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 feldman (2:04 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Let's get to it.
What are the chances that: a) Denard Robinson starts for Brady Hoke's Wolverines this year; and b) Michigan has more than 5 freshmen starting?
bruce feldman (2:05 PM)
If he's healthy Robinson starts at QB. He was their offense last year and they can do a lot with him. I doubt they'd start that many freshmen since they have 20 guys coming back and this incoming class isn't loaded.
Mike (San Francisco, CA)
How far does Auburn fall, after losing the most starters in the country?
bruce feldman (2:06 PM)
This is the topic I'm leading the Friday mailbag with today and I'll have a lot more on it there. I think expecting more than 7 wins this year would be overly optimistic.
Why does your network hate us? Are you guys jealous of Ohio State? You keep puting out these hate filled articles trying to take us down. Jealous much?
bruce feldman (2:10 PM)
Really? Three of the most visible commentators ESPN has on college football (Kirk, Chris Spielman and Robert Smith) all are proud Buckeyes. As I've said several times before, I grew up an Ohio State fan in the early 80s.... Thing is with this Jim Tressel/OSU story, you'd have to be burying your head in the sand to think it doesn't look bad. ... You have a head coach who knowingly played for an entire season star players whose eligibility was in question and several times was not truthful with the NCAA about it. ... Then OSU brass says it's suspended him for two games. And now more and more details seem to be coming out.
Brandon (Ann Arbor)
why are OSU fans so delusional? Its pretty black and white what Tressel has done is serious. Cant they just take it like we took ours? (fab 5, RR)
bruce feldman (2:12 PM)
Tressel, though his work on and off the field, has built up a tremendous amount of respect. This is really hard for a lot people there especially. Every other coach of late who has violated Bylaw 10.1 about ethical conduct and misleading or lying to the NCAA has lost their job, but none of those folks were Jim Tressel or had won as much or meant any more to their community.
Based on what happened with bruce pearl can tressel survive this?
bruce feldman (2:13 PM)
Ohio State football is a lot bigger deal to OSU brass than Tennessee hoops is there.
Which team that had a losing record/.500 record will make the biggest jump?
bruce feldman (2:14 PM)
I'll say Georgia or Texas.
Dear Media, Bruce Pearl commited recruiting violations and lied. big difference.
bruce feldman (2:16 PM)
But Tressel also wasn't truthful with the NCAA either and he signed off on documents saying he had been. And he knowingly played star players whose eligibility was in question.
It is important to point out that his latest info is not new to Gee, Smith and the NCAA. They have known about this before the PC. It is news to the public, so knowing that, if JT was getting fired, he would have been already.
bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
Agree. I pointed that very thing out on Twitter this morning. They seemingly knew it and self-imposed the two-game suspension. I doubt anything outside of the NCAA forces OSU's hand on this. But given the details of this, they could be looking at a lack of institutional control charge and who knows how long the NCAA could suspended Tressel for.
Justin (Dallas, TX)
Top three most likely teams to win it all this year?
bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
Oklahoma, FSU and Bama or LSU.
Bruce Pearl committed recruiting violations and lost to UM by 30. They fire you for losing before they fire you for cheating.
bruce feldman (2:20 PM)
How's your bracket?
bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
Eh, not awful. Have KU beating OSU in the final. Had Texas in the final four and apparently I was high on Utah State (elite 8 flyer).. am in the 20s right now in a big pool.
Dante (South Bend)
Bruce, I didn't know this was an Ohio State chat? I thought this was about college football in general
bruce feldman (2:23 PM)
Sorry... am trying to mix it up. Tressel story is a hot topic today...Lots of questions on OSU in the inbox. I'll mix it up more.
Greg (Salt Lake City)
Bruce, How about BYU as a team that makes a big jump? They finished .500 last year. Do you see them possibly winning 10 games?
bruce feldman (2:26 PM)
Better, but I don't see 10 wins in the regular season. I like Jake Heaps a lot. The first four games are rough, opening at Ole Miss and Texas (I know both had bad years but they still have talent and are home) and then home to Utah and UCF. Those two are both gonna be very good. Anything more than 2-2 after that is really optimistic. I'll say 9-3 or more likely 8-4.
Benmont Tench (Athens, GA)
How in the world do you have FSU making it to the national championship?? Have you ever watched EJ Manuel play? He's absolutely terrible..
bruce feldman (2:27 PM)
Really he's terrible? He did win Gator Bowl MVP and that was while he was still getting over a nagging shoulder injury.
As a high school coach with multiple D1 prospects it is unnerving the amount of schools(colleges) that are extending way to many verbal offers for football. I believe the NCAA has brought this on by changing the official written offer date until August prior to Senior season. But many schools are out of hand & will cause for much heartache in August for kids...whats your take?
bruce feldman (2:29 PM)
This is an issue that's also gotten worse as the recruiting cycle has moved up months earlier just in the past 2-3 years. Everything is fluid. The schools vet those offer letters so they're worth nothing legally in their language. More and more kids will get left out in the cold, but this is a reality with the sport as recruiting has evolved.
