Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's ACC blogger Heather Dinich stops by talk some college football.
Dinich covered ACC and Big Ten football for five seasons before joining ESPN.com in November 2007. She's an Indiana grad but somehow her favorite day of the week is Saturday.
Send your questions now and join Dinich Monday at noon ET!
Heather Dinich (12:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here, let's get started.
HeyBeyFan (Bethesda, Maryland)
Heather: What's the deal with the Terps? In his first three years, Fridge had much success, arguably with his predecessor's recruits. Terps have been mediocre over the past six years. Every year there is a different excuse: QB with no experience, players don't want it enough, team too young, team too old, blah, blah, blah. Is it recruiting, coaching, or both?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
It's both, but I think moreso recruiting. When Dave Sollazzo took over as rec. coord., I want to say he brought in about five linemen. It's no wonder the Terps have two walk-ons in their starting OL.
Roddy (Hickory, NC)
What can UNC do to try to improve thier lowly passing game?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
If I had the answer to that, I'd have Shoop's job. He's doing what he can, but the truth is he's missing cohesiveness on the offensive line, T.J. Yates is an average quarterback who hasn't shown much progress, and they're very young at WR.
Mike Crook (South Dakota)
What are Florida State's (realistic) chances of winning their final 4 conference games of the year, assuming the team that played in the 2nd half against UNC is the one that continues to show up?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
I think FSU's chances just got a LOT better with that win over UNC. Their toughest remaining opponent is probably Clemson, considering what the Tigers just did, but they've got winnable games remaining.
Terry (The Past)
Think BC, VA Tech and/or Miami are having serious second thoughts for bolting the Big East for the ACC's browner pastures?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
I doubt it, considering BC and VT have played for the conference title the past two years, and Miami would've had the same rebuilding struggles regardless of what conference they're in.
HEATHER DO YOU DREAD MONDAY @ NOON ? OR LOOK FOWARD TO IT, OR ALITTLE OF BOTH?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
Ha ... Actually, I look forward to it. You guys keep me awake on a Monday.
Todd K (Bedford, Va.)
Is it still possible for 2 ACC teams to play in BCS bowl games?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
It's possible, but I don't think it will happen. Georgia Tech is most likely to play in the Orange Bowl, but Virginia Tech and Miami will have a tough time climbing back into that picture when so many other teams in the country are still undefeated or have one loss.
James S (Atlanta)
When do we start seeing copycats of Paul Johnson's offense from other major schools?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
I think a few will pick it up -- he actually said postgame on Saturday that some other schools came to visit and learn more about it this past spring -- but I think too many coaches are afraid it will scare off recruits to go that direction.
Since Miami lost, would you consider Ponder to be the best QB in the ACC? How would you compare his performance to Tebows and McCoys?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Well, Tebow hasn't played like he has this year, but one thing that still separates him is that he's a winner. It's so rare to find a guy that has the intangibles like he does to take a whole team on his back. McCoy hasn't been the same, either, but he's winning, too. Ponder has made a solid case for it and I'd put him ahead of Jacory Harris right now. Still, the one QB I like too is Thaddeus Lewis. And Josh Nesbitt is having a heckuva season.
Brad (Atlanta, GA)
Hi Heather! Glad to see you got some love from Coach PJ over the weekend! Do you think the Jackets have a realistic expectation to win out and play in the Orange Bowl against an undefeated Boise St or a top 5 team?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
Haha ... that was pretty funny. He busted me. They better not lose this weekend because I'll tell you right now I'm picking the Jackets. And yes, they have a very realistic chance of that. Anything less would be a disappointment.
Alex (Clemson, SC)
If CJ Spiller keeps racking up 200+ (or 300 ) all-purpose yards and TD's from 50 yards out every week, is there a shot for him to wind up in New York for the Heisman trophy ceremony.
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
I'll tell you what, C.J. moved into my top five Heisman list this week after that performance. If he keeps that up and Clemson keeps winning, he deserves it. THAT was a Heisman performance.
David (Augusta, Ga)
Is Paul Johnson's offense good or bad for recruiting at offensive positions?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
First, let me say I think Paul's best players could shine in any system. I think it's a fine offense for recruiting, and Demaryius Thomas would probably agree. But I think some of the elite receivers out there would hesitate for obvious reasons.
