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Tuesday mailblog

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here's Round 1. Get your questions in for Friday's Round II:

Robert in Gainesville, Ga., writes: Do you think it would be the preception of the media that the ACC is weak if Miami, Virginia Tech or FSU were in the position that Georgia Tech is in now? Would they also be higher ranked in the polls and BCS?

Heather Dinich: Yes, they would be ranked higher in the poll. Just look at Week 6 for proof. Virginia Tech was No. 4 in the country in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls with a 5-1 record -- ahead of undefeated Boise State, TCU, Iowa and Cincinnati. As to the league-wide perception, I think it would be about the same with only one team ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings and five teams with losing records. That being said, the schools you mentioned tend to draw more national attention.


Chris in New York writes: While the chances of Maryland making the ACC Championship Game are incredibly slim, what would happen if Maryland wins out, everything else falls into place, and Maryland wins the ACC Championship Game? Would the then 6-7 Terps be in the Orange Bowl? Would they even be bowl eligible when the conference championship game loser can only fall so far in the ACC bowl pecking order?

HD: It's nice to see a Maryland fan keeping the faith, as misguided as it might be. Yes, the 2-7 Terps can still technically make it to the Orange Bowl. I believe at the beginning of the season, I said that if Maryland is the best team in the Atlantic Division, I would do up-downs until Ralph Friedgen told me I could stop. That bet still holds.


Tommy in Arlington, Va., writes: As a part of the debacle of Washington/Metro area teams, I just wanted to gauge your assessment of Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen's chances of remaining with the Terrapins next season. I know his contract runs is finished in 2012, but with a 12-12 conference record in the past 3 years, I'm wondering if this is enough to keep him around after a 2-7 start in 2009. Offensive Coordinator James Franklin is the heir apparent to his Fridgeness, but do you foresee this transition happening before 2012?

HD: It wouldn't surprise me, but how much good would it really do? Maryland would owe Friedgen money for his buyout, and Franklin would inherit the same players and problems, and the program would struggle again in a year of transition under a new staff. If Franklin didn't keep defensive coordinator Don Brown on, the defense would have to learn another entirely new system in as many seasons. Debbie Yow has to weigh the cost of a buyout for Ralph vs. the cost of keeping him. Tough call. Very tough. Regardless of what she decides, it won't be a quick fix either way.


Scott in Spring Hope, N.C., writes: Heather, as a N.C. State alum, our season has been a disappointment to say the least. Our lack of discipline on both offense and defense seems troubling because of Coach O'Brien's reputation as a disciplined football coach. How much is this bothering him personally? Should we expect to see any changes in the staff next year? Also, do you think Russell Wilson will return for his junior year? Thanks. You do a great job.

HD: Thanks for reading, Scott. As much as it bothers O'Brien, he's not one to let it show. He keeps moving forward with a poker face. I would be surprised to see any staff changes because O'Brien knows how much injuries have been a factor, especially on the defensive side, but if there has to be a scapegoat, I would think Mike Archer would be it. Not that I agree with that, because I don't. As for Wilson, I really don't know. It's a realistic chance he would turn to baseball, but it's not something he's going to talk about now.


Will in Fairfax, Va., writes: Hey heather. Depressed FSU fan here. Do you think Ponder's injury will increase or decrease the chances of him leaving for the draft?

HD: Keep your chin up, Will. Ponder has said that because of the injury, he's more likely to return.


Gregory in Los Angeles writes: Hi Heather.After experiencing the now infamous Paul Johnson 'Goferit' call from the stands this past weekend, I'm looking for you to provide some real perspective regarding how big this decision was.Clearly, if Tech does not win a BCS game this year, the call will quickly be forgotten...BUT...if Tech does win out, will PJ's decision forever be part of Georgia Tech lore? Will this be a play that in 40 years I tell my grandkids I was there during the game, which was played during a blizzard with no lights and Coach Paul Johnson made the call by simply smirking at Nesbitt and not saying a word? Again, not saying it is that important now, but there's been a lot of talk about it and I need your wisdom to figure out how big this is in the grand scheme of things.Cheers!

HD: Hahaha yes! I believe you will be able to tell your grandkids a story almost as good as Nesbitt will. In retrospect, that was a money call -- literally (bowl payout, coaches' bonuses, etc.). Conversely, if it busted it could have been equally as costly. The Coastal Division crown was on the line. An appearance in the ACC championship game. A chance at the Orange Bowl. I have a terrible memory, but that was one call I won't forget.