Hello and welcome to the dog days of August -- football season getting closer, though. Bring it on! Hope you guys enjoyed the villains story today, fire away with questions and comments on that.
I don't understand why Notre Dame fans hate Ty Willingham more than Charlie Weis. Can you explain this to me please?
Derek: I wish I could explain that, but here's what I do know: Weis is a Domer, a guy with a degree from the school who totally buys into all the mystique of Notre Dame. Believe me, that means something to the alums -- and it is a special place. But the ability of some folks to completely disconnect from the results under Weis and blame everything on Willingham angers and confuses me.
Do you think Matt Barkley can jump past Corp while he's injured. It sounds like to me this Corp is a two-way threat, but he doesn't pass as well as Barkley. What do you think? Thanks.
Otto: Barkley looked great in high school, great in the spring and even better in August -- at least until he threw three picks in a scrimmage late last week. That was a reminder that even fantastic freshmen are still freshmen. My guess is that he'll ultimately be USC's QB for most of the season, but whether that happens now or later, I don't know. But If I'm Corp, I've picked a really bad time to get hurt.
Where's the Big 12 Tiebreaker villain? Or how about the Pac 10 officiating crew villains that cost Oklahoma the game in 2006?
Billy: Both are qualified candidates for the list, for sure. But we had to limit it to 40. The full list could be 400.
People who don't include me on lists end up pumping gas.
I thought you were misquoted, Kiff.
You listed the 5th down in your column, but no love for the kicked ball? Or any Nebraska QB from the '90's for that matter.
Mike: Read it again. Kicked ball is on there.
Do you think this is the year Cal gets by USC and into the Rose Bowl?
Rando: I think the Bears have a definite chance, yes. I've been touting Cal as my "sleeper" team all August. Think the Bears have the best back in the country in Jahvid Best, maybe the best secondary, and if they replace Alex Mack and Kevin Riley steps up at QB, they should have a little of everything. If they get back 9/19 at Minn and 9/26 at Oregon, then 10/3 in Berkeley is the biggest Cal home game since the Pappy Waldorf days. Which is a while ago.
Your thoughts on Ohio State vs. USC?
Denver: Should be terrific. USC green at QB and replacing a lot of studs on defense, in front of 100,000 Bucknuts. But Ohio State lost plenty as well -- and until the Buckeyes show up in a big non-league game, I'll remain a doubter. (Though they honestly played well against TExas last year in the bowl game.)
Hey Pat, im a huge Florida fan and I wanna know what games will give the Gators the most trouble. Or will they blow threw their schedule with ease??
Joe: I went through the schedule on a radio show from SEC media days in late July and only found one game that looks like it has single-digit, white-knuckle potential: at LSU Oct. 10. Otherwise I see Florida being heavily favored in every other game until the SEC title game, and probably there as well.
Do you feel that Penn St. will run the table in the Big Ten and have a chance to play for the title?
Dom: I have picked Penn State to win the Big Ten, thanks to schedule more than anything else. Ohio State comes to State College, as does Iowa in a revenge game. At Michigan State to close the year could be tricky, but the Spartans still don't look like they're on the same level with the Nits and the Bucks.
What about Bob Stoops. He seems like a jerk and shows little respect for players not on his team.
Craw: Stoops was definitely among the last cuts from the list, though more for just winning a bunch than being an oversized jerk. He's cocky, no doubt about that, but he's always been gracious in defeat -- and I've covered quite a few of his defeats lately (Florida, West Virginia, Boise...).
Pat, I am a proud Tennessee Volunteer; however, I have not hopped aboard the ?Lane Train? just yet. How could you? The man has never coached a game. I want to see some football first. With that said, I believe the media has been overly critical of Kiffin?s demeanor despite some real successes in recruiting and on the practice field. Look at any ranking of SEC coaches and you will see Kiffin sitting at the bottom of the barrell. I agree that without seeing a football game, it is foolish to join the bandwagon. In the same breath, why is it acceptable to criticize Kiffin to this degree without seeing a football game? Call it ?us against the world? mentality if you wish, but I think there is a double standard.
Clark: It's acceptable to criticize Kiffin without playing a football game because he's done an awful lot of talking -- without playing a football game to back any of it up. To accuse another coach of cheating -- and be dead wrong -- is just an incredibly stupid way to begin your coaching career. That's going to stay with him until the Volunteers do something on the field worthy of changing the subject.
