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September 23, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

Hey, everybody. Let's talk some football. Big East and Notre Dame questions welcome here.

Kiran (Tampa, FL)

Do you think B.J. Daniels can/will pull of the upset this weekend for the Bulls in Doak Campbell Stadium?

Brian Bennett
  (4:01 PM)

It's an awfully tall order, for a freshman starting his first game. I already didn't like the fact that the Bulls have played nobody coming into this game. So I say no.

Andy (Sacramento)

Brian,I was feeling good about my 37-20 win prediction for until the 4th quarter happened. Why did Noel Devine get lost in the second half?

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

Well, I'm glad you wrote back, Andy. I did think West Virginia was the better team in that game, but it just killed itself with the turnovers. The passing game was working fine, except for the interceptions. The Mountaineers might have gotten a little too aggressive.

Sherman (Bethesda, MD)

Please comment on your impressions of SU head coach Doug Marrone. He appears to have "it." This team looks 180-degrees different than anything we saw during Robinson's tenure.

Brian Bennett
  (4:04 PM)

I'm very impressed so far. Marrone has really got those kids playing hard, though in fairness to Robinson, I thought they were playing hard last year as well. The best part is there's a little more innovation on offense and a more exciting style of play

Brian (Cincinnati, OH)

What are the chances of UC playing OSU?

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

100 percent. In 2012.

Ian (Pittsburgh, PA)

Any thoughts on the relatively slow starts for both George Selvie and Greg Romeus?

Brian Bennett
  (4:06 PM)

I definitely think teams have been scheming against them, particularly in Romeus's case. I would have thought Selvie would have more stats now after playing three weak teams. The real tests come this weekend, though.

UconnBob (Glastonbury, CT)

BB - Whats your take on Connecticut's potential to sneak up on a few of the upper tier teams in the conference? As a Huskies fan, I feel that the passing game needs to show as some threat in order for the running game to continue its success, particularly against teams like Pitt, WVU and Cinn (all which are the road games for Uconn this season). Keep up the good work with the blog!

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

That defense is really good, Bob. So they should be able to stay in most games with that and the running game. The Huskies won't be able to consistently compete for the top spot in the league until they develop some semblance of a passing game, though.

Matt (Cincinnati)

Brian, it seems odd that there really aren't any "terrible" teams in the BE, yet we only have 1 ranked team and everyone bashes the BE. I'd argue the BE was worse off last season compared to this, is it media driven or fan perception and lack of knowledge on teams?

Brian Bennett
  (4:08 PM)

That's interesting. I do think, overall, that this league is better than last year, from top to bottom. But last year, there were more recognizable stars, like Pat White and LeSean McCoy. A lot of the Big East's best players right now aren't known nationally.

Joel (Tampa, FL)

As a USF fan, I'm actually not all that worried about not having Grothe in this game; it's a concern obviously, but I'm much more concerned about our special teams play and run defense. What would you point to as USF's single biggest weakness against FSU? Conversely, what one aspect do you think gives the Bulls their best chance to win?

Brian Bennett
  (4:10 PM)

I'm still worried about the offensive line, which hasn't been tested to this point. And neither has the secondary, for that matter. The FSU speed is going to be so much different than what USF has see thus far. The Bulls also have a lot of young guys who've never been in a spot like this before. Maybe they're too young to not know better, though.

Ian (Pittsburgh, PA)

How will Pitt's defense hold up against the Russell Wilson led NC State offense this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (4:11 PM)

I think the defense will be fine. NC State is not an explosive offense, as we saw in the opener against South Carolina. This is going to be a physical game. Pitt just needs to be able to run the ball and take some shots downfield

Jonny B (NYC)

At the beginning of the year as we all know (as well as the infamous message boards here) everyone thought rutgers o-line was top notch and that Anthony Davis would go pro. At this point now for Rutgers can you see him trying to leave for the NFL early, or stick with Rutgers for another year...wherein our team might be more experienced and have more depth for him to "show off" for scouts in his senior year? Thanks

Brian Bennett
  (4:13 PM)

The O-line has been very disappointing, and though it's hard for me to judge all the intricacies of line play, Davis hasn't seemed all that special, either. There's a long way to go, and Davis certainly has all the physical tools. But so far, he doesn't look NFL ready to me.

