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January 10, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Let's roll ...

Mike (Vero Beach, FL)

Who in the ACC has the beast coaches in terms of recruiting? Whoever you pick(prolly Jimbo) would you say Golden is closeing the gap?

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

James Coley and Jimbo Fisher at FSU have done a great job, but don't forget about Dabo Swinney at Clemson. Even before he was head coach he played a role in bringing in some of their top talent. But yes, no doubt, Golden is quickly closing the gap.

Matthew (Boston)

Heather - as a BC fan I am very disappointed that Spaz is back, but let's talk about expectations for next year. Spaz inherited a program that won 8+ games for the entire decade before him. Considering he will be in his fourth year, return approximately 18 starters, and have complete ownership of the program, why should anything less than 8 wins be the goal?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

I think that's a reasonable expectation for BC fans, but here's the thing: They're going through yet ANOTHER offensive coordinator, and they'll have a new o-line coach. They've got to get better offensively, but the return of Montel Harris should help that. Still, I see them as a middle-of-the-pack bowl team next year.

Mark (Ashburn, VA)

HD, I've seen pictures of Danny Coale's TD catch that was reversed during the Sugar bowl. Close up pics shows clearly that it was a catch and VT has been robbed it's chance of a victory. I think there should be a change in rules on how catches are reviewed. Do you think officiating refs that makes bad judgement calls should also be penalized if after review and analysis shows different than what was originally decided? If the issue is very controversial, should there be a re-match?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

I agree, Mark, that it was a catch, and officals are penalized at times when they make mistakes. With that being said, the Hokies should have been up 21-0 in the first half. There were PLENTY of missed opportunities in that game. It shouldn't have come down to one call.

Please (Stop)

Clemson at #1? Please stop giving other conferences even more of a reason to mock the ACC.

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

Hey, don't shoot the messenger. Tell it to Clemson. That just happens to be the best team the league has to offer. What can I say?

Mike (Los Angeles)

When will the ACC have a team play for the national championship again in your opinion? They haven't been a part of the BCS championship equation for a decade.

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

The ACC HAS been a part of the equation, it just can't seal the deal. Virginia Tech was, what, No. 3 or No. 4 in the final BCS standings in 2007? Clemson could have been as high as No. 4 at one point in 2011. It's a matter of finishing. The ACC doesn't seem to have a problem starting in the conversation or playing its way into it at some point.

Mike (Hockinu, HI)

After an abysmal performance in the Orange Bowl, which was mostly due to poor defensive play calling and lack of pressure on WV, what will happen to Kevin Steele?

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

I asked Dabo in the locker room after the game off-camera and he pretty much laughed at the notion of Steele getting fired, so I don't think anything will happen to be honest.

Seth (Newfoundland, CA)

Heather in your opionion does Bud Foster have the necessities to be a college head coach ? In the past he's interviwed for several open HC positons but not luck in getting one so far.

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Well, I've never interviewed him for a head coaching job, so I don't know how he's fared in that department, but I know what you guys do -- he's done an outstanding job on the field with the Hokies' D. He's well-respected, continuously rebuilds, and has established himself as one of the best in the game.

Ward Back (96, SC)

How much longer til Paul Johnson is officially on the "Hot Seat"

Heather Dinich
  (1:10 PM)

I just don't see it. I think it would take a disaster (See: Maryland) for that conversation even to begin, and I say that because he's got a very lucrative contract, and also because he hasn't fared too bad in his first four seasons.

Brian (Raleigh, NC)

I disagree with the opinion that Danny Coale made that catch. There are also many in the country that feel it wasn't a catch. I really wish fans would stop crying and giving the ACC another bad rep with bad sportsmanship.

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Well, here's the main point I think an official would argue: Whether you thought it was a catch or not is irrelevant. There wasn't enough indisputable video evidence to overturn the original call. Weak.

Polls (Myrtle Beach)

Why do you think the new AP poll and coaches poll disagree with you since they have VT ahead of Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

Because of the bowl games.