I'm amazed Petey is not on the list with USC dominating year after year.
Pete Carroll was under strong consideration, especially because he won't hesitate to run up points on teams. But other than Rick Neuheisel, I don't know of anyone with a personal beef with Pete.
We've got a 15 yard penalty on Clark (Knoxville) for excessive post length. You're asking a question in a chat, not writing a novel. It will remain 2nd down.
No review from the booth. Proceed.
Is this the end for Randy Shannon or will the Canes win enough for Shannon to get that extention?
Ariana: Schedule is brutal, opening up at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Va Tech, Oklahoma. If the Hurricanes aren't 0-4 and beaten down physically and mentally, they've got a real chance to get something done the rest of the way. I'd give Shannon another year after this one, almost no matter what happens.
Would the BCS be considered a villain? Say for USC, LSU, Oregon, Auburn, etc?
Will: Too easy. That would be cheating to put the BCS on there. Like shooting a Buffalo in the zoo.
How long until Michigan is back in the race?
Carrie: 2010 is my guess. I see improvement this year, but still not ready to compete with Ohio State and Penn State.
Mark Schlabach should be on the list for not recognizing football west of the Mississippi or North of the Mason-Dixon line. USC would dominate the SEC just like they did when they beat Auburn and Arkansas in their stadiums!
Vinnie: Maybe you missed our Top 40 programs draft a couple weeks ago, where my man Mark personally picked three teams from the Mountain West. Don't stereotype, bro.
How do you see the ACC going? Clemson returns nearly the same lineup (some would argue better) that last year earned a pre-season top ten. A lousy year has voters not wanting to be wrong again - but mightthe Tigers be better than expected?
Clemson absolutely has to prove it to me before I buy even a bit of hype about the Tigers. Last year was hardly the first year they've crumbled under big expectations.
Staying in college, but switching to hoops. Bigger villian - Laettner or Reddick?
Matt: Laettner. Not even close.
How did the computer polls not make the list of villains? They get blamed every time they give a different result from the voters (most of whom don't watch as many games as I do).
Jeff: Are you lobbying for a vote, Jeff? Probably a lot of coaches who would gladly let you fill out their ballot on the QT.
Bigger villain Dennis Erickson's Miami Hurricanes, or Tark's Runnin Rebs?
Will: Good question. Gotta go with Tark, because the Canes were villains under Jimmy Johnson before Erickson got there. And Tark took it to a different level than everyone else.
What team outside of your top 10 do you think could make noise and get a shot to play Florida in the BCS title game?
Taylor: I don't have my top 10 in front of me, but I'm going to say someone like Oklahoma State could jump up like Texas Tech did last year and make a run at winning the Big 12 South and playing for it all.
Do you have any love for Florida State?
Jason: No love, but a little like. Seminoles have been almost as big a tease as Clemson past several years -- always ranker higher early than they finish late. But I do think FSU can win its division of the ACC and possibly the league title.
Any chance a player not named Teebow or McCoy takes the Heisman this year?
Well, there's always the Bradford kid. He did pretty well last year.
Are the Huskers going to win the Big 12 North this year?
Carrie: I'm going for a bit of a longshot to win the North in Colorado. Like their schedule a lot, playing Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri all in Boulder. If they can find a WR and a couple of D-linemen I think the Buffs can take a big step forward.
Who will be the surprise team in the ACC other than VT?
Patrick: I think Georgia Tech will be good, and North Carolina should be solid again as well. And look out for NC State, year three for O'Brien could be a breakthrough year.
How do you feel about Neutral site Conference games? Love em or hate em?
Adam: Like 'em, for the most part. Red River game in Dallas is always a blast, as is the Cocktail Party game in Jacksonville. I do love the campus environment for games, but a 50-50 ticket split makes for a great buzz in the stadium.
Is Weis in danger of losing his job this year?
Michael: Well, sure, if Notre Dame has another season like either of the last two. In fact, given the schedule and all of ND's returning experience, I expect to the see the Fighting Irish win 9-10 games. If they can't do that and can't avoid being murdered by USC, I'd say Notre Dame will have a decision on its hands.
Can't believe that you left off the Indiana Hoosiers for scoring two late touchdowns and helping to screw Penn State out of the title in 94.
