The pecking order in the ACC is clear after six weeks.
Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech appear to have separated themselves from the pack, with Georgia Tech and Maryland just behind.
But after the top six teams?
Pittsburgh seems to be a clear No. 7, but 8-14 is a mess.
Boston College is improving under new coach Steve Addazio and checks in at No. 8 in the power rankings this week.
NC State surprisingly lost to Wake Forest in Week 6, but the Wolfpack looked like the better team prior to Saturday’s defeat.
And North Carolina, Virginia and Syracuse all suffered losses in Week 6.
Get ready, the next two months should be an interesting battle in the ACC.
ACC Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
Clemson (5-0, 3-0): It’s almost becoming routine for the Tigers. Clemson’s offense has a big day, and the defense wreaks havoc against opposing quarterbacks. The Tigers had little trouble with Syracuse on Saturday, opening a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and finishing with a 49-14 victory. Quarterback Tajh Boyd was sharp, setting a school record with 455 passing yards, including a 91-yard bomb to receiver Sammy Watkins. The defense held Syracuse to just 74 passing yards and sacked quarterback Terrel Hunt four times. The Tigers have one more tune up before the huge showdown against Florida State on Oct. 19. Next Week: Boston College
Florida State (5-0, 3-0): Total dominance. That’s the easiest way to describe Florida State’s 63-0 win over Maryland. Quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 393 yards and five touchdowns, and the defense pitched their first shutout since Sept. 15, 2012. Florida State’s defense needed a good performance after struggling against Boston College, and the Seminoles allowed just 234 yards to a Maryland offense that entered Week 6 averaging 498.5 yards per game. Florida State now has two weeks to prepare for a showdown against Clemson, which could decide which team wins the ACC Atlantic. Next Week: Bye
Miami (5-0, 1-0): Thanks to a 45-30 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Hurricanes are 5-0 for the first time since 2004. The Hurricanes trailed 17-7 in the first quarter but outscored the Yellow Jackets 38-13 in the final 45 minutes to win 45-30. Despite an injured ankle, quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 324 yards and three scores. Running back Duke Johnson pitched in 184 yards on 22 attempts. Miami’s defense isn’t dominant but has improved this year. Next Week: Bye
Virginia Tech (5-1, 2-0): The product on the field isn’t always flashy this year, but the Hokies are quietly building momentum. Virginia Tech opened its three-game home stand with a solid 27-17 victory over North Carolina on Saturday, improving the Hokies to 2-0 in conference play. Quarterback Logan Thomas threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns against the Tar Heels and most importantly, completed 67.9 percent of his throws. Virginia Tech’s defense forced two turnovers and has held four of its six opponents this year to 17 points or less. Next Week: Pittsburgh
Maryland (4-1, 0-1): After cruising to an easy 4-0 start, the Terrapins failed their first real test of 2013. Maryland was outmanned on both sides of the ball against Florida State, and things didn’t get any better on offense when quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a concussion in the first half. The Terrapins are without their top two cornerbacks, and the secondary was torched for 431 yards by the Seminoles. Maryland is clearly improving, but the gap between Florida State and Clemson and the rest of the Atlantic is still significant. Next Week: Virginia
Georgia Tech (3-2, 2-2): The Yellow Jackets had a chance to climb back into the Coastal title picture in Miami, but after a 17-7 lead, few things went Georgia Tech’s way. The Yellow Jackets went without a score from the start of the second quarter to 10:38 in the fourth quarter, lost three turnovers and completed 6 of 19 throws for 66 yards. Georgia Tech’s defense – which was reliable through the first four games – allowed Miami to average 10.4 yards per play. It’s only October, but the Yellow Jackets will need a lot of help to get back into the top spot in the Coastal. Next Week: at BYU
Pittsburgh (3-1, 2-1): The Panthers had a bye in Week 6 and return to action at Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh has a three-game winning streak and should have some confidence going into Blacksburg, as the Panthers defeated the Hokies 35-17 last year. Quarterback Tom Savage suffered from concussion-like symptoms in the 14-3 win over Virginia, but all signs point to the senior returning to the lineup against Virginia Tech. Next Week: at Virginia Tech
Boston College (3-2, 1-1): Anything after No. 7 in the power rankings is up for grabs. We give a slight nod to the Eagles for the No. 8 spot, as Boston College surpassed its win total from 2012 with a 48-27 victory over Army on Saturday. Running back Andre Williams gashed the Black Knights for 263 yards and five touchdowns, and quarterback Chase Rettig was efficient (11 of 13, 203 yards). The Eagles had their hands full on defense with Army’s option attack in the first half, but held the Black Knights to just one score in the second half. It may not seem like a huge win in the overall scope of the ACC, but beating Army was critical for Boston College’s bowl hopes. Next Week: at Clemson
NC State (3-2, 0-2): After Boston College, any team in Athlon’s ACC power rankings could be ranked anywhere in the 9-14 range. The Wolfpack’s struggles in Winston-Salem continued on Saturday, as Wake Forest upset NC State 28-13. NC State has lost six consecutive games on the Demon Deacons’ home turf. While the Wolfpack are 0-2 in ACC play, good news could be coming in the form of quarterback Brandon Mitchell. The senior has not played since the season opener due to a foot injury, but is expected to have a chance to return this Saturday. Next Week: Syracuse
North Carolina (1-4, 0-2): A 27-17 defeat to Virginia Tech dropped North Carolina to 1-4 and easily the ACC’s most-disappointing team after Week 6. Quarterback Bryn Renner was sidelined with an ankle injury, but Marquise Williams filled in admirably, completing 23 of 35 throws for 277 yards and two scores. Williams was also the Tar Heels’ leading rusher (56 yards). North Carolina’s struggling defense forced eight punts against Virginia Tech but created no turnovers and gave up 15.4 yards per completion. Next Week: Bye
