Week 12 in the ACC was a calm before the storm, as it was all across the country.
With a number of teams electing to take on FCS teams while more took part in games that were not particularly compelling, it was an appetizer for the chaos that could be this upcoming weekend which is chock full of rivalries and interesting matchups.
Both of the ACC division champs took care of business, albeit with varying levels of adversity. How did that, as well as what happened across the conference, affect this week’s rankings?
1. Miami (10-0, 7-0 in ACC, no change from last week’s rankings)
The prime letdown spot proved to be exactly that as the Hurricanes had to overcome a pair of 14-point deficits in their home matchup with Virginia. UM was up to the task, winning convincingly in the end, 44-28.
Up next: The Hurricanes, now two wins away from a College Football Playoff berth, are heavily favored (-13.5) in this weekend’s regular season finale at Pittsburgh.
2. Clemson (10-1, 7-1, no change)
The Tigers were one of many ACC teams that played their FCS game last weekend ahead of rivalry week, easily disposing of The Citadel, 61-3, behind three passing touchdowns from Kelly Bryant.
Up next: Clemson has its rivalry matchup with South Carolina in primetime on the road in Columbia Saturday.
3. Wake Forest (7-4, 4-3, up one spot)
An impressive 30-24 win over NC State has Wake Forest reaching new heights in this week’s power rankings. Is it ridiculous to say that Demon Deacons QB John Wolford may be a top-seven QB nationally?
Up next: Already a seven game winner for the second consecutive season, Dave Clawson’s Wake team will look to win eight games for the first time since 2008 in Saturday’s home game against Duke.
4. Virginia Tech (8-3, 4-3, up one spot)
The Hokies snapped their two-game skid (barely) after a goal-line stand to preserve their 20-14 win over lowly Pitt.
Up next: Virginia Tech will have an unexpected challenge this weekend on its trip to Charlottesville to take on Virginia.
5. NC State (7-4, 5-2, down two spots)
A goal-line fumble in the closing minutes doomed the Wolfpack in its 30-24 loss at Wake Forest. NC State has now lost three of its last four after a 5-1 start.
Up next: NCSU will be favored to right the ship this weekend, playing host to 3-8 North Carolina.
6. Louisville (7-4, 4-4, no change)
The Cardinals put together their best all-around performance of the season and the outcome, a 56-10 drubbing of Syracuse, backed this up. Lamar Jackson has put up comparable numbers to last season’s Heisman campaign, but he doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere close to the same level of national attention.
Up next: Louisville plays in one of the ACC’s four cross-conference rivalry matchups with the SEC this weekend, traveling to Lexington to take on Kentucky.
7. Boston College (6-5, 3-4, up two spots)
The Eagles are bowl eligible for the second straight year and the fourth time in five seasons under Steve Addazio, accomplishing the feat in their resounding 39-16 win at UConn.
Up next: BC wraps up its regular season on the road this weekend, taking on Syracuse.
8. Virginia (6-5, 3-4, no change)
QB Kurt Benkert’s ridiculous stat line (28-37, 384 yards, 4 touchdowns) was wasted by a poor second half showing as the Cavaliers were outscored 30-14 in the second half in their loss at No. 3 Miami.
Up next: The Hoos, who have lost 13 straight to in-state rival Virginia Tech, have a prime opportunity to put an end to that drought this weekend at home against the Hokies.
9. Georgia Tech (5-6, 3-5, down two spots)
What a roller coaster these last few weeks have been for the Yellow Jackets. GT went from an unlikely bowl team two weeks ago to likely after the win over VT a week ago and now is unlikely once again after a bad 43-20 loss at Duke over the weekend.
Up next: In order to not miss a bowl for the second time in three years, Georgia Tech must pull the highly unlikely upset of No. 7 Georgia in Atlanta Saturday afternoon.
10. Florida State (4-6, 3-5, no change)
The scoring dam burst in a big way for the Seminoles against a bad FCS team in Delaware State with FSU putting up 77 points, the second most in program history.
Up next: Needing to win out to assure bowl eligibility, Florida State is a minor favorite on the road at Florida this weekend.
11. Duke (5-6, 2-5, up one spot)
Duke scored more in its 43-20 win over Georgia Tech than it had in its previous three games combined.
Up next: The win kept the Blue Devils’ bowl hopes alive for at least one more week, but to reach 6-6, Duke will need to pull another upset, this time on the road at Wake Forest.
12. Syracuse (4-7, 2-5, down one spot)
Syracuse lost its chance at definite bowl eligibility with a whimper in a 56-10 loss at Louisville over the weekend.
Up next: In order to reach 5-7 and set up the possibility of a bowl bid from a strong Academic Progress Rating, the Orange must win at home this weekend against Boston College.
13. Pittsburgh (4-7, 2-6, no change)
The Panthers came up a yard short of what would have been a big win in their disappointing season. Instead, it was a 20-14 loss at Virginia Tech.
Up next: The pursuit of a fifth win will be at home this weekend, but will also be against a much tougher opponent in undefeated Miami.
14. North Carolina (3-8, 1-7, no change)
Even in a down year, the Tar Heels jumped all over FCS opponent Western Carolina, pulling out a 65-10 win.
Up next: UNC wraps its disappointing 2017 campaign with a tricky matchup against in-state foe NC State on the road.