Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 6, 11:34 AM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (3:03 PM)

OK, guys. Sorry I'm a couple minutes late. Let's talk some college football.

Ryan (NJ)

Ok Brian, Your the athletic director at WVU...are you starting a possible contigency plan for a new coach yet? It seems like other top programs don't hesitate to get rid of inneffective coaches. It is me or are some of Stewart's quotes just plain confusing.

Brian Bennett
  (3:04 PM)

I think any good athletic director always has candidates in mind so he can be ready to go at a moment's notice. That said, I don't think Stewart deserves to be fired after only 10 games (and going 7-3)

Dave(Pittsburgh)

Brian, who benifits more from this bye week leading into a tough final 3 games of the BE schedule, WVU or PITT?

Brian Bennett
  (3:06 PM)

I think Pitt, and here's why: They have to go to Cincinnati and then play WVU. Cincy could be exhausted after playing four game since 21 days and some emotional ones against South Florida, WVU and Louisville in a rivalry game. Pitt also had it (relatively) easy in Saturday's 41-7 win over the Cardinals.

Phil, Franklin Lakes, NJ

What in the world is Kragthorpe trying to do by jerking Cantwell for Simms? Isn't he tring to get to a bowl game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:07 PM)

Inexplicable move by a coach who may have just panicked. How is Simms going to give the team a spark when he's never played before? Cantwell wasn't playing that badly. His receivers weren't helping him out much

Brian Bennett
  (3:09 PM)

With apologies to Mark, I think Utah's wins are much better than Pitts. The Utes beat Oregon State and TCU, while the Panthers' best wins have been Iowa, South Florida and Notre Dame. And they lost to Bowling Green. At home. A 5-5 Bowling Green

Menu (Chicago, IL)

Hi Brian, Nice job with the blog. I think I am just getting ahead of myself but I think this is an imp ques. With all the troubles BEAST is having this year, do you think the next year will be any better? Are the big east teams bringing in more talent next year than they are losing this year with the recruiting rankings having only Rutgers is in the top 10 followed by Pitt and Cincy ranked in the top 40? Pat White was a sort of BEAST ambassador and has represented this conference brilliantly. Who do you think has the chance to replace him as a representative of the BEAST? Any NFL Draft Day 1 picks from the BEAST?

Brian Bennett
  (3:10 PM)

A lot of people feel the Big East could be much better next year. Pitt could be really good. Rutgers should improve. South Florida, well, will they get their heads on straight? If LeSean McCoy stays, he's the face of the conference. As far as day one picks this year, look for Selvie if he goes, maybe Darius Butler if he's healthy as first or second rounders

Corey (michigan)

Honestly, what is wrong with Notre Dame? It's confusing. They have great young talent, but something is just plain missing.

Brian Bennett
  (3:11 PM)

Can't be the genius coaching, can it?

Joe Paterno (State College, PA)

Is it time for me to step down? My team has a horrible road record over the past 5 years, and I think that's due to my conservative play-calling away from Beaver Stadium. Perhaps I should take my offensive coaches with me? I mean, the Spread HD has turned into a Huge Dud. I can turn the keys over to Tom Bradley.

Brian Bennett
  (3:12 PM)

Wow. Lose one game in a season and people turn on you, JoePa

Gabe (Miami, Florida)

Miami has won 4 straight. Do you think they can win out and win the ACC?

Brian Bennett
  (3:12 PM)

Heck, I have a hard enough time figuring out the Big East, and the ACC is even more of a jumbled mess. I like FSU and North Carolina the best in that league

Sean Atlanta, Georgia

Brian- This past weekend I watched the Bearcats narrowly escape one of the greatest meltdowns in college football this year against West Virginia. I have been told I am a bit of a pessimist (I prefer the term realist), but as my fellow UC supporters were chanting "BCS!" with a little more than a minute to play and an 11 point lead I was the one telling anyone that would listen: "This game is not over." Those who follow BE football are probably aware of the disater/ miracle that ensued, with the Bearcats eventully winning in OT. What is your opinion on UC's chances of avoiding another collapse down the stretch in what I consider three losable conference games?

Brian Bennett
  (3:14 PM)

I think the ending was kind of fluky, especially since Cincinnati took the safety instead of punting and then WVU got an onsides kick. What I'd be worried about is the second-half offensive production, which has been bad of late. Bearcats had one first down in the second half Saturday. That's not good. Do they get a little too conservative after halftime? Not sure, but it needs to improve if they're going to win this thing.

