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 (2:02 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Lots of college football stuff to talk about so let's get to it.
Brian (Southbury, CT)
I think you need to take a closure look at UConn on two points: 1) UConn is a player this year. UConn lost 5 games by 15 points, had to deal with a tragic death in the middle of the season, ended on a 4-game winning streak including the bowl win against USC, returning 16 starters (8/8), and 34/44 on the two deep.2) UConn has one of the best facilities in the country. Its modeled after Nebraska, which you Rank 3rd. Take a trip up to Storrs to see what going, because you have a lot of bias towards the old guard.
Bruce (2:04 PM)
I've been to UCONN for a game kinda recently (when they hosted Baylor in 2008).. The program has upgraded the facilities a lot but it's nowhere close to Texas, ND and a lot of the SEC schools. That said, Randy Edsall is a terrific coach and has done a good job there.
Bruce (2:09 PM)
USC has just filed its appeal btw.
Billy Little Rock [via mobile]
So how do you feel OU and Texas A&M would have fared in the SEC? Gotta think AM would get pummeled and OU would have handled its own
Bruce (2:11 PM)
I think A&M is going to be pretty good this year and I suspect they would've been somewhere along the lines of where Auburn/So Carolina will be this season. OU would be right there with the top 4-5 in the league (Bama, LSU, Ark, UF, etc)
Brian (Baton Rouge)
If Les doesn't win the SECW this year, is he done?
Bruce (2:12 PM)
I think he can still be the coach there if say Bama goes 12-1 and if LSU goes 10-3 on the year, how do you get rid of him? The guy did just win a national title. Critics can say he took over a great situation after Saban left but he still won a BCS title and few coaches can say that.
Bruce (2:13 PM)
The LSU situation is actually going to be the lead to my Friday mailbag later today.
Evan (Lake City,Fl)
do you think the florida gators can make it to the SEC championship this year
Bruce (2:13 PM)
Sure, there's still a lot of speed and talent and the SEC East is not strong this season.
Buddy (Leesburg, GA)
What are your thoughts on Skip Holtz as head coach of South Florida? Can the bulls be considered one of the top florida schools soon?
Bruce (2:15 PM)
He did a good job at ECU and I like some of the hires he's made there. Leavitt did a very good job building that program. If FSU and Miami take another big step up, which is seems like both are about to I think there's still a gap, but in the last five years it's narrowed quite a bit.
Julio (LA, California)
Hey Bruce,By now you have probably checked out the investigavting-story by USCFootball.com. What's your take on it? Do you think USC has a case? Sounds like McNair does as it seems his attorney has already informed the NCAA their notice of appeal.
Bruce (2:17 PM)
Yeah, I read it. At the very least it appears that the Committee on Infractions was sloppy, but will that be enough to warrant overturning some of the penalties. What I thought was interesting in the story was hearing from one of the folks involved in the Alabama State case where there was a successful appeal. Does that mean instead of only signing 15 a year, USC might get 18 a year? We'll see. The two-year post season ban was the real jolt when they found out.
Bruce (2:19 PM)
From what the COI said when the ruling came out was about the stardom of Reggie Bush was a factor, which had me wondering if it were centered around say Dwayne Jarrett (a very good player but not a Heisman finalist) does that mean USC loses only one post-season year, not two?
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Does Bama have any shot at a repeat with everyone getting them after a bye week?
Bruce (2:20 PM)
I think so. Lots of experience and firepower on offense and plenty of young talent on D and you know they'll be well coached. That scheduling factor with opponents having the week off to prep for them isn't a good thing if you're a Bama fan, but nothing's easy these days.
Bruce, The Sporting News just put out their preview of Michigan and has them going 5-7 this year. The way I see it, Michigan will score a lot of points but be unable to stop anyone. Is this it for Rich Rodriguez?
Bruce (2:22 PM)
I expect Michigan to do a lot better than that. I see eight wins. I think they are going to be explosive on offense and the leadership should be a lot better in the program because it's more of Rodriguez' guys.
