Chat with Beano Cook
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN's Beano Cook makes his weekly stop in SportsNation to chat about the college football season.
Carroll H. "Beano" Cook, who joined ESPN in March 1986, serves as a college football studio commentator. He also offers college football commentary on ESPN Radio.
Send your questions now and join Cook Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:21 PM)
Beano Cook will be here at 3:30 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (3:31 PM)
We've got Beano!
Beano Cook (3:31 PM)
Good afternoon. This is the first of a weekly chat and the time is going to be 3:30 p.m. ET instead of 3.
Beano Cook (3:33 PM)
It is now time, as I do in the last Wednesday of every month to pick the two teams to play for the national title. I didn't do one in '98, but I've had one team in every year since '99, except the 2006 season. But I've only had two winners. Coming in second doesn't matter just ask William Jennings Bryan. When you pick to the two teams for the national title, you might be picking the two teams you think are the best or you might be picking the two teams that will play for the national title. I'm picking Florida and Notre Dame. I think Florida is one of the best teams in the country, but I don't think Notre Dame is.
Beano Cook (3:35 PM)
Personally, I think the two best teams are Florida and Texas. But I think Notre Dame wins 11 or 12. They might have to win 12 to make it. If Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Notre Dame have one loss, Notre Dame has no shot. A team after Notre Dame that might sneak in is Penn State, because of the schedule. I will not pick PSU next year, because they play Alabama. But the Big Ten is not tough, their out of conference schedule is easy. They have a better chance of going undefeated than Texas, Florida, Oklahoma or USC. I think PSU would have to go undefeated to play for the national title. If they had beaten Iowa last year, they would have played Florida and lost by 3 TDs.
Beano Cook (3:35 PM)
OK. Fire away!
Tommy Dreamer (New York,NY)
Is South Florida capable of cutting into the market share of Miami and Florida State?
Beano Cook (3:37 PM)
Yeah, I do. Sure. If Florida and Florida State happen to make mistake in recruiting and USF doesn't, then yes. Right now their program isn't as good, but I think they can compete. In a 10 game series in a home-and-home basis, they'd win a game. The toughest would be Florida. As long as Meyer is at Florida, they'll lose some games, but not many.
Brooks Joiner (Kingsland, Ga)
Notre Dame??? You must be a homer!!!
Good to know you've been drinking the Lou Holtz kool-aid.
Beano Cook (3:38 PM)
I said five years ago, 2004-2005, within five seasons that Notre Dame would play for a national title. I can't go back on that pick. This is the fifth year. I thought ND would win 9 games last year and two years ago. I admit that I'm not very smart, but I'm doing this internet and I'm doing my predictions.
Hey Beano. I always enjoy hearing you on Late Night with Jason Smith. Anyway, how can Notre Dame win 11 or 12 games? They wont do that until Charlie is gone.
Beano Cook (3:41 PM)
You might be right. I've been wrong on coaches before. I thought Steve Sloan would be an outstanding coach, I was wrong. But I was right on Parasegian. Look, Notre Dame or PSU would have no shot if they were in the SEC. But look at the schedule. It's not an easy schedule, but for ND it's an easy schedule. Notre Dame in 2012 and 2013 has a brutal schedule. But overall, Notre Dame is getting its schedule together for one purpose - to win a national title. It is inconceivable to me that the ND administration to permit the athletic department to allow them to play a six game series with Rutgers, 3 at ND and 3 at Meadowlands. Rutgers told them the right thing, forget about it. I'm not a homer, but what I do respect about them is the football program and at one time, the administration. I now only respect the football program.
Well if you are sticking to your word then I can't fault you for choosing them.
Will the Buckeyes be better than last year with an improved Pryor and younger defense/RB tandem?
Beano Cook (3:42 PM)
See me around midnight on Sept. 13. I think OSU will beat USC. That's what I think today.
Rivers Cuomo (Los Angeles,CA)
Which unit is better, the USC offensive line or the Florida defensive line?