...and Ponder's performance against the #1 passing D in the country wasn't? (a Heisman performance)
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
Against a UNC team that hasn't won a conference game yet? Against the No. 1 pass defense that racked up its stats against ... ??? Spiller went on the road and did it against the No. 10 team in the BCS. Ponder for Heisman in 2010.
Even though few teams have been able to slow down CPJ's offense, why am I worried about our trip to Duke? Duke has improved by leaps and bounds and Thaddeus Lewis is tearing up pass defenses. What should we expect from the Jackets trip to Duke?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
You should be worried, Justin. Thad Lewis is throwing 40-50 times a game and winning with it. Georgia Tech's secondary has been burned before this season (see Ponder for Heisman in 2010).
Does Maryland have ANY chance of winning any of it's remaining games divison games (NCS,FSU, BC)?....I won't even ask about VT.
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Well, sure, they're at NC State, which has yet to win an ACC game and is struggling on defense. And home against Boston College might be interesting, but other than that, I'd say it's a lost cause in CP.
Any chance Duke can get to 6 wins? Even 5-7 would be pretty remarkable. Great job by Cutcliffe.
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Yes, but they need seven to become bowl eligible because NC Central isn't quite yet an FCS program yet. Seven might be pushing it, but I don't think the Devils are done yet.
Mike Crook (South Dakota)
Given the inconsistencies of the Atlantic Division, what are your thoughts on Boston College actually losing atleast 2 of its remaining 3 conference games?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
I'd say the odds are pretty slim. They've got Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. The best team in the bunch might actually be Virginia.
Quentin P (Glendale, Az)
Miami made Georgia Tech look like a non top 25 team. Georgia Tech made VT look like a nobody?! Who is the top team in the ACC? and who will win it? I think the "Best" team might not even win the conference due to the diversity.
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
Right now, it's Georgia Tech. You'd think they'd win it, but in this conference, anything is possible.
Miami Lost. Was this a surprise to you?
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
I thought that game would be close, considering the past two have gone into overtime, but honestly, I didn't think Clemson would win. So yes, I was surprised.
i know wake lost to navy, but are there signs that they can slow down the triple option when they see GT in a few weeks?
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
If they couldn't stop Navy's fullback, odds are they'll have a tough time with the Jackets with that young defense, especially one week after having to deal with a completely different Miami offense.
Are we allowed to mention the Indiana-Northwestern game? Heartbreaker.
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Haha ... the one consistent thing about Indiana football is the Hoosiers' ability to blow leads. Good week to be an Iowa fan, though. Wow.
So you start the ACC blogger fantasy league, yet you haven't changed your roster from opening day? Do they keep you that busy?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Busy enough that I haven't even thought about that roster since I made it. Thanks for reminding me. :)
Jared (Tallahassee, FL)
Why does Duke need 7 wins? You're allowed to use 1 FCS win toward bowl eligibility every 4 years aren't you? And since Duke hasn't been to a bowl in forever, wouldn't they be allowed to use their 1 FCS win?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Yes, but like I said, NC Central isn't even an FCS team yet. They're in the "provisional stage." You gotta at LEAST play a team that's not JV to count.
John (Waltham, MA)
HD, why the pessimism about a VT-BC rematch in the ACC Title game? If those are the two best teams in the conference each year, they deserve a shot at playing for the title. It is the rest of the conference's job to beat those two teams to get to the title game.
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
Yeah, I understand that, and if they're the best two teams they deserve to be there. But considering BC put up 54 yds against Clemson, are the Eagles really the best team? I just don't think the majority of fans outside those two fan bases would want to watch it again. Heck, attendance at that game for last year's rematch was dreadful.
What team in the ACC do you think has a great future ahead of them...meaning yrs to come?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Oh I think there are a lot (are you REALLY in Egypt?) ... Miami comes first to my mind. I think they're going to be a NC contender, same with Virginia Tech. I'm wondering who will leave GT early for the NFL and how that will affect them. FSU HAS to get better.
