ACC Power Rankings Week 4: Miami Takes Charge After Dominant Win
This was the best week the ACC has experienced since week one. It's also the first time all season that I have had the same team ranked number one for consecutive weeks.
There still isn't a clear-cut leader but there are a few teams that are still trying to stake their claim as the top dog in the conference.
Miami started the week off with a big non-conference win on the road over Pittsburgh.
Virginia Tech and Florida State both walked away with a shut-out victory in their conference opener.
N.C. State upset Georgia Tech on the road and are making a case for the best team in the conference.
Next week has a few more non-conference games but also will be featuring some quality games within the conference. There may even be an upset in the making when Florida State takes to the road to face Virginia.
Clemson vs. Miami, will be the game of the week in the conference as two of the top-tier teams in the conference square off in what could be a preview of the ACC Championship game.
There is plenty of season left and I expect the rankings will continue to shuffle all the way through seasons end.
12. Duke 1-3 (0-1) Last Week- 12
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I think it's safe to say, Duke will not be making a bowl game this season.
They turned the ball over four times against Army in a 35-21 loss. All four of those turnovers were turned into touchdowns.
It's tough to come back when the offense continues to put their defense in a hole. Sean Renfree had looked pretty solid for a first year starter but his inexperience was on display when he threw back-to-back first quarter interceptions.
This team still has a long way to go and will continue to be a basketball school for at least another decade.
Next Game: at Maryland 10/2
11. Wake Forest 2-2 (1-1) Last Week- 11
It just keeps getting uglier for the Demon Deacons. Nothing seems to be going right for the offense as they are working with a true freshman at quarterback in Tanner Price.
There are some high school defenses that look better than this Demon Deacons defense. They did hold their own in the first half against Florida State, but the second half brought them back to reality.
I feel bad for Jim Grobe because this season isn't going to get any better if the defense continues to play the way it has thus far.
Next week won't be any easier when Georgia Tech brings its triple-option offense to Winston Salem. Expect this to be another game where the defense gives up 30 plus points.
Next Game: vs. Georgia Tech 10/2
10. Boston College 2-1 (0-1) Last Week- 6
Being shutout at home against Virginia Tech is not what Boston College expected.
In practice all week you could sense that this Eagles team really felt like they could not only compete with the Hokies but they felt they would win this game.
They had their chances to put some points on the board and get a little momentum but were unable to capitalize. Dave Shinskie threw an interception in the endzone and then they were stopped at the goal-line on four straight attempts.
Shinskie did not play the type of game that was needed of him to get the win. He was taken out in the second half after he only completed 11 of 25 passes for 130 yards and two interceptions.
They have a Notre Dame team coming in that's reeling from three consecutive losses, but will still give them a run for their money. With the Eagles not sure of who their quarterback will be against the Irish, this game could go either way.
Next Game: vs. Notre Dame 10/2
9. Virginia 2-1 (0-0) Last Week- 10
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Marc Verica showed just how much a week off can benefit you as he picked apart VMI's defense, throwing three touchdowns in the first half.
The closest VMI got all day was a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter. Then Raynard Horne returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and the Cavaliers never looked back from there, winning 48-7.
The offense compiled 466 yards of total offense while the defense only allowed 179 yards and caused two turnovers.
There's a good chance that if Florida State doesn't come into Scott Stadium well prepared then you will be seeing an upset victory by Virginia. Don't sleep on this Cavalier team as Mike London has got this team playing with an edge and some confidence.
Next Game: vs. Florida State 10/2
8. Georgia Tech 2-2 (0-1) Last Week- 5
Talk about a disappointment so far this season for the Yellow Jackets.
You can see that this isn't the same team that won the ACC Championship last year.
The defense has been non-existent for most part of the season and when the offense isn't scoring every drive, it's tough for this team to win.
They should have no problem against a Wake Forest defense that has struggled all season. This will be a good game for Joshua Nesbitt and the Yellow Jackets to get back on track.
Next Game: at Wake Forest 10/2
7. North Carolina 1-2 (0-1) Last Week- 8
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Finally, the Tar Heels have something to cheer about after 17-13 road win against Rutgers.
It has been nothing but an uphill battle for them all season, but no matter what they have given it their all every single game.
