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2014 ACC Football Season Power Rankings: Week 8

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Dominant Atlantic takes this week's top 3 spots.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, the BCI staff writers and other Boston College football prognosticators secretly convene in a cigar smoke-filled bunker deep underneath Alumni Stadium, tasked at ranking the ACC's best college football programs on a weekly basis.

Previously ...

-- Week 7: BC 9th 
-- Week 6: 11th
-- Week 5: 7th
-- Week 4: 7th
-- Week 3: 11th
-- Week 2: 10th
-- Week 1: 10th

Here are the results for week 8:

BC INTERRUPTION ACC POWER POLL, WEEK 8

1. Florida State Seminoles, 84 votes (6 first-place)
2. Clemson Tigers, 77
3. Louisville Cardinals, 64
4. Duke Blue Devils, 62
5. Virginia Cavaliers, 59
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 55
7. Virginia Tech Hokies, 47
8. Boston College Eagles, 46
9. Miami Hurricanes, 43 
10. Pittsburgh Panthers, 33
11. N.C. State Wolfpack, 21
12. North Carolina Tar Heels, 19
13. Syracuse Orange, 15
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 6

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

Last week: Defeated Syracuse, 38-20
This week: vs. Notre Dame

Previous rank: No. 1 (--)
Highest position: 1
Lowest position: 1

Syracuse hung around for a while, but could never break through in a 38-20 moral victory loss to Florida State. Florida State QB Jameis Winston finished the day 30-of-36 passing for 317 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Dalvin Cook, in relief of an injured Mario Pender, had 23 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Florida State has now won 22 consecutive games--a school record--and is bowl eligible for the 33rd consecutive season.

Up next is a showdown with undefeated Notre Dame in Tallahassee. Florida State opened as a double-digit home favorite.

2. Clemson Tigers (4-2, 3-1)

Last week: Defeated Louisville, 23-17
This week: at Boston College

Previous rank: 2 (--)
Highest position: 2
Lowest position: 3

Clemson needed a stop on 4th and 2 from their own 2 yard line with just a minute to play to preserve a 23-17 victory over Louisville in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Tigers managed 23 points without scoring an offensive touchdown. Clemson managed to score on a 72-yard punt return, a fumble recovery in the end zone and three touchdowns.

The big news is that freshman phenom QB Deshaun Watson broke a finger in his throwing hand and will be sidelined for five weeks. The good news for Tigers fans is that should put him in line to return for the South Carolina game, where Clemson is looking to snap a five-game losing streak in the series.

3. Louisville Cardinals (5-2, 3-2)

Last week: Lost to Clemson, 23-17
This week: vs. N.C. State

Previous rank: 4 (up 1)
Highest position: 3
Lowest position: 7

Louisville nearly pulled off the upset in Death Valley in the school's first-ever game against Clemson, but Will Parker's fourth down pass was batted away as the Tigers preserved a 23-17 victory on Saturday. The Cardinals and their top-ranked defense returns home this week to take on a reeling N.C. State program that's lost 11 straight ACC contests.

Louisville opened as a 15-point home favorite against State.

4. Duke (5-1, 1-1)

Last week: Defeated Georgia Tech, 31-25
This week: vs. Virginia

Previous rank: 6t (up 2)
Highest position: 3
Lowest position: 6

Not sure what to make of this year's Duke team. Results have been mixed over the Blue Devils first two conference games--a 22-10 loss to a 'meh' Miami team followed by a road win over a top-25 ranked Georgia Tech team.

If, at the beginning of the year I would have told you that Duke-Virginia would carry huge Coastal Division title implications, you would have laughed in my face. College football is weird, man.

5. Virginia (4-2, 2-0)

Last week: Idle
This week: at Duke

Previous rank: 5 (--)
Highest position: 2
Lowest position 10

Virginia had the week off yet managed to improve its position in the Coastal Division standings last week after Duke knocked off Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers are the lone remaining Coastal Division unbeaten in ACC play at 2-0. Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia Tech AND Pittsburgh are right on Virginia's heels though with only one loss so far in conference play.

Big test this weekend as the Cavaliers travel to Durham to take on the defending Coastal Division champs. Duke opened as a 5-point home favorite in a line that's already moved to just 2.5 points in early betting action.

6. Georgia Tech (5-1, 2-1)

Last week: Lost to Duke, 31-25
This week: at North Carolina

Previous rank: 3 (down 3)
Highest position: 4
Lowest position: 9

Despite rolling up close to 500 yards of offense on the day, Georgia Tech couldn't come back from a 19-point fourth quarter deficit, falling to Duke 31-25. The loss by the Jackets throws the Coastal Division title race into even further chaos as Virginia (!) is the lone unbeaten left standing in the division. Go figure.

