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 1 p.m. ET!
Heather Dinich (1:00 PM)
Hello, ACC fans. Happy Monday. Let's go ...
Jon (Atlanta / GA)
Hey HD... and Happy Monday. Here's my question.. I have noticed the last couple of years that the Atlantic division is far ahead of the Coastal. How much longer do you see the Atlantic carrying that advantage?
Heather Dinich (1:01 PM)
While it might feel like that, if you look at the actually records between the two divisions, and the ACC champs, it's about as balanced as it can get (the biggest reason ACC officials hesitate to switch up the divisions, competitive balance). If you're just looking at FSU-Clemson, though, yeah, in recent years they've been the heavyweights. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Heather what a season FSU had last year. I still can't believe we won the National Championship. Our 2014 football schedule is going to be a little tougher than last year. I think we have a good shot of running the tables again but a couple of games have me worried. Who do you think will be our toughest games?
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
I agree that it will be more difficult, Jim. The games that jump out at me are the opener against Oklahoma State, and the road trips to Louisville and Miami, the home game against Notre Dame. If I had to pick one I'd say at Louisville because it's on the road on a Thursday night, but ND will probably be toughest game.
HD how was duke johnson left off the top 25 players list
Heather Dinich (1:04 PM)
He just missed too many games, Chris, but I'm sure he'll be on the preseason top 25. No doubt he's one of the best, but we felt he missed too much time to take somebody else's spot.
Is Duke going to see any payoff on signing day from their strong 2013 season? Or is that going to be a more long term deal?
Heather Dinich (1:06 PM)
Sure, they've got three four-star guys in their class right now. No doubt they've had more to sell this year, it had to have an impact on the recruiting trail, but it's also a long-term deal.
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how good can clemson be despite losing boyd and watkins. and can they south carolina?
Heather Dinich (1:07 PM)
No way am I picking them to beat South Carolina right now, but I do still think they'll be one of the top 3 teams in the Atlantic Division because the defense will be so good.
Max (Dayton, Ohio)
Hi Heather, aside from QB (although most of us feel very confident about this), what are some of the biggest questions facing Louisville heading into the ACC?
Heather Dinich (1:08 PM)
I think you have to question their defense. They lose seven starters, including five in the front seven. Plus, all of the other changes and intangible transitions that come with every staff change.
Jon (Atlanta / GA)
Looking at GT's schedule next year... I foresee another 7 win season. What are your thoughts? Am I expecting too much to ask for 8-9 wins?
Heather Dinich (1:10 PM)
Yeah, I think 8-9 is aiming a little high. I don't think they'll beat Duke. I think they go 3-1 in their noncom sked, and then beat a few teams like Virginia, maybe Miami, NC State, Pitt ... some toss-ups, but I don't see them separating.
Since you've been around the ACC for a while, what is the general feeling about the addition of Louisville? We UofL fans are thrilled, but just curious about our perception joining the league.
Heather Dinich (1:11 PM)
Well, other folks here on the chat feel free to chime in, but I've gotten nothing but positive vibes (except maybe from Miami fans :) )
Brian (Columbia SC)
I was going into the offseason expecting to see an announcement of Kurt Roper's replacement(s) at Duke. I've seen references on a message board to Scottie Montgomery being elevated to Offensive Coordinator, but I'm unable to find any official announcement on this or what will be done for QB coach. Are you hearing anything?
Heather Dinich (1:12 PM)
All I know is that Cutcliffe is NOT calling the plays, but I've got an interview lined up with him for Wednesday afternoon, and it's on my list of questions to ask him about.
What do you make of NC State heading into this next season? It seems like they've been an up-and-down program for several years. What are they missing?
Heather Dinich (1:14 PM)
I wrote earlier this a.m. that they are "on the rise." What they've been missing is depth, (tons of injuries), and last year they were missing an ace quarterback. They've also struggled to really get a respectable running game going. I think they make a huge leap this fall.
I'm kinda worried about BC next year, feel like they caught lightning in a bottle and they can't expect mecha-production out of their backs every year. Plus, BC has the worst fanbase in the ACC. Alumni Stadium is like the anti-home field advantage.
