Friday mailblog

Here we go ...

Diego in Orlando, FL writes: Hey HD, where would you rank our league so far against the other conferences. No FCS loses, three top-25 teams, title contender, 2-2 against the SEC, I'm intrigued because I haven't seen any conference power rankings.

HD: Diego, here's how I would rank them right now: 1. SEC 2. Pac-12 3. ACC 4. Big Ten 5. Big 12. The ACC has two national title contenders right now in No. 3 Clemson and No. 8 Florida State. The Big Ten has Ohio State. The Big 12 has a Texas-sized problem. I think the mere presence of the Atlantic Division's two best teams in the top 10 has helped tremendously.

Jon in Atlanta, GA writes: It seems that a lot of people underestimated Georgia Tech. The "D" seems a lot better than it was last year. Now it seems that Vad Lee has brought the passing game back. His arm will keep teams from loading the box to stop the run. I think they beat UNC, VT and Miami. Not sure if they can beat Clemson. But they seem to always play a close game. If GT win the next 3 games, how much of an upset would that be? Are teams worried about playing a team that can be explosive? Go Jackets!! I hope that they show up all these people that picked them to come in fourth in the Coastal. :)

HD: Jon, I don't think it would be much of an upset if GT went 3-0 the next three weeks. Georgia Tech has looked good, but I don't think anyone is truly convinced yet that any one team is head and shoulders above the rest. Miami has the marquee win, but even the Canes have issues. Regardless of how good Georgia Tech is, it's going to be a tough turnaround to the Virginia Tech game. We'll see what happens, but I think the Jackets have certainly caught some attention as one of the league's better teams, but they have to keep up against tougher opponents.

Jeremy in Honolulu, HI writes: Heather, what's the possibility of Maryland beating or at least staying close with FSU after the bye week? Will they be well prepared without Dexter McDougle in the secondary? Or will they look like all the other teams FSU has manhandled?

HD: I don't think FSU is going to make Maryland look like an FCS team, Jeremy, but I'd give the Noles two TDs on the Terps. I think they're going to be a deceiving 4-0 team after this week, but the schedule works in their favor, and the bye week comes at a good time, so overall it should be a good year for Maryland. I really like their offense this year, and clearly they have more playmakers, but they're still not as deep and talented as FSU. I asked Randy Edsall about Will Likely taking over for McDougle, and he said they're confident in all of the guys in the secondary, he's not worried about Likely at all. I think they'll get a reality check at FSU, but won't be embarrassed if that makes sense.

Rob in Washington, DC writes: HD, I've been a Wake fan for a long time, and this past weekend's loss to ULM is one of the more disappointing results I can remember for the program. Wake obviously has a lot of losing in its history, but this loss (and the BC game) seem to sting far more because expectations were actually pretty high this year in Winston-Salem. It's easy to say Wake just doesn't have the talent to compete, but we all thought this year they actually did, at least at the offensive skill positions. No one will say Jim Grobe can't coach, but it seems like the program has lost its spark and its underdog reputation of making the most of sub-par talent through heart and great coaching. The players looked bored and uninspired in these two losses, and it would be nice to see a little fire power from Grobe on the sideline. Is there any other possible fix for the program other than replacing Grobe? He's done great things for Wake and the fan base will always love him, but it might be time for a change.

HD: I don't think firing Grobe is the answer, nor do I think it's necessary. If anything, maybe it's time for a change at offensive coordinator. The problem, though, hasn't been the play-calling, it's been the execution of it. They're just not blocking. Now, yeah, that comes back on the coaches to get them to execute and get them fired up, and they need to quickly figure out what will work and what the offensive line can handle. The ULM loss wasn't good, but how they respond to it -- as a staff, too -- will be even more important.

Anthony in Savannah, Ga. writes: Trying to be non-biased here, but in all actuality if coach Al Golden makes it to the ACC championship game with one loss then loses to Clemson/FSU what would his chances be considered for national coach of the year? I know that the Coastal as of right now doesn't look like years past and you can't count out VT and GT but the Canes don't look the same as years past either!!!

HD: Hmm. That's a hard question to answer because we don't know what's going to happen throughout the rest of the country. He would make a good candidate, and I'm sure he would get a lot of consideration if for no other reason than the fact he has had to coach for three years under the cloud of the NCAA investigation. Real or imagined, I sense a lot of media sympathy for Golden, especially considering the NCAA's ongoing public relations nightmare.