For the past 10 weeks, Clemson and Virginia Tech have owned the top spot in the power rankings, with the Hokies taking the lead in each of the past two weeks. The debate, though, is now over. With the Dr Pepper ACC championship game officially behind us, Clemson has once again earned the top spot. There were no other changes to the lineup this week:
1. Clemson (10-3, 6-2 ACC; LW: No. 2) -- The Tigers outplayed Virginia Tech in every phase of the game on Saturday night, and for the second time this year played their best game of the season against the Hokies. The Tigers won their first ACC title since 1991 and will face West Virginia in the Discover Orange Bowl.
2. Virginia Tech (11-2, 7-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- The Hokies’ bid for their fifth ACC title fell flat, and so did their offense. Again. Quarterback Logan Thomas accounted for two interceptions and a fumble that led to a score, and running back David Wilson had just 11 carries. And yet the Hokies are Sugar Bowl bound.
3. Virginia (8-4, 5-3 ACC; LW: No. 3) -- Thanks to Virginia Tech’s selection in the Sugar Bowl, the Cavaliers were bumped up to the more prestigious Chick-fil-A Bowl, where they will face Auburn. It’s a big leap for the program under ACC Coach of the Year Mike London.
4. Florida State (8-4, 5-3 ACC; LW: No. 4) -- The Noles will face Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl, but they’ve got to find more answers on offense before they do. Fortunately for FSU, their defense has been good enough to compensate for it.
5. Georgia Tech (8-4, 5-3 ACC; LW: No. 5) -- The Yellow Jackets will face one of the nation’s top rushing defenses in Utah in the Sun Bowl. Georgia Tech is looking to snap a streak of six straight bowl losses.
6. Wake Forest (6-6, 5-3 ACC; LW: No. 6) -- The fact that the Deacs are even in a bowl is impressive, and they were another team that benefited from the Hokies’ ascension to the Sugar Bowl. Instead of Shreveport, the Deacs are heading to the Music City Bowl.
7. NC State (7-5, 4-4 ACC; LW: No. 7) -- The Belk Bowl is the perfect fit for the Wolfpack, and was the first choice of the bowl officials. NC State will face Louisville and play in its third bowl in four seasons under coach Tom O’Brien.
8. Miami (6-6, 3-5 ACC; LW: No. 8) -- The Canes were missing from the bowl buzz last night, as they elected to stay home for the holidays in the hopes it would be a preemptive strike against the NCAA investigation.
9. UNC (7-5, 3-5 ACC; LW: No. 9) -- The Tar Heels will face Missouri in the Independence Bowl and need one more win to reach the eight-win ceiling of the Butch Davis era. UNC is 0-2 against Missouri but hasn’t faced the Tigers since 1976.
10. Boston College (4-8, 3-5 ACC; LW: No. 10) -- Congrats to linebacker Luke Kuechly, who won the Butkus Award this past weekend and was honored as the nation’s top linebacker.
11. Duke (3-9, 1-7 ACC; LW: No. 11) -- The Blue Devils weren’t able to get to a bowl game in David Cutcliffe’s fourth season, but they can use this time to concentrate on recruiting, because that’s the only way they’re going to get to the postseason -- with better athletes.
12. Maryland (2-10, 1-7 ACC; LW: No. 12) -- The turnover has already begun at Maryland, as running back D.J. Adams was the latest to announce his decision to leave the program. It’s been a nightmare of a first season for Randy Edsall.