Week eight of the 2016 college football season was far from the most intriguing for the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. After all, six of the conference’s 14 teams had their bye this past weekend. However, that lack of activity didn’t stop there from being chaos in this week’s rankings as nine of the 14 ACC teams are in a different spot from last week in this week’s power rankings. Without further ado, here’s this week’s update:
1.Clemson (7-0, 4-0, no change from last week)
The Tigers were off this weekend but remain in no danger of losing their top spot in the rankings until they drop a game and lose their undefeated mark.
Next up: By far the biggest test left on the Clemson schedule comes this weekend when the No. 3 Tigers trek down to Tallahassee for a primetime showdown with the No. 12 Florida State Seminoles.
2. Louisville (6-1, 4-1, no change from last week)
After an unimpressive showing against Duke in week seven, Louisville bounced back in the biggest of ways in a 54-13 trouncing of NC State which was, somehow, not as close as the score indicates. Cards quarterback Lamar Jackson had another game to remember and would seem to be running away with the Heisman in a year where almost all the preseason contenders have fallen by the wayside.
Next up: UL hits the road in week nine, traveling to Charlottesville for a matchup with the lowly Virginia Cavaliers in a game that could very well get uglier than last week’s beatdown.
3. Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-1, up one spot from last week)
The Hokies got back to their winning ways last week, taking down the Miami Hurricanes at home in a Thursday night game, 37-16. VT remains in control of its own destiny in the Coastal Division and has made huge strides in year one under new head coach Justin Fuente.
Next up: In its final truly challenging conference game of the season, Virginia Tech takes part in its second straight Thursday night matchup, this time going on the road to take on a Pitt team that is very much still in the Coastal race.
4. North Carolina (6-2, 4-1, up one spot from last week)
UNC did what it needed to do to keep even with Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division on Saturday, disposing of Virginia, 35-14. Still, the Tar Heels need some help in the form of another VT loss if they want to return to their second straight ACC Championship.
Next up: North Carolina is one of the final two ACC teams to get its bye, which comes up this weekend.
5. Florida State (5-2, 2-2, down two spots from last week)
The Seminoles were idle last week while the two teams beneath them in the rankings picked up victories to launch them ahead of the ‘Noles this week.
Next up: Although FSU dropped two spots this week, Florida State would shoot right back up in next week’s rankings if the Seminoles are able to knock off No. 3 Clemson in Tallahassee on Saturday.
6. Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-1, no change from last week)
The Panthers remained idle in the rankings during their bye week, regrouping for their final stretch of the season.
Next up: Pitt gets its chance to reinsert itself back into the forefront of the Coastal discussion when the Panthers host Virginia Tech on Thursday night.
7. Wake Forest (5-2, 2-2, up one spot from last week)
Wake takes advantage of its bye week by moving up a spot despite not even playing a game.
Next up: Needing just one more win to return to bowl eligibility and double their win total from 2015, the Demon Deacons welcome in a 4-3 Army team this weekend.
8. Miami (4-3, 1-3, down one spot from last week)
A Thursday night loss at Virginia Tech marked three straight losses for the Hurricanes, who are reeling after a 4-0 start to the season and, ravaged by injuries on defense, show no signs of improvement.
Next up: It’s no longer the tough matchup that UM anticipated at the beginning of the season but the Canes travel to South Bend this weekend for a matchup with a 2-5 Notre Dame team in a near must-win for both programs.
9. Syracuse (4-4, 2-2, up one spot from last week)
Syracuse pulled the upset once again, going on the road and knocking off slight favorite Boston College just one week after pulling the major upset of VT. Orange quarterback Eric Dungey approached single-game school history in the win over BC and wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo could be in line for postseason awards with his spectacular season to date.
Next up: The Orange finally get their bye in week nine, getting the chance to prep for their difficult final four games of the year, of which they need to win two to become bowl-eligible.
10. NC State (4-3, 1-2, down one spot from last week)
A week after nearly pulling the upset at Clemson, NC State was embarrassed on the road against Louisville, losing by 41 points and being outgained by the Cardinals 553-250. The loss confirmed that NCSU has its work cut out for it to return to prominence in the Atlantic Division going into next year.
Next up: NC State looks to rebound in a home matchup against Boston College on Saturday.
11. Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-3, no change from last week)
The bye week came at a good time for a Georgia Tech team that has lost three straight conference matchups.
Next up: Of GT’s final five games, only two are at home. The first of those will come on Saturday when the Yellow Jackets play host to the Duke Blue Devils.
12. Boston College (3-4, 0-4, no change from last week)
Even being favored did little to help BC’s efforts to snap its lengthy conference losing streak as the Eagles fell 28-20 at home to Syracuse, moving the ACC losing streak up to 12 games.
Next up: Boston College gets a chance to snap the losing streak and improve to .500 on the year in Saturday’s road game against NC State in Raleigh.
13. Duke (3-4, 0-3, up one spot from last week)
Duke was yet another ACC team that had its bye this past weekend, moving up a spot in the rankings while resting up for the remainder of the season.
Next up: The Blue Devils resume their season in pursuit of their first conference win in Saturday’s road matchup with Georgia Tech.
14. Virginia (3-4, 1-2, down one spot from last week)
The Cavaliers were once again outmatched by a conference opponent, falling 35-14 at home to North Carolina, further setting themselves back from bowl contention.
Next up: It only gets worse in week nine for UVA as the Hoos welcome in a 6-1 Louisville team that has been utterly destroying nearly everyone in its path this season.