ACC Football: Week 3 Team Power Rankings

David SolarCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

ACC Football: Week 3 Team Power Rankings

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    Week three is in the books and it's time for another installment of the ACC power poll. After an extremely disappointing second week, Saturday’s results were slightly more varied. Some teams bounced back from tough losses (hello Virginia Tech); while others suffered embarrassing defeats (sorry Wake and Duke).

     

    Now with week four upon us, teams enter the heart of their schedule as conference play picks up. We'll see the contenders and the pretenders as pre-season favorites Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech take on potential bubble busters in Boston College and NC State.

     

    While conference play will help shed light on the balance of power in the ACC, right now there is much uncertainty. No team has been impressive enough to separate themselves from the pack. In fact, only one team is currently ranked within the top 25.

     

    Last week, this was referred to as the "lack of" power poll, which is quite fitting given the current state of affairs in this floundering BCS conference. As we wait for a front runner to step up, we must examine the current shape of the ACC in ranking the twelve teams.

12. Duke 1-2 (0-1)

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    After Duke scored 48 points against Wake Forest, many wondered how the Blue Devils would fair against top ranked Alabama. Not shockingly, it was a blowout.

     

    The Crimson Tide steamrolled Duke 62-13 in the biggest mismatch since Dennis Rodman versus literacy. There is a light at the end of Duke’s tunnel however. Despite this debilitating defeat, there have been signs of promise from the Khloe Kardashian of the ACC. Sean Renfree has looked good in three games this season while running back Desmond Scott has been equally impressive.

     

    Meanwhile, wideouts Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner lead the ACC in receptions and receiving yards. If only their defense can step-up, this might be the year Duke finally lands a bowl game.

11. Virginia 1-1 (0-0)

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    I almost feel bad placing Virginia this low. After all, they've only played two games, both of which have been impressive performances. After winning by 21 in their season opener, the Cavaliers went into USC and came out with a surprisingly close three point loss.

     

    Alas, I don't think this Virginia team is a legitimate threat. USC looked terrible against Virginia, yet still came out with a win. The 21 points victory was over a 1-AA opponent in Richmond (albeit some Virginia teams would be happy with a 21 point win over a sub-conference opponent).

     

    Truth be told, we won't be able to fairly judge this Virginia team for another fortnight. Virginia didn't play over the weekend and their next game is against VMI who most recently lost 45-0 against William and Mary.

     

    The Cavs next real challenge comes October 2nd when they host Florida State.

10. Wake Forest 2-1 (1-0)

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    This week against Stanford, the Demon Deacons (p.s.I still don't fully know what a Demon Deacon is), gave up 68 points! Stanford may be a good team, but that is simply unacceptable.

     

    In fact, if I'm coaching Wake Forest, I don't know how many positives I can take from this game. Wake gave up 535 yards of offense, turned the ball over twice, gave up five sacks and completed only forty percent of their passes. The best thing they had going for them was their lack of penalties -- two fouls for a total of five yards.

     

    This is a team that gave up 48 points to Duke! Maybe that would be impressive if we were talking about their basketball team. Wake leads the ACC in scoring at 43.3 points per game, but that's far less impressive when you give up the second most as well (43 points allowed per game).

     

    At a certain point, the DD’s will have to consider onside kicking after scoring. After all, the opposing offense seems just as likely to score from their own 20 as they would from midfield.

     

    The Deacons take on Florida State this Saturday. It will be interesting to see if this defense can hold the Seminoles offense to under forty points.

9. Maryland 2-1 (0-0)

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    Even if you had to listen very closely to hear it, after two weeks, there was a buzz surrounding Maryland. They had demolished Morgan State 62-3 -- their highest offensive output in 35 years -- and were ready to take on the big boys.

     

    Enter Big East front runner West Virginia. A win against an elite non-conference opponent like the Mountaineers would have propelled the Terps up this list and made them the team to beat in the ACC Atlantic. Unfortunately, WVU jumped out to a 28-0 lead and Maryland was left as just another marginal ACC team.

     

    So what was the biggest problem with this Maryland team? Aside from the soon to be replaced coach Ralph Friedgen, it was the mismatched running games. There was no reason to fear the Turtle Saturday as they were outrushed 201 to -10.

     

    The Terps take on schedule-padder Florida International this week before playing Duke. Expect Maryland to be 4-1 before they embark on a four game losing streak.

8. North Carolina 0-2 (0-1)

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    Poor T.J. Yates. Through two games, the senior quarterback has been one of the nation's most effective passers. His 310.5 yards per game lead the ACC and his 159.1 passer rating are second to Tyrod Taylor yet his team sits in the ACC cellar.

     

    Now the undermanned Tar Heels will have travel to New Jersey for a tough non-conference match-up with Rutgers. The last time UNC travelled to Tony Soprano's home state, they thrashed the Scarlet Knights 44-12.

     

    Don't expect the same results this time. While the Tar Heels boast a Swiss cheese-esque defensive line (one which allowed 372 yards to Georgia Tech), Rutgers features a massive offensive line and terrific ground game that is averaging 172 yards per game.

