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 (12:01 PM)
Hey everyone, I'm here, let's get started.
Mike Crook (Rapid City, SD)
What do you predict the outcome record will be for the 10 ACC teams going to a bowl? Do you see a perfect 10-0? Or atleast a better record/winning-percentage than the other BCS conferences?
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
We're doing our bowl predictions later, so I haven't gone through and picked the games yet, but I think the ACC has a good chance to improve upon last year's two-win bowl season. Some teams, like Nevada, will give the ACC tougher tests than some might expect.
Eric (Fairfax Virginia)
Hey, What do you think of Maryland going forward? They really dissapointed at the end of the season with the humiliating senior night loss against FSU and the loss to BC. Their season has been filled with ups and downs, but how do you see the Terps faring in their bowl game and beyond?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Speaking of Maryland and Nevada ... I think with Maryland, as Ralph would say, "it is what it is." The Terps are going to struggle against Nevada's offense, and they're probably always going to be an up and down team.
What happened to Duke this year? They started off the year strong than dropped to 4-8. They Beat Virginia and Vanderbilt. Any thoughts?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Duke lost a lot of close games, and the Blue Devils were a team everyone in the ACC took seriously this season. Look at the game at Virginia Tech. David Cutcliffe will have that program back in a bowl game sooner than expected.
Who wins the Rose Bowl? USC or Penn State?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
USC, but it should be a good game.
Hi Heather, What did you think of Miami (FL)this year after their horrible year last year?
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I thought Miami exceeded expectations, considering how young the Canes were, and they took a big step in the right direction. It's going to be a tough bowl game to win, though, considering it's basically a true road game.
So, with all the upand coming programs in the ACC, how do you see next season panning out. It seems like every program in the league is making serious improvements, except maybe UVA and Maryland. Will someone bubble to the top next season, or will the ACC be parity driven in 2009 again? I don't mind parity as long as the ACC continues its strong OOC showing.
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
I see the parity continuing for a while. Look at how young the conference was this year. NC State is going to be much more competitive in the Atlantic next year, and every team in the Coastal is getting better.
Eric (Silver Spring Maryland)
How do you like Va Tech's chances of winning the Orange Bowl? The ACC has only won 1 BCS bowl game, and needs to gain respect after what could be called a mediocore season.
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
I can tell you that Frank Beamer is taking this game extremely seriously. He knows he can't lose this game twice in two years, so I'd say the Hokies have a good chance.
kresGT (Atlanta, GA)
ACC teams don't seem to get up for bowl games, does a poor bowl showing prove the ACC was more mediocre than strong this year?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Not necessarily ... the bowl season is strange and hard to predict because you can never tell who is going to show up. Will BC be excited to play Vandy when it could have been in the Orange Bowl? I don't know.
When both of their college careers are over, who do you think will have had a better career. Sean Glennon or his younger brother, Mike Glennon?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
That's a great question, and I think first we need to see what TOB does with Glennon and Russell Wilson next year. I know he's high on Glennon, but this is Wilson's team now. In order for Mike to surpass his brother, he's gotta win an ACC title.
Andrew (Daytona Bch, Fl)
Will FSU's Mickey Andrew's retire after the bowl game?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
I think Mickey will go out with Bobby Bowden, but that's just my guess.
Mike Crook (Rapid City, SD)
Thoughts on FSU for 2009? With such a young O-Line and being able to have the best ground attack we've seen in far too long, do you think the Noles will break the 10-win barrier next season?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
FSU is going to be one of the better teams next year, as long as Ponder continues to progress in his passing game. You're absolutely right about the o-line. They've got plenty of playmakers who will be sticking around.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Heather, I know you're not the SEC blogger, but was Auburn's pick of AGene Chizik for their new coach, one of the strangest selections you've seen in awhile?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
Ha ... yeah, it did kind of surprise me, but so did their entire coaching search. Was there anyone Auburn DIDN'T interview?
still taking Swank over Groza winning Gano?
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
Graham definitely deserved that award, but had Sam Swank been healthy, not only would he have been considered, but Wake's season might have been different. That just shows how valuable he is, too. But congrats to Gano. Remarkable comeback.
Please tell me that Groh will be gone if Virginia has another losing season next year!
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Well, the fact that his contract wasn't extended for another year isn't exactly a vote of confidence. I'd say he's under some pressure to win.
CJ (Melbourne FL)
How much do you think VK resignation from Clemson hurt their defense going into the Gator?
Heather Dinich (12:17 PM)
Funny you ask, I'm getting a few of their players on the phone today to find out. But Maryland is going through the same situation and their players told me it's a tough thing to handle before a bowl game. And Nebraska's offense is good.
