ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 5

Clemson Survived a Scare Vs. NC State on Thursday, and Stay Atop This Week's Rankings

Clemson Survived a Scare vs. NC State on Thursday, and Stay Atop This Week’s Rankings

The season’s four weeks old, and surprisingly, the ACC‘s still got a good deal of unbeaten teams within its ranks. Perhaps the league’s rebounded in a big way? Or maybe they just figured out how to schedule better from a PR standpoint? I’d bet a little bit of both. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 5)

1. Clemson Tigers (3-0) (1-0) (Last: 1): Clemson almost became the latest high-ranked victim of Raleigh, N.C. But due to a questionable out-of-bounds call and a fantastic effort by the Tigers’ defense, they manged to escape and remain in the national title conversation. Also worth noting: Tajh Boyd has sort of entered a bizarre realm in which nothing he does impresses us anymore. Throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns in a win should still be an accomplishment, even if you are the league’s most consistently excellent passer.

2. Florida State Seminoles (3-0) (1-0) (Last: 2): Jameis Winston isn’t perfect! Or so we’ve discovered… The Florida State passer completed just 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards and two scores, and was one of many FSU players who had a less-than-stellar game against the team’s worst competition to-date. So is this a case of State just looking ahead to the rest of the slate, or an opportunity to cast some doubt on the ‘Noles? They’ve yet to be tested at this point, but they’ve also looked less impressive in each successive game. Time will tell, I suppose…

3. Louisville Cardinals (4-0) (0-0) (Last: 3): Like most, I’d love to get to the bottom of this running clock situation from Saturday, as it makes the Cardinals’ blowout of FIU even more impressive. But already four games in to this schedule to forget, it’s already gotten a bit sad, no? Of course, Teddy Bridgewater‘s numbers should not be discounted as a result, but we’re all starting to see the issues brought to light in preseason. Louisville’s playing through a 12-team disaster movie and just as a cinematic monster should, they’re plowing through everything in their path. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean they’ll be rewarded for doing so, even if it’s not their fault they have such a poor schedule anyway.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (3-0) (0-0) (Last: 4): Miami, just like their rivals up in Tallahassee, sleep-walked through this week — or as much as you can sleep walk through a 77-7 victory. They had a bit of an excuse after Stephen Morris‘s injury, but nonetheless, what’s been most alarming about the ‘Canes start (in a bad way), is the lack of play-making by its top offensive weapons. So long as Morris is back and healthy, we’ll get a real glimpse at what they’re capable of soon.

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 4 (Part 1)

Clemson Wideout Martavis Bryant Will Be Called Upon to Step Up and Replace Charone Peake

Clemson Wideout Martavis Bryant Will Be Called Upon to Step Up and Replace Charone Peake

Weak slate of games this weekend, as most teams are facing off with some overmatched FCS foes. Still, a couple of in-conference games should move the needle for most ACC fans as we start to wind down on non-conference play. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Have some picks of your own? Predict away in the comments!

Game of the Week

Clemson Tigers (2-0) (0-0) at NC State Wolfpack (2-0) (0-0): These teams have arrived here in two very different ways (Clemson: dominant; NC State: slightly less so), but because this one’s in Raleigh, all cards appear to be on the table. Can Tajh Boyd avoid a repeat performance of his last trip down to State back in 2011 (zero TDs and two INTs)? Can Wolfpack QB Pete Thomas finally meet his potential and put aside his early season struggles? There’s plenty of upset talk floating around this week, but I just don’t see it (of course, I said that in 2011, too). Boyd and the Tigers’ offense are as good as they’ve ever been, while the State secondary was chewed up by Richmond two weeks ago. Clemson should continue to roll. Prediction: Clemson 42, NC State 24

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1) (0-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0) (0-0): Through two games, we have no idea who the Heels really are. They looked dreadful against South Carolina (fair enough) to start the season, but then the offense took awhile to pick up versus Middle Tennessee State as well. The offensive line has struggled to keep the pressure off QB Bryn Renner, but even more notably, they can’t seem to move the pile to open up the running game. Carolina’s only gaining around 116 yards per game on the ground — something that could hurt them all season. If Georgia Tech can gain an early lead, the triple-option should be able to seal the deal from there. The key, as you’d expect, will be Jackets’ QB Vad Lee and his ability to continue passing the ball effectively in order to set up that strong running game. Prediction: Georgia Tech 36, UNC 31

