Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the spring season.
Feldman is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. He joined ESPN in July 1994 as a writer for ESPNET (now ESPN.com) and in May 1998 came to ESPN The Magazine. He spent much of the past two years in the South working on his book, "Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting."
Send your questions now and join Feldman Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
bruce (2:01 PM)
Hi-Thanks for dropping by. Am chatting from sunny LA, where I'm fending off a mild case of Writer's Block, where I have strategically placed some >>>>>'s where I hope some creative thought will at some point eventually step in. Anyhow, let's talk some college football!
Willy Russo (Bayou Vista, LA)
Does LSU have anything this year or will Les be putting the house up for sale???? Is there any way we can kidnap Saban??? Just kidding!!!!!
bruce (2:03 PM)
They have to be able run the ball a lot better. That was the big disappointment last year. Am curious to see what all of the staff shake-up on offense will translate into. It's LSU, they have plenty of athletes but something was missing last year.
Hey Bruce, if the Big 10 & Pac 10 follow through on expansion (and championship games) where does that leave the Big East? They seem to be hamstrung by their basketball conference - could they lose their automatic bid?
bruce (2:05 PM)
I don't see the Big East losing its automatic bid any time soon. I also think with Skip Holtz taking over USF, it should bode well for that program and you could see the Bulls as a consistent top 20/top 15 caliber team. Now Pitt with its promising young talent needs to mature and take the next step also. Same for Rutgers, which has been stuck at soft 8-4 kind of teams.
I do not see UGA winning less than 10 games this year. Offense returns 10 starters with a new qb who even though is new he cannot be worse than cox. Defense lost some starters, but replacing people like b. evans is an upgrade. It will take time to adjust, but our schedule is easier. What do you think.
bruce (2:08 PM)
The schedule is very manageable with the toughest road games being at Auburn and at South Carolina and no LSU or Bama. I like Aaron Murray and think he can be a very good college QB, but the defense is still a big question mark. Who knows how much better they'll be with the adjustment to the 3-4. They're losing some productive players in the middle of the D, so I'll say 9-3 is realistic for them.
lance (ft worth, tx)
Bruce, you seem to give a lot more pub on tcu than most national writers (thank you). Are you one of the few pundits that actually appreciates what patterson and tcu has built in ft worth as opposed to just being required to write about them? I think you've become a closet tcu fan. Go Frogs!
bruce (2:10 PM)
I'm just very impressed by what they've done down there to win consistently as they have. Patterson has a very good system and is a hands on defensive coach. They take a lot of unheralded kids and do good evaluations on athletes. This is a fast team. It's just the depth isn't what it is at some other top 10 teams, but I am indeed a believer.
Mike (Miami, FL)
With a talented team like Miami, do you see them as a consistant top 10 team throughout the season next year?
bruce (2:13 PM)
They have a good chance. You can't say they're no longer a young team. Not this year. They have a very good, fiery leader in Jacory Harris, who just needs to take care of the ball better. The receivers are, from 1-6, as talented as there is in the country. Defensively, they should be really good. The big issues are the O-line. It's been shaky and there's going to be a lot of pressure on the new center. And also, consistency. They have to have the focus to bring it and not feel like they can just flip a switch whenever they need to. Plus playing at Ohio State and Pitt early is going to be tough. If they get past both of them, keep an eye on them.
Va Tech or Boise?
bruce (2:14 PM)
I'm going to say Tech since it's on the east coast. Of course, I picked Tech to beat Bama early last year and I picked oregon to beat Boise, so...
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Is there any chance of Michigan getting to ten wins this season, bowl game included?
bruce (2:15 PM)
It's a long shot. Their D was horrible and now they'll be without Brandon Graham who was the best player in the program. I do think 8 wins is realistic though.
Garth Algar (Aurora, IL)
How much does it cost to run a FBS program on average?
bruce (2:15 PM)
Off the top of my head I don't know that. I'll have to talk to some administrators to get a better breakdown but I can answer in the mailbag next week.
