No game? No problem. Let's talk.
Thomas in Raleigh, NC writes: Do you think the ACC should be stripped of it's AQ status? Clemson and VA Tech are decent teams, but neither is BCS caliber. In fact, if either were in the SEC this year, they would have finished no better than 6th place, behind LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia.
HD: No! If anyone should be stripped of its AQ status it's the Big East. And the ACC champ is certainly a BCS-deserving team. Clemson played more than enough ranked opponents this year, including three in a three-week stretch to earn that Orange Bowl bid. You can debate Virginia Tech's merit in the Sugar Bowl, but the ACC is still worthy of a BCS bowl every year.
Daniel in richmond, va writes: Heather, I know that Virginia Tech's selection to the Sugar Bowl was a surprise but why is all the talk about VT not deserving the bid, when Michigan also got a bid and are ranked lower than the Hokies? Why is it ok that Michigan is picked but it's so horrible that Virginia Tech was selected?
HD: Two points: 1. A lot of the perception comes from the voters, and people like myself who compile Top 25 lists every week during the season, and if you look at the votes, Michigan is ranked higher than Virginia Tech. It's the BCS standings and the computers that say otherwise. So based on perception, many think Michigan is the better team. 2. It all goes back to Virginia Tech's nonconference schedule. At least Michigan played Notre Dame and two ranked teams in Michigan State and Nebraska. If the BCS standings are what you want to look at, then the Hokies didn't beat any Top 25 teams this year.
Steve in Centreville, VA writes: As someone who follows recruiting, I think it is absolutely insane that Dabo is getting consideration for coach of the year this year. What expectation did he exceed? He lost 3 games with a team full of some of the best recruiting classes in the ACC/country. Coaches should STOP getting credit for DECENT years after coaching horribly for the previous couple. Not to take anything away from Clemson, but their athelets and FSU's atheletes are freakish and if their coaches got the most out of them, they would be playing with the likes of LSU and Alabama. Thoughts?
HD: If you're talking national coach of the year, I think Dabo is a stretch. Personally, I voted for Bill Snyder of K-State for Eddie Robinson. As for ACC coach of the year, though, I think he was the perfect choice. He DID exceed expectations. The Tigers weren't even ranked heading into this season, and they had a new QB, a new coordinator and an entirely new offense. And he hasn't coached horribly. This is the second time in three years they've won the division. Historically, yes, Clemson has underachieved with the talent it has had, but I don't think Clemson lost three games because of coaching. They lost it because of execution. And Georgia Tech simply played lights-out that day.
leftcoastcanesfan in Suisun City, CA writes: Now that Tommy Streeter has regrettably declared for the NFL, will the opening he has created actually benefit the Canes's recruiting efforts at W/R?
HD: Not just there, but immediate playing time and early contributions should be a main selling point at several positions as Miami coach Al Golden recruits. The Hurricanes have got to be careful with their scholarship allotment, though, because of possible NCAA sanctions. It will be an interesting, selective year for Miami recruiting.
Greg in Blacksburg writes: How important is it that Tech wins this game? Everyone on campus today was absolutely shocked that we are going to the Sugar Bowl. If the ACC wants any kind of respect in the coming years we have to show that we deserve these kind of big games.
HD: Couldn't agree more, Greg. I read Frank Beamer's quotes about being deserving, and not apologizing, and I don't think the Hokies have to apologize for anything. They just have to prove worthy of being in that bowl by playing like it.
Andrew in Marietta, Ga writes: HD,I know you try to be fair and unbias. And I appreciate that. But you should remeber who you are writing for and representing. The ACC!Having two teams in the BCS Bowls is a great thing. You've been saying that for years. Yes, VT played horible against Clemson, twice. And I was just as surprised as you that they were picked to go to the Sugar. But they had a good season overall. Having the BCS pick the Hokies as an at large team shows some respect for VT and the ACC.You should be writing about that and not putting the Hokies down like everyone else.
HD: You know, it's funny you mention that because my inbox is FILLED with angry Virginia Tech fans. I don't think there's enough space in the blogosphere for all of the hate mail I received this week from Hokies fans for this column. You guys couldn't get past the line, though, where I said they don't deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl. Well, they don't. But the whole point of that article was to say, who cares?! Who cares if people think Virginia Tech shouldn't be there? So what? They're going, the ACC has two teams in BCS bowls for the first time 14 years, so let's all enjoy it. I am THRILLED to be going to two BCS bowls this year. I'm going to the Sugar Bowl and leaving the next day to fly to the Orange Bowl. To be able to do that is awesome. I'm going to enjoy it. And so should you. We'll see how Virginia Tech fares against Michigan. It's up to the Hokies to write their own story and change the perception.