Virginia Tech had several chances against Boise State to jump ahead of Miami in this week’s power rankings, but the Hokies made too many uncharacteristic mistakes. Yes, Virginia Tech played a much tougher opponent than the Canes did, but the special-teams miscues, the missed tackles and the inability to run the ball leave Virginia Tech with significant room for improvement before conference play begins. Here’s a look at the ACC power rankings after Week 1:
1. Miami (1-0): The Hurricanes looked sharp in their 45-0 thumping of Florida A&M, and only needed quarterback Jacory Harris for one half. There was no sign of looking ahead to Ohio State, but we’ll find out a lot more about where the program is after Saturday’s trip to the Shoe.
2. Virginia Tech (0-1): The Hokies showed their youth in a 33-30 loss to Boise State, with uncharacteristic mistakes on -- gasp! -- special teams, and fell behind 17-0 in the first quarter. This program plays its best ball late in the season, though, and the staff will force it to grow up quickly.
3. Florida State (1-0): The Seminoles dominated Samford 59-6 and looked like the best team in the Atlantic Division, but Saturday’s game at Oklahoma will reveal if Jimbo Fisher’s program is a contender.
4. Georgia Tech (1-0): The Jackets handled South Carolina State 41-10, but coach Paul Johnson said on his Sunday teleconference that there were plenty of areas the team needs to improve upon. They still weren’t as efficient in the passing game as he would’ve liked, and if Kansas figures a way to take out the B-back, Joshua Nesbitt will need some more help.
5. North Carolina (0-1): The question isn’t whether UNC would’ve beat LSU if it were full strength on Saturday, it’s by how much? This is a gritty team that can still contend for the Coastal Division title, even if short-handed -- but only if T.J. Yates continues to lead the offense like he did Saturday.
6. Clemson (1-0): The bend-but-don’t-break defense won’t hold up once conference play rolls around, and the Tigers are still looking for a go-to receiver. Clemson was outgained by North Texas 234-228 in the first 30 minutes. The Tigers have one more tune-up -- Presbyterian -- before traveling to Auburn.
7. NC State (1-0): With quarterback Russell Wilson playing like he did, there’s no reason the Pack can’t be a dark horse candidate in the ACC if the defense maintains and builds upon that improved performance. The Pack never allowed Western Carolina into the red zone.
8. Boston College (1-0): The Eagles slip despite their win for one main reason -- quarterback play. Dave Shinskie is still the starter after throwing two interceptions, but Mike Marscovetra is going to get more time. Until that position becomes more dependable, the Eagles have something to prove in the Atlantic.
9. Maryland (1-0): The Terps hung in for the 17-14 Labor Day win over Navy, an important step in turning around last year’s 2-10 season. They have plenty of talent and speed, but it was a sloppy game for both teams. Maryland’s defense was generous the whole game, but Kenny Tate came up with the big stop when the Terps needed it most.
10. Duke (1-0): The Blue Devils jump up because of the impressive play of quarterback Sean Renfree, who is only going to get better. He could be the difference next week when Duke takes on …
11. Wake Forest (1-0): The Deacs’ strength last week against Presbyterian was their running game. Duke’s defense will be tested, as Wake amassed 509 total yards. There was also a blocked extra point and the first defensive two-point conversion in school history. There is life after Riley Skinner.
12. Virginia (1-0): The Cavaliers won their first season opener since 2005 and the offense was clicking, but it will face a much bigger challenge with a road trip to USC on Saturday.