Sora Aoi (Tokyo, Japan)
Better fit for the Big Ten, Iowa State or Cincinnati?
bruce (2:16 PM)
Of those two? Cincy.
Bruce, You know my favorite color is red, Heisker red. How're the Blackshirts looking so far without Suh? Thank you, suh.
bruce (2:18 PM)
One of the three favorites to win the Big 12 with OU and Texas.. should be wide open in the league. They finished strong and JAred Crick is a great DL and will be a force up front.. Not sure how much better the offense gets though. I think this will be a good team, but do they have enough play-makers on offense to be a top 5 team? Not so sure.
With OSU visiting Wisconsin this year....does the Big Ten Championship go through Madison?
bruce (2:19 PM)
I think the top three are OSU, Wisky and Iowa--in that order.. tricky couple of weeks for the Badgers in Oct, hosting OSU but then going to Iowa.
In your honest opinion, do you think Coach Carroll was spreading himself too thin with all his appearances and volunteer work.
bruce (2:22 PM)
Good question. One of the knocks on him was that he had hired too many "yes men" types around him as some of his top assistants left over the years. Something was certainly missing this year. I think a big thing to keep in mind is any time a guy has been at a place 7, 8, 9 years, he tends to get stale and the message tends to get a bit stale. Fans no matter how much the guy may have won get a little tired of him and want something new. It happens with a lot of great coaches.
Dan (Los Angeles)
What do you make of Stanford FB Owen Marecic working at LB? I know the Card need LBs moving to the 3-4 D, but he was such a crucial piece for that punishing running game last year.
bruce (2:23 PM)
Harbaugh LOVES this guy. He is a tough, tough guy and I think Habraugh wishes he had more than one Owen Marecic. The O-line, which was very good last year, comes back pretty strong and they'll have to go RB by committee so we'll see how he plays it out.
Bruce, where do you see my beloved Sooners finishing up? Big 12 champs? BCS bowl game? 8-5 again?
bruce (2:25 PM)
I actually led my blog about LAndry Jones and OU today. If their O-line can jell, I think they could overtake UT to win the Big 12. But it's a big IF. Jones also has to be much more consistent, but I think that'll happen because he was so young last yr. DeMarco Murray and Ryan Broyles should be stars this season too.
bruce (2:26 PM)
Neuheisel keeps putting together very good recruting classes. He has upped the talent level a lot. They'll miss brian Price a ton on D, but they've upgraded in a lot of other places.. I think they'll have a shot at being a top 15 team in 2011.
Will J (Portland, OR)
7, 8, 9, years? So how stale is the message after about 40? (joe pa)?
bruce (2:27 PM)
He is a marvel and his staff has great chemistry.
I don't get it. Why does everybody want out of the Big 12? Are they broke? Whatever happened to rivalries and border wars?
bruce (2:28 PM)
I'm not sure "Everybody wants out" it's just that you look at the deals that the SEC and the Big Ten have money wise and it turns heads.
Would you help a brotha out, Bruce?Give me an expansion scenario that benefits Boise State, please!
bruce (2:30 PM)
They go, along with Houston to an expanded version of the Mountain West and leverage it for an automatic bid into the BCS. The tricky part is the MWC voted against expanding a few years ago and the TV deal money split would have to be overhauled.
Scott Arogeti (Atlanta)
Will UGA ever be as good as the Gators again?
bruce (2:31 PM)
Why not? It's Georgia. Not some small school without much history.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Bruce, the biggest problem with the Big XII (money) is most of the schools are located in small media markets.
bruce (2:34 PM)
Yeah, you hear that a lot but how big are the media markets in the SEC? Among the top 30 in the country, you have Atlanta #9 and we'll include Orlando for UF (#20) and Nashville at 30.
