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September 16, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (12:59 PM)

Hey guys, I'm here. Let's get started ...

Aamir (Frederick, MD)

What are your predictions on the Terps conference record seeing how they have played so far?

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

I think conference play will bring them back to reality after a 4-0 start. I'm counting losses to FSU and Clemson, but I'm not even sure they beat BC at home, and I like what I've seen from Virginia so far. I think they beat Cuse and UVA, and they're a bowl team, but again, I think the conference play will be humbling.

Andrew (Pittsburgh)

Hey AD, love the blog and know predictions are coming later in the week, but can I get a sneak peek? What do you make of Pitt's chances to pick up their first ACC win on the road against Duke this Saturday?

Heather Dinich
  (1:02 PM)

AD ... you combining Adelson-Dinich into one blogger this week? I really like Pitt's chance, Andrew. Brandon Connette struggled last week in his debut at QB, and Duke's defense came back to reality. I think Pitt is the better team.

Jon (Atlanta / GA)

Hey HD, Did you know that GT had a passing game? Who would of thought Vad Lee would throw so many TD's in a game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

Great stuff by the Jackets. Again, they don't have to throw it 30 times, just be more productive when they do, and Vad Lee certainly gives them that productivity. Talked to him Sat. night after the game, and all he kept saying was how he thought they could be even better, starting with him.

Matt (Clemson)

After seeing the shootout at A&M, do you think Clemson or FSU or even both could hang with Alabama?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

To me, the question is which one of those three teams would have the better defense. I don't think any of them would have a problem scoring.

Jon Steele (Orlando)

What do you think of the way Jameis Winston responded to the rough start in the 1st quarter of the Noles' game vs. Nevada and how well do you think that bodes for FSU's chances the rest of the way. Winston started out 2-5 with an INT and then proceeded to go 13-13 with 2 passing TD's and a rushing TD to finish out the game.

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

Love it. Great poise to respond like that, and no doubt it bodes well for the future. There's no reason he can't keep it up in conference play, but I'm still picking Boyd in the October showdown.

Alex Browning (Georgia)

Who do you think has the better defense? Clemson or FSU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Not trying to sidestep it, really, but I think it's too early to tell. Clemson is clearly better than it was a year ago, and played very well against Georgia. I'm not sure FSU's defense will really be tested until the Clemson game, though Maryland will definitely present some big challenges.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think Germone Hopper can step up opposite Sammy Watkins now that Peake is out with an ACL injury?

Heather Dinich
  (1:10 PM)

Talked to Chad Morris about that today, actually, check the blog tomorrow for a more extensive story on it, but yeah, they really like Hopper, said he proved a lot against South Carolina State, and overall really confident in that group.

Mitchell (Clemson)

After seeing Jameis Winston play these first few weeks, how do you think he will do in his first big test in a completely hostile environment in Death Valley a couple of weeks from now?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

I think he will continue to wow us, but my prediction is that there is a moment in the game in which he makes a turnover or rookie mistake, and that has a lot to do with pressure from Clemson's defense.

John (SC)

Who do you see filling Peake's shoess?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Martavis Bryant.

Rodney (Denver) [via mobile]

HD how do you think FSU's defense will do against Clemson in 3 weeks coming off a bye week?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

You know it's a slow week in the ACC when the Oct. 19 game is the hottest topic ...

Jon (Atlanta / GA)

Hey HD, I find it amazing that Paul Johnson doesn't use a play book. Do you know of any other coach that doesn't require one?

Heather Dinich
  (1:13 PM)

He has a playbook, he just doesn't script his plays on Saturdays. But yeah, it's unique. Very.

Gene (PA)

How much action do you think Karlos Williams will have going forward (assuming no injuries)? He has the speed that Freeman and Wilder don't have.

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

Man, he is unreal to be able to switch positions like that and run for 100 yards. Jimbo wouldn't have moved him over there if he wasn't gonna use him ...

Ed (Queens Village)

Would ACC be better off moving conference championship to a home game then neutral site?

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

I have become a believer in Charlotte. The city has grown on me, and I like the idea of having a city home like the Dome has become to the SEC. It's in a good location, and I think it's only going to be rare occasions that it doesn't get a good crowd.

