Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the college gridiron.
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 (2:03 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Today is the 15th anniversary of ESPN.com. Brings back a lot of memories for me. I got hired to work on it or what it was back then in the summer of '94. Only two PCs in the whole complex at the time. Anyhow, let's talk some college football.
Who is your pick to win the title this year?
Bruce (2:03 PM)
Bruce (2:04 PM)
I like all of the options on offense. They have a great defensive coach in Saban and Marcel Dareus, Josh Chapman, Dont'a Hightower and Mark Barron are ready for big seasons and I think the young DBs will respond to Saban.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear BruceCould you see Tom Coughlin returning to College Coaching?
Bruce (2:05 PM)
Doubt it. I don't see him wanting to go back in the homes and recruit. Lots of extra headaches dealing with academics and other discipline issues.
With loaded talent at every position, just how good can the Gators be this year and how scary is it going to be for the SEC over the next couple of years as they continue to develop the best talent in the country?
Bruce (2:08 PM)
I think they'll be a top 10 team again. The biggest question I have is the leadership of the team with Tebow and Spikes gone. Also want to see how well they can run the ball.That recruiting class was impressive no doubt, but who knows how they will pan out. Some of these 4 and 5-star guys have flopped. They've signed a bunch of blue-chip DTs in the past few years who haven't produced or stayed out of trouble. Their signees looked great in the all-star games, but we can't jump the gun too much with them till they play some college games and handle the responsibility of being college students.
Jim Crozier (Boise, Idaho)
Bruce, you've picked against my Broncos in a couple of high profile games over the last couple of years if I remember right. Have we made a believer out of you yet? Will you pick us to beat Va Tech this year? Should be a great game either way.
Bruce (2:10 PM)
You are correct. (I was wrong on both Oregon games although I did pick them to get routed at UGA a few years ago too.) I am a believer and would pick them IF this game wasn't on the east coast. But I'm going with VT and their power running game.
Do you see the South Carolina Gamecocks having their best season yet? The defense during spring practice has been dominating especially the secondary
Bruce (2:11 PM)
I do, and this is about as wide open as the SEC East has been in years. Garcia needs to be consistent and the O-line needs to help him more. Replacing the great Eric Norwood won't be easy either, but I could see them winning 9.
hannah (west lafayette)
What can you see coming from Purdue's young team and UofMiami transfer quarterback?
Bruce (2:12 PM)
Robert Marve has all the tools to be a terrific college QB. Maturity is the big concern, but I think he will respond well to the year away and being out of the state.
Who has the best shot at beating Alabama next season? Arkansas?
Bruce (2:13 PM)
They are my sleeper. Love that offense. I don't think they'll pull it off but I think they have the best shot.
How will the Sooners do this year?
Bruce (2:15 PM)
Right there with Texas again for the Big 12 South. The O-line is a concern. Who knows how well it will jell? But Landry Jones, if he can be more consistent, and he should with another year of seasoning, will be good with Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray back and there's still talent all over the defense. I'll be surprised if OU isn't a top 15 team this fall.
I go to IU. I've heard a lot about Indiana using a lot of redshirt sophomore Edward Wright-Baker at QB this year. You think he can be a legitimate passing QB or is he just a wildcat type player?
Bruce (2:16 PM)
He can be a legit passing threat. He's got a very strong arm. He has to get better at making decisions, as most young QBs do.
OSU plays both Boise St and TCU on the road... do we win either or both?
Bruce (2:18 PM)
I would've said you win at least one, but now that you've lost three key defenders this offseason I'm not sure. Few teams if any have two better players than Quizz Rodgers on one side of the ball and Stephen Paea on the other. In fact, I'm not sure anyone does.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Bruce... USC's offense will be loaded in a year with all the offensive recruits they have been getting... Do you honestly see a Heisman and National Title in Barkley's future?
Bruce (2:19 PM)
It's possibly obviously, but keep in mind if you judge the recruiting rankings USC's offense supposedly should be loaded every year. That said, I think the coaching change will be good for Barkley and the offense.
Bruce (2:20 PM)
The Trojans O-line is a little thin right now and a go-to receiver needs to emerge. Thus far Ronald Johnson looks like he may be ready to step up though.