Tyrone (Bethesda, MD)
How about Nesbitt for Heisman? Eric Crouch was the 13th player to rush and pass for 1000 yards in a single season. Nesbitt should easily be there by season's end possibly with 1500 yrds rushing and and 20 touchdowns rushing. And while an option QB does not get credit for pitches (unless they are fumbled) don't you think he should for running a top 20 offense? And a Heisman moment? How about that strip of Florida State followed by the long touchdown?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Fair or not, a quarterback who wins a game (VT) throwing the ball just one time isn't going to get serious Heisman consideration.
While I agree the rematch may have contributed to the poor attendance at the ACC Championship game, how much was due to the fact that VT fans only had 1 week between beating UVA (and becoming Coastal Champs) and the game. How do they go about fixing that, especially since the game was in Tampa, where flights aren?t cheap one week out?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Yeah, you're right, there were other factors, and ACC officials are hoping that the move to Charlotte will help make it more affordable for most fans.
Matt is probably from Cairo, GA.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Indeed, he is. He wrote back. Ha.
Steve (Durham, NC)
I saw that Feldman and Schlabach projected Duke in the GMAC bowl. Any thoughts on this?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
I haven't talked to either of those guys to make sure they know that FCS rule (I've spoken with Duke officials to confirm this, so I'm pretty sure that's the case.) I'm not sure if that would change their minds, but I'm also not convinced that Duke can't pull it off, either.
Heather, in your opinion, did Mikell Simpson look to be at 100% against GT?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
No, I thought he looked slower than usual.
Has the ACC finally redeemed itself with regard to QB play? Ponder, Harris, Lewis, Nesbitt (even though he can't throw), and possibly Parker. I know this has been a down position the last few years especially since Matty Ryan left.
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
Overall I think it's seen a lot of progress this year. If you look up the NCAA passing stats, you'll see a lot of those guys' names in the top 20 in the country in all of the categories.
George P. Burdell (Atlanta)
What do you enjoy the most about as the ACC blogger and what do you enjoy the least?
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
A) Experiencing the game-day atmosphere each Saturday. B) Fans who honestly believe reporters don't like certain teams. It's bunk.
After the loss to GT, how is al groh's job status for 2010 looking?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
As long as he wins another game or two I think he'll be safe. Considering all of the transition this season, I think a lot of folks would have considered six wins to be successful.
We need these ACC fans to jump on Ohio States bandwagon, give the bucks some love.....Tell em HD
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
Ha, well, I will say this: Ohio State hasn't gotten enough credit for what it's done in the past few years. I know the standard is high, but geez, they at least played for the NC.
Nathan (Baton Rouge)
HD tell me how excited you are knowing that a natural rivalry between Clemson and GT could be the ACC Championship game this year?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
I think that could be a great game. The regular season one had enough drama in it, that's for sure. Would be a great matchup.
HD, why don't you consider GT to be one of the nation's top one loss teams? GT (although they may have started off slow) is like a diesel engine, once you get them going they just run forever. I believe they are by far the most consistent team in the ACC.
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
Actually, in my power rankings this week I have GT No. 10. So to me, they're a top 10 team. I think they'll keep moving up as long as they keep winning.
What do you make of Virginia Tech pointing out the illegal blocks? Is this just them complaining? After all GT beat them by more than 1 TD. Not to mention that they could have been illegally blocking GT as well... I'm sure they would not point that out...
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
I'll have more on this in the blog after the chat, but this is typical for a postgame review, it's just not normally made public because the coaches aren't supposed to talk about it. It wasn't a poorly officiated game, though.
Whats bunk is that a 1 loss USC team is ranked so highly. Why do the pollsters love them over so many other teams. I know its not ACC related, but geez
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
No, you're right, and it's a question a lot of fans and voters have struggled with. But you know what? It might not have been pretty this week, but USC won, while Miami - another one-loss team - didn't. Some Pac-10 fans, though, might have Oregon above USC, which makes sense. Hey, it's a popularity contest, and USC is winning.
David (Daytona Beach)
Do you think the Clemson over Miami win was a fluke? I mean Clemson hasn't played at that level since I don't know when. Miami played their typical game and still put the game in overtime. Parker doubled his passing average throwing well over 300 yards. I just dont see that happening on a regular basis.
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
I don't think it was a fluke, but I'll tell you why Clemson won. Two reasons: Miami's turnovers, and C.J. Spiller. End of story.
