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September 30, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Heather Dinich

Heather Dinich
  (12:59 PM)

Happy Monday, ACC fans. Are the Virginia Tech fans going to make me eat crow today? Let's get started ...

Hasley (703)

Virginia Tech actually has a shot at the ACC title game due to a comically unbalanced schedule (no Clemson or Fl St). How unfair is that to a team like Maryland?

Heather Dinich
  (1:01 PM)

And every other team in the Atlantic Division? Last year Duke had to play FSU and Clemson -- back-to-back if I remember correctly. The Hokies do catch a break this year in that they don't have to play either of the AD favorites, but if a team is good enough to get there, it will.

Jon (Atlanta / GA)

Hey HD, GT has now played 2 bad games... Here's my issue. Paul Johnson refuses to open up the passing game. VT loaded the box and dared GT to pass. With the WR's we have, should Johnson pass more to prevent teams from crashing in time after time?

Heather Dinich
  (1:03 PM)

It's not what they do, Jon. VT dared them to pass because they knew GT couldn't do it well enough to beat them with it. That is and always will be their problem until proven otherwise. Can GT win an ACC title without passing it? Sure. They've proven that. Can they win bigger? I have my doubts.

Stephen (Cincinnati)

HD, I'm thinking BC can sneak into a bowl game. Wins against Army and NMST get BC up to 4, then 2 of NC St, UNC, and Cuse. Thoughts?

Heather Dinich
  (1:04 PM)

I said on Saturday during the games I'd pick the Eagles to beat UNC right now. I love their effort, but they gave up too many big plays on D. NC State is looking pretty good, that game is a toss-up. I don't know, Stephen, I'm just not convinced there are six on there right now.

Matt (SC)

Syracuse seems to slay a giant one a year. Is this the weekend?

Heather Dinich
  (1:05 PM)

You are right about that. They have a knack for knocking off teams with talented QBs. I don't think it happens again this weekend, though, especially if Tajh Boyd plays the way he did against Wake.

Al (Eagle Land)

How about the way BC played on Saturday?

Heather Dinich
  (1:06 PM)

Loved it. Addazio really has those guys fired up and believing. If you didn't already, check out his quote in this morning's "weekend rewind" post. It is a classic.

Gary (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Heather, My Tigers are traveling to New York this weekend. Being that we have never played them, I do not know much other than their change at quarterback has seems to have been a good move. What do you think Clemson's biggest challenge will be this weekend at Syracuse? I honestly don't think the Tigers lose this one, but playing at the Carrier Dome makes me a little nervous....but only a little bit.

Heather Dinich
  (1:07 PM)

Gary the venue itself is going to be a challenge. It's a different place to play, from what I'm told, though I've never been there. Just handling the atmosphere of the Dome will be interesting.

PJVT (Fredericksburg)

Hey Heather! No need to eat crow. Hokie fans realize that with this defense every game will be competitive including Miami and possible ACC Championship game. Would you agree with David Pollock and Jesse Palmer that VT does own the nation's best defense? What is really scary about this defense is that it only gets better when Exum goes for Bonner.

Heather Dinich
  (1:08 PM)

Funny you ask, I'm working on a post for tomorrow about the Hokies' D and looking at some numbers that will help us determine whether or not it is the best in the country. With Easley out at Florida, you can certainly make the case for it. I buy it.

John (Va)

Correct me if I wrong, but it wasn't long ago that all the good teams were from the coastal division

Heather Dinich
  (1:09 PM)

Haha, it sure feels that way, doesn't it, John? More accurately, it wasn't that long ago that Virginia Tech owned the ACC.

Brent (Arlington, VA)

VT is feeling good about themselves after engineering a W over the Yellow Jackets on Thursday night and UNC is in a must win situation in Blacksburg on Saturday after an embarrassing loss to ECU and a 1-3 start...trap game for the Hokies?

Heather Dinich
  (1:10 PM)

I don't think it's possible to have a trap game in Blacksburg, is it?

Jay (Michigan )

Can MD really hang with FSU? Or are they slightly overrated due to their competition so far?

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

You guys are reading my mind today. Check the blog, um NOW for that story asking that very same question. I think they're good enough to hang AND they are slightly overrated because of the schedule.

Matt (SC)

Other than FSU and Miami is anyone else in the ACC even in the same league

Heather Dinich
  (1:11 PM)

Where are you, Clemson fans?

