Chat with Kirk Herbstreit
Kirk Herbstreit (2:01 PM)
Hey everyone .. it's a great time to be talking college football .. a lot of teams are starting two-a-days today to get readyf or the season. Let's get to your questions!
Girrbz (Detroit, MI)
Kirk, why do we see the Longhorns ranked in the top ten again? They were soft last year - no running attack, no run defense. Another winning season for them I'm sure, but champs they are not.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:03 PM)
It's a sign of the respect other coaches have for the great recruiting of personnel that Mack Brown and that team does. Say what you want about Texas but to say they aren ot worthy of a preseason ranking (which is purely speculation on potential) is insane. I actually think they are in a pretty good situation because expectatins by their standards are pretty low this year. Vincent Young's development and the passing game will be key this year to balance the running of Cedric Benson.
Matt: (Tallahassee, FL)
Do you think FSU QB Chris Rix has as much physical talent as any QB in the country, and will he make good on it this year?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:05 PM)
I have a really good feeling about Rix and FSU this year. I think when you have a QB as talented as Rix who has been through so many battles both good and bad, it gives a team an advantage going in to a season. Does he have the most talent in the country? Probably not. But does he have the most experience to help him get through? Without question. I think FSU has gone through a few seasons where they have not lived up to what they think they are capable of and I think it will make them very hungry this year.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:06 PM)
Having said all that, what they do against Miami on Labor Day night will dictate whether they are worthy of making a run at a national championship. You could make the argument that the winner of that game will be favored to win the rest of their games.
Parker (Knoxville, TN)
The question of the quarterback is no doubt the hottest topic in Knoxville. However time and time again the players have reiterated they feel no matter which of the 4 of them gets behind the center, great things will happen. The entire recieveing core is back, the offensive line and Toeina standing around 6'6 350, and and a deep talent pool of running backs is back. How far do you feel UT goes this season?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:08 PM)
You are right. The QB situation is a major concern. I think because of that, UT will rely more heavy on the running attack. Tennessee needs to find some leadership and character. I've seen signs from UT in the last two years of a team starving for on the field leadership and chemistry. If they can improve in this area, the personnel issues will not be a concern.
Joe (Juneau, Alaska)
Has Virginia Tech peaked as a program? Looks like people are projecting them to be middle-of-the-pack in the ACC.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:11 PM)
Absolutely not. VTech like so many other programs in the last 10 years has tasted success and with that success not only comes recognition for the Hokie program but the individuals as well. I think Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer for years had a program built around a blue collar work ethic and I think having a superstar like Vick and making a run at a chamionship in '99, the Hokies were able to recruit a high-caliber athlete (DeAngelo Hall, Kevin Jones) and in the proces got their priorities out of whack. They lost that team first mentality and allowed individual status to take precedent which to me is the No. 1 detriment to major college football programs today.
Kirk, you were in Starkvegas last week visiting with MState and Coach Croom....What were your impressions of our new coach? and when can we see your special on them? Thanks!
Kirk Herbstreit (2:14 PM)
I"ll have an all-access feature on him next week on SportsCenter along with George O'Leary, Mike Price, Mike Stoops and Bill Callahan. My impression of his is that Miss. St. hired the right guy. He is familiar with the conference. He is very polished with an extraordinary coaching resume. He has a great understanding of what this program needs (again, we're talking about discipline, hard work and a commitment). I hope Bulldog fans understand to be patient as Coach Croom tries to resurrect this program. Mark my words, somwhere during this season, someone will get upset by Miss. State this year. They will pull off an upset in that conference. If Omar Connor can stay healthy, he might be one of the surprises this year in the SEC now that he has moved back to QB.
Kirk, how is the GameDay team lookin' this year? How is Fowler feelin'? Is Corso's voice 100 percent? Are you guys going to live up to expectations this season?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:15 PM)
Dude, we are just getting ready to start two-a-days for the next couple weeks. It's strictly weight room, meeting room and film study (you have to see Corso in the weight room, you talk about a work ethis .. the sunshine scooter knows all about blue collar mentality)
Hey Kirk, is this Ron Zook's last chance to keep his job in Gainesville??
