Chat with Brian Bennett
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com's Big East blogger Brian Bennett will stop by to talk some football.
Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville.
Send your questions now and join Bennett Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Brian Bennett (4:00 PM)
Hey, everybody. Time to talk some Big East football, and Notre Dame too. Let's do this.
Alex (Downtown Cincy)
Hey BB and a quick thanks for making my working day tolerable. I am getting more and more excited for the bearcats this season. This will sound weird, but I actually think Cincy has the most proven qb in the league. Am I crazy? I know ZC has a small sample size--but he certainly has more experience than the other favorites leaders in Sunseri and Geno. If QB play is to be indicative of success, then I think the bearcats are going to be a major factor come league play. Agree?
Brian Bennett (4:02 PM)
Well, Savage, Daniels and Frazer have started more games. If you're just talking about WVU, Pitt and Cincinnati, then the Bearcats have the edge at QB, yes. I do agree that Cincinnati will be a serious factor.
Do you expect Jaball Sheard to miss the Utah game? How would his absence affect the game?
Brian Bennett (4:04 PM)
Just from what we've heard of this case, it's hard to imagine Sheard not serving at least a one-game suspension. Pitt has other players who can step in, like Hale and Lindsey, but it definitely will hurt the depth and there's no replacing Sheard's experience in what will already be a tough game.
Chase (Richmond, Virginia)
How big would Devine's numbers have to be this year to put him in realistic contention for the Heisman? Let's assume WVU also wins the conference and the ensuing BCS bowl game.
Brian Bennett (4:06 PM)
I think a lot of it has to do with West Virginia's season and Devine producing his usual highlight reel moments in big games (a few at LSU sure wouldn't hurt.) Ingram won last year with a little over 1,600 yards, so there's your ballpark
David (Washington D.C.)
What your thoughts on the very recent commitment of RB Jameel Poteat to PITT? Sounds like the kid has some serious potential.
Brian Bennett (4:08 PM)
He looks like a big-time player. From the same high school as Shady McCoy. The RB tradition looks like it will continue
Tim ( Texas)
Hey Brian, how will Connecticut will fare on the 4th of september in Ann Arbor against tradition rich Michigan in their new 109,901 capacity stadium?
Brian Bennett (4:09 PM)
I'm on record as saying I like UConn's chances in this game. I'd make them a slight favorite.
I think the BE is in for a down year due to young QB play. What is the history of teams without a veteran QB in the BE winning big?
Brian Bennett (4:11 PM)
I don't agree with that. How about Cincinnati in 2008 with Tony Pike, who had never started a game? Or WVU winning the Sugar Bowl when Pat White was a freshman?
How do you think the Cuse will do on the road v my Dawgs? Cross country trip and all, does syracuse have a chance?
Brian Bennett (4:13 PM)
Tough road game, but no reason why Syracuse can't be in position to pull that off. Locker is a stud, but the Huskies aren't all that great overall.
What can the Mountineers do in the first few weeks of season to help Geno get more confidence as the new QB at WVU? Do they run with Devine or they make it a trial by fire and let him go loose? Thanks for bringing the Chat back.
Brian Bennett (4:15 PM)
Good question. I say West Virginia should let it fly against Coastal Carolina and Marshall. Let Smith get comfortable in the passing game before that LSU trip. They're going to need him to make plays to win in Baton Rouge and beyond.
If Pitt beats Utah, Miami and Notre Dame in goes into the WVU game unbeaten, they are ranked __? Will Dion get at least an invitation to NYC this year?
Brian Bennett (4:16 PM)
Top 4. Depends on what other teams ahead of them have done, of course.
James (Houston, TX)
What do you think about Louisville's chance's versus Kentucky?
Brian Bennett (4:19 PM)
50-50. Kentucky has more talent, but Louisville is at home and will be fired up to play for Charlie Strong and in front of a newly expanded stadium.
How many games do you think ND will win this year?
Brian Bennett (4:20 PM)
I think 8. Maybe 9 if all goes well. That would be major progress.
Ry (Americus, GA)
Is Skip Holtz a good fit for South Florida? And with this new coach at USF is there a chance they could compete for the big east?
Brian Bennett (4:22 PM)
Good fit? Heck, great fit. I expect Holtz to take USF to new heights, though probably not this year. Team is really young right now.
Which big east team has the most potential "upside" this year?
Brian Bennett (4:24 PM)
I'm going to say Rutgers. Lot of talent. But they're very, very young.
