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 (12:01 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started.
What is the real story with Shannon's contract? Both sides want to get it done it seems. Where is the hold up? Is it dollars?
Heather Dinich (12:01 PM)
Both sides DO want to get it done, I can promise you that. Yes, money is always the hold up, and that tends to happen when agents are involved.
Taylor (Orlando, FL)
Heather - I saw on one of the Orlando Sentinel blogs that Bill Stewart of West Virginia thinks that there won't be a Big East in a couple of years. Wouldn't they make a great fit in the ACC? Why isn't the ACC doing anything to get this fine football and basketball program? Schedules can be changed if that is hindering the process.
Heather Dinich (12:02 PM)
The ACC doesn't need to be going after any teams right now. Been there, done that. Now it's time to make it work with what they have.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
where is Dwyer going in the draft? See him being good in the NFL?
Heather Dinich (12:04 PM)
I agree with Paul Johnson, in that you can't make too much out of what he didn't do at the combine. Dwyer can run better than that, and it will show on his film. I think he can have a successful career in the NFL, but I think Spiller is ahead of him there.
Frank (Coram, NY)
Where does Miami rank in upcoming season?
Heather Dinich (12:05 PM)
Depends on where you're talking about, in the ACC or in the country. I think they should be a preseason top 20 team and in the upper half of the conference race. There's enough talent on the roster for Miami to win the Coastal Division this year.
Spring Practice has begun Heather, has TJ Yates been replaced by Bryn Renner yet?
Heather Dinich (12:06 PM)
Man, you guys are harsh are the guy. I would be really surprised if Yates isn't No. 1 on the depth chart heading into the season opener.
Ohio State vs Miami, in Columbus...you gotta go with the Buckeyes, right?
Heather Dinich (12:08 PM)
It's kind of hard not to, considering how both teams ended their '09 seasons, and it's a road trip for Miami. The Canes surprised a lot of folks last year, though, with that tough schedule. I'm thinking it should be a good game and eager to see how both QBs perform.
Jacket Fan (St. Pete)
Where does the ACC TV contract stand. Will basketball be enough of a drawing card for ACC fans to see a sizeable financial increase and more exposure for football?
Heather Dinich (12:09 PM)
I'm not sure hoops did the conference any favors for its TV contract this year. It was Duke and everybody else. Georgia Tech turned it over enough for the whole conference in two games. But I digress ... it's spring football season.
Just kidding Heather, if Yates can cut down on the boneheaded interceptions he should be fine. The OL and WR corps should be improved as well.
Heather Dinich (12:10 PM)
Agreed. I think UNC fans will see overall offensive improvement this year. If not, there's a problem.
Jay (Bloomington, IN)
Last summer I said Butch Davis and North Carolina would be challenging for a national title in around 5 or 6 years. Didn't really see vast improvement last year. Am I crazy?
Heather Dinich (12:12 PM)
Well, they won, what, eight games in 08? And eight in '09? And lost in the same bowl game. And the offense has struggled every year. So no, I'd say you're about right. But I'd argue it was hard to make improvement with all of the youth and injuries they had last year.
In order for the ACC to have its own TV Network like the Big10 Network, will the ACC have to join forces with another conference? Perhaps an ACC/Big12 TV Network, or an ACC/Pac-10 TV Network?
Heather Dinich (12:14 PM)
I don't think it has to, no, and if it did that, then it wouldn't be its own TV network, would it?
I mean 'own TV Network' as in a stand-alone cable network, and not tied to ESPN or any current network. The Pac-10 has made moves to begin to look at setting up its own network by hiring the person who set up the Big10 Network. Has the ACC made any moves like that?
Heather Dinich (12:21 PM)
Argh! Sorry guys, technical difficulties again with my "submit answer" button here.
Heather Dinich (12:23 PM)
To answer your question, Chris, all I've been told is that the ACC is starting with its current TV partners before opening up the discussions. I'm sure more info will be available soon and the discussions will get more interesting as spring meetings near.
Dylan- Sutton, MA [via mobile]
what sec team will be the more dominant team of the upcoming season?
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
I think you have to start where it left off -- Alabama. They've got to replace nine starters on defense, but for some reason, that shouldn't be a problem.
Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)
Dylan, this is an ACC chat. That's 15 yards for not paying attention to the chat.
Heather Dinich (12:25 PM)
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Do you think the Hokies will see any drop-off in the running game with the O-linemen that left? Obviously the backs are skilled, but will the new linemen fill in well enough or will the old ones be missed?
Heather Dinich (12:27 PM)
What they lose up front they gain in the return of Darren Evans. I think the Hokies' running game will still be fine.
Todd E. (Sulligent, AL)
How will Duke look next season? BAMA has to go to Duke, and I was wondering what to expect.
Heather Dinich (12:29 PM)
Expect a David vs. Goliath matchup. It is what it is, but David Cutcliffe will have the team as prepared as it can be for that game and will make good in-game adjustments.
Heather, whats the word on David Wilson, is he going to redshirt or try another year seeing limited action returning kicks and late game situations?
Heather Dinich (12:30 PM)
From what I've been told, that decision could be left up to Wilson, and he didn't want to do it last year. I think a lot of it also depends on how Evans looks this spring. It's too early to tell, and I bet it's a decision that isn't made until after spring ball.
Tom (Halifax, VA)
The idea that a defending national champion that is worried about a game against Duke is laughable. At least worry about a road game - there will be more Bama fans in Durham than Blue Devils.
Heather Dinich (12:31 PM)
Ask Virginia Tech, probably a preseason No. 5 team, how worried they get going against Duke. It's only a matter of time before the ball bounces the other way in Durham.
Michael (Tallahassee, Fl)
I like that FSU terminated it's contract with Air Force. Gives us the ability to have 7 home games in 2011. What do you think. Turning more and more of a SEC program in the ACC.
Heather Dinich (12:33 PM)
Well, I think it depends who they find as a replacement. Jimbo apparently believes in a softer scheduling philosophy. It might be the way to go. Look at what Randy Shannon is staring down in September.
HD, as you are an Indiana grad, who would win in a game at a neutral location: Indiana vs Duke?
Heather Dinich (12:34 PM)
Honestly, I'd probably go with Duke right now. And I'd definitely go with Duke if you're trying to sneak in another hoops question.
Branden (Baton Rouge)
How are the Canes looking next year?
Heather Dinich (12:36 PM)
They've got some issues, but if they can get their questions answered up front, offensively they should be at their best in recent years.
What does BC need to improve on offense more their quarterback play or offensive line?
Heather Dinich (12:37 PM)
Definitely quarterback play. While BC's o-line didn't live up to the hype or their own expectations a year ago, they played well enough to win and paved the way for another 1,000-yard season for Harris.
Kyle Parker seems to be killing it so far in baseball. That could be a lot to replace for Clemson if he does get drafted and leaves.
Heather Dinich (12:39 PM)
The one thing that isn't much of a secret in Clemson, though, is Parker's struggles defensively. Somehow, the kid can throw a bullet on the football field, but doesn't seem to have a very good arm on the diamond. His defense could be the one thing that holds him back, or at least prolongs his decision.
Jay (Bloomington, IN)
Does VT plan on Darren Evans returning and being their #1 back?
Heather Dinich (12:40 PM)
Well, they plan on him returning -- he's been cleared for the spring -- but the backs will determine who is No. 1. I could see Hite using both of them and starting off with Evans, since he's got the seniority. It will be hard to keep RW off the field, though.
Bill (Unites States)
Heather,Tell Michael in Tally that, from what I have read, it was Air Force who did not want to face the Seminoles -- not the other way around --
Heather Dinich (12:41 PM)
That is correct, Air Force wanted out.
Why do you love Duke so much? They have made strides under Cutcliffe, but I can never imagine them being a football powerhouse or even competing for an ACC title. I think they should think about making a bowl game before getting too much credit.
Heather Dinich (12:42 PM)
I'm definitely not ready to say Duke is a powerhouse or anywhere near close to it, but I do think that Cutcliffe is a smart SEC coach with an SEC staff who knows what it takes to contend for a conference title and bowl games. This year was the first time in his career he hadn't gone to a bowl game in back to back seasons.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Does an ACC team have to go undefeated to get into the BCS championship game due to the conference's low standing? Seems like in general a one loss team from most other BCS conferences would get more respect.
Heather Dinich (12:44 PM)
I would say yes. Just ask Cincinnati.
Andrew (Chapel Hill)
Who do you think the starter at QB for UNC will be when The Chick-Fil-A kickoff rolls around?
Heather Dinich (12:45 PM)
I'm sticking with Yates.
What's the deal with this LaTwan Anderson Guy? seems like a weird situation.
Heather Dinich (12:46 PM)
Not sure what you mean, other than by him running track, it doesn't count towards a football schollie until he takes a snap in a game.
mark (pensacola, fl)
Hey Heather, what was wrong with FSU's defense last year was it personnel or scheme, do you thinks stoops can turn the d around in year 1?
Heather Dinich (12:47 PM)
I think it was both -- I think Stoops will be more willing than Mickey Andrews to make adjustments and you'll see more variations. I also think he'll have some more talent to work with.
Jack M (Baton Rouge, LA)
How do you think UNC chances against LSU in the Chik-fil-la kick-off game?
Heather Dinich (12:48 PM)
I think they're very good, especially if LSU's offense starts off the way it looked last year -- one of the worst in the country. It's a good chance for the UNC D to set the tone for the season.
Heather Dinich (12:50 PM)
Alright guys, I've got to get back to work. Sorry to cut it short. Thanks for joining me, though. See you in the blogosphere.