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 (2:03 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Let's get to it.
Everyone (multiple media outlets) seems to be digging in Columbus, OH regarding the Ohio State story. Everyone is trying to break new news or the new story. That being said, isn't this a huge opportunity for bad/inaccurate reporting, as we saw earlier this week? Isn't this a problem, which will discredit both organizations and the entire story?
Bruce feldman (2:06 PM)
No question inaccurate reporting of a few details of the story can undermine a lot of the rest of what a news agency puts out. It happens more so now than ever because of Twitter and people RTing stories and details of stories that can be taken out of context. These are challenging times for people in the media with this sort of thing.
South carolina [via mobile]
How wil the south carolina game cocks do this year
Bruce feldman (2:07 PM)
I answer a South Carolina big picture question in the upcoming mailbag that will be up shortly. My hunch is 9-3 but the key game is Wk 2 at UGA.
Will L (Rocky Top)
How do you think the Vols will do this year. Last year started rough but finished strong under Bray. With our pretty decent recruiting and more experience under the young O-line's belt. Are we too young across the board to get ranked this year, or can we vols fans start hoping again?
Bruce feldman (2:10 PM)
I think eight wins is realistic. The Oline will be better. There is talent at WR and Tyler Bray has a lot of potential, but am curious how consistent he'll be this fall. Also curious to see what kind of impact the JC transfers on D have? You can never be too sure with hyped up JC guys... The schedule sets up pretty well for them. The challenge is for them to finally beat good teams. They got to a bowl game last year without really beating anyone of substance.
Gary Williams retiring suddenly at Maryland seemed like pretty bad timing. So, that got me to thinking, what would happen if a college football coach called it quits this time of year? Spring practice is over and everything. How bad of timing would that be?
Bruce feldman (2:11 PM)
It's happened before recently. At Vandy. You basically have to go with an interim from within and then sort it out after the season hoping the continuity works and that you have great leadership within the locker room.
It is summer so predictions are moot. What do you think of the NBA playoffs? The NBA playoffs have been the most entertaining since the 80s with Bird and Magic.
Bruce feldman (2:12 PM)
Loving it. Been great action so far. Best I can remember in a long time.
Who's your number on team in the country, and how well do you think Michigan will fair this year
Bruce feldman (2:13 PM)
I have OU coming in as the preseason #1... I think Michigan will be much better on D and should win at least eight as long as Denard is still healthy.
Any hope for Rutgers putting together a solid O-Line..they seem to have the skill players to make a run.
Bruce feldman (2:15 PM)
I think they can go from 4-8 to bowl eligible but feel like they're going to be far behind WVU in the Big East this year.
Do you think Michigan made the right hire?
Bruce feldman (2:16 PM)
Not sure. I like Hoke's DC hire of Mattison, but I think the only "grand slam" hire would've been Jim Harbaugh and he didn't want it.
Jerry (Long Island)
Interesting sub-plot to ND-Mich: who gets suspended longer, Floyd or Stonum? Both have prior alcohol-issues, although Stonum's seems slightly more serious. Thoughts?
Bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
Both are serious given they'd had issues before and any DUI is a serious offense. It wouldn't have surprised me if Stonum didn't play for Michigan again given you have a new head coach sending a message to his program. But we'll see.
whats you prediction for ASU?
Bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
I like them, but I'm not quite as high on them as some around the ASU program. They could have a really nasty D this year. But can they play a lot smarter and cut down on all the mental mistakes?
How big a year do you think Danny O'Brien may have with the new offense being brought into Maryland?
Bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
HE had a good first season and they have a lot back, except for Smith at WR. I'm not sure they upgraded staffs in this transition though. Friedgen is a very good offensive coach.
What do you know about the QB Ryan Williams? Can he get it done at The U?
