Friday mailblog

Did BC play last night? Depends on whom you ask.

Will in Lexington, SC, writes: Heather, come to the defense of the schools you write about. Schlabah has put Clemson in his bottom 10? When you aren't ranked by any preseason press releases, when you aren't picked by any one in the country to be anywhere near the top of your conference and yet you are 8-1 and ranked 11th in the country you're not "pulling" anything when you drop a game. Might as well call it pulling an Oklahoma, they lose one game a year they shouldn't and they're always in the top 10. Goodness.

HD: Well, to be accurate, Clemson was on the waiting list. Maryland was in the Bottom 10, and Mark Schlabach got that one right. I agree that Clemson didn't pull a Clemson. The Tigers lost to a good team on the road -- not Maryland. I think I might have a better chance of convincing him that BC should make the list, though.

Bob in Deerfield Beach, Fla., writes: Heather: Thanks for your great coverage of the ACC over the years! Will Florida State get to the ACC Championship game? How likely Clemson & Wake Forest will lose 2 more games? Thanks. Bob

HD: Hi Bob, thanks for reading. Florida State is playing like it should make a run for the ACC title, but I think the odds are against the Noles based on the head-to-head competition against Clemson and Wake. I don't see Clemson losing either game to Wake Forest or NC State, and I don't see the Deacs losing to Maryland. FSU's fate, I think, has already been determined, but of course you don't officially count anyone out until it's official.

BC in SC writes: Please stop giving Dabo so much credit. The new OC is the reason they're so successful. Also, could you please do a story on the blatant officiating mistakes this year? Thanks!

HD: Somebody had to hire Chad Morris, BC, and Dabo Swinney spotted what he wanted in offensive philosophy and scheme in Morris. There were a lot of folks out there doubting that hire, given Morris' minimal experience at the collegiate level. He's made Swinney look smart, no doubt.

J Farrington in Denver writes: I'm curious what Matt Daniels would need to do to get on the superlative tracker. He's 17th in the country in tackles with 82, which doesn't seem that impressive until you consider that he's also 2nd in the country in passes defended. Also, any idea whether he might end up playing on Sunday? Thanks!

HD: There is no question Daniels has been one of the most impressive and underrated players in the ACC this year, but unless Duke starts winning some games, I'm just not sure the rest of the ACC will give him the credit he deserves. I have no problem considering adding him to the list, but there are also some pretty good defenders on Florida State's defense that are right on the cusp, too.

Jabari in Atlanta writes: Do you think Clemson will put up big numbers next yr after everyone has a year of film on them because I dont. The offensive scheme is very tough to stop year one just like the triple option was a few years ago for gt but teams will catch on to their scheme and they will slow down and their defense will get exposed.

HD: Jabari, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not big on that argument because every team has its own offense and identity and sticks with it for years. You think defenses have adjusted to Florida State under Jimbo Fisher? That the Noles won't win because they've had the same offensive philosophy for more than one season? How about Virginia Tech? Coaches stick with what they know, and the players are either good at executing it and defending it or they're not.

Kevin in Washington, D.C., writes: HD, I know I'm a week early (there's no Wednesday mailbag), but what do you think about this year's ACC Championship play-in game, otherwise known as GT vs. VT? Is the story GT's offense vs VT's defense? Or do they need to win on weaknesses, GT's defense vs. VT's offense?

HD: No matter who is playing Georgia Tech, the storyline is usually the same: Can the defense play disciplined enough, and can the offense sustain drives long enough to keep the Jackets off the field? Based on what Virginia Tech has done so far, you'd think it can. The Hokies are actually No. 6 in the country in time of possession; Georgia Tech is No. 18. If David Wilson continues to run the ball well, it could be some of the Hokies' best defense, but despite all of the injuries, Bud Foster's defense has played extremely well this year and is No. 8 in the country in scoring defense.