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 ...
What is your take on the Big Ten looking to add a 12th team? Who do you think would be the best fit besides ND?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
I think the Big Ten should just add Notre Dame, get a playoff game going and be done with it.
Heather, what is your take on the hiring of Mark Stoops by Florida State. If they would have had an average defense this year, I feel like they would have won 10 games. What is the early gut feeling for Florida State football in 2010?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
From what I hear it's a good hire, and you're right -- FSU might have won the Atlantic Division and had an entirely different season had the defense been better. Early gut feeling is that the Noles can win the Atlantic, but I hesitate to say it because I thought they could do that this year, too.
How do you think having the ACCCG in Charlotte starting next season will affect the meager attendance numbers?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
I think it should give attendance a significant boost (seriously, though, watch Miami and FSU be in it, and then everyone will complain it's not in Florida). Look at the success UNC's appearance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl has had. That venue will sell some tickets.
Adam (Arlington VA)
Why did the ACC sign a commitment with the Sun bowl? Doesn't seem as glamorous as the Gator Bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Actually I think having the Pac-10 in the mix of opponents will be a great new matchup for the ACC.
Greg (Hokie Nation)
What do you think, Heather? Does Ryan Williams get the yards he needs for the school rushing record against Tennessee?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
I think he needs 110, right? Yeah, I'll say he gets it.
Mike (The Flatts)
Now that GT is in a major bowl for the first time in 43 years, do you foresee the Ramblin Wreck continuing this trend for the next 10 years of going to BCS games and possibly....gulp (the National Championship game) with Paul Johnson's players when Nesbitt, Dwyer, and Bey-Bey are gone?Thanks
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I do think it's possible for that program to have continued success at the top of the BCS. The success they're having now with those players should help lure in similar talent.
tyler (clemson sc)
With the bowl games here and the season all most over what are your predictions on how the acc looks future wise...atlantic and coastal predictions for next year?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
I think it's going to be another tightly contested race in both divisions. 2010 could be the year Miami makes a legitimate push for the ACC crown, but a lot of quarterbacks are returning at key places -- FSU, Miami, VT, GT to name a few.
Boston Beans (Leominster, MA)
Hi Ya Heather!I am bummin' that Notre Dame is no longer scheduling against Boston College, and that being said, getting tickets for the last game up here @ Chestnut Hill next season is way up there on my to-do list. Local Boy comes home (Coach Kelly of ND, who coached Assumption College in Worcester, MA under my former high school Teacher/Coach, Coach Bernie Gaughan.What are your thought/feelings about this series that is about to end after 2010?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Oh I think it's like any traditional series, you hate to see it end. The addition of Brian Kelly makes for a great subplot, but that's a game that has meant a lot to both schools. And Eagles fans should be missing it -- BC has fared well lately. Kelly might be the guy who could shift it back, though. Careful what you wish for.
How do you think all of the controversy around the BCS will shake out? Will Congress or the courts actually step-in? Or, will it be business as usual?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
If it hasn't happened yet, Jason, I have a hard time believing anything will change anytime soon. I sat through one of those congressional hearings on the BCS, and it was painful. Everyone should stick with what they know best, and in Washingtonm, it's not necessarily football.
Did Derrick Morgan win DPOY because of his NFL potential? I mean, he looked good all the times I watched him, but he never single-handedly took over games the way Cody Grimm did a few times this year. Your take?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Watch Morgan at the end of the Wake game, Jake. Also, don't forget Morgan was often double teamed this year. I don't doubt he got some respect for his NFL potential, but it was that potential that was the best thing GT's defense had this year.
Kendall (Sumter, SC)
With Spiller graduating, how do you think Clemson will fare next season? Specifically, will Ellington and Harper be able to fill the void?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Ellington was impressive this year, and I think both of those guys have the ability to emerge into dependable backs, but losing a guy like Spiller hurts in a lot of phases of the game. He's not the only one they'll miss, either. I think it will affect them early but they'll pull together.
Coach Sweeney (Clemson, SC)
How do I get my players fired up for Kentucky after two deflating losses and being relegated to a mediocre bowl.
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
Ha ... there's only so much the coaching staff can do. At some point, the players have to take ownership and realize that a loss in that bowl would be a much more disappointing way to end the season.
Adam (West Palm Beach)
Does that Outside the Lines report hurt FSU during this crucial recruiting time?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Not judging by its current class. I believe it's No. 9 in the nation according to our guys at Scouts Inc.
Tyrone (Silver Spring, MD)
Heather,I know you are down about Georgia Tech losing juniors next year, but I do not see it as much of an issue. We will not be losing many seniors or of note. The D still has a chance to get a lot better even with Morgan gone. Dwyer is a great back, but not irreplaceable. Thomas is to me the most important to keep, though I see Stephen Hill as a similar jump ball player. Meanwhile the rest of the team is another year better and battle tested. Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
Tyrone I think you make great points. It could still be a very good team with a lot of leftover talent should some of those guys take off early. I'd say they'd still be in contention to win the Coastal, but if Morgan, Dwyer and Thomas all decide to leave, I'd probably put Virginia Tech and/or Miami over them in the preseason rankings just because of the unknown factor.
