ACC: Byrd Stadium

Friedgen disappointed with empty Byrd's nest

October, 19, 2008
10/19/08
4:54
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There were about 5,000 empty seats at Byrd Stadium for Maryland's home game against No. 21-ranked Wake Forest on Saturday -- a game that featured two Atlantic Division opponents equally in the mix -- and it didn't go unnoticed by Terps' coach Ralph Friedgen.

"To me there were a lot of empty seats in the upper deck," he said on his Sunday teleconference. "You're playing a highly ranked team. You're 4-2. Yeah, we didn't play very well at Virginia, I understand that ... I'm hoping our fans will come out and support us and make it a home field advantage."

Their next opportunity will be on Saturday, when Maryland hosts NC State on its homecoming.

ACC in the morning: Bowden talking retirement

August, 6, 2008
8/06/08
7:32
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's ba-ack!

But Bobby Bowden might not be.

Wow. Sounds like he really is sick of mediocrity. Bowden said Tuesday the Seminoles "have got to do better or I'm going to have to get out of here." Another 7-6 season just might be his breaking point, but Bowden said he was afraid to make such a statement because nailing down a bottom line would get "too much ink."

You better believe it would.

Nothing against Jimbo Fisher, but I wouldn't mind two more seasons with Bowden.

Of course, it's not going to be an easy year for him to make a comeback. Not with Tommy Bowden's loaded team on the schedule.

Then again, much of Clemson's success this season will be determined by how quickly the o-line comes together. Five days of practice hasn't quite done the trick. And David Smith is falling further and further behind.

Cullen Harper isn't the best player in the ACC, but he's the best quarterback, writes Caulton Tudor. Does that mean he should get the Player of the Year award at the end of the season? One thing's for sure -- it is a defensive league.  

Just ask Virginia Tech. The Hokies have had one of the best defenses in the country in recent years. They've got a lot to replace on both sides of the ball, though, including their top four receivers.

Virginia Tech's not the only team with some work to do on defense.

NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer wants -- and needs -- to see vast improvement on his side of the ball this season. Nobody in the ACC had fewer turnovers than the Wolfpack and the rushing defense was the worst in the league. Can he fix it?

Of course, it wouldn't hurt for Tom O'Brien to find a quarterback, either.

Maryland needs to make a decision, too.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe already has one of the best in the ACC.

Still, he is recruiting the state of North Carolina hard to find future Blue Devils.

It looks like Virginia stole a kicker from the soccer team. Not the worst place to find one.

Is any of the shine coming off of Miami's No. 1-ranked recruiting class since so many players are missing? Randy Shannon says he's happy with the players he has on campus. Those are the guys who will make an impact this season anyway.

Miami's d-line is trying to cope with injuries and inexperience, while a few players were having trouble with the heat on Tuesday.

Byrd Stadium is expanding, but season-ticket sales apparently are not. Maybe that's because there aren't any superstars to watch - save for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Wake Forest has a star.

Running back Josh Adams is only unassuming off the field.

No Mailblog today, however if you've got a question or comment, holla at yo girl. I'll be chatting today at noon.

The fans speak: ACC stadium rankings II

July, 14, 2008
7/14/08
6:35
PM ET
 
 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
 Clemson's Memorial Stadium is the NEW toughest place to play in the ACC.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

OK people, there's something you need to know about this blog: I'm listening. I'm reading. I'm lurking. And I can HEAR you ... Does your mother know you talk like that?

I'm going to be honest with you: If I had to do it over again, I would. Oh, look, I can!

Here it is -- same words, different ranking with a short explanation below it. Thanks for all of your feedback. Now, complain all you want, this is the final version:

1. Clemson, Memorial Stadium (81,500) -- The Rock. The Hill. Death Valley. Need I say more?

Previous ranking, No. 3 -- I moved this one up because the atmosphere here is awesome, the football is some of the best in the league, and the fans get this place so loud it gives me goosebumps. It's among my favorite places to cover a game. I should've listened to my instinct first time around.

2. Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium (66,233) -- This place sells out, and Hokies fans make this one of the toughest stadiums in the country. Which is why Boston College's fourth-quarter comeback in Blacksburg last season was all the more impressive.

PR No. 1 -- Dropped a spot in favor of my gut feeling over Clemson. It just doesn't swallow you whole like Death Valley.

3. Florida State, Doak S. Campbell Stadium (82,300) -- The program's history is as concrete as the structure here, and you can feel the tradition even during a weekday. With Osceola and Renegade, the war chant ... this is college football.

PR No. 2 -- The game day traditions here are outstanding, but Clemson's move had to bump this down a notch.

4. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500) -- The fairly new facilities here are impressive, but it lacks tradition.

PR No. 11 -- I was stuck on the lack of tradition with this program, and lack of recent wins, but Wolfpack fans are passionate enough to compensate for that. I heard them at the Raleigh Regional baseball games and read their e-mails yesterday.

