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ACC Power Rankings: Week 11

Virginia and Virginia Tech Take One Step Closer to ACC Title Game

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC season is coming to a close and the Coastal is still up for grabs. With Wake Forest’s loss it appears that Clemson will be winning the Atlantic as we all expected.

1 - #5 Clemson Tigers (10-0, 7-0)

Clemson rolled yet again. Trevor Lawrence was very good again with 276 yards passing on 20-27 and three touchdowns. Travis Etienne had 14 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns (one receiving). The defense shut down NC State’s passing game although they did allow the Wolfpack to rush effectively. That’s only slightly worrying. The committee hasn’t shown much respect to Clemson, but they seem to be in a good enough place that if they win out they’ll make it into the playoff. Next week the Tigers take on Wake Forest who will be playing angry after their loss this week, but Clemson should not have too much trouble with them.

Last Week: Win 55-10 at NC State

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. Wake Forest

2 - Virginia Cavaliers (7-3, 5-2)

Virginia has had their stumbles this season, but they find themselves in the pole position for the ACC Coastal with just one ACC left to play for them. If they can finally beat Virginia Tech then they will win the Coastal. Simple as that.

Last week Virginia beat Georgia Tech in a game that was a lot closer than they would have liked. The normally very solid Virginia defense gave up four touchdowns to Georgia Tech’s weak offense. They need the defense to hold up if they plan to beat the Hokies. The good news for them was that their offense was nearly unstoppable. Bryce Perkins was 24-35 for 258 yards through the air and had 21 carries for 106 yards on the ground. Once again their traditional run game was ineffective with Wayne Taulapapa tallying only 37 yards on 10 carries. They had one three and out, but other than that they moved the ball very effectively.

Virginia gets a breather heading into the game against VT. They have a bye coming up followed by a game against Liberty.

Last Week: Win 33-28 vs. Georgia Tech

Next Week: Bye

3 - Virginia Tech Hokies (6-3, 3-2)

The Hokies are back. They looked dead in the water earlier in the season, but have really turned things around and now control their own destiny in the Coastal. Their win against Wake Forest was huge. Hendon Hooker has been fantastic and was again against the Deacons. He had 242 yards passing on 15-23. They were able to run effectively as well. Their offense is really rolling. Their defense was even more impressive. They picked off Jamie Newman twice and otherwise held him in check which is not easy to do. They also stuffed the run game. Holding the Deacons to just 17 points is a feat. This team has really improved since the beginning of the season.

I have them behind Virginia because UVA has one real game left to win while Virginia Tech still has to win 3 more. It starts this week at Georgia Tech. Given how they’ve looked recently they should take that one without too much issue.

Last Week: Win 36-17 vs. Wake Forest

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 at Georgia Tech

4 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-2, 3-2)

This was a very disappointing loss for Wake Forest. The Deacons were thoroughly outplayed. With this loss the dream of winning the Atlantic seems to have died.

Jamie Newman did not have his best game. He was just 16-35 passing for 238 yards and two picks. The run game was non-existent and they just couldn’t connect on enough passes to make it a game. Kendall Hinton was fantastic at receiver with 8 catches for 162 yards. The defense held VT in the first half to just 6 points, but was unable to hold up after half as the Hokies pulled away. You can’t expect this defense to hold down Virginia Tech all game so a lot of the blame has to go to the normally effective offense. Wake Forest is still 7-2 and could very well win 9 games in the regular season. This game hurt, but it didn’t kill the season.

The game this is week against Clemson. Good luck with that.

Last Week: Lose 36-17 at Virginia Tech

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 at Clemson

5 - Pittsburgh Panthers (6-3, 3-2)

Pitt lost on Saturday to Nicholls State. Luckily for them that was the basketball as the football team had a bye. This week they welcome UNC on a Thursday night. This is a must win if they want to win the Coastal. To win the Coastal they need some help. They need to win out and then VT needs to beat UVA. All certainly possible.

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: Thursday at 8 vs. North Carolina

6 - Miami Hurricanes (6-4, 4-3)

The Hurricanes also look like they’re really turning their season around. Three weeks ago it looked questionable if they’d get bowl eligible, and now they are with two games to spare. This time it was a blowout win of Louisville. Miami’s much maligned offense dominated against the Cardinals. The offensive line which has been horrible let up just one sack and sprung the run game. Jarren Williams had 253 yards on 15-22 passing and 6 touchdowns. DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris combined for 174 yards on just 23 carries (7.6 ypc). The defense wasn’t as stout as normal, but they forced two turnovers (plus a special teams turnover) and held up enough for the comfortable 52-27 win. Miami scored a touchdown on their first four drives. That’s scary.

