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 (2:01 PM)
Dreary Friday in LA. Thanks for dropping by. Let's get to it.
Everyone's assuming that an undefeated Buckeye team gets in the title game, but wouldn't they be left in the cold if Oregon and Oklahoma go undefeated? The Sooner's strength of schedule in that scenario would be off the charts, and Oregon's schedule is certainly tougher than Ohio State's.
Bruce (2:03 PM)
I don't see an undefeated Big 12 team leapfrogging OSU in the human polls, although I did think that the result of FSU-Miami last week had to boost the Sooners' cause especially in regards to OSU, no?
Is Michigan's AD nuts? Alabama!? Then, in the same season, at Nebraska and Ohio State? Does Brandon want Michigan to continue having losing seasons and continue getting embarrassed on national TV when they lose 72-0 to the Tide?
Bruce (2:04 PM)
Denard Robinson will be a senior by then and Michigan will have all of Rodriguez' recruits at that point. They should be very good then. He built a powerhouse at WVU when he had all of his players in there.
Southlake Carroll H.S. Fan (Southlake, TX)
Last Saturday (10/9/10) there were four QB's that graduated from Southlake Carroll H.S. that all played quarterback in a game for a Division 1 football school: Greg McElroy ('06) started for Alabama against South Carolina, Riley Dodge ('08) played for a short while (due to an injury he sustained the prior week) against Arkansas State, Kyle Padron ('09) started for SMU against Tulsa, and David Piland ('10) started for Houston against Mississippi State. Has this has ever happened before?
Bruce (2:06 PM)
I feel like Hart High from our here in SoCal had quite a run at one point too.. not sure if it was that many on one Sat though.BTW, I flew over their stadium into DFW on my way to ESPNU last week.. awesome looking set-up for Carroll. Wow.
Hey Feldman, nice choke pick of the Wolverines. You should stay away from Vegas!
Bruce (2:06 PM)
Huh? I was 13-7 last week against the line.
Bruce, what are your thoughts on the Luchs agent story in SI this week and how this may affect USC's scholarship reduction appeal?
Bruce (2:09 PM)
It was an excellent job by the reporter George Dohrmann and some really riveting stuff. I don't think it helps the USC appeal in the sense that 'see, there is cheating everywhere.' I think USC's best hope is on the innaccuracies in the questioning/facts of the investigation. Appeals don't usually go well though, but maybe USC gets a pass and can defer some of the scholarship hits to sign a full class this year. Wouldn't bet on it though.
John (Oregon )
How good will Robert Woods be?
Bruce (2:09 PM)
He's terrific now.. scary... I was out at practice Wednesday when he was playing some corner too.
Bruce, what were your thoughts on the new Big House?
Bruce (2:10 PM)
Impressive... nice press box too. The are some kinks in their set-up that really need to be smoothed out though.
Donnell (Ashburn, VA)
Will the loss of Kyle Rudolph end the Irish chances of making a bowl game this year?
Bruce (2:11 PM)
No, they have plenty of good WRs for Crist to work with. I think 8-4 is realistic.
Bieber or Brady?
Bruce (2:12 PM)
Andrew (Montgomery, AL)
How do you think the South Carolina-Alabama outcome affects the recruitment of Jadaveon Clowney?
Bruce (2:12 PM)
I heard it'd be very hard for Clowney to leave the state so that only helps I'm sure.
Jace (Atlanta, GA)
Saw you tweeted John Wooden's Birthday yesterday - Can you summarize your thoughts on Wooden and his legacy? - Make each day your masterpiece!
Bruce (2:14 PM)
The greatest coach ever.... A friend once did a piece with him for Esquire on the wisdom of Coach Wooden. Check it out.http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/learned-john-wood-0200
Will FSU be the best team in the state of Florida 5 years from now?
Bruce (2:15 PM)
Not sure, but I know they are right now. Two months ago I thought I was going out on a limb predicting FSU would beat UF this year. Now, it'd be an upset if it doesn't happen.
