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 guys. Thanks for joining in on the chat this week. Let's get started ...
Van Galloway (Hartsville, SC)
Heather, I have been a die hard FSU fan my whole life. What is it gonna take for the media to realize we are not far off from being back to a winning tradition? What games are gonna be the turning point for everyone to get off the hate the Noles bandwagon they are on?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
I think people realize FSU is very close ... they've already been ranked once this season, and they got a significant amount of votes again this week. Problem is, they beat a struggling Miami team. No doubt they took steps forward, but the Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech games will be a great gauge as to how quickly they've grown up.
Clemson at Wake this Thursday. Who you got?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Well, I'll be there, but you've gotta check the prediction post on Thursday morning for that answer.
Kenneth (Macon, Ga)
Care to appologoze for under-rating FSU's o-line?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
Ha ... seriously, they do look much better than I expected. But guess what? They've also surprised their coaching staff. I'm going to talk to Trickett this week at some point, so they're going to get their credit eventually on the blog.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
What are your thoughts on FSU's true freshman tailback Jermaine Thomas?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Anyone who averages 25 yards a carry is good. Bobby Bowden indicated he wants to see Thomas more, but he is behind Antone Smith, who is playing very well lately.
Jeff (Destin, FL)
Is Maryland still your Dark Horse to win the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Pete C (Newark DE)
Looks like Georgia Tech was impressive recently and the offense is rolling, will they be the best team coming out the ACC this year?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Pete, I have seen every team in the ACC play in person except for Miami, NC State and North Carolina. Georgia Tech has been the most impressive to me because of their defensive line, and the quick progress they made on offense. That said, other teams are improving quickly and catching up.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
Well I have to say I have just earned alot more respect from you. Being that I am an avid (to say the least) FSU fan I didn't even know that Jermaine Thomas was averaging 25 yards a carry. Good Job Ma'am. :-)
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Well, that was against Miami -- he only had two carries.
Wade (Kernersville, NC)
How can you explain Maryland beating Clemson and Cal but then losing to MTSU and getting shut out by a Virginia team that's looked awful.
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
You can't. Other than, that's Maryland. It's what they do.
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
Do you think Virginia Tech is a tad overrated in the polls? After Nebrask was handled this week, their win at Lincoln certainly doesn't look as impressive.
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
Yes, I do, a tad. They're a scrappy team, but they keep winning.
Todd (Raleigh, NC)
If NC State can get Michael Alan-Cash and Nate Irving back on defense after the bye week, is there any hope of a 6-6 record for the Pack? They do have an offense now!
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
Great point, they're missing two very important impact players on defense. Heck, even without them I wouldn't count NC State out at Maryland, at Duke ... but yes, getting those guys would help immensely.
Evan (Princeton, NJ)
Heather, in the first few weeks everyone was ready to flush the ACC down the BCS toilet and give their automatic bid to the Mountain West. With the success of NC, G. Tech, Va. Tech, and Wake, can we officially scrape ourselves up off the basement floor?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Yeah, I'd say so. No, the ACC is not the best conference in the BCS, but I don't know another league that is so competitive from 1-12.
Do you think Tom O'Brien will make a change at defensive coordinator midseason? Saturday was pathetic. We make bad offensive teams look good.
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Heck no. Mike Archer has done a great job there with what he's had to work with. It's not his fault the training room has a better defense right now.
Nick D (Big Apple)
I am beginning to think Rick Trickett was almost a bigger hire then Jimbo. That guy has done a amazing job and these guys are all so young. Thoughts on that?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Um, yeah, if there's an Offensive Line Coach of the Year award, I'm giving it to that guy.
Wes (Atlanta, GA)
Could Vandy march into the ACC and win in their sleep??
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
We'll see when they play Wake Forest in the season finale.
How about a real conference question? LSU at UF, who do you like?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
I like LSU. Funny how Tim Tebow isn't on many people's Heisman lists anymore. Jarrett Lee is playing with a lot of confidence right now.
