Best ACC Teams of the BCS Era

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Athlon has ranked the best ACC teams of the BCS era.

<p> Who are the best ACC teams of the BCS era?</p>

-by Braden Gall (follow at @AthlonBraden)

The BCS is wrapping up its 14th season of action and Athlon has dissected the numbers and reviewed the tapes of all six BCS conferences in order to rank the best each league has had to offer. Which Oklahoma team was the best of the decade? Which Florida team was the toughest to stop? How do you rank the Florida State teams of the late 90s? Which Miami team was the best? How about those loaded USC teams? Alabama vs. Auburn?

The debates will most assuredly rage on for decades, but here is Athlon's two cents. Here are the Top 10 ACC teams of the BCS Era (1998-present):

"First Day" indicates 1st and 2nd round NFL Draft picks
* - team played in the ACC Championship game

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 2006 (11-3, 7-2*)
Head Coach: Jim Grobe
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Won a school record 11 games. Wake Forest beat Georgia Tech 9-6 in the ACC title game — the lowest winning total in any college championship game ever.
Award Winners: Jim Grobe (ACC Coach of the Year), Riley Skinner (ACC Rookie of the Year)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Aaron Curry (1st, 2009), Alphonso Smith (2nd, 2009)

9. 2001 Maryland Terrapins, 2001 (10-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Ralph Freidgen
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Led the ACC in scoring offense (35.5 ppg) and scoring defense (19.1 ppg). Led ACC in total offense (439.7 ypg) and rushing defense (90.6 ypg). Was the first ACC team to win outright conference title other than Florida State since 1991.
Award Winners: Ralph Friedgen (Home Depot National Coach of the Year, ACC COY), EJ Henderson (ACC Player of the Year, Def. POY), Bruce Perry (ACC Off. Player of the Year)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: EJ Henderson (2nd, 2003), Madieu Williams (2nd, 2004)

8. Virginia Tech Hokies, 2007 (11-3, 8-1*)
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Finished No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (16.1 ppg) and No. 4 in total defense (296.9). Both led the ACC.
Award Winners: N/A
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Duane Brown (1st, 2008), Eddie Royal (2nd, 2008), Brandon Flowers (2nd, 2008), Jason Worilds (2nd, 2010)

7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 2009 (11-3, 8-1*)
Head Coach: Paul Johnson
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Led the ACC in rushing, total offense and scoring. No. 2 nationally in rushing at 295.4 yards per game. Went 2-0 against Clemson.
Award Winners: Derrick Morgan (ACC Def. Player of the Year), Paul Johnson (ACC Coach of the Year)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Derrick Morgan (1st, 2010), Demaryius Thomas (1st, 2010)

6. Florida State Seminoles, 2003 (10-3, 7-1)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Championships: ACC Co-Champs
Key Stats: No. 10 nationally in scoring defense (16.7 ppg), Went 0-2 against Miami.
Award Winners: Darnell Dockett (ACC Def. Player of the Year)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Michael Boulware (2nd, 2004), Greg Jones (2nd, 2004), Alex Barron (1st, 2005), Travis Johnson (1st, 2005), Braynt McFadden (2nd, 2005), Ernie Sims (1st, 2006), Antonio Cromartie (1st, 2006), Kamerion Wimbley (1st, 2006), Brodrick Bunkley (1st, 2006)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies, 2010 (11-3, 9-0*)
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Taylor set single-season school passing TD record (24) and all-time career passing yards school record (7,017 yards), Jayron Hosley led the nation in INT (0.69 pg), Tech led the nation in turnover margin (+1.36).
Award Winners: Tyrod Taylor (ACC Player of the Year, Off. POY, ACCCG MVP)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Ryan Williams (2nd, 2011)

Virginia Tech lost in heartbreaking fashion to Boise State on a final minute touchdown in Week 1, and clearly the hangover effect was out in full force the next weekend against James Madison. However, the Hokies never lost again in the regular season and became the first undefeated ACC team since 2000 Florida State. This team featured the program's all-time leading passer and receiver (Jarrett Boykin, 180 rec.) with a three-headed backfield of Ryan Williams, David Wilson and Darren Evans. Taylor led the ACC in passing efficiency as the Hokies led the league in scoring (35.5 ppg).

