ACC action and am prepared to weigh in with my “expert” opinion. The ACC’s top two is locked in after a couple of impressive victories last weekend. Nothing else really matters beyond that but that hasn’t stopped us yet. Alright, I’ve already kept y’all waiting long enough so without further ado, Week 11 of the FTRS ACC Power Rankings.
1 - Miami Hurricanes (9-0, 6-0) LW: 2
The Playoff Committee disagrees but it’s time to breakout the turnover chain because the Hurricanes have taken the #1 spot away from Clemson in these rankings. I’m honestly not sure what will happen when Clemson and Miami face off on December 2nd but the Canes look like they’re peaking at the right time. They followed up a 28-10 win over Virginia Tech with an absolute beat down of a very good Notre Dame team. With just UVA and Pitt left in the regular season, Miami should walk into Charlotte at 11-0 with minimal effort.
Last Week: defeated Notre Dame 41-8
This Week: Saturday, 12:00 pm vs Virginia (ABC)
2 - Clemson Tigers (9-1, 7-1) LW: 1
Clemson did as Clemson does against Florida State, letting the Noles hang around a little longer than they probably should have before pulling away at the end of the game. The Playoff Committee decided to keep Clemson ahead of Miami, which I obviously disagree with, but don’t really mind. If the Tigers win out, they’re in the playoffs and will have a pretty solid resume, especially since it seems that the committee is taking Kelly Bryant’s injuries against Syracuse into account.
Last Week: defeated Florida State 31-14
This Week: Saturday, 12:20 pm vs The Citadel (ACCN in most places)
3 - NC State Wolfpack (7-3, 5-1) LW: 1
The Wolfpack got back into the win column with a come from behind win against a Boston College team that had been on fire. It wasn’t an easy win for Dave Doeren’s team but a big day from RB Nyheim Hines (maybe the most underrated back in the ACC) was enough to lift the Pack to victory.
Last Week: defeated Boston College 17-14
This Week: Saturday, 7:30 pm at Wake Forest (ESPNU)
4 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-3) LW: 6
I’m a broken record by now, but the middle class of the ACC can be ranked just about whichever way you want, so why not Georgia Tech at #4? The Yellow Jackets finally won a game that was in doubt late but probably shouldn’t have needed the last minute defensive stop. The Yellow Jackets dominated time of possession (33:46) and total yardage (401 to 258) but gave VT a late lead on an ill-timed pick 6. GT’s margin for error is razor thin but they finally came out on the positive side of the equation.
Last Week: defeated Virginia Tech 28-22
This Week: Saturday, 3:30 pm at Duke (RSN)
5 - Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3, 3-3) LW: 4
It’s now been two straight weeks that the Hokie offense has looked pretty lackluster. Against Miami, VT put up 299 yards. Against GT, they put up just 258. The running game has all but dried up, leaving a lot on QB Josh Jackson’s shoulders. The Hokies should win their last two games, but if they can’t find some sort of offense neither is a sure thing.
Last Week: lost to Georgia Tech 22-28
This Week: Saturday, 12:20 pm vs Pittsburgh (ACCN Extra except in the Pitt-VT viewing areas)
6 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-4, 3-3) LW: 7
After watching Wisconsin-Iowa, I headed to a local establishment with a friend to watch some other games. When we arrived I started scanning ESPN’s bottom line to catch up on the scores from the day. When I saw Wake 64 - Syracuse 43, my first thought was “Wow, this is really early for conference basketball games, but okay.” Nope, Wake Forest scored 64 points in football. Down 43-40 entering the 4th quarter the Deacons went on one heckuva run to close out the game. QB John Wolford continued his push for a spot on one of the All-ACC teams with 499 total yards and 6 total touchdowns. I’m actually pretty excited to see how they play against NC State Saturday night.
Last Week: defeated Syracuse 64-43
This Week: Saturday, 7:30 pm vs NC State (ESPNU)
7 - Louisville Cardinals (6-4, 3-4) LW: 8
Louisville had little trouble beating UVA and clinching bowl eligibity behind another stellar performance from Lamar Jackson. The Heisman winner added another 342 total yards and 4 total touchdowns to become the first player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. The much-maligned Cardinals defense had a fairly good day too, holding the Cavaliers under 300 total yards and turning them over twice.
