Casual Friday here in my office ...
Sean Hall in Baton Rouge, La., writes: ACC I believe has 7 teams in the Top 30 in recruiting according to Recruiting Nation. What is the next step for the ACC or how long will it take for the ACC to be considered a power conference that can compete with the SEC?
HD: Compete with the SEC? Puh-lease, the ACC already has the best team IN the SEC. OK, OK, I'll stop. Look, it's not rocket science. The next step is the same it has been for years -- win the nonconference games. Clemson did that last year with its win over LSU. If it can do it again this fall against Georgia and South Carolina, then boom -- the ACC has a national title contender. (Assuming, of course, Clemson doesn't lose to NC State.) The ACC has the recruits. To me the only thing it has been missing is coaching consistency. Speaking of ...
Earnest in Rock Hill, S.C., writes: My question is will Clemson fire Dabo Swinney if they go 8 and 4 or 7 and 5? The reason I ask this is because this year remains me of 2008 when everyone was looking for big things from Clemson after a great 2007 year. Clemson came out flat and 6 games into the season Tommy Bowden was gone. Clemson has 3 games it could lose Georgia, FSU and South Carolina. The games that show the potential of an upset happening are the games at NC State, Syracuse and Maryland. Say Clemson loses to Georgia or Florida State and loses to South Carolina to make 5 in a row. Bud Saunders who coached Clemson way back from 1923 to 1926 and Dabo Swinney are the only coaches to have a losing record against South Carolina. Everyone else is at least .500. Then throw in losses at Syracuse and Maryland. Do they get rid of Dabo Swinney then? What are your thoughts?
HD: I understand exactly where you are coming from, and your scenario of Clemson losing the big three and another trap game is a very realistic possibility. I just don't see that happening. Even if it did, I wouldn't fire Dabo if I'm the AD. I don't think I'd have to, because it would sort of come unraveled itself the following year. Hot seat? Heck yeah, sizzling. Fired? I just wouldn't do it. Not after what he's done there so far. It's so different from what happened with Tommy Bowden.
Will in Charlotte, N.C., writes: HD,I've been frequenting your blog for over two years now. I've enjoyed reading about my Clemson Tigers and talking with all the other fans on the site. Sadly, after July 17th I don't believe I will be here very often. I don't know what you can do about it, but I really don't like the idea of having all of my comments on a sports blog linked to my name. I do enjoy my privacy and I don't feel like ESPN respects that. If there is anything you can do, please help us out. You know how many hits we bring to the blog and if anything you can tell them they will lose revenue from advertising because there will be less people on the site.I'll still stop in to read the articles every now and then, but I won't come here nearly as much.Thanks for all your writing and Go Tigers!-Will
HD: Will, thanks for reading, hope you continue to do so. I looked into this for you. Here is the official statement from ESPN on the matter:
Utilizing the Facebook platform for ESPN Conversations will improve the experience for fans who enjoy discussing and debating their favorite sports, while expanding access to a potentially larger number of voices.
Rhett in Atlanta, Ga., writes: I don't understand why more people aren't looking at Georgia Tech. They have improved at quarterback with Vad Lee. There defense can't be any worse than last year especially with a better DC. They also get the Hokies and Tar Heels at home. I see this team going 9-3 and could definitely end with a top 25 finish. Heather help me out why doesn't anyone buy my team.
HD: Flip a coin in the Coastal Division, Rhett. It's anyone's game. Your Jackets have just as good of a chance as anyone else in that division. I agree that the defense is going to be better. They started to turn the corner in the second half of the season and I think Ted Roof was a great hire. The thing that always holds me back with Georgia Tech is its inability to pass the ball when playing from behind, and I don't see that changing this year with so many questions at receiver. Heck yeah, they can win the ACC without throwing it much -- they've done it before. Overall, though, I think Miami gets the nod as the most talented team in the division.
Gary in Alexandria, Va., writes: what is wrong with Virginia? we can't keep qbs would u say mike londons job is in danger? opening up with byu and Oregon? OUCH
HD: First, I wouldn't blame the scheduling on Mike London -- that's certainly not his call. Executive associate athletics director Jon Oliver seems to like to have a lot of input in what goes on in the football program. The quarterback situation falls on London, and that's just perplexing to me. The good news is that UVa is recruiting very well. I think we should wait to see how this season plays out for the Hoos, but I think it's fair to say London's seat has definitely gotten a little warmer since he was named the ACC's Coach of the Year. I'm not ready to say he's on the hot seat, though.
Jerry Nuckols in Madison, Ala., writes: Could you please tell me why Michael Rocco, the QB who transferred from UVa. to the University of Richmond, is ineligible to play for Richmond this year? I thought that transfers going down in class (i.e. FBS to FCS) could play immediately. Did the rule change or did Richmond's classification change?
HD: Sure, there is an NCAA rule that if you transfer from an FBS to an FCS with only ONE year of eligibility remaining, than you have to sit out a year. Rocco did apply for a waiver to be able to play in 2013 but NCAA denied it citing their rules on transfers to FCS programs with one year of eligibility remaining.