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ACC Power Rankings - Week 12

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Sizing up the ACC football family

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been traveling the large majority of the last two weeks, so apologies on this being late (and for not doing a gif recap this week), but - hey - that’s what happens when your employer moves to a “use it or lose it” PTO model. My sincere apologies, my fellow BTPers.

1. Clemson (Last Week: 35-6 W vs Duke)

Previous Rankings: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1

Nothing to see here. Same thing, different week. Still roasting teams with efficient performances on both sides of the ball. The Tigers offense scored a TD on all five scoring opportunities while averaging 6.12 yards/play in the game. The defense allowed just 3.32 yards/play to a Duke team that had averaged over 7.00 yards/game in two of their previous three games. Clemson plays a South Carolina team they should destroy in the regular season finale before heading to the ACC Championship Game to take on...

2. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 34-13 W @ Wake Forest)

Previous Rankings: 8 / 13 / 10 / 12 / JV-NR / 9 / 13 / 12 / 9 / 5 / 3

Kenny Pickett, who hadn’t touched 200 yards passing in any game this year, threw for 316 yards on 23-of-30 passing with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Dude looked like a legit QB in leading the offense when it actually needed him for once. The defense also played really well racking up 8 TFLs and picking off two passes. Pitt has won five of their last six and has clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game regardless of what happens in their regular season finale against Miami.

3. Syracuse (Last Week: 3-36 L vs Notre Dame)

Previous Rankings: 13 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 2 / 2

It’s not really fair since Eric Dungey went out very early in this one, but even with him in there, Syracuse wasn’t winning this game. Notre Dame was the better team all around and that’s just how it goes sometimes. At least Syracuse didn’t have the ugliest uniforms on the field for once this season! So they have that going for them, which is nice.

4. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 30-27 W vs Virginia)

Previous Rankings: 5 / 9 / 12 / 10 / 10 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 7 / 6 / 7

Here’s what I said last week about GT and Paul Johnson: “... but that’s just what Paul Johnson does: he finds ways to win games he shouldn’t, make bowl games, and continue coaching.” Yep, he did it again. A Postgame Win Probability of 1%? Pshhh... Done. GT pulled out a win out of thin air, but... that’s just what Paul Johnson does.

5. Virginia (Last Week: 27-30 L @ Georgia Tech)

Previous Rankings: 7 / 8 / 9 / 5 / 8 / 7 / 5 / 3 / 2 / 7 / 5

I don’t really understand how this one happened. Virginia had a Postgame Win Probability of 99%. They outgained GT by 98 yards total and 1.53 yards/play. The Cavs were +1.33 points/scoring opportunity. I mean, I guess you just say “Paul Johnson” and move on. Virginia fans are really going to look back at this season and the missed oppourtnities against Indiana, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech and think, “what might have been”...

6. Miami (Last Week: 38-14 W @ Virginia Tech)

Previous Rankings: 9 / 7 / 8 / 4 / 2 / 2 / 7 / 4 / 5 / 9 / 8

The Hurricanes played their best game in weeks to break out of their four game skid (VT will do that for you). The defense led the way forcing three turnovers while the offense was able to take advantage of those VT miscues (while also taking care of the ball themselves) to secure the much needed win. The win secured a bowl game appearance for the Hurricanes, who take on Pittsburgh in the regular season finale.

7. NC State (Last Week: 52-10 W @ Louisville)

Previous Rankings: 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 6 / 3 / 10

The Wolfpack played great, but as has been the case with every Louisville opponent this season, you can’t put too much stock into a win over the Cardinals. Still, a 58.3% success rate on offense and scoring 5.78 points/scoring opportunity on 9 (nine!) scoring opportunities while holding your opponent to arguably their worst performance of the year is a good look for a team that has struggled in recent weeks. NC State plays North Carolina (2-8) and East Carolina (3-7) to finish out the regular season.