Ryan (Jax Beach )

Don't forget Trickett only lost in Dealth Valley by 3 points :). Winston is clearly better.

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

So is Clemson since then ...

sebastiano le ibis (somewhere far away, but close by)

Can you see the Canes going undefeated this year, or at least only 1 loss to FSU? Oh, and any chance we hear that we won't receive any more sanctions with in the next 3 years?

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

I don't see it. Miami is good, but they haven't played great yet. I know, I know, they beat Florida, but ... at UNC on a Thursday night? at FSU? at Pittsburgh in November? Brr ...

Dave [via mobile]

What did tajh say about nc state?

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

LOL thought you'd never ask ... he said he isn't concerned about the last time they lose to the Pack, that he doesn't get wrapped up in stuff like that, but it is true that guys on the team don't want to be this year's FSU. He said they're main focus is 3-0, and that's it right now. And he, too, is confident in his receivers.

Kendall (Sumter, SC)

HD, I see where the assistant SEC guru for ESPN is already clamoring for an Alabama-Oregon matchup in the BCS Championship game. Don't you think he's a bit premature? There's still a lot of football to be played. Besides, Clemson fans want to see a Clemson-Alabama matchup so we have a chance to atone for the 2008 game. But first, NCSU...

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

I don't think it's premature. As much as I would LOVE to go to the national championship game, I've seen Clemson AND Oregon live this month ... and I have Oregon ranked ahead of Clemson. Just sayin' ...

Steve (Middletown, OH)

HD, in your opinion who has the best defense in the ACC? VT?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

Yep. Hokies. Hands down.

Tafari (North Texas)

HD, I know it's early, but how many teams does the ACC end the season with in the Top 25?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

I'll say four. I think Jackets are next in.

Jared (FL)

Since the defenses are an unknown, doesn't FSU have more playmakers than Clemson on offense? Granted, Boyd has experience but Watkins missed a year.

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

I think it's fair to say that, yes, FSU is deeper.

Kendall (Sumter, SC)

OK, we'll be happy with Clemson-Oregon then. Hope to see you in Pasadena. Just sayin'!

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

Ha ... see you there ...

Matt (Clemson)

Teddy Bridgewater has been posting video game numbers but against less than impressive competition. Do you think his numbers are more impressive than Tajh's against actual competition?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

No, I have Boyd ahead of Bridgewater in my Heisman 5.

Lee (Arlington, VA)

Hokies might have the best D, but the worst O to go with it right?

Heather Dinich
  (1:22 PM)

An amazing combination, isn't it?

matt (winston-salem)

hd, does scott shafer deserve heat for allowing drew allen to go as far as he did? that decision cost 'cuse the psu game.

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

No, I don't think so. Conference play hasn't even started yet, and they might have found an answer in Hunt, but geez, it was against Wagner. I think they still need to prove they have a QB who can win in the ACC, don't you?

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Is Logan Thomas on the verge of going from being projected as the #1 pick in the draft, to not being selected until the final round, if at all?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

I am the first to remind you guys I'm not a draft expert, but I would be shocked if he went in the first round right now. I have no idea how far his stock has fallen, but his best bet right now is to hope the defense keeps winning.

Mark (VA)

Do I have to go back to Vick to find an offense for Beamer? I like a stout defense but he has been given a pass for the other side of the ball.

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

Nah, c'mon ... Tyrod Taylor was a winner as a senior, and David Wilson? Danny Coale? They've had some players, but I get where you're coming from ...

Drew (Arlington)

Having seen Clemson and GT play... How do you think Gt's chances are? This game tends to be pretty competitive, and the Jackets love to spoil Clemson's hopes (2011). Either way, should be high scoring!

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

Love it. Now we've moved on to Nov. 14. It really is a snoozer this week, huh? I think this is a really underrated game on the ACC schedule. It's a Thursday night game at Clemson, and you're right, a tough test for both defenses. Like what I see out of Ted Roof &Co. so far. Yes, I expect a high-scoring game, too, sticking with TIgers at home.

Steve (Middletown, OH)

HD: The problem with the ACC has alway been that the teams beat up on each other once conference play starts. Do you think the top of the conference can stay unscathed? Or do you see this year playing out like the rest?

