This weekend certainly made up for last week's rather quiet week. We saw Duke become bowl eligible, Florida State play Miami, Wake win by going 1-15 on 3rd downs, and a missed field goal off the goal post that cost Maryland a win. How did all of this impact the power rankings? Read more to find out.
1. Florida State (W 33-20 at Miami) (7-1, 4-1) LW 1
Next Week: vs. Duke
Florida State survived a sloppy start, and ultimately proved to be too much for the Hurricanes. Florida State needs to beat Duke at home this week, and then get ready to travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech in a Thursday night game. I think Florida State is going to win the Atlantic, but if they fail to do so then it'll be a major disappointment. They were a pre-season favorite of a lot of media people (including myself) to make the BCS Championship. If they don't even make the ACC Championship game, then I'll feel pretty dumb about my prediction. I kind of already do.
2. Clemson (W 38-17 vs. Virginia Tech) (6-1, 3-1) LW 2
Next Week: at Wake Forest (Thursday)
Clemson was dominant in the second and third quarters of the game, outscoring the Hokies 28-3. That stretch was more than enough for Clemson to move to 6-1, secure bowl eligibility, and come within a Florida State loss of winning the division. Clemson was only 6-15 on third downs and had only 295 yards of total offense against the Hokies on Saturday. Those are two positives going in the Deacons' favor, but I think the weapons of Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins, and DeAndre Hopkins will be too much firepower for the Deacs to keep up with.
3. North Carolina State (W 20-18 at Maryland) (5-2, 2-1) LW 4
Next Week: at North Carolina
I expected more out of North Carolina State this week, especially considering they were coming off a bye. They were a missed 33 yard field goal away from losing to Maryland. This is a Maryland team that had four different players attempt passes in one game. Maryland really dominated the Wolfpack in this game. The Wolfpack got out-gained by 115 yards and had the ball for 10 fewer minutes than the Terps. Next week's game against Carolina should be pretty difficult for the Wolfpack, and I now think the Deacs have an outside chance at beating State in Raleigh.
4. Duke (W 33-30 vs. North Carolina) (6-2, 3-1) LW 8
Next Week: at Florida State
A congratulations is in order for the Blue Devils who are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. There was some buzz in the preseason that Duke was going to make a bowl game, but given their schedule I just didn't think they could do it. Sure enough, Duke is bowl eligible after only 8 games, and is leading the Coastal division. I still believe that Miami is the favorite to win the Coastal, but their matchup on November 24th, now has a lot more implications than we all thought it would.
5. North Carolina (L 33-30 at Duke) (5-3, 2-2) LW 3
Next Week: vs. North Carolina State
Pretty disappointing from the Tar Heels here. They enter the game as 10 point favorites and found themselves down 23-9 entering the fourth quarter. They came all the way back to take the lead with under 3 minutes to go, only to allow Sean Renfree to complete a 5 yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder with 13 seconds to go. Head Coach Larry Fedora made a big deal early in the season that winning the North Carolina state championship was very important to them since they were not bowl eligible. Carolina is now 0-2 against ACC teams from North Carolina, and awaits North Carolina State this Saturday, who they haven't beaten since 2006.
6. Miami (L 33-20 vs. Florida State) (4-4, 3-2) LW 6
Next Week: BYE
Miami came out full of energy and took an early 10 point lead over the Seminoles, but then the Seminoles decided to exert their dominance on the Hurricanes. Miami may currently be 4-4, but 3 of those 4 losses are teams who are currently in the top 12 of the BCS. They have faced an extremely difficult schedule so far, and I commend them for scheduling such difficult non-conference opponents. Miami now has a week and a half to prepare for in-conference opponent Virginia Tech. This is a game the Hurricanes should win, and if they do it will go a long way to winning the Coastal division.
7. Virginia Tech (L 38-20 at Clemson) (4-4, 2-2) LW 5
Next Week: BYE
Virginia Tech's next game is at Miami on a Thursday night. This game, along with the Miami vs. Duke game, will be the biggest game in deciding who wins the Coastal. It's possible they lose that game, and then their following game against to Florida State and fall to 4-6 in the process. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Virginia Tech would need to win their last two games of the season to become bowl eligible?
8. Maryland (L 20-18 vs. North Carolina State) (4-3, 2-1) LW 7
Next Week: at Boston College
My heart goes out to Maryland fans. It all came down to kicking. They missed an extra point during the game, so they decided to go for two later on to make for it and failed. They Brad Craddock missed a 33 yarder with 2 seconds left that would've won the game. Maryland had 60 yards in just 26 seconds and one timeout, and had a relative to chip shot to win it. Craddock just couldn't get it done and the Wolfpack escaped. I really believe this Maryland team would have made a bowl game if they had beaten North Carolina State. Maryland would have just needed a victory either at Boston College or at home against Georgia Tech. As it stands now, those two games now both become must-wins for bowl eligibility.
9. Georgia Tech (W 37-17 vs. Boston College) (3-4, 2-3) LW 9
Next Week: vs. BYU
Georgia Tech got their first win in over a month as they defeated Boston College 37-17. This week, it's quite possible they get back to their losing ways as they take on BYU, who nearly beat undefeated Notre Dame in South Bend. Their road trip to Maryland now appears to be more difficult, and their home game against Duke is certainly no gimme. It's not looking like the Yellow Jackets will be bowling this year.
10. Wake Forest (W 16-10) (4-3, 2-3) LW 10
Next Week: vs. Clemson (Thursday)
What does going 1-15 on third downs get you? Evidently a 16-10 victory over Virginia in Charlottesville. It certainly wasn't anywhere near pretty on offense, but the Deacs were outstanding on defense and special teams, and that's why they emerged victorious. Alex Kinal was awesome on all 10 of his punt attempts. Deacon fans have taken noticed his outstanding efforts all season, and I'm glad he's getting the recognition that he deserves. Chad Hedlund was also money for the Deacs, as he hit all 3 of his field goal attempts, including a 44 yarder. I also need to give a lot of credit to Lovell "Scooby" Jackson for his fantastic punt return that set up a Josh Harris 16 yard touchdown run. I thought it was fitting that Virginia muffed the punt return, as Wake recovered and took a few knees on their way to victory. This week, Clemson comes to town, and our defense will truly be tested. We then though, will have extra time to prepare for Boston College the following week, which is another must win. Michael Campanaro should be back for that one, so I expect to win it.
11. Virginia (L 16-10 vs. Wake Forest) (2-6, 0-4) LW 11
Next Week: BYE
I was talking to several Virginia fans on Saturday who told me that they believed Virginia would finish the season with only 2 wins. After watching the game and looking at their remaining schedule (at N.C. State, home for Miami and North Carolina, then at Virginia Tech) there is a legitimate chance that this team will finish 2-10. All of a sudden, could Mike London be on the hot seat?
12. Boston College (L 37-17 at Georgia Tech) (1-6, 0-4) LW 12
Next Week: vs. Maryland
Virginia can rest their hat on one thing, they aren't Boston College. Like Virginia, it's also possible that this team loses out. If they want to win one, then they're going to have to either beat Maryland at home this week, or defeat the Deacs on the road the following week. If not, then they'll have to find a way to beat one of Notre Dame or Virginia Tech at home, or beat North Carolina State on the road. That's not happening.