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October 24, 12:43 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (3:00 PM)

Good afternoon, everybody. Let's talk some football

peter (new york, ny)

Brian - I think it's always a shame when you see a gifted athlete like Pat White who has been the face of WVU (and possibly Big East) football for the past four years not get a shot at playing in the NFL. Clearly he will not be recruited as a quarterback, but do you think there is a chance that any team will be impressed enough by his athleticism to draft him as a WR, return man or something else?

Brian Bennett
  (3:02 PM)

White will get a chance, for sure. I think he will end up at receiver, and maybe could be used in some Slash kind of ways, sort of like Randle El or Kordell Stewart. He needs to latch on with a creative coaching staff, however.

Justin York, Pa

Who needs the win more this weekend Pitt or Notre Dame? Should Pitt run more to keep Notre Dames offense off the field can that be the difference in the game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:02 PM)

I say Pitt. Notre Dame is going to get to a good bowl game just on name recognition alone, and they're really building for next year. Pitt needs to get back on track after Saturday's ugly loss

Ed New Brunswick, NJ

I am a huge RU fan, and I am interested in your thoughts on RU Louisville. Assuming they finish with the identical record who goes bowling. RU has shown they can bring fans, but I am not at all sure about L'ville.

Brian Bennett
  (3:03 PM)

Well, if they both have identical records, I think a lot will ride on their showdown in the final game. It would be hard to take the loser over the winner after they just beat them head-to-head. Also depends on the game. would be more interested in Louisville, and International would want RU more.

Washington D.C,- WVU Fan

What will happen if none of the BE teams make it to the Top 25? How likely is that?

Brian Bennett
  (3:04 PM)

Nothing will happen, though it would lower the Big East's overall standing for future BCS evaluation. But I think the league champ will end up in the top 25.

Dave (Austin)

Brian, how does it feel to have an easy beat with the Big East so weak?

Brian Bennett
  (3:05 PM)

Easy? Dave, I welcome you to try and come up with power rankings and predictions and figure out this league from week to week.

Matt (Syracuse)

Hi Brian, it's obvious Syracuse will be looking for a new coach at season's end. Now that Ty Willingham is leaving Washington, would he be a good fit here with the Orange?

Brian Bennett
  (3:05 PM)

Sheesh. I wouldn't want to go there, Matt. Think Syracuse fans would be excited for a guy who's basically been run out of town his last two stops?

Chris (Wallingford, CT)

Since predictions have been rendered obsolete this year, I'll try something different. How do you think a team like UConn would fare in the Big 10 this year? I know it's a down year in the Big East, but I only have Penn St and Ohio St as the only 2 teams in the league that are CLEARLY better than the Huskies. Not saying they're better than Mich St, Minnesota, or even Illinois, but I think they'd compete fairly well against them. I'd have them anywhere from 4th to 7th in the league. In other words, middle of the pack. Big 10's rep has taken a big hit over the last couple years, but I still think it's a better league top to bottom.

Brian Bennett
  (3:06 PM)

Middle of the pack sounds about right. They're clearly a notch below OSU and Penn State, and probably Michigan State. i think they could compete with just about everyone else and win their fair share.

Doug (Cincinnati)

I know the passing game is the bread and butter of Brian Kelly's offense, but with all the injuries to his QBs this year, wouldn't you think he could rely more on the running game? At least more than the 7 attempts UC had against UConn?

Brian Bennett
  (3:07 PM)

I thought they should have run the ball more against UConn. Clearly it wasn't the game plan going in, and the injury to Pike threw the coaching staff off. But the offense also has been killing itself with penalties and getting into long third downs, where it's hard to run

Corey (michigan)

Brian, it's clear Notre Dame has great young talent. Do you envision them being legit national championship contenders next season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:08 PM)

I'm not sold on them being national title contenders next year, but I do think a BCS game is firmly within their grasp in 2009

Dan (NY)

Does Penn State have to worry about Texas Tech jumping them in the bcs standings if they beat Texas this weekend?

Chris (Louisville, KY)

Brian, I hate to type an oxymoron, however, what do you think is Syracuse's best offensive weapon? As a Louisville fan, I only really have heard about Brinkley, and the Cardinal's run defense has been amazing this year. If Ron English's D stops #22, are there any other offensive weapons at WR/TE that can actually give UofL a run for their money on Saturday? How has their QB been looking?