Dave (Sunny Florida)

Does FSU's 2014 schedule look like a National Championship run --OK State, Clemson, UF, Miami, Louisville, Notre Dame? Or is it too difficult to handle?

Heather Dinich
  (1:12 PM)

That sounds a wee bit difficult, but ... with Jameis in year 2? Let's just say I'm off the Clemson train and on the FSU bandwagon again next year.

Eric (Chicago)

Heather, since Notre Dame all other sports are soon to be ACC-bound, curious on the upcoming between ND/ASU on Saturday in Dallas...who ya got?

Heather Dinich
  (1:14 PM)

I dropped the Irish outta my Top 25 this week, I'll go with the Sun Devils.

Brent (Arlington, VA)

"I don't think it's possible to have a trap game in B'bug, is it?"...it is.Hokie fans remember this game -----> http://scores.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=293020259

Heather Dinich
  (1:15 PM)

Ooh, good call. I remember that one, too, now that you mention it.

Gavin (Raleigh)

If VT keeps winning, how long until they can break in the top 25?

Heather Dinich
  (1:16 PM)

I put them in my top 25 this week, but I'll be honest, it was a stretch. The 20-25 killed me this week.

Gary (Atlanta, GA)

I would like to point out that Clemson next year may have Cole Stoudt as a starter at QB and seeing what I have seen from him when he has had his chance to play, I say Clemson may not drop off much at all next year. I mean have you seen his completion percentage????!!!! Crazy good. So, don't get off the Clemson train just yet :) GO TIGERS.

Heather Dinich
  (1:17 PM)

Ha, FSU fans will tell you that when in doubt, I tend to side with the experienced QB, but thanks for the heads up, Gary.

Ryan (Clemson)

Plenty of Job openings coming up. Which coach is looking really valuable right now?

Heather Dinich
  (1:18 PM)

Nothing in this industry surprises me anymore, but I think all of the ACC coaches are happy right where they are. If USC or Texas calls, you have to listen, obviously, but there are plenty of other candidates besides Chad Morris.

Kendall (Sumter, SC)

Out of the top three teams in the AP poll, it appears to me that Clemson has the toughest road to get to Pasadena. The Tigers would have to beat FSU, SCAR, and I'm guessing Miami in the ACCCG. Do you think they can do it? If not, I think we're looking at Bammer and Oregon in the big one.

Heather Dinich
  (1:19 PM)

They CAN, especially if South Carolina plays the way it did against UCF this past weekend, but I'll believe it when I see it. I'm predicting Bama-Oregon as well.

JBoogie (Office Space,VA)

Will the nation ever fully realize how good of a D coordinator Bud Foster is? Or does it's historically bad offense cast shadows over his successes?

Heather Dinich
  (1:20 PM)

On the contrary, I think the offensive woes only highlight what he's done.

Kevin (Memphis)

HD, I don't recognize this Hurricane Defense. They actually sack the QB and force turnovers. How much is competition and how much is marked improvement? Not sure outside of Florida State if there are many left on the schedule that will test that notion.

Heather Dinich
  (1:21 PM)

AA and I are wondering that, too, Kevin. You can say the same for a lot of teams in the ACC right now. They LOOK better, but how much better are they really? Florida is obviously a marquee win, but ... they've got to prove they can keep it up in conference play.

clowney (the sidelines)

matt from SC is clearly a gamecock fan emboldened after their dominant performance against the juggernaut that is UCF. while this isn't an SEC blog, do you think bama wins it all this year again so that matt can claim another vicarious national title?

Heather Dinich
  (1:23 PM)

The only ranked team left on Bama's sked right now is LSU, and after watching LSU-UGA, I'd go with Bama, but wins it all? I don't know about that. They're clearly not invincible.

William Roberts (RVA)

Not looking past UNC...but is the show down between between Pitt vs VT going to be prime time material? Also what have you thought so far about the additions of Syracuse and Pitt with regards to their ACC play?

Heather Dinich
  (1:24 PM)

Yeah that is shaping up to be a great game, even more so if the Hokies win this weekend. Plus, considering what happened last year ... I think Pitt is fitting right in. Cuse has some work to do. I know the switch to Hunt has fared well for them, but against who? Let's see it last against ACC competition. Pitt definitely the more competitive of the two in terms of conference race.

