ACC Power Rankings, Week 8

The Highly Underrated Miami Hurricanes Could Prove Dangerous

In these conference rankings, I list the ACC teams, one through 14, as if Pitt and Syracuse were already in the league. Yes, adding the additional teams may seem pointless now, but wait until they officially join. Then it’ll seem like old news and we can get past that initial awkwardness. No, I won’t reconsider. On to this week’s rankings!

1. Clemson Tigers (7-0) (4-0) (LW: 1): After a lackluster first half that had Maryland running circles around them, Tajh Boyd and Clemson were out for blood in the second half. After watching them hang 39 second-half points on the Terps is there really any doubt who the best team in the ACC is? No the Terps aren’t worldbeaters themselves, but it takes a lot of talent to perform as well as the Tigers did under pressure Saturday.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) (2-1) (LW: 2): For once, Virginia Tech showed up against a quality opponent and outplayed them in every way possible. Turning an early 10-0 deficit on its ear in seconds, the Hokies never looked back en route to crushing Wake Forest 38-17. More than anything, VPI needed to pull off a convincing win on the road to be viewed as a challenger in the Coastal division. I’d say mission accomplished.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-1) (3-1) (LW: 2): The Yellow Jackets’ loss to Virginia was rough, don’t get me wrong — it exposed them as too one-dimensional on offense, with an inability to get it done in tight spots. Still, they don’t fall all that far this week due to the general ineptitude of their cohorts in numbers three through five range. Whatever momentum they’ve lost though, they’ll need it back pretty quickly. With Virginia Tech right on their heels in the division, and several ranked teams remaining on the schedule, things could get ugly.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels (5-2) (1-2) (LW: 5): In spite of the Miami loss, the Tar Heels remain one of the ACC’s best on the strength of their defense. As mentioned here before, the Hurricanes are a much more talented football team than their record indicates. While a loss is not preferred in any circumstance, there’s no shame in how it all went down Saturday. The meat of the season’s up next though, and the games do not get an easier.

5. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (3-3) (1-2) (LW: 9): All kidding aside, the Hurricanes aren’t that far off from being undefeated right now. With a fleet of starters suspended in game one, they only lost to Maryland by eight. A total of seven points separated them and top-15 programs Kansas State and Virginia Tech earlier in the season. Plus, last I checked, Jacory Harris and Lamar Miller were pretty damn good players. In what now seems like a wide-open Coastal division, they’ve still got a shot.

6. Florida State Seminoles (3-3) (1-2)) (LW: 6): Florida State got back on track last week with a convincing win over Duke, but it’s nothing to throw a parade over. These are the Seminoles. They’re supposed to beat Duke. Still, a win is a win, and could work very well as a confidence booster for the squad going forward. Also on the bright side, they’ve already played the most difficult part of their schedule, with no current ranked teams left on the docket.

7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-2) (3-1) (LW: 5): The pass-happy Demon Deacons were stifled on offense for the first time this season, as Virginia Tech spent much of the game sprinting from goal line to goal line. Even though Wake is obviously not ready to contend for a league title with this team, QB Tanner Price is only a sophomore. This season, a bowl game is a success, but next year, the bar will certainly be raised.

8. Syracuse Orange (4-2) (1-0) (LW: 7): The good news? Syracuse managed to avoid a loss to underwhelming opponent, Bye Week. The bad? Friday night’s primetime contest on ESPN could very well decide the course of this season. West Virginia-Syracuse under the bright lights of the Carrier Dome, possibly for the last time in a long time. Obviously, SU either wins by three or loses by 40. I just don’t see another option.

9. Virginia Cavaliers (4-2) (1-1) (LW: 10): Virginia put on quite a show this weekend, as the second straight opponent to hold Georgia Tech to 21 points, and the first to notch a win against the previously undefeated Yellow Jackets. Now at 4-2, the Cavaliers, on the back of their defense, suddenly look like a team going bowling. Stay tuned, but this could be a team on the rise.

