Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Heather Dinich (12:59 PM)
Helloooo ACC fans. Let's get started!
With FSU's D and the incoming defensive recruits. Could we see a top 5 defense and possibly a string of titles during the next 4 years?
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
FSU already has one of the best defenses in the nation, and yes, defenses win championships, but as we learned this year, the Noles still have a lot of work to do offensively before they're consistently in the hunt for any titles again.
Will the Terps brg in any (more) big time players this year (Diggs, Goldman etc)?
Heather Dinich (1:02 PM)
Randy Edsall did his teleconference this morning from a car somewhere in rainy New Jersey, and new DC Brian Stewart will be out recruiting tomorrow. I don't know if they'll land any big-time names, but I do know they're making a push to close strong.
Marcus Aurelius (Jacksonville, FL)
I'm impressed with the Miami program, from its recruiting haul to its character under the new football leadership to its offseason focus on strength to its candor with the media to its staunch position on incoming freshmen GPAs/character. I just don't see how this program will not be contending for conference and national titles within 3-5 years. Am I missing something?
Heather Dinich (1:03 PM)
Just four letters -- NCAA. Who knows how or what sanctions might impact the program.
Knolcki (South Africa )
I am a Clemson grad and I moved to south Africa a year ago and I would like to know will Clemson have a better or worse record next season?
Heather Dinich (1:05 PM)
It's hard to say without having the official schedule in front of me, but another 10-win season doesn't sound unreasonable. I think a lot of it depends on which direction the defense goes, and how the offensive line shapes up. There are still too many unknowns to say anything other than they should contend for the division again.
Heather - with Duke getting the #2 kicker in the country next year, is a new kicker (presumably one that is reliable) going to help bump Duke up? Some great things could have been accomplished this year with a reliable kicker
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Way to represent, man. I think a reliable kicker could have made a huge difference this past season, but Sniderwine was banged up. It will take more than that, though, to get Duke over the hump. They need better athletes, have to be able to run the ball better. They made strides defensively, but still aren't there yet.
Heather, is it wrong to suggest that the primary difference between SEC and ACC football is the coaching? I think Clemson, FSU, UNC and Miami have the ability to recruit the SE as well as the SEC schools, and in many cases have done so. So, if the athletes are roughly the same, is it the coaching that is building them up and preparing them that has to be called into question? Do you think that the ACC schools have to be committed to getting the best coaching staffs before the ACC will start ascending again?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
I think that's a huge part of it, Doug, especially the turnover. You look at how many coaching staffs have changed in the past five years or so in the ACC and it's pretty overwhelming. I do think the ACC meets -- and beats -- the SEC in a lot of recruiting areas, but again, I go back to up front. I think teams like LSU and Bama are just so much deeper and faster on the lines.
Joe (SLC, Utah)
Yo, HD! Huge miami fan from Utah. I hear Miami is picking up steam recruiting. Will it really help this team? People are always optimistic about the U being back, but I am always disappointed. Is the recruiting going to get this program going and what is your (way too ealy) prediction for the canes?
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
You are hearing correctly, Joe, and I think there will be plenty of opportunities to see some of those guys early. I'm always wait-and-see with how the recruiting pans out, but I'll tell you this: Considering what Al Golden has to work with and the unknown of the NCAA, I don't think Miami fans could have asked for much more out of him in regards to recruiting this year.
Generic Name (Generic Place)
Ms. Dinich-Who would be your choice between Venables and Randy Shannon for the DC position at Clemson?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
I don't know, that's a tough call. Venables certainly has the resume, but I know Randy Shannon better and know he would do a good job there. I think Clemson fans win with either one. How's that for a generic answer? :)
Don GL (East, ME)
Enjoy reading your posts. How much impact will Stephen Hill's departure have on GT next season?
Heather Dinich (1:13 PM)
Thanks. I think it was a big hit, even though they don't throw the ball often. With that being said, they've got so many skill guys returning that overall I think the position will be fine.
huh? (where? what?)
Yeah b/c Duke was just a Kicker away from BIG things..
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
Actually, they lost three games by four points or less, and for Duke, three more wins would have meant a bowl. And for Duke, six wins isn't big. It's HUGE.
So Maryland hires a DC of a team that gave up 49 to Southern Miss, 42 to UTEP, 34 to UCLA, LaTech, and Rice, and 28 to Marshall? Is this really an improvement over what they had?
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
We'll find out, but I think the 3-4 scheme will fit Maryland. Plus, he can't do much worse. Look at Maryland's numbers from last year. Yeesh.
Nurse Ratched (The ACCylum)
Hi there Heather,So, if "The Dinich" had to pick the teams for this year's ACC CG, whou would be your WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY to early picks be?Thanks for participating with the troublemakers in the ACCylum
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
You guys are trouble. How about I go out on a ledge this year and go with NC State and Georgia Tech? Or, I could just say Florida State and Virginia Tech again. Whaddaya think?
Sal Lizard (Visiting my son in Ohio)
Thanks for chatting HD. Is the ACC going to put any extra emphasis on officiating this off season? Maybe try and find a better level of consistency from game to game?
