Before I get to the power rankings, I want to share a quick story.
During my last two years of college I was working as hard as I could to make myself better at broadcasting. I had worked with IMG in Blacksburg, calling play-by-play of all sorts games of the "Olympic sports" variety (volleyball, soccer, wrestling, etc...), but during the spring there was a lot more down time.
In order to keep my reps up, I would go to Hokie baseball games and practice calling them into a recorder, "The three-one to Pinder," and so on. I used to do this on the grassy hill behind the away dugout, so no one could hear me as I made a fool of myself talking into a recorder like a crazy person. Well, to teach me a lesson in vocal confidence, my boss (Andrew Allegretta) told me before one baseball game that I had to sit in the stands with the rest of the spectators.
Needless to say...I was petrified.
But there I was, sitting alone six rows behind home plate in a crowded bleacher section, talking to myself. When I say crowded, by the way, I mean packed to the gills. People were sitting all around me, all seeming to be relatively annoyed that this kid next to them was attempting to call the game that they were watching live.
Around the third inning, the ball cap wearing older gentleman in front of me stands up and turns around. I could have sworn he was going to tell me to knock it off or to please move seats. Instead, that man was Jim Weaver, and he smiled at me while saying, "You're doing a good job," before making his way up to the press box.
Now I'm sure he doesn't remember this, it was well over a year ago, but that stuck with me. I couldn't help but think of that moment yesterday, when he announced that he was retiring next month due to medical issues. I may not have agreed with all of his decisions that he made as an athletic director, but Mr. Weaver is a great man and a great Hokie who I am honestly sorry to see go.
Now, enough with the sappy stuff. Let's get to this week's power rankings.
The Toilet Bowl Division
Yeah...these teams aren't making a bowl game
14. Virginia (2-8, LW: L 45-14 @ North Carolina): Another week, another game that makes you feel like you just smelled a wet fart from the Wahoos. The worst part about the fart, is that you can't even find someone to pin it on. The quarterback play left something to be desired (including one pick six), the defense allowed 6 yards per play and the special teams allowed a touchdown on a punt return. They're really the triple threat of sadness.
What's up next: Virginia has a bye, and then goes to Miami. If I had to guess, this is where we see freshman Greyson Lambert get a start over David Watford. He took over for Watford in garbage time and lead a pretty nice scoring drive. If this happens, it will be the fifth quarterback to start a game for Mike London during his four seasons as a coach, despite having only one senior quarterback through that time.
Team MVP: I was going to go with cornerback Anthony Harris, who is tied for the nation's lead in interceptions with seven. Instead though, I'm going to go with offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild. Any time the coach of a unit ranked 109th in scoring offense can say something like this, (12:00 mark) you have to put him up here.
If Virginia was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Eddie Martell (The Replacements). Please name me one person who likes Eddie Martell. Seriously, just one. If I had to make up a backstory for that dude it would be that he went to UVa, was kicked out after his junior year because no one liked him (a la Stephen Garcia) and ended up being the thorn in the Washington Sentinels' side.
13. NC State (3-6, LW: L 38-20 @ Duke): I'm not going to analyze anything here. Let's just pour one out for anyone who had State +10 against the Fighting Cutcliffes. Why are we pouring one out? Because one of those people was me. Down four with 3:30 to go (perfect covering territory), Pete Thomas throws a pick six. Then, down 11, Brandon Mitchell throws another one just to make sure the back door cover was set ablaze. I hate NC State.
What's up next: The Wolfpack take their five game losing streak to Chestnut Hill. Remember, nooners at Boston College eat away at good teams. They devour bad teams.
Team MVP: This guy. He's just the memory of good times past in Raleigh.
If NC State was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Cap Rooney (Any Given Sunday). Broken down and spineless, this once solid player is now in the dumps, making you really just feel bad for them both.
