Monday, November 5, 2012
ACC power rankings: Week 11
By Heather Dinich
Separation is finally occurring in the ACC. Florida State is leading the Atlantic Division, Miami is leading the Coastal Division with three more weeks remaining. Don't get too comfortable, though. Reminder: This is the ACC. NC State, the same team that knocked off No. 3-ranked Florida State, just lost to Virginia. Huh? Exactly.
1. Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC; LW: No. 1) -- The Noles had a bye week to prepare for their Thursday night game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. It’s the first of back-to-back road trips, including a Nov. 17 date at Maryland, but FSU has won three straight and should have the upper hand in both games.
2. Clemson (8-1, 5-1; LW: No. 2) -- The Tigers have looked significantly better on defense in the past few weeks, and they completely dominated Duke in a 56-20 win on Saturday. Clemson hosts a struggling Maryland team this weekend before closing the ACC schedule with a home game against NC State. The Tigers are still jockeying for position in a BCS bowl.
3. Miami (5-4, 4-2; LW: No. 6) -- The Hurricanes took the lead in the Coastal Division with their 30-12 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night, but the Hokies helped with three turnovers. Miami will play for the ACC title for the first time since joining the league if it wins out, starting with a road trip to Virginia this week.
4. North Carolina (6-3, 3-2; LW: No. 4) -- The Tar Heels had a bye week to prepare for Georgia Tech’s spread option offense, and UNC has won five of its past six games. UNC has a chance to finish the year with the best record in the Coastal Division, but the Tar Heels would accomplish that while ineligible for postseason play.
5. Duke (6-4, 3-3; LW: No. 3) -- The Blue Devils have been bullied by ranked teams this year, and were humbled yet again in the loss to Clemson. Duke still has a chance to win the Coastal Division if it beats Georgia Tech and Miami to end the season. The Blue Devils have a bye week to prepare for the road trip to Atlanta.
6. Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4; LW: No. 9) -- The Deacs’ bowl hopes got a major boost with Saturday’s 28-14 win over Boston College. Back-to-back road trips against NC State and No. 3-ranked Notre Dame will make it difficult to reach the six-win mark, but Wake still has three more chances to get it done, including the regular-season finale against Vanderbilt.
7. NC State (5-4, 2-3; LW: No. 5) -- The biggest surprise of Week 10 was in Raleigh, were NC State imploded in a 33-6 loss to Virginia. NC State has now lost back-to-back games and is still looking to become bowl eligible. The Wolfpack’s chances of playing in the ACC championship game are on life support.
8. Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3; LW: No. 7) -- This season has been a disaster for the preseason favorites to win the Coastal Division. The defense has been a disappointment, so has quarterback Logan Thomas. There is plenty of blame to spread around, and it won’t get much easier with FSU rolling into town. The Hokies will need more than just home-field advantage to win this one.
9. Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3; LW: No. 10) -- The Jackets beat Maryland 33-13, but it was another win that revealed little, as the Terps were down to their fifth-string quarterback. Still, it inched Georgia Tech closer to bowl eligibility, but the Jackets have another road trip this weekend against North Carolina.
10. Maryland (4-5, 2-3; LW: No. 8) -- The Terps are marching forward with true freshman linebacker Shawn Petty at quarterback. He played a respectable game in the loss to Georgia Tech, but that was nothing like the competition he’ll face this weekend in Death Valley. Atlantic Division giants Clemson and FSU, respectively, are waiting.
11. Virginia (3-6, 1-4; LW: No. 12) -- Talk about bye-week magic. The Hoos played with a purpose in their win at NC State, and that’s a credit to the staff for not letting things unravel. It seemed like everything was clicking for Virginia. The question is whether they can sustain that level for three more weeks.
12. Boston College (2-7, 1-5; LW: No. 11) -- The Eagles return to the bottom of the barrel after Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest and UVa’s road win. The Eagles host No. 3-ranked Notre Dame, but this rivalry isn’t what it used to be. Neither is Boston College.