Nicholas (Christiansburg, VA)
Hey HD, I know I asked you this last week AND sent it to your mailbag but, any news with Foster becoming the "head-coach-in-waiting"?? I heard a rumor that said Beamer wasn't agreeing to it and that he wanted Stiney to become the HCIW. Any truth to that?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Two things: 1. I seriously doubt that part about Stiney, and 2. I asked Bud after the ACCCG if he had heard anything on it and he said no. I need to get their AD on the phone to check.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Off topic...where did you go to college? You look pretty young. Sorry, I'm sure you get that a lot.
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Indiana, and I'm 29, and I get carded everywhere. Thanks for reminding me.
Joe (Blacksburg, Va)
Heather, Auburn didn't invite Bud Foster, thankfully, how long do you see him staying with VT?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
Until he's offered a head coaching job elsewhere or VT makes it clear he's their guy.
Cyrus (Atlanta, GA)
Any word on Paul Johnson's new contract? Yellow Jacket Nation wants him around for a long time.
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
I think they're getting back into negotiations this week. I know they met last week.
Ryan, Blacksburg VA
Heather how could you still have Ga Tech over VT in the power rankings? VT beat GT and won the ACC title... sure GT played well down the strech, but VT won when they had to and put on a great showing in the ACCCG... credit is due
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Because I've seen both of them play several times in person and Georgia Tech is the better team. I know VT beat them head to head, but it was by three points.
Joe (Blacksburg, Va)
Do you see Georgia Tech taking a step back next year? The cat is out of the bag so to speak offensively. Plus they are losing most of that defensive line.
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
I talked to Paul last week, and he is busy recruiting. He said he's got a ton of guys waiting in the wings, and he's not too worried about putting that d-line back together. For more on that conversation, check the blog later this week.
Timmy (Montgomery, Alabama
I came on your chat from my honeymoon in Mexico. I wanted to know what you think of Clemsons chances to compete in Atlantic next year with a new coach and a lot of losses on Offense.
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
I'll forgive you for that, but I can't say the same for your new bride ... I think Clemson is going to struggle next season, but the one thing they have going for them - surprisingly - will be the offensive line.
Brian (Dallas, TX)
Do you think the Big Ten conference as a whole has been one of the largest disappointments this year?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Oh definitely ... Wisconsin was a bust, Michigan wasn't Michigan ...it was definitely a top-heavy conference.
Chauncey from Baltimore
HD, you are real high on DC at Duke. you ranked as the 4th best coach in ACC. Not sure how you can put him so far ahead of a Butch Davis who went 4-8 the year before to a possible 9 Win Season.
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
First, let me say that there isn't a bad coach on that list. I respect every one of those guys. Second, Cutcliffe doesn't have anywhere NEAR the kind of athlete Butch has to work with. To win four games at Duke with that roster is incredible. And anyone who has actually talked football with DC knows within a minute he is a very good coach.
I am just not buying this great job Beamer and his staff are saying they did this year. I see poor coaching on offense, a squandering of talent, and inappropriate play calling. Are there going to be any changes made, are is this as good it is going to get for Hokie fans?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Considering they've won three ACC titles in the past five seasons, I'm not sure how much better it CAN get. ??
Dan (Hartsville, SC)
Don't exactly agree with your comment that Clemson disappointed "college football fans" by "sneaking" into the Gator Bowl considering their strong finish at the end of the season, however... Question: Do your think Clemson made a mistake picking Swinney as head coach over someone whose resume could get them over that BCS hump?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
Fair enough, but the Gator Bowl is usually reserved for teams that fare better than 7-5, and 4-4. Answer: I think we'll have to wait and see on that. The one thing they probably DID get was a less-expensive option.
Ashwin (Fairfax, Va)
HD SHOULD Foster be a HCIW @ Tech? Whats your take on this?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Well, it depends on how the rest of the staff feels about it, and what the details are. It worked at Wisconsin because Bret Bielema knew when he was taking over. Jimbo Fisher is kind of in limbo. I think Bud deserves a head coaching job, and Virginia Tech fans would embrace him as their next guy.
Do you see a team from the ACC stepping up and making a run at a national title next year? If so, who?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
No, I don't. These guys are going to beat up on each other again and everyone is going to have a few losses. The ACC title game also makes it tough.
Tom Pearisburg, VA
For the Hokie fans it could get better by us finishing in atleast the top 100 in total offense, and actually being able to score touchdowns when we get to the redzone.
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
Another reason or two why I thought Georgia Tech was a better team ...
