I received a couple of questions last week about what happened to the ACC Power Poll. Truth be told? I simply forgot about it. It was lost in the shuffle of a hectic week covering Boston College football, what with the quarterback situation and balancing opinions until the Northern Illinois game. It was a helter skelter type week where everything was going crazy, and the power poll just absolutely got lost in the shuffle.
But have no fear! It's back this week, with more shade to throw on more teams within the league.
Before I begin, a word on this week's games. Since BC's on the road, there's a good chance you'll be watching it on television or your laptop or wherever you can find it. At night, I urge everyone to tune into Clemson-Notre Dame. I don't say that because it's a big game or because it's between two talented football programs, and I don't say that because it's where ESPN Game Day is broadcasting from.
I say that because this may be the biggest game of the season for the ACC.
If Clemson does not beat Notre Dame, the ACC may find itself as the odd league looking in on the rest of the College Football Playoff. Last year, an undefeated Florida State team was found to be worthy only of the third seed even though computer calculations under the old BCS system would've had them as the clear-cut number one team. That indicated the league was viewed as a weaker league, overshadowed by the Pac 12 and the SEC.
Given the league's performances on a week-to-week basis, you have to assume that those two leagues will get half of the slots in this year's CFP. With Notre Dame now in the picture, that leaves the Big Ten, the Big XII, the ACC, and the Fighting Irish to duke it out for two spots.
The ACC is 3-10 against power conferences, with really only Clemson-Notre Dame standing in the way of making a statement. If the ACC wants to get a team into the show, it's going to need either Clemson or FSU to run the table, then win the league. And even then, FSU may not make it if the rest of the league peters out against itself.
That makes this week a must win for Clemson, and the entire league should be rooting for the Tigers.
Anyways, on with this week's Power Poll:
1) Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week: Bye
FSU didn't play anyone last week, which means they actually didn't have a game. That's opposed to NC State, who didn't play anyone last week, which means they played an opponent we don't know the name of. I'll be googling it later.
This week for the Seminoles? The sacrificial Deacons of Wake Forest one week before they travel to Boston for #TheRivalry. Have fun guys!
2) Clemson (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week: Bye
Clemson had last week off, which is a huge positive heading into their game with Notre Dame. That's especially true when you consider how they really made a valiant attempt at Clemsoning that game against Louisville. Woof. Can't believe that's the last time the Tigers played.
This week they get the much-hyped game with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame down in Death Valley. South Carolina is apparently going to be taking the brunt of Hurricane Joaquin, so take the under on all of these games and hope the wind wipes the gold off the ND helmets.
3) Duke (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week: W vs. Georgia Tech, 34-20
This is the state of affairs in the ACC when Duke is a legitimate #3 team in the power poll. There's an argument that can be made that Miami deserves this spot, but the Blue Devils did just wipe the map with Georgia Tech. Even if the Yellow Jackets are falling apart (which we don't really know if they are or if they aren't), the Blue Devils are here until something happens to move them one way or the other.
4) Miami (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: Bye
After beating Nebraska in overtime, the 'Canes head up to Cincinnati for a Thursday night game. Cincy is an underrated tough place to play on Thursday night, and this is a good road test for the U. I expect they could really put together a good showing, and if Duke struggles against Boston College, Miami could see the door open for a run to one of the top two slots in the league.
5) North Carolina (3-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: W vs. Delaware, 41-14
Last week's game meant absolutely nothing for the Tar Heels since they already beat North Carolina A&T earlier in the season. That said, they're 3-1 with a win over Illinois. If they can come up with a win over Georgia Tech, all of a sudden, they find themselves in the driver's seat for a decent bowl berth.
One note is that the offense is still pumping as it was last year, but the defense is so incredibly improved. They've allowed 14 points in three straight games, and they allowed 17 in the opening game against South Carolina. They'll probably have low point totals again this week against the triple option in the wet, nasty weather Joaquin is bringing.
6) Boston College (3-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: W vs. Northern Illinois, 17-14
This is probably overrating Boston College a little bit, but the Eagles have been truly elite on defense. A week after holding Florida State to one defensive touchdown, they pitched a virtual shutout against Northern Illinois. The Huskies scored thanks to an interception that gift-wrapped them a goal line offensive attack and thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Even with the issues on BC's offense, they're treading water and playing highly competitive football. They've done it against solid competition. With a win this weekend, I don't think they necessarily push up the rankings, but they can absolutely take Duke down. We can't really move them up until we start seeing more out of the offense or until they consistently defeat teams. If they were to be 8-1, it would be really hard to keep them at #6 no matter how bad the offense was playing.
7) North Carolina State (4-0, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: W at So. Alabama, 63-13
Don't over exert yourself, Wolfpack. I'm really rooting for Louisville to absolutely pummel them just to prove a point about scheduling four cream puffs so you can assure bowl eligibility.
8) Syracuse (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week: L vs. LSU, 34-24
HOW BOUT THEM ORANGE!
The Orange hung tough with LSU despite entering the game with a fourth string QB who may or may not have been rubbing the footballs down for the starter last year. Their defense is pretty legit, and if their offense can continue to score points, they're going to be a tough out.
With games like that, it's no wonder they're capturing the hearts and minds of New York City as New York's College Team!
9) Georgia Tech (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: L vs. at Duke, 34-20
And just like that, Georgia Tech was unranked. Not bad for the team I said would win the ACC this year. THE CURSE LIVES!
The season isn't unraveled yet, but how much do you trust this team heading down to Chapel Hill this weekend? Yeah exactly.
10) Pittsburgh (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: L at Iowa, 27-24
57 yard field goal beats Pitt?
57 yard field goal beats Pitt.
11) Virginia Tech (2-2, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: L at ECU, 35-28
Hey remember when VT was a national powerhouse with an elite defense that was going to murder teams?
Yeah that was awesome.
Tick tock, Frank.
12) Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: L vs. Indiana, 31-24
Do you really want to know how weak the ACC really is? The Demon Deacons are by far better than the two worst teams in the league right now, and they just lost to Indiana. Their two wins are over Army and Elon. On the flip side, the win gave the Hoosiers their fourth win of the year, equaling their total from all of last year.
13) Louisville (1-3, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: W vs. Samford, 45-3
You know what makes Louisville better than Virginia right now even though they're really an 0-3 team with a trumped up win over a crappy opponent?
They hung tough with Auburn. They hung tough with Houston. They hung tough with Clemson. They lost those three games by a combined 13 points.
Virginia gave up that amount in the first three minutes against Boise. I don't know if that's true, but nobody is probably doubting it.
14) Virginia (1-3, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: L vs. Boise State, 56-14.