ACC Power Rankings: Week 5
It appears that my Virginia Tech prediction was correct. But there were several upsets in ACC play last Saturday that leaves me asking more questions.
Does Florida State plan on winning the games that they are supposed to? Has Boston College found their QB? Will Virginia Tech avoid the letdown? Can Miami bounce back against Oklahoma? Read to find out all of this and more.
12. Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia entered the past weekend with a bye week. I'm pretty sure Bye Week U. beat the Cavs 34-20. All kidding aside, tensions are high in Charlottesville.
UVA faces UNC this weekend and it's never fun to play a team coming off a tough loss. Looking at their schedule, the Cavs may only win one more game this year and beating Duke isn't a lock anymore.
11. Duke Blue Devils
Duke did not look half bad in last Saturday's route of North Carolina Central. The Blue Devils played a good game on all fronts. But the celebration will be short lived in Durham.
The Devils will host Virginia Tech this weekend. Don't expect a letdown of epic proportions. This isn't the Duke of the Ted Roof years. Cutcliffe has the Dukies playing good football against weaker teams.
That being said, Duke has only one more legitimate chance to win this year and that is a Halloween trip to Virginia.
10. Maryland Terrapins
Maryland dropped their second straight (third of four) game on Saturday. Rutgers is a more respectable than Middle Tennessee State, but that doesn't excuse a three touchdown deficit.
The Terps could not run the ball at all; the team combining for only 28 yards on the ground! Chris Turner should be checked for color blindness because he's throwing to the defense as often as he does his own receivers.
Worst of all, they have not held an opponent under 32 points this season.
There will not be any post-season hopes for Friedgen and the gang if they continue this kind of play.
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest is one of those teams in the ACC that are following the trends of UVA and Maryland. Wake football has been a program in decline since their miraculous ACC Championship three years ago.
Wake Forest lost a close contest to Boston College because they can't play defense or hold on to the football.
Riley Skinner is having a great year throwing the football, but the running game is inconsistent at best.
Wake doesn't have a single player on their roster that was ranked above 3 stars as a high school recruit.
It is finally starting to show. Grobe did a fantastic job coaching minimal talent for the past few seasons, but it is catching up.
They no longer possess the veterans that have gotten them victories in the past and don't have talent to replace the graduates.
The Deacs are set to host NC State this Saturday in Winston-Salem. Even with home field advantage, don't expect a WF win
8. Boston College Eagles
Boston College seems to have found a quarterback in a 25-year-old senior named Dave Shinskie. Justin Tuggle is out and the reincarnation of Chris Weinke is behind center for BC.
A forced fumble in OT gave the Eagles a much needed victory. They put up big offensive numbers in the tight game.
Don't expect a huge turnaround for BC. They allowed Riley Skinner to put on a passing clinic, throwing for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns.
With their schedule, it would not be surprising to see the Eagles drop four straight. They face a bitter Florida State, fired up Virginia Tech, NC State's "The Russell Wilson Show," and Notre Dame in South Bend. Not exactly favorable match ups.
7. Clemson Tigers
Clemson was nine points away from 4-0. But they've lost two game because of a combined seven points. The Tigers lost to a strong TCU team.
C.J. Spiller finally broke out of his slump with 112 yards and a touchdown on the ground. That was the upside of the game.
The downside, Kyle Parker still cannot quarterback this team. Parker hasn't completed more than 50% of his passes in any game this year. He hasn't thrown a TD pass since the Georgia Tech game.
I understand that he's a true frosh, but he needs to grow up quickly or the Tigers could fail to make the postseason.
Clemson's defense has played well, but the Tiger offense rarely lets them stay off of the field for more than a minute.
Clemson is fortunate in that they have to play Maryland this weekend. It should be a relaxing practice for the Tigers.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina had the unfortunate task of playing a team coming off an embarrassing loss. Georgia Tech ran all over Carolina's defense, which was supposed to be their strongpoint.
The Heels only rushed for a combined 17 yards on the Yellow Jackets.
T.J. Yates continues his inconsistent ways with two picks and a sub-50 completion percentage. Carolina has two scrub teams-Virginia and Georgia Southern-before they face Florida State in October.
After the next two games, UNC could have the worst 5-1 record in the ACC.
