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 (12:01 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started ...
your nameThomas (DC)
HD, as a diehard Cane, I am anything but satisfied by this season. If at the start of the year I told you Miami finished with three losses but none of them were to Oklahoma, FSU, or GT, surely you would say Randy has to go, right? The lack of any COY conversation backs me on this, no?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Thomas, I wonder how many Canes fans you represent. I realize expectations are higher at Miami, but this is a process, and I think Randy has done a great job building things back up there. Not only has he won on the field, but he's cleaned things up off of it. Now, if Miami doesn't take another step forward next year, then some eyebrows should be raised. Not now though.
Do you think CJ has a chance of going to NYC for the Heisman vote? He played his best game Saturday, but I'm worried the fact Clemson isn't ranked at all may hurt him. It seems to be a popularity contest among players for top 5 teams.
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
A lot of it is a popularlity contest. I think Suh is equally as deserving for the attention, but might not get right. Right now my top three are Gerhart, Suh and Spiller. I think they've been the best players in the country this year.
Doug (Coral Gables)
Which ACC has the easiest/toughest matchup in their bowl game?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Great question. There are a lot of intangibles at work. I think Clemson is the better team but will have a lot to overcome against Kentucky. BC might have the toughest draw though, even though USC has taken a few steps back this year. I'm not sure there's an easy matchup out there, Doug.
Heather, you seemed to bet against Georgia Tech all season, yet here we are as ACC champs. What are your predictions for the ACC's top teams for next season, especially for a Coastal Division with GT, VT, and Miami?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Not all of the season, Jon. I think a lot depends on who comes back for Georgia Tech. I know they've got a lot of options in the backfield, but they would really miss Dwyer and DE Derrick Morgan. I think we could see another shift of power, maybe in Miami's favor.
Will the contract be extended with the Gator Bowl? If so, will the revise that whole "1-loss" rule? One more thing, when can we get rid of John Swofford?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
No, the Gator is out and the Sun Bowl is in. It's not Swofford's fault. I'll have more on this later.
Caneiac1 (Arlington, VA)
To answer your question HD:That guy represents maybe 5% of the Miami fanbase
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
That's good to hear, because I really think Randy deserves some credit -- and some more time.
Is it fair to say that Virginia Tech's loss to UNC cost them a BCS game? Might they have gotten the nod over Iowa?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
Eh ... it obviously didn't help, and it was easily the Hokies' worst loss of the season, but that's so hard to judge.
How did acc conference officials factor in the Gator Bowls decision to give Florida State the Gator bowl bid?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
They didn't ... that decision was purely contractual. There wasn't anything the ACC could do to stop it.
casey (mt. pleasant, michigan)
hey heather, who do you like in va tech vs tennessee match-up and why?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
I do like the Hokies. The main thing that comes to my mind when asked why is because of coaching. You've got a veteran vs. a rookie. Off the bat, I give the sideline edge to Beamer. Plus, Ryan Williams is tough to stop.
nolealum (south florida)
I understand some of the frustrations that non-FSU ACC fans may feel about the Gator Bowl decision....but don't you agree that Bobby Bowden has helped make the ACC what it is today and without him the conference simply wouldn't be the same. In my opinion, its just favor vs. all he has provided for the conference! Agreed?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
I absolutely agree that Bobby Bowden deserves/deserved a much better sendoff. You can't say enough about the man and what he's done for college football. I'm just not convinced that this is the right way to do it. I think FSU should have been the one to make sure Bowden got what he deserved, not the Gator Bowl.
Sam Marting (Raleigh)
what was ACC Champ game attendance? And was at as quiet as it seemed??
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
57,227 (it's lying on my desk) ... and no, it wasn't that quiet. It was one of the better atmospheres I've been to for the ACCCG.
Heather, What do you think of GT's chances against Iowa. Even though Iowa was floundering at the end of the season I see them as a tough competitor. Especially with our lack of defense. Let me guess... You don't like GT for this one??
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Actually, I think Georgia Tech has a great chance at this game, but I think it will be close, and Iowa will play much better defense against the Jackets than Clemson did. They've got the discipline and the defensive line.
Skeeter (Roanoke, VA)
Heather, When will VPI return to pominence? We are given every benefit of the doubt in prseason rankings, and then well every year its the same. Our Vick jerseys are getting worn and thin. What do dwe have to do to become relevant on the national stage?
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
Win the big games. They took a step in the right direction by winning the Orange Bowl last year, but think of how different the season would have been had the Hokies knocked off Alabama this year, or LSU in 2007.
David (Woodstock, GA)
If Kentucky beats Clemson in the Music City Bowl, is Swinney on the hot seat or is it getting warm?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Neither ... the guy got his team to the program's first ACCCG. I think he's got some leeway.
James (Rehoboth Beach)
I hear lots of complaining going on in Cane Nation. I just wanted to say this:9-3 in 1991 would have been a failure, however a lot of teams have come into Florida and start recruiting, thus Miami has a harder time getting ALL the Florida top prospects.Give Shannon credit, 9-3 this year with 53 Sophos and Freshman, its a major accomplishment!1 step at a time people!