Heather Dinich (1:15 PM)
Well, with a new quarterback they won't HAVE to give the ball to their RB every snap. I expect the Eagles to take a step back this fall, though, without Andre Williams leading the offense.
I still firmly believe Golden is making a very big mistake keeping his DC. What are you thoughts on both the OC and DC at Miami?
Heather Dinich (1:18 PM)
I was surprised he didn't make a change at DC, but I don't think Coley was the problem on offense. The bottom line is that Al Golden knows he needs to win there, and I don't doubt that he would make the changes he thought necessary to do that. That being said, if the defense doesn't make any progress this year, something has to change.
Paul (Chapel Hill)
Louisville joining the ACC brings a really good quality team that ups the competition of the league. Football? Football? Don't forget basketball. The ACC is the powerhouse basketball league and now we are getting better in football. Louisville, the Orangemen and Pitt are welcomed with open arms
Heather Dinich (1:19 PM)
See? Positive vibes ...
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
True or False, Freshmen WR Ermon Lane would have more impact as freshmen if he signs, than Dalvin Cook, given the departure of Kelvin Benjamin?
Heather Dinich (1:20 PM)
I'm not sure about that. My understanding is that Cook is good enough to be a solid No. 2 right now.
Hey Heather, any word on if Javon Harrison will remain committed to the Hokies? There's talk he may flip to FSU
Heather Dinich (1:21 PM)
Hearing the same talk, Tyler. The Hokies got the last official visit, but our recruiting guys had him one of five to watch on signing day: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/ncfrecruiting/on-the-trail/post?id=51948
Robert VT (B'Burg, VA)
Hi Heather! I think VT's Kam Chancellor played a whale of a boom-boom defensive game for the the Seahawks last night and represented VT and the ACC in fine fashion. Do you think Bud Foster's defense will just reload next year, just like always?
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Yeah, the more I watch the NFL, the more I see guys I used to talk to. Guess that just means I'm getting old. :( I do think the Hokies will continue to reload. #lunchpail is a tradition, the expectations are high.
yehonala04 (St. Augustine)
Welcome to the 'Ville. Another charming city to visit for the Nole fans. They have demonstrated the commitment to achieve great things.
Heather Dinich (1:23 PM)
Should be a fun road trip, for fans who can swing a Thursday night.
Ryan (Princeton, NJ)
FSU fans are happy with the UoL addition. As long as Louisville wins, it'll be a better perceived W for the Noles than Maryland :)
Heather Dinich (1:24 PM)
Bobby Boucher (ATL)
Who has a better rebound year UM or Clemson??Who is the sleeper team this year ie Duke??
Heather Dinich (1:25 PM)
How can you say Clemson is rebounding after that season? If you pick a sleeper it's gotta come from the Coastal, because I don't think anyone is gonna knock off FSU. So ... is UNC considered a sleeper?
Looking forward, '14 looks great but '15 looks very scary to me losing Jaboo and all OL. Do you think the Noles can continue a winning run in '15?
Heather Dinich (1:27 PM)
Look, after what they did this past season after all they lost? I'm not going to doubt they can continue to find ways. I have no idea if they'll be NC good, but clearly they've recruited well enough to reload, not rebuild anymore.
Thanks for the ACC love for Louisville! You won't find a fanbase more excited about the ACC than us. We are also honored to be in such great company! Go Cards!
Heather Dinich (1:29 PM)
Must be close to Valentine's Day ... I'm feeling the love ...
sam (New york )
hello Heather, who are your sleeper teams of the acc this year. can Al golden make the hurricanes champions again.
Heather Dinich (1:30 PM)
Look, I really hate to break it to Miami fans, but Andrea and I were talking last week about the Canes, and ... well, we just don't see any miracles happening this season. They need a quarterback!!
how good are the hurricanes going to be this year who will win the costal
Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)
Truth: I can't decide if I should pick Duke or UNC to win the Coastal this year. Whaddaya think?