Last Week: defeated Virginia 38-21
This Week: Saturday, 3:30 pm vs Syracuse (ESPNU)
8 - Boston College Eagles (5-5, 3-4) LW: 5
Boston College’s unexpected hot streak came to an end against NC State along with starting QB Anthony Brown’s season. Brown had been excellent during the 3 game win streak but exited the game with a leg injury early in the second quarter. The offense really struggled without Brown at the helm and the Eagles defense couldn’t hold the fort all game. Even without Brown, the Eagles should be able to clinch bowl eligibility this weekend with a win over 3-7 UConn.
Last Week: lost to NC State 14-17
This Week: Saturday, 7:00 pm vs Connecticut at Fenway Park (CBSSN)
9 - Virginia Cavaliers (6-4, 3-3) LW: 9
The Cavaliers struggled to keep the winning ways going, falling to Louisville in a game that wasn’t really even as close as 21-38 would indicate. UVA couldn’t sustain any sort of offensive attack against a Louisville defense that had been bad all year. QB Kurt Benkert was inefficient and the Cavalier’s ground attack averaged just 2.3 yards per carry. Picking up win number 7 doesn’t get any easier this week with a trip to South Florida on the docket.
Last Week: lost to Louisville 21-38
This Week: Saturday, 12:00 pm at Miami (ABC)
10 - Florida State Seminoles (3-6, 3-5) LW: 10
Florida State gave Clemson their best shot and cut the lead down to 3 points early in the fourth quarter but ultimately didn’t have enough to pull ahead and notch the upset. The Seminoles had a really hard time running the ball against the vaunted Tigers defensive front, tallying just 21 yards on 24 carries. This season has been a big disappointment but with Delaware State, Florida, and Louisiana-Monroe left on the schedule, continuing the nation’s longest bowl streak is very much attainable.
Last Week: lost to Clemson 14-31
This Week: Saturday, 12:00 pm vs Delaware State (RSN)
11 - Syracuse Orange (4-6, 2-4) LW: 11
I spent most of the Syracuse portion of last week’s rankings talking about QB Eric Dungey who, of course, did not play against Wake Forest. It’s unclear if Dungey will be available this weekend against Louisville as he still works on recovering from a leg injury suffered against Florida State. In his absence, backup Zach Mahoney had a decent game - 384 yards, 3 TDs - but threw two crucial 4th quarter interceptions that helped Wake Forest run away with the game.
Last Week: lost to Wake Forest 43-64
This Week: Saturday, 3:30 pm at Louisville (ESPNU)
12 - Pittsburgh Panthers (4-6, 2-4) LW: 12
Oh no, Pitt! Losing at home to North Carolina is not the way to make a bowl game. The Panthers’ thin bowl hopes took a big hit last Thursday when they improbably dropped a game to the Tar Heels. In fact, Pitt’s loss was the least likely loss of 2017 according to Bill C’s win expectancy metric (points 2 & 3 in this week’s Numerical). Based on that measure, the Panthers should win a game like this roughly 99% of the time. As Bill explains, giving up a kick return, a long fumble return, and not being able to get the Heels off the field is a perfect recipe for an improbable loss.
Last Week: lost to North Carolina 31-34
This Week: Saturday, 12:20 pm at Virginia Tech (ACCN Extra except in the Pitt-VT viewing areas)
13 - North Carolina Tar Heels (2-8, 1-6) LW: 14
Congratulations to the Tar Heels on winning their first ACC game of the season! Injuries have decimated UNC this season but they’ve also found a few pieces they might be able to build around going forward. Sophomore QB Nathan Elliott has been decent in his two starts, sophomore RB Jordon Brown has shown some flashes, and sophomore WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams is going to be a dynamic playmaker. Against Pitt, Ratliff-Williams returned the opening kickoff for a TD, threw a 35 yard TD pass, and came down with the go-ahead TD reception in the 4th quarter.
Last Week: defeated Pittsburgh 34-31
This Week: Saturday, 3:00 pm vs Western Carolina (ACCN Extra/WatchESPN)
14 - Duke Blue Devils (4-6, 1-5) LW: 13
Duke’s season continued to unravel Saturday in West Point. After blowing out Northwestern (currently ranked, by the way) Army looked like a great matchup for the Blue Devils. They paired an unexpectedly good run defense with a nice dual back running game of their own, not to mention rapidly improving QB Daniel Jones. All of that has fallen apart. Duke has been scorched on the ground in recent weeks and Army was no exception, tallying 226 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Duke’s offense couldn’t string together anything productive, totaling just 253 yards on just 4 yards per play. Duke will try and salvage their bowl hopes against Georgia Tech but it’s probably best for the fans to just turn their attention to basketball season.
Last Week: lost to Army 16-21
This Week: Saturday, 3:30 pm vs Georgia Tech (RSN)