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Heather Dinich Hates UNC

There I said it.

I wrote a post along these lines a week ago and like many instances in the past I refrained from posting and even deleted it.  Now, I officially have had enough.  The egregious examples of Dinich's tendency to completely disregard UNC at almost every turn are well documented if you read the ESPN ACC Blog.  Dinich gave UNC's win over Rutgers, which happened in front of a nationally televised audience less space than she gave Peter Lalich's troubles with his probation officer at UVa.  During the Virginia Tech game her coverage was slipshod and UNC's win over Miami?  Barely mentoned other than an admittance she was way wrong in prediction a 31-10 Miami win and some backhanded comments in her power rankings as she basically said Miami gave the game away, not UNC won it.

This week the trail of journalistic malpractice continued as Dinich was willing to give plenty of attention to everyone else, including her beloved Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech(her 3rd game in person this season in six weeks) but where UNC was concerned she passed the buck with this note Saturday night:

Just so you know I'm not ignoring the Tar Heels tonight, Big East blogger Brian Bennett is there covering the game. You can check out his updates here.

BAWHAHAHAHA!!! That is funny.  What a complete joke, mainly because she almost never mentions UNC in-game other than last week to say she was right about Miami when the Heels were down 14-0.  Meanwhile Dinich had little trouble talking about the BC-NCSU game or MD-UVa as the game was in progress but with UNC playing a ranked team at home and handing the Huskies their rear ends on a platter the only mention Dinich can manage is that the Big East Blog is covering it.  Wow.  I am willing to bet the Big East Blog had more praise for UNC for one game than Dinich has had all season.  And when you think Dinich really could not do worse, not only does she offer little positive posts about UNC but Sunday night offers reasons why UNC should not be ranked in the Top 25.

North Carolina a top 25 team?

The Tar Heels beat Miami and Rutgers, teams with a combined 3-7 record. They lost to Virginia Tech. At home.

There is no question North Carolina deserves praise for its win over UConn -- the defense played outstanding, and has made marked improvement as a group all season. They're leading the league in interceptions. The Tar Heels are a good, well-coached football team that is getting better each week, but they're not a top 25 team just yet.

No. 18-ranked Virginia Tech has been held to under 300 yards of total offense four times this season (they're 108th in the nation), and apparently they've set the standard for the league with their 2-0 ACC record.

Fine. Georgia Tech is averaging 412 yards per game. They're fifth in the nation in rushing offense. And everyone on Georgia Tech's defensive line will play in the NFL.

Florida State leads the ACC in total offense, scoring offense, rushing defense, total defense, and net punting. Georgia Tech leads the ACC in rushing offense, pass defense, passing efficiency, pass defense efficiency and tackles for loss.

North Carolina? Well, they beat Rutgers, Miami and Connecticut, the latter being a formerly ranked team.

Frankly, the only ACC teams that deserved to be ranked today are Virginia Tech and Wake Forest because they are the only teams with unblemished conference records in an average league.

Odds are that will change in the second half of the season, and odds are North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Florida State will be among the teams that have something to do with it. It just hasn't happened quite yet.

Un-freaking-believable.  Let's deconstruct this poppycock shall we?

First of all, trotting out a list of statistical categories teams lead in as some sort of tiebreaker is a joke.  Especially when you are not adhering strictly to conference games.  Why is this important?  Because Florida State for example might be the leader in several offensive and defensive categories but FSU also has two games in which they ran up the score on I-AA Western Carolina and Chattanooga.  In fact if you take only the I-A opponents you quickly discover a different story about the FSU offense and defense.  Yes it is still good but not as spectacular as Dinich makes it sound.  And who has FSU beaten?  Two I-AA teams, Miami(while giving up more points than UNC did to the Hurricanes), Colorado who just got run by Texas this weekend and only had a win over inept West Virginia to show for themselves.  Meanwhile Wake Forest walked into Tallahassee and beat FSU 12-3.  Nice offensive explosion for a team so touted for their offense.

Now, Dinich may have a point where Georgia Tech is concerned and probably should be ranked along with UNC at worst.  The Yellow Jackets are 4-1 with wins over Jacksonville St, BC, Mississippi State and Duke.  Combined records of those schools? 12-8 overall. I-A only? 8-7.  UNC has wins over McNeese St, Rutgers, Miami and UConn.  Those teams are 11-9 overall, 8-8 among the I-A teams.  Not much difference there except UNC is 2-0 on the road while Georgia Tech is 1-1.  Add to this UNC also beat a 5-0 ranked team at home this past Saturday night.  Georgia Tech's big win?  At Boston College?  Shutting out Duke?  Mississippi State is 1-4 so beating them 38-7 can hardly be considered noteworthy.  However UNC beating Rutgers on the road 44-12, a 5-0 UConn team at home 38-14 and Miami, team that Dinich was very, very high on before last weekend on the road after being down 24-14 in the fourth quarter in my mind puts UNC slightly ahead of Georgia Tech and their 412 yards of total offense.

Going beyond that the greatest folly in Dinich's stat loving analysis is she ignores that certain elements of UNC's team such as the fact they are 3rd in turnover margin.  Granted she mentions the interceptions lead but misses the point that the offense sees less time on the field because they are set up in great field position by the defense and special teams.  UNC is 11th in time of possession but 2nd in scoring offense because they strike quick in some cases and in others geting the ball on a short field.  The same is true because UNC is 2nd in kickoff and punt returns.  On average UNC starts six yards better than GT off kickoffs and 14 yards better off punts.  You can also factor in UNC blocking three punts against UConn and the fact Brandon Tate is so dangerous it entices opponents into shorter kicks or kicks out of bounds resulting in better field position.

And spare me this notion that Georgia Tech will have all of their defensive linemen in the NFL.  While that ultimately may be true, there is no way Dinich can say that for sure and there is zero chance she has an ounce of credibility talking about Georgia Tech in this manner given she is so clearly in love with all things Paul Johnson carrying over a bias from her days with the Baltimore Sun where Navy was given the most favorable coverage the paper could possibly afford.

The bottom line is Dinich has completely abdicated any sense of fair journalism when it comes to UNC.  The number of times she flatly ignores the Heels or offeres up backhanded compliments are too numerous to have me believe she simply is overwhelmed by the job.  Heather Dinich is either too incompontent to do her job as the chief blogger of ACC football for ESPN or is so steeped in bias for a handful of schools at the expense of others the SIDs at Virginia Tech, Maryland, Virginia, FSU and Georgia Tech should perhaps consider sending her a kickback.  The predilection towards certain teams and coaches that has carried over from her stint with the Baltimore Sun is evidenced almost daily. For whatever reason she is incapable giving other teams in the ACC as fair a shake as she does the ones that are within her scope of familiarity.  In this respect I echo the thoughts of fellow Tar Heel blogger, AEM at The Fifth Corner, when he said in an email to me that ESPN ought to have at least two bloggers assigned for the ACC in an effort to provide more balanced coverage. Knowing the WWL, that ain't going to happen.

As far as THF is concerned.  I will from this point forward discontinue linking or referencing Heather Dinich and the ESPN ACC Blog.  This is in line with the symbolic gestures I have made in the past to stop sending traffic via my blog to their which is as much a boycott as I can offer.  In real terms I also see it like this.  There is no information Dinich posts that I cannot garner from other sources whether it be the excellent ACC Now blog, 850 the Buzz, Inside Carolina or UNC itself.  Given the suspicions I have about Dinich and biases she may be holding from her previous job, nothing she renders in the realm of opinion has any real credibility tied to it.  In other words her factual coverage is in no way exclusive while her opinions are completely expendable.