Chat with Pat Forde
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde stops by to chat about the college football season.
Among other things, Forde covers college football and basketball for ESPN and ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Forde Tuesday at noon ET!
Pat Forde (12:03 PM)
Happy Football Season! I am here for my first chat of the season. Let the rampant optimism begin!
Ry (Easton, Maryland)
Pat, who do you like in the Sat night games? I really think Oregon and Boise St are going to find ways to win.
Pat Forde (12:06 PM)
Ry: I'm with you on both counts. I think Boise is solidly better than Georgia (7-10 points). The Oregon-LSU game is more of a toss-up with all the players who aren't playing, but I think taking both Jefferson AND Sheppard out of the LSU lineup tilts it in favor of the Ducks. Both definitely worth watching, though.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will play in the Very First College Football Game of the Season & When will that be?
Pat Forde (12:08 PM)
Chris: According to our schedule, the leadoff game of the year is Murray State at Louisville Thursday at 6 ET. That's also the game I picked the Racers to win in my column yesterday. An admitted reach, but Murray's strength is Louisville's weakness, and the Cardinals have a ton of holes to fill from last year's surprising 6-6 team.
Randy (St. Paul)
I love that you picked my Gophers to upset USC, we are going to smash them in their soft mouth.
Pat Forde (12:09 PM)
Randy: That was my other Upset Special of week one -- but I don't see Minnesota "smashing" the Trojans. It's another reach, but not impossible. Like the coaching upgrade for Minny, and the athleticism at QB, and the commitment to run the ball. If USC's run D is as bad as it was last year, the Gophers will have a chance. Albeit a slim one.
Reuben (Harrisonburg, VA)
What are your thoughts on the new backfield of Logan Thomas and David Wilson in Blacksburg?
Pat Forde (12:11 PM)
Reuben: David Wilson is a star in the making -- a big-play guy with speed that he showed in returning two kickoffs for touchdowns last year. Wait-and-see on Logan Thomas. He's certainly a different kind of quarterback than Tyrod Taylor -- much bigger, much less of a runner. If he plays well, Tech could win the ACC.
Dave (Bay Area)
Pat, who is your new Bus team going to be?
Pat Forde (12:13 PM)
Dave: Might be the old Bus team, Boise State. I don't think Boise is quite as good as last year, but a victory over Georgia Saturday opens the door for an undefeated season. Especially since TCU goes to Boise later in the year. But I'm picking Alabama (without great enthusiasm) No. 1 right now.
Randy (Columbus. OH)
Does Russell Wilson make the Badgers the favorite in the Big 10?
Pat Forde (12:14 PM)
Randy: Yes, I believe he does -- or at least co-fave with Nebraska. I'd probably give Wisconsin the slight edge with Wilson's playmaking ability with both his arm and feet at QB. The big question was who would replace Tolzien, and Wilson is a big answer.
Brian (Evansville, IN)
Pat, I'm a Purdue grad and the starting QB for my company's flag football team. How big of an insurance policy do I need to take out on my ACLs? I'm afraid it's going to explode just by standing up from my chair.
Pat Forde (12:15 PM)
Brian: Be very afraid. If you have anything to do with Purdue, chances are you're going down. Keep your surgeon on speed dial.
Nick Rolando (Orlando)
Pat, as a Florida fan, do you like the Muschamp hire and what record do you see the team having?Also, if/when Texas A&M comes to the SEC, who do you see as the other member(s)?
Pat Forde (12:17 PM)
Nick: I do like the Muschamp hire, but I'm not sure there will be an immediate return to greatness. Still not sold on Brantley as the QB, and despite the amazing recruiting there are some holdss on this team -- most notably the offensive line and secondary. I see Florida about 7-5. As for A&M's potential sidekick: Missouri would be the best candidate, followed by Virginia Tech, North Carolina or Maryland. But I bet it doesn't happen for at least a year.
Chris (Charlotte, NC)
How can you eat at Tupelo Honey and NOT mention the black raspberry preserves!!!! LOL For shame, for shame for shame :-(
Pat Forde (12:18 PM)
Chris: Ya know, great point. My bad. But everything else was great there and I forgot about that.
Curt (Billings, MT)
Pat, How do you think Texas will do this year with the new coaching additions?
Pat Forde (12:20 PM)
Curt: I expect an upgrade. I think the Horns will be better coached and better schemed -- but the most important thing will be whether they take care of the ball better than in 2010. If they do that -- and turnovers tend to balance out from year to year, especially if they've gotten way out of whack -- I think Texas will have a winning record and maybe a very good record.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
I keep hearing over and over that Joe Bauserman is lacking in the skills department. Though Ohio State is not known as a QB factory of sorts I have to believe that Bauserman has to be more talented than a number of the QB's in the Big10 simply by the fact that he has hung around the Ohio State program long enough to become a 5th year senior. Any thoughts?
