Chat with Heather Dinich
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's ACC reporter 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 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:38 PM)
Hey everyone, Heather will be here at 2 p.m. ET to start her chat.
Heather Dinich (1:59 PM)
Hey guys, I'm here! Let's get started ...
Why isn't Jimbo getting any love for coach of the year? Loses 6 coaches and 7 defensive starters and the team gets better.
Heather Dinich (2:00 PM)
I think he was definitely considered by most writers, but you just can't ignore the history Duke made this season. We saw on the field the difference in talent they have to work with.
Ed (Queens Village)
What are pros and cons to FSU 5 weeks off excluding games not being played?
Heather Dinich (2:02 PM)
The biggest pro is the extra practice time - not for the bowl game, but for the future. Ask any coach not bowling this year and I'd bet he laments that the most. It evens out for FSU and Auburn as far as time off.
Jeff Taylor (Atlanta)
How do you feel georgia tech is going to do next year
Heather Dinich (2:03 PM)
Similar to this season ... I think they have a chance to be a contender again, and the defense should take another step forward under Ted Roof.
Jon B (Washington DC)
Auburn is not a defensive team by SEC standards, still is this the best defense FSU will face all year?
Heather Dinich (2:04 PM)
Hmm ... I don't know, for all of the problems the team had, Florida's defense was pretty darn good.
how will syracuse fair in their second season in the acc?
Heather Dinich (2:06 PM)
You would think they're a little better, more well-adjusted to Scott Shafer, but the problem is that with Louisville joining the Atlantic Division, it might not show in the standings.
Your early thoughts on the Orange Bowl match-up?
Heather Dinich (2:07 PM)
Mixed, to be honest. I watched a little of Ohio State-Michigan on Saturday and wasn't impressed with the Buckeyes' protection, but a lot of that was a credit to the Sparty D. I think Clemson has the better offense, but geez ... I am still trying to get over the six turnovers against South Carolina.
Jon B (Washington DC)
If this was a playoff year, do you think Alabama would be back in it over a weaker conference Champ? If so do you think an Iron bowl rematch would be a possibility?
Heather Dinich (2:08 PM)
That's a great question, Jon. I don't necessarily think so because some committee members would still probably have the same four we have in the current BCS standings.
My biggest concern for the Noles is stopping Auburn's run game. FSU does have a great defense but we have yet to see a running game like auburn's. How do you think The noles will hold up against that constant onslaught?
Heather Dinich (2:10 PM)
Yep, that should be the concern. Auburn's run game the past few weeks has been ridiculous. I don't think FSU will stop them, but they are good enough to slow them down.
Do you think FSU has reemerged as perennial NC contender for the next few years?
Heather Dinich (2:11 PM)
For sure. Why not? If they're playing in the NC one year after losing all that they did - including starting qb and six assistants - there's no reason to doubt them moving forward.
Duke next year?
Heather Dinich (2:11 PM)
David Cutcliffe says yes, they're not going anywhere, and this season wasn't a flash in the pan. He said the key to that is recruiting, and they've been doing well. This should only help.
Mike P (Greater KC)
Is FSU happy that it gets to play Auburn and not OSU or would it have mattered either way
Heather Dinich (2:12 PM)
I don't think it matters much to FSU, but it matters to everyone else -- lots of fans want to see the SEC dethroned, but on the field -- not by the computers.
Chris Dillon (Logan,WV)
Do you think it is unfair that Marshall has to play Maryland in Annapolis Maryland in the Military bowl? please keep in mind College Park is a 30 min. drive to Annapolis while it takes 6 hours to get from Huntington WV to Annapolis Maryland and it's also two day's after Christmas that will have a big affect on fans being able to travel such a far distance.
Heather Dinich (2:16 PM)
I get what you're saying, and Marshall fans probably think it's unfair, but it's just like UNC playing Cincy in Charlotte. It's just how these things work out, and I'm sure there are other examples, like Miami staying in Florida.
I think Alabama should play Florida State in the National Championship. Auburn lost to LSU, and Alabama beat LSU. So I do not think one fluke play on Auburn's part should knock Alabama out of the running for the Championship game. Anybody else out there agree?
Heather Dinich (2:17 PM)
Was it one fluke play or a bad decision to go for the field goal? Just playing devil's advocate. I don't see, though, how you can ignore head-to-head when talking about a national title. If that were the case, why have a playoff?
Adam (New York)
With the Win over Pitt, and the Opportunity for a ten win season if Miami gets to 10 could you see them as a preseason top 25
Heather Dinich (2:18 PM)
I've had Miami in my top 25 for ESPN.com each of the past two weeks. I think they could, but quarterback is going to be a big question.