Trey (Smyrna, GA)
GT's starting QB for '14? Your thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:34 PM)
Well, I think you have to start with Justin Thomas. Lee's decision to leave opens the door for him to take it over, and he's more of a true option QB. He's got some experience, but if he's that good why wasn't he already the starter? I think GT has plenty more questions than just QB heading into next year.
Charles (Va Beach)
Don't count out the hokies. Defense will reload and offense should improve despite a new QB
Heather Dinich (1:35 PM)
I'll believe it when I see it with that offense, Charles. Hoping to learn a lot more about it this spring.
Good afternoon Heather,Where will the conferance championship be held at this year and the years afterward. I am part of the demolition crew in Orlando Citrus Bowl. What they will have built here this time next year will be really nice. Any thoughts?
Heather Dinich (1:36 PM)
Hey Jordan, yeah, AA I were just talking about that construction earlier today. As of right now, the ACC hasn't announced a future site, but my guess is they stick with Charlotte.
Ryan (Princeton, NJ)
We all know about his gregarious personality, but do you think there's a potential for Winston to experience a sophomore slump, especially if he presses to try and beat his numbers from last year?
Heather Dinich (1:37 PM)
Look, we're talking about a Heisman Trophy-worthy season. If he repeats that, I'll be impressed, but Winston has already made a name for himself by exceeding expectations. I think the bigger question is can the supporting cast, with a few name changes, be as terrific as the one he had to work with last year?
Your thoughts on Louisville recruiting right before signing day. They got off to a slow start with the new coaching staff but seem to be coming on somewhat as of late. Can they and will they compete in the ACC next season? Thanks and keep up the great work.
Heather Dinich (1:38 PM)
Heck yeah, Louisville can and will compete with the ACC next year, even with all of their losses. I still think they'll be one of the top three teams in the Atlantic Division.
Bill (Alabaster aL)
Heather, I listened in on the FSU NC celebration and twice heard Winston say he will be measured on next year nd the next year. It made it sound as if he was saying two more years he'd be at FSU. What do you think his chances of staying more than 1 year is?
Heather Dinich (1:41 PM)
I didn't hear that, Bill, sorry, but if he's projected as high as everyone seems to think in both sports, I don't know why on earth he'd stick around.
As a Noles Fan, I am looking forward to seeing UofL on the schedule, however I would like to visit Atlanta and Chapel Hill more often and Boston college and Syracuse and Wake Forest less. Any future thoughts on the ACC Conferance Realignments and better scheduling for Geographically Purposes and travel costs?
Heather Dinich (1:42 PM)
Nope, I haven't gotten that vibe from ACC officials, but I am also trying to get the commish on the phone this week to catch up about winter meetings and plan to ask him more about it then.
Since you state Miami needs a QB and seeing how badly Morris was playing last season, wouldn't it have been better to bench Morris last year and start grooming someone else.
Heather Dinich (1:44 PM)
No. Don't forget he was injured, and that certainly didn't help the situation much. They had their best option on the field at the time. You gotta go with experience.
what are your thoughts on clemsons recruiting class? Is there any big names that could end up signing on signing day with them?
Heather Dinich (1:45 PM)
I think it looks good, they've got a great quarterback in there, it's ranked in the top 20, and they've got some great skill players who are really expected to flourish under Chad Morris. Don't ask me to predict what will happen on signing day. Please.
"with a new quarterback, they won't HAVE to give the RB the ball." Are you saying Rettig wasn't a good passer? One of just four quarterbacks in school history who has thrown for more than 7,000 yards and was a 3,000 yard passer one season.
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
Rettig had the misfortune of having to play for about five offensive coordinators, and I think it showed at times. I'm just saying that he wasn't exactly the perfect fit for what Addazio likes to run. Rettig did a respectable job, but their offense is going to look different without him and Williams in the lineup. Addazio likes more of a dual-threat QB, and he's got the options now.
Heather Dinich (1:50 PM)
Ok guys, gotta cut it a few minutes short today. Thanks for joining me this week, I'll see you next Monday!hd