5. Florida State Seminoles
Can you say letdown? Florida State laid a gigantic goose egg on Bobby Bowden Field when a Grothe-less South Florida ran circles around the Seminoles.
Christian Ponder played a fairly efficient game, but the Noles could not do anything on the ground. It wasn't as bad as Carolina's 17 yards. No, 19 was FSU's final total. The Noles also lost four fumbles over the course of the game.
Their defense does not look at all improved. B.J. Daniels-a true frosh-threw for 215 yards on only 8 completions. The Noles allowed too many big plays. FSU travels to Chestnut Hill this weekend to play Boston College.
Look for the Noles to bounce back and open up on the Eagles with a revenge win. But after that, FSU's schedule begins to get really tough. There simply is no way to guage how they will play week to week.
4. NC State Wolfpack
NC State found themselves looking at a loss last Saturday trailing Pitt 31-17 in the third quarter.
But the Wolfpack rallied behind their All-ACC QB, Russell Wilson, and won the game after scoring 21 unanswered points.
After the week one loss to South Carolina, NC State has been firing on all cylinders. Wilson's past three games have garnered national attention and some have listed him as a Heisman candidate.
Toney Baker was nearly an afterthought after a knee injury suffered from in 2007. He has run the ball exceptionally well, but needs to improve ball control.
The Wolfpack defense currently ranks as No. 1 in the country! They only gave up four touchdowns in the first three games of the season. Pitt racked up a high score, but the Wolfpack defense made the necessary plays to win.
The Pack head to Winston-Salem this weekend to face a struggling Wake Forest team whose defensive secondary will be vulnerable to the dual threat Wilson.
NC State has the advantage of playing in a relatively weak Atlantic Division and could become the frontrunner with a "W" this weekend.
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Velvet Underground must have wrote the song "Run, Run, Run" specifically for Georgia Tech. Last Saturday, the Jackets did what they do best: run the football.
Jonathan Dwyer broke out of his slump with a 158 yard ground performance against the Tar Heels. Josh Nesbitt scored twice on the ground to give GT a 24-7 win. Like I said before, GT wins when they run well.
Force them to pass and we might see more games like their disastrous Miami affair.
More importantly, the Yellow Jacket defense stepped up against UNC, which was something they were unable to do against Miami. Georgia Tech travels down to face Mississippi State this weekend.
I do expect GT to win, be aware that MSU gave up only 30 yards rushing last week versus LSU. But also keep in mind that Auburn rushed for 394 yards in week two against the Bulldogs. Which defense will Tech face?
2. Miami Hurricanes
Miami did not play up to all the hype that the media had created. The media wants Miami to be a great football program again. Randy Shannon has built a solid team down in south Florida, but he's not quite there.
The Hurricanes went into the swamp last Saturday. And no, I'm not talking about Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Not only did the Hurricanes go to Blacksburg, a huge rain storm did as well.
This neutralized Miami's speed advantage and the Canes could not do anything offensively. Jacory Harris was hounded all day by a fierce Hokie defense. Harris only completed 9-of-25 for 150 yards and was picked once. So much for the Heisman talks.
Graig Cooper averaged 5 yards a carry, but was only given 11 carries in the game.
It's not that Miami is a bad team, rather nothing went in the Miami's favor. Don't fret Miami fans, the Canes are still in contention for the ACC title. However, it is unfortunate that the U follows up VT with OU.
Whoever schedules games at Miami certainly has a sick sense of humor. The Canes do stand a chance because the Sooners will be Bradford-less and the game is at Land Shark.
But I wouldn't be putting money on the Canes to win. Nevertheless, Miami is still the second best team in the ACC and will stay that way until they lose to another ACC opponent.
1. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech proved why they have been and still are the best team in the ACC. Beamerball was on full alert when the Hurricanes traveled to Blacksburg.
VT gave up only 209 yards to Miami's high powered offense. They forced two turnovers and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Rookie RB Ryan Williams ran rings around the Miami defense. He rushed for 150 yards and 2 TDs to lead the offense in scoring.
Tyrod Taylor did not have an overly impressive game, but he played efficiently and did not jeopardize the Hokies.
Don't expect Tech to turn into the Chokies this weekend. A letdown is not in their future when they're playing Duke.
VT is the best team because they play lockdown defense and pound the ball on the ground. There really isn't a better winning formula out there.