This is my mobile office, as I'm on my way to Clemson today.
Josh in Milledgeville, Ga., writes: Hey Heather,If GT comes out hot on defense with the new coaching staff/changes, do you think Georgia Tech can pull off a 6-0 second half of the season? A good showing against BC, BYU, Maryland would build the confidence, but will it be enough to stop UNC, Duke, and UGA with such a late change?Thanks,Josh
HD: I'm not seeing it, Josh, sorry. I agree that Georgia Tech should be able to start the second half at 2-0, but having to play three of the last four on the road is going to be tough, and Georgia is a better team. So is North Carolina. Not only that, but firing Al Groh isn't going to change the fact that the Jackets have lacked speed and fundamentals. Simplifying things during the bye week will help, no doubt, but it's a short-term solution to a much larger problem -- recruiting and instability at the coordinator level.
Dan in Coral Gables, Fla., writes:Heather,Big fan of your stuff, I think you do a great job. Question about my Hurricanes. How long is it before you think they consider self-imposing another bowl-ban? I personally would wait until losing to FSU and Virginia Tech, but at the same time, I recognize that this is not our best team and the guys we have will only grow and improve over the next few years, and it would really stink to get an extra year of a bowl ban just to play in a 2nd tier game this season.
HD: Thanks, Dan, I try. I haven't had a chance to talk to Al Golden about this, but here's my take on it: Why is everyone so gung-ho about the idea of it? Why do it? They did it once, showed a good-faith effort, now let the NCAA handle it. If I'm running the show there, I say let the kids play in a bowl if they make it this year.
Kyle in Lincolnton, N.C., writes:Heather, as I was looking at ESPN's Conference Power Rankings I got to thinking about how UNC's ban would affect the rankings in anyway. Are they allowed to be ranked in the polls (not that they should be or anything) or do their wins and losses help/hurt the ACC's numbers. I know their wins this year "count" but are they "all for naught" as far as conference ranks and poll voting goes?
HD: No, not for naught. Ohio State has been ranked. Same thing happened with USC. Now, you won't find them in the BCS standings, which are the ones that matter right now, but voters can still feel free to put the Heels in their polls.
Jeremy in Honolulu, Hawaii, writes:Heather,Marylands D has impressed this year. With the stats going into Saturday's game against a NC State team high off of their last win, what do you think Maryland's chances are winning this one?Thanks, love reading your stuff!
HD: Thanks, Jeremy. I think their chances are very good -- especially considering how poorly NC State has handled success in recent years and Tom O'Brien's 0-13 road record against Atlantic Division opponents. The difference, though, will be Mike Glennon. He is so much better than he was a year ago, and we saw that in the fourth quarter against FSU when he came through in the clutch. His experience in a tight game will have the edge against true freshman Perry Hills.
Sam in Charleston, S.C., writes:Can I take your article "2012 ACC Midseason Report" to mean that we can now start saying "pulling a Florida State?"
HD: Yeah, that probably would've made for a much quicker read, too.
Nick in Charlotte, N.C., writes:Why do you continue to say FSU is out of the National Championship picture? They lost a game. I believe if they run the table, which would include a win over likely SEC East winner Florida, they will get a shot at Alabama.
HD: Technically, I think I always write FSU is LIKELY out of the national title picture, because you just never know, but the reality of the situation doesn't even look good for Oregon for crying out loud. If FSU runs the table -- you know, if it doesn't "pull a Florida State," I think the best the ACC can hope for is two BCS bids. That's pretty darn good. But it looks like it's shaping up to be another all-SEC title game.
Scott in kill devil hills, N.C., writes:Geo Benard for heisman? If Geovani Benard keeps putting up the numbers he's been putting up will he have a shot at the heisman or does the suspention from post season play kill any chance at the heisman? It shouldn't becuase these players are already being punished for things that happened while most of them were still in high school.
HD: You make a great point, Scott, but the national perception (i.e. Heisman goes to a player on an eligible, contending team) is going to be tough to overcome. So is the competition. Giovani Bernard has been spectacular and fun to watch, but Geno Smith, Braxton Miller, Collin Klein -- even Manti Te'o -- top my list right now. The good news? UNC's ineligibility can't keep Bernard from winning the ACC's Player of the Year award if he's the right choice. I double-checked with the ACC just to make sure.