We open the mailbag with a reply from Jon in Fort Lauderdale, who created quite the firestorm with his comments last week!
Jon writes: Hahah you're awesome!! Thanks for putting the question online. I reeeally didn't think that would make it. Thanks for being objective, but you know every Nole on here thinks otherwise. I just think whether ND does good, great or awful, it's a plus for the ACC. Last year the ACC was the bottom-feeders and now we have the defending champs, a good Clemson bowl win and a historic program like ND associated with the conference. I will certainly tone down the condescension on my next email and appreciate you using my comment. Keep up the good work even if fans like myself give you some razzing. I look forward to enjoying the column the upcoming season, thanks!!
Andrea Adelson writes: We can agree on one thing, Jon. I am pretty awesome. And if the mailbag is any indication, a lot of you Noles fans agree! Thanks for all the wonderful notes this week, Richard in St. Augustine, Florida, Roy in Lakeview, Arkansas, Scott in Satellite Beach, Florida, Bill in Destin, Florida and Scott in Charleston, South Carolina. I've had my Sally Field moment for the day.
Adam in Miami Beach, Florida, writes: Did you really post a comment calling University of Miami fans and alumni dumb and illiterate? I thought as a reporter you would not be so biased against a fan base. Please remind the FSU fans that The University of Miami ranks well above FSU (and Florida for that matter) in academic rankings and athletic APR.
Adelson writes: OK, I've had my Sally Field moment for ... a moment. The mailbag is a forum for readers to express their own opinions. These do not reflect my own. If they did, well, then we would not have much of a mailbag. So one fan base trash-talked another fan base -- doesn't that all come with the territory? We have had trash talk in this space before, and I am sure we will have more as the season goes on. You will find far, far worse elsewhere.
Chris in Pittsburgh writes: How do you see the development of first-year starter Chad Voytik going this season for Pitt? This is his first year under center, but it's his third in Paul Chryst's system, and Coach Chryst has a pretty good track record with QBs.
Adelson writes: One of the reasons I believe Pitt is a contender in the Coastal is because of Voytik. We got our first glimpse of what he could do in the offense in the bowl game, and I was impressed. Not only does he have a firm grasp of the offense, and not only is Chryst known as a QB whisperer, Voytik had some pretty talented players surrounding him. The running game and offensive line should be better, and Tyler Boyd already is a returning 1,000-yard receiver. I believe when the season ends, Voytik will be among the top half of QBs in the ACC.
Matthew in Alexandria, Virginia, writes: Let me preface this question -- I'm an alumnus, fan, and donor of Virginia Tech athletics (and big fan of Hokies football). With all of the new quarterbacks that need to prove themselves in the Coastal Division (Virginia Tech's included, and even Duke and North Carolina QBs have something to prove), I feel like this could be a year when an average offense and a tough-as-nails defense could win the ACC's Coastal Division. Virginia Tech's offense doesn't have to be great (although that would be nice). For example, it just has to be good enough (top 60-ish). Your thoughts?
Adelson: Could not agree more, Matthew. I think that is a big reason why there are many who believe Virginia Tech will win the Coastal despite a recent dip. Virginia Tech has followed this formula to win the Coastal in the past. We are not going to see offensive flash, but if the Hokies can first and foremost run the football, they will absolutely have a shot at this division. The schedule is in their favor, too. If Virginia Tech makes modest improvement offensively and is once again dominant on D, this team can win 10 games.
Drew in McLean, Virginia, writes: Hi, Andrea. On paper, FSU has a tougher schedule than last year. If they happen to roll Oklahoma State, ND, UF (assuming they are relatively good), will those teams all of a sudden become "overrated" like Clemson last year to discount their victories, or will they actually get a little respect for taking out quality opponents now that they've won a title?
Adelson writes: Clemson still finished ranked in the Top 10 with a win over Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl. Not sure how many people called the Tigers overrated then. I should hope wins in those three games prove how strong Florida State is, as opposed to cutting down the worthiness of the opponent.
BT in Miami writes: I think Denzel Perryman is slightly overrated in the ACC top 25, and Stacy Coley is supremely underrated. Coley had seven receiving TDs as a freshman, and he dropped two bunnies (nerves) in the end zone in his first game, which would have given him nine. He was Miami's best WR from his first day on campus. His other accolades are well known. The rankings would appear more genuine if you guys projected a bit, instead of giving some guys credit for above-average longevity (Nick O'Leary). Clearly FSU is loaded and deserves credit, but being the best tight end at FSU, historically speaking, doesn't say much. Tyler Boyd, Jamison Crowder, Coley > Rashad Greene.
Adelson: Coley just missed the cut. We have high hopes for him this season. People like to bag on Greene, but he is as reliable, consistent and good as they come. Last season, he had more touchdown catches than the three players you mentioned above, and a higher yards-per-catch average than Boyd and Crowder, too. As for the two Syracuse players, it is always tough for an offensive lineman to crack the Top 25. Hickey should be a first-team All-ACC selection, but he's not quite on the same level as Cameron Erving or Tre' Jackson, the only two offensive linemen to make the list. Eskridge is coming off a terrific season, but he's behind Jeremy Cash and Anthony Harris at safety and several other defensive backs at this point.