Chat with Heather Dinich
Dinich covered ACC and Big Ten football for five seasons before joining ESPN.com in November 2007. She's an Indiana grad but somehow her favorite day of the week is Saturday.
Send your questions now and join Dinich in The Show at Noon ET on Monday!
Heather Dinich (12:00 PM)
Hey everyone. Well, it was a crazy week, let's get started on another.
Predict who plays in the ACC Championship game and who wins, as of right now.
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Maryland and Virginia Tech, with the Hokies winning. But that's right. This. Second.
Bill (Houston, TX)
Are my beloved Seminoles becoming a run oriented offense? I guess we will find out this weekend!
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
YES ... Bobby Bowden talked about that on his teleconference yesterday, talked about how he has changed his offensive philosophy since he came to FSU as an assistant and all he knew was running the ball. He said you only passed when you had to. Looks like they're getting back to that.
George P. Burdell (Atlanta)
Heather, what can we expect out of Duke this weekend against GT? Will Thad Lewis be able to pick apart Tech's defense or was Mississippi St. just a fluke?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
It took Thaddeus Lewis a little too long to get going against UVA, and he can't afford to do that against the Yellow Jackets. This is Duke's first road game, so expect Georgia Tech to jump on them.
Will J (Portland, OR)
What another wild weekend in college football. So which loss do you this is most surprising USC at Oregon St., or Ole Miss beating Florida in Gainesville?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
That's tough, really. Considering that Florida looked a little vulnerable against Miami, and USC looked like, well, an NFL team, I'd say the latter.
Kerry, Leesburg VA
Maryland in the ACC final? They can't stop anyone's running game? They lost to Middle Tenn. Its comical that on their website, they are questioning the polls. It they are top 25 material, I'm Michael Phelps.
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Well, you've got to realize it's also a matter of what everyone else ISN'T doing.
Will ( Dallas )
IS it fair that USC is still in the top 10?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Yes. I know, I know, but they lost a game, not their talent.
Brendan (College Park)
Heather, what are the odds we see a 7-1 Terps team heading to Blacksburg for a crucial Thursday night game?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the odds are pretty good. They should beat Virginia. They'll have a bye week to prepare for Wake Forest at home, and NC State is beatable without Russell Wilson.
Reid (Baltimore MD)
We've seen a good mixed up season in the ACC so far. So now who are the dark horses in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
Great question. I'd say Georgia Tech.
Beano Buehring (Pittsburgh, PA)
How impressed were you with the way Penn State was able to overcome two early Illinois leads and be able to come back and take control of the game?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Man, I was watching the replay on ESPNU last night and the Nits looked good. It's one of the best offenses they've had in a while. I know people keep making comparisons to M-Rob, but they look better than that.
Hey Heather - ND fan here. Even though it's a week out, how do the Irish and UNC match up? Will Sexton be the starting QB for them?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
Well, Jimmy Clausen finally managed their offense well, and I think that will be a decent game. T.J. Yates is out for six weeks, so yes, I would assume Cam Sexton would start in that game.
With USC vulnerable who wins the PAC10?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
USC. Tell me who all of a sudden became better than USC in the Pac 10 over the weekend.
Aaron (Raleigh, NC)
Any word on how long Wilson is going to be out? We are lost without him.
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Tom O'Brien's press conference is at 2 p.m. today, and my sports info guy is not on IM right now, so I'm not sure.
Jake, New York
Clark is a better passer than Mike Robinson, Robinson would never have completed that toch pas to DWill for the TD. If they beat Wisconsin, they will be BCSing in January. They could possibly run the table. How would your favorite ACC team the Terps stack up agianst the Joepas?
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
Penn State would win. Huge. And yes, you're right, their passing game is much better with Clark.
John (Wichita Falls, TX)
Heather, random question for you...will Air Force finally beat Navy this weekend in Colorado Springs?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
They should be pretty confident after beating Wake Forest, but this is not the same Navy team as it was under Paul Johnson.