Jeff (Pennsylvania)

Its hard to gage where NC State is at this point because of the awful game against South Carolina and their following two beat downs against two lowly teams.... What are your impressions on NC State? Keys: Attack the secondary and protect the passer?

Brian Bennett
  (4:14 PM)

Yeah, Jeff, from what I see they have some questions marks on both the O-line and the secondary because of injuries. Pitt can take advantage with its D-line and Jonathan Baldwin.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Which team will give Cincy a run for the Big East title? They've looked pretty unstoppable in their first 3 games.

Brian Bennett
  (4:14 PM)

I still think West Virginia and Pitt will be formidable. And others could pull off a surprise or two.

Tim S. (DC)

With the injury to Grothe, Rutgers' struggles, and games remaining against Louisville, Maine, and Akron, does that 6-6 season for the Orange suddenly not look like such a pipe dream? Love your coverage, thanks.

Brian Bennett
  (4:15 PM)

Lots of things will have to go right, because this is still a very thin roster. A few key injuries will be tough to overcome. I don't see 6-6, but 5-7 wouldn't shock me.

Earl (Princeton, WV)

Hey Brian, WVU went to Aurburn and showed it can move the ball and also showed they can give it away. If they can limit their mistakes and hang on to the ball how far can this team go in winning the Big East in your opinion?

Brian Bennett
  (4:16 PM)

That offense looked like it could only stop itself the other night. So much speed, and Jarrett Brown can make so many plays. Doesn't help much if you give the other team the ball, though.

Jonathan (New Brunswick, NJ)

With the embarrassing loss to Cincy at the beginning of the season, and the lackluster effort of the offensive line protecting a freshman QB, what is it going to take for Rutgers to be taken seriously on a national scale?

Brian Bennett
  (4:17 PM)

Nationally, it's going to be tough with that schedule. The Scarlet Knights absolutely have to beat a bad Maryland team this week, and then they'll probably have lose no more than 1 more the rest of the way to get any respect back.

Matt (New York, NY)

BB, Is it just me is the Syracuse defense, I hope I don;t jinx this, playing respectable defense? Even without Aurthur Jones playing very well!

Brian Bennett
  (4:18 PM)

Very respectable, which may be one of the more pleasant surprises in the Big East. Especially when you consider who've they played. And I don't know that Jones isn't playing well as much as he's just being constantly double-teamed.

Joseph (Salt Lake City)

Does the MWC still have a claim to the Big East's BCS spot after the recent losses of BYU and Utah? It seems the conference has just as man y quality wins under their belt as the Big East does.

Brian Bennett
  (4:19 PM)

I thought the argument was weak to begin with, but the MWC hasn't helped itself much this year so far.

Matt (Cincinnati)

I don't want Brian Kelly to go... but isn't scary to imagine what he could be able to do with top tier talent at all positions?

Brian Bennett
  (4:20 PM)

Frightening.

Ryan (Charlotte, NC)

Living in ACC country, I can't take PITT losing to another middle of the pack ACC team. Brian, tell me everything is going to be ok this weekend, that we won't get embarassed again on the road. My wife's going to take my travel pass if it happens again!

Brian Bennett
  (4:20 PM)

Ha. I think it will be a physical, low-scoring game, but I like Pitt a lot this week. Come back from the ledge

John (NJ)

Thoughts on Greg Paulus so far? He's shown a LOT of improvement over 3 games

Brian Bennett
  (4:22 PM)

Agreed. I was highly doubtful at the beginning of the year, but he's shown that at the very least, he can be a capable Big East quarterback. I think the Northwestern defense had a lot to do with Saturday's numbers, but Paulus can win games for Syracuse, which in and of itself is pretty amazing.

Nick (DC)

Brian, Great blog. Read it daily. When do you think Bill Stewart will start worrying about next year and give Eugene Smith a crack at consistent QB play? I have always thought Brown throws too many interceptions to consistently lead WVU to a BE title...