Jonathan (Danville)

How is it that the Hokies have been so inept on offense for so long, and yet none of the changes have been made on the coaching side of things to turn it around. Its sickening to see Bud consistently putting out top defenses only to see it squandered with offensive playcalling that does not know how to find the end zone.

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I tried to tell you guys last year that just because Mike O'Cain was calling the plays this year didn't mean the Hokies' offense was going to suddenly look dramatically different. I don't think it was all play-calling. There were several factors this year.

117 Southmain (The Nuthouse)

Should Frank think about stepping down at VT. He can't seem to get over the hump. Time to let it go?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

Crazy!! Need I remind Virginia Tech fans you guys had an ELEVEN-WIN season??

Judge (Canada)

Should a mercy rule be applied to college football?

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

Dabo?

Mike (Agoura Hills,CA)

How do you feel the ACC will stack up against the other conferences next season? I thought they were in the middle of the pack this season.

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

Until proven otherwise, I think that's where it will stay, Mike.

FB the Bear (The ACCylum)

Do you think the ACC will ever get 2 BCS bowl bids again since VT lost again & Clemson got blown out?

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

Yeah ... in another 14 years. Ok, no, really, I do think it will happen again. It might actually happen sooner than many think with the maturation of some quarterbacks and talented recruits in the league.

Bob (High Point, NC)

Look into your crystal ball and tell me two things: when will the NCAA rule on North Carolina and what sort of sanctions do you see?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

I don't have my UNC notes in front of me, but I feel like it should be coming pretty soon, as in maybe this month? I have to double check to be sure. As for the sanctions, I still think they'll get a bowl ban and scholarship losses.

Garrett (Charleston, SC)

yesterday, a news source announced andre ellington was leaving. today Xavier Brewer posted on his facebook that AE was staying. Heard anything?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

I have not, no.

Sal Lizard (at the mailbox)

Who do you think is most likely to challenge VT for the coastal next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

I think Georgia Tech and/or Virginia.

Will (Charleston, WV)

At "Please (Stop)": Who else should be ranked above Clemson? Va Tech, who lost twice to Clemson and played a nobody non-conference schedule? FSU who lost to Wake, OU, UVA, and Clemson. Everyone else had 5 or more losses. Face it, Clemson IS the best the ACC had to offer.Heather, would you agree that the ACC has to rank 6th of the AQ conferences for 2011? If WVU is stuck in the Big East next year, wouldn't you have to rank the ACC 6th starting next season too?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

It pains me to rank the ACC behind the Big East, because then I have to concede the blog debate loss to Andrea Adelson. The on-field results are hard to argue, though. Check the blog later today for the final conference power rankings and thoughts on that.

lemm (Misery, SC)

So is it fair to say my Tigers finally pulled a Clemson this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

Losing to NC State was "pulling a Clemson." The loss to West Virginia was JV.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Who do you think will have the stronger defense next year, FSU or VT?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

Such a tough call, but I'm going to go with the Noles. They had the better defense this year -- by a smidge -- and return nine starters. Hokies' D looked terrific against Michigan, though.

sean (chantilly, va)

HD, great blog throughout the year! Do you think VT will struggle again next year on offense considering oglesby, wilson, coale and pretty much the entire offensive line needs to be replaced? LT# cannot be a one man team! I know Bud rebuilt a defense with a young squad, but do you think the offensive coachs are talented enough to rebuild almost an entire offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Thanks, Sean. What makes VT so good is the staff's ability to develop talent. If I'm a Hokie fan, though, I'm concerned about the losses on the o-line and at RB. It's one thing to lose one, but to have to replace BOTH? Could be difference in Coastal race.

Will (Charlotte, NC)

What are Clemson's chances of back-to-back ACC Championships?

Heather Dinich
  (1:26 PM)

If you're expecting one, not good at all. If you're not, terrific.

Antonio (Norfolk)

Who do you think will be the better player when VT and Bama play in '13? McCarron or Logan Thomas? That kid showed a lot of poise last night against LSU!

