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October 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys. Remember that one year, when there was an earthquake during the chat? Yeah, well, Sandy's on the way, but here we are. Let's go ...

Dave (Eastern NC)

Is Gio Bernard a serious contender for the Heisman?

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

Anyone who saw what he did against NC State should agree he should at least be in the conversation. I gave him a vote in my top five for ESPN.com this week at No. 5. Fact is, Collin Klein is gonna be tough to beat right now, but what Gio did on Saturday was crazy good.

Robert VT (Blacksburg, VA)

Hi Heather, and thanks for your excellent ACC coverage. What is your take on the chances the Hokies will be bowl qualified over the next 4 games? VT hasn't won on the road this year, and has2 road games remaining, plus FSU & UVA at home.

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

Thanks, good question. I've still got them in the bowl lineup because I think they win the last two. Early hint on this week's predictions I guess.

Cane1Sure (Accylum)

Can you please give the KOD to Virginia Tech for Thursday's game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

Um, I think I kind of just did that to the Canes, instead.

Jon (Atlanta)

Hey Heather, What do you think about GT's AD leaving during the season? Is there more to the story? The whole thing just seems a little shady. Your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

Haven't had a chance to talk to Dan R. about that yet, Jon. I wouldn't say it sounds shady, though. The biggest thing that stands out to me is how the next AD will feel about Paul Johnson.

lex (dc)

Does Wake Forest need a new coach?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

No way. There are a few coaches with tenure in my mind, and Frank Beamer and Jim Grobe are on the list.

Mac (NC)

In your opinion, if both FSU and Clemson win out, will the ACC get two teams in the BCS? Also, let's say it does happen -- how would FSU feel having to pay a lower ranked team in the Orange Bowl, while Clemson goes to either the Sugar or the Fiesta and most likely play a better quality opponent?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Too tough to call right now, Mac, honestly, but I will tell you this ... if FSU beats VT and Clemson beats NC State, the bowl predictions will likely change to reflect two BCS bids. And if FSU is matched up against Boise, that could be fun. We'll see about Louisville.

Jmonty (Atlanta)

GT's football program is in turmoil. Do you see anything that will save it?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Recruiting.

Jordan (Durham)

The FSU game didn't go as well as expected for Duke (and expectations weren't high to begin with). Will the Clemson game be any better?

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

Talked to Cutcliffe about that last night, Jordan. More on that in the blog tomorrow a.m., but after talking to him, I do think the team learned to be better prepared. However, I also think it's another case of too much talent to overcome.

Jason (Asheville)

HD, breaking news! I just got off the phone with Coach Edsell, I'll be suiting at QB up for the Terps this weekend! Obviously I'm joking, but wow, that hurts literally and figuratively. What are they going to do?

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

Really? You too? And here I thought it was my big Saturday. They are going to turn to a FRESHMAN linebacker. CRAZY!! I have never seen anything like it. Good luck, Terpies. Seriously.

chief (work)

Heather, in recent years the ACC champ has played someone other than the Big Eash champ in the Orange Bowl. Any chance for that this year, and how does that selection even work?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Yes, with the way things are shaping up, it looks like Boise State could get an automatic invite. Brad Edwards has them going to Orange Bowl right now. If Boise gets shut out of BCS, it will likely fall to Big East champ.

Jon (Atlanta)

Hey Heather, what is you overall opinion of the ACC this year? To me, it looks like we are no where near par with other conferences. With that said how could the ACC possibly get 2 team in the BCS bowls again?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

My overall opinion is that it doesn't matter if the rest of the league is struggling as long as FSU and Clemson can hang with the big boys and play in BCS bowls.

Jeff (Concord, NC)

Heather I enjoy reading your articles but do you think you might want to reconsider Virginia Tech at #4 in your power rankings. VT is 4-4, 0-2 vs Big East and has beaten 0-8 Austin Peay, 3-5 Georgia Tech, Bowling Green and Duke.

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Lol look it's tough after the first two! Here's the thing, in looking at how the race could play out, VT and Miami are playing for a shot at Charlotte on Thursday night. The Hokies are getting better on D. VT is average at best, but after FSU and Clemson, you could say that for just about every team.

