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September 25, 2013
The staff of The Wolfpacker will meet once a week for the rest of the college football season to list the ACC squads from best to worst, in our collective opinion.
The results are below:
1. No. 3 Clemson (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Last week: Beat NC State, 26-14
This week: Host Wake Forest - Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Skinny: The Tigers survived a scare in Raleigh on Thursday night, but maybe that was their annual case of "Clemsoning?" No explanation is needed, and not much of one is needed for why the nation's No. 3 team sits atop our poll.
2. No. 8 Florida State (3-0, 1-0)
Last week: Beat Bethune-Cookman, 54-6
This week: Travel to Boston College - Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Skinny: Simply put, FSU has not been tested yet. They went on the road to welcome Pitt to the ACC and won 41-13, while they have outscored their opponents, 157-26. However, the Seminoles haven't recorded a victory like Clemson's over Georgia.
3. No. 15 Miami (3-0)
Last week: Beat Savannah State, 77-7
This week: Travel to South Florida - Saturday, Noon, ESPNU
Skinny: Miami was expected to be the class of the Coastal Division and they have looked like it as they have ascended to the nation's No. 15 ranking. An explosive ground game led by running back Duke Johnson has led the way and the Canes do have a 21-16 victory over No. 12 Florida on their resume.
4. Maryland (4-0)
Last week: Beat West Virginia, 37-0
This week: Off
Skinny: Some would argue that the Terrapins haven't really been tested yet, but nobody expected Maryland to start off 4-0. They went on the road to beat UConn then shellacked West Virginia, 37-0, in a neutral site contest at the Baltimore Ravens' stadium. Quarterback C.J. Brown looks comfortable and has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,043 yards and seven scores against just one interception.
5. Georgia Tech (3-0, 2-0)
Last week: Beat North Carolina, 28-20
This week: Host Virginia Tech - Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Skinny: The Yellow Jackets rolled Elon, 70-0, to open their season then rattled off a pair of ACC victories — 38-14 against Duke on the road and 28-20 over North Carolina at home. The running attack is potent like always, but the defense may be turning a corner. They have allowed just 11.3 points per game this year, but the competition may have been lacking.
6. NC State (2-1, 0-1)
Last week: Lost to Clemson, 26-14
This week: Host Central Michigan - Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
Skinny: NC State survived a scare against FCS competitor Richmond in week two, then shocked the nation by giving Clemson a real test on Thursday night. They didn't catch many breaks against the nation's No. 3 squad, but the real question is can the Pack bring that level of play to every game?
7. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1)
Last week: Lost to Georgia Tech, 28-20
This week: Host East Carolina - Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Skinny: The Tar Heels opened with a 27-10 loss to No. 6 South Carolina and didn't blow away observers in a 40-20 win over Middle Tennessee. They followed with a narrow 28-20 loss to Georgia Tech and should expect in-state rival East Carolina's best shot this weekend.
8. Virginia Tech (3-1)
Last week: Beat Marshall, 29-21
This week: Travel to Georgia Tech - Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Skinny: The Hokies opened with a neutral site contest with No. 1 Alabama and fell, 35-10. Nobody expected them to win that game. However, they haven't exactly impressed in the last two weeks with a 15-10 victory over East Carolina in Greenville then a 29-21 victory over Marshall where they caught several breaks and required three overtime periods.
9. Pittsburgh (2-1, 1-1)
Last week: Beat Duke, 58-55
This week: Host Virginia - Saturday, 12:30 p.m., RSN
Skinny: The Panthers' offense has been working, particularly through the air, after FSU shut them down in week one. A 49-27 victory over New Mexico and wild 58-55 win at Duke followed, but this is where The Wolfpacker's three writers' rankings really began to differ. One had Pitt as high as No. 7 in the league and the other two had them at No. 10.
10. Virginia (2-1)
Last week: Beat VMI, 49-0
This week: Travel to Pitt - Saturday, 12:30 p.m., RSN
Skinny: The Cavaliers have only had three non-conference games so far, and they check in here thanks to a first week win over BYU. We'll figure out more about Virginia on Saturday when they travel to Pitt. That game could go either way.
11. Syracuse (2-2)
Last week: Beat Tulane, 52-17
This week: Off
Skinny: The Orange opened their campaign with back-to-back losses to Big Ten foes Penn State and No. 19 Northwestern. They took out their frustrations from the first two weeks on a pair of cupcakes with a combined score of 106-17 against Wagner and Tulane. However, this week is probably their turn to take a beating (unless Clemson is ready to welcome their new ACC brethren with an up-close look at "Clemsoning" this weekend).
T12. Boston College (2-1, 1-0)
Last week: Off
This week: Host Florida State - Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
Skinny: After wins over Villanova (24-14) and Wake Forest (24-10), Boston College traveled to the West Coast to lose 35-7 to USC. Their offense is going to have to pick it up and it won't be easy this weekend to do so.
T12. Duke (2-2, 0-2)
Last week: Lost to Pitt, 58-55
This week: Host Troy - Saturday, 3 p.m, ESPN3
Skinny: The Blue Devils have dropped consecutive games to ACC foes Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. Back-to-back non-conference contests against Troy and Navy are next, but are there any other wins left on the Duke slate? At Virginia on Oct. 19 and at Wake Forest on Nov. 23 seem like the most likely bets.
14. Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1)
Last week: Beat Army, 25-11
This week: Travel to Clemson - Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Skinny: There were only two unanimous choices in the countdown — Miami at No. 3 and Wake Forest at No. 14. The Demon Deacons should get credit for bouncing back from a 21-19 loss at home to Louisiana-Monroe with a road victory at Army, but that loss still stings. And is quite revealing.
Results by division
2. Florida State
4. NC State
6. Boston College
7. Wake Forest
2. Georgia Tech
3. North Carolina
4. Virginia Tech
N.C. State NEWS