clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACC football power rankings: Week 8

The aftermath of a crazy week in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Seven weeks are now in the books for the 2016 college football season. We’ve learned a lot about the state of the conference through the first half of the year and with each passing week, it becomes more and more clear which teams are true contenders and which are pretenders. Here’s this week’s power rankings:

1. Clemson (7-0, 4-0, no change from last week)

The Tigers narrowly avoided disaster on Homecoming weekend, needing overtime to dispose of North Carolina State. Still, four turnovers and more struggles from quarterback Deshaun Watson show that this team has some growth left to make if it wants to make another playoff appearance this season.

Next up: Clemson gets a well-timed bye week coming off the close shave at home. The Tigers need to take full advantage of the bye week as a trip to Tallahassee for a game against Florida State sits two weeks away.

2. Louisville (5-1, 3-1, no change from last week)

Louisville escaped with a Friday night 24-14 home win over Duke which was closer than the score shows until the Cardinals added a last-minute touchdown. Lamar Jackson remains a Heisman frontrunner with another multiple-touchdown performance but did the Blue Devils expose a weakness in the Cards’ game?

Next up: UL stays at home this week, playing host to the upstart NC State Wolfpack fresh off a near-upset at Clemson.

3. Florida State (5-2, 2-2, up one spot from last week)

FSU remains unable to put together a complete performance on both sides of the ball. The Florida State defense did its job against an unimpressive Wake Forest offense but the offense proved unable to finish drives in the Seminoles’ 17-6 win over the Demon Deacons.

Next up: Florida State gets it bye in week eight before its home showdown with the undefeated Clemson Tigers.

4. Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1, down one spot from last week)

The same week they reached their highest point in the rankings, the Hokies suffered a terrible setback, falling 31-17 on the road against Syracuse. VT narrowly remains above North Carolina in this week’s rankings due to its head-to-head win over the Tar Heels.

Next up: Virginia Tech’s home matchup with Miami on Thursday night just became significantly more important as the Hokies now need to beat the Hurricanes to stay on top of the Coastal Division.

5. North Carolina (5-2, 3-1, no change from last week)

UNC bounced back from its dreadful performance at home against Virginia Tech with a much-needed 20-13 win on the road against Miami. After games against Pitt, FSU, VT, and UM in consecutive weeks, the Tar Heels emerged with a near-dream scenario of a 3-1 record in those four games and are firmly in the Coastal race with the toughest part of their schedule behind them.

Next up: North Carolina finally gets a bit of a break this week, staying on the road and traveling north to Charlottesville for a game against Virginia.

6. Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-1, up two spots from last week)

It wasn’t always pretty but a pair of non-offensive touchdowns (a 93-yard punt return TD by Quadree Henderson and a 59-yard interception return TD by Jordan Whitehead) proved to the difference in Pitt’s 45-31 home victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, keeping the Panthers in the midst of a heated Coastal race.

Next up: Pittsburgh is one of six ACC teams to have a bye this week.

7. Miami (4-2, 1-2, down one spot from last week)

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya completed a shade over 50% of his passes and had no touchdowns for just the fourth time in his 31-game career as the offense struggled mightily for the second straight week in the Hurricanes’ 20-13 loss to North Carolina.

Next up: UM hits the road for a Thursday matchup at Virginia Tech this week that is a must-win if the Canes want to retain even a marginal chance of winning the Coastal Division.

8. Wake Forest (5-2, 2-2, down one spot from last week)

Wake’s defense was up to the test presented by Florida State but the offense fell flat, managing 252 yards and being held without a touchdown for the fifth straight time in Tallahassee in the Demon Deacons’ 17-6 loss.

Next up: The Demon Deacons come off the loss with a bye before hitting their stretch of the final five regular-season games, of which they need to win only one to get bowl-eligible.

9. NC State (4-2, 2-2, no change from last week)

The Wolfpack had a chance in the closing seconds to earn one of their biggest wins in program history, a road victory over No. 3 Clemson. However, the 33-yard field goal was wide right and NC State went down without a fight in overtime. There was promise in the performance but that lends no solace to the team at this moment.

Next up: NCSU gets another chance to pull a major upset on the road in week eight in the form of a trip to Louisville to take on the Cardinals.

10. Syracuse (3-4, 1-2, up one spot from last week)

The Orange got its first conference win of the season in upset fashion, taking down the ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, 31-17, behind a stellar showing from quarterback Eric Dungey. If you haven’t seen Syracuse head coach Dino Babers’ postgame speech after the win by now, do yourself a favor and click this.

Next up: Cuse looks to make it two straight in a road matchup against a Boston College team that is winless in conference play.

11. Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-3, down one spot from last week)

Georgia Tech snapped its three-game losing streak in Saturday’s 35-24 win over Georgia Southern, getting above .500 in the process, but the schedule gets no easier from here for the Yellow Jackets who have only two games the rest of the way in which they will likely be favored.

Next up: Before its final five games, GT gets a bye in week eight. Looking ahead, the Jackets begin their final stretch by welcoming in Duke in week nine.

12. Boston College (3-3, 0-3, no change from last week)

Boston College had its bye last week at the exact midpoint of its schedule but held its spot in the rankings due to both teams below the Eagles losing on the road.

Next up: BC looks to end its 11-game ACC losing streak at home this weekend when the Eagles play host to Syracuse.

13. Virginia (2-4, 1-1, no change from last week)

Virginia put up a good fight on the road against Pitt but in the end, the Cavaliers came up short, falling 45-31 and snapping their two-game winning streak. Still, the Hoos’ offense showed more signs of life than it had possibly all season in Saturday’s loss.

Next up: It only gets harder for UVA next week as the Cavaliers play host to North Carolina.

14. Duke (3-4, 0-3, no change from last week)

It was close but no cigar for the Blue Devils who took Louisville to the limit in their own stadium on Friday before falling 24-14. Duke is one of only two teams that is winless in the ACC and looking ahead in the schedule, it’s quite possible that the Blue Devils will have to pull an upset to get that evasive first win.

Next up: Duke is yet another ACC team that gets a bye in a week eight which has only four matchups between Atlantic Coast Conference teams.