Week 1: MVPs, Helmet Stickers, Power Rankings

Week 1 in the ACC was full of up and downs. The action started off with disappointment, as NC State was dominated by a Tennessee team that is supposed to be rebuilding. Florida State and UNC rolled against low level competition. Maryland and Wake narrowly avoided embarrassing losses at home. Miami/BC was a highly competitive back and forth game. UVA and Duke handled their opponents and looked strong. Most importantly, Clemson represented the ACC well in primetime and beat a good Auburn team in Atlanta.

Biggest Surprise (game) The biggest surprise in week 1 has to be Maryland’s near loss to FCS William & Mary. It was an ugly performance from the Terps that included penalties, turnovers, and a lackluster overall performance from the offense. It should be noted that the Terps are breaking in a true freshman Quarterback in Perry Hills. Maryland will need to get these issues resolved before next week when they travel to face Temple, who beat them 38-7 in 2011.

MVP (1 player) Andre Ellington, Clemson RB. With so much pregame talk about the loss of Sammy Watkins and pressure being put on Tahj Boyd, Ellington showed up and provided an outstanding performance against SEC foe Auburn. In the battle of the Tigers, Ellington proved to be the difference as he rattled off 228 rushing yards on 25 carries, an avg of 9.1 yards per carry.

Helmet Stickers (number will vary per week depending on performances)

1.) DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson WR. Hopkins stepped up and filled the void left by the suspension of Sammy Watkins. Hopkins set a school record with receptions in a single game(13) and finished with 119 yards receiving, including a late 4th quarter catch that put Clemson into the lead.

2.) Duke Johnson, Miami RB. The freshman running back broke two long touchdown runs (54 yards, 56 yards) against BC. He finished with 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Not a bad start for a freshman. He looks to be a big time playmaker that opponents will need to prepare for.

3.) Giovani Bernard, UNC RB. Bernard had 93 yards rushing on nine carries and three total touchdowns, including a punt return TD in the first half against Elon. Granted the competition wasn’t great, but the performance was still impressive, especially considering it’s a brand new offense.

ACC Power Rankings

1.) Florida State. Week 1:W 69-3 vs Murray State. Yes, it was Murray State, but if you watched college football this weekend you probably saw some talented teams struggle against lesser opponents (Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, etc.) Since they took care of business, FSU stays at the top this week.

2.) Clemson. Week 1: W 26-19 vs Auburn. Clemson is a close second place. Points are given for playing stronger competition, but I still believe Florida State is a better team right now. Clemson represented the ACC well in a nationally televised game against an SEC opponent. For now the ACC gets some respect and that is thanks to the Clemson Tigers. We saw amazing performances from Ellington and Hopkins, and the offense will only get better when Watkins returns. However, the defense still looks suspect, so we will have to see if Dabo Sweeney can get that straightened out as the season progresses.

3.) UNC. Week 1: W62-0 vs. Elon. The Tar Heels looked impressive in week 1, although it was against an opponent that is far less talented than they are. Head Coach Larry Fedora has brought the spread offense to Chapel Hill and all signs indicate that it’s a good fit for the personnel.  I am looking forward to seeing this team play Wake Forest in week 2 to make sure they are as good as they appeared Saturday.

4.) Virginia Tech. Week 1: W 20-17 vs Ga Tech. Monday’s win was anything but impressive. The offense was stagnant. Logan Thomas struggled with accuracy. The offensive line was porous. And the defense showed weaknesses. Although there is much to be disappointed in, the Hokies pulled out the win and that is all that matters. Next week will be a good tune up against Austin Peay.

5.) Georgia Tech. Week 1: L 17-20. The Yellow Jackets walked into Lane Stadium Monday night and put on a great game. Many would say that Ga Tech should have won that game. The offensive and defensive lines looked stellar for week 1 although the secondary failed them in many key situations down the stretch. The Jackets are now behind the 8-ball in the Coastal Division race, but they should feel good about the way their team is performing.

6.) Miami: Week 1 W 41-32 vs BC. Miami was played tough by a Boston College team that many have projected to finish at the bottom of the conference. However the offense looked impressive and we may have found a new star in Duke Johnson, the freshman running back. The defense will need to improve if the Canes want to compete for an ACC Championship, but a conference win in week 1 is a good start regardless of the margin of victory.

