Week 13: MVPs, Helmet Stickers and Power Rankings

Week 13 in the ACC was symbolic of how the entire 2012 football season has gone for the conference: disappointing. Three ACC teams had a shot to take down a good SEC team and all of them failed. Yet again, this conference has demonstrated why so many people across the country do not respect the ranked teams that the ACC produces.

The bottom line is that the ACC cannot compete with the SEC, Notre Dame, or any of the other major BCS conferences. There are a million excuses for each team and each year, but the results are always the same. Sometimes I wonder how many wins some ACC schools would have if they weren’t required to play other ACC schools eight times per year.

The bottom line is that there isn’t much national respect for the ACC and Duke Basketball Coach Mike agrees. “I think the ACC is vulnerable right now, I’m concerned about our conference,” Coach K said last Monday shortly after the news broke about Maryland’s move to the Big 10. Sure, that move was mostly about money and so will just about every other move each team will make. Rumors are still swirling about FSU leaving for the Big 12 and Virginia Tech and NC State jumping ship for the SEC. Days like Saturday don’t do much good for a conference that is having trouble competing at the elite level. I don’t mean to be a downer but I feel that these are reasonable concerns that we all need to keep a careful eye on.

On the bright side, the Hokies were able to win their sixth game and will advance to a bowl game for the 20th consecutive season. The conference had eight teams finish with six or more wins and will be sending six teams to bowl games this year.

> Biggest Surprise Week 11: This week’s biggest surprise for me was South Carolina’s victory over Clemson. I would be less surprised if the score was 55-53. Clemson entered Saturday leading the conference and ranking sixth in the country in yards per game at 535. USC only allow the Tigers to amass 328 yards and a measly 17 points.  This again feeds into the ACC/SEC argument “Put those guys up against a SEC team and see how many points they score”. Well those hypothetical SEC fans are right. That was the fourth consecutive loss Clemson has had to its in-state rivals from Columbia. With the loss comes the realization that Clemson will not have a chance at getting into a BCS game through an at-large bid. This was something many fans were hoping for with a win on Saturday. Now it is looking like the Tigers will find themselves in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against another SEC opponent. We will know for sure next weekend.

> MVP: Bryn Renner, UNC Quarterback. Renner tied a school record with 5 touchdown passes. He completed 28/39 passes for 305 yards with no interceptions and lead his team to a 45-38 victory on Saturday.

> Helmet Stickers

1.) Duke Johnson, Miami Running Back.  The freshman running back rushed for season highs of 176 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. With this performance, Johnson now holds the freshman season total rushing yards record with 947, passing the previous mark of 838 held by Clinton Portis.

2.) Quinshad Davis, UNC Wide Reciever. Davis had a spectacular performance on Saturday totaling 135 yards on nine catches and two touchdowns.

3.) Cody Journell, Virginia Tech Kicker. On Saturday, Journell got every kickers dream: a second chance.  He got to kick the game winning 29-yard field goal with just four seconds left after missing a 41-yarder earlier in the quarter.  Give the assist to cornerback Antone Exum, who intercepted a pass to put the Hokies in great position late in the game.

>ACC Power Rankings

1.) Florida State. Week 13 L 37-26 vs Florida. If you would’ve told me FSU scored 26 points on Florida, I would’ve been pretty certain they came away with a victory. But that wasn’t the case. The Noles choked at home against a SEC opponent and embarrassed the conference. They will still likely win the ACC Championship next weekend against Georgia Tech, but this loss will certainly leave a bad taste in their mouth.

2.) Clemson. Week 13 L 27-17 vs South Carolina. 3 points in the second half. 3. How is that possible for this offense? I don’t understand what it is about Clemson in big out of conference games. They just cannot win. The problem is they are likely to get another SEC team in a bowl game. Lets hope they can get back on track.