They get a tough ECU team at home next week, but maybe this win will give them the confidence they need to get on a win streak.
Next Game: vs. ECU 10/2
6. Maryland 3-1 (0-0) Last Week- 7
The Terps were able to get back into the win column after a solid 42-28 victory over Florida International.
Jamarr Robinson who had soreness in his arm was replaced by redshirt freshman Danny O'brien who made his first collegiate start. It was a very impressive debut for him throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a back and forth battle until Maryland went up 35-21 in the fourth quarter and never looked back.
The defense struggled for most part of the game, giving up a 472 yards of total offense.
Next Game: vs. Duke 10/2
5. Virginia Tech 2-2 (1-0) Last Week- 9
After struggling to find a rhythm in their first two and half games, the Hokies are starting to look like the team that experts picked to win the ACC.
The defense caused three turnovers but none were bigger than the interception by Jayron Hosley in the endzone in the first quarter. They made another stand in the first quarter when they stuffed them on 4th and goal. The defense led the Hokies to a 19-0 victory and their first shut-out of the season.
Their offense was sub-par, only scoring one touchdown and adding four field goals.
They are on the road against an N.C. State team that seems to be clicking on all cylinders at the moment. This should serve as one of the defining moments of their season.
Next Game: at N.C. State 10/2
4. Florida State 3-1 (1-0) Last Week- 4
Florida State crushed Wake Forest 31-0, but it took the offense a while to get in sync.
On the first offensive possession they drove all the way down to the four yard-line but Christian Ponder was sacked and lost the football. The score was 10-0 at half and Jimbo Fisher was not to thrilled with the way the offense was playing.
"We have to start making plays and play with an edge." Fisher said. "We are playing laid back and that is something I am about to fix."
Ponder still looks like his shoulder is bothering him a lot more than he wants people to think, but it's hard not to notice when he is throwing lollipops out there.
The defense looked solid yet again allowing only 189 yards and recorded their first shut-out of the season.
Next Game: at Virginia 10/2
3. Clemson 2-1 (0-0) Last Week- 2
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The Tigers had an off week and it was a much needed one at that. Dabo Swinney couldn't have planned the bye-week at a better time after the hard-hitting game they had at Auburn.
Kyle Parker took a shot in the ribs but since then has taken a few days off and is said to be at full strength.
That is a good sign since the Hurricanes will be coming to Death Valley and they need him in the game if they plan on upsetting them.
Next Game: vs. Miami 10/2
2. N.C. State 4-0 (1-0) Last Week- 3
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I went out on a limb picking the Wolfpack to upset the Yellow Jackets, glad they didn't disappoint me.
This team is for real and so is Russell Wilson. He threw his first interception of the season and it almost sparked a comeback for the Yellow Jackets. He didn't let the interception rattle him because on the ensuing drive they scored a touchdown, stretching the score to 38-28.
The Wolfpack went on to win in upsetting fashion 45-28.
I almost gave them the top spot in this weeks rankings but beating Georgia Tech isn't that impressive to me considering this isn't the same Tech team that won the ACC last year.
They will head home to take on Virginia Tech, who seems to have found their groove. So we should expect another good game and I still like N.C. State in this one.
Next Game: vs. Virginia Tech 10/2
1. Miami 2-1 (0-0) Last Week- 1
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I'm beginning to wonder why people call the Miami-Pittsburgh game a rivalry. The story is the same everytime the two square off, the Hurricanes dominate in a blowout fashion. This time they won 31-3 without breaking a sweat.
The defense was explosive all game and never gave Tino Sunseri a chance to get comfortable in the pocket. They only allowed 232 yards in the game and forced three turnovers.
"The defense played great," defensive end Andrew Smith said. "We put an emphasis on tackling [in practice], and we were getting all 11 to the ball. We wanted to wrap them up and drive them back, and that showed up on the field."
The Hurricanes had a scare when Jacory Harris was hit hard in the second half and came out of the game. He wasted no time in shaking it off as he was right back out for the next offense possesion. He finished the game with 248 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Clemson will pose a tougher challenge next weekend, so Miami will have to step it up a notch if they want to win on the road in Death Valley.
Next Game: at Clemson 10/2