Bruce feldman (2:24 PM)
I know that he started and put up decent numbers as a true freshman for an awful team at Memphis. I know he has great size at 6-6 220 and is really bright and was very accurate at a high level of HS. Curious if he got lost in the shuffle recruiting wise because prior to his senior year he'd played on a team that just ran the ball. Morris can't be overlooked. He's got a strong arm and is athletic. I know the old staff thought he was going to be a good one. Although my hunch is if Morris doesn't emerge as the starter this year it might be tough for him to keep Williams on the bench in 2012.
David (Alexandria, VA)
There's a lot of hype for Logan Thomas at VT, warranted to not?
Bruce feldman (2:25 PM)
Some of it yes. Frank Beamer's very excited about what he showed in the spring. Thomas' physical tools aren't in question. Just managing the game and making good decisions and being consistent will be the challenge for him.
Mark (Los Angeles)
I've seen Chris Spielman's recent comments on OSU & Tressel. What percentage would you give Jim Tressel of coaching OSU in 2011?
Bruce feldman (2:29 PM)
I'd say under 50%. IF the COI moves fast on the case and comes up with its decision by Week 5, I'd be stunned if he coaches at OSU at all this year. The lying to the NCAA I suspect will mean his suspension goes from five games to at least a year... The other big part of this, as its still be sorted out in addition to the cars investigation with the two dealers, is if this leads to a Lack of Institutional Control hit. It could very well be that OSU realizes that the only way to minimize hefty NCAA sanctions is to move on without Tressel.
TexasGarcia39 (Corpus Christi, TX)
Texas has really upgraded it's OOC schedule in the next 5 years. Will this catch on with other heavyweights?
Bruce feldman (2:30 PM)
No, I doubt it. Schools are indirectly encouraged to soften their schedules because they've seen that it helps their route to a BCS bowl game.
I feel that Geno Smith will have a breakout season, how do you think he will do and WVU?
Bruce feldman (2:31 PM)
I think Geno Smith ends up in the Heisman race.. Here is more from my blog on Wed about WVU:http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=6522682
What are your thoughts on the Fiesta Bowl retaining its BCS rights?
Bruce feldman (2:31 PM)
I expected them to stay in. Anyone who was thinking otherwise hasn't been paying attention.
Bo Pelini (Lincoln)
Does Rex Burkhead have what it takes to shoulder the load and be the future back this year?
Bruce feldman (2:33 PM)
Toughness, I'm told from someone who worked over there, isn't a concern for him. I think he'll split the load with the stud freshman and assuming they can get solid, not necessarily great QB play, they win the Big Ten.
Chad (parts unknown)
Who do you think will be LSU quarterback at the start of the season and end of the season
Bruce feldman (2:36 PM)
Jordan Jefferson throughout. He's smart. Has experience and he can make some plays. I know people inside that program like Kragthorpe's presence and feel like he'll help all those QBs be more focused.
I've read Meat Market about 5 times. Its one of my favorite books, and probably my favorite sports one. Just curious if you think that Coach O would have been able to turn around Ole Miss if given another year or two?
Bruce feldman (2:42 PM)
Thanks Rob. They would've gotten better the next year because Jevan Snead was an upgrade from the QBs they had before and most of the players they had been starting were freshmen and sophomores. No question, their personnel had been upgraded. Would they have had quite as big a year as they did in Nutt's first season? I doubt it. The players responded to a more relaxed style at that point... Things had gotten so tense around there by the end of that third season. The staff was convinced they were getting fired by the last month of the regular season and nobody trusted the AD. Stuff like that makes it a toxic situation. Then again, who knows how much more talent he might've brought into that program moving forward.
Jerry (Long Island)
Stella or Amstel?
Bruce feldman (2:43 PM)
I like Amstel a lot although if I can Purple Haze, Ill go with the Abita every time.
Ryan (Tampa, FL)
Does it seem a little too easy to get a statue of yourself erected these days? Alabama building one for Saban after only four years and 1 title, while Auburn plans one for Newton after just a year. Have standards dropped so much?
