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December 26, 11:17 AM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (5:00 PM)

It's time for a chat. I must inform you that I'm sitting on the balcony of the Orange Bowl media hotel, overlooking the ocean. It was 78 degrees here this afternoon. I make these sacrifices for you.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Rutgers enter next season in the top 25?

Brian Bennett
  (5:02 PM)

The Scarlet Knights won seven straight to end the year and have a lot of young talent. Problem is they lose Teel, Underwood, probably Britt, Courtney Greene and other key pieces. That may scare voters off.

Corey (michigan)

Brian, do you think Notre Dame will ever be forced to join a confrence?

Brian Bennett
  (5:02 PM)

Not as long as NBC pays the bills and there's a pathway to the BCS

Terry (Clarkston, MI)

How will Oklahoma handle the pressure from the defensive ends since their offensive line is as large as Alabama's but is slower?

Brian Bennett
  (5:04 PM)

I don't think that's going to be a major problem. Oklahoma's O-line is terrific and Bradford gets rid of the ball quickly. They're not an easy team to pressure

chauncey (teaneck)

Who will win the Heisman next year?

Brian Bennett
  (5:04 PM)

How about one of the McCoys: Colt or LeSean

Chioke Hassan Baltimore,Md

Dear Brian Could you see Tom Coughlin coaching agian in college?

Brian Bennett
  (5:05 PM)

I think he's got a pretty good gig right now.

Smokin' Eddie (Shreveport)

Brian- This time next year we will see all of those "Decade" polls--Who will be Team and Coach of the 0's??

Brian Bennett
  (5:07 PM)

Interesting question. I'd have to say it's between USC, Florida and LSU right now. With the coaches probably being Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer.

Steiny (NYC)

If you are Matt Grothe, do you want to come back to South Florida for your senior season, or do you want to leave school early and enter the 2009 NFL Draft?

Brian Bennett
  (5:08 PM)

The NFL isn't exactly salivating over a 6-foot college QB who runs a spread.

ZB (high desert)

which bowl result has been most surprising to you?

Brian Bennett
  (5:10 PM)

I haven't been too stunned by anything yet, though I was a little surprised to see Florida Atlantic beat Central Michigan. Gotta hand it to Howard Schnellenberger

Nancy (NJ)

What are you thoughts about the PSU and USC game? What happens to the Big Ten Rep if PSU loses by more than 2 TDs? On a separate note, what happens to the Big East's rep if UC loses to VT? I think the Big East is going to struggle in future BCS games with the departure of P. White and regression of WVU. Thanks.

Brian Bennett
  (5:12 PM)

I think Penn State will make a game of it but eventually loses. I don't see a big blowout. The Big East rep? What about the ACC rep? That league is 0-for-9 in BCS games, while the Big East has won three straight.

Matt, Boston

How do you see Monte Kiffin transforming Tennessee? Does the sleeping giant become a force again?

Brian Bennett
  (5:13 PM)

I don't know that they've been sleeping too much lately. A couple bad years but the Vols have been pretty strong most seasons. I'm interested to see how the Kiffin father-son combo plays out. I know it's going to be tough butting heads every year against Bama and Florida

Denver, CO

VT or Cinci?

Brian Bennett
  (5:14 PM)

Cincinnati will win

Matt (Glendale, CA)

Why is Pitt an underdog to Oregon St, with the Rodgers' out of the game?

Brian Bennett
  (5:15 PM)

History is a part of it. Oregon State has been going to bowl games regularly, while this is Pitt's first since 2004. The Panthers have to prove themselves. I think it's going to be an exciting game.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Brian, I completely understand you on the conference reps. Even if say the Pac-10 went undefeated, do you think they'll shake their image of being a "weak" conference? No.

Brian Bennett
  (5:16 PM)

Other than the BCS games, I think people tend to forget bowls. There are just so many of them. I think regular-season nonconference performances weigh a lot more in people's minds.

josh (chicago)

will we see a playoff system develope soon? and if so when?

Brian Bennett
  (5:17 PM)

Unfortunately, no. The bowl system is a giant, nearly intractable money-making system.

Travis, SC

with a young secondary who most thought wouldn't even have a glimpse of a national title run in the early years, how good of a title run do you think texas has with mccoy returning

Brian Bennett
  (5:19 PM)

I have to think they'll be top 5 heading into next year. Can they replace Orakpo and Shipley and Cosby? That's the big question

Clay (Oakland, CA)

As an unbiased observer do you think Chase Daniel will be remembered by his overall body of work or by 17 INTs in his final 9 games at Mizzou?

