Unlike last week, when Virginia Tech rose in the polls without playing a snap, the Hokies earned their bump Sunday.
Thursday’s 37-26 victory at then-No. 20 Georgia Tech was Virginia Tech’s most impressive performance to date, a tick better than a 38-17 win at Wake Forest.
Houston, Michigan State and Boise State. The collective AP wisdom agrees, ranking Tech ninth.
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.
1. LSU (10-0): An Alabama hangover caused a slow start against Western Kentucky. But the Tigers eventually rolled 42-9 and prepare to visit Mississippi.
2. Oklahoma State (10-0): Brandon Weeden’s Heisman stock is soaring after a 66-6 road-rage win at Texas Tech. The Cowboys play at Iowa State on Friday.
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.
4. Oregon (9-1): The Ducks raced past previously undefeated Stanford 53-30 and host the game of the week Saturday against Southern California.
5. Arkansas (9-1): The third SEC West team among the top five. The Razorbacks routed Tennessee 49-7 and welcome Mississippi State this week.
6. Oklahoma (8-1): The idle Sooners head to Baylor this week and with Bedlam looming still maintain national championship hopes.
7. Stanford (9-1): BCS at-large bid probable if the Cardinal closes with wins over Cal (Saturday) and Notre Dame.
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.
Teel Time: AP, coaches' polls disagree on Virginia Tech, Clemson rankings
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