ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 7

Now Ranked in the Top 25 As Well, Virginia Tech Joins the ACC's Power Three

Now Ranked in the Top 25 As Well, Virginia Tech Makes It Four Elite Teams From the ACC

There’s a huge gulf between the top of the ACC and the rest of the conference — something that has both good and bad consequences. On the one hand, the conference is deeply involved in the national title race right now. On the other, we’re seeing a lot of blowouts, too, which hurts the league’s top-to-bottom image. 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 7)

1. Clemson Tigers (5-0) (3-0) (Last: 1): Another week, another big Clemson win. And yet, there are still some doubts about whether or not the Tigers are national title contenders. The defense can go cold for stretches and the offense is largely one-dimensional, sure. But given the country’s best resume win thus far (vs. Georgia) and a major Heisman contender at quarterback in Tajh Boyd, this team will be impossible to ignore as long as they keep on winning.

2. Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) (Last: 2): As mentioned up top, the gap between the ACC’s top teams and the rest is very large, with Florida State’s 63-0 massacre over Maryland being exhibit A. No, the Terps were not exactly a strong top 25 team at the time, but still, they were still perceived as one of the conference’s better teams going into Saturday. FSU’s absolutely dominant performance, led by both Jameis Winston and the defense, changed all that. And changed the perception of the ‘Noles too, from an interesting team to one that could easily contend for a championship.

3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-0) (1-0) (Last: 4): The Hurricanes’ offense just continues to impress, no matter how banged up Stephen Morris may seem. Down 10 early, the group fought back against Georgia Tech, and pulled off the big divisional win. But at the same time, it might’ve been the defense that was most responsible for the turnaround. Holding Tech scoreless in the third allowed the ‘Canes offense to come back and take the lead, especially the dagger touchdown to go up 45-23 with just a little over a minute remaining.

4. Louisville Cardinals (5-0) (Last: 3): Louisville didn’t do anything wrong necessarily against Temple. But as an offense, it’s tough to say their 30-point output against the Owls was overly impressive. The Cardinals are still undefeated and as predicted, this schedule’s already starting to creep up on them. All three ACC teams ranked ahead have better wins to their respective names, and will only continue to add more as the year goes on.

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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 Week 4 Lessons: Clemson (and the ACC) Just Got Incredibly Lucky

A Questionable Call in Thursday's Clemson-NC State Game Gave the Tigers a Huge Win

A Questionable Call in Thursday’s Clemson-NC State Game Gave the Tigers a Huge Win

Each Monday morning (or sometimes Tuesday), we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 4 of the ACC football season:

1. Clemson got very, very lucky: There’s no guarantee that Clemson would have proceeded to lose to NC State had Bryan Underwood‘s huge touchdown catch stood, but there’s also no doubting a win would’ve been much harder for the Tigers. They certainly didn’t bring their A-game last Thursday, with a strong defensive effort and a dubious out-of-bounds call being the biggest factors in the 26-14 win. It was also a huge boost to the ACC, which avoided losing a BCS title hopeful for the second straight September. I won’t be fanning the conspiracy flames here, but you can jump to whatever conclusions you’d like…

2. Georgia Tech‘s a Coastal Division contender this year: Things looked grim against North Carolina for awhile on Saturday, but after starting down 20-7, the defense rallied, the offense got going and tech came away with a big conference victory. The win gives the Yellow Jackets a nice head start on their Coastal competition — namely fellow supposed contender UNC. There’s still Miami to deal with of course, but a hard-fought, complete win like this one certainly gives a lot more credence to this team, which is now 3-0 on the year (2-0 in the conference).

3. The Terrel Hunt era has officially begun: Forget whatever it is you think you know about this Syracuse team, because since Hunt’s taken over, everything looks and feels different for the Orange. Yes, he’s primarily faced weak competition, but that shouldn’t take away from the great success he’s had in what’s amounted to just two games (one start). The redshirt sophomore has shown himself to be tough, dynamic and a smart playmaker; all qualities it appeared the Orange lacked through the first two contests. Of course, the defense is still a bit of an issue, but if the offense can score like this, it becomes a much lesser concern.

