Friday, September 18, 2009
ACC mailblog: GT/Miami rewind
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
So just how good is Miami? You asked, I answered.
Ty in Austin, Texas writes: After watching the Maimi game last night, I was impressed. However, I remember a few years ago when Clemson dismantled a strong GT team on "Game Day" TV (holding Calvin Johnson without a catch) and then promptly got distroyed by VT the next Thursday. Given that Clemson seemed to provide the blueprint on how to stop GT's tripple option last week (oh, yeah, and John Lovett was the DC at Clemson a few years ago), I'll hold my opinions on Maimi untill after VT next week - how about you?
Heather Dinich: Well, I'll be honest. So far, Miami has been the best team I've seen play. As for Virginia Tech, I think their true identity lies somewhere between what we saw against Alabama and Marshall, and Nebraska will show us that. You're right, though, in that only the VT-Miami game will provide the answer on the field as to which one is the best team in the Coastal Division.
Eric in Atlanta writes: How can the AP rankings rank Georgia Tech above Miami, then almost all reporters and analysts pick Miami to beat Georgia Tech? I think most people knew Miami was a better team on both sides of the ball, so why didn't the rankings show it? Is this proof that the rankings are a flawed system because of their obvious bias to preseason favorites?
HD: Well, I can't answer for the AP voters, but I can answer for myself, and I had GT over Miami in my power rankings but picked Miami to win. My ranking order in that case was based on what Georgia Tech did last year against the Canes, and I thought that until Miami proved otherwise, it's only fair that the Jackets get the nod there. I had both of them over Virginia Tech, though, because they had both beaten ACC opponents, while the Hokies' best win was over Marshall so far.
Theo in Charlotte, N.C. writes: Heather, I graduated in 2005 and had to go through the dark years of Marcus Vick. I wanted to know why Beamer is so stubborn and loyal to the current offensive coordinator? I look at Miami and what Whipple has done and I just gaze in amazement wishing that we had an OC that could do the same with Taylor. Why doesn't someone other than the fans call out Beamer on this? It is truly obvious that our OC doesn't have the play calling expertise nor the understanding of how to help Taylor grow as a QB. Instead of the networks always criticizing VT as a program why don't they just criticize the root, Stinespring?
HD: You guys should start a club, really. Ever hear the saying it's not the Xs and the Os, it's the Jimmys and the Joes? Well, to a certain extent that has rung true at Virginia Tech. Beamer has said repeatedly that the staff last year did the best it could with what it had to work with. An Orange Bowl win and an ACC title isn't too shabby. Mike O'Cain is the quarterbacks coach, and Tyrod Taylor is not Michael Vick. Is Bryan Stinespring the best OC in the ACC? No. But a high-flying offense isn't Beamer's style, either. I can understand the envy, though, of Miami opponents who watched Whipple work last night. But Miami, offensively, has a deeper, faster group of athletes to work with and a better quarterback.
Andru Athens in Sacramento, Calif., writes: Hey, Heather. I know you don't have high hopes for the 'Noles after their embarrassing win against Jacksonville State, but what are your feelings toward Christian Ponder? After two games, his stats have been much improved from last season. It looks as though he is carrying the entire offense on his shoulders. If Ponder continues to perform at this level, and if Florida State limps through the rest of the season, do you think that Ponder will get the national coverage and praise he deserves?
HD: First of all, I still think FSU could win the Atlantic. That division is wide open, and I don't believe that FSU's performance against Jax State was the real deal. That being said, I think Ponder so far looks like the most improved quarterback in the ACC. He's getting great pass protection from the guys up front, and so far, appears to be their best hope at winning the division. If FSU limps through the rest of the season, no, he won't get the national recognition he deserves.
Adam in Pittsburgh, Pa., writes: Heather, thanks for all the great ACC updating! I'm actually a Buckeye fan, but wanted to get your take on the Ohio State vs. Miami (FL) series starting next year. Analysts say the Bucks won't have a chance to play another "USC caliber" team for a while (to gain some pride back). Now that The U looks like it's steamrolling again, does this series have weight? Does the fact that this isn't a "new" BCS team to beat hurt them?
HD: Thanks for ditching Ritt to stop by the ACC blog, Adam. Let's wait for two more weeks and see what Miami does against Virginia Tech and Oklahoma (with or without Sam Bradford) before we reassert the Canes' status nationally. Comparing them to USC right now, to me, seems like a stretch. Miami hasn't even won an ACC title yet. Do they look capable of it? Absolutely. Would a 4-0 start put them in the top 10? It will in my ranking. If Miami keeps it up, it should be the kind of game that will provide a measuring stick for the Buckeyes.
CfieldHokie in Chesterfield, Virginia writes: Heather, all summer there were numerous posts about how a good defense would stop Georgia Tech's spread the second time around, you repeatedly stated that wasn't the case, because GT would also have another year to perfect it. After watching the Miami game, what are your thoughts on the subject?
HD: I'm surprised it took so long to get to this question. First, I think that both Miami and Clemson had ample time to prepare for it. Both started in the spring because they knew they'd face the Jackets early. Miami had 10 days to get ready for it. Those two things coupled with the fact that GT hasn't been executing it as well as Paul Johnson promised contributed to what you've seen so far. If Georgia Tech can stay out of a mental funk from this (and keep Jonathan Dwyer healthy), I think they'll improve.
Gerald Ball writes: Time for a Jacory Harris for Heisman campaign? This is like 7 TDs in two games, both conference games against ranked foes.
HD: Man, if he keeps this up and with Sam Bradford on the DL, I don't see why not. If Bradford plays against Miami, though, it could be an interesting twist in the Heisman race. Why didn't I have Harris among my Top 5 Heisman candidates yet? Because he tore up an FSU secondary that clearly has some work to do. I'll give him serious consideration this week.