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 ... here to talk football. I'll do my best to help y'all sort through the crazy ACC. Let's go.
Let's give Duke some love for that great W at Vandy this weekend...is it possible they could sneak into a bowl? Did I just use Duke and bowl i the same sentence?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Yes, it actually is possible, and I think they've got a decent chance at beating Wake this weekend.
How do you see Florida State doing this weekend? And also what is your prediction for the rest of there season?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
I think it should be a great game, and they're going to get the Jackets' best after that loss to Virginia. Haven't gotten an injury update from the Noles yet, though, and that will be key. As for prediction for the rest of the season? Seriously, your guess is as good as mine.
Ben (Philadelphia, PA)
Heather. Was Penn States win on Saturday enough to convince pollsters down the stretch that they are a good team? They were looking for a signature win and I feel they got one. But with only Iowa, Indiana and MSU remaining their schedule is a lot easier than other teams even behind them. Do you think if they win out and Texas or Alabama lose a game they make the championship game, or is it possible another team jumps over them?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
Penn State's win definitely made a statement, that they can win with their defense. Something I'm not entirely convinced Texas can do.
Matt (Atlanta, GA)
As GT improves(hopefully) over the seasons with Johnson's offense, do you think the scores will remain close as they have been this season(MSU and Duke aside)? What do you give their chances in a few years of being nationally competitive?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
In order for that offense to improve, the staff needs to recruit smaller, faster offensive linemen conducive to it. As for the scores remaining close ... that depends on what the other teams look like. They should eventually be a consistent contender for the ACC title and go to better bowls than they have in the past, but I'm not so sure about taking the national stage just yet.
Bill (Charlottesville, VA)
The ACC has been great to watch this year. Every week there is excitement. While I think that FSU will ultimately win the conference, do you see the Cavs making it to the ACC title game?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
I am convinced Virginia is capable of doing it, I'm just not convinced there aren't about nine other teams out there capable of the same thing.
Where was the GT defense Saturday afternoon, because they weren't at Bobby Dodd?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
I think you have to give some credit to Virginia on that one. Paul Johnson said it was the best offensive line they've faced this season. And all is well on the homefront, thank you for asking.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
Does the parity in our league show our toughness or that we are merely a weak conference with a bunch of mediocre teams?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Well, two things. One, the ACC isn't as good as the SEC or the Big 12 right now, obviously, but I don't think it's a weak conference, either. The Big East is struggling more, the Big 10 is top-heavy, and the ACC has more teams with winning records than any other conference. I'd say it's pretty competitive and will get better.
Why is BC so awful? Is it Crane?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
First of all, I think "awful" is a bit of a stretch for a team that has just two losses. Chris Crane has played well enough to win some games, but Jeff Jagodzinski will be quick to tell you it's not all him making the mistakes. That said, the turnovers are killers.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Heather, obviously the ACC is having a down year, which team(s) do you see being more improved next season?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
I really think Florida State and Miami are going to be tough next season with all of those young players.
Doesnt Virgina doing well hurt the Acc considering they were dominated by USC at home
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
Heck no. If there's one team that's acceptable to lose to, it's USC.
Why do people continue to doubt the Longhorns, when my team proves every week they belong. What else do they have to do???
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Win this weekend.
Brent (Charleston, SC)
2 questions. 1) Who do you place in the ACC title game? 2) What do you think of Al Groh's status for next year?
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
1. Right now, Florida State and UVA. The only thing certain in the league TODAY is that if they win out, they win. 2. I think he saved his job.
Who do you think are the 3 best teams in the ACC right now? FSU, UNC and possibly Virginia of all teams?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
I think Florida State, Virginia and Maryland are looking the best right now. UNC looked great against BC, though.
Jeffrey from WISE, VA
Assuming you watched the VT v FSU game Saturday what is the likelihood of either Taylor or Glennon returning from the ankle injuries? Assuming they are gone for the year, how do you predict VT will finish out the season?
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
I did, actually (thank God for ESPN360). Just talked to VT trainer Mike Goforth earlier and they're both in a boot for the rest of the week, maybe til Saturday. I don't think they'll be gone for the year, but never count out that coaching staff.
Joe (Blacksburg, Va)
Heather, What is going on with Virginia Tech's defense consistently giving up big plays and what did you think of Cory Holt on Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
Speaking of VT quarterbacks ... I think Cory played extremely well considering the circumstances. Frank was happy with him. As for the Hokies' defense, I'll look into that one.