10. Maryland Terrapins (2-4) (1-2) (LW: 11): In spite of their eventual loss on Saturday, the Terrapins were electrifying on offense against Clemson. Credit goes to quarterback C.J. Brown, who contributed 339 total yards and four touchdowns, as the apparent spark Maryland’s needed all season. No longer stagnant and reliant on short passes, the Terps’ offense was a force to be reckoned with, powered by speed and an ill-prepared Clemson D in the first half. Trust me, you won’t be seeing former starter Danny O’Brien (barring injury) any time soon.

11. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4) (0-0) (LW: 8): Oh, Pitt. Just when we thought you could underachieve no further, you go and get trounced by a Utah team vying for last place in the Pac-12 right now. So with five games left, and three wins needed to make a bowl, the tightrope walk begins for the Panthers. If they fail to make the postseason, it’ll be a sad end to a great college career by Ray Graham.

12. Duke Blue Devils (3-3) (1-1) (LW: 12): No, Duke is not going to a bowl game. While we’ve stated this already, it had to be reiterated after getting shelled by Florida State on Saturday. I’ll still say five wins total though — which would be the second such season (and the closest they’ve come to a bowl game) since 1994.

13. NC State Wolfpack (3-3) (0-2) (LW: 13): Two weeks ago, I thought the Wolfpack would have a real shot to knock off Virginia this coming weekend. But now, not so much. While this NC State squad fails to be untalented, they also fail to show up against actual competition. This week’s UVa game could go a long way toward proving that theory wrong, though.

14. Boston College Eagles (1-5) (0-3) (LW: 14): The bye week gave Eagles’ fans a brief reprieve from the pain of this season, but the horror is far from over. BC will be the underdogs in every game from here on out, so their only option is to use that as an advantage. With such an anemic offense though (they’ve still failed to score over 19 points against a fellow FBS opponent), it’s hard to imagine another win in their future if it doesn’t come against fellow bottom-dweller NC State in a few weeks.

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Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 7)

Case Keenum and Houston Crash the Top 25 This Week

Like pretty much every other publication out there, we like to compile our own lists concerning who the “real” top 25 teams in college football are. As always with these sorts of things, the list is completely subjective and was created with our own ideas of what makes a team “worthy” of their respective rank. Feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 7)

1. LSU Tigers (6-0) (LW: 1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) (LW: 2)

3. Oklahoma Sooners (5-0) (LW: 4)

4. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0) (LW: 3)

5. Stanford Cardinal (5-0) (LW: 5)

6. Boise State Broncos (6-0) (LW: 6)

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-0) (LW: 7)

8. Clemson Tigers (6-0) (LW: 8 )

9. Oregon Ducks (4-1) (LW: 9)

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (5-1) (LW: 11)

11. Michigan Wolverines (6-0) (LW: 10)

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-0) (LW: 12)

13. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-0) (LW: 14)

14. West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1) (LW: 15)

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1) (LW: 17)

16. South Carolina Gamecocks (5-1) (LW: 19)

17. Kansas State Wildcats (5-0) (LW: 20)

18. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1) (LW: 21)

19. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-1) (LW: 23)

20. Texas Longhorns (5-1) (LW: 13)

21. Michigan State Spartans (4-1) (LW: 25)

22. Baylor Bears (4-1) (LW: 24)

23. Houston Cougars (6-0) (LW: NR)

24. North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1) (LW: NR)

25. Washington Huskies (4-1) (LW: NR)

Dropped out:

Auburn

Florida

Florida State

Per conference: Big Ten (5), Big 12 (5), ACC (4), Pac-12 (4), SEC (4), Big East (1), C-USA (1), MWC (1)

ACC Power Rankings, Week 7

Behind Tanner Price, Wake Forest takes a big leap this week.