12. Wake Forest (4-6, LW: L 59-3 vs Florida State): On the outside, only giving up 296 yards to Florida State probably looks like a solid effort by the Demon Deacons. It's then you realize that they threw six picks, so the starting field position for the 'Noles was advantageous. In case you were wondering, Wake quarterbacks (they used three) completed one more pass to their own team than to Florida State. They pulled off a Grant Noel as a team, which was probably the biggest accomplishment of the weekend.
What's up next: Wake has a bye, before games against Duke and at Vanderbilt. They need to beat both of those teams to reach the Belk Bowl (okay "a bowl"), so it's an uphill battle for Wake.
Team MVP: Michael Campanaro. The doctor repairing Michael Campanaro's collarbone. The guy playing piano in Michael Campanaro's music video. #CAMPANAROWATCH will never die.
If Wake Forest was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Uncle Rico, Napoleon Dynamite. There were a lot of what ifs and could have beens for both of these characters. But they both still want you to know that THEY CAN THROW A FOOTBALL OVER THEM MOUNTAINS.
The Advocare V100 Bowl Division
Yes, any bowl game definitely counts, but the jokes on you because you have to go to Shreveport
11. Maryland (5-4, LW: L 20-3 vs Syracuse): Love him, hate him, or loathe his entire existence, but John Feinstein eviscerated Randy Edsall in the Washington Post earlier this week. Those are the types of articles that get written about you when you haven't won a game after October 13 in your three-year tenure as coach. Sure, the Maryland trainer room probably looks like a M.A.S.H. unit, but things don't look so great for the Terps.
What's up next: Maryland heads to Blacksburg. Remember the time(s) C.J. Brown met many of the Florida State defensive players with his head? He gets to play James Gayle, Luther Maddy and Dadi Nicolas. This has the potential to be Tom Savage part deux.
Team MVP: Wes Robinson. This poor guy needs some more recognition. It'll be okay Wes, the injuries could stop one of these days.
If Maryland was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Lance Harbor (Varsity Blues). Pretty solid, devastating injury. You get it.
10. Syracuse (5-4, LW: W 20-3 @ Maryland): Ho hum. The Orange did enough to stifle their opponent that was clearly worse than they were. They still can't throw it, but any time your opponent turns it over four times in a game, it will really help your cause.
What's up next: The Orange get to play in Tallahassee at 3:30. Wait...this team is going to get to play at 3:30? That can't be the most entertaining game of the ACC slate...checks schedule...ah, I stand corrected.
Team MVP: There is no Syracuse without Jerome Smith. There is no Jerome Smith without Syracuse.
If Syracuse was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Mike Winchell (Friday Night Lights). Mike isn't that entertaining. In fact, you know that sometimes he will probably shit the bed while also being boring, which is no fun for anyone. But hey, he also wins games, which is more than other QBs can say on this list.
The Belk Bowl Division
The Belk Bowl really just brings its own type of .500 magic
9. Boston College (5-4, LW: W 48-34, @ New Mexico State): I have a lot of questions about this game. Why did Boston College play in Las Cruces, New Mexico? Do people that go to New Mexico State open chicken restaurants and/or become meth kingpins? Was New Mexico State's lone victory really a squeaker over Abilene Christian? Therefore, did Boston College REALLY struggle with this team after pasting Virginia Tech? I don't understand college sports sometimes.
What's up next: BC plays NC State, then at Maryland and at Syracuse to end the year. Could this team really go from 2-10 to 8-4 in one year? That just shows that sometimes you need the right coach, which may make a certain other 2-10 team's coaching decision a little more clear.
Team MVP: Steve Addazio's forehead veins. They could inspire me to do anything. They could make me literally go outside right now and run up a mountain in the snow like Rocky. I mean, I won't, but I'd at least want to.
If Boston College was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Paul Blake, Necessary Roughness. You definitely root for him, but he's on a path that you don't think is quite sustainable. In this analogy, someone has to be Sinbad, and I'm pretty sure that person has to be Kevin Pierre-Louis. Don't ask me why.
8. Pittsburgh (5-4, LW: W 28-21 vs Notre Dame): "THAT WAS FOR NOT COMMITTING WHOLEHEARTEDLY, NO CROSSES THE ACC!" said John Swofford from his bunker under the Dean Dome.
What's up next: Pitt gets UNC, Syracuse, Miami to end the year. Needing one win, that game in the Carrier Dome could be essential to both teams. Talk about an average force meets an ordinary object, am I right?
Team MVP: Pitt doesn't have a MVP, they just have 52 players dedicated to grinding out as many average wins as possible.
If Pittsburgh was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Johnny Utah (Point Break). Was once a past champion, now Utah is mysterious and slightly expressionless, very similar to Paul Chryst.
7. North Carolina (4-5, LW: W 45-14 vs Virginia): And here they come...again. Carolina just ripped off its third straight convincing victory. While that's impressive, what's even more impressive is that they have had three different non-quarterbacks throw passes in a game this season. Those players are a combined 4-4 for 143 yards and three scores. This has to be some sort of record, right?
What's up next: Carolina heads to Pittsburgh this weekend, before finishing with Old Dominion and Duke. Obviously, they need to win two out of their next three to become bowl eligible, and I think they get there. The problem is that no one will notice because Roy's Boys are playing again.
(Sidenote: Roy's Boys should either be the nickname of every single team Roy Williams coaches until the end of time, or a motorcycle gang for guys over 50 going through a midlife crisis.)
Team MVP: The second half of their schedule. Without it, the Heels could have missed a bowl game.
If North Carolina was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler edition). It just seems like a cheap knock off of the original (you'll see later).
6. Georgia Tech (6-3, LW: BYE): Georgia Tech has a better chance of beating Clemson than Georgia, because #goacc shenanigans > a chance that a healthier Bulldog team loses that game. It's just science.
What's up next: Clemson. On Thursday. I just told you guys this, you should probably listen to me every once in a while.
Team MVP: I'm going to say Vad Lee, only because trolling slightly insane Georgia Tech supporters is one of the best kinds of trolling.
If Georgia Tech was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Seth Maxwell (North Dallas Forty). Some guys can be described as a free spirit because they're, well, a free spirit (Maxwell). Some can be described as a free spirit because they talk to themselves while designing a new way to run the counter-veer (Paul Johnson).
The Chick Fil A Bowl Division
New Years in Atlanta? NEW YEARS IN ATLANTA!
5. Duke (7-2, LW: W 38-20 vs NC State): DUKE WILL OFFICIALLY HAVE A WINNING SEASON, THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Do you think that Steve Spurrier, who jokingly voted for Duke on his preseason ballot for years, secretly hopes that South Carolina sees the Blue Devils in a bowl game, just to remind them who started the whole "Duke winning at football" thing?
What's up next: Duke gets Miami, Wake and UNC on their path to destiny. Here is where I would summarize what Duke needs to do to get to the ACC Championship game, but I can't even figure out the tie breakers. All I know is that if you want to get that crazy with tie breakers, either have all of the coaches flip a coin in a diner (like Friday Night Lights), or have them battle in an extreme rock/paper/scissors battle. I want to see every coach's strategy when it comes to RPS. I bet Cutcliffes would be very analytical and complex while Paul Johnson is the guy that just throws rock every single time until he wins or loses. I hate that guy.
Team MVP: Whoever maintains the track inside Wallace Wade. It's in immaculate shape and doesn't make it look like a high school stadium at all. Okay well maybe just a little bit.
If Duke was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Jonathan Moxon, Varsity Blues. I'll hand this to the biggest Varsity Blues guy I know, my boss JD Howell: "Started the season on the bench. Zero expectations. Takes the football world by storm. Doesn't have a passion for the game, but for his Ivy League education."
And that's why he's my boss.
4. Miami (7-2, LW: L 42-24 vs Virginia Tech): Was that not just a sign that the heavens don't want the U to be back? The rain not only caused fumbling problems, it caused fans to leave early and even boo their quarterback at home! Okay, that was going to happen anyway. Did anyone notice that they pumped in more noise, music and sound effects than at an NBA game? I was shocked that they didn't try to play Flo Rida as the chain gang moved the chains for a first down.
What's up next: The Hurricanes try to salvage what's left of their Duke Johnson-less dignity against Duke, Virginia and Pitt. This is where the heavens get back at Hokie fans by making them have to root for a Miami win over Duke this week. The universe is messed up.
Team MVP: Duke Johnson, I guess? I'll really say anything as long as this guy stops crying.
If Miami was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Steamin Willie Beamen (Any Given Sunday). A lot of flash, a lot of talent and the tendency to quit when the going gets particularly tough. That, and they both have terrible rap songs.
3. Virginia Tech (7-3, LW: W 42-24 @ Miami): Who knows. Seriously, I've stopped trying to figure this team out and just enjoy the fact that they make me happy more than they make me sad. In fact, that's better than a ton of schools out there, and I think we should count our blessings that we're one of the lucky ones.
What's up next: Maryland, bye week, at Virginia. If I get one thing on Saturday, I want it to be that Derrick Hopkins gets a carry at the goal line. He comes in as a blocking guy, which is cool and all, but Hopkins deserves a real touchdown for everything he does this team. It's his senior day, last game in Lane Stadium. Can't we all please just have this one?
Team MVP: Mark Le-hahahaha just kidding.
If Virginia Tech was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Shane Falco (The Replacements). A lot of grit, some grind and some toughness. Sure there are some interceptions and hiccups along the way, but Falco always ends up winning over his teammates, fans and a lovely lady.
The Orange Bowl Division
Just not quite good enough to be the best.
2. Clemson (8-1, LW: BYE): I just want to remind everyone who probably forgot while drooling over Florida State's run this season: Clemson is a really good football team. I'm talking, top-10 team. This is a team that has beaten Georgia and LSU in the past year, has shown that it can compete with anyone (well...almost anyone) and will represent the ACC well, should they go to a BCS bowl.
What's up next: To get to that BCS bowl, they have to beat Georgia Tech and South Carolina. South Carolina has owned this series in recent years, and I'm talking about a write your name on it with sharpie so you know its yours type of owning. Will this be the year that the most balanced team during this run gets it done? If I had a guess, I would guess yes, but sometimes you never know.
Team MVP: Chad Morris and Brent Venables. Clemson fans better pray to their sweet baby Tajh that Florida rebounds and Will Muschamp doesn't get fired. If Muschamp gets fired, I would go out on a limb to guess that Morris would at least get a call from the Gators.
If Clemson was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds edition). The original in both up-tempo offense and convict quarterbacks, both obviously being the best. One has a great chest hair game, the other has a great pleated slacks game. They run a very tight ship, but can you trust them? The only difference is that you never know if Crewe is Clemsoning on purpose.
The BCS National Championship Division
1. Florida State (9-0, LW: W 59-3 @ Wake Forest): Wouldn't this have traditionally been a game that Florida State struggles? Coming off a big win against a top-10 team, all Florida State had to do was beat a below average Wake team. Instead, they crushed them. This team is truly the best team in the country, I believe that with all of the credit I have left (after calling Maryland a sneaky good team and NC State "on the rise"). Okay, while I may not have that much credit, I still stand by it.
What's up next: The Seminoles have Syracuse, Idaho and Florida between them an an undefeated regular season. Being able to say that they were able to slay the Muschamp dragon would be another victory in itself.
Team MVP: Please see below.
If Florida State was a fictional quarterback, they would be: Flash Gordon. Can't you see it? "Jame.....IIISSSSSS SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!"