Friday mailblog

October, 18, 2013
10/18/13
4:00
PM ET
The office has moved … en route to Death Valley now via Chapel Hill.

Justin B. in Barboursville, VA writes: HD, I am excited about the FSU-Clemson matchup! As a native Virginian who grew up watching the Jeff-Pilot (now Raycom) ACC Game of the Week, I can't recall a bigger ACC game in recent history. How many conference games have featured two top-five (AP poll) teams? I can recall only one: 1997 FSU-UNC. Though the game itself turned out not to be that exciting. I'm hoping this game surpasses the 1990 Georgia Tech win over #1 Virginia for excitement and importance in the national championship picture.

HD:Hey Justin, I am pumped, too. Going to be a great game. Here's your historical context: It's only the fourth time in ACC history two top-five teams have played, and the first time since Nov. 5, 2005, when No. 3 Virginia Tech hosted fifth-ranked Miami. The other top five meetings occurred in 2004 (No. 5 Miami defeated No. 4 FSU in Miami) and 1997 (No. 3 FSU defeated No. 5 North Carolina in Chapel Hill).

Luke in TN writes: HD, If Clemson beats FSU this Saturday, do they have any chance of moving up to No. 1 or No. 2? Based on history and the current love for Bama and Oregon, it seems doubtful, but neither of those teams have resumes even close to the Tigers.

HD: This is a good time for me to remind you that the first BCS standings will be released on Sunday. Those are the numbers that count. You can start checking the blog on Sunday evenings for BCS info. If Clemson beats FSU AND South Carolina, I think there's a good chance the Tigers can be top 2. Not convinced a win over FSU would be enough to unseat Bama or Oregon.

Nathan in Houston writes: Heather, I really don't understand why everyone (everyone on ESPN) is raving about Virginia Tech’s defense. They have yet to play a top tier offense (this includes Alabama). Florida State beat Pitt 41-13 compared to VT 19-9. Miami beat Georgia Tech 45-30 with four turnovers compared to VT's 17-10 victory. Their defensive stats are better than most ACC teams because they haven't played a top tier offense this season. What are your thoughts?

HD: My thoughts, Nathan, are that if you're not willing to give the Hokies' D credit for what they did against the defending national champs (arguably the best defensive performance against Bama this season), nothing I'm going to say will change your mind.

Bryan Wright in Raleigh, NC writes: This UNC team is MUCH better than people realize. The offense had over 100 more yards vs. VT than any other team VT has played and double the yards Alabama had. They are improving. The defense is MUCH better than most think as they played well for 80-90 percent of the games vs. VT GT & SC and except for a few plays could have won those games. VT had less than 60 total yards in the second half and except for two plays were dominated. If UNC is even or wins TO battle vs. Miami they will win!

HD: I'll give you this, Bryan: This UNC team is much more TALENTED than people realize. Yeah, I'm calling out Larry Fedora for underachieving this year. Bryn Renner? Eric Ebron? James Hurst? 1-4? C'mon. Here's one thing that's not getting enough attention, though: The scholarship losses from the NCAA sanctions are killing 'em.

Craig Colley in Waycross, GA writes: I just want to ask one question. All I can hear is who has the advantage Clemson's offense or Florida State's defense. I actually think the bigger difference this year is Florida State's offense vs. Clemson's defense. I think Clemson's defensive end Vic Beasley vs. that experienced FSU offensive line is a nice matchup along with the FSU receivers vs. the Clemson defensive backs. Now which do you think is the bigger matchup?

HD: Good, because you're only allowed one. To me, there are three keys in this game, Craig: 1. Boyd vs. Winston. 2. Clemson D-line vs. FSU O-line. 3. FSU DBs vs. Clemson WRs.

Justin Holmes in Leicester, NC writes: How long before Mike London loses his job for his poor ability to coach the team? When do the bad decisions catch up with him?

HD: I think I get asked about Mike London's job security every week. Here is my latest answer: If UVa loses to Duke this week, I don't think London is coaching the Hoos in 2014.

Mark in Syracuse writes: Isn't a little harsh to say "league newcomers Pitt and Syracuse already have played themselves into irrelevance in their respective division races" when Syracuse has only played two league games? They certainly got handled by Clemson but beat NC State. How can 1-1 be irrelevant? And Pittsburgh is 2-2 within the league sitting third in their division. How is that irrelevant? Where is all the southern hospitality?

HD: Sorry, Mark, I'm from NE PA. Southern hospitality is only something I see on my road trips. Look, it's not just about their records. It's about the eyeball test, and what I see in Cuse is an inability to throw the ball. What I see in Pitt is an inability to protect the quarterback. Just by watching these teams, neither of them look like a contender in their respective division races through the midpoint of the year.

Rob in Atlanta writes: Potential topic -- Has ACC ever had three teams in the top 10 of the AP poll or any poll for that matter?

HD:It last happened on Oct. 30, 2005, when the AP and the USA Today Coaches poll ranked Virginia Tech No. 3, Miami No. 5 and Florida State No. 9.

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Monday, 12/22
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Friday, 12/26
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Thursday, 1/1
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