Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Final 2010 ACC Power Rankings
By Heather Dinich
» Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ
The 2010 season is officially over, which means it’s time for the last look at how these teams finished. Remember, this is not the first 2011 list -- it’s the last 2010 list, based on the entire body of work and the bowl results. There were a few shakeups, including at the top.
1. Virginia Tech (11-3, 8-0; LR: No. 1) -- Yes, Stanford is really that good, but … the Hokies were outplayed in every phase of game, and it was the first time I can ever remember seeing a Virginia Tech team fold. The Hokies couldn’t run the ball, were beat up front, and the defense hosted a party and treated Stanford like VIPs, letting them right in. Still, they owned the ACC, becoming the first team to go undefeated in conference play since FSU in 2000.
2. Florida State (10-4, 6-2 ACC; Last Ranked: No. 2) -- Yes, the Seminoles lost the ACC championship game to Virginia Tech and the defense played poorly in the process, but in the final game, Florida State forced SEC East champ South Carolina into five turnovers and the Noles won with their backup quarterback.
3. Maryland (9-4, 5-3; LR: No. 3) -- The Terps went all out for former coach Ralph Friedgen in his final game as head coach, hammering East Carolina 51-20 in the Military Bowl. Maryland left no doubt it was the better team, and took all of its frustrations out on the Pirates. It was one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football this year, thanks to the ACC’s rookie and coach of the year.
4. NC State (9-4, 5-3; LR: No. 4) -- The Wolfpack got a quality win with an upset of then-No. 22 West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. The defense allowed just one touchdown, forced five turnovers, and NC State got another MVP performance from quarterback Russell Wilson.
5. North Carolina (8-5, 4-4; LR: No. 6) -- It wasn’t pretty, but the controversial 30-27 double-overtime win over Tennessee still counts. The Tar Heels snapped a three-game bowl losing streak and won in the postseason for the first time since 2001.
6. Miami (7-6, 5-3; LR: No. 5) -- It was as if the Canes didn’t even want to be there. Notre Dame dominated Miami in a 33-17 win, and the Canes lost their third straight bowl game. Miami finished with four turnovers, including three picks by quarterback Jacory Harris.
7. Boston College (7-6, 4-4; LR: No. 7) -- If the rankings were based solely on defense, the Eagles would be right up there with Florida State. But it takes a little bit of O to hang with an offense as efficient as Nevada’s. The Eagles couldn’t get anything going on the ground and didn’t match up well with the Wolf Pack secondary. BC had just 64 rushing yards.
8. Clemson (6-7, 4-4; LR: No. 8) -- The Tigers didn’t fare much better than Miami did, becoming the second ACC team to lose to South Florida. It was too little, too late for Clemson, which converted just 5 of 16 third downs.
9. Georgia Tech (6-7, 4-4; LR: No. 9) -- Kansas? Air Force? The Jackets accounted for two of the ACC’s most inexplicable losses this season. Against Air Force, the Jackets had four turnovers, and have now lost six straight bowl games. It was Georgia Tech’s first losing season since 1996.
10. Wake Forest (3-9, 1-7; LR: No. 10) -- The only benefit to not playing in a bowl game is the extra time that can be spent on recruiting. The Deacs finished the season 3-9, but were at least able to pull out a road win against a downtrodden Vanderbilt team, and every win against the SEC counts.
11. Duke (3-9, 1-7; LR: No. 11) -- The Blue Devils also finished 3-9, but lost the head-to-head competition against Wake Forest. Duke made progress defensively and still was one of the worst in the country with the No. 109-ranked scoring defense. Duke's inability to run the ball and stop the run was a costly combination.
12. Virginia (4-8, 1-7; LR: No. 12) -- The Hoos finished with four wins, but two of them came against FCS teams. Not that wins against FCS teams are a given (See: William & Mary vs. UVA, Duke vs. Richmond, Virginia Tech vs. James Madison). Recruiting is going well for Mike London, but those efforts weren’t able to help him in 2010.