Tynan (The Citadel, Charleston SC)
My dad and I have come to the agreement that this year, with Darren Evans injured and all, was just a warm up for next years Natl. Championship run. What are you're thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
If the Hokies were in the hunt for the NC this year, there's no reason they shouldn't be considered for it next year. Lots of talent back, the question is how they'll use that backfield.
hunter (hokie nation)
Heather the attendance was certainly up in the ACCCG this year, do you remember what the attendance was in 2007 VA tech vs. BC because both teams we reanked pretty well.
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Actually, I have it right here -- 53,212.
What's the funniest thing you've heard come out of a coach's mouth this season? Who routinely cracks you up?
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Oh man, I can't remember off the top of my head, but the coaches with the best one-liners and laughs are usually Bowden, Spaz and Tom O'Brien.
What do you think Wake will do next year? Continued regression because of a new QB or is enough returning talent for improvement?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Great question, and my first reaction is that they'll struggle without Riley Skinner. I think that's going to be a huge transition for them and one reason they won't get a lot of love in the preaseason rankings. The defense has to get better, though -- older and wiser.
Tom (Halifax, VA)
Grimm, Virgil, Martin, Porch, Chancellor, Brown all graduating from the Hokies back 7 this year. Skill position players all returning but seems like Hokies might be weak against the pass next year. How will the team cope with so many losses in the heart of the defense?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Ooh, when you line 'em all up like that it sounds pretty rough. It's tough to doubt Bud Foster's ability to reload, but you're talking about a group that had the Hokies ranked No. 6 in the country in pass eff. def. this year. There's going to have to be some kinks worked out.
Rob (Charleston, SC)
HD, who do you see emerging next year as a Heisman hopeful from the ACC? I don't think Ryan Williams will have the same numbers as he'll be sharing with D. Evans. Thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
If RW got most of the carries like he did this year, there's no reason for him NOT to be considered. But then so should Dwyer and Christian Ponder. And Nesbitt, depending upon who you talk to.
The Dude (Canesville, FL)
If Miami wins their bowl game and GT< VT and Clemson lose their's, no doubt the Canes will end the year as the highest ranked ACC team. Question is...will you follow suit with your final power rankings?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Ha ... on the spot! Don't forget the final power rankings are different from the preseason rankings. And now that I've been reminded of how much VT will lose on defense, it sounds like the Canes should be the ones creeping up in the preseason rankings ...
Heather, who was your favorite ACC player and coach to interview this season and why?
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Ah, there are so many good guys in the ACC it's hard to pick. Anthony Allen at GT is a great interview. Ponder and I love to pick on each other. But there is no interview out there like a Bobby Bowden interview, I can promise you that. He'll be missed by the media.
Steve (New York)
Speakign of the Heisman.. and the Canes.. No love for Jacorry Harris making a run for Heisman if he can finally put his turnovers under control? He has monster numbers when he's throwing the ball well.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Well, that's the thing. But in all fairness to Jacory, not all of those picks were his fault.
Jeff (McDonough, GA)
Do you think big time money would lure Bud Foster away from VT to take a coordinators position at another school, or does he hold out for a Head Coach position?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
If there is no light at the end of the tunnel for him in Blacksburg, (i.e. no hint he'll succeed Beamer) why wouldn't he leave for more money and/or another job that could put him in a better position to be a HC?
Do you think the right man won the Hesiman?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
Personally, no. Ingram had an outstanding season, but if you're giving it to a running back, give it to Gerhart. If you're giving it to a defender, give it to Suh. If you're giving it to the most complete player, give it to Spiller.
Mike (North of the border)
What do you anticipate the ACC's bowl record to be this season?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
I haven't gone through and done the picks for each team yet -- I'm sure we'll probably do that closer to the games -- but I think the ACC can come out of it with a winning record this year.
In terms of individual players, who do you see as making the biggest improvement this year in the ACC? Tyrod comes to mind in his maturation into a passer and putting up numbers with his arm. Also, on the topic of Bud Foster leaving, just a though about how Beamer's contract is coming to a close soon (2012) and chances are he won't renew it. That being said, Bud is just as big as Beamer at Tech and it's expected amongst the fans that he will be next in line. Money is not an issue for that man. He makes good money as a DC but his endorsements, restaurant, and clothing brand make him a good amount too.
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Thanks, Chris. Yeah, I'm not sure what VT thinks of Bud as its next head coach. As you know, they nixed the hc-in-waiting plan, which was understandable, but clearly no promises have been made. As for most improved ... Tyrod is among them, but I might have to go with Josh Nesbitt on that one.
