Hey, thanks for dropping by. It's good to talk some college football in the off-season.
Will louisville be a continder in the big east? any chance of a bowl bid?
They have a shot at a bowl but QB is such a question mark there and I could see them go 1-3 in their non-conference with the lone W coming against Indiana State.
Which program is closer to a National Title-Notre Dame or North Carolina?
ND has a lot easier schedule and so that path to a BCS is very possible. I think UNC might be the better team, but I could see both getting 10 wins. I think UNC is a year away from being a serious top 10 team. I'll say ND since they should be favored in 11 of 12 games this season.
What coach's do you think are the best talent evaluators of hish school players (hit on the highly evaluated players, but also find the diamonds in the rough) and which of those coach's maximize that talent on the field?
Jim Grobe, Mike Riley and Tom O'Brien come to mind first in terms of finding the under the radar guys. Same for Mark Dantonio and I think Butch Davis has a great eye.
I am nervous just thinking about the Horseshoe at night!
At least you have an experienced O-line and a great WR Damian Williams to take the pressure off.
How many games do you see East Carolina winning this season?
Seven or eight. They have a nasty non-conference schedule with games against UNC, WVU and VT.
can ecu stun wvu and vt again this season?
I like their chances against WVU more than VT even though its at VT.
Last year still stings. Tell me that Colt McCoy will lead the Horns to redemption and beat Florida in the championship (or, at least hang 60 on OU for poetic justice)...
I'm not ready to go that far, but UT's offense should be great again. I'm a little concerned about all they lost in the front on defense but the secondary should be a lot better.
Will Joe Cox actually finish a season as starter or will we see another true freshman come in and take over again?
The people around the program really seem to like him so I'll say he hangs on for a while, but I could see Aaron Murray overtaking him by late Oct.
Can Arizona make it back to a bowl game this year? Where in the Pac-10 do you see them finishing?
I think they should win at least seven. Rob Gronkowski is a great weapon and they have good skill talent for whoever gets the QB job. I think they'll be pretty good, but still missing that stablility at QB.
How does LSU get Russell Shepard on the field? Some sort of Wildcat or as a WR?
Both I'd guess. He's too dynamic not to try and work in any way you can.
Thoughts on Penn State? I know they lost alot, especially in key positions, but I'm here to tell ya their replacements are gonna hold their own. It seems like they'll be flying under the radar again this season. Don't sleep on the Nittany Lions!
The schedule is very favorable, but they did lose a lot of experience on the lines. I think they'll be ranked somewhere between 17-25 by end of season.
Considering the back and forth between Mike Leach and Mike Sherman this offseason, does this rivalry get taken up a notch? I think this is the non-top 25 game I'm most looking forward to this year.
Yeah although Tech has to replace a lot of very good players on offense and A&M is in major reload mode and is probably headed for 6th in the South.
With all the QBs that left for the NFL, is super-soph Robert Griffin now the third best QB in the Big 12 (behind only McCoy and Bradford)?
Could be although Todd Reesing and Zac Robinson are really good too.
Will Elway eventually play as a starter sometime in his college carreer?
My hunch is no.
What is it like watching Ole Miss rise from mediocricy to a national contender? Especially after following them with Meat Market?
It's really fascinating. Those are a lot of kids like Dexter McCluster, Shay Hodge and Lawon Scott who were really under the radar recruits who have blossomed. I always thought it was ironic that the biggest recruit Ed Orgeron signed was Jevan Snead, who he never got a chance to use in a real game.
Is the improvement in Terrelle Pryor's throwing one of the bigger individual stories this spring? I think we (OSU fans) were even shocked by the improvements.
Might be. We'll have to see how real it is when the games count. Jake Locker I guess was really sharp too. Then again, I always recall how sharp Chris Rix seemed to be when it didn't count.
VT and Alabama, two very similar teams opening up in Atlanta. Who do you like?
I'm leaning towards Tech because they have more experience at QB and on the O-line.
Hey Bruce, what small things can Iowa State do this year to improve on there 2-10 2008 record and any chance for 6-6? Go Cyclones!
