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August 19, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (3:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. It's ACC day on ESPN.com, so let's get started.

Marc (Charlotte)

Does UNC have the best front 7 in the conference?

Heather Dinich
  (3:01 PM)

The first team that could rival them that comes to mind is Clemson. And while UNC has a lot of potential up front, it hasn't realized it yet. But yes, I expect that to be one of the best groups in the ACC.

Leo (Cedar City, UT)

What are the odds that TCU beats Virginia and Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (3:02 PM)

Actually, I think the chances are pretty good, except that both of those are road trips for TCU. Clemson has the talent to win that game and should. It's so early in Virginia's schedule I think they'll still be working out kinks in their offense.

Mike (State College, PA)

Heather, the fact that no team in the ACC had less than 4 losses last year solidifies it's mediocrity as a league right now. Granted, the Big Ten and Pac 10 may not be as good from top to bottom, but those conferences combined had 4 teams w/ 3 or less losses, and 3 teams in contention for the national title (USC, OSU, PSU). With that said, shouldn't we all agree that the ACC is probably the 5th best conference in the land?

Heather Dinich
  (3:03 PM)

I'll say this -- the ACC has the chance, the CHANCE, to be the third-best conference this year. What separates the ACC from the others, though, is the lack of a national title contender recently. Ohio State, USC, Florida, Texas, etc. Every other conference has had one.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

What are the odds the Hokies-Tide game gets decided by the kickers and the punters?

Heather Dinich
  (3:04 PM)

Pretty good. I really think it's going to be a low-scoring, defensive game. Even without Evans, I expect it to be close, but I also expect Alabama to be better.

Taz (DC)

HD,My hands broken, but i'm making an effort to type, so you have to answer my Q!Beamer said on ESPN radio that his OL may not be ready to handle the tides DL. Tactical / motivational speaking, or hard cold truth? Tech usually does well against the 3-4 Defense, and beamer himself said tech prolly has the deepest OL they've had in awhile there too.

Heather Dinich
  (3:05 PM)

Alabama's defensive line is proven. The Hokies "should" be better, but I think even many VT fans are waiting until they see it to believe it. And just for the record, I did not hear Beamer say that.

Bill (Germany)

Do you really think the canes have the best recieving core in the ACC? If so why did Marve have such a mediocre year with basically the same guys?

Heather Dinich
  (3:06 PM)

I think they have the deepest. We'll see if they're the best. Miami struggled to find consistency at qb last year with the way both Marve and Jacory were used. I expect more from Jacory, the o-line, and for Miami to narrow down its receivers. I'm looking for LaRon Byrd to separate himself.

lorcan (chicago)

fi spazinani wins less than 5 games will it be his fault?

Heather Dinich
  (3:07 PM)

Ha. Poor Spaz. No, I don't think many people would point the finger at him in his first season without his top two linebackers, any quarterback with collegiate experience, and missing two NFL tackles up front.

Jason (Kernersville, NC)

I heard this morning, Wake Forest lost a WR. It always hurts to lose a player in before the season starts. How will this effect the WR's, Riley Skinner, or more importantly Wake Forest?

Heather Dinich
  (3:08 PM)

Well, Terence Davis had not played yet as a redshirt freshman, so who knows how much of an impact he would have had. The staff was looking for him to contribute, though. Chris Givens has been playing well at wideout. I still think they'll be ok and this allows Skylar Jones a chance to get on the field.

Tom (Halifax, VA)

UNC stepping forward or backwards this year? I just don't see a thin OL and a young inexperienced receiving core meshing well together. Is the defense really enough to bail them out?

Heather Dinich
  (3:09 PM)

I spoke with their o-line coach yesterday, and he said they're doing the best they can with the cards they were dealt. They DO still have veterans there, and good running backs and an experienced qb in Yates. The defense will have to be the answer early, but depth isn't a problem you can solve with game experience. I think it will be hard for UNC to top last year.

Su (Washington, DC)

Is FSU's defense really that big of a question mark, or is Andrews being his typical pessimistic self?

Heather Dinich
  (3:11 PM)

Ha, Mickey definitely has a high standard, but the Noles do have room for improvement. I feel like they're reloadind, though, and they're especically deep on the interior line. Dekoda Watson should be a beast, and Patrick Robinson should be an all-acc candidate in the secondary.

Matt (Philadelphia)

As an ND alum seeing BC every season, I've said for years that Spaz was the most underrated coordinator out there. Can he carry that over as the head man?

Heather Dinich
  (3:12 PM)

I think he can because he's got the blue-collar personality and loyalty to BC that BC needs. He can get the players, and he seems like he's got the right people around him.

