1: Florida State Seminoles (10-0, 7-0 ACC)
Ranking: 1 (AP)/1 (USA Today)/3 (Playoff, not updated)
Week 12 Result: 30-26 W at Miami
I mean, why do we even watch the first half of Florida State games anymore? They have had extremely close calls against Oklahoma State, NC State, Notre Dame, Clemson . . . well it'd be easier to list which ones they didn't struggle in. Nevertheless, they always manage to pull out a win in the second half, no matter the deficit (they were down 23-10 to Miami at halftime). After defeating the Hurricanes, the largest threat to FSU's hopes at an undefeated season is Florida, who may attempt to go all-out for Muschamp's last game as the Gators' head coach.
2: Clemson Tigers (7-3, 6-2 ACC)
Ranking: NR/NR/19 (Playoff, not updated)
Week 12 Result: 28-6 L at Georgia Tech
Clemson took a serious step back on Saturday when they allowed Georgia Tech to beat them in every facet of the game. Clemson couldn't get to 200 yards of offense and they turned the ball over thrice, to boot. The worst part was that Deshaun Watson was re-injured and had to leave, at which point Cole Stoudt came in and threw three picks. Good news came today when it was revealed that Watson's injury was not major, as many had feared.
3: Louisville Cardinals (7-3, 5-3 ACC)
Week 12 Result: BYE
Louisville had a bye this week, but there was no doubt that many fans were experiencing déjà vu while watching the Florida State-Miami game unfold. I'm sure they'd rather just forget about that altogether.
4: Boston College Eagles (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Week 12 Result: BYE
Coming off of the poor loss to Louisville on the 8th, Boston College used this bye week to prep for their shot at Florida State, hoping to put a dent in FSU's title hopes. I guess it's safe to say that the Eagles will lead 30-13 at halftime and subsequently lose, 33-30.
5: NC State Wolfpack (6-5, 2-5 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 42-13 W versus Wake Forest
Saturday was a fantastic day for Wolfpack players, coaches, and fans alike. Not only did NC State earn bowl eligibility for the first time in the Doeren era, but the Wolfpack did so in dominating fashion against an in-state rival. Wake Forest's offense was once again nonexistent and NCSU managed to rush for over 360 yards. The Wolfpack now set their sights to their final game of the season, a matchup with UNC. There's a very real possibility now that NC State could be headed to Chapel Hill with an opportunity to hand them their seventh loss. Boy, wouldn't that be sweet?
6: Syracuse Orange (3-7, 1-5 ACC)
Week 12 Result: BYE
At this point in the season, Syracuse is just working their hardest to try and dash postseason hopes for whatever team it is they face. Pitt is currently 4-6, needing to win out to become bowl eligible. Syracuse will definitely be looking to spoil that, as they don't have anything else to lose this season.
7: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-8, 0-6 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 42-13 L at NC State
Wake Forest's offense was--surprise, surprise--a relative no-show against NC State. The Demon Deacons didn't find the endzone until the fourth quarter, and they could not get a stop against NC State. They couldn't even turn over the Wolfpack. At this point, they're subtly preparing for next season.
1: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-2, 6-2 ACC)
Ranking: 17 (AP)/16 (USA Today)/22 (Playoff, not updated)
Week 12 Result: 28-6 W versus Clemson
Georgia Tech looked incredible against Clemson last Saturday, en route to placing themselves firmly in first place in the Coastal title race. Georgia Tech's defense was stifling, allowing the Tigers to find the endzone a grand total of zero times. They also managed to pick off Cole Stoudt thrice, as he threw for only 19 yards. From start to finish, this was the Yellow Jackets' game. I'm so excited for their matchup against Georgia. The Yellow Jackets are playing some of the best football that they have in the Paul Johnson era.
And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.
I apologize for using that joke a second consecutive week.
2: Duke Blue Devils (8-2, 4-2 ACC)
Ranking: 25 (AP)/25 (USA Today)/21 (Playoff, not updated)
Week 12 Result: 17-16 L versus Virginia Tech
Oh my God. They were in the driver's seat in the Coastal. They had already beaten Georgia Tech, and the only other team that posed a threat, Miami, had just suffered a crushing blow against Florida State. Instead, Duke managed to lose at home to a Virginia Tech team that had been disappointing everyone since their win against Ohio State. I will not be surprised at all if their hopes at a Coastal title begin to evanesce in favor of a Georgia Tech run.
3: Miami (FL) Hurricanes (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 30-26 L versus Florida State
I really thought Miami was going to do it. I thought they were going to beat Florida State. Last week, I mentioned that they had a fantastic shot to topple the Seminoles this week, at home, with Duke Johnson. They didn't. Instead, we were treated to a typical FSU performance: A weak first half, followed by a second half that absolved them of any football sins they may have made. I've still got the Hurricanes at number three because they still performed very well and I really think that this bitter loss will propel them into a successful end-of-the-year meeting with both Virginia and Pitt.
4: Virginia Tech Hokies (5-5, 2-4 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 17-16 W at Duke
Where do I even begin? After that humiliating three-game slide, including a 24-point loss to Miami, I did not think that Virginia Tech had any hopes at pulling out a victory against Duke in Wallace Wade Stadium last Saturday. Instead, they managed to barely prove me wrong, forcing three Blue Devils turnovers and winning on a missed 40-yard field goal. I'm done predicting what this team will do. I mean, for all we know, they'll probably lose to Wake Forest next week. I won't even bat an eye.
5: North Carolina Tar Heels (5-5, 3-3 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 40-35 W versus Pitt
UNC was so close to losing to Pitt and falling to 4-6, forcing what would be an insane matchup with NC State to determine bowl eligibility. The Tar Heels faced 14 and 9 point deficits at separate intervals in this game, but they still managed to pull out the win at the behest of their defense, which allowed Pitt to put up over 520 yards of offense. The Tar Heels play Duke next week and it would take a Duke win to allow my dream of NC State playing to keep UNC out of a bowl to come true.
6: Pittsburgh Panthers (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
Week 12 Result: 40-35 L at UNC
Pitt was practically handed a great late-season win against UNC, a team that their offense would have no trouble scoring on, and squandered it away after losing two huge leads. This game had over 1000 yards of offense between the two teams and it was a complete shootout, proving that the team that (almost) had the ball last, UNC, would win. They managed to allow UNC to score with 50 seconds left, leaving their postseason fate solely in the hands of Syracuse and Miami. 5-7 sounds a bit plausible, does it not?
7: Virginia Cavaliers (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
Week 12 Result: BYE
Thank God Virginia didn't play last week, otherwise they likely would have pulled some insane upset against a team that could have very well had high hopes for an ACC title game appearance, but I must digress, as I have harped on Duke's futility far too much. The Cavaliers have to beat Miami and win in Blacksburg to make a bowl game. What once seemed like a promising season after starting 4-2 now looks like it will end as many seasons in recent memory have: With eight losses.