JL (Warrenton, VA)
Bruce: Your article on Shannon in Miami was very interesting. Isn't Bo Pelini at Nebraska in about the same position? Program on the improve but great expectations. Progress is never a straight line.
Bruce (2:22 PM)
Thanks. I do think there are some parallels there. Lots of two steps forward, one step back. Obviously NU finished the season on a better note than Miami did. The difference is Shannon is a local guy, a product of the school and Bo P is not. I do think both guys are the right men for their programs now though and replaced guys who weren't ideal fits for their schools.
How do you see the TCU Horned Frogs season playing out?
Bruce (2:23 PM)
Another top 10 year. Am expecting big things fromQB Andy Dalton since he doesn't have to adjust to a new OC as he did in the past few years.
and how will Blake Bell do there in the future?
Bruce (2:23 PM)
Saw him at the Elite 11 camp out here in CA. He looks the part, but is very raw. He should have time to develop behind Landry Jones though.
What time will have a better season, Florida with Veteran but untested Brantley or Texas with a young Gilbert that was thrown into the fire against Bama in the title game
Bruce (2:24 PM)
I'll say Texas since there's no clear cut favorite in the Big 12.
Adam (Fort Worth)
Bruce, IF TCU and Boise State were to go undefeated this season, does either play in the MNC game and if so..who? Also, if TCU were to go undefeated and BSU did not, would TCU play in the MNC?
Bruce (2:26 PM)
It depends on who else is undefeated. If Bama and Ohio State, they'll be almost impossible for TCU or Boise to overtake. In Boise's case especially the rest of their conference really hurts their cause.
What would winning a national title do for a non bcs school?
Bruce (2:28 PM)
That is a great question and something I'd like to blog about this offseason after speaking to people about the possible impact from a marketing, recruiting and enrollment perspectives on the school. To say it'd be huge would be an understatement. You couldn't compare being a national champ to, say, George Mason making the Final Four. Villanova was already a brand of sorts and was in the Big East when it upset G'Town.
Nate (South Bend, IN)
What are your thoughts on Dayne Crist at ND and do you think they will respond well to Kelly's new system?
Bruce (2:29 PM)
I do think he will. Smart guy. Has some presence to him. He's a better athlete than Jimmy Clausen from a movement standpoint. He just needs to get healthy and get reps.
brett (LOS ANGELES)
after the events that occured at oregon do u think usc is now the front runner for the pac 10 title
Bruce (2:30 PM)
I do think USC is the favorite in the Pac-10. Almost all of their toughest games this season are at home, including a visit from those Ducks.
Brian (Oklahoma City)
How will USC players respond to the more strict atmosphere that Lane Kiffin has implemented?
Bruce (2:32 PM)
Thus far it seems like they are responding well to it. Many commented they feel like there is less individualism out there now. Also, Kiffin's staff has lit a fire under a lot of them in terms of competing for jobs. The best example is the MLB battle between incumbent Chris Galippo and Devon Kennard.
Scott Arogeti (Atlanta)
I wish Georgia fans were as loyal as Florida fans. Why are Georgia fans, like me, so bitter?
Bruce (2:36 PM)
Really? I have to say I've noticed a bunch of UGA grads that I interact with through the blog who are really passionate. They may not think the world of Michael Adams, but they are diehards.
Bruce, how do feel about the seminoles this year and beyond with coach fisher
Bruce (2:38 PM)
They are one of the four ACC teams I think could be top 10 this year with UNC, VT and Miami. I think Ponder is a legit Heisman contender. The young OL isn't so young any more, but the burden is on Mark Stoops fixing that shady D.
3 years from now, who will have had the better college career:Garrett Gilbert or Matt Barkley?
Bruce (2:42 PM)
I don't know. Barkley's played more, so I'll say him. And USC has had a little longer run of producing QBs than UT.
Emanuel (St Louis)
Does Gary Pinkel's job depend on Mizzou having a good year, like winning the Big 12 or at least the North over Nebraska?
Bruce (2:43 PM)
No, he's improved the program quite a bit. He's safe. Also they return a lot of starters and a good young QB. They should be around the top 20 this year and very good in 2011.
How many wins does Les Miles need to keep his job at LSU?
