Tag:USA Today Poll
Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:03 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 12

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

6/4. Virginia Tech

Happy to see the Hokies getting some national attention in their current six-game tear, but their body of work makes the Top 5 seem a little high. Virginia Tech could be the next top five team to fall, as they have to travel to Charlottesville and beat Virginia to earn a bid to Charlotte to defend their ACC Championship. But while the ranking may seem a tad high, there is good reason for their newfound respect from the voters. Outside of the 14-10 win at Duke, Virginia Tech has been rolling through their conference schedule. Logan Thomas continues to improve at quarterback as the season winds down, and David Wilson has been raising eyebrows with his ACC-leading 131.1 yards per game on the ground.

18/17. Clemson

With an opening in the BCS top ten thanks to the upsets, Clemson really dropped the ball (literally) in their loss to NC State. The Tigers turned the ball over four times, and slept-walk through most of the first half against the Wolfpack. With superstar freshman Sammy Watkins (shoulder) on the sideline in sweats, Tajh Boyd looked elsewhere for big plays to mount a comeback. Unfortunately he looked to the other team, throwing two red zone interceptions during the second half before being replaced by Cole Stoudt. Clemson has trailed in the first half of their last three games, losing two. The Tigers face South Carolina this weekend before taking on either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.

24/25. Virginia

The biggest surprise of the season has to be Virginia's performance in their second under Mike London. The Cavaliers were projected to finish at 4th or worst in the ACC Coastal Division, and after the gritty 14-13 upset of Florida State they are just one win away from making their first appearance in the ACC Championship Game. It was the first time Virginia has ever won in Tallahassee, and it gives Virginia a shot at their first 9-win season since 2007.

25/21. Georgia Tech

Like so many teams in the ACC, Yellow Jackets narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils caused a stir by jumping out to an early lead, falling behind, and then rallying again; but a late Sean Renfree interception and big plays from Tevin Washington kept Georgia Tech alive in their march for 10 wins. With the ACC Coastal out of reach, double-digit wins has become to new goal for the 8-3 Yellow Jackets. Next up is the annual meeting with SEC East champion Georgia, played this year at home in Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Others receiving votes:Florida State falls from the rankings, but manages to collect a single vote from the coaches after the home loss to Virginia. No other teams from the conference made a ballot in either poll.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:22 am
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 11

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

7/8. Clemson

Losses to undefeated Boise State and Stanford gave the Tigers a window of opportunity to move up in the polls. However, Clemson nearly took that opportunity away from themselves with a 31-28 scare from Wake Forest in Death Valley on Saturday. The Tigers were forced to rally back from a two-score second half deficit after giving up 21 points in a five minute span during the third quarter. Wake Forest's undersized defense found ways to frustrate quarterback Tajh Boyd early, but the talented sophomore made adjustments and led two impressive fourth quarter drives - the last one resulting in Chandler Catanzaro's game-winning field goal as time expired.

9/7. Virginia Tech

Like clockwork, Frank Beamer has the Hokies competing for an ACC Coastal Division title in mid-November. With their only loss of the season coming at the hands of Clemson, Virginia Tech positions themselves for their fifth ACC Championship Game berth in seven years with a road win over Georgia Tech. The victory leaves just North Carolina and Virginia left on the schedule, with only the Cavaliers in a position to overtake the Hokies in the standings. As long as Logan Thomas and David Wilson keep moving the ball on the ground, they should find themselves with an opportunity to face the Tigers again. This time the stakes will be higher, with a bid to a BCS bowl game on the line.

23/22. Florida State

The Seminoles find themselves back in the polls after putting away in-state rival Miami for their fifth straight win. The return of quarterback EJ Manuel to the starting lineup has made everyone on the offense better, and the defense is giving up only 11.6 points per game in the winning streak. Florida State's goals of returning to the ACC Championship Game have already become unattainable, but there is plenty left for second-year head coach Jimbo Fisher to build on with the rest of this season.

OTV/23. Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets' hopes of making an ACC Championship Game were dashed in the loss to Virginia Tech at home on Thursday night. The Ramblin' Wreck tried to pull out the same home-cooking that stunned the Hokies two weeks earlier, but the defense had no answer for the powerful combination of Logan Thomas and David Wilson in the fourth quarter. A personal foul on Jeremiah Attaochu for a punch thrown at Thomas will end up being the play that sticks out as the game's turning point, but the Yellow Jackets need to put that game behind them and avoid slipping back into a funk. Georgia Tech has lost three of their last four, but will have opportunities to finish strong at Duke and at home against in-state rival Georgia to close the season.

