Hello and happy second week of college football to everyone. I'll be at the Horseshoe for a fascinating game Saturday, can't wait. Fire away with the questions, we'll get to as many as we can.
Pat, does Ohio State have to "Win" this Saturday to truly salvage itself and the Big 10? Most outside the Big Ten seem to forget OSU was within seconds of Beating a Texas team everyone thought should be playing in the NC game. Even if OSU beats USC, does that totally erase the perception of the nation? It seems only another NC will sway the nation back to believing OSU is one of the elite programs in the country. Thanks Pat!
Rob: Ohio State does need to win for its own credibility and the credibility of the league, I believe that. Look, you're not going to find USC this vulnerable (at least on paper) very often: freshman QB, rebuilt defense, home game for the Buckeyes. If Ohio State is a truly elite program -- top five in the country -- it wins this game. That said, I'm picking USC.
Is playing in the national championship game a requirement to win the heisman? Jahvid Best is the best running back and one of the best athletes in college football. He is the competitive advantage for Cal. What would he have to do to win over Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow?
Robert: That's an easy one. He needs to carry it more than the 10 times he got against Maryland. I have been on record touting Best as the best RB in the country and the top Heisman candidate to crash the quarterback monopoly. But if he only gets it 10 times a game, he won't be able to put up the #s to sway voters.
Michigan's chances this week at home versus the Irish?
Haas: This went from a moderately interesting game to a fascinating game in the time it took Michigan to rout WMU and Notre Dame to shut out Nevada. Now, I'm really interested. I like Michigan's chances, although the Notre Dame experience edge should be a big factor for a game this early in the season. But if the Wolverines avoid throwing up on themselves like last year (six turnovers), I think they have a good chance to win.
Will Matt Barkley falter under the 105k screaming fans???
Dave: I'll have a column on that on the site tomorrow. Talked to a few Trojans this week and they really like their young QB, but this is a different kettle of fish than a home opener vs. San Jose State.
Can Georgia's O-Line protect Joe Cox (or Logan Gray) from South Carolina's linemen?
Daniel: The season-ending injury to Trinton Sturdivant was a blow -- and I really feel badly for him, having that happen again. South Carolina seemed to be in the backfield a lot against NCSU, so the job will be difficult -- and we'll have to see who is taking snaps for UGA. Right now Georgia's best hope is to run the football and slow down the USC rush.
Does Oregon regain it's composure and beat a Purdue team that put up 52 points last week?
I don't know. Honestly, that was such a complete meltdown last week that I have my doubts whether Oregon can piece itself back together -- especially without its best player. I was impressed by Purdue's run game under new HC Danny Hope and new OC Gary Nord; if they can run it in Eugene I give the Boilermakers a chance.
"We need you to put the Irish back in their place, Rod." Why so much hate toward ND, Pat?
Burr: That wasn't me speaking in the column, that was Jim Delany. Anyone with an ND degree would know that. Unless, of course, you don't have an ND degree.
How do think Tennessee will do against Norm Chow and the UCLA offense saturday
Tracy: Can't wait to find out. That's another game involving two teams who looked a little better than I expected last week. Granted, Tennessee played a Western Kentucky team that is going to REALLY struggle this year, and UCLA played San Diego State, but both teams won by more than I expected. I think Tennessee will win, but I'll be interested to see how UCLA handles the atmosphere.
Did you feel silly devoting so much column space to the Spurrier/Tebow controversy? As someone who lives west of the Mississippi, I can't think of a more ridiculous sports story that was given so much coverage.
Ken: It was July. What stories were you looking for then?
Are my LSU Tigers in any legitimate danger with Vanderbilt rolling into Baton Rouge this weekend?
Ross: LSU needs to play better than it did last week -- and should, given the home-field advantage. But this is no longer Candy Vandy; if LSU turns the ball over a bunch the Commodores could pull the upset.
Why isn't Mich State ranked? I mean ND is ranked and people think that Sparty will have a party when they play ND
Tone: Beating Montana State is not an automatic ticket to the Top 25. Beat Central Michigan this week and then Notre Dame Sept. 19, and you'll be ranked.
Pat, how bad of shape is the Colorado program really in? thanks
JR: I have to say, I was pretty shocked by what Colorado put on the field against CSU. I knew there were questions about WR and DL, but the Buffaloes were mauled on both lines and were soooo slow on offense. Here in the era of hurry-up offense, they were running the play clock inside five seconds every snap. They've got a long way to go to compete in the Big 12.
Clemson's chances of stopping the option tonight???
Johnny: Chances of stopping the option? Not real good. Chances of outscoring the option? A little better. But I like Tech in this game.
Pat, you're a journalist, and it seems that journalism (read: sell papers) is the reason we have preseason polls. If you had your way, would you abolish them so there's a slightly more level playing field early on?
Lou: I'd kinda like to see them done away with, yes. Or maybe a preseason poll -- so everyone can get talking about college football -- and then nothing until October. Since the polls matter (which stinks, but we've covered that ground before) they should be as fair as possible.
