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ACC Week 9 Power Rankings: Clemson, Louisville (barely) hold firm at top

Good luck trying to play the head-to-head game -- or even the common-opponent game -- when it comes to slotting some ACC teams. Clemson and Louisville remain the class of the conference after close road wins, but it’s chaos after that.

1. Clemson. The Tigers cleared seemingly their final regular-season hurdle, remaining undefeated with a fourth-quarter comeback in a 37-34 win at FSU. With their perfect season still intact, it’s worth acknowledging the impressive wins they have this season: at Auburn, Louisville and at FSU.

2. Louisville. That was a little close for comfort, no? Lamar Jackson saved the day in a 32-25 win despite UVa’s best efforts to ruin his Heisman plans -- and his team’s long-shot playoff plans. But chaos continues to take place across the nation, and few one-loss teams would benefit from chaos better than Louisville.

3. Florida State. Dalvin Cook may be playing his way to New York for the Heisman ceremony, although another close home loss puts the Seminoles in the unfamiliar position of being a three-loss team with plenty of the season still to be played.

4. Virginia Tech. The Hokies control their destiny in the Coastal after escaping Pitt victorious 39-36 on Thursday night, and they have a very manageable ACC slate remaining: at Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia. Of course, these guys lost at Syracuse, so expect the unexpected with all things related to the Coastal division.

5. North Carolina. The Tar Heels were idle and, like the Hokies, have what should be a manageable season-ending ACC slate ahead of them in Georgia Tech, at Duke and NC State. That home loss to the Hokies is a killer, though, when looking at division-title implications.

6. Pitt. The Panthers have been right there in all of their losses, but that’s of little consolation after a home loss to Virginia Tech. Now they travel to face a hungry Miami team that has lost four straight.

7. Georgia Tech. Nothing has jumped off the page with the Yellow Jackets this season, but they are quietly putting together a decent campaign, getting a win within bowl eligibility after beating Duke 38-35 at home. Three of their final four are on the road, though.

8. Miami. The Hurricanes showed a lot of fight in turning a 20-0 deficit at Notre Dame into a 27-20 lead, but their lack of a ground game has left Brad Kaaya vulnerable, and they have lost four straight after a 4-0 start and No. 10 ranking.

9. Wake Forest. The bowl bash is put on hold for at least a week, as the Demon Deacons fell at home to Army on Saturday. They do host UVa next week, though, as they will look to snap a two-game skid and do something they haven’t done in five years by winning six games.

10. Syracuse. Speaking of bowling, the 4-4 Orange have a shot at postseason play, but they exit their bye week facing a tough slate that includes tilts against Florida State and at Clemson. They will visit Death Valley next week.

11. Duke. The Blue Devils mounted an impressive comeback in Atlanta, but it was ultimately too little, too late, as Duke is now the only ACC team without a league win this season. It will have its work cut out for it on Saturday when hosting Virginia Tech.

12. Virginia. The Cavaliers nearly shocked the world, but Jackson and the Cards ultimately prevailed. This game felt very similar to the Hoos’ near upset of Notre Dame last season. However, there is certainly more promise for the future coming out of this game given the new regime.

13. Boston College. The Eagles got their first ACC win in football or men’s basketball since the 2014-15 school year as the Eagles went into Raleigh and pulled off the upset. Hosting Louisville next week will be daunting, but at 4-4 with games left against UConn and Wake Forest, BC’s bowl hopes can’t be ruled out just yet.

14. NC State. It is amazing how consistent the Wolfpack have been year in and year out at nearly winning big games only to later collapse against inferior opponents. The latest example was Saturday’s home loss to BC, which came after a 41-point loss at Louisville, which came, amazingly, after an overtime loss at Clemson in a winnable game. FSU is next.