Athlon recaps the Week 6 action in the ACC.
With Florida State's loss to NC State, the ACC is officially out of the national title race. The Seminoles were the conference's best hope at finishing No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS, but the championship dreams will have to wait another year. Clemson kept its ACC title hopes alive with a victory over Georgia Tech, while Duke improved to 5-1 with a win over Virginia.
Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard missed two games with a knee injury but has been nearly unstoppable this season. The sophomore has 475 yards and five scores on 52 attempts and has 15 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd threw two picks in the win over Georgia Tech but completed 26 of 41 throws for 397 yards and two scores.
3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – There’s not much separating the three names in this category, and Hopkins could make a case for the No. 1 spot. He has 49 catches for 777 yards and eight touchdowns this year.
Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – A patchwork NC State line held Werner in check, but the junior leads the ACC with 10 tackles for a loss and ranks second with 6.5 sacks this year.
2. Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke – Cockrell is flying under the radar on a national level but is having quite the season. The junior leads the ACC with 13 passes defended and has four interceptions.
3. Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State – Carradine led all Florida State defensive linemen with eight tackles against NC State. The senior leads the ACC with seven sacks this season.
Coach of the Year Standings
1. David Cutcliffe, Duke - The Blue Devils are just one win away from being eligible to play in a bowl. Duke doesn’t have a win over a FBS team with a winning record, but this team is poised to breakthrough in 2012.
2. Larry Fedora, North Carolina – Even with no bowl game or conference championship to play for in 2012, Fedora has kept this team on track. The Tar Heels handled Virginia Tech 48-34 in Week 6.
3. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – A disappointing loss to NC State ends the Seminoles’ national title hopes.
Post-Week 6 ACC Power Rankings
1. Florida State (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week: 1
Week 6 Result: Lost 17-16 to NC State
Despite the surprising loss to NC State, the Seminoles maintain the No. 1 spot in the power rankings. Although the Wolfpack are a dangerous team at home, this is a game Florida State should not lose, especially after it jumps out to a 16-0 lead. Even though the Seminoles are out of the national title picture, this team still has to be the favorite to win the ACC crown. Florida State plays three of its next five games on the road but hosts Boston College this Saturday.
Next Game: Boston College
2. Clemson (5-1, 2-1 ACC)
Last Week: 2
Week 6 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 47-31
As expected, the Yellow Jackets gave Clemson all it could handle early on, but the Tigers scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Quarterback Tajh Boyd had two interceptions but finished with 397 passing yards and two touchdowns. The defense allowed 339 rushing yards but forced one turnover and recorded a safety early in the fourth quarter. With Florida State’s loss to NC State, the ACC Atlantic division is up for grabs again. Clemson needs another loss by the Seminoles, but the Tigers head into a bye week with momentum and an opportunity to get back into the conference title race.
Next Game: Virginia Tech (Oct. 20)
3. NC State (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 6 Result: Beat Florida State 17-16
The Wolfpack pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 college football season, beating Florida State 17-16 to knock the Seminoles out of the national title picture. NC State trailed 16-0 but rallied behind quarterback Mike Glennon. The senior finished with 259 yards and two touchdowns and made crucial plays on third and fourth downs late in the game to lead the Wolfpack to the upset. The win over the Seminoles was not only huge for momentum purposes, but NC State controls its destiny in the ACC Atlantic. If the Wolfpack can win out and beat Clemson on Nov. 17, they will play for the conference championship in early December.
Next Game: at Maryland (Oct. 20)
4. Miami (4-2, 3-0 ACC)
Last Week: 3
Week 6 Result: Lost to Notre Dame 41-3
After posting 86 combined points in wins over Georgia Tech and NC State, the Hurricanes’ offense stalled with only three points in a 41-3 loss to Notre Dame. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 201 yards on 18 completions but didn’t have much help from his receiving corps. True freshman running back Duke Johnson was also held in check by the Irish defense, managing just 22 yards on eight attempts. Although the offensive showing was a disappointment, Miami’s defense continues to be an issue. The Hurricanes have allowed 30 or more points in five contests and average just one sack a game.
Next Game: North Carolina
5. North Carolina (4-2, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 6 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 48-34
The Tar Heels are ineligible to play for the ACC Championship, but this team isn’t letting that slow them down this year. North Carolina scored an impressive 48-34 win over Virginia Tech in Week 6, led by 261 rushing yards from running back Giovani Bernard and a defense that never allowed the Hokies’ ground attack to get on track. With a sound victory over Virginia Tech, North Carolina now sets its sights on claiming control of the division with a trip to Miami next week.
