ACC Week 8 Power Rankings: Georgia Tech turns things around

The good news is the ACC has five teams with one loss or fewer, more than any other league. The bad news is it’s down to its last undefeated team after Georgia Tech pulled the upset on Florida State. So, how do the power rankings shake out after a rollicking week in the conference?

1. Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC): A week after throwing for 420 yards in a blowout of Boston College, the Tigers handed Miami its worst loss in program history by running for 416. Clemson is exceeding what were already immensely high expectations.

2. Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 4-1 ACC): The first loss in ACC play since 2012 couldn’t have come in more heartbreaking fashion. FSU had a chance to put the game away, but Everett Golson threw his first interception of the season in the end zone. Then, as FSU had a chance to win it, a blocked field goal as time expired turned into six points going the other way.

3. Duke Blue Devils (6-1, 3-0 ACC): The game went four overtimes, but the Duke D made plays when it mattered most, and Thomas Sirk appears to finally be coming into his own as the Blue Devils’ QB. That could be a dangerous proposition for the rest of the Coastal.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1, 4-0 ACC): Pitt had lost 32 straight games when trailing at any point in the fourth quarter, including a brutal defeat at the hands of Iowa earlier this year. But Pat Narduzzi reached into his bag of tricks, calling for a gutsy fake punt to preserve the final game-winning drive and the Panthers’ Coastal hopes.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-1, 3-0 ACC): There were some early struggles in a clear look-ahead situation against Virginia, but Gene Chizik’s new-look defense continues to impress. The Tar Heels have held the opposition to 17 points or fewer in six of seven games.

6. Louisville Cardinals (3-4, 2-2 ACC): It was an ugly offensive performance that included 20 plays that went for negative yardage, but the defense continues to impress. Whether that’s a winning formula the rest of the way is a big question, however, and Bobby Petrino needs to find some answers on the offensive line.

7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-5, 1-4 ACC): In the biggest upset of the season in the ACC in terms of sheer drama, the Yellow Jackets finally escaped with a win to snap a five-game losing streak. The combined winning percentage of the past six teams Georgia Tech has faced is .889, by far the toughest Power 5 slate in the country.

8. Virginia Tech Hokies (3-5, 1-3 ACC): Is it possible to impress in a game that might have put the final nail in a coach’s coffin? Virginia Tech took Duke to quadruple overtime, but another loss for Frank Beamer has fans begging for change. It also means there’s virtually no more margin for error if the Hokies want to preserve their bowl streak.

9. NC State Wolfpack (5-2, 1-2 ACC): Now this is the Wolfpack team we were promised during four early games against cupcakes. NC State roared out of the gates with four plays of 50 yards or more in the first quarter of a thunderous win over Wake Forest.

10. Syracuse Orange (3-4, 1-2 ACC): It’s pretty clear that progress is being made, but for the second straight week, Syracuse saw a fourth-quarter lead disappear while its quarterback took some big hits.

11. Miami Hurricanes (4-3, 1-2 ACC): There was ample sentiment to send the Canes right to the bottom of the power rankings after the worst loss in program history, but we didn’t want to pile on. Al Golden has enough problems to deal with right now.

12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-5, 1-4 ACC): After a reasonably strong 3-2 start to the season and an early lead against UNC last week, the wheels have come off. In the past seven quarters of play, Wake Forest has been outscored 85-24.

13. Boston College Eagles (3-5, 0-5 ACC): The defense is very good. The offense is unbelievably bad. BC mustered just 79 yards of offense, the worst output by a Power 5 team this season.

14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-5, 1-2 ACC): Any enthusiasm that came from a win over Syracuse in Week 7 was snuffed out this week. On the upside, though, Virginia did get its first game with 200 rush yards since Oct. 4 of last season.