Pat Forde (12:22 PM)
Chris: You make a good point -- that by now his skills should be pretty good, or he's been wasting his time for four years. But I think the bigger drawback could be that he lacks freshman Braxton Miller's athleticism. If/when Miller gets up to speed with the system, he might take over from the position.
Jake (Columbia, Mo)
Pat, what do you think about Mizzou's chances in the Big XII?
Pat Forde (12:24 PM)
Jake: I think Missouri will be good this year, potentially quite good. I think James Franklin steps in and is immediately productive at QB, and the rest of the offense is set around him (though some OL injuries are a concern). There are some holes to fill defensively, but Mizzou's recruiting has upgraded to the point that the new guys should be pretty talented. The deal-breaker could be the schedule: at ASU, at Oklahoma, at A&M -- those are all tough.
Give me a couple of wins that will make you change your mind on the Big East for this year.
Pat Forde (12:27 PM)
Dave: I'm not completely down on the Big East -- but there usually are a couple big upsets the first week, and the league is favored in seven of eight games, so there's almost no place to go but down in week one. However, there are some big September opportunities to come: USF at ND, Pitt at Iowa, LSU at WVU, NC State at Cincy, Rutgers at North Carolina, Louisville at Kentucky, Syracuse at USC. Win some of those and it will reflect well on the league.
Scott (Dayton, OH)
Indulge me...how about this for a tonic to this offseason: Air Force runs the table with victories against TCU, Notre Dame, and Boise State, and finds itself playing for the crystal football in January.
Pat Forde (12:28 PM)
Scott: That would be pretty cool. I like Air Force this year -- ranked the Falcons 25th going in -- but I'm not sure I see them undefeated and playing for a national title.
Does Erickson do enough to stay around for another year or is he a goner?
Pat Forde (12:31 PM)
Eric: Dennis Erickson is definitely entering a big year at ASU -- but he should have the team to get the job done. I think ASU might win the Pac-12 South. QB showed promise late last year, OL is a veteran group, and if Burfict can avoid knucklehead moments he could lead a really good defense.
Ryan (Salt Lake City, UT)
Pat, does BSU have to win the National Championship for Kellen Moore to have a real shot at the Heisman, or can he win it on his own even with a loss at some point and BSU falling out of the spotlight?
Pat Forde (12:32 PM)
Ryan: Since the Heisman voting is before the championship game, he doesn't have to win the national title. He might have to GET to the national title game, though, to win over some skeptical voters. His biggest challenge will be putting up huge numbers after losing two NFL receivers.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Bowling Green @ Idaho in the Kibbie Dome, who do you think wins this critical opening night matchup?
Pat Forde (12:33 PM)
Chris: You don't just walk into the Kibbie Dome and come out with a victory. I'll take the Vandals.
Hey Pat, Why are writers assuming that South Carolina would Veto clemson from joining the SEC and Florida doing the same to Florida state! Their annual clash would be considered a conference game no longer counting as OOC as well they already recruit head to head with both ACC teams coming up with better classes...so am I wrong in this way of thinking?
Pat Forde (12:34 PM)
Sylvain: Yeah, I think you're wrong. Florida and South Carolina have SEC status that they don't want to share with their biggest rivals. Why give away one of your key advantages if you don't have to?
Ry (Easton, Maryland)
Pat, is Notre Dame really back or do you think this is one of those years where they get in the BCS just by rankings?
Pat Forde (12:35 PM)
Ry: I personally think Notre Dame is really back this year. I've got the Irish in the Top 10, with a legit chance to play in a BCS bowl and not stink it up as they have in the past.
Leigh Scott (Louisville)
Hey Pat, What's with the Thursday night opener for U of L this year? Seems like such a let downway to start the season.....
Pat Forde (12:37 PM)
Leigh: I'm pretty sure Louisville has opened on a Thursday before. It's semi-common for teams to do that now, and I actually like it. Gets the party started earlier, and at least theoretically there will be more eyeballs on your team on Thursday than amid the glut of games Saturday.
Pat, Gunner Kiel's commitment to IU seems like a reach to me. Do you think he ends us at IU when next Fall rolls around?
Pat Forde (12:38 PM)
Paul: I have been assured that his commitment is "solid." While it's a shock in terms of program status, it makes sense in other ways: proximity to his hometown (about 25 miles, I think), brother there, and new coach Kevin Wilson's offense seems to fit his game.
CJ (Keller, TX)
Are the UL Cardinals in hot water with the Clint Hurtt fallout from Miami?
Pat Forde (12:39 PM)
CJ: I don't know whether Louisville is in hot water, but Hurtt could well be. The NCAA hasn't yet talked to Hurtt, so we don't know where it stands, but he's got some 'splainin' to do.
If SEC takes an ACC team (VT), shouldn't the ACC just invite 5 Big East schools, make it a 16-team conference and capture the Northeast for TV (Rutgers, Cuse, UConn, Pitt, WV)?
Pat Forde (12:40 PM)
Ike: IF it comes to the SEC taking a team from the ACC, THEN that would be a possibility. But I don't know how likely a possibility.