Ryan (Ohio)

Can you give me your odds that the ACC has two representatives in the BCS this January?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

Odds? It's PURE speculation at this point. Lots has to happen to the teams ranked ahead of Clemson, and FSU and Clemson simply can't afford any more mistakes.

Cane1Sure (Accylum)

We're used to Hurricanes (teams and storms) here in Florida. With Sandy about to come ashore and massive power outages expected, chances that some games in the NE next weekend get postponed?

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

Interesting question. I'm based out of Maryland, and the lights have flickered here during the chat, but the experts are predicting it moves out by Wednesday.

Ray ((Baltimore, MD))

Heather - I have been a Terps fan for a long time (mostly Basketball)... but never has any of it collegiate sports programs faced such a difficult challenge with 4 quarterbacks gone for the season. Has this ever happened to a college sports program in 1 year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

I'm going to ask our Stats & Info department if they have anything on that, Ray. Not that I know of.

chief (work)

The BCS is a joke (shocker). Putting a 2 loss SCAR over FSU is rediculous. Even if FSU was 9-0, they would still be ranked 6th or worse in the BCS....Time to seriously explore jumping ship to Big 12. Your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I think FSU fans should give up that dream, or shell out $1 million each.

Lee (meeks, georgia)

Will Paul Johnson be the coach in 2013?

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

I think he will, in large part because of how costly his buyout is (around $10 million, according to the AJC). That athletic department is on a tight budget, but if he struggles like this again next year, I would think they'd find the cash to make a change. Plus, how will the new AD feel about CPJ and his offense? Lots of questions. Not a good situation for him.

Jay (Michigan)

Can VaTech bounce back this week? What are the keys to beating Miami?

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

Run the ball. Again and again. And don't turn it over four times like they did against Clemson and Pitt.

John (Smyrna GA)

Hey Heather, I don't see GT making it to a bowl this year. CPJ doesn't seem to get the big recruits. Is the option something that high rank players avoid? Seems the GT's recruiting in not on par with other schools

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

It's not on par, and Georgia is going to blow right by if it hasn't already. I wouldn't say it's something that high-ranking players avoid, and you can definitely sell it considering how many guys have gone to the pros in recent years. They just have to do a better job.

Cane1Sure (Accylum)

Anyway Duke wins any more games this season? I think the GT game is their only hope.

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

I don't know, I think they can beat Miami, too.

Shawn smith (Florida)

With Fsu back in top ten and what looks like a easy road to Florida do you think if we beat Florida at home are we back in conversation if ND and K State and also Lsu loses?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

And Oregon. Anything is possible. LSU and Bama still have to play, and the SEC title game will also help everyone else's cause.

Matt (Toronto)

You have VT beating FSU next week?

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

Haven't gotten that far yet. Let's see what they do against the Canes. If they win in Miami, I think they have a better shot of upsetting FSU at home.

Jon (Atlanta / GA)

Any truths to the rumors about D Rad trying to get Clemson out of the ACC and into the SEC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

He hasn't even unpacked his boxes yet!

John (Annapolis )

If you count Danny O'Brien transferring, thats 5 quarterbacks lost at Maryland. Um, lets go basketball? Or do the terps beat Ga Tech and UNC to get to a bowl game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

Not a chance.

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

hang on a sec, phone

Ryan (Ohio)

I thought i saw Wake Forest in your bowl predictions. Who do you see them beating in order to get there?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

BC and Vandy.

Jordan (Durham)

Since we beat Wake and Carolina, and Carolina beat State, does that mean that Duke is the champion of the state of North Carolina?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Love the logic. I said last week that Duke was the unofficial state champs.

Bill (Douglasville / GA)

Hey Heather, I have been a GT fan for about 30 years. I don't recall the program ever being as chaotic as it is now. Do you think that the new AD of GT will pay out CPJ's contract and find a new coach? They just paid out millions on the basketball program. No wonder why D Rad left. What your thoughts on the situation?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

Only if they're 3-9 or something like that next year. It's just not realistic after this season. I think he probably left because Clemson is a bigger athletic department and it was time for a change. We'll know more after they talk this afternoon.