Will the deterioration of GT's strength of schedule over it's final stretch (WF, Duke, Vandy, and UGA) hurt GT's chances of moving up in the BCS's computer polls?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
It won't help, but it would help if Clemson keeps it up and is ranked and they playe in the ACCCG.
Do you think VaTech pointing out the illegal blocks will cause officials to keep more of an eye out for them in the future? Do you think this will affect GaTech's style of play?
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
I think officials will keep an eye out for it, yes. Frank Beamer said in today's teleconference he thinks they're dangerous blocks, and the officials are always leery of those. But no, I don't think it will change what the Jackets do much. Does it stop anyone from holding?
Joe (Los Angeles)
HI Heather, your thoughts on perhaps the most schizophrenic team in all of college football, UVA?
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Well, I knew GT was a better team. I picked UVA to win because the Jackets had struggled so mightily to win in Charlottesville and Virginia had something to prove. But they didn't. So I think the Cavs still need to show that they're better than two wins over struggling Maryland and UNC teams. The defense has played well, and did well against GT in the first half, but they wore 'em down, just like they did VT.
Ryan (South Carolina)
Chances Florida State play in ACC Championship game?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
I'd say really slim. Noles' fans should be excited about the sudden postseason possibility, though. A week ago, just a bowl game seemed a far reach. It's Clemson's division to lose now.
What are you thoughts on Wake Forest losing 3 of its last 4 and not making a bowl game? And is this Riley Skinners' last year? I feel like he's been there for 10
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
I think it's inexplicable. I really thought the Deacs would look better offensively this year, and yes, Riley is a senior. Man are they going to miss him next year ...
Better player right now: Tyrod Taylor or Josh Nesbitt?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
I'd say Nesbitt. He's doing more with his feet, and he beat the Hokies.
Jared (Tallahassee, FL)
Clemson's division to lose, but don't you think those FSU Bowl possibilities will take a HUGE hit if we don't win AT Clemson? And if we win AT Clemson, then wouldn't the division come down to some nutty tie breakers?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Oh, definitely, that game just got a lot bigger, but don't forget about Boston College. They're next in line if they keep winning and the Tigers lose.
BCS Top Ten or not, do you think GT will get national cred for an ACC title? Or does the ACC still have a long way to go to get respect?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
I think they will, but in order to take it to the next step, they have to win the Orange Bowl. Just ask Virginia Tech the difference.
Benji (Georgetown, SC)
Do you think Tom O'Brien is wishing he stayed at BC? With the gator bowl dropping the ACC, are there any other decents bowls that may pick up the conference?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
No, I don't think TOB has any regrets about that. They ACC should release something in the coming weeks, I think, on their new bowl partners.
I'm pretty sure you were at the GT UVA game. How long has it been since you seen some one get TRUCKED like Dwyer did to Chris Cook?!?!
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
Yeah, I was there, and he really jacked him up, but another hit I remember is the one Anthony Allen was on the receiving end of -- I forget who hit him -- but Allen bounced right back up like, 'yeah, bring it.' Man is he tough.
What type of bowl performances will the ACC need to be accepted as a top-tier conference?
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
I think the ACC just needs to WIN their bowl games. Sure, they had 10 teams bowl eligible last year, but they won, what, four of them? All this conference has to do is beat its noncon opponents consistently.
HD you've seen TCU play two ACC opponents. Where do you place them in the CFB landscape? I think they'd beat USC this year.
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
Dabo Swinney was right after his loss to TCU when he said he didn't think they'd lose again. I've got TCU at No. 7 in my power rankings this week -- ahead of Boise St. and behind USC.
Hey HD, do you have any idea why Christian Ponder isn't being recognized as, at the very least, a heisman contender with the numbers that he's been putting up this season?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
Yes, the losing record FSU has. Not saying it's fair, just answering the question ...
Will GT lose Dwyer/Thomas/Morgan to the NFL this year?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
GT fans better hope not, but if their stock is high, I don't see why they wouldn't go.
Nathan (Duffield, Va)
I asked this weeks ago and I'll ask it again....Is Duke the best team in North Carolina?
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Right now, yes, it appears that way.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright guys, thanks for joining me today. C-low is up next to answer your SEC questions. See you in the blogosphere.