ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 6

Don't Look Now, But the Hokies' Defense Has Virginia Tech Steadily Rising in the Rankings

Don’t Look Now, But the Hokies’ Defense Has Virginia Tech Steadily Rising in the Rankings

We’re starting to get a better idea of this year’s ACC contenders, though the story’s far from written out yet. While FSU and Clemson are exactly where they’re supposed to be, teams like Virginia Tech and Maryland are surprising possible contenders who will show their true colors as the weeks wear on. 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 6)

1. Clemson Tigers (4-0) (1-0) (Last: 1): Clemson simply lit up Wake Forest last week, and perhaps put to bed (for now) some concerns about their overall performance on offense. Since Tajh Boyd‘s injury in week two, things hadn’t seemed up to snuff. However, after laying a casual 56 points on Wake and getting back to his standard line of nearly 400 total yards and four scores, Boyd and the Tigers appear to be back on track.

2. Florida State Seminoles (4-0) (2-0) (Last: 2): That was a scary opening half, wasn’t it? On the road versus Boston College, FSU looked dreadful early, allowing the Eagles to get on the board with relative ease. Once down 18 though, that’s when Jameis Winston got into the flow of the game and simply controlled things from there on out. Still a bit concerning, but more for the defense than the offense. The 34 points were the most BC had put up all year, meaning the ‘Noles have some issues to address before facing Maryland this Saturday.

3. Louisville Cardinals (4-0) (Last: 3): Louisville had an off-week last week, so some might have already forgotten what they’ve been doing to teams thus far this season. To jog your memory: the Cardinals have scored an average of 48 points per game, while holding every opponent to single-digit scoring but Kentucky (13). There a few tests left on the schedule — that October 18 date with UCF looks a bit daunting after seeing how impressive the Knights have looked — but the Cards are primed for more of the same going forward.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (4-0) (0-0) (Last: 4): Miami ran right through USF on Saturday, but it was not without consequence. Stephen Morris‘s lingering ankle injury is a real cause for concern, though we’ve yet to see it make an impact on this team due to the schedule. Ryan Williams has filled in well enough to this point, however if forced to see more competitive game action, there could be a much different result. It’s early, but we’ve yet to really see what this defense is made of, or if Duke Johnson can match last year’s levels of production. Continue reading

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 5

Jeremiah Attaochu and the Georgia Tech Defense Are Aiming to Deliver a Big Win Over Virginia Tech

Jeremiah Attaochu & the Georgia Tech Defense Aiming to Deliver a Big Win Over Virginia Tech

Finally, some actual games that matter (a few anyway). The ACC‘s still got five undefeated teams (sort of six), but will that continue to be the case much longer. I’m sure we all hope so… 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

Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1) (0-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0) (2-0): For all but one year of divisional play, this game has decided the Coastal. And while it may seem like a remote possibility given the state of Virginia Tech’s offense in particular, that’s still on the table for this season’s edition of the matchup. But this one’s not going to last long if the Hokies can’t cut down on mistakes. The kicking game’s a mess and despite some flashes of success, Logan Thomas is still as rough around the edges as he’s ever been — and as error-prone as he’s ever been too. Georgia Tech’s aggressive defense should take advantage of those opportunities, while Vad Lee could have the offense closing the deal by the third quarter. Prediction: Georgia Tech 31, Virginia Tech 21

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

Miami Hurricanes (3-0) (0-0) at USF Bulls (0-3): In the past, this contest has actually been pretty close. But that was the old version of the USF program. The version we’ve come to know lately has fallen on some hard times, and that’ll likely continue this weekend. USF can’t seem to score points (just 12.3 per game this season), though over the last two games, the defense hasn’t been all bad. It’s certainly not the best MIami’s seen though, after facing and beating Florida in week two. Expect the ‘Canes to breeze through yet another contest en route to a 4-0 record. Prediction: Miami 30, USF 13