Beano Cook (3:43 PM)
I don't know. My vote's the USC Song Girls. Probably the Florida DL. But I think the Song Girls will be better than either one. I can't wait until they go to New York for the Syracuse game.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
With the loss of arguably the best WR trio in school history, how can Penn State win 10-11 games? Let's not forget that they've recently lost one of their LBs for the season and the secondary is highly suspect as well.
Beano Cook (3:45 PM)
Their schedule my man, their schedule! They're 4-0 after non-conference games. Indiana is on their schedule. Iowa is at PSU. Now, let me say this, if Michigan beats ND, then PSU will have problems at Michigan.
Steve Spurrier (Columbia, SC)
Am I on the hot seat?
Beano Cook (3:47 PM)
No. The reason is that South Carolina has never done anything on a steady basis. They've had good players and good teams. Georgia, Tennessee, Florida all get more material than SC. Arkansas gets more material. People are unrealistic. They're unrealistic at West Virginia, S. Carolina, California. They're unrealistic at a lot of schools. We don't have parity, that's a myth.
Why do people suddenly think Michigan will be decent? Did people not watch last year or what?
Beano Cook (3:49 PM)
Well, they still have athletes on defense, I would think. Michigan's non conference schedule, they should win three games. The ND game is key. If ND wins, watch out. If they lose, I take the heat, I know that. Incidently, Ivan Maisel has Texas over USC for the national title.
Adam (Austin, TX)
Beano, why is everyone so high on Notre Dame? They lost to Syracuse last year for God's sake. They are getting a lot of mileage over that bowl win over Hawaii.
Beano Cook (3:50 PM)
I know. I'm the one that's high on ND and I'm willing to take the heat. I know they lost to Syracuse. It's unbelieveable that they did. Syracuse had a three game series with ND and won two of them. I'm not convinced that ND doesn't still get outstanding material. But what's happened is that other schools are catching up. ND hasn't gone down.
Where do you see Sparty finishing in the Big Ten? They must be close to getting on the national radar again...
Beano Cook (3:52 PM)
I think so. Outstanding coach. I like them. They scheduled a home and home with Alabama, West Virginia. They play ND every year. I respect them. It seems they win all the time at Notre Dame. It will be interesting to see what happens. ND has two tough games, Michigan and Michigan State. Watch out for Nevada. If they take that game too lightly, they could be in trouble.
Joe (New Orleans, LA)
your thoughts on LSU? Was last year a one time deal?
Beano Cook (3:53 PM)
Joe, they play in the SEC. They're not playing in the Big Ten or the ACC or the Big East. They're playing in the SEC. The intensity in the SEC is greater than in the AFC or the NFC.
How good for college football would it be to get America's team (Notre Dame) back in the National Championship game?
Beano Cook (3:54 PM)
I don't think it makes any difference. Notre Dame's fans think it does, but I don't. The interest in college football today grows greater every year. Having ND there is nice, but it doesn't have an impact. They might think it does, but they're in the distinct minority. But I will say this, when ND wins, it makes it a little more interesting, but it's not a must.
Hunter (Brattleboro, VT)
Why is USC, a team who doesn't even know who their starting QB is yet, get ranked as high as 4?
Beano Cook (3:55 PM)
Well, I don't know. I think it's because it's USC. Anybody who follows college football knows that the QB won't be someone they pull out of biology class. But it's a good question. I think USC loses 2 games. 10-2 isn't bad, except it's USC.
Ollie The Magic Bum (Venice Beach,CA)
If you could watch just one regular-season game all year, what would it be?
Beano Cook (3:57 PM)
Florida at LSU on the night of Oct. 10. If I were Superman, in the afternoon I would watch Alabama-Mississippi and then I would take Lois Lane to the Florida-LSU game. I would keep Lois Lane away from Mike VII, I wouldn't want to get the Tiger too excited about the game.
Do you think Greg Paulas can possibly have a good season with the orenge men, can he go pro?
Beano Cook (3:57 PM)
Yeah, I think so. I hope so. I like stories and that's a great story. It will be good for the Big East if Syracuse got better.
sam durfee (mcguire afb)
does anyone come close to the gators this year and do you think tebow has the heisman all wrapped up
Beano Cook (3:58 PM)
Tebow's the favorite. It's the SEC and they're not playing in the Big Ten or the ACC or the AFC West, they're playing in the SEC. As for the Heisman, I'm rooting for Colt McCoy, I have to be honest.
