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 (2:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Good sports day with the Masters and plenty of early day MLB. But let's talk some college football first.
Bruce, any national buzz starting to build about BYU soph QB Jake Heaps and the Cougar's debut season as an Indy?
Bruce Feldman (2:03 PM)
Not much nationally yet. They have a challenging first four games. If they can go 3-1 or better than it'll start to build.
Mark (Beaufort, SC)
How do you think South Carolina will do this year?
Bruce Feldman (2:04 PM)
GReat RB and great WR and they landed the best DE prospect to come into CF in years but how stable are they at QB? They need a leader there. Not more questions. Who knows if Stephen Garcia has played his last game for them.
Andrew Hoge (San Diego)
Who will have a better record Utah or Colorado in their new conference?
Bruce Feldman (2:04 PM)
I think Utah is in better position right now.
Mark (Alpena, MI)
What do you think will happen with OSU & Tressel?
Bruce Feldman (2:08 PM)
My hunch is Tressel may get sat down by the NCAA COI for a year. He knowingly played star players for an entire season despite their eligibility being compromised. That is a serious deal in addition to not being honest with the NCAA and signing off on documents saying he was. I suspect OSU may get hit with the lack of institutional control change given how the OSU brass handled this initially as Tressel spoke at his press conference of a "confidentiality" explanation, which Gene SMith cited to the NCAA despite the information that later came out in the Dispatch report that Tressel had forwarded information to Tressel's mentor, yet to no one at OSU.
Andrew (Dallas, TX)
With TCU and Boise losing their QB's and other multiple starters, is Central Florida now the best non-BCS team?
Bruce Feldman (2:09 PM)
Kellen Moore's still in Boise as are Doug Martin and some very good DL. They're the top one among non AQs. But yes, UCF is very good too.
Logan (Indianapolis, IN)
Realistically, what do think is a best case scenario for Michigan's upcoming season?
Bruce Feldman (2:10 PM)
I think they win at least eight this year. The defense will be better with more experience and now that Greg Mattison is running it.
AU in 2012, National Championship contender?
Bruce Feldman (2:11 PM)
Not this year. They lost way too much. Lost two great players and a bunch of good ones. Finishing in the top three in the SEC West this year I think would be an accomplishment given what they have ti replace.
Damian (BYU Cougar Nation)
How do you think BYU will do against at Ole Miss, at Texas, Utah, UCF? I got toss up, toss up, win, win....
Bruce Feldman (2:12 PM)
I'll be very surprised if they do better than 2-2. None of those games will be easy especially since Ole Miss is a road game as is facing an improved UT.
Jason (Asheville, NC)
Bruce,As a 'Nole fan, I love hearing how much we've improved we are as a whole and that we are a top-10 team. However, I am skeptical, do I have real reason to be excited?
Bruce Feldman (2:14 PM)
I spent some time there this spring. I think you should be really fired up. Biggest questions are how solid is the middle of the O-line (although Jimbo is really high on his new JC transfer) and the maturity of the defense, which got blown off the field by the OU no-huddle. They'll be more prepared this time, as Greg Reid assured me a few weeks ago.
Claire Atkins (Los Angeles, CA)
What are you thoughts on Vandy's new coach James Franklin? He's a young firecracker- any chance you can make the Dores actually competitive in the SEC?
Bruce Feldman (2:17 PM)
He's a very sharp guy who made some good hires on his staff, but that is one of the toughest jobs in the country. They will recruit better than staffs there in previous seasons. He'll go after some big fish and impress some of them. When I talked to Jameis Winston, who is one of the top five QBs in the country the other day, he was very excited about Franklin and Vandy. But I'd still say they're a darkhorse to land him... Thing is, just getting Vandy to six wins is a coup.
Mike (Texas )
Chances Pete Carrol ever coaches in college again?
Bruce Feldman (2:20 PM)
I doubt he'd come back to college. The NFL was still a challenge in his mind. He's about 60 and I don't see him jumping back to take over a new program in a different locale. I suspect if and when he leaves the NFL it might be to devote even more time/energy to his inner city work here in SoCalif.
Jim (Oregon )
Chances Duke can pull out a run like Stanford did last year?
