ACC Power Rankings: Week Five
Five weeks into the season and the ACC is starting to look very similar to last year's crazy race. The Atlantic division is especially confusing where preseason favorite Florida State is 0-2, and the Maryland Terrapins lead the Atlantic as the division's only unbeaten team in conference play. Virginia Tech and Miami seem to have separated themselves a bit, but Georgia Tech is still hanging around. Week six provides some intriguing match-ups which might help clear some dust but who really knows in the always chaotic Atlantic Coast Conference. Week six game predictions are listed at the bottom. Hopefully I fair a little better than last week's 4-3 effort which left me at 29-8(78.4%) on the year.
1. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0, 4-1): Duke gave the Hokies a little more than they wanted on Saturday, but credit Virginia Tech for avoiding a letdown which has been an increasingly popular trend for teams coming off a big win this year. Tyrod Taylor had a career day throwing for 327 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 34-26 win over the Blue Devils. Taylor hopes to continue his aerial success against an always tough Boston College unit on Saturday.
2. Miami Hurricanes (2-1, 3-1): Miami's off-season was filled with talk about Randy Shannon's job security, how much progress the U had really made, and could the Hurricanes even survive their brutal opening stretch. Now at 3-1 with the toughest portion of their schedule behind them, its pretty safe to say Miami has answered those questions with resounding clarity. The biggest challenge left for Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes is remaining focused and taking care of business as they should be favorites from here on.
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, 4-1): With the spotlight shining brightly on Virginia Tech and Miami, the Yellow Jackets are quietly hanging around in the Coastal. The one thing Georgia Tech can't afford to do is get caught looking past a troubled yet talented Florida State team to their October 17th showdown with Virginia Tech. Another conference loss could be devastating for the Yellow Jackets' chances in the Coastal.
4. Boston College Eagles (1-1, 4-1): Remember us? Despite one of the most tumultuous off-seasons by any team in recent memory, Boston College is somehow 4-1 and in serious contention for a third straight Atlantic division crown. The soaring Eagles now head to Blacksburg for what figures to be their toughest test of the year, where the Hokies haven't lost since 2007, coincidentally to none other than Boston College.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1, 3-2): After a tough loss to Boston College in OT, Wake Forest rebounded Saturday against NC State picking up their first conference win in the process. The Demon Deacons are an experienced team led by veteran quarterback Riley Skinner, and should be in the Atlantic hunt until the end.
6. NC State Wolfpack (0-1, 3-2): NC State looked impressive in their non-conference slate but that momentum wasn't enough to prevent the Wolfpack from dropping their ACC opener at Wake Forest. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw a very uncharacteristic two interceptions in the loss, but NC State is still a good team and playing in the chaotic Atlantic division should have as good a shot as anyone.
7. Florida State Seminoles (0-2, 2-3): Its obvious folks in Tallahassee aren't having a very fun time right now. Not only is there turmoil in the coaching ranks but the Seminoles are 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since joining the conference. However, I still believe this is a much better team than their record would indicate, but if they don't start playing to their capability, 2009 could be a season to forget.
8. Clemson Tigers (1-2, 2-3): Clemson has shown they have plenty of talent and toughness, but unfortunately that hasn't translated to wins for the Tigers who are now 2-3 and 1-2 in conference play after a surprising loss to the struggling Terrapins. Luckily for Clemson the Atlantic division seems to be anyone's for the taking right now and if the Tigers can start winning these close games they'll be around in the end.
9. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-2, 3-2): Considered a preseason contender in the Coastal, North Carolina has really dug themselves a hole by losing their first two conference games. The Tar Heels have been outscored 40-10 in ACC play and need to get on track immediately or face the prospect of regressing in Butch Davis's third season as head coach considering they've still got road-trips to Virginia Tech, Boston College, and NC State as well as Florida State and Miami at home left on the schedule.
10. Maryland Terrapins (1-0, 2-3): Despite a horrendous start to their 2009 season, it is Maryland somehow sitting atop the Atlantic division standings after surprising win over Clemson in their ACC opener last week. Saturday's victory was a great boost for the Terps, but they'll have to prove it wasn't a fluke before we can really consider them serious contenders.
T11. Duke Blue Devils (0-1, 2-3): The Blue Devils played their heart out Saturday and although they came up a little bit short, proved they aren't a pushover anymore. David Cutcliffe still thinks Duke is capable of making a bowl game in '09, but for that to happen the Blue Devils have to find four wins in the remaining seven games and that journey begins Saturday at NC State.
T11. Virginia Cavaliers (1-0, 1-3): Virginia moves into a tie with Duke at #11 after knocking off UNC this past Saturday but like Maryland, the Cavs will need to prove they can win consistently before they can be taken seriously. The 0-3 start and loss to FCS William & Mary are just too ugly to forget, but at least it appears Virginia is on the right track.
Boston College 24, Virginia Tech 34: Boston College makes it interesting but Virginia Tech pulls it out.
Indiana 17, Virginia 28: Virginia has improved a little in each week and builds on last Saturday's success.
Georgia Southern 6, North Carolina 35: A good chance for the Tar Heels to get back on track against a weaker opponent.
Duke 24, NC State 31: Blue Devils should be competitive but lose another close one.
Maryland 17, Wake Forest 21: Maryland stays in the game but joins the the Atlantic muddle with a loss.
Florida A&M 3, Miami 52: This one gets ugly quick.
Georgia Tech 24, Florida State 27: The Seminoles get back on track with upset win.