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January 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (1:00 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here ... let's go!

Paul (Tampa)

Hd,I really enjoy your coverage. Do you feel FSU is in disaray as I do? The Noles have lost 6 coaches and 1 other key staff member in 2 months. During the Bobby Bowden era they did not lose 6 coaches in 40 years and if they left it was for head coaching opportunities. That's why they were top 4 in final polls for 14 years straight and recruiting top 5 classes year in and year out. I hear Jimbo is a micro manager and current staff members could not leave soon enough. This proves to me, there is an adult probelm in Tallahassee and not talent. We are an average program with Blue Chip talent at the moment. Something has got to give. Your thoughts!!

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

I understand Mark Stoops' decision to leave, and Eddie Gran had an opportunity to be an OC, and so did James Coley, but yes, I think it is an awful lot of turnover, and it raises some eyebrows. I'm not willing, though, to write off Jimbo Fisher. He has done an excellent job of winning quickly and reloading the talent there.

Matthew (Boston, MA)

Heather, why do people think any BC fan setting the bar at a bowl game next year is being unreasonable? The evidence is clear that Spaz was an awful coach, so if Addazio is even mediocre, there should be a clear step up. Is it such a stretch to find 3 wins OOC (Stony Brook, NM St., and Army) and 3 more in the ACC (pretty much any non-FSU or Clemson team is beatable)? Keep in mind go 6-6 (3-5) still would make BC a below average team.

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

Well, because the bar was so low to begin with that you could trip over it, Matthew. BC has a TON of work to do, and you're right, the nonconference schedule is the whole key. It's certainly not unreasonable, I just think the jury is waaay out right now on how good BC can be in Year 1.

Mike (Worcester, Ma)

Hi Heather! I like the fact there will be no talking about Frank Beamer coaches anymore. My question with new offensive coordinator coming to Miami, do see a bid difference in recruiting for Miami and how may recruits will switch from FSU to Miami? Thanks!

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Yes, Coley should make a significant impact for the Canes, Mike. He knows that area sooo well, it's his hometown. I have no idea how many if any recruits will flip.

Luke (TN)

HD, Any more details on the potential Big12/ACC "alliance" and what that could mean for conference stability?

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

No, but ACC winter meetings are this week (Wed-Fri) in Ft. Lauderdale. I will try to get some more info for you on how much if at all that will be a topic of discussion.

Dion (charlotte)

why are people discounting UNC as a threat in the coastal division next season? With a little defense, you have to think they have a shot.

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

I don't think anyone is discounting UNC -- should definitely be considered a contender, but losing Gio Bernard, Cooper and three OL is going to be significant.

Matt (Winston-Salem)

HD, my 'Noles play at BB&T in 2013. Obviously, last year was rough on the Deacs, and it was strange to see after a nice run. Does Wake rebound, or do you see 2012 as just a sign of things to come?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

I think the Deacs will be one of the more improved teams. People forget they had those suspensions for the Maryland game, and a few other suspensions, plus Campanaro was injured ... there were several setbacks aside from just a tough sked.

austin (richmond)

Do you think Loeffler is the right guy? Can he really right this offensive shipwreck in Blacksburg?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

I like to give these guys time to prove themselves, Austin, but my gut says he's not the answer, and I say that based on some of the results at Florida and obviously last year at Auburn. Plus, it's hard to forget that he wasn't the first choice.

James (Birmingham)

Living in Birmingham, all I hear is SEC this and SEC that. While I watch my ACC Tigers try get get a decent recruiting class together this year, I am worried that the ACC is being left behind talent wise. Have you heard of any last minute fireworks that ACC fans can look forward to Feb 6th? Fla St is carrying the torch as the only top 25 class.

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

Nah, check ESPN.com's class rankings ... Clemson, VT, UNC, Miami in the Top 25.http://insider.espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/classrankingsAs for fireworks on signing day ... I have covered it enough to know there are always a few surprises.

Pierce (Tampa)

Heather, whose the 2nd best quarterback in the ACC next year? Stephen Morris? Maybe chase rettig?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I think Stephen Morris could give Boyd a run for his money as No. 1 next year.

jander75 (the ACCylum)

Most improved team for the ACC next year will be...?

