Week 6: MVPs, Helmet Stickers, and Power Rankings

Week 6 was disappointing for many teams in the conference. The league lost it’s one and only National Title contender, lost both non-conference matchups, and the most consistent program in the conference lost its third game of the season already. The good news? It can only get better from here.

> Biggest Surprise, Week 6.
The ACC provided the biggest upset in the country Saturday night when NC State knocked off Florida State. The first half of this game went as planned. The Seminole defense pitched a shutout and the offense was moving the ball, although they weren’t putting up quite as many points as they would’ve liked. In  any regard, FSU walked into the locker room with a 16-0 lead at halftime in a conference road night game. Adjustments were made at  halftime and the Wolfpack turned the tables on the Noles and walked away with the win. Credit NCSU for bringing the confidence to the field in the second half and beating a team that many experts said would blow them out. Although they struggle at times on both sides of the ball, this team seems to be much improved from week 1.

The upset loss by FSU has officially made the ACC a laughing stock around the country, again. No National Title contender, only two ranked teams, the rest of the conference being mediocre and beating up on each other. Miami also had time in the spotlight Saturday night when they played Notre Dame in Chicago. However, Notre Dame crushed the Canes 41-3 and most people stopped paying attention by the 3rd quarter. No matter what team or school it is, the top tier teams and teams in the national spotlight have to start playing better for this conference to gain respect.

> MVP: Mike Glennon, NC State QB. Glennon’s performance Saturday night in the upset win over #3 Florida State has earned him my conference MVP of the Week. Glennon took charge in the fourth quarter, passing for two touchdowns, including the game winner to Bryan Underwood with just sixteen seconds left in the game. Glennon finished the game 30-of-55 with 259 passing yards and two touchdowns.

> Helmet Stickers

1.) Tahj Boyd, Clemson QB. Think week 6 was bad for the ACC? Well it would’ve been worse if it wasn’t for Tahj Boyd’s performance. He lead the Tigers in a gritty comeback win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Boyd finished with 397 passing yards, 63 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns.

2.) Giovanni Bernard, UNC RB. Bernard torched the Hokie defense Saturday, tallying up (they may still be counting) 262 rushing yards. This is the most yards someone has rushed for against a Frank Beamer coached Virginia Tech team EVER.

3.) Conner Vernon, Duke WR. Vernon caught a total of seven passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. However, it wasn’t only this game’s performance that earned him a helmet sticker. Vernon now holds the ACC record for all-time receptions at 239.

>ACC Power Rankings

1.) Clemson Week 6: W 47-31 vs Georgia Tech. The Tigers move up the #1 spot after FSU’s loss at NC State. Clemson’s offense continues to tally up astronomical numbers, but the defense is still a work in progress.  Clemson is off for week 7 and will be preparing for a week 8 matchup at home against Virginia Tech.

2.) North Carolina. Week 6: W 48-34 vs Virginia Tech. North Carolina moves up to #2 this week after a very impressive performance against Virginia Tech. The offense is looking stellar and the “D” is making the plays needed to win these kinds of games. Consistency is an issue the Heels are dealing with, but this past Saturday’s performance was one of the best in recent memory.

3.) Duke. Week 6: W 42-17 vs. Virginia. In case you haven’t realized, I am liking what Duke is doing so far this year. I think they play an all around good game that is tough for many other ACC teams to matchup against. They are obviously playing confident on both sides of the ball. I don’t want to credit them too much for beating up on a UVA team that is looking very bad recently, but they deserve credit for moving the ball on the ground and through the air, finishing drives with touchdowns, and playing solid defense for four quarters. Duke plays at Virginia Tech next weekend in a game that I personally would have them favored in.

4.) NC State. Week 6: W 17-16 vs. Florida State. What more can be said about how big of a win this was for the Wolfpack? The preseason hype that had NC State challenging for the ACC crown was thought to have disappeared after an unimpressive week 1 performance against Tennessee combined with last week’s loss at Miami. However, the Pack shocked the country Saturday night and pulled off the upset. We finally saw the maturity and leadership from Mike Glennon that NC State fans have been looking for. Another point of good news is that they have a bye in week 7 to recover and refocus before traveling to Maryland for week 8.