Brian Bennett
  (5:20 PM)

I do think people will view him as a guy who had a great career but couldn't win that huge game to get Mizzou over the hump. His senior year was a disappointment, for sure.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Why wouldn't the NCAA want all the money from a playoffs like they get from all the others? And football is king, seems kind of stupid if you ask me, but then again look who's running the NCAA.

Brian Bennett
  (5:21 PM)

I'm sure the NCAA does want it. Right now, they have no part of the bowl system, and the schools and the conferences keep all the money. Which is why the schools and the conferences don't want a playoff that would be run by the NCAA and with money distributed across the NCAA

JBurn (west side)

What is the over/under on the Oregon/OK State game, and more importantly, who wins?

Brian Bennett
  (5:22 PM)

Can't wait for that one to kickoff. How about an over/under of 95. I'll take the Cowboys in a shootout

Clay (Oakland, CA)

Fairly or unfairly will there be a lot of pressure on Patrick White's successor to play well right out of the gate? Or will West Virginia fans show patience transitioning from one of the best college qb's ever?

Brian Bennett
  (5:24 PM)

I didn't sense a lot of patience in Mountaineer-land this season (not that it makes them any different than any other fan base). I do think expectations will be lowered. And the offense should look a lot different. WVU showed it could put together a passing game in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. I think it's headed more toward that direction than a Pat White redux.

Scott (Austin, TX)

Brian, Jordan Shipley was granted a 6th year of eligibility, so he'll be back next year. As far as replacing Quan Cosby, it will be tough but Malcolm Williams is showing promise (not to mention TE Blaine Irby will hopefully be around to catch next year as well). Don't forget highly rated DE Alex Okafor is coming in as well, and with Sergio Kindle back the line should still be strong.

Brian Bennett
  (5:25 PM)

Thanks, Scott. You can tell I don't cover Texas.

Steiny (NYC)

Does Pat White have a chance to be a QB in the NFL, or do you see him as more of a Brad Smith type player?

Brian Bennett
  (5:26 PM)

All he needs is one team to believe in him at QB, but I find it unlikely. White was winging it in Charlotte, but he's still small in stature by NFL standards.

derek (cincinnati)

cincy aint a joke. the acc dont look too strong against gladiator conferences

Brian Bennett
  (5:27 PM)

No, Cincinnati is not a joke. Unless you're talking about the Bengals. Or the Reds.

Jon ( utah)

If the NCAA does do a playoff. What happens to all the other small bowls? Or schools that wouldn't be in the playoff that finish 7-5 and is normally bowl eligible. What happens to them?

Brian Bennett
  (5:28 PM)

Theoretically, you could still have bowls with a playoff. Some would argue that people wouldn't care about those bowls anymore. But does anyone really care about most December bowls now? They're a fun distraction in a dead time for sports. That's about all.

josh (chicago)

who is your pick for the title game?

Brian Bennett
  (5:28 PM)

I picked Florida in August to win it all and I'm sticking by it

Matt - Cincinnati

Cincy stopped Pat White... therefor Tyrod shouldn't be as much of a concern, especially since his throwing abilities are limited, agree?

Brian Bennett
  (5:29 PM)

They stopped Matt Grothe, too. Cincinnati's defensive line is really fast. I like that matchup for the Bearcats.

Matt (Glendale, CA)

How do you see the conference stacking up next year: Pitt, WVU, Cincy, UConn, Rutgers, USF, Louisville, Syracuse?

Brian Bennett
  (5:30 PM)

I like Pitt on top. At this point, I have no idea who'd be second. Louisville is probably last.

Kerry (Hooks, Tx)

With all the talk of how the Big 12, has no defense, why is it that no one mentions, how poorly the SEC offenses rank outside of the Gators?

Brian Bennett
  (5:31 PM)

It is true. The bowl season should help us settle whether Big 12 offenses and SEC defenses were that good or if their counterparts were that bad. I'll say this: I wasn't impressed with Missouri last night.

dayton, tn

When is the cut off for Tebow, Harvin and company to declare their eligabilty?

Brian Bennett
  (5:32 PM)

The deadline for underclassmen in Jan. 15

Loup (NY)

Is GT going to run all over LSU or will this game be closer than I expect?

Brian Bennett
  (5:34 PM)

If LSU's defense plays like it did down the stretch, Tech should run wild. I'm fascinated by the triple option.

craig (seattle)

was a big east fan comlaining about the pac-10 being a weak conference? When was a last team anyone left in the big east won a national title?

Brian Bennett
  (5:35 PM)

I don't think he ever said he was a Big East fan.

Paul (Dayton, TN)

Do you think Harvin and Tebow will go to the NFL this year? If they do good idea or bad idea?

Brian Bennett
  (5:36 PM)

Tebow maybe if he wins it all. More likely to come back if Florida loses. He's such a hard guy to project at the next level, but it's not like his stock will get higher.

