Let’s take a little trip in the Wayback Machine, shall we?
Set the dial to Sept. 23, 2009. Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson were the toppermost of the poppermost. President Barack Obama was trying to figure out that Afghan War. People actually still thought/doubted that government-provided health insurance could work.
And ACC Commissioner John Swofford had the football conference he’d been dreaming of for more than five years. Leading the conference was a Floridian first tier, ready to storm the upper reaches of the AP and USA Today polls. A stalwart Virginia Tech team stood ready to challenge the Sunshine Staters. A few steps behind were some frisky-looking contenders (North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech). Most of the remainders were looking ready for basketball.
Ah, those were the days. But things have changed. VT reclaimed the throne by undressing the Miami Hurricanes. Florida State continued to baffle by losing at home to a South Florida team led by a first-time starter at quarterback. Georgia Tech drilled UNC and Clemson lost at home to 15th-ranked Texas Christian.
Maybe some day Swoff-daddy will get the ACC he sought with the 2004 expansion. Not today.
On to the rankings.
|1 (2)||Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0)
Ryan Williams (34 carries, 150 yards, 2 TDs) was a revelation, but VT won’t win out unless QB Tyrod Taylor improves. He’s completed more than half his passes in only one game this season.
Last week: W vs. Miami (31-7)
This week: at Duke
|2 (1)||Miami (2-1, 2-1)
Who was more hasty: the people declaring Jacory Harris a Heisman candidate after two great games, or the ones dismissing him after one misstep? There’s plenty of season left, and a win over Oklahoma still puts Miami (and Harris) in good position nationally.
Last week: L at Virginia Tech (31-7)
This week: vs. Oklahoma
|3 (5)||Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1)
After three games in 12 days, the Georgia Tech of 2008 returned against UNC. Tactics aside, the GT offense and the VT offense have some striking similarities: workhorse lead backs; scattershot, athletic passers; and great change-of-pace runners.
Last week: W vs. North Carolina (24-7)
This week: at Mississippi State
|4 (8)||N.C. State (3-1)
A big leap for N.C. State, which overcame a late two-touchdown deficit to beat Pittsburgh. This week, expect the Pack to take its customary loss at BB&T Field, where State hasn’t won since Philip Rivers was a sophomore.
Last week: W vs. Pittsburgh (38-31)
This week: at Wake Forest
|5 (4)||North Carolina (3-1, 0-1)
The next two spots sparked conflict between the peace-loving authors of Instead of Texting. Jeremy carried the day with an admirably reality-based argument: Carolina’s impressive win over East Carolina and slightly-less-impressive road win over UConn outweigh Clemson’s close losses to two good teams (Georgia Tech and Texas Christian).
Last week: L at Georgia Tech (24-7)
This week: vs. Virginia
|6 (6)||Clemson (2-2, 1-1)
I think Clemson looked better losing to GT and TCU than UNC did beating UConn and ECU, and I still give the Tigers a lot of credit for making Boston College look like a high school team. More than that, though, I just feel like Clemson is better than UNC. Alas, facts carry more weight than feelings in these rankings.
Last week: L vs. TCU (14-10)
This week: at Maryland
|Florida State (2-2, 0-1)
Listen up, Seminoles: Until you look like the same team, good or bad, for two consecutive weeks, we’re sticking you here. In eighth seventh place. You’re on notice.
Last week: L vs. South Florida (17-7)
This week: at Boston College
|8 (9)||Boston College (3-1, 1-1)
A week after being embarrassed by Clemson, the Eagles won in overtime against Wake Forest. This week, they’ll play Florida State to decide — once and for all of one week — who the most enigmatic team in the ACC middle class is. Let it begin!
Last week: W vs. Wake Forest (27-24)
This week: vs. Florida State
|Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1)
QB Riley Skinner was bold in bringing Wake back in the fourth quarter last week against Boston College. Not so bold in fumbling away a good chance at victory on first and goal in overtime.
Last week: L at Boston College (27-24)
This week: vs. N.C. State
|10 (10)||Duke (2-2)
Duke clinched the Durham City Championship with a dominating win over N.C. Central. Fun fact: starting RB Re’quan Boyette has 70 yards on 34 carries this year. Backups Desmond Scott and Patrick Kurunwune each broke 90 yards on 16 and 14 carries respectively.
Last week: W vs. N.C. Central (49-14)
This week: vs. Virginia Tech
|11 (11)||Maryland (1-3)
Rutgers is mediocre. Maryland is three touchdowns worse than mediocre.
Last week: L vs. Rutgers (34-13)
This week: vs. Clemson
|12 (12)||Virginia (0-3)
An upset win over “Bye” for UVa. But let’s talk about Florida State some more. That home loss to USF was especially egregious, given that the ’99 title team was in attendance. A loss like that could’ve given Ol’ Man Weinke a heart attack.
Last week: Idle
This week: at North Carolina