Richard (Corpus Christi, TX)
With all the changes Texas made in the coaching staff, do you see any way that Texas can win the Big 12 next year?
bruce feldman (2:32 PM)
I think even being the best team in Texas this year will be a challenge. A&M should be very strong and UT has a lot of work, re-establishing they can run the ball and getting their QB play cranked up again. I expect the D to be strong though. Also there are two terrific teams in Oklahoma this year not just OU.
whats your take on the FLoyd situation w/ ND? Doesn't look to promising for him given what happened to Will Yeatman a few years ago..suspended and transfer..do you see Floyd facing a similar fate but going pro after suspended? And is ND not ranked preseason w/o him?
bruce feldman (2:34 PM)
No idea what the school will do. Does he get sat three games or for a season? If it's a season and they'd announce it soon, I suspect he might try and go supplemental draft (Chicago Trib reported he'd still be a second rounder).. my hunch is ND lets him play this year. Without him I think they're a borderline top 25 team, probably 8-4 caliber. With him I'd set their over/under at 10 wins. He's that good.
Will Michigan go to a bowl game this under Hoke?
bruce feldman (2:35 PM)
Yeah, Michigan should be bowling again. They have 20 starters back and a lot of sophomores are now juniors and have plenty of seasoning. They also upgraded defensive coordinators.
Do you think the emphasis on the "new" recruiting services rules will clean-up the power schools from cheating?
bruce feldman (2:37 PM)
No, I don't. Coaches are always looking for and finding ways to get ahead. Plus there's too much money and power involved.
Any chance UCONN repeats in the Big East?
bruce feldman (2:38 PM)
Don't think so. They lost the guts of their D from last season. I'm going with WVU there to win the league.
What needs to happen for the Ducks to win it all?
bruce feldman (2:42 PM)
The rebuilt D-line needs to be as good if not better than the guys they're replacing and fill some holes on the O-line. This is going to be a super fast attack from a skill position standpoint. And it would help if it takes LSU QBs a little while to adapt to their new OC.
Do you recall a time when there were this many simultaneous NCAA investigations? North Carolina, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee. Plus USC's appeal. That's a lot of programs at once!
bruce feldman (2:44 PM)
I don't. But with the media being so frenetic these days with twitter,online and 24-hour sports coverage, everything gets thrown out into the mainstream at warp speed.
Marcus Forston is in great shape for this upcoming season. Is this the year Marcus,Spence and RayRay take that next step?
bruce feldman (2:45 PM)
We'll see what new DC MArk D'Onofrio can get from them. CBs are a big concern over there as is LB depth, but the biggest issue with Miami, by far, is getting the QBs to cut down on the turnovers. If they can cut them in half from last year, they're a top 20 team.
Michael (Incline Village, NV)
What's the more dangerous game for Oregon @Stanford, or @LSU?
bruce feldman (2:46 PM)
Which one of USC freshman sees the most pt this year?
bruce feldman (2:48 PM)
I'll say WR George Farmer or one of the guys at major need positions: LBs Lamar Dawson or Tre Madden or OL Audrey Walker or OG Cyrus Hobbi.
Top 5 way to early preseason heisman candidates?
bruce feldman (2:48 PM)
Andrew Luck... and then in no set order: Kellen Moore, Trent Richardson, Denard Robinson and Marcus Lattimore.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Bruce, are you optimistic about Penn State going into next season? It sounds like they have a legit battle for the starting QB position.
bruce feldman (2:52 PM)
I expect them to be a little better than they were in 2010 because of the experience at QB. I think they'll be a borderline top 25 team, but Alabama even at PSU, is still asking a lot. And they finish on the road at Ohio State and Wisconsin and that's right after playing Neb, who I think could win the Big Ten.
Mike (Eugene, OR)
Marcus Lattimore and Trent Richardson over LaMichael James?
bruce feldman (2:53 PM)
Nope.. I knew I probably left two or three guys off. James is certainly in my preseason top 5.
Why does Ted Miller spend so much time every season covering University of Arizona? Is he alum or in love with Coach Stoops?
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
I think Ted graduated from Richmond. I don't notice him writing about Zona any more than any other program. I do know that he lives in the state and sometimes you get asked more about the programs in your backyard than others.
bruce feldman (2:57 PM)
three more questions...
Odds that the Pac-12 has two BCS teams again at the end of this season?
bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
I give it a 40 percent chance with it being Oregon and Stanford although I know a lot of folks around ASU expect them to have a big year.
Who ya got tonight? UK or OSU?
bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
I picked Ohio State to make it to the final game and theyve looked awesome so far so I'll stay with the Buckeyes.
Best 3 defenses in the country next year. Go.
bruce feldman (3:04 PM)
Top of my head: Alabama, OU or maybe ASU, altho Gary Patterson always produces a top defense and he has some great LBs back.
bruce feldman (3:05 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Gotta run to do SportsCenter. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.