Week 2: MVPs, Helmet Stickers, and Power Rankings

Week 2 in the ACC presented a few surprises and blow out wins across the board. The surprises included Wake knocking off North Carolina, Virginia’s win against Penn State, Miami getting manhandled against Kansas State, and Maryland’s win at Temple. Duke took a beating at Stanford and NC State survived a close game at Connecticut. The rest of the conference took care of business against sub-par competition.

Biggest Surprise: Week 2 had many surprises, but the biggest surprise to me was Maryland’s 36-27 win at Temple. I realize that Temple isn’t the same team as they were a year ago but if you factored in Maryland’s poor week 1 performance against William & Mary along with the dominating 2011 result  against Temple in College Park (a 38-7 Owls win), there was very little reason to believe Maryland was going to win that game. While the win went primarily unnoticed by most of the country, those who follow the Terps and ACC football realized how impressive this was. The offense was balanced and efficient, totaling over 300 yards and racking up 23 points in the second quarter. With that win, Maryland has already matched their 2011 win total and head into another challenging matchup in week 3 against UConn, at home.

MVP: Tanner Price, Wake Forest QB. Tanner price’s leadership and maturity factor into me naming him week 3 MVP just as much as his stats do. He threw for 327 yards and completed 71% of his passes in a big win for the Demon Deacons, 28-27 over UNC. Nobody had Wake beating UNC coming into the weekend. Wake narrowly avoided disaster in week 1, holding off Liberty in a close win. But Price showed his leadership and capped off a great performance with a game winning QB sneak late in the 4th quarter. Anyone who has Wake on their schedule better be prepared for a tough game.

Helmet Stickers

1.) Perry Hills, Maryland QB. Hills threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third in Saturday’s win at Temple. As noted above, this was a shocking victory and Hills showed improvement in his decision making and accuracy after a shaky week 1 debut. We need to keep in mind that he is a freshman and there will be growing pains along the way, but Saturday’s performance showed that he has the tools necessary to lead his team to a victory.

2.) Michael Campanaro , Wake Forest WR. Campanaro made a name for himself on Saturday as he had 13 receptions and 164 receiving yards, both career highs. Campanaro’s performance was instrumental in the upset win against conference foe North Carolina.

3.) Zach Laskey, Ga Tech B-Back. Laskey made his first start Saturday against overmatched Presbyterian. He racked up 116 yards on just 12 carries and scored one touchdown on a long 56 yard sprint. In a game that the GT offense rolled up 712 total yards, Laskey’s performance stood out. Look to see more of him as the season progresses.

ACC Power Rankings

1.) Florida State. Week 2: W 55-0 vs Savannah State. FSU stays on top even though they have played two very easy opponents. The Noles dominated a well overmatched Savanna State in every aspect of the game, in a game that was called midway through the third quarter due to weather. They will begin play against a confident Wake Forest team in week 3, in Tallahassee.

2.) Clemson. Week 2: W 52-27 vs Ball State. Clemson continues as a close second place. Auburn’s week 2 loss at Miss St makes the week 1 win look less impressive. The Tiger’s offense continues to impress but the defense is still a work in progress. They will have a week 3 tune up against in-state foe Furman before a big-time week 4 matchup against Florida State in Tallahassee.

3.) Virginia Tech. Week 2: W 42-7 vs Austin Peay. The Hokies took care of business in week 3 against a team they really shouldn’t have on their schedule. The offense started slow once again but picked up as the game progressed. The Hokies will need to find a way to be more productive on offense moving forward.  The inexperienced offensive line is continuing to grow but is obviously a problem for the now ranked #13 team in the country. The defense has been consistently strong at all levels in the first two weeks and will continue to be the strength of this team moving forward. VT will face a familiar opponent in the Pitt Panthers in week 3.

4.) Georgia Tech. Week 2: W 59-3 vs Presbyterian. Georgia Tech bounced back from a heart breaking loss and dominated an inferior opponent. The Jackets moved the ball at will in week 2, totaling 712 total yards of offense. The Jackets are battling some injury/depth chart issues but still looked impressive in what you would consider a tune up game. GT will begin conference play with an important revenge matchup against UVA in week 3 in Atlanta. In case you don’t remember, UVA handed the Jackets their first loss in 2011 as they beat the then-ranked #12 Yellow Jacket 24-21 in Charlottesville.

