Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's ACC blogger Heather Dinich stops by talk some college football.
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 Monday at noon ET!
Heather Dinich (12:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get this started.
Barry Stiefel (Potomac, Maryland)
I understand the contract situation and the money,but the alumni are getting very restless regarding Friedgen.Maryland is irrelevant.Can anyone come here to coach and consistently be in the Top 25? Any suggestions as to who would come here?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Barry alumni should be getting restless, but Maryland has locked itself into its future plans with James Franklin as the coach in waiting. Jury's still out on that one, though we know he can recruit. Terps can be a top 25 team if they've got the right guy, but their pool is limited.
Jeff (McDonough, GA)
HD-Seems like everbody in the country is talking about Paul Johnson's decision to go for it on 4th down in overtime. Were you as surprised as we were in the stands that he did? Also heard that Josh Nesbitt convinced him to go for it...promising that he would get that yard. Let us know what you have heard!
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Jeff I've got a post on that coming later today. Talked to PJ about it last night, as well as a few other coaches. Heck yeah I was surprised, but after listening to both Johnson and Al Groh explain it, it makes better sense and it was a great call.
Can Spiller win the Heisman? He proves every Saturday that he can what else can he do?
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Great question -- he shouldn't HAVE to do anything else but win games. And that's the key. Tigers need to win the Atlantic Division at least, if not the ACCCG for it to become realistic.
Heather,The last four games, GT's D seems to come out of halftime inspired and slows the opposition's offense down. If you agree, what do you attribute this to? Is it halftime coaching adjustments or is the box just manning up better as the clock ticks on? The defense just seems to get it done late.
Heather Dinich (12:03 PM)
I think they've done a good job of making adjustments, and so does Johnson. He said so last night. They've gotten better at it.
DJ (Williamsburg, VA)
If you were Virginia's AD, who would be on your speed dial right now?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Mike London, former DC now at Richmond. Great choice. Logical, too. Don't know what UVA fans would think of it, but I think it would be a smart hire.
Jason (Charleston, SC)
Will CJ Spiller get an invite to NYC? IF so, chances of winning? Is Ingram that far ahead of him?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
The only differences I saw between Ingram and Spiller on Saturday was that A) Ingram did it against a top 15 defense and B) sent his team to the conference title game. Those are important differences.
Casey (Santa Clarita, CA)
The second most player drafted in the NFL in the last 10 years is the ACC. Why does the PAC 10 and BIG 12 get more respect then the ACC?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Because they've had USC and Texas and Oklahoma in contention for the NC.
Nick (Chestnut Hill)
Can Luke Kuechly please get some love? The kid should be a top contender for ACC DPOY and he is rarely spoken of outside of the slim media coverage here in Boston.
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Funny you ask, I just put an interview request for Luke in today. It's time he gets some props.
Buzzed (Atlanta, GA)
What makes you so convinced Clemson would beat GT in the ACCCG considering a) GT already beat Clemson and b) GT played one of, if not THE worst game of the year vs. Clemson? GT's D, O, and Special Teams have all improved dramatically since that game..which was a win.
Heather Dinich (12:07 PM)
I'm not "so convinced" by any means. GT will be and should be favored in that game. Consider my bowl prediction an upset pick. But you named one of the reasons why. It's tough to beat a team twice. And in case you haven't noticed, Clemson has gotten better, too.
Nathan (Baton Rouge)
HD so is there a way for the ACC to look better nationally this year or should we just give up and hope for next year?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
The ACC championship game will help if Clemson and GT are in because it would feature two ranked teams. The ACC can also help itself by winning the few bowl games it will be invited to. But yes, there should be better things to come next year.
Richard (Buenos Aires)
What does Clemson have to do to avoid the trap game Saturday? Their achilles heel has always been a noon game following a big win to a team they should beat. Does Clemson have a let down? Other than Baker, Wilson, and Bryan, this team has little talent after the mounted injuries have plagued them.
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
Clemson HAS to pressure Russell Wilson into mistakes just like they did Ponder, and they've got to get the ball to Spiller and Ford. The Tigers have the better defense, and they'll have to use it to avoid the upset.
