Friday, November 1, 2013
By Heather Dinich
Is there anything scarier on Halloween than my picks? Somebody called me a "DUMMY" this week! (Seriously. All caps, too). Booo.
Let's get to it ...
Robert VT in Blacksburg, Va., writes: Heather, as a die-hard Hokies fan, I agree with you on your pick of BC over VT. I sure hope you and I are wrong, but I think you used sound judgement in picking BC. BC has always played the Hokies tough whether we are playing in B'Burg or Chestnut Hill. I just think BC will be the better team Saturday after seeing the Hokies get wins by the skin of their teeth most all of this year. I told my wife the same thing a couple days ago; but again, I hope I'm wrong.
Can Virginia Tech get off the canvas after the shocking loss to Duke?
HD: Thanks, Robert. We could be wrong, especially considering how good Virginia Tech's defense is. We'll find out a lot about the Hokies this weekend. Like coach Frank Beamer said, this is a character test for them. They've still got a lot to play for.
Garrett Hudnell in Greensboro, N.C., writes: Hey, I enjoy your blogging very much. I just saw that Syracuse is a four-point favorite against a Wake Forest team that outplayed a No. 7 Miami team for 50 minutes a couple days ago. In my opinion I feel like Wake is going to win by a couple of touchdowns if the defense steps up. I get that Syracuse can run the ball; but their running back is no Duke Johnson. Could you please tell me your view on this?
HD: Wake Forest continues to baffle me this season, Garrett. Heading into it, they were my dark-horse team. I thought they were really going to surprise some teams this year, and then they lost to Louisiana-Monroe. Now they're starting to look more like the team I thought they would -- slinging it to Camp and getting a veteran look on defense with Nikita Whitlock leading the way. To me, they're a better team than Cuse and have a better quarterback. I also remember the last time Wake played Cuse and lost late in the game, how much that stung them. I bet some of those guys haven't forgotten, either, and are looking for some redemption. I picked the Deacs.
Ryan in Pensacola, Fla., writes: Heather, what will it take for FSU to get some BCS love? Oregon is throwing all their chips into the Stanford game. Mind you the Pac-12 reputation suffered a knockout blow when Stanford lost to Utah. And when does last year not matter anymore to BCS voters? It seems like Bama gets auto-votes for winning last year. Alabama's only meaningful game thus far has been A&M, in which that vaunted defense was made a mockery of. Alabama has since played Georgia State, Chattanooga and Colorado State. FSU destroyed Clemson, has the chance to beat another top 10 team big in Miami, and a bad UF team could still win the Pac-12 in most years. What gives?
HD: I'm with you, man, I'm with you. I think Bama has history on its side more than this year's SOS. It would help if the Coastal Division winner were ranked for the ACC championship game, but to me, if FSU finishes the season undefeated it has a better résumé than the Ducks.
TJ Clayton in Chattanooga, Tenn., writes: Let's say Miami loses to FSU. Then they win out, but lose to FSU in the ACC championship. Does that second loss count as a conference loss? My logic here is, what if Clemson wins out? Both Miami and Clemson have one conference loss (unless title game counts). Who goes to Orange Bowl and who goes to Sugar Bowl? And who is on first?
HD: OK, my head is spinning, but I think I got ya. Your scenario is exactly why AA and I have had Clemson in the Orange Bowl. If FSU goes to Pasadena like we predict, and Miami loses to Florida State and Clemson wins out, then Clemson goes to Orange. If FSU does NOT go to Pasadena and all of that happens, then Clemson will go to Sugar. Now, if Miami wins out, they can obviously still go to Orange or Sugar, too.
Nathan Smith in Raleigh,N.C., writes: Things were overhyped on campus for NC State this year and not many students were forecasting a 0-4 ACC conference start. When will we see an improvement under Doeren?
HD: When he has time to recruit. I don't doubt his ability to bring in players, but here's my question: Does Doeren need some more experience surrounding him? The average age for the coaching staff of the Wolfpack is only 37.
Mark in Atlanta writes: As a diehard Canes fan I relish the fact nobody is thinking Miami can come within four touchdowns of FSU. There is no pressure on Miami this week, but I'm pretty sure inside the locker room they have the confidence and know they can win this game. If Miami wins this week will you and all fellow media members give Miami their due respect, or will you just say FSU had a bad game? I think Miami has played to the level of their competition and they will be ready come Saturday night. I would much rather win the second game (if there is one) when more is on the line.
Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson will play major roles for Miami on Saturday night in Tallahassee.
HD: I'm not buying FSU by three touchdowns. Nope. I didn't learn my lesson from the Clemson game. I'm thinking that with Stephen Morris healthy, the Canes put up a fight before falling behind in the fourth quarter to a team that wins because of its depth and quarterback. As for how the Canes would be perceived if they win? It depends on how the game goes.
Kevin writes: "The ACC has several good ranked teams, but as of right now, it has one great one. And that's all it needs." Unfortunately that is not all it needs. In order for the ACC to regain national attention there must be more great teams on their schedule (in the ACC) to beat. This is exactly why Oregon just jumped Florida State in the BCS standings.
HD: Nope. I disagree. Yes, the ACC needs more than one team in the top 10, but it needs only one ELITE team contending for the national title. As long as there is a ranked Clemson team, a ranked Miami team or Virginia Tech, etc., to help boost FSU's schedule (or the other way around, for that matter), the ACC is in great shape.
Pat in Corning writes: OK, Heather, give it to me straight. What are the chances of my Hokies making it to the ACC championship game in December and maybe even a BCS game? I personally believe even with the setback from last weekend against dare I say it Duke... we are still considerably strides ahead of everyone in our division. After last weekend I found myself thinking a lot about whether or not it was possible to make the trip in December and I remember back to 2010 when we dropped both the season opener to Boise and then even worse than Duke we lost to JMU and we became somewhat of a write off for that year and then all of a sudden next thing the country knows we've knocked off FSU and are heading to the Orange Bowl. Now maybe I'm just trying to be way too positive about this whole thing but I think we have team that can do the same thing that the 2010 team did. We have the leadership, we have the D, and on occasion we have an O and on top of all that we have a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way out with BC, Miami, Maryland and UVA. No team seems to come back to earth like a Hokies team that loses a game they weren't supposed to and I think the ACC should be on alert because hopefully we are going to see a Va. Tech team with a chip on its shoulder and personally I would be nervous to face a Bud Foster D with a chip on its shoulder!
HD: Well, if I'm wrong about BC, then I think they've got a great shot, Pat. There's no reason they can't go to Miami and win -- unless they continue to turn it over and miss field goals. The Boston College game will tell us which way the Hokies are going to go. At some point, you also have to wonder if the frustrations on offense have boiled over to the defense and caused the team to be fragmented. That has not happened in the past to Virginia Tech teams that have faced adversity. You mentioned the 0-2 start. Virginia Tech didn't lose again after that. One thing I've learned: Never count the Hokies out.