Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the college gridiron. Check out his picks for this weekend.
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 (2:04 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Let's get to it.
Bruce Almighty! Why has Matt Barkley not received any acclaim with the Heisman race? Bias? Hate for USC? It is not like they are 2-5 and he is putting up numbers VS 3rd string defenses. His numbers are VERY VERY impressive. MOre so than Luck and Newton.
Bruce (2:06 PM)
As I wrote the other day, he's been outstanding. Having Robert Woods emerge as really taken the USC offense to the next level. What's hurt him form Heisman talk is that USC's D had been so bad that it allowed people to write off the Trojans. If Barkley can lead USC to an upset of Oregon next week and Cam Newton really struggles, he'll get a lot more talk.
Dan (Iowa City)
Say Iowa goes undefeated in the Big Ten. What makes them less qualified than another one loss team (i.e. Alabama) to play in the National Championship if it comes to that?
Bruce (2:07 PM)
Alabama would own more wins over ranked teams. Plus, fair or unfair, the perception that comes with the SEC having won the last four BCS title carries a lot of weight
What is it going to take for TCU to jump Boise in the human polls? I believe that if TCU continues to win it will more than likely jump Boise in the computer polls, but I am not sure what it would take for this to happen in the human polls. Thanks.
Bruce (2:09 PM)
Probably for Boise to lose. That BCS bowl game is still fresh in pollsters' minds and gives BSU the benefit of the doubt.
Chaz the Cane Fan (New Yawk)
Is Randy Shannon on the hot seat and how much hotter does it get if he loses tomorrow
Bruce (2:13 PM)
I think if UM loses Sat, the pressure would go up a lot obviously. The team's emotional level hasn't been there in big games, which Miami used to specialize in. They need more players to play with or close to the fire of Damian Berry... Let's see how the team responds the rest of the way though.
Does Oregon's domination over UCLA last night further push them as the #1 team? UCLA was the same team that went into Austin and dominated Texas.
Bruce (2:14 PM)
I think it helped their cause.. People come away impressed by just how dynamic that offense is. Darron Thomas is really coming on.
Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado)
Bruce: It looks as if Colorado has painted itself into a corner in several ways. A crappy coach with a 1-year contract it can't afford to fire and entering a new conference in which it can't compete and won't get any revenue for a year. What is going to happen to football at that school?
Bruce (2:16 PM)
I don't know how they can afford to keep Dan Hawkins if he doesn't finish very strong this year. The program seems to be going in circles.
Frank (Kansas City)
2 questions -- of the top 5 teams, wouldn't you agree the best win so far is Oklahoma's blowout win over FSU? 2nd question, when is your next book coming out? I loved Meat Market.
Bruce (2:18 PM)
Thanks.. I would agree with that. They really thumped a good FSU team.. Next book will be out later in the winter.
Dan (New Jersey)
How long will the Vols be bad?
Bruce (2:18 PM)
I think it's going to be a while. Not sure Dooley was the answer.
Who's better Saturday? AU's D or LSU's O? (I think we already know the grudge match that will be happening on the other side of the ball for both teams)
Bruce (2:19 PM)
I feel like maybe the Auburn D but I say that bc Nick Fairly has played so well this year up front.
Hammer (Berkley, MI)
Iowa will have played 6 ranked teams to Alabama's 7 if Mississippi State stays in Top 25.
Bruce (2:21 PM)
I see five (#24 Zona; #22 Penn State #13 Wisc; #7 MSU and #10OSU).. who am I missing?
Joe Mac (GA)
As a Georgia fan I am certainly hopeful, but considerably unsure, that the Dawgs have turned the corner. I sum it up to them probably getting better to some degree, but mainly to the competition. What say you?
Bruce (2:23 PM)
I think they might've turned a corner to being pretty good. I like Aaron Murray. He's played well. Still not sure of the D though.
Carl (Texas `)
Would you ever do another Meat Market?
Bruce (2:25 PM)
Doubt it. At this point colleges would be afraid to grant the access of letting a reporter be a fly on the wall for a year just because some interpret the presence as a violation... the other part is most coaches aren't thrilled with some of their behind closed doors comments making it into a book. It's impossible to keep your guard up for a full year. It was a chaotic year process of reporting for me too.
You think Robert Woods is good wait until George Farmer arrives?
Bruce (2:25 PM)
People around here say that too. I sat down with Woods earlier this week. Seemed like a very humble, grounded kid.
brian (Atlanta, GA)
Can you explain why Oklahoma is #1 in the BCS over Oregon?
Bruce (2:26 PM)
Austin (San Diego)
I keep hearing writers refer to oregon's offense as a, "gimmic" whats your take?
