By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 5 ACC Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Clemson (5-0) – After Saturday’s convincing win against Virginia Tech, it’s clear the Tigers are the No. 1 team in the ACC. The offense carried Clemson through the first four games, but the defense came up big in the victory against the Hokies. The upcoming schedule is very favorable, with Boston College, Maryland and North Carolina the next three opponents. With a tiebreaker edge over Florida State, Clemson is squarely in the driver’s seat to represent the Atlantic Division in the title game.
2. Georgia Tech (5-0) – The final score indicated only 10-point victory over NC State, but the Yellow Jackets faced little resistance in Saturday’s game. The offense collected 413 yards – including 296 on the ground – and has scored at least 35 points in every game this season. With Virginia Tech’s loss to Clemson, Georgia Tech is the top team from the ACC Coastal in this week’s power rankings. With Maryland and Virginia their next two opponents, Georgia Tech should be 7-0 when they play Miami on Oct. 22
3. Virginia Tech (4-1) – An easy non-conference schedule definitely helped the Hokies get new quarterback Logan Thomas comfortable in his first season as the starter. However, the easy schedule didn’t prepare them for Clemson’s challenge on Saturday night. The Hokies managed only three points, had two turnovers and lost for the first time in ACC play at Lane Stadium since Oct. 29, 2009 against North Carolina. Despite the loss, Virginia Tech still has a chance to make it to the ACC title game. However, Saturday’s matchup against Miami is a must-win situation.
4. Florida State (2-2) – After a bye week, the Seminoles are back in action on Saturday at Wake Forest. Quarterback EJ Manuel did not play in the loss to Clemson in Week 4, but is ready to return to the lineup against the Demon Deacons. If the Seminoles have any hope of making the ACC Championship, they likely need to win all of their remaining conference games.
5. North Carolina (4-1) – After losing in Week 4 to Georgia Tech, the Tar Heels had no trouble getting back into the win column against East Carolina. Quarterback Bryn Renner was solid in the victory, completing 13 of 20 throws for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Giovani Bernard continued his hot start to 2011, rushing for 146 yards and one score against the Pirates. North Carolina faces Louisville on Saturday.
6. Miami (2-2) – The Hurricanes started slow, but eventually pulled away from Bethune-Cookman for a 45-14 victory. Quarterback Jacory Harris was efficient, completing 12 of 17 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Lamar Miller continues to prove he is one of the top backs in the ACC, rushing for 102 yards on 14 attempts. The next three weeks could be critical to Miami’s ACC hopes. With Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech up next, the Hurricanes have to find a way to win all three to have a shot at playing for the conference title in December.
7. Wake Forest (3-1) – The Demon Deacons have already topped last season’s conference win total through the first four games of 2011. Wake Forest finished with one ACC win in 2010, but has two this season – NC State and Boston College. It’s clear the Demon Deacons are one of the most-improved teams in college football, but are they ready to knock off Florida State on Saturday?
8. Maryland (2-2) – One week after an embarrassing showing against Temple, the Terrapins got back into the win column against Towson. Maryland got 123 yards and two touchdown tosses from quarterback Danny O’Brien to post a 28-3 win over the Tigers. The Terrapins return to ACC play this Saturday, traveling to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech.
9. Duke (3-2) – Since opening the year with back-to-back losses, the Blue Devils have righted the ship with three consecutive wins. Now that Duke is over .500, can it find three more wins to get to a bowl? The schedule isn’t too kind, but games against Wake Forest and Virginia are winnable. Needless to say, the loss in the opener to Richmond could come back to haunt Duke at the end of the year.
10. NC State (2-3) – A defense filled with injuries is a bad recipe when matching up with Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack allowed 296 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to the Yellow Jackets and allowed more than 40 points for the second time this season. NC State steps out of conference for a matchup against Central Michigan this Saturday. The Chippewas have struggled to stop the pass this year, which should equal a big game for Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon.
11. Virginia (3-2) – There’s not much to say about the Cavaliers’ performance on Saturday, other than they managed a win. Virginia needed overtime to hold off Idaho’s upset bid and snap a two-game losing streak. With running back Kevin Parks sidelined due to an injury, Perry Jones led the way on the ground with 110 yards and a score. The Cavaliers are off this Saturday, before playing Georgia Tech on Oct. 15.
12. Boston College (1-4) – Three of the Eagles’ losses have come by eight points or less. However, things could get worse over the next seven games. One glance at Boston College’s schedule and it’s pretty clear a miracle is needed to get to a bowl game. Will coach Frank Spaziani survive until next year? He appears to be one of the top coaches on the hot seat going into Week 6.