This is how I see the football programs as of now in the ACC, with the addition of Pitt and Syracuse.
1. Florida State- It's hard to believe but in the last eleven years the Seminoles have won 10 games only two times. But new coach Jimbo Fisher has won 19 games over the last two years, the talent level is always enormous, and the fan base is passionate. They get the top spot because while they don't have the highs that Miami has had in the past, they also don't have the lows.
2. Miami- Over the last 30 years, no program have won more National Championships or had more legendary players. But "The U" hasn't been great in awhile now. In fact, the Hurricanes haven't had a 10 win season in nine years and they are 33-31 in conference play since joining the ACC. Plus, there's always a chance that another person will come out of the woodwork to say he gave players improper benefits. On the bright side, Al Golden is an excellent coach and should be able to bring the program around.
3. Virginia Tech- Since joining the conference, the Hokies have actually been the best on the field. In the eight seasons in the ACC, Tech has won their division six times and was second the other two times. They've also won either 10 or 11 games in every ACC season. So why are they third? Obviously Florida State and Miami have higher ceilings and if they ever get it together they will once again take their rightful place above Virginia Tech. However, having said that, Frank Beamer has done an amazing job turning a program from a school in the middle of nowhere into a national power.
4. Clemson- One of the more underachieving programs in the country, in my opinion. The Tigers usually average around 8 wins a year, but they have huge fan support, a great local recruiting area, and some of the deepest pockets in college football. Dabo Swinney has had three full seasons and had 9 and 10 win seasons in that span, so maybe he's finally starting to turn the program into the power it probably should be.
5. Georgia Tech- Since the conference split into divisions seven years ago, the Yellow Jackets have won the Coastal Division three times, including two of the last four under current coach Paul Johnson. But Johnson won 19 total games in his first two seasons and 14 in his last two, so it will be interesting to see if the rest of the conference caught up to his unique style. Either way, the program usually does well with 13 of their last 15 teams being winners and 7 of those being ranked in the final top 25.
6. Pittsburgh- Since this is written for Pitt fans, there's no need to go over what everybody knows, but what is important is that the Pitt administration has made many mistakes over the past 30 years and the overall program is still one of the top 40 programs in the country. The good news is, the ceiling is higher than they've performed and if they ever get out of their way, they can be even better than this ranking in future years.
7. North Carolina- Yet another underachieving ACC program and probably the biggest underachievers at that. Even though they are a basketball program first, there is still a lot there for the football program to be very good. But since Mack Brown left after the 1997 season, the Tar Heels have been led by one bad coach after another, and Butch Davis even got the school on probation. Now it's Larry Fedora's chance to turn things around.
8. Virginia- The Cavaliers program is always going to be limited because of their high academic standards, but because of a great local recruiting area and an amazing campus, they have been very competitive over the years. Al Groh was considered a success for the most part at the school and he still only went 59-53 at the school. Now Mike London is one of the best young coaches in the country so it will be interesting to see how far he can take them.
9. Maryland- Granted, Randy Edsall was an absolute disaster in his lone season, but with Mike Locksley back in the fold to recruit, the Terrapins should have the talent again to compete. The local recruiting area is great which is a big plus. That's a good thing because the school is going broke and their recruiting budget is practically nonexistent.
10. Boston College- As in the Big East, the Eagles should be applauded for being such overachievers. They don't have a great local recruiting area yet they still usually have winning seasons. In fact, in the seven seasons that they've been in the ACC, their conference record is 33-23. However, the record has been declining every season, perhaps a sign that the worst is yet to come.
11. North Carolina State- How mediocre has the Wolfpack program been? How about the fact that in the modern era of college football, they've had exactly one season where they had double digit wins? And that team finished just 5-3 in the conference. Tom O'Brien is currently 33-30 which sounds just about right.
12. Syracuse- Historically, the Orange is much higher than this, and they have the potential to move further up on the list, but right now things are a bit iffy. Greg Robinson was a disaster and Doug Marrone is currently 17-20 in his three seasons, though the talent level is improving. But with little local recruiting area, the ceiling is limited.
13. Wake Forest- Thanks to Jim Grobe, the program has been respectable and in 2006 he miraculously led the Demon Deacons to an 11-3 Orange Bowl season. But there hasn't been a winning record in the last three years and you have to wonder how well they will do without the 60-year old Grobe at the helm. History shows that it won't be good.
14. Duke- What can I say? It's a basketball school and there doesn't seem to be a big desire to create a competitive football program. Two bowl games in 50 years says it all.