ACC mailblog

Thanks for all of the happy Thanksgiving notes in the mailbag this week. Back at ya ...

Leon in Virginia writes: Hi heather, i think that your going to be wrong about the South Florida- Miami game. Miami may be weak on defense but i still think there D will be able to hold South Florida's offense. Miami should have a couple of key players back on defense this week anyways right? I also think that Jacory will have a better game than South Florida's QB. Like most the games this year i predict Jacory to lead the Canes to a 38 21 win. There's to much fire power on there offense for south Florida, whom I think has a weaker D than Miami, to handle.

Heather Dinich: Well, I'll tell you our Big East blogger, Brian Bennett, picked Miami to win that game. He thinks Miami's D will be too much for B.J. Daniels. He might be right. I thought Miami had too much firepower for North Carolina, and I was wrong on that, and Jacory has been inconsistent this year, though he has shown more than capable of taking the team on his back. But the Canes just haven't looked too convincing lately, and the fact that this game is on the road will make it difficult.

Dimitri in Atlanta, Ga. writes: Hi Heather,I am a frequent reader of your blogs. They are great. I have a question for you. According to this post about Miami being among the teams for the BCS consideration. What has to happen for Miami to get in as a BCS at-large?Thanks,Dimitri

HD: Thanks for reading, Dimitri. I knew somebody would ask about that. The only reason Miami is included in that list is because with a win over South Florida, the Canes have a chance to finish among the top 14 in the BCS standings, and that's where a team has to be ranked in order to be considered for a BCS bowl. (Miami is currently No. 17). More than anything, it's to let folks know they're trying to be as fair as possible and all 14 of those teams will be considered, but the reality is that Miami will more than likely wind up in one of the ACC's bowl tie-ins.

Alan in Savannah, Ga. writes: Would a two loss Georgia Tech still be considered for a BCS bid before the 3 loss teams mentioned in Tuesday's BCS press release: USC, LSU, and Miami?Thanks

HD: Yes, but they automatically qualify for the Orange Bowl if they win the ACC championship game. If they lose and are still ranked among the top 14, which I'd assume they would be, they Georgia Tech could still be taken for an at-large BCS bid.

Richard in Tallahassee writes: Heather, I know it's a long shot for FSU to beat UF on saturday, but what do YOU think is the key in order for FSU to pull the upset? I can sit here and critique EJ Manuel as a freshman all I want, but when it all comes down to it, I think that our D needs to be able to force TO's and force Tebow into throwing in 3rd and long situations, am I right when I say that?

HD: Richard, yes, that's a great start. The defense need to force the Gators into mistakes, which isn't impossible, but one other thing I think needs to happen is offensively. What made Manuel's debut at Wake so impressive was all of the help he got around him. If he could get that again, it would take some pressure off him. His receivers need to run the right routes, and they need to have that running game going. But I think you're right -- the key is the defense.

A Yellow Jacket in Atlanta writes: Do you think Jonathan Dwyer, Morgan Burnett, Demariyus Thomas and Derrick Morgan will leave GT early to join NFL? I certainly hope they don't!!! If they do come back for their senior year..and with an improved defense, do you think GT could be national title contenders next year?

HD: Morgan hasn't made up his mind yet -- I spoke with him on Monday -- but if I had to pick one guy who would leave early, it would be him. Our guys think he's a top five pick. It would be silly for him not to start getting paid. As for the other guys, it depends on what they're hearing -- how high they'll go. I don't think Burnett has had the season he's capable of this year. Thomas should be regarded as one of the best receivers in the country, despite the limited touches. And I'm not sure what Dwyer is thinking right now. It's a long shot, but if they're all back, there's no reason why the Jackets shouldn't be in contention for the NC. Look how close they are this year.

Will T in Tuscaloosa writes: I think ECU is bowl eligible at 7-4, meaning UNC would not be the state's "only bowl eligible team"

HD: Fair enough, Will, and you're right, the Pirates are going bowling, but I've got ACC tunnel vision here in the blogosphere, so when I wrote that, I was only referring to the teams in the conference. Thanks, though, for the clarification.

Antonio in Athens, Ga., writes: Heather I am a Clemson alum/fan and was wondering if you would be at the ACCCG? If so you have to come by the Clemson Club tailgate before the game. I will be the one with all the orange on, keep up the good work.

HD: Of course I'll be there, Antonio, thanks, and I'll be sure too keep my eye out for the guy in "all the orange." Shouldn't be too hard to find.