Monday, November 9, 2009
ACC power rankings: Week 11
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
For the second straight week, the top five teams in the ACC held onto their positions. That has to be a first. It’s no coincidence that those five teams are the ACC’s only bowl-eligible teams so far. There were a few other tweaks, but nothing drastic:
1. Georgia Tech (9-1, 6-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- The Yellow Jackets continue to find a way to win, and pulled out a close one in overtime against Wake Forest. They’ve now won seven straight and have earned the No. 7 ranking in the BCS standings. Paul Johnson is looking at an 11-win season, if not better.
2. Miami (7-2, 4-2; LW: No. 2) -- The Hurricanes returned to their September form in the second half of their 52-17 romp over Virginia and remain one of the country’s best teams. Now that the Canes are No. 14 in the BCS standings, they qualify to be invited to a BCS bowl. It’s more likely, though, that they wind up facing Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl, especially if Georgia Tech heads to the Orange Bowl.
3. Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2; LW: No. 3) -- It wasn’t pretty, but Virginia Tech’s 16-3 win over East Carolina helped the Hokies shake off back-to-back Coastal Division losses that changed their season. A 10-win season is still possible, and the Hokies should pick up another win on Saturday in College Park against a struggling Maryland team. There is still room for improvement with Virginia Tech on both sides of the ball.
4. Clemson (6-3, 4-2; LW: No. 4) -- The Tigers’ toughest opponents are behind them, but now they have to avoid getting knocked off track, and NC State has the potential to be the spoiler this week. Clemson will need to keep C.J. Spiller healthy this week, as his hip and toe were bothering him after the FSU game, but he said he’d be good to go for Saturday.
5. Boston College (6-3, 3-2; LW: No. 5) --The Eagles had a bye week, and are still waiting for Clemson to screw up down the stretch. A second-place finish in the Atlantic Division would hardly be considered a disappointment, though, after all of the adversity this program has had to overcome.
6. North Carolina (6-3, 2-3; LW: No. 8) -- The Tar Heels have taken a step forward each of the past two weeks, and the defense is finally getting just enough help out of the offense. Despite its losing record in conference play, UNC is capable of an upset this weekend against Miami because of its defense and home-field advantage.
7. Duke (5-4, 3-2; LW: No. 6) -- It’s not over yet for the Blue Devils, but it’s not going to get any easier, either, as Georgia Tech is up next, followed by Miami. Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis is motivated by getting his team to the postseason, and the Yellow Jackets’ defense should have some confidence after making good adjustments against Wake quarterback Riley Skinner.
8. Wake Forest (4-6, 2-4; LW: No. 9) -- If there’s one team in the conference that is better than its record indicates, this is it. The Deacs have the numbers they need everywhere but the scoreboard, and unfortunately for them, that’s where it counts. They get a break this week against an FSU team that will be missing starting quarterback Christian Ponder.
9. Florida State (4-5, 2-4; LW: No. 7) -- Without Ponder, the Noles are all but doomed. He’s been the one bright spot for this team on and off the field, and now, with a separated shoulder, he’s become a part of the team’s bad news. A bowl season now seems unlikely. The only good news? E.J. Manuel will get some valuable experience for the future.
10. Virginia (3-6, 2-3; LW: No. 10) -- The Cavaliers have nullified their three-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak, and appear to be headed for their second straight bowl-less season under coach Al Groh. The question is whether athletic director Craig Littlepage will do anything about it this time.
11. NC State (4-5, 1-4; LW: No. 12) --The Pack started their mini four-game season with a 1-0 record against Maryland, and now they needs to keep it up against Clemson in order to keep their bowl hopes alive. It’s certainly not out of the question, but if the Tigers’ defense could fluster Ponder, they’ll be able to pressure Russell Wilson, too.
12. Maryland (2-7, 1-4; LW: No. 11) -- Hapless and hopeless it seems, though technically, if the stars align and the Atlantic Division implodes, the Terps could still work their way into the championship game. It’s more than a stretch, but hey, these guys needs something to keep them going.