Another week of football has passed and it’s still nearly impossible to rank these teams outside of Clemson. In the Coastal division, six of the seven teams have either two or three conference losses. On the Atlantic side, Clemson officially secured its spot in the ACC championship after Wake Forest lost to Virginia Tech. Here are the conference power rankings for week 12.
1. #3 Clemson Tigers 10-0 (7-0)
Unsurprisingly, Clemson will be heading to its fifth straight ACC championship. The Tigers, who decimated NC State on Saturday, 55-10, were actually placed outside the top four in last week’s college football playoff rankings. However, the formula remains simple for them: win out and they’re in.
Next: Saturday vs. Wake Forest
2. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 7-2 (3-2)
The Demon Deacons’ loss to Virginia Tech over the weekend makes their upcoming tilt with Clemson a little less significant as they no longer have a chance at winning the Atlantic. They were also dropped out of the top 25 because of it, meaning the ACC once again has just one team in the rankings. Wake will have to bring a much better effort if they want to have any chance of knocking off the Tigers.
Next: Saturday at Clemson
3. Virginia Cavaliers 7-3 (5-2)
Virginia is currently in the best position to win the Coastal. After narrowly escaping Georgia Tech on Saturday, they sit at the top of the standings with just one conference game left to play. If the Cavaliers beat Virginia Tech on the last week of the season, they’ll be facing off with Clemson in Charlotte.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies 6-3 (3-2)
The Hokies picked up an impressive 36-17 victory over Wake Forest this past week. They’ve come a long way since their 35-point loss to Duke in late September and are now in position to potentially win the Coastal. Like Virginia, all they need to do is win out, but two extra games (at Georgia Tech and vs. Pitt) makes things a little more difficult.
Next: Saturday at Georgia Tech
5. Pittsburgh Panthers 6-3 (3-2)
Pitt and UNC both had byes this past week, giving each team plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming Thursday night showdown. The Panthers are still in the thick of the Coastal race but beating the Heels is a must. They’ll need to win out as well as have VT beat Virginia in order to get to Charlotte.
Next: Thursday vs. UNC
6. Miami Hurricanes 6-4 (4-3)
Miami picked up a solid victory over Louisville on Saturday in a game that was effectively over at halftime. The Hurricanes have had an up-and-down season but maybe they’ve turned a corner after winning three in a row. They’ll get some rest this week before capping off the season with road trips to FIU and Duke.
7. Louisville Cardinals 5-4 (3-3)
Louisville looked less than impressive in its blowout loss to Miami. Scott Satterfield has had a better-than-expected first season with the Cardinals but the defensive troubles have simply been too much to overcome at times. They’ll try to get back on track against NC State this week.
Next: Saturday at NC State
8. North Carolina Tar Heels 4-5 (3-3)
With Virginia’s win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Tar Heels are officially out of the ACC Coastal race. Given that the Heels’ three conference losses have come by a combined ten points, it’s easy to dwell on the past and wonder what could’ve been, but now the focus should be placed on making a bowl. A win over Pitt on Thursday night would all but ensure that.
Next: Thursday at Pittsburgh
9. Duke Blue Devils 4-5 (2-3)
The Blue Devils were routed by Notre Dame on Saturday, 38-7. Like the Tar Heels, they no longer have a shot at winning the Coastal and are merely playing for a bowl. There really aren’t any guaranteed wins left on the schedule so beating Syracuse this week feels like a must. If it can do that, Duke must defeat one of Wake Forest or Miami to get that sixth win.
Next: Saturday vs. Syracuse
10. Florida State Seminoles 5-5 (4-4)
The Seminoles are 1-0 since firing Willie Taggart as interim coach Odell Haggins Jr. led the team to a 38-31 victory over Boston College. FSU fans are probably most concerned about who their new head coach will be but right now they are just one win away from being eligible for the postseason.
Next: Saturday vs. Alabama State
11. Boston College Eagles 5-5 (3-4)
The Eagles’ chances of making a bowl took a big hit with their loss to Florida State. Their final two games come on the road against a couple of formidable opponents (Notre Dame and Pitt). If it can’t steal one of those, BC is looking at missing out on a bowl for the first time since 2015.
12. NC State Wolfpack 4-5 (1-4)
As expected, the Wolfpack got trounced by Clemson on Saturday. They must win two of their next three (vs. Louisville, at Georgia Tech, vs. UNC) in order to make the postseason. It’s entirely possible that when the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels meet during the final week of the regular season, both teams will be playing for a bowl.
Next: Saturday vs. Louisville
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2-7 (1-5)
Since acquiring their first conference win against Miami a few weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets haven’t looked quite as hopeless as they once did. Year one hasn’t gone as well as Geoff Collins would’ve hoped, but he’s got a chance to build some momentum going into next season if he can snag another victory.
Next: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech
14. Syracuse Orange 3-6 (0-5)
Once thought of as the clear-cut second best team in the ACC (behind Clemson of course), the Orange have fallen all the way to the bottom and remain the only team without a conference victory. Postseason play is technically not out of the picture but a major turnaround would have to take place during this last stretch of the season.
Next: Saturday at Duke