The most strident Hokies fans argue that Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1 ACC) should be ahead of Clemson (9-1, 6-1). After all, they say, the Hokies won at Georgia Tech a week-plus after the Tigers lost there. Moreover, Clemson had to rally from a two-touchdown deficit Saturday to beat visiting Wake Forest 31-28 on a final-play field goal.
Fair points, and there’s no denying the Tigers’ recent defensive lapses. Clemson has allowed 142 points in its last four games; Virginia Tech has allowed 142 in its last eight games.
But I kept the Tigers one spot above the Hokies based on their head-to-head encounter, a convincing 23-3 Clemson victory in Blacksburg on Oct. 1.
The USA Today coaches’ poll disagrees, ranking Virginia Tech seventh and Clemson eighth.
Chances are, a rematch in the ACC championship game will settle the matter.
Here’s a link to the AP poll (be patient, sometimes it's slow to post) and below is my ballot.
3. Alabama (9-1): If Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma, are we looking at an Alabama-LSU rematch for national title? The Crimson Tide dismissed Mississippi State 24-7 and readies for Division I-AA Georgia Southern.
6. Oklahoma (8-1): The idle Sooners head to Baylor this week and with Bedlam looming still maintain national championship hopes.
8. Clemson (9-1): Defense remains an issue after a come-from-behind, 31-28 home escape over Wake Forest locked the Tigers into the ACC championship game. Clemson plays at North Carolina State on Saturday.
9. Virginia Tech (9-1): The Hokies crave a rematch with Clemson and can further their case by beating North Carolina on Thursday.
10. Boise State (8-1): Guessing many will dump the Broncos farther after their 36-35 home loss to TCU. But Boise’s season-opening win over Georgia in Atlanta looking better and better. Broncs head to San Diego State this week.
14. Kansas State (8-2): Not sure if the defenses are awful or offenses phenomenal, but Big 12 sure does entertain, witness Wildcats’ 53-50, four-OT win over Texas A&M. On deck for K-State is a trip to Texas.
16. Georgia (8-2): Are the Dawgs this season’s Virginia Tech?. They’ve won eight straight since an 0-2 start, none more impressive than Saturday’s 45-7 cuffing of Auburn. Beat Kentucky this week, and Georgia advances to SEC title game.
18. Southern California (8-2): A 40-17 thumping of Washington signals the Trojans are as prepared as can be for Oregon.
19. Michigan (8-2): A New Year’s Day bowl in Brady Hoke’s first season as coach would be quite the feat. The Wolverines looked the part Saturday in a 31-14 win over Illinois.
20. Texas Christian (8-2): Bravo to Gary Patterson for disdaining OT at Boise and playing for the win. The Horned Frogs next play Colorado State.
21. Penn State (8-2): Unimaginable what the Nittany Lions are enduring. They travel this week to Ohio State for a battle of interim coaches.
23. Notre Dame (7-3): Rockne would have cringed at the Irish’s helmets Saturday. But at least they whipped Maryland 45-21. This week a third straight game against the ACC Atlantic with Boston College visiting.
25. Baylor (6-3): The Bears needed OT to beat the Big 12’s worst team, Kansas, 31-30. Here’s guessing they’ll be more motivated to play Oklahoma.
In: TCU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Baylor.
Out: Auburn, Georgia Tech, Texas, Cincinnati.
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