Chat with Brian Bennett
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com's Big East blogger Brian Bennett will stop by to talk some football.
Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville.
Send your questions now and join Bennett Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Brian Bennett (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everybody. Let's chat. Gold stars to everyone who asks non-expansion questions.
Brandon (Pittsburgh, PA)
with nebraska probably moving to the big 10, does that mean that the big east most likely remains intact? or does that mean that the first domino has fallen and the college landscape will now be in chaos?
Brian Bennett (4:02 PM)
It's still a bit premature to say Nebraska is going to the Big Ten. But if that happens, I'd doubt the Big Ten would stop there. Which would mean it's probably going to 16, and at least one Big East team would be invited.
Peyton (Highlands Ranch, Colorado)
Hey Brian I have a couple questions for you. The first is do you think that Kansas and Kansas State would be positive contributions to the Big East and are there any other teams who could possibly join the Big East? And next do you think Noel Devine and Dion Lewis have a shot at the Heisman this year?
Brian Bennett (4:04 PM)
Half a gold star for at least including one non-expansion question. Well, Kansas and K-State would make interesting free agents, though the geography is tricky. It seems to me they'd be better fits for the Mountain West, though the basketball side makes them much better fits for the Big East. As for Devine and Lewis, both should start out on the Heisman radar. Their teams will have to have tremendous years for them to earn serious consideration.
Chris (Wallingford, CT)
I vow not to ask one expansion question. I'm officially expansioned out. Jordan Todman, Kendall Reyes, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson......which one is the most irreplaceable for the Huskies?
Brian Bennett (4:06 PM)
Amen, Chris. Full gold star to you. Interesting question. I thin, if he has improved over last year, the answer just may be Wreh-Wilson. He didn't play this spring and UConn's secondary was a mess at times.
Charles (Tampa, FL)
Is Notre Dame the key for the big east survival in this expansion scenario.
Brian Bennett (4:08 PM)
It could be, if it joins the Big Ten. Pat Forde's story on our site right now sums it up well. In th end, I'd still be surprised if the Irish abandoned their independent status.
hey brian, how is strong's 2011 recruiting class coming along? thanks
Brian Bennett (4:10 PM)
He's got 12 commitments, more than any other Big East schools, and that includes some of the best in-state players and a couple of Florida kids. It won't be long before the Cardinals are good again.
Going for the gold star here. I'm guessing Collaros is going to be in your top 5 on your list. When I saw him play those 4 games last year he reminded me of Tebow. What's the general consensus around ESPN? Is he the real deal and a player that might make it to the next level?
Brian Bennett (4:12 PM)
Sending one your way, MD. Collaros will be ranked awfully high, that's for sure. He had a great stretch last year and will be surrounded by talent. Just remember that some of his big games came against very shaky defenses (Louisville, Syracuse and UConn).
Zachary (Fayetteville WV)
Do you think if WVU beats LSU and only loses one game get a BSC bid without winning the Big East.
Brian Bennett (4:14 PM)
It's going to be tough for the Big East ever to get an at-large bid. LSU would probably have to win the SEC West and WVU's lone loss would have to be a very close one to the Big East champ for it to even be a possibility.
Jeff (Bristol, CT)
What team to do you feel Uconn will have the most difficult time with? Which games should be the most enjoyable to watch? Could this be the year they surprise people?Thanks bud, Keep up the great work.
Brian Bennett (4:17 PM)
UConn still has to figure out how to beat West Virginia, and Cincinnati's offense will give it trouble. The good news for the Huskies is, both those games are at home.
Charles (Tampa, FL)
Why would ND even consider joining a conference? Analysts have said they might so they won't get left behind, but I don't get how they can be left behind with such production from a revenue standpoint as an independent.
Brian Bennett (4:19 PM)
If the superconferences thing happens, ND wouldn't have a home for its non-football sports, and football scheduling could get very tricky. Not to mention that the Irish might have a harder time competing for a national title that way (not that they've threatened that for a while).
If Pitt runs the table, will their non-conference schedule put them at or near the top of the BCS championship pecking order?
