ACC Power Rankings: Week Four
After three weeks of football, we've seen the Tigers ground the Eagles, a couple of programs who might have head coach openings at the end of the year, and Hurricane U growing stronger. But more questions still exist.
Is Miami for real? Will Russell Wilson going to repeat at the best quarterback in the ACC? And is Florida State going to stop messing with the college football world?
I will explain all of this and more in my Week Four Edition of the ACC Power Rankings.
12. Virginia Cavaliers
UVA has been in a slow decline for the past several years. Somehow Al Groh has managed to hold on to his job for dear life. His—and the Cavaliers', for that matter—luck may have run out.
After embarrassing losses to William & Mary and TCU, the Cavs managed to hold their own with Southern Miss. It's okay to laugh. I'm sure doing a lot of it. They can't run the ball, throw the ball, or keep the ball out of the endzone.
It will be a long year for Cavalier fans, if it hasn't been already.
11. Duke Blue Devils
For those who thought Duke football turned the corner, you were sadly mistaken. Although this is not the worst Duke team to have played on a football field, they certainly don't feel the need to prove anything.
Thaddeus Lewis has been getting worse since his great start in week one. In his past two starts, he averaged a dismal 122 yards passing and 45 percent completion percentage.
Duke will get a win this weekend against North Carolina Central, but don't be surprised if it is their last.
10. Maryland Terrapins
Maryland survived a near upset in week two against James Madison, but their luck ran out quickly.
The Terps were narrowly edged out by Middle Tennessee State with a game winning field goal. Maryland is not a terrible team, but they can't seem to hold on to the ball. Da'Rel Scott fumbled the ball twice in the outing.
This is a team that could turn it around, but don't hold your breath with their tough schedule.
9. Boston College Eagles
After beating the crap out of two cupcake opponents, the Eagles were brought back down to reality with a 25-7 loss versus Clemson. BC showed that their quarterback troubles are real. Justin Tuggle threw only completed 4-of-20 throws for a grand total of 23 yards!
If the Eagles don't get their QB issues under control quickly, don't expect a winning season.
8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest's success in recent years has been due to the success of their running game, calm QB play, and a stout defense. Riley Skinner finally came up with a big game last Saturday against Elon, but struggled against higher quality opponent Baylor and Stanford.
Devon Brown, a wide receiver, is the only Wake player with more than 100 yards rushing on the season. And at this point, the Deacs must severely miss defensive standouts Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith.
Wake is one of those teams that can turn it around to have a good year or fall back into old losing habits.
7. NC State Wolfpack
NC State rebounded from their 7-3 loss to South Carolina with dominating victories over Murray State and Gardner-Webb. In the process, Russell Wilson broke the record for the most consecutive passes without an interception.
The Wolfpack face a real test this weekend, facing Pitt at home. The injury bug and questionable offensive line play could hinder the Pack, but this could be a turning point.
6. Clemson Tigers
Clemson was less than a touchdown away from being 3-0. But the Tigers failed to defeat Georgia Tech, and land at the number six spot.
The problem Clemson faces is they don't have a very good offense. Kyle Parker has not established himself as a consistent quarterback. Granted he is a freshman; the learning curve has been a bit difficult for him. What makes matters worse is C.J. Spiller's injury problems. He has failed to score a rushing touchdown or rush for more than 100 yards in a game.
The defense has been able to keep them competitive, but I'm predicting a loss to TCU on Saturday.
5. North Carolina Tar Heels
UNC is that one team that hasn't faced a tough opponent. Carolina soundly beat ECU last week and barely beat UConn the week before.
Carolina's defense is what has carried them to 3-0, but their luck may run out against a Georgia Tech team coming off a tough loss.
Heels QB T.J. Yates needs to play consistent football in order to lead the team, which has relied heavily on the run game. Yates no longer has wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate to dump the ball off to. This weekend will be a make or break game for the Tar Heels.
4. Georgia Tech
Last Thursday's Georgia Tech-Miami game proved why Georgia Tech's flexbone offense is a hit or miss style. Miami's much more athletic defense forced the Yellow Jackets to pass the ball which is something they simply can't do.
The Jackets run the ball, pound the defense, and control time of possession. Without the lead it is impossible to run their offense. I predict a week four win for the Jackets, but the flexbone has been exposed and looks vulnerable.
3. Florida State Seminoles
Florida State answered more doubters than all other ACC teams combined last weekend. Any team that can force Max Hall into throwing three picks deserves a salute.
Christian Ponder leads a well rounded offense that wins games when they don't make mistakes. Their defense still gives up quite a few points, but who's to say it won't improve?
If FSU can avoid a letdown in week four by beating visiting South Florida, it could turn out to be a nice year for the Noles who are still my favorite to win the Atlantic Division.
2. Miami Hurricanes
Miami is the hot team in the ACC. Back-to-back wins over ranked ACC opponents is impressive. But I'm not completely sold on Miami.
They have the most athletic team in the ACC with a staggeringly good defense and playmakers on offense. Jacory Harris has played extremely well in the first two games of the season, but he will face his toughest opponent yet on Saturday.
If the Canes can pull of the big win in Blacksburg on Saturday, they will be the best team in the ACC.
1. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech proved last week that they have the best defense in the ACC. Despite giving up 15 points to Nebraska on Saturday, they kept the Huskers out of the end zone. All 15 points came from field goals.
Tyrod Taylor has continued to keep the ball out of the hands of the defense, only throwing one interception in three games. However, he needs to learn to take risks. His sub-50 percent passing percentage must improve.
So far the Hokies have gotten big production from their rookie sensation, Ryan Williams, who is averaging 114 yards per game despite only getting more than 20 carries once.
Forget all of the pre-season hype about the 'Bama game. The Hokies face their biggest challenge tomorrow. But with Beamer and 65,000-plus screaming fans at Lane Stadium, expect Tech to come up big.