Cody (Atlanta, Ga)
Why will a one loss Georgia Tech not jump a Boise State team that has played nobody since Oregon (first game of the year)?
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Because GT has one loss and Boise doesn't.
Charles (Rockville, MD)
Has any team ever lost as many heartbreakers as Wake this year? Is this just the law of averages making up for all the close wins the last few years?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
Oh, those poor Deacs. Four losses by three points. Two in overtime and a one-point home loss to Miami. I say they salvage their season with an Emerald Bowl appearance.
Corey (Arlington, Texas)
Do you think Boston College has another loss in them this regular season?
Heather Dinich (12:13 PM)
If they do, I'd think it comes to UNC in two weeks. The Heels have been playing better and their defense should really fluster Shinskie, though he's made progress. Let's see how they do on the road at UVA, though, this weekend. So far, the road has not been kind to the Eagles.
Wes (Atlanta, GA)
Heather- Thanks, in advance, for answering. Do you think Wake will win it's remaining two games to get to 6-6 and reach a bowl? (FSU and Duke?) I know FSU not having Ponder helps us, but Duke could be playing for their bowl lives as well, right? What would you say Wake's chances are right now? Thanks!
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
I'll give it to the Deacs, though I think you're right. It's going to come down to the season finale, and you'll see two senior QBs who are among the best in the conference trying to get to a bowl game. Painful for the loser.
Hey HD, please tell me Bobby will retire after this season, which will allow all the changes to happen which we need so bad.
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
I'm still not convinced he'll have a choice, Nick, but I sense he wants to stick around.
Paul Johnson (Bobby Dodd Stadium)
Heather, Do you have a personal vendetta against my yellow jackets or do you like me to prove you wrong every week when you pick agains us?
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
Funny, but I believe I've picked the Jackets to win each of the past two weeks, no? If anyone should be complaining it should be Hokies. I've screwed that pick up the past two Thursday nights. Oh, and P.S., I gave you a helmet sticker! Yeesh ...
Chris (South Carolina)
If Clemson runs the table the rest of the season what do you think there ranking will be before the ACC championship game
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
Ah, that's so hard to figure out. A lot of teams moved up this week just because other teams lost. Depends on what everyone else does. Maybe as high as No. 20? They're still a three-loss team. Hokies are highest three-loss team in AP poll right now at No. 20.
Dabo Swinney (Death Valley)
Heather, If we win the ACCCG, am I a shoe-in for ACC Coach of the Year?
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
Nobody is a shoe-in for anything in this conference. I think Paul Johnson, David Cutcliffe, and Frank Spaziani are also very good options there.
Charles Anderson (Atlanta, GA)
HD, would you have gone for it on 4th-and-1 with the game and the division on the line?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
If I had Paul Johnson's team and his offense? I'd like to think I would, but honestly, I probably would've chickened out and gone for the FG.
Heather, Who has the best defense in the ACC now? Clemson has looked good this year but UNC looked really good the last 2 weeks.
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
I've been torn on that decision all year, which is why I haven't done a post on it yet. I think the Tigers have been more consistent, though. But to shut down Thaddeus Lewis is pretty impressive.
Mike J (Clemson, SC)
Heather--you said you were at Clemson this weekend? How did the stadium and atmosphere compare to other places you've been? Thanks!
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
Yes, I was, Mike. It was a great game-day atmosphere. One of the best I've seen this year. I tweeted that I felt like I was in a giant orange peel.
How long does the curse of raiding the Big East impact your conference. In other words, how long before the ACC is relevant in national championship discussions (in November, not August).
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
It was pretty close this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the ACC had one or two teams in the mix next year. It's still a very young conference.
Jason (Coral Gables)
Heather, what is the likelihood of Miami earning a BCS at large bid if they win their remaining 3 games and end up 10-2 on the season?
Heather Dinich (12:24 PM)
Now that they've moved up to No. 14 in the BCS standings they have a chance, but it depends on what everyone else does. I'm still thinking the Gator Bowl folks would like to see a Miami/ND matchup.
