Friday mailblog: ACC

The sky is not falling, and the ACC is not falling apart. C'mon people, smile.

John L in Va., writes: If the seven non-football schools in the Big East detonate the league, do you think the ACC will extend invites to Cincy and UConn and grow to 16 (17 in non-football sports)? The former would appease the football schools and the latter would appease the basketball and academic crowds.

HD: Prior to the addition of Louisville, I would have told you that academic standards would have kept Cincy out of the ACC, but since the conference flat-out admitted it took Louisville for sports, nothing would surprise me. I would imagine, though, that the ACC is not going to have a knee-jerk reaction to the Big East falling apart. Again, I think it all goes back to the ACC's lawsuit against Maryland, because if the Terps can escape for less than $52 million, I think other programs will try to, too. Then the ACC would be forced to add others.

Jake in Aiken, SC, writes: I'm still a bit perplexed as to why experts and anyone else I hear are talking about the LSU V. Clemson game as a match-up between Clemson's offense and LSU's defense. It's not a question of whether our offense will be able to put up points or not, it will happen if they have the ball (key phrase being 'if they have the ball'). The intriguing match-up to watch will be our defense versus LSU's offense, and namely whether we can get them off the field for our offense to do anything. Do you agree? Why/why not?

HD: Well, yeah, ok, that's obviously important, but Clemson's strength is its offense, and it's best defense is to sustain drives. LSU is No. 9 in the country in third-down defense. Clemson is No. 4 in the country in third-down conversion percentage. To me, that's going to be one of the keys to watch.

Steve in Blacksburg Va., writes: Based on his performance this year, do you think Logan Thomas will return next year?

HD: Odd as it may sound, I don't think his performance this year will or should have anything to do with his decision. I think the NFL will look more at his size, build and potential than it will his mistakes this past season. Not that they won't be a factor, but I don't think they will eliminate him from consideration, especially considering what was missing around him. I also think that what -- if anything -- Frank Beamer decides to do with his staff could influence Logan's decision more than his past performance. To me there are many more factors involved.

Don Bradley in Pittsburgh, Pa., writes: Heather, Good Morning from frosty Pittsburgh, PA! I was wondering when the ACC will announce its football schedule for the 2013-2014 season??? As a Pitt fan, I am excited about next season. I look forward to seeing Pitt play the likes of FSU, Clemson, and UNC.Thanks for your time!!!

HD: Hey Don, the ACC schedules typically come out in February. I would still expect them around then, but it could take a little longer than usual, because everyone had to scramble to go back to an eight-game league schedule.

Eric in NY/NY writes: I hate that FSU added a game with Idaho next year, and that they open with Wofford. FSU's reputation in the 80s and 90s was earned by its willingness to play anybody anywhere -- not by playing nobodies at home. Tough non-conference games are needed if FSU is going to be a serious national title contender. 1) The overall ACC schedule is soft, so quality wins over quality non-conference teams is a must. 2) Better competition breeds a better, more prepared team for the long-term. You can't beat up on ACC teams all year and then expect a win over say... a UF team that is challenged by SEC teams every week. Better opponents means a better FSU.

HD: I would be more concerned about losing three assistants in the past month than playing Idaho, Eric. I realize that after this year's opening two weeks, it's not exactly a thriller and FSU's SOS isn't going to be off the charts in 2013, but overall, I'm willing to give all ACC schools a pass on their schedules this year because of the scramble to switch back to an eight-game league sked. It's not FSU's fault WVU backed out last year, and it's not FSU's fault the ACC changed its mind this past season on the schedule.

Justin Williams in Pensacola, Fla., writes: Greetings from Pensacola! Heather, So many state and national media are calling FSU the worst two loss team in the country! But NO ONE (including you) is pointing out that FSU is the only team in the country that lost it's best players on all three phases of the game (Chris Thompson - Offense, Brandon Jenkins- Defense, Greg Reid- Special Teams) and those players are a key point why FSU had so much preseason hype! The Noles and Jimbo Fisher should get credit because they still should have went 13-0 or AT THE LEAST 12-1

HD: Well, there you go, Justin, Jimbo thanks you, I'm sure, but I still don't give 'em a pass for the loss at NC State, sorry. And that's the kicker --- that even with the losses of all of those players, I still think FSU was good enough to go undefeated this season.

Sarah in Philadelphia, Pa., writes: Will you be doing an article similar to Brian Bennett: "Big Ten's best assistants in 2012"? Thanks.

HD: Ask and ye shall receive. Check the blog Monday. Have a great weekend, ACC fans.