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Wow, tough call. I've obviously watched more of Logan, and I can tell you that while watching the Sugar Bowl, I thought HE is the story here, not David Wilson. He can be a Heisman contender, too. He's made tremendous strides since the nonconference season. It was literally like watching a tight end turn into a quarterback. :)

117 Southmain (The Nuthouse)

Why is it crazy for Frank to possibly step down? He loyalty to his coaches has hurt the team. And winning 10 games a year is nice, but when you have sometimes 14 games to get it done, it's not that big of a deal.

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Because he's done so much for that program. It is what it is and where it is because of Frank Beamer, and because he has played for a national title, and he's one of the country's best coaches. It speaks volumes that he has had the same staff because they LIKE working for him. Turnover on staffs isn't always because of other job opportunities.

Garrett (Charleston, SC)

don't you think the Orange Bowl loss is being blown a bit out of proportion. I will concede it was thoroughly embarassing, is a black mark on the ACC, and we'll take some well deserved crap for it. but it was one game in an otherwise successful season and people are portraying clemson's future like the end of last season. your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

I agree that you can't define Clemson's season by that game, nor should you base future predictions on it. At the same time, that was the worst defensive performance I have ever seen. Ever.

Mike (Saratoga NY)

I have seen 2 video's already talking about the "way too early preseason polls" One has FSU ranked 4th and the other have them around #8. Did the media people see our offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Lol, that's how much love a defense can get you, Mike. The offense has to be better if FSU is going to the next step, it's that simple. Because FSU had one of the best defenses in the country this year and it was proof it wasn't enough.

Lemm (Sakerlina)

When will it be safe for us Clemson fans to come out of hiding?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Signing day? :)

Victor (Atlanta)

How do you think DUKE will do next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:35 PM)

I have fallen off the Duke bandwagon and hit my head with reality. Until they start to recruit a little better and show a difference on the field, I've got a hard time saying they'll get to a bowl game anymore. I still think Cutcliffe is a great coach and he CAN get them to a bowl game. I'm just in believe-it-when-I-see-it mode.

Matt (Roanoke, VA)

Do you think VT has plateaued as program? Or Has Frank Beamer plateaued has a Coach?

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

Neither. I think it's just a matter of everything falling into place. Come on. Who out there would be REALLY surprised if VT was playing for a national title anytime soon? It seems like they're in the mix every year.

GT Turner (The ACCylum)

Will Paul johnson ever realize that the triple option offense is ancient and just doesn't work against fast athletic defenses?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

I don't believe that, and technically, GT runs the spread option offense, which incorporates the triple option. Georgia Tech's problem isn't the offense, it's the execution of it and the talent level.

Cameron (Greenville, SC)

Heather Dinich (1:31 PM)...At the same time, that was the worst defensive performance I have ever seen. Ever.-And this comes from an Indiana Grad, so that is bad. I bleed orange, but I turned the game off after I saw WV score and Clemson not be able to respond in the beginning of the third. Were there any Clemson fans in the stands for the last 20 minutes of that game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

Oh lord did I see some bad D at IU. Man, that place was EMPTY except for WVU fans. Watching the BCS title game last night, I said, there are more people there 40 minutes before kickoff than there were the whole game at the Sugar Bowl.

Adam (Galax, VA)

I look at the BCS record for VT and 3 of those losses were by combined 9 points. They at least had a chance to win the Sugar Bowl this year. So, not saying that they should not get blasted for the record, but at the same time they should have gained some respect.

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

Ok, but to play devil's advocate -- Michigan looked terrible in that game.

IjustloveUnicorns (NOLA)

Will my Noles be hyped up yet again this off season? If so, do you think they can live up to any expectations?

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

Yes. Maybe.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

Do you think 2012 might be the Hokies best shot at a National title for a while? Bama with Saban in 2013, Ohio State with Urban Meyer in 2014 and 2015, not exactly coaches we look forward to facing.

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

No. Not with what they've got to replace on offense. And we haven't even mentioned Danny Coale.

GT0823 (FLANDERSVILLE)

I agree on the talent level and the execution on GT's part offensively. However, don't you feel like our defense is holding us back more than anything? We can't stop anyone and we get zero pass rush.

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

What was it, fourth-and-14 against Utah? Brutal.