In these conference rankings, I list the ACC teams, one through 14, as if Pitt and Syracuse were already in the league. Yes, adding the additional teams may seem pointless now, but wait until they officially join. Then it’ll seem like old news and we can get past that initial awkwardness. No, I won’t reconsider. On to this week’s rankings!

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0) (3-0) (LW: 1): The ACC’s top contender kept rolling with another convincing win last week, this time over the conference’s worst team, Boston College. Still, the focus was on Tajh Boyd, whose injury could have altered both the conference and national title races. Lucky for Tigers fans, he’s slated to be back in action by their next game.

2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-0) (3-0) (LW: 2): Georgia Tech’s offense looked like a shadow of itself against Maryland Saturday, but the defense played much better than it had previously. So, where does the ‘Wreck stand? Until their showdown with Clemson, probably no better than second in the conference. In the meantime though, this team needs to find a way to impress pundits more — they didn’t seem too convinced on the ESPN networks after only beating the Terps by five.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-1) (1-1) (LW: 4): Still don’t know what to make of Virginia Tech after a frenzied win over Miami (FL) this weekend. As always, they seem ripe for the picking any given week, yet the large majority of the time, they do what needs to be done to close out games. I’d also contend there is a pretty wide gap between the top two in this league and VPI right now.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1) (1-1) (LW: 5): Last week’s ugly 14-7 victory over Louisville aside, the Heels have been impressive on both sides of the ball this season — even hanging with Georgia Tech until the very end of their seven-point week four loss. While I’m not convinced the Hokies are head and shoulders above this squad, quality of schedule puts the Tar Heels at a firm number four.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1) (3-0) (LW: 8): The jury may truly be out until we see just how well Florida State does this season, but so far, Wake has three conference wins and is the only team with a shot to catch Clemson in the Atlantic Division. If not for week one’s heartbreaker against Syracuse, Wake would be battling the Tigers out for the conference’s best storyline right now.

6. Florida State Seminoles (2-3) (0-2)) (LW: 3): Obviously the ‘Noles are not national title contenders, but now they’re starting to fall out of real contention for an ACC title, too. While Wake Forest is no slouch, it’s hard to believe Florida State was unable to get past them Saturday, and now they face an identity crisis on both sides of the ball. With four straight very winnable games up next, we could look back on this and laugh, but they must right the ship immediately.

7. Syracuse Orange (4-2) (1-0) (LW: 7): Hard to believe this team has four wins this season, right? In total, those victories have come by just 20 points — for anyone who’s witnessed them, they could easily have lost all four. So what comes next? The Orange get to regroup for a bye week they sorely need, and hopefully regain DE Chandler Jones. From there, a big matchup with West Virginia looms large and could tell us a bit more about where SU really stands.

8. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3) (0-0) (LW: 6): As always, Pitt allowed a big win to get to their heads and then truly drop the ball against an inferior opponent. While Rutgers looked incredibly sloppy against Syracuse in week five, they were locked in and ready for the Panthers Saturday, running them out of the building. While many blamed Dave Wannsteadt for this program’s struggles the last decade, it seems a culture of believing your own hype has taken over even beyond his reach.

9. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (2-3) (0-2) (LW: 10): The league’s biggest enigma, Miami has been competitive in each of this year’s games, and it’s not inconceivable that they could’ve been undefeated at this juncture. Still, good teams win close games, so in spite of the positives we can take from losses to ranked teams like Virginia Tech and Kansas State, the fact is they could not prevail. Any team with Jacory Harris and Lamar Miller should also be able to win at least eight games, but that’s another argument.

10. Virginia Cavaliers (3-2) (0-1) (LW: 9): Virginia mostly keeps pace after their bye week, dropping just one spot. Things could potentially get ugly next week, however, as the Cavaliers play host to Georgia Tech’s high-flying offense. Though Maryland was able to keep the Yellow Jackets in check last week, Virginia seems too undersized to do the same.

