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Another week, another slate of great games, and a clearer picture of the conference. It is no longer inevitable that Florida State and Virginia Tech will meet in the ACC Championship. Clemson and Georgia Tech had very impressive wins and appear to be true contenders in the race to win the ACC.
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1. Virginia Tech (3-0) Last Week 1
Result W (26-7) vs. Arkansas State
This Week: at Marshall
Another week, another cupcake for the Hokies. They've been impressive, but don't hurt yourself trying to schedule at least one difficult non-conference matchup. They should roll over Marshall, but after that they play Clemson and Miami in consecutive weeks.
2. Florida State (2-1) Last Week 2
Result L (23-13) vs. Oklahoma
This Week: at Clemson
Their defense was fairly impressive this weekend, holding Oklahoma to only 23 points, but their offense was less than stellar. Moving forward, that will be this team's biggest problem. They will be able to stop opposing offenses, but can their offense take advantage and extend leads? That remains to be seen.
3. Clemson (3-0) Last Week 8
Result W (38-24) vs. Auburn
This Week: vs. Florida State
Clemson was very resilient in their victory over Auburn. I predicted that Auburn would win this game, and I looked really smart in the first quarter of that game, but then Tahj Boyd took over. The heavily touted recruit is living up to his hype and potential. This season is critical for Dabo Swinney, as he is coming off a 6-7 season. This win was very impressive, but their next two games are even tougher as they play Florida St., then travel to Virginia Tech. If Clemson can win one of the next two games, they will be in excellent position moving forward.
4. Georgia Tech (3-0) Last Week 6
Result W (66-24) vs. Kansas
This Week: vs. North Carolina
This team has been very impressive thus far. They are averaging 428 rushing yards per game. That's a stat that will just make your jaw drop. It's tough to rush for that many yards on NCAA Football 12. I thought this would be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Yellow Jackets this season, but Paul Johnson and his staff have done a tremendous job, and he should be in consideration for ACC Coach of the Year.
5. Miami (1-1) Last Week 4
Result W (24-6) vs. Ohio State
This Week: vs. Kansas State
Miami's defense was incredible this past weekend. They were able to force turnovers and held Ohio State's offense to just over 200 yards of total offense. Miami has a difficult schedule, and I'm not a believer in Jacory Harris, but with a strong defense and running game, the Hurricanes will stay in every ball game.
6. North Carolina (3-0) Last Week 5
Result W (28-17) vs. Virginia
This Week: at Georgia Tech
Bryn Renner has been impressive but he is going to need to reduce his turnovers. He has 4 interceptions total, including 3 against Rutgers. If he turns the ball over in Atlanta, Georgia Tech's game of possession will prove to be too difficult to overcome. North Carolina has been strong against the run this season, so it should be a good battle of strength vs. strength. We will know a lot more about this North Carolina team after Saturday.
7. Wake Forest (2-1) Last Week 7
Result W (48-5) vs. Gardner-Webb
This Week: BYE
Tanner Price might just be the best quarterback in the conference. He has been outstanding this year. He is so gifted at buying an extra half second in the pocket and then converting throws down field. I am really excited about where our football program is headed. I also want to nominate myself for President of the Bud Noel Fan Club. This kid can just do everything. He's a tough shut down corner, who can return kicks. Pahokee, Florida just seems to produce quality corners. With players like Tanner and Bud, every fan of the Deacs should feel great about our program.
8. Maryland (1-1) Last Week 3
Result L (37-31) vs. West Virginia
This Week: vs. Temple
Danny O'Brien has really struggled so far this season. He has 4 interceptions through just two games.Maryland will win their next to games against Temple and Towson, but after that they play three ranked teams in a row. Maryland in all likelihood will make a bowl game, but I can't really envision a scenario in which they win the Atlantic Division.
9. N.C. State (2-1) Last Week 9
Result W (35-13) vs. South Alabama
This Week: at Cincinnati
N.C. State will kickoff the ACC's national television weekend with their primetime matchup on Thursday at Cincinnati. This Cincinnati team could create huge problems for State. I believe that Cincinnati is just going to put too many points on the board. State's defense is below average at best, and Cincinnati is currently averages 51 points per game.
10. Virginia (2-1) Last Week 10
Result L (28-17) at North Carolina
This Week: vs. Southern Miss
If Virginia is able to beat both Southern Miss and Idaho, they will put themselves in excellent position to make a bowl game. If they do this, all they will have to do is win two conference games to become bowl eligible. This could give the ACC up to 10 bowl teams, which at 83% would have to be the most for any conference.
11. Duke (1-2) Last Week 12
Result W (20-19) at Boston College
This Week: vs. Tulane
Congratulations to Duke. They will still most likely finish last in the Coastal Division, but they fought hard and earned a road win this weekend. Moving forward, their offense will have to dramatically increase if they want to be competitive in conference games. They should be able to beat Tulane, but F.I.U. will be a difficult matchup for the Blue Devils.
12. Boston College (0-3) Last Week 11
Result L (20-19) vs. Duke
This Week: vs. UMass
Boston College has replaced Duke as the bottom dwellers of the ACC. Their offense has just been anemic this season, as they have averaged a meager 13 points per game. UMass is not going to be a gimme this weekend. Sagarin rates UMass as the better team on a neutral field. After that BC has games against Wake, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Florida State in consecutive weeks. It could get really ugly in Chestnut Hill.