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, I'm here, but my brain isn't. Still spinning from figuring out the Coastal Division. Let's get started.
CiscoViolator (Raleigh, NC)
Heather, what do you think are NC State's chances against UNC this weekend? Also, with MD's adjustments on defense, do you think that's enough of an improvement to be able to win on the road in Chestnut Hill and subsequently, in Tampa?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
I think the Pack stands a good chance, especially if UNC plays the way it did against Maryland -- poorly. Maryland's defensive line definitely got bigger and better, but intangibles will play a factor in Chestnut Hill if it's a playoff game for Tampa.
CFzax (Asheville, NC)
Now that the majority of the season is behind us, can you now state the ACC is better than the sportswriters (ESPN) originally condemned us as being? If anything, one of the most interesting conference races in the nation.
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Don't push it ... It IS the most interesting conference out there, but definitely not the best. I think the SEC was a little overrated this year, though.
Hey Heather, I read your blogs every day, it has become a tradition almost. I read your blog on how each team could win the Atlantic. Which team do you see winning? I personally see the ACC impossible to predict, but I want to hear your opnion.
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Thanks, Adam. I'd like to say I'm done making predicitions with this league but ... I think Maryland has the best shot in the Atlantic. I'll make another prediction on the blog later today. Need to think more about the Coastal, although it's Miami's to lose.
John (Watertown, NY)
Is Nesbitt going to play Sat. for Tech? It would make it much easier for Miami to win w/o him playing!
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Let's see if he practices today first. I think he'll wind up playing, though.
Heather if you could please continue to pick against my BC Eagles for the rest of the year I'd much appreciate it.
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
I don't know, man, they were pretty convincing in Tallahassee. I don't think I can do it again.
Gatorfan (Gainesville, FL)
Do you think the Gators still have a chance to go to the National Championship if they lose at Florida State and then beat Alabama?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
First of all, did you see what Florida did this weekend to South Carolina? And did you see what FSU didn't do to BC? I don't think it's even a question.
Blake (Greensboro, NC)
Heather, what are the chances Russel Wilson is ROY?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
It's going to be tough, especially with so many young playmakers in the league - half of which are on Miami's roster. But no doubt he is a legit candidate.
Who is your chosen favorite to win the Heisman this year?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
Right now it's Graham Harrell, but we'll see. Too many good Big 12 QBs, and you have to have Crabtree on the list, too.
Had BC not lost Alex Albright and Brian Toal to injuries, do you think that BC's chances to win the ACC would have increased? They seem to have been playing as well or better over the last few games without their star players.
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
No ... I've talked to Spaziani about those losses, and he said they've got tough guys who love the game and want to play lined up behind them. Clearly they can win without those guys, although they are very good players.
Hey Heather...Just for kicks would the Pack had been in the running for the title if they had stayed healthy all year...And how about Mr. Wilson?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
I really think they would have. With Nate Irving, Alan-Michael Cash on defense, and numous veteran playmakers on offense ... totally different team. And Mr. Wilson is going to win games for that team.
HD What can Terp fans expect from Ponder.
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
They'll win if he plays the way he did last week. Not to knock him -- even he admitted it wasn't a good performance -- but when he's on, he's on. When he's off, he's off.
IS there any scenario that still gets FSU to the ACC title game?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
Yes ... First they have to beat Maryland. But they also need BC to beat Wake Forest and Maryland to beat Boston College.
HD, Tyrod Taylor or Sean Glennon his weekend vs. Duke?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
I would guess ... and this really is just a guess ... that it would be Tyrod. He took over the game against Miami.
Caneiac (Washington DC)
Heather, NC State beat in state rival Wake; why is everyone acting like they are the greatest team in the country now?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
I just think people are starting to realize the Pack isn't as bad as its record indicates when everyone is healthy.
HD, you think Uva has a legit shot against Tech in Blacksburg?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Slim, very slim.
Doug (Seattle, WA)
Do you see any other coaches getting fired in the ACC this offseason?
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
Nope ... Al Groh's job is safe, and everyone else is getting the job done.
Had Chris Crane played like he did on Saturday night for the whole season for BC would they have the Atlantic Division already won?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Hmm .. he's calling me today, I'll ask him. :) Well, as Jagz told me yesterday, it's more than just Crane. Don't forget about the job Montel Harris did. The line is blocking and protecting, and somebody has to catch the ball. But yes, they might be a little closer.
Zack (Greenville, SC)
Does Clemson have any shot to pull off another strange win on the road similar to the BC game at UVA this weekend?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Absolutely. Clemson is starting to get what it needs out of its playmakers. Aaron Kelly, C.J. Spiller ... those guys will be tough for UVa to stop.
Justin (Corpus Christi, TX)
Can you explain to me how Florida got a 1st place vote with two unbeaten teams infront of them. Let's be honest, Florida is overrated. They have no big wins and lost to Ole Miss at home. Can't see how they should be ahead of UT or OU in any poll.
