Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
We’re now in the final month of the regular season (can't believe it), and separation has officially occurred with Georgia Tech all alone at the top. Florida State and North Carolina both moved up, but for the most part, there was little change in this week’s rankings:
1. Georgia Tech (8-1, 5-1; LW: No. 1): The Yellow Jackets moved up to No. 10 in this week’s BCS standings, and are now the ACC’s lone representative in the top 15. They got a scare from Vanderbilt in the first half, though, and it looked as if the defense had reverted back to its midseason form. Paul Johnson's offense looks unstoppable heading into Saturday's home game against Wake Forest.
2. Miami (6-2, 3-2; LW: No. 3): It took until the final minute, but Jacory Harris and the Hurricanes pulled it off in Winston-Salem with a come-from-behind win and regrouped after the loss to Clemson. The Canes can still have a 10- or 11-win season and will be favored in each of their remaining games, but they've got to get some players healthy on defense and cut down on the mistakes.
3. Virginia Tech (5-3, 3-2; LW: No. 2): The Hokies won the award for most surprising loss of the week -- maybe the season -- as they fell at home to a North Carolina team that was looking for its first conference win. The Hokies’ defense, which has been inconsistent all season, couldn’t shut down one of the nation’s worst offenses, but UNC offensive coordinator John Shoop called a great game and had the Tar Heels prepared.
4. Clemson (5-3, 3-2; LW: No. 4): The Tigers followed the script and beat up on unheralded Coastal Carolina, but lost one of their best pass-rushers in the process in Da’Quan Bowers, who sprained his MCL and PCL. Clemson has home-field advantage this week in a key Atlantic Division game against Florida State. The Atlantic Division is Clemson's to lose.
5. Boston College (6-3, 3-2; LW: No. 5): The Eagles are bowl eligible and have the bye week to enjoy it and rest up before heading to Virginia. BC fans should be rooting for Florida State this weekend, as Clemson stands in the Eagles’ way of a third straight trip to the ACC title game.
6. Duke (5-3, 3-1; LW: No. 6): The Blue Devils have won three straight conference games for the first time since 1994, they’ve won two conference road games for the first time since 1999, and they’re two wins away from bowl eligibility. They’ve got a tough task this weekend against a confident UNC team that is getting better each day, but the Blue Devils are the ones who control their own destiny in the Coastal Division.
7. Florida State (4-4, 2-3; LW: No. 9): For the second straight week, FSU quarterback Christian Ponder led his team to a win, but this time, he did it with bruised ribs and got a lot of help from receiver Bert Reed and running back Jermaine Thomas. He’ll need more help from his defense, though, on Saturday against Clemson.
8. North Carolina (5-3, 1-3; LW: No. 12): The Tar Heels appeared to have turned the corner offensively against Virginia Tech, and their defense proved it is as good as advertised. The question now is whether they can keep it up against Duke. Like the Blue Devils, UNC needs two more wins to become bowl eligible.
9. Wake Forest (4-5, 2-3; LW: No. 8): The Demon Deacons lost a heartbreaker and let a 17-point lead slip away at home to Miami. Now their starting quarterback, Riley Skinner, is questionable for Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech with a mild concussion. The Deacs will need Skinner healthy for any chance at an upset. I predict he plays.
10. Virginia (3-5, 2-2; LW: No. 7): For the second straight season, the Cavaliers were humbled by Duke, but this loss might have been worse because it happened in Scott Stadium and Coastal Division standings were a factor. Now, Virginia has to rebound with a road trip against Miami, and it appears any chance at a comeback season is now in the rear-view mirror for Al Groh.
11. Maryland (2-6, 1-3; LW: No. 10): The Terps had a bye week, and will travel to NC State on Saturday to face a Wolfpack team capable of scoring lots of points. Maryland needs to win out to get to a bowl game and coach Ralph Friedgen hasn’t given up on that goal, but it’s time to start planning for the future and getting some younger players significant experience.
12. NC State (3-5, 0-4; LW: No. 11): As mentioned above, points aren’t the problem in Raleigh. NC State’s defense is allowing almost 30 points per game, and couldn’t make the necessary stops against Florida State in Saturday’s shootout.