Ranking The ACC – Week 4

I ranked ’em last week, and I’m feeling like doing it again. I can’t say for certain if this will become a weekly feature, but I hope so. We’ll see. It’s always interesting to see how teams change throughout the season and this is one way to keep track.
1. Florida State – Yes the #2 Hokies were extremely impressive last week, but I’m not quite ready to drop the ‘Noles. Their road win over BC looks a little better now that the Eagles won at Clemson. Miami has done well after losing to FSU as well.
This team is still a bit of a mystery. They clearly have talent, but it shows up inconsistently. They appeared to have problems passing, but a strong running game against Miami, but then couldn’t run, but could pass against BC. The one constant is their defense. It may not be getting the press that the Hokie’s D is, but I think they’re probably just as good. We’ll see, but probably not this weekend as the ‘Noles host Syracuse. The Orange gave Virginia some troubles at home, but this ain’t the Carrier Dome. I expect a blowout.

2. Virginia Tech – Number two with a bullet. They have a big, exciting rivalry game this weekend against a pretty good West Virginia team. There are a couple of good previews of that one at Fanblogs.

3. Miami
– The Canes have three gimmes (yes, I consider South Florida a gimme despite what they did to Louisville) before they have to start playing football again. I expect that they’ll continue to improve and will show up in Blacksburg on November 5 sporting a seven-game winning streak. Add in the Hokie victory at Miami last year, and it should be a hell of a game. John Swofford will need to towel himself off.
4. Boston College – Big jump by the Beantown Boys, but wins in Death Valley count a little more than most road wins. It’s pretty amazing that they won in their first try. What is it with teams in their first year competing in the ACC?
The Eagles get a breather this week with a scrimmage against Ball State.
5. Virginia – I’m not so sure the Cavs are that good, but all three teams above them lost last weekend, Clemson for the second straight week. They have a big game this weekend at Maryland that will tell us more about both teams. If Ahmad Brooks (check this video) finally suits up for UVA, Maryland might have a really hard time moving the ball.
6. Georgia Tech – Yeah they took one on the chin last week. Took a couple actually, and a kick in the groin too, but I still think this is a pretty good squad. They’re not so good that they can’t lose to just about anyone, but I think they could take any team outside of VT and FSU and maybe Miami.
The Jackets get a well-deserved week off to find their jockstraps and replace their earpads.

7. Clemson
– Back-to-back home overtime losses. Ouch. That has to smart.
It’s hard to remember a team opening with four such close games. They may just be one of those teams that plays up or down to whomever they are playing. Wanna bet that their game in Winston-Salem this weekend is decided by less than a touchdown?
8. North Carolina – Some folks were surprised that I had the Heels as high as #9 last week. They backed it up – sorta. It wasn’t pretty, but they did win a big road game. I don’t think they are a terribly good squad, but like most of the ACC, they are good enough to play with just about anyone. Carolina also has a downside that I don’t think we’ve seen exposed just yet. It’ll happen though. Their defense is improved over last year, allowing about 100 fewer yards per game. Think that means they can hold Utah to only about 550 yards this weekend?
9. Maryland – Yeah, they won at Wake and that’s good … but something just doesn’t smell right about this team. They remind me of last year’s squad which consistently underwhelming. It’s funny how Ralph Friedgen’s career is sort of paralleling Charlatan Amato’s, with the main difference being that Fridge actually did win early, while Amato mostly talked about it. Still, I wonder why they aren’t better. They do have a big chance to show that maybe they aren’t sliding back to obscurity with a win over Virginia this weekend. It wouldn’t prove that they are back, but a loss would prove otherwise.
10. NC State – There’s no question that this team should be better than #10. But as a wise man once said, “stupid is as stupid does.” And they certainly stupid did last weekend. The players get this weekend off, while the fans keep busy burning up the radio call-in lines and Wolfpack message boards with venom not seen since … well uh … last basketball season?
11. Wake Forest – I should just name this spot the Wake Forest spot. “So Dave, which team do you have ranked Wake Forest this week?” Let’s see, uh this week it’s … Wake Forest!
The Deacons get Clemson at home this week, a team they’ve made a habit of beating. Wouldn’t it be fun if they beat the Tigers again? I don’t know why, but seeing football-crazy Clemson lose to the preppy boys in Winston-Salem always makes me chuckle.
12. Duke – If this were a baseball scorecard, I could just print Duke’s name in the 12 spot, just like the Orioles used to make lineup cards with Cal Ripken printed in as shortstop while all the other positions were blanks to be filled in by the manager.
The Blue Devils actually do have a chance for a win this week as Navy comes to town. Good seats available!

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