High flying and limousine riding in the ACC

October 3, 2011 

Clemson

To be the man, you have to beat the man. Woo! Tigers coach Dabo Swinney and the Fightin' Danny Fords went into Blacksburg and beat the ACC champs like they owed them money. The Tigers are jet-flyin' and limousine-ridin' right to the top of the ACC mountain.

Wisconsin

Maybe Nebraska's bad (a distinct possibility), but Russell Wilson and the Badgers made the Cornhuskers lay down like a bunch of kindergartners at nap time. By the end of Wilson's clinic, both Brent Musburger and Lou Holtz were practically emailing voters to give Wilson the Heisman Trophy.

South Carolina

Truer words have never been written: "South Carolina simply cannot get out of its own way." (Some guy named J.P. Giglio wrote that, Aug. 20, 2011)

Everyone knew the Chickens would screw it up, just not against Auburn. The Ol' Ball Coach still has a surprise or two left, but it's not coming home for the Gamecocks this year (again).

Texas A&M

Hey, Mike Sherman, you've got to play the second half. For the second straight week, Sherman's troops took a left at halftime, with at least a 17-point lead, and lost to a ranked team

To put it in the indecipherable terms of Texas A&M's fight song, you can't "chigaroo" without the "garem." Every dear old Aggie knows that.

What we learned

1. The Alabama-LSU game is a play-in game for the BCS title: The collision course is set for Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and the rest of the SEC schedule is window dressing. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have the inside track for the other spot in New Orleans, with Wisconsin and Stanford needing help to get there.

2. Duke still regrets losing to Richmond: Kudos to the Blue Devils for picking up a hard-fought win against Florida International to improve to 3-2, but how much easier would their path to a bowl game be if they had a win over a Division I-AA team? Instead, Duke has to win three of its final seven games to get to the magic number six.

3. Virginia Tech misses Tyrod Taylor: It was silly to think sophomore Logan Thomas could replace the conference player of the year without missing a step. The Hokies would take aged alum Jim Druckenmiller at this point (age 39, washing out of the XFL and AFL) over Thomas, who has five interceptions and four touchdowns.

Ranking the ACC

1. Clemson: Great sign: Tajh Boyd can handle the road and win without a big game from Sammy Watkins.

2. Georgia Tech: The defense is still suspect, but the rest of the league hasn't caught up to Paul Johnson and his bag of tricks on offense.

3. Virginia Tech: Like the sun setting in the West, you can count on the Hokies coming back from a disappointing loss.

4. Florida State: Coming off a much-needed week off to get E.J. Manuel healthy for what should be a comically easy seven-game stretch.

5. UNC: The Tar Heels can take a punch; nice bounce-back win after a disappointment in Atlanta.

6. Maryland: The Terps lost to Temple by 31 points, and they're still No. 6. Tells you all you need to know about the ACC.

7. Miami: If there's a name on the opposing helmet, the "U" will show up, if not, the players just don't care.

8. Wake Forest: Could be No. 6 with a bullet, but their two ACC wins are over Nos. 11 and 12.

9. Duke: Nice win against Miami's junior varsity team (FIU), but is there a team in front of them in these rankings that they're going to beat?

10. Virginia: Idaho? In overtime? Eesh. Don't stop believing, Mike London.

jgiglio@newsobserver.com or twitter.com/jpgiglio

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