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

Ha, I just wrote about that for 1 p.m. today, Steve, saying the ACC can't fumble this weekend. You're absolutely right, the league is its own worst opponent. Somebody's gotta lose, considering FSU and Clemson play, and FSU and Miami play. The question is whether they can avoid losing to GT, etc, and I think they can.

Matthew (Boston)

Even accounting for the USC game, BC looks noticeably better this year. Does this go to show how BC's decline can be directly traced to Gene DeFillippo's decision to fire Jags and hire (and subsequently extend) Spaz?

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

Well, geez, that's a lot of heresay, who knows how the career of Jagodzinski would have played out. He clearly wasn't a big fan of recruiting. We never got a chance to see how he would fare with his own guys. Spaz clearly wasn't the right guy for the job, that falls on the AD, but Addazio seems to be a great hire. BC fans should focus on that.

Rick (VA)

UVA sneak into a bowl game this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

They definitely can. I see at least four wins with BYU, VMI, Ball State and Duke. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if they beat Pitt/Maryland. And they have the Hokies at home. Definitely possible.

DarNel (Santa Barbara)

Why do you think Jameis Winston can keep up his play in conference but not Maryland's CJ Brown?

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

Winston has more playmakers around him.

Douglas (Miami Beach)

How concerned should Miami fans be with the inconsistency of the Canes offense as well as the play of Stephen Morirs?

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

I don't think too concerned, really. Morris is a veteran, he'll get it together. They should be 4-0 heading into the GT game and don't have to leave the state until October. If you don't see some improvement by Oct. 17, then it's time to worry.

Paul (Charleston, sc)

Do you see Clemson losing Charon Peake and their lack of depth at receiver affect them much down the road?

Heather Dinich
  (1:37 PM)

As long as nobody else is injured, they'll be fine. Only six scholarship receivers left. Biggest problem with Peake's injury is the depth. They've still got the talent.

Aaron (Syracuse, NY)

HD, why no love for FSU defense? might not be as lights out as last year, but they've still been solid so far (10ppg and 250yds allowed). once they get pruitt's system down a little more, they may have even more potential than last year, particularly in the back 7. the secondary is loaded.

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

I hear ya. Like you said, just not lights out yet, and I don't know if we'll see that until October.

Nathan (Kingsport, TN)

Special Teams under Frank Beamer............go.

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Beamerbust.

Scott (Greenville, SC)

Will UNC find a running game without Bernard against GT's defense this weekend? Will they need a running game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

Yes, and yes. You don't want to let Georgia Tech control the clock and sustain those long seven minute drives. I understand the concept of a fast-paced offense, but they've got to also be able to run the ball effectively against GT.

Scott (Greenville, SC)

How do you see this weekends GT-UNC game ending up? Last year was 68-50! Do you think UNC will put up those kind of numbers against GT again? GT?

Heather Dinich
  (1:40 PM)

I'm certainly not convinced in UNC's defense, so I expect the Jackets to put up some points. I don't think it will be that high-scoring because at least GT's defense has improved.

Doug (Washington DC)

Seems like last year FSU was the front runner and the most talked about team in the ACC. Now Clemson seems to taken over that role and Miami is on the rise. Is it possible FSU took a step back this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

No, FSU is still a top 10 team loaded with talent. We just won't know how good they are until they play Clemson, Miami and Florida. They've got a soft schedule otherwise. A lot of the preseason hype surrounding Clemson had to do with who they returned/Boyd/Watkins/Morris ... and who FSU didn't/six staff members/EJ Manuel/entire d-line/11 NFL draft picks.

James (Atlanta)

Based off your comment about GT's defense being improved, and UNC's defense being questionable... Sounds like you are calling a Jackets win... If the Jackets win this weekend, what do you think the chances are of an undefeated battle come October between Miami and GT? UNC seems to be the bigger threat than VT, though VT always ekes out a victory against PJ.

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

Yeah, I think Miami and GT are the two best teams in the division, and I don't think GT will have a problem beating VT at home on Thursday night. So yes, I'll go with the prediction of two undefeateds for the Miami-GT game.

Chris (Newport News, VA)

Georgia Tech is 3rd in scoring offense. Va Tech is 2nd in total defense. How many points will the jackets get in their Thursday night matchup?