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

I've already said the Hokies in a video but here's a secret .. I had to do the video twice because in the first version I said Georgia Tech. Upon further review, I think it will be the Hokies. They've got a bigger climb.

Jeff (Charlotte)

Which ACC school has the best National Signing Day...Clemson, Miami or FSU

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

My guess is Florida State. They're still in the running for some guys that can bump them up further, but Miami can also close strong on a few guys, too.

Stephen (Chestnut Hill)

HD, Ohio State President Gordon Gee was reported saying that B1G expansion is ongoing and he sees movement to 3-4 superconferences of 16-20 teams. If you had to pick and additional 2-6 teams that the B1G would poach, who would they be?

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

Let's hope this is just hypothetical, but I'll put Georgia Tech at the top of the list. There had been rumors and speculation about North Carolina, prompting school officials to put out a release a while back, but I can't see UNC going anywhere without Duke, and I don't see Duke leaving the ACC.

Matt (Winston-Salem)

HD, you say Loeffler may not be the answer for VT...well, what about James Coley at the U? The 'Canes success is riding on that offense! Seems risky to me.

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

I think the defense is in bigger need of help than the offense at Miami, Matt. You're right in that this is a bit of an experiment for Coley to call the plays, but don't forget Mario Cristobal is also on that staff now. A collective effort can go a long way. Plus, to me, the benefit Coley brings in recruiting outweighs what little if any doubt Golden had about Coley calling the plays. But I don't think he would have hired him if he didn't trust him to do that.

Jake (Blacksburg)

I think the hiring of Grimes is more important than the hiring of Loeffler. Just look at the last season to see how horrid the Hokies O Line has been for a few years now. That said, do you think the O line issues are tied to lack of talent or coaching? And do you think Grimes will have a positive impact on recruiting?

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

Yes, the o-line -- in particular the lack of physical play -- had to have been disturbing to VT and its fans. It was the root of the problem last year. Thought it was a good hire, good move.

William D. (Morgantown, WV)

HD, even though im a student at WVU, im a huge Duke fan. What is the outlook for Duke Football next year? And do you think we will get any high caliber recruits on signing day?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

There are plenty of four-star recruits still considering Duke ...http://espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/school/_/id/150/class/2013/page/consideringBut they haven't landed any yet, so we'll see. As for the outlook next year, I'm not going to have them in the first bowl projections, and that's mainly because of the losses of Vernon and Renfree, but there is talent waiting in the wings.

jander75 (the ACCylum)

Did you actually think you would get away from Hokie offensive worries with the horrible hires we made in the offseason? (although it is hard to imagine they can be any worse than Stiney and company)

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

Lol ... you know, I DID post a poll a while back about whether or not you guys thought the offseason hires would help VT, and the majority of you said yes!

T.C. (Richmond, VA)

I'd like to point out that this will be the first season in as long as I can remember that FSU might actually be able to surpass realistic expectations rather than fall flat against lofty ones. And I think they will. Your thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

I think that is a fabulous point of view, and one I might steal for the blog. So, thanks.

Lexie (DC)

When Maryland and Louisville comes in do you think there could be any talk about realigning the divisions? Louisville is clearly a huge upgrade over Maryland and it just seems like its stacking the Atlantic (and making it that much harder for teams like Wake and BC to get bowl eligible) to have Clemson, FSU, and Louisville all in one division. I know a lot of people on tobacco road would like to see those in state games played more frequently... how about a division with the 4 NC schools, the 2 VA schools and Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

I have not heard any serious talk about realigning the divisions. Everytime I ask about it, it's dismissed with a wave of the hand type think. It could be revisted and taken a little more seriously after the addition of Louisville, but I would be surprised.

Stephen (Tallahassee)

Even though the ACC had a winning bowl season, when will the Coastal division be able to compete like they should?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

I think the Coastal will be just fine in 2013, and the deeper of the two divisions. It will help, obviously, to have all of the teams eligible! Yeesh ...

Andre (Tallahassee, FL)

Who are your top 3 ACC coaches on the hot seat as of now?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

There aren't any more coaches left to fire! I think Paul Johnson coached his way out of any trouble. If anyone, maybe Mike London at Virginia, but I don't see it.

