Friday mailblog

My mobile office is moving from Death Valley to Charlottesville this weekend ...

Sebastian Ivory in Winston-Salem, NC writes: After a slow start week one but then a solid second half against Presy, what type of season can we Wake Forest fans look forward to best and worst case scenario? Go Deacs! WFU17

HD: I am still sticking with the Deacs as my sleeper pick in the Atlantic Division. (Though NC State looked better than I thought they would). It's still super early in the season, and I'm not a fan of making judgments after just one week because so many teams have kinks to work out and look sloppy. I thought the fact that their defense got six turnovers was impressive, and reflective of their priority this whole offseason. With Michael Campanaro in the lineup, they should get to a bowl this year.

Optimistic hoo in Charlottesville, Va., writes: Do you see Virginia competing for an ACC championship in the near future? Or At least winning the commonwealth cup?

HD: Here's the good news for UVa -- Mike London's best players are his youngest ones, which means the future looks bright. They've done a great job recruiting, they've got the indoor facility, they're keeping pace with the rest of the world, and I love the hires of Jon Tenuta and Tom O'Brien. To me, they're making all the right moves off the field, which should put them in position to succeed on it. I wouldn't count them out as a contender in the Coastal in the near future -- especially considering how much parity there already is in that division.

Ryan in Pensacola, Fla., writes: Heather, you've been a Tiger fan all summer. You picked Clemson to win the ACC due to the question mark with FSU's QB and 6 new assistant coaches. After Winston's performance and the defense's ability to pick up Pruitt's scheme, are you still sticking with the Tigers?

HD: Hey, I purposely wore black and white last weekend to reflect my neutrality, but yeah, I'm sticking with the Tigers. I was really impressed with what I saw from Florida State and Winston. Consider me a believer in #famousjameis, but I still stick with the veteran QB at home on Oct. 19. Clemson needs more help from its wide receivers, though. Florida State had tremendous athletic ability all around Winston, but I thought Clemson's defensive line actually had the better Week 1.

Robbie Johnson in Front Royal, Va., writes: I think the Richmond Spiders could upset the Wolfpack of NC State. Richmond is 3-1 in its last four football games against ACC schools. Yes, those 3 wins are against Duke. Here's rooting for a Spider victory!

HD: You don't need to remind ACC fans of Richmond's potential, Robbie. Like you mentioned, it wouldn't be the first time ...

Brian in Simpsonville, S.C., writes: What are the chances that VT will ever try and use someone else other than Logan Thomas at QB? As much as they have tried he's no Cam Newton, no matter how hard they try and push the comparison, and I cannot believe that there's not at least one guy playing intramurals on campus who would have a better passer rating than Thomas.

HD: Look, I get that Virginia Tech fans are frustrated, and there's no question Thomas has to play better, but again, the guys around him have to get better, too. AJ McCarron only completed five more passes than Thomas. Both defenses played very well. It's going to take some time to get used to the new offense. If Thomas doesn't look better on Sept. 26 at Georgia Tech, then the criticism will be fair. I'm willing to wait until the Hokies get into ACC play to make a judgment call on Thomas.

Jason in Virginia writes: I'll be the first to say that VT's passing and special teams were atrocious against Alabama. That being said, how come the defense is not getting more love? All the analysts said all preseason that this was the best offense Saban has ever had, and most thought the chance of Alabama even losing a game was slim. VT's defense dominated most of the game, so much that the terrible Tech offense even outgained Alabama's. Now all the analysts are saying that they were wrong about Bama's offense, and I haven't heard anything about the fact that VT held Alabama to their lowest yardage total in years.

HD: Yep, wrote it on Thursday afternoon, but there's no question Virginia Tech's defense is good enough to win some ACC games this year.

Jay Young in Stafford, Va., writes: Can we please finally deliver the eulogy for "Beamer Ball"? It should have been buried a couple years ago, and now it is really starting to stink.

HD: Nah. Even when Oregon's unis are ugly, they're still Oregon.

Steve Kline in Clifton N.J. (formerly Spartanburg S.C.) writes: The Clemson Tigers made a big statement for the ACC this weekend: The ACC can compete with anyone. My question is What NC State's prospects this year? We've heard a lot about Clemson and Florida State, but NC State is a program on the rise. Will they be in the thick of the ACC race this year?

HD: I think it's still too early to tell. We need to see more of what Pete Thomas can do at quarterback. Problem for the Pack is they're stuck in the Atlantic Division, and after just one week, I haven't seen anyone in the conference comparable to FSU and Clemson.

Jeremy in Honolulu writes: Heather, I am going to miss reading your blogs when Maryland moves to the B1G! Anyway, my question...why is it that with the outstanding performance from Maryland this week, especially C.J. Brown, who had some of the best stats, if not better than some Top 25 QBs, hardly got any recognition during the highlights? I bet if C.J. played for Ohio State or Alabama, they'd already be sizing him up for Heisman candidacy. I just don’t think it’s fair, because Maryland hardly gets noticed when we do well, but when we do bad, it’s all about Edsall. Is it because we played a cupcake team? Thanks for all you do, HD!

HD: Thanks, Jeremy. Yeah, I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they were playing FIU, a team they were expected to beat, but also because Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston overshadowed all of the other performances and played in bigger games. If C.J. keeps it up, he'll get his due, I'm sure.