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Friday, October 15, 2010
Friday mailblog

By staff

You think Randy Shannon is feeling some pressure? ...

Benton in Danville, Va., writes: HD, I like your goal of having your game predictions percentage be at least Joe Paterno's age (83). I crunched the numbers and based on the likely number of bowls the ACC will play in, you can only miss 5 more predictions on the year if the conference plays in 4 to 8 bowl games. No pressure!

HD: Now, had I had the math skills to figure that on my own, I probably would have aimed instead for Dabo Swinney's 40 years.

Ryan in Atlanta writes: Am I the only one that thinks the ACC running game is over rated? Montel Harris has one TD, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans haven't done all that much for VT, and GT's triple option looks flat. The only team with a strong running game is FSU and that is mainly because they have the "committee" of three running backs and Lonnie Pryor.

HD: No, I think you're right, though Georgia Tech's performance against Virginia was a track meet. Williams has obviously been hurt for three weeks, but considering the expectations coming into this season for several teams -- including Miami -- I would say the league's ground game as a whole has underachieved midway through the season. Florida State and maybe Clemson might be an exception to that.

Andrew in Raleigh, N.C., writes: Heather,I really enjoy reading the blog everyday and have even put it on my RSS feed for my phone so I can get the latest on my way in/out of the stadium on Saturdays. With that said, what's going on with the prediction for the NC State/ECU game? I understand it's a rivalry game and in Greenville, but based on the points we have put up and given up, do you truthfully believe ECU will score 28? Or is this just a "CYA" prediction? Keep up the great blogging, even if we disagree on predictions. Guess we'll see what each team can do Saturday.Andrew in Raleigh

HD: Thanks for reading, Andrew. I don't know what I'd do without you and my mom. Look, NC State's defense is better, yes, but Virginia Tech exposed some weaknesses in it en route to 440 total yards. The intangibles involved -- such as it being an in-state game and a road trip for the Pack -- led me to believe Dominique Davis will be able to score some points.

Mike in Boston writes: Heather,Great coverage of the ACC. Why isn't BC redshirting Rettig for the remainder of this year being considered an option. Would he still be eligible for a normal or a medical redshirt. It seems pointless to waste a year of his eligibility and risk further injuery on what looks to be a lost year. Wouldn't it be better to let him rest and get healthy this year and start next year as a rookie? By redshirting him this year we will have him for the next 4 full years, including what would be his senior year in 2014 when BC plays USC at home following up a matchup at USC in 2013.

HD: First of all, it's no longer an option. The only way it could become one again is if he suffered a season-ending injury, and all BC fans should pray that doesn't happen because Rettig is the best option the Eagles have. Quite frankly, he's the answer they need. Unfortunately, BC can't afford the time Rettig needs to adjust to the starting role.

Kyle in Tampa, Fla., writes: Hello Heather.When it comes time to vote for conference awards at the end of the year, are non-conference games factored in?For example, does Christian Ponder's bad game at Oklahoma have any impact on his ACC POY chances, or are the voters told to focus only on conference games?Thanks for your time.

HD: Yes, Kyle, the total performance is factored in, but I don't think that game would keep him out of contention for it. It was a road loss against a top 10 opponent and if FSU were to win the Atlantic and the ACC title he should definitely be considered.

Ryan in Asheville, N.C., writes: Heather,Quick question, is it the team's overall or conference record that determines whether a school wins their respective side of the ACC and earns the right to play in the title game?Just looking for some clarification, thanks and keep up the excellent work.Ryan

HD: It's the team's overall conference record, Ryan. The first factor is the best winning percentage in conference games. If two teams in the division are tied, then head-to-head competition determines the division winner.

Luke in Tenn., writes: HD,Not to look too far ahead but, if Clemson doesnt make a bowl game this year, do you see Coach Swinney in a "win or else" situation next year? We Tiger fans expect a lot and a Bowl game is one of those things we take for granted each year. I like Dabo, however, the on field results matter and being a stand up guy only takes you so far in his chosen profession.

HD: No, and he shouldn't be. Even though there are a few coaches who were holdovers from the Tommy Bowden era, it's important to remember that this is pretty much an entirely new staff with new offensive and defensive philosophies. Had Will Muschamp come in and won the Atlantic Division in his first year, I think there would be a different attitude about Clemson's direction.