Ché (Orlando, FL)
Speaking of which Bruce, on your time on the left coast is Baxter the next Reggie? (unlike McKnight who was dubbed the same)...
Bruce (2:23 PM)
The comparisons aren't fair to anyone. Baxter's not as fast as Bush. He does have great vision though. He's exciting to watch.
Jesse (Waverly, TN)
Can Tennessee beat the Gators this year? Thanks!
Bruce (2:24 PM)
Anything's possible but a new O-line and new QB are going to make it a very long shot.
With Nebraska joining the Big10(12), how would you rate the top 4 or 5 teams? Is Michigan even in the top 4 anymore?
Bruce (2:25 PM)
If Neb was in there now, they'd be top for with OSU, Iowa and Wisconsin, followed by Michigan and PSU.
I predict Jeff Luc or Lamarcus Joyner will be on the freaks list soon.
Bruce (2:25 PM)
I had Luc on the Just Missed the Cut list yesterday.
Mike (Birmingham, AL)
More annoying: Vuvuzelas or the cowbells at Mississippi State games?
Bruce (2:26 PM)
Does it concern you that the NCAA didn't investigate why the only picture that showed McNair was altered from its original forma
Bruce (2:26 PM)
That sounds like one of the more bizarre parts of the story.
Cameron (Council Bluffs, IA)
How many games do you see the Irish winning this year, as I am sure Lou Holtz will bring up at some point they have a realistic shot of beating everyone on there schedule. With a defense that has not proven anything since Willingham era do you think the irish will be able to at least smell BCS down the stretch of the season?
Bruce (2:28 PM)
I think they can win nine. Except for the O-line, this isn't a young team. Obviously, you have a new QB in Dayne Crist, but I think he's going to be terrific. He's about as mature as they come. Can the D be great like say Bama was last year? Doubt it, but it doesn't have to be. This team just has to be looser and play better in close games and late, which I think they will with the coaching upgrade.
alexander Kuiper (Austin Texas)
I truly believe Texas would have won in the NC last year if not for Colt McCoy getting injured. Anyway (Im not bitter I promise) give us your chances for Texas getting a shot to play again for it this year vs Bama? Thanks Bruce, big fan
Bruce (2:29 PM)
They're in the mix I think. I like what I saw from Gilbert in a brutal spot last year. They do have to run it A LOT better than they have of late.
Jay (Kingston, TN)
For the Vols W-L record this year: Over/Under 6-6? Coach Dooley: Over/Under 4 yrs as HC if you're AD Mike Hamilton? I say over on both.
Bruce (2:31 PM)
I'd call 6-6, but if I had to pick one, I'll say under.. And the other one I'm not ready to go on... I do think the best move he's made since he's been there was keeping Jim Chaney as OC.
How are the Jayhawks going to do this year?
Bruce (2:32 PM)
I think they have to rebuild a little. You lost one of the best players in school history in Reesing. Mangino was a good coach, and I think Gill did a very good job at Buffalo but with NU surging and I think Mizzou could be pretty good, the Big 12 North won't be easy.
brett (los angeles)
based on what your hearing about the seantrel henderson situation do u still expect him to be in cardinal and gold ???
Bruce (2:35 PM)
Don't know. If he's not out in LA by Monday, he'd miss that summer session, but he could still come west by August. There's a lot of drama as there has been with his recruitment for much of the way. I doubt he wants to go to prep school and get re-recruited for 2011. And I don't see USC releasing him.
Clint (Portland, OR.)
Which loss will be harder to recover from: Gerhart for Stanford; Masoli for Oregon; Carrol for USC; Canfeild for OSU; both coordinators for Arizona?
Bruce (2:37 PM)
Good question. I'll rank it as Gerhart, Carroll, Masoli, Canfield, Zona coordinators... With Carroll, I think the change would be good for everyone involved, whereas Gerhart almost won a Heisman for a program that had been awful till he got cranked up.
james (ladera ranch, ca)
how do you see tech's offense faring against the bsu defense? tech will not abandon the run like oregon and tcu did last year
Bruce (2:38 PM)
Yeah, I agree with you to some degree. Oregon's interior line looked overmatched. I think Tech will hold up better.
