Monday, September 13, 2010
ACC Power Rankings: Week 3
By Heather Dinich
Not even the Mensa minds could figure out the ACC power rankings this week. There are too many teams that haven’t faced tough enough competition yet, and the ones that have, have flopped. One thing to remember: yesterday’s titles mean nothing in today’s rankings. Some programs have to play their way back to the top. If you're perceptive, which I know all ACC fans are, you'll notice a switch in power in the divisions this week.
Here’s a look at how the conference pecking order shakes out after yet another disastrous weekend in the ACC:
1. Miami (1-1, last week: No. 1): At least the Hurricanes lost to the No. 2 team in the country on the road. It wasn’t pretty, though. Quarterback Jacory Harris threw four interceptions and Ohio State’s defense had the Canes looking dazed and confused. Miami is the lone team representing the ACC in this week’s Top 25.
2. Clemson (2-0, LW: No. 6): The Tigers will have their chance on the national stage this weekend when ESPN’s "College GameDay" crew travels to Auburn. Clemson has yet to be tested in routs of North Texas and Presbyterian, but the defending Atlantic Division champs also haven’t done anything yet to screw up.
3. NC State (2-0, LW: No. 7): It’s the first 2-0 start for the Wolfpack since 2002, when the team won its first nine games behind quarterback Philip Rivers. If Mike Archer’s defense continues to create turnovers and stifle the run, NC State could make a run at the division title and a bowl game.
4. Florida State (1-1, LW: No. 3): The Seminoles’ caliber of opponent plays a factor here, as does the fact they faced the Sooners on the road, where Oklahoma boasts the nation’s longest home winning streak. Still, in order for FSU to remain in the upper half of the rankings, it will have to show significant improvement.
5. Boston College (2-0, LW: No. 8): The Eagles are undefeated, but there’s nothing there worth bragging about in home wins over Weber State and Kent State. Quarterback Dave Shinskie still frustrates coach Frank Spaziani, but the Eagles have a bye week to prepare for a 0-2 Virginia Tech team.
6. Wake Forest (2-0, LW: No. 11): The Deacs took a huge jump from last week because they won the first conference game of the season. The defense, though, is suspect after allowing 487 yards to Duke.
7. Maryland (2-0, LW: No. 9): The Terps are right where they should be heading into a tough trip to West Virginia -- the best team in the state after wins over Navy and Morgan State. The road trip to Morgantown suddenly looks more manageable after the way West Virginia played in a narrow overtime win against Marshall.
8. Virginia (1-1, LW: No. 12): If Mike London’s team plays with the effort it did against USC (minus the mistakes), there’s no reason the Cavaliers can’t get to a bowl game this year, or at the very least play the role of spoiler. This team can win if it doesn’t beat itself, as evidenced by a 17-14 loss to USC. And yeah, their win over an FCS team is enough to push them ahead of the Hokies -- for now.
9. Georgia Tech (1-1, LW: No. 4): What to make of the Jackets? They lost to a struggling Kansas program that was riding an eight-game losing streak, including a season-opening loss to an FCS opponent. The defense struggled like it did last year, the blocking and tackling were poor and the passing game stuttered.
10. Virginia Tech (0-2, LW: No. 2): The Hokies aren’t this bad, but they’ve got to earn their way back to the top. As Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said, Virginia Tech let Boise State beat it twice. The Hokies can’t let those losses snowball, because the schedule doesn’t get any easier than an FCS team.
11. North Carolina (0-1, LW: No. 5): The Tar Heels didn’t drop in the rankings because they had a bye week, they dropped because another layer of the NCAA investigation was peeled back and revealed more problems that are likely to lead to more problems. Things are getting ugly for Butch Davis.
12. Duke (1-1, LW: No. 10): The Blue Devils couldn’t stop Wake Forest, and now they’re tasked with stopping the No. 1 team in the nation? David Cutcliffe could beat Alabama, but I’m not sure his team can. Duke’s bowl hopes to a significant hit with the loss to Wake Forest.