First off i would like to thank all of you for looking at this issuse and for the advice everyone gave.
I tried removing and reinstalling the drivers and installing 3 different versions of the drivers. Again nothing helped and this was a very frustatinbg issue.
Just an FYI Acer's Technical support was pretty lowsy, but the tech's at Microsoft were amazing.
I actually stumbled on to the resolution by accident.
I opened the properties of the Atheros AR5B97 adapter, and on the advanced tab there is a properties section with several items. One of which says " 802.11 Bluetooth High Speed " I changed this to Disabled.
And now it connects just fine. Again I am not sure why this fixed it, I do not own any bluetooth devices nor have every tried to use/configure bluetooth.
I could be way off, but it seems like the Atheros adapter was trying to connect using bluetooth, and after it failed, it did not try to connect with 802.11 b/g/n or what ever.
So to sum up, if you happen to have an AcerAspire 7741G-7017 laptop that uses an Atheros AR5B97 Mini PCI adapter, and you are running Windows 7, And you are trying to connect to a Linksys WRT54GL router, And it just will not connect...Try disabling the bluetooth high speed option in the advanced section of the adapters properties.