East Carolina Pirates (2-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2) (0-1): Considering the high expectations UNC had going into the season and the way things have gone instead, this ECU game is now a must-win. The defense is a bit of a concern, especially after last week’s second-half collapse versus Georgia Tech, but the bigger issue has been and remains the offense. North Carolina’s line is struggling to protect Bryn Renner and can’t open up holes for the running game either. The result has been a neutered attack that pales in comparison to what we’ve seen from previous Larry Fedora teams. They’ve got to figure things out this week against ECU or they’re in full-on crisis mode. Prediction: UNC 41, ECU 28

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 5

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Leads Off the Weekend in a Battle for the Coastal Division

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Leads Off the Weekend in a Battle for the Coastal Division

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 5 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, September 26

Virginia Tech Hokies at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, September 28

Miami Hurricanes at USF Bulls (+18.5), noon ET, ESPNU

East Carolina Pirates at North Carolina Tar Heels (-11.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Virginia Cavaliers at Pittsburgh Panthers (-6), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Troy Trojans at Duke Blue Devils (-10.5), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Central Michigan Chippewas at NC State Wolfpack (-23), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Florida State Seminoles at Boston College Eagles (+21.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Clemson Tigers (-28.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

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Conference Realignment: Which FCS Programs Could Be Next to Upgrade to the FBS?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt Conference Along With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Schools are upgrading their football programs at a rapid pace. By 2015, 129 full members will be participating in FBS-level competition, up from 120 in 2012. That’s a 7.5-percent increase in just three years. And yet, there’s still plenty of talk about adding more schools to college football’s top tier too. While the ACC’s not jumping to add any of these schools, it’s not out of the question that this shuffling could eventually affect the sport’s top conferences – as top teams from football’s “mid-majors” look to upgrade their competition and move into the “Power Five.”

First, a recap of the recent moves from FCS to FBS:

2009: Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

2013: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (Sun Belt), UT-San Antonio (Conference USA), UMass (MAC)

2014: Georgia State (Sun Belt)

2015: Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Charlotte (Conference USA), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Old Dominion (Conference USA) (*Appalachian State and Georgia Southern moves just reported today, via SB Nation)

And there’s still more schools that could potentially make the call. But who are they? Well, first a look at the basic eligibility requirements to move up to FBS from FCS (from the NCAA):

  1. Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20. Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams (males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams. [Bylaw 20.9.7.1]

  2. Schedule and play at least 60 percent of its football contests against members of Football Bowl Subdivision. Institutions shall schedule and play at least five regular season home contests against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. [Bylaw 20.9.7.2]

  3. Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.3]

  4. Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of overall football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(a)]

  5. Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid or expend at least four million dollars on grants-in-aid to student-athletes in athletics programs. [Bylaw 20.9.7.4-(b)]

Obviously, the second bullet is taken care of with the commitment to upgrade the program and the final two can easily be attained by just reaching those scholarship numbers. As far as item no. 1 and no. 3 though, the following schools would qualify for an FCS-to-FBS upgrade:

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #90-81

Florida State vs. Boston College Was Ugly in 2012, Will It Be a Repeat in 2013?

Florida State vs. Boston College Was Ugly in 2012, Will It Be a Repeat in 2013?

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we take a quick glance at numbers 90 through 81; the first group in our countdown made up entirely of FBS opponents. Just one conference game in this collection, and it’s only there because of how lopsided the result’s likely to be.

#90: Central Michigan Chippewas at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, September 28)

#89: Ball State Cardinals at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, October 5)

#88: Marshall Thundering Herd at Virginia Tech Hokies (Saturday, September 21

#87: Army Black Knights at Boston College Eagles (Saturday, October 5)

#86: Virginia Tech Hokies at East Carolina Pirates (Saturday, September 14)

#85: Florida International Golden Panthers at Maryland Terrapins (Saturday, August 31)

#84: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, September 7)

#83: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Army Black Knights (Saturday, September 21)

#82: Troy Trojans at Duke Blue Devils (Saturday, September 28)

#81: Florida State Seminoles at Boston College Eagles (Saturday, September 28)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on six different dates, with none appearing after October 5
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: Conference USA (4), FBS Independent (2), MAC (2), Sun Belt (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: New York (2), Alabama (1), Florida (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), North Carolina (1), Tennessee (1), West Virginia (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: Seven public, two service academies

Previously: #112-101, #100-91

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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.