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Monday, September 17, 2012
ACC power rankings: Week 4

By Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech fans aren’t going to be happy. Just call me Pitt -- I’m in the mood to upset.

1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- The Seminoles flat-out dominated Wake Forest in a 52-0 win on Saturday and enter this weekend’s game against Clemson as the No. 4 team in the country. The Noles have looked good in all three phases of the game, but they haven’t faced a team anywhere near the caliber of Clemson yet.

2. Clemson (3-0, 0-0; LW: No. 2) -- The Tigers took care of business in a 41-7 win over Furman, and they’ve got a respectable win over Auburn, but they have yet to play a conference game -- let alone one of this magnitude. Receiver Sammy Watkins looked electric in his debut, but Clemson’s offensive line will have an uphill battle against FSU.

3. Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1; LW: No. 7) -- I know, I know, Georgia Tech lost to Virginia Tech, and usually, head-to-head results get the final say. Here’s the thing, though: Based on the way the Hokies played in their loss to Pitt, and how the offense has struggled early this season, I don’t think that’s the only game Virginia Tech is going to lose. This just in: I think Georgia Tech wins the Coastal Division this year.

4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0; LW: No. 3) -- The Hokies turned it over four times against Pitt and the defense was pushed around in an uncharacteristically poor performance. Virginia Tech fell out of the Top 25 thanks to an unranked team that lost to an FCS school at home. Never count the Hokies out (see: 2010), but if they continue to play the way they did this weekend, there’s no way they beat Clemson and Florida State.

5. NC State (2-1, 0-0; LW: No. 8) -- Quarterback Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes to lead the Pack past South Alabama 31-7, and NC State should rack up another home win this weekend against The Citadel. The next step is to put together a complete performance like this against better competition.

6. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1; LW: No. 4) -- The Demon Deacons got whupped. Wake couldn’t get anything going against Florida State’s defense and was shut out for the sixth time in the series. The Deacs’ defense will have an entirely different test this week against Army.

7. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1; LW: No. 6) -- The Tar Heels came out flat against Louisville, and tried to atone for it in the second half, but it wasn’t enough and UNC fell, 39-34. It wasn’t a surprise that UNC lost on the road to a ranked team, but its lethargic effort in the first half raised some eyebrows.

8. Virginia (2-1, 0-1; LW: No. 5) -- The Cavaliers had been getting by the first two weeks because their opponents made more mistakes than they did. Not against Georgia Tech. The Jackets ran the ball well and stopped the run in a 56-20 Coastal Division win. Considering how Miami’s defense has struggled, it could be a long day for the Canes this weekend.

9. Miami (2-1, 1-0; LW: No. 9) -- Is there anyone else on this team besides Duke Johnson? The true freshman running back stole the show again in a 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman. Now, if only he could play linebacker ...

10. Duke (2-1, 0-0; LW: No. 10) -- The return of injured receiver Blair Holliday overshadowed anything that happened on the field in Durham on Saturday, as his miraculous recovery from a July jet ski accident has been ahead of schedule. He has been an inspiration to his teammates and those following his story.

11. Maryland (2-1, 0-0; LW: No. 11) -- The Terps’ Cinderella story came to a screeching halt with a 24-21 loss to Connecticut in the unofficial Edsall Bowl. Randy Edsall came up short against his former team, and the Terps were outgained 148-80 in the first half. Odds are West Virginia shows no mercy this weekend.

12. Boston College (1-2, 0-1; LW: No. 12) -- It wasn’t for lack of effort, as the defense held Northwestern to five field goals, but BC couldn’t run the ball and the passing game wasn’t efficient enough in a 22-13 loss. BC has a bye week, but is already in a hole.