Maybe 4-8.. the good news is ISU doesn't have to face OU or UT this season.
Watch your words there Bruce. People said the same thing about Clemson and look what happened there.
Yeah that true but I think Bama's O-line is going to be a concern early.
What stands in the way of Florida going back to back? Anything? They have the talent and with emotional leaders, like Tebow and Spikes, I don't see them lacking motivation. What else is there?
Injuries... It takes some luck to stay healthy. John Brantley may be a better pure passer than Tim Tebow but UF is different if he were to go down... plus no matter how talented a team seems it doesn't mean they can't come out flat a few times.
What steps would you suggest to improve the Pac-10's national perception?
Hoping that Oregon can emerge as a legit top 10 program three years in a row. The biggest thing that I think hurts the Pac-10's perception is that you almost never have another great team besides USC do it for a consistent run. UCLA wins 10 games and then not long after fizzles to 4-8. Cal hasn't won those "big" games. Oregon State has the 10 win seasons but people dismiss them early because they've been routed earlier in the season.
Is USC's secondary the best in the nation?
It's gotta be up there with UF's I'd think. Mays is a great safety and really emerged last season. Shareece Wright is the best CB Carroll has had at USC and they are deep. I wouldn't take another group over them.
Bruce, in your opinion what does Oregon State need to do to get more respect in the national media? Since three straight top-25 finishes and winning 2 out of the last 3 from USC doesn't seem to do it.
It's one thing to lose early. It's another to get blown off the field like they have. Can't have that. Even when USC loses, it's tight.
Hi Bruce, How do you see Michigan State doing in the Big Ten this year? They have been improving year after year since Mark D arrived. Can you see them vying for te Big Ten title again this year? Thanks
Could win 8 or 9. I think Dantonio is a terrific coach. The D should be very good but I'm a little concerned with the offense.
Who do you think has the best shot to upset Florida this year?
In the regular season I'll say it's LSU. It's a road game at night and they've got as many athletes as anybody.
Bruce, you've spent some time in Knoxville this offseason; what kind of team do the coaches think they inherited from the former staff? Negatives? Any positives? Also, did you get an idea of what they think Crompton can be?
They got some pretty good talent on D led by the great Eric Berry. The linebackers are very shaky though. They got an O-line that probably got a little soft and they don't have much playmaking talent at receiver. I know they like that Crompton has bought in and willing to do the little things. I think he'll be OK. The best challenge in 2009 will be for the freshman offensive skill guys to step up. Hardesty at RB could be pretty good. They like how he is determined to have a big year to go out on a high note. Also watch DE Chris Walker. He could be an All-American.
Bruce, do you see Tate Forcier as Michigan's starting quarterback in the season opener?
I do. I think his agility gives that offense the spark it needs. The issue is he's still very slight at about 188. You might see three QBs that first month. Still, it's a lot better than it was last year especially on the O-line.
Hey Bruce, loved your book Meat Market. People keep sleeping on the hurricanes this year, with the talent they have and the addition of a proven OC in Mark Whipple, can you see them making a realistic push for an ACC title this year?
Thanks.. I do think they have a realistic shot at the ACC title. I was down at UM last week. Swasey (their strength coach) says it feels a lot like it did 7-8 years ago when you had all of these explosive athletes ready to take off. I like QB Jacory Harris a lot and Whipple should be a great fit with him. The challenge will be surviving a brutal first four games. If they go 3-1 somehow, they'll crack the top 15. Even 2-2 and being competitive with OU would be a good sign.
I keep hearing that this is the year Nevada finally takes that big step forward, beats a BCS team and contends with Boise State for the WAC title. Do you really believe they will?
I'm a big fan of Colin Kaepernick and their running game should be terrific but I don't know if the D is quite good enough. Will see how they hold up against Notre Dame. I still like Bpise to rule the WAC.
Bruce, does South Carolina have a shot this year? Not to win but to have a real good season. Not gonna beat Florida, but play georgia early, ole miss at home, tenn a little down still. Does Stephen Garcia have a breakout season this year?