Heather Dinich (1:20 PM)
Don't turn into a Buckeye, Sal. I will have an officiating post for you later today, promise. Check the blog this afternoon.
Mike (Wilcox, Kansas)
Who's gonna be the next head coach to leave the ACC?
Heather Dinich (1:22 PM)
Voluntarily or no? I think Frank Spaziani at BC will be on a short leash this year, but I also think the Eagles will be a middle of the pack ACC/bowl team and he won't have to worry about it.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
The ACC meets and beats the SEC in recruiting? Please tell me that's a joke and I'm just missing it. Who and where exactly are you talking about? Alabama consistently picks up recruits in ACC country. It seems to me that the ACC can't land recruits in their own backyard.
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
Where is Jameis Winston from? Bama. Chris Casher? Bama. There are plenty of players from Georgia, Florida and Alabama on ACC rosters.
Idler (The ACCylum)
How short of a leash will Edsall be on this year? Will he need 7+ wins to survive or will just bowl eligible keep him around?
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
I think his contract will keep him around. Period.
UVA has PSU, @TCU and LT on the OOC schedule next year. What are the odds of consecutive bowl games for the Hoos?
Heather Dinich (1:26 PM)
I think UVa is going to have a tough time next year. They're losing a LOT on defense, and as you mentioned, they've got a pretty tough schedule. I'm not saying they won't get to a bowl game, but I think it's going to be a tough year for UVa, which is why I said GT has the best chance to knock off the Hokies.
Hendrix (Atlanta, GA)
I say Jim Grobe will step down after endless mediocrity at Wake even though he's a fantastic coach.
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
I don't see it. He IS Wake Forest, and he is a fantastic coach. And what he's done at Wake Forest isn't mediocre. He had them in contention to win the division this year.
Wayne (st petersburg, fl )
If WVU pulls out of the FSU game( which I really hope they do) Can you see them adding a better opponent than FCS school?
Heather Dinich (1:28 PM)
I don't know, it's so late in the game. Look at Virginia Tech, they got stuck with Austin Peay after ECU backed out.
Paul (Thomasville, GA)
Quick name next year's stud running backs you see emerging in the ACC.
Heather Dinich (1:29 PM)
I think you've got to start with the two names we already know -- Montel Harris and Giovani Bernard.
Hi HD,to me, the biggest difference between the ACC and SEC are the number of schools happy to just make a bowl. The SEC has a few but the ACC has Wake, Duke, NC State, UNC, Maryland, BC that won't fire a coach for going 8-5. In the SEC, they have Vandy and Kentucky. Everyone else strives to with the National championship. They won't all get there, but that's the biggest difference to me. Cutcliffe got fired at Ole Miss because he wasn't getting it done. They haven't found it yet, but they don't settle. The ACC is willing to settle (Spaziani at BC comes to mind) Thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
I don't think the ACC is "willing to settle," I just don't think that it has been good enough lately to achieve more.
I've asked you this before, but you still think the move to the ACC didn't crush BC? They've gotten so awful so fast.
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
No, the move had nothing to do with the recruiting -- or lack thereof -- under Jagz. To me, that was the biggest part of it.
Hey Heather. Huge VT Fan here. So next I understand we have our woes especially on the O-Line. But with Logan Thomas at the helm, VT consistently putting out good RB's, a WR core that is just as good as any, and a Defense that could be as possibly good as LSU or Bama, wouldnt you consider us the favor to win the ACC title and even a shot at the National Championship? I mean we always miss it ever year by 1-2 games. I understand that we have to get past FSU Clemson and all the other nagging teams like UNC, Miami, GT and now Cincy this year
Heather Dinich (1:34 PM)
Nothing would surprise me. Look at where Clemson was in 2011, sitting at 8-0. Can't say I saw that one coming. With that being said, though, there's no way I'm calling VT a national title contender this year. Not with the work that needs to be done on the offensive line and in the backfield. Yeah, somebody will emerge, but until we see who I'm not convinced in anything more than Coastal contender.
T.C. (Richmond, VA)
would it be possible to impose a ban on the words "national title" on these chats until at least 2013?
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
Lol you can try, T.C.
Christian (Greenville, SC)
Any chance of the ACC producing a real Heisman candidate this coming year?
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
Would have been better if David Wilson and/or Lamar Miller would have stuck around, but lemme tell you, I really think Logan Thomas turned a corner in that Miami game. He's going to be very, very good.
Do these coordinator hires giving us Maryland folks false hope or do they contend for bowl eligibility?
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
My early prediction is that Maryland will be a bowl team.
wayne (st petersburg)
over/under ACC has more than 5 teams in top 25 in 2012
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
Mike (Agoura Hills, CA)
Hi HD, in your opinion which new assistant coach(OC or DC) hire will help their team the most?
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
Let's see who Clemson hires, first.
Daniel A. Walters (on hold with a toothpaste company)
HD, great blog. Which team has the greatest potential to over achieve next season?