Heather, Maryland got shut out against UVA, UNC only lost in OT, and UNC blew out BC, while Maryland barely beat NC State. Want to rethink your MD pick?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
No, I really don't. The Terps have beaten three ranked teams this season, don't have a loss to an Atlantic Division opponent, and have the leading rusher in the ACC. Also, the UVa loss no longer looks too bad.
Who is the ACC coach of the year up to this point? 'Ol Bobby?
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Ha ... no, but maybe Rick Trickett. I'd say you have to give serious consideration to Al Groh and David Cutcliffe. We'll see how it plays out, but there are a lot of good choices.
Michael (Evansville, IN)
What odds do you put on either Florida St. or Ga. Tech winning their big intra-state match-ups against their SEC rivals (UF & GA)?
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
I think the odds are against them. Florida played so well this past weekend, and Georgia is right there. FSU and GT have to worry about winning their respective divisions before they can match national title contenders.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Heather, who is your top 3 Heisman front runners?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Graham Harrell.
Bill Bush (Enoree,SC)
Do you think that Willingham will finally be out at UW , now that it has finaaly been proved that he is a fraud as a coach?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Yes, but I don't think he's a fraud.
Which ACC team would you most enjoy watching right now? Florida State is looking great right now.
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Well, that's who I'm going to see this weekend.
Joe (Blacksburg, Va)
With the way Cameron Sexton is playing for UNC, will Yates regain control of the offense as soon as he is healthy?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
That is a question I've been asking myself. I think a lot of it depends on when he's ready, and how rusty he looks when he's cleared, but Yates was the starter for a reason, and I think he'll get his job back.
Brad (Charlottesville, VA)
I haven't had a chance to see Miami play this season. I keep hearing about their youth gaining experience, and all that 'Florida talent.' What will be the keys of the game (for both teams), and do you think UVA is up to the task to continue it's 4-game winning streak?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
I do think UVA can win that game, especially at home, but they're going to have to look out for Travis Benjamin, who can give them great field position, and Miami has to find a way to stop Cedric Peerman. Virginia's offensive line has gotten much better in past weeks. Getting past those guys will be key.
Pavlo (Saratoga Springs)
Heather, BC got beat, plain and simple, but count on JAGS & Co. getting this team back on track. We have Clemson & ND home, and this team will not be overlooking either team. With that said, if this team beats both Clemson & ND and CRANE starts learning from his mistakes, I like our chances against FSU. What do you think????
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
I think that we're 10 weeks into the season, and Crane has had a fair amount of time to learn from those mistakes.
Do you really think Texas Tech has a chance of pulling off an upset? I mean their offense puts up numbers, but it doesn't mean anything unless they can make stops against Colt and high powered Texas offense.
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Yes, I really do, and is there an offense in the Big 12 that's NOT high-powered?
out of all the top teams texas has played this year is texas tech the toughest test for the longhorns?
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Oklahoma State is a very, very good football team. So is Oklahoma.
What do you think of the Greg Robinson situation? I think this just warns teams against being spoiled and makes you look at what a great job Paul Pasqualoni did.
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
I think in this day and age, you have to win, even at Syracuse. He had his chance.
Before the year you didn't mention FSU much... With the way their offense has been playing you like their chances of possibly getting back to a top 20 team every year?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Actually, I think every time I mentione FSU in the preseason, I said they'd be a second half team because of how young they are. They grew up quicker than I thought. I do like their chances of being a consistent top 20 team in the near future, yes.
will butch davis win an acc championship within the next 5 yrs?
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
Sorry for the delay, trying to get Cedric Peerman on the phone today ... yes, I think he will, and don't count the Tar Heels out this year yet.
who has been the most valuable newcomer in the acc
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
Man, tough question. On the spot I'd have to say Travis Benjamin at Miami.
Robert (Atlanta GA)
I love how BC and FSU fans have already counted their Clemson games as wins. I think it will be a little harder than that.
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
Haha great point, Robert. I think you're right.
Scott (Albany NY)
Speaking of Butch Davis, do you think the rivalry between Miami and UNC will surpass the rivalry between Miami and FSU given how Davis left Miami?
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
I'm sure there will be some comments from readers to follow mine, but no, I don't think it will.
Steve (Albany, NY)
Who has the best offense in the ACC? Best Defense?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
Florida State I think has the best offense right now, and probably has the best defense, too.
Tommy Dame (palatka)
Do you think that Tim Tebow still has a chance to win the heisman even though his stats are not what they were last year?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
Personally, I don't think he will, but it depends on which voters you ask. Some will tell you he's been just as valuable if not more to his team this season. I just think the Big 12 quarterbacks will overshadow him.