5.) Virginia. Week 2: W 17-16 vs Penn State. The Cavalier’s pulled off a great win for the program and the conference Saturday against Penn State on national television. Scott Stadium erupted as PSU missed a fourth field goal to win the game. Michael Rocco is emerging to be a good leader and dependable quarterback. The defense is improving, although they need to find ways to pressure the opposing quarterback better. The week 3 matchup against Georgia Tech will show us just how good this team really is.

6.) Wake Forest. Week 2: W 28-27 vs UNC. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the week 2 victory against North Carolina. Head Coach Jim Grobe deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team focused and developing unheralded recruits into good college football players. The players also deserve credit for staying focused after a disappointing week 1 performance and pulling out a win against a team that is perceived as more talented than them. Junior Quarterback Tanner Price will lead his team into a hostile environment at Florida State with a chance to shock the country and turn the Atlantic Division upside down in Week 3.

7.) Maryland. Week 2: W 36-27 vs Temple. The biggest mover from last week’s ranking to this week is the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps traveled to Philadelphia to face a team that blew them out in 2011, got up big early, and held on for the win. After a disappointing week 1 performance, it was a forgone conclusion that the Terps didn’t stand a chance, but that’s why the game isn’t played on paper. Freshman QB Perry Hills and the rest of the offense showed significant improvement and so did the defense. Although they allowed the Temple Owls to crawl back in the second half, the game was a tremendous success.  The Terps move up significantly because they bounced back and beat a non-conference opponent on the road. Randy Edsall will look to build upon his early season success in a week 3 matchup against his former team, the UConn Huskies, in College Park.

 8.) Boston College. Week 2: W 34-3 vs Maine. The BC Eagles simply dominated an overmatched opponent in Maine on Saturday. Quarterback Chase Rettig went off in the first half and finished the game with three touchdown passes and 219 passing yards, even though they ran the ball for most of the second half. Boston College continues to impress me on both sides of the ball and appear to be ahead of the curve heading into conference play. The Eagles will be representing the conference against Northwestern in week 3.

9) North Carolina. Week 2: L 27-28 vs Wake Forest. After receiving week 1 praise, the Tar Heels were left shocked after losing their first conference game of the 2012 season. Even the the Tar Heels are ineligible for post season play, they still are playing for bragging rights in the conference this year.The offense and defense were a disappointment capped off by letting Wake drive and score a late touchdown to win the game. UNC now finds themselves at the bottom of the division with a battle ahead of them to get to the top. It appears the transition to the spread offense will not be as seamless as originally thought after week 1. The defense will still be solid, but the offense will need to develop before they can beat the better teams in the conference. The Tar Heels will need to get over this loss quick as they will be on national television representing the ACC against #19 Louisville in week 3.

 10) Miami. Week 2: L 52-13 vs Kansas State. Shame on me for giving the Canes my vote of confidence before heading into this game. They were simply outplayed in all facets of the game. Head Coach Al Golden said it best: “They were excellent. They beat us in all three phases. They outplayed us, outcoached us, starting with me, and that’s it. No excuses. They deserved to win.” The Canes’ offense was nearly non-existent. The defense was porous and had no answers for a KSU offense that really isn’t known for blowing out their opponents. This game was an embarrassment for the school and the conference, and that is why they find themselves so low in this week’s rankings. Miami will have a chance to rebuild their confidence and make the necessary adjustments in week 3 against Bethune-Cookman before beginning conference play in week 4 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

 11.) NC State. Week 2: W 10-7 vs UConn. The Wolfpack pulled out a close victory against a mediocre opponent. Quarterback Mike Glennon refrained from throwing interceptions as he did in week 1, but ended up taking six sacks instead. With so much preseason hype around Glennon and this offense, the Wolfpack simply has underachieved. The defense played solid this week but I don’t know that this was a very good test for them. Week 3 & 4 (South Alabama and Citadel) will hopefully provide the time needed for this team to build confidence and make adjustments before heading into conference play.

