This Week in the ACC - 9/23

"After Miami's beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma, it was tough to tell how the ‘Canes would react in their next big game in front of a national audience. By the way they played against Texas A & M I think it's safe to say that Randy Shannon is coaching a very resilient bunch of guys.

This Week in the ACC 9/23-9/29

Worst loss of the week: Georgia Tech laying down at Virginia

After Virginia's win, I'm still not even close to convinced that the Cavaliers are a better team than the Yellow Jackets. However, GT could not have done a better job of giving the game away to Virginia on Saturday, and thus the ‘Jackets find themselves with a 0-2 mark in ACC play.

Virginia was able to score one of their TD's off of a "Pick-6", after GT QB Taylor Bennett's pass was tipped in the air and intercepted by Jeff Fitzgerald. Bennett made a weak attempt to swat at the ball to knock it down when it was in midair….. to no avail.

What was an even bigger kick to the groin of GT occurred early in the 4th quarter when their PR Andrew Smith fumbled a punt at his own 26-yard line. On the next play Virginia QB Jameel Sewell threw a TD pass to give the Cavaliers the lead.

&A few other things about GT that stuck out to me include:

1) Going 3-for-15 on 3rd down

2) Allowing Virginia to pass for almost 100 yards more than their season average. By the way, that season average came against the likes of Wyoming, Duke, and UNC

3) Tayor Bennett throwing 17-for-40

The one positive on the day for GT was freshman RB Jonathan Dwyer who had 15 carries for 75 yards and a TD. He looked like he could be the real deal in the ACC in a year or two.

Runner-up: Duke losing late to Navy 46-43

This loss was a back-breaking defeat for the Blue Devils, as they really should've pulled off their 2nd straight upset win. Duke was in prime position for victory, up 43-32 with under 10:00 left in the game. Navy's starting QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada was out of the game because he was "gassed". Everything was going Duke's way.

Then, the breakdowns started in all facets of the game. First, the Blue Devils offense dropped the ball, as they were flagged for a personal foul penalty when they had a 3rd-and-goal at the Navy 11-yard line. The drive ended up resulting in a missed FG on a chip-shot 31-yard attempt.

Of course, the defense can't be left without blame. Navy posted an astonishing 540 yards of total offense on Duke. 48 of those yards came on a 4th quarter drive with only 3:27 left to play that ultimately led to the game winning FG.

Duke is getting closer to getting out of their position as the worst team in the ACC, but they aren't there yet.

Best win of the week: The "U" beating up on Texas A&M on Thursday Night

After Miami's beatdown at the hands of Oklahoma, it was tough to tell how the ‘Canes would react in their next big game in front of a national audience. By the way they played against Texas A&M I think it's safe to say that Randy Shannon is coaching a very resilient bunch of guys.

Miami looked the best that they've looked all year, especially on defense. All of their players were in full attack mode and were as vicious as the rabbit in "Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail".

On the offensive side of the ball, Shannon had to be encouraged by the play of Kyle Wright (21-of-26 for 275 yards, 2 TD's). For the first time in recent memory, Wright wasn't forcing passes into coverage, and really looked in control of the offense. In particular, he looked in sync with wide receiver Sam Shields.

If Miami can continue to play like they did on Thursday, I think there's a very good chance they could be 9-1 or 8-2 heading into the end of the season against VT and BC. There's still a good chance that this team could represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship.

Runner Up: Wake surviving an O.T. battle with Maryland

Were you ever the kid in school that didn't have the nicest car, but also had less money to spend on repairs than other cars because your car just ran like a top? You watched other kids with flashier cars, but they'd also be the ones broken down or spun out on the road?

WF remind me of that ole' clunker car that just keeps on running. Just look at their ACC rankings; 7th in scoring offense, 7th in passing offense, 9th in scoring defense, 8th in total defense, 8th in pass defense, 9th in net punting, 10th in kickoff returns. Yet, the Deamon Deacons just keep chugging along and beating people. If not for a foolish endzone-INT by Brent Hodges against Nebraska, WF would probably be 3-1 right now, and on the verge of being ranked.

ACC Power Rankings

1. Boston College

2. Clemson

3. Virginia Tech

4. Florida State

5. Miami

6. Georgia Tech

7. Wake Forest

8. Virginia

9. Maryland

10. NC State

11. North Carolina

12. Duke

Way too early ACC Offensive Player of the Year Rankings

1. Matt Ryan- BC

2. James Davis- Clemson

3. Tashard Choice-GT

4. Cedric Peerman- Virginia

5. Kenneth Moore- WF

6. Keon Lattimore- Maryland

7. Thaddeus Lewis- Duke

8. Brandon Robinson- BC

9. Andre Brown- NC State

10. T.J. Yates- UNC

Game of the Week: Clemson @ Georgia Tech

Just 2 weeks ago this looked like it could be a matchup of 2 undefeated ACC teams fighting for a spot in the top 10.

Now, it's simply a trap game for Clemson. The Tigers are expected to win this game, so they aren't going to climb too far in the polls with a win over the Yellow Jackets. If they lose though, it will send them into freefall.

The key matchup in this game will be James Davis and CJ Spiller going against the once-stingy GT run defense. I say "once-stingy" because Virginia rushed very effectively on GT last weekend. Can the Yellow Jackets work out their kinks on defense in time?

Runner-Up: Alabama vs. Florida State (In Orlando)

Last week Miami found themselves to face a similar obstacle as their rivals from Tallahassee face this week. That obstacle is a ranked out of conference opponent invading their backyard.

Miami saved face for the ACC by laying the lumber on Texas A&M last week. Even though Alabama has a similar ranking to what A&M was ranked last week, the Crimson Tide are a much tougher opponent than the Aggies. FSU has the talent to beat Nick Saban's team, but they're going to have to play their best game to date to beat them.

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