1. #3 Clemson Tigers (11-0, 8-0 ACC)
Dabo and his guys have fully woken up post-CFP rankings disrespect, and thoroughly dismantled the second-best team in the conference 52-3. With just their game against a floundering South Carolina team left, UNC is the only team to have played Clemson to within a possession.
2. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-3, 3-3)
I think the Deacs are going to want to forget this week (see above) alongside last week. They still deserve to be ranked. The loss of Sage Surratt for the season hurts, though. They’ll get a chance to get back on track against a recently embarrassed Duke team.
Next: Saturday vs Duke
3. #25 Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3, 4-2)
The Gobblers are coming into turkey season in fine form, following a 19-point win vs Wake Forest with a 45-0 thrashing of Georgia Tech, so they deserve this jump. They control their own destiny in the Coastal now, and look pretty well poised to take it.
Next: Saturday vs Pittsburgh
4. Virginia Cavaliers (7-3, 5-2)
Will a week off after his best performance of the season help Bryce Perkins finish the season healthy and in the way that we saw he could play all last year? He’ll get a lighter week before he and the Wahoos take on their in-state rivals, possibly for the Coastal title.
Next: Saturday vs Liberty
5. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3, 4-2)
Pittsburgh, even after playing UNC, has the country’s 112th-ranked offense and 10th-ranked defense per Bill Connelly’s SP+. They’re now coming off a 34-27 game. This season makes no sense, y’all, especially as a UNC fan. Anyways, Pitt’s in the thick of the Coastal race as well, and this week is pivotal for them.
Next: Saturday at Virginia Tech
6. Miami Hurricanes (6-4, 4-3)
Miami looked way out of sorts early on in the season but have put together a reasonable, if not Miami-of-old-standard, season. They’ll finish this season on the road before their eventual bowl game, which seems rough.
Next: Saturday at FIU
7. Louisville Cardinals (6-4, 4-3)
What a P5 debut for Scott Satterfield, huh? The Cardinals have well outperformed expectations, have a bowl game locked up, and just dismantled NC State, 34-20, with a relentlessly effective aerial attack. Their postseason could be fairly high stakes with season-enders against Syracuse and Kentucky.
Next: Saturday vs Syracuse
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-6, 3-4)
I’m keeping the Heels here despite the losing record and the 2-game losing streak because a) this call reversed the outcome of the game at least as much as the missed pass interference in last year's Saints-Rams conference championship, and b) I'm a homer who will not back down from UNC being better than their record. They're going to have to have a great week now to justify it, though.
Next: Saturday vs Mercer
9. Florida State Seminoles (6-5, 4-4)
Talk about a turnaround. After firing Willie Taggert, the Noles are 2-0, their latest effort a 49-12 beatdown of Alabama State. They could do some incredible work for their future with a strong finish, which will be tough given their only remaining game is against Florida.
10. Boston College Eagles (5-5, 3-4)
BC’s ... fine. They’ve got two shots at a bowl game, against Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, both on the road. Might get dicey as they try to keep their nascent streak going.
Next: Saturday at Notre Dame
11. Duke Blue Devils (4-6, 2-4)
I feel bad dropping a team two spots because this late in the season one shouldn’t overcorrect based on recent results, but come on. A 49-6 loss to Syracuse is baaaad, and now Duke has to win against Wake Forest and Miami to qualify for the postseason.
Next: Saturday at Wake Forest
12. North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-6, 1-5)
People are casting the traditional season-ender between the Pack and the Heels as a fight for bowl eligibility, but right now, NC State are actually 1.5-point underdogs in their trip to Georgia Tech. Things aren’t going great in Raleigh.
Next: Thursday at Georgia Tech
13. Syracuse Orange (4-6, 1-5)
You get to move up from the basement with a 30-plus point win, but the record is still awful enough to hang out here. We’ll see if that demolition of Duke leads anywhere against Louisville.
Next: Saturday at Louisville
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-8, 1-6)
Congratulations, Georgia Tech, you’re the only team in the ACC that’s no longer bowl eligible. Please beat State.
Next: Thursday vs NCSU