Don't you people have anything better to do on a June afternoon that ask me questions? Kidding! Happy to be here and ready to talk a little college football, a little college hoops, a little horse racing, whatever. Fire!
Will an ACC team need to win a national chamionship to finally get some credit?
Joe: How about if an ACC team comes CLOSE to a national championship? None has in a looooong time. Virginia Tech took a step by finally winning a BCS bowl game last season, but there's a lot left to accomplish before getting "some credit." For now this league remains all draft picks, no titles.
Pat, honestly, what's your deal with the PAC 10? I'm a Gator fan... But it's the guys like you who think the PAC 10 stinks, that keep preventing us from seeing the REAL NC, which would be USC vs. UF almost every year...
Paul: Consider me mystified. I don't remember actively dissing the Pac-10 anytime recently. In fact, I've given the league props for scheduling well and given USC props for being ridiculously good year-in and year-out.
hi Pat; Notre Dame used to be famous for scheduling as tough as they could. is this year's slate an aberration? or is it not as easy as folks say? or do you think that no one can schedule like that anymore if they want to compete for a NC?
Joe: This year's schedule is a mild aberration -- Michigan and Washington won't be awful forever, for instance -- but Notre Dame has made no secret of its intent to soften up the schedule going forward. The fact that ND has seven home games plus a "neutral" game with Washington State in San Antonio tells me they're looking to schedule more success and fewer really difficult intersectional games. Remember the days of playing Miami, Tennessee, Penn State, Texas, Nebraska...?
Pat, last season you were chastised by ND fans across the nation after we beat Michigan by admonishing us not to count our chickens just yet. Turns out you were more right than probably you even knew. With our soft schedule this year, what can we do, besides beat usc, that will legitimize us as a good team?
Snood: Beating USC would obviously be the big thing. Lacking that, I'd say Notre Dame has a chance to win every other game. If the Irish don't make it to a BCS Bowl I'd say the jury remains out.
Pat, has the evolution and enforcement of Title IX caused some schools to trend towards 7 or 8 home games every year to maximize revenue? I think it's a valid point, especially in the current economic state.
Matt: I'm sure that has something to do with it, although Title IX has been around for a long time. It's not a brand-new phenomenon. But there's no doubt that the burden of funding a bunch of non-revenue programs puts a premium on football as a cash cow. However, there's also the facilities arms race and skyrocketing coaching salaries that football brings upon itself.
Non-conference cupcakes have ZERO excitement but it comes down to $$$ for athletic deptartments. Do you think perhaps putting more weight on the SoS formula in the BCS calculations would incite ADs to schedule tougher OOC games?
Raymond: Maybe. I think it's time to take yet another look at the BCS formula to see what can be done to encourage playing legit non-conference games. Since I'll be dead and buried before we have a playoff.
What is more exciting: horse racing or college football?
David: College football. But horse racing has its place in the sporting calendar. (That place is May and the first week of June.)
Forde, if teams like Texas Tech get rewarded with higher rankings because they are undefeated even thoyugh they played non-BCS OOC games, why should anyone schedule a tough BCS OOC opponent? There's more to lose than gain by accepting those games.
Will: That's the problem, exactly. That's why voters either need to be tougher judges of schedule strength, or a larger SOS component needs to be built into the BCS formula. As it stands now, teams in high-end BCS leagues have little incentive to schedule quality opponents.
I saw your article on scheduling. Don't you think that the SEC has been getting a free pass on rankings? For example, look at Florida's OOC schedule, it's perhaps the weakest in D1 history, yet if USC, who's schedule is infinitly more difficult loses one game and Florida loses one game, Florida will most likely get the benefit of the doubt for no reason other than falsly perceived strength of schedule because the majority of the SEC has very weak OOC schedules save Georgia.
Darryl: No, I don't think so. I don't think the perception of the SEC's strength is false by any means. And I'd say three of the last four BCS championship games have backed that up. Also, I can't call Florida's OOC schedule perhaps the weakest in DI history when it includes Florida State. And it's not Florida's fault that it played Miami in a down year last year.
Strength of schedule shouldn't matter. It should be based on results of on-field match-ups. The only way to get that is to have identical conference regular seasons (everyone has a conference championship?) and then a playoff of the conference champions in the post season.
David: Sounds good. Ain't happening.
I have another thought here. Maybe there are too many schools playing in the bowl subdivision. Why not eliminate some teams from the upper division based upon some criteria such as record over the past decade or some other measure? If there are fewer weak teams in the division you get fewer unbalanced OOC games.
J.B.: Funny you should mention that. I think that's one topic we'll be getting at later in the summer here at ESPN.com.
