The ACC was in primetime on Saturday evening, and they did not disappoint. Florida State and Clemson put on a showstopping performance and brought plenty of legitimacy to our league. I thought from top-to-bottom the ACC had exciting games this week and respectable performances from nearly all our teams. The ACC is showing that is a conference that not only has several elite teams, but also quality depth throughout the conference. After the jump you can check out my rankings and as always I welcome you to comment and list your own rankings.
1. Florida State (W 49-37 vs. Clemson) (4-0, 2-0) LW 1
Next Week: at South Florida
In a primetime nationally televised game, the Florida State Seminoles officially declared that they were back. They proved that they are a team with higher aspirations than just ACC Championships. They are aspiring for the three most coveted letters in all of college football B-C-S. There was much hype coming into this game how Clemson's high powered offense would perform against Florida State's incredible defense. For the entire first half and early parts of the second half, it appeared that Clemson might just pull the upset with their incredible offense. But after a 52 yard touchdown pass from Sammy Watkins to Andre Ellington that gave the Tigers a 28-14 lead, the Seminoles decided enough was enough. From that point on, they went on a 35-3 over the next 18 minutes of action. They simply looked awesome. EJ Manuel has now become a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
2. Clemson (L 49-37 at Florida State) (3-1, 0-1) LW 2
Next Week: at Boston College
Clemson is really really good, it just turns out that Florida State is even better. Clemson proved on Saturday night that they are one of the nation's elite teams, they just aren't as good as the Seminoles. Tajh Boyd leads this explosive offense and boy does he have weapons. Sammy Watkins and Deandre Hopkins are both serious deep threats and Andre Ellington is a long touchdown run waiting to happen. You combine all of that talent with Chad Morris as the offensive coordinator, and the potential is unlimited for this offense. He demonstrated why he is the highest paid offensive coordinator in college football. Based on what I saw on Florida State, he is worth every penny. I expect Clemson to roll all over Boston College next Saturday.
3. North Carolina State (W 52-14 vs. Citadel) (3-1, 0-0) LW 4
Next Week: at Miami
This may sound dumb at first, but this was an outstanding victory for North Carolina State. Citadel is a top 5 or 10 FCS team and they just destroyed them. Freshman Shadrach Thorton made quite the debut as he finished the day with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Mike Glennon was also very efficient, completing nearly 80% of his passing attempts for 233 yards and a touchdown. The Wolfpack now begin ACC play and must go at least 4-4 to make a bowl.
4. Virginia Tech (W 37-0 vs. Bowling Green) (3-1, 1-0) LW 5
Next Week: Cincinnati (Neutral Field)
Virginia Tech recovered nicely from a shocking loss to Pittsburgh last week. Next week they will take on Cincinnati who handled Pittsburgh easily, so it will be interesting to see how Virginia Tech plays against them. Virginia Tech still lacks the explosive playmaking that they had a year ago. I believe they rely too heavily on their defense and Logan Thomas to show up each week. When neither was spectacular, like the Pittsburgh game, they are in trouble.
5. Miami (W 42-36 (OT) at Georgia Tech) (3-1, 1-0) LW 8
Next Week: North Carolina State
While the Florida State vs. Clemson game got all of the attention this weekend, this Miami vs. Georgia Tech game was nearly every bit as exciting. It can only be described as a game of runs. The Canes started the game by going up 19-0, only to allow 36 unanswered to fall down 36-0, before tying it back up in the final minute of regulation and winning the game in overtime. Duke Johnson and Mike James form a great duo in the backfield. This team looks much better than it did against Kansas State several weeks ago. Next week's game against the Wolfpack should be a good one.
6. North Carolina (W 27-6 vs. East Carolina) (1-2, 0-1) LW 6
Next Week: Idaho
Giovanni Bernard returned to action after missing the previous two games with an injury. Bernard made the most of his opportunity and finished with more than 100 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns. They take on Idaho next week which should be an easy win, but then the Tar Heels have to take on Virginia Tech and the surging Miami Hurricanes in consecutive weeks. I would not be shocked if they started the ACC season 0-3.
7. Georgia Tech (L 42-36 (OT) vs. Miami) (2-2, 1-2) LW 3
Next Week: Middle Tennessee
Georgia Tech outscored Miami 36-3 in the second and third quarters and lost. They came out completely flat and allowed Miami to go up 19-0. Then after coming back and taking a seemingly commanding lead, they blow it and lose in overtime. They should be dominate Middle Tennessee, but the following week they travel to Death Valley. Clemson might drop 50 on them.
8. Wake Forest (W 49-37 vs. Army) (3-1, 1-1) LW 7
Next Week: Duke
Wake's offense was just spectacular against Army. Early on it was all Michael Campanaro, who had 3 touchdowns(two receiving, one rushing) in the first half alone. Campanaro finished the day with 12 receptions for 153 yards, 5 carries for 31 yards, 2 punt returns for 12 yards ,and 3 total touchdowns. But he wasn't the only Deacon who had a monster day on Saturday. Josh Harris and Deandre Martin were both spectacular as well. Both finished with more than 100 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Clearly the defense left a lot to be desired, but you have to wonder how much of that was due to the absence of Nikita Whitlock. Next week's matchup against Duke is huge for both teams. Expect a great game at BB&T next Saturday afternoon.
9. Duke (W 38-14 vs. Memphis) (3-1, 0-0) LW 10
Next Week: at Wake Forest
Duke's cupcake stretch is now over, and to their credit they took care of business with relative ease against the early part of their schedule. Now it's time for ACC play, which could be a reality check for the Blue Devils. Their turnover margin through their first two games is -4, which will absolutely crush them as they enter conference play. Sean Renfree is a talented quarterback, but he cannot afford to throw interceptions (5 so far this season) and expect to win many games.
10. Maryland (L 31-21 at West Virginia) (2-2, 0-0) LW 12
Next Week: BYE
I'm moving them up this week because I was impressed with their ability to be competitive against an excellent West Virginia team. Stefon Diggs is living up to his 5-star rating coming out of high school. The true freshman had 113 receiving yards on two touchdowns on the afternoon against a top 10 team in West Virginia. He is a serious deep threat as his two touchdowns yesterday came on plays of 42 yards and 56 yards, respectively. It's no coincidence that his numbers are starting to increase as Perry Hills becomes more comfortable as the starting quarterback. Now they have two weeks to prepare for their matchup against Wake Forest on October 6.
11. Virginia (L 27-7 at TCU) (2-2, 0-1) LW 9
Next Week: Louisiana Tech
Virginia has come crashing back to Earth after their 2-0 start. They are really fortunate that Penn State missed 4 FG's against them, otherwise they'd be sitting at 1-3. Louisiana Tech may sound like an easy matchup, but they are a legitimate team. Louisiana Tech actually opened up as 2 1/2 point favorites at Virginia. Michael Rocco was pulled for Phillip Sims after throwing 2 interceptions. It will be interesting to see if Mike London decides to switch to Sims, the transfer from Alabama, or stick with Rocco.
12. Boston College (BYE) (1-2, 0-1) LW 11
Next Week: Clemson
Even though they didn't have a game this week, they got passed because I don't believe this team is capable of being as competitive against West Virginia as Maryland was this past weekend. They will get a chance to prove me wrong as they take on the Clemson Tigers this Saturday.