Steve (SLC)

Brian....tell me there is no way Utah will have to play Pitt again in the BCS. I still have nightmares of how good our '04 team was and we had to play a very overrated Big East champion that proved nothing about how good we really were.

Brian Bennett
  (3:15 PM)

I don't think it will happen, because I see the Utes in the Fiesta and Pitt in the Orange if it wins the Big East. But this year's Pitt is much better than that one, in my opinion. And this Utah team isn't as good as '04.

Alec (Cincinnati)

Should I bring an orange or a sugar packet to the Cincinnati/ Pittsburgh game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:15 PM)

Sure, if you're worried about scurvy

Rhett , Austin, TX

I don't get why everyone thinks OU will jump Texas. We beat them at a nuetral fiel, while we lost to Tech on the road at night, and if OU beats Tech they will have home field advantage.As Vegas says playing at home you have a 4 point advantage. Also there isn't another team in the country that has gone through a four game stretch like we did. We should get some respect there having to play those games with no break in between like Tech and OU are getting this weekend to get healthy. What are your thoughts.

Brian Bennett
  (3:17 PM)

I don't think Oklahoma should jump Texas in the polls if the only difference is they beat Tech. I think pollsters will reward Texas for beating the Sooners. It's the computers I'd worry about.

Jason Tampa

Do you think the Big East championship will still be decided the day after Thanksgiving? Or are you taking Cincy to win out?

Brian Bennett
  (3:17 PM)

I've been saying all along that 5-2 will win it, which means Pitt and Cincy each have another loss and we're looking at a tiebreaker situation

Brain Kelly(Cincy, OH)

Do you think it is a good idea for me to stay next year with cincy even though I am losing 10 seniors on defense? Will I be able to bring in more talent now since I have beaten West virginia?

Brian Bennett
  (3:19 PM)

One thing we don't know for sure about you is your recruiting ability. You've brought in some nicely rated players, but it's all about how they develop and perform. If you're looking to jump to a bigtime job, the time might never be better than this year. if you're happy in Cincinnati, then stay.

Justin York, Pa

Why am I not hearing about Scott Mckillop in sny draft talks for the NFL is he not the best Linebacker out there. I know Lorenzen is but who else might be better then Scott?

Brian Bennett
  (3:20 PM)

McKillop's a wonderful college players, but he's not going to blow NFL scouts away with his "measurables." He'll get a chance, though.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Brian in regards to Rhett question. When the coaches ar forced to reveal ther vote at the end of the year could that make some of the coaches put Texas back in front of USC, Oklahoma and Florida?

Brian Bennett
  (3:21 PM)

That's going to be awfully interesting, especially if Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma end up tied and have to go to the BCS standings for the tiebreaker. Then coaches in their own league will have to vote for one of those and possibly decide the league's BCS title rep. Think that would cause a bit of controversy?

The Stache(Pittsburgh,PA)

This being my 4th year, finally a winning season and bowl bid, and my first recruiting class doing what I've been telling everyone for some time now; is my job finally something I don't need to worry in years to come?

Brian Bennett
  (3:22 PM)

It's college football. No job is ever safe more than a season or two. Ask Phil Fulmer or Tommy Bowden.

Mike R (Somerset, NJ)

What do you think the percentage chance Rutgers wins the rest of their games this season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:23 PM)

I like them to beat Army and Louisville at home. So it really comes down to this week's game against a struggling South Florida. I'm leaning toward Rutgers. So let's say 55 percent

Billy(Mobile)

So you think FSU is the best of the ACC, why dont they get more love throughout the country, as they are ranked behind TCU, Ball St, etc, teams who couldnt win the ACC likely?

Brian Bennett
  (3:24 PM)

Because the ACC stinks and they haven't beaten anybody

Bill Stewart (hiding in my office)

Should I just tell Pat Mcafee to kick the ball out of bounds since at least my D coordinator knows how to do his job?

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

Couldn't be any worse. Found it interesting that Mardy Gilyard was talking after the game about how he watched West Virginia's kickoff team on film and couldn't understand why in the world they ran such bad schemes.

Rob: Richmond VA

you think the ACC is worse than the Big East.... ha ha.. funny....