Darryl (Raleigh)

If nc state can win the next two games what do think about the chance of a upset against fsu?

Heather Dinich
  (1:25 PM)

I don't see it. If it were in Raleigh, yeah, I'd give it some credit, but in Tally? After what happened last year? No way.

Phillip (A stadium near you)

Heather, I was really surprised at the score of Pitt-UVa game,did Piitt's D get that good or has UVA got to try to do somethings differently offensively?

Heather Dinich
  (1:27 PM)

I think UVa NEEDS to try something different offensively. As much as Pitt fans would love me to credit that D, Virginia was just dreadful on offense.

Richard (Raleigh)

Is the recent struggles at UNC more from bad coaching or lack of effort from the players?

Heather Dinich
  (1:28 PM)

That offense has worked everywhere Larry Fedora has been. Clearly they didn't take ECU seriously. You would've thought that ended at the half, though.

William (Salem, VA)

Although not looking past GT this weekend does the Thursday night game between Miami and UNC seem less like a top flight ACC game after UNC's loss to ECU?

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

You know, it's funny, AA and I both agree that we would not be surprised IN THE LEASE if Miami lost at UNC. Yeah, on the surface that game has definitely lost its luster (so has the Miami-GT game after the Jackets' loss), but again, that doesn't mean Miami won't lose.

Heather Dinich
  (1:29 PM)

LEAST, not lease, sorry.

Rick (Durham)

Which coach has surprised you the most through the season so far? Both good or bad

Heather Dinich
  (1:30 PM)

I think Dave Doeren. I knew he was a good coach, but considering the limited depth and the QB injury? Setting up to be an overachieving season.

Jose' (Tally)

HD, are you with the rest of the ACC in that Miami just looks like imposters? I mean they haven't played anyone and really UF is garbage this year.. I think they finish last in the coastal...

Heather Dinich
  (1:32 PM)

No. To me the Canes are still the team to beat. They were my preseason pick to the win the division and I'm sticking with that pick until proven otherwise. I think most of us can agree, though, that they've got something to prove. My thing is consistency. Ok, so you beat Florida. Don't lose to GT then.

Wyatt Hubabrd (Radford, VA)

Will this be the year Bud Foster leaves VT to take a head coaching job somewhere?

Heather Dinich
  (1:33 PM)

It hasn't happened yet, and he's still got that great contract. I definitely don't see him going to USC or Texas, but a place like UConn? Why not?

Richard (Raleigh)

Can you please remind Jose in Tally of the juggernauts FSU has played thus far.

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

Yeah, that's the thing. As I wrote for 1 p.m. today, it's not like FSU has knocked off any ranked teams.

Steven (Camp Lejeune)

Do you think USC has it's eyes set on Chad Morris now that Kiffin is gone?

Heather Dinich
  (1:34 PM)

Here's my question to USC and for Clemson fans to consider: As good as he is, do they want to hire a first-year head coach? At USC?

James (Austin, TX)

Can Miami keep Golden around long enough to WIN the ACC? Seems to me he would be on the short list for several schools if my Canes finish the season with 10 wins or more.

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

If Al Golden hasn't run screaming for the hills by now, he's not gonna. Between the PSU opening, the NCAA sanctions ... haven't seen anything to indicate he's thinking of leaving.

von S (Washington, DC)

How is the Maryland FSU game getting no attention in here? I believe its the only matchup between unbeaten ranked teams this weekend

Heather Dinich
  (1:36 PM)

It IS! I think this is a therapy session for UNC fans today, and, well, Hokies are always in here, von ...

Steven (Camp Lejeune)

Is FSU on upset watch vs Maryland considering how close their game against BC was?

Heather Dinich
  (1:38 PM)

Upset watch comes out tomorrow, but yeah, I think they should be on there.

William Bentley (RC)

Any chance Pitt can make some serious noise in the Coastal this year? Can't really guage too much off the UVa game

Heather Dinich
  (1:39 PM)

If their defense can get better, then yes, definitely. UVa found a way to stop the run, though, and so will some other teams. They've got to be able to keep that play-action going but there's definitely enough talent for them to make a run at the division as long as they get better defensively.

Tom (Atlanta)

Is the Paul Johnson experiment failing? Yes he won the ACC in his first year. But fan interest is down--there were a lot of empty seats for a big game on Thursday--and recruiting has really struggled. Post 2008 w/l have not been good, especially against UGA.

