- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hello, Duke ...
1. Florida State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) – There wasn’t anything spectacular about the Noles’ 30-17 road win over South Florida, but it didn’t matter. FSU won its first road game, avoided a letdown and is still undefeated. FSU will have a difficult trip to NC State this weekend, but likely got a good wake-up call from the Bulls.
2. Clemson (4-1, 1-1) – One week after a disappointing loss to Florida State, the Tigers avoided an upset at Boston College despite a respectable performance from the Eagles’ offense. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver DeAndre Hopkins stole the show again without Sammy Watkins in the lineup.
3. Miami (4-1, 3-0) – The Hurricanes are a scrappy young team that keeps finding ways to win. They’re in the midst of a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2009, and quarterback Stephen Morris seems like he can’t miss in each of the past two games.
4. Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0) – Ugh. This game could have gone either way in the end, and just when it looked like the Hokies were going to win it, Cincinnati’s Munchie Legaux threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining. The Hokies are now 0-2 against the Big East this year.
5. Duke (4-1, 1-0) – It’s time to give the Blue Devils some credit. You could even argue they deserve to be ranked above Virginia Tech at this point, but I'm still not sold on that move. Duke has a better overall record than the Hokies, and right now, the Blue Devils have got a more potent offense. Duke is off to its best start since 1994, the last time the program went to a bowl game.
6. NC State (3-2, 0-1) – The Pack had 14 penalties for 100 yards. Six turnovers. Repeat: Six turnovers. Did Miami win, or was NC State its toughest opponent?
7. Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2) – The Deacs’ 12-game winning streak over Duke came to an end, and star receiver Michael Campanaro injured his hand in the process. It was a rough weekend for Wake Forest, which is going to need its best effort the rest of the season to get to a bowl game.
8. North Carolina (3-2, 0-1) – If the Tar Heels weren’t playing a winless Idaho team that is statistically one of the worst programs in the country, their 66-0 win might mean something. Instead, it was more of a glorified practice before the heart of their league schedule begins. We still don’t know if this team is the one we saw in the first half against Louisville (not good) or the second half (much better).
9. Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-2) – The loss to Middle Tennessee was like a black X on Paul Johnson’s résumé. For the second straight weekend, the Jackets lost at home. They looked unenthused. There was no sense of urgency. And the defense was an open door. Johnson has to make the bleeding stop quickly before this season becomes a disaster.
10. Virginia (2-3, 0-1) – The Hoos’ loss to Louisiana Tech wasn’t entirely unexpected considering La Tech had gone on the road and beaten Illinois the previous week and was scoring more than 50 points per game. It still wasn’t good, though, for UVa or for the ACC. Virginia needs to put an end to the turnovers and figure out if it’s sticking with Michael Rocco at quarterback.
11. Maryland (2-2, 0-0) – The Terps had a bye week but will host Wake Forest this weekend in their first league game of the season. The Deacs are coming off a tough, emotional home loss to Duke and now have to travel to face a team that had a week to prepare.
12. Boston College (1-3, 0-2) – The bend-but-don’t-break defensive strategy broke against Clemson’s uber-talented offense, and the Eagles have now lost back-to-back games. It’s not going to get any easier, as the next three games are on the road.