I know it's like being the 5th best looking guy in the room, but who do you think sits atop the ACC now?
Pete: Well said. I'd have to say Miami, based on having played someone and beaten someone on someone's home turf. Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech might end up being better, but nobody showed more the first week than the Canes.
Pat, why no love to Utah, with a 15-game winning streak, in your Power Rankings poll? Do you really think Utah has dropped that far this season? I see Utah winning 10 games this year.
Nate: That was a tough call leaving the Utes out, but I left them out preseason as well and wasn't sufficiently moved by a fairly uninspiring win over Utah State to change that. Losses at QB, receiver and defense still have me wondering how good the Utes will be. We'll have a better idea by the end of the month.
I see a lot of people upset about BSU not suspending Hout. I don't understand all the backlash, if you are going to talk trash pregame like Blount did, you have to expect to be called on it after the game. This happens every game, people don't just explode on someone. I do agree he shouldn't have hit his shoulder pad, but people need to lighten up.
Kevin: Stop your last sentence after "I do agree he shouldn't have hit his shoulder pad." Because, hey, he shouldn't have hit his shoulder pad. That helped precipitate the reaction. And if you do that, I think you should pay a price. I'd sit him for one game.
Washington put 478 yards on the LSU defense last week. Should Washington fans be excited about their offense or should LSU fans be worried about their defense?
John: I'd say both. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks to justify or refute the optimism in Seattle/pessimism in Baton Rouge.
Any chance for Cincy to win the Big East? Who's your pick, Pat?
Craig: Well, my preseason pick was Rutgers. That looks splendid now. So I'll have to go with Cincy, which was by far the most impressive Big East team of the first week.
who all believed georgia was going to win the game against OSU and who thinks they are going to beat south carolina
John: I thought Georgia would lose to Oklahoma State and I have been thinking Georgia would beat South Carolina, but the QB situation makes me reconsider. Maybe it shouldn't -- because Joe Cox didn't show much to inspire confidence last week -- but I'll have to take a harder look at that game.
Do you know how hard it was being at the Arch Rivalry game last weekend as an Illini fan?
Greg: I could imagine. Gotta love the Zooker.
Is Sam Bradford done in the Heisman race?
Jason: Probably. If he comes back and plays lights-out football and Oklahoma runs the table, he'll be back in the picture. But if he's out a month and the Sooners cannot beat Texas (or Oklahoma State, etc.) I think he'll have no chance.
Who had the more disappointing opening week? Oklahoma or Oregon?
Oregon: Worst opening game I can ever remember, all things considered. At least Oklahoma didn't embarrass itself beyond losing and having a huge injury.
Pat, when you are writing the Dash columns and stories like "Foulest 40 villains," do you wish your last name was Twenne or Hafduzzen or something like that?
Chris: Haha. Sometimes, especially late in the season.
How realistic are BYU's title chances right now? I know 1-0 is a far cry from 12-0, but we've at least got a shot this year, right?
Sam: Sure, BYU has a shot. Best thing the Cougars have going for them is A) a win in the bag over a big-time opponent, B) a game against FSU and C) the chance that the Mountain West is pretty darned good this year with TCU, Utah and maybe CSU and Air Force. Strength of schedule could be pretty solid.
Alot of talk about Pryor this season, even comparison to VY. Do you see Pryor having the "X" Factor, like Young had?
Jason: I don't think we'll know that this year. VY didn't have that factor until he was a junior and didn't REALLY have that factor until he was a senior -- and I'm defining that factor as a charisma/leadership ability that goes beyond elite physical tools. So far I'd say Pryor is still a little bit immature and not yet ready to take command of a team the way VY did.
Who stands to suffer the most if they loose Saturday. Rich Rod or Charlie Weiss?
Randy: I'd say Weis, because his team is favored. Either way, the loser will take a lot of heat while the winner will be hailed for turning around a bad situation. Both summations might be premature.
Hey Dash, any thoughts on the fact that Florida hasn't played a non-conference game outside the state in 18 years?
Steve: Yeah. It's weak. But playing Florida State annually and Miami often is not weak.
Gabbert showed flashes of brilliance last week. How good can he honestly be?
The Blaine Gabbert hype machine is in runaway mode. Both St. Louis columnist Bryan Burwell and KC columnist Jason Whitlock are gushing -- Burwell even compared him to John Elway. I know his arm strength is enough to make grown men weep, but he's had ONE COLLEGE START. Let's dial it back a bit.
Did you see as much improvement in Fsu as i did on monday night or am i just wanting to see it so bad that i saw stuff that wasn't there? Talk about Greg Reid....
Eric: LOVED Greg Reid. Fascinating player -- all over the field at 5-foot-9. As for FSU as a whole: better, no doubt. But still some issues tackling and in special teams, and I remain unconvinced that Bobby Bowden is significantly involved at all.
Pat, VY left Texas as a Junior did you mean Senior because he was a red shirt?