11. Maryland Terrapins (2-3) (0-1) (LW: 11): Maryland’s proven they can compete with ranked teams — hanging in with both Georgia Tech and West Virginia until the end of their respective contests. Still, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to keep Clemson in check next week if Tajh Boyd is at 100% (likely). It’s too easy to throw on the Terps, as even a suspension-riddled Miami team proved earlier this year, and Boyd will exploit that.

12. Duke Blue Devils (3-2) (1-0) (LW: 12): Syracuse’s hard-fought battle against Tulane last week makes the Blue Devils’ 48-27 victory a month or so back look even better. Still, some big tests remain if Duke hopes to gain bowl eligibility. Virginia Tech, UNC, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech are all on the remaining schedule. Add another loss to those, and it looks like a five-win ceiling in 2011.

13. NC State Wolfpack (3-3) (0-2) (LW: 13): While they get credit for finally beating an FBS squad (Central Michigan) Saturday, NC State has struggled to stop anyone from scoring this season. Their next game, against Virginia, will probably be the more proper gauge of what this team’s capable of against comparable competition.

14. Boston College Eagles (1-5) (0-3) (LW: 14): Last week could’ve been so much worse than the 22-point loss to Clemson indicated. Yet, you can’t help but sense the hopelessness setting in with this team and fanbase this year. Unfortunately, as they prepare to welcome back two of their oldest rivals (Pitt and SU), the Eagles will probably be coming off some of their worst football in four decades. Don’t count out the possibility of 1-11 here with several huge games left on the schedule.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 6)

On-field results say LSU is the top team in the nation

Like pretty much every other publication out there, we like to compile our own lists concerning who the “real” top 25 teams in college football are. As always with these sorts of things, the list is completely subjective and was created with our own ideas of what makes a team “worthy” of their respective rank. Feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Week 6)

1. LSU Tigers (5-0)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0)

3. Wisconsin Badgers (5-0)

4. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)

5. Stanford Cardinal (4-0)

6. Boise State Broncos (5-0)

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0)

8. Clemson Tigers (5-0)

9. Oregon Ducks (3-1)

10. Michigan Wolverines (5-0)

11. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-1)

12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-0)

13. Texas Longhorns (5-0)

14. Illinois Fighting Illini (5-0)

15. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-1)

16. Auburn Tigers (4-1)

17. Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1)

18. Florida Gators (4-1)

19. South Carolina Gamecocks (4-1)

20. Kansas State Wildcats (4-0)

21. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-1)

22. Florida State Seminoles (2-2)

23. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1)

24. Baylor Bears (4-1)

25. Michigan State Spartans (4-1)

Per conference : SEC (6), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (5), ACC (4), Pac-12 (3), Big East (1), MWC (1)

ACC Power Rankings, Week 6

Will Clemson be running away with the ACC this season?

In these, the first conference rankings, I list the ACC teams, one through 14, as if Pitt and Syracusewere already in the league. Yes, adding the additional teams may seem pointless now, but wait until they officially join. Then it’ll seem like old news and we can get past that initial awkwardness. No, I won’t reconsider. On to this week’s rankings!

1. Clemson Tigers (5-0) (2-0): The Tigers have already beaten the two teams everyone thought would be the class of the league this year (Florida State and Virginia Tech), so I think it should be obvious they occupy this spot. Also among Clemson’s victims this season include those “other” Tigers from Auburn, who won won a National Title last season (at least until the NCAA says otherwise) and the Sun Belt‘s likely champs, Troy. Also, just two ranked teams left on the schedule, so I like their chances to represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl.

2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-0) (2-0): This team’s put up 45 or more points in four of their five contests thus far, and currently lead the nation in rushing yards per game (with a staggering 378.2!). While the defense has been mildly suspect, the ‘Wreck are 5-0 for the first time since the 1990, when they won it all as the last team to take home a national championship with a tie in their record. Like Clemson, just two ranked teams remain on the docket — though one of those are the Tigers on October 29.

