ACC Mailblog

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I heard there's going to be a rowdy crowd on Saturday in Lane Stadium, or at least that's what Tyler Lopez from Arlington, Va., is willing to bet:

Tyler writes: "If it were a night game, this might be a different pick, but the Canes are too calm, composed and confident to let a 3:30 p.m. crowd at Lane Stadium determine the outcome."Heather, I would like to bet you one giant smoked turkey leg (approx. value $7 at Lane Stadium) that a 3:30 p.m. crowd at Lane Stadium will be just as much of a factor for the Miami game as they would be for any other game. See: VT 16 Nebraska 15. I seem to remember a certain 3:30 PM crowd contributing significantly to the stop of one FG range drive, which, after several false start and delay of game penalties, became a punt. In a one point game, the crowd may have been the biggest factor in the win.Then again, maybe that was a lazy 3:30 PM crowd. So what do you say? I bet you one giant smoked turkey leg that the crowd is fully in the game tomorrow! (I'll figure out how you can purchase my snack pending the outcome)(Wish I could be there!)Tyler LopezVT Class of 2007

Heather Dinich: Man, from my seat in the press box I see the smoke coming from that turkey leg stand, but I've never had the time to run over there and get one. This sounds like a very tempting bet, but I've been around long enough to know NOT to be against the Lane Stadium crowd. I'm just saying that it's a very different atmosphere, say, on a Thursday night than it is at 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday, and honestly, Tyrod Taylor was the difference against Nebraska, not the crowd. Y'all seemed kind of quiet last week.

And Roger in Blacksburg writes: The Miami fans are already on campus yelling loud.

HD: Roger that.

Andrew in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: Ms. Dinich, could you tell me why Christian Ponder is not being looked at as a legitimate Heisman contender? The man played with grit against Miami, he was the only good thing to come out of the JSU game besides the W, and was amazing against BYU on the road. His numbers are legit, and after saturday people will see his team is as well.

HD: First of all, Andrew, please don't call me that. You say, "Ms. Dinich" and I turn around and look for my mom. Second, I agree with you that Ponder has played outstanding so far - his numbers on third down against BYU were ridiculously good. But Jacory Harris has been even more efficient, and has defeated two ranked teams. Harris is currently third in the nation in passing efficiency (184.07) while Ponder is 39th (143.62). He's behind Russell Wilson, Riley Skinner and T.J. Yates in that category. His completion percentage is less than those guys, too. So while Ponder has played very well this season, the numbers indicate there's still room for improvement, and the more the Noles win, the more recognition Ponder will get. If you're interested in more stats, BTW ...

Matt in Baltimore, Md., writes: Heather,Could you please tell me where I can find team defensive statistics like the ones you cited in your ACC Defense blog post? I tried looking through espn.com and then tried google but couldn't find any statistics regarding rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, total defense, etc.ThanksMatt

HD: For most of my stats, I go to the NCAA, because not only does it break it down nationally for you, it does it by player, team, conference, etc.

David in Atlanta writes: Heather, if Miami beats Virginia Tech tomorrow, how much credit do you think should go to how spread out their schedule has been thusfar? That game will be only their third -- only Louisville, Illinois, Baylor and Kentucky have played that few games so far. It'll be their third game in 19 days, but VT's fourth in 20 days -- very similar to last week, when their second game in 10 days was GT's third game in 12.

HD: Funny how the toughest schedule in the ACC suddenly has some advantages to it. Look, I don't care that they haven't played four games yet, look at WHO the Canes have played - two ranked teams, including one on the road. And they've got another road trip against the defending ACC champs on Saturday, followed by - that's right - the runners-up for the national title. There is no William & Mary in there, no Gardner-Webb and no Elon. Miami might have had some extra rest and prep time in there, but guess what? With that schedule, they needed it.

Jonathan in Durham writes: So i was watching tv the other night and saw a commercial for the duke nccu game. Apparently this game has been dubbed the Durham grid iron bowl. And they are playing for the position of power in Durham. As a duke basketball fan and a state football fan, should this game get as much focus as it is getting?

HD: Funny, I was watching TV the other night and saw an AT&T commercial with Tyler Hansbrough in it, and thought, why on earth is he in that commercial? He doesn't even say anything. But I digress. Actually, it's being dubbed the "Bull City Gridiron Classic." The only one in any "position of power" in that city is Mike Krzyweski, but I think it's good this game is getting some attention because it's good for both schools. They're so close to each other, it's the first time they're playing each other, there are personal connections between both programs. I'd say it's a win-win for the schools and the community, but battle of power? That's more between UNC and NC State.

Dan in Washington, D.C. writes: Heather - does the injury to starting D linemen Forston and Smith for Miami change your prediction in the game? You had the game close anyway, and with Miami losing their biggest interior D lineman and possibly their fastest (and strongest) DE has got to be a major factor given Tech's running game and they won't have the depth to sub in fresh legs....will you take the bait or do you not see them as being a big enough factor to change a 3 point prediction?

HD: I have a good friend who's also a Miami fan who sent me a text asking me the same question this morning. No, it doesn't change my prediction. The Canes still have Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey up front, and Olivier Vernon has been playing very well. Yes, it will hurt their depth, and Virginia Tech will get its rushing yards, but Miami's offense will be too much for Virginia Tech's defense, and in the end, that will be the difference.

Andrew in Winston-Salem writes: Hi Heather,Does USC's dominating defensive performance against a highly touted offensive team ranked #4 in the nation renew some of the hype for Russell Wilson and the NC State offense? Suddenly, being shut down by USC doesn't look all that bad if you ask me. I'm looking forward to the Pitt game to see where their offense really stands. AndrewWinston Salem, NC

HD: I've been saying since that game that South Carolina's defense was a major reason for NC State's quiet night in that opener, and I think Wilson will be the difference in the Pitt game. However, the Pack still has a lot to prove offensively, and Gardner-Webb and Murrary State aren't the caliber opponents you learn much from. I'm with you - let's see what happens Saturday to see where the offense is.

Sean in Nashua, N.H. writes: What does Boston College have to do defensively to stop Wake?

HD: Rattle Riley Skinner. They've got to pressure him and force him into mistakes, because he's the biggest advantage the Deacs have right now - a veteran quarterback. Getting linebacker Mike McLaughlin back will be huge for the Eagles.