1. Florida State (3-0, 1-0) Last Week 2
Result: (W 54-6 vs. Bethune-Cookman)
This Week: at Boston College
Florida State is sensational and I believe they are a legitimate contender to go undefeated in the regular season. The Seminoles are absolutely LOADED. They feature James Wilder, Jr., Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams at running back plus Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw, Kelvin Benjamin, and Nick O'Leary at receiver. Jameis Winstonjust has so much talent around him and he is utilizing all of it. This team is just better than Clemson and I believe they will prove it on October 19th in Death Valley.
2. Clemson (3-0, 1-0) Last Week 1
Result: (W 26-14 at NC State)
This Week: vs. Wake Forest
I was in Raleigh on Thursday night to watch Clemson take on North Carolina State, and I was expecting to see the #3 team in the country. What I saw was a fairly pedestrian offense and a defense that is susceptible to big plays. Tajh Byd was throwing off his back foot even when he wasn't pressured that often and that caused him to miss a lot of opportunities. I also saw an offensive line that was missing blocks and not allowing Roderick "B Button" McDowell to break loose. Martavis Bryant stepped up as a reliable wide receiver and had a sensational touchdown grab. Clemson should handle Wake Forest fairly easily next weekend, but I think Florida State will beat them when these teams play on October 19th.
3. Miami (3-0) Last Week 3
Result: (W 77-7 vs. Savannah State)
This Week: at South Florida
I really can't even comment on Miami's 77-7 win over Savannah State because Savannah State is just a joke. Miami should be embarrassed for even scheduling them. Savannah State went 1-10 last season and earlier this year lost to Georgia Southern 77-9 and lost to Troy 66-3. Next week Miami takes on South Florida in what is essentially a guaranteed victory. After that it gets serious for the Hurricanes, however, when they take on Georgia Tech in a game that promises to have serious implications on who wins the Coastal.
4. Georgia Tech (3-0,2-0) Last Week 4
Result: (W 28-20 vs. North Carolina)
This Week: vs. Virginia Tech (Thursday)
The Yellow Jackets took a big step towards winning the Coastal when they defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. They ran for over 300 yards and Vad Lee was more efficient in the passing game than Bryn Renner was. The Yellow Jackets have a quick turnaround this week as they take on Virginia Tech on Thursday. I expect the Yellow Jackets to take care of business because I just don't see any way that Virginia Tech can score enough points in this one. I said it last week and i'll say it again- this team should be ranked.
5. Maryland (4-0) Last Week 5
Result (W 37-0 vs. West Virginia)
This Week: BYE
I said several weeks ago that I thought Maryland would start the season 4-0 and in a rare turn of events I was actually correct. Maryland methodically dismantled West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. Give credit to Brad Craddock who was sensational and went 3-3 on field goal attempts. Maryland's offense was in control all game and the time of possession showed. The Terps had the ball for 38 minutes, compared to just 22 for the Mountaineers. Stefon Diggs took the day off from being Superman, but Deon Long picked up the slack and had 6 receptions for 98 yards. The Terps have off this week, but then will travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State in a game that will be much more interesting than originally anticipated. Maryland deserves some consideration for being in the top 25.
6. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1) Last Week 6
Result: (L 28-20 at Georgia Tech)
This Week: vs. East Carolina
The Tar Heels lost a critical game in their chase to win the Coastal Division. You have to figure Georgia Tech will be in the thick of it in the Coastal, so losing their head-to-head matchup will really set them back. Their Thursday night contest on October 17th against Miami now becomes a must-win if they want any shot at winning the division. They absolutely cannot be behind in tie-breakers to both of those teams.
7. Pittsburgh (2-1, 1-1) Last Week 7
Result: (W 58-55 vs. Duke)
This Week: vs. Virginia
Tom Savage threw for a casual 424 yards and 6 touchdowns to lead the Panthers over the Blue Devils. Devin Street had 166 receiving yards a two touchdowns, and Tyler Boyd had 153 receiving yards and three touchdowns. James Conner ran for 173 yards and a touchdown. To say they put up video game numbers was an understatement. Next week they take on Virginia in another game that will go a long way towards bowl eligibility. I think Virginia is going to have a hard time keeping up with Pitt in this one.
