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 (11:59 AM)
Hey guys, I'm here, let's kickoff Week 12 ...
Justin Williams (Augusta, Ga.)
How much fun would it be to see Georgia Tech's triple-option against one of the nation's best defenses in TCU in the Orange Bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Justin, I think that would be a great matchup. TCU is holding opponents to about 13 points per game. Georgia Tech is averaging about 36. More time to prepare makes a difference, but I still think it would be a great game.
Just wondering why you have the YellowJackets in the Gator? I figured it was due to the fact that the Chic-fil-a bowl would rather have an "out of the area" team play there in order to fill hotels and spend more money for the city instead of having the team that's 3 minutes from the dome and their local fans who probably wouldn't spend as much or need rooms.
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
Well, because if you look at the SEC teams that might be available, it could be Georgia winding up in that bowl. I just don't think that the SEC opponent in that game will be a great matchup for the Jackets.
Kevin (Cullowhee, NC)
Great work Heather with all your coverage! big fan. First, How do you think Clemson's offensive line has been a factor in their sudden surge of offensive power. Obviously they were a big reason why Clemson struggled the last few seasons and early this season. What has improved? and Can you give some future insight as well? Thanks.
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
Thanks, Kevin. Dabo Swinney has talked about the o-line showing significant improvment, and it has. They were the root of the problem last year and they've redeemed themselves this season. But the play of Kyle Parker has also gotten better, and the receivers (Dye) have become more consistent. Everyone is getting better there.
WHo had better let down this year V.TECH or MIAMI???
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
I think Virginia Tech's loss to the Tar Heels was more shocking than Miami's. UNC was headed for disaster and went into Lane Stadium and won. They had shown improvement leading up to the home win against the Canes, while Miami had started to show some flaws.
Its quite on the Bowden watch!!!!!!! Is he going to get one more year??
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
He will if it's up to him, but I'm still not convinced it is. You would think, though, that he's garnered some more support recently with the Noles' success. And it's hard to argue the future should be bright.
Michael.B (daphne, al)
hey heather its been a pretty solid year this season. But i was just wondering what is going on in the wacky ACC. The teams over there just can't pull it togeher in big games. Why is that?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
This was the first question in the queue today. Congrats. I think a lot of the inconsistency has to do with youth. Jacory Harris is still a sophomore. Ryan Williams a redshirt freshman. They need to learn every Saturday counts. They will.
Heather, I've been a triple-option enthusiast (read "big football nerd") for years and have watched as it has either been abandoned by teams or adapted to the shotgun formation. With GT's unprecedented success running it, do you see it making a comeback, even if only to a few teams?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
I know Paul Johnson has said other coaches have visited in the spring and summer to learn more about it, but I still think coaches will stick with what they know and what fits their personnel.
HD, what do you think of Jimbo's game plan for EJ and how about Jermaine Thomas looks like he is becoming the back we all hoped he would be.
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Nick, great game plan by Jimbo. I bet if you go back and watch that tape there weren't a lot of passes over 7 yards or so. He kept it managable for Manuel, and Thomas' success took a lot of the pressure off him. Great game by the Noles.
Your prediction for the UGA/GT game?
Heather Dinich (12:11 PM)
I'll save the score for the week of that game, but I think I'm in the majority when I say Georgia Tech should win the state title again this year.
Michael (Carolina Country)
I know UNC is winning, But they are winning with Defense?..In your opinion, what is wrong with our Offense. Is the problem Yates or WR?s or both?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
I think Yates has gotten too much blame this year. And people quickly forgot how much talent had to be replaced at WR. They've gotten better as they've gotten healthier. I think John Shoop deserves more credit than he does blame this season for finding ways to make it work.
Who do u think wins Heisman this year? It's gotta be Ingram right? Do people seriously think that Spiller is more deserving, I mean they have play in the ACC and Bama is undefeated in the SEC
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
I think right now Ingram has the edge, but that's because of the reasons you pointed out -- Bama is undefeated in the ACC, and Ingram has faced some better defenses in recent weeks. That being said, if Clemson clinches the Atlantic Division this week, I'm moving Spiller up in my ballot. If the Tigers win the ACCCG, and Spiller continues to perform like he has, he's got my vote for No. 1.
Heather, how would you rank Bebe Thomas compared to other receivers, nationally? He really seems to be living up to his Calvin Jr. hype.