Others receiving votes:Georgia Tech sits right on the outside of the AP poll, but no other ACC teams received votes from the media. Mike London's Virginia squad fell just a handful of spots outside of the Coaches' Poll, and will have a chance to gain some ground if they can win out and steal the Coastal Division.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:13 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 10

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

9/10. Clemson

Dabo Swinney must get his team refocused after getting their national championship dreams dashed by Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Oct. 29. With two weeks off, running back Andre Ellington - ruled out against the Yellow Jackets - should be healthy for the final stretch against Wake Forest, NC State, and South Carolina. While national ranking matters less now, the new focus is a berth to the ACC Championship Game. Clemson can clinch the ACC Atlantic Division with a win against Wake Forest on Saturday.


10/9. Virginia Tech

Despite losing to Clemson 23-3 at home earlier in the season, and barely beating Duke 14-10 in a game that featured no second-half touchdowns, the Coaches/SID's of the USA Today poll have the Hokies one spot ahead of the Tigers. Virginia Tech has improved over the course of the season, but they will need an impressive victory to look more like a Top 10 team. That opportunity will come on Thursday, as the Hokies travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech with the ACC Coastal Division on the line. If Frank Beamer's squad can overcome the Yellow Jackets' ground attack, that will be something the Tigers were unable to accomplish.

20/19. Georgia Tech

The ranked teams in the ACC did not compete in Week 10, yet all moved up in the polls. Getting healthier while improving in the rankings has got to be ultimate win-win for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have battled through injuries all season, and get a week off between their two biggest games on the schedule. Having already knocked off Clemson at home two weeks ago, Georgia Tech prepares to fight for a possible division title and berth to the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech this Thursday night.

Others receiving votes:Florida State's fourth win in a row has them sitting on the edge of the rankings in both polls. Virginia's move into bowl eligibility also has Mike London's squad getting their first significant attention from the voters, while Miami collected a few votes in the Coaches Poll following their win over Duke.

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 4:16 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 9

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

11/12. Clemson

Clemson takes an expected tumble from their Top 10 rankings after suffering the 31-17 loss to Georgia Tech. The challenge for head coach Dabo Swinney is to take this young Tigers team and help them avoid letting Saturday's disappointment derail the season. Thanks to Wake Forest's loss to North Carolina, Clemson still controls their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division and could end up facing the Yellow Jackets again in the ACC title game.


12/11. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech likely benefited from their 14-10 victory over Duke flying below the radar on an otherwise busy college football Saturday. The game featured six turnovers, 12 combined penalties, and four missed field goals. The only consistency for the Hokies offensively was David Wilson (23 carries, 148 yards) in a performance that saw the last Virginia Tech point get scored five minutes into the second quarter. Virginia Tech and Clemson battling just outside the Top 10 feels appropriate considering their current status in the national landscape. Georgia Tech will try to play spoiler once again to the Hokies, who must travel to Atlanta a week from Thursday and avoid the same trap that tripped up Clemson.

22/23. Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech reappears in the rankings thanks to their well-publicized upset of No. 6 Clemson at home on Saturday night. Head coach Paul Johnson suggested that fatigue may have been a factor in the recent losses, and adjustments were made to the practice schedule heading into the primetime showdown. Now the Yellow Jackets get a much-needed off week to get healthier and prepare for another crucial ACC conference matchup against Virginia Tech. A win against the 1-loss Hokies would give the Yellow Jackets the head-to-head tie breaker against the current leaders in the ACC Coastal Division.

Others receiving votes:Florida State received some interest from the voters in both polls following yet another 25+ point victory over a conference opponent, while North Carolina received a few points in the Coaches Poll.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 6:23 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

6/6. Clemson

Head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters he made it very clear to his team at halftime (as they led North Carolina 24-17) that they needed to decide right there whether or not they wanted to be 8-0. The Tigers answered his query with a 35-point third quarter performance as they kickstarted the shootout in Death Valley to put the Tar Heels away. Tajh Boyd was able to rest for much of the fourth quarter, after throwing for 367 yards and five touchdowns to five different receivers.

Clemson's offense hasn't shown the ability to be stopped for four quarters. Several teams have limited the Tigers from hitting a rhythm for a quarter or half, but no one has had an answer for their explosiveness over 60 minutes. One team that can control the pace of the game is Georgia Tech, who await the Tigers arrival in Atlanta on Saturday. The game will be under the lights, and the Yellow Jackets need a win after dropping two straight. It is arguably Clemson's toughest game left on the schedule, as the Tigers are now one of eight unbeaten teams remaining in FBS play.


15/15. Virginia Tech

After two impressive performances that launched them back up the polls, the Hokies sputtered in the first half against lowly Boston College. But after trailing 7-6 at half, Virginia Tech got rolling and outscored the Eagles 24-7 in the second half. David Wilson continued to be a workhorse out of the backfield, carrying 17 times for 134 yards. The second half rout is also a credit to the defense, which despite missing several playmakers due to injury was able to come up with two second half turnovers.