What are the chances of the Iowa Hawkeyes winning the Big Ten and getting a BCS Bowl Bid
Bruce (2:39 PM)
Very realistic. They have a lot of experience, a great D-line and the best schedule of the top teams in the conference.
Who are your dark horses for the title this year?
Bruce (2:40 PM)
Really darkhorses? Someone from the ACC either FSU, Miami or UNC; Wisconsin.
Paaulo (San Antonio)
Will Texas-Oklahoma be a big games this year, even if neither team ends up contending for a NC?
Bruce (2:41 PM)
No doubt, it's a great game every year.
Who would be your dark-horse team to win the BigTen this year?
Bruce (2:42 PM)
Well, since I don't see OSU, Iowa or Wisc as a "darkhorse" to win the Big Ten, I'll say Michigan.
Does Miami have a shot at the Shoe this year? I remember watching the USC game at the Shoe last year, and the atmosphere was insane. I doubt Miami has seen anything like that in the ACC.
Bruce (2:44 PM)
They have a shot. Athletically, they can match up with anyone now. Jacory Harris doesn't get rattled. Playing at FSU or Va. Tech are big-time places. VT is as loud as any stadium I've ever been in.
Fan of Bruce (Boise)
Whats your favorite thing about Boise State football?
Bruce (2:45 PM)
How they find these guys that nobody really wanted and those players turn out to be stars, not just a Kellen Moore or Austin Pettis, but this school also produced arguably the best OT in the NFL right now.
Blake Fite (Jenks, Ok)
Wisconsin as a dark horse...Big 10 homer. Wisconsin would be the 5th best team in the Big 12 and the fourth best team in the SEC at best.
Bruce (2:46 PM)
I'm a Big Ten homer? Wow.
How do you feel about the Hokies this year?
Bruce (2:47 PM)
Love the backfield talent.. They're almost always solid on D with Bud Foster running the show. Question is can they be great, not just very good?
Bruce what conference have you not been accused of being a homer for? I am guessing Conference USA and that's about it.
Bruce (2:49 PM)
Probably the MAC and Sun Belt and that's it.
Shawn (Gaithersburg, MD)
Is Pitt finally going to win the Big East this season with their beast Jonathan Baldwin?
Bruce (2:50 PM)
I think so.. Great WR and a great RB in Dion Lewis. If the D is anywhere near as tough as it was in 2009, they could be a top 10 team.
Greg (Salt Lake City)
Bruce,Will BYU reload or rebuild this year? What should fans' realistic expectations be?
Bruce (2:51 PM)
Re-load. Jake Heaps is going to be very good, so if someone can beat him at out QB, they'll be terrific. That's a very good top of the league still.
Do you think Jeff Demps forgoes his senior year not for the NFL but Olympics?
Bruce (2:52 PM)
No, when I talked to him 10 days ago, he said football was a very big part of who he is. I don't think he wants to back burner it for anything.
Does the MWC as a whole get better in the next two years?
Bruce (2:53 PM)
Not much.. Utah's a very, very good program. Not sure Boise is any better.
Bruce,What are your thoughts on Florida State's recruiting efforts so far?
Bruce (2:54 PM)
Good so far. James Coley, Eddie Gran and Co are very aggressive recruiters. They loaded up on great defensive talent last year and I like some of the guys they've gotten commitments from so far.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being impossible, 10 being certain, how likely is it FSU wins 10 games this year?
Bruce (2:55 PM)
I'll say on that scale- 8.
Tony (Tucson, AZ)
Is Dennis Erickson on the hot seat? Is the ASU program DOA?
Bruce (2:56 PM)
Yes, very hot this year. Lots of coaches think the world of Dennis and he's got a great resume, but I could see that job being open in 5-6 months.
You're selling GT a bit low this year Bruce. Never bet against Paul Johnson and the baddest man in college football - Josh Nesbitt.