Brian Bennett
  (3:10 PM)

Penn State won't have to worry about that this week. Tech's SOS rankings are too low. It might happen eventually, though, if Tech were to win out

Brian Bennett
  (3:11 PM)

Syracuse's best weapon, such as it is, is clearly the running game with Brinkley. Cam Dantley has been inconsistent lately, and Greg Robinson nearly pulled him last week. The receiving corps is young and not much of a factor


Hey Brian, I gurantee you wont post this message. Why do BE homers not want to admit USF is Overrated? They lost to Pitt who lost to Rutgers and have no quality wins now that Kansas is no longer ranked.

Brian Bennett
  (3:12 PM)

You were wrong, Joshua. I didn't think South Florida belonged in the Top 25 this week, and I did not vote them there

Brent (Dallas, TX)

How do you think SEC/Big 10's so called All-World defenses would do if they played teams like TTU, UT, OU, OSU and Mizzou every week? Or 4 week gauntlets like Tech and UT have?

Brian Bennett
  (3:13 PM)

And how would the SEC offenses do against the Big 12 defenses? I think the truth is somewhere in between. Offenses are terrific, especially at quarterback in the Big 12, but defenses are lousy. The SEC has many stodgy, uncreative offenses that make its defenses look better

Kris, PA

Matt, what do you think about Noel Devine's pro potential? There have no doubt been some highly successful, diminutive scat backs in the NFL. He seems to have good vision and great speed. What do you see in his future? Will he leave early, and will he be an actual running back, or kick returner?

Brian Bennett
  (3:14 PM)

I have a hard time seeing him leave early. He could be a Sproles type, return kicks and be a third down back Definitely not an every-down guy, in my opinion anyway


B Squared, what do you think about west virginia running the table and winning the big east?

Brian Bennett
  (3:15 PM)

I still think they lose one, maybe two. At Pitt and at Louisville are possibilities, if not this weekend.

Tom (Athens, GA)

Brian, please explain something to me. Why is it that the a rivalry game with a violent connotation (Red River Shoot-out) is allowed to be used, but one with a merry-making connotation (World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party) is deemed too risque?

Brian Bennett
  (3:16 PM)

It's up to the parties involved. Georgia and Florida officials don't want the alcohol connotations. They seem to be a little more lenient toward guns out west

Will (Brooklyn)

Since Pitt's problems were (reportedly, I didn't see the game) with Rutger's play action passing last weekend, do you think Pitt will struggle with ND's passing game? They did well against USF's spread passing game.

Brian Bennett
  (3:18 PM)

They need to get more pressure on the QB, because their cover guys just aren't that great. And they gameplanned too much for the run against Rutgers. I don't think that will be as big an issue this weekend


To answer Tom's question, they don't call it the Red River Shootout any more, now it's just the Red River Rivalry, but I'll still drink to that!

Marty (Alkol, WV)

Two questions. First, does Notre Dame's outcome against Pitt and Syracuse have any effect of who the Gator Bowl chooses in regards to the #2 B.E. team or ND? And what BCS bowl do you see the Big East getting and who would their opponent be?

Brian Bennett
  (3:20 PM)

I'm going to have a story about this later in the week, but here are two key things to remember: Notre Dame has to not be more than two wins worse than the No. 2 Big East team in order to take its spot in the Gator or Sun. So a 7-5 ND could not leapfrog, say, a 9-3 Pitt. And the Cotton Bowl could also take ND. Right now, I'd say the Big East goes to the Orange against the ACC, but it's a long way off

Chuck, Harrisburg PA

What would it take to get Notre Dame into the Big East Conference? Can the Big East give them an ultimatum, either join the Big East in football or your kicked out of Big East Basketball? If their all about business, lets play hard ball!

Brian Bennett
  (3:21 PM)

Um, how about $100 million? Seriously, there's nothing to gain for ND to join the Big East in football, and the Irish bring a lot to the table in basketball and other sports because of their exposure

J (Blacksburg VA)

If you could take one player from any team in the Big East to build a team around, who would it be and why?

Brian Bennett
  (3:22 PM)

Give me LeSean McCoy, and I think I'd be pretty happy. Assuming he stays another year.

Suzanne (Miami, FL)

Who do you see going to the NC game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:23 PM)

I've still got the Big 12 champs vs. the SEC champs, so right now give me Texas vs. Florida. (I picked the Gators in the preseason and am sticking with it)

Jay from Storrs, CT

Clearly, I'm UConn fan/student, and my question today relates to the team. The QB problems have been well noted, but given that none of them have eye-catching numbers, and given that a win against WVU would clearly give the team the upper-hand in the Big East, for now, which QB, Frazer or Endres, should be given the start on Saturday? Also, it's nice to see you finally make it up to the Rent.

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

To me, it's about health. If Frazer is even the least bit still dealing with concussion issues, you have to sit him. I like him over Endres, all other things being equal. Endres may make fewer mistakes, but Frazer can make more plays.