Jason (CP)

Why is there no love for maryland. I know were not the greatest team this year but you rarely have anything positive to say. I think the nicest thing i ever read was a complement about fridge's weightloss. We do has a lot of potiential. Despite our quasterback looking like napoleon dynomite players like torrey smith and da'rel scott are got leaders, can put up numbers, and give us wins. i was wondering if you had anything good to say about maryland today?

Heather Dinich
  (3:13 PM)

Actually, I do. I think they're loaded with young talent, particularly at receiver, and I think the rest of the ACC better watch out for Nolan Carrol. And Don Brown's new defensive scheme will be a huge upgrade.

Ryan (Virginia)

What are the chances of seeing a dual threat system at UVa similar to the Matt Scaub/Marques Hagans with Jamell Sewell and Vic Hall?

Heather Dinich
  (3:14 PM)

I get the sense that Gregg Brandon is going to have his best athletes on the field, period. And he'll need them. If Hall is starting at QB, it wouldn't surprise me -- or Sewell - in the least if he were lined up elsewhere.

AJ (Charleston, SC)

Who do you is the best RB in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (3:16 PM)

Georgia Tech fans kill me for this, but I say it's C.J. Spiller because of his versatility. Dwyer is a more pure runner, but Spiller is a threat as a receiver and returner. Heck, he even threw a TD pass once.

Ben (Atlanta)

How many new coaches will we see in the ACC in 2010? Who's job is in the most peril?

Heather Dinich
  (3:17 PM)

Ugh, let's hope none, because the ACC has had enough turnover in the past few years -- Duke, BC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, UNC. Enough is enough. In the most peril? I honestly think everyone - even Groh and Shannon - are safe this fall.

MP (Orlando)

Do think Jermaine Thomas can have a breakout year for the noles this season?

Heather Dinich
  (3:18 PM)

Behind that offensive line? I think I could have a breakout year.

Steve (Philly)

Heather, count me in as someone who misses your honest coverage of the terps over at the Sun. How many wins do you think they'll get. Will we beat Rutgers and Cal?

Heather Dinich
  (3:20 PM)

Thanks, Steve. Maryland's entire season will depend on how its offensive line fares, and if its anything like the recent scrimmage, they're going to struggle. As usual, though, I expect Maryland will win games nobody thinks it will and lose a game they're not supposed to. Middle-of-the-pack team until proven otherwise. Cal will be a tough game, Rutgers is home and could be a win.

Luke (Richmond, VA)

Have you ever been to a night (possibly a thursday) game at Lane Stadium?...Did it change your life?

Heather Dinich
  (3:20 PM)

Ha ... of course, and no doubt one of the best college atmospheres out there. Nothing beats actually standing on the field, though, for Enter Sandman.

Paul (Cape Coral, FL)

Realistically, how well do you think FSU will do this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:21 PM)

No doubt a contender for the Atlantic Division. Next year, though, I think they could be "Virginia Tech hype" good.

Kevin (Wilson, NC)

Do you think UNC will go 4-0 in its non-conference schedule this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:23 PM)

Let's see, they've got The Citadel, at Connecticut, ECU and Georgia Southern. Not much is expected from UConn. I think East Carolina might be the one trap game, but yes, it's reasonable to expect that, and it's also time for the receivers to adjust to the college game.

Joel (Fayetteville, NC)

Okay Heather, we've got to talk about Duke. I think the key to their bowl hopes lies in the Kansas game. What chances do you see them having of knocking off the Jayhawks in Lawerence?

Heather Dinich
  (3:25 PM)

Ah, of all the teams, no, not Kansas. They're facing some pretty high expectations. In fact, it might be Mark Mangino's best team (and I saw the one that played the Hokies in the OB).

Kevin (Tampa)

In your recent memory have you ever seen such a brutal schedule as Miami's first 4 games? If they go 4-0 where would you rank them?

Heather Dinich
  (3:25 PM)

If Miami goest 4-0, consider the Canes a contender for the national title. Heck yeah, I'd rank them, but 2-2 sounds more realistic to me. And no, I can't remember a more unforgiving schedule.

Loup (DC)

Do you have nothing to say about GT? Which team will we see next season, the GT we saw most of the year, or the GT that choked at "home" against LSU in the Chik fil a bowl?

Heather Dinich
  (3:27 PM)

I always have something to say, that's why I need a delete button. The GT that won 9 games is the real deal, the LSU loss was the anomoly. If they can get their d-line together, they could win the ACC.

Adam (Canton, NY)

What's the ACC's best non-conference game that doesn't involve VT?

Heather Dinich
  (3:28 PM)

I'm eager to see Miami/Oklahoma, Maryland/Cal to name a few. Of course you've got FSU/Florida and Georgia/GT.

Matt (Philadelphia)

How significant is the Kevin Steele hiring at Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (3:28 PM)

Huge. He's only going to make them better, and he loves to put pressure on quarterbacks, which Da'quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp are both pretty good at.