Cameron (Tallahassee fl)

How in the world did south carolina jump fsu!?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

FWIW they didn't in my top 25.

Mike (Just north of SANDY!)

Do you think the NC State fans felt the same way as us FSU fans did after seeing Gio run back the punt with 13 seconds left? I know exactly how they should have felt!

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Um, yeah, probably.

Chris (Beaufort, SC)

Clemson vs. South Carolina. Your prediction? What are the keys to Clemson winning and do you think ESPN Gameday will be there, considering the other normally exciting rivalries (UGA-GT, Auburn-Alabama) are not so exciting this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

No idea about Gameday, guys, not my department, but I think Clemson will win that game. It was SO disheartening to see Lattimore go down on Saturday, just awful, felt so bad for the kid, but it seems like Clemson will have all the momentum going into that one.

Ryan (Ohio)

Do you foresee any head coaching changes in the ACC at the end of the season or does everyone keep their jobs?

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

Everyone but Spaziani is safe, my guess.

Nick (NY)

Will someone finally press TOB? For as good as he is building a program, he's never won a conf championship

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

Yeah but he just won his first Atlantic Division road game this year!

Rex (Florida)

Heather, long time listener, first time caller. Let's say Duke miraculously wins the Coastal (unlikely) and then gets thumped in the ACC title game (very likely). Will the league put any pressure on the bowls not to move Duke to the bottom of the pecking order by continually taking schools with bigger fan bases and better football traditions over the Devils?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

The one-loss rule usually prevents things like that from happening, unless Bobby Bowden is retiring, of course ...

Don (Marietta/GA)

How is EJ getting all the press for awards? I get the stats but watch him play and you can see he has the raw tools, but the body does not execute.

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

The fact that he's the face of the ACC's highest-ranked team helps, but if you ask me, Tajh Boyd is the best ACC QB this year.

James (Chesapeake Bay)

Without playing the woulda coulda shoulda game, MD could easily be 7-1 if they finished their last 2 games and didnt lose to UCONN by 3 points. With their young talent, do you see a massive improvement in their record next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:35 PM)

Get outta the bay!! Geez. Yeah, Maryland HAS to be better next year. It might be the deepest team not named Clemson or FSU!

Amanda (San Antonio, TX)

Hey Heather! Long time daily reader of the blog. As of now, what do you predict for my Noles v. those pesky gators at the end of November? It will be an especially huge match up this year, I'm thinking College GameDay material.

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

If Florida turns it over six times again, your Noles are in good shape, but I don't see that happening. I do think FSU can and should win that one, but it can't afford to give the Gators free yards in turnovers and penalties.

Mike (Minneapolis)

Maybe Tajh is the best in the ACC, but head to head, EJ out performed him when the prime time ESPN cameras were rolling.

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

You are right about that.

Jim (Tallahassee)

Hi Heather. Chris Thompson went down a couple of games ago but our running game seemed fine against Duke. Do you think we canrun as well against Va. Tech?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Yes. The Hokies' defense played well against Clemson -- probably better than expected -- and FSU is going to have to work for its yards, but I do think the running game will be fine in Blacksburg.

Andy (Indiana)

I'll bet the ACC is proudly claiming the Irish now!?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

As it should.

Phil (Boston)

Any chance Wake or BC upsets Notre Dame?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

No. And no.

Amanda (Atlanta)

love reading your updates....regular follower! What are your thoughts on GT overall? Is the option getting old and are defenses catching on?

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

Thank you. No, I don't think the option is getting old. You could say that about Clemson's offense, Duke's offense, VT's offense. Every defense plays those offenses every year, too. The difference is the athletes.

Chris (Beaufort, SC)

I know its only just past mid-season this year, but looking forward to 2013, do you think Clemson has a legitimate national championship shot?

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

Yes, but only if everyone returns and they bring in some more playmakers on defense.

Ryan (Ohio)

Who do you think will fair better in their rookie season in the ACC---Pitt or Syracuse?

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

Pitt.

