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Week 8 ACC Power Rankings: Chaos Befalls the Atlantic

Week 7 left the stronger of the two divisions shaken up, as a series of divisional matchups resulted in a rather large reshaping of the standings.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

This week, we were treated to a slew of good games from the Atlantic Division, who spent the day subsequently beating up on each other, rearranging the entire standings in that division.

The Coastal, on the other hand, seemed to be on a division-wide bye this week, much to the chagrin of no one.

Atlantic Division

1:  Florida State Seminoles (6-0, 4-0 ACC)
Ranking:  2 (AP)/2 (USA Today)
Week Seven Result:  38-20 W at Syracuse

After a dominating win last week, the Seminoles traveled to New York to take on Syracuse, ultimately emerging victorious in a game that was not--nor was it supposed to be--close.  While Florida State may have notched another win against a conference opponent to help cement their ACC dominance, they could not manage to hang onto their number one ranking, falling to a Mississippi State team that managed to win against another AP top 10 opponent.

2:  Clemson Tigers (4-2, 3-1 ACC)
Ranking:  24 (AP)/22 (USA Today)
Week Seven Result:  23-17 W versus Louisville

Clemson was able to crack the top 25 once again after defeating Louisville in an ugly, albeit thrilling, game.  The worst news for the Tigers was that Deshaun Watson, the freshman quarterback who has emerged as an offensive force in recent weeks, went out in the second quarter and was later diagnosed with a broken finger.  Despite that, Clemson went on to win without scoring a single offensive touchdown.

3:  Louisville Cardinals (5-2, 3-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  23-17 L at Clemson

Had Louisville been able to keep their special teams unit in check and have an offense with some semblance of consistency, they would have beaten Clemson.  Oh and how could I forget the spike, which gave Louisville only one play to score in the waning seconds instead of two. Their defense, however, continued to show why it is among the best in the conference.

4:  Boston College Eagles (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Ranking: NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  30-14 W at NC State

Boston College's offense did an excellent job this week highlighting NC State's defensive inefficiencies, racking up over 300 rushing yards.  The Wolfpack defense seemingly could not buy a stop, as they could not manage to get the Eagles off of the field (Boston College absolutely dominated time of possession).  If not for that slip-up against Colorado State, Boston College would be in a pretty good position right now.

5:  Syracuse Orange (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  38-20 L versus Florida State

A rough three game stretch featuring matchups with Notre Dame, Louisville, and Florida State has left Syracuse with a 2-4 record, something that isn't outrageous, given the circumstance.  The Orange relied on on their rushing game once again, which is among the best in the country.  They have a matchup with Wake Forest next week, meaning they'll have a good shot at picking up their first conference win.

6:  Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE

Despite having a bye this week, I moved them ahead of NC State in the rankings because in my eyes, not playing is a much better result than a loss.

7:  NC State Wolfpack (4-3, 0-3 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  30-14 L versus Boston College

What can I say other than that that performance by the Wolfpack was incredibly disappointing.  State never scored after the first quarter and the 56 minute delay before the third quarter for lightning was surely an omen of some sort.  NC State continues what has been a difficult stretch of schedule with a trip to Louisville next Saturday, encountering an extremely tough defense that is sure to give them headaches.

Coastal Division

1:  Virginia Cavaliers (4-2, 2-0 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE
Virginia didn't play last week, but Georgia Tech's loss was enough to catapult them into first place in the Coastal Division and subsequently the top spot in these power rankings.  They're finally getting votes in the AP Poll and with a win against Duke next week, they can start climbing even higher.
2:  Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  31-25 L versus Duke

Well the Yellow Jackets were perched in a pretty good position prior to this Saturday, as it looked like the Coastal may actually have a clear front-runner.  Instead, we were treated to a beat down that the score doesn't quite reflect, as the race for the Coastal championship was blown wide open once again.

3:  Duke Blue Devils (5-1, 1-1 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  31-25 W at Georgia Tech

After the loss to Miami, Duke was needing some sort of win to keep their hopes at winning the Coastal alive.  The win against Georgia Tech did just that.  The statistics between the two teams were even all throughout, but the difference was the three Yellow Jackets turnovers that Duke was able to force.

4:  Miami (FL) Hurricanes (4-3, 1-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  55-34 W versus Cincinnati

Miami destroyed Cincinnati in front of an underwhelming crowd, something that we've come to expect from Sun Life Stadium.  The Hurricanes totaled over 600 yards of offense, but their defense did leave a little something to be desired in the way of points allowed, despite the three turnovers forced.  It was their most dominating offensive performance of the year, all on the day in which they inducted a new class of Miami Athletics Hall of Famers.

5:  Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE

After a rather large win last week against the Tar Heels, Virginia Tech enjoyed a bye week to regroup for a matchup with Pitt.  The Hokies' defense has been one of their sticking points this season and they will no doubt look to stop a Panthers team that puts up some average offensive numbers.

6:  Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3, 1-1 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE

Surprise, surprise!  Pitt was also on a bye this week.  It was a much-needed bye, as the Panthers had dropped their three previous games, including a shocking loss to Akron.  They have had to use this time to regroup because as I previously mentioned, the Panthers will host Virginia Tech next week.  Pittsburgh has the fourth-best defense in the country in yards allowed, meaning that their showdown with Virginia Tech is sure to be a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair.

7:  North Carolina Tar Heels (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  50-43 L at Notre Dame

Wow.  I'll admit that I was wrong.  In the days and hours leading up to this game, I had been saying that Notre Dame would demolish UNC in South Bend.  The Tar Heels were in the lead at the end of the third quarter but their defense just couldn't prevent the scoring barrage that Notre Dame inflicted, leading to Number 6 Notre Dame staving off a massive upset.  This game is simply another example of how well UNC would be doing if their defense wasn't 127th in points allowed in the FBS.