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Week 10 ACC Power Rankings: The Coastal Is Right Where We Thought It'd Be

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The Coastal is constantly morphing and becoming even more Kafkaesque with each passing day.

Michael Shroyer

I don't even know why I have expectations anymore.  These two divisions couldn't be more different.  The Atlantic barely shifts from week to week, with the top three teams staying put in their spots.  The Coastal, however, is non-static, constantly on the move due to a myriad of losses.  It is barely even comical anymore.

Atlantic Division

1:  Florida State Seminoles (7-0, 4-0 ACC)
Ranking:  2 (AP)/2 (USA Today)
Week Seven Result:  BYE

It may have been a bye week, but there were actually some rumblings that FSU could gain some votes and possibly leapfrog Mississippi State in the AP Poll, as they seemed to struggle a bit against Kentucky, ultimately prevailing.

2:  Clemson Tigers (6-2, 5-1 ACC)
Ranking:  22 (AP)/21 (USA Today)
Week Seven Result:  16-6 W versus Syracuse

Clemson did not look good against Syracuse.  They've got very lucky that these poor performances have been against teams that are also struggling, otherwise they could just as easily have four losses right now.  They put up solid yardage against the Orange, but they turned the ball over far too much for their own good.  They're lucky though, as they can get away with doing that for one more week, since their next matchup is with Wake Forest.

3:  Louisville Cardinals (6-2, 4-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE

After picking up a win against NC State, Louisville headed into the bye week preparing for when the number two team in the nation, Florida State, visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.  That game is on ESPN this Thursday, in a primetime matchup that will be a must-watch.

4:  Boston College Eagles (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Ranking: NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  23-17 W at Wake Forest

After the first half, it looked as if Boston College was going to absolutely demolish Wake Forest.  Their defense was stifling, holding Wake Forest to a horrible 6 yards of offense.  That includes Wake Forest's -3 rushing yards.  Somehow, Boston College allowed the Demon Deacons to make a game out of this as they nearly let Wake Forest win this one.  Simply allowing this game to be that close is pretty disheartening to think about, but the Eagles are definitely looking good and prepared for a meeting with Virginia Tech, who have been frighteningly bad in recent weeks.

5:  Syracuse Orange (3-5, 1-3 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  16-6 L at Clemson

The first half made it look like Syracuse could actually pull off a major upset of Clemson in Death Valley.  However, that was not due to anything Syracuse was doing well, but rather Clemson's shortcomings.  Neither team could seem to produce anything offensively, and Syracuse was plagued by turnovers, which is one of the reasons that they couldn't find the end zone at all in the game. The Orange weren't lights-out defensively, but their biggest bright spot was the four turnovers they forced.  That certainly prevented this from becoming a blowout.

6:  NC State Wolfpack (4-4, 0-4 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  BYE

That bye week was much-needed.  After four straight losses, including losses to the ACC's top three teams, the Wolfpack were reeling and in much need of a break.  They've no doubt regrouped and have been busy preparing for an important game against Syracuse--one that could determine bowl eligibility.  Technically, that's all NCSU is playing for right now, as they have officially been eliminated from ACC title contention.

7:  Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-6, 0-4 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  23-17 L versus Boston College

Wake Forest couldn't have looked any more different between halves than they did Saturday.  The fact that they were able to make a game out of this is commendable, but there is no doubting that this game was a general disservice to any football viewer.  Nevertheless, 17 is the highest point total for Wake Forest in over a month, yet they still couldn't find a win.  This loss allowed them to join the ranks of those officially eliminated from ACC title contention, killing any moiety of hope they had.

Coastal Division

1:  Duke Blue Devils (6-1, 2-1 ACC)
Ranking:  24 (AP)/24 (USA Today)
Week Seven Result:  BYE

Duke managed to avoid Coastal pandemonium this week, as they were lucky enough to be on a bye.  That wasn't their only bit of luck, however, as the Blue Devils managed to jump back into national polls and look more and more like the Coastal frontrunner that they are.

2:  Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-2, 3-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  56-28 W at Pitt

Georgia Tech simply laid waste to Pitt this past week. Their signature option attack picked Pitt's defense apart, totaling 465 yards on the ground.  Not to be outdone, however, was their defense, which forced SIX Pitt turnovers, including fumbles on the first five Pitt possessions.  The more I write about this makes me glad that I chose to watch the Mississippi State-Kentucky game.

3:  Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  30-6 W at Virginia Tech

Miami looked incredible in Blacksburg on Thursday. Junior running back Duke Johnson managed to eclipse the 1000-yard rushing mark, proving he is an absolute machine on the field.  He is the core of this Miami offense and they are actually looking like they could throw a hitch in Duke's Coastal title plans, as they've pulled off victories against a few key opponents in the division. They've got a home game against UNC next, and God knows that's the recipe for Duke Johnson to have another massive performance.

4:  North Carolina Tar Heels (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  28-27 W at Virginia

I am just shocked that the Tar Heels have been able to pull off wins against Georgia Tech and Virginia in the past two weeks following a close loss to Notre Dame. This game was enthralling down to the final second, but UNC managed to come out on top. They're looking like they may actually be able to mount a run at the Coastal title because God only knows who's going to emerge victorious from this mess.

Oh and all of this is coming at a time when UNC is an incredible amount of turmoil following recent findings of academic fraud.

5:  Virginia Cavaliers (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  28-27 L versus UNC

Well good lord. Just two weeks ago, the Cavaliers were at the top of these very power rankings. How far the mighty have fallen. In that time, they have managed to lose two consecutive games, sending them plummeting to sixth place in the Coastal standings. Virginia's remaining schedule is a piece of work, and somehow the easiest game on it is at Virginia Tech. They'd better get it together before they take on Georgia Tech, then Florida State, then Miami.

6:  Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4, 2-2 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  56-28 L versus Georgia Tech

Pitt basically set fire to football last week. The Panthers fumbled in their first five possessions in this game, and Georgia Tech capitalized on those errors. Pitt literally could not have looked worse in this game and I just don't want to talk about it anymore.  It's not a fun topic of conversation for anyone involved.

7:  Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 1-3 ACC)
Ranking:  NR/NR
Week Seven Result:  30-6 L versus Miami

I can't even believe that Virginia Tech is last in power rankings of any sort. This is a team that has been a dominant force for the past decade-plus, and they also showed promise earlier this season, toppling Ohio State. Despite that, they have been absolutely horrid the past two weeks and it's unbelievable. I don't want to overreact, but with Virginia Tech's remaining schedule, I'm not sure if I see two more wins to get them over the hump into bowl eligibility. There's at least one win against Wake Forest, but Boston College and Virginia are huge question marks.