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2014 ACC Football Season Power Rankings: Week 5

The Techs are the biggest movers in week 5.

Peter Casey-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.

Here are the results for week 5:


1. Florida State Seminoles, 112 (8 first-place votes)
2. Duke Blue Devils, 97
3. Clemson Tigers, 91
4. Louisville Cardinals, 82
5. Pittsburgh Panthers, 79
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 75
7. Boston College Eagles, 69
8. Virginia Cavaliers, 50
9. Miami Hurricanes, 47
10. Virginia Tech Hokies, 43
11. N.C. State Wolfpack, 33
12. North Carolina Tar Heels, 30
13. Syracuse Orange, 22
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 10

1. Florida State Seminoles (3-0, 1-0)

Last week: Defeated Clemson, 23-17 OT
This week: at N.C. State

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

The defending National Champs somehow managed to hold on to beat Clemson at home, 23-17 in overtime. Of course, the 'Noles were playing without the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, suspended for the entire game for "vulgar and offensive" remarks yelled in public earlier in the week. Clemson shot itself in the foot on multiple occasions, coming away without any points in 4 of 7 red zone trips, missing two FGs, fumbling late in the fourth quarter on a drive that could have won the game, and, passing up the FG only to get stuffed on fourth-and-a-foot on the Tigers first possession of overtime. You couldn't help but feel like Clemson lost this game more than Florida State won it.

Florida State jumps right back into ACC play with a road game at N.C. State on Saturday night. State has more than its fair share of victories over FSU at Carter-Finley over the years, but N.C. State is a significant home underdog heading into this game (N.C. State +19).

2. Duke (4-0, 0-0)

Last week: Defeated Tulane, 47-13
This week: at Miami

Previous rank: 4 (up 2)
Highest position: 2
Lowest position: 6

The Blue Devils remain unbeaten yet untested on the year. The latest victory a 47-13 triumph over Tulane to close out non-conference play with a perfect 4-0 record. Next up for the Dukies is a road game at Miami in the Blue Devils ACC opener. Interestingly, it's Miami that's the favorite in this one. The Hurricanes are currently a 7-point home favorite against the defending Coastal Division champs.

3. Clemson Tigers (1-2, 0-1)

Last week: Lost at Florida State, 23-17 OT
This week: vs. North Carolina

Previous rank: 2 (down 1)
Highest position: 2
Lowest position: 6

As noted above, Clemson made numerous mistakes in a 23-17 overtime loss to Florida State. The Tigers look to pick themselves up off the mat with a home game against a reeling North Carolina team. Clemson is currently a two touchdown favorite over the Heels.

4. Louisville Cardinals (3-1, 1-1)

Last week: Defeated Florida International, 34-3
This week: vs. Wake Forest

Previous rank: 6 (up 2)
Highest position: 2
Lowest position: 7

With both Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh falling in week 4, Louisville is up two spots this week at #4. Unlike Pitt, the Cardinals didn't struggle with a bad FIU team for a half, taking a 28-3 lead into the locker room and coasting to a 34-3 victory over the Golden Panthers. Louisville has a bit of a weird ACC schedule this year. The Cards have already completed both cross-division games--31-13 W over Miami and a 23-21 loss to Virginia--and play their six ACC Atlantic Division teams over the next seven weeks before ending the year with games at Notre Dame and vs. in-state rival Kentucky. A home game against Wake Forest is the first of the Cards' next six games vs. in-division foes.

Despite QB Will Gardner listed as questionable and WR DeVante Parker out, Louisville goes off as a three touchdown favorite over the Demon Deacons.

5. Pittsburgh (3-1, 1-0)

Last week: Lost to Iowa, 24-20
This week: vs. Akron

Previous rank: 3 (down 2)
Highest position: 3
Lowest position: 8

Pitt took a double digit lead into the locker room, but couldn't do anything in the second half of a 24-20 loss vs. Iowa. The loss was one in a string of poor results for the ACC in week 4. The conference went 0-3 vs. the Big Ten with losses to Nebraska, Maryland and Iowa, while two teams on the cusp of cracking the polls fell to Georgia Tech (Virginia Tech) and East Carolina (North Carolina).

Pitt looks to rebound with a home game against Akron. The Panthers are 19.5-point favorites.

6. Georgia Tech (4-0, 1-0)

Last week: Defeated Virginia Tech, 27-24
This week: Idle

Previous rank: 11 (up 5)
Highest position: 3
Lowest position: 8

Gonna have to apologize for calling out the voter that ranked Georgia Tech 6th last week. Prescient. The Yellow Jackets took out Virginia Tech, 27-24, giving the Hokies back-to-back home losses for the first time since 1995. Harrison Butker's 24-yard field goal with no time remaining handed the Hokies their second last-second loss in as many weeks. The Yellow Jackets (4-0) have the week off as they prepare to host Miami in their ACC home opener.

