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Monday, October 10, 2011
ACC power rankings: Week 7

By Heather Dinich

Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Virginia Tech made this more complicated. Why? Because if you rank the teams based on the way they played Saturday, the Hokies looked better than Georgia Tech. The Jackets, though, are still undefeated and bowl-eligible. Again, this one needs to be settled on the field, much like Georgia Tech and Clemson. Until it is, though, Georgia Tech gets the credit for its undefeated run. The Hokies, despite their impressive performance in the win over Miami, are still in catch-up mode.

Here are your updated rankings heading into Week 7:

1. Clemson (6-0, 3-0 ACC; LW: No. 1): The Tigers won the game against Boston College, but lost starting quarterback Tajh Boyd to a hip injury. He is listed as questionable heading into Saturday’s game at College Park, and his status could be the key to Clemson’s chances of remaining undefeated this season. The good news for Clemson is that it didn't collapse without him against BC.

2. Georgia Tech (6-0, 3-0; LW: No. 2): Georgia Tech held off a gritty effort by Maryland and backup quarterback C.J. Brown on Saturday to remain undefeated, but it wasn’t one of the Yellow Jackets’ better performances this season. They’ll have to be sharper on the road against a Virginia team this week that has had the bye week to prepare.

3. Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1; LW: No. 3): Where has THIS offense been? It was a breakout performance for quarterback Logan Thomas in the win over Miami, and the Hokies kept their hopes alive in the Coastal Division race. They’ve got a tough road trip looming, though, against a Wake Forest team that has caught the ACC by surprise with its 3-0 start. Speaking of the Deacs …

4. Wake Forest (4-1, 3-0; LW: No. 6): Welcome back to the top half of the ACC, Wake Forest. It’s been a while. It was an historic win for the Deacs over Florida State -- not because they haven’t done it before, but because it gave them their first 3-0 start in conference play in school history. Wake had the advantage at quarterback over the Noles and the defense forced five turnovers. Can they keep it up against the defending ACC champs?

5. North Carolina (5-1, 1-1; LW: No. 4): It was a lackluster 14-7 win over Louisville, one of the worst teams in the Big East, and it took the Tar Heels until the second half before scoring any points. Louisville outgained UNC in total yards, first downs and rushing yards, but the Tar Heels went 4-0 in conference play and will be catching Miami after the Canes’ tough loss to Virginia Tech.

6. Miami (2-3, 0-2; LW: No. 7): The Canes are now the only team in the Coastal Division with a losing overall record. Not Duke. Not Virginia. Miami. Against Virginia Tech, though, we saw what Miami’s offense is capable of when quarterback Jacory Harris is at the top of his game. Lamar Miller had another 100-yard performance, but Miami’s offense wasn’t able to get within field goal range on its final possession, and the Canes’ hopes at winning the Coastal Division took a huge hit.

7. Florida State (2-3, 0-2; LW: No. 5): Don’t look now, but FSU is closer to BC in the Atlantic Division standings than it is Clemson. FSU’s quarterbacks combined for four interceptions in a five-turnover game, and the defense couldn’t slow down Wake Forest’s offense. The odds of FSU repeating as division champs shrunk significantly on Saturday. The difference between FSU and Miami right now? The Canes at least beat a ranked Ohio State team. FSU's best wins are against Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern.

8. Maryland (2-3, 1-1; LW: No. 8): Status quo for the Terps, who seem to get younger on defense every week and now have a quarterback controversy between starter Danny O'Brien and backup Brown. Maryland didn’t quit against Georgia Tech, and the young defense was impressive on the road against one of the nation’s top offenses, but the hole could get deeper in the next few weeks.

9. Duke (3-2, 1-0; LW: No. 9): You could definitely make the argument that Duke should be higher after winning three straight, but the loss to FCS Richmond in the season opener is weighing them down, as is the lack of a quality win. Miami and FSU have both lost to two ranked opponents and haven’t been full strength. Duke, though, could give Florida State’s defense some problems this weekend.

10. Virginia (3-2, 0-1; LW: No. 10): The Wahoos had a bye week to heal and prepare for Georgia Tech’s spread option offense, and they’ll have home field advantage this weekend. The inconsistency at quarterback has been a problem for UVA, and Georgia Tech will have the edge there, but the defenses could be the difference.

11. NC State (3-3, 0-2; LW: No. 11): The Wolfpack beat Central Michigan, and it was supposed to. NC State still needs to dig out of its poor start in conference play and win four of the final six games to reach the postseason. They’ve got a bye week to get better, and they need every minute of it.

12. Boston College (1-5, 0-3; LW: No. 12): The Eagles sunk even lower after their Atlantic Division loss to Clemson, and have now lost two games to backup quarterbacks. BC deserves credit, though, for its effort at Clemson. There is no quit in these players, and they’ve got the bye week to regroup before heading to Virginia Tech.