Mike (DC)

Are you saying 1-loss Florida jumps unbeaten PSU, or do you think PSU loses a game still?

Brian Bennett
  (3:26 PM)

I do think Penn State is going to lose. It's going to be interesting to hear the arguments of 1-loss teams from the Big 12 or SEC against the Big Ten is the Nittany Lions are 12-0 though. That will get ugly

Jacob (Tuscaloosa, AL)

How do you like Alabama's chances against LSU next week and than Florida/UGA in the SEC championship?

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

I like Alabama against LSU, but I see a loss coming somewhere. They're just so thin that an injury or two could be the difference. Though I was very impressed how they played without Cody

Alex (Birmingham)

I have to take issue with your response to "which player you would build a team around", especially when their is one guy in the history of the Big East that has led his team to 3 consecutive 11 win seasons. Now appologize to Mr White.

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

Well, I took the question to mean in the future, and White is a senior. That was my reasoning.

Mitch (Merrick, NY)

The AD at Syracuse seems to be asleep at the wheel. While schools such as Washington can now openly begin the recruitment of a new coach, AD Gross lets the debacle continue. Any new rumors concerning candidates for the Suracuse coaching position? Lane Kiffinwas mentioned previously, but Washington may gobble him up before Syracuse wakes up.

Brian Bennett
  (3:28 PM)

Well, he can't be accused of being the most impatient AD at least. Keep an eye on this after Saturday. If the 'Cuse loses to Louisville, I think he pulls the trigger by Monday.

John (Canyon, TX)

If Texas loses to Texas Tech this weekend, does that take them out of the BCS championship game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:29 PM)

Not necessarily. They'd still own the tiebreaker with Oklahoma, and Tech would have to get through unscathed.

ben, morgantown WV

given the overall mediocrity of the league, does it seem that home field advantage is even more important than usual this year?

Brian Bennett
  (3:30 PM)

It didn't help Pitt much this weekend. Or USF against Pitt. No, I think the teams are just so even that anything can happen week to week.

steve (SoCal)

why were you so IMPRESSED that Alabama beat a TERRIBLE Tenn team? .....I don't get that!

Brian Bennett
  (3:30 PM)

Wasn't the what but the how.


Does UConn have a shot at winning vs WVU? (Percent Wise?)

Brian Bennett
  (3:31 PM)

Sure they have a shot. But they haven't beaten West Virginia or really come all that close since joining the league. This is a litmus test game for the program. But this Mountaineers outfit is far from unbeatable

Dan (Piscataway, NJ)

Does Kenny Britt leave for the NFL after this season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

I haven't asked him directly, but I am hoping to talk to him this week. I think it's a real possibility. He's got the size and speed.

Nathaniel (Tampa, FL)

how long until usf plays up to their potential? they have the talent, you just don't know which team will show up!!

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

Agreed. It's been a consistent pattern for a few years now. They're in every game, but they let teams hang around most of the time too. It's now or never this Thursday at Cincy.

Steve (Los Angeles)

Brian, I know he has the AD and Chancellor's backing, but should (not will) Dave Wannstedt still be leading as head coach in 2 years?

Brian Bennett
  (3:33 PM)

Depends on what happens this year. He can't afford another collapse like 2006. He needs to get this team to a bowl and build on it, or the fans will turn on him.

Rob (Baltimore)

and who do you have Penn State losing to?

Brian Bennett
  (3:34 PM)

I think we've seen the last two years that a loss can come from anywhere. Just a hunch, but the game at Iowa looks tricky.

Chuck, WV

Brian, do you think Syracuse will ever recover to the point that it resembles its old self? For most of my life, 'Cuse was a fixture in the top 25. They're one of only 2 Big East teams that have ever won a national title. (Pitt being the other.) A lot of the beating that the Big East takes would probably go away if its best historical team were to start playing ball again. Will the Orange get back to their winning ways? Thanks!

Brian Bennett
  (3:37 PM)

The next coaching hire is crucial. Tradition starts to lose its impact on 18 year olds with short memories, and two botched coaching hires could do serious harm. The right guy could turn it around, but make no mistake: this is a major rebuilding effort.

Eric (Cincy)

Did Brian Kelly's value as a hot coaching prospect go down with a loss at UConn where he looked outcoached by Edsall.

Brian Bennett
  (3:37 PM)

Heck no. It was one game. The guy is 16-5 and has had to go through four QBs this year. He didn't forget how to coach in one week.

Jason (East Hampton, CT)

Do you think within a three or four year period, Uconn going to the National Championship?