Matt (Charleston)

Clemson will have the better NSD over Miami, and FSU.Mont Adams, Asanti Woulard, Tyrone Crowder and Adrian Baker all becoming Tigers! W the possibilities of Carl Lawson, James Clark, and Mackensie Alexander! Go Tigers!!!

Heather Dinich
  (1:31 PM)

You know what? This sounds like a great poll post for this week.

Eric (Pensacola)

Any chance that Jamies Winston wins the starting spot or is it Tricketts to lose?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

It's Trickett's to lose this spring, but I went out on a limb -- like, a Texas-sized limb -- and said that Winston would be FSU's QB this year.

James (God's Country)

Can Tajh Boyd win a Heisman Award?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

If he plays the way he did this year or better and isn't in NY at least as a finalist, I'll be surprised.

James (God's Country)

Actually let's restate that question, can an ACC player period win the Heisman?

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

Yes, it's been done before ... I STILL think Luke Kuechly and C.J. Spiller should have gotten more consideration, though.

Stephen (Chestnut Hill)

HD, who do you give the best chance of unseating the Clemson/FSU stranglehold on the Atlantic (assuming it won't happen this year, let's exclude Louisville for argument's sake)?

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

Truth is, nobody. Not this year.

Sylvain (calgary)

What's holding Clemson from being a consistent top 10 team, And the words consistent and Clemson have never been together but it appears they are turning the page!

Heather Dinich
  (1:35 PM)

Yes, they turned the page this past season in a big way. So much so that I think it was in late October or early November of 2012 that I wrote Clemson would NOT pull a Clemson, that it got past that hump. Defense has kept it from being consistent, though. And turnovers.

Cheyne (Charleston, SC)

Hey Heather..... what are the chances the hoos make it to a bowl game this year. Factors include O'Brien and Tenuta and how they fit, Sims ability to be a top tier quarterback in the ACC, and how the linebacking corp is replaced.... Thanks

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

I need to see the whole schedule when it's official before I say that, but I will say I think those staff changes were a definite upgrade. I'm not a believer yet, though, in Sims. Need to see more.

Eric (Chicago)

Heather, non-ACC question for you but do you think that if TA&M doesn't move to the SEC until a year later, does Johnny Football still win the Heisman? Obviously he wouldn't have the Alabama game on his schedule.

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

Wow, great question. My knee-jerk reaction is to say, no, he doesn't win it, but his numbers probably earn him the trip and the attention, not to mention a few haircuts in his honor.

Oracle of the Skies (Tallahassee)

With all the improvement that is happening across the Coastal Division, who do you think is in the best position to win it? And furthermore, do you think they'll be able to topple Clemson/FSU in the Championship game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

I've already gone on record as saying Miami has the best chance, but then I was waiting to see who Golden hired as OC to stick with that. I'm sticking with it. But I still don't see them beating Clemson in the ACCCG.

Mark (DC)

Do you see any more sanctions for Miami?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

My prediction -- and this is purely a guess -- is that there will be some more repercussions but that Miami's self-imposed sanctions will be the worst of it, thanks in part to the NCAA's disaster of an investigation.

Stuart (Charlottesville)

September 7th, 2013University of Virginia vs. Oregon.WHAT?!

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

Yeah, I saw rumors floating on Twitter about that, but I'll believe it when I see it once the schedule is official. As of right now, it appears to be just misinformation.

Jim (Harrisburg, PA)

Being here in Big 10 country i do not pay much attention to ACC football, however could not help but take notice of what Duke has began to do building a program there, can you talk a little about that and if you think they will continue to build and what the key is to that?

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

David Cutcliffe is the key, Jim, not to mention being given the time to build something and wanting to see it through. Cutcliffe could have gone to Tennessee (twice by my count), but chose to stay, and Duke has rewarded Cutcliffe with confidence and time to recruit. They have brought in better athletes and built depth and were able to overcome injuries. They are heading in the right direction, but they were also unable to finish strong last year.

Laura (Va)

Every year the same question is asked...does the ACC have a legit contender...the bottom line is this...the SEC wins every year because of 2 reasons....1) they control the line of scrimmage and 2) the have the fastest players in the county on defense....until other teams/conferences can recruit and develop that level of talent, we are stuck on an SEC broken record.