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Canes fans speaking out ...
What was GTech's strategy in the ACCCG? Keep the ball out of Spiller's hands?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
I'm gonna go ahead and say if it was, that didn't work too well, huh? I think their strategy was what it always is -- run the ball and control the clock.
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
This just in ... Mike London named head coach at Virginia.
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
This just in ... Mike London named head coach at Virginia.
Have you heard any rumblings about Bud Foster possibly leaving this year?
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
All I've heard have been rumors, haven't been able to confirm anything. Asked Beamer about it at the ACCCG and he said he was unaware of anything.
Do You think Ryan Williams will get enough carries to be a factor in the Heisman race next year? or will splitting the carries with Daren Evans going to keep this from happening?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
If Williams goes solo, he should be in the Heisman race. It won't happen if he's sharing the load. Just look at the Spiller/Davis combo of the past.
Steve (Greenwood, IN)
If ACC teams lose to SEC teams again in the bowl games, will that merely reinforce the notion that it is a second rate conference that can't compete with the big boys? I mean its champs lost to 7-5 Georgia.
Heather, does BC have a shot against USC? Or will they just be overmatched athletically?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Sorry, computer is acting up here. Got stuck. To answer the previous question, the ACC needs to beat the SEC whenever it has the opportunity in order to shake that notion.As for this question, BC has a shot, yes, but it's going to be an uphill battle. They will be overmatched athletically but can try and compensate for it with good coaching and smart play.
Do you think Mike London will be the right fit for UVA? I was hoping we would go for more of a big name coach and also stay away from Groh's old assistants.
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
Yes, I think he is perfect for it. And I don't think Virginia fans should be concerned about the fact that London is a former Groh assistant. He's developed his own philosophies. He knows recruiting. He's a good coach. Also, it's not like Virginia had its pick of anyone.
"It was one of the better atmospheres I've been to for the ACCCG." You realize that's not saying much, right Heather?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Well, yeah, but my point is this -- that was easily the best championship game the ACC has produced. There was a good showing by both teams' fans, too.
Jon (Tucson, AZ)
I'm just curious if you're more intrigued with the Orange bowl featuring GT vs Iowa, or if you would have rather seen GT play one of the undefeated TCU or Boise ST teams who have something to prove to the nation?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
It's hard not to want to see conference champs play the likes of TCU or Boise State. Both fan bases want to make a statement. I just think that if either of those teams had to go through the schedules of a BCS conference, they wouldn't be undefeated right now, though they are 2-0 against the ACC.
Is next year the year of the ACC? GT, VT and Miami should be loaded with Miami possibly being preseason top 5.
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Honestly, I thought THIS year could be the year of the ACC. Look at Miami, GT and VT -- they were all creeping up in the BCS standings. VT was No. 4 at one point, and Miami got off to a great start. Heck, FSU was picked to win the Atlantic. Who knows with this conference.
Phillip (Gainesville, FL)
Hey Heather, hope you didn't get hit by any oranges... Does the ACC really split all the BCS money between all teams? I feel like the representative should get more. Why do they do that?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
I didn't. As soon as they started flying, I bolted. Yes, the money is split. It's just the conference's way of helping everyone out, but the teams that get to big bowls are the ones that benefit in other ways like recruiting and national recognition.
Can the preparation myth be put to rest if Tech beats Iowa since they will have beaten a team twice and beaten a team with a month to prepare(Miami did not win beacause they had 11 days to prepare, they won because tech had played two games during that time)
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Yes, it can. And don't forget that Clemson played GT twice in the same season and it didn't help.
Caneiac1 (Arlington, VA)
Will next year finally be the year where one or two teams start to distance themselves from the rest in the ACC? These crazy races are fun to watch, but make us a laughing stock!
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
I think that happened a little this year. Georgia Tech seemed to separate itself about midway through the season, and it's not like everyone was beating each other up in the Atlantic. I think it should be another close call in the Coastal next year.
How come the Terps always go after players with the fewest offers??
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
Lol ... first, people get too hung up in who's offering whom. The coaches evaluate the players on talent, not who they're being recruited by. Second, some schools have a smaller recruiting pool than others. Jim Grobe, for example, calls his a "puddle."
So this year might have been the year for the ACC, but what about next year being the year for VT? Another year of experience for the offense, Darren Evans is back, and the defense always restocks. What do you think?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Following the Orange Bowl, everyone got super excited about VT's possibilities this season. It was a good season, not great. Next year could be great, but that's up to them. Like I said before, the Hokies aren't the only ones who should be better. Look out for Miami.
Do you think the new FSU d-coordinator will be in place for the Gator Bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I've heard it could be announced as early as this week, and no, I have no idea who it is yet, though I have been able to confirm Sal Sunseri is in the mix.
Jacob (North Charleston, SC)
Do you think that Russell Wilson will be back next year or will he be done with football and only doing baseball?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
When I last spoke with Russell, about two weeks ago on a teleconference, he hadn't made up his mind, and I couldn't guess what he's thinking. It wouldn't surprise me if he chose to focus on baseball, but the Pack needs him and Toney Baker back.