Mitch (Seattle, WA)

Brian, i truly despise your uncle Clay!

Brian Bennett
  (5:38 PM)

No relation, I swear!

Ben (Atlanta)

Brian, enjoy your work. It's unbelievable to me that with all of the advantages Notre Dame has(fame,tv contract) that it's been 20 years since they won a title! What do you went wrong? And do you ever envision them being a legit powerhouse ever again?

Brian Bennett
  (5:40 PM)

Obviously they struggled (and still are struggling) to find the right coach. Admission standards got tougher, making it harder for them to get as many athletes in school. And other places, like Florida, rose up and started getting big-time athletes. Notre Dame will never be what it once was, but there's no reason the Irish can't get back to being a bigtime program.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Which program becomes bowl eligible first Syracuse or Washington? How long will that take?

Brian Bennett
  (5:41 PM)

Syracuse. Lot easier to get to six wins in an eight-team conference like the Big East

Clay (Oakland, CA)

As someone who follows the Big 12 I can tell you NOT to use Missouri as a barometer for the rest of the conference(they did lose 3 league games, 4 if you count the Big 12 Championship).

Brian Bennett
  (5:42 PM)

I agree that they were no better than the fifth-best team in that league. But it was the first salvo from the Big 12, and it was not impressive. Still a lot of games to be played, however.

Corey (Chicago, Il)

What do you think about Mark Dantonio and the program he is quietly building at Michigan State? With his extension through 2016, as long as he stays, can't this team contend for Big Ten Championships and Rose Bowl berths in the future? This program is a sleeping giant and Dantonio is the right guy.

Brian Bennett
  (5:45 PM)

Lot of sleeping giants out there, apparently. I really like Dantonio, and one only has to look at the Cincinnati roster to see the kinds of kids he recruited and developed. The only problem is they're going to have to find a little more offense. That's what held the Bearcats back a little when he was in the Big East.

Justin (St. Louis)

I see more Big 12 games because of where I live but I watched that Florida-Alabama game, and I loved the physical play. Do you think OU can play as physical with UF as Bama did?

Brian Bennett
  (5:47 PM)

I don't think Oklahoma is that physical, nor is it used to that style of play in the Big 12. That's not to say the Sooners can't play a good game defensively, but it won't be the same as Alabama's style. They rely more on speed.

Adam( (Chicago, IL)

Why is that no one wants to ask you things about the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (5:47 PM)

Good question. No idea.

Matt (Glendale, CA)

How do you think the BE will fare in the next round of bowl alignments. Will we see improved opponents and better bowls?

Brian Bennett
  (5:48 PM)

Hey, there's a Big East question. I think you'll see the league get out of that Gator/Sun split and hopefully nail down one of them as a permanent partner. Then try to upgrade one other game by getting out of Toronto or Birmingham and building up the St. Pete Bowl into a destination spot.

hotrod, phoenix, az

Butch Davis was impressed with the speed/athletic of WVU players; do you in the near future WVU misses Pat White, but can be a force in the Big East and get back to a BCS game?

Brian Bennett
  (5:50 PM)

Absolutely. That defense is young and is only going to get better. The offense still has playmakers like Noel Devine and Jock Sanders. West Virginia won't fade away without White.

Nick (FL)

Missouri may not be a good indicator of the elite Big 12 teams, but they still only scored 1 offensive touchdown in regulation versus Northwestern. In other words, Northwestern's defense outperformed every "elite" Big 12 team in that regard. Isn't that some indicator?

Brian Bennett
  (5:52 PM)

When you consider that Northwestern was the biggest underdog on the board in bowl season and isn't exactly known as a lockdown defense, well, it's not encouraging. But the Big 12 ultimately will be judged on what Texas, Oklahoma and, to a lesser extent, Texas Tech do in their bowl games.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Brian, here is the true list of sleeping giants, mainly programs than were once dominate and could be again. FSU, Miami, Washington, and Nebraska. That's it, everyone else is just faking the funk.

Brian Bennett
  (5:53 PM)

I guess you could also say Michigan is asleep right now.

derek (cincinnati)

should the mountianeers keep a spread offense or look towards a quarterback with a little more passing background

Brian Bennett
  (5:54 PM)

What Bill Stewart believes is that defenses have found ways to stop the zone-read when that's your go-to option. So he wanted to diversify the offense and give it more ways to move the ball. I think that will continue, and it's a good idea. There are only so many Pat Whites and Steve Slatons out there.

Brian Bennett
  (5:56 PM)

OK, folks. That's all the time I have. I'll plow through these awful conditions in Miami this week for your benefit. Happy New Year to everyone.