Still, they’re a good way to understand each team’s chances in the long run. The ACC champion will likely make the CFP, and last week’s upset fiesta shook everything up.
We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up, just because it’s more dramatic.
14. Boston College: 4-6 (1-6 vs. ACC)
They got utterly demolished by conference powerhouse Florida State last week, and now have the most conference losses of any ACC team. Virginia has a worse overall record, but Boston College won’t win their final ACC game and will stay at the bottom of the standings.
13. Virginia: 2-8 (1-5 vs. ACC)
Virginia also got blown out last week, falling to Miami 34-14. Their offense has been ineffective, and starter Kurt Benkert was pulled from the game once again. They’re already looking ahead to next year.
12. Syracuse: 4-6 (1-5 vs. ACC)
The only real story here is that they’ve been without starting QB Eric Dungey due to a head injury, and unless they upset both Pitt and FSU (possibly without him), they won’t make a bowl game.
11. NC State: 5-5 (2-4 vs. ACC)
Some analysts are putting NC State higher, but that’s unrealistic. NC State did pick up the win against Syracuse, but it was easier with Dungey out (see above). Their biggest win this year has been against Wake Forest, who also hasn’t had an impressive season. They could make a bowl, but won’t be major players.
10. Duke: 4-6 (1-5 vs. ACC)
They did just pick up a win against North Carolina, but that’s the high point of their season. Next week, Louisville will ensure Duke doesn’t see a bowl game.
9. Wake Forest: 6-4 (3-4 vs. ACC)
They hung tough against powerhouse Louisville, but it all collapsed in the fourth quarter. They’ve only really beaten Indiana, and should get demolished next week when Clemson bounces back. However, they’re a bowl lock with Boston College still on the schedule.
8. North Carolina: 7-3 (5-2 vs. ACC)
Honestly, UNC should rank higher on this list. However, their defense looked terrible in the implosion against Duke, turning an easy win into a painful loss. They need help to reach the title game.
7. Georgia Tech: 6-4 (3-4 vs. ACC)
Georgia Tech isn’t a top team, but they’ll be riding high after upsetting Virginia Tech. They’ll end up 4-4 in the conference after facing Virginia next week, and will try to close out the season with a win against in-state rival Georgia.
6. Miami: 6-4 (3-3 vs. ACC)
Sure, they beat both Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, but they’ve have no real wins outside of that, and even lost to Notre Dame. It feels like they should be ahead of Pittsburgh, but they just haven’t closed out games.
5. Pittsburgh: 6-4 (3-3 vs. ACC)
As said above, these two slots should probably be flipped, but that goes out the window when you realize Pitt had three close losses to very good teams. A couple of better bounces puts Pitt at 9-1 and in the CFP conversation. The upset of Clemson is just icing on the rank.
4. Virginia Tech: 7-3 (5-2 vs. ACC)
These may not be the Hokies of old, but they’re a strong team all the same. However, their loss to Syracuse keeps them out of the top 3, and they dropped a winnable game last week to Georgia Tech. With only Virginia left on their conference schedule, they’re a lock to reach the ACC title game (and lose to Louisville or Clemson).
3. Florida State: 7-3 (4-3 vs. ACC)
This conference would look very different with a late FSU FG against Clemson and/or UNC. As it stands now, FSU is out of the hunt for the ACC title game and the CFP, but they’re probably looking at a bowl game and next year looks very promising.
2. Clemson: 9-1 (6-1 vs. ACC)
After a last second loss to Pitt, Clemson has technically fallen to second in the division and looks like a weaker team than Louisville. However, the head to head win, combined with a sure conference win this week, means Clemson goes to the ACC title game for sure, and probably gets into the CFP despite Louisville’s impressive resume.
1. Louisville: 9-1 (7-1 vs. ACC)
Clemson is almost as good as Louisville, but with Clemson’s recent loss to Pitt, Louisville looks sharper despite the head to head loss. A combined 117-33 score against NC State and FSU, two teams that almost beat Clemson, definitely helps.
It won’t match the final standings, but at least for right now, this is how tough each ACC team is. As it was said at the beginning, these rankings don’t actually affect the standings, no matter how fun they are.