Virginia (2-3, 0-1): The Cavaliers finally showed some signs of life on offense, but four turnovers and 13 penalties was simply too much to overcome against opportunistic and upset-minded Ball State. Quarterback David Watford completed 21 of 36 passes for 209 yards, and running back Kevin Parks recorded 104 yards and two scores on 16 attempts. Although Virginia’s offense didn’t have a perfect outing, the defense also shares blame by allowing Ball State to record 506 yards – including 346 through the air. The Cavaliers have played a challenging schedule so far, and it won’t get any easier the rest of the way. Next Week: at Maryland
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2): The biggest surprise in the ACC from Week 6 took place in Winston-Salem. After struggling to generate anything on offense through five games, Wake Forest recorded 28 points and 382 yards to beat NC State 28-13. The Demon Deacons have defeated the Wolfpack six consecutive times at home, and at least for a week, have quieted some of the critics for coach Jim Grobe. The win gives Wake Forest a little momentum heading into the bye week and manageable games against Syracuse and Duke gives this team a chance to make a run at bowl eligibility. Next Week: Bye
Duke (3-2, 0-2): The Blue Devils had a bye in Week 6 and are slated to return to action against Navy on Saturday. Quarterback Anthony Boone missed the last three games due to a collarbone injury but resumed throwing prior to Duke’s 38-31 win over Troy. It’s uncertain if Boone will return in Week 7, but the junior is getting close, and Brandon Connette is a capable fill-in until he’s ready. Next Week: Navy
Syracuse (2-4, 0-2): The Orange drew a tough assignment in their ACC opener, losing 49-14 to Clemson. After showing signs of life on offense against Wagner and Tulane, Syracuse generated only 74 passing yards, and starting quarterback Terrel Hunt tossed three picks. The Orange had concerns about their secondary entering this game, and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had little trouble finding open receivers, finishing with 455 yards and five scores. Syracuse has time to rebound with seven ACC games remaining. However, four out of the next five contests are on the road. Next Week: at NC State
ACC Week 6 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Boston College running back Andre Williams and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd turned in strong performances this week, but offensive player of the week honors go to Winston. The redshirt freshman is playing with the poise of a fifth-year senior. In Saturday’s win over Maryland, Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five scores, while rushing for 24 yards on seven attempts. Winston’s five touchdown tosses were the most by a Florida State quarterback since Christian Ponder threw five in 2009, and the redshirt freshman already has three games of at least 300 passing yards.
Defensive Player of the Week: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
There were few standout performances in the ACC this week, but Beasley takes the Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording five tackles and two sacks against Syracuse. Four of Beasley’s tackles went for a loss, which helped to limit Syracuse to just 74 passing yards. After five games, the junior leads the NCAA with eight sacks, with six coming in ACC contests. Clemson’s defense ranks eighth in the ACC in yards allowed per game (356.6), but the Tigers are holding opponents to just 16.6 points a game. Beasley’s pass rush has been crucial to Clemson’s success, and the junior is performing at an All-American level in 2013.
Coordinator of the Week: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State
A week after giving up 34 points and 407 yards to Boston College, the Seminoles were nearly perfect on defense against Maryland. The Terrapins entered Saturday’s game averaging 498.5 yards and 39.8 points per game, but Florida State limited the Terrapins to just 234 yards, pitched a shutout and limited Maryland to just nine first downs. Terrapins' quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a concussion in the first half, but the offense wasn’t moving the ball with much success when he was in the game. Maryland managed just 4.1 yards per play on Saturday, which was their lowest total of the season. Pruitt is in his first year with the Seminoles and some of the defense’s early struggles against the run are largely due to the transition in scheme and personnel. With two weeks to prepare for Clemson, Pruitt should have Florida State’s defense ready for the Tigers’ high-powered offense.
Team of the Week: Florida State
Miami’s win over Georgia Tech was solid, but Florida State’s victory over Maryland was pure dominance. The Seminoles dominated from start to finish and pitched their first shutout over a top-25 team since 1997. The 63-point margin of victory was the most lop-sided victory over a top-25 team in school history. Florida State is 5-0 for the second consecutive season, and now turns its sights to a huge showdown against Clemson on Oct. 19.
Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Freshman of the week honors in the ACC could essentially be renamed for Winston this year. And here’s the scary part for the rest of the ACC: Winston will only get better. The freshman ranks second in the ACC with 288.2 passing yards per game, averaging an impressive 16 yards per completion. Winston has tossed only two picks and ranks fifth in the NCAA with a 73.2 completion percentage.
• Virginia quarterback David Watford threw for a season high 209 yards in the 48-27 loss to Ball State.
• Freshman safety Ryan Janvion led Wake Forest with 11 tackles against NC State.
• Boston College running back Andre Williams rushed for 263 yards and five touchdowns in the Eagles’ 48-27 win over Army. Williams missed the single-game school record by one yard.
• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd’s 455 passing yards set a single-game school record.
• Syracuse defensive tackle Jay Bromley had a solid outing against Clemson. The senior recorded four tackles (three for a loss) and two sacks.
• Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has completed at least 67 percent of his passes in his last two games. Thomas does not have an interception in ACC play this year.
• The home team has won the last six meetings in the NC State-Wake Forest series.