John (Oklahoma City)
If everything goes right and the defense improves just how far do you think Arkansas can go this year?
bruce (2:35 PM)
If Ryan Mallett returns 100 percent healthy, this is a dangerous team. They have weapons on offense and sharp offensive mind in Petrino but the D is suspect. I think they have enough offense to be a top 15 team, but unless the D gets better--and they just lost a very good DL to the NFL, I don't see top 10.
What is going on with Pryor's knee? "Routine" knee surgery is an oxymoron.
bruce (2:37 PM)
The reports out of Ohio are that he'll be 100 percent by spring ball in April. We'll check back then to see if that is how things played out.
Lisa (Washington, DC)
What is a realistic scenario for Bama given that they lost their entire secondary and play 6 teams after they come off a bye week?
bruce (2:40 PM)
The bye week stat is a good point. One of my colleagues in Bristol sent me an email about it. Don't underestimate the talent Bama will have on D: Dont'a Hightower will be one of the best LBs in the country and DL Marcel Dareus is coming off a huge game in the BCS title game. DB Mark Barron is also a very goodplayer and let's see if CB Dre Kirkpatrick can live up to his big rep.
North Carolina or LSU?
bruce (2:41 PM)
I like UNC's D A LOT better so I'll say the Tar Heels.
Christian Ponder a Top 5 Heisman candidate next season?
bruce (2:42 PM)
Yes. He just needs his D to step up so FSU can be a top 10 team again.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Does anyone have a good shot at getting through the ACC unscathed this year?
bruce (2:43 PM)
I think they'll have four top 15 caliber teams in there: VT, Miami, UNC and FSU.. and it would've been five if GT didn't get drilled by early defections to the NFL.. That said, I don't see any of them making it through without getting knocked off once.
K-State was a nice suprise last year, how far can they go next year and how long will Snyder coach this time around?
bruce (2:44 PM)
I like RB Daniel Thomas quite a bit. He's a great all-around talent, but I don't see K-State getting better than fringe top 20.
Is the Trojans D gonna get any better this year? We lost our entire secondary to the NFL this year
bruce (2:46 PM)
It'll have to be if USC hopes to be a top 10 team again. The LBs should be better with experience and Shareece Wright is back and he'll be better than any CBs they've had last year. The D-line has been too inconsistent the past two years. The plus side is most of their toughtest games will be at home this year.
Who is your top 5 in the Big Ten this year? Who do you think wins?
bruce (2:48 PM)
OsuwisiowaPsuMichAm tempted to pick Wisky over OSU. Not sure yet.
Bernard (Princeton, NJ)
PSU-Alabama. How is that shaping up right now?
bruce (2:49 PM)
New QB vs. Nick Saban? I'll take the Tide by at least 10 points.
Canes fan (Arlington, VA)
So Mr. F, Nick Saban and company are visiting the White House this week; What advice do you have for Auburn fan Robert Gibbs? Should be wear a Dolphins jersey?
bruce (2:51 PM)
3 more questions...
What do YOU believe the Big Ten should/will do as far as expansion goes?
bruce (2:52 PM)
I'd like Pitt over Rutgers and Mizzou. But who knows what they'll decide.
Canes fan (Arlington, VA)
What's the latest on Seantrel Henderson? Did USC get cleared enough to please his father? Did he ACTUALLY sign yet? Keep thinking Miami will be the backup
bruce (2:58 PM)
He hasn't signed anything yet, and the whole Letter of Intent stuff can be misleading in terms of what officially connects him to a college. In his case, being an elite recruit, he has the leverage. Schools will keep a spot open for him. I've heard he still is probably headed to USC. That's where he wants to go and where his dad wants to be. Miami's best shot at a blue-chip late-signee in this class is with Ohio DB Latwan Anderson who is visiting now and is choosing between UM and WVU.
bruce (2:59 PM)
Thanks for the question by the way. I think you're the most famous person I've ever gotten a question from in a chat.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear BruceCould you see Dennis Green returning to college coaching?
bruce (3:02 PM)
I guess it's possible. He's coaching in the UFL now, so we'll see. The trend seems to be with going for younger coaches though.
bruce (3:04 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.