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September 29, 2:37 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (2:59 PM)

It's a perfect fall day where I am. Hope it is for you too. I'm fired up to talk some football. Let's go.

Craig (Suffern, NY)

Now that Lane Kiffin is reportedly being fired today, don't you think it would make sense for the 'Cuse to fire G-Rob now and try to hire Kiffin, especially with the Orange having a bye this week? It would let the next head coach of the Orange to get a head start on recruiting once the season ends as opposed to missing quality recruiting time to hire a new coach. Your thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (3:00 PM)

It may happen. I'm still not a fan of the idea. Kiffin has no ties to the Syracuse recruiting base and has no college head coaching experience. How is this an improvement over Greg Robinson?

steve (hartford, ct)

Assuming the intangibles are equal (experience, maturity, etc.) does having zach frazor (more of a pocket passer) instead tyler lorenzen at qb help DB and uconn's running game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:01 PM)

I liked what I saw out of Frazer in the second half at Louisville. He's got a live arm and gives UConn a real downfield passing threat. That could really open some things up. The question is his inexperience. Edsall will probably have to keep things simple for him early on.

Brian Bennett
  (3:01 PM)

Brian Bennett
  (3:02 PM)

I think it's going to be tough. The Big East isn't going to get as much respect as the SEC or the Big 12, and there's a chance Penn State goes undefeated. But what are the voters going to do with USF if the Bulls keep winning? They're already No. 10.

Brian Bennett
  (3:03 PM)

Whoops, forgot to post the question. Here it is

Tampa, Florida

Hey Brian, say a Big East team finishes the season Undefeated (UConn or South Florida), do they make it to the National Championship over a 1-loss SEC, Big 12, etc...?

marty (chapel hill)

what should worry me most about the huskies visit on saturday?

Brian Bennett
  (3:03 PM)

Their running game and Donald Brown, obviously. And if the score is close late, UConn always seems to find a way to win.

EricD513, Cincinnati

Obviously the Bearcats are having some bad luck this year with injuries, even so, I think this coaching staff is good enough to go 8-5 or 9-4. If that happens is Brian Kelly the most likely Big East coach to be hired away and who are some potential schools interested.

Brian Bennett
  (3:04 PM)

Ha. That's jumping the gun a bit. Keep an eye on the Penn State situation though, given Kelly's ties

Nick (Morgantown, Wv)

Brian, I want to start by saying that I love having some one write specifically about the Big East, and everyday I look forward to reading a new blog that you posted! Your really do a great job! But what do you think about the whole Jarrett Brown and Pat White combo? We all know Jarrett is a great player, (he proved that in his win against Rutgers in'06 and the rest of his fill in time when Pat was hurt) and with him, White, Devine, Sanders and with the offensive line getting better each game, this is potentially the most threatening offense WVU has had.

Brian Bennett
  (3:05 PM)

It was really interesting look, especially with Brown essentially playing fullback on some of those short yardage downs. I plan to write more about this later on in the week.

Mike (Tampa, FL)

Do you think South Florida will be more focused this year with the top 10 ranking given what happened last year with 3 losses in a row?

Brian Bennett
  (3:05 PM)

I do get the sense this team is more focused, more mature and maybe most importantly, deeper and better able to withstand injuries.

Bobby (West Warwick, RI)

Now that Frazer is UConn's QB, will we see more 5 wide formations like we did Friday night?

Brian Bennett
  (3:06 PM)

Air Edsall, eh? I still think the running game is UConn's bread and butter.

Austin (Memphis, TN)

Do you think that the Big East has gotten off to a bad start and will recover, or is this something we will see for the rest of the season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:07 PM)

Well, there aren't many nonconference games of note left. We've got UNC-UConn this week, Pitt-Notre Dame later on and WVU-Auburn on the 23rd. Big test will be bowl season

Patrick (Washington DC)

For a non Big East fan- at the end of the year when all is said and done- who will USF have played out of conference that is any good?

Brian Bennett
  (3:08 PM)

I think Kansas is pretty good, though it may get knocked around in the Big 12. But you're right, the nonconference schedule isn't all that impressive beyond that.

Jim (seatlle)

What is your top 5 to this point?

Brian Bennett
  (3:08 PM)

Here's how I voted in our ESPN rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Oklahoma 3. Missouri 4. LSU 5 Texas

Steve (Boston, MA)

What do you make of UConn's bend don't break defense? They seem to give up big plays but not a lot of TDs.

Brian Bennett
  (3:09 PM)

I think they need to bend a little less. Giving up 500 yards like they did last week is not a good recipe for victory against better teams.