Kirk Herbstreit (2:18 PM)
Let me get this straight .. he's coming up on his third year at Florida .. coming off back to back 8-4 seasons (2-0 vs. Georgia, split with UT, 1-0 vs. Auburn and he beat eventual national champ LSU in Baton Rouge last year) and we are just now going to find out what his team can do with these great recruiting classes he has attracted .. and you are telling me that the masses are counting the days until he is fired? I think what we are witnessing in Gainseville is how difficult it is to replace a living legend like Steve Spurrier. A lot of Gator fans no matter what Zook does, it will never be good enough. Let's at least give the guy a chance to display the talent he has recruited before you put him on the chopping block.
David (Aurora, NE)
Kirk, Most Polls have Nebraska out of the pre-season top 25. Are we going to be that bad? I understand last years pre-season rating after a 7-7 year, but come on! Your thoughts?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:24 PM)
I'm still disecting the Big 12 North. I personally believe after visiting with Callahan this past Spring that they have a very good shot at winning the Big 12 North. I really think it's between them and Missouri. Watching Joe Daily throw in this new system, he almost looks more comfortable in the West coast offense than he did in the run oriented offense. The OL is solid, the tailbacks should be great, the real issue with offense is can Pilkington, Fluellen and Co. give Nebraska enough of a vertical game to open things up for Corey Ross. I think their defense with Cosgrove as a coordinator will be attacking and at times potentially dominate. It really comes down to scheduling between Nebraska and Missouri. Missouris' three toughest games are at Texas, at Nebraska and Kansas State. Nebraska is at KSU, Missouri at home, and at OU. I really think it will come down to Nebraska and MIssouri and possibly the winner of that game Oct. 30 in Lincoln could decide the winner of that division.
Kirk, with Michigan losing Navarre and Perry to the draft, do you think they will have enough power on offense to still compete for the Big Ten title and possibly for a national champioship?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:29 PM)
Enough firepower? They have the best rec. corp, not only in the Big Ten, but arguably the country with Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, Steve Breaston. Not to mention TE Tim Massaquoi. Matt Gutierrez at QB gives them a mobile QB who is very familiar with the offensive system that Terry Malone likes to run. The real issue I think will be the taiilback position which is so instrumental in the Wolverin attack, will it be by committee or will one individual emerge? This is the first year in a long time that I can recall Michigan entering a season with a back that has as little experience as David Underwood and Jerome Jackson. But you have to believe one of them will become a great back. I think the Michigan defense and the schedule will give Gutierrez and the running game some time to develop. Michigan gets Iowa and Minnesota at home this year. They don't play Wisconsin or Penn St. Of course they travel to Columbus on Nov. 20 with more than likely the conference championship being on the line.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:30 PM)
Right now, as we start two-a-days I give the edge to Michigan to win the Big Ten.
Kirk, what do you think about the instant replay and are other conferences seriously considering doing it in 2005?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:31 PM)
I think the way the Big Ten has it set up, it will be a great success for the conference. It will create such a buzz from correcting human error that I think other conferences will fall in line in the next couple years.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:33 PM)
There are no red flags for the coaches, there is no TV monitor that the ref looks at, there is simply an official up in the booth. But if HE sees something that he feels was missed by the crew on the field, he pushes a button to signify to the head official to stop play because he has a play he is looking at to review. I don't think it will slow the game down too much. I think it will not only correct mistakes, but I think it will be executed in a way that will be very positive for the future of instant replay.
Herbie, is the BCS doomed without quality win or strength of schedule component? It seems like we are back to a popularity contest and continued bowl controversy.
Kirk Herbstreit (2:37 PM)
I actually like the changes to the system without the quality win and SOS. It simplifies things for the fans and there is a big misconception with this rule change. People hear that SOS and quality win have been taken out and they assume that those components still aren't important in what we have left over. I'd like to think that people who vote in the polls still take those things into consideration from week to week. I know the computers take into consideration SOS and quality win index because it affects their calculation from week to week. Even though the categories have been removed, they still will be heavily considered when it comes to the remaining components. This system could work perfectly if the coaches and writers take their votes seriously. In the past some SIDs and coaches let other people fill outu their ballots. Everyone needs to keep up on every team around the country and not just the team they are facing week to week. The AP writers also get caught up on their beat and need to pay attention to the entire country as well. We're talking about two-thirds of the BCS standings.