Sorry, my mistake. VY as a junior vs. VY as a sophomore.
I saw more out of Greg McElroy last weekend than I saw out of John Parker Wilson's whole career. Do you think Gmac could become a true quarterback for the tide?
Randy: Yes, I think McElroy has a chance to be a very good quarterback, and 'Bama has a chance to have a fully diversified offense that doesn't solely rely on a crushing run game to set up the pass. Not that the run game is bad.
The Heisman is supposed to go to the Best College Football Player. Why do you think most voters look towards the "most important player" on a top five team?
Rick: I've been a Heisman voter since the early 1990s and it's a hard vote. First of all, you have to decide which criteria really matter to you. Since football is the MOST team-oriented of any sport, I think team success has to be a major factor. I'd just have a hard time voting for someone whose team went 4-8 or 6-6. I look for a combination of individual brilliance and team success.
best RB in the country?
Rob: Jahvid Best, Cal.
the Gabbert hype is a bit much, but it is any different than talking about a true freshman's heisman chances after one game? Who did USC play again?
Clay: I heard nobody talking about Matt Barkley as a Heisman candidate.
What are the chances that Houston pulls out the upset of the week against OK State?
Coty: Greetings from India. That's an intriguing game -- you have to figure OK State is due for a letdown after a game that has been hyped since January, and even a conscientious opponent might have a hard time getting up for Houston. But overlooking the Coogs would be a mistake; their offense is about 100 times better than Georgia's.
Pat,Berry or Mayes.....who you got and why?
Ben: Tough call, but I've got Berry. Better pass defender and playmaker. Love 'em both.
You were pretty quick with your response on best RB. 128 schools and ALL of the variables, would you like to expand to a TOP 5?
John: Just shooting from the elbows, I'd rank them this way: 1. Best; 2. Jonathan Dwyer; 3. Evan Royster; 4. Chris Brown/DeMarcy Murray of OU; 5. Joe McKnight. And I really like Damion Fletcher, the little man from Southern Miss.
Daryll Clark: Still the best QB in the Big Ten?
JB: Yes, I'd say so.
Hi Pat, do you see Iowa bouncing back from their poor performance last week and beating the Cyclones soundly? Do you think they will play up to the level they were at the end of last season?
Steve: I don't know. Hawkeyes got a lot of ground to cover after that performance last week. RB injury has hurt.
Pat, what does Roy Helu, Jr. from Nebraska have to do to make the top RB list? He's been nothing short of spectacular the last 1/2 of last season and the first game of this season.
Scott: Good point, he's worthy of discussion. What he needs to do is bring it for big yardage against someone bigger than Florida Atlantic.
What about Jeff Demps?
Brendan: Doesn't get enough carries in Urban Meyer's eyedropper offense.
How would Robert Griffin stack up with the likes of T. Pryor if Griffin played for a contender?
Blake: I love Robert Griffin, think he's a great talent. And wins like Baylor's over Wake Forest will put him more on the national map. If he plays well and the Bears can score a notable Big 12 upset or two, people will begin to take notice.
So you can say that as a Heisman voter, you don't necessarily vote for the best college football player (Fitzgerald, Moss, Pace, etc..)?
Ken: For the record, I voted for Fitzgerald. Secondly, trying to decide whether an offensive tackle (Pace) is the best player in football is pretty difficult. How many have been named NFL MVP? It's an inexact science. That's just the way it is.
It's funny you are so quick to say Best but 8 of 10 folks would probably take Dwyer ahead of him, speed AND power!
Tyron: Eight out of 10 people are entitled to their own opinion. Mine is Best.
Does Olkahoma have virtually no chance now at getting in the bcs championship now that sam bradford is injured?
Mark: I wouldn't say no chance, but I'd say it's way uphill from here. Even if Bradford comes back 100 percent in time to play Miami and Texas, the OU offensive line was a grease fire against BYU. I cannot imagine a team with that line winning out from here.
Pat... a whole chat and no disparaging remarks about the big 10... you are not your usual self today...
Adam: Got my shots in in The Dash this week. Hope you saw it.
How come no one is talking about Fairchild and the amazing coaching he has done with Colorado State? Especially after beating CU in Boulder.
Steve: Good point, thanks for making it. Steve Fairchild looks like a rising star so far at Colorado State. If the Rams can maintain what they did against CU they'll go to another bowl -- then the school will have to hope nobody comes in from a bigger school and snatches him.
whats your top 5 teams ?
Justin: If I remember correctly, this is what I sent in for the ESPN power rankings this week: 1. Florida, 2. Texas, 3. USC, 4. California, 5. Alabama.
Should Pres. Obama invite Blount and Hout to the Rose Garden to discuss the events of last Thursday over a couple beers?
Donald: I like it! If both are of legal drinking age, give 'em a beer and work it out!
OK, time for me to flee. Gotta finish my column on Barkley/USC vs. Ohio State. Look for it tomorrow. Thanks for all the questions, see you next week -- most likely same time, same place.