2010 Schedule:

Sept. 6: (#5) Boise State 33, Virginia Tech 30 (Landover, MD)
Sept. 11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 18: Virginia Tech 49, East Carolina 27 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 25: Virginia Tech 19, Boston College 0 (Chestnutt Hill, MA)
Oct. 2: Virginia Tech 41, (#23) NC State 30 (Raleigh, NC)
Oct. 9: Virginia Tech 45, Central Michigan 21 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 16: Virginia Tech 52, Wake Forest 21 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 23: Virginia Tech 44, Duke 7 (Blacksburg, VA)
Nov. 4: Virginia Tech 28, Georgia Tech 21 (Blacksburg, VA)
Nov. 13: Virginia Tech 26, North Carolina 10 (Chapel Hill, NC)
Nov. 20: Virginia Tech 31, (#21) Miami 17 (Miami Gardens, FL)
Nov. 27: Virginia Tech 37, Virginia 7 (Blacksburg, VA)
Dec. 4: Virginia Tech 44,  (#20) Florida State 33 (ACCCG, Charlotte, NC)
Jan. 3: (#5) Stanford 40, Virginia Tech 12 (Orange Bowl)

4. Florida State Seminoles, 1998 (11-2, 7-1)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Championships: ACC Co-Champs
Key Stats: Beat five ranked teams
Award Winners: N/A
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Tony Bryant (2nd, 1999), Larry Smith (2nd, 1999), Peter Warrick (1st, 2000), Corey Simon (1st, 2000), Sebastian Janikowski (1st, 2000), Jamal Reynolds (1st, 2001), Derrick Gibson (1st, 2001), Tommy Polley (2nd, 2001)

The first year of the BCS began with a Florida State win over a ranked Texas A&M team before the Noles got shocked by NC State 24-7 in Week 2. The Noles then rattled off 10 straight wins, including victories over ranked USC, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Florida teams, to clinch a trip to the first-ever BCS title game. The Noles actually were co-champs with Georgia Tech, but won the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Tennessee Vols claimed the first BCS National Championship by way of a 23-16 Fiesta Bowl win over Florida State.

1998 Schedule:

Aug. 31: Florida State 23, (#14) Texas A&M 14 (East Rutherford, NJ)
Sept. 12: NC State 24, Florida State 7 (Raleigh, NC)
Sept. 19: Florida State 62, Duke 13 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 26: Florida State 30, (#18) Southern California 10 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 3: Florida State 24, Maryland 10 (College Park, MD)
Oct. 10: Florida State 26, Miami 14 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 17: Florida State 48, Clemson 0 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 24: Florida State 34, (#23) Georgia Tech 7 (Atlanta, GA)
Oct. 31: Florida State 39, North Carolina 13 (Tallahassee, FL)
Nov. 7: Florida State 45, (#12) Virginia 14 (Tallahassee, FL)
Nov. 14: Florida State 24, Wake Forest 7 (Winston-Salem, NC)
Nov. 21: Florida State 23, (#4) Florida 12 (Tallahassee, FL)
Jan. 4: (#1) Tennessee 23, Florida State 16 (Fiesta Bowl)

3. Virginia Tech Hokies, 2004 (10-3, 7-1)
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense (12.8 ppg) and No. 4 in total defense (268 ypg)
Award Winners: Bryan Randall (ACC Player of the Year), Frank Beamer (ACC Coach of the Year)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Jimmy Williams (2nd, 2006), Darryl Tapp (2nd, 2006)

The Hokies played four top ten teams and won twice. Those two losses came against the two best teams in the nation — USC and Auburn — by a total of 14 points. Quarterback Bryan Randall took over full-time for Marcus Vick and threw for 2,264 yards while rushing for 511 with 24 total touchdowns en route to his ACC POY Award. This team sent 15 players over three years into the NFL Draft, despite none being selected in the first round.

Aug. 28: (#1) Southern California 24, Virginia Tech 13 (Landover, MD)
Sept. 11: Virginia Tech 63, Western Michigan 0 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 18: Virginia Tech 41, Duke 17 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 25: NC State 17, Virginia Tech 16 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 2: Virginia Tech 19, (#7) West Virginia 13 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 9: Virginia Tech 17, Wake Forest 10 (Winston-Salem, NC)
Oct. 16: Virginia Tech 62, Florida A&M 0 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 28: Virginia Tech 34, Georgia Tech 20 (Atlanta, GA)
Nov. 6: Virginia Tech 27, North Carolina 24 (Chapel Hill, NC)
Nov. 18: Virginia Tech 55, Maryland 6 (Blacksburg, VA)
Nov. 27: Virginia Tech 24, (#16) Virginia 10 (Blacksburg, VA)
Dec. 4: Virginia Tech 16, (#9) Miami 10 (Miami, FL)
Jan. 1: (#3) Auburn 16, Virginia Tech 13 (Sugar Bowl)

2. Florida State Seminoles, 2000 (11-2, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Championships: ACC
Key Stats: Led the nation in passing (384 ypg) and total offense (549 ypg). Finished No. 2 in the nation in rushing defense (73.9 ypg) and scoring defense (10.3 ppg).
Award Winners: Chris Weinke (Heisman, Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas, ACC Player of the Year), Jamal Reynolds (Lombardi)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Jamal Reynolds (1st, 2001), Derrick Gibson (1st, 2001), Tommy Polley (2nd, 2001), Javon Walker (1st, 2002), Anquan Boldin (2nd, 2003), Alonzo Jackson (2nd, 2003)