Brian Bennett (4:21 PM)
I wouldn't necessarily say the top, but wins over Miami, Utah and ND would be impressive. It depends on what other teams ranked ahead of Pitt -- like Alabama and Boise -- do as well. But Pitt should just focus on trying to win the Big East for now.
brian, any word on spencer boyd transferring to USF?
Brian Bennett (4:23 PM)
His father told the St. Pete Times that USF was the leader. My understanding was that he had to finish some Notre Dame classwork before he could transfer officially.
MTF3 (Too Far South to Say!)
Brian, why is there so "Little" love for Savage and Sanu, especially here in B-East country? There's practically no press here - or anywhere - on either when people speak of the upcoming season!
Brian Bennett (4:24 PM)
I know I've written a lot about both guys. Rutgers needs to win more big games for them to get more national attention. The nonconference schedule doesn't help in that regard
Brian, Do you think Butch Jones will be good for Cincy? I heard he has a completely different style of coaching than Brian Kelly. He is much easier going.
Brian Bennett (4:27 PM)
Jones proved he's a heck of a coach with what he did at Central Michigan. I think he'll be really good at Cincinnati. Hard to follow Kelly, but Jones has already done it once.
Why is it that Pitt seems to be able to just go into Jersey and hand pick players?
Brian Bennett (4:28 PM)
I think "hand pick" is too strong. Pitt has gotten some guys Rutgers didn't recruit, and some they did. But Pitt is definitely getting more players from NJ than it did in recent years. Assistant coach Jeff Hafley has done a great job in that state.
If Tavon Austin plays well in the slot is there any chance he stays there and either someone else on the squad or a new recruit handles the RB duties next year? If so who might that be?
Brian Bennett (4:30 PM)
Well, he's scheduled to start off at wideout, not the slot, though I don't see him being there long term. I think in the future, running back is still where he can make the most impact, though that versatility will make him dangerous.
Coray S (New York, NY)
Brian, a Big East team is #1 in the FBS! Pretty awesome, right?
Brian Bennett (4:31 PM)
Yes, Rutgers finished No. 1 in the APR standings. Very impressive feat, especially for a public school.
BB, considering that the Big East commissioner is from a non-football school, isn't it possible that ND has nothing to worry about ... because if the football side of the conference folds, Providence, Gtown, Nova, SHU, SJU, still need a conference for other sports?
Brian Bennett (4:33 PM)
Such a league might look a lot like the Atlantic 10. Does Notre Dame want to compete at that level?
Bill (Clearfield, PA)
What Pitt player emerges from anonymity and becomes a star? They are loaded with young talented players at many positions...your thoughts?
Brian Bennett (4:34 PM)
He's not really that anonymous, but I think Dan Mason could have a breakout year at middle linebacker.
chris (east hartford, ct)
Hey Brian, how is it UCONN can schedule some good games ooc but other teams such as Rutgers have difficult times scheduling good ooc games? UCONN has only been in Div 1 for a little bit of time yet are going to have series with Michigan, Tennessee, last year they had N.D. UCONN doesn't seem to have any problems getting teams to play them. So what gives?
Brian Bennett (4:36 PM)
I don't think Rutgers has had problems finding people to play them as much as it isn't trying that hard. In the Scarlet Knights' (minor) defense, they needed a bunch of home games to help pay for stadium expansion, and the schedule will improve soon.
Will (Tampa, Fl)
With Skip Holtz's view of why South Florida does not succeed in the Big East, do you see USF recruiting for more players up north such as in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?
Brian Bennett (4:38 PM)
No. Why would you do that when you can fill a whole roster from a 2-hour radius around your campus?
Hey Brian, how many Big East schools do you think would have to bolt for the Big Ten to make it collapse?
Brian Bennett (4:40 PM)
Two might do it. Three for sure.
Shouldn't the Big 10 learn how to count before they expand?
Brian Bennett (4:42 PM)
Well, I sure hope it's not still called the Big 10 if there are 16 teams in it.