T.C. (Richmond, VA)

HD, that game last night was SUPER boring, but the BCS got it right, didn't they?

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

I don't know. Oklahoma State might have something to say about that. I mean, ok, so LSU won and Alabama won. Am I the only one that feels like we need a tiebreaker? Who grew up playing games where you walked away from anything at 1-1? You're always like, 'ok, one more, one more, see who wins ..." ???

bravoNole (FL)

I'm pretty hard on Clemson, but they did beat us this year.... and we lost to UVA and Wake Forest. Should I reconsider my assessment of ACC teams?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Nah, don't worry about it. I make my brain hurt so you don't have to.

Samuel (Greensboro, NC)

What's your opinion of NC State being ranked 24th in Schlabach's Way-Too-Early 2012 Top 25?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Love it. It's time to give the Pack some credit for a strong finish and what they've got coming back. Consider them my early darkhorse to win the Atlantic.

Judge (Toronto, ON)

What was ugliest this season? VT's performances against Clemson, FSU's season long collapse, Clemson against West Virginia, or the ACC's bowl season as a whole.

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Debbie downer, eh? Tough call because I witnessed the Orange Bowl firsthand, but I'd say it's a toss-up between that and the 2-6 bowl record. Ug-ly.

Generic Name (Generic Place)

If Clemson had a solid and consistent offense in 2012, which teams in the ACC could beat them?

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

It's not about Clemson's offense anymore, it's about the defense (generic answer).

Norm (Wishing Well)

+1 system. Top 4 BCS ranked CONFERENCE CHAMPS make it in. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Here's the thing on ANY playoff system, but particularly the plus-one: Somebody is ALWAYS going to be left out. There are plenty of seasons where five teams can be in the mix.

Leslie (atlanta)

What does Fedora have to do to create a top 10 team in NC and how long do you think it will take?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Continue to recruit the kind of talent UNC has recently had and rebuild the defense. Butch Davis had enough talent in three or four years. I'm telling you, that 2010 team could have been special if the NCAA investigation hadn't happened.

Danny (fixing a flat)

HD, 1 positive and 1 negative for the ACC heading into the 2012 season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Positive: Maturation of quarterbacks. Will be HUGE for the league. Negative: Departures of David Wilson, Luke Kuechly, etc. Big losses at Miami.

Under Armour (Merryland)

What did you think of the Terrapin uniform designs this season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

Haha ... I think they need to play like Oregon in order to get away with trying to look like them. I ready your city and thought, 'Oh, I want crabs for Christmas ...' go ahead, non-Merrlanders, Google it.

Mark (Concord, NC)

Do you think the ACC needs another team to step up big for the ACC? Virginia Tech can never win a big game out of conference and is terrible in bowl games at 9-16.

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

I think ACC fans are READY for another team. Am I wrong?

rt (Raleigh)

Uhh... Do you think UNC would have HAD the talent if the violations hadn't occurred?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Ahem. I don't think there's enough time left in the chat to go there ...

Dr. Rhodes (lay off the donuts)

HD, Yes or no, there will be one ACC team represented next year in the BCS games?

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

National title? No. Orange Bowl? Has to be. (and it was the Christmas cookies, not the donuts.)

Willow (Southside)

Do you think the ACC will/should start playing powder puffs for their non-conference games to build better records and start getting respect like the SEC does?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

You think VT got respect for its schedule this year? Puh-lease. They got killed for it. You need three games you should win and then you need a decent one to boost your SOS. At least that's my magic formula.

Matt (Roanoke, VA)

What ACC coaches are on the hot-seat ending into the 2012 season?

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

I would think Spaziani is on a short leash. You would THINK Edsall, but I'm not sure they could afford to fire him any time soon.

Willow (Southside)

Florida State is a preseason #7 for next season, will they warrant that ranking this time around?

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

To me, they've got to earn it. Consider me the hype-squasher this year. Kind of. They might be the team to beat in the ACC this year. The country? That's a different story.

Heather Dinich
  (2:02 PM)

Ok guys, my time here is up. Thanks for joining me this week and for the whole season. The blog rolls on ... see you there.hd