Bruce (2:28 PM)
A gimmick is something other people can't figure out apparently. I talked to Chris Ault the other day. Two teams won national titles in the past few years using the Pistol. Florida's offense won two BCS titles. Is that a "gimmick" too? Bob Stoops rebuilt OU and hired Leach to take over the offense and they became a powerhouse again. Mack Brown went to a spread with Vince Young and won a BCS title.
Orville (Lubbock, TX)
Well, let's hear about the next book.
Bruce (2:29 PM)
It'll be out in a few months.
Will Florida be back next year or was the just Tim Tebow?
Bruce (2:30 PM)
I think they will. They have to find an identity, but as long as Urban's the head coach there, UF will still be a powerhouse.
How does the Boise State DL compare in overall talent and depth to other teams? Am sure they're the best in the WAC.
Bruce (2:30 PM)
It's very good. Not at the level of Iowa's but it's underrated as a group of athltes.
Tony (San Antonio)
If your Monte Kiffin, how would you prepare for Oregon's offense other than having your offense stay on the field for as long as possible?
Bruce (2:32 PM)
Staying on the field doesn't seem to matter. UCLA had the ball for 39 minutes and still got blown away. Kiffin knows they can't get out of their gaps and have to find a way to get accustomed to the tempo. That's a big challenge.
Bruce Oregon, BSU and Michigan State all undefeated at the end of the year who plays?
Bruce (2:34 PM)
I think BSU gets left out. The Big Ten is much tougher than the WAC and MSU would've had to have gone to Iowa to win (that'll look better than beating VT in DC).. plus they have beaten Wisconsin. It would help MSU's cause if the Irish could win out or at least go 8-4 and if Penn State or Michigan can rally to get back into the top 25.
How come Gary Pinkel doesn't get any heat from the Missouri fan base for not being able to beat Oklahoma or Texas?
Bruce (2:36 PM)
It's Mizzou and he's got them into the top 25 on and off for a while. Since '06, the guy is 44-16. It's Mizzou, not UT or A&M. Gotta be impressed by that.
James (Las Vegas)
Bruce, does a 1 loss SEC team jump an undefeated Oregon, Oklahoma, or Michigan State in the BCS rankings?
Bruce (2:37 PM)
Not oregon or OU, maybe MSU though.
Kyle (New York)
Who's the best team in the ACC?
Bruce (2:37 PM)
I'll go with FSU.
USC has something UCLA doesn't have a good offense could that be a difference?
Bruce (2:38 PM)
Not if they can't slow Oregon down a little.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Bruce, I agree with you about UCLA having the ball for most of the game and still getting hammered by Oregon. But USC will actually score when they have the ball, unlike UCLA. Right?
Bruce (2:40 PM)
I do think USC will score a lot and make it interesting. Just not convinced that the Trojans D won't get gashed. Cal's style is a way better match up than what Oregon does for USC.
BCS Buster (Idaho)
What is the absolute worst case scenario for the BCS this year?
Bruce (2:42 PM)
Boise gets in and plays OU and wins while MSU and a one-loss Bama team get left out. That'd show pollsters the little conference teams can win and tick off Jim Delany and the SEC folks in the process.
Does a night like last night actually hurt LaMichael James' Heisman hopes? 123 yards isn't what we're used to seeing from him...
Bruce (2:43 PM)
No, it's holding steady. If he has a big game vs. USC like he did last year, he'll be in a good spot, although I think right now it's Cam Newton's to lose.
Of all the schools who may make a coaching change in the next few years, what one would have the best shot of luring Chip Kelly away from Oregon?
Bruce (2:45 PM)
I'm not sure why he'd leave. People love him out there and he has a good set-up. He's surrounding by assistants who he seems to have a great connection to. I know he's a Boston guy, but I don't see him leaving there for BC or something like that. And he doesn't seem like a guy who would want to jump into the SEC lifestyle.
More politically correct version of my earlier question: True or False....there's an apparent SEC bias on "The Experts"?
Bruce (2:47 PM)
I think most fans feel like there is a bias for the SEC. The bias comes from the fact that the SEC has won the previous four BCS titles. Hard to get around that. If the Pac-10 goes on a similar run now, there'll be a bias towards the Pac-10. I think the biggest factor with the media is familiarity. We often write/talk glowingly about the stuff we see and know best. The SEC has played on the biggest stages and excelled on them of late.
How great would a playoff be this year? Right now Alabama would be on the outside looking in so everyone would be playing to get into the top 8.
Bruce (2:48 PM)
It'd be great. I wouldn't want anything bigger than an eight-team playoff though.
Bruce, ND or Nvay?
Bruce (2:49 PM)
ND. I think the Irish have settled in and are going to play well the rest of the way as long as Crist stays healthy.
If Cam Newton has a good game against the LSU's top D. Is the Heisman pretty much clinched?
