ACC Quarterback Power Rankings: Russell Wilson Still on Top

Isaiah ClarkCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2010

ACC Quarterback Power Rankings: Russell Wilson Still on Top

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    RALEIGH, NC - SEPTEMBER 16:  Russell Wilson #16 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack talks to his team in the huddle against the Cincinnati Bearcats during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 16, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It was a good week for most of the quarterbacks to separate themselves from the pack. While Russell Wilson, Christian Ponder and Jacory Harris helped their stock others like Dave Shinskie and Joshua Nesbitt did nothing but destroy their stock.

    Shinskie essentially blew the game for Boston College against Virginia Tech.

    Harris and Ponder didn't have great games but they did enough to help their teams win even though their defense's did most of the work.

    Wilson carried his team to what most people are calling an upset victory over Georgia Tech. His play against the Yellow Jackets have not only made him the clear leader in the ACC but separated himself extensively from the rest of the field. Of course the season is still young but no one has shown the consistency that he has.

    This weekend is filled with some key matchups that can make or break these quarterbacks and their chances to take over the top spot in the conference.

    Florida State is at Virginia in what could be an upset alert, while Virginia Take will be squaring off with N.C. State. Three of the top five quarterbacks in my rankings will be playing in these two games and a lot can change depending on the final outcome of the games.

    In the ACC game of the week, Miami will be on the road to face Clemson and this will be a great opportunity for both Jacory Harris and Kyle Parker to bolster their stock.

    Can anyone dethrone Russell Wilson from the ranks or will he reign yet again after week five of the season?

    Week 3

12. Tanner Price- Wake Forest: Last Week-12

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    Price struggled tremendously against FSU's defense. In fact the entire offense was abysmal considering they were limited to 185 yards of total offense.

    They came in averaging 43 points a game and were shut out for the first time all season.

    This offense will continue to struggle during conference play if Price doesn't grow up quick. It's unlikely to happen for the true freshman and the Demon Deacons, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 48.2

    PYDS- 305

    TD- 3

    INT- 3

    RYDS- 154 

    TD- 2

11. Dave Shinskie- Boston College: Last Week- 9

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dave Shinskie #15 of the Boston College Eagles passes the ball in the second quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, this Boston College team will only go as far as Shinskie leads them.

    This past weekend he proved me right when he ruined a few good scoring opportunities by throwing some questionable passes for interceptions.

    He played so poorly that he was replaced by Mike Marscovetra after turning the ball over on a fumble and an interception in the second half. He finished with 3 turnovers and only completed 11 of 25 passes for 130 yards.

    There is no telling on how much longer head coach Frank Spaziani will stick with Shinskie, but I am almost certain that if he gets the nod against Notre Dame and struggles at all then he may have just lost his starting spot.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 54.2

    PYDS- 529

    TD- 4

    INT- 4

    RYDS- -17

    TD- 0

10. Danny O'Brien- Maryland: Last Week- N/A

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    O'Brien has appeared in every game this season, only this time he was starting against FIU. He replaced Jamarr Robinson who had been struggling with what they called a "tired" arm.

    In any case, I don't see how Ralph Friedgen can go back to Robinson after the impressive performance by O'Brien this past weekend.

    He didn't look like a freshman by any means, completing 17 of 28 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. It didn't seem like he was nervous at all, in fact he looked like a calm veteran out there who was making smart decisions by throwing the ball away and not taking unnecessary sacks.

    I expect to see O'Brien getting his second consecutive start when Maryland welcomes the struggling Duke Blue Devils to Byrd Stadium.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 62.2

    PYDS- 329

    TD- 5

    INT- 0

    RYDS- -13

    TD- 0

9. Sean Renfree- Duke: Last Week- 8

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    DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:  Sean Renfree #19 of the Duke Blue Devils drops back to throw a pass against the Army Black Knights during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Image
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Duke had high aspirations of improving on last season and receiving a bowl bid this year, but that doesn't look like it will happen. Though the season is far from over, the Blue Devils haven't looked very impressive at all.

    Renfree has been about the only bright spot on this team and that isn't saying a lot. He is a young quarterback with a strong arm and a bright future but lacks decision making skills. 

    He threw two quick interceptions that led to touchdowns against Army last week. He finished the game with 261 yards passing with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

    At least he leads the ACC in passing yards so far this season. There is only one yard separating him and Russell Wilson of N.C. State, but hey, at least the Blue Devils lead in something positive.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 62.0

    PYDS- 1113

    TD- 9

    INT- 7

    RYDS- -3

    TD- 0

8. Joshua Nesbitt- Georgia Tech: Last Week- 7

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  Head coach Paul Johnson of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets talks with quarterback Josh Nesbitt #9 against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Does every see what I am finally talking about when it comes to Nesbitt's throwing ability?

    5 for 18 against N.C. State last week is a measly 27.8 completion percentage. He finished with 116 yards passing and one touchdown to go along with 95 yards rushing.

    There is no question that his running ability is off the charts but his passing ability is worse than some high school quarterbacks.

    When this team gets down, they are in some serious trouble because Nesbitt can't pass to save his life.

    The good thing for the Yellow Jackets this week is that they face Wake Forest who has one of the worst defenses in the nation. It should be smooth sailing for that triple-option offense but if Wake can find a way to slow it down then the Yellow Jackets could be in some more trouble.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 32.6

    PYDS- 316

    TD- 3

    INT- 1

    RYDS- 362

    TD- 6

7. Marc Verica- Virginia: Last Week- 11

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Marc Verica #6 of the Virginia Cavaliers throws a pass against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 17-14.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Ima
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Watching Verica show some improvement each game out has to be comforting to most Virginia fans. He started off hot against VMI throwing for three touchdowns in the first half and finishing 17 of 28 with 224 yards passing.

