It was a great weekend for the Deacs, but the weekend as a whole provided a slate of non-competitive ACC games. The weeks are winding down and the opportunities to become bowl eligible are dwindling. I found it very difficult to rank teams 5-9, so your input is greatly appreciated.
1. Florida State (BYE) (8-1, 5-1) LW 1
Next Week: at Virginia Tech (Thursday)
This week the Seminoles travel to Blackburg to take on the Hokies on Thursday night. At the beginning of the season, this looked like arguably the biggest game on the schedule. 6 losses for Virginia Tech, and a Florida State loss in Raleigh later, and this game doesn't have nearly the intrigue. It's still very meaningful, though, as Florida State is one slip up away from not even making the ACC Championship Game.
2. Clemson (W 56-20 at Duke) (8-1, 5-1) LW 2
Next Week: vs. Maryland
Clemson's offensive firepower was in full effect again last night as they hung 56 on the Blue Devils. Tajh Boyd threw for 5 touchdown passes and ran for another. Clemson now has just ACC games remaining against Maryland and North Carolina State. The Tigers will need some help though. If Florida State beats Virginia Tech and Maryland, then the Tigers will be watching the ACC Championship Game from home. The Tigers, though, still has a chance to be an at-large selection for a BCS game.
3. Miami (W 30-12 vs. Virginia Tech) (5-4, 4-2) LW 6
Next Week: at Virginia
Miami got a huge win over Virginia Tech this past Thursday. That win puts Miami in the driver's seat in the ACC Coastal The Hurricanes now just have two ACC games remaining, both of which are on the road. Their games are at Virginia and Duke, respectively. If they win those games, then they will finish with a 6-2 record in the ACC and will represent the Coastal in the ACC Championship Game, unless of course they self impose a bowl ban.
4. North Carolina (BYE) (6-3, 3-2) LW 5
Next Week: vs. Georgia Tech
North Carolina didn't have a game this past week, so they had an extra week to celebrate their victory over their arch-rival. Carolina has a very easy schedule during their final three games, and if they were still bowl eligible I'd pick them to win the Coastal.
5. Georgia Tech (W 33-13 at Maryland) (4-5, 3-3) LW 9
Next Week: at North Carolina
The Yellow Jackets crushed Maryland this past weekend, and they will need two more performances like that one to become bowl eligible. They have three games remaining (at North Carolina, Duke, at Georgia). In all likelihood Georgia Tech will not beat the Bulldogs, so they will need to win their final two ACC games. Georgia Tech has a questionable rushing defense, so look for Giovanni Bernard to have a big day.
6. North Carolina State (L 33-6 vs. Virginia) (5-4, 2-3) LW 3
Next Week: vs. Wake Forest
No other word to describe their performance against Virginia except embarrassing. Mike Glennon threw 3 interceptions, they only had the ball for 23 minutes, and they did not score a single point until there were under 7 minutes to go in the game. Keep in mind that even after only allowing 6 points to North Carolina State, Virginia has given up more than 28 points per game this season. They should still make a bowl game as they have home games remaining against Wake Forest and Boston College. If State can win just one of those games then they will become bowl eligible. Still, given the expectations coming into the season, you have to wonder if this will be Tom O'Brien's last season in Raleigh.
7. Wake Forest (W 28-14) (5-4, 3-4) LW 10
Next Week: at North Carolina State
This was arguably Wake's best performance of the season. The Deacs dominated time of possession and held the ball nearly ten minutes longer than Boston College. They were able to do this by converting 13 3rd down conversions, and two additional 4th down conversions, one of which was a 23 yard touchdown run by Josh Harris. Tanner Price had his best game of the year, and was passing to a multitude of receivers. Michael Campanaro will certainly get plenty of publicity for his 16 receptions (tied an ACC record) 123 receiving yards, but other receivers definitely contributed as well. Terrence Davis had 7 receptions, Tommy Bohannon had 6, and Sherman Ragland III had 4. I thought our offensive line did a great job of providing the protection that allowed tanner enough time in the pocket to make good throws down the field. Our defense was also exceptional today, forcing 4 turnovers and limiting Boston College to just 4-12 on 3rd downs. Next week the Deacs travel to Raleigh to take on in-state rival North Carolina State. If the Deacs can win, then they'll be bowl eligible for their second straight season.
8. Duke (L 56-20 vs. Clemson) (6-4, 3-3) LW 4
Next Week: BYE
In their past two games, Duke has given up a total of 104 points. They now have a bye week before they take on Georgia Tech and Miami. Duke still has an opportunity to rebound and win the Coastal if they can win out, but their defense is going to have to improve for them to do that.
9. Virginia Tech (L 30-12 at Miami) (4-5, 2-3) LW 7
Next Week: vs. Florida State (Thursday)
Virginia Tech certainly has not lived up to their preseason top 25 expectations. They still, however, have the opportunity to become Clemson's best friend and upset the Florida State Seminoles on Thursday night. To do that, their defense is going to have to play a fantastic game on Thursday, because their offense is going to struggle to score points against this Seminole defense. Almost all signs point to Virginia Tech having to beat Boston College and Virginia in their final two games of the season to become bowl eligible.
10. Virginia (W 33-6 at North Carolina State) (3-6, 1-4) LW 11
Next Week: vs. Miami
I give Virginia a lot of credit for this win. This is a team that easily could have quit coming off a 16-10 home loss against Wake Forest. Instead, they traveled to Raleigh and simply dominated the Wolfpack. Virginia still has to win out to become bowl eligible, but they demonstrated that they are not going to quit easily.
11. Maryland (L 33-13 vs. Georgia Tech) (4-5, 2-3) LW 8
Next Week: at Clemson
You had to figure even the most resilient of teams couldn't sustain a strong level of play when the injuries keep mounting. Maryland was forced to start converted linebacker Shawn Petty at quarterback. He was only able to complete 50% of his passes for 115 yards. As good as Stefon Diggs is, a quarterback must be able to get him the ball for him to be fully effective. Maryland is going to have a very difficult time making a bowl games with their remaining schedule (at Clemson, Florida State, at North Carolina), but they have the biggest opportunity to play the role of spoiler.
12. Boston College (L 28-14 at Wake Forest) (2-7, 1-5) LW 12
Next Week: vs. Notre Dame
Not much left to say about this team. They got rocked by Wake Forest this past week, and they now have the misfortune of having to take on Notre Dame. After that it won't get much easier as they will be taking on Virginia Tech and North Carolina State, both of whom will be fighting for bowl eligibility.