Next Game: at Miami
6. Duke (5-1, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week: 8
Week 6 Result: Beat Virginia 42-17
If there was any doubt the Blue Devils are a much-improved team this season, Saturday’s victory over Virginia should erase those thoughts. Sure, the Cavaliers aren’t a top-10 team but this is a game Duke has struggled to win in the past. With Sean Renfree sidelined with an elbow injury, Anthony Boone filled in admirably, throwing for 204 yards and four touchdowns on 30 attempts. Although Boone played well, the defense stepped up with two turnovers and did not allow a score in the second half. The Blue Devils have a difficult schedule in the second half of the season but need just one win to get bowl eligible.
Next Game: at Virginia Tech
7. Virginia Tech (3-3, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week: 4
Week 6 Result: Lost to North Carolina 48-34
After six games, it’s pretty clear: Virginia Tech is in real danger of finishing 6-6 or 7-5. Considering most expected this team would be one of the best 10-15 in the nation, the Hokies are one of the ACC’s biggest disappointments. A defense that returned one of the top backfields and lines in the nation was pushed around for 532 yards against North Carolina, while the offense continues to struggle on the ground. Virginia Tech still controls its destiny in the Coastal Division but the schedule doesn’t get any easier over the next few weeks, starting with a 5-1 Duke team on Saturday.
Next Game: Duke
8. Georgia Tech (2-4, 1-3 ACC)
Last Week: 6
Week 6 Result: Lost to Clemson 47-31
The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Yellow Jackets. After three consecutive losses, it’s time for Georgia Tech to regroup for the second half of the season. The defense has allowed 40 points in three consecutive games, and this team needs to find some answers if it wants to finish with a winning record and play in a bowl game. The Yellow Jackets gave Clemson all it could handle for a half but was unable to keep up with the Tigers offense in the final two quarters. The Yellow Jackets return to action on Oct. 20 against Boston College.
Next Game: Boston College
9. Maryland (3-2, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week: 12
Week 6 Result: Beat Wake Forest 19-14
It wasn’t pretty, but Maryland opened ACC play with a 19-14 win over Wake Forest. The Terrapins fell behind early but allowed only seven points to the Demon Deacons over the final three quarters. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills threw for 191 yards, with fellow freshman Stefon Diggs his favorite target (5 receptions for 105 yards). Maryland’s defense played a key role in the victory, holding Wake Forest to 71 rushing yards and forcing two turnovers. With the victory on Saturday, the Terrapins have surpassed their win total from last season.
Next Game: at Virginia
10. Virginia (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week: 10
Week 6 Result: Lost to Duke 42-17
A quarterback change wasn’t enough to spark the offense, and Virginia dropped its fourth consecutive game with a 42-17 loss to Duke. The Cavaliers recorded 461 yards but committed two turnovers, and a defense that struggled to get stops in the second half was simply too much to overcome. Phillip Sims completed 21 of 42 throws in his first start, but his two second half interceptions were costly. If Virginia wants to return to the postseason, winning the next two games (Maryland, Wake Forest) is a must.
Next Game: Lost to Duke 42-17
11. Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 6 Result: Lost to Maryland 19-14
With receiver Michael Campanaro sidelined with a hand injury, the Demon Deacons offense sputtered in a 19-14 loss to Maryland. Wake Forest got off to a good start with a 73-yard touchdown pass on the first drive, but the Terrapins held quarterback Tanner Price to less than 100 passing yards the rest of the day. The Demon Deacons have lost three out of their last four games and have a bye this Saturday. The off week comes at a good time, especially as the team hopes to get Campanaro back as soon as possible.
Next Game: at Virginia (Oct. 20)
12. Boston College (1-4, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week: 11
Week 6 Result: Lost to Army 34-31
Embarrassing. That’s really the only way to describe the Eagles loss to Army on Saturday. Although the Black Knights are a difficult opponent to prepare for, this is a game Boston College should not lose. A big part of the struggles was the rush defense, which gave up 519 yards to Army’s option attack. The Eagles’ bowl hopes are hanging by a thread with road trips to Florida State and Georgia Tech coming up in the next two weeks. Barring a complete change of events for Frank Spaziani in the second half of the season, Boston College will have a new head coach next year.
Next Game: at Florida State
by Steven Lassan
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