Bruce (2:57 PM)
I'd feel better about Tech as a top 15 team if they hadn't lost all of those great juniors. But I'm with you on the toughness for Mr. Nesbitt.
Michael (South Africa)
If Landon Donovan were to play a position in college football, what position would he play, other than kicker or punter?
Bruce (2:58 PM)
He's really small, but if I had to pick one spot I'd say slot receiver.
Rob (Barre, Vermont)
Phil Steele picks Oklahoma as the #1 team - he's kidding, right? What does Oklahoma do better than anyone else in the country?
Bruce (3:00 PM)
OU has talent and a great proven coach. Landry Jones will be better and he has a big-time back in Murray and WR in Ryan Broyles. The O-line is the big concern. Phil Steele knows what he's talking about. I think OU is a top 12 kinda team this year. I wouldn't be shocked if they went on a run.
Thinking 10-2 for the Dawgs. Your thoughts?
Bruce (3:01 PM)
I think that's a little too optimistic. The O-line should be good and I like Aaron Murray, the backs and AJ Green, but how much better can their D get? I'll say 8-9 wins.
Do you think Kelly has concerns about his recruitment of a QB for 2011? It seems like he may have scrape the barrel a bit more than he hoped (similar to ND's 3 Qb recruiting haul this year, solid not great).
Bruce (3:03 PM)
I don't get the impression Brian Kelly gets too frazzled about anything, especially not the players who don't want to play for ND now. He found LeFevour and won with both guys at Cincy. QB won't be a problem for him there.
Charles (Jax, FL)
Does the hiring of a new A.D. put Tom O'Brien on the hot seat?
Bruce (3:04 PM)
I think it was already kinda warm for him. He hasn't had a winning season there yet. He needs one this fall.
Will (Bismarck, ND)
What kind of an impact can Junior College players make in College Football?
Bruce (3:05 PM)
It can happen. Bill Snyder built a powerhouse at K-State by hitting on a incredible % of his JC recruits. His RB there now Daniel Thomas is a big-time talent from JC. Saban boosted his D with Mount Cody.
Besides Jim Chaney...tell me one thing that will make me feel warm and fuzzy about my Vols.
Bruce (3:06 PM)
Your new strength coach Bennie Wylie is a stud. Everyone thinks the world of him. And that's a big plus when your players have undergone three coaching staffs in like 18 months.
Do most of the writers like or dislike the chats?
Bruce (3:07 PM)
Not sure. I like them although I am prone to some wicked typos because I try to go too fast.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
How about Nebraska's recruiting class this year? Stacked on the OLine and two really athletic QB.
Bruce (3:08 PM)
Yeah, seems like it. As long as Starling doesn't go to pro baseball.. Heard the O-lineman from central florida is arguably as good as any in the state.
Bruce,Best pre-game song played at a stadium?
Bruce (3:09 PM)
I am the furthest thing from a heavy metal fan there is, BUT the whole Enter Sandman deal at Lane Stadium is awesome. Gotta go there to experience that once in life.
Bruce (3:09 PM)
Three more questions.. It's close to lunch time and I got tape to transcribe.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Chad Jones...
Bruce (3:10 PM)
Agreed. What a talent he is too. Hoping for the best for him.
Having too many JC recruits can kill you, though, in the long run - look what they did for Jackie Sherill at Mississippi State years ago.
Bruce (3:11 PM)
It can. It's risky. That's why what Snyder did at K-State was so impressive.. course it didn't hurt that he also had one of the most underrated coaching staffs to come around in a long time too.
Bort Portland (America)
What are you having for lunch?
Bruce (3:12 PM)
I may go to the Counter. Really good burgers in LA.
Bort Portland (America)
Bruce (3:12 PM)
Do you think David Cutcliffe can continue the turnaround at Duke...far enough to the point where they can compete for a ACC crown?
Bruce (3:13 PM)
He's elevating the program but it was soooo far down. I think a bowl game is possible within two years. Not sure about that ACC title though.
Bruce (3:14 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions.. Gotta run. If I didn't get to your question, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.