Jay: That was on the pollsters, not on IU. Pathetic that the voters dropped Penn State after a couple of window-dressing touchdowns.
why dont espn like the vols you people love the gators why is that when their coach is cockier than the one the vols have go vols
Amanda: We don't dislike the Vols. P.S: A little punctuation goes a long way.
I think you should make the list. Everyone in cbus knows your a SEC homer and dump on THE ohio state whenever you write anything on espn.
Steve: Feel free to put me on your list. But I like myself just enough to not make my own.
Is the Big East in any danger of losing it's automatic BCS bid anytime soon?
Tim: I don't think so, though this season could provide a lot of ammo to those who want to punt the Big East from the big six. There is no mechanism in place for jettisoning a league from the BCS, and the current contract runs through 2014.
More of a threat to derail back to back NCs: Injuries or LSU in Death Valley?
Clay: Injuries. If one of the superstars (Tebow, Brandon Spikes) goes down, it could change the picture. If Florida stays relatively healthy, I think the Gators win in Death Valley in October.
How could you give USC a chance with Barkley as their starter? A true freshman in "the shoe" against a Buckeye defense with arguably one of the best D-lines in the nation, and with their history of reloading at the linebacker and db positions...someone needs to stop with the SEC and USC bias!
Phil: Call me craaaaazy, but have you actually watched Ohio State play a big-time non-conference opponent in the last 3-4 years? That's how.
I have to believe that Pat Dye should be on this list, come on he taught his kids the value of the tie!!!
Matt: Good nomination.
Pat - The hatred of Willingham is not irrational. ND fans hate Willingham not only because he was a bad coach, but also because he didn't work very hard at it, particularly recruiting. Weis at least works his tail off on the recruiting trail as is evidenced by his recruiting success. While the jury is still out on Weis, this year is clearly put up or shut up time.
Rouse: Well, at least we agree on your last sentence.
who do you like in the Oregon vs Boisie state game?
Dylan: Kinda like the Broncos because they're playing at home, but this is a team that only returns 11 starters from last season. Good thing Oregon only returns nine. So I'll take Boise, awfully strong at home over the last 10 years.
Who is the team to beat in the Big East? WVU is usually there but Pitt is very strong this year? How do you like the new Big East Bowls....better or worse then what they had?
randy: I think Rutgers is (barely) the team to beat in the Big East. Cincinnati second, USF third, WVU fourth, Pitt fifth. That's just off the top of my head, and honestly, I'd give any of those five a chance to win it.
How long until the spread offense gets figured out?
Wilson: Good question, I'll be watching to see if defenses start to close the gap this season. They're still playing catchup for now, but eventually they'll figure this thing out.
Would you rather have Urban Meyer or Nick Saban leading your team?
Austin: Meyer leads two titles to one, so I'll take Urban.
Pat,what about the Bama vs VT game?
Dylan: I like Bama by a smidge, especially now that Darren Evans is injured. Should be a great opening-week game, just don't expect a shootout.
Any chance an undefeated Mountain West team surpasses a one-loss major conference team for a spot in the title game this year?
Eddie: I'm doubtful, but if BYU can somehow beat Oklahoma and Florida State on its way to 12-0, that would present a pretty strong case to the pollsters and computers.
Great list of villians. Why Ty Willingham but not Gerry Faust?
Mike: Faust wasn't a villain at all in my book. He was just overemployed. Not his fault ND was crazy enough to hire him out of high school.
If Kragthorpe does not make a bowl game this year is he out at Louisville?
Chris: Tom Jurich has been outspokenly behind Kragthorpe, but I think even he would have a tough time supporting him after a third straight bowl-less season. Especially if this year turns really ugly.
Why does the GA/OK State game keep getting overlooked?
Pat: I don't know. Should be a dandy. Think the Cowboys are sitting pretty for that one myself.
Let's say Florida goes 11-1 in the regular season, with a 3 point loss at LSU the only blemish. They then beat LSU by 30 in the SEC title game. Let's also say the OU/Texas winner and the Big East champion (Rutgers, for the sake of argument) are both undefeated. Does Florida get the title shot over Rutgers?
Brian: Let's say we wait until December before taking on that theoretical taffy pull.
OK folks, thanks for all the good questions. Keep reading our college football preview stuff over the next couple of weeks, then we finally get to game week in September. Bring it on!