USFBulls Brian (Houston)
Not really an expansion question... I keep reading that not having an on campus stadium is a point against USF (along with lack of 'tradition' which is nuts...). But USF plays in a NFL/Super Bowl stadium. CJL said this was his biggest recruiting tool. Pitt and Miami play in NFL stadiums. What's your 2 cents, better to play in a pro stadium or an on campus stadium? For USF, I wouldn't change a thing.
Brian Bennett (4:43 PM)
On-campus stadiums offer better experiences, usually, but that's not really an option for USF at this time. I think RayJay is just fine. It's not hurting recruiting in any way that I can tell.
matt rob (Pittsburgh)
Brian, does this year's WVU team have the potential to be as high-scoring as last two RichRod teams? Returning so many starters and with a great group of runners, will they find themselves on the winning end of shootouts this year?
Brian Bennett (4:46 PM)
One small difference: those teams had Pat White. An experienced Pat White.
Pablo (My cubicle)
Everyone talks about Cinci reloading at WR this season but what about the return game? To me it was Gilliard in the return game that separated Cinci from Pitt these past two seasons, do they have a special teams threat like him this year also?
Brian Bennett (4:48 PM)
Good point. There aren't many return guys like Gilyard. Maybe DJ Woods or Darrin Williams can add a spark to the return game, but it may not be the same.
Why is Pitt considered the favorite over Cincinnati when the Bearcats won the Big East two years in a row and have a proven QB while Pitt does not?
Brian Bennett (4:50 PM)
Coaching change and defensive questions about Cincy. Pitt has offensive and co-defensive player of the year back, plus Baldwin. But I have them 1-2 right now. Pitt has to prove it.
Chris (Wallingford, CT)
Demar Dorsey to UConn? With the help we need at safety, why not? We have an extra scholly open and would offer him a chance of redemption on Sept 4th. Only draw back is that he is really not a Randy Edsall type of recruit.
Brian Bennett (4:50 PM)
say uconn gets only 8 wins this year but beats West Virginia, would u still consider the season a success?
Brian Bennett (4:52 PM)
It wouldn't be a bad season, but UConn has the talent to do more than that.
Brian,People are always talking about having the fastest team....who's the fastest team in the big east?
Brian Bennett (4:53 PM)
I'd probably say West Virginia. With USF second.
Mathew (Louisville, KY)
Hey Brian, what is the maximum number of wins you think the Cardinal's can hope for this year under Charlie Strong, and how will the season impact recruiting?
Brian Bennett (4:55 PM)
I'd say 5. Anything more would be a terrific coaching job. Assuming Louisville competes hard and the fan support is there -- and I think both of those things will be true -- Strong will continue to recruit very well.
Do you think that Rutger's claim to a 1869 national championship is legit given that they were 1-1 and the only other team playing was Princeton? Or the fact that the game they were playing was nothing like modern day football?
Brian Bennett (4:55 PM)
Yeah, I wouldn't be hanging any banners about stuff that happened in the mid 19th century.
Ray (Blue Mountain Beach (FL))
Cincy's Isaih Pead will run for 1000 + yards this season?
Brian Bennett (4:57 PM)
I think he can, if he stays healthy. And if Collaros doesn't run it more than he does.
Most of RU's defense appears to be very solid and ready for big things. However, the one area that concerns me is the lack of bulk on the D-Line. Maybe its just Schiano's philosophy but their smallish lines seem to wear down big time in some games
Brian Bennett (4:58 PM)
Schiano's lines have never been big, though he's recruited some bigger players there recently. The good news is that line is deep, so he'll be able to rotate lots of players there to keep them fresh.
Hey Brian. Not to nitpick, but how do you think that happens? Say Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse leave. The remaining teams have no place to go and are going to fight like mad to salvage the conference. You still have teams like West Virginia. Just add (say) UCF, Marshall, and East Carolina.
Brian Bennett (4:59 PM)
That would not be a BCS league at that point, in my opinion. And those remaining teams would be fighting like mad to get into one.
Brian Bennett (5:00 PM)
OK, folks, my time is up. I'll be sending out the gold stars in tomorrow's mail. Take care.