Bruce (2:50 PM)
No, no one clinches a Heisman before November. A four INT game in a loss or an injury would shake things up real fast.
Gerry (New York City)
Bruce, great stuff as always. Who are your top 3 underachievers and overachievers at the halfway part of the season?
Bruce (2:52 PM)
Thanks.. underachievers/disappointments: Texas A&M; UF; MiamiOverachievers/surprises: MichSt; Auburn, UNC
Why haven't we heard much about Dillon Baxter this year?
Bruce (2:53 PM)
From what they've said his work ethic isn't what they wanted thus far and earlier this week, Kiffin talked up DJ Morgan. Let's see how Baxter responds. Lots of great young skill talent around that place right now.
Austin (San Diego)
Masoli leaves oregon as a potential Heisman candidate early, Thomas seems to be a better passer and has two more years, what do you think about plug and play q-backs?
Bruce (2:55 PM)
Thomas makes better decisions. He's decisive and they can trust him which is a big deal. James will be the Heisman candidate till he leaves but if he goes after this year, Thomas will get the hype.
Russell (Iowa City)
Who are your dark horse Heisman hopefuls?
Bruce (2:56 PM)
I wrote about my dark horse guy in the blog today.. ironically enough from your area.. Stanzi has made HUGE strides from last yr. Needs others to falter though.
Michigan was ranked when Iowa beat them
Bruce (2:56 PM)
What do you think of the new Pac-12 divisions? Utah got a heckuva deal. They get to play in So Cal every year. Can't wait for it!
Bruce (2:56 PM)
Good move for Utah and Colo and even better for USC and UCLA because they don't have to deal with Oregon as much now.
How does South Carolina do after an emotional loss?
Bruce (2:57 PM)
Good question.. I talked to Marcus Lattimore Wed after practice.. said he's about 90 percent. He really is a difference maker for them.
Brandon (BR, LA)
What are the keys for LSU to pull out a victory?
Bruce (2:58 PM)
Getting penetration on Newton to slow him down before he gets going and for the LBs to corrall him when he gets up field. ALSO for LSU to avoid turnovers. QBs have to play solid and smart.
So was Penn St when Bama beat them
Jenny (the Block)
At the end of the year, Is the BCS a dissapointment
Bruce (3:00 PM)
It usually is, so I'll say it will be once again.
Jeremy (San Diego)
Bruce, who would get left out of the NC if OK, Oregon and either LSU or Auburn win out?
Bruce (3:02 PM)
Oregon's the only one who doesn't get the conference title game bounce although with the way the SEC East is that's not going to count for much this year. Whoever they'd beat would end up with at least three losses... I honestly don't know who gets the snub this time around. I think Oregon would have the least imnpressive collection of wins but probably wins in the most impressive fashion.
Colin (Northern VA)
A bit premature for BCS scenario talk?
Bruce (3:02 PM)
Yeah, but we all love to jump the gun.
Can Kellen Moore win the Heisman?
Bruce (3:03 PM)
Yes.. He's the default candidate, meaning if Newton or James falter, he'll be there... plus I think he'll end up on a lot of ballots.
David ((Kansas City))
For a guy that is often assumed to be a better recruiter than game day coach do you think Mack brown doesn't get enough credit for never having lost the game after playing OU (one of the top 3 rivalry games in all of college football)?
Bruce (3:04 PM)
Yep, that record the game after Red River is awesome 12-0 and beating six ranked teams despite the potential for emotional let down.
Bruce (3:04 PM)
Three more questions.
I am a Lane Kiffin hater, but is he underrated as a coach? Last year, USC's offense was struggling.... now they seem pretty powerful.
Bruce (3:07 PM)
As an on-field coach I really think he is. That is, in a sense, a fault of his own. Because of all of the bluster in his time at UT, he became a whipping boy for fans/media yet people overlook the improvement he made in Jonathan Crompton last year. It was a dramatic turnaround. Kiffin was the play-caller and is doing great things with this USC offense too. He knows what he's doing with an offense.
Dale (Columbia MO)
Give me a % chance Mizzou makes it three straight Gameday upsets. 30% too high?
Bruce (3:08 PM)
Too high considering Pinkel's 0-6 against OU. I'll say 15%.
Patrick (Mobile, AL)
Do you think the "margin of victory" should be part of the BCS statistics? Wouldnt that just lead to the beatdowns and running up the score on teams, keeping starters in later which leads to greater risk of injury, etc....Whats your take?
Bruce (3:09 PM)
No, but it basically already is a factor because of the human polls are based so much on who wins impressively and who doesn't.
Art (Washington DC)
Who do you think the best 3 coaches are this year?
Bruce (3:11 PM)
This year: Dantonio; Chizik and Chris Petersen. But if LSU or Mizzou win tomorrow, I'm changing that.
Bruce (3:12 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN. Enjoy the games.