ACC teams went 8-1 in nonconference games last week, and we got another exciting in-conference matchup for the second week in a row. That doesn’t mean there’s any more clarity in the conference pecking order.
At this point, we’re reasonably comfortable with the top four (all Coastal Division teams) and the bottom three (the rest of the Coastal and Maryland). The middle five (a.k.a. – the Atlantic Division) is much more muddled. Each team in that group has some good selling points and some obvious flaws.
We should start to get a much clearer picture this week. Three teams are playing ranked nonconference opponents, a fourth draws a wannabe BCS-buster at home, and another nationally televised Thursday night game could go a long way toward deciding one of the division races.
|1 (1)||Miami (1-0, 1-0)
After a great opener against Florida State, QB Jacory Harris is promising a few more wrinkles in the Hurricanes’ offense on Thursday.
Last week: Idle
This week: vs. Georgia Tech
|2 (2)||Virginia Tech (1-1)
We gave the Hokies the benefit of the doubt after they lost a tough opener against then-No. 5 Alabama. They’ll need to beat No. 19 Nebraska at home to stay this high in the rankings next week.
Last week: W vs. Marshall (52-10)
This week: vs. Nebraska
|3 (3)||Georgia Tech (2-0, 1-0)
The Yellow Jackets were well on their way to taking the top spot from the idle Hurricanes until they let a 24-point lead evaporate last Thursday. Beat Miami on the road this Thursday, and Tech will definitely move up.
Last week: W vs. Clemson (30-27)
This week: at Miami
|4 (4)||North Carolina (2-0)
The Tar Heels won’t get away with another lackluster performance against an East Carolina team that will want to make a statement against an in-state rival.
Last week: W at Connecticut
This week: vs. East Carolina
|5 (7)||Boston College (2-0)
The Eagles easily took care of business against the soft part of their schedule, which is more than a lot of other teams in the conference can say. They’ll finally get a real test this weekend in Death Valley.
Last week: W vs. Kent State (34-7)
This week: at Clemson
|Wake Forest (1-1)
The Demon Deacons’ comeback against the Cardinal is the best nonconference win for an ACC team so far.
Last week: W vs. Stanford (24-17)
This week: vs. Elon
|7 (6)||Clemson (1-1, 0-1)
Like Florida State the week before, the Tigers actually looked good in losing a conference game, holding a lead at one point on Georgia Tech after trailing 24-0. Maybe they can avoid the hangover that nearly tripped up the Seminoles in their next game.
Last week: L at Georgia Tech
This week: vs. Boston College
|8 (8)||N.C. State (1-1)
The Wolfpack get one more chance to finish working out the kinks before hosting Pittsburgh.
Last week: W vs. Murray State
This week: vs. Gardner-Webb
|9 (5)||Florida State (1-1, 0-1)
The Seminoles looked better in a loss to Miami than in a win against I-AA Jacksonville State. Against BYU, they need to play like they did in the first game to get the same result as the second game.
Last week: W vs. Jacksonville State
This week: at BYU
|10 (11)||Duke (1-1)
This might be as high as the Blue Devils get all season, but their win at Army was far more impressive than Maryland’s squeaker at home against I-AA James Madison.
Last week: W at Army (35-19)
This week: at Kansas
|11 (10)||Maryland (1-1)
At least the Terrapins snapped the ACC’s two-game losing streak to the Colonial Athletic Association, even if it took some extra time to do it.
Last week: W vs. James Madison
This week: vs. Middle Tennessee
|12 (12)||Virginia (0-2)
This spot is reserved for the Cavaliers until they figure out how to score more than 14 points.
Last week: L vs. TCU (30-14)
This week: at Southern Miss