Mike (Arlington, VA)
Heather - what's your take on how UNC's defense will do vs Notre Dame QB Jimmy on Saturday? Clausen has been on fire the last two games but against passing defenses that rank 93rd (Purdue) and 112th (Stanford). Where will you be on Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
I think UNC's secondary has proven it's one of the best in the league. Graham Watson will have that game covered for ESPN.com. My game is Wake on Thursday.
Kent (Cushing, Iowa)
It's a little early but who would you peg as the ACC coach of the year so far? Cutcliffe @ Duke, Johnson @ Ga. Tech or Davis @ UNC?
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
It's never too early, considering all the preseason picks, but had Duke beaten Georgia Tech, Cutcliffe would be at the top of the list. Right now I'd think Paul Johnson is the frontrunner, but Davis and Frank Beamer have made good cases, too.
What do you think will be the keys of the game Thursday night for each team (Clemson and Wake Forest) to win? Thanks!
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Any team that can make Clemson one-dimensional has a shot at beating them. Wake Forest is going to have to get its running game going more than it has in the past.
Andy (Blacksburg, VA)
With Kenny Lewis out for the season is it time for Darren Evans to be the feature back or do you see a similar split with Oglesby, or maybe even the burning of the redshirt of Ryan Williams?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
I'd be surprised if they burned Williams' redshirt halfway through the season, and I don't think they need to with how well Evans has been playing. I want to say Tyrod is their second leading rusher. One of the other guys, Oglesby or Pickle, is going to have to get more carries.
So does that mean you think Duke has no shot at Vandy?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
That's what that means, yes. That game is Oct. 25, and Duke's offense will have to improve drastically between now and then in order for that to happen.
Heather, how is 5-1 Michigan St. ranked ahead of 4-1 Cal when Cal beat them?? (In the AP, Cal doesn't even make the top-25, but Michigan St. does.)
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Two points on that: 1. I disagree with Cal being ranked because of the Maryland loss and 2. Michigan State played Cal very close in that game and looked good in the loss. Not a convincing win, but a great game.
Matt (Clemson, SC)
Do you think there is any in chance in...that tommy bowden will play willy korn in thursday nights game?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Not after the votes of confidence Bowden has been giving Harper.
David (Athens, GA)
Heather, why do you think GA Tech is not getting any respect in the polls?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Because nobody has seen them play?
Dave (Boston, MA)
I think Virginia Tech fans may want to stop looking ahead to Florida State and worry more about Boston College in 2 weeks at Alumni Stadium...the Hokies have lived dangerously all year...I think the luck stops here. Thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Great point. Steve Logan reiterated the fact that Chris Crane is a rookie, but man, did he improve at just the right time. The Eagles are just as much in this thing as anyone.
Matt (Clemson, SC)
Do you think Willy Korn should get a little playing time Thursday night?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
No. I think Clemson fans need to realize Cullen Harper is playing behind a patchwork offensive line. No, he doesn't look like the QB he did last year, but he still gives this team its best chance to win.
Brooks (Cleveland, OH)
What are your thoughts on both Pryor's efforts on Saturday and the suspension of the badger band??
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Wow, what a different team Ohio State is with Pryor and Wells. As for the Badger band ...I think Wisconsin fans should be more concerned about their two losses.
Nick N (Green Bay, WI)
Who do you think will win the Big Ten when its all said and done?
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
I never thought I'd say this, but Penn State.
Ron (Wytheville, Virginia)
How well do you think UVA will do after finally coming out of their youth against Marlyand? Any chance on a winning season?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Virginia definitely deserves credit for not folding when it had every reason to, but fans shouldn't automatically think everything is perfect in Charlottesville. They've still got UNC, Georgia Tech, road trips to Wake Forest and Va Tech ... I'd be surprised if they come out on the winning end, but then again, this league is so unpredictable this year.
Is Ball State for real?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Dave (Virginia Beach)
To respond to my Dave friend in Boston. I have to give the nod to VT's coaching staff for coming up with a gameplan to stop the all of a sudden surging BC Offense. BC's Defense will be tough and I think it will be a close game that VT pulls out in the end and wins by 3-7 points. VT has notoriously done well coming off a bye week in recent years. Your thoughts HD?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
I say this is a slow week in the ACC if we're already talking about that game ...
