The BC Interruption ACC power poll is back. If you don't know the drill, a group of BCI staff writers and other Boston College football prognosticators secretly convene in a cigar smoke-filled bunker deep underneath Alumni Stadium; tasked to rank the ACC's best college football programs on a weekly basis.
Here are the results:
BC INTERRUPTION ACC POWER POLL, WEEK 1
1. Florida State Seminoles, 112 points (8 first-place votes)
2. Clemson Tigers, 104
3t. North Carolina Tar Heels, 84
3t. Louisville Cardinals, 84
5. Miami Hurricanes, 77
6. Virginia Tech Hokies, 76
7. Duke Blue Devils, 68
8. Pittsburgh Panthers, 53
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 48
10. Boston College Eagles, 44
11. Syracuse Orange, 42
12. N.C. State Wolfpack, 24
13. Virginia Cavaliers, 19
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons #therivalry, 9
No surprise, but the defending National Champs receive all. of. the. first-place votes in week 1. Unlike a majority of the conference, the Seminoles actually open the season with a modest challenge -- opposite Oklahoma State in Jerry World. Still, as a 17.5-point favorite in this game, followed by a bodybag game against The Citadel, safe to say FSU will likely stay atop this poll for the first few weeks of the season.
Like the Seminoles, the Tigers were a unanimous selection as the second-best selection in the conference. Also like FSU, Clemson has a tough opening-weekend matchup at Georgia, where the Tigers find themselves more than a TD road underdog. CU reloads on offense but is still one of the most talented programs in the conference.
It's early yet, so there are some pretty big differences in some cases about the same team. North Carolina is the first such case, with voters ranking the Tar Heels anywhere from 3rd to 7th. There's some reason to be a bit skeptical of 2014 North Carolina, especially with a 1-5 start to last season, but that was arguably more a product of the schedule than skill. That said, this year's schedule doesn't do UNC any favors, including road games at two of the three other teams expected to vie for a division title -- Miami and Duke -- and a third in a rotating cross-over division game at Clemson. North Carolina opens the season against FCS Liberty.
I don't totally understand the early Louisville love in this poll, but I'm also struggling to find a team that goes in this spot in the Cardinals stead. Duke, maybe. Like North Carolina, voters were split in Petrino's bunch, ranking the Cardinals anywhere from 3rd to 7th. But when tallying up the votes, Louisville finds itself in a tie for third with North Carolina. The Cards have a chance to prove themselves right out of the gate with a Labor Day home game against Miami. Louisville is a 3-point favorite.
A surprising amount of preseason love for the Hurricanes. No wait, that's every season. Miami should be a solid team but has a lot of questions going into the season. The schedule isn't all that forgiving, especially for a team breaking in a true freshman quarterback. After a road game at Louisville, Miami gets at Nebraska, Duke, at Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, at Virginia Tech and North Carolina -- a daunting stretch of games that could completely derail the season.
It's a bit strange not to see the Hokies listed as Coastal Division favorites this year, but that's probably fair given this has been a very average program the past few seasons. Virginia Tech opens the season against FCS William & Mary -- both of them -- before hitting the road and facing a Braxton Miller-less Ohio State team in week 2.
Major disrespect for the defending Coastal Division champs, picked 7th in this week's power poll. Duke engendered the most disagreement with voters, with folks ranking the Blue Devils anywhere from 3rd to 11th (!). Even after getting hit hard with the injury bug during fall camp, I tend to think Duke is a legit threat to repeat as Coastal Division champs. A very favorable non-conference slate -- Elon, at Troy, Kansas, Tulane -- and a cake cross-over sched -- at Syracuse, Wake Forest -- and this still has the makings of a 8-10 win team.
Pitt was a bit all over the place, with voters ranking the Panthers anywhere from 5th to 11th. I'm not sold on Pitt-as-Coastal-Division-contenders quite yet, but the schedule is manageable enough that this is probably another bowl team set up for 6-7 wins this season. The Panthers open the season vs. Delaware before making the trip to Chestnut Hill in week 2.
Like Pitt, Georgia Tech is probably a notch below the four Coastal Division contenders. But bowl eligibility is probably still in reach with two FCS-ish non-conference opponents and a cross-division game against N.C. State. The Jackets open the season against some FCS outfit named Wofford.
Other than the unanimous selections at 1-2, the voting appears to be the closest for BC. Voters ranked the Eagles from 8th to 12th, with ninth as the most common placement. Commence gnashing of Orange fans teeth with BC ranked ahead of Syracuse. BC opens the year in something tabbed "The Battle For The Bay State;" at least according to MBTA trolleys and municipal trash cans.
The Orange were edged by the Eagles by a few points, with much disagreement as to Syracuse's place in the ACC pecking order. Syracuse was picked anywhere from 7th to 12th, but with a double-digit ranking the most common. #orangeeagle and all, but I'm just not sold on a team that already claims a pair of 50+ point conference losses and was one BC defensive lapse away from a losing season in year 1 under #hardnosed Scott Shafer. Syracuse opens with a home game against FCS Villanova.
Little to no love for the 'Pack, which sound about right for a team that became the first Atlantic Division team to finish the year 0-8 in conference. It will be interesting to see how voters rank the Wolfpack throughout the year; especially with an egregiously bad non-conference slate of Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, USF and Presbyterian to open the year. The kicker? Only one of those teams is still classified as FCS.
The Cavaliers are a 21.5-point HOME underdog in their season opener against UCLA, and that's really all you need to know about Mike London's job security. Hey, remember when BC fans wanted to hire Mike London? About that ...
As a total aside, someone ranked Virginia as the 9th best team in the conference, which, weird.
Dark days for #therivalry. Despite a Clawsome hire over the offseason, general consensus is Wake Forest is going to majorly suck in year 1 of life after Jim Grobe. Only one soul was brave enough to vote the Demon Deacons something other than last (13th). It's the little victories.