Marshall Thundering Herd (2-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) (0-0): We’ve been saying it for awhile now, but it bears repeating: this is the best Tech defense in quite some time, and maybe ever. Their ability to force turnovers and get after the quarterback make them absolutely lethal — especially for a team with an undersized offensive line and/or no ability to run the ball. Marshall’s line may seem a bit undersized, but their offense is still prolific by any standards. QB Rakeem Cato can absolutely kill a defense if given time to throw, and if the passing game stalls, there’s still the two-headed rushing attack of Steward Butler and Essray Taliaferro to deal with. Tech should win this one, but it won’t be easy. If they fall behind early, it could be a very long afternoon for the Hokies. Prediction: Virginia Tech 26, Marshall 23

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 4

This Week's ACC Slate Starts on Thursday, With Clemson Traveling to Raleigh to Face NC State

This Week’s ACC Slate Starts on Thursday, With Clemson Traveling to Raleigh to Face NC State

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 4 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, September 19

Clemson Tigers at NC State Wolfpack (+14), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, September 21

North Carolina Tar Heels at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-6.5), noon ET, ESPN

Marshall Thundering Herd at Virginia Tech Hokies (-9), noon ET, ESPNU

Florida International Panthers at Louisville Cardinals (-42.5), noon ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Army Black Knights (+3), noon ET, CBS Sports Network

Pittsburgh Panthers at Duke Blue Devils (+4), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Tulane Green Wave at Syracuse Orange (-14.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (-6), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

VMI Keydets at Virginia Cavaliers (-42), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Florida State Seminoles (-40.5), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Savannah State Tigers at Miami Hurricanes (-59), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

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ACC Football 2013 Week 1 Lessons: Florida State QB Jameis Winston is the Real Deal

Florida State's Jameis Winston Burst Into the National Conversation After Last Night's Pitt Win

Florida State’s Jameis Winston Burst Into the National Conversation After Last Night’s Pitt Win

Each Monday morning (except when there’s a national holiday), we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 1 of the ACC football season:

1. Jameis Winston Has Arrived: There was plenty to like about Florida State‘s true freshman quarterback prior to the season, but many believed it would take a few games for him to get settled as the team’s starting passer. Not at all the case. On national television last night, Winston was nearly perfect in all aspects of the game. His 25-for-27 passing effort for 357 yards and four scores (plus a rushing touchdown) single-handedly guided Florida State to the victory over Pittsburgh and immediately surrounds the ‘Noles with plenty of buzz. If you didn’t buy the hype before, it’s time to get on board.

2. Clemson is Ready for the National Spotlight: Winston wasn’t the only buzz-worthy ACC player, either. Clemson and quarterback Tajh Boyd proved that Monday night in beating no. 5 Georgia, 38-35. Boyd’s own five-touchdown performance was the bulk of the Tigers’ offense as the team managed to meet the call of critics claiming they were held in too high regard in preseason. The win over UGA marked the second straight win over a top-10 SEC opponent for Clemson too — the first team to ever accomplish such a feat.

3. Virginia Tech‘s offensive struggles remain: Forget the fact that it was Alabama. The Hokies still couldn’t move the ball at all, which was a serious problem last season and appear to be one again in 2013. In a game in which the Tide only managed 206 yards against a staunch Tech defense, the ingredients were obviously there for an upset. But by pulling off just 212 yards themselves, some of which was Logan Thomas‘s 59 yards passing and one interception, Virginia Tech cut themselves off at the knee in this one.

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 1 (Part 1)

Down a Few Defensive Backs, Can Georgia Keep Clemson's Sammy Watkins in Check?

Down a Few Defensive Backs, Can Georgia Keep Clemson’s Sammy Watkins in Check?

Welcome back, football!  Tonight begins another fantastic season of our favorite chaos-ridden soap opera, also known as college football. And with that, there are actual games being played, and actual predictions to be made. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Every conference team is in action this weekend too, so we’re splitting things up into two posts to make things more easily digestible. You’re welcome, and happy football season!