Duke snaps a 10-year losing streak to Georgia Tech, winning in Atlanta for the first time since 1994.

For the Jackets, they'll have to bounce back this weekend if they have any hopes of winning a wide open Coastal Division. Georgia Tech travels to Chapel Hill to take on the 2-4 Tar Heels who are looking for their first ACC victory of the season.

7. Virginia Tech (4-2, 1-1)

Last week: Idle
This week: at Pittsburgh (Thurs.)

Previous rank: 6t (down 1)
Highest position: 4
Lowest position: 9

Virginia Tech had the week off to prepare for this Thursday night's ACC road game at Pittsburgh. The Hokies find themselves a slight road favorite in this one. This is a game the Hokies have to have if the program has any hopes of returning to the ACC Championship Game.

8. Boston College (3-2, 0-1)

Last week: Defeated N.C. State, 30-14
This week: vs. Clemson

Previous rank: 9 (up 1)
Highest position: 6
Lowest position: 8

The offense is humming along at a torrid pace and the defense, while at times maddening, also shows glimpses of dominance. If the Eagles can continue to dominate opponents on the ground (5th in the nation in rushing offense) and hold onto the football (6th in TOP), Boston College will continue to be a tough out for any team left on the schedule.

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

Last week: Defeated Cincinnati, 55-34
This week: Idle

Previous rank: 8 (down 1)
Highest position: 5
Lowest position: 10

Miami took the week off from conference play to paste the American Athletic's Cincinnati Bearcats in non-conference action. Miami put up double digits in each of the four quarters and rolled up 621 yards of total offense on the Bearcats defense to the delight of hundreds of Hurricanes fans.

Now pot, kettle and all...but the best part--the absolute best part--is that Miami's announced attendance was...43,953. If that's what 43,000+ people look like, Boston College has sold out every Alumni Stadium home game since 1994.

10. Pittsburgh (3-3, 1-1)

Last week: Idle
This week: vs. Virginia Tech (Thurs.)

Previous rank: 10 (--)
Highest position: 8
Lowest position: 11

Pitt was off last week as it prepares to host Virginia Tech in a Coastal Division showdown. The two teams have split the last two games in the series. Virginia Tech topped Pitt 19-9 last season in the Panthers ACC debut, but Pitt upset then #13 Virginia Tech, 35-17, two years ago in Pittsburgh.

Interested to see how the Hokies look against a team BC has faced earlier this season. Will tell us a bit more about BC's chances in Blacksburg later this season.

11. N.C. State (4-3, 0-3)

Last week: Lost to Boston College, 30-14
This week: at Louisville

Previous rank: 11 (--)
Highest position: 11
Lowest position: 12

The Pack are still searching for that elusive first ACC victory under second year coach Dave Doeren. N.C. State has now lost 11 straight conference contests going back to the end of the 2012 season. It's also looking more and more likely that that first win won't come over the next three ACC games either--@ Louisville, @ Syracuse and Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest is looking more and more like State's next best chance at that elusive first conference victory. So much for scheduling four wins in non-conference play. State's gotta win two more over the last five to become bowl eligible and there is no longer a clear path to get there.

12. North Carolina (2-4, 0-2)

Last week: Lost to Notre Dame, 50-43
This week: vs. Georgia Tech

Previous rank: 12 (--)
Highest position: 10
Lowest position: 13

The Tar Heels' season is spiraling dangerously out of control. North Carolina has lost four straight and even a bowl game is looking dicey after entering the season as a Coastal Division darkhorse. For a good laugh, consider North Carolina started the year in a tie for third in our first ACC power rankings of the year.

Georgia Tech is up next for the Heels. The Jackets have won five straight meetings going back to the 2008 season.

13. Syracuse (2-4, 0-2)

Last week: Lost to Florida State, 38-20
This week: at Wake Forest

Previous rank: 13 (--)
Highest position: 11
Lowest position: 13

As expected, Syracuse didn't beat #1 Florida State, falling to the Seminoles 38-20. The Orange are now 2-4 on the year, but showed glimpses of their new-look offense under new OC Tim Lester.

'Cuse is on the road at Wake Forest this weekend and finds themselves a slight road favorite in a battle of dueling 2-4 (0-2 ACC) teams. Last season, Syracuse shut out Wake Forest 13-0 in the Dome.

14. Wake Forest (2-4, 0-2)

Last week: Idle
This week: vs. Syracuse

Previous rank: 14 (--)
Highest position: 14
Lowest position: 14

Wake Forest had the week off to prepare for their two-game homestand against Syracuse and Boston College. A win over Syracuse will surely propel the Deacons out of our ACC power rankings basement for the first time this season. Let's go Demon Deacons!