Taylor (Jacksonville, FL)

HD, what was the loudest game you have been to over the past 2 years. I have to believe FSU-OU and FSU-Clemson are at or near the top. (assuming you were there)

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

Yeah I was at both. It might have been the Oklahoma game, but I was at a Virginia Tech game within the past two years and the press box was shaking. It was crazy. And yet I can't remember which game it was because I've been to so many there in the past few years.

TigerScott88 (Marion, SC)

I know it's still early, but do you think Tajh and Nuk come back next year, or declare?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

If they're first-rounders how do they NOT go? If not, that's a decision only they can make, and even they will go back and forth on it. Talked to Jonathan Cooper about his struggle with it.

Ryan (Ohio)

Do you ever think there will come a time when the ACC feels the need to tweak the divisions? I really thought moving Maryland over with the Virginia schools and slotting both Pitt and Syracuse with old rival BC was a good move but Swofford apparently didn't think so.

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

It's not like it won't ever happen, it's just not being talked about seriously right now.

Mike (Just north of SANDY!)

Where do you find info on defensive categories? I can't ever seem to find it on espn. What is the FSU defense ranked?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

I get a lot of stats from the NCAA.http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/mainpage.jsp

Don (Chicago)

What does Maryland do with the QB situation? Getting a little ridiculous!

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Getting? Was it Seinfeld that had the bubble boy episode? Get those guys in a bubble or something. Make sure nobody trips on the way to class. Good grief.

Ryan (Ohio)

I'm beginning to think that the Maryland QB position is even more cursed than Iowa's RBs

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Oh yeah. Terps win.

Jordan (Durham)

Can I get you to agree not to make any suggestion that Duke will beat Clemson on Saturday? The kiss of death would be most unhelpful. Please and thank you.

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

Yeah, I don't see it happening. Just like I said there wouldn't be a chance it happened in Tally this week.

chief (work)

should the ACC consider cancelling the champ. game this year? It's just going to make us look more pathetic than we already look

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

Aw, c'mon. It could be a Florida State-Miami game! That's what you guys have always wanted, right?

Chris (Boston)

Since its kinda obvious that Spaz will be fired, any chance that BC can get Charlie Strong or Sonny Dykes as the next coach? Or will BC aim lower

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

I don't think BC's new AD will "aim lower," but they've got to get a guy who WANTS to be there and can recruit there.

RJ (OH)

Heater, given the way the ACC is shaking out this season, where do you see Pitt and Syracuse fitting in the pecking order of the conference next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

I think they'll give some ACC teams some trouble, but until proven otherwise, they'll be in a mixed bag with everyone else behind FSU and Clemson.

Nick (NY)

Do you think this is the most important BC football hire in some time? From the decline of talent, performance and increase in fan apathy, a bad hire could set the program back to Duke levels.

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

No doubt. Keep in mind, though, that Spaz is still the head coach.

Amanda (San Antonio, TX)

As far as BCS bowl selection goes, is the winner of the ACC Championship required to go to the Orange Bowl by default, or can a different BCS bowl select the ACC Champion? If so, is the Orange Bowl required to take another ACC at large team?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

No, the ACC champ goes to the Orange Bowl unless it is in the national title game. The ACC's best hope for at-large is Fiesta or Sugar.

Matthew (Tallahassee)

Do you honestly think that Clemson defense is on the rise after one game against Wake Forest? Duke could have looked like an NFL team against Wake.

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

I thought the Clemson D turned the corner before that, against VT.

Scott (WA)

Heather...you've consistently ranked Oregon lower than other voters. I'm just curious what you've seen about the Ducks that doesn't impress you? What do they need to do to move up in your mind?

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

It's not that they haven't impressed me. They're an outstanding team. They've done all they can do. But I like Notre Dame's resume and defense better.

Mike (Central Florida)

With all the depth of talent FSU has, how do you see FSU fairing next year? Another top 5 starting position?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Again, it depends on who stays and who goes. Look at how hard NFL departures hit Miami and Virginia Tech.

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Ok guys, my time is up here. Thanks for joining me this week, and stay safe on the East Coast!