N.C State and FSU should be rested up from the bye this past weekend to put on a show on Thursday. Wake should be rested up to try to do something that resembles playing football at a competitive level.
Without further ado, here are my Power Rankings for Week 9. The rich get richer in this week's rankings due to the amount of top level talent vs. the bottom feeders.
1. Florida State Seminoles (6-1, 4-0 in the ACC) (LW #1 --)
Not much has changed in the #1 and #2 spot. The Seminoles had a bye week and still have the game looming in Raleigh on Thursday. I will throw out my predictions for the weekend games tomorrow, but I expect the Noles to have tough game this week. The defense will find out how improved they are, as they take on Russell Wilson in primetime. Should be a great game, but for the 3rd straight week, FSU is #1
2. Virginia Tech (6-2, 4-0) (LW #2 --)
VT took care of the last two teams without much trouble, and now actually get a bye week instead of just a week off (as they had against Wake and Duke). The Hokies could do nothing wrong on Sat. as they beat the Devils @ Lane Stadium 44-7. Another week, another impressive performance by Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies offense. VT is now bowl-eligible at 6-2, and turn their sights to bigger and better things...like the ACC Championship Game, as well as the Orange Bowl.
3. Miami Hurricanes (5-2, 3-1) (LW #3 --)
SWAGGER!!! That is what the Canes finally got back that they had lost the past few years. Shockingly, Randy Shannon and the Hurricanes made little work of the Tar Heels of North Carolina on Saturday. The top 3 in the conference have really started to separate themselves from the rest of the conference. It is a conference like this that John Swofford had in mind when he invited Miami and VT into the conference a few years ago. One more win and the Cane's are bowl-eligible.
4. N.C State (5-2, 2-1) (LW #6, up 2)
The Wolfpack benefited from a bye week, and my desire to bump them up to entice the FSU matchup, to move into the #4 spot this week. Thursday night is going to be all about Russell Wilson vs. the FSU defense. If Wilson can get back into his form earlier in the year, as well as year's past, the Pack will keep it close against the Noles and maybe even gain bowl eligibility.
5.Clemson (4-3, 2-2) (LW #7, up 2)
Once again, a week after Swinney gave a speech blaming the loss on the coaches and saying that everybody needed to step up, the players did just that. They also did what I said in the previews of last week's games and gave the ball to Andre Ellington. He is such a special talent, and in the end, I believe that he will be a better runningback at Clemson than C.J Spiller was.
6. Georgia Tech (5-3, 3-2) (LW #4, down 2)
Georgia Tech got exposed this past week by Andre Ellington and the Tigers. I said I wouldn't be too bi-polar in these power rankings, but I think the Yellow Jackets are a shell of team they were last year. Joshua Nesbitt got held to 2 yards rushing...yes 2 yards rushing, as Clemson somehow protected Woody Dantzler's QB rushing record. Tech needs to get it back on track on their week off, because they head to Blacksburg to play VT next Thursday night.
7. North Carolina (4-3, 2-2) (LW #5, down 2)
UNC really got beat like a drum on Saturday. T.J. Yates fell back into his old patterns of being careless with the ball and making bad decisions. I think it was more Miami's defense than the UNC offense, and the Heels should get back on course with a game against the William and Mary Tribe this weekend. It may seem odd that N.C State, with a bye, jumped over UNC and Tech, but I think State is the stronger team right now. Either way, we will find out this Thursday what the Pack is made of.
8. Maryland (5-2, 2-1) (LW #8, --)
Maryland got a big road win against Boston College this past weekend, which really surprised me. I picked BC to win on Saturday, and that was my only miss. O'Brien managed the game well, and led the Terps to a victory. I fully expect him to start again against us this weekend, and I fully expect him to tear up our defense, per the usual. Maryland shut out Wake Forest in '08 @ Byrd, but I think this one will be a harder fought battle.
9. Virginia (3-4, 0-3)
Hard to move anybody in the bottom 4 this weekend. I'll put all of the analysis here for these 4, which will remain the same for the foreseeable future, until one of them wins a conference game (excluding head to head matchups between the bottom 4, they are 0-13 against everybody else in the conference). UVA beat EMU big on Saturday, but still needs to get a conference win. Boston College needs a QB, as well as anybody at the receiving corps that is FBS caliber. Wake Forest needs a new defense, as well as some balls. Duke needs to fold the program and go to the FCS. They are truly awful
10. Boston College (2-5, 0-4)
11. Wake Forest (2-5, 1-3)
12. Duke (1-6, 0-4)
There you have it folks! The ACC is divided into 3 sections this year: the Top 3 (FSU, VT, Miami), the middle pack (State, Clemson, GT, UNC, and to some extent Maryland), and the Bottom 4 (UVA, BC, Wake, Duke). This is what Swofford thought would happen when the ACC was expanded, with the occasional Bottom 4 team getting into that middle pack. I don't see the rankings changing that much over the rest of the year, barring any big upsets. VT and FSU have clear paths to the ACCCG, unless if State beats the Noles on Thursday.
Hope you enjoyed this week. The C's are always welcome!!!