That's a lot on Stephen Garcia. There are some very good players on that roster but it's like Garcia or bust. Just from having talked to him and his dad a bunch of times for Meat Market, I'm hoping he turns it around. He's got the athleticism to be a fun QB to watch.
Is Andre Dubose going to get early playing time, and will he end up being the one to replace Percy Harvin?
I hear it'll be Debose and Deonte Thompson. UF has plenty of weapons still there.
Which team do you see slipping out of the national spotlight this year? (Like Michigan last year.)
This year, Missouri.
Would a collision at midfield between Terrelle Pryor and Taylor Mays be one of the more encounters of the year? Two huge freaks at their respective position.
That would be. So would Mays v. The Gronk at Arizona. He's even bigger than Pryor.
Syracuse named Ryan Nassib as the starter for this year, but do you see that changing before the start of the season being that Paulus only have a year of eligibility to play?
BEFORE the start of the season? It's hard to say that because Paulus hasn't played in an actual football game in five years and it's not like he had played college before. He played in high school in upstate NY. It's going to be a big challenge for him. Fortunately for Doug Marrone it's Year 1 and expectations are really low now.
Can BYU hang with OU or will it be a blood bath? How do you like them for the rest of the season? Can we get another 10 wins?
I think BYU's really good, but OU is a great team. My hunch is BYU keeps it close for a while but loses like 41-24. I think the Cougars will have fits blocking that Sooner D-line, which should be awesome.
Bruce, is there a HS prep star that you have watched in the past and thought "this guy is going to be a superstar", but turned out to be a dud?
I didn't see Whitney Lewis but I know from that USC staff that he would fit that profile... I saw Victor Abiamiri at the Army AA game and expected him to be almost what Julius Peppers is...
Wanny ever get the Panthers to a BCS game? Will Cignetti be able to attract a QB?
I expected more from them last season.. I don't expect them to be a top 25 team in 2009. Losing McCoy hurts plus there's been some off-field drama and I don't see the QB situation being strong.
There's a lot of debate on wether the Big 12 or the SEC is the best confrence. What other confrence can come close to their achievements?
I don't know.. the MWC had a very good year. Seriously no one else right now.
Why isn't anyone talking about mizzou? And why aren't they ranked? And finally what is ur prediction for mizzou this football season?
They lost their leader in Chase Daniel, their two best receivers in Maclin and Coffman and their best D-lineman in Ziggy Hood. I think 7-5 maybe 8-4.
Do you like the Gators chances of winning back to back championship?
That's my pick right now.
What's a better fit for Robert Marve, Tennessee or Purdue??? I think his got a better chance to be successful at Purdue, his size reminds me a lot of Drew Brees
Purdue is going to get a lot of Florida kids now because Danny Hope works that area so hard. I think Marve would be showcased there as a dual threat guy. In the system Kiffin seems to prefer he has those prototype NFL guys more set in the pocket. Now I think Marve would be better than anything UT will have in 2010 and UT will surround him with more talent, so it's hard to saw what's the better fit.
Is USC (both football and basketball) getting a pass from the national media and the NCAA in light of the recent report? It seemed like other colleges got more bashing in the past from ESPN.
It's a weird situation. The Reggie Bush investigation has been creeping on for so long in the shadows I feel like nothing is going to happen. The stuff with USC hoops seems more volatile and has the potential to blow up. It won't be as big a story as the UCONN hoops scandal was but I think that has to do with when that story broke.
Very early Heisman prediction, who do you think will it be for this upcoming year?
I'll say Tebow.
Hi Bruce: Any predictions on which game will have the biggest impact on the NC picture? OSU/USC OU/Texas UF/LSU USC/PAC 10 also-ran? Perhaps one I'm not thinking of?
regular season: OU/UT followed by LSU-UF.. I say that bc the Big 12 south title hinges more than the SEC game which could lead to a rematch.
Do you think the ACC and Big East have what it takes this year to be contenders against the top conferences of college football?
I think the ACC does. Not seeing it from the Big East this year although I think Cincy is solid and USF is intriguing.
three more questions...