Brian Bennett
  (3:38 PM)

In basketball, sure. Jim Calhoun is a great coach. That's what you meant, right?


We BCS anarchists would love to see undefeated PSU get shut out, Watch USC, Oklahoma, Alabama all watching. Maybe that would help the Pac10 and Big10 reconsider playoffs.

Brian Bennett
  (3:39 PM)

Make sure you read Forde's dash today, then, as he relishes the doomsday scenarios. I also enjoy the chaos, because it's fun to watch people lose their minds.

Greg (Tampa, Fl)

Now USF losing to UofL is not that big of a shock to anyone, no less a disappointment, but not a huge shock. What does this do for UofL and how badly does it hurt USF

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

It all but eliminates USF from its first league title or BCS game unless everything breaks absolutely in the Bulls' favor. And I think pollsters are going to be gunshy about ranking USF highly again soon. As for the Cardinals, it builds a lot of confidence and probably boosts them into a bowl game.

Michael (Orlando)

Florida State @ Georgia Tech. Who do you like?

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

I like the way FSU is playing, but I've got to say I haven't watched a lot of ACC this year. Covering one mediocre league is enough.

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

Just kidding, people.

Alex (Los Angelas, CA)

USC's defense held an oregon team averageing well over 40 points per game to 10, arizona state, to 0, washington state to 0... and if it were not for the USC offense giving the ball to arizona inside USCs 30 yard line two times, the arizona team averaging 40 points per game would not have scored 10 points. Once their offense clicks when Sanchez matures, who do you think can stop them?

Brian Bennett
  (3:41 PM)

Oregon State. Sorry, that was just too easy.

Santiago: Havana, Cuba

Do you think Cincy still has a shot at the Big East title?

Brian Bennett
  (3:42 PM)

It's going to be tough. They've still got hard games left against USF, Pitt, WVU and Louisville. And I think the QB situation will be too much to overcome in league play.

Jamie, Hartford CT

Any chance Donald Brown leaves after this year, or do you think he will be back?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

Again, I can't tell you exactly what he's thinking or what he will be thinking come January or February. But he seems like a four-year guy to me (although he is a fourth-year junior and could already have his degree by then). Running backs don't get drafted as highly as they used to, either

Ronnie, MD

Brian.. Who has the best Offense in college football? On that note, what do you think the outcome of Saturday's game in Lubbock will be?

Brian Bennett
  (3:44 PM)

That's interesting. I think whoever wins Saturday might just get that title. Oklahoma's not bad either.

Rob (Cincy)

Do you think that Mark Dantonio's new would beat his old team. How would MSU fare in the Big East in general? I know that beat Pitt 2 years is a row.

Brian Bennett
  (3:46 PM)

They'd probably be right in the mix, probably finish around 5-2 like I think the eventual champ will.

Shawn (Hollidaysburg, PA)

In your opinion, was the offensive performance for WVU vs Auburn a fluke or a sign that they have legitimately turned a corner?

Brian Bennett
  (3:47 PM)

I want to see it twice in a row, especially knowing what we do about how bad Auburn is in the second half this year. But the most encouraging thing to me was how the O-line performed and opened up those holes for Devine. If that continues, look out.

Logan (Fort Wayne,IN)

How much chance do you give Ball State to make the BCS

Brian Bennett
  (3:48 PM)

Almost none, sadly. They're squarely behind TCU/Utah and Boise in the pecking order


Brian, If the Big East expands what teams do they look at?

Brian Bennett
  (3:48 PM)

It's not going to happen for a while. Expansion isn't even on the league's radar right now

Corey (Storrs, CT)

Since they have to give out an award, who is the Big East coach of the year thus far?

Brian Bennett
  (3:49 PM)

I wouldn't have said this a week ago or remotely guessed it a month ago, but right now, today: Steve Kragthorpe

Alex (Los Angeles, CA)

I doubt you will respond to this, as your last response was lacking in substance and you clearly dislike USC. Nevertheless, do all analysts just look at scoreboard, 27-21, or will it be factored in at the end of the season that this loss was the first pac 10 road game for USC, it was a young team that needed time to mature, an oregon state team who is very strong at home, and that clearly their defense has responded and changed so as to be able to have no trouble dealing with any offense? Would 2 or 3 more shutouts this season impress voters enough to push USC past a 1 loss Florida team against Texas or Penn State?

Brian Bennett
  (3:50 PM)

I don't dislike USC, Alex. Just a little joke. Here's the problem: Your schedule in conference won't match up to the SEC or Big 12, at least in voters' minds. You're going to need Penn State to lose and either the Big 12 or SEC champ to have two losses to get a shot, in my opinion.