How would u rate the way Randy Shannon has the Hurricanes playing. They look to be one of the worst teams in the ACC to me.
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
I'd hold off on that quick criticism ... I think Miami is going through growing pains this season. I see a lot of talent on the roster. Guys like Sean Spence, Aldarius Johnson ... they're impact players already, not to mention Robert Marve. They need some time to mature and Shannon needs some time to develop the talent he recruited.
Greg( LittleRock, AR)
How do you feel about BAMA's chances of making it throught he SEC without any loses?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
We're talking about the team that just beat Kentucky by three points, right?
Does Florida State have a chance to be back in the Orange Bowl again this year?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
Yes, but their loss to Wake Forest doesn't make it easy. They're going to need some help to get there.
Brandon Athens, GA
Do you think the BAMA game was a wake up call for the Dawgs and do you see them finishing in the top 2 at the end of the year?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Kind of, but I think it was probably more of a hangover game from the Georgia game. As for the top 2 at the end of the season ... such a tough call with LSU, Oklahoma and Missouri hanging around there ...
Adam, Valdosta, GA
How can you mention impact players from Miami without mentioning that Benjamin kid? Without him, Miami would've faced an ugly ugly loss against the Noles. Didn't he hold over 200 of their 250 yards in that game...and he's only a freshmen. As a Nole...I don't look forward to seeing him in the future.
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
Well I couldn't list all of them, but yes, Benjamin was crazy good against FSU.
If you had to rank the top 25, where would Georgia Tech be? You've actually seen us play!
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
I have, and they're teetering on my top 25 list for the ESPN.com power rankings. I almost put them in this week, but Northwestern is undefeated and Pitt is 2-0 in the Big East and just beat South Florida. I think they'll get there before it's over.
Ty (San Marcos)
Who makes up your top 10 teams?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
Oklahoma Missouri Alabama LSU Texas Penn State USC Texas Tech BYU Florida
Chris, Garland, TX
Why isn't Oklahoms State getting any respect, despite having a top 5 offense and a 5-0 record?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
I'd say a top 20 ranking is respectable, no?
why afraid to talk about the ND UNC game?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
Everett Withers just called and I couldn't talk to him because of the chat. After I talk to a few coaches and players, I'll get a better vibe on that game. It's Monday, guys.
Jon (Raleigh, NC)
Do you see Virginia Tech holding on to make it into the ACC Championship game, and if not then who do you see getting in and why. Who do you see VT losing to to get knocked out.
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
The Hokies game at Florida State might be their toughest game left on the schedule. Yes, I can see them making it to the title game because their 2-0 league record is going to make it tough for Georgia Tech and North Carolina to knock them out.
Scott (Greenville, SC)
Do you think Michael Johnson at GT is the best defensive end in the country? Where will he go in the draft?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
No, George Selvie might have something to say about that, and Morgan, who's not even a senior, might have the most successful NFL career of the bunch. He's better at stopping the run, while Johnson's strength is the pass. What scouts like about Johnson is his NFL prototype.
Ethan (Reading, PA)
Do you see Florida State and Miami will get back to being the powerhouses of the ACC in the not-so-distant future?
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
Wow, Reading, PA? I used to work at the Eagle. Anyway, yes, considering both programs played more than 20 true freshmen in their season openers, I'd say their on their way to rebuilding, but I don't think they're ever going to dominate like they used to. Who does anymore?
Matt (Washington, DC)
ND's only loss this season was an away game at MSU. Does the fact the Fighting Irish are away this weekend have any impact on the game? Can a Kenan crowd rival those of the perennial Big Ten colossals the Irish typically play in? (it's a 3 o'clock game as well, so the lights won't play a factor).
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
No, a Kenan crowd can't rival a Big Ten crowd. I've been to every ACC stadium and every Big Ten stadium. Notre Dame should be worried about UNC's defense, not the venue.
Ryan, New York
Correction, do you think FSU will GET BACK to the top of the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
How does ball state crack the top 25 and GT doesn't?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright guys, my time is up. Stick around for SEC talk ...