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September 24, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (12:59 PM)

Hey guys, I'm back like FSU. Let's go.

Nick (Boston)

Hi Heather, should Clemson be on upset alert after that tough loss to FSU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

Yes, and they are, Nick. I have them on the upset watch this week against BC, but I think those guys learned a lot from last year and that they won't let that game beat them twice.

tom (atlanta)

Heather, what is the point of your power rankings? You've dropped GT all the way to 8th in the ACC, after overtime losses to the 3 and 4 teams. Granted, they lost and deserve to be lower, but it seems like an extreme overreaction to move them down so far considering that an overtime game is basically a toss up.

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

Because I looked up at the TV in the press box in Tallahassee and saw a monumental collapse by the GT defense, and because with that loss, the Jackets are an afterthought in the Coastal Division race. It shouldn't have been an overtime game, Tom, especially at home.

Richard (Raleigh, NC)

Heather I have 3 words for you: Why Heather, WHY? I was ready to spend the day quoting your "not even close" and mocking your 21 point beat down projection. Then I have to see you jumped the Canes all the way to 4 in your power rankings. The only positive thing I had going into the season was not havng the Dinich "Miami is back" curse. Not only was The U not spoken of, but when they were mentioned it was far from positive. Now that you've shown them some love I can expect at blow out from ND and a string of losses until you move them back into the 10 spot. Thanks a lot.

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

Go Canes?

Andy (Atlanta)

Hey Heather.. given that we now have evidence that Florida State can compete and win when they are expected to do so, who do you see playing for the BCS title? It looks like we could see at least 2 undefeated teams by the end of the year and perhaps as many as 2 one loss teams from the SEC? Does an undefeated Oregon or FSU lose out to a one loss ND (because of their schedule) or a one lose SEC team with the respect of their past few seasons carrying them in? Or does FSU and Oregon run the table and play for the title when the SEC beats itself up?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

With the way things look right now, I think FSU would have a hard time jumping Oregon unless they lose. Notre Dame does have a very tough schedule, but I wouldn't move a one-loss Irish team ahead of undefeated FSU or Oregon (hard not to think of the Champs Sports Bowl, sorry). As of right this second, I think it should be FSU and Oregon in a fight for No. 2. But that's just me. We have to wait to see how it all plays out.

Brett (St. Louis)

I'm not sure how many full Cane games you've watched, but how fun is Duke Johnson to watch? Every time he touches the ball I'm expecting a touchdown. Leader in all-purpose yards! Crazy!

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

I've watched enough to know that Duke should be the frontrunner for the ACC's Rookie of the Year. Canes can't thank him enough right now. What a player.

Chris (Mobile,AL)

May we officially get off of the Logan Thomas train now?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

I don't know why everyone is so quick to dismiss him. The same thing happened last year. EJ Manuel is the top qb in the league and the ACC's best chance at a Heisman winner right now, but no, I still think LT's ceiling is very high.

Mark (Oxford,GA)

As a very mad Ga Tech fan right now... Tell me is AL Groh or CPJ the problem here? I have come to the realization that GT will always be a middle of the pack ACC team. I know recruiting has a lot to do with it. We will never be a serious contender for anything... we can either except that or go somewhere else!

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

Well, who hired Groh? Look, it's easy to point fingers when things aren't going right, but usually it's a combination of things. One thing we do know is that the defense doesn't look as good as it should right now. I'm calling Groh tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll have more answers for GT fans about their D.

Tyler (Blacksburg)

Who stands the best chance at upsetting FSU's title hopes?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

It might just be Miami. The Canes are 2-0 and get the Noles at home this year. Nothing like playing the role of spoiler to FSU's national title hopes for the Canes.

Quantavius (ATL)

Do you think a one loss SEC Team with higher strength of schedule would jump an undefeated FSU who won out their schedule with style points to get into the NC game? Ever since the LSU/Bama game, it seems that the expectation (from the SEC) is that they should.

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Look, I don't know what the rest of the country is thinking, but I can tell you I had FSU No. 3 in my top 25 for ESPN.com this week ahead of LSU -- and LSU didn't even lose.

Matt (Seattle)

what will it take for VT offense that played in the 2nd quarter to show up all game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

Playing Bowling Green every week? Ok, ok. Maturity. It will take maturity and experience. Some of these guys just have to grow into their new roles.

Joshua (Eastern Shore, MD)

If Miami beats FSU I will write your blog for a week HD! :) Miami may have a decent offense, but their defense is still atrocious. I think VT has the best chance of knocking off FSU honestly.