Bruce Feldman (2:21 PM)
Not sure they can get as good as the CArdinal did last year, which was top 5. But Duke is getting a lot better. They have some really good young players and QB Sean Renfree I hear is ready for a big season. I can see them getting to be closer to a bowl game this year if their D can keep maturing.
Brad M. (Kearney, Nebraska)
True or False: The Huskers win more than 11 games next year.
Bruce Feldman (2:22 PM)
I'm picking them to win the Big Ten. I think that's very realistic, especially if they can got solid QB play.
I think Jason was talking about 2 years from now for AU. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this coming football season is 2011. And he said 2012.
Bruce Feldman (2:24 PM)
Oh, sorry Jason if I misread that in my hurry... But I'll still say no, although they should be back in the top 20 then as I suspect Kiehl Frazier will be one of the better SEC QBs by then and Dyer should be a Heisman contender.
Kyle (El Salvador)
Bruce, any reason ESPN or yourself has not picked up the Alabama Callaway story, it seemed like you guys were quick to jump on the Cam and HBO story?
Bruce Feldman (2:27 PM)
The HBO story was four former players going on camera making allegations about payments. From what I saw on Twitter this was someone making allegations on a radio show.
So the NCAA has banned schools from using Rivals, Scout, and ESPN's video of high school players. Won't that just hurt the smaller schools with smaller recruiting budgets?
Bruce Feldman (2:28 PM)
I'm not sure exactly what this means at this point. It just came out this morning. From what I read it has to do with premium video from camps/combines. We'll find out more in the next 3-4 days.
Hardest BCS school to win at?
Bruce Feldman (2:30 PM)
Vandy is it. Duke's in the mix too, but the ACC isn't as set up as the SEC is. Wake Forest rose up and played in a BCS bowl. The academic requirements are just one of the reasons for it.
Should I be excited about Georgia this year? They seem to be an unknown with a talented QB.
Bruce Feldman (2:31 PM)
Yes, pretty eager. Am picking them to win the SEC East.
Hey Bruce, love all your work. Just want to give you a heads up, Hawai'i is going to win the WAC again this year. Returning qb and front seven on defense plus no Boise this year and Fresno in the islands, the only tough spot on the schedule is an early trip to Seattle to play the Huskies and a trip to Ruston... get ready for an 11-2 season
Bruce Feldman (2:31 PM)
OK, thanks Mike!
I see nothing to be optimistic about with UCLA this year. Will it be the total disaster that I predict and fear?
Bruce Feldman (2:34 PM)
It'll be better this year. The O-line will be the best Neuheisel has had since he's been back at UCLA. They finally have some depth and experience. They need those WRs to step up big time in addition to improved QB play. They have a lot of talented young players on D. They should win at least six.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Chances Kelly joins the list of coaches to win a title in their second year? I'd say around 5%, but that might be generous.
Bruce Feldman (2:36 PM)
I'd say below that. They can make a BCS bowl. The schedule doesn't have any top 10 opponents and just a few top 20 caliber teams. If Floyd is back and doesn't miss more than the opener, I think they're a top 15 team. Without him, they're just a borderline top 25 team because I don't think they have enough really standout players on the lines at this point.
Who you got in the Masters? Are you a golfer?
Bruce Feldman (2:39 PM)
I did. I played in HS and a year in college but since I got to ESPN I couldn't break 80. I wouldve said Kuchar going into yesterday. Now I'll say Barnes.
Trey (Long Beach)
Really Bruce? I've given you many excellent questions about football, and instead you pick a golf question?? Really?
Bruce Feldman (2:40 PM)
Sorry I haven't seen one of your questions other than this one.
Blake Wingo (Birmingham, Alabama)
What are the chances Alabama plays Oklahoma for the BCS Championship game this year?
Bruce Feldman (2:41 PM)
Looks very realistic at this point. Both will be in the top 4 preseason.
Do you think Rutgers can win the Big East this year after all the coaching and position changes?
Bruce Feldman (2:42 PM)
I don't. They've had lots of coaching changes over the years on that staff. I think WVU will win the Big East.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
If Vandy is the toughest to win at, is Texas the easiest? Seems like they just sign up the best 20 players in Texas every year, plus they aren't in the SEC.
Bruce Feldman (2:43 PM)
Yeah, they have a lot to work with in every sense of it: great facilities; great recruiting base; great history; great academics to sell and a great city to tout.