Patrick Piscataway, NJ

After witnessing the recent success that Jourdan Brooks has had, do you think he can eventually replace ray rice at Rutgers and develop into one of the premiere backs in the Big East down the road?

Brian Bennett
  (3:10 PM)

I like Brooks. He's big (about 230) and can run and he doesn't mess around. But I want to see him do it against better competition than Navy and Morgan State before I anoint him.

Chris - Wallingford, CT

We all know the reasons why UConn is not getting a lot of national respect (no football history, Big East, etc.), but a full TD underdog to UNC? I can easily see UConn losing, but that spread is indicative of the lack of respect the Huskies are getting. Do they really have to go 11-1 to garner any legitimate national exposure? And why is Donald Brown not mentioned right up there with Javon Ringer? Their stats are almost identical, but Brown averages about 1 full yard more per carry. What gives?

Brian Bennett
  (3:10 PM)

While they're both great, I found it interesting that Ringer got 25 votes in our Heisman Poll while Brown got 2 (1 from me). I may post about this later.

Jason (Louisville, Ky)

A story in the CJ suggested that Kragthorpe is giving the team the bye week off to recover from injuries. Doesn't this seem like a massive waste of potential and much needed practice time? shouldn't he be using that time to develop a kicker or even doing his job as recievers coach and teaching Chichester to hold onto the ball? Also, what do you think about Wanny stealing from the kragthorpe (mousetraps) playbook?

Brian Bennett
  (3:11 PM)

I don't think it's all that unusual. Plenty of coaches give their teams a day or two off on bye weeks. And they will still be practicing or watching film. Got a lot of banged up guys over there, including Cantwell and some linemen. And the mousetraps thing isn't unique. Coaches steal all the time.

Brad (WVU)

Everyone know that the Big East still runs through Morgantown!!!! UCONN has been spanked by us each year and cannot match our atheletes speed, Louisville, well will not win nothing with Kragthorpe and no Brohm, and Pitt will not be looked over this year!! The only competition for us really is USF, and then they come to Morgantown in December!!! Brian you really think someone other than WVU will win the Big East??

Brian Bennett
  (3:12 PM)

I like South Florida to win it this year but am not counting out the Mountaineers just yet

Tim (Denver)

Fire Tommy Bowden!!!

Brian Bennett
  (3:13 PM)

I'm not the Clemson AD.

paul, boston mass

Please rank the top six conferences? as a diehard college football fan this is what i have come up with, id like to have your opinion. 1. SEC 2.Big 12 3. Big Ten 4. ACC 5. Pac 10 6. Big East. And you?

Brian Bennett
  (3:13 PM)

I agree with your top three. I think I'd put the Mountain West at 4, Pac 10 at 5, Big East sixth and then the ACC.

Ross (Denver, CO)

Why do you think USC and Alabama are getting so much mileage and respect out of their UVA and Clemson wins when those teams have proven to be significantly overrated. All you hear about Alabama is how they beat 2 top ten teams. Does anyone really think Clemson is or was a top ten team?

Brian Bennett
  (3:14 PM)

I don't know anyone who still looks at that Virginia win as impressive. Heck, Duke blew out the Cavs. Alabama looked great against Clemson and was spectacular versus Georgia.

Slim (Gainesville, FL)

Why the South Florida lovefest? They are a joke and UF would totally crush them.

Brian Bennett
  (3:15 PM)

Then they really must not be as good as Ole Miss, huh?

Greg(Tulsa,OK)

You voted Alabama ahead of Oklahoma, what a joke. They beat an over rated Georgia team that is riddled with injuries and an under-achieving Clemson team. What is your justification?

Brian Bennett
  (3:16 PM)

And who is Oklahoma's best win? TCU? I think beating Georgia on the road dwarfs anything Oklahoma has done, but I like both teams a lot.

EPMD (the Nati)

When UC gets Tony Pike back do you think they will establish themselves as the most explosive offense in the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (3:16 PM)

That offense has gone through a lot of change, so it would be hard to say they're going to just pick right back up. And remember, they only had, what, 14 points at Akron before he got hurt?

Bill (Unionville, CT)

What's the story with Loiusville's kicking game and how do they have any shot at success w/o even attempting 30+ yarders?

Brian Bennett
  (3:17 PM)

The story is Philpott has been a disappointment and Dougherty had a hip injury in the summer and is not 100 pct still. They need to find some answers, because it's killing them

Greg (Tampa, Fl)

Why the Mountain West at 4?

Brian Bennett
  (3:18 PM)

They've owned the Pac-10 and have two undefeated ranked teams (BYU and Utah), which is something neither the Pac-10 nor ACC can say.