3.) Miami. Week 13 W 52-45 vs Duke . Miami deserves credit for imposing the postseason ban this year. In the first year that they would’ve been able to play in the ACC Championship Game, the Canes chose to take themselves out of it. Even though Florida State is a much better team this year, that is the matchup all of the ACC bigwigs have been praying for since Miami joined the league. Hopefully this will earn them points with the NCAA and we can all move past this ordeal.

4.) UNC. Week 13 W 45-38 vs Maryland. Hats off to first year head coach Larry Fedora in leading a team in ruins to a 8-win season. There is a lot to build on with running back Giovanni Bernard and quarterback Bryn Renner coming back next year. The defense definitely needs work, but when all is said and done, this team is well ahead of the curve. Nice job Heels.

5.) NC State. Week 13 W 27-10 vs Boston College. The Wolfpack took care of business Saturday and beat a very bad Boston College team. However that didn’t save head coach Tom O’Brien’s job, as he was fired the next day. NC State wants to get back to the Phillip Rivers days, but they are far from it.

6.) Georgia Tech. Week 13 L 10-42 vs Georgia. Well this is another one of those losses that you need to forget about. The Yellow Jackets end up advancing to the ACC Championship Game despite losing three ACC games and going .500 on the year. The good news? The BCS world may spontaneously combust if a 7-6 Georgia Tech team makes it to the Orange Bowl.

7.) Virginia Tech. Week 13 W 17-14 vs UVA. Well it wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies got the win, barely. Saturday’s game was symbolic to the season’s play out. Not a whole lot went well, but at least they got six wins and are going to a bowl game. I’ve seen projections that show the Hokies playing against USC. How about that?

8.) Virginia. Week 13 L 14-17 vs Va Tech. Wahoo fans have to be disappointed with how this season played out. UVA finally had a chance to contend for the Coastal Division and beat rival Virginia Tech, but instead they didn’t. And how can Mike London explain not using his timeouts at the end of this game? What a terrible way to end your season.  

9.) Duke. Week 13 L 45-52 vs Miami. As I write this I am gasping because Duke started the year so well. 5-1, and now they lose five out of the last six to finish 6-6. The Dukies were the feel good story of the ACC earlier this year and now it all seems so long ago when they were playing well. Its still nice to see them make a bowl game, and hopefully they will finish with a win.

10.) Maryland. Week 13 L 38-45 vs UNC. Well the good news is that the season is over for the Terps. I’m a little bitter towards this school now that they have decided to jump ship. I hope the money is worth getting pounded in both football and basketball. Anyone else hyped for that Maryland/Minnesota football game in 2014? Me either.

11.) Wake Forest. Week 13 L 21-55 vs Vanderbilt. This week’s loss was disheartening for several reasons. First of all it contributed to the 0-4 record the ACC had against the SEC on Saturday. Second, it knocked Wake out of a bowl game. The loss that has to stick in the minds of these players and coaches has to be October 6th at Maryland. Wake was up 14-13 until they gave up a late 4th quarter touchdown and lost by five points. They needed to win just two out of the final five regular season games to make it to a bowl but they came up short.

12.) Boston College Week 13 L 10-27. BC had a horrendous year and Coach Spaziani has already been fired as a result. The program is simply not where it should be. BC is a great school with a great athletic program and the football team needs to win at least six games every single year. Unfortunately it appears that it will take a few years to get this team back where it should be.

Featured game, Week 13: Florida State vs Georgia Tech

Would anyone get mad if I wrote about the SEC Championship? Just kidding, kind of. I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you that I’m not going to see any more than the ESPN highlights of this game. It’s sad to say that a 6-6 Georgia Tech team is in the Championship game. Florida State is better in every aspect of this matchup much like Georgia was this past Saturday. And I see this game playing out very similar to the Georgia game. Florida State will produce big points in this game unless the weather gets ugly. Georgia Tech will simply not be able to keep up. GT doesn’t play well when they get behind. To put it simply, this will be a blow out. Look for FSU QB EJ Manuel to have huge game after a disappointing performance in the Florida game.

Prediction: FSU 38 Georgia Tech 13

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].

Follow Inside the ACC on Twitter at @InsideTheACC.

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