1. Clemson (2-0) Last Week 1
This Week: at NC State (Thursday)
Clemson comes off their bye and will travel to Raleigh on Thursday to take on the NC State Wolfpack. There has been a lot of talk this year about Clemson being done "Clemsoning" and this Thursday will be their first opportunity to do so. I've witnessed Clemson lose Thursday night road games first hand. I anticipate Clemson wins this one with relative ease, but this is a chance for them to make a statement that they will be focused for every game.
2. Florida State (2-0, 1-0) Last Week 2
Result: (W 62-7 vs. Nevada)
This Week: vs. Bethune-Cookman
At one point FSU was down 7-3. The Seminoles then decided to get serious and went on a casual 59-0 run to end the game. Karlos Williams moved from defensive back to running back and ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on just 8 carries. This team has scary depth and this appears to be the best offense Florida State has had in quite some time. FSU won't be challenge much by Bethune-Cookman next week. I know they beat FIU 34-13, but FIU has scored a total of 23 points this season and has allowed 115.
3. Miami (2-0) Last Week 3
This Week: vs. Savannah State
Miami was off last week and will be off against next week when they take on Savannah State. They'll also be off the following week when they play South Florida. The real show comes on October 5th when the Ramblin' Wreck comes into town.
4. Georgia Tech (2-0,1-0) Last Week 4
Result: (W 38-14 at Duke)
This Week: vs. North Carolina
Georgia Tech absolutely deserves to be ranked. Vad Lee continues to be sensational, as he threw for 4 touchdowns in his return to his hometown of Durham. This week the Yellow Jackets begin the stretch that will define their season. The take on fellow Coastal Division champion hopefuls in the North Carolina Tar Heels. They will then take on Virginia Tech on Thursday just 5 days after their contest with North Carolina. If you like offense (who doesn't?) then I highly recommend watching this Georgia Tech-North Carolina game. Last year they combined for 118 points.
5. Maryland (3-0) Last Week 6
Result (W 32-21 at Connecticut)
This Week: vs. West Virginia
M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D, Maryland will win! What a fun team to watch. C.J. Brown has shown just what a huge loss he was for this Maryland program last season. Brown had 122 rushing yards and 277 passing yards to go along with two total touchdowns. Stefon Diggs did Stefon Diggs things and had over 100 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Next week they travel to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland to take on West Virginia. WVU only scored 24 points against William & Mary, so I have a hard time believing they will score enough to keep up with this potent Maryland offense. If they start the year 4-0, Randy Edsall just might start to grow on the Maryland fans.
6. North Carolina (1-1) Last Week 5
This Week: at Georgia Tech
The Fed-Spread better be ready to go this week if the Tar Heels want to keep up with Georgia Tech, who hung 38 on Duke this past weekend. Discipline will obviously be the key for the Tar Heels when they go against Georgia Tech's option attack. Last year Vad Lee ran for over 100 yards against the Tar Heels and he has only gotten better. This game is absolutely critical if they want to win the Coastal. They can't afford to lose the tie-breaker to Georgia Tech.
7. Pittsburgh (1-1, 0-1) Last Week 8
Result: (W 49-27 vs. New Mexico)
This Week: at Duke
Pittsburgh took care of business against New Mexico and proved that they simply played an awesome opponent in their first game against Florida State. How Pitt does in their next 5 games will determine whether or not this team makes a bowl. It starts this weekend at Duke and they are a 4.5 point favorite. I think Pitt will get it done and I do believe they will sneak into a bowl at the end of the year.
8. Virginia Tech (2-1) Last Week 7
Result: (W 15-10 at East Carolina)
This Week: vs. Marshall
Certainly not the prettiest win in the world, but Virginia Tech escaped with a victory. The Hokies averaged a meager 1.6 yards/carry and Logan Thomas only completed 58% of his passes, but Frank Beamer and company will take it. The Hokies should win their game this upcoming weekend against Marshall, but after that they travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Atlanta wasn't kind to the Hokies when they took on the Crimson Tide, and I don't expect it will be that kind when they take on the Yellow Jackets. I just don't see any way this team can score enough to keep up.
9. Virginia (1-1) Last Week 11
This Week: vs. VMI
Their win over BYU looks a little less impressive now that we've seen that the Texas Longhorns simply aren't that good. The joke going on Twitter was that it's a good thing they are on the Longhorn Network so none of us have to watch them play. I tend to agree with that statement. I don't anticipate Virginia being challenged very much this week by VMI, but the following week they travel to Pittsburgh in a game that will be critical for the bowl eligibility of both teams.
10. Boston College (2-1, 1-0 ACC) Last Week 9
Result: (L 35-7 at USC)
This Week: BYE
This Boston College team looked like world beaters when they were playing Wake Forest in #TheRivalry last Friday night, but they looked like anything but against USC. Andre Williams had over 200 rushing yards against Wake Forest, but he only had 38 on 17 carries against Southern California. Boston College has the week off to regroup and get ready for Florida State the following week. It could very well come down to their November 30th game at Syracuse to determine if Boston College makes a bowl.
11. Duke (2-1, 0-1) Last Week 10
Result: (L 38-14 vs. Georgia Tech)
This Week: vs. Pittsburgh
Duke ran into the buzz saw that is Vad Lee and the Georgia Tech offense. I also don't think this team is going bowling at the end of the season mostly due to their schedule. Their games against the easiest ACC opponents are on the road (at Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest). Their game this week is at home and would go a long way towards bowl eligibility.
12. Syracuse (1-2) Last Week 14
Result: (W 54-0 vs. Wagner)
This Week: vs. Tulane
I think I underrated Syracuse in past weeks. Syracuse had two very strong opponents in Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. They absolutely crushed Wagner and next week they take on Tulane. The problem is I just don't see Syracuse winning four conference games and therefore will not become bowl eligible.
13. North Carolina State (2-0) Last Week 12
This Week: vs. Clemson (Thursday)
The Wolfpack had a bye this week and that gives them an extra week of preparation to take on the Clemson Tigers. Dave Doeren and his staff will need every second they can get in order to prepare for Tajh Boyd and company. The State fans should be out in full force in Raleigh on Thursday night, but execution is going to have to be infinitely better than it was against Richmond if they want to have a chance against Clemson.
14. Wake Forest (1-2, 0-1 ACC) Last Week 13
Result: (L 21-19 vs. ULM)
This Week: at Army
I apologize for ranking this team 13th last week. It truly hurts to watch them play football. We had 13 drives on Saturday and 7 of them resulted in a three and out. ULM ran 104 offensive plays compared to Wake's 63. Somehow we were still only a few plays away from winning this game. ULM scored a go-ahead touchdown at the end of the first half after a running into the kicker penalty gave the Warhawks a first down. Orville Reynolds dropped a beautifully thrown ball by Tanner Price that probably would have gone for a score. I refuse to blame Michael Campanaro for that drop on the 2-pt conversion because he had 16 receptions for 177 yards. I applaud the performance he put on display, but what I'm seeing is not fluid and there doesn't appear to be much organization. This team had all of the talent to make a bowl game, but it was critical to get off to a good start (i.e. 3-1 or 4-0). There is now absolutely no margin of error left for the Deacs if they want to go bowling. They must beat Army this weekend, then win all other remaining winnable games (NC State, Maryland, at Syracuse, Duke). If the Deacs don't make a bowl this season it will mean this program has only made a bowl appearance in 1 of the past 5 seasons. When you are one of the 35 highest paid head coaches in college football, then you are simply going to have to produce better results. You can't live off 2006 forever.