Game of the Week

Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers: Two top-10 teams with National Championship dreams, facing off on the first Saturday night of the season. It just doesn’t get any better than this. Clemson has a distinct home field advantage and completely understands what’s at stake: perception, which is most of the battle in college football. If Tajh Boyd wins his second straight contest against an elite SEC defense, then expectations are off to the races and the Tigers appear to be a legitimate threat to win it all. Lose, and they spend the rest of their season digging out of a hole. Preseason injuries have seemingly ravaged this ‘Dogs secondary, and that won’t do them any favors against the likes of Sammy Watkins & co. Clemson grabs win number one. Prediction: Clemson 31, Georgia 23

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks: Old ACC rivals reunite in a battle for who gets to be called “Carolina” for the rest of the season. The Gamecocks program has risen to previously unseen heights these past few years, while the Tar Heels are looking to embark on a similar upward trajectory. It could start here for UNC, though they’ll have to figure out a way to deal with SC’s Jadeveon Clowney first and foremost. The country’s best defensive lineman will give the Heels’ line all they can handle tonight. Despite some optimism that they’re up to the task, it still won’t stop Clowney from making a huge impact, though. Prediction: South Carolina 33, North Carolina 24

Presbyterian Blue Hose at Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Presbyterian was very bad last year (2-9), so this matchup is the exact type of body bag game Wake Forest needs to start off their season on the right foot. Outside of winning the football game (not a difficult task in this case), the main goal is getting out of the contest with everyone healthy — a struggle for the Deacs lately. With an ACC game coming up in week two, I’m also curious if Wake looks to break out some of the new spread-option elements of the offense, or if they’re keeping it under wraps until they head up to BC. I’d bet they keep things pretty basic tonight. Prediction: Wake Forest 38, Presbyterian 7

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 1

Tajh Boyd Leads Clemson Against Georgia in One of Many Nationally Televised ACC Games

Tajh Boyd Leads Clemson Against Georgia in One of Many Nationally Televised ACC Games

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 1 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, August 29

North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks (-12), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

Presbyterian Blue Hose at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-38), 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Saturday, August 31

Special: ESPN College Gameday, Live from Clemson, S.C., 11 a.m. ET, ESPN

Elon Phoenix at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-46), noon ET, ESPN 3

Villanova Wildcats at Boston College Eagles (-16.5), noon ET, ESPNEWS

Florida International Panthers at Maryland Terrapins (-21), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at NC State Wolfpack (-13.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Syracuse Orange (+8), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN 2

BYU Cougars at Virginia Cavaliers (+1), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

N.C. Central Eagles at Duke Blue Devils (-33), 4 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (+19.5), 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers (+2), 8 p.m. ET, ABC

Sunday, September 1

Ohio Bobcats at Louisville Cardinals (-20.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Monday, September 2

Florida State Seminoles at Pittsburgh Panthers (+10), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

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ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Miami Hurricanes

Duke Johnson is One of 20 Starters Returning From Last Year's Hurricanes Team

Duke Johnson is One of 20 Starters Returning From Last Year’s Hurricanes Team

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Miami Hurricanes

Spring Practice Start Date: March 2

Spring Game Date: April 13

The ‘Canes offseason has been a mess of rumors; from Al Golden leaving the team, to the botched NCAA investigation and then the “lack of institutional control” verdict passed down. But on the field, things are actually looking up quite a bit for Miami. Should they be able to compete in this year’s postseason (I say it’s likely), they’re one of several contenders for the Coastal division crown, sporting some of the conference’s youngest offensive stars. And after robbing one of Florida State‘s top coaches (new offensive coordinator James Coley) and scoring another highly regarded recruiting class, suddenly things are appearing sunny again in South Florida.

In 2012, Miami’s offense fluctuated between awful and amazing with regularity, at times struggling to top 20 points, and at others, looking like a runaway freight train (scored 40 or more on five separate instances). So the goal this spring while installing James Coley’s new offense is to harness the latter energy even more often. With playmakers like QB Stephen Morris and halfback/returner Duke Johnson (darkhorse for conference player of the year), that doesn’t seem too hard on paper, and no doubt returning all 11 offensive starters is set to pay huge dividends. Though Coley’s value is mainly on the recruiting trail, his move within the state was actually about play-calling. Not handling those duties up in Tallahassee is what drove Coley to look elsewhere, and now he’ll look to re-harness what made him such a hot commodity after a stint as FIU‘s head play-caller. Coley relies on speed and a balanced attack — both of which Miami’s well-suited to handle, meaning we’re in for an up-tempo spring, the likes of which should please everyone at the U.

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