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 4 (Part 2)

Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Terrapins Aim to Get to 4-0 This Weekend

Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Terrapins Aim to Get to 4-0 This Weekend

Welcome to part two of this week’s previews and predictions! Here’s part one if you missed it.

Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1) (0-1) at Duke Blue Devils (2-1) (0-1): Duke’s loss to Georgia Tech last week certainly changed their outlook a bit for this year, especially with Brandon Connette playing quarterback for the foreseeable future. This will be an odd look for a David Cutcliffe-coached team now: relying on the defense to win them games and give the offense a chance. Pittsburgh has similar issues on offense, as questions still linger about Tom Savage‘s abilities. But the defense should be able to outdo Duke’s own improved group in a slugfest. Aaron Donald is just too tough to stop and should be able to generate a ton of pressure on Connette and force him into some ill-advised throws or unnecessary contact. Prediction: Pitt 30, Duke 21

Tulane Green Wave (2-1) at Syracuse Orange (1-2) (0-0): The Orange have a whole new starting quarterback in Terrel Hunt, and with that, a whole new hope for this season — or so it seems. If the redshirt sophomore can keep up his strong play from last week, SU’s looking at a whole new offensive attack that appears to run with a quickened pace and increased fluidity. The key for Syracuse will be to score early and to keep the heat on Tulane’s defense. Wear them down and force Green Wave QB Nick Montana to try and do too much. SU’s defense has shown a solid ability to rush the passer and force turnovers, and should be able to show that off here. Prediction: Syracuse 38, Tulane 20

West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1) at Maryland Terrapins (3-0) (0-0): Maryland hung with the ‘Neers last season, and that was a much better WVU team than this one (and a much worse Terps team too). The Terrapins have come out the gates on fire in 2013, piling up points and yardage behind C.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs. West Virginia, on the other hand, is running a stalled out offense that can’t complete drives, while leaning heavily on the defense. This will be a closer game, and will likely be decided by who wins the turnover battle. Maryland lost a big piece of that puzzle when CB Dexter McDougle went down for the year last week, but if the secondary continues to play smart and Brown doesn’t force passes, the Terps should take it. Prediction: Maryland 30, WVU 24

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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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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #112-101

The ACC Plays a Competitive Non-Conference Slate This Season, But Not Every Opponent's So Tough

The ACC Plays a Competitive Non-Conference Slate in 2013, But Not Every Opponent’s So Tough

As most noticed yesterday, 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.

So to start us off, we have numbers 112 through 101; the worst of the entire schedule. Upset to see your team appear in this section? Don’t be. Every team in the ACC scheduled at least one FCS school this season, so each one is bound to have at least one completely uncompetitive matchup.

#112: Wagner Seahawks at Syracuse Orange (Saturday, September 14)

#111: N.C. Central Eagles at Duke Blue Devils (Saturday, August 31)

#110: South Carolina State Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers (Saturday, September 7)

#109: Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday, November 23)

#108: VMI Keydets at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, September 21)

#107: Presbyterian Blue Hose at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday, August 31)

#106: The Citadel Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers (Saturday, November 23)

#105: Savannah State Tigers at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, September 21)

#104: Western Carolina Catamounts at Virginia Tech Hokies (Saturday, September 7)

#103: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, September 21)

#102: Elon Phoenix at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday, August 31)

#101: Old Dominion Monarchs at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, November 23)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • All 12 opponents are visiting teams, and all 14 come from FCS conferences
  • All 12 games appear on one of five different dates
  • Breakdown of opponent conferences: MEAC (4), Southern (4), Big South (1), FCS Independent (1), Patriot (1), SWAC (1)
  • Breakdown of opponent home states: North Carolina (3), South Carolina (3), Virginia (2), Alabama (1), Florida (1), Georgia (1), New York (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: Eight public, four private

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