Pat, with so many sunbelt schools being scheduled by the larger schools for non-conference openers and such, with the recent victories from schools like Troy, Arkansas St, and FAU do you think the trend will still continue?
Adam: I think it will continue. Heck, Nebraska plays not one, not two, but THREE Sun Belt teams this season alone! I know the Belt has scored a few nice victories, but for the most part they've been few and far between. Given the vast difference in operating budgets, I think the heavyweights will remain interested in taking on the Sun Belt schools and anticipating easy victories.
Pat, where are some college football destinations that you haven't been to yet and want to see?
John: Good question. I'd say Army probably tops my list. I've heard raves about the stadium and watching the corps of cadets marching in, all the pageantry that goes on there. Others: I've never seen games at BYU, Washington, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech or Iowa. I'm sure there are others, but off the top of my head that's the list.
Is there any truth to the rumor that the Pac-10 is considering dropping it's 9th conference game to add in another easier non-conference to be more competetive in the race for the BCS Championship Game?
Ken: I have not heard that and I hope it isn't true. I give the Pac-10 props for playing a full round-robin schedule that produces a legit champion.
Buckeyes or Trojans? Who wins in Columbus?
Will: I don't make predictions in June. Let's see how both teams are shaping up closer to D-Day (Sept. 12).
Pat, who are some coaches you know that really stand out as great guys? Who would you want your kid to play for?
Bill: This is a hard question to answer because you start naming some and forget others -- and, plus, what qualifies as a "great guy" to reporters might be different to other people. We like access, and that colors our view. But among the guys I find really interesting are: Dan Hawkins at CU; Bill Stewart at West Virginia; Pete Carroll at USC; Jiim Harbaugh at Stanford; and Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Off the top of my head.
here is a new thought, please let me know what you think. the big 10 has become a victim of its own success. by pushing 2 teams into the bcs almost yearly, all of the bowl teams are playing 'up' a game. if osu doesn't get an at large bcs bid, all the sudden they get knocked town to play uga, msu plays scar, iowa plays fsu, etc, and the record is much better than the 1 and losses that occurred. and this doesn't even consider that all of the games are virtually road games (bring usc/uf up to michigan or ohio during the winter, then we'll have a game!)
Chris: I'm with you up until the "virtual road game" thing. I've thought that playing "up" a game has hurt the Big Ten in the past and showed that its teams aren't good enough to get two into the BCS most years. But the road games, please. The bowls have been in the same locations for decades, and all of a sudden now it's a problem? Why wasn't it a problem in the 1960s and 70s? Also: I've seen Ohio State travel; it doesn't get outnumbered very often, or by very much.
Help! I'm a midwesterner ND and Big 10 fan who just moved into SEC Country. Any tips on how to survive the constant barrage of the SEC claims of superiority?
Sure. Beat 'em.
Whose your early pick for Heisman?
Paul: Let me step out on a limb and say Tim Tebow. Over Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. Daring, huh? Actually, if you're looking for some fresh names, how about Jevan Sneed, Dez Bryant or Jahvid Best? Or even Jimmy Clausen, given the opportunities he'll have to put up big #s against unspectacular competition?
What is Lane Kiffin's deal? Is he savvy or just stupid? Or some combination of the two?
Brad: I'm still waiting to see the savviness. Though I will say he's done two things well: hire a staff and sign talent.
Pat, this is probably more of a question for Beano, but if you had to pick one coach to run a program from a historical perspective- Bear, Tom Osborne, Barry Switzer, JoePa, or Saint Bobby?
Joe: You're right, that's Beano Central. But what the heck: I think I'd take Paterno, given his academic record over the decades.
I agree with your take on much of the scheduling issues, but as a Tennessee fan, I think we do one of the better jobs in the SEC. After this years game against UCLA, that would be 4 years in a row of early games against the PAC10, and we also have future games with Ohio State and other powerhouses. While Cal and UCLA have not bee great over the past few years, does Tennessee deserve some credit in comparison with their SEC brethren. I know UGA did something last year and this year but it was almost 50 years before that.
Eric: Yes, Tennessee deserves credit. Like the Pac-10 series, and the Vols played Notre Dame not long ago as well.
Why does everyone think that a playoff will solve the who's-the-best-team-in-the-country-this-year question? Playoffs are all about who gets hot at the right time (or in some cases, who's still got healthy personnel after playing 3 extra games in a hypothetical 8-team playoff). The purpose of the national championship is to determine which team was best that season, which means it makes sense to have the regular season carry more weight. It's seems like everybody at ESPN talks about a playoff system like it would undoubtedly solve everything (kinda reminds me of socialized medicine). Anybody there who shares my concern?