Zach (Chapel Hill)
Do the Tar Heels still have a chance to play for the ACC Championship?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Everyone (but Virginia) still has a chance to play for it.
Big rivalry game for us folks in Florida this weekend. With both Miami and FSU fielding top class defenses, which teams offense can move the ball more effectively and get the win?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
You just pointed out the key to the game. Bowden was talking about that yesterday. I think Miami is allowing just around 65 rushing yards per game, but Antone Smith had a great game against Carolina. Miami's defense gave up too many big plays.
Sean (Boston, MA)
After watching Tyrod Taylor continue to mature and progress every week, just how good do you think he can be?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
He can be one of the more complete quarterbacks in the league if they get the passing game going, but he needs some help from the line to do that.
Mike (Hartford, CT)
I don't care if they are 5-0, there is no way that UConn is one of the 25 best teams in America.
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Haha ... it's hard to believe, isn't it? Hey, it's not easy coming up with the best 25 when everyone is losing, but you have to give the Huskies credit at some point.
Michigan State looks real good right now the way Ringer is running the ball and the passing game getting back on track. They could be 6-1 vs. Ohio State at Spartan Stadium in a few weeks, what do you make of this team?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Well, I like them enough to stick them in my top 25 this week for ESPN.com and put Ringer on my top five Heisman candidates for the week. Heck, I thought they looked good in their loss to Cal.
Dean (Toledo, OH)
With several top 10 teams bounced this weekend, what's the chance the Buckeyes getting mentioned again as a NC contender?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Slim to none. They had their chance and they blew it.
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
What did you take away from Huskers on saturday? Is VT a beginning to another long season for them?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
If they don't improve quickly on defense, yes. Virginia Tech is hanging on on the feet of Tyrod Taylor, and they couldn't stop him.
So, is there a reason that you havn't fielded a single question about Clemson today, but UCONN, ND and MSU get answered? Isnt this an ACC chat? "FIRE TOMMY BOWDEN!"
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Sorry, but I try to keep it open, even though I'm the ACC blogger, and yes, there are a lot of people with comments in here similar to yours.
Dante (tampa, Florida)
Wheres the love for Matt Grothe? He gets passed up a lot when QB's are mentioned
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
Yeah, he does, but I think South Florida finally put together its first complete game against NC State. No doubt he's one of the better quarterbacks out there. I said this spring they'd go as far as he would take them.
Does Al Groh get fired this year? UVA needs a new leader badly.
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Jon, I've been a little harsh on Groh after putting up just three points against Duke. With the off-field incidents adding up and the direction the season is headed, I'd say Craig Littlepage has enough reasons if he wanted to make a change.
Lee (Atlanta, GA)
Who do you like as the top RB in the ACC so far this year? My admittedly biased opinion is Jon Dwyer.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
That is a very good choice, but don't forget about ACC leading rusher Da'Rel Scott. He's opened a ton of things in their passing game for them.
Parker, Tampa, FL
Any chance FSU's success in the running game this weekend was due to the return or Chaz Piurowski or was it just a fluke?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Sure ... the staff talked all week about he would help in blocking. After all, he spent some time last season on the line. They couldn't wait to get him back. And it's Caz, btw.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
What do you think of FSU's Jermaine Thomas and his future?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
I think if the staff uses him like they did against Colorado (not Wake) he'll be a great addition, especially when Antone Smith is playing like he did against Wake. But Smith looked great this past weekend, and that's what they'll need from him this weekend.
Shawn ( Gaithersburg MD)
Heather, does Pitt have any chance of knocking off South Florida on Thursday Night?
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
No way, not if they play like they did in the first half against Syracuse.
Pete (Charleston, SC)
Stop dodging the Clemson questions...everyone knows TB is a nice guy and maybe you're biting your tongue, but do you think it's time to make a change at Clemson.