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

That's it in a nutshell. But don't forget Clemson beat LSU. And FSU has beaten South Carolina in the past two years or so. It can be done.

Nathan (Kingsport, TN)

Which new member of the ACC is most likely to be the first to win an ACC title?

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

Definitely Louisville, followed by Pitt then Cuse.

Pierce (Tampa)

Does miami have a real chance to play in a BCS bowl next year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Sure. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Canes in the Orange Bowl, or for the ACC to have two BCS bowl bids. That's assuming, of course, they can play in the postseason.

flipp2hokie (Wild and Wonder)

With all of the turn over in the ACC coaches head and asst. coaches, which team should benift the most and which one the least?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

I think the benefit is a toss-up between VT and Miami, the least to me is Boston College. I'm having a hard time buying into those changes, but like I said earlier, I'd like to give those guys a chance to see what they do first.

Eric (Pensacola)

Heather, there is a big difference between beating South Carolina an Lsu vs beating Alabama lol. Clemson's defense will be it's downfall unless it is drastically better next season. Yes Clemson won a respectable game against LSU, but lets get real, Bama would have slaughtered them.

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Well, yeah, ok, but you've got to beat those other teams in order to line up against Bama and find out.

Matt (Winston-Salem)

No 1,000 yard rushers at FSU since Dunn in '96! With a new starting QB learning the ropes, shouldn't 2013 be the year to end the dry spell?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

You would think FSU is going to have to lean on its running game to take some pressure off the new QB, but will it be by committee? How will the offensive line look? No Lonnie Pryor at FB?

Will (SC)

Would Clemson have a shot at the NT next year if they lose the opener to UGA?

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

I'll say yes, even though the chances would drop dramatically. I've learned, though, never to count out a one-loss team, especially after the season opener. It CAN'T go oh-fer, though, against UGA, SC and FSU. Obviously. I think it can only afford to lose one and still have a realistic shot, and even that is pushing it.

Oracle of the Skies (Tallahassee)

If Trickett wins the QB position, do you think FSU's offensive line would be extra motivated since the Coach's son is the QB?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Ha, you would think, right? Well, it wouldn't be the first time. Trickett got plenty of snaps and a start or two when EJ was hurt two years ago. I'd have to look up how many times he was sacked during those games.

Jonathan (Washington DC)

Will Maryland compete in its last year in the ACC?

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

Yeah, they should be better. Certainly can't get much worse. I expect C.J. Brown to be ready to be the QB, but I wonder how much of a dropoff they'll have on D after having to replace some big names.

Seminole_Sam (Tempe, AZ)

I think Miami takes a step back next year with them replacing a quality NFL type offensive coordinator in Fisch and hiring our old TEs coach. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

Considering Miami has Duke Johnson, what should be one of the best o-lines in the ACC, and a seasoned QB, I think Coley is walking into a pretty good situation.

VTIGloo (The ACCylum)

I'm late to the party today. Has Frank Beamer hired an OC yet?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

You guys are funny today.

Robert VT (Blacksburg)

Heather, what's up with news that the BIG12 would like to explore an alliance & 2 other conferences. Thanks for all your good work.

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Here's a quick blurb on it from the Austin American-Statesman ...Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league is actively exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other unspecified leagues for the purposes of scheduling, marketing and possibly even television partnerships, an arrangement that might prevent further expansion.

Chris (Sumter, SC)

Any news on what has to be a mad scramble by the Noles to hire an OC before NSD?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Nope. At this point, take your time and make the right hire.

Matt (Winston-Salem)

Best group of receivers in the ACC for '13, HD? MD, FSU, or Clemson?

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

Hmm. I have to take a closer look, and we will do position rankings this summer, but I would put FSU or CLemson ahead of Maryland. Even with the loss of Hopkins, Clemson is still loaded, and I thought their group was better than FSU in 12.

Heather Dinich
  (2:02 PM)

Ok guys, my time is up here. Sorry if I didn't get to your question, but feel free to drop it in the mailbag you can find on the blog page. Thanks for joining me this week. Good stuff. See you next Monday.hd