Elizabeth: I guess everyone thinks a playoff answers the best-team question because every other sport on Earth does it that way, including the other levels of college football. Among other reasons.
Pat - you say that no one in the ACC can get credit yet. Really? Last I checked only three teams have had 4 straight 10 win seasons...USC, Texas...and...wait for it...Virginia Tech. Someone has to come close? In 2007, didn't Virginia Tech come in 3rd place in the final BCS rankings, leaving them (albeit undisputedly) just out of the national title game? How does a resume like that get no credit? I suppose the ACC as a whole doesn't deserve the credit yet, but certainly Virginia Tech does, right?
Dan: Virginia Tech gets credit for being a good program. It does not get credit for being on the same level with Florida, LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Texas or Ohio State. As for that 2007 season: Va Tech backed up its BCS ranking by losing to Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Also, and don't take this personally, but I'd like to call a moratorium on use of "wait for it" in everyday writing.
Pat - the SEC regularly puts 2 teams in the BCS games as well, and it is still able to win most of it's bowl games. The Big-10 shouldn't use that as an excuse
Ken: The SEC is good enough to deserve two teams in the BCS games most years. The Big Ten has had a couple of impostors (none moreso than Illinois in the Rose Bowl two years back).
PAT, DO YOU THINK ANDRE DUBOISE WILL BE BETTER THAN PERCY HARVIN AT FLORIDA?
I DON'T KNOW.
Did the Big 12 change its tie breaker system after last years embarrassment?
Mike: I don't believe so. Pretty sure it stuck by the same back tiebreaker rule.
so what was it like talking to Calvin Borel? he seems like a hoot to me.
Len: He is a hoot. Pretty good word to describe Calvin. One of the most genuine, unpretentious, polite athletes I've ever dealt with.
Do you like the new chat format? No offense, but I'm not sure I like looking at your mug for the entire chat.
Cosmo: I'm wounded. Actually, the format I'm looking at is different than yours. And different from what I'm used to. And just a bit confusing. But I'm admittedly a slow adaptor to change.
Who do you see winning the Big East this year? I feel it's anyone's to take between cincy, wvu, pitt, s.fla, and uconn.
Dan: Agreed. Cincy has to replace virtually its entire defense. WVU is breaking in a new QB. South Florida still has Grothe but lost a lot of other really good players and almost all of the offensive line. Pitt lost McCoy and still has quarterback issues. UConn lost Donald Brown. I don't think it's a great league by any stretch, but it should be a competitive one.
What game are you most excited about seeing this season (both on tv and in person)?
Patrick: I'm not sure I can pick just one. Intrigued by Georgia-Oklahoma State first weekend. And I love the two obvious ones, USC-Ohio State and Oklahoma-Texas.
is it true in horse racing what they say in NASCAR its not the car its the driver, or in this case its not the horse its the jockey?
Tub: No, I'd say it's quite the opposite. It's the horse, of course. Any moron could have ridden Secretariat. Carl Nafzger, a trainer who has won two Kentucky Derbies, told me recently that any of the top 1,000 riders can ride a good horse without much variance in overall success.
If Bobby has to give up 14 games and the Noles have a good year do you see him ridding of into the dadgum sunset?
Trent: Dadgum possible. And I adamantly believe he should have to give up the 14 games.
Just wondering, does this chat room give the feel of a press conference to you?
Paul: I've only been on the question-asking end of a press conference, so I can't make that comparison very validly. And I can't see the same chat room you guys can, so I'm pretty well clueless.
pat, what can you possibly say to big east haters such as myself to convince me that the winner of the league is actually worthy of an auto bcs bid. if it werent for wvu, none of the active members of that league would be able to boast a bcs win.
Joe: Louisville won the Orange Bowl a couple years ago.
What's your favorite college city to visit during gameday?
William: Yours. Love Austin. But there are plenty of other great ones -- Athens, Boulder, Baton Rouge, South Bend, State College. I could go on.
Do you think the BEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER will ever win the Heisman? Why is it that guys in the media 9 out of ten times say that the QB on a top five team is the Best Player? Can you imagine if the Cy Young winner always came from a team that was in first? The award would be a joke. Which the Heisman has pretty much become...
Ken: As a voter, I can tell you that the decisions on that award are very difficult. I think team success is a viable element, because football players are so interdependent on one another to do well. So I have no problem with that aspect. It's pretty much a thankless task trying to decide whether Sam Bradford's numbers are better than Tim Tebow's leadership or whether a Donald Brown is getting the shaft or whatever. Fans should try to avoid attaching life-and-death significance to the Heisman.
OK, I'm outta time. Thanks for all the questions. Now go outside and enjoy some summer!