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

Lol I thought the same thing about Miami's defense, Joshua, and then they beat Georgia Tech and it didn't seem to matter.

david (Richmond)

Who do you have in the ACC title game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

Florida State and Virginia Tech. As of 1:13 p.m. today.

Jen (DC)

Hey Heather, is Stefon Diggs your #2 for ACC rookie of the year or does he need more touches?

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

Yeah, he is definitely No. 2 right now, but the Terps haven't played an ACC game yet.

Rob (VA)

If Miami has the best chance to knock off FSU why are they behind VT in your power rankings? Easier schedule?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

VT has the better defense and better quarterback, and because if those two teams were playing this weekend, I'd still pick the Hokies.

Hokiebird (Blacksburg, Va)

WE'RE BACK!!!!! ( until we play Clemson)

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

Lol I wouldn't look past Cincy, bird.

Kevin (Hokie Nation)

Miami to upset FSU and not VT? Are you kidding? Blacksburg on a Thursday night in a defensive struggle? I dont care how bad our offense has been we will come together. Come on HD i think you need to put more thought into your responses!

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

Oh I know all about that Burg on Thursday nights, Kevin, but I'm learning quickly not to count out Al Golden. You know what that game showed me on Saturday? That he has earned his players' respect and they want to win for him. You never know what to expect from this group.

Brian (College Park, MD)

Heather, we are confused about Mike Locksley here in CP. He gives Diggs 3 touches a game, he doesn't start freshman phenom Wes Brown, he runs a qb sneak on 2nd and 17 with a slow qb amongst other horrible calls. Do you have any insight on how good/bad Locksley really is?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

My insight is to wait to see what he does against ACC opponents. Might want to save some stuff for league play. I'd have to look up his numbers again, but I thought he did a pretty good job when he was at Illinois.

Cane1Sure (ACCsylum)

HD, please don't give UM your KOD this week!

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

It's terrible, isn't it?

Saul (Lakeland, FL)

What's going on with Dustin Hopkins' kicking???

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

HD KOD. He was my player to watch last week.

Daniel (Orlando)

Going into his senior season, Christian Ponder was hyped to be a Heisman candidate. From twitter pages to web sites put forth by FSU it ultimately was a failed season for his Heisman hopes. This year EJ isn't getting that but is performing stunningly so far. Chances if he keeps it up he gets invited to NY?

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

I think he played his way to NY on Saturday if FSU keeps it up. I was torn between putting him or Geno Smith at No. 1 this week on my Heisman watch list for ESPN.com. He had the biggest game of his career against a top 10 team.

Mike (Cocoa)

HD, you need to make Bj Daniels your player to watch this week. =]

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

lol

Canes (NYC)

and keep in mind, nobody thought it was going to be Wake Forest to play the upset card last year

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

Exactly, and that's what I wrote about today -- it's not over yet. It's the ACC, guys, you should know that.

hohiehi22 (plano, texas)

So Heather, what was your take on the Gameday atmosphere in Talley? It seemed like a perfect choice, great day, and FSU fans seem pretty hospitable. They treat you pretty good down there?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

Oh yeah, it was really a big-time CFB atmosphere. So glad to be a part of it.

Drew (Lynchburg)

Did FSU's defense struggle or is Clemsons offense just that good?

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

It was a little bit of both in the first half, but I thought FSU adjusted well in the second half getting more pressure on Boyd. Boyd played a terrific first half and really extended some drives with his feet and made things happen -- plays I don't think he would have made a year ago.

Eric (Atlanta)

Until the ACC has a winning record against other conferences (Especially in Bowl Games), the conference will continued to be viewed as a '2nd tier' conference regardless of primetime games like FSU/Clemson, fair assessment?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Well, the ACC can't flop like it did last year, I agree with that, but right now, I think respect for the league is at an all-time high. It's got a NC contender, a Heisman candidate ... it's good.

Tim (Rock Hill, SC)

Clemson over South Carolina in your power Poll....come on. They gave up 49 Points and almost 700 yards. Defense does matter and their tackling was terrible. Until they improve on Defense, SOuth Carolina will own them. Please explain your thinking?

Heather Dinich
  (1:26 PM)

My thinking is that I think Clemson will beat South Carolina this year, and that if South Carolina played FSU, it, too, would watch the Noles run a track meet. No, Clemson's defense isn't great. It's been bad, but I think they win that game this year.

