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 1 p.m. ET!
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here, let's get started.
Heather, Thank you for your insight and analysis.So are we led to believe that the only key discussion at the ACC meetings were a "maybe for BBall in NYC"--seems very little coming out..is that because Maryland was at meeting? And is there new football division allignment --or is Louisville just going to take Maryland's spot against UVA?
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
Yes, you are right, these meetings were kind of a dud as far as news goes, but I was told REPEATEDLY by several different sources that it really was a non-agenda meeting and more of an opportunity for the ADs to have broad discussions. Yes, Louisville just expected to take Terps' spot. There might be more news in May at the spring meetings.
With a resurgence in football possibly happening in Miami, and if Virginia Tech gets back to their old form (winning 8-10) games, where do you see the ACC stack up as a whole against the other conferences with Clemson and FSU leading the pack?
Heather Dinich (1:03 PM)
Depends -- is the Big Ten still losing bowl games?
Adam (New York)
How will the Hiring of Coley help Miami going forward
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
Most definitely in recruiting. He knows that area so well -- he grew up near the old Orange Bowl. Said if you ever went to a game there, you probably parked in front of his house. So recruiting will be the biggest area.
Hi Heather - What's your take on Miami's recruiting situation thus far? Think we've got some talent coming in, so Dr. Golden can afford to be picky?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
They've got four members of the ESPN150, the class is looking good. I think as long as Miami fills its needs for that class, that's the most important thing.
Which ACC team will have the biggest signing day?
Heather Dinich (1:09 PM)
We put it to a vote last week between Clemson, FSU and MIA and it was pretty close last time I checked. Last week I guessed FSU would, but that is purely a guess. Check the blog after the chat, though, to find out who NEEDS the biggest signing day.
Do you see FSU football ranked in the top 10 pre-season?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
Not in my poll. Not with two new coordinators and six total new assistants.
What caused the mass exodus of coaches at FSU this year?
Heather Dinich (1:16 PM)
It was a variety of reasons, but to me the main point was better opportunities. A chance for James Coley to have play-calling duties, a chance for Mark Stoops to be HC, a chance for Eddie Gran to be a coordinator.
Will Hopkins departure be a big loss for Clemson?
Heather Dinich (1:17 PM)
No doubt, but it's not like Clemson doesn't have any receivers. Plus, it's also a chance for Sammy Watkins to step out of Hopkins' shadow and remind us why he's a special athlete.
Heather, How do you think GT will do this season, with the return of Ted Roof to hopefully spark the defense?
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
I think the Jackets will be one of the most improved teams in the ACC, and not just because of the hire of Roof. The defense made plenty of strides in the second half of the season of 2012 that it can build on, and GT returns a majority of its key players.
Realistically, what do you think Clemson's, or any other ACC team for that matter, chances are at a National Championship this season?!
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
I think Clemson will have the best team, but it also has the toughest schedule. If it can survive with one loss, they'll have an outside chance. We'll know right away with the UGA game.
While neither have what I would decribe as a flaming hot seat, which Coach has a slightly warmer fanny heading into next fall, Coach London or Coach Johnson?
Heather Dinich (1:20 PM)
Definitely Mike London. They took a step back last season. I think both of them will be fine, though.
I know it is super Early... But Va Tech have ANY Chance against Bama?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
Early? You should only hope VT had more time to prepare.
James (Oceanside, CA)
Who steps up for North Carolina at running back with Benard entering early for the NFL draft?
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
I spoke with A.J. Blue, and he seems determined to be the guy. Check the blog for more on that interview this morning.
What's Cutcliffe's ceiling at Duke? Division title?
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Man, after what happened this past season (a new low for the Coastal Division), nothing would surprise me. I mean, Wake Forest played its way into the Orange Bowl. I'm not going to say Duke will never win an ACC title. No way. Not in this league. Longshot? Heck yeah. Wouldn't predict it. But they can win the Coastal. Almost did.
Jeff (Newton, Mass)
What's up with BC losing a QB commit to UConn? UConn!?!
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
I wouldn't get all worked up over that. They gained one that better fit Addazio's style. Wasn't personal. Just scheme.
Are you hearing anything about GT switching with Lville next year? if anything....what is your take?
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
Just rumors, but nothing confirmed from the ACC. If/when it's verified, I'll put it in the blog.
David (Canton, Ohio)
What recent ACC grad has surprised you most in the NFL? Good and Bad.
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
Man, I was watching the Super Bowl last night thinking how neat it was that I used to talk to Vernon Davis, Torrey Smith, Tyrod Taylor ... on a regular basis. Great to see those guys succeed on such a high level, even if Tyrod is stuck behind Flacco. Who cares? He was just part of something amazing.
robert VT (Blacksburg, VA)
Hi Heather, thanks for your good reports to us. How do you feel the HOKIES will do on NSD? 247Sports & Rivals rate the HOKIES recruiting high in the ACC, but I notice above you don't mention them !
Heather Dinich (1:29 PM)
Our recruiting experts have them at No. 16 in the country right now. Personally, I think that's great considering the offensive staff overhaul they had.
Antwan (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Hi Heather, Who do you think will be the most improved player in the ACC will be?