Heather Dinich
  (1:41 PM)

No, I don't think that's fair. Georgia Tech fans tell me if I'm wrong, but that's pretty much the norm for that stadium crowd. They look better than they did a year ago. I was surprised by the game against VT, but it's still a long season.

Kevin (New York)

Heather, I would argue that VT has played the toughest, if not top 2 toughest schedules in the ACC so far. With ECU proving itself this past weekend and Marshall not seeming too far behind, would you tend to agree. How would you rank the strength of schedule so far?

Heather Dinich
  (1:42 PM)

Not buying it. UNC made ECU look like Clemson. C'mon. Marshall? Virginia Tech is right where it should be at 4-1, but it's not like they had to go through a gauntlet to get there.

Dan (PA)

Despite his success at a program like Wake, do you think Jim Grobe is close to being gone? Just seems like he does not have the fire to be creative and find ways to compete like he did in previous years.

Heather Dinich
  (1:43 PM)

No, I don't. He's done too much for that program. They've had some injuries that have been out of their control, and they had some misses in recruiting, but Grobe hasn't lost his touch.

Ed (GA)

Johnson should join Kiffin in the unemployment line. Elite recruits want to play in schemes that prepare them for the NFL. There aren't many people playing in the NFL who were a part of the option backfield.

Heather Dinich
  (1:44 PM)

Georgia Tech has plenty of grads in the NFL, Ed, I don't buy it. If you're good enough to play in the next level, they'll find you, no matter what scheme you play in.

Willy (Richmond)

No crow for you this week HD.. I mean, seeing VT dominate that GT 'offense' was nice enough. My next question is about FSU.. they have a nice looking QB and offense. Outside of Pitt.. who exactly have they played again? BC put up big numbers on FSU... lets see what happens when FSU plays a team with a real defense. Not buying that top 10 ranking.

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

That seems to be a trend in here today, Willy, after that BC game.

Jon (Powder Springs / GA)

Hey HD, I think Johnson arrogance to not throw the pass is what lost them the game. We as Tech fans, get tired of his ego. That's from hearing from a lot of GT folks.

Heather Dinich
  (1:45 PM)

Fair enough, Jon, I'm always curious to know what the fans are thinking.

ROB (FL)

Does FSU's slow starts finally catch up to them this week against Maryland? does the terrapin defense have any chance of slowing down the Seminole offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:46 PM)

Maryland's defensive line is underrated, and based on the past performances by both teams -- playing better than FSU's d-line right now. The other thing is that Maryland has more options on offense than BC did. This could be a tricky one for the Noles.

Stephen (Cincinnati)

5 weeks in...best new hire in the ACC. Go.

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

Addazio. What a difference he's made there, even if it hasn't shown up in the W column yet.

JohnB (Charlotte, NC)

Which game do you take more away from, the FSU/BC game or Clemson/Wake game?

Heather Dinich
  (1:47 PM)

FSU-BC for sure. Clemson-Wake played out exactly as scripted.

Sam (NC)

Why can't the Noles stop anyone? Their recruiting has been good. Is Pruitt's scheme a problem?

Heather Dinich
  (1:48 PM)

Guys don't they have ALL new starters up front? Wasn't that a bit of a concern heading into the season? Am I imagining this?

Matt (Philly)

Connecticut hung tight with Michigan and West Virginia beat Oklahoma State. Looks like Maryland's schedule is tougher than people think.

Heather Dinich
  (1:49 PM)

I have no idea what to make of WVU after the past two weeks, but UConn? 0-4 and a fired coach? Disaster. That Michigan game was more of an indictment on Michigan than it was an upset on the part of the Huskies.

Grant Jones (Arlington, VA)

Where do you rank CJ Brown amongst his peers? I think he is going to give the FSU defense fits, especially with his feet

Heather Dinich
  (1:50 PM)

Well, our QBR ranking has him around No. 21, so that's pretty darn good. He's very poised and yes, he can give that D some headaches.

Laura (Va)

Is the ACC headed towards the matchup that we all want to see....Clemson offense vs VT defense??

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

The Hokies still have to get more out of their offense. Yeah, the D is good enough to keep them in every game, but Logan has to play like he did against GT on a weekly basis now. That can't be an anomaly.

Mike (GA)

GT tried the pro style with Gailey and O'Leary. Where did that get us. 7 win seasons. Just saying.