7.) Virginia: Week 1 W 43-19 vs. Richmond. The Cavs offense got off to a good start in 2012 as quarterback Michael Rocco threw for 311 yards and a touchdown against in state rival Richmond. The Cavs finished with 545 yards in total offense and dominated the time of possession. The defense played well and nearly had a first half shutout. Mike London will look to build on that success in week 2 vs. Penn State.

8.) NC State L 21-35 vs. Tennessee. The Wolfpack got off to a rough start in 2012, losing big against a Tennessee squad that finished the 2011 season 5-7. Quarterback Mike Glennon threw four interceptions and just one touchdown pass. The defense looked overmatched from the beginning, as they gave up over 500 total yards of offense. The game was an embarrassment for the ACC, and Head Coach Tom O’Brien will have to fix a lot of issues before the Wolfpack will challenge Clemson or Florida State for the Atlantic Division.

9.) Boston College: Week 1 L 32-41 vs Miami. Boston College played a tough game against a talented Miami team in week 1. Quarterback Chase Rettig has matured into an accurate passer and quick decision maker, two areas he has struggled with in the past. Rettig went off for 441 passing yards and two touchdowns. This team didn’t have high expectations coming into the season but gave reason for optimism moving forward.

10.) Duke: Week 1 W 46-26 vs FIU. FIU isn’t the greatest team, but Duke outplayed and outscored them in a game that was never really close. The offense was stellar, although they struggled in third down situations.  The margin of victory and points scored are the positives to take away from week 1.

11.) Wake Forest: Week 1 W 20-17 Liberty. This was a disappointing performance from a team that some had projected to be competitive in the Atlantic division this year. They narrowly avoided a disastrous loss but still find themselves low in the power rankings because of how they played and whom they played. They will host UNC in week 2, and that will tell if the problems they experienced in week 1 were flukes or not.

12.) Maryland: Week 1 W 7-6 vs William & Mary. This was a poor performance by the Terps all around. They nearly got shut out by an FCS team in the home opener. Growing pains for the freshman quarterback are to be expected, but what was the excuse for the other players  on the field. Turnovers, penalties, missed field goals, and overall poor execution of plays and individual responsibilities factored into the performance. Head Coach Randy Edsall has his work cut out for him to get this team to a bowl game. Week 2 vs Temple will be a stronger test for a team that didn’t do much anything right in week 1.

Featured Game, Week 2:

For week 2 the game I am looking forward to the most is Miami @ Kansas State. Kansas State is currently ranked #22 in the country. In case you don’t remember, the Wildcats beat the Canes in Miami last year in dramatic fashion, as they had a goal line stand to capture the W. A road victory against a ranked opponent would be a huge boost for the ACC. Regardless of your feelings about “Da U”, you should be rooting for them next Saturday, because they will be representing the conference.

Miami is talented but young. They will score but they will also give up points too. The Wildcats play a similar style of football as Virginia Tech. They are a run first team with the ability to throw. They love to control the clock and make big plays on special teams. They play a lot of close games regardless of who the opponent is. My prediction: If Miami can limit turnovers and penalties, I think they can win this game. I truly believe Miami will bring more talent to the field, but I am concerned about the way they played defense in week 1.

My prediction: Miami 38 KSU 34

2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Sorry Don, but I don’t think GT put on a “great game. The Hokie D kept them well below their offensive YPG average of last season…oddly enough, the passing game is all they really had that kept it as close as it was. I will hand it to the Jackets short handed D for hanging tough, but in the end it was not enough.

    1. Hi Mel,

      Thanks for reading and the feedback. I agree that Ga Tech didnt put on a great offensive performance but I thought they played a very good defensive game. With all the preseason hype around Logan Thomas and the Hokie D I thought they handled it well on the road. Also, the GT offense didnt have any turnovers until the interception in overtime that I am still trying to comprehend. Week 1 with an option offense and no fumbles is pretty good. Also consider that they drove the ball 3/4 of the field and took all but 44 seconds off the clock to score a go ahead touchdown at the end of the 4th quarter. I think most would agree that the GT offensive output was low but remember that the last 7 games of 2011 Ga tech averaged 23.9 points per game and also lost 5 out of 7 of those games.

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