With Georgia Tech's second straight conference loss, the Hokies now sit alone on top of the ACC Coastal Division standings. But any repeated performances like the first half against Boston College might end up hurting their hopes of defending their ACC championship in Charlotte. The four remaining games on Virginia Tech's schedule are all division opponents, two Thursday night games, and three games on the road. Their resiliency on Saturday at home was commendable, but Hokie fans would prefer not needing to feel that nervous again.

Others receiving votes: Georgia Tech's name reappears in this category after falling from No. 12 over the last two weeks. Miami also saw some decent action from the voters, after defeating the previously-ranked Yellow Jackets for their second straight conference win. Wake Forest also received some votes in the Coaches Poll. No offense to Jim Grobe and the Demon Deacons, but I'd guess those Coaches/SIDs did not watch the 24-23 barn burner at Duke on Saturday.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: ACC

Posted by Chip Patterson

The first official preseason poll was released on Thursday, with USA Today announcing the results of the Coaches Poll. The ACC, which has spent much of the offseason discussing ways to increase their national prominence, finds themselves with only two teams ranked in the top 25.

The teams come as no surprise, as the ACC preseason favorite Florida State starts the season ranked No. 5, while Virginia Tech-picked by the media to win the Coastal Division - is ranked No. 13.

#5 Florida State - Seeing the Seminoles in the top 5 seems appropriate. They had a strong finish to the 2010 season, falling 44-33 to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game then defeating South Carolina in the Chick Fil-A Bowl, and return 16 offensive and defensive starters. One of the new starters, junior quarterback EJ Manuel, was already selected to the preseason All-ACC team. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has embraced the expectations, and feels certain that his team is prepared to stay focus regardless of hype. Manuel himself claims that he doesn't even read articles and blogs about the team.

But as far as national dominance goes, the Seminoles' campaign hits a fork in the road on Sept. 17 when the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners visit Tallahassee for a spotlight showdown that will likely make or break either team's national title hopes. A loss puts them in the position of battling for an Orange Bowl berth, a win makes a trip to New Orleans seem like a legitimate possibility for Florida State fans.

#13 Virginia Tech - One year ago, the Hokies were ranked sixth in this same preseason poll. Then an exhausting 33-30 Labor Day loss to Boise State was piggy-backed by an upset loss to James Madison at home. Suddenly, the top-10 Virginia Tech team with title hopes was unranked and looking for answers. The season had changed tone in only a five-day period. But the Hokies bounced back winning 11 straight games and an ACC Championship before losing to Stanford in the Orange Bowl.

Frank Beamer returns 12 starters from last year's squad, and a more than favorable schedule makes an eighth straight 10+ win season seem like a possibility. New starting quarterback Logan Thomas has drawn praise for his development and athletic ability, but the Hokies still need to answer some questions offensively. Being ranked just behind South Carolina and ahead of Arkansas seems a little high for this unproven squad, but I would not have put them below No. 16 Ohio State or No. 17 Michigan State. Considering the talent returning and the coaching staff in place, the ranking seems not only appropriate - but a good guess at where they could end up at the end of the season.

Other Receiving Votes
No. 25 Penn State finished with 161 points in the poll, here is a breakdown of how the other vote-getting teams fared.

Miami, 49 points, No. 29 - The Hurricanes have been picked by the media to finish second in the Coastal Division behind the Hokies. With a new head coach and still no decision on a starting quarterback, it is easy to see why coaches are reserving their endorsements of "The U."

North Carolina, 14 points, No. 36 - Anytime you dismiss a head coach just eight days before players report for training camp, it is going to shake up confidence in the upcoming season. The Tar Heels have one of the best defensive lines in the ACC, but big question marks in the secondary and unproven sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner make another "7 or 8 win/just outside the Top 25"-type season seem likely in Chapel Hill.

Clemson, 7 points, No. 40 - The Tigers pulled in a Top-10 recruiting class this offseason, with many of the stars expected to see playing time almost immediately. New offensive coordinator is promising upwards of 70-80 plays a game for the Tigers' offense, which could make for either a dominating or painfully reckless experience for sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd.

North Carolina State, 4 points, No. 44 - For the first time since his arrival, Tom O'Brien has recruited every player on the N.C. State two-deep depth chart. He feels confident that last season's 9-win performance was a sign of the program turning a corner. A favorable schedule makes a return to the postseason seem likely for the Wolfpack, but letting all-conference quarterback Russell Wilson walk to the Badgers will not get you preseason votes from most coaches.

Georgia Tech, 1 point, No. 49 - Head coach Paul Johnson is not on the USA TODAY Board of Coaches, so I'm not sure who gave the Yellow Jackets the sole No. 25 vote. Georgia Tech lost 5 of their last 6 games in 2010, only defeating Duke 30-20. They've got talent, but not enough to deserve national ranking after last season's collapse.
 
 
 
 
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