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

When did I say that?

mike (ct)

Who starts at qb for uconn this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (3:26 PM)

Just caught a snippet of Edsall's press conference this afternoon and will have more later, but he said Endres or Frazer. Lorenzen is not ready, it appears

Dave(Pittsburgh)

Ok, so the Backyard Brawl is coming upon us soon. Which brings up the question, best college football rivalry?

Brian Bennett
  (3:26 PM)

Auburn-Alabama

Billy (mobile)

ok the ACC stinks and your focus is on the Big Least?

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

Big East, Pac-10 and Big Ten have all stunk to some degree

Kyle (Chicago)

I was thinking about how the ?Bracket Buster? setup in NCAA basketball has helped teams gain national attention and help boost them into the tournament. Could something similar be set up in football where a certain number of teams that are expected to be good from non-BCS conferences and BCS conferences alike have an ?open? date on their schedule in early November. In mid-October all of those teams are assigned a game against another team in the pool based on how they are doing at that point in the season. Some of the games could be held at neutral sites (such as the Illinois vs WMU game last weekend at Ford Field). This would help non-B CS teams be assured of at least one game to use as a measuring stick. Probably not feasible, but trying to think outside the box?.

Brian Bennett
  (3:29 PM)

You'd never get BCS schools to agree to that. Maybe the top non-BCS schools could play each other, which would be more like the mid-major vs. mid-major Bracket Buster. Problem is, in football, pollsters seem to give non-BCS schools no credit for beating another non-BCS school and only punish them for losing.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Brian has the Pitt defensive line morphed into the most feared overall unit in the Big East the past few weeks? They have two legitimate pass rush specialists in Sheard and Romeus and two disruptive tackles in Mick Williams and Rashaad Duncan.

Brian Bennett
  (3:30 PM)

It's been pretty good for a while, but they should have gotten a better rush on Mike Teel.

Ty (Frisco, Texas)

What do you think of Texas Tech and their chances of running the table and going to the National Championship?

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

Pretty simple, really. Beat OU in Norman. I think the Sooners are 60-2 there under Stoops, so good luck with that

Dee Tuscaloosa Al.

Where do you see Alabama ending up?

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

I like Florida to beat them in the SEC title game, and then Bama gets an at-large to the Sugar Bowl

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

The Pitt beat writer laid out a scenario the other day in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette where 5 Big East teams could finish 5-2 and cause serious havoc because the league by-laws only have tiebreakers for a 4 way tie. What would happen in this highly unlike scenario?

Brian Bennett
  (3:34 PM)

See my mailbag from earlier today. Teams are placed in a mini-conference, and the one who has the best record versus that group goes. Next tiebreaker is BCS standing. Next is head to head.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Brian with the Big East, Pac 10 and Big 10 bing down and the ACC Not having a team in the top 10. That makes up 4 teams of an 8 team playoff if you were to give automatic bids to Confrence champs. That leaves Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Alabama fighting over the final four spots. It looks like a play-off would not fix anything.

Brian Bennett
  (3:35 PM)

Well, I'm not in favor of an 8-team playoff. I like the plus-one model, which is basically a Final Four for football. Gotta win your conference to get in. That's a must.

Carl (Pittsburgh)

What do you think the chances are of Pitt reaching a BCS bowl and embarrassing the Big East again?

Brian Bennett
  (3:36 PM)

I do not think Pitt would embarrass itself, unless it got an unfavorable matchup against a team like Florida or Oklahoma. It could certainly compete and/or beat any ACC champ

Tran (Providence, RI)

If you were the Big East Commissioner, which teams would you poach from other conferences and which teams would you drop to make it into a 12-team basketball/football conference (precluding Notre Dame)?

Brian Bennett
  (3:38 PM)

I really don't see any teams right now that fit in the Big East football alignment that aren't already taken. The team that is a natural fit is Boston College, which still makes no sense to me in the ACC.

Steve (Cincy, Oh)

Who would have a better shot against an oklahoma or florida, Pitt or Cincy?

Brian Bennett
  (3:39 PM)

Neither. Just not a fair fight this year. Sorry.

Joey (Mahwah, NJ)

You say 5-2 will win the conference, and you say Rutgers has a 55 chance of going undefeated in their last 3 games, which would leave them at 5-2 in conference. What happens then?