Heather Dinich (12:15 PM)
Demaryius has had an outstanding season, and he has to be one of the best. He's been the Jackets' only option -- he's not a surprise to defenses -- and yet he continues to make the big plays each week.
Ryan Williams is inconsistent!? That's a shocker to me. Sure, he fumbled in a key moment, but that was his ONLY fumble all year. He's had 7 of 10 games with over 100 yards and he's going to break the freshmen rb records at tech...inconsistent? come on now...
Heather Dinich (12:16 PM)
No, he's had like, what, six 100-yard games now? I'm just saying these guys are all young. But yeah, that fumble was a freshman mistake and one he likely won't make again.
Hey Heather, i'm a little worried about Miami, it seems like we're getting worse every game. The way they've been playing lately they will lose to Duke or USF, and if that happens i can't help but think there will be coaching changes all over the place. What do you think?
Heather Dinich (12:18 PM)
I don't see any reason for Miami fans to panic, but Jacory Harris can't let this become a mental game now. Duke is down, too, don't forget, and South Florida just got smacked around, too. Kirby Hocutt has reiterated that Randy Shannon will be there for a long time.
I know it's too early... But Dabo Swinney ACC Coach of the Year? I think PJ deserves a lot of credit, but Dabo has gotten his team to believe in the system and win. Plus I would consider Clemson's strength of schedule to be harder. Yeah, they played and beat VT, but Clemson had TCU, and Clemson beat the Miami team that beat the Jackets...
Heather Dinich (12:19 PM)
You make a great case for Dabo, Wade, and he's certainly worthy of consideration. Problem is, he's not the only one. Johnson, Cutcliffe, Spaz ... it's going to be a tough call this year, and right now, I'm not sold on any pick.
Hi Heather,Does it surprise you that the ACC could have 6 10-win teams at the end of the season. Gt, Miami, VT, Clemson, UNC and BC. That would be a big achievement for the ACC.
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
It does surprise me, enough that I want to double check you to make sure you're right :) But yes, it would be great for the ACC, considering the slow start the conference got and the fact that the Atlantic Division has really struggled.
Daniel (Panama City, Fl)
Christian Ponder for 2010 Heisman!!... right?
Heather Dinich (12:20 PM)
Definitely not out of the question.
Nathan (Baton Rouge)
Have my Yellow Jackets finally turned the corner on the passing defense with improvements over pass happy teams in the past 2 weeks?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
I was really impressed with the way they got it together against Thaddeus Lewis. With the way that game started, I'm sure a lot of GT fans though, 'uh oh, here we go again.' But those guys really have buckled down and it's paid off.
Andrew (San Antonio)
Can you explain how C.J. Spiller is ranked 5th by the ESPN Heisman experts, above other backs like Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State? I don't really see any category where Spiller surpasses Rodgers.
Heather Dinich (12:22 PM)
All I know is I've got him at No. 2 behind Ingram, and that's the only pick I can explain.
Does Tom O'Brien have to get to a bowl next year to keep his job?
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
Great question. He's a proven coach who knows how to win, but I think he'll be facing a lot more pressure next year than he did this year. If NC State doesn't get to a bowl game next year, there could be trouble.
Mike (New york)
Considering BC is contending for the ACC in a year with a first year HC, a true freshman QB, a sophomore RB and a true freshman stub LB... it seems like the Eagles are here to stay. Even if they miss the ACC Championship this year they have to be considered favorites in their division next year, right?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Well, I've haven't taken a close enough look at how many guys Clemson will lose, but losing Spiller is a huge hit from the start. BC should definitely be high on everyone's list, but again, FSU should be much improved, too.
Ok i know this is a long shot, but if FSU shows up two weeks from now in Gainesville to play Florida would the seminoles have a chance to spoil Tebows last game as a gator in the swamp?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
You answered your own question, Rodney -- long shot.
Does UVA have a chance against Clemson this Saturday in Death Valley?
Heather Dinich (12:26 PM)
I'll give the Cavaliers a chance because of their defense and the fact they haven't quit yet this season, but it's a slim chance. Very slim.
Who's your favorite team to watch in the ACC ? And do you think that team could hold their own with the likes of Florida?
