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What we learned in the ACC: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
10:00
AM ET
Here’s a look back at the top five lessons learned in the ACC in Week 3:

[+] EnlargeSammy Watkins
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesSammy Watkins had almost 200 yards of total offense and a touchdown as Clemson beat Auburn.
1. The ACC earned some respect. It was a good weekend for the ACC that could have been great had Florida State defeated No. 1-ranked Oklahoma. But the Seminoles were hardly embarrassed, Miami had the upper hand against Ohio State, and Clemson knocked off the defending national champs. Maryland almost made a comeback against West Virginia, but it was too little, too late after a 17-3 first-half hole. Still, the ACC did not come out on the losing end this weekend.

2. Florida State has closed the gap with the nation’s elite to a score of 23-13. It wasn’t a flawless performance against the No. 1-ranked Sooners by any means, but with 9:30 left in the game and the score tied at 13, it was clear the national title talk surrounding Florida State wasn’t unfounded. The Seminoles obviously would have liked to win the game, but there were enough positive signs that showed the program continues to head in the right direction under coach Jimbo Fisher, and the Seminoles should be considered nationally relevant again.

3. Clemson is to be taken seriously. Finally, the Tigers answered in a big game. Clemson had underwhelming performances in wins over Troy and Wofford, but it finally all came together for the Tigers against Auburn. Clemson racked up 624 total yards under first-year quarterback Tajh Boyd and first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris. The offensive line was a question coming into this game, but it was a group effort that had Auburn’s defense reeling all game. The Tigers are off to a 3-0 start and have confidence and momentum heading into Saturday’s home game against FSU.

4. Virginia Tech doesn’t stand alone. The Hokies are 3-0, yes, but so is Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Virginia Tech was favored to win the division once again, but with the way these teams have looked early this season, Georgia Tech has looked more convincing and UNC has proven more to this point. Virginia Tech didn’t exactly throttle Arkansas State, but the Yellow Jackets have racked up enough offense for the entire ACC in three games.

5. Boston College has officially faded into the background. The Eagles are off to an 0-3 start, the worst record in the ACC right now. The season isn’t over for the Eagles, they should rebound this weekend, but the loss to Duke already puts them behind in the ACC standings, and the second half of the season will only be more difficult. A bowl seems even more unlikely now.

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