Rise n' shine, it's mailblog time ...
Corey in Altamonte Springs, Fla., writes: Heather, what ACC game(in or out of conference) are you looking forward to most? There are so many great choices! Miami/FSU, Ohio St/Miami(notice my slight bias towards Miami? Lol). Tell everyone what you expect to be the ACC game of the year!
HD: Well, the two nonconference games I'm looking forward to most -- Miami at Ohio State and Virginia Tech-Boise State -- might not be the best games. Clemson-Auburn has the potential to be an exciting, down-to-the-wire kind of game. This year's FSU-Miami game could be the conference's game of the year. (It has that potential every season, but this year it should mean more in the conference standings.) But you asked me to pick one, so I'll pick -- Virginia Tech at Miami on Nov. 20. I think the Coastal Division will be a wide-open race between VT, Miami, UNC and GT, but right now, I'll give Miami and the Hokies the most credit in November.
Bo in Atlanta writes: Heather,Now that the Maryland/Notre Dame date has been announced for 2011, what is the likelihood that Ralph Fridgen is even still around to face the Irish?
HD: My guess is he'll be around. I have a hard time believing the Terps could suffer such a fate two years in a row. I think they've got enough talent on their roster to be a bowl team. Six wins isn't asking too much. And if Friedgen goes anywhere, it certainly won't be on his terms.
Danny in College Park, Md., writes: Hey Heather,With Maryland already taking some nice strides in their recruiting for 2011, and a matchup with Notre Dame at FedEx Field, it looks like the Terps are heading in the right direction. Considering their 2010 recruiting class is much better than their 2010 season went, how do you think the Terps wind up doing this year? And more interestingly, who do you think gets the start under center for the Terps when ACC play begins?
HD: What Maryland was able to do with this recruiting class considering its 2009 record was underappreciated. To me, the key to the Terps' season starts with Navy in the season opener. Theoretically, Maryland should win that game and represent in its home state for the first two weekends. But Navy will be -- and should be -- favored in that game. It should set the tone and direction of Maryland's season. As for center, my guess is Paul Pinegar moves over. He's played both tackle spots and left guard, so why not? The staff will give him a shot there this spring.
Dave in Boston writes: Heather,With a SLEW of returning talent this season (17 starters I believe), a strong recruiting class, and a favorable schedule, why hasn't BC gotten more mention as a serious candidate for the Atlantic Division?Clemson could be without it's top 3 offensive weapons, Florida State can't realistically be expected to improve its defense enough in the course of 1 recruiting class, and after that the rest of the division looks pretty weak (will any of the group of NC State, Wake, or Maryland finish better than 6-6?).Among BC's toughest games (VT, FSU, Notre Dame, Clemson) only the 'Noles game is on the road. Assuming the natural progression from Year 1 to Year 2 for Shinskie and barring major injury, how does this team not win at least 10 games?
HD: Considering how weak its nonconference schedule is (and it has Notre Dame at home), there's no reason BC can't win eight or nine, but I wouldn't underestimate the Atlantic Division. Both Maryland and NC State will be better, and if you recall, BC racked up a whopping 54 yards against that Clemson D last year. The Eagles HAVE to get better at quarterback, and I believe they will, whether it's with Dave Shinskie or somebody else.
Anthony in Haymarket, Va., writes: Heather,Saw your superlative for GT. I gotta say I'm surprised you went with B-Back instead of Quarterback. Maybe I didn't read something about the stipulations of your choices, but I'd say returning Josh Nesbitt (who will be missing spring practices unfortunately) is the most important piece to the entire team. He was after all first team all ACC...
HD: I get what you're saying, but right now, the QB position goes one-deep at Georgia Tech, and that's Nesbitt. He's one of the top returning quarterbacks in the league, but I'm looking at entire positions, not just one guy.
Wade in Boston writes: Heather, I missed the live chat today, but I have a burning question for you. Is Willie Korn helping the Clemson team this Spring? If so, how? Thanks as always!
HD: No, Wade, Korn is preparing to transfer to Marshall.
Next mailbag comes up on Friday.