Dave (Detroit)

Heather, come back to your roots - talk about the Big Ten for a sec. Do you think Rodriguez can turn it around at Michigan or did they make a mistake?

Heather Dinich
  (3:29 PM)

Ha, I think the more he recruits to fit his personnel, the better off they'll be. I'm thinking eight-win season. They'll be alright eventually.

Nate ( Lakeland, FL )

Which acc game should FSU be most concerned about?

Heather Dinich
  (3:30 PM)

Wake jumps to my head for obvious reasons, but that Thursday night game in Chapel Hill should be a good one -- for the Heels.

Rob (Raleigh)

Heather, do you think Russell Wilson and the Pack can beat the Old Ball Coach from South Carolina and his Gamecocks to kick off the season on ESPN?

Heather Dinich
  (3:30 PM)

I will be there to find out.

Paul (NY)

Will Boston College make a bowl this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:30 PM)

Doubtful.

Trav (SC)

will cj spiller win the heisman

Heather Dinich
  (3:31 PM)

Nope.

Kevin (Tampa)

If you were the schedule Queen for a day, which ACC match up would you like to see this year that's not scheduled?

Heather Dinich
  (3:32 PM)

I can't remember the last time Wake played Virginia Tech. To me, they're the two best coaches in the ACC. I'd like to see Beamer vs. Grobe.

Greg (Washington, DC)

I've enjoyed Wake Forest's improvement over the last several years under Jim Grobe. However, it recently seems like many of the other schools in the ACC have upgraded their coaching and/or recruiting. While Wake has been able to compete for recruits that it probably would not have had a chance at getting five years ago, do you think their doing enough to stay competitive or even continue their ascent towards the top of the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (3:33 PM)

Speaking of Jim Grobe ... Absolutely. Wake is at the point where an eight-win season is suddenly disappointing. They're in the midst of their most successful run in school history. Staff continuity is a huge bonus. And that Pahokee pipeline keeps running, which means so will the athletes. All is well in W-S.

Tim (Charlotte)

Will Kyle Parker start all 12 games?

Heather Dinich
  (3:35 PM)

Eh ... I'm not convinced. Dabo isn't afraid to make a change if he needs to.

Andrew (greensboro)

What are your thoughts on NC State-UNC the last game of the season. What are the odds that there would be a rematch the following week at the ACCCG?

Heather Dinich
  (3:36 PM)

Well, NC State coach Tom O'Brien called it "dumb" for the very reason you mentioned, but I say if you're fortunate enough to be playing in the ACCCG, tough. I think the odds of a rematch are actually pretty good. NC State is as capable of winning the Atlantic as anyone, and if UNC's receivers develop, same can be said for them in the Coastal.

Timmah (TALLAHASSEE)

HOW MUCH WILL THE NOLE BEAT THE CANES BY ON SEPT 7th?ARE YOU STILL FAVORING THE TEAM WITH NEW OC AND DC?

Heather Dinich
  (3:37 PM)

Call it a hunch, just like last year when I picked Miami to beat VT.

Ralph ((NC))

how do you think Chris Turner will play this year for Maryland? Do you think the win 8 games this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:38 PM)

Like I said before, Turner will need some help in pass pro from his line, and right now I'm not sure if he'll get it. If he's more consistent, he could have a great year.

cody (Atlanta)

will GT catch anyone off guard again with the triple option attack

Heather Dinich
  (3:39 PM)

YES! GT will be better at executing it, and that's a promise from Paul Johnson.

Andrew (Nashville)

Will the ACC title game work better in Charlotte than it did in Florida?

Heather Dinich
  (3:40 PM)

Yes, unless FSU and Miami are in it this year.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

What teams in the ACC do you think WILL beat VT this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:41 PM)

I've got a feeling about Georgia Tech. I was at that game last year, and that helmet-to-helmet was a bad call. Two 15-yard penalties were the difference. I think the Jackets could get the edge this year.

Brent (Durham, NC)

Heather, do you think Duke will add to their ACC wins from last season which was (1-7)

Heather Dinich
  (3:41 PM)

Yes! Re'quan Boyette back will make a difference. I'm eager to see how Sean Renfree plays. They've got a few stars on defense in Vincent Rey and Oghobaase. I say six wins for the Devils.

Tim (Manassas, VA)

RB coach for Tech says Ryan Williams was good enough to play last year, and says freshman Wilson "amazes" him. So why is Oglesby considered their #1 back? 30 some carries for 88 yds isnt that much experience over the other two...

Heather Dinich
  (3:42 PM)

No, it's not, but ask Tommy Bowden what happens when you throw a freshman in against Alabama. It can be a little nervewracking. At least Josh has carried before. Billy Hite will play the best guys, rest assured about that.

