ACC Power Rankings: Week 4
September, 21, 2009
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Some shuffling was in order this week, including at the bottom. Duke lost and still moved up a notch. How? Because Duke lost on the road to a Top-25 team, and Maryland lost at home to Middle Tennessee. And because I think Duke will beat Maryland when those teams play in October. Here’s how the rest of this week’s lineup looks, with a new leader at the top:
1. Miami (2-0, 2-0 ACC): After two wins against ranked ACC opponents, the Canes are the team to beat. They can solidify this spot by unseating the defending ACC champs in Lane Stadium on Saturday night.
2. Virginia Tech (2-1): This team looks too much like last year’s -- no real offense but still finding a way to get the win. The Hokies took advantage of a young Nebraska team and held the Huskers to five field goals, but will have to produce more offensively against Miami this weekend.
3. Florida State (2-1, 0-1): One week after almost -- almost -- imploding at home against Jacksonville State, FSU shut its naysayers up with a 54-28 BYU beatdown. It was the most points the program had scored since joining the ACC in 1992. Christian Ponder said after the game it was the first time in a while they had played as a whole team. Amazing what that can do.
4. North Carolina (3-0): The Tar Heels found their offense against a scrappy ECU team, and they did it without a few of their key players. They’ll either be catching Georgia Tech at the right time -- when it's down -- or the wrong time – when it's a bit angry about it.
5. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1): Not only did the Jackets lose to Miami on national TV Thursday night, but they also seemed to regress in the process. The problems seem to be up front, but Jacory Harris also had his way with Georgia Tech’s secondary, and the Jackets’ offense stalled.
6. Clemson (2-1, 1-1): Technically, the Tigers are leading the Atlantic Division, but so far their best win is against an undermanned Boston College team. Still, anyone who has watched this team has seen it has the skill and speed -- not to mention the outstanding defense needed -- to maintain its spot at the top of the heap.
7. Wake Forest (2-1): The Deacs laughed off Elon and have back-to-back wins to build off of heading into a road trip to Chestnut Hill. And considering Boston College had just 54 yards of total offense in its loss to Clemson, Wake Forest’s young defense should get a confidence boost this week.
8. NC State (2-1): It’s time to find out who this Wolfpack team really is. After an unimpressive offensive performance against South Carolina in the season opener, NC State has unleashed Russell Wilson on two inferior opponents. This weekend’s game against Pitt will be more revealing.
9. Boston College (2-1, 0-1): Clemson’s defense smothered the Eagles, exposed their true weaknesses at quarterback, and was simply too much to overcome. The Eagles were up against superior athletes, and it showed.
10. Duke (1-2): The Blue Devils just aren’t ready to upend a Top-25 team, but there’s no shame in that in David Cutcliffe’s second year. Duke should pick up its second win of the season this weekend against NC Central. Should.
11. Maryland (1-2): The Terps lost on a field goal as the clock expired, but they still lost. At home. With four turnovers. And just one week after barely beating James Madison in overtime. If Maryland is struggling this mightily against schools from non-AQ conferences, the Terps are going to have a long, losing conference season ahead.
12. Virginia (0-3): The Cavaliers have a much-needed bye week to regroup from an awful start to the season. They were fortunate to capitalize on Southern Miss fumbles and penalties and lead until the fourth quarter, but weren’t able to hang onto it.