ACC Power Rankings Week 8- The Race to Charlotte!

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Welcome to the second week of my power rankings. There were all sorts of fun and entertaining ACC games this weekend, and a few should shake up the order at the top after lackluster performances.

I'll try not to be too bi-polar with these rankings, but I will bump teams up and down for good losses/bad wins, etc.

Click through the jump for Week 8 Power Rankings!

1. Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 4-0 in the ACC)***

After I heaped praise on Florida State last week, they came out with a pretty mediocre performance against Boston College. Christian Ponder had all sorts of trouble against Boston College's stingy defense and it almost cost the Seminoles the game. I still think they are a clear-cut number one, but Virginia Tech is gaining ground on them quickly. FSU travels to Raleigh on Thursday night in a crucial ACC Atlantic matchup. If they come away from State with a victory, they have all but wrapped up their spot in Charlotte in December.

2. Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-0)

As we all know, Virginia Tech looked extremely impressive on Saturday against us in the first half. 49-14 is an old-fashioned ass-whooping, no matter how bad a defense is. It is hard to say whether it was more Wake Forest's lack of anything that resembles a defense, or a great offense for VT, but I will give the Hokies the benefit of the doubt and say that it was both. Even without Ryan Williams, the Hokies continue to rack up the yards, Their next test is against Duke this weekend before a bye the following Saturday. The Hokies should become bowl eligible and keep their undefeated ACC record in tact.

3. Miami Hurricanes (4-2, 2-1)

Miami got the win on Saturday in Durham, but it wasn't pretty. Due to the nature of the win, and the impressive nature of the Hokies win, they switched spots and dropped to the #3 ranking. Miami welcomes the Tar Heels of North Carolina into the Sunshine state in a big Coastal division matchup. The team that wins this game has the inside track at knocking off Virginia Tech to make it to Charlotte. I think that Miami will rebound from this performance, but UNC has a lot of momentum after a 44-10 throttling of UVA.

4. Georgia Tech (5-2, 3-1)

Georgia Tech enjoyed a brief reprieve from the ACC with a game against MTSU. The Jackets made easy work of the Blue Raiders, winning 42-14. This week will be a little tougher, as they travel to Death Valley in a pretty big matchups for both teams. The Yellow Jackets can't afford another loss in the conference, and neither can the Tigers. Both teams should bring their A game and it will be a great one to watch. Due to State's loss and GT's win this week, the Yellow Jackets move up to 4th place in this week's rankings.

5. North Carolina (4-2, 2-1)

UNC continues their impressive play as of late, with a huge 44-10 win in Charlottesville. They Heels were firing on all cylinders, and move up to 5th in this week's rankings. Next up is a trip to Miami to face the Hurricanes. This is a really big game for the Coastal (as already noted), and it will cast light on UNC as a contender or pretender for Charlotte. As I said last week, UNC has a few tough games left in conference, so they probably won't be able to play in the ACCCG, but if they win this week then who knows?

6. N.C State (5-2, 2-1) 

The Wolfpack took a big step back on Saturday losing to ECU 33-27 in OT. The Pirates have an atrocious defense, and the fact that Wilson had such a bad game isn't good for the Raleigh faithful. The bright side is that ECU is not in the ACC and it does not hurt the Pack as they try to compete for the Atlantic crown. Carter-Finley should be as loud as ever on Thursday as the Seminoles come in for a HUGE game. I think that FSU is the better team (certainly the better defense), but something tells me that Tom O'Brien and Russell Wilson will make this a game to remember. FSU usually has trouble with State in Raleigh, and especially on Thursday nights. The Pack drops 2 spots this week because of a bad loss, and the way that Tech and UNC took care of business on Saturday.

7. Clemson (3-3, 1-2)

Another Dabo Swinney rounding up the troops, another big response from Clemson. The Tigers easily took care of Maryland this week 31-7. Since Maryland was in the 7 spot and Clemson was 8th, they overtook the Terps at 7th. Clemson gets back to .500 on the year, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Clemson pull a VT and only lose once more this year. It would be a great start to defeat the Yellow Jackets in Death Valley this weekend.

8. Maryland (4-2, 1-1)

The Terrapins got tripped up this week in Clemson and took a pretty big beatdown. This is a temporary setback for Maryland, but nothing that they should be too worried about. A bowl game is still well within reach with three games against Boston College, Wake Forest and UVA. They should definitely win at least 2 of these games, and then probably steal another one somewhere along the road to finish with 7 wins. This is a far cry from last year's 2-10 record, and the fans have to be pretty pleased with the turnaround, as well as the direction the program is headed.

9. Virginia (2-4, 0-3)

Virginia got embarrassed at home by North Carolina on Saturday, and if it weren't for the futility of the teams behind them, they would fall into the #10 spot. It is pretty telling as to how weak the ACC is when the Cavaliers sit at 9th place in the Power Rankings. The Cavaliers step out of conference this weekend, as they welcome Eastern Michigan to Scott Stadium. The Eagles are coming off their first win in 19 games, so should be riding a high. Regardless, UVA should move to 3-4 after this week and get some confidence for the rest of the year.

10. Boston College (2-4, 0-3)

Boston College came out on Saturday and rode their defense to a near huge upset of Florida State. Their defense is extremely impressive, and forced 4 Ponder turnovers, including one that got taken back for 7 (and another pick-six that got wiped off the board due to offsides). The offense is still a big question. The Eagles had 18 plays in Seminole territory, and gained -2 yards. That my friends, is horrid. Despite the loss, BC moves up to the #10 spot because they are better than Wake Forest right now. If they can get any semblance of offense for the rest of the year, BC could pull a big upset and get to 4-5 wins.

11. Wake Forest (2-5, 1-3)

Another game, another embarrassing loss for the Deacs. The trip to Blacksburg was fun for me, but I think I could have done a better job on defense than the guys on the field. The effort is there, but lack of talent, execution and positioning is not. What can you say about a team that allows 49 points in a half, and 7 touchdowns on 8 drives? At least it wasn't the worst defensive performance of the year (thanks Stanford!). Jim Grobe has a bye this week to get his team ready for the rest of the year. The only good news is that the schedule gets easier from here on out. According to my power rankings, the Deacs have the following rankings to play in the conference left: 6, 7, 8 and 10, before a Thanksgiving affair with Vanderbilt. If the Deacs can somehow get 2 more wins to get to 4-8 on the year, I would be pretty pleased with the turnaround.

12. Duke (1-5, 0-3)

Once again the Devils reside in the cellar of the ACC.There were a few bright spots in the game on Saturday as the Devils only lost 28-13 to Miami. They should be proud of the effort they put forth, as Cutcliffe continues to teach their young guys to get better. Duke travels to Blacksburg this weekend, and should really try to avoid getting embarrassed (see, the opposite of Wake's game on Saturday). It could be a tough couple of weeks ahead for Duke, and I don't see them escaping the #12 spot anytime soon only because Wake Forest has already beaten them.

There you have it folks, my Week 8 Power Rankings are in the book. To summarize, there is 1 bowl eligible team (FSU), and a bunch of mediocre to really bad football teams aside from them. Some big matchups this week with FSU-State, Tech-Clemson, and UNC-Miami, should help paint a great picture of who is going to be in Charlotte for the ACCCG.

As always, comments/criticisms/praise are welcome (especially praise!). Thanks for reading and Go Deacs!

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