Glen (Elon, NC)
With the combination of a Georgia Tech win against LSU their bowl game and the fact that they are returning 90% of their starters do you see CPJ's team in the AP preseason top-10 next season?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
If I were Georgia Tech, I wouldn't WANT a preseason top 10 ranking. Those guys do much better when they're proving everyone wrong.
Casey (Santa Clarita CA)
If Tebow comes back are the Seminoles in trouble next year?
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
Uh, yeah. Did you see this year's game?
Should FSU be concerned that if Jimbo is in-waiting too long, he will get fed up and leave? I know I am. How is Jimbo and Bobby's relationship?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Bobby and Jimbo have a great relationship, and there is a clause in his his contract that states he HAS to be named head coach by a certain time (I think it's 2010 or 2011). If he gets fed up and leaves before then, he's gonna owe FSU millions.
Jimbo (Tallahasse, FL)
Do you think Bobby Bowden is letting his ego get in the way of FSU's best interests?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Heck no. That's Happy Valley you're talking about.
Sean (Naples, FL)
Hey Heather, love the blog. Which conference has more to prove this bowl season, Big Ten or ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I'd say the ACC, only because they won two bowl games last year. Two. And this year, they've got 10 chances to improve upon that.
What do you think about Myron Rolle? Do you think he should pursue his NFL dreams after oxford?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
I think Myron is an outstanding person and athlete and is smart enough to make the decision that's best for him.
Alyson (Tampa, FL)
What's up woman? It's your girl from down in the sizouth...what kind of chance does Miami have to win the ACC next year?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
You and Drew Weatherford are my only friends in the St. Pete area ... I'd say Miami has as good a shot as anyone, considering the playmakers they're bringing back. We'll see how they fare against Cal, first.
Do you think TOB can have NC State in the conference championship game in the next few years?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
Oh no doubt ... you saw what they're capable of when they're healthy. Heck, they almost beat FSU when they weren't.
I was surprised not to see Bowden's straw hat at the top of the coaches ranking. tsk tsk Heather. Btw, this will sound funny coming from a devout Hokie fan but I have always had a lot of respect for Maryland's Heyward-Bey. What happened to him this year? Is it an inexperienced QB or the fact that teams know to double/man him?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
Yeah, I felt bad about where I put Bobby, but he's just given so much authority to Jimbo, I almost put HIM on the list. Anyway, Heyward-Bey isn't ready for the NFL. Sometimes he was double-teamed, sometimes he wasn't thrown to, but he also had more help this season. They didn't always HAVE to throw it to him.
Why should VT be satisfied with a terrible offense and ACC Championships and not a solid offense and National Championships.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
I didn't say you should be satisfied with it, just that what VT has done since it joined the league has hardly been awful.
Will (Winston-Salem, NC)
Whats the Deacs chances of winning this weekend in D.C.?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
This is going to be a good game, even though it's a rematch against Navy. I think their chances are good because in the last game, Wake turned the ball over SIX times. I think Riley accounted for four or five of them. Well, that's not going to happen again. It's a tricky game, though, for the Deacs. Navy's quarterback will present challenges, and it's only 30 miles from the academy.
Lewis: (College Park, Md)
Heather: What happened to Darrius Heyward-Bey this year, was it Maryland's offense, or Friedgen? Why is Friedgen losing so many local prospects?
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
How about some of it was Hey-Bey? And I really like him, he's one of the most personable guys in the league. As for Friedgen losing local prospects ... how is he supposed to compete with Penn State and Virginia Tech, when he's going to Boise instead of the Orange Bowl, and playing in Byrd instead of Beaver Stadium? Where would you go if you were 18?
Time to face up. Who were your preseason picks to play in the BCS title game?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
Ha ... I believe I had Georgia winning it all.
Wouldn't a 0-3 showing against the Big East (a legit chance) be a worst case scenario for the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
It IS a legit chance, but I would say there are worse scenarios. Like, say, losing even more games than that.
Larry - Arvada
Why do you think people find it hard to pick a school with NO NAME over a school with a NAME? For instance, Cincy playing VaTech and VaTech is established, so most find it hard to give Cincy any kudos?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
You think? See, I thought Cincy was the story in that game, what with the five quarterbacks and the job Brian Kelly has done there.
Joe (Pottsville, PA)
Heather I know you cover the ACC, but what do you make of Notre Dame's future?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
It HAS to get better. Charlie Weiss got a pass this season, and if it doesn't get better, he shouldn't get one next year. Jimmy Clausen showed improvement this year and should continue that progress next year.
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Alright guys, my time is up here. Back to bloggin'. Thanks for joining in the chat.
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