Heather Dinich (1:38 PM)
Brush up, Daniel. Interesting question. I will go with Maryland. Why? Because expectations are already so low.
Jabari (Atlanta, Ga)
I believe that FSU and Miami are the only schools capable of winning BCS/ National Championship games in the ACC because they recruit both sides of the ball well and not just offense such as Clemson (Who gave up 70). Agree or Disagree?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
Disagree. Clemson won the ACC title with that D, and it was one of the best in the country in 2010. Clemson's offense has been the problem in recent years. And UNC has recruited well, too. Virginia Tech, though, has probably come closer than any of 'em in recent years.
Will Fedora turn the tables on TOB next season?
Heather Dinich (1:41 PM)
Early prediction: No.
I Miss Mac's (Not in Clemson :()
Defense is a lot harder to instantly change than a Chad Morris offense. Barring recruited talent, what will it take in a hire to have any sort of instant success at Clemson. Who do you recommend?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
I don't know, regardless of what scheme it is, the players have to buy in or it won't work (see: Maryland). I think I told you guys last week that my pick for Clemson DC would be Tom Bradley. Again, like Shannon, it's another coach I know and am familiar with and know he'd do a good job.
I know your trying to squash the hype but with FSU team returning and there class from last year and just the ridiculous one they are putting together this year you would have to imagine that almost everyone is going to have them in there top ten, right? I am not saying they should be but if you had a top ten they wouldn't make it in would they?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
Hype squasher says yes. It's kinda hard not to.
You're a recruit from NC, choosing a NC school. Duke, UNC, NCSU.....what is the best place to be right now?
Heather Dinich (1:46 PM)
Impossible to answer because it's a personal decision with tons of other factors besides football involved, but just talking the football program and where they are, I think NC State is ahead of the game, but as we mentioned before, you can't go wrong playing for Jim Grobe.
Don GL (East, ME)
Realistically, what chances do you see of the ACC putting two teams in BCS bowls again next year?
Heather Dinich (1:47 PM)
Not good. Especially after this showing. It would have to a no-brainer, obvious inescapable decision for the bowls.
Mikel (Freeport, FL)
Will Paul Johnson ever win a bowl game again? I just don't think it's possible.
Heather Dinich (1:48 PM)
Of course he will. And North Carolina will, at some point, beat NC State again.
Heather, you seem to be harping on the lack of recruiting under Jags. Will you hold Spaz to the same standard? BC's current class (including soft commits who will likely end up elsewhere) is shaping up to be the worst class in BC history (literally, not using hyperbole).
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
Of course. If you don't recruit well, it's no secret. It shows up on Saturdays. Spaz is convinced, though, that they're going in the right direction. I think Gene D. made the right move by giving him this season to prove that.
You stated next coach to go, how soon before Groh gets the heave ho?
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
Just a guess, but if they don't show some significant improvement after his third season, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he were fired.
Mickey (Disney World)
Did you ever catch the troll on these comments that kept flagging all the users and being horribly disagreeable and offensive?
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
I got several notes in my mailbag about it and our IT team was on it, so hopefully it has been fixed.
hokieman (Rocky Top)
Did you leave the Sugar Bowl game shaking your head thinking, that was the worst coached game that I had seen. Other than Bud, what else can you say about VT staff..
Heather Dinich (1:54 PM)
The officiating stood out more than the coaching. I couldn't believe how good the defense looked against Michigan, but I also couldn't believe how poorly Michigan played. I shook my head about a lot of things in those two bowls, hokieman.
Brendan (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Hi Heather. You've mentioned the NCAA sanctions in regards to Miami, but any fair-minded person cannot deny their pro-active approach, with a self-imposed bowl ban and new rules for booster-recruit interaction. What kind of sanctions do you expect Miami to get? I personally don't think it's going to be as bad as you seem to.
Heather Dinich (1:55 PM)
Yeah, and I don't get the vibe from Miami that they think it's going to be too painful either -- otherwise you'd think they would have self-imposed some scholarship losses. Still, I think they will lose some scholarships at the very least and those can really hurt.
Lemecheck (4g iPad)
Brutal o-line for FSU equals another disapointing season. You agree?
Heather Dinich (1:56 PM)
Yeah, they've got to get better up front. I said in a recent video that if they're going to live up to any hype this year, that has to be a top priority this offseason, and it obviously will be.
Brent (Hokie Country)
you keep saying "how poorly Michigan played"... but did they really play bad, or did the VT just make them LOOK that bad. Good defenses make good offenses look bad, its not the offense, its the defense that did it. What do you think Dangerous Dinich?
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
Lol it was a combination of both. VT's defense was outstanding, but Michigan -- bleh.
Non Trick Name ( Acceptable Location)
what's your prediction for number of bowl teams the ACC gets in next year?
Heather Dinich (2:01 PM)
I think they meet their quota next year, but again, we go back to possible NCAA sanctions for Miami and UNC.
Heather Dinich (2:01 PM)
Ok guys, my time is up here. Thanks for joining me this week! See you next Tuesday.hd