You really like Cal, and Oregon. In September, who you got?
I'll take Oregon. Better QB play.
How much heat will Coach Tressel get from Ohio state fans if he fails again to win the big games?
Good question. It's hard to knock how much he's won, but the frustration to maybe make some staff changes might grow.
Do you think the game between Ole Miss and LSU will determine the SEC West Champ?
That or Bama at Ole Miss. I'm picking the Rebels to win the SEC West but maybe that's the meatloaf from Ajax talkin'
OK.. hang with me if you want.. grabbing something to eat.. be back in a minute..
how good is eric berry? he gets all kind of pub here but I don't hear his name as much on college football live.
I think if he comes out in April he goes top 5. I have a big story on him coming out in ESPN Magazine this summer. The reason why you don't hear so much nationally about him is because UT was so bad last season.
Off-Topic Nuggets or Lakers?
I'm a Laker fan. I hope they win.
Will Notre Dame perform well enough this year for Weis to keep his job? How many games does he have to win in your opinion?
I think if he wins eight or less against that schedule, he's gone. He should win 10 this year. They could go 11-1 and still not have one win over a ranked team.
Week 1: Where is your assignment of choice? Dallas for OU/BYU? Stillwater for OSU/UGA? Seattle for LSU/UW? Atlanta for VT/Bama? or None of the above?
Maybe in front of the TV because those are all games I want to see.
How do you feel about the Gophers this year? Lots of starters coming back, but more difficult schedule.
I think they should be able to get 7 wins, maybe 8 but the lines are a concern. And they should beat all of those non-conference opponent save for maybe Cal which comes to Minny.
Do you see 10 wins as a possibility for Iowa?
Very very outside shot. Is Jewel Hampton close to what Shonn Greene was? Plus losing Mitch King on the D is a big blow.
Who has a better chance of winning in week one - Boise State vs. Oregon or BYU against OU at Jerry World?
Probably Boise since it's not a road game and they have a lot of experience back. And it's not Bob Stoops first game as a head coach.
Who are your breakout teams this year (teams not usually in the top 25 breaking in)?
Houston, Southern Miss, Kansas, Cincy and Notre Dame.
Will any MAC team have a Ball State-like run this year and get the conference in the top 25?
Central Michigan should be tough and maybe Buffalo if . .. Buffalo can get solid QB play and be better on D.
Is Mitch Mustain going to have to transfer? If so, where do you see him going?
I doubt it. I heard he likes it a lot here in LA socially. Apparently he really likes the school part of college football and the way he fits in. At least that's what I heard from someone inside the program.
Will Texas have a harder time with OKstate than OU this year. With the game at night in Stillwater?
OU's going to still be tough but I agree that OSU could be scary as well. They have a great offense and I think Bill Young will get them better on D.
Do you think Tim Tebow will get drafted in the 1st round of the nfl draft next year?
Ultimately, yes I think so. Maybe not top 10 but somewhere in Rd. 1.
And now that I'm on new stadiums, is Miami playing in Dolphin Stadium as a temporary thing? Are they building a new on-campus stadium?
No.. They don't have room for an on-campus stadium. Coral Gables also wouldn't go for that.
How do you feel about the Terps this year? Do you see them going far?
Depends on how consistent Chris Turner is this year. We all know they are dangerous. Heard they have some stud receivers ready to step up and replace Hayward-Bey. But they have to stop stubbing their toes.
Hey Bruce! Who will be the top RB in the Big Ten this year? Who do you see as the dark horse in the Big Ten also?
Mike Kafka?.. actually not sure about the best back. Darkhorse? Maybe NW.
This blows my mind just thinking about it. Do you think Tim Tebow would have had the same success under Steve Spurrier? I think the Fun N' Gun would have conflicted with Tebow's style and skill set and he would have eventually transferred.
I don't think so. I think Spurrier would ask him to do different things and it wouldn't have been quite as good a fit.
Thanks for all the questions. If I didn't get to yours send it to my inbox through my blog and I'll answer it there.