ESPN Stats & Information has unveiled its first set of conference power rankings for 2014.
What if I told you the ACC was ranked fifth?
Not surprising in the least.
At this point, it is hard to see the ranking as a huge slap at the league, considering the ACC also was ranked fifth in the final 2013 conference power rankings with a national championship and Orange Bowl win to brag about. The ranking speaks to the state of the entire conference, which we all can agree needs to upgrade its product behind the Noles and Tigers.
The key difference between last season and this season, though, is the College Football Playoff. And conference ranking could come into play when the selection committee begins its evaluations. Because strength of schedule will matter. As our friends at Stats & Info point out in their post:
Among Power Five conferences, the ACC is considered the weakest by both the AP Poll and FPI. That means that if the top four conferences place a team in the playoff, it would leave the ACC on the outside looking in. Yet, there is a lot more that goes into those decisions, including the fact that the ACC has the clear No. 1 team in the country. Florida State received 57 of 60 first place votes in the AP Poll and has by far the best chance (39 percent) to finish the season undefeated according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.
However, what if Florida State loses a conference game? Does the relative strength of the ACC come into play?
All fun questions to ponder before the season begins.
Let's take a tour around the rest of the ACC as the games quickly approach:
Boston College may use its running backs out of the backfield more than it did a year ago.
Clemson has studied tape from its game against Florida State last year for clues on how Jeremy Pruitt will run the Georgia defense.
Duke football has come so far, what if it takes a step back?
More fun predictions! Stewart Mandel at FoxSports has Florida State in the playoff and Clemson facing Alabama in the Discover Orange Bowl.
Louisville running back Michael Dyer remains doubtful for the opener against Miami.
Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps talk about Brad Kaaya winning the Miami quarterback job.
Joe Giglio has a great read on NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who has high expectations for himself headed into the season.
Is North Carolina going to be the Coastal champ? One columnist says yes.
Apparently, Larry Fedora takes pleasure in tormenting people.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer compared freshman receiver Isaiah Ford to Antonio Freeman.
Could Kevin Johnson and Merrill Noel be Wake Forest's best cornerbacks ... ever?