1) Florida State Seminoles: Although they weren’t rewarded for their efforts as they were demoted to third in the BCS rankings, the Florida State Seminoles put on another display of dominance, this time at the expense of the N.C. State Wolfpack. After being upset in Raleigh last season, the ‘Noles scored 35 first quarter points en route to a 49-17 victory. Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston only played one series in the second half, and now FSU can get ready for their Saturday night showdown with Miami.
2) Duke Blue Devils: Will the Blue Devils ever enjoy this second spot in my power rankings again this season? Probably not, but they deserve the recognition. In what is nothing short of an amazing accomplishment for their program, Duke became bowl-eligible for the second consecutive year with their upset of Virginia Tech on Saturday. Head coach David Cutcliffe has rapidly produced one of the better defenses in the ACC.
3) Miami Hurricanes: It wasn’t pretty, but the ‘Canes escaped a letdown at home late in the fourth quarter against a determined Wake Forest team. Now, after playing what many considered to be a weak schedule so far, they’ll have the chance to prove themselves on Saturday night when they travel to Tallahassee to take on the third-ranked Seminoles.
4) Clemson Tigers: They struggled early, but Clemson was able to get a bounce back victory after being manhandled at home by Florida State over an injury-riddled Maryland squad. But, with hopes for a BCS at-large berth still alive, they need to get off to better starts and look a little more dominant than they did against the Terps on Saturday.
5) Virginia Tech Hokies: Well, these guys certainly were brought back down to earth on Saturday, weren’t they? After going unblemished following their opening-week loss to Alabama–a loss in which they played quite admirably–they were downed by Duke, and Logan Thomas looked as bad as ever, which is saying a lot. They still have a shot to win the division, but if they play like they did Saturday, those prospects aren’t looking promising at all.
6) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Paul Johnson and crew moved to 5-3 on the season with a 10-point win over a lowly Virginia team, one week after looking like a national title-contending offense in a 56-0 rout over Syracuse. Georgia Tech is in the lead for the most bi-polar team in all of college football so far. Which team is going to show up, we never know.
7) Wake Forest Demon Deacons: While I’m in the group that doesn’t consider there to be any sort of moral victories at this level, Wake Forest came about as close as you can to getting one as they came within minutes of beating a top-10 Miami team at home on Saturday. Now, the question is, can Jim Grobe get his team, currently at 4-4, to two more victories down the stretch here to make them bowl-eligible?
8) Maryland Terrapins: Considering that nearly every member of this team was on the injury list, they put up a great fight against a reeling Clemson team for as long as they could. Now, they’ll get a MUCH needed week of rest, and could have QB C.J. Brown back in two weeks, fully healthy and ready to take on Syracuse.
9) Pittsburgh Panthers: What happened to this team, I don’t know, but Pitt has just been off lately. This week, they were beaten on a last-second field goal by a Navy team that quite frankly isn’t really good at all in comparison to some of the Midshipmen teams of recent years. This struggling offense needs to find itself, and fast!
10) Boston College: Another team in the category of ‘which team will show up this week?’ is this Boston College team. The same squad that came out a few weeks ago and punched Florida State in the mouth was blown out by a downtrodden North Carolina on Saturday, 34-10. It could have been some rust coming off a bye week, but this past week was a step back that this program didn’t need.
11) North Carolina: With all of that being said about BC, however, North Carolina, in the last two weeks, has looked exactly like the contender we thought they’d be in the preseason. The Tar Heels secured themselves in the 11 spot this week for grabbing their first ACC win of the season. That still doesn’t make up for the fact, though, that they’ve been the ACC’s biggest disappointment.
12) Syracuse Orange: The Orange were on a bye week after getting demoralized by Georgia Tech and will look to pick up the pieces this week against a Wake Forest team that will be very confident following their near win in Miami.
13) Virginia Cavaliers: This team is another disappointment and their coach may be on the hottest seat in the conference, but they did play a little better than they have been in the 10-point loss to Ga. Tech.
14) N.C. State Wolfpack: The Wolfpack didn’t have a chance this past week, plain and simple, and we knew that. This team has a long way to go as new head coach Dave Doeren continues to set his pieces in place, but he’ll get them there. For now, though, they’re going to take lumps like they did from FSU on Saturday.