     

    Expect T.J. Yates to have a sore back on Sunday morning because he will have to carry this team on his back if they expect to win come Saturday. And if they don't? North Carolina's season could be over quicker than you can say "fuhgettaboutit."

7. Virginia Tech 1-2 (0-0)

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    The Hokies are a bit of an oddity to say the least. After losing to 1-AA James Madison, VT entered halftime against East Carolina trailing 24-21.

     

    Coach Beamer must have said something to wake up his players at the intermission because they left that locker room on a mission. In fact, they outscored the Pirates 28-3 after the break.

     

    Regrettably, The Hokies lost Ryan Williams to a hamstring injury and the star running back's status for Saturday's game against Boston College is uncertain. On the bright side, David Wilson and Darren Evans filled in admirably; combining for 180 yards on 22 carries.

     

    This is a Virginia Tech team with supreme talent on both sides of the ball. I wouldn't be so quick to sleep on them.

6. NC State 3-0 (0-0)

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    While I'm still not sold on this Wolfpack team, I am starting to believe. Last week's 30-19 victory over Cincinnati may have put Russell Wilson's name into the Heisman conversation.

     

    By completing 26 of 40 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns, Wilson added to an already impressive early season resume. Thus far on the season, the 5'11 Wilson has thrown for 744 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. Better yet? The schedule moving forward is quite favorable to the unheralded Wolfpack.

     

    With home games against Florida State and Virginia Tech alongside the evasion of Miami, NC State's toughest game may just be a November 6th tilt at Clemson. Along with Boston College, NC State is a legitimate BCS sleeper. It's a long road ahead for this Wolfpack team, and it begins this Saturday against Georgia Tech.

5. Boston College 2-0 (0-0)

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    After two unimpressive wins against cupcake teams, Boston College was rewarded with an off week. This Saturday, they take on the walking conundrum that is Virginia Tech.

     

    While the Hokies may not be the elite team fans and experts speculated they would be, they represent the first real challenge to the Eagles. This BC team is led by underrated running back Montel Harris and a stifling defense led by a phenomenal linebacking core.

     

    Will they be able to overcome their troubled passing game? Can these BC linebackers stop Virginia Tech's impressive running attack? We find out this weekend in Chestnut Hill.

4. Georgia Tech 2-1 (1-0)

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    This Georgia Tech team is difficult to get a read on. A top 25 team to start the season, the Yellow Jackets lost to a lowly Kansas team two weeks ago and barely beat a depleted UNC ball club over the weekend.

     

    These guys manage only 67 yards per game through the air, yet put up an average of 345 yards on the ground. Those numbers are more eye-popping than a Panic Pete squeeze doll.

     

    In their win over the Tar Heels, this one dimensional offense accounted for 372 yards on 63 rushes. Yikes!

     

    Starting QB Joshua Nesbitt only attempted four passes -- completing three for 76 yards. It will be interesting to see if and how their game plan changes this Saturday against an NC State defense that allows only 85 rushing yards per game.

3. Florida State 2-1 (0-0)

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    Will the real Seminoles please stand up? A week after a 47-17 shellacking at the hands of Oklahoma, Florida State easily took care of BYU by a score of 34-10.

     

    The running game dominated, accounting for a staggering 278 yards on 6.3 yards per carry. Quarterback Christian Ponder was used scarcely but effectively completing 14 of 21 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and more importantly no interceptions. As for the defense? They made like BTO and were able to TCOB, holding the Cougars to a mere 191 yards. Definitely a step in the right direction after surrendering 487 total yards to the Sooners.

     

    The 'Noles take on Wake Forest this week, and can make a statement with a two touchdown victory.

2. Clemson 2-1 (0-0)

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    Dabo Swinney had a chance to make a statement last Saturday against Auburn. Going into Jordan-Hare Stadium, the second year coach had an opportunity to win a signature non conference game.

     

    Unfortunately, after a phenomenal first half, the Tigers blew a 17-0 lead before losing 27-24 in overtime. Despite this heartbreaking defeat, Clemson remains a scary opponent for fellow ACC teams. With a well balanced offense and sturdy D, the Tigers may just be playing in Charlotte come December.

     

    Luckily with a bye week approaching, Quarterback Kyle Parker will have time to rest and recover from the beating inflicted upon him by the Auburn defense. Perfect timing. Clemson hosts Miami on October 2nd in a pivotal conference game.

1. Miami Hurricanes 1-1 (0-0)

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    Being the only ranked team in the ACC, Miami is deserving of the top spot in the most recent poll. As the ACC struggles each week, the Hurricanes’ 36-24 loss at Ohio State looks better and better.

     

    The 'Canes play at Pittsburgh on Saturday after resting this weekend and could make a statement against a solid out of conference opponent. A dynamic quarterback in Jacory Harris paired with a good looking running back in senior Damien Berry; the U looks like the team to beat.