Each week, the Confidential will rank the top 15 teams (includes Notre Dame) in the A.C.C. and provide a brief explanation for the decision. Feel free to list your own below or otherwise comment. Here it goes for week 12:
- Clemson 10-1. Clemson rebounded from its first loss of the season to defeat Wake Forest by a comfortable margin. The ACC’s only hope for a playoff team is the Tigers and that depends on two more wins. The ACC Championship Game looms, but Clemson must first beat rival South Carolina. Next up: South Carolina.
- Louisville 9-2. The Cardinals leapfrogged Clemson in many ACC standings, but not here. And Louisville confirmed same by losing to Houston convincingly. This was not the Louisville of the early part of the season. But a major bowl game is still in play after the rivalry game with Kentucky. Next up: Kentucky.
- Florida State 8-3. The Seminoles took care of Syracuse appropriately. This was a nice tune-up before heading into a rivalry game with 8-2 Florida. The Gators just beat LSU and will be ready. Next up: Florida.
- Virginia Tech 8-3. The Hokies traveled to South Bend and nipped Notre Dame 34-31 to get to 8-3. Now the Hokies just need to escape a rivalry game with Virginia to get to the ACC Championship Game. Next up: Virginia.
- North Carolina 8-3. The Tar Heels beat Citadel 41-7. Hoorah. North Carolina State comes to town next, really needing a win to get to bowl eligibility. UNC needs to be ready. Next up: North Carolina State.
- Miami 7-4. After four straight wins, Miami loss four straight (including to Notre Dame). Now, Miami has won three straight by handling North Carolina State on the road. An 8-4 regular season would be an outstanding rebound for Mark Richt and Miami. Duke comes to town next. Next up: Duke.
- Pitt 7-4. Pitt destroyed Duke 56-14. Wow. A wounded, fading Syracuse team comes to town next. Syracuse may be “up” for this quasi-rivalry game. or they may be very very down. Either way, note that the top 7 teams in these standings are all at home this week. Next up: Syracuse.
- Georgia Tech 7-4. After sweeping both Virginia schools, the Yellow Jackets have confirmed that this is quite a rebound year. But the major test remains–rival Georgia. The Bulldogs have won three straight and are at home. Next up: @ Georgia.
- Wake Forest 6-5. Wake Forest lost to Clemson, which is no surprise. Wake Forest is going bowling. Boston College needs a win to go bowling. This game will be a tough test for both teams. Next up: Boston College.
- NC State 5-6. After losing to Miami, NC State’s chances of a bowl now really need a win at North Carolina. This will be a tough, but hardly impossible test. Next up: @ North Carolina.
- Duke 4-7. Duke is still bowl-eligible in a sense. If they can beat Miami, they will be 5-7 and have a great APR to help get them in at 5-7. The hard part will be beating streaky Miami. Next up: @ Miami.
- Notre Dame 4-7. We have covered the dismal Fighting Irish season at length. A win over rival USC would be a nice way to finish a disappointing season. Difficult to see Notre Dame accepting a bowl at 5-7 though. Next up: @ USC.
- Syracuse 4-7. Syracuse’s loss to FSU was, as expected. With the injuries, it is difficult to envision Syracuse beating Pitt at Pitt. Unlike Notre Dame, Syracuse would jump all over a chance to go bowling at 5-7 though. Next up: @ Pitt.
- Boston College 5-6. The Eagles beat UConn handily, but deserve minimal credit for having a cupcake OOC schedule. UConn was BC’s toughest OOC matchup, but Syracuse’s third toughest matchup. Still, BC has a chance to go bowling. Next up: @ Wake Forest.
- Virginia 2-9. After a loss to Georgia Tech, all that remains is a trip to Virginia Tech with a game against the rival Hokies. Next up: @ Virginia Tech.
So, what do you think? How would you change these rankings?