As a Buckeye fan I have not seen Clemson play all year. I know we will have trouble stopping their passing game but do you think Clemson can stop OSU's running game? To me that is the key to this game.
Heather Dinich (2:20 PM)
Clemson handled Syracuse, Boston College and Georgia Tech this season, all teams that run the ball well. And after what happened the last time Clemson played in the Orange Bowl, I have a feeling the defense will show up. I don't think Clemson's D got enough credit this year.
With 8 teams having just 1 loss and only 1 team undefeated, a 4 team playoff is still not acceptable, 8 would be better and 16 is the standard set by all other Collegiate Divisions for their student-athletes, with some of them even expanding to 32 teams.
Heather Dinich (2:21 PM)
Baby steps, Eddie ...
Lewis S (Milwaukee WI )
Heathe Enjoy your column. Miami definitely made some progress this year, although the talent level was exposed beginning with the FSU game. Do you think Al Golden will bring us back to the NC stage and will he stick around?
Heather Dinich (2:22 PM)
Thanks. Yeah, I think he is the right guy for the job. He has said repeatedly that they have a lot of work to do, but I think that win over Florida in Week 2 had lots of folks jumping the gun on how much progress they really made. Plus, the injury to Stephen Morris didn't help, but I do think he sticks around to see it through.
Your thoughts on Duke instead of Miami in the Chick Fil A? I dont see Duke Competing in that game at all.
Heather Dinich (2:24 PM)
Yeah, AA and I went back and forth about that one on Saturday night for a good bit. We really thought a Miami-SEC matchup would appeal more to Chick-fil-A Bowl officials, but realized the draw of Miami-Louisville. I think Duke is going to have a very hard time, but honestly? I probably wouldn't have picked Miami to win that one, either.
ACC Fans (Everywhere)
Jimbo for coach of the year? For what, finally putting together all the top 5 recruiting classes? Apples and oranges to what Cutcliffe is doing. Not a single player on FSU could get into Duke and not a single player on Duke was recruited by FSU.
Heather Dinich (2:25 PM)
The voice of the people ... but I think Myron Rolle could not only get into Duke, but he could teach there.
Jon (Seattle, WA)
Hi Heather, back to the Alabama v Auburn comparison. I think a lot of people have been saying that the BCS definitely got it right this year, but imo Alabama does have a serious gripe. Not because of the Auburn game. As far as I'm concerned Auburn deserved that win and all the credit that goes with it. The game I find really troubling is the one against Georgia. I don't think that all losses or wins should be viewed equally and I have a really hard time viewing Auburn as a legit 1 loss team because of the ending of that Georgia game. Auburn didn't win that one, Georgia lost it. Don't mean any disrespect to Auburn. They're still crazy good, but I think Bama is better and more deserving despite the head-to-head loss.
Heather Dinich (2:27 PM)
Yes, there was the Hail Mary, but ... I mean, WOW, they did it! I don't know, maybe I'm just a sucker for a good story, Jon, but the way Auburn has found improbable ways to win and the turnaround they made from a year ago is amazing. I don't think you can fault a team for HOW it won. I'll be honest, though, if there were a four-team playoff this year, I'd have Bama in it.
So who picked first....Russell Athletic Bowl or Chick Fil A? Atlanta Cane fan here not to happy they are not coming!! Why would Chick Fil A not want Miami if they picked first??
Heather Dinich (2:28 PM)
Yeah, Chick-fil-A picked first. Maybe attendance had something to do with it?
no disrespect to the people comparing Auburn and Bama, yes bama is the most complete team in the country outside of FSU, but you know how you avoid having to have this debate let's not miss 4 fgs and leave so many points on the field. Auburn won head to head and should be a good game for the Noles
Heather Dinich (2:30 PM)
I think it will be a terrific game, but you know what? I would pick FSU to beat Bama OR Auburn. That's why I've had FSU ranked No. 1 for weeks now.
who would your 4 team playoff this year and who would win?
Heather Dinich (2:32 PM)
I can't disagree with the top four of the BCS standings now, Justin. I simply can't justify putting Ohio State in over Michigan State, and certainly not a two-loss team when there are such good one-loss teams to consider. Baylor is good, but I think the others are better.
The ACC's BCS bowl record is well documented. This year they get to play Ohio State (who has more BCS wins than any team in the country) and they get a chance to end the SEC's streak. Could the conference wipe out it's horrible national perception with two wins?
Heather Dinich (2:34 PM)
Umm, yeah. If FSU wins the national title and Clemson beats Ohio State? That should do it, but check the blog at 3 for more on that topic. I do think the ACC needs to come out with a winning record and prove it's more than just FSU.