After starting 5-0 — for their 17th straight win — the Noles fell to rival Miami by three points in Week 6. Florida State won six straight to land in their third straight BCS national title game. Chris Weinke won the Heisman Trophy by leading the nation in passing with 4,167 yards and finished his career as the school's all-time leading passer. This team featured three first-team All-Americans with Weinke, wideout Snoop Minnis (63 rec., 1,340 yards, 11 TD) and Lombardi winner Jamal Reynolds. Unfortunately, the third-highest scoring team in school history (511 points) was held to zero points in the BCS title game loss to Oklahoma — scoring their only two points on a safety. This defense held the opponent to less than 10 points in seven games of 13 games.

2000 Schedule:

Aug. 26: Florida State 29, BYU 3 (Jacksonville, FL)
Sept. 9: Florida State 26, Georiga Tech 21 (Atlanta, GA)
Sept. 16: Florida State 63, North Carolina 14 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 23: Florida State 31, Louisville 0 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 28: Florida State 59, Maryland 7 (College Park, MD)
Oct. 7: (#7) Miami 27, Florida State 24 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 14: Florida State 63, Duke 14 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 21: Florida State 37, Virginia 3 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 28: Florida State 58, (#20) NC State 14 (Raleigh, NC)
Nov. 4: Florida State 54, Clemson 7 (Tallahassee, FL)
Nov. 11: Florida State 35, Wake Forest 6 (Winston-Salem, NC)
Nov. 18: Florida State 30, (#4) Florida 7 (Tallahassee, FL)
Jan. 3: (#1) Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2 (Orange Bowl)

1. Florida State Seminoles, 1999 (12-0, 8-0)
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Championships: ACC, Sugar Bowl, National
Key Stats: Janikowski led NCAA in FGM/Game (23 FGM), Led the ACC in passing 302.9 ypg and fourth in the nation in scoring at 37.5 ppg. Led the ACC in total defense (302.6 ypg).
Award Winners: Sebastian Janikowski (Lou Groza), Peter Warrick (Sugar Bowl MVP)
"First Day" NFL Draft Picks: Peter Warrick (1st, 2000), Corey Simon (1st, 2000), Sebastian Janikowski (1st, 2000), Jamal Reynolds (1st, 2001), Derrick Gibson (1st, 2001), Tommy Polley (2nd, 2001), Anquan Boldin (2nd, 2003)

The best team of the BCS era in the ACC claimed nine first-team All-ACC performers (AP) and six second-team selections. Florida State became the first team in history to go wire-to-wire as No. 1 team in all three polls after beating five ranked opponents. It was the second-highest scoring Noles team of the BCS era and No. 7 highest-scoring team in FSU history. Chris Weinke and Peter Warrick outlasted Michael Vick and the Hokies in the memorable 1999 championship game. Warrick, after surviving some off-the-field incidents, claimed MVP honors after catching six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns and returning a punt for a score. His 220 all-purpose yards are fourth all-time in a title game and his 20 points (3 TDs, 2-pt) are a BCS title game record. (It was the No. 11 BCS title game performance.) The win gave Bobby Bowden his second national championship.

1999 Schedule:

Aug. 28: Florida State 41, Louisiana Tech 7 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 11: Florida State 41, (#10) Georiga Tech 35 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 18: Florida State 42, (#20) NC State 11 (Tallahassee, FL)
Sept. 25: Florida State 42, North Carolina 10 (Chapel Hill, NC)
Oct. 2: Florida State 51, Duke 23 (Jacksonville, FL)
Oct. 9: Florida State 31, (#19) Miami 21 (Tallahasse, FL)
Oct. 16: Florida State 33, Wake Forest 10 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 23: Florida State 17, Clemson 10 (Clemson, SC)
Oct. 30: Florida State 35, Virginia 10 (Charlottesville, VA)
Nov. 13: Florida State 49, Maryland 10 (Tallahassee, FL)
Nov. 20: Florida State 30, (#4) Florida 20 (Gainesville, FL)
Jan. 4: Florida State 46, (#2) Virginia Tech 29 (Sugar Bowl)

"First Day" indicates 1st and 2nd round NFL Draft picks
* - team played in the ACC Championship game


Athlon Sports Ranks the Best Teams in Every BCS League:

The Top 10 Big East Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 ACC Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 Big Ten Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 Pac-12 Teams of the BSC Era
The Top 10 Big 12 Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 SEC Teams of the BCS Era

CFB Conferences: 

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