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
Hmm. I think Vad Lee, GT QB has to be in the conversation for that award next year. He really has the potential to be a great quarterback for the Jackets, but he has to secure the position this offseason and run with it.
James (Oceanside, CA)
Do you see other ACC teams recruiting athletes in the Northeast with the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse? Or very little impact on the recruiting base?
Heather Dinich (1:32 PM)
I don't think Florida State is going to head up to Connecticut unless there is a really special player up that way just because of the additions of Cuse and Pitt. Coaches/programs stick with what they're comfortable with and what they know.
REF: Logan Thomas...analysts are saying if he has a great year next year he could go very high in the 1st round.....honestly, if he has a half descent year he will go very high or possibly #1...6'6", 260lbs....you can't coach that and he has all the intangibles...NFL scouts have to be drooling.
Heather Dinich (1:33 PM)
He made the right decision coming back, and you're right about the intangibles, but he still needs to make better decisions this year. Equally as important, the players around him have to be better, and the coaches have to put them in positions to succeed.
flipp2hokie (Wild and Wonderful)
With the coaching turn over at both Va. Tech and UVA which team will come out ahead on recruiting and over all success on the field in the years to come?
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
This sounds like another good poll post for some point this week, but my kneejerk reaction here is that until proven otherwise, the Hokies own the state. Virginia has to find a way to start to turn the tables on the field. UVa has more to prove, obviously, but the changes level the playing field a bit more, that's for sure.
With the dust settling after a coaching upheaval what is your prediction for FSU football...program still on the rise? more of the same? headed back to mediocrity?
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
The good news for FSU is that there is still PLENTY of talent on the roster. They're reloading, not rebuilding, and they just won the Orange Bowl and an ACC title. The coaching changes and the change at quarterback are the biggest question marks. I would say it is still on the rise, but that last year was its best shot for a national title.
Tom (Greenville, SC)
Hello, Heather! Clemson is a perennial underachiever. Constantly raking in SEC-level talent, but never breaking through. That comes down to coaching. What changes do you see that need to be made to finally take it to the next level?
Heather Dinich (1:38 PM)
Hey Tom, I think Clemson has already made those changes, and I think we saw that pay off with last season and the win over LSU. If you ask me, last year was "breaking through." Now it's time to take it to the next level.
What kind of sanctions do you see being impose on Miami and how will it affect the rest of the league?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
You mean it didn't happen yet? After the NCAA's ... I don't even know what to call it ... botched investigation ... you would think that Miami's worst sanctions were the self-imposed ones, but no way am I gonna try and guess what the NCAA is thinking or doing. My opinion is that the worst SHOULD be behind the Canes.
Mike Slive (SEC country)
If I take Clemson and Florida State, what's your next move as ACC commish?
Heather Dinich (1:40 PM)
Call you for a job?
Kendall (Sumter, SC)
HD, That wasn't you I saw in the streets of Baltimore after the game last night ws it? OK, on another note, if Clemson is able to get past UGA, who, other than FSU or SCAR, do you see as having the best chance of pulling an upset?
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Lol, nope, wasn't me. I give the nod to FSU. They will be tired of hearing about Clemson all offseason and confident from last year's win. As for South Carolina? Clemson couldn't possibly lose that game AGAIN could it? (uh, yeah, it could, but I'll go with FSU).
Assuming FSU has all the problems everyone is speculating about going into next season, what is the major thing you think the Noles need to do stay on top of the ACC?
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Find a quarterback.
Cot C. (Round Rock, Texas)
Which backup QB from last season that could play this season has impressed you the most?
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
I mentioned Vad Lee before and I'll say it again. I thought he was the most impressive backup, but don't forget about Anthony Boone at Duke. He actually has the strongest arm of the Duke QBs.
Heather-- with the turmoil in Miami and the staffing changes at FSU, has UF now become the leader for in-state recruiting and how long do you see Muschamp keeping that pace going like Saban in Alabama?
Heather Dinich (1:47 PM)
Florida has the best class in the country right now. How much of that has to do with FSU's staff changes, Miami's NCAA investigation, etc.? I don't think it's smart to lump all of that together. Too much generalization. The bottom line is that the Gators are outrecruiting everyone right now -- not just their in-state rivals.
Robert VT (Blacksburg, VA)
HD, why are you so high on FSU with all the coaching changes going on there in the past 2 months ?
Heather Dinich (1:48 PM)
I wouldn't say I'm high on FSU, Robert -- I don't think they're a top 10 team right now, and Clemson is my pick to win the Atlantic. But I don't think you count them out as a contender to win the ACC again, not with that roster.
Do you think Montavious Adams signs with Clemson or Georgia?
Heather Dinich (1:49 PM)
Our experts are sticking with Georgia.
Will BC finish in last place this year?
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
Yes. I think it's going to be a rough start for Steve Addazio.
With all of the coaching changes is this really one of the most crucial signing days FSU has had in recent years? In other words do you think they are at a make or break moment?
Heather Dinich (1:52 PM)
As of right now, Florida State has the No. 10 class in the country. Considering all of the staff changes, don't you guys think that's pretty good? Obviously they were going to take some hits in this class, and they did, but it's hardly all doom and gloom.
Heather Dinich (1:56 PM)
Ok guys, I gotta cut it short a bit today and get back to work here, thanks so much for joining me. See you next week!