You asked ...
Allen in Clemson, S.C., writes: Chad Morris installed a high power offense at Tulsa in one season averaging over 40 ppg. If Clemson can average say 28-30 ppg I think that, coupled with another strong defense, Clemson's season would drastically improve over last years. Is the personel at Clemson capable for 30 ppg? Is a ten (or more) win season a possibility?
HD: Clemson certainly has the athletes and talent to do it, it's a matter of how quickly they learn to execute it, starting with quarterback Tajh Boyd. Andre Ellington has to stay healthy, but the schedule is so difficult I have a hard time believing they'll get 10 wins, unless it's nine wins and a bowl win. I believe they'll beat at least one of the following: Auburn, FSU, Virginia Tech or South Carolina, but I don't think they'll win the majority of those games.
Billy in Arlington, Va., writes: Heather - been reading your recent posts on the important non-conference games and the overall impression of the ACC in College Football. One thing I haven't seen brought up regarding the Miami/Ohio St game is, what happens if Miami loses that game. Everyone keeps discussing how the ACC will look if they win, but I think if they lose it makes us look that much worse. Miami is in a tough spot in that one.Also, I disagree with your #1 noncon game...I think the Orange Bowl is the most important at this point considering our record in those games, and the fact that FSU will most likely lose to Oklahoma. We need to start to win "our" BCS bowl if we ever plan to get a team in two of them.Great blog....Go Hokies!!
HD: Great point about a potential Miami loss, Billy. You're right, it's a tough spot, but Miami can't control the perception of that game, only the outcome, so if Al Golden gets it done and wins, the ACC can't ask for much more. As for the Orange Bowl, you're right again, but the FSU-Oklahoma game will tell us right off the bat how close the ACC is to having a national title contender. If the Noles get that one, they're automatically in the conversation, and that's the first step to playing in a game even bigger than the Orange Bowl.
Mitch Abbott in Raleigh, N.C., writes: HD, after seeing sportsnations recent bracket concerning the best college football traditions i am very disappointed to see the finalist. Speaking as a baised NC State fan I feel like our intro where we run out of the cave and touch the wolf is better than touching any sign, and I'm sure other schools would agree their traditions are better. What is your ranking of the best ACC intros?
HD: Well, with all due respect to NC State, I don't think it's in the top three. I've been impressed recently with the atmospheres at NC State games, but I still think it's behind Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech's Enter Sandman, especially on a Thursday night. And the smoke at Miami is a classic.
Andrew in College Park writes: Being a student at maryland i can definitely tell you that there is FINALLY some hype about the football season, in part because of the success of last season (DOB) but mainly because of the home schedule. There no doubt will be fans at these big games (miami under the lights, westva, clemson, notre dame at fedex). if dob, tate, and the terps can pull off another 8 win regular season, do they get jipped out of a bigger bowl game again (military)? or do they finally get a bigger game that the program and fans deserve.
HD: That's up to the fans, Andrew. When Randy Edsall was hired, I didn't get the vibe from Maryland fans that he generated the kind of buzz that would fill the seats on a consistent basis. There are plenty of good games on the schedule as you mentioned worth watching, but I've been at Maryland games for some of the better matchups in recent years and have still seen empty seats. There's no question Maryland deserved a better bowl last year based on its on-field performances, but if Maryland fans continue to show apathy, the Terps will likely be passed over again.
Scott in Buxton, NC writes: Who wins the NC State vs UNC game this year? Both have fairly easy non-conference schedules and while State avoids playing VT, Carolina avoids playing FSU. These teams should be 7-1 or 6-2ish when they meet. The winner will probably get a good bowl and the loser will fall to some December twenty something bowl. Who ya got?
HD: I like Carolina, and the reason is because I think they're stronger up front. Both quarterbacks are an unknown right now, but UNC's offensive line should be the best it's ever been under Butch Davis, and every starter returns on the defensive line. Also, Bryn Renner has more proven receivers to help him out this year.