 12.) Duke. Week 2: L 50-13 vs Stanford. Duke got walloped by Stanford on Saturday. I honestly thought this would be a close game and thought there was a small chance Duke could pull off the upset. It became obvious very quickly that this team is not prepared to compete against top level competition. Duke finds itself at the bottom of the rankings because of how poorly they represented the conference on national television and how many problems the Stanford Cardinal exposed. The offense is talented and capable of moving the ball, but the inability to score and turnovers are major issues they will need to overcome. The defense looked completely overmatched from the beginning. The Blue Devils simply looked flat Saturday. They will need to regroup and find ways to be more efficient on offense and better all around on D. In week 3 they will be at home against North Carolina Central.

Featured game, week 3:

For week 3, the ACC game I am looking forward to the most is Virginia @ Georgia Tech. Last year the Cavaliers were the first team to figure out how to slow down this option offense and started a disappointing 2-5 ending to the season for the Yellow Jackets. Heading into that game, Georgia Tech was 6-0 and ranked #12 in the country and were being considered a dark horse national title contender. That ended in Charlottesville.

You can bet the players and coaches who were there last year haven’t forgotten about that loss and will want to get revenge. This game also has major implications for the Coastal Division race. GT already took a conference loss in week 1 vs Virginia Tech. If they lose a second conference game, it will be virtually impossible for them to make it to the ACC Championship.

UVA will be coming into this game with a ton of confidence after beating Penn State in dramatic fashion this past weekend. UVA’s defense matches up well against Georgia Tech’s option offense. I think the difference in the game will be the matchup of UVA’s offense against the Yellow Jacket defense. Last year UVA was able to jump out to an early lead, which typically changes how Georgia Tech plays the game. I don’t think that UVA will have the same success it had in 2011. I just can’t see the Yellow Jackets losing their first two conference games this year. There is too much on the line and I believe they will find a way to win this game, especially in Atlanta.

My prediction: Georgia Tech 27 UVA 21

2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Well I have to say that while I can fully agree with you ranking Duke last, they were horrible Saturday night, the fact that they lost to a nationally ranked team on their home field three time zones away should justify that a bit. I’d say that Miami getting thumped was a worse loss because you would expect that game to be closer and that game was on national TV. The Duke game was not nationally televised. It was very limited to the Pac 12 Network and you had to purchase that package to be able to view it. Plus it didn’t kick till 10:30 EST so no one, other than Stanford and or the few Duke Football fans out there was probably watching.

    The defense was the only bright spot. It was the offense that was clueless against Stanford. It was the offense’s inability to hold on to the ball, or move it down field that helped set up a very short field for the Cardinal more times than not. Duke held a few times and did force a turnover. So I feel like the defense was far better than the offense that opted to run 15 swing/screen passes in the first half and ran the ball 5 times. That being said the defense wasn’t good. They did give up 36 points.

    Stanford was far more physical and was the aggressor. The fact is Duke is good enough now where this game shouldn’t have been so lopsided, but it is clear the program has not progressed to the point where they can prove that on the road. And also week three they play North Carolina Central, not Memphis.

    1. DSB,

      Thanks for reading and your feedback. Perhaps I can give you some insight as to why I believe Duke should be at the #12 spot:

      First off, you are correct about the Pac-12 Network. The way it works is they split up the teams within that conference by geographic location (Stanford falls into the Pac-12 Bay Area limitation) and broadcast the game in that area geared towards those fans only. My interpretation of that network is that it would be more similar to the Big Ten Network where games are more easily visible in multiple regions but clearly it isn’t. In saying that, you can bet there are plenty of people keeping an eye on Stanford Football even if they are just watching the box score and highlights. Stanford is now up to the #21 spot and hosts #2 USC this weekend. Many were looking at this past weekend’s game for a preview as to how good Stanford really is. However, I don’t believe Duke gave them a challenge. Secondly, I was incorrect about the opponent and thought we had that changed in the editing process but it must have slipped through the cracks.

      To the main point, I completely agree that Miami’s loss was more surprising (and apparently easier to watch) than Duke’s loss. However, the difference in the ranking is who has done more coming into the loss. Both losses were really bad and you can make an argument for either team having a worse day. However, Miami has a conference win under their belt already after beating BC in week 1 on the road. Plus I think most people would agree that Miami’s roster is more talented, even though they tend to have trouble putting that talent to good use sometimes. It would be great for the conference if Duke could rise up and challenge some of the bigger names on their schedule each year but for now it doesn’t appear they will be doing that anytime soon.

      Thanks again for reading and expressing your opinion.

Leave a Reply