I don't know what I'd do without you guys to keep me in the loop ...
Matthew in Richmond, Va., writes: Just wanted to point out that VT has had possession of the Commonwealth Cup for 2000 consecutive days today! Go Hokies!
Heather Dinich: Poor Hoos ... I think Cavman just fell off his horse ...
Andrew in Savannah, Ga., writes: Joshua Nesbitt was second last year in ACC Player of the Year voting lastseason and is arguably one of the toughest players in the conference. With Georgia Tech's other big players on offense gone do you think Nesbitt has any chance at the Heisman trophy? How far would the team have to go to even get the voters to look at him?
HD: Kudos to you for remembering to call him Joshua, not Josh. As for his Heisman chances, I think the reality of the situation is they're bleak. Why? Because most of the voters probably only see him when he's in the biggest games -- like in the Orange Bowl against Iowa, which was not a Heisman-worthy performance. That being said, I think there are some people out there willing to give him credit as long as they realize he threw for over 1,000 yards AND ran for over 1,000 yards. If he did that last year AND won the ACC title and didn't get any Heisman love, it will obviously take more than that in 2010. I'm not saying it's fair, it's just the way it is.
Josh in Virginia writes: Heather, how can you say FSU is on the verge of national relevance again? Is 7-6 'on the verge'? Just because they have a lot of talent doesn't mean they are on the cusp of being a powerhouse again. Talent hasn't been an issue in Tallahassee even during this drop-off in success.
HD: You're right -- to an extent. Talent has been somewhat of an issue, and so have problems on the staff. The fact that Florida State changed half of its coaching staff and has boosted its recruiting efforts leads me to believe things are headed in the right direction.
Kyle in Richmond writes: Heather, in the last mailbag you say that Miami and FSU are "marquee, brand-name, historically significant programs". I agree, but I want to know at what point a "new" program moves into that category. 25 years? 50 years? Multiple conference championships? National Championship? There are a lot of programs - Virginia Tech, for example - who have had significantly better results in the past 15 years than the "marquee" programs. And short of hiring a Nick Saban, most of those marquee programs (ND, FSU, Nebraska, Tennessee, etc.) continue to struggle to get back to the top but the Techs, Boise States, Oregon States, etc. continue to be near the top.
HD: Very fair question, Kyle, and to me, multiple conference championships, national title(s) and consistently contending for them, and recruiting and producing NFL talent all play a part in building tradition over a span of about two decades. You look at Miami's national titles, which ranged from 1983 to 2001. USC has been winning titles since 1928. Nebraska's tradition began in the 1970s. Yes, Virginia Tech is a nationally respected team that consistently wins 10 games over the past decade and is no stranger to BCS bowls, but its history doesn't reach much farther back than 1995 when the Hokies went to the Sugar Bowl and won 10 games. How relevant was Virginia Tech football before Frank Beamer? It's a process, and there's no question Virginia Tech is one of the schools in the midst of it.
Martin in Miami, Fla., writes: Hi Heather, how is it that Jacory Harris wasn't included on your list of possible ACC Heisman contenders? He was in the race for a while last year. He has more experience than last year and more time together with OC Mark Whipple. His receivers are more experienced. The running game should help open up the field a bit. Granted, the O-line may be suspect (we don't know how good it'll be, but we also don't know if it'll be bad), but is that enough to prevent him from being a possible contender? I don't think it is. Thanks.
HD: First, let me say that I was one of the folks who had Jacory in my top five Heisman contenders last fall when the Canes started out hot. I think he can work his way back into the conversation again this year. Absolutely he can, but he's got to make better decisions and has to get better protection from his offensive line. Also, Miami has to do bigger things than just make an appearance in a bowl game.
Justin in Baltimore writes: Hey HD. In your chat today you had asked for nicknames for Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. I have one for you. Considering "The Untouchables" and "Thunder and Lightning" have already been used, how about "Crash and Burn". Evans, Crash, becuause he'll go right through a tackler and Williams, Burn, beause that's exactly what he'll do to a defender.
HD: I like it, I like it ...