Why don't teams sign players that are going to red-shirt to swimming scholarships or whatever if they are not going to play that first year anyway? Is there a rule against that?
Bruce Feldman (2:45 PM)
Once a player plays college football his scholarship has to count towards the football program. Plus, most teams don't want to have redshirt too many guys of their limited signing class.
Shift (DFW, TX)
Besides the OU-FSU game, what other big games are you looking forward to this upcoming season?
Bruce Feldman (2:46 PM)
ORegon-LSU is the co-1 of my non-conference matchups.
Will Kellen Moore's performance slump losing NFL-bound recievers Titus Young and Austin Pettis? Or is Boise State now officially a "re-load" program?
Bruce Feldman (2:47 PM)
Those are two really good WRs, but there shouldn't be too much dropoff. They're closer to a re-load program these days.
You think Georgia is going to win the east? Seems like that entirely factors in on Crowell. Lot of pressure for an unproven Freshman
Bruce Feldman (2:49 PM)
He's the highest rated RB recruit in the country. Lattimore made a huge impact last year. He doesn't need to be quite as good, but I think he will spark what was the SEC's #10 running game, especially since Aaron Murray has more seasoning now.
Chris B (Lafayette,Louisiana)
Does LSU beat Bama and play for it all in the Dome??
Bruce Feldman (2:51 PM)
I'm not ready to pick that one. I threw out conference winners for five of the six AQs today. I'm still thinking about LSU or Bama in the SEC though. I'm leaning to Bama because I think they'll have a better D and stronger running game.
Ben (Coral Gables)
Really loved your book on the Canes. Who do you think should start at QB for UMiami this year, Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris?
Bruce Feldman (2:54 PM)
Thanks Ben. I think we might see both in a rotation for the frist few weeks. Jacory is one of the more intriguing players to watch this season. He looked completely lost last season. I don't know if Jedd Fisch can help him rebuild his confidence. Morris, who looked impressive in flashes last season, might be a safer call. I suspect you'll see a lot more dumpoffs as they try to cut down on the turnovers.
Ryan (Delray Beach, FL)
Who's your pick to win the QB Battle at 'Bama? McCarron or Sims? I'm impressed by both.
Bruce Feldman (2:55 PM)
I'll say McCarron because he has more experience in the system.
Chris (Lake Charles, LA)
Thoughts on Brandon Bolden at Ole Miss? Will he be considered one of the top two or three RBs in the SEC by the end of the year?
Bruce Feldman (2:57 PM)
Like him a lot. He's very versatile and their O-line will be a lot better this year. Still, it's gonna be tough to crack the top three in that league with Lattimore, Richardson, Dyer and Knile Davis...plus Tenn's Tauren Poole and MSU's Vick Ballard are very productive backs.
Bruce Feldman (2:58 PM)
Three more questions...
Max (Wilmington, NC)
How does Virginia Tech look as a national contender this year?
Bruce Feldman (3:02 PM)
That's a lot of pressure to put on a new starter in Logan Thomas as they replace the backfield with Tyrod and Williams and Evans moving on to the NFL. I think both he and David Wilson, the new RB, will be fine, and the schedule's pretty good. Their toughest road trip away from Lane might be against ECU actually. But I still expect FSU to be the team to beat in the ACC this year.
Bruce, I know Wisco lost a lot from last year, but if they are able to get to the B1G championship game, does this cement them as a national power for recruiting purposes because of their ability to reload in a down year?
Bruce Feldman (3:07 PM)
It would if they get there. Their rep as a powerhouse program has grown considerably in the past year or two and having a good young coach leading the way is a huge plus in that regard. They need to string together another 10-win season. That would make it three in a row, which is significant considering they were just 7-6 in 2008 and under .500 in the league. That's been a change with Oregon.. Before it was, they'd have two really good years and then a 7-6 kind of season.
Have you had a chance to get to Gainesville and get a feel for what's going on with the Gators?
Bruce Feldman (3:12 PM)
I did go to Gainesville and visited with Will Muschamp and a few of the new guys on that stuff I know. I've heard Chris Rainey is being counted on a lot there. And I know Will has made it clear he's not going to tolerate any inflated egos from former blue-chip recruits.
Bruce Feldman (3:13 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.