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
That's a toss-up, honestly. I love watching UNC and Clemson's defenses, but also like watching Georgia Tech's offense. Georgia Tech and Clemson are the two most complete teams right now, though, and I do think they could hang with Florida. Georgia Tech would have an edge if it were just a week's preparation time, but I'd still pick Florida to win.
Josh Nesbitt is the most underappreciated player in the ACC (outside of Atlanta of course) Given what that offense has accomplished, he should really be the frontrunner for ACC Offensive POY. Agree or disagree? He has more total touchdowns than anyone else in the conference, and his team is 10-1 and ranked 7th in the BCS.
Heather Dinich (12:28 PM)
Fair points. But why Nesbitt over Dwyer?
Tell Andrew from San Antonio to watch the replays of the FSU and Miami games on ESPON360 and he'll know why CJ Spiller is Heisman-worthy. The most important stat (other than W's :() is how many times your jaw hits the floor when you watch him play.
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
Yeah, what he did against Miami was just ridiculous. And then he did it again -- even better -- against FSU.
Injuries are no doubt at issue on defense at state, but Mike Archer didn't have a good record coming into State, let alone now. Do you think there's a chance TOB might step up and make a cut here?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
If there has to be a scapegoat in Raleigh, Archer would be it, though I still think he's a good coach.
Who is the best team in the ACC right now?
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Ah, I love easy questions on a Monday. Georgia Tech.
What do you think Cincinnati's record would be if Miami, VT, and BC were still in the Big East?
Heather Dinich (12:32 PM)
It's tough to tell this year. They've continued to find a way to win, but I think the Bearcats would've lost to at least one of those teams.
BCMike (Atlanta, GA)
Odds that BC finishes 1st in the Atlantic this season (tied w/Clemson or otherwise) and is still projected 4th or 5th at the start of next season? 97.5%.
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Poor Eagles ...
Do you see two ACC teams in BCS this year? (either VT or GT should they lose ACC title game)
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
Nah, I think that opportunity has passed, Brad.
Tyrone (Silver Spring)
Nesbitt over Dwyer is simple. Every clutch drive Tech has had in a win has been 95% Nesbitt running or throwing.
Heather Dinich (12:35 PM)
I do think Nesbitt has been one of -- if not the most -- improved player in the ACC this year. But Dwyer won the POY last year and I believe he's got better stats this season, though I don't have them quick enough right now.
Dabo and HD sittin' in a tree....
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
What does it say about the ACC when its two best OOC wins (Wake over Stanford and NC State over Pitt) came from teams who aren't going to make a bowl game? The conference is better than most think? Or Wake Forest and NC State were just lucky?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Don't forget about Miami over Oklahoma and VT over Nebraska. I feel like I'm missing one. Regardless, the ACC has left a lot to be desired this year, and it's because of the Atlantic Division.
Who is the worst team in the ACC right now?
Heather Dinich (12:38 PM)
Maryland. (thanks!) :)
Nathan (Baton Rouge)
So HD who is your pick for best BACK in the ACC Dwyer or Spiller?
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
I understand the argument that Dwyer is the better pure runner. I've seen them both. Dwyer rumbles, he's tough and powerful. Spiller has that burst. But Spiller does more -- and he's asked to do more.
I assume Ryan Williams is leading the ACC Freshman of the Year race. What would it take for Kyle Parker to win it? Win the ACCCG?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
Right now I would think Ryan is the frontrunner, but Kyle has played better down the stretch and will get more consideration if the Tigers are ACC champs, as he should.
From your post:"FedEx Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. BCS at large "Both Mark and Bruce pick GT. What's the story?
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
Most people probably would pick Georgia Tech. They should. The Jackets will be favored. Me? I see an upset brewing is all. And if the Jackets prove me wrong, I'll take full credit for the motivation for it.
Heather, There are numerous teams with 7-3 records listed between 15-25 in the BCS. Seems interesting teams like USC are still ahead of other teams (i.e. Clemson) that have played much better the past month. Another example of teams initially ranked higher get the benefit?
Heather Dinich (12:43 PM)
All I know is that I've got Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami above USC in my Power Ranking this week.
Daniel (Panama City, FL)
"Don't forget about Miami over Oklahoma and VT over Nebraska. I feel like I'm missing one."You are! FSU over BYU!!!
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
I knew it, thanks, Daniel.