Joseph (Washington, DC)
Beano, how many more years can JoePa actually coach? I love him but at 82, he has me worried.
Beano Cook (4:00 PM)
I would say at least three more. My friends tell me that he is in the best shape he's been in for the last few years. The accident in the Wisconsin game took a lot out of him a few years ago. But he's in great shape. People want to cast Joe Paterno aside. I think he's one of the most fascinating sports figures today. He has the enthusiasm, the know-how. People think he's too old. They said that about Ronald Reagan. He was a pretty good president.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Beano, your ND prediction makes no sense. Even a 1 loss ND team would have NO SHOT at the BCS Champ game due to computer rankings and SOS. A 1 loss SEC, BIG 10, Big 12, PAC 10, ACC woudl all have the advantage over ND.
Beano Cook (4:02 PM)
I disagree with you on that. But you might be right. You might be right. I think ND would get it over Penn State. ND has a much tougher schedule than PSU. I said earlier in this chat, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, ND all finish the same, ND, PSU are out.
Beano, are you with me? Let's get rid of the computer rankings and go back to the pre-BCS days.
Beano Cook (4:04 PM)
Jeff, when they started the BCS, I underestimated the reaction of how many people miss New Year's Day. College football has to find a way to get back New Year's Day. I think the solution would be a Plus-1. I think we're going to have that, because that's the only way the BCS will get more money with the new contract after 2014. If I'm ESPN, and ESPN is run by smart people, I would say that we have to get a Plus-1. I would be willing to bet anyone up to $2000 that we'll get a Plus-1. With three games meaning something instead of one and two of the games on New Year's Day, it would be great.
Will I be good surprised or bad surprised with my Tar Heels this year?
Beano Cook (4:05 PM)
It's been a mystery to me for years why UNC doesn't win more. They've been in the habit in some cases of hiring the wrong coach. I think they have the right coach now. After FSU, unless things straighten out at Miami, UNC could be the second team in that division after Virginia Tech. But UNC can be good.
Beano Cook (4:05 PM)
For the record, I think the best college town in America is Chapel Hill.
Beano Cook (4:06 PM)
The best place to go to summer school, from all the reports I've heard for the last 50 years, is Wisconsin.
Beano, What is going to be the best game on week one that not much people are talking about?
Beano Cook (4:07 PM)
There are a lot of them. If I had my choice of seeing anyone, it would be VT-Alabama. But I'm not saying that will be the best game. I think Thursday night, the Boise State game might be the best one. But if I could be at any game, it would be VT-Alabama. If VT wins, watch out, they're in the running to play for the national title. If they win that game, they'll be highly ranked.
What's your gut feeling on Bret Bielema? Is he the right man for the Wisconsin program?
Beano Cook (4:09 PM)
I think he's on the hot seat this year. See my in November. He doesn't have to play PSU. Wisconsin has to have a good year. The game they blew to Michigan last year really hurt them.
as a ND fan, should I root for them to lose one game so they don't get destroyed by a team like Florida in the NC game?
Beano Cook (4:11 PM)
No. It's better to take a shot and lose than to never take a shot. If you're a fan, you want ND to be in the game. I don't want them to be in the game, I'm just picking them. I always say, if Germany and France go to war, I want France to win, but I might pick Germany. I like Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, but I didn't necessarily like Notre Dame. And he knows that.
Is this the year Jimmy Clausen finally lives up to his potential or is he going to go the Ron Powlus route?
Beano Cook (4:12 PM)
Thank you very much for that comment. He's offensive captain, that tells me something. ND seems to be scrimmaging more in fall camp. I think Charlie Weis has learned his lesson, this isn't the pros and you don't do walkthrus. Someone asked me if Clausen could win the Heisman and I said I'm done picking Notre Dame players to win the Heisman.
Can you believe how much money big schools pay FCS schools just to play them?
