ACC power rankings: Clemson way out from of Virginia schools

Another week, another rout for Clemson.

The Tigers wrapped up a fifth consecutive ACC Atlantic Division title with a 55-10 victory at N.C. State and barring a slip-up of monumental proportions appear bound for yet another trip to the College Football Playoff.

Beyond Clemson, there’s little else of note on the ACC horizon, which lost its only other ranked team when Wake Forest was beaten by Virginia Tech on Saturday.

The only drama left is focused on the several teams in the Coastal Division that continue to jockey for position as the regular season hits its home stretch.

1. Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC)

Last week: No. 1.

Nothing to see here, save for yet another another division title for the Tigers. Clemson appears to be hitting its “championship phase” stride, which is not good news for the remaining victims on its schedule – Wake Forest and South Carolina. The Tigers are the only team in the nation to rank in the top four nationally in both total offense and total defense.

Up next: Saturday vs. Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC.

Clemson running back Travis Etienne scores a touchdown during the first half against North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium.

2. Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC)

Last week: No. 5.

No one is playing better than the Hokies at the moment. After being given up for dead in September, the Hokies have won four of five, with the lone defeat being a one-point decision at Notre Dame. Last week Virginia Tech rolled past Wake Forest to knock the Deacons out of contention in the Atlantic Division.

Up next: Saturday at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ACCNX. 

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3. Virginia (7-3, 5-2 ACC)

Last week: No. 3.

The Cavaliers had to work a bit harder than expected to top Georgia Tech 33-28, but now are in position to become the seventh different Coastal champion in as many years. Back-to-back wins against North Carolina and Georgia Tech have Virginia back in the division driver’s seat, but the bad news is the Cavs have to end the season against Virginia Tech – a team that has defeated them each of the past 15 years. Stay tuned.

Up next: Nov. 23 vs. Liberty.

4. Miami (6-4, 4-3 ACC)

Last week: No. 6.

Miami is another team in serious turnaround mode. Since losing to Georgia Tech in overtime on Oct. 19, the Hurricanes have won four of five, including each of their last three games, and after a bye week will conclude the regular season against Florida International and Duke. An 8-4 season and bowl berth should be forthcoming.

Up next: Nov. 23 vs. Florida International.

5. Wake Forest (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Last week: No. 2.

Wake Forest collapsed last week at Virginia Tech in a big way. The Deacons led 10-6 at the half, then surrendered 30 second-half points to wind up losing by 19. Out of the Atlantic Division chase, it’s hard to gauge the Deacons’ incentive down the stretch, but a nice bowl trip isn’t out of the question for a team that should finish with nine wins.

Up next: Saturday at Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ABC.

6. Louisville (5-4, 3-3 ACC)

Last week: No. 4.

A break-even season would be huge for Louisville, which won only two games a year ago. But the Cardinals could do considerably better than that and perhaps finish with as many as eight wins under first-year coach Scott Satterfield, which would make him a leading candidate for ACC coach of the year.

Up next: Saturday at North Carolina State, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network.

7. Pittsburgh (6-3, 3-2 ACC)

Last week: No. 8.

Like most Coastal Division teams, Pitt remains in “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” mode. The defending division champions, the Panthers have won five of six games since a 1-2 start and face North Carolina and Virginia Tech the next couple of weeks.

Up next: Thursday vs. North Carolina, 8 p.m., ESPN.

8. Florida State (5-5, 4-4 ACC)

Last week: No. 10.

Florida State fires coach Willie Taggart and promptly snaps out of its recent skid by winning at Boston College last week. Will the success continue? It should for at least one more week as the Seminoles get Alabama State before closing out the regular season at Florida.

Up next: Saturday vs. Alabama State, noon, ACCNX.

9. North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC)

Last week: No. 7.

North Carolina is 16 points from being 8-1; the Tar Heels also are only 13 points away from being 1-8, so 4-5 seems about right given the penchant Mack Brown’s team has for close games. Actually, the Tar Heels may finish with seven wins given their remaining foes are Pitt, Mercer and N.C. State.

Up next: Thursday at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m., ESPN.

10. Boston College (5-5, 3-4 ACC)

Last week: No. 9.

Just when I’m convinced Boston College is going to notch a statement win, the Eagles make a statement of the wrong kind. Boston College lost at home to Florida State last week, 38-31, in what was their third ACC defeat by seven points or less.

Up next: Nov. 23 at Notre Dame.

11. Duke (4-5, 2-4 ACC)

Last week: No. 11.

It seems like oh, so long ago that Duke trounced Virginia Tech, 45-10. Both teams have experienced a reversal of fortune since, with Duke losing four of five since that day. The Blue Devils, who have yet to play Wake Forest and Miami, may be hard-pressed to finish .500.

Up next: Saturday vs. Syracuse, 4 p.m., ACC Network

12. North Carolina State (4-5, 1-4 ACC)

Last week: No. 12.

To say the Wolfpack has been decimated by injuries would be the understatement of the season, and that was evident in Saturday’s 55-10 loss to Clemson. N.C. State had three walk-on linebackers by game’s end and redshirt freshman quarterback Devin Leary – who began the season third on the depth chart – has struggled behind a patchwork offensive line.

Up next: Saturday vs. Louisville, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network.

13. Georgia Tech (2-7, 1-5 ACC)

Last week: No. 13.

The Yellow Jackets certainly were more competitive last week, pushing Virginia to the limit before losing 33-28. Will that solid effort carry over? We’ll find out quickly as Georgia Tech plays host to Virginia Tech this week.

Up next: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ACCNX.

14. Syracuse (3-6, 0-5 ACC)

Last week: No. 14.

The good news: Syracuse didn’t lose last week. The bad news: The Orange were on a bye week. The lone team without an ACC victory, Syracuse has three more shots at glory, beginning Saturday at Duke. It’s hard to believe the Orange were a 10-win team a year ago.

Up next: Saturday at Duke, 4 p.m., ACC Network.