Around the ACC: September 15, 2011

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The first two weekends of ACC football were uneventful, for the most part.
That will change this weekend, when ACC teams host four huge non-conference
games. We’ll have a much better idea about the quality of the ACC after this
weekend’s games.

First, here’s a quick recap of the scores from last week …

UNC 24, Rutgers 22
Virginia Tech 17, ECU 10
Clemson 35, Wofford 27
Stanford 44, Duke 14
Wake Forest 34, NC State 27
FSU 62, Charleston Southern 10
Georgia Tech 49, MTSU 21
Virginia 34, Indiana 31
UCF 30, BC 3

Power Rankings

Starting this week, we’ll include a set of power rankings that will be
updated weekly based on results. Here’s the first set …


ACC Power Rankings

Rank

Team
1 Florida State
2 Virginia Tech
3 Maryland
4 North Carolina
5 Miami
6 Georgia Tech
7 Clemson
8 Virginia
9 Wake Forest
10 NC State
11 Boston College
12 Duke

In reality, it’s much too early to get an accurate read on how good specific
teams are. Maryland has played just one game, against a depleted Miami team, and
UNC is 2-0, but starting quarterback Bryn Renner has thrown four interceptions
through two games. How good will Miami be this week, with most of their players
back? We don’t know the sure answer to that or any other questions.

Bottom of the League Taking Shape

As per usual, the Duke Blue Devils are at the bottom of the conference
standings. They have company. Boston College is 0-2 after being blown out 30-3
by Central Florida last weekend. The Eagles are a bad football team, and they
haven’t had good quarterback play since Matt Ryan left.

BC will host Duke on Saturday at 12:30 to decide who is the ACC’s worst team.
BC has three home games in a row against the Blue Devils, UMass and Wake Forest.
They better win while they can, because the rest of their schedule looks like
this: at Clemson, at VT, at Maryland, vs. FSU, vs. NC State, at Notre Dame, and
at Miami. The Eagles have gone to a bowl game for 12 seasons in a row, but that
appears to be coming to an end this year.

NC State didn’t look good in their season opener against Liberty, and then
lost to Wake Forest last week. Their defense is still bad, and they are
struggling to replace all the talent they lost at wide receiver from last year’s
team.

Wake Forest has played pretty well so far, and the only reason they aren’t
2-0 is because starting quarterback Tanner Price went down with an injury during
the Syracuse game. After Price left the game, the Orange came back. Price threw
for 297 yards and a touchdown against the Wolfpack.

Virginia blew out William & Mary, then struggled to take out Big Ten
bottom feeder Indiana, winning the game on a last second field goal. The Hoos
played better against the Hoosiers last year than they did this year. We’ll have
a better idea about Virginia when they take on UNC this weekend.

Take the Over on Clemson-Auburn

The first of Saturday’s big games will begin at noon, and will be nationally
televised by ABC. Clemson nearly ruined Auburn’s unbeaten season last year, and
will look to hand the Tigers their first loss in 2011. This time the game is in
Death Valley.

I haven’t even looked to see what the over-under is for this game, but just
based on defensive stats, I’d bet the over.


Clemson and Auburn Defenses

Category

Clemson

Auburn
Total D 90 111
Rush D 108 118
Pass D 42 56
Pass Eff. D 56 60
Scoring D 58 103
Sacks 100 77
TFL 112 17

Clemson has played Troy and 1-AA Wofford, and they weren’t able to stop
either team. Auburn was lit up by Utah State in their opening football game.
Both of these offenses feature excellent tailbacks, and quarterbacks who are
putting up good numbers. Both defenses leave a lot to be desired.

This should be a very entertaining game on Saturday. If you are tailgating in
Blacksburg, try to hook up with some folks who have a satellite TV. You can
watch the Clemson game while tailgating for VT-Arkansas State.

Florida Schools Can Make an Impact

Florida State and Miami have huge games this weekend, and the college
football world will be watching. In a matchup some have dubbed the "Ineligi-Bowl",
Miami will host #17 Ohio State. Though the Canes will have most of their players
back this week, that might not be a good thing. Jacory Harris will start at
quarterback, and he threw four interceptions against the Buckeyes last season.

The Miami-Ohio State game will be televised at 7:30pm on ESPN. Shortly
thereafter, #5 Florida State will host #1 Oklahoma at 8pm on ABC. The
Clemson-Auburn and Miami-Ohio State games are big, but the FSU-Oklahoma game is
huge. The ACC hasn’t had a true national contender in a long time, and if the
Noles can knock off the #1 team in the country and get back to national
relevance, it would be a huge boost for the ACC.

Even if Miami loses to Ohio State, Clemson loses to Auburn, and Maryland
loses to West Virginia, a Florida State victory over Oklahoma would make
everyone forget about those losses.

The Noles were a 10-win team last season, but they had one dark moment: a
47-17 loss to the Sooners in Norman. Florida State is probably a better team
this year than they were a year ago, but with Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles a
year older and more experienced, Oklahoma could be better as well.

The ACC hasn’t won a game like this in years. Hopefully Florida State can
change that on Saturday night.

The Weekend Schedule and Picks


ACC Weekend Schedule

Game

Time

TV
Auburn at Clemson Noon ABC
West Virginia at Maryland Noon ESPNU
Duke at BC 12:30pm ACC Network
Kansas at GT 12:30pm RSN
Virginia at UNC 3:30pm ESPNU
Arkansas State at VT 4pm RSN
South Alabama at NC State 6pm ESPN3.com
Gardner-Webb at Wake Forest 6:30pm ESPN3.com
Ohio State at Miami 7:30pm ESPN
Oklahoma at Florida State 8pm ABC

It should be an entertaining day for ACC football fans. There are two quality
noon games, with Auburn at Clemson and WVU at Maryland. Between those noon games
and the two huge night games, there is a Coastal Division matchup between
Virginia and North Carolina at 3:30pm. There will be interesting games to watch
all day long.

After going 8-1 last week (17-3 on the season), here are the picks for this
week …

Clemson over Auburn
Maryland over WVU
BC over Duke
GT over Kansas
UNC over UVA
VT over Arkansas State
NC State over South Alabama
Wake Forest over Gardner-Webb
Ohio State over Miami
Oklahoma over Florida State

I just can’t see Jacory Harris knocking off Ohio State, even at home, and I’m
not sure Florida State is good enough up front to match up with Oklahoma’s
firepower.

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