ACC Friday mailblog

FSU fans didn't like my prediction again this weekend. Funny thing is, I keep picking FSU to win ...

Matthew Robb in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: You really think FSU will only win by 7? You didnt learn anything after the Wake Forest game where you picked a narrow margin there as well? With that prediction you are saying that FSU isnt a top 5 team at all. Glennon cant move out of the pocket. The defensive line will have a field day against him just like last year when they had under 200 yards of total offense. At least last year they had an offensive line worth something. GEEZ

HD: That score isn't a knock on FSU by any means. The mark of a great team is not winning by 50 points every Saturday, it's finding a way to win tough games on the road and winning every weekend, regardless of hostile crowds, which FSU will find at Carter-Finley. I will be shocked if NC State doesn't play better and more disciplined than it did last week at Miami.

Chris Jackson in Miami, Fla., writes: Do you think the fighting Irish secondary could stop the air attack against a speedy Miami offense ?

HD: With three new starters back there, the Irish have a very inexperienced secondary. It's something Miami can exploit -- if quarterback Stephen Morris gets the time. Notre Dame's front seven is the real deal, and that's where the Canes should be concerned. The Irish will try and pressure Morris into mistakes. The secondary, though, has been banged up. They've played well so far, but they haven't faced a team passing like Miami is yet. Notre Dame lost one starting safety to an Achilles injury, one expected starting cornerback injured his Achilles in camp. Some guys have come over from offense, too, as one safety was a receiver last year, one cornerback was a receiver two years ago, and another cornerback was a running back when he arrived in June.

Andrew Rosti in Arlington, Va., writes: Heather, I agree that the 8-game conference schedule is the fairest mostly because of the home-away split keeping a balance. However, as conferences grow beyond 12, we see the issue of conference teams not meeting but once every six years, and at home only once every 12 years.Should the ACC go a step further and get rid of the "cross divisional" rival format? Imagine playing in the ACC for all four years and never seeing Clemson, Virginia Tech, or FSU in your career? Teams may see non-conference opponents more frequently.

HD: No, Andrew, I don't think it's really an option to do that, nor do I think it's in the best interest of the league. I think the value of keeping games like FSU-Miami, Clemson-Georgia Tech, UNC-NC State and Maryland-Virginia outweighs not seeing everyone from the other division as often. That is the one good thing that will be lost without the nine-game schedule, though, is that players would have faced each team at least once in his career. Logic states that teams have to have the head-to-head results of facing each team in the same division in order to crown the division champs, and keeping the cross-divisional rivals is important to the league's tradition. Any inequity in that system is partially compensated for by getting a shot at the championship game.

Kenneth in Auburn, Ala., writes: I was slightly disappointed in your hot seat article earlier. It's definitely no secret that many Hokies are dreaming of the day we can have an explosive offense a la pre-Stinespring. What needs to happen in order for Beamer and Weaver to finally realize a drastic offensive change is needed? I'd be happy to see Virginia Tech have a losing record if it meant change from the consistently mediocre coaching we have now.

HD: Simple: Status quo. If Virginia Tech's offense doesn't pick up soon, the Hokies are going to struggle to stay in the Coastal Division race, let alone win it. UNC can score. Miami can score. Heck, Duke can score. I know Frank Beamer has been loyal to his assistants, but at some point, he might have to make a choice. While Stinespring has taken the brunt of the criticism, it wouldn't surprise me if there were changes with some position coaches like wide receiver and/or offensive line. It's still a little too early, though, to say that needs to happen. There is plenty of time for the Hokies' offense to get better, and I would be really surprised if they didn't take another step forward against UNC.

Matthew in Atlanta, Ga., writes: Coming into the season there seemed to be pressure building on Paul Johnson's shoulders. After a rookie season winning our hearts he has compiled a three game losing streak to Miami and Georgia, and going a big 0 -4 in bowl games. After a heartbreaking lose to VT and Miami, and the embarrassing lose to MTSU how hot is his seat? Is a win against Clemson and U[sic]GA enough to keep him in ATL for another year?

HD: Johnson's ridiculous contract will keep him there if nothing else. It still runs through 2016, and according to Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it would cost the athletic department $10.485 million to fire Johnson after this season. Georgia Tech is already on a tight budget. If there's going to be a scapegoat this year, my guess would be defensive coordinator Al Groh.

hokieingeorgia in Athens, Ga., writes: Do you think that Logan Thomas let all the pre season hype get into his head and thats why he hasnt been playing up to his potential. becouse by now shouldnt he be timed right with all the new receivers.

HD: No, no, no. I'm telling you guys, Logan Thomas is not the problem. It's the guys in front of him. They need to be more physical, and so do the receivers. Virginia Tech needs to block. Period. Hit somebody.

Tom in Miami, Fla., writes: After watching WVU absolutely light up Baylor and everyone else they have played, I am wondering if the UMD defense is better than expected after "holding" WVU to 31 points? I am asking because I am very far from objective as a MD alum, and am looking for an objective opinion.

HD: I said before the season started that Maryland's defense would be better than expected and underrated. It's a very, very talented group that is doing its part to help the Terps dig out of last year's 2-10 crater. Maryland has the No. 11 rushing defense in the country. They've played some good teams. The challenge now is to keep it up against ACC opponents and get more help from the offense.