Friday mailblog

Finally home from Blacksburg. Got mail??

Mike in Clarksburg, W.Va., writes: HD --- C'mon how about a little love for my Canes?? Seriously you are picking UVA?? The Canes have been pretty good on the road in the ACC (undefeated). That's ok you just helped motivate this young team to win again. I guess in an election year I shouldn't be surprised with your flip-flopping!!! Lol

HD: Ha! I've been giving the Canes love all season, Mike. Virginia? Not so much. I wrote the Hoos off at their bye week, but they made a statement on the road last week against NC State that said they're not giving up. I expect Virginia to build upon that performance at home -- especially if they can run the ball as well as they did last week.

jeff waker in Yadkinville, N.C., writes: What are your thoughts on this years Duke football team? are they for real or is their success just a fluke?

HD: A six-win season at Duke is not a fluke -- it's hard work finally translating into wins for the program, and it's long overdue. With that being said, the lopsided scores in losses to Florida State and Clemson were evidence of just how much farther the program needs to go. Duke has been able to take advantage of a down year in the Coastal Division, but when matched up against more elite teams, Duke has been exposed. Duke deserves a ton of credit for reaching bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994, but there is still a lot of work to be done in Durham.

Steve in Orlando, Fla., writes: Hey HD. With bowl projections starting to clear up towards the end of the season (granted things still are not clear), what do you think the chances are of a FSU vs Notre Dame bowl game are? I am huge fans of both programs and would love to see another rematch -especially with the year ND has had. A lot of projections point to a FSU vs Boise State or Louisville game, and I am hoping for a better matchup. Thanks!

HD: Sorry, Steve, but the chances of that aren't good because the Discover Orange Bowl has the last pick of the BCS bowls this year. The Irish will likely be scooped up already if they're not in the national championship. The most likely scenario right now is a game against the Big East champs because Boise State's loss last week hurt the Broncos chances of getting into a BCS bowl this year.

David Yannarella in Due West, S.C., writes: Heather,Can you explain why Nuk Hopkins isn't getting Heisman hype? He's playing for one of the most explosive offenses in the country, has over 1,000 receiving yards, and has made some incredible catches in each game Clemson has played. Do you think he could enter the talk if he puts up another great game or three in the next three weeks?Thanks, I enjoy reading your blog. I;m trying to do my own sports blog right now, and I read your work for inspiration.

HD: Thanks, David, check's in the mail. You're right, Nuk is having a great season, but I think his quarterback, Tajh Boyd, is playing even better. To me, Boyd is the ACC's best hope to get to New York this year, but the reality is that they're overshadowed by guys playing for undefeated teams in the national championship picture.

Brandon in Winston-Salem, N.C., writes: Heatherbeing a UNC Grad, I got a quick question for you. If Carolina wins out and has the best record in the Coastal Division, dont they at least get to call themselves Costal Division Champs even if they dont get to play in the Championship Game? At least that title is something in this somewhat waste of a season

HD: They can call themselves whatever they want, Brandon, but they ACC isn't going to recognize them as champs of anything. You can't call it a waste of a season, though. For UNC to have the best record in the Coastal would speak volumes about that program being headed in the right direction under Larry Fedora. It would be a Coach of the Year worthy performance for him, and it would be a major selling point for recruits.

Spence in Raleigh, N.C., writes: How likely is it that TOB is out at NC State at the end of the season?

HD: It's honestly too early to tell. He still has some opportunities to finish strong. If the Pack beats Wake and pulls off a stunning upset of Clemson, I'd think he'd be safe. If not, then we should have this conversation again.