Tom (work)

Lots of speed on during that ACC game Saturday night. As for the FSU defense, despite giving up 37 points to a talented offense of Clemson, do you still think the SEC's defenses are still stronger?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

This is not a good time to be asking about ACC defenses, Tom. The conference has been better. So yeah, as of right now, I do.

Dan (Asheville, NC)

'Noles don't move up any in the polls, and Clemson drops 7 spots. Both teams deserve more respect. Even against FSU and AU with an average defense that will improve, Clemson looks better & more physical than ND, UF, UT, USC, OSU, and TCU, who all look overrated as usual. If they continue to improve and take care of business, do you think Clemson will be back in the Top 10 where they belong?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Yeah, that's why I didn't drop them in my poll. I don't think the fact I cover the ACC was clouding my vision on that one. After watching that offense move like it did? Wow.

Joe ((Rochester, PITT FAN))

Why no chat last week? At the beginning of the year I TOLD you Pitt would whoop VTech! I will make your job easy for you Pitt = 2013 ACC Champs!

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Lol I was here, wasn't I? Joe, it wouldn't surprise me to see Pitt win the Coastal at this rate, but the whole ACC? Nope.

Chris (UK)

Hello heather? I would hate to see FSU be left out of the title game if oregon and an SEC team are sitting there undefeated. I personally think FSU with its size would beat up on the ducks similar to what LSU did last season. Your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

Wouldn't it be great if there were a playoff system so we could find out?

Mike (Tallahassee)

I agree Clemson dropped too far and I am a Nole fan. Clemson offense was better than I thought and I didnt give them enough credit . I think Clemson and FSU both give any team trouble...including SEC. Your opinion?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

I completely agree. Those teams were so FAST. Even FSU players after the game remarked how fast they thought Clemson was.

Memphis Red (Memphis, TN)

Miami looks to be back! I do not think it is too early to start the hype for Miami/Notre Dame. Miami's 2 headed monster at running back versus the lock down ND defense needs to be addressed by the Miami players! Please, please, please media members remind Miami that they are great and playing ND next week.

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

Haha that should be an interesting game for the Canes, but I promise you they're not looking past NC State right now. There are two teams I feel like are hanging on by a thread right now: Duke and Miami.

Hank (Chapin, SC)

Mark my word, South Carolina will beat Clemson and you can take that to the bank!!

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

I'm surprised it took that long.

Cameron (Greenville, SC)

So, if Clemson can get over the home hurdles of GT, VT and SCAR, and somehow win out, do you think they have a realistic BCS shot? Really the Orange and another at-large are still on the table, if FSU can get over the next 2 big ACC away games and Florida at home. If the Noles are selected for the MNC game, the Tigers would be selected over the coastal winner (assuming they beat the winner) for the Orange, and even if FSU is in the Orange Bowl, isn't an 11-1 Clemson team an attractive at-large selection?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

Absolutely, and that's what Dabo will be preaching to his team every week from here on out. I think most reasonable fans would agree that this year's Clemson team is better than last year's BCS-bid VT team.

Tom (Miami, FL)

Duke will win 8 games. You heard it hear first

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

And you guys think MY predictions are crazy ... :)

Matt (Houston)

Bud Foster's bigger nightmare - EJ Manuel or Sammy Watkins?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

Manuel, he throws a little better. :) No, really, I'd have to go with Manuel. Watkins is outstanding, but Manuel is running the show.

Ryan (Tallahassee)

I heard you have Miami at no. 4 in the Power Rankings. Who have they beat to justify such a lofty number? Don't forget the game in Miami will basically be a home game for the Noles. The Gators have to be the only team with a legit enough D to stop the Noles. THoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

The fact that the Canes are 2-0 in leauge play is huge. They've already nudged out Georgia Tech. It's a fair jump.

Bob (NJ)

You don't think Florida will be tougher for FSU than Va Tech? I realize the Gators have to go to Tallahassee, but they'll be better than anyone the Noles see in the ACC.

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

Yes, I think Florida will be a tougher opponent than Virginia Tech. I thought we were just talking in the ACC race. After this conversation, though, I think we can ALL agree that FSU hasn't won anything yet. Lots of tough games left on the schedule.

Michelle (Chesapeake Bay)

Francis, Vellano, Tate, Hartsfield, McDougle....wow the Terrapins have a hardhitting defense. Can they PLEASE get some credit for almost upsetting the explosive #8 Mountaineers this weekend? I do understand they went 2-10 last year but....that was LAST YEAR.

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

Yes, you are absolutely right, Michelle. I think I said before the season that the Terps' D would be very good but underrated. Every now and then I get one right.

