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Monday, October 5, 2009
ACC power rankings: Week 6



Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


There were changes this week, but not at the top. It’s the only place there’s any certainty right now in this conference, and it shows the strength of the Coastal Division. The Atlantic Division is anybody’s guess. The only teams without a conference loss so far are Virginia Tech, Maryland and Virginia. We’ll see how long that lasts, but the latter deserves credit for starting to reverse a downward spiral. Here’s how the ACC looks heading into Week 6:

1. Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0; LW No. 1): So the Hokies almost lost to Duke. Again. But they didn’t, and that’s what the best teams do -- find a way to win every week. Virginia Tech will need a complete performance this weekend against a Boston College team that is getting better and growing more confident each week.

2. Miami (3-1, 2-1; LW No. 2): The win over No. 8-ranked Oklahoma was the biggest under coach Randy Shannon and the biggest for the conference so far this season. The Canes should be favored against every opponent remaining on their schedule, but need to stay focused, starting this weekend against Florida A&M.

3. Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1; LW No. 3): The Yellow Jackets represented the ACC with a win over the SEC on Saturday. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt has found his groove, the offensive options are getting deeper each week and the Yellow Jackets could make the Coastal Division interesting this month. Before they get to the Hokies, though, Georgia Tech has to handle a disappointing FSU team.

4. Boston College (4-1, 2-1; LW 8): With back-to-back wins over Florida State and Wake Forest, plus a Clemson loss, the Eagles are right back where they were the past two seasons -- in position to win the Atlantic Division. Frank Spaziani for coach of the year anyone? The Eagles made the biggest jump in the standings this week, along with ...

5. Wake Forest (3-2, 1-1; LW No. 9): With their wins over Stanford and NC State, it’s time to give the Deacs credit and take them seriously as a contender for the Atlantic Division. They’ll need some help from the rest of the league against Boston College, but they’ve proven they can overcome both youth and injuries with the help of coaching and a veteran quarterback.

6. NC State (3-2, 0-1; LW No. 4): Quarterback Russell Wilson was finally forced into an interception for the first time since last season, and he came up short in the battle of talented in-state quarterbacks. The Pack’s quest for this year’s unofficial “state championship” just took a hit. The Pack can’t take Duke lightly this week, as they’ll face another top in-state quarterback in Thaddeus Lewis.

7. Clemson (2-3, 1-2; LW No. 6): The Tigers should be embarrassed by their performance in College Park. Two missed field goals and a fumble changed the game for Clemson, who would be one of the nation’s best teams right now if they won with C.J. Spiller’s return game. Clemson’s defense held the Terps to just two touchdowns -- all in the second quarter -- but the offense couldn’t help. Clemson is off this week.

8. Florida State (2-3, 0-2; LW No. 5): It’s the first-ever 0-2 start for the Noles in ACC play, and now we know which of the two identities is the more prevalent one -- the losing side. FSU got behind 21-3 against Boston College and managed to tie the score at 21, but it was too little, too late. The Noles couldn’t punch it in on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.

9. North Carolina (3-2, 0-2; LW No. 7): The Tar Heels just can’t get their offense going, and two losses against Coastal Division opponents have them on the outside looking in very early this year. After just nine first downs, three turnovers and 39 yards rushing, it doesn’t seem to be something that can be fixed in one week, but Georgia Southern should get them back on track, and the following bye week can help.

10. Maryland (2-3, 1-0; LW No. 11): The Terps tried to give it away, but Clemson didn’t want to take it. So Maryland took advantage of it in the second quarter, and that was all it needed to get off to a good start in ACC play. The challenge now will be to overcome the injuries to left tackle Bruce Campbell and running back Da'Rel Scott this week at Wake Forest.

11. Virginia (1-3, 1-0: LW No. 12): The Cavaliers regrouped after the bye week and took care of the upset in Chapel Hill. Virginia was able to do one thing UNC wasn’t, and that’s score a touchdown. It wasn’t exactly a prolific day for the Virginia offense, but it didn’t have to be. The Cavs made fewer mistakes (no turnovers) and had Mikell Simpson.

12. Duke (2-3, 0-1; LW No. 10): Now that the Cavaliers and Maryland each have an ACC win, it’s up to the Blue Devils to answer back with one. A win over NC State this weekend isn’t out of the question -- not if Duke plays as long and as hard as it did against Virginia Tech. Duke has proven it’s to be taken seriously, but it needs to start winning in the ACC to validate that.