Using USC's recent probation as a benchmark, what sanctions do you see the NCAA imposing on UNC? While USC's football probation basically boiled down to one player, UNC's seems far more widespread and seems to cover more than one area of violation.
Bruce (2:16 PM)
Not sure.. It'd probably be a lot worse because you're talking about a lot more players and you're talking about not just a coach allegedly having knowledge of the relationship (as the NCAA believed it had with Todd McNair) but of an assistant, Butch Davis' top assistant (no less) John Blake getting a cut. Plus, there's also an academic scandal on top of that. Four year post-season ban?
Matt (The west)
In your opinion who wins the ACC
Bruce (2:17 PM)
I'll go with FSU right now. They look like theyve gotten it togheter on D and their OLine has been as advertised now.
Is Michigan State legit? They haven't left the state of Michigan yet... so is 6-0 just the benefit of the schedule?
Bruce (2:18 PM)
They're just realy solid. Good QB, excellent RBs. They tackle well. Well-coached. They're a legit top 12 team.
How many recruits do you think base their school choice primarily on how much they may get to play in their true freshmen year?
Bruce (2:19 PM)
25 percent. Most think they're good enough so they can play wherever they sign right away, but if there's a senior in front of them it might deter a few.
Don (New Mexico)
USC defense bad coaching or lack of talent?
Bruce (2:22 PM)
It's the players struggling to new terminology. I don't think the talent is great there especially in the back seven and the safeties are very inexperienced.
Sara (Dublin, OH)
Jim Tressel said Tuesday or Thursday there are maybe 1,200 registered agents. He said that maybe 300-400 have clients, leaving for a desperate majority. Really, is there anything more that a college football coach can do besides educate? I know a large athletic departments like Ohio State there are maybe 6-10 compliance officers. How much can coaches be blamed?
Bruce (2:24 PM)
There is enough blame to go around. Coaches still educate players AND their families and compliance has to do the follow up, but if players are going to be tempted and do things on the side, it's hard to keep everything clean. But if you notice a player driving a new car or wearing a flashy new necklace, someone has to ask.
Marcus Morey (Canaan,CT)
why can't oregon land 5 star recruits?
Bruce (2:27 PM)
They do land some. And the school has done wonders to build "the brand." ... Haloti Ngata was a bigtimer and lots of people wanted Jonathan Stewart and so was Cliff Harris and a few others. Just this year, Dior Mathis, Lache Seatrunk and Ricky Heimuli.. And as they spend more time in the top 10 and on TV, recruits will be more interested.
Larry (Bird City, KS)
Some fans are already calling for Turner Gill's head at KU. Please give a realistic assessment of his performance given the situation; returning talent, etc. Is it in line with possibilities or is it sub-par? Thanks.
Bruce (2:29 PM)
Really disappointing.. No reason to lose to an FCS or to get blown out of the building by Baylor or K-State at home.. Still, it's very early. give him some time. He did a good job with the Buffalo team.
Inquiring Mind (Wash DC)
If you had your druthers, what match up's would you like to see in BCS games this year?
Bruce (2:30 PM)
I'd like to see Boise State vs. an undefeated SEC champ. Of course, I'd also like to see Oregon-Oklahoma/Neb or Oregon-OSU.
Brian (Columbus, OH)
Really loved the read on Noel Devine this week, great work. Geno Smith played last night and has great poise and decision making beyond his years. Is he a top QB in the years to come?
Bruce (2:31 PM)
Thanks. I appreciate that. I couldn't wait to tell people the Noel Devine story. I've been very impressed with Geno Smith every time I've seen him. The coaches I know there say he is a really, really smart and he's got a live arm and has everything it takes to be a star QB in the next two years.
Kyle (Germany )
Can MU beat the Cornhuskers this year?
Bruce (2:32 PM)
Longshot since it's a road game for Mizzou. Gabbert is a terrific QB, but their D is still very unproven.
Bruce, although I'd be ecstatic to see Auburn win on Saturday, why do you think alot of analysts are picking AU even when their biggest weakness (secondary) is going up Ark's biggest strength (Mallett's passing)?