DK (WPB, FL)
How about some discussion on what FSU might be able to do to stop that Auburn run game?
Heather Dinich (2:37 PM)
I don't think they are going to stop it, period. No team has been able to do that in the second half of the season. The scheme forces the linebackers and defensive backs to make split-second decisions. Auburn is going to get its yards -- but FSU will get more.
If we're relying on Clemson to help the ACCs bowl record we're in trouble. West Virginia anyone? The way they played against SC proved they are the same old Clemson.
Heather Dinich (2:38 PM)
I'm not saying Clemson is going to win, but I hardly think they'll give up 70.
How come no one is mentioning when they are attacking how weak the ACC is that there are 11 teams going bowling for the ACC, that is a FBC record!
Heather Dinich (2:38 PM)
Read the 3 p.m. post. Doesn't matter if all 14 teams go bowling if they finish 2-12.
next year's acc contenders? ACCCG prediction
Heather Dinich (2:39 PM)
Florida State vs. ... good grief, it's Monday, these are supposed to be easy questions. Didjya see the Coastal this year? I don't see any answers. Miami new QB, VT new QB. Maybe GT or UNC?
I always here so much about the "extra" practices a bowl game brings. How important is it for a team like Miami who plays so poorly on defense? Do they extra practices help improve their on field defensive performance against L ville?
Heather Dinich (2:41 PM)
It's huge. Some coaches go right into the opponent, others take a few practices just to focus on themselves. I think Miami should do the latter defensively.
Who has the top 3 upcoming recruiting classes in the ACC for this year?
Heather Dinich (2:43 PM)
As of right now, Miami, FSU and Clemson - in that order. Canes and FSU both in top 10
Red Lightning Fan (FL)
Is there any chance the ACC stops playing championship game at neutral site? A good neutral site would be centrally located and indoor/good weather but that doesn't really exist.
Heather Dinich (2:44 PM)
I doubt it. Again, a lot of it goes back to the sponsorship with Dr Pepper, the Legends dinner -- there are just so many things associated with the game that the ACC couldn't do on a campus.
Thoughts on the Sun Bowl matchup?
Heather Dinich (2:46 PM)
Yeah, it seems like VT fans are excited about this one and I'm not sure why. UCLA is good. I don't think the Hokies' offense can keep up with them. We haven't done predictions yet, but I'm leaning towards UCLA.
Jeff (Virginia Beach)
The attendance seemed pretty light Saturday night. It looked like the a lot of the upper deck was empty. Can the ACC do anything to draw fans to the game?
Heather Dinich (2:47 PM)
It was better than it looked, reported attendance was over 60k, and it was probably better than last year. There's nothing the ACC can do. It's a matchup-sensitive game.
How good is Jameis in baseball?
Heather Dinich (2:48 PM)
Good enough that he can make more money than all of us in either sport.
Your thoughts on the rediculous amount of bowl games....i get that it's all about corporate sponsorship $$$, but honestly, for all the 6-7 win teams going to a bowl, call it what it is...AN EXTRA GAME...not a reward for a great season.
Heather Dinich (2:49 PM)
Tell the players it's not a reward and you'll break their hearts, Laura. Some of those guys - like at Syracuse - had to work until the last second to get that bowl trip.
Max (Dayton, Ohio)
So who does the ACC want to win the Russell Athletic Bowl? One of the ACC's traditional powers (Miami), or the ACC's newest power (Louisville)?
Heather Dinich (2:50 PM)
Ha ... honestly, I think it's a win-win for the ACC.
The Terps are playing 45 minutes from home. That's not a reward.
Heather Dinich (2:50 PM)
C'mon, Annapolis is beautiful this time of year. Seriously ... you don't think it's a reward after the past two seasons they've had? They'd play a bowl game in Byrd Stadium if they had to.
HD do you have an opinion on the Heather Cox interview with Jameis Winston after the ACC Championship game?
Heather Dinich (2:53 PM)
Of course. I thought it was immature of him to walk away. He could have said, "Look, I just want to celebrate with my teammates. I'm not answering any more questions about that."
Derek (Mount Airy)
Any news yet on who will be Wake's new coach??
Heather Dinich (2:54 PM)
No, there have been some names floating out there, but nothing confirmed yet.
Baxter (Parts Unknown)
Hi Heather, in your eyes which non-BCS game is the best of the bunch? My guess would be Wisconsin vs. South Carolina....
Heather Dinich (2:59 PM)
Yes, for sure, that one would get my vote. Also looking forward to seeing Missouri Ok State
Heather Dinich (2:59 PM)
Ok guys, my time here is up. Thanks for joining me, I'll see you next week -- back at the regular 1 p.m. ET slot.