ACC: LSU Tigers

Video: Week 1 games to watch

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
11:00
AM ET

Mike Bellotti and Matt Stinchcomb offer up the Week 1 matchups they are most excited to watch: Georgia vs. Clemson and LSU vs. TCU.

Video: Dabo Swinney on bowl win

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
12:24
AM ET

Coach Dabo Swinney talks about Clemson's 25-24 win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Video: Chick-fil-A Bowl preview

December, 13, 2012
12/13/12
1:00
PM ET

LSU's stubborn defense goes up against Clemson's high-powered offense in the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN).

Video: ACC's chances for redemption

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
1:00
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Heather Dinich talks about three chances the ACC has for redemption in its bowl games.
Has something seemed odd to you about the BCS bowls this year? Does it seem like ... oh wait, West Virginia just scored again.

Does it seem like ... wait, there goes De'Anthony Thomas. Don't think he'll get caught from behind.

Does it seem like ... wait, would somebody please tackle Justin Blackmon?

Does it seem like there have been a lot of points this bowl season?

It's not just you. There have been a lot of points. More points than ever before. And by huge quantities.

So far, BCS bowl teams have averaged a total of 77 points in the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls. That, folks, is nearly 26 points more than last year (51.6). And it's nearly 11 points better than the previous high of 66.3 from 2001-02.

Perhaps pairing two SEC teams in the title game has created a black hole sucking all defensive stinginess into the LSU-Alabama rematch, which you might recall went 9-6 with no touchdowns in their first meeting. West Virginia scored 10 touchdowns -- 10! -- against Clemson. Alabama gave up 12 TDs all season.

Speaking of Clemson: ACC. Well, well, well.

After the Tigers ingloriously fell 70-33 to the Mountaineers, we got our second story from the BCS bowl season: The ACC's insistence on throwing up on itself in BCS bowl games.

The conference that was once expected to challenge the SEC is now 2-13 in BCS bowl games. That's hard to do. You'd think in 15 BCS bowls the conference could get lucky at least five or six times. But no, it insists on making ACC blogger Heather Dinich, a genuinely nice person, into some sort of Grim Reaper every bowl season.

Heck, the Big East has won seven BCS bowls -- second fewest among AQ conferences -- but it's 7-7.

Of course, this all ties together, and we're here to bring out a bow, but first a warning: If you don't want to read about how good the SEC is for the 56,314th time this year, then stop reading. I'd recommend an episode of "South Park" or perhaps a John le Carré thriller as an alternative for passing the time.

We can all agree the SEC plays great defense right? Alabama and LSU will play for the title Monday with the nation's top-two defenses. Do you think perhaps that it's not a coincidence that the conference that is 16-7 in BCS bowl games plays great defense?

The only other AQ conference with a winning record in BCS bowl games is the Pac-12, which is 11-7. The Pac-12 isn't known for defense, either, but USC was when it won the conference's last national title in 2004.

The only team to win a BCS national title without an elite defense was Auburn in 2010, but the Tigers' defense seemed to find itself late in the season. Since 1999, eight national champions had a top-10 defense. Other than Auburn, the lowest-rated defense to win a BCS national title was Ohio State in 2002. It ranked 23rd in the nation in total defense.

Three of the four BCS bowl games have been thrillers. Two went to overtime. We've seen big plays all over the field in the passing game and running game. Yet, if things go according to script in the title game, we'll see none of that. We might not see more than a couple of plays that go for more than 20 yards. We might not see any.

Some might call that boring. It might seem that both offenses are so paranoid of making a mistake that they are stuck in mud, both in game plan and execution.

But, snoozefest or not, when the clock strikes zero a team from the SEC will hoist the crystal football for a sixth consecutive time.

That might say something about playing better defense.

Video: Dinich previews UNC-LSU game

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
4:00
PM ET


Heather Dinich says UNC will have the edge of LSU to kick off the 2010 season.

FSU and Miami building championship-caliber recruiting classes

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
10:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If Miami and Florida State continue to add to and develop the speed and athleticism that is already in their current recruiting classes, then look out -- both of these programs will be back in business.

Florida State had the better season in 2008, but Miami's recruiting is a step ahead. If the Canes hire the right offensive coordinator and get the kinks worked out at quarterback, then Miami is going to be one of best teams in the country in the next two or three years. If they're not, then something is wrong, because all you have to do is look at the talent they're lining up, not to mention how many young impact players like Sean Spence are already on the roster.

Miami currently has seven -- seven! -- recruits committed who are ranked among the ESPNU 150, a list of the top 150 prospects in the country, and nine players who have earned a grade of 80 or higher. If you're not familiar with ESPN's grading system, you should check it out, because there is no other evaluation like it.

Players who earn a grade of 80 or higher are deemed outstanding prospects who can contribute as true freshmen. Miami had the No. 1 recruiting class a year ago, and it panned out. This one should too, thanks to the staff's late push on the recruiting trail.

Florida State is not far behind. It has to have helped to have coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher out recruiting when other head coaches cannot. Defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel is the real deal, and the No. 1 prep tackle in the country. Back to that grading system ... McDaniel has a 91, meaning our evaluators consider him a rare prospect who "has all the skills to take over a game and could be an impact player as a true freshman." Translated -- wow.

Both of these programs have improved their recruiting in the 2008 and 2009 classes. FSU jumped from No. 25 in 2007, when it had a very average class, to No. 12 last year and is currently No. 10. Miami is currently ranked No. 7. (Don't forget, though, who had the No. 2 class a year ago -- Clemson. This is the year for Da'Quan Bowers, Kyler Parker and Jamie Harper to remind us why, although Bowers has already lived up to the hype.)

The first step in earning a top 10 ranking in the BCS standings is building a top 10 recruiting class, and that's exactly what Florida State and Miami have been doing. They're in good company with the likes of USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and LSU -- all programs that were in contention for the national title the past few seasons.

If Florida State and Miami are getting the same quality players, then reason stands they should have the same chance.

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