Lou (Freeport, NY)
Pat, are there any incoming freshmen that will explode on to the national scene ala Lattimore last season?
Pat Forde (12:43 PM)
Lou: South Carolina might have one again, this time on the other side of the ball in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. There are several RBs in position to make an immediate impact, including Isaiah Crowell at Georgia, Malcolm Brown at Texas and Brandon Williams at Oklahoma.
Ernest (Mosocw, ID)
Thoughts on Utah entering the PAC12 this season? I think their schedule sets them up nicely for success in their debut season.
Pat Forde (12:44 PM)
Ernest: The back end of the schedule looks like it will be pretty user-friendly for Utah, and that could help the Utes rack up a decent record. I could see seven or eight victories.
I don't hear much talk of Boise losing their 2 big playmaking WRs from last year. Moore is great no doubt, but Pettis and Young were outstanding. That's gotta be a major concern going into a week 1 game vs a legit team.
Pat Forde (12:45 PM)
CC: You missed some talk about that earlier in this chat.
Ralph (Birmingham, AL)
How many games will Auburn win this year? We have a brutal schedule and have had to replace a lot of players. Is 8 wins out of reach?
Pat Forde (12:46 PM)
Ralph: I'd say eight wins is the high end, with four being the low and six being about where they end up.
Brent Baldwin (richmond, KY)
Pat, any chance you start swim chat session?
Pat Forde (12:46 PM)
Brent: I'd love to, but it would probably just be you and I.
Scott (London, UK)
Does Ole Miss stand a chance against BYU in its first game as an independent?
Pat Forde (12:48 PM)
Scott: Sure. That's one of the more interesting openers to me. I figure Ole Miss has got to be improved over last year, although the suspension of Randall Mackey certainly doesn't help. BYU should be tons better on offense but has a lot of holes to fill defensively in the back eight. I'd give a slight end to Ole Miss playing at home.
Ry (Easton, Maryland)
Pat, how does your top five line up with the polls? Who would be your sleeper to make the BCS game?
Pat Forde (12:50 PM)
Ry: Right now I'd list my top five as: 1. Alabama, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Oregon, 4. Boise State, 5. Either Arkansas or LSU. I really liked Arkansas until Knile Davis got hurt. Still think the Hogs will be really good.
Ryan (Chapel Hill, NC)
Everyone in the ACC seems to have an opinion on what the penalties for UNC will be after the NCAA rules in late October. As someone who spends as much time covering the NCAA as anyone, what do you think those penalties will be? Carolina's cooperation should count for something, right?
Pat Forde (12:52 PM)
Ryan: I've learned not to ever predict what the Committee on Infractions is going to do. Mysterious body. Carolina's cooperation does indeed have to count for something, with all the suspensions and (finally) firing Butch Davis. But there are serious charges involving people within the program, including academic fraud (which is the worst to me). So I'd still expect some significant sanctions.
mathieu (san francisco)
4D - hey if Coach Embree gets seven or eight wins out of this year's buff team, how big of an indictment will it be about He Who Shall Not Be Named's ability to coach at a BCS level?
Pat Forde (12:53 PM)
Mathieu: If Jon Embree gets seven or eight wins with this schedule (seven games either road or neutral), he should be Pac-12 Coach of the Year. I just don't see it.
Reggie (New Orleans)
Is the forming of 'super' conferences inevitable and if so how do you see that scenario playing out?
Pat Forde (12:55 PM)
Reggie: I don't know if it's inevitable. I hope it isn't, because I think it would be terrible for college sports. But if it does play out, the likely losers are the Big 12 and either the Big East or ACC. But we're still a long way from that occurring.
Pat, The knock on Stanford is a new head coach and 3 new OL. The early schedule, however, is very friendly. Is 7 games enough time for on the job training?
Pat Forde (12:56 PM)
JD: No doubt, the schedule appears back-loaded. But that offensive line must come together in time for the Arizona game in Tucson -- Zona will throw a ton of pressure and looks at Luck. I think Stanford will have another very good season, but I don't know that it will be as good as last year's. I think Harbaugh is a pretty special leader; tough to lose a guy with that kind of charisma.
Bud (Birmingham, AL)
Pat, Georgia Tech went 6-7 last year the first losing season in 14 years. Paul Johnson created quite a buzz in his first two years winning the ACC and earning a trip to the OB. Any chance the Jackets surprise some people this year?
Pat Forde (1:00 PM)
Bud: A turnaround could be as simple as turning around the turnover margin from last year -- Tech was a minus-six. The ACC has a lot of evenly matched teams, so the difference between 6-4 and 5-7 can be as simple as ball security, injuries and schedule. I give Tech a decent chance to rebound from last year and have a winning record.
Pat Forde (1:00 PM)
OK folks, that's it for today. Thanks for all the questions. We're going to probably do some Thursday chats on the weeks I'm in Charlotte for "The Experts" on ESPNU, but most of the time I will be here at noon on Tuesdays.
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