Jay (St. louis)
Every write-up I see on Oklahoma references Adrian Peterson as an intrical part of the season, seems like a lot of hype for a kid who hasn't played a down yet in college?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:42 PM)
I agree. He is getting a lot of hype. But all I can tell you is the coaches believe he will play this year. They think they have a difference maker in Peterson and he is going to play early. Don't forget that Kejuan Jones is coming off a phenomenal spring and is not just going to give the job away to Peterson. I think at the end of the day the Sooners are going to have a nice 1-2 punch with Jones and Peterson. I think the primary concern OU has in my opinion is an area that got exposed last year .. developing another big play receiver outside of Mark Clayton. Although Brandon Jones and Jejuan Rankins had their way throughout the Big 12 regular season, both KSU and LSU decided to take Clayton out with double teams and bracket coverage and forced OU to get the ball to another receiver. In both cases, Jones, Rankins and Co. couldn't get off of press coverage. That's an area they will have to get better or teams will continue to try and take Clayton out and force White to go elsewhere.
Mike (Youngstown, Ohio)
Kirk, lets talk about OSU. I think the Buckeyes should be ranked higher than that team up north, since they have a returning running back and a defense that will still be one of the best in the nation. The only question will be Zwick. How do you think he will respond being the guy at Ohio State?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:49 PM)
First of all, I know you are a OSU fan and Tressel has done an outstanding job of recruiting. But when you lose a QB that was 25-2 as a starter, 4 of your starting OL and two three-year starting DL, two All-American DBs and your MVP, that's a mouthful. They are capable fo replacing all of them, but the fear of the unknown is always going to be there. How will this new more athletic OL be which is far less experienced? Who will step up? Can Holmes and Hall step up for Jenkins? Will they still be able to play their usual style with consistent special teams? The last two years OSU has been spoiled with one of the best punters in the country which helped them play a field position game. Don't get me wrong, I think this team will be very competitive and will compete for a Big Ten championship, but with all those question marks, games such as at NC State, Wisconsin, at Purdue, at Iowa and of course Michigan, become legitimate confrontations. When you compare that schedule with OSU's concerns to Michigan's schedule and Michigan's concerns, it's understandable why some people are giving Michigan an edge.
Jennifer (athens, ga_
Kirk - Georgia Bulldawg question: Are they really a contender this year, and can they get past the Florida Gators?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:53 PM)
I'm very high on Georgia. Again, when you have a four-year starting QB, it gives you an upper hand. Playing in that conference where you deal with a hostile situation every week, having the cool head of David Greene gives the Dawgs a leg up. I'm expecting big things from Kregg Lumpkin and if Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown stay healthy they could be the best tandem in the SEC. Defensively they are led by I think the best warrior in the country in David Pollack and I think the hardest hitter in safety Thomas Davis. Not to mention this team is on a serious mission after last season's losses to LSU. Especially the embarassment in the SEC title game. Yes, I think this is the year they finally snaps the losing streak to Florida. I cannot wait for Oct. 2 when LSU comes to Athens for one of the games of the year. Georgia will be ready for both of these games but to prove they are ready to make a national championship run, they need to look out for games like Sept. 11 at S. Carolina and Nov. 13 at Auburn. I think both these teams are capable at home of beating Georgia. The Dawgs will need to show up focused and ready to play.
Jim (Minneapolis, MN)
What do you think the Gophers chances are of winning the Big Ten, and finishing ahead of Iowa at the least?
Kirk Herbstreit (2:58 PM)
Jim, if Minnesota had a better schedule, I would pick them to win the Big Ten. They avoid OSU and Purdue which is a plus but the difficult part if they play at Michigan, at Michigan St. and at Wisconsin. Three nasty games for the Gophers. Not to mention Penn St. and the season finale against Iowa. I love this team. I think they can get to 9 wins if they stay healthy and if they can get Bryan Cupito to develop some consistency with the passing game to balance out what I think is the best running game in college football. People who are not familiar with Minnesota's ability to run the ball and if you like old school football, check out the Golden Gophers this year. They have one of the more physical OL in the country and the tandem of Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney give is one of the best in the country (note to Auburn and USC fans, I said ONE of the best tandems in the country).
Kirk Herbstreit (3:02 PM)
Sorry I couldn't get to everybody today, I think we had more questions this chat than ever .. everyone is obviously very excited about the start of the season .. I'll be chatting regularly every Thursday at 3 ET starting on Sept. 2 .. talk to you then!