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By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 9 ACC Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Clemson (8-1) – Despite suffering their first defeat of 2011, the Tigers hold onto the top spot in the power rankings. Taking the whole season into account, Clemson is still the No. 1 team in the ACC. The Tigers were unable to get their high-powered offense on track in the loss to Georgia Tech, scoring a season-low 17 points and turning the ball over four times. Clemson controls its destiny in the ACC Atlantic race, but the Nov. 12 showdown against Wake Forest looms large. Should the Tigers win that game, they will win the division title and clinch a spot in the conference championship game.
2. Virginia Tech (8-1) – Saturday’s 14-10 victory over Duke won’t win any style points, but the Hokies moved one step closer to winning the ACC Coastal. Quarterback Logan Thomas threw for only 191 yards and one score, but the offense got another big effort from running back David Wilson with 148 yards on 23 carries. The defense has been hit hard by injuries, but registered one sack and forced four turnovers. The Hokies are off next Saturday, and their next game will be a big one – at Georgia Tech.
3. Georgia Tech (7-2) – Thanks to Saturday’s 31-17 upset win over Clemson, the Yellow Jackets are back in the ACC Coastal race. Georgia Tech’s offense was among the best in college football through the first six weeks of the season, but sputtered in losses over Virginia and Miami. However, the offense got back on track against the Tigers, getting 176 rushing yards from quarterback Tevin Washington. Running backs Orwin Smith and David Sims also pitched in, combining for 105 yards and three touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets are off this Saturday and return to action on Nov. 10 against Virginia Tech.
4. Florida State (5-3) – Clemson’s loss to Georgia Tech helps to keep the Seminoles’ slim ACC title hopes alive, but that’s not the biggest story in Tallahassee. Florida State is riding a three-game winning streak and none of those matchups have been close. The Seminoles earned their second shutout of the year in Saturday’s 34-0 win over NC State. Quarterback EJ Manuel has been on fire since his return from a shoulder injury, tossing 25 completions for 321 yards and two scores against the Wolfpack. The Seminoles have a short week of rest, as they travel to Boston College for a Thursday night matchup.
5. Miami (4-4) – One step forward, one step back. That’s been the motto for the Hurricanes this year. After posting wins over North Carolina and Georgia Tech, Miami appeared ready turn a corner under first-year coach Al Golden. However, the Hurricanes were upset by Virginia 28-21 on Thursday night, moving their record to 4-4. Miami faces Duke this Saturday, before traveling to Florida State on Nov. 12.
6. North Carolina (6-3) – After all of the offseason turmoil surrounding this team, it’s time to give a little credit to interim coach Everett Withers. The Tar Heels beat Wake Forest 49-24 on Saturday to get bowl eligible, and have a shot to finish the year with eight or nine wins. A big test awaits Withers and North Carolina this Saturday, as it faces in-state rival NC State. The Tar Heels have lost their last four matchups to the Wolfpack and have not won in Raleigh since 2005.
7. Wake Forest (5-3) – After a 4-1 start, the Demon Deacons have been sliding down the power rankings over the last three weeks. Wake Forest has lost two out of its last three games and posted only a 24-23 win over Duke on Oct. 22. Running back Josh Harris made his return from a hamstring injury on Saturday, but mustered only nine yards on three carries. The Demon Deacons need Harris back at 100 percent to have a shot at knocking off Clemson for the ACC Atlantic crown. Wake Forest hosts Notre Dame this Saturday, before traveling to Death Valley to take on Clemson on Nov. 12.
8. Virginia (5-3) – One of the most surprising scores from the ACC in Week 9 was the Cavaliers’ 28-21 upset win over Miami. Considering Virginia was coming off a loss to NC State, and Miami had won two in a row, not many expected the Cavaliers to win on the road. Quarterback Michael Rocco was efficient, completing 11 of 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, while the rushing attack was led by Kevin Parks and Perry Jones for 152 yards. Virginia needs one win to get bowl eligible and it should come in the next two weeks, as it plays Maryland and Duke.
9. NC State (4-4) – The Wolfpack had their two-game winning streak snapped at Florida State on Saturday. NC State’s offense posted a season-low 166 total yards and was shut out for the first time since Nov. 24, 2007. The Wolfpack need to win three out of their last four to get bowl eligible, and the road is favorable with North Carolina, Boston College and Maryland remaining. NC State has owned the Tar Heels under coach Tom O’Brien, winning the last four matchups in the series.
10. Duke (3-5) – The Blue Devils suffered another tough defeat, losing 14-10 to Virginia Tech on Saturday. Three of Duke’s losses have come by four points or less, which will likely cost it a shot at a bowl game this year. Developing a rushing attack has been a problem for years in Durham, and the Blue Devils rank last in the ACC with only 100 yards a game. Coach David Cutcliffe has this team closer to contending in the conference, but Duke is still likely to miss the postseason once again.
11. Boston College (2-6) – It took eight games, but the Eagles finally have a win over a FBS school. Boston College surprisingly handled Maryland on Saturday, easily winning 28-17. Quarterback Chase Rettig threw for only 32 yards, but the rushing attack carried the day for the Eagles. Rolandan Finch rushed for 237 yards and two scores, while Andre Williams chipped in 72 and a touchdown on 16 attempts. The win came at a good time for the Eagles, as they host a red-hot Florida State team on Thursday. Boston College can still get to a bowl, but it will need to win its final four games – Florida State, NC State, at Notre Dame and at Miami. Needless to say, it won't be easy.
12. Maryland (2-6) – Even with the coaching change, there wasn’t expected to be a huge drop-off with the Terrapins this year. However, not much has gone right for Maryland this year, and things got even uglier with Saturday’s 28-17 loss to Boston College. The Terrapins were gashed for 366 yards on the ground, while neither quarterback (Danny O’Brien or C.J. Brown) managed to get the offense on track. Barring a four-game winning streak to close out the year, the Terrapins won’t make a bowl game. Coach Randy Edsall has been getting a lot of criticism for the 2-6 start, but it’s way too early to suggest this was a bad hire by Maryland.