7. Boston College (3-1, 0-1)

Last week: Defeated Maine, 40-10
This week: vs. Colorado State

Previous rank: 7 (--)
Highest position: 3
Lowest position: 10

The dudes didn't make any moves this week following a 40-10 win over FCS Maine. Voters are more divided on where to place BC this week than they were last week, where the spread was just 5-to-9. Overall, this is probably a pretty fair assessment of where BC should fall in the conference pecking order this week. A win over Colorado State and an upset or two at the top and BC could crack the top 5 next week.

8. Virginia (2-2, 1-0)

Last week: Lost to BYU, 41-33
This week: vs. Kent State

Previous rank: 10 (up 2)
Highest position: 4
Lowest position 11

Virginia's offense played well, but the 'Hoos didn't do enough to pull off the upset in Provo, falling to BYU 41-33. The Cavaliers should be able to get one win closer to bowl eligibility this week as the 'Hoos host Kent State (Virginia -26.5).

9. Miami (2-2, 0-1)

Last week: Lost to Nebraska, 41-31
This week: vs. Duke

Previous rank: 9 (--)
Highest position: 7
Lowest position: 10

The Hurricanes got within 3 points of Nebraska in the third quarter, but a string of personal foul penalties in the second half allowed Nebraska to pull away with a 41-31 victory. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah led a punishing ground game, rolling up 229 yards and 2 TDs on 35 carries to bring the Cornhuskers to victory.

Miami looks to notch its first ACC win of the year when it hosts defending Coastal Division champ Duke in Miami Gardens.

10. Virginia Tech (2-2, 0-1)

Last week: Lost to Georgia Tech, 24-21
This week: vs. Western Michigan

Previous rank: 5 (down 5)
Highest position: 8
Lowest position: 12

Hokies coach Frank Beamer is not a happy man these days, telling reporters his Hokies are "not a good football team right now." Virginia Tech committed a season-high 12 penalties in a 24-21 home loss to Georgia Tech that puts the Hokies squarely behind the 8-ball in the Coastal Division title race right out of the gate. Virginia Tech looks to get back in the win column as they host Western Michigan. Virginia Tech is a 21-point favorite.

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

Last week: Defeated Presbyterian, 42-0
This week: vs. Florida State

Previous rank: 13 (up 2)
Highest position: 5
Lowest position: 13

N.C. State, like Duke, is a 4-0 team that is still largely unproven, playing a cake schedule to jump out to a 4-0 record. The difference between the two programs in this week's ratings (2 vs. 11), I think, is that Duke a) didn't go winless in ACC play last year and b) didn't have close calls to teams as bad as Old Dominion and Georgia Southern.

The good times for N.C. State will likely come to an abrupt halt as they jump into ACC play with a home game against the #1 team in the nation. The next four games for State--Florida State, @ Clemson, Boston College, @ Louisville--don't look so promising for Dave Doeren's bunch.

12. North Carolina (2-1, 0-0)

Last week: Lost at East Carolina, 70-41
This week: at Clemson

Previous rank: 8 (down 4)
Highest position: 8
Lowest position: 14

The Tar Heels had a record-setting day on Saturday, breaking all sorts of records that you don't really want to break. North Carolina was gashed for 789 yards and surrendered 70 (!) points--both school records--in a 70-41 loss to in-state East Carolina. The Pirates have now won four straight games over ACC opponents and cracked both major polls this week.

For North Carolina, there's little reprieve as the Heels next travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson.

13. Syracuse (2-1, 0-0)

Last week: Lost to Maryland, 34-20
This week: vs. Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands

Previous rank: 12 (down 1)
Highest position: 11
Lowest position: 14

Syracuse out-gained Maryland 589-369 on the day, but a series of mistakes, including a Terrel Hunt interception returned 88 yards for a touchdown, doomed the Orange in a 34-20 loss to the Terps on Saturday. The Orange jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a 35-yard Ryan Norton field goal, but the Terps scored the next two TDs and took a 31-13 lead to the locker room. Cuse managed only seven points the entire second half--a Terrel Hunt 1-yard rushing TD with just 48 seconds left in the game to make the final score look a bit more respectable than it really was.

The Orange next host #8 Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands on Saturday night.

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

Last week: Defeated Army, 24-21
This week: at Louisville

Previous rank: 14 (--)
Highest position: 13
Lowest position: 14

The good news for the Demon Deacons is that they won a football game! Over an FBS opponent, no less. More good news: a couple voters didn't rank the Deacons last this week, with Syracuse and North Carolina garnering the other last-place votes. The bad news? It's looking entirely possible that Wake may not win another game this season. ESPN's Football Power Index has the Deacons losing out to finish the year 2-10. The best chance to notch another victory comes in a October 18 home game against Syracuse (26.8%). The second best chance? The Deacons' home game the following week against BC (25.1%).