MIKE (ALTAMONTE SPRINGS FL)

WHICH QUARTERBACK IN THE ACC WILL HAVE THE BEST YEAR?

Heather Dinich
  (3:43 PM)

QUIT SHOUTING AT ME. I'm going with Riley Skinner. He's got a great o-line, great running backs, talented receivers, and he's on the verge of a record-breaking season. I think Christian Ponder and Josh Nesbitt will be two of the more improved guys though.

Steve Black (Westminster,SC)

With All the injuries on some teams, do you think Clemson is flying under the radar as a dak horse?

Heather Dinich
  (3:45 PM)

Just for the record, not my fault there are a ton of FSU and Clemson and VT questions in here. Anyway, Clemson SHOULD win the Atlantic with all the talent it has.

Ryan (Pawleys Island..)

What freshman could really shine this year...? Who is the breakout player to watch for?

Heather Dinich
  (3:46 PM)

I like Joshua Adams at UNC as receiver, and obviously David Wilson at Virginia Tech.

chase (mn)

what is better THE SEC OR PAC-TEN

Heather Dinich
  (3:47 PM)

Seriously?

Heather Dinich
  (3:47 PM)

Ok, ok, the SEC.

Jay (Tallahasse, Fl)

Do you think the acc can send 10 teams to bowl games again this year?

Heather Dinich
  (3:48 PM)

Yeah, I do, but I don't think it will happen. I'm thinking Duke, Virginia and BC might get left out.

Mark (Lexington, SC)

Have you seen Don Brown's defense, and do you think you could try to credit the new defense as potent, or will you stick with the OL as at fault, since Costa did not play, and neither did Turner in Sat. scrimmage?

Heather Dinich
  (3:50 PM)

I've talked to Don, and I'm heading to College Park tomorrow, actually, but I think it's both right now. Don Brown's defensive scheme will throw off a few ACC offenses, and Maryland's o-line will take a while to come together, if it does.

EF (Brooklyn)

IF you believe the canes go 2-2 in their first 4. AND you think they'll beat FSU (which I agree), then who is the other victory?

Heather Dinich
  (3:52 PM)

Must you pay such close attention? I don't know, obviously either GT or VT. Sorry, but I'm not giving them Oklahoma.

Doug (Houston)

Top to bottom the ACC out performed the SEC last year but without BCS contenders continues to be viewed as the lesser conference. In your opinion what makes a stronger conference 10 good teams or 2 or 3 great teams?

Heather Dinich
  (3:54 PM)

Actually, the ACC was 6-6 against the SEC last year. I think the ideal scenario is about six teams deep and two programs contending for the national title. It's great to have 10 bowl eligible teams, but not as impressive if you only win four of them.

Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)

How's the younger Paulus looking at UNC?

Heather Dinich
  (3:54 PM)

I haven't been there this summer, but Yates told me Paulus' confidence is up and he's working hard to redeem himself from last year.

Jordan (Richmond, VA)

How many TD does the VT passing game put up this year? Certainly more than 2 right?

Heather Dinich
  (3:55 PM)

If not, then they're definitely not a NC contender ...

Willy T (Richmond, Va)

How can anybody take you seriously when you picked Virginia to finish last in the Coastal?

Heather Dinich
  (3:56 PM)

Virginia did lose to Duke last year, right?

Andrew (Charleston SC)

Which teams defense do you think will make GT pass the ball to win instead of sticking with the triple option plan?

Heather Dinich
  (3:57 PM)

First, I think GT will pass the ball more on its own this year. Second, I think UNC and VT will have good run defenses. Miami should be better, but considering what happened last year, I'll believe it when I see it.

Brian (Alexandria)

I think 10-2 and another ACCCG and Orange bowl wins are realistic for Tech, thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (3:58 PM)

Considering what Beamer did last year and with how little he had to work with, of course it's possible. They should be a better team. But should should about three-fourths of the conference.

Matt (Staunton, VA)

Are you saying that Virginia doesn't go to a bowl but Al Groh keeps his job? How so?

Heather Dinich
  (3:59 PM)

If Virginia goes to a bowl, it should be considered a heckuva coaching job. He has a new OC, a completely new offense. Lost his leading rusher. Top three linebackers. Top receivers. There's been a bit of transition there. He made a ton of staff changes. I'd think the administration would realize that and give him leeway this fall.

Ryan (Largo, Fl)

Heather, I HATE the notion that a conference has to have an "elite" team to be considered better than the SEC or Big 12. I guess your formula means you just need two great team, one good one, and a bunch of bad ones to be considered the best?

Heather Dinich
  (3:59 PM)

No, quite simply, the ACC needs a national title contender to get national respect.

Heather Dinich
  (4:01 PM)

All right guys, my time is up. Feel free to send me questions in the mailbag. I do one every Friday. Thanks for joining.