Bruce (2:45 PM)
Nine. If they were to go 8-5 I think the pressure would really get cranked up. Expectations at LSU are sky high especially with what Saban has done at Bama.
Pete (Laurel MD)
Hey Bruce, if we assume Pitt wins all of their games (a big if I know) do you think they could play for the National Title? If they were to win at Utah, home vs Miami, and at ND, plus run the table in the Big East, I would have to think there BCS number would be pretty high. Considering they should start in the top 20, am I crazy? DION FOR HEISMAN
Bruce (2:47 PM)
It would REALLY help Pitt's cause if Miami wins at Ohio State, loses at Pitt and then runs the table. Big ifs but then Pitt would have a decent chance. Dion's a special talent and will be a Heisman contender for the next three years.
Jeffrey (Marysville, Ohio)
Maybe this is a stupid question, but why is OSU hated so much?
Bruce (2:48 PM)
My hunch is most teams that have won a lot of games are hated by rival fans. They're high profile. I don't think there's much anti Minnesota or anti Iowa State sentiment outside of their regions. also there's some backlash to OSU playing in titles games and losing.
thomas (los angeles)
bruce, have you made it to a usc spring practice. how does dillon baxter look?
Bruce (2:49 PM)
I was out there on Tuesday. He broke two long runs. He's been very impressive.
Matt (State College)
How do you think the Penn State-Alabama game will play out this fall? Alabama has lost a lot on defense and Penn State has major quarterback questions, but other than that the two seems to be pretty evenly matched.
Bruce (2:49 PM)
I think Bama wins by at least 10. New QB on the road against Nick Saban. Not a good thing.
Do you think this year the ACC will have a team that will be in legitimate NC contention?
Bruce (2:53 PM)
I do, but it's possible they could knock each other off. But if Miami wins at Ohio State and Pitt and FSU beats Florida and VT beats Boise, the league's rep will finally get a boost.
Bruce, your thought on this statement? -- SEC teams play roughly ten tough games a year with a couple of patsies. Boise State plays roughly 10 patsies a year and a couple of tough games. --
Bruce (2:55 PM)
That's a bit of stretch. Most SEC teams play three patsies at home in the nonconference and I think typically Fresno and Nevade are at least on a par with the bottom 2-3 of the SEC. But I do agree that it does reflect on how suspect the rest of the WAC is.
Can Dennis Erickson direct the Sun Devils at least to a major bowl game this year? He's got a nice D and his own recruits in there now. If not, will he be fired?
Bruce (2:56 PM)
If he doesn't win now and get at least 7 wins, I think he's in trouble and I'm not sure they have a QB ready to win enough in the Pac-10.
Evan Johnson (Salt Lake City )
Everyone here in Salt Lake is pretty excited about Jordan Wynn this year. Do youo believe Utah will have the team to "bust" the BCS again?
Bruce (2:59 PM)
I liked him, but I still think TCU is the team to beat in the MWC.
Bruce (2:59 PM)
Three more questions...
Should Notre Dame and Nebraska play every year? I read an article that mentioned certain rivalries that needed to come back and this was one of them. If it was me I would say Oklahoma and Nebraska every year.
Bruce (3:01 PM)
Sounds great to me. I love all of these big history program playing again. Love that Bama and Penn State and Miami and OSU are playing. But it's tough to schedule and lots of teams don't want to risk it because they know you're more likely to lose one of those games than if you play against Towson.
Would you toss out a couple of under the radar guys that should be good players next season? I need this for the next time my buddies and I get together.
Bruce (3:07 PM)
Etienne Sabino, Ohio State, LB; Datone Jones, UCLA DE; Chris Polk, RB at Washington.
Bruce (3:10 PM)
Not sure if he's under the radar still but also think Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson doesn't get enough pub.
Bruce, love the chats. When does Tate Forcier get into the heisman conversation
Bruce (3:12 PM)
Thanks!If Michigan can become a top 10 team again, and a lot of that is on the defense improving but he also needs to cut down on the mistakes for that. He was great in the first month and then seemed to run out of gas, which isn't shocking since he was a freshman. He's still got a lot to prove before he's in Heisman talk.
Bruce (3:13 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.