Brian Bennett
  (4:23 PM)

Take a deep breath. It's Week 4. Brown was spectacular until last week and still made some unbelievable plays despite the turnovers, of which at least two and maybe three might not have been his fault. He's going to be just fine. I do think Geno Smith needs some time, because we already saw Brown get hurt. But not at the expense of Brown.

Vince (Austin)

I'm sure you heard/read the article predicting UC would play Florida for the championship....thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (4:24 PM)

It's bold. I get a little weary of these predictions in Week 3 or 4. People were putting BYU in the title game two weeks ago. Let's wait and see. Long way to go.

Gwynn (Texas)

What are Fresno's chances against Cincy this week? Might this be an overlooked matchup?

Brian Bennett
  (4:25 PM)

Fresno is always dangerous. They can score some points and Mathews is a beast. Cincinnati might be feeling a little too good about itself now. On the other side, Fresno is coming off two tough losses itself and doesn't have much of a defense. I think the Bearcats will prevail

Mike (Storrs, CT)

Has the lack of any dropoff from UConn's running game surprised you? With that defense and running game, if they could only develop an effective, not necessarily a prolific passing game I think they'll be right there at the end of the year if they can sneak in a road win in conf. Thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (4:26 PM)

It hasn't surprised me all that much. I mean, UConn ran the ball well before last year. Edsall just knows how to teach it, and the combo of Dixon and Todman is strong. We keep saying when/if they develop a passing game, but it's been two years. Still waiting.

joe (chicago)

why no heisman love for clausen, he's the best qb in the country right now!

Brian Bennett
  (4:27 PM)

Simply because the Irish lost to Michigan. Had they won, he'd be right there. It's not fair, but it's how it works.

Stephen (Ohio)

If Pitt does win against NC State, how far do you think they can go before they lose ? And if they win this weekend will Pitt be ranked?

Brian Bennett
  (4:28 PM)

I think they'll win at Louisville the following week, but then they'd have UConn and Rutgers, two teams that have given them trouble. Pitt is better than both those teams, but they don't seem to match up well, especially not against Rutgers

Rising Sun (New Mexico)

Give one reason Louisville can turn itself around this year.

Brian Bennett
  (4:29 PM)

Hmmm. Well there does seem to be more team unity, and they have a lot of playmakers on offense and a deeper roster. I guess that's three reasons.

PK (ATL)

UConn seems to consistently fly under the radar...to the point that Donald Brown was ignored last years for pretty much all awards despite leading the country in rushing. How will that change? Does UConn and Edsall need to take a Rutgers/Schiano approach to self promotion? It doesn't feel like playing well is enough.

Brian Bennett
  (4:31 PM)

That's a good question. I think part of it is that the style of play is so conservative that people don't believe. A lack of any real marquee out-of-conference wins or any victories over West Virginia hurts as well. Maybe if UConn beats Notre Dame this year, that will start to turn opinion

goose (urbana)

riddle me this: notre dame pulls in a huge haul of defensive talent the past few years, hires one of the great dcoordinators in the game, and is still sporting a terrible defense. how do teams like uconn field better d's than nd???

Brian Bennett
  (4:32 PM)

One major reason is that those defensive players were wildly overrated, especially up front. Notre Dame's defensive line is just not very good, plain and simple.

Pat (Cincinnati)

In your opinion, who is the best quarterback in the country after the first 3 weeks?

Brian Bennett
  (4:32 PM)

The top three, I'd say, are Pike, Keenum and Clausen. But I haven't seen everybody

Nicki (West Virginia)

Brian, what do you think the chances of devine returning next year are?

Brian Bennett
  (4:33 PM)

Just given his background, I would think he could use the money and would go pro if he feels the opportunity is there.

Adam (SLC)

thoughts on the Utah - Louisville game?

Brian Bennett
  (4:34 PM)

Utah isn't nearly the team it was last year, but the Utes are better than Kentucky and should handle Louisville at their place.

Ryan J (Madison, WV)

Honestly, who in the Big East cares about Notre Dame?

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I cover Notre Dame now, too, Ryan. Let's all be friends.

Dave (NJ)

Brian, Rutgers defense looked much better against FIU. Do you think they are finally turning it around or do you think it was just a product of playing a woefully inferior opponent? Amazing that FIU had more yards in penalties going into 4Q than total yards on offense.