Miami probably won’t the Coastal this year. They also can’t affect the Coastal standings. But finishing with 8 wins after what they’ve been through this year would be really nice for them. Next week they have a bye to prepare for the final stretch.

Last Week: Win 52-27 vs. Louisville

Next Week: Bye

7 - Louisville Cardinals (5-4, 3-3)

The Cardinals got straight beat in Miami. Their defense stood no chance against the Hurricanes and the offense had a few struggles of its own. Micale Cunningham was pretty decent before he got injured with 12-18 passing for 219 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick (backup Evan Conley also had a pick). Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall both had success running the ball with 170 yards on 21 carries (8.1 ypc). But they needed to score nearly every drive to keep up with the Hurricanes and they couldn’t do it. The defense has been a surprise this year, but they were as bad as expected this week.

The Cardinals head to Raleigh to take on NC State this week. This is a game that the Cardinals should win.

Last Week: Lose 52-27 at Miami

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 at NC State

8 - North Carolina Tar Heels (4-5, 3-3)

The Tar Heels got a much needed bye last week as they gear up for the home stretch. They need two more wins to get to a bowl and Mercer still on the schedule. They should get there, but there are no guarantees. A win against Pitt on Thursday would almost get them there.

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: Thursday at 8 at Pitt

9 - Florida State Seminoles (5-5, 4-4)

Interim coach Odell Haggins matched Willie Taggart’s number of road wins in Tallahassee in just his first game with a 38-31 win over BC. Things started slowly for the Seminoles, but they took the lead in the third quarter and never gave it back. The offense was much better than it has been. James Blackman was 18-26 for 346 yards and two touchdowns along with no sacks. Just a huge performance for him. Cam Akers was held in check, but Jordan Travis was able to break off a big run. Tamorrion Terry was a beast at receiver with 7 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown.

The defense struggled again, especially late. but they made the stops that they needed including an interception late in the game.

This win should guarantee a bowl game for the Seminoles as they face Alcorn State this week for what should be their sixth win.

Last Week: Win 38-31 at Boston College

Next Week: Saturday at noon vs. Alcorn State

10 - Duke Blue Devils (4-5, 2-3)

Things have gone in very different directions since Duke smacked Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. VT is back in the Coastal race and nearly upset Notre Dame in South Bend. Duke is out of the race and got blasted by Notre Dame at home. Duke’s defense was able to stop Notre Dame’s air attack, as well as picking off Ian Book twice, but Notre Dame ran all over the Blue Devils and the Duke offense got nothing going. Duke gave up 288 yards on the ground (6.9 ypc). That killed any shot they had.

Quentin Harris had an atrocious game, going 16/28 for just 102 yards, a touchdown and a pick. The offense combined for 95 yards rushing on 30 carries, just 3.2 ypc. They got down 21-0 early and they never seemed likely to come back. Just a poor performance from this team.

Duke needs two wins to reach a bowl and it seems unlikely they get there without winning against Syracuse this week.

Last Week: Lose 38-7 vs. Notre Dame

Next Week: Saturday at 4 vs. Syracuse

11 - Boston College Eagles (5-5, 3-4)

The Eagles fell just short in this one and they really needed a win here. Their offense was again the strength, especially the run game. The defense just couldn’t hold on against James Blackman and the Seminoles. Dennis Grosel showed his ability to throw with 20-29 passing for 227 yards. But, once again the run game was their focus. AJ Dillon had 40 carries for 165 yards. David Bailey had 12 carries for 67 yards. This offense needed just one more drive to match the Seminoles, but they made one too many mistakes. The defense was porous again which is odd for a Steve Addazio team. This might be the final two games of the Addazio era. They get a bye week before heading to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.

Last Week: Lose 38-31 vs. Florida State

Next Week: Bye

12 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-7, 1-5)

The Yellow Jackets hung in there against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville and holds its spot in the rankings.

Last Week: Lose 33-28 at Virginia

Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. Virginia Tech

13 - North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-5, 1-4)

The Wolfpack did not stand a chance against Clemson. Their defense couldn’t stop them at all. Devin Leary was ineffective as a passer. Basically the only success they had was running the ball with Zonovan Knight who had 139 yards on just 12 carries. Outside of that it was bad. They lost four fumbles. They did not turn Clemson over once. This one was over early as Clemson put up 28 in the opening frame.

You never expected NC State to be competitive though. This week against Louisville is different. They need to win this one if they want to go to a bowl game this year.

Last Week: Lose 55-10 vs. Clemson

Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 vs. Louisville

14 - Syracuse Orange (3-6, 0-5)

Syracuse got a merciful bye to work on their defense with a new coordinator. They’ll need it if they want to win this week at Duke.

Last Week: Bye

Next Week: Saturday at 4 at Duke