Matthew (Cincinnati)

please tell the uconn nation that they need to beat good teams before they can solidify a place between all the hype they garner from running all over bottom of the barrel squads. i dont see them beating WVU, USF, or UC this year. What do you think of their place given their strength of schedule?

Brian Bennett
  (3:18 PM)

i think it's about right so far. They'll have a couple chances down the road to prove themselves.

Greg(Tulsa, OK)

I respect your opinion as well as your reply. But I still feel like Oklahoma has more speed, depth and experience over Alabama. Now that would be a great N.C. game with two traditions with coaches that have been across from each other in that game before. I still feel like you may be a bit star struck with Alabama.

Brian Bennett
  (3:19 PM)

Not star struck. I saw Oklahoma in person and was dazzled. Alabama has the better resume, is all

Ryan (Cincinnati)

With quaterback issues and an underachieving defense, what do should Bearcat fans expect to see or have to look forward to the next couple weeks agains Marshall and Rutgers?

Brian Bennett
  (3:19 PM)

Just survive, no matter the score. Kelly said today Pike should be back for UConn after these two.

Andy (Indianola, IA)

USF seemed to struggle with Kansas earlier in the season, at home, was it simply a difficult match-up or is there that much of a division between the Big 12 and Big East that a top flight program, maybe even the best the conference has to offer struggles with a middle of the road team like Kansas, maybe 6th best in the big 12?

Brian Bennett
  (3:20 PM)

I don't know, I thought Kansas was pretty good. Big 12 is absolutely stacked though.

Ben (Charlotte)

Where would South Florida finish if, say, they were in the Big Ten? I put them about 6th or 7th.

Brian Bennett
  (3:21 PM)

No way. Name me five teams better.

Bobby (West Warwick, RI)

What is the biggest suprise so far in the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (3:22 PM)

There have been more disappointments than actual surprises. UConn and South Florida probably should have been 5-0 and they are. No one is exceeding expectations.

Kevin (Bulls Country Fl)

What do you think of this weeks thursday game between the Bulls and Pitt relying on the run do you think the d line will be able to hold up without selvie? what would be your prediction for the game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:23 PM)

Good question, Kevin. The Pitt running game vs. the USF D-line is going to determine this game, and Selvie may be out. I still think USF wins because of the home field and because Pitt just isn't on that level yet.

SNel (Aliso Viejo, CA)

If you had to pick between an undefeated BYU or an undefeated USF to go the NC game who would you take?

Brian Bennett
  (3:24 PM)

That's a very interesting question. I don't think either will get there. BYU might have the better resume now, but their computer rankings will probably go down in conference play. I think BYU has been more impressive thus far.

Austin (The Ville)

USF 6th or 7th in the Big Ten, please. People, just because the Big East is not a great top to bottom conference does not mean it's best teams can't complete nationally. In fact, check the bowl results from the past 3 years

Brian Bennett
  (3:24 PM)

Amen, brother.

Jeff (Columbus, OH)

Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Illinois are all better than South Florida

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

We disagree

mason (Dallas, Texas)

if you are living in louisville, you must love my morning jacket, right?

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

Absolutely. Went to their show on the waterfront in August. It was amazing

Ken (Thompson, CT)

With Kansas being the exception, UConn and USF have played similar competition with similar results (UConn 12-9 over Temple; USF 17-9 over FIU). Why is USF ranked so much higher?

Brian Bennett
  (3:26 PM)

Because South Florida just passes the "look test" better. I know that's a weak answer, but that's how this sport goes sometimes.

Jason: Pittsburgh, PA

Is Dave Wannstedt safe with a 7-5 or 6-6 season, or is irate fan base getting the attention of the atheletic department?

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

He has to go to a bowl game, and I don't know that 6-6 will make anyone very happy.

Kevin (Bulls Country Fl)

So I hear a lot of NFL and bowl prospects are going to be at the game(USF-Pitt) where you going to be this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

I'll be at UConn-UNC. Mark Schlabach will be at USF-Pitt

Joe (WV)

Preseason talk tended to be confident about WVU's offense while a lot of finger pointing at their defense as the weak link. Do you feel that those roles have reversed with the Defense playing very well, and pressure now being directed at the offense to play to thier potential?