Ben C. (Dekalb,Illinois)
When Bobby Bowden retires, if it is this year or next, can Jimbo Fisher get FSU back to the team that Bowden had them at the 90's?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
I'm not sure any team in college football will dominate like that again. Too much parity. But with the talent they've brought in, you would think FSU would be more of a factor in the national picture. Let's wait until they win the Atlantic Division first, though.
David (Miami ,Fl)
Heather, remember, Cincinnati vs Pitt and Ohio State vs Iowa is still on the schedule.... that means two more spots the Canes could climb...
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
Yes, but that also means Pitt and Ohio State could move up, too ...
Heather, if you're a football player and make a stupid play on the field, is there any coach you would rather face less than Paul Johnson?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
In the ACC? ... Probably not. Maybe Butch Davis.
Phil (Tuscaloosa, Al)
Coming from a reporter/writer of the ACC what is your view on the SEC? It seems that every single conference hates us unless you are from here.
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
That's because the SEC is like the Yankees.
Sean (Charlotte NC)
Heather- Yes, we Hokies were upset with your predictions, but we'd rather show up on the field. Does Gator or Peach Bowl pick first? And will Miami be more attractive than either the Hokies or Tigers (if ACCCG runner up) who generally travel well?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
Chick-fil-A picks before the Gator, and I think the folks in Atlanta would like to have the Hokies back because they know you guys travel well.If Clemson loses the ACC CG, they could go there, too.
Will (Atlanta, Ga)
Heather, is there a better all around defensive player in the conference than Deandre McDaniel? The kid leads the team in INT and tackles, and he is possibly an explosive hitter. I think his pointing at Ponder brought the swagger back to this Clemson team.
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Tough call. UNC has had some impressive players in Quan Sturdivant and Robert Quinn. Also Derrick Morgan at GT has been oustanding. But yes, McDaniel one of the best.
Michael (Carolina Country)
Do you think Houston can carry the load the rest of the year for UNC?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
If he playes like he did against Duke, no question. But Miami and BC should have more of an answer for him.
Tyrone (Silver Spring, MD)
Heather,I get that I will never be able to change your mind about Nesbitt and the Heisman, but can you think of any player more clutch than Nesbitt in close end of game scenarios? Two days ago he scored on 3rd and 7 from the 12, and in OT got 5 on 3rd and 6, converted 4th and 1 and then scored the game winner.
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
He has been amazing in those situations. I think he might get the award for most improved QB this year. However, Jacory Harris has been pretty clutch, too.
Isn't Maryland still mathematically alive in the Atlantic Division race? If so, then could they still grab a BCS bowl bid by winning the ACC? Or do NCAA rules prevent them from playing in a bowl because of their 7 losses?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
As odd and improbable as it sounds, yes, the Terps are still technically alive in the Atlantic Division race. The only bowl they could get to would be the Orange Bowl. Weird. Very weird.
If GT and Miami played at Landshark again this weekend, who would you like?
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
Charles Anderson (Atlanta, GA)
What are the odds Clemson stumbles in one of it's last two ACC games?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Knowing Clemson's history? Pretty good. But I think they're better than that this year.
Are we going to see the John Shoop that called plays in Lane Stadium this Saturday, or the one who was in Kenan Stadium against dook?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
Oh c'mon, you don't really think Shoop got worse in one week, do you? Players have to execute.
T (Hermosa Beach, CA)
HD, why dont you think a VT/ND matchup would be good for the Gator Bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
It's not that I don't, but Miami fans would get to stay in Florida and selling tickets counts.
Why does no one outside the ACC like Georgia Tech as a top tier team? Is it the offense they run or just a general disrespect for the (almost contenders conference) ACC as I have heard them referred to?
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
First, I'd say No. 7 in the country IS a top tier team. Anyone who doesn't respect the offense hasn't watched it long enough. Part of it is that the ACC isn't helping the Jackets' SOS this year, and part of it is simply a popularity contest.
Does Spiller have to be from the SEC in order to get recognized by ESPN? I heard Ingram moved up with 144 yards rushing (behind his great O-line)..Spiller had a record 312 all purpose yards and 2 TD's..i guess that is average?