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I think that Tommy Bowden is a good Xs and Os coach, and that he might need to show it. If what happened in that game was all Rob Spence, then he's the one who has to answer why Davis and Spiller combined for just 10 carries in the second half.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
How much is Virginia Tech improving on offense? or is the Nebraska defense still terrible?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
Sandeep (Atlanta, GA)
Heather, is Michael Johnson of GT the ACC's MVP on defense?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
No. I spoke to an NFL scout recently who said his draft stock is dropping and questioned Johnson's heart.
Keith (Columbus OH)
If Ohio State blew its NC chances on the road against a #1 team without their best player, why didn't USC or Florida blow it by losing to unranked teams at full strength?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Who's to say they didn't? It's going to be pretty hard for USC to get in there now, considering the lack of respect the rest of the Pac 10 is getting.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
better be careful when you say 'no way' in regards to a potential upset. Weren't we just annointing USC as one of the greatest teams EVER, just a week ago? I have a feeling there will be more than a few more 'no way' upsets before the NC game in Miami.
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
Fair point. Like the West Virginia game last year.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
Because Florida and USC hasn't lost 2 NC games back to back like Ohio State did!!
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
Well, right, there's that, too.
Chris (Raleigh, NC)
Heather, you still haven't answered the question all Clemson fans want to know...Is Tommy Bowden the right person for the job? Can he win the ACC? If not, he should either be fired or resign (do you agree?).
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
That's because I'm not ready to answer that question yet, Chris. Have they fallen way below expectations? Yes, but expectations were too high to begin with. Have they underachieved? Yes. But they are 1-1 in the ACC and it's anybody's game right now.
Chance (College Station)
Is there a dominant team in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
No, see above question.
Evan (Alexandria, VA)
What's up with Rutgers? Was losing Ray Rice that catastrophic or is there something else going on there?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
When your starting, veteran quarterback slaps a teammate upside the head, I'd say there are bigger issues in Piscataway.
What NEEDS to happen for the ACC to become a worthy conference in THIS SEASON? Hokies win out and break the top 10? GT upset Georgia and turn heads? Please WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO???
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
Aww. So desperate sounding. I was talking with David Cutcliffe today about this and he made some good points about the ACC taking some unfair heat. Check my latest blog post for why the league is struggling, but what the ACC needs to do is win its bowl games this season. The future is bright. There will be a TON of young talent on the field in Miami on Saturday.
Who are the offensive and defensive players of the year in the ACC right now? What about coach of the year (so far)?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
The players are tougher than the coaches, who right now I'd say you'd have to give it to Cutcliffe. Good lord. Heck, Duke has the ACC's top two leading tacklers, too. As for offense, ugh. Brandon Tate having a great season ...
Adam (Valdosta, GA)
Before the season you talked about the ACC needing to win out of conference games against BCS games. FSU did that this week along with VT and you don't even mention it in your blogs. Guess now we just need to knock off Oklahoma to get your praise...or would that just be a fluke?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
Yeah, um, I was thinking more along the lines of Miami/Florida, Clemson/Alabama, the Orange Bowl .. and I gave NC State a ton of credit after that ECU win. Also, I put the Hokies at the top of the power rankings for going across the country and winning their fourth straight.
Jake (North Carolina)
If Duke makes it to a bowl does Cutcliffe get pronounced coach of the year, king, and any other title he wants?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Sounds about right.
Who is the best coach in the ACC this year? My bet is either Maryland or Duke. Talk about 2 schools coming out of nowhere!
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Nobody listens to me ...
Greg (Hanover, PA)
Is Turner/Scott/Heyward-Bey the best QB/RB/WR combo in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
If all three of them show up on the same day, it's a good possibility. Clemson still has Harper/Davis/Spiller/Kelly. Don't count out Duke, man, that Eron Riley/Thaddeus Lewis combo is pretty nice, and their backup has played well.
Adam (Valdosta, GA)
Ok...I'll give you that our conference lost our 2 biggest OOC matchups so far...but both Nebraska AND Colorado were undefeated.
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
And hadn't played anybody ...well, OK, I'll give you West Virginia.
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Alright guys, my time is up. Back to bloggin'. Thanks for joining today.