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

24

Gary (CT)

I guess I am in the minority I thinking that Miami is a bit overrated. They beat an error prone Florida and have question marks on the O line and QB. And defense for that matter. Let's see when they get into ACC play how they do before we say "Miami is back". Agree??

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Oh no doubt. Until Miami is consistent, they've got something to prove. Florida's defense, though, is the real deal.

Scott (Greenville, SC)

Who has a good outside shot at ACC player of the year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Andre Williams at BC? CJ Brown?

Matt (Philly)

Doesn't CJ Brown have the best receiver in the ACC at his disposal?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Diggs is terrific. So is Nigel King, Deon Long. But Florida State is even deeper.

Steve (Middletown, OH)

What about VAD LEE for ACC player of the year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Another good candidate, for sure.

Mitchell (Clemson)

Does NC St even stand a chance on Thursday? I feel like Clemson is really confident about this game and remembers what happened last time.

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

The Pack has all of the intangibles -- home crowd (great atmosphere at Carter-Finley, underrated), history, and nothing to lose. Clemson has the better team. As long as the Tigers don't turn the ball over, NC State should be overmatched.

James Brown (FL)

What are your thoughts on Jameis Winston in the Heisman picture? He's only played Pitt and Nevada, but his accuracy seems almost unreal, even under pressure. If FSU beats Clemson, does Tajh Boyd take backseat to Winston?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

Winston was No. 5 on my Heisman watch this week.

Adam (New Hartford, NY)

If VT's offense can just improve to league average, they're a serious contender, right?

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

Yes. Seriously.

molecat (valley forge pa)

Will Paul Johnson be able to bring top WR recruits to GT now that Vad Lee has shown that you can implement an effective passing game in their option offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

GT has already done that with guys like Demaryius Thomas. The difference this year is not the WRs. It's the QB.

Michael (Blacksburg)

Have you seen a single difference in the play calling from Loeffler this year? It looks eerily similar to the Stinespring unit from last year. Was hoping for a bit more imagination.

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

I think the playcalling has been fine. Liked what he did vs ECU. It's not the Xs and the Os in this case, Michael, it's the Jimmys and the Joes.

Scott (Greenville, SC)

What is wrong with Wake? Is this the end of Jim Grobe?

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

I'm getting him on the phone later today. No, I don't think it's the end of Jim Grobe. I think it should be the end of the option, though.

Adam (West Point, GA)

Scott Davis posted this in the comments section and I thought it was a great question. "HD...if the Jackets are for real on defense...which has to be confirmed in the next 2 weeks...would you say they got a great shot at beating Miami and Clemson?"

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

It is a great question. We need to find out more because they were playing Duke's backup QB, so the next two weeks will definitely reveal how far they've come. That being said, if they ARE that much better, then those games become much more interesting. I'd say they have a better shot of beating Miami than Clemson.

T.K. (Chas. S.C.)

If Jameis Winston's ESPN overall QBR is at #3 and CJ Brown's is #14, Tahj Boyd's is #41 do you think Boyd might be overrated for Heisman?

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

No. He had, what, five TDs against Georgia? The same UGA that beat South Carolina? And he's playing for the No. 3 team in the nation. The fact they played South Carolina State probably didn't help, but I think he's definitely Heisman material, especially if he goes 2-1 at the least against the Big 3.

Mark (Mississippi)

Will the shake up of RBs at FSU hurt the offensive moral. This looks bad for business if you ask me when clearly JW and Freeman (and Green) were getting the job done.

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

It will be interesting to see how "Wild and Free" respond to the move, and if they are willing to put team above self. Will also be interesting to see how the carries are divided. From a fan/coaches perspective, a good problem to have.

Hal (Atlanta)

We saw a glimpse of what Jackets fans think is the difference this year, and its not just Vad Lee, its the addition of DeAndre Smelter and a solid passing game. Darren Waller will also come on in the next two games. If we can put up points on VT defense, I agree, thats when you know you got something. They have our respect on D.Can Tech develop quickly enough to win in Miami Gardens?

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

I think they can, especially with how pedestrian Miami's offense has looked recently. Again, guys, the Coastal is a total coin toss. It's still early, but from what I've seen, Miami and GT are the teams to beat.

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

Ok guys, my time is up here. Thanks so much for joining me. Enjoy the games this weekend.hd