Non-ACC question -- how surprised are you at the resurgence of Penn State football?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
Considering they were 3-9 and 4-7 when I covered them? Very. Especially considering how tough it is to sell to recruits when they don't know who their head coach might be.
Jeff (Destin, FL)
with FSU's kicking game finally consistent, is it the year we finally win the Orange bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
Graham Gano has made a heckuva comeback from his injury. Before you start talking about winning the OB, though, you gotta there, first. Not gonna be easy.
Steve: (North Dakota)
Penn State is going to end up beating 1 ranked team all year. This is the new way to do it. Schedule the easiest nonconference schedule as possible, win 1 or 2 tough games in the Big Ten and you are in the NC!! i don't like it.
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
It's very possible, and you're right. It's also why the Big 10 will probably never have the conference championship game like the ACC. Somebody's gotta lose that game.
which one-loss team has the best shot at a national title game?
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
According to our SEC guru Chris Low, Florida and Georgia.
Joe (Blacksburg, Va)
Has Sam Swank not being healthy, been one of the reasons why WF has struggled recently? I think if he had been able to play they win those games and are in the drivers seat of the Atlantic.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
I'm not sure I've ever seen a team miss its kicker as much as Wake Forest has.
Heather, what do u think about the Canes still switching between two quarterbacks....i wish theyd just make their decision on one
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
Eventually, I think it will catch up to them. As long as the Canes keep winning, though, I guess it's working.
Paul (Louisville KY)
If Penn State and Alabama lose could there be a rematch between Texas and Oklahoma in the title game
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
After what happened last year, nothing in the BCS Standings would surprise me.
Do you think Jaybo Shaw might get a chance on Saturday vs the Noles?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Josh Nesbitt is their guy, but Paul Johnson will do what he needs to do to win. They're both capable.
John (Watertown, NY)
At what point should Shannon just go ahead and pick a consistant starting QB. I think that has been one of the big problems with Miami this year. One gets into a groove and then doesn't get the start the next week and vice versa. I understand wanting to get them experienced, but wouldn't it help their cause to stick with one guy and maybe utilize the other in some trick formations (i.e. Troy Smith and Flacco in the NFL)?
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
I couldn't believe that Jacory didn't get the starting nod after what he did in the Duke game, but Shannon has a point in getting them both experience. But yes, you would think the more consistency the better.
Joshua (Knoxville, TN)
when Fulmer inevitably loses his reign as head coach who is the front-runner for the Head coaching job, it seems like we will have to go outside the Tennessee Football family for this one.
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
I wouldn't be surprised if David Cutcliffe at Duke was contacted for it. He's got Tennessee ties. And if you can win at Duke, you can win anywhere.
Donald (Cincinnati, OH)
I don't think FSU has an offense that's even close to best in the league. Their problem in close games the past few years is that their offense would lose the game for them. They've essentially eliminated turnovers and critical mistakes and done enough to not lose games. With that said, FSU's defense in unbelievable and Everette Brown is ready for the NFL. Who is the biggest threat in the ACC to FSU's season?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
I'd say Maryland, because they're in the same division.
Matt (Clemson, SC)
I know that an ACC championship is out of reach for Clemson. It's really such a shame. Still, I love my Tigers through thick and thin. But is there any chance UMD could take the ACC with their inconsistencies? I would like to see the Terps win since I'm a MD native.
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
Maryland seemed this past weekend to finally play like something was at stake. They've got Florida State at home. And if GT wins this weekend, the Terps are in first place. So yes, they've got a very good shot at it.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
When do the injury reports come out?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Thursdays. Some come in late, so I string them together on Friday mornings.
Kenneth (Orlando, Fl)
On a non-injury plagued day, who do you take, Gano or Swank?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Ooh. Swank. He's one of the best in the nation, and you see how valuable he is when he's not there.
Who is top QB in the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
NOT an easy question. If Riley Skinner had a better supporting cast, it would probably be him. I really like Russell Wilson at NC State, and Chris Turner is a gamer.
When realistically do you see NC State and TOB competing for division/ACC championships? The injuries this year have been such a killer and with Glennon waiting in the wings it could be only like 2 years away, right?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
Yeah, they'd be just as much in the mix this season if it weren't for injuries. Next year is TOB's third season. They should be in contention.
Kevin, Lake Tahoe
Even if Swinney wins out the rest of the season, do you really see him getting the HC job? By the way...GO NOLES BABY!
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
The way their AD is talking, it seems very possible, but I'm not sure I'm buying it. And I don't see thenm winning out, either.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright guys, back to bloggin'. Thanks for joining the chat. Same time next week.
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