Brian Bennett
  (3:28 PM)

Yes, I do. The defense has given up three points in regulation after the first five minutes at Colorado. But neither the Buffs nor Marshall are all that imposing offensively

Ben (Charlotte)

Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern, and 6. Meeechigan

Brian Bennett
  (3:29 PM)

Ben, you're off your meds if you think Michigan would beat South Florida

Alex, ( Litchfield CT)

Does Syracuse have a shot at beating Rutgers this season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:30 PM)

I think Rutgers is going to get better if they don't implode. I'm afraid the Orange are staring down the barrel of 1-11.

David (Minneapolis, MN)

Check the Bowl results? Man, if only my conference made sure they never played a ranked team in the Bowls then their record would be pretty good too....

Brian Bennett
  (3:31 PM)

i'm pretty sure Oklahoma was ranked last season. And Georgia in 2005. Maybe I'm missing something here ...

Tampa, FL

Are you going to make it down for any USF games?

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

Already been to one (Kansas) and am sure I'll be at more.

Joe (Baltimore)

Season ends now. Which Big East teams go to bowl games and where?

Brian Bennett
  (3:34 PM)

This is a tough one to do in a chat, but I'll give it a shot. USF Orange Bowl UConn Sun West Virginia St. Pete Cincinnati Meineke Pittsburgh International Louisville Papajohns.com

Dan (Atlanta, GA)

Brian, West Virginia is the only team in the Big Least that has any bragging rights. USF has never done anything but knock off overrated Big East teams. When they play OOC against anyone with a pulse, they lose.

Brian Bennett
  (3:35 PM)

You seem to forget USF going to The Plains and beating Auburn last year. But, you're right in the sense that they've never finished higher than third in a conference. Needs to change

Linda (New Orleans)

Brain, name me one team in the SEC that South Florida could beat?

Brian Bennett
  (3:36 PM)

No problem at all. Arkansas.

Roger (Danbury, CT)

UConn will be in the BCS. We own South Florida. No way they get to the BCS.

Brian Bennett
  (3:36 PM)

Can't wait for that game in Tampa. Should be a lot of fun.

Logan, Louisville

Can Louisville still win 8 games, or did the UCONN game do them in?

Brian Bennett
  (3:36 PM)

Eight is an awfully tall order there, Logan. I think 7 is the ceiling.

jim (birmingham,al)

auburn vs. west virginia. who you got and why?

Brian Bennett
  (3:37 PM)

I've got the under

Lou ( Norwalk CT)

Brian, I've been a UConn fan since the Yankee Conference days; class of '92. I've felt all along that Lorenzen needed to sit due to his subpar throwing arm. The things that he was doing right last season; making good decisions and not throwing interceptions; seemed to have reversed their course this season. Am I the only one out there that things the introduction of Zach in the offense will add a critical dimension that could propel this sound Husky team to the next level?

Brian Bennett
  (3:37 PM)

I think it could be a blessing in disguise. It's hard to beat experience, but Frazer has more talent.

Ben Provo, Utah

Do you think BYU at this point being ranked where they are has a remote shot at playing in the title game if the run the table and remamain the only undefeated team come season's end?

Brian Bennett
  (3:38 PM)

No, not under this current system.

Joe (WV)

Any upset special alerts for the Big East worth mentioning?

Brian Bennett
  (3:38 PM)

I'd watch Cincinnati at Marshall, given the Bearcats' shaky QB situation.

ED (cincinnati)

by your bowl predictions, is the Papa Johns a more prestigious bowl than Meineke because of the SEC tie in.

Brian Bennett
  (3:39 PM)

After the first couple, there's no real pecking order other than who the bowl wants. I'm sure Papajohn's would want that tie in with Louisville. There have been rumors of the bowl moving there anyway.

Kevin (Marine Corps Base Hawaii)

Do you believe that the Big East is a better conferance now that Miami, VT, and BC have left?

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

Of course not. But it's just as good as the ACC, right now.

Ben (Charlotte)

Since you are from the Bluegrass State, do you think Kentucky has a chance to upset Alabama? It has all the makings of an upset, in my opinion.

Brian Bennett
  (3:41 PM)

I've seen Kentucky's offense up close, and I don't think they can score enough points against Bama

Christie (Lincoln, Missouri)

Who do u think will be in the BCS Championship bowl?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

I think it'll be SEC vs. Big 12. Lot to sort out in those two leagues still.

Steve (Perth, Western Austraila)

Hey mate, what do you think about Florida State. I loved watching them when I lived in the States. Are they on the way back up?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

Not that I've seen. They still can't score.

Steve (Newark, NJ)

Brian, if the majority of criticism on the Big East is that their OOC schedule is weak, then why don't USF and UConn schedule big games that challenge them? I know UConn has Notre Dame and Tennessee but not for about 8 years! Do you have any OOC schedules for next year?