Heather Dinich
  (1:51 PM)

Lol there you go ..

Jon (Atlanta / GA)

What are your thoughts on the new playoff scheme coming up and how does that affect the ACC teams?

Heather Dinich
  (1:52 PM)

Well, I think it sure would help me answer the ton of questions I have in here about "what if Clemson goes undefeated and so does Oregon an Alabama."

Kelsi (Alabama)

The FSU-BC game was anything but pretty. But what do you think FSU needs to work on most, based on their performance this Saturday?

Heather Dinich
  (1:52 PM)

Stopping the run.

tuffy (raleigh)

Chances Doeren is up for COY at the end of the season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:53 PM)

Good. What about Randy Edsall, though? Maybe winner of that game?

Brian (Atlanta)

If GT pulls a win out versus Miami this week everyone will settle down. Our offense looked terrible on Thursday but I don't think that is the norm this season. Roof is doing a good job with the D and that should be proven again this week at Miami - long season ahead a lot to play for.

Heather Dinich
  (1:54 PM)

I agree, Brian, the defense has made significant strides under Roof, but Miami's D is pretty darn good this year, too.

William (Georgia )

What do you think about Jameis Winston's play so far through 4 games? And with Maryland being ranked this week, so this help FSU's schedule in strength?

Heather Dinich
  (1:55 PM)

I think he has answered my biggest question: How will he handle adversity. Down 14-0 at BC, he completed some long pass plays, took the offense on his shoulders, and won that game for them. It could, we'll see how long the Terps stay ranked.

Kelly (Blacksburg)

Is the VT win over GT going to be a turning point for them? Or is just an anomaly thanks to the inconsistent offense?

Heather Dinich
  (1:56 PM)

I think it COULD be a turning point for them. Don't forget the year VT started out 0-2 and then won every other game. They know how to make a run, and that's just the kind of game to get them started.

Drew (Hanover, PA)

Okay, let's be honest, how many people had the game against UMD as an automatic win for FSU before the start of the season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Probably most. Now? Who's calling it automatic?

Rick (Raleigh)

If Edsall is in the running for ACC COY and it is down to him or another coach, will the other coach have the advantage since MD is leaving the ACC after this year?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

I would hope not. That's bunk.

Nick (DC)

Kevin Gemmell has UGA above Clemson in the rankings this week. What the heck?

Heather Dinich
  (1:57 PM)

Lemme at 'im ...

Amy (Florida)

Is it just me, or does Clemson's defense give me more confidence than their offense this season?

Heather Dinich
  (1:58 PM)

That's interesting. I'd still say the offense is the strength of the team, but against NCSU, it was the defense that won the game. Sounds to me like it's a good question to have.

William (Georgia )

What does Jameis have to do, in order to solidify himself as a true Heisman contender?

Heather Dinich
  (1:59 PM)

Just keep it up. I mean right now the guys I have ahead of him are Mariota, Boyd, Manziel ... no reason for him not to be in the conversation, but his team has to stay in the hunt for the national title.

Lee (Arlington, VA)

Last week you told me I wasn't crazy for thinking MD could beat FSU, but that you were absolutely not going to pick them...am I sensing a change in opinion?

Heather Dinich
  (2:00 PM)

No, I'm still picking FSU. A lot of that has to do with the fact they're in Tally. Maryland has never won there. I also think Jameis can get it done.

Dave (Sunny Florida)

ACC has 4 ranked teams...your thoughts on conference strength?

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

Much, much better. They've got to keep it up and the ACC could have two BCS bowl teams again.

Richard (Raleigh)

You don't want HD to pick your team. Quit trying to swing her before you get the KOD

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

It's true, just ask GT fans.

Tim (B'burg)

Where do you rank the ACC against other conferences?

Heather Dinich
  (2:01 PM)

SEC, Pac-12, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12.

Kendall (Sumter, SC)

If Clemson wins out, how could Dabo Swinney not be the COY?

Heather Dinich
  (2:02 PM)

Big IF, but yeah.

Drew (Hanover, PA)

Who does UMD has a better chance against: a slightly lower ranked FSU team on the road, or a higher ranked Clemson team at home?

Heather Dinich
  (2:02 PM)

Hmm. I give them a better shot on the road right now.

Heather Dinich
  (2:02 PM)

Ok guys, my time here is up. Thanks for joining me! See you next week.