ACC Power Rankings

08 Oct 2009

Courtesy of Chad Floyd-

The ACC race is starting to take shape. It’s hard to picture preseason Atlantic favorite Florida State or my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels climbing out of 0-2 holes to reach the ACC Championship game. Even with impressive showings last week, it doesn’t seem viable that Virginia, Maryland, or Duke would reach Tampa either. Then again, it is the ACC, where parity has reigned supreme since the fall of the 90’s Seminoles.

1) Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 ACC, defeated Duke 34-26): Who knew Tyrod Taylor’s arm actually worked as well as his legs? A career-high 327 yards and 2 TD’s helped the Hokies overcome poor efforts from both the running game and the D. Good thing they were playing Duke.

2) Miami (3-1, 2-1 ACC, defeated Oklahoma 21-20): Probably the ACC’s most impressive win to date. Sure, the Sooners were playing without Sam Bradford, but Landry Jones is a good quarterback and Miami rattled him and forced Oklahoma to play with the underneath routes all game long. Javarris James had the best game of a career that was disappointing up to this point, going for 150 yards and clinching the game with a few first downs on the final drive.

3) Georgia Tech (4-1, 1-1 ACC, defeated Mississippi St. 42-31): Another example of a running QB going against the grain of his team’s normal gameplan: Josh Nesbitt, he of the sub-40% completion percentage, going 11-14 for 266 yards. He is emerging as a leader on this Jacket team that has been resurgent since looking awful against Miami two weeks ago.

4) Boston College (4-1, 2-1 ACC, defeated Florida St. 28-21): Do I believe the Eagles are the 4th most talented team in the league? No, but they always have a coach that gets the most out of his players. Frank Spaziani, the team’s 3rd head coach in 4 years, has the Eagles playing like a viable candidate for the Atlantic Division crown.

5) Wake Forest (3-2, 1-1 ACC, defeated N.C. State 30-24): Congratulations to Josh Bush, who ended Russell Wilson’s streak of 379 passes without an interception in the second quarter. Marshall Williams had another big day for the Deacs with two TD’s, but Chris Givens may have stolen the show with 8 catches for 113 yards and a score of his own. It seems like Riley Skinner is finding some weapons.

6) N.C. State (3-2, 0-1 ACC, lost to Wake Forest 30-24): Of the losers on Saturday, the Pack looked by far the most dangerous. 361 yards allowed through the air doesn’t bode well for their future, but the players seem to believe in each other and the coaching staff, and may now be the favorite in an Atlantic with an 0-2 FSU team.

7) Clemson (2-3, 1-2 ACC, lost to Maryland 24-21): Can’t say they didn’t have their chances. Within the last 7 minutes of the game, the Tigers were inside the Terps’ 35 3 times. Two missed 48-yard field goals and a lost Kyle Parker fumble cost them. The Tigers should have won this game.

8 ) Florida State (2-3, 0-2 ACC, lost to Boston College 28-21): Give them credit for overcoming a 21-3 deficit to tie the game, but downgrade them for again playing down to their competition and not pulling out the win. FSU’s blogger thinks its time for a change.

9) Virginia (1-3, 1-0 ACC, defeated North Carolina 16-3): They’re not great, but they could still find 4-5 more wins on their schedule. Losses to TCU and Southern Miss, quality non-BCS opponents, prepared the Cavs to knock off Carolina last Saturday. To quote Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

10) North Carolina (3-2, 0-2 ACC, lost to Virginia 16-3): The Tar Heels have picked up 328 yards of offense over the past two games, which would rank them 95th in the FBS if they could combine the results from the Tech and Virginia games. As it stands, the 113th ranked offense is doing nothing to help the nation’s 8th best defense.

11) Maryland (2-3, 1-0 ACC, defeated Clemson 24-21): Season saving win for Ralph Friedgen and the Terps, who overcame big plays by C.J. Spiller, a couple of tactical errors, I’m honestly baffled, after watching the 4th quarter of this one, as to how they won.

12) Duke (2-3, 0-1 ACC, lost to Virginia Tech 34-26): Tough luck for them, as they did not play like the worst team in the ACC on Saturday (that distinction would probably go to their neighbors 8 miles to the East). That being said, Virginia and Maryland won and I’d pick any of the rest of the teams in the league to beat them 9 times out of 10. A career day from Thaddeus Lewis wasn’t enough to overcome Virginia Tech, however.