Brian Bennett
  (3:44 PM)

They've tried, and it's getting better. USF played Auburn last year and Kansas this year. WVU has Colorado and Auburn. Big East teams are making an effort to upgrade schedules, but it's not easy to do

Patrick Wells Richmond, VA

What do you think Syracuse University will do about the coaching situation? Have you heard anything new?

Brian Bennett
  (3:46 PM)

They've got a bye week and then at West Virginia and at South Florida. No coach is going to lead them to victory in those. I wouldn't be surprised to see G-Rob let go right after the USF loss, if not sooner

Mike (Storrs)

In the Daily Campus (Uconn's Student paper) and article titled "Uconn offense has forgot about Dre" referring to Andre Dixon. Do you think this is true or do you think Andre will be making an appearance in helping take the load of Donald Bron

Brian Bennett
  (3:47 PM)

I think Dixon has been slowed by that ankle injury, and Brown has been too good to take out. But Brown needs a break. He and Ringer are on a race to the hospital

Katie (New York)

Why does everyone hate the Big East so much?

Brian Bennett
  (3:47 PM)

East Coast bias

Christie (Lincoln, MO

Who do u think will win the Heisman

Brian Bennett
  (3:48 PM)

Right now, I'd take whichever team wins the Big 12's quarterback, whether that's Daniel, Bradford or McCoy. They'll each get a chance to knock the other out

Greg (Tampa, Fl)

Brian you forgot to mention in the scheduling department for South Florida, Miami in '09 and UF in 2010

Brian Bennett
  (3:49 PM)

There ya go. Lots of good Big East games coming up, too many to mention. Tranghese made it a priority

craig south bend indiana

i know notre dame has a pretty easy schedule until later on in the schedule,how do you think the irish will prevail?what is gonna take for them to be ranked?

Brian Bennett
  (3:50 PM)

I don't think they've been impressive enough to be ranked, but if they keep winning they're going to find themselves in a nice bowl. Possibly the Gator, taking a Big East spot. Something to keep an eye on.

Kyle Tallahassee,FL

Is the ACC better than the SEC

Brian Bennett
  (3:50 PM)

In hoops, maybe.

MJN in Boston

Considering UConn will have half its season behind it by Sunday morning, its not too early to be looking at the bowl configuration. I understand Notre Dame travels well and gets decent ratings, but why does everyone slot them into the Gator Bowl merely as a result of possibly going 6-6. Would the Gator Bowl really want ND over a potentially 10-2 UConn or 9-3 WVU or whoever the Big East runner-up ends up being?

Brian Bennett
  (3:51 PM)

Butts in seats. Any bowl will jump at getting the ND fan base. It was a bad deal the Big East agreed to when it came to the Gator Bowl, but the league was not in a position of strength at the time because it had just been raided.

CJ (new jersey)

I think every Rutgers fan is disgusted in their play right now, cuz i know i am. Realisticly, can you see a turn around in the future or are my eyes flowing like the Mighty Raritan for the remainder of the season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:52 PM)

I think they will play better. The losses to Fresno, UNC and Navy look slightly better now that UNC has beaten Miami and Navy beat Wake. Still, there are a lot of problems on this team and their schedule is tough. 5-7 would be a good bounceback

Greg (Tampa, Fl)

Who from the Big East, in your opinion, is ranked come end of the season and where?

Brian Bennett
  (3:53 PM)

I think USF ends up in the top 10, UConn in the teens or early 20s and WVU sneaks back in somewhere.

Mike (Storrs)

At this point in the session what is the biggest game left in the big east

Brian Bennett
  (3:54 PM)

Right now, today, it's UConn at USF, Nov. 23. That could change if one or both fall off beforeheand

Keith (Rockwood, TN)

do you think Greg Schiano will be the next coach at Tennessee?

Brian Bennett
  (3:55 PM)

Maybe he and Fulmer could switch

Alex ( Litchfield CT)

From your point of view, who are the top 3-5 RBs in college football this season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:56 PM)

Ringer, Brown, Moreno would be my top 3 right now. I'm sure I'd forget someone if I tried to go deeper off the top of my head

TD (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Do you think it will take WVU beating Auburn for them to be back in the Top 25? Also, when do you think WVU will start getting the love concerning our defense?

Brian Bennett
  (3:57 PM)

if they do that, then yeah I'd think they'd be back in at 5-2. And they have to shut someone down who's more impressive than Colorado or Marshall on offense. Rutgers and Syracuse next up, so no dice

Brian Bennett
  (3:57 PM)

OK, my time is up. Thanks for all the good questions. See you next week at the same time.