8. Virginia Tech (3-1) Last Week 8
Result: (W 29-21 vs. Marshall)
This Week: at Georgia Tech (Thursday)
The expression "You are what your record says you are" that Bill Parcells famously coined is one of the more inaccurate expressions in sports. Anyone who has watched Virginia Tech play this season could tell you that. Marshall should have made a field goal in the first overtime yesterday, and had they Virginia Tech would have dropped to 2-2 on the season. Things won't get any easier for the Hokies when they have to travel to Atlanta on Thursday night to take on the undefeated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I believe this team will still sneak into a bowl, but they can thank their schedule to that. Non-conference games against Western Carolina, ECU and Marshall, plus home games against Pittsburgh and Duke. To make it better they don't have to play Florida State or Clemson. They have a very good defense, but they simply can't put points on the board.
9. Virginia (2-1) Last Week 9
Result: (W 49-0 vs. VMI)
This Week: at Pittsburgh
Virginia has played three games and we still don't know much about them. UVA beat BYU in week one, and BYU now appears to be a complete mystery. Oregon romped UVA and then UVA romped VMI. This week Virginia will travel to Pittsburgh in a game that is almost a must-win if Virginia is going to go bowling. Their next four games are against Pittsburgh, Ball State, Maryland and Duke, respectively. How they do in that stretch will go a long way to determining if they go to a bowl, because their final 5 games are against some of the very best teams in the conference.
10. North Carolina State (2-1, -1) Last Week 13
Result: (L 26-14 vs. Clemson)
This Week: vs. Central Michigan
I went into Thursday's game expecting Clemson to romp State, but the Wolfpack held their own and were a phantom stepped out of bounds call away from making it very interesting. The ACC has even said they are unsure whether or not Bryan Underwood stepped out of bounds. This was not the team that barely edged out Richmond. Dave Doeren runs a lot of different formations and uses many pre-snap shifts in his offense. In this game, it caused State to receive numerous false start penalties. I'm certainly not an offensive coordinator, but it seems that perhaps some simplicity would make their offense easier for their players to run. The Wolfpack will now take on Central Michigan in a game that they should win. They have several winnable games remaining and have a very legitimate shot at making a bowl game.
11. Syracuse (2-2) Last Week 12
Result: (W 52-17 vs. Tulane)
This Week: BYE
Syracuse finished up their non-conference schedule as we thought they would: 2-2. After two blowouts the Orange will have the week off before taking on Clemson in their inaugural ACC game. Syracuse is better than I anticipated, but I still feel that with their schedule they will not make a bowl game. They have very difficult road games at Georgia Tech, NC State, Maryland and Florida State. It will be critical for them to win their home games against Wake Forest, Pitt and Boston College. I think this team will fall short of bowl eligibility.
12. Boston College (2-1, 1-0 ACC) Last Week 10
This Week: vs. Florida State
Boston College was off last week after their rather embarrassing loss to USC. This week it will only get harder when the Florida State Seminoles come to town. Boston College can still make a bowl, but they do not have much margin for error. It will probably require beating Virginia Tech at home.
13. Duke (2-2, 0-2) Last Week 11
Result: (L 58-55 vs. Pittsburgh)
This Week: vs. Troy
Tough loss for Duke this past weekend. Upon further review it appears their defense will not get confused with the Steel Curtain. The Blue Devils surrendered a whopping 58 points and nearly 600 yards of total offense to Pittsburgh. If you want to take some positives out of the game I suppose you could say that Duke only lost by 3 despite committing 4 turnovers, but you can't turn the ball over 4 times and expect to win. Duke now takes on Troy next. After that they take on Navy in a game that won't be a gimme. Bowl eligibility appears to be a tossup at this point.
14. Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1 ACC) Last Week 14
Result: (W 25-11 at Army)
This Week: at Clemson
The Deacs are still last in the power rankings, but at least Deacon fans were happy to see a win this past weekend. The Deacs got their running game going as Josh Harris ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Tanner Price was not on his game yesterday as he completed just over 33% of his passing attempts and had an interception. Michael Campanaro was his typical sensational self. The senior receiver had 4 receptions for 91 yards including a 66 yard touchdown on which he did the majority of the work. Nikita Whitlock deserves a mention as well. This senior nose guard led the team with 14 tackles including 3 tackles for loss. The Deacons will travel to Clemson next weekend and they are currently 27.5 point underdogs.