3. Florida State Seminoles (2-2) (0-1): No, FSU is not rated this highly for its dominant victories over “powerhouses” Charleston Southern and UL-Monroe. Rather, it’s their two close losses to top-10 programs Clemson and Oklahoma that have the Seminoles looking a bit better than most 2-2 teams would at this juncture. Saturday’s game against Wake Forest should be a better barometer of what we’ll see from the team going forward.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1) (0-1): I won’t even deny it — I considered dropping the Hokies even further after Saturday’s listless effort against the Tigers. Admittedly, part of me has never dropped the grudge against VPI from their Big East days, but still — just a field goal at home?! For shame, Hokies. Good thing ECU‘s not joining the ACC anytime soon.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-1) (1-1): Scandal aside, this is an immensely talented UNC squad that is tough to beat when they’re firing on all cylinders. On the minus side, turnovers have killed them at times as well, specifically during the Rutgers game, which should have never been close to begin with.

6. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2) (0-0): The Panthers fail to play any ACC competition this season, so their conference record remains blank for 2011. If they were in the league this year, though? I’d bet they’d battle it out for fourth with UNC — especially if they perform anywhere near how they did against USF last Thursday. Ray Graham is an absolute terror. And I still say South Florida wins 8 or 9 games this season, just to further support how impressive a win Pitt had against them.

7. Syracuse Orange (3-2) (1-0): Cardiac ‘Cuse is trying to kill me this season. Five games. Three go into overtime. Another, against a FCS school, goes down to the wire. And I won’t even talk about Saturday’s horrendous effort against Rutgers. Say what you want about any and all of our tainted wins (injuring Wake’s QB to rally, the Toledo XP), but wins are wins and we face another potential one in Tulane this weekend.

8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-1) (2-1): Their first real test will be against FSU this weekend, but if not for some real luck on the part of my alma mater in week one, the Demon Deacons could very well have been 4-0 right now with a 3*-0 conference record (obviously for our purposes here, SU is being counted as a conference game). While I don’t like their chances against the ‘Noles, I will say that when you can pass the ball like that (314 ypg), you’ll at least entertain.

9. Virginia Cavaliers (3-2) (0-1): This is where it gets a bit ugly/muddled for the ACC. Virginia’s resume includes an OT win over Idaho and a three-point victory over Indiana. So needless to say, some real work to be done here in terms of quality wins. Chances are the party won’t be starting against Georgia Tech this weekend, as the Cavs may get run right off the field to the tune of 50+ points scored by Tech.

10. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (2-2) (0-1): Should we give them a break for having so many suspended players for the first game against Maryland? But then what of the poor play when they were at full strength? Also, when discounting the value of the Ohio State win (really not a lot going on in Columbus this season), it’s tough to see this team as any more than a 7-5 squad (at absolute best).

11. Maryland Terrapins (2-2) (1-0): Maryland sits at #11 for several reasons. Besides the aforementioned win over a ravaged-by-suspensions Miami team, Maryland also got SMOKED by Temple two weeks ago. Plus, those uniforms are horrendous. For everyone’s sake, let’s leave those on the drawing board from now on.

12. Duke Blue Devils (3-2) (1-0): Normally, losing to a FCS squad would be an automatic trip to the basement of completely subjective, arbitrary rankings like these. Lucky for Duke, they’re the only school of the bottom three with wins over FBS schools, so they get the nod. It seems the Blue Devils are doing just enough right to get by thus far, but can they get three more wins out of that strategy? I simply don’t think so.

13. North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-3) (0-2): The Wolfpack got absolutely shelled by Cincinnati, a team that frankly, won’t win more than six games this season. On the other hand, they hung tight with both Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, so there’s potential. Still, with both victories over FCS schools, it’s tough to put them ahead of many teams.

14. Boston College Eagles (1-4) (0-2): Apologies in advance to Mike, who’ll surely have something to say about this later in the week, but BC has been terrible this year. Unfortunately for them, three more ranked opponents and a potentially hungry Notre Dame squad await them. Might as well put this one in the books already.