What are Ryan Williams Chances of winning ACC player of the year? Last year Dwyer won and GT didn't win the conference I think Ryan Williams has honestly put up more impressive numbers then both Dwyer and Spiller against a much tougher schedule.
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
I think the voters would lean towards honoring somebody who played for the title (Dwyer/Nesbitt/Spiller) since Williams could still be recognized with the rookie award.
Todd Mcshay has D Morgan as top 15 pick? Thoughts
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
To me, Morgan is one of the top defensive linemen in the country. Unfortunately for the reason you just pointed out, I think GT will miss him next year.
Heather aby chance Coach Whipple tries to get Jacory to start throw simple 5-8 yard passes? Every pass should be 15 yards down the feild. Heck NC got out of 3rd and long with simple screens.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
I haven't had the chance to ask Whipple if he's asking too much of Jacory, but man, he has really been gambling with those deep throws, hasn't he? Fisher played it smart with Manuel. Maybe it's time Whipple does the same with Harris.
The ACC is not underacheiving again this year because...
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
If I could've come up with an answer to this quick enough, I would've answered you the first time, Dave. :)
If all GT's player return next year do they have a shot at a NC?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
IF - that's a big IF - then definitely. Heck, they're No. 7 right now. Not a far jump to the top.
What team would you love see the ACC champ playing in the Orange Bowl?
Heather Dinich (12:49 PM)
You know, I think TCU would be an awesome matchup for either team. Even a rematch against Clemson would be entertaining.
Scott (Orlando, FL)
Thoughts on EJ Manuel?
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
He is an incredible athlete, and for anyone who got sick of hearing Bowden say he's faster than Ponder last week? Well, Manuel is, and he proved it. Great future at QB for FSU.
Wendy (Anderson, SC)
Are you coming to Death Valley on Saturday?
Heather Dinich (12:51 PM)
Actually, yes, I am.
Mark W (Wilmington, NC)
HD, I've been hearing whispers about Bud leaving my hokies after this season to finally get the head coaching position I feel he has had coming to him. BUT, do you really think he would leave with the potential next years VT team has with a MUCH easier schedule in my mind???
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
It depends on what programs are considering him to be head coach, Mark. At some point, Bud has to look out for himself. And no, he's not gonna wind up at Notre Dame.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
who has a better option attack, Navy or GT?
Heather Dinich (12:52 PM)
Georgia Tech. Better athletes, more experienced coach.
Paul Williams (Fayetteville Arkansas)
Who will be showing up against the SEC this year in the bowl games? Also, is there a good chance that ACC will win against the SEC or is the SEC just too powerful?
Heather Dinich (12:53 PM)
Well, considering Georgia Tech will probably finish the regular season 3-0 against the SEC, I'd say "too powerful" might be a stretch.
Kevin (Baltimore, MD)
Why all of the support for Clemson? This is the same team that lost to Maryland, a terrible terrible Maryland team. You picked Clemson to win the ACC which isn't shocking because the media loves Clemson. But when was the last time Clemson ACTUALLY came through during the entire length of a season and won the ACC? Forever ago. There is a reason GT is #7 in the country.
Heather Dinich (12:55 PM)
You're right, Kevin, and every coach that plays Maryland starts his press conference with, "This team beat Clemson." Look, Clemson still has a lot to prove, but the Tigers deserve credit for getting this far. I don't think a lot of folks thought they'd have a shot at the ACCCG.
Heather what are the chances of the emerald bowl picking the noles over bc?
Heather Dinich (12:56 PM)
It's possible, but Meineke picks first, and I don't think they'd let FSU go.
Assume Clemson beats Virginia Saturday, how do you think Derrick Morgan will match up against Clemson's "much-improved" O-line the second time around?
Heather Dinich (12:57 PM)
They'll have to give him double coverage and know where he is on every play. Morgan is a beast. He'll still make his plays and win those battles up front.
Hey Heather, I was looking at your bowl projections and noticed how you have Va Tech going to the Chick fil'a (PEACH) Bowl. Do you really think that they will take a Va Tech team that has already been to Atlanta twice and already played in the Georgia Dome?
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
I think it's a good possibility (that's if Clemson goes to the Orange) because I think it would make another good matchup against the SEC.
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Alright guys my time is up here. Back to the blogosphere. See you next Monday.