Do you think the canes can compete for a national championship next year? and what do u think about the miami vs Ohio state game
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
Considering how Miami was able to creep up in the standings at one point this year, I don't see why not. It was still a very young team. As for the Ohio State game, should be an intriguing quarterback show.
Steve (New York)
As good as the Canes may get.. Can they really make it through a season without blowing a game to Clemson or UNC?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
See, that's the thing about the ACC. Somebody is going to slip up. Somebody always slips up. Wasn't it Miami that went 4-0 against its noncon opponents this year?
I haven't heard a peep about the UNC-LSU Chick-fil-A Kickoff next season. How did they come up with that matchup? Is UNC ready and able to hold it's own against a top SEC team?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Not unless it puts together a more impressive offense. Let's face it, that team was its defense. They need some work on the other side to take the next step. Having everyone healthy will help.
Tennessee has played some very good and bad football. How do you think they will do against VT?
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
Both teams enter that game on a roll, and it's a regional rivalry, even though they haven't played each other in a while. Seems to me we'll see top efforts from both teams, but it depends on who stays the most focused during this long break. VT should have the edge.
Heather, where would GT be if it hadn't lost to UGA?! Rank?! Bowl opponent?! Would things be very much different?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
Ah, I'm not sure it would be much different, other than their rank, which would probably be ahead of Oregon and Ohio State.
Do you think Virginia made the right call by hiring Mike London to be their head coach? Personally, I feel they missed out on a great opportunity with Tommy Tuberville who, let's face it, we all would like to see make a return to coaching College football.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Only time will tell, Brian, but I have heard nothing but good things about London. One assistant coach in the conference told me he wish'd they'd have hired somebody else because he knows London will do a good job. He's already made a great move by bringing in a Florida QB recruit.
If the juniors come back the best defense on the field will be in Carolina Blue.
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
As of right now, it is.
Scott (Clemson Fan In Ga)
Heather..I just want to let you know how much I despise the SEC. I also hate how the historical Bottom feeders claim relevance because of the affiliation. The SEC could have the 5 best teams and it would be a dominant. Several are in the SEC but few COMPETE in the SEC...I just wanted to share that with you and I hope the ACC crucshes all SEC foes we play in bowls...have a nice day!
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
Tell me how you really feel, Scott ...
Steve (New York)
How has Maryland not announced major changes?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
The more I think about it, the more it doesn't make much sense to. They can't change their OC, since he's supposed to be the next HC. And Don Brown was liked and respected by the players, though the numbers weren't there. Doesn't make sense to make sweeping staff changes when the entire staff should change in the next year or two.
Still no appology to the Jackets for beating clemson? Its been over a week now and I am sure you havent forgotten who you picked in that game and how you have picked against GT all year? No love for the Conference BCS Rep?
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
Ah, would you believe it's been over a week now and you're the first person to bring it to me? Yes, I got that pick wrong. But I haven't picked against GT all year. Only in the game that mattered most. Sorry, Jackets.
Are you expecting a Christmas Card from Paul Johnson this year?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
Dave (Des Moines)
Can Iowa's tough D contain GT's multiple rushing threats, or not much of a chance? Does GT have the ability to clamp down on defense when they're up big (not that it'll happen against Iowa ;) ?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
Oh Iowa definitely has a chance. They have the guys up front to do that. As for GT's defense -- it's hit or miss. Been very inconsistent.
Will you be attending all of the ACC bowls? Or just the ones ESPN will pay for? :)
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Well, unless Paul Johnson's Christmas card comes with part of his salary in it, I'll only be attending the Gator and Orange Bowls this year, thanks to ESPN. :)
George (Auburn, MA)
Hello Heather,I think Luke Kuechly is going to be lights out for Boston College next year, he is the real deal. AND combine him with a healthy and hungy Mark Herzlich, wow.Thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
I think every offense in the ACC should be scared of that possibility, George. Agreed: Wow.
Chuck (New York)
Will USC bonce back next year after a dissappointment this year? Will they beat BC in the bowl game?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
BC is going to have a tough time in that game. Our Pac-10 blogger would have a better feel for USC next year, but it's still a program that has a different caliber athlete than BC (with all due respect to the Eagles) and they'll have to compensate for that by playing smart football.
Elton (Washington DC)
Why can't Maryland find any success recruiting locally? Is it the recruiting coordinator?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Well, if you're a player here in Maryland, a very good player, where would rather go -- nearby Penn State, Virginia Tech or Maryland? That has something to do with it.
Heather, why would the Big 10 add a championship game? They are making way too much money right now getting 2 teams into the BCS every year.
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Because they have the longest layoff ever without games, and because if everyone had a title game, those champs could be in a playoff, just like the conference champs in hoops get automatic bids to the NCAA tourney. But that's a long discussion for another day, and I'm out of time.
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Thanks for joining me today, guys. See you back in the blogosphere.