Monday, September 14, 2009
ACC Power Rankings
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
There wasn’t a huge shake-up from last week, though some teams looked better in defeat (Clemson) than others that won (Florida State), which can make the rankings a little more interesting. Here’s how the lineup looks heading into Week 3:
1. Georgia Tech (2-0) -- The Yellow Jackets’ offense was hardly prolific, and weaknesses in the passing game were exposed, but it came up with enough big plays when needed, and that was the difference against Clemson. Until Miami proves otherwise (and we’ll know that this week), the Jackets stay at the top. No need to reshuffle the top when the Jackets won and Miami didn't play.
2. Miami (1-0) -- The Hurricanes had the bye week to prepare for their Thursday night game against Georgia Tech, but looked spectacular at times in the opener against Florida State. If the Canes continue to build upon that performance, they could be the most complete team in the ACC. But first, let’s see what their defense does on Thursday night.
3. Virginia Tech (1-1) -- The offense came alive, but it woke up at home against Marshall. It’s a start, but we’ll find out how much progress the Hokies really made when they face another Top 25 team in Nebraska this week.
4. Clemson (1-1) -- Save for the first quarter, the Tigers have nothing to be ashamed about in their loss to Georgia Tech. In fact, Dabo Swinney is convinced his team is better now than it was then, and we saw what the Tigers can do when they make full use of Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller. Not to mention the defense was sound for three quarters.
5. North Carolina (2-0) -- It was an odd defensive game, with UNC beating Connecticut late in the game on a safety. It was the first real test of the season for the Heels’ offense, and it didn’t exactly shine, though T.J. Yates did a good job of sustaining late drives. UNC will have to avoid a possible trap game this weekend against East Carolina.
6. Wake Forest (1-1) -- While the Noles were hanging on for dear life at home against Jacksonville State, and the Pack were beating up on Murray State, the Deacs fought off Stanford, a team they felt was better than Baylor last week. They showed what they’re capable of when the offense is clicking and Riley Skinner is playing like the veteran he is. The Deacs move up two spots for beating a Pac-10 team.
7. NC State (1-1) -- The Wolfpack took their aggression from the loss to South Carolina out on Murray State, but just like Virginia Tech, let’s see it against a more formidable opponent like Pittsburgh. The Pack have another unheralded opponent in Gardner-Webb coming up this weekend and another chance to fine-tune the offense before hosting Pitt. If Russell Wilson keeps it up, the Pack will move up this list quickly.
8. Florida State (1-1) -- A win is a win, but ... ugh. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Noles pulled away from Jacksonville State at home. It felt like they earned half a win. Maybe they were looking ahead to their road trip at BYU. Maybe the defense has more problems than we thought. Regardless, they won’t get away with that this weekend.
9. Boston College (2-0) -- Say what you will about this scrappy team, but the Eagles are still undefeated heading into Saturday’s game against Clemson. BC still doesn’t know who its quarterback will be for its ACC opener, but so far both Dave Shinskie and Justin Tuggle have seen success. The Eagles stay status quo, though, until they overcome a tougher opponent.
10. Maryland (1-1) -- It took overtime to beat James Madison (at home!) on Saturday, but the Terps deserve some credit for pulling off the win after a tough loss to Cal. Now they face Middle Tennessee, the team that upset them a year ago, and if the same problems persist, they might get the same outcome.
11. Duke (1-1) -- The Blue Devils went on the road and redeemed themselves for a season-opening loss to FCS champion Richmond with a win against an improved Army team. A daunting challenge lies ahead as they travel to Kansas this weekend to take on a Top 25 team.
12. Virginia (0-2) -- It wasn’t a surprise that Virginia lost to TCU, especially after losing its home opener to William & Mary. What was a surprise was that the Cavaliers didn’t quit, and in the fourth quarter showed flashes of the spread offense their fans have been waiting to see. Unfortunately for Virginia, most of its fans had already left the stadium by then.