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Are you serious? You can't be ...
Heather, will Butch Davis jump to a bigger program after his initial success at UNC.
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
He has said repeatedly that he is happy at UNC, but he also said he wasn't leaving Miami. I think he's sticking around Chapel Hill for awhile, but wouldn't rule out the possibility of leaving after he gets the program where he wants it.
Heather, Where do you see UVA's chances for the year? You seem pretty down on them despite the fact that they are in the same boat as most other teams in the ACC.
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
Well, yeah, I guess I am skeptical of their chances at even a bowl because I think Clemson has a very good chance of winning that game, and as everyone knows winning in Lane isn't easy, especially in this rivalry.
If BC and MD both win next weekend...who do you like at Chestnut Hill in the one-game-playoff to go to Tampa (hint: here's a chance to pick against BC early!!)?
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Predictions are always on Thursdays, guys, but I will say that it will be very tough for Maryland to win at BC if the trip to the title game is on the line.
Jason (Clemson, SC)
Heather, Do you see Clemson pulling off the improbable and beating UVA and USC in the next two weeks and making a bowl? As well as do you think Dabo will keep the job if they don't? Thanks.
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Considering what Florida just did to South Carolina, it's a winnable game. I don't think Swinney will get the job, only because Clemson can afford to bring in somebody with more experience. Bowl predictions are coming later today ...
Josh Long Island New York
Im a crazy Seminoles fan, and my cousin is a crazy Miami fan, do you think there is anyway those two programs can meet up in the ACC championship game?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Absolutely, and I'd love to watch it.
RJ (Long Island, NY)
Why do you think Wake Forest has been so inconsistent this year? They beat Ole Miss, but then lose to Navy and NC State - teams they should clearly have beaten...
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Because their offense has been inconsistent.
Bobby Bowden (Tallahassee, FL)
Do you think the suspensions cost me the game?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Ha ... no, I think BC's defense did.
Chris (Hopedale, MA)
Heather, sad news for NC State fans expecting a title...it won't happen with Dana Bible as the OC. I've seen this movie first hand at BC and it doesn't end well for the home team. Steve Logan as his replacement is to coin a phrase, "change we need(ed)".
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
If you guys could only see the number of questions in here about offensive coordinators ...
When will Coach Shannon settle his 2 qb system? Were is the love for the U? Did you enjoy your Mojito while in MIami last Thursday night?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
I changed my mind on the situation at Miami ... Randy proved me wrong last Thursday night. I'm impressed with Marve.
Patrick (Mobile, AL)
HD, the Orange bowl sounds like a snorefest this year with Cinci and the ACC "Champion"...(3 losses and still get it....WOW)...what do you think?
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
I'm not sure where everyone is getting the Big East champ in there ast a definite. Virginia Tech lost to Kansas last year, remember? It's ACC vs. BCS. Cinci is a good possibility, but nothing is definite. Whoever they play, yeah, three losses is never good.
Heather, will you grace us with your presence for the white out on Thursday night?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
I'll be in Atlanta on Thursday and College Park on Saturday.
Lou (Bethesda, MD)
Heather: for old times sake, a PSU question... How do you think the Lions would stack up against Southern Cal (assuming PSU wins and Oregon State loses one)?
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Not very well at all. Heck, they're not going to have an easy day against Michigan State.
Casey (Blacksburg, VA)
Heather, what are the chances that Bud Foster leaves the Hokies after 22 years and goes to Clemson?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
I think they're pretty slim, but that's just my guess. There are enough other candidates about there (like Bobby Johnson) who have head coaching experience.
John (Watertown, NY)
How should Miami gameplan to ensure they hold off GT this week?
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
Watch the UNC game film over and over. Also, throw the ball away from Morgan Burnett.
Other than 1 flukey play on Saturday (a tipped ball) the MD defense kept UNC out of the end zone. Can we expect to see that MD defense for the next 2 games? Or was Saturday more about UNC's ineptitude?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
I think it was a combination. And asking for back to back strong performances from Maryland (you know, consistency) is asking a lot. Cam Sexton didn't have a good day.
Adam (Coral Gables, FL)
As it's going now, does it look like Miami is going to be the dominant team in the Coastal for the next few years? It's hard to find any team in the nation, let alone the conference, with as much young talent as we do.
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
I think it's going to be hard for anyone to "dominate" the Coastal. Just look at this season. Once Paul Johnson gets his own players in there, they'll be even better. And Butch Davis is going to keep winning. No doubt Miami is going to be good. Very good.
Mike (Clemson, SC)
Would you vote for Dabo for ACC coach of the year? "All in" really got a hold of the Tiger faithful.
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I don't think so, only because they might not even go to a bowl game, and because there are too many other coaches in the league who did more.
When can UNC fans expect to see TJ Yates again?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
I think it's only a matter of time. He's ready, but as long as Cam is winning, that will be Butch's guy. Then again, he just lost. Maybe sooner than later?