Bruce (2:33 PM)
They're more balanced than the Hogs in terms of run/pass and I think they're a little better up front than Arkansas on the D-line. AND they're home.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Bruce, have you seen Ryan Katz of Oregon State? The quarterbacks in Mike Riley's system usually are mediocre in their first year starting, and I know the record is still not great, but Katz sure looks very good. What are your thoughts? Thanks.
Bruce (2:35 PM)
When I went up to Washington, Ore St and Oregon, Katz was one of the most impressive players I saw. His arm is fantastic and he has good feet. He's the next stud Pac-10 QB. He basically opened his career playing at TCU and at Boise State. That's brutal for a new QB and didn't throw any picks.
Hey Bruce what is the chance of a random question being answered?
Bruce (2:35 PM)
pretty good if it ends up in the top four of a new rotation when I refresh the screen after the last post.
Jeff (Salt Lake City)
So how should I prepare for Boise State's inevitable slide to #3 in the BCS? We'll win every game yet get shafted. I just know it.
Bruce (2:36 PM)
Probably.. If there are unbeaten Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC and Big 12 champs, Boise is going to get leapfrogged. There isn't much they can do about that because of the depth of the conference schedules.
Kevin (Kenai, Alaska)
Nevada vs Hawaii who wins and why?
Bruce (2:37 PM)
I picked Hawaii in the upset.
Jason (Upper Arlington, OH)
Why can't Ohio State run the ball with tailbacks? Is it poor blocking or is Ohio State somehow a throwing team? I recall Troy Smith asking coach Tressel if he could throw the ball exclusively as a RS-Senior. Is the same sort of thing happening now at OSU?
Bruce (2:38 PM)
Not sure.. The backs have been pretty underwhelming. I thought the run blocking would be better this year. Or at least was expected to be.
phil (iowa city)
Bruce, Is Iowa's d-line the best d-line in the country? is Iowa's deffense the best deffense in the country? Go Hawks!
Bruce (2:38 PM)
They're in the top three I'd say.
Sean (Montgomery, AL)
If Boise does go to the championship game and get beat badly will that show the BCS that weak conferences should not be considered to play?
Bruce (2:40 PM)
That is how the pollsters would interpret it. Thing is, with the way Boise and Utah have done in the other BCS bowls, it doesn't seem like that would happen.
If Stanford and Oregon both win out, will the Pac-10 have two BCS teams?
Bruce (2:41 PM)
Doubt it.. tough to get the extra team if they're not a huge draw.
Didn't see the Devine story, can you post a link?
Bruce (2:41 PM)
Ohio State and Michigan State don't play each other this year and both are currently undefeated. Think in 6 weeks, this will matter?
Bruce (2:43 PM)
The odds are no, and my hunch is MSU gets beat at Iowa, but if they win there, it'll get really interesting.
Does OU get it's act together this week and play a complete game? Have you seen Roy Finch any? Hearing he is suppose to be something special.
Bruce (2:44 PM)
Heard that too. I think OU is going to roll big-time this week. But I'm curious how they'll do at Mizzou next week.
Will Oregon be playing in the National Championship?
Bruce (2:45 PM)
If they can win out I think they do. (This btw, is one of the topics I get into in today's mailbag.)
Why does everybody love Utah? Who hav ethe beaten that's is even an average team?
Bruce (2:46 PM)
I actually thought they were a little too high also where theyre ranked because right now the best win is beating a disappointing Pitt team. They hammered Iowa State on the road, but aside from ISU beating Texas Tech, I'm not sure that is much of a big deal.
James (Owensboro, KY)
What chance do you give Kentucky of pulling the upset over South Carolina?
Bruce (2:47 PM)
They have a shot, because their offense is potent but both are coming off emotional games. Picked S.Carolina to win in a close one.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Remind Kyle not to sleep on the Utes...remember two years ago when they throttled Alabama in SEC country...not a bad team there.
Bruce (2:48 PM)
No one said they were a bad team.. Lots of turnover from that Utah team to this one also.
phil (iowa city)
Is there anyway Iowa gets in the NC, with wins against Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, a decent Northwestern team, and potentionally a #1 OSU team?
