By JOHN TALTY - ACC INSIDER
1) Virginia Tech (5-1, 2-0): Yes, that loss to East Carolina looks even worse these days, but it seems that despite suffering losses on both sides of the ball, Virginia Tech is surviving at this point. They were able to easily defeat Western Kentucky this weekend and now have an extra week to prepare for their game against Boston College on October 18th.
2) Wake Forest (3-1, 1-0): After a loss to a sub par Navy team, Wake Forest had their bye week to think about what went wrong. Wake is still considered by some to be the favorite to win the ACC, but with Clemson and Maryland looming as their next two games, the Demon Deacons are going to have to play their best football to come away with wins.
3) Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1): Much was made of the match-up between Georgia Tech and Duke, but the Yellow Jackets came out and proved very quickly who the better team was, crushing the Blue Devils, 27-0. Outside of that close loss to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech has been rolling this year and seem to really be buying into what new coach Paul Johnson is preaching.
4) North Carolina (4-1, 1-1): North Carolina continues to just do what it needs to do and after destroying Connecticut, they now find themselves ranked in the AP Top 25. A win against Notre Dame could boost them big time in the Top 25 and could make UNC a favorite in the ACC.
5) Florida State (4-1, 1-1): Besides their loss against Wake Forest in which they only scored three points, the Seminoles have been lighting up the scoreboard. Even though Florida State teams have not been known for their offense recently, the team has been flourishing under new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, putting up close to 40 points in every game. They need to keep the momentum going and avoid a letdown against lowly NC State this weekend.
6) Boston College (4-1, 1-1): Yes, Boston College is 4-1, but they have zero quality wins at this point. Wins against such powerhouses as Kent State, Central Florida, Rhode Island, and NC State don’t really inspire too much confidence. After their upcoming bye week, Boston College will finally get their chance to prove themselves when they take on #18 Virginia Tech.
7) Maryland (4-2, 1-1): A horrible 31-0 beat down at the hands of Virginia puts the Terrapins in the middle of the pack of the ACC. After wins against California and Clemson it looked as if they might be a contender for the ACC, but as shown by losses to UVA and Middle Tennessee State, you never know what Maryland team is going to show up. Consistency is the mark of a good team…the Terps clearly aren’t there yet.
8) Clemson (3-2, 1-1): The Tigers got a whole week to think about how bad that loss to Maryland was, and to focus on Thursday’s game against Wake Forest. A win against Wake Forest could put Clemson back into the ACC mix, but a loss would eliminate them from a chance at an Atlantic division title.
9) Duke (3-2, 1-1): Duke showed us this week that it’s a little too early to consider Duke an ACC contender. There is no question that this is a much better Duke team than in past years, but they are still nowhere near the top of the ACC in terms of talent.
10) Miami (2-3, 0-2): There is certainly talent on this football team, but they simply cannot finish games. They had opportunities for wins against both North Carolina and Florida State, but couldn’t get the job done. Randy Shannon’s team is going to have to start winning some games or Shannon’s seat will start to get a little warmer.
11) Virginia (2-3, 1-1): Virginia came out and shocked the world with a 31-0 drubbing of Maryland. Seemingly playing for Al Groh’s job, the Cavaliers just dominated the Terrapins in every aspect of Saturday’s game. Whether this game was a fluke or not is yet to be known, but Virginia could go a long way to proving they aren’t as bad as everyone thinks they are if they can pull off a win against East Carolina on Saturday.
12) NC State (2-4, 0-2): The Wolfpack are just not a very good football team at this point. They were able to put up 31 points in a loss to Boston College, but it seems as if they just can’t seem to get the job done when they need to. Their Thursday night game next week against Florida State could get real ugly in a hurry.