5. ) Florida State. Week 6: L 16-17 vs NC State. I’m not going to beat a dead horse on what the other 1 million analysts have already said. What I am going to say is that the Noles still have the opportunity to win the conference and a BCS game despite this loss. There’s nothing wrong with finishing the season 13-1 and winning the Orange Bowl. Pick your heads up, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and get back to work.  The Noles take on Boston College next week.

6.) Miami Week 6: L 3-41 vs Notre Dame. Yea, that was a pretty awful performance. But you know what? The Canes are still 4-2 and 3-0 in conference. They control their own destiny in the race for the ACC Championship, and the way things are looking in the Coastal Division they have a pretty good shot at winning the division. Week 7 is a HUGE game as the Canes will be facing the UNC Tar Heels in a big Coastal Division matchup.

7.) Virginia Tech. Week 6: L 34-48 vs North Carolina. The Hokies are in trouble. Remember that 10-win season streak?  Go ahead and toss that. Remember Beamerball and relying on Bud Foster’s defense to win games? Throw that in the same garbage bag. This is a bad Virginia Tech team that will likely be near .500 on the year when all is said and done. What is most surprising to me is how poor the basic fundamentals are. The coaches can defend these players all they want, but you can see offensive lineman getting beat every play, the secondary is just not working out, and they can’t defend the run to save their lives. Week 7 brings a confident Duke team to Lane Stadium in a matchup that in all honesty the Blue Devils should be favored in.

8.) Maryland Week 6: W 19-14 vs. Wake Forest. Credit the Terps for surpassing their 2011 win total in week 6. Credit the defense for keeping the Deacons in check long enough for the offense to put points on the board too. I truly believe the performance at West Virginia in week 5 was a turning point for the Terps. I think they realized that they weren’t as bad as people were saying after the loss to UConn, and also realized they are capable of beating one of the best teams in the country. The offense is maturing and the defense is building confidence each week. The Terps will take on UVA in Charlottesville in week 7.

9) Georgia Tech. Week 6: L 31-47. This is a pretty awful start to the season for Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. They are now below .500 on the year. The defense is a major liability, and as many of you may know, the offense just isn’t the same when they are playing from behind. Tech will have a week off to lick its wounds before taking on BC in week 8.

 10) Wake Forest Week 6: L 14-19 vs. Maryland. Wake took a tough loss Saturday at Maryland. In order for this team to win games they will need to find a way to run the ball consistently. The Deacs are now 101st in the country in the rushing offense. Wake is off next week and will play UVA in week 8.

 11.) Virginia. Week 6: L 42-17 vs Duke. The Cavs are allowing 42 points per game in the last 4 games, which were all losses. The defense needs to improve if UVA wants to have any chance to win these games. UVA takes on Maryland in week 7.

 12.) Boston College Week 6: L 34-31 vs. Army. The Eagles continue to struggle and handed the ACC yet another embarrassing non-conference loss this past Saturday. The schedule wont get any easier as they will take on FSU next week in Tallahassee.

Featured game, week 7:

The matchup for week 7 is North Carolina vs. Miami. The game has big implications on the Coastal Division Race and the ACC Championship. Miami is coming off an embarrassing loss to Notre Dame in a game where they couldn’t do much of anything right. The Tar Heels, on the other hand, are coming off a home win over Virginia Tech where they did just about everything right. The game is a toss up because both teams have been inconsistent so far this year. Penalties and turnovers could very well end up deciding the winner of this matchup. However, I believe North Carolina’s offense will move the ball at will on Miami’s defense.

My prediction: North Carolina 37 Miami 28

Don Deibler is a college football enthusiast and Virginia Tech alumnus who has had a passion for college sports since he was a young child. Outside of the ACC, he follows Notre Dame and South Carolina intently. He currently lives in Frederick, Maryland where he works in the mortgage banking industry and is in training for Air Traffic Control. You can reach him at [email protected].

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