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

Crazy tiebreaker time, as I mentioned earlier. Rutgers will have a hard time overcoming the losses to WVU and Cincy in that scenario and certainly would not be the highest ranked BCS team

Ted (Hartford, CT)

Any idea why Temple was kicked out of the Big east in the first place? It seems they are starting to rebuild their football program and at least could have been a football and basekteball school and supplied a market in the Philly area?

Brian Bennett
  (3:41 PM)

Because they were awful and didn't seem committed to winning. They have gotten a little better, but they're still 3-6 this year. Long way to go.

Patrick (Mobile, AL)

Brian, I know this isnt a Big East question, but I heard on CFB live yesterday that Charley Weis' buyout is something like $2-$3 million a year for every year left on his contract (7 years). What genius came up with that idea? It would cost them $14-$21 million to get rid of a coach that isnt worth $1.5 mill a year. Your thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (3:42 PM)

Same genius who gave Weis a 10-year contract after he'd accomplished almost nothing.

Rick (Lancaster,Pa)

I see next year being a fight between Pitt and Rutgers, what do you think?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

Rutgers will need a QB and will lose Underwood and maybe Britt. They'll be young. Pitt will have tons of experience, especially if McCoy comes back. Wouldn't count out USF or WVU either

Charlie (Gainesville, FL)

I just read the Dash's article and I'm a little upset that he thinks Texas has an advantage over FLA. Lets be realistic. Do you really think UT would beat UF if they were to meet up down the road this season?

Brian Bennett
  (3:44 PM)

I think it would be a fantastic game. I don't speak for Pat, but I assume he meant Texas has the better resume. That's undeniable

Taylor (Detroit, MI)

so Brian, how good are Ohio states chances to reach a bcs bowl game this season assuming they win their remaining 2 games

Brian Bennett
  (3:45 PM)

Very good. You'll need to root for Oregon State to lose so the Pac-10 doesn't get two and hope the pollsters don't decide this is the year for two non-BCS teams. That happens, and you're a lock.

Joe (WV)

Do you think WVU has the best defense if the Big East? I know they give up more yards than others, but they give up the fewest points, which in my opinion is the most important. Your opinion?

Brian Bennett
  (3:46 PM)

Best second-half defense, bar none. Overall? They're right there with Cincy and Rutgers. I'd probably give the edge to WVU

Santiago: Havana, Cuba

If Cincinnati wins the Big East and wins their BCS game, what are the odds that they will be ranked in the beginning of the next season? They lose what 19 seniors . . .

Brian Bennett
  (3:47 PM)

Hola. They do lose an awful lot, including 10 senior starters. They probably wouldn't deserve to be ranked but would get by on reputation and Tony Pike alone. Happened to Kansas

Trey (Nashville)

We all know what a great NFL QB can do even to a good NFL defense so dont you think that all of the great QB's in the Big 12 have alot to do with making the defenses look not so good?

Brian Bennett
  (3:48 PM)

I think it's a little of both. For sure, those offenses are spectacular because of the QBs (and let's not forget the great WRs in the league). But I sure don't see any lockdown defenses in the Big 12 either.

Chuck, WV

Brian, how many games does Notre Dame have to have in order for the Big East to NOT lose its spot in the Gator Bowl to them? The Irish have already dropped 4 with games at USC and Navy remaining. I'm thinking the 2nd place team in the Big East will have 3 losses.

Brian Bennett
  (3:50 PM)

If it's true what I've been told that ND must be within two wins of the second-best Big East team, then it has to be 7-5 and hope no one wins more than nine games to go to the Gator. The Gator could still take a Big 12 team and the Sun could snatch up ND instead of the Big East though.

Mark (Alabama)

Do you seriously think USC should even be in the top 10 I mean 7 out of the other top 10 would beat them.

Brian Bennett
  (3:51 PM)

I think they are a top 10 team. If seven wold beat them, doesn't that make them No. 8?

Jon (venice, CA)

Put any of the top 7 big 12 teams against an ACC or Big East team (or SEC team not named "florida") and you will see LOCK DOWN DEFENSES!!

Brian Bennett
  (3:52 PM)

Cincinnati got 26 on OU. Now I know one was a special teams score and one was at the end, but the Bearcats moved the ball

Coleman (TX)

Mark you crazy. USC has one of the fastest defenses and they could content with anyone. But my question. If you could choose ANY big 12 qb to start an NFL team. Which one?