Beano Cook (4:14 PM)
It's ridiculous. I think the NCAA made a mistake going to 12 games. 11 games, there were a lot of interesting games. Going to 12 is ridiculous. The following schools have never played I-AA schools, as far as I know: Michigan State, ND, USC, UCLA, Washington. Maybe Michigan State has. Michigan never did, but now they regret it. I tell coaches don't go to the NFL, you don't have a say in the schedule. The last two national championship coaches to go there failed - Saban, Spurrier.
Beano Cook (4:15 PM)
People say Meyer should go to the pros. But he's be nuts to go. Maybe he would work out OK. I could name about 4 owners that he would want to work for, but would you really want to work for some of the others?
Ryan (San Diego)
Will Georgia live up to their good road team rep and win in Stillwater? What do you think of Joe Cox?
Beano Cook (4:16 PM)
From my reports, Stafford is pretty savvy, but I think they're crazy to start him against New Orleans. If they want to start him, don't do it against the Steelers. As for Georgia, if they have a down year, I think Mark Richt is on the hot seat.
Jeff (East Lansing)
Beano, Michigan State is playing its first ever FCS (I-AA) school this year -- Montana State. It saddens me.
Beano Cook (4:17 PM)
OK. Jeff, I appreciate that. I forgot they were playing that game this year. Thank you.
Beano Cook (4:18 PM)
Let me say this, a lot of teams don't want to play each other. Illinois-Missouri, I think that game in St. Louis every year would be great. But they're not going to play after this year. A lot of coaches don't have the nerve to play another tough team. That isn't the case at USC. USC would play a pro team if they wanted.
Beano Cook (4:18 PM)
Thanks again Jeff.
Don't worry, Jeff. When the Spartans paste Montana State by 40 points you'll cheer up!
Beano, I get the impression that Notre Dame fans always think of Michigan State as a victory when they look at their schedule. How many times in a row do the Spartans have to beat Notre Dame in South Bend for this to stop?
Beano Cook (4:21 PM)
I disagree with you. But fans are unrealistic. Notre Dame itself doesn't feel that way. Let me say one thing about ND ... MSU was trying to become a national power in the late 40s and teams were ducking them. Michigan was trying to keep them out of the Big Ten. MSU went to ND and said they want to play you and we'll let you keep 90% of the gate. ND said they'd play but the gate would be 50-50. ND for years and years had a lot of class. The long time MSU SID told me that "People in my era will always be grateful to Notre Dame for playing us." Michigan State fans now should remember that.
do the buckeys have a legitamate chance to beat USC, and if they do, who else could possibly beat them?
Beano Cook (4:23 PM)
I think they will. I think the only game OSU will lose will be PSU and if Michigan beats Notre Dame, it turns the whole Michigan program around. This is the 40th anniversary of the 1969 game. If you are a true OSU fan, you remember that defeat the way the British remember Dunkirk.
Hey Beano! Who do you have in the Red River Rivalry this season? Is that your premiere matchup of this season?
Beano Cook (4:24 PM)
At this stage, Texas. If you asked me and they were playing Saturday, Texas. I think Texas has to worry about two games. It's not an easy conference, but they go to OK State and Oklahoma. They were supposed to play Arkansas this year, but Arkansas bought out of game. I don't know how much they paid.
Why is no one talking about Todd Reasing or kansas?
Beano Cook (4:26 PM)
I don't know. Everything's up to date in Lawrence. What's happened in the Big 12, especially in the North is everyone's putting more money into their program. For Nebraska fans to think it's going to be like it used to be, it isn't. Now, they'll win that division more than most. It's tougher to win in that conference than it used to be.
Joel Waltermyer (Lancaster,PA)
Is Oklahoma State this year's Texas Tech?
Beano Cook (4:27 PM)
Good observation. Excellent. They're favored against Georgia. I don't think they're a surprise as much as TT was last year. But they have to prove it. It's like Missouri, Clemson. They have to prove it. They go to Oklahoma, but they get Texas at home.
Beano Cook (4:28 PM)
I will see you next week at 3:30 p.m. ET. And I will see you every Wednesday at that time from now until some time in December. This is the 140th anniversary of college football. The season starts soon. Let's be happy that the baseball season is winding and soon we won't have to watch it any more. Take that Peter Gammons!