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
Don't forget Ingram did it against a top 15 defense. Spiller did it against one of the worst defenses in the country. Ingram got his team to the conference title game. Spiller got his one step closer.
Greg (Marianna, FL)
Why has football become so poplularized and so political? Can't we just compare apples to apples and quite giving unfair rankings to teams just because they are prestigous or trendy?
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
Can't compare apples to apples unless those apples play each other. :)
Drew (Alpharetta, GA)
You can only choose one for your team: Paul Johnson as offensive playcaller or Bud Foster as defensive playcaller. Which do you choose?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
Ouch! Put me on the spot. I'll go with PJ since he beat Bud this year. That's a fair answer. :)
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Heather, how do you think Boise State would fare against the top teams in the ACC? Thanks.
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
Well, we might find out in a bowl game this year, and we'll definitely find out next year against Virginia Tech. I think they'll make for great games, but I think Georgia Tech could beat Boise State right now especially if the Broncos had just a week to prepare for that offense.
Jonathan Dwyer has surpassed 180 yards each of the last two weeks. Were people a little too quick to write off the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year? I say yes......
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
Yes. Much to quick. He got off to a slow start, he was banged up a little bit, but he's actually played better than he did last year overall.
Quin (Greenville SC)
How much would a GT-Clemson rematch help the ACCCG rantings? Also, Was Clemson's win that big considering how bad FSU's D is and the fact the GT went on the road and beat them?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
I think it would be great for the conference championship game. And yes, it was that big. It's not like GT dominated Florida State. Both defenses were bad in that game. Clemson's win over FSU was big because of what it did for the Tigers in regards to the AD race and their confidence.
Alex (Richmond, VA)
Heather, the question isn't how would Boise fare against the top teams in the ACC. The question is how would Boise fare as a member of the ACC. It is a lot easier to get up for 1-2 games a year than every week have to play against a team that could potentially beat you.
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
Oh, sorry. Boise would be a muddled mess, just like everyone else in the ACC. No way undefeated. No way.
Chris (Seymour, CT)
HD, what would it take for Duke to upset GT this weekend? What matchups could they exploit?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
They're going to have to double and maybe even get some triple coverage help on Derrick Morgan. Keep him off of Thad Lewis.
Why is Ryan Williams not being considered for the Heisman...he is putting up rediculous numbers and oh by the way....HES A FRESHMAN !
Heather Dinich (12:54 PM)
I had him in my top five a few weeks ago, but in the past three weeks, Virginia Tech hasn't exactly looked impressive and Williams had that fumble. He's out. Spiller is in. But yes, Williams is the real deal. He'll get his due eventually.
Nate (Dillon, SC)
Saw your post-game interview with CJ. He's seems to be a grounded young man and has a nice "perspective". What was your in-person impression and could you tell how dinged-up he really is?
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
Yeah, he was walking slow, hip and toe both bothering him. He told me he'll be ready for the NC State game, but he looked like he needed a royal ice treatment. As for Spiller as a person, I've talked with him numerous times, and he's a class act.
George (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
As a long time Cane I think I speak for everyone that's been a cane fan for more than 15 years by saying if we can't go to the NC game then there is NO other team I would want to play against more in a bowl than ND. Plus, how huge would the tv ratings be for that game...
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
I think the Gator Bowl folks are on the same page, George.
What do you think the chances of Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets getting a National Title are within the next few years?
Heather Dinich (12:58 PM)
It depends on who sticks around. Dwyer, Morgan, they've got pro opportunities. Those are things those guys won't talk about now, but it will affect the program's chances at staying in the top 10.
Calvin (Camden, NC)
Which ACC coaches are on the hot seat?
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Right now I'd say Groh is the only one, though you could toss a couple of coordinators in there. From a fan's perspective? Bryan Stinespring at Virginia Tech and Mike Archer at NCSU.
Tom (Newton, MA)
Is UNC ever going to turn the corner that everyone thought they were going to turn this year?
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
I think they did against Virginia Tech, no? They need to get to a bowl game, though, to complete the turnaround, and they're almost there.
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
OK guys, my time here is up. Back to the blogosphere. See you there.