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

I think it was FIU. But Schiano's defenses always get better as the year goes along, and there's too much talent there for it not to get a lot better.

Mike (Michigan)

Which team in the Big East has the most speed overall? In terms of speed, how does the league compare with other conferences?

Brian Bennett
  (4:37 PM)

From what I've seen, definitely West Virginia. They sure looked faster than Auburn, two years in a row. For what that's worth.

Will (Tampa)

What would be a respectable outcome for the Big East this week?

Brian Bennett
  (4:37 PM)

Win 2 of the 3 ACC games. Have Cincinnati beat Fresno handily. Louisville at least hanging with Utah.

goose (urbana)

Brian, I seem to remember Notre Dame landing a pretty good linebacker recruit last winter. Where in the heck has he been?

Brian Bennett
  (4:38 PM)

Te'o hasn't played nearly as much as I thought, but in fairness Toryan Smith and Brian Smith haven't been the problem.

Chuck (Cincinnati)

Hey Brian, I have 2 questions for you. 1. Everyone in Cincy is talking about this perfect season and BCS game. i love the idea but I believe one game at a time is more important to look at. do you feel a perfect season is possible with us still having WVU and PITT. I know we have played some tough games this year but being conference games adds that much more pressure. I feel pretty confident after the way we handles Rutgers. 2. Another thing to consider is our team is just now starting classes back so we wont have 24/7 to practice. Do you feel that will have any changes in our play or slow us down any since we wont be able to devote all of out time on the field?

Brian Bennett
  (4:40 PM)

Here's the deal: Big East teams have seen Brian Kelly for three years now, so they're not going to be surprised. They'll have good game plans. This league is pretty balanced, and nobody has gone through it unscathed the last three years. So undefeated talk at this point is wishful thinking

Heather (TN)

Do you like WVU's new passing offense or do you think they should keep running the football as their bread and butter ?

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

As with all things, balance is key. I think West Virginia has the chance to be really explosive with all they can do. They just need to cut down the penalties and turnovers.

Daniel (Walkersville, MD)

Where did all the Cincy fans come from?? I've been reading this blog for close to a year now and don't remember there being nearly this many comments/questions from Cincy fans? Am I mistaken or is this a new development?

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

Funny how winning does that, huh? If this were 2006, I'd probably be getting lots of Louisville questions instead.

UVAGina (Charlottesville, VA)

Do ya'll think that UVA can land Coach Kelly to replace Al Groh?

Brian Bennett
  (4:42 PM)

If Kelly were going to leave, I don't know why it would be for Virginia. I think you can get to the BCS easier from Cincinnati than through Virginia.

Gen (Washington DC)

now that usf lost our boy matt, what is a realistic expectation for the rest of the season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:44 PM)

I think BJ Daniels is going to pretty good. It's just so hard to get a read on the team as a whole because they haven't played anybody. I'll see them in person in Tallahassee Saturday and should have a better idea.

bob (mishawaka)

hey there, whats up with clausen nursing a turf toe? what is that, can it really hurt that bad?

Brian Bennett
  (4:45 PM)

I've never had it, but from what I understand it can be a very painful injury. Especially when you need your toes to push off and make throws. He'll be wearing a special shoe this weekend.

Larry (Cincy)

Will you be at any Big East games this week?

Brian Bennett
  (4:45 PM)

USF-FSU on Saturday. As Greg Auman called it, the palindrome game.

Jon (Syracuse)

How do you manage to watch all of the Big East games, especially when some are played at the same time? Do you have multiple tv's set up, do you use DVR, assistants?

Brian Bennett
  (4:47 PM)

It is a challenge, especially when I'm at a game. ESPN360.com is a godsend, as is my SlingBox. Do I see every play of every game? No, it's just not possible.

Ben (Atlanta)

Hey are you tailgating before the USF-FSU game? Come on out and have a beer with us.

Brian Bennett
  (4:48 PM)

I will be working, but I hear there will be lots of Bulls fans there. As many as 12,000, supposedly

Dave (NJ)

Brian - do you see Rutgers having a hard time with Maryland? If they struggle with the Terps, it may be time to start talking about next year. Will be