Every year Randy Edsell is courted for numerous coaching vacancies. Do you think he is committed to the UConn program for the long haul or do you see him leaving for the right offer?
Brian Bennett (4:26 PM)
What do you consider long term? He's been there 11 years already. I don't think he's looking to bolt by any means, but it's not like he's a short-timer, either.
Will (Morgantown, WV)
Which out of conference rivalry would you rather see revived? WVU-Va Tech or Pitt-PSU (or any others you can think of)?
Brian Bennett (4:28 PM)
Pitt-Penn State. Too much history, and it's intrastate. I'd also like to see UConn-BC resume, especially after this latest spat.
If you could only choose one game to attend this season (involving at least one big east team), which is it?
Brian Bennett (4:30 PM)
I really want to go to West Virginia-LSU. Seeing a game in Baton Rouge is on my wish list, and I want to see how the Mountaineers compete with an SEC power
out of WVU vs. LSU, MIA vs. Pitt, USF vs. UF, Cincy vs. OU, USF vs. MIA..how many do you think the big east will win??
Brian Bennett (4:32 PM)
I'd put the over-under at 1.5 wins. A 3-2 record would be extremely good work by the Big East.
Eric (Wyoming, Ohio)
Fresno State isn't exactly the place you would pick to break in a new coaching staff and a new defensive alignment is it? Should I be as worried as I am?
Brian Bennett (4:34 PM)
It's a terribly difficult assignment, one that you can bet Cincinnati and Butch Jones wanted to buy out of. The travel alone is a killer. Worry away.
Have you seen ND's 2012 schedule: open in Dublin vs. Navy, have Baylor at the Superdome, the U at Soldier Field, as well as games with USC, Michigan and Oklahoma....why would ND ever give up that for some november dates in bloomington, IN, champaign, IL and of course Evanston...
Brian Bennett (4:35 PM)
You haven't been to Champaign-Urbana in November? It's lovely.
If WVU failed to make a bowl game this year...would Stewart get canned?
Brian Bennett (4:36 PM)
He'd be on the hot seat, at least, but there's no way that's going to happen unless there's a huge rash of injuries or something.
The Utes play both Notre Dame and Pitt this year.....do you see them going 0-2, 1-1, or 2-0?
Brian Bennett (4:38 PM)
1-1. And I like them in Week One.
Tee (Morgantown, WV)
How big would it be for the Big East to have a Nov. 26 showdown between undefeated Pitt and undefeated WVU? Could we expect the same kind of buzz the Louisville vs WVU game created in 2006?
Brian Bennett (4:39 PM)
That would be awesome. Might not have the same buzz just because of Thanksgiving weekend but would be huge
The King (South Beach)
Hey BB, I love Florida and I love hanging with my best buddies in the sun. When it comes to college recruiting especially teams such as Cincinnati whom get a lot of 2 star recruits, how much does location (South Florida over Cincinnati) come into play?
Brian Bennett (4:42 PM)
Remember that Cincinnati is mostly recruiting Ohio, so geography comes into play there. Staying close to home is still an important factor for a lot of recruits.
Matt (Vienna, Va)
Hey Brian -Just wanted to get your take on possible breakout players in the Big East this year. We all know about Devine, Lewis, Sanu, Baldwin, etc. But who do you think could be this year's unheralded breakout player, much like Arman Binns was last year for Cincy?
Brian Bennett (4:44 PM)
Here are a few names off the top of my head: Lindsey Lamar, Tavon Austin, Dan Mason, Isaiah Pead, Mark Harrison.
Bearcatvol (Dalton, Georgia)
I'm curious, with all of the talk about the New York market and how important it is... why in the world does the Big East not have its headquarters there? I mean I know the clam bake is cool, but why the heck make the National media trudge out to the middle of nowhere. (at least as far as the east is concerned) when you could hold court in the media capital of the world.
Brian Bennett (4:45 PM)
Trust me, the media is not complaining about Newport. Especially when the lobsters come out. New York isn't really a college football town. But if the Big East channel becomes a reality and is based in NYC, the league might want to move its HQ there too.
John (Downtown Tampa)
Do you think T.J. knowles will be a factor this year for USF in the WR corp?
Brian Bennett (4:46 PM)
I have my doubts about really tall receivers. Heard a lot of hype about many of them, and they rarely have delivered.