Mike (Fairfax, Virginia)
Heather, with the parity in the ACC this year, it seems some teams are rising and some of the old guard are dropping off a bit. Any predictions for next year breakouts or will parity remain for both divisions?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
If anyone SHOULD break out in each conference, it's Florida State and Miami. Why? Because they can get the athletes.
Note to the rest of the ACC....enjoy this while you can this year, because Va Tech will be back next year. Chaulk this up as a rebuilding year...but next year is a different story.
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Laura makes a very good point.
Do you feel Bobby Bowden deserves to go out on his own terms, or do you feel that he is hurting our team right now by takin authority away from Jimbo?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
First of all, he's not taking authority away from Jimbo. Second, yes, he does, as long as the team isn't 3-9.
How does Miami's stout run defense hold up against tech's triple option attack? Who do you think has the advantage there?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
I was very impressed with Miami's defensive line last week against the Hokies. Jonathan Dwyer is going to get his yards, period. The key will be forcing GT to fumble, and not allowing them big plays.
Do you think coaches like Jim Grobe and Bobby Johnson are better suited for winning at schools with higher academic standards? I ask because those at Clemson who might want either of those to come to Clemson should realize that Tommy Bowden, like the two of them, took an academic school (Tulane) to unusual success.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
I think if you can win at at "academic school," you can win anywhere.
Sandeep (Atlanta, GA)
Heather, which of the following is more likely to happen?: UNC basketball making it to the final four, or UNC football winning the ACC title?
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Wake Fan in W-S
Heather, The next time you ask Coach Grobe a question, will you ask him if it was a mistake to go with smaller offensive linemen this year?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
Last I checked, Grobe didn't exactly have many to choose from. He had a veteran line but because of injuries and one suspension, it's completely different than what they had anticipated.
dan (Baltimore, MD)
Do you think Byrd Stadium will be rockin' on Saturday for FSU? Ralph Friedgen has said in press conferences that the fans haven't really been filling the stadiums. Everyone keeps asking which Maryland team will show up. But, which crowd do you think will show up?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
I'm not sure I've ever really seen Byrd Stadium, as you say, rockin'. When I was their last week, much of the upper deck across from the press box was empty. I think it will be the same.
Kim (Atlanta, GA)
Heather, if you dismiss the Noles against the Gators at Doak, you do so at your own peril. UF went 20 years without winning there, Spurrier never won there, and the 2006 National Champs squeaked out with a 7 pt win against a 6 loss squad.
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Thanks for the warning, Kim, but Florida is just a better team. Plain and simple. And it starts with their Heisman Trophy QB.
Mac (Anbar, Iraq)
I have been unable to watch Miami play this fall. I am hesitant to say they will be a dominant team after all I read about Nix's offense. Is it a youth and new system thing, or is all I read correct?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
Well, Randy Shannon has told me that Nix isn't limited in his playcalling by the youth on the roster.
Eric Blacksburg, VA
Heather, what do you think is the biggest thing holding back the Hokies? Personally I think the o-line needs to step it up. Yes the receivers are dropping balls and other people aren't making plays, but its hard for the QBs to get off passes or Evans to get a nice run if the line is inconsistent. Just look at they're difference in play between the MD and Miami games.
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
It all starts up front, and there is no question the o-line was a HUGE factor in Darren Evans' career day vs. Maryland. But it's not just one thing ...
Robert Johnson Memphis
Me and a buddy argue everyday, he believes that the ACC is the deepest confrence in the NCAA I tell him he is crazy what is your thought?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
Deepest? I might have to agree with that, but not if you're talking about having 10 Top 25 teams. I definitely agree with it if that means competitive. Best conference? No.
Eric (Across the ACC)
Didn't want to give you a location to bias your usually unbiased opinions....where is your favorite venue to watch ACC football?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Ha .. well, I love watching games in Death Valley. The crowd and atmosphere is great. Same at Lane, and I like Doak, too. As for the functionality of being a reporter? Wake's new press box is very, very nice.
Jacory Harris (Miami, FL)
Do you think one QB at UM will transfer at the end of the season even if the do the have to sit out a year and there is still going to be another QB at whatever school they go to.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Randy Shannon doesn't think you'll transfer.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Alright my time is up. Thanks guys.
SportsNation on Facebook
THIS WEEK'S CHATS
- 11:00 AMFantasy's Eric Karabell
- 11:00 AMBig 12 Coaches Chat
- 12:00 PMCowboys with Todd Archer
- 1:00 PMCubs with Jesse Rogers
- 1:00 PMMLB Insider Keith Law
- 2:00 PMNASCAR's Brad Keselowski
- 2:00 PM49ers with Bill Williamson
- 3:00 PMGolf columnist Bob Harig
- 3:00 PMBoxing with Brian Campbell
- 5:00 PMWeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz