ACC Football Player of the Week, Week 5: Jameis Winston, Florida State

Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston is the ACC Player of the Week for Week 5

Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston is the ACC Player of the Week for Week 5

Each week, we’ll be identifying the best ACC (plus Louisville) player from that weekend’s games. As always, it’s a completely arbitrary award with no specific criteria beyond the vague concept of “excellence.” No, we don’t take write-ins.

ACC Player of the Week, Week 5: Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State

Much has been made of Winston’s hot start and subsequent “cool down,” but much of that is caused by the dizzying highs his play was at during game one, rather than where things may have sunk to. Completing 63 percent of your passes is more than acceptable for a redshirt freshman quarterback, as is throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns. Another 67 yards is a bonus, and an important one at that, since he was also the team’s leading rusher against Boston College on Saturday. My point is that all the talk about him “falling off” is nonsensical, and that was no more apparent than the win against BC. As the the rest of his backfield and the entire defense failed him early against the Eagles, he put the team on his back and led them back from 14 down early. He also completed a Hail Mary play at the close of the first half that swung the entire narrative of the game. Call it luck, or call it skill, it doesn’t really matter. All that’s important is Winston’s continued play-making ability and his sharp ascension to a leadership role on both the offense and the entire team.

Honorable Mention:

Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (380 total yards, 4 TD)

Brandon Connette, QB/Duke (379 total yards, 5 TD, 1 INT)

Bryan Underwood, WR/NC State (190 total yards, 1 TD)

Brandon Facyson, CB/Virginia Tech (3 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR, 2 defended passes)

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 5

Through Four Games, No Defense Has Been Able to Stop Maryland's C.J. Brown

Through Four Games, No Defense Has Been Able to Stop Maryland QB C.J. Brown at All

The ACC‘s top teams are still unbeaten, but that doesn’t mean we’re only choosing from a few teams here. The league is deep with playmakers this season, so plenty to choose from as we try and determine who might contend for college football’s highest honor. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (773 total yards, 9 total TD, 0 INT, 62.2% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s performances have seemingly become old hat to most viewers, which could end up hurting his candidacy in the long run (especially if the Tigers wind up losing a game at some point). And that’s not even his fault. It takes a pretty talented player to make 282 total yards and three scores seem mundane, and yet, that’s where he’s at. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and help his team keep winning games.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,250 total yards, 14 TD, 1 INT, 71.8% completion) (Last: 2)

Bridgewater never seems to stay in a game long enough to put up even bigger numbers — or his team just starts running the ball incredibly early. That’s unlikely to change as the year goes on and this schedule fails to get much harder. But it doesn’t appear that critics are complaining much thus far. The Cardinals winning, specifically on account of the junior quarterback, is all that really matters in the big scheme of things.

3. C.J. Brown, QB/Maryland (1,326 total yards, 13 total TD, 1 INT, 66.7% completion) (Last: 4)

Maryland didn’t put up much of an effort in the second half against West Virginia, which explains why Brown’s numbers weren’t exactly at the season’s typical torrid pace. The senior passer really has put on quite a show overall though, and his team is still undefeated — both of which should count for something (especially the second part). He’s proved himself to be one of the best pure dual-threats in the country, and if they can pull off a monster upset of Florida State in a couple weeks, then maybe people will finally start taking notice of his body of work.

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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 Heisman Watch: Week 4

Looks Like a Terrapin Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention (and Not the One You'd Think)

Looks Like a Terrapin (Not the One You Think) Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a few games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s still leading, and is likely to be as long as Clemson’s undefeated. With his first test in a few weeks coming this Thursday against NC State though, we’ll see what happens next. His last trip down to Raleigh did not go well at all, so all eyes will be on how he responds this time around. Put up the type of stats he did in the opener, and we’re right back on track in the national Heisman race.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,037 total yards, 10 TD, 1 INT, 70.5% completion) (Last: 2)

So Teddy Bridgewater is mortal? After throwing just one touchdown pass versus Kentucky, it does seem that way. If he’d kept up his pace from the first two games, he’d probably be atop this list. So is this the end of his scorched-earth sprint over the Cardinals’ schedule? Hardly. Kentucky, despite their overall weakness, is still one of the best opponents on the Cards’ schedule. Take a look. Bridgewater’s numbers are going to be just fine this year.

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (603 total yards, seven total TD, 1 INT, 88.9% completion) (Last: 3)

Even in a limited amount of playing time, Winston still knows how to continue growing his sort-of legend. Despite completing just 15 passes, he still managed 215 yards and two scores. He ended up tossing an interception, but beyond that, there’s still very little negative to say about the redshirt freshman’s game. Tougher tests await, though for right now, Winston can just continue to rack up yardage and touchdowns against FSU’s tune-up opponents. The fact that the numbers still stand out next to the Seminoles’ 377 rushing yards against Nevada says an awful lot of good about his game.

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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 4

On the Arm of Vad Lee, Georgia Tech May Actually be a Contender in the Coastal Division

On the Arm of Vad Lee, Georgia Tech May Actually be a Contender in this Year’s Coastal Division

Three weeks in, and the ACC is not the most beleaguered major conference in the land (high, Big Ten!). It’s an accomplishment — if not on the field, than from a PR standpoint — and as the league’s top teams remain unbeaten this week, things only continue to get better. 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 4)

1. Clemson Tigers (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 1): No game last week means the Tigers will have plenty of time to prepare themselves for a trip down to Raleigh this Thursday. Last time they visited NC State, Clemson was dealt a crushing 37-13 defeat, but that was a different squad. A different (read: worse) defense, and a very green Tajh Boyd at quarterback. This Tigers team is arguably the best one in 30 years. We’ll get to the preview later in the week, but with an extra five days to prepare, Clemson should remain the top team in these rankings without much issue.

2. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (1-0) (Last: 2): Nevada looked as if they were keeping things close with Florida State for at least a little while on Saturday. And then they weren’t. We’re not exactly sure what the Seminoles’ defense is going to look like against better competition, but for right now, that’s fine. The offense is on another level through two games and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Whether on the ground or through the air, the ‘Noles know how to score, which makes them incredibly dangerous.

3. Louisville Cardinals (3-0) (0-0) (Last: 3): Teddy Bridgewater slowed down a bit against Kentucky (just one touchdown), but that’s understandable. There’s simply no way he could continue the video game pace he was on through the first two contests. Lucky him, the rushing attack showed up in a big way and gave this team a little bit of hope too. One-man shows don’t win. So if Louisville’s going to actually contend for a title, it’ll need efforts like Saturday’s, just as much as blowouts like their first couple games.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 4): Another team with the benefit of an early bye. The ‘Canes are looking good so far, though the defense won’t truly be tested until October. And that’s a bit nerve-wracking considering how disastrous that unit was in 2012. In the meantime, at least the offense looks competent. Miami’s already proven it knows how to win a couple different types of games — blowouts and slugfests — which should suit them well as the season continues. Best of all, that same offense doesn’t look as if it was rise and fall with Duke Johnson. If nothing else, that may be the biggest gift of all from the first few weeks.

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 3

Despite Only Playing a Portion of Last Saturday's Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC's Heisman Hopefuls

Despite Only Playing in Part of Saturday’s Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC’s Heisman Hopefuls

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a couple games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Despite leaving Saturday’s contest very early, Boyd remains atop the list thanks to his team’s big win and their continued move up the polls. One would assume, so long as he remains healthy for the reason of the season and the Tigers don’t lose more than one game, he’ll be in contention for the long haul. Should the Tigers start running away with games and sitting Boyd by early in the third quarter though, it may end up hurting his chances in the long run. I stress may. Which brings us to…

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (752 passing yards, nine TD, 1 INT, 76.7% completion) (Last: 2)

Louisville’s schedule (as discussed previously) kills Bridgewater’s hopes when put up against Boyd, so he’s making up ground with statistics. Despite demolishing their first two opponents, the Cardinals have been leaving their quarterback in for as long as acceptable (and sometimes long past that) in order to give him a greater chance of putting up monstrous numbers. It’s worked thus far, as those eye-popping stats have kept him at the top of the conversation for the time being. No, Louisville’s not in the ACC just yet, but should Bridgewater win the award, you can bet the ACC claims it for themselves (and rightfully so).

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (381 total yards, five total TD, 0 INT, 92.6% completion) (Last: 3)

Winston didn’t play at all last week, since FSU had a bye. But the magnitude of his debut remains as everyone’s trying to project what he’ll do for an encore performance. Against a Nevada team whose defense isn’t exactly stellar (allowed 58 points to UCLA), one would expect the redshirt freshman to put up some astronomical numbers. If he’s going to continue living up to and surpassing the expectations set for him, that may be the only acceptable way he can do it before long.

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