Gavin (College Park, MD)

How come the terps are getting no love here this week from you HD? that hurts my heart. Diggs is going to be a freshman all-american

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

Terps fans had a moral victory this weekend, huh?

Matt (Seattle)

Is Shane Beamer's coaching to blame for a lack of a #1 runner at VT? Great recruiting but hope the coaching brings someone to the top

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

I'm talking to him right after the chat today. Want me to ask him? No, it's not his coaching. Shane is a great coach and recruiter. I asked Frank about it today, though, and he said they all played well this past Saturday.

Mike (NJ)

Do you think its time for UVa to make the switch to Sims at QB

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

Rocco didn't have a great game, but I'm not sure that's the answer. I think UVa fans should be more concerned about the defense.

Cane1Sure (ACCsylum)

Why is there no "noise" about NCST this year? Aren't they 3-1?

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

I think it's because of how poorly they played against Tennessee, but you're right. Canes should be concerned.

Sal Lizard (Danny's pool table)

VT, Miami, and GT all get two ACC losses....who plays in the big game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Duke?

Jamie (Clemson)

The Clemson/Florida State game was a good game. I don't really see people saying FSU is back. Clemson had that game won from the first drive until the 3rd quarter at FSU none the less. Point being Clemson has no defense. If FSU plays a team with a good offense AND defense I see them in trouble. What's your take?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

I don't think folks are saying FSU is back because there's still so much football left to be played. I DO think, though, that they're "back" as far as being the team to beat in the ACC.

Sal Lizard (Danny's pool table)

Duke? wow, you went there...

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Yeah, do you know how much tiebreaker scenarios make my head spin in this conference? It was much easier.

Josh [via mobile]

How do you see NC State finishing the season, record wise? Honest answer and how do they fare vs Miami?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

I think they should win at least eight games in the regular season. It's tough to say about Miami because they've been so unpredictable and they'll have home field advantage, but I think NC State should win if it doesn't turn it over.

Timothy (SigmaLand)

Hey Heather, I just want to let you know that you are doing an outstanding job. Let's talk FSU, do you think FSU offense will score 40+ the rest of the year and who else do you see joining the top 25 before FSU plays them?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

No, I think Virginia Tech's defense is good enough to hold them under 40. As for the rest of the top 25? I don't know, Hokies might pop back in there.

Allen (Eagle - Land)

Why put Clemson on the upset watch this week if u do not think they will lose too bc??

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

I told you guys, that's not a prediction post, it's a look at which teams have the best chance at getting upset. BC is going to play hard-nosed football for four quarters. Those are good kids who love the game and don't quit.

steven (miami)

Heather, great chat as always...what is up with Orange Bowl and who got locked in vs. ACC

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Thx. Last report was that the ACC was in the works for a deal with the Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame. That's along the lines of what John Swofford has been talking about. Nothing final yet though.

Bill (SoCal)

I realize this is unrelated but somebody help. After watching Belichek last night, we're all trying to remember the college hoops coach who grabbed the mic and said something to the effect of "Do not throw things on the court, no matter how bad the officiating is."

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Anyone?

Tracey (Arlington, VA)

The ACC has had a lot of mediocre teams with and given team being able to beat any other one on any particular weekend. Perhaps that changes this year with FSU but what do you think the cause of that is - recruiting, coaching, somthing else?

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

You can call it parity or mediocrity, and there are lots of reasons for it. I don't think it's all recruiting, I think it's more coaching turnover.

Allen (Eagle - Land)

bob knight

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

That was my first thought, but I wasn't sure.

Garrett (Charleston, SC)

i hear so many reasons about why clemson's defense has been so terrible. my opinion? team leadership. have yet to see anybody step up and put this team on their shoulders like andre branch, daquan bowers, etc.) thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

Yeah, that's part of it, but they're also in the midst of a transition with a new coordinator, and they lost some of those leaders/talent.

Matt (Houston)

Wasn't it Billy Tubbs?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

That's getting a few votes in here.

Jared (The Accylum West Coast chapter)

In your opinion, what are the odds Miami enters the Oct 20th game with FSU at 1 loss and where would they be ranked if they did? Top 15?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Even if they beat NC State this weekend, I don't see them getting past NCSU.

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Yeah, it was Tubbs.

Alex (Miami)

Overall in the ACC... What grade would you give to the conference overall?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Right now? Probably a B.

John (DC)

Who could the Terps realistically beat in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

They've got a shot at their next four opponents. Their defense is going to keep them in games, John.

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

Ok guys, my time here is up. Back to work! See you next week.hd