John: (Cincinnati, OH)

Brian if you lived in Cincinnati who would you rather watch. UC or the Bengals? Might I add both serve beer at the games.

Brian Bennett
  (3:51 PM)

Absolutely no question it's the Bearcats. Give me a team with heart and passion and character any day over what's being put out at Paul Brown. Plus, I love Nippert Stadium. I'll be there Thursday night.

John (Boerne, TX)

Brian, do you think the Big East deserves its auto-BCS spot this year?

Brian Bennett
  (3:52 PM)

Yes, I do. The league has proven itself in BCS games. Until that changes, no discussion is warranted.

Peter (Quahog, RI)

Is there any chance that Temple, Georgetown, and/or Villanova joining the Big East Conference in football?

Brian Bennett
  (3:54 PM)

Not Temple. They got kicked out once. The Big East would love for Georgetown or Villanova to solve their problems by going FBS. The problem is Villanova doesn't have a stadium and Georgetown doesn't have much interest in the leap

Paul (Sacramento)

Who do you think would be a great fit for the Washington job? Really, how atractive is this University program?

Brian Bennett
  (3:54 PM)

I think Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach are two good candidates, off the top of my head.

Big John, WV

You mean WVU has proven itself in BCS games...

Brian Bennett
  (3:55 PM)

Louisville won one too. That makes 3-0 for the Big East since 2005

steve (iowa)

Who wins florida or Georgia?

Brian Bennett
  (3:55 PM)

Can't wait to see it. I'll go with Florida, in revenge for the end-zone celebration

Randy E (storrs,ct0

Who do you like for the game saturday, Uconn or WVU, and will the winner eventually win the big east. Also do you think pat white will be as big as a factor this year as he was last year versus the huskies.

Brian Bennett
  (3:56 PM)

My official prediction will come Thursday, but I am leaning toward WVU. Pat White is always a huge factor. UConn has to win in order to win the league. 'Eers could lose and still recover.

Hooch, CT

Do you think having played against the young Baylor QB earlier this year can help Uconn gameplan against Pat White and WVU?

Brian Bennett
  (3:57 PM)

A little bit, but Baylor and Griffin put up a lot of yards

Josh, Farmington CT

Brian, what do you think is the single most important thing that must happen in order for UConn to win on Saturday? And please don't cop out and say the turnover battle. Also, can we expect you in Halloween costume at the Rent this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (3:58 PM)

UConn's defense simply has to slow down WVU (66 points last year) and the Huskies can't win a shootout.

CJ (State College, PA)

Is the constant maligning of the Big Ten's BCS performance justified? Why did we never hear this kind of complaining when the Big XII repeatedly threw up overrated and outmatched teams to to the title game? (Neb '01, Sooners '03, '04) Why wasn't this held against UT on their title run in 2005?

Brian Bennett
  (3:59 PM)

Well, I do think people got sick of Oklahoma, just the way they are sick of Ohio State. It's more the disgust at seeing the same team fail, in my opinion. I'd be happy to see what Penn State could do because it has a more dynamic offense.

Charlie (Gainesville, FL)

I know the BCS will "work itself out," But what if the impossible happens and there is an undefeated team from the Big 10, Big 12 and SEC? Someone gets left out and I'm almost certain it's gonna be the Big 10 b/c of their schedule. Do you think we need to stay with the current BCS formula or go with a playoff system?

Brian Bennett
  (4:01 PM)

It would definitely be the Big Ten in that scenario. I'm in favor of a plus-one system; that is, basically a four-team playoff using the current BCS alignment. That would solve most problems, while still keeping the regular season sacrosanct

Ahmad (NYC)

I have been following the Big East for years, and I must say the guy that gets no love is WVU's Defensive Coordinator Jeff Casteel. Please give him some love for me.

Brian Bennett
  (4:01 PM)

Good call. I gave him some love in the blog last week. One of the most underappreciated coordinators around. What's he's done with 8 new starters this year has been impressive.

Brie (Orlando, FL)

Why is it that ESPN analyists always seem more inclined to answer questions from guys more than girls? It's ridiculous that I'll ask a question that's phrased coherently and succinctly and it's passed up for the exact same question from a guy who can't put two words together! Do I have to act like the rest of these immature boys and insult you to get a question posted?

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

Didn't notice any questions from you until just now, Brie, but I've gotten over 400. I'm an equal-opportunity answerer

Sameul (NYC)

Brian, what's with all the Big East haters on today? Our conference has something to offer week in and out!

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

It's not today. It's every day. That's just life in the Big East

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

OK, I've had so much fun that I've gone over my time. Good questions today. Have fun and good luck to your teams this weekend.