    His competition will be much more difficult this weekend when Florida State brings a confident and much improved defense to Charlottesville. The Seminoles haven't allowed their last two opponents to eclipse the 200 yard mark in total offense. That is saying something for this defense, considering the way they were dismantled against Oklahoma.

    Verica is going to need to play smart and quick with the Seminoles defense leading the nation in sacks. They will have their ears pinned back and ready to go against him. If they want to have any chance of upsetting the Seminoles, Verica will have to play at an entirely new level.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 60.6

    PYDS- 697

    TD- 5

    INT- 1

    RYDS- -40

    TD- 0

6. T.J. Yates- North Carolina: Last Week- 6

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: Jonathan Freeny #99 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights attempts to block a pass from  T.J. Yates #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during a game at Rutgers Stadium on September 25, 2010 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  (Photo
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Yates led his undermanned Tar Heels to a 17-13 come from behind victory over Rutgers this past weekend.

    His numbers weren't great, but they weren't awful either. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 204 yards an interception and the game winning touchdown pass to Ryan Taylor.

    Their first two games were more or less moral victories losing to LSU and Georgia Tech. This win is much more then a moral victory as it may give them some much needed confidence as they head back home to take on ECU.

    Home field advantage should help Yates and the Tar Heels against ECU but he will need to continue playing the way he has this season or they could be looking at a 1-3 record.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 68.0

    PYDS- 825

    TD- 5

    INT- 1

    RYDS- -28

    TD- 1

5. Tyrod Taylor- Virginia Tech: Last Week- 5

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies calls out the play in the first quarter against the Boston College Eagles on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Taylor may have not thrown a touchdown pass but he had season highs in passing yards (237) and completion percentage (76.2).

    It wasn't the prettiest display by the offense but it got the job down with the defense shutting Boston College down, winning the game 19-0.

    The Hokies seem to be getting some of their confidence back but they will need more than that when they take on Russell Wilson and his Wolfpack on the road. They are the only unbeaten team left within the conference and return home after beating Georgia Tech on the road.

    The defense will need to play just like they did against Boston College and Taylor may need to play his best game of the season if they want to make a statement in the ACC against the Wolfpack.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 65

    PYDS- 746

    TD- 5

    INT- 2

    RYDS- 201

    TD- 0

4. Kyle Parker- Clemson: Last Week- 4

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Kyle Parker #11 of the Clemson Tigers passes against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Parker and his Clemson Tigers had a week off to prepare for the visit from the Miami Hurricanes this weekend.

    He was beat up badly during the Auburn game but coaches say he has been at full-strength all week at practice and will be plenty ready for Miami.

    This will be another tough battle for him and the Tigers. He will need to play the best game of his 2010 campaign if they hope to upset a very talented Miami team.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 59

    PYDS- 511

    TD- 6

    INT- 1

    RYDS- -25

    TD- 0

3. Jacory Harris- Miami: Last Week- 3

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers on September 23, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    There are still some question marks when you talk about Jacory Harris. Can he step it up and make the big throws in big game situations?

    He seems to have those lackadaisical moments when he lofts a pass instead of zipping it in there, and those passes often end up in interceptions.

    We know that he has the mold of a top-teir quarterback, but he needs to start showing it on a consistent basis if the Hurricanes have any hopes of winning the ACC this year.

    He will get another shot at a big game when they take to the road for a potential preview of the ACC Championship game squaring off against Clemson. If he plays the way most Hurricane fans expect him to, then they will walk out of Death Valley with a victory.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 64

    PYDS- 690

    TD- 6

    INT- 6

    RYDS- -7

    TD- 0

2. Christian Ponder- Florida State: Last Week- 2

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    Ok, he finally eclipsed the 200-yard mark but he still doesn't look the same. He doesn't look as comfortable in the pocket like last season and he's still struggling to throw the ball with some authority.

    It's a good thing he isn't making many mistakes, although he did lose two fumbles in the 31-0 shellacking of Wake Forest.

    There still should be some concern from the coaches though. Aside from his decent numbers, he's struggling to hit a 10-yard out pass or even a post route past 15 yards. I am not even sure if he's attempting a pass beyond 15 yards this season.

    Even though I am an FSU Alum, I would still say this offense was over-hyped to begin the season and is still lacking that consistency they need.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 61

    PYDS- 672

    TD- 7

    INT- 3

    RYDS- 91

    TD- 2

1. Russell Wilson- N.C. State: Last Week- 1

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    CHAPEL HILL - NOVEMBER 22:   Quarterback Russell Wilson #16 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack runs the ball during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. ( Photo by: Streeter
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    A 45-28 victory on the road against Georgia Tech. Wilson completed 28 of 41 passes for a career-high of 368 yards to go along with four total touchdowns (3 pass, 1 run) and one interception, need I say more.

    He has now thrown over 300 yards in three out of the four games. He is first in the ACC in touchdown passes and only one yard behind Duke's Sean Renfree for the most passing yards in the ACC.

    For a guy that did nothing but play baseball all spring and summer, I would have to say these are some pretty good numbers. Right now there is no one even in his league at the quarterback position in the ACC.

    He has a tough test against Virginia Tech but should be up for the challenge. They will be trying to remain the only unbeaten team within the conference and push their conference record to 2-0. A win here and there should be no more talk about them potentially being a contender but as one of the favorites to win the ACC.

    Season Stats

    PCT- 59.9

    PYDS- 1112

    TD- 11

    INT- 1

    RYDS- 87

    TD- 1