Brian Bennett
  (3:53 PM)

No question about it: Sam Bradford. I love McCoy and Harrell and Daniel and Reesing, but those are college guys. Bradford's the NFL prospect in the league (and Josh Freeman might be No 2)

Tran (Providence, RI)

Do you think Miami made a huge mistake by joining the ACC rather than staying in the Big East? It seems like the Hurricanes could have built another successful and prestigious dynasty by dominating the Big East. They could have potentially gone undefeated every year in a weak conference and perpetually be in consideration for a BCS National Championship Game every year much like USC in the Pac-10. Also they would have made ?the Big 3 Rivalry? (The U, UF, FSU) even that much more special by representing 3 BCS Conferences rather than just 2.

Brian Bennett
  (3:54 PM)

Huge mistake? Nah. I really don't think conference affiliation is what has hurt the program. They might have won more games in the Big East, but it would have been a mirage.

Jon (venice beach, CA)

wow..... you answered my first post!! you must have enjoyed my comments from last week.... KU could beat the Big East/ACC champ easily this year on a neutral field

Brian Bennett
  (3:54 PM)

Hmm... is that the KU I watched lose to the Big East's No. 7 team earlier this season?

Coleman (TX)

I understand the pick but i want to question the Graham Harrell. When they say "system quarterback" aren't you only as good as your system? so why is he being downplayed when he knows how to run an UNSTOPPABLE system

Brian Bennett
  (3:55 PM)

Because no NFL team runs that system. Hey, maybe he adjusts and becomes the exception. But going by history, it looks doubtful

Chris (Paraamus, NJ)

If Rutgers wins out, including their bowl game, should they end the season ranked? 8-5 and a 7 game winning streak has to mean something right?

Brian Bennett
  (3:57 PM)

Ranked is a little strong. Their last five wins would be over Syracuse, South Florida, Army, Louisville and probably a mediocre bowl opponent. Only the Pitt win would be really impressive.

steve (SoCal)

Brain...Do you really think there is a Big East team that could hang with USC in a BCS bowl if Oregon st wins the pac-10 and USC gets a at large bid

Brian Bennett
  (3:58 PM)

Hang with? Sure, given that USC doesn't score much. But beat? Don't think so.

Brian Bennett
  (3:58 PM)

Hang with? Sure, given that USC doesn't score much. But beat? Don't think so.

Jon (venice beach, cA)

AT SOUTH FLORIDA is not a NEUTRAL FIELD, as I stated earlier

Brian Bennett
  (3:59 PM)

I know. But that was also the No. 7 team in the Big East. You said KU would beat the Big East champ.

Nick (SLC, Utah)

In your opinion do you think the media/coaches are being biased against USC and its one loss? They can't truly believe that any other team in the country except for maybe Florida can truly beat them on a neutral site?

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

No, I don't think anyone's biased against USC. They just haven't played that great a schedule outside of Ohio State, and the Oregon State loss was much worse those by Texas or Oklahoma

Coleman (TX)

I have a funny question. Do you think Mike Leach's super-spread offense would work in the NFL? why or why not.

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

Probably not, because the NFL has too much speed and the quarterback would get killed. But boy would I love to see an NFL team try it. I do think you're seeing more teams use spread concepts, particularly with the ever-popular Wildcat formations. One reason I find college football vastly superior to the NFL is the variety of offenses you can see at the college level instead of the cookie-cutter styles in the pro game

Ric (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Let's see, it would not be okay to rank OU ahead of TX in a 3-way tie between TX, OU and TT because TX beat OU, but it would be okay to rank TX ahead of TT even though TT beat TX? The logic escapes me. Can you shed a little light on this.

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

There is no logic to polls. That's the inherent flaw in this game we love.

Ryan (CT)

Any shot UConn runs the table and gets the BCS slot?

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

Yes. Check my mailbag from this morning and later on today when I write about the Huskies.

Jason (Charles Town, WV)

How does Rich Rod get a pass "he needs the players to run his system" when Paul Johnson steps into GT and wins immediately?

Brian Bennett
  (4:04 PM)

Good question.

Steve (Cincy, Oh)

Any chance you can score me some tickets to the game friday?

Brian Bennett
  (4:04 PM)

I think you could buy some cheap off Cardinals fans right now. Or even Friday evening.

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

OK, folks. My time is up. Thanks for all the questions. Enjoy the week of college football and good luck to your favorite teams.