By JIM' OSHEA
College Contributor Network
1. Florida State: The Seminoles are the defending national champions, the number one team in the country, and have already beaten Oklahoma State in a neutral-site game. They are by far the best in the ACC. Now, they have Clemson coming into town and will be without "Famous Jameis" for the first half. We will find out a lot about them after the weekend.
2. Pittsburgh: You may be thinking "how is Clemson not number two?" Well, Pitt is 3-0 and Clemson is 2-1. The Panthers have also already won two road games and one over Boston College, to whom USC lost last week. Also, running back James Conner already has 544 rushing yards on the young season. Iowa comes into town this weekend and Pittsburgh will have to put on a good showing to get by.
3. Clemson: The Tigers got their butts kicked by Todd Gurley and the rest of the Georgia team on opening weekend. They bounced back with a nice thrashing of South Carolina State last Saturday, but this week will be another early test.
Clemson travels to Tallahassee to take on top-ranked Florida State a year after getting blown out by the Seminoles. But there is good news. FSU will be without its Heisman quarterback for the first half. Clemson better take advantage or it may get ugly again.
4. Virginia Tech: Yes, the Hokies lost to an unranked East Carolina last week. But a week before, Tech upset Ohio State in the Horseshoe. Also, the Pirates are a much better team than people give them credit for. Just ask Virginia Tech and West Virginia in 2007. Virginia Tech gets an undefeated, but untested, Georgia Tech squad coming into town this week.
5. Virginia: Virginia Tech's rival comes in at number five after a big win last week. UVA knocked off ranked Louisville at home to open up its ACC play. The Cavaliers also almost upset UCLA in Charlottesville in Week 1. Virginia has a big road test at No. 21 BYU, who has looked especially good on offense this year. The Cavaliers will show us a lot this weekend, either good or bad.
6. Louisville: I could not put the Cardinals above the Cavs after losing to them last Saturday. But, Louisville has two nice wins already in 2014. UL beat Miami by 18 in Week 1, then again at home against Murray State, 66-21. And they should be 3-1 after traveling again to Florida this week, but to face Florida International this time.
7. Duke: Three straight blowouts over weak teams pits the Blue Devils right in the middle of the ACC. Duke has an average margin of victory of 31.3. That is impressive, no matter the opponents. This week, they have another cupcake in Tulane. Duke should take care of business before heading to Coral Gables next week.
8. NC State: The Wolfpack is yet another 3-0 ACC team who has not played anybody noteworthy. NCSU did beat USF in Tampa last week, but the Bulls are not what they used to be. NC State has Presbyterian this Saturday. Tack on another "W" before the tough, tough two-week stretch of Florida State and Clemson begins.
9. Syracuse: The Orange have looked like two completely different teams in two games. One game, the offense and defense both looked bad in a double overtime win over FCS-level Villanova. Then, SU beats Central Michigan 40-3 after Terrel Hunt and the defense looked phenomenal. Now, Syracuse returns home to take on Maryland in what should be its first real test of 2014.
10. North Carolina: UNC barely squeaked by San Diego State last week by four points. The not-so-good showing put the Tar Heels out of the AP poll. Now, they have a tough East Carolina team that knocked off Virginia Tech just a week ago. After two straight comebacks to start the year, UNC may not want to get down to ECU especially in Greenville.
11. Miami: The Hurricanes have not been up to the level of the "U" in a while. And this year has been no different. UM opened up on Monday night on national TV and got drummed by Louisville. They followed it up with two nice wins, but over Florida A&M and Arkansas State. Miami has a big game at Nebraska in football country that will go a long way in how the season will go.
12.Georgia Tech: Yes, the Yellow Jackets are 3-0. But it is how Georgia Tech has won, or how it has not won, as to why GT is so low on my list. Ga. Tech beat Georgia Southern by only four points at home. This week, Georgia Tech gets to show us who it really is as they travel to Virginia Tech.
13.Boston College: Can we just call BC "upset college?" The Eagles seem to pull off an upset every year. And this year has been nothing different. Boston College knocked off top-ten USC last week. BC looked good while doing it, too.
But BC is already 0-1 in the ACC after falling to Pittsburgh in Week 2. The Eagles have not finished above .500 in conference since 2009. That is why Boston College is #13 on this list.
14.Wake Forest: How far Florida State is above everyone else in the conference is how far Wake Forest is below the rest of the ACC. Wake already has two losses and neither came to a decent team -- Utah State and Louisiana-Monroe, if you were wondering. Every time the Demon Deacons is on a team's schedule is a breath taken by each team in the conference schedule.
Jim O'Shea is a junior at Syracuse University studying Broadcast and Digital Journalism. Born and raised in Houston, TX. He's an avid Texans and Texas Rangers fan. Also golf is his favorite sport. Follow him on Twitter: @JimOShea4
By JIM' OSHEA