8. Boston College (Last Week: 21-22 L @ Florida State)

Previous Rankings: 3 / 3 / 2 / 7 / 7 / 6 / 6 / 5 / 3 / 4 / 4

In a similar manner as NC State with their ‘WTF’ loss to Wake Forest, Boston College went down that same path in a loss to Florida State. The offense struggled with putting the ball in the end zone despite plenty of scoring opportunities and the defense wilted late (especially in the secondary) after a solid performance up to that point in the game. AJ Dillon ran for 116 yards and 2 TDs, which is impressive until you realize it took him 37 carries to do so (that’s 3.1 yards/carry). The Eagles finish the regular season at Syracuse. A win (coupled with an NC State win) would force a three-way tie for 2nd in the ACC Atlantic.

9. Duke (Last Week: 6-35 L @ Clemson)

Previous Rankings: 4 / 4 / 5 / 2 / 6 / 5 / 3 / 8 / 10 / 8 / 6

The Blue Devils got to experience life in the Atlantic for a day and I don’t think they liked it too much. Kinda like a job shadowing day for high school kids when they get a glimpse of the real world and realize, “holy crap, I’m not ready for this!” I hope Duke has a new appreciation for the luxuries of life in the Coastal. Had the game ended after the first quarter, Duke would have won. The game did not end after the first quarter.

10. Wake Forest (Last Week: 13-31 L vs Pittsburgh)

Previous Rankings: 12 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 12 / 11 / 13 / 13 / 13 / 9

Seriously, Wake? You’re being serious right now? This is how you’re going to be? You come out and play over your heads to beat NC State, but then you can’t at least even seem to try against Pittsburgh? Just mail in the entire second half? I didn’t think you could piss me off anymore than you already did last week, but here you are...

11. Florida State (Last Week: 22-21 W vs Boston College)

Previous Rankings: 10 / 12 / JV-1 / 9 / 11 / 11 / 10 / 9 / 11 / 12 / 13

The Seminoles snapped a three game losing streak with what was probably one of their three best performances of the year, as a 74-yard TD pass with 1:48 to play helped to keep bowl hopes alive for Willie Taggart’s group. The offense averaged an impressive 6.37 yards/play against a pretty stout BC defense, with Cam Akers leading the way with 14 carries for 110 yards and a TD. Florida State will need a win against rival Florida in the regular season finale to clinch that bowl birth and keep their consecutive bowl game streak alive.

12. North Carolina (Last Week: 49-26 W vs Western Carolina)

Previous Rankings: 14 / JV-NR / JV-NR / 11 / JV-1 / JV-1 / 12 / 11 / 12 / 11 / 11

UNC Chapel Hill walloped an over-matched Western Carolina squad for just their second overall win on the season. The problem is that they struggled more with this 3-8 Western team than they did last season with a 7-5 Western team. The Tarheels allowed a 100 yard rusher and a 100 yard receiver, which is just the 3rd time this year that Western has done that. And Tryie Adams (WCU’s QB) threw for 290 yards in the game, the third best performance of the year for him. So defense might still be a problem for the Heels.

13. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 14-38 L vs Miami)

Previous Rankings: 2 / 2 / 3 / 13 / 5 / 4 / 4 / 7 / 8 / 10 / 12

The running game didn’t work, the passing game didn’t work, the defense didn’t work... it just wasn’t Virginia Tech’s day... and it’s not their year, either. The Hokies will need to beat Virginia and Marshall in back-to-back weeks if they wish to make a bowl game this year. I know there are extra practices to be had and all that, but it might be best just to let this season mercifully end for VT.

14. Louisville (Last Week: 10-52 L vs NC State)

Previous Rankings: 11 / 11 / 12 / 14 / 12 / JV-2 / 14 / 14 / 14 / 14 / 14

Louisville came out with passion and played a decent first half, but the energy wore off after halftime and the Cards got destroyed. The Cardinals moved the ball well (6.52 yards/play), but couldn’t finish off drives with points (2.00 points/scoring opportunity on 5 scoring opportunities), which is a formula to let games get very lopsided. Even worse for Louisville is that the Jeff Brohm slam-dunk can’t-miss potential hiring isn’t looking as good with Purdue losing three of their last four and dropping to 5-6. At least Louisville might be able to get Brohm on campus sooner if Purdue doesn’t make a bowl game... and they could save some serious cash on that contract, which Louisville could definitely use.