Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
So, that post on the ACC needing FSU and Miami back struck a nerve with some folks, eh? Sorry, but no takebacks on that one. It led to a lot more comments than questions, though, so far this week in the mailblog. I'd print them, but my mother reads this blog.
Ray in Atlanta writes: Hi Heather,The reason that everyone gets excited about the prospects of Miami and FSU returning to greatness is that they competed nationally when they were winning their conferences. Va Tech has won conferences championships but not won the big games at the end of the year (and yes, I know that they beat Cincinnati and yes, I am as impressed as everyone else who did not bother to watch that game).Va Tech leading the ACC title hunt to most people means not talking about the ACC on the national stage.-Ray
Heather Dinich: Hi Ray. You are exactly right. The Hokies took a step in the right direction last year, and as everyone can see from this season, Cincinnati is a very good team and has gotten much better since that Orange Bowl loss. But in order for the Hokies to create a similar buzz nationally, they've got to beat the Alabamas, Kansas' and LSUs of the world and avoid losses to ECU.
Steve in Roanoke, Va., writes: I know that VT gave Miami a thumping last week, but how in all honesty can anyone even think that VT has a shot at the national championship. What a Joke!
HD: OK, then, who besides Florida, Alabama and Texas are in the running? Do you really think Boise State, with wins over teams like Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green will have a SOS better than Virginia Tech? USC lost to Washington. Virginia Tech lost to Alabama. Oklahoma lost to BYU, which got pounded by Florida State. Aside from the top three, the door is wide open.
Jeff in Memphis, Tenn., writes: HD,When will people start to recognize NC State's defense? The Pack D is ranked first in the nation in yards allowed/game, yet all I hear about is how great UNC's defense is. Yes we had two games against easier competition, but who hasn't? Despite a loss, our defense held USC to 7 points and most recently held Pitt to 300 yards, impressive considering they were averaging nearly 400 yards/game. All this while playing several true freshmen and missing their best defensive player in Nate Irving.
HD: Jeff, you are absolutely right. The Pack has held it together without Irving, and they've done it with numerous injuries in their secondary. More to come on the Wolfpack later today, but by the way those within the program are talking, there's still lots of room for improvement.
Justin in Conway, S.C., writes: Heather,If Friedgen gets the axe this year or after the season, and the Terps offense continues to be this bad does Franklin still move up to be head coach or does Maryland have a way out besides paying him the million dollars? If this does happen and Franklin doesn't get the job who is our best option?Thanks,Justin
HD: Justin, first of all, I don't see Ralph going anywhere after this season unless he does it on his own terms. Second, Maryland is committed to James Franklin and vice versa. As Friedgen likes to say, "it is what it is."
Jon from Hokie Nation writes: With all the preseason hype and accolades surrounding CJ Spiller and Jonathan Dwyer, is it time yet to say that Ryan Williams is the best running back in the ACC? The other two backs had preseason Heisman talk, but Williams has outperfomed them both. If noone has checked yet he is 5th in country in rushing yards and tied for second (with Cal's Jahvid Best) for rushing TDs. Heisman talk might be premature, but shouldn't he get his due.
HD: So far, yes, he is looking like the best back in the ACC, but it's still early, and don't forget that he racked up 164 yards and three of those eight touchdowns against Marshall. He's also only a redshirt freshman. He's going to get his due, don't worry about that. If you want a new Heisman contender in the ACC, look no further than Raleigh. Russell Wilson is playing lights-out.