The offensive explosion in the ACC last weekend was entertaining to watch, but it did nothing to alter the fundamental shape of the conference.
Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech are still firmly ahead of the rest of the league, while everyone else is almost interchangeable in the rankings from week to week. Case in point: two weeks ago, N.C. State was sitting in fourth, while Virginia was mired in dead last. This week, the Wolfpack are down to No. 10, while the Cavaliers are up to No. 7.
For the first time, we have a tie in the IoT Power Rakings — because Jimmy and I couldn’t agree on who is worse, Florida State or Maryland. Normally in this situation, the two teams would be tied for 11th. However, we at least agreed that was too good for both of them, so we’ve tied the Seminoles and Terrapins to 12th place and added our respective cases for why one is worse than the other.
|1 (1)||Virginia Tech (5-1, 3-0)
With a win over Georgia Tech, the Hokies would put themselves in the driver’s seat for a trip to the ACC championship game. Otherwise, get ready for a possible three-team tiebreaker that will make your head spin.
Last week: W vs. Boston College (48-14)
This week: at Georgia Tech
|2 (2)||Miami (4-1, 2-1)
After taking three of four from ranked teams to open the season, the Hurricanes have now shown they can dominate lesser competition, which they’ll need to do the rest of the way to stay in the discussion for a major bowl berth.
Last week: W vs. Florida A&M (48-16)
This week: at Central Florida
|3 (3)||Georgia Tech (5-1, 3-1)
Tech QB Josh Nesbitt doesn’t throw often, but when he does, he has a legitimate weapon in WR Demaryius Thomas. The league’s leading receiver, Thomas has 620 of his team’s 898 receiving yards and is averaging 23.8 yards per catch.
Last week: W at Florida State (49-44)
This week: vs. Virginia Tech
|Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1)
To show just how wide the gap is between the Big 3 and the rest of the conference, Wake Forest is the fourth different team in the last four weeks to occupy this spot in our rankings. We get the feeling the Demon Deacons really are the best of the rest (especially with senior QB Riley Skinner at the helm), but don’t be surprised if someone new is here next week.
Last week: W vs. Maryland (42-32)
This week: at Clemson
|5 (4)||Boston College (4-2, 2-2)
In the Eagles’ two losses, Dave Shinskie and Justin Tuggle put up two of the three least-efficient games for a quarterback this season, according to cfbstats.com. In fact, Shinskie’s performance against Virginia Tech (1 for 12, 4 yards, 2 INTs) earned him a negative 22.2 pass-efficiency rating — by far the worst game for any quarterback since at least 2004.
Last week: L at Virginia Tech (48-14)
This week: vs. N.C. State
|6 (7)||North Carolina (4-2, 0-2)
Even though Virginia hammered UNC in Chapel Hill two weeks ago, we’re reluctantly putting the Tar Heels here because they actually have a winning record. We say reluctantly because Carolina’s best win so far, a 31-17 victory over East Carolina, is looking less impressive each week the Pirates struggle in Conference USA.
Last week: W vs. Georgia Southern (42-12)
This week: Idle
|7 (10)||Virginia (2-3, 1-0)
UVa might have finally figured out that spread offense things out on offense. Going into the game against Indiana, the Cavaliers were averaging 272 yards of total offense. They got that by halftime against the Hoosiers.
Last week: W vs. Indiana (47-7)
This week: at Maryland
|8 (8)||Clemson (2-3, 1-2)
Perhaps no team needed time off to regroup more than Clemson. The Tigers have come oh-so-close in all three of their losses this season.
Last week: Idle
This week: vs. Wake Forest
|9 (12)||Duke (3-3, 1-1)
Duke coach Dave Cutcliffe said QB Thaddeus Lewis’ showing against N.C. State (40 for 50, 459 yards, 5 TD passes, 1 TD run) was “the finest game I’ve had a quarterback have in college.” You might recognize two of Cutcliffe’s other quarterbacks from on-field moments such as this, their efforts to inspire kids or every … other … commercial … during … football … season.
Last week: W at N.C. State (49-28)
This week: Idle
|10 (6)||N.C. State (3-3, 0-2)
N.C. State has the fourth-best rushing defense in the country, but who needs to run when quarterbacks are setting career highs against the Wolfpack secondary every week? In its last two games, State has yielded a combined 820 passing yards to Riley Skinner and Thaddeus Lewis in losses to Wake Forest and Duke.
Last week: L vs. Duke (49-28)
This week: at Boston College
|Florida State (2-4, 0-3)
Jimmy’s take: There’s an easy case for ranking Florida State last: they haven’t won any conference games. FSU’s done good things this year (beating Brigham Young and nearly beating Miami, namely), but they haven’t done anything good in a month. Until the ‘Noles win a conference game, they’re last.
Last week: L vs. Georgia Tech (49-44)
This week: Idle
|12T (11)||Maryland (2-4, 1-1)
Jeremy’s take: Maryland beat a I-AA team at home on an overtime field goal and beat Clemson because of two missed field goals in the fourth quarter. That’s all that separates the Terrapins from 2-4 and 0-6. I’ll let Rob Daniels from The ACC Sports Journal sum up the rest of my argument: “In case you were curious, a score from the Sun Belt: Troy 31, Middle Tennessee State 7.”
Last week: L at Wake Forest (42-32)
This week: vs. Virginia