ACC Football: Mid-November Power Rankings
ACC Football: Mid-November Power Rankings
Believe it or not, the college football season is starting to wind down. We’ve already reached the middle of November, and there are just a few weeks to go in the season until championship Saturday. With the stretch run of the season upon us, and games getting more important for teams trying to get into bowl games or keep their hopes alive to play in a conference championship game, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the power rankings in the ACC.
Obviously, the top of the ACC is already spoken for, and has been for quite a few weeks, but outside of the top two teams in the conference, there has been a lot of movement, a lot of inconsistency, and a lot of competition throughout the season, and we’ll try to make sense of that in the power rankings. Things have been quite jumbled in the ACC all season long, which some could look at as a conference that’s muddled in mediocrity, while others will see a highly competitive and contested conference.
The bottom line is that with three weeks left in the regular season, 13 of the 14 teams in the ACC are still alive to become bowl eligible, and there’s something that can be said about that. Obviously, not all them will ultimately become bowl eligible, but there is a chance to have 10 bowl eligible teams in the ACC, which makes it a competitive league, and that comes across in how difficult it was to put together a power rankings of the ACC, even this late in the season.
The Cavaliers got off to a good start to the season by beating BYU, but it’s been all down hill from there, as they could be looking down the barrel of a 10-loss season, and clearly have been the worst team in the ACC this year.
13. North Carolina State
Outside of their loss to Florida State, the Wolfpack hasn't been beaten too badly this season, but that’s the thinnest of silver linings to their five-game losing streak. N.C. State has to win its final three games in order to get to a bowl, but the chances of that happening appear slim.
We’re a long way from Maryland’s 4-0 start to the season that actually had them ranked in the top 25. The Terps are just one win away from going to a bowl, but they’ve been in that position for a month and haven’t come close to winning that sixth game. In fact, outside of their shellacking of West Virginia, there’s nothing impressive about what Maryland has done this year, and few reasons to feel confident about their ability to win one of their final three games.
11. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons have fallen on hard times, especially with the loss of Michael Campanaro, who’s responsible for most of their offense this season. It doesn’t look like Wake Forest will be bowling this year, but if nothing else, they deserve to stay ahead of the two conference foes they beat this year.
The Panthers beating Notre Dame is a huge win for them, especially after coming so close last year, and a huge win for the conference in general. That being said, their other wins this season have come against Old Dominion, Virginia, Duke and New Mexico, and outside of that September shootout with the Blue Devils, that’s not too impressive. Of course, with just one more win the Panthers will be bowling once again.
9. Boston College
The Eagles are better than expected, but other than their win over Virginia Tech and keeping it close against Florida State, there’s not too much about their season that stands out, especially giving up 34 points this week to New Mexico State, a team with no wins of FBS opponents this year. That being said, Boston College needs just one win in its final three games to get to a bowl game, which would be a big step in the right direction for a program that won just two games last year.
8. North Carolina
Three straight wins against so-so teams gets the Tar Heels into the top-10, but not much higher. A four-game losing streak early in the season is hard to forget about, but if they can win out, there’s an argument that can be made for putting North Carolina among the top five teams in the ACC at season’s end.
Take away their games against Clemson and Georgia Tech, and Syracuse has allowed only 13 points in three conference games this year. In fact, they’re two or three questionable penalties from pitching back-to-back shutouts against conference opponents. The Orange aren’t going to win a beauty pageant anytime soon, but they’ve shut it down defensively against weaker opponents, and that’s not something too many teams in the ACC can say.
6. Virginia Tech
The win over Miami this week gave the Hokies a big boost and helped them avoid a three-game losing streak, but they haven’t been all that impressive up to this point in the season. They’ve beaten plenty of decent teams, but they haven’t been overly impressive, so it’s still tough to think of them as being a top five team in the ACC.
A five-game winning streak for the Blue Devils is enough to put them in the top five of the conference power rankings. Duke still has a couple of big tests left on their schedule in Miami and North Carolina, but they fixed the issues they had on defense towards the end of September and have played good football for the past month and a half, and that consistency gives them a slight edge over the rest of the pack.
Two straight losses doesn’t completely erase a 7-0 start, but the Hurricanes did have close wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest leading up to those two losses, so they started to slip before their winning streak came to an end. However, Miami is still a quality team, and as long as they bounce back well the final three weeks of the season, they deserve to be among the top four or five teams in the ACC, and they have a chance to get to the conference title game.
3. Georgia Tech
Despite losses to both Virginia Tech and Miami, the Yellow Jackets get bumped ahead of the Hokies and Hurricanes because they’ve played better over the past month. Let’s be clear, there is a huge drop off between the second best team in the conference and everybody else, but Georgia Tech shook off a three-game losing streak and has won three in a row, and they’ve looked impressive while doing so, while early-season wins against Duke and North Carolina look a lot better now.
There shouldn’t be any doubt that Clemson is the second best team in the conference. They’ve had a couple close games, meaning they only won by 10 or 12 points, but outside of their loss to Florida State, the Tigers have been perfect this season and they’re very much a top-10 team.
1. Florida State
This one’s obvious; no one in the ACC has come close or will come close to competing with the Seminoles all season. There are only a few teams in the country that deserve to be on the same field as Florida State, and it’s why they have a well-paved road leading them to the BCS Championship Game.