If staying near home is a big thing for recruits, why are most of WVU's recruits from Florida?
Brian Bennett (4:47 PM)
Because not many D-1 prospects come from West Virginia.
Andrew (Emerald Isle, NC)
Depending on how well Bruneti picks up on the QB position this summer and practice, do you think having Coley White at WR will be a huge shot in the arm for WVU's receiving corps?
Brian Bennett (4:48 PM)
Not necessarily. White didn't get much time to practice at the position, and he'd be a slot guy. They already have Jock Sanders there. The Mountaineers really need wideouts and deep threats.
What is it about Holtz that you like? Not that I have anything against him
Brian Bennett (4:49 PM)
Great communicator and salesman, he's won everywhere he's been ... what's not to like?
Rich (New York, NY)
Hey Brian, great job with the blog as always. If Rutgers pulls it all together despite their youth and finally wins the Big East, do you think Greg Schiano's name will come up again for some big time vacancies? He has already said no to two pretty big ones, and I just wonder if he'll be able to resist if a third comes calling after a big year on the banks.
Brian Bennett (4:50 PM)
I think he'd be back to being a "hot" name. He wouldn't leave for just anywhere, though. He's got a good thing going in Jersey and Rutgers is still positioned for a possible entry into the Big Ten. Now, if Penn State were to open ...
Andrew (New Jersey)
Brian,Could you see an undefeated WVU team and if so could they potentially get snubbed like Cincinnati. WVU should have the respect of the nation due to previous accomplishments but everyone loves to hate the Big East
Brian Bennett (4:51 PM)
It's so dependent on what other teams do. We had several years there where 1-loss and even a 2-loss team were playing for the national title. Then last year we had five undefeated teams. Any other year, and Cincinnati probably would have been in the title game.
If Coley isnt the answer, who do you think will step up?
Brian Bennett (4:52 PM)
Brad Starks needs to have a big year. Ivan McCartney needs to learn the ropes fast. And maybe someone like Stedman Bailey steps up.
Two Questions: 1 have you thought of replacing haden in the broadcast booth? 2. Do you think the ND players can make it to the fourth qtr or will they tire out with this fast past offense of Kelly's.
Brian Bennett (4:53 PM)
Nobody wants to listen to my voice for three hours. Knowing Paul Longo and his methods, I can't imagine the Irish not being in shape this year.
John (Downtown Tampa)
What is your honest prediction in the USF vs. UF game... hahaha
Brian Bennett (4:54 PM)
Gators by double digits.
Kevin (Mahwah, NJ)
Brian, do you think there is any resentment within Big East of Rutgers or other teams that were rumored "close" to a Big 10 invite?
Brian Bennett (4:55 PM)
I don't get that sense. I think every team would jump at a Big Ten invite. This isn't quite the same as the ACC, which wasn't viewed as all that more superior.
Conner (Louisville, Ky)
What would you say the odds are of the Cards going 6-6 in Coach Strong's first year?
Brian Bennett (4:56 PM)
I think 6-6 is the ceiling, but reachable. If Louisville gets there, Charlie Strong has done a terrific coaching job.
Brian....how many games have you seen in South Bend? What should all visitors see when visiting such a historic place (aside from the Hall of Fame)?
Brian Bennett (4:57 PM)
Half a dozen times or so. Go to the Grotto and the basilica. Heck, tour the whole campus. It's beautiful ... unlike much of South Bend
With all that is going on in this world from oil crisis to govenors craziness, one thing has stayed true: The Big East Blog. For our next President of the USA, to rid this land of gloomy and gray, to overtake the monster that is BP, there is only one and its BB. What do you say Brian?
Brian Bennett (4:57 PM)
If nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve.
If you had to pick one team right now to win the Big East - who would it be. I'm a huge Cincy Fan and right now I couldn't honestly pick my 'cats.
Brian Bennett (4:57 PM)
Pittsburgh, but that schedule scares me.
Chase (Richmond, Virginia)
Hey Brian, what would the best (and most realistic) outcome for the conference as a whole be this year? Obviously winning the first BCS game since West Virginia creamed Oklahoma would be a nice start.
Brian Bennett (4:59 PM)
Winning a BCS game is for sure a goal. Getting a couple of teams in the Top 10 and in the BCS title race like last season should also be an objective. Putting four teams in the Top 25, as well.
Brian Bennett (4:59 PM)
OK, that's all the time I have. Thanks for stopping by this week.