5. Georgia Tech, Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Roll out the Ramblin' Wreck, and this place is rockin'. It's the oldest stadium in Division I, but it's location in the heart of Atlanta and its fans make it unique.

PR 5 -- Same.

6. UNC, Kenan Stadium (60,000) -- This place is just the right size, and the picturesque pine trees make this one of the nicest venues in the league. Butch Davis has an amazing view of all of it from his office.

PR 4 -- Argue all you want about this spot, but the intimate setting here is great for fans and the facilities here should impress any recruit.

7. Virginia, Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Despite the open press box (which I always seem to forget on the coldest of Saturdays), this place is gorgeous. The columns on the hill and the architecture make this one of my favorite fall road trips.

PR 6 Who's afraid of fans in ties?

8. Wake Forest, Groves Stadium (31,500) -- With around 4,000 undergrads, it's only going to get so loud in here. Deacon Hill is unique, though, and the fans are faithful and appreciative.

PR 9 -- It's still better than the last three.

9. Boston College, Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Eh. Sorry, Eagles fans, but not only don't you travel well for bowl games, but you guys can't even pack your place for FSU on prime time.

PR 8 -- That pretty much summed it up.

10. Maryland, Byrd Stadium (51,500) -- Go ahead and get Ralph Friedgen started about the lacrosse team ripping up Byrd. There have been times when it looks dustier than my bookshelves, but the renovations and suites should be an upgrade.

PR 7 -- I'll admit, I gave this too much credit the first time around, which was dumb, considering how many games I've seen there and said, "the field looks awful." And the pregame atmosphere is lacking.

11. Miami, Dolphin Stadium (75,235) -- Well, the Orange Bowl was a dump, but there were some great and historic games there. The NFL venue just won't be the same and it will take away from the college gameday feeling.

PR 10 -- The only thing worse than trading the college atmosphere for an oversized NFL arena is ...

12. Duke, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- In our interview earlier this week, David Cutcliffe called Wallace Wade Stadium "quaint." Not exactly the atmosphere you're looking for when you want some smashmouth football. Then again, they've got to start playing some smashmouth football.

Same ranking.

Toughest stadiums in the ACC

July, 11, 2008
7/11/08
3:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

As EA Sports prepares to release its NCAA Football 09 next week, one of the features that came out is a gallery of the "25 toughest stadiums" in college football, according to NCAA Football 09

It seemed like the perfect opportunity for a discussion about the toughest places to play in the ACC. Considering the entire gameday atmosphere, (and yes, I've been to all of them), here's what I came up with for the overall best venues in the league:

 
 Joe Murphy/WireImage.com
 Lane Stadium was opened in 1965.

1. Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium (66,233) -- This place sells out, and Hokies fans make this one of the toughest stadiums in the country. Which is why Boston College's fourth-quarter comeback in Blacksburg last season was all the more impressive.

2. Florida State, Doak S. Campbell Stadium (82,300) -- The program's history is as concrete as the structure here, and you can feel the tradition even during a weekday. With Osceola and Renegade, the war chant ... this is college football.

3. Clemson, Memorial Stadium (81,500) -- The Rock. The Hill. Death Valley. Need I say more?

4. UNC, Kenan Stadium (60,000) -- This place is just the right size, and the picturesque pine trees make this one of the nicest venues in the league. Butch Davis has an amazing view of all of it from his office.

5. Georgia Tech, Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Roll out the Ramblin' Wreck, and this place is rockin'. It's the oldest stadium in Division I, but it's location in the heart of Atlanta and its fans make it unique.

6. Virginia, Scott Stadium (51,500) -- Despite the open press box (which I always seem to forget on the coldest of Saturdays), this place is gorgeous. The columns on the hill and the architecture make this one of my favorite fall road trips.

7. Maryland, Byrd Stadium (51,500) -- Go ahead and get Ralph Friedgen started about the lacrosse team ripping up Byrd. There have been times when it looks dustier than my bookshelves, but the renovations and suites should be an upgrade.

8. Boston College, Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Eh. Sorry, Eagles fans, but not only don't you travel well for bowl games, but you guys can't even pack your place for FSU on prime time.

9. Wake Forest, Groves Stadium (31,500) -- With around 4,000 undergrads, it's only going to get so loud in here. Deacon Hill is unique, though, and the fans are faithful and appreciative.

10. Miami, Dolphin Stadium (75,235) -- Well, the Orange Bowl was a dump, but there were some great and historic games there. The NFL venue just won't be the same and it will take away from the college gameday feeling.

11. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500) -- The farily new facilities here are impressive, but it lacks tradition.

12. Duke, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- In our interview earlier this week, David Cutcliffe called Wallace Wade Stadium "quaint." Not exactly the atmosphere you're looking for when you want some smashmouth football. Then again, they've got to start playing some smashmouth football.

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