Tough draw for UNC, getting to play a loaded Pitt team that by all accounts probably should have knocked Cincy out of the BCS picture...but then again, that same Pitt team lost to NC State and West Virginia. Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
I think Pitt -- as evidenced by the games against Cincy and NC State -- finds ways to lose games. I like Butch Davis in that coaching matchup, along with UNC's D.
Stephen (Anderson, SC)
Ill tell you exactly how we feel! We love our tigers and are glad they made it to the ACCCG. But were all wondering in the back of our minds (is this as close as we'll ever get) and were also going into a slow depression as we realize cj is leaving!
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
This was one of the first questions today ... After watching the ACCCG, Clemson fans have to be nervous about losing Spiller after all he did this season for them and in that game. But no, I don't think it's as close as the Tigers could get. Now they know what it takes to get there. Keep up the recruiting and it can happen.
happy monday HD!, and seeing cj spillers unbelievable proformance on saturdays acccg what where does he currently stand in your heisman ballot? if you dont mind me asking. PS: if cj doesnt get a ticket to new york then the heisman in my opinion has strayed away from what its meant for The Best player/MVP in the nation. your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
Happy Monday, Jesse. He is No. 3 on my ballot behind Gerhart and Suh. Not impressed with McCoy, and Tebow should have fallen out of favor after that loss. And yes, I agree. Same can be said for Suh, though.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
I can't wait until Joe Paterno decided to retire and is allowed to pick his final bowl game. I mean if the second best coach gets to do it shouldn't Joe Pa get to as well?
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
For some reason, I think things will be a lot different when this happens at Penn State, J.B. If PSU didn't learn from FSU's mistakes, it will be a sad day in Happy Valley.
Do you like the ACCCG move to Charlotte next year?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
Yes, unless, of course, FSU and Miami are in it.
How can you say that Boise or TCU would not go undefeated in one of the "power" conferences? Easy to say when no one will schedule them and the BCS bowls collude to protect their "champions" from getting embarassed! I think TCU or Boise would have better overall records than those champs if they could swap schedules.
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
I'm surprised it took that long for that response, Daniel ... isn't Boise coming up on VT's schedule?
HD, ACC teams have 18 games against the Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Big East, Mountain West and PAC-10 next season. How many of those games do we need to win in order to get a little credibility as a conference?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
It depends on who the games are against. I'm not looking at a 2010 sked right now, but what did GT's win over Vandy do for the ACC? It didn't help the conference as much as the losses to Georgia and South Carolina hurt it heading into the ACCCG.
Jacob (North Charleston, SC)
Will there be any interest in Paul Johnson for coaching vacancies?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Of course, but it's not gonna happen with his current contract situation. There's a lot of money in play keeping him right where he is.
What do you think of the Geogia Tech Option this year and running it against Iowa
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
I love watching GT's offense. Seriously. I do think that Iowa's defensive line will cause problems, though. Clemson could not stop the fullback. Heck, Clemson couldn't stop GT up the middle, left or right, or upside down. Iowa might be better at that.
Adam (south GA)
Looks like the Gator Bowl is already sold out. All tickets on Ticketmaster are gone at least.With new coaches in the mix and some assistants on the way out, will this be the farewell party FSU is hoping for?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
That's impressive. For Bowden's sake, I hope it is. But you guys tell me ... will it be the farewell party everyone is hoping for if FSU loses and the defense plays like it has all season? Or will the plan be a bust?
Justin (Athens, OH)
How do you feel about the Champ Sports Bowl? Will Miami put a hurtin' on Wisconsin the same way FSU did last year?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
If Miami's defense shows up, it's possible. Wisconsin is a run-based team, whereas Miami has talented players who can mix it up more. Jacory needs to limit the turnovers, though, and not help Wisconsin out.
Memphis Rob (Memphis, TN)
Heather, I know you're the ACC rep so I just assume you're biased against the SEC. How can you NOT have Mark Ingram in your Heisman Top 3? His stats are just as good if not better than Gerhart's and Spiller's if you account receiving yards and TDs. He's the driving force on a team going to the title game, and has faced some great defenses this year, doing his best work against those teams.
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
I've had him on for the past few weeks, but to me, after this weekend, it's time to give Suh his due. Spiller is a more complete player.
Patrick (Mobile, AL)
Now that Bowden is out, do we see Joe Pa miraculously announce his retirement at the end of the Capital one bowl? He has the record now...and Bobby cant catch him. I always thought that was the only reason these two continue to "coach". Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
I'd be surprised. As long as Penn State is winning, Joe will want to coach. Same with Bowden, only they stopped winning. Their rivalry was part of the plotline, but it was the only driving force. These guys loved what they do and know nothing else. That's what keeps them there.
Does GT's Nesbitt have a shot at Heisman next year?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
It depends on who you ask, really. I think too many voters won't give him the credit he deserves because he's not a passer, and when he does pass, it's all or nothing.
In one on one drills, who do you like best with 10 tries...CJ spiller or Ndamukong Suh?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Ha ... can I take the out and go 50-50?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Alright guys, my time is up here. If you were experiencing some technical difficulties, sorry about that. See you back in the blogosphere.