Bruce feldman (2:44 PM)
It does a little although I feel like if you write that column you sound a little like the guy who claimed he walked 10 miles in snowshoes up hill, both ways to and from school every day.
Bruce feldman (2:45 PM)
Sorry, phone call..
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Bruce, who would you pick as possible surprise teams in the Pac 12 right now? Thanks.
Bruce feldman (2:46 PM)
Been so much talk about ASU you can't call them a surprise even though they didn't get to a bowl game last year. I'm not picking Utah to win a division but I feel like a lot of people are underestimating them.
should oregon lsu winner leapfrog ou to claim #1
Bruce feldman (2:47 PM)
We'll see. Hard enough to come up with a viable preseason top 25 much less shift it around after games that haven't played out (blowout win vs. squeaker, etc)
Ohio St. just put up a statue of Jesse Owens and he made Hitler's head explode. That is what should get you a statue
Bruce feldman (2:49 PM)
Ohio State not lacking for true legendary sports figures there.
Shawn (Motor D)
Is Muschamp the right hire for the Gators??
Bruce feldman (2:51 PM)
I like the hire. He's energetic. Has a good pedigree. Knows the SEC and knows the place he's coaching. I also think he gets "it" as in the big picture stuff about a top program. A big key will be did he surround himself with a great staff? That is HUGE with first time coaches.
How much more dynamic will the Noles offense be this year with Manuel at the helm and if they beat OU will they be in the NC hunt the rest of the year?
Bruce feldman (2:53 PM)
Having a healthy QB will be a nice change. Manuel told me he wasn't 100 percent before but is now with his shoulder all healed up. They have good WRs and RBs and maybe Nick O Leary at TE can give them a dimension they havent had in a while. I think Trickett will have the Oline fine. If they knock off OU and that'll come down to how ready their D is for the Sooners attack, they are definitely in the race for the title game.
Jerry (Long Island)
Re: Muschamp's staff - as an Irish fan who still has a soft spot for Charlie (bc of community work, alumnus, etc.), I think Muschamp did a good job bringing him in because he really knows offense
Bruce feldman (2:54 PM)
No question Weis knows the offense. Some of the staffing issues are chemistry and things like that.
Shawn Duce (Barre Vermont)
Is this the year Notre dame returns to a bcs juggernaught
Bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
Glad you asked. That is the #1 topic of the Friday mailbag, which will be up in a few minutes.
Who makes it to NYC for the Heisman other then Luck and Moore?
Bruce feldman (2:56 PM)
Trent Richardson and Landry Jones. Darkhorse pick to make it there: Geno Smith.
bruce, if russell wilson comes to wisco, what does that do to our preseason ranking?
Bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
IT'd boosted it a few spots, like say form #19 to
Bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
Three more questions...
Thoughts on PSU? I know the QB situation is unsettled, but I think they have a ton back on both sides of the ball. Thoughts?
Bruce feldman (3:00 PM)
They'll be much improved. They'll run it better with a big phyiscal front with bit imposing tight ends. They need to have a guy emerge as their QB. Heard they had some split camps last year. They need a unified locker room on who their QB is.
You're bullish on the Dawgs this year. What's your very early take on the Boise game? Both are replacing top WRs so that's a wash. If UGA drops it I can see the season unraveling from the start. Very fragile right now.
Bruce feldman (3:02 PM)
It'll be tough for Boise to win in the Georgia Dome. I see your point about a hangover risk for UGA. No question Richt needs a fast start to go out 2-0 over Boise and SCarolina.
Can BYU win 10 games with their front-loaded schedule?
Bruce feldman (3:03 PM)
I don't think so. The first four games are too much. I don't see them doing better than 2-2 at best from that. 1-3 is realistic I think given BYU's youth in some key places.
Bruce feldman (3:05 PM)
Here is today's mailbag featuring questions on Notre Dame, Illinois, South Carolina, Rutgers, the Academies and the Heisman.http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=6540338
Bruce feldman (3:08 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.