Bruce (2:50 PM)
I don't see it. They'd need a ton of help. Also pollsters won't put much stock in beating Michigan and Northwestern just lost to Purdue. OSU would be a good win as would Michigan State, but they'd need lots of two-loss teams left standing.
Favorite team to watch? Best coach in the game right now in your opinion?
Bruce (2:51 PM)
I think Oregon's offense is really fun to watch. I like watching Auburn and Michigan's offenses as well. And am curious to watch Martinez and Nebraska again this week. And if it's a close game in the fourth quarter, I'm not clicking away from LSU and Les Miles.
Do you think we'll ever see a 2-loss team play for a national title again in the same season where there's an undefeated team? I'm referring to 2007 when LSU had 2 losses and Hawaii was 12-0
Bruce (2:52 PM)
I wouldn't rule anything out at this point.
With all the potential recruits at the Miami-FSU game how big a win was it for the Noles to start getting back into the South Florida recruiting pipeline?
Bruce (2:53 PM)
It certainly doesn't hurt, but people tend to overestimate the impact of one win in a game. Sometimes recruits take that and think "this place really needs me" or "I can come in here and start right away."
Gambling Freak (Everywhere)
Who you got tonight between the Ville and Cincinnati and the score?
Bruce (2:54 PM)
I picked Lville close yesterday.
No idea what to expect out of Mizzou-A&M this weekend. Mizzou hasn't exactly faced a whole lot of adversity. Who wins?
Bruce (2:55 PM)
I feel like A&M is in a must-win situation and has to respond and will play well. Picked them to win at home.
How long does it really take to rebuild a program? For example, I don't think Randy Shannon is finished, but it seems like Bo Pelini did it quick?
Bruce (2:57 PM)
It varies on the circumstances. Sometimes it happens fast as it did with Stoops and OU and Saban and Bama. Sometimes it takes much much longer. Kirk Ferentz was 11-24 in his first three years before they broke through in Year 4.
How has there not been more of an outcry to make the coaches poll public knowledge as far as how they vote? Seems like this would be a no-brainer since it's one of the major components of the BCS equation...
Bruce (2:58 PM)
It should be public. That would make it more accountable (and also probably scare off some coaches from taking part, but so be it.)
Drofdarb23 (Boise, ID)
Hey Bruce, what team(s) would you pick to beat Boise State on a neutral field this season? Thanks.
Bruce (3:00 PM)
Off the top of my head: Bama, Ohio State, Oregon, Oklahoma... the maybes: Auburn and Neb.
How is USC's recruiting looking this year even with the sanctions?
Bruce (3:02 PM)
They have a few stud guys coming in. DeAnthony Thomas is a special talent and LB Tre Madden probably plays right away. They need more LBs and O-linemen though.
Bruce (3:03 PM)
Three more questions...
Long term which do you want running your team: Denard or T-Magic?
Bruce (3:05 PM)
Tough call. I'll go with Denard. I think he's the better passer.
Hey Bruce, enjoy you're work. While I would not oppose seeing Boise St, TCU or another non-BCS in the title game, would it be possible (if all BCS teams had 2 or more losses each) that 2 could make it? That would prove nothing. Thanks.
Bruce (3:07 PM)
Thanks. I agree. If you put the non AC teams in BCS bowls, you want to see them against teams from the "heavyweight" conferences. I would've loved to have see boise vs. UF, but the system seldom is set up that way in the other bowls.
With Tennessee and Derek Dooley looking at a 4-8 season and no marquee recruits coming in on this class, how patient will the folks be in Knoxville?
Bruce (3:09 PM)
They've had to endure a lot of disappointment in the last few years and this will be the worst season of all. Tough time for diehard UT folks because you have trouble in football, basketball and baseball. Your AD is on really thin ice. I would've said at least hoops is going strong but he's had all sorts of issues off the court surface in the last 6 weeks. It's a nightmare there.
Bruce (3:09 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. I gotta run. If you're near a radio now, I'll be on the Scott Van Pelt show with him and Ryen at 3:15 ET. Enjoy the games!