ACC Breakdown: Clemson continues to reign atop the conference

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The ACC hasn’t witnessed many surprises so far in 2013.

The three elite teams — Clemson, Miami and Florida State — haven’t slowed down at all.

Soon, the top teams will begin to meet on the field, and we’ll begin to watch some meaningful ACC football.

Until then, it seems as though all but one or two of the remaining ACC schools are fighting just to rank in the top half of the conference. Expect to see the breakdown drastically change once the teams find themselves in the heart of conference play.

Here’s this week’s ACC Breakdown:

Clemson

In a 56-7 home victory, the Tigers outpaced Wake Forest by more than 350 yards. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns and continued to look like a Heisman contender.

Miami

After defeating South Florida 49-21, Miami is one step closer to proving its dominance in the state of Florida. The Hurricanes will take on Florida State later this season, after beating the Seminoles in a previous game. For the second-straight week, quarterback Stephen Morris left the game with an ankle injury, but he is expected to be healthy for this weekend.

Florida State

Boston College, not known for its offensive prowess, found some flaws in the Seminoles’ defense. The Eagles racked up 397 yards with a balanced attack, but it wasn’t enough to stop Jameis Winston from leading his FSU offense to the 48-34 victory.

Maryland

The Terrapins had a bye week, but that didn’t stop them from jumping into the AP poll at No. 25. Maryland’s 37-0 win over West Virginia looks a lot better to voters after WVU’s upset of No. 11 Oklahoma State this past weekend. Maryland can soar up the polls if it can knock off Florida State this week.

Virginia Tech

The Hokies are at the fifth spot, which doesn’t say much for the conference. They’ve struggled this year with less-than-stellar teams in East Carolina and Marshall. However, Virginia Tech is one of the more talented and best-coached teams in the ACC. If Frank Beamer can turn this team around, it could threaten the top dogs.

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets will have had more than a week to prepare before they travel to Miami this weekend. After a demoralizing loss to Virginia Tech, an upset at Miami might be what the Yellow Jackets need to salvage their season.

Pitt

Pitt’s 14-3 win over Virginia wasn’t pretty. The Panthers were aided by dropped balls, turnovers and a bad Virginia offense. However, Pitt is 3-1 (2-1 ACC) this season and has two weeks to prepare for Virginia Tech. If the Panthers can pull off a win in Blacksburg, Va., they might start receiving top-25 votes.

North Carolina State

The Wolf Pack beat up on Central Michigan in a 48-14 win behind a 28-point scoring effort in the second quarter. North Carolina State is a tough team to read, as it has only faced Clemson in conference play. This week, the Pack takes on Wake Forest.

North Carolina

After an embarrassing 55-31 loss against East Carolina, the Tar Heels look like a completely different team than the one that appeared a contender for the conference crown at the start of this season. UNC is one of the worst teams in the country at running the ball, and along with its one-dimensional offense, the Tar Heels defense has struggled all season long.

Virginia

If the Cavaliers can figure anything out on offense, they’ll win some games. In a lifeless offensive performance, Virginia had 188 yards and scored three points against Pitt, giving the Panthers all their points on turnovers. Defensively, this team deserves a better ranking than 10th.

Syracuse

Don’t be surprised if ‘Cuse starts winning some games now that they have found a quarterback. Since taking over, Terrel Hunt has completed 33 of 43 passes for 468 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Boston College

The Eagles got a good loss this weekend against Florida State. Boston College led 17-3 in the second quarter and stayed within two scores of the talented Seminoles most of the game. Take away their two turnovers and the Eagles might have upset FSU.

Duke

The Blue Devils’ 38-31 victory over Troy University isn’t going to convince anyone that the football team in Durham has much worth. Duke’s quick-strike offense isn’t helping its defense, as the team often finds itself on the lower end of time of possession.

Wake Forest

Clemson made the Demon Deacons look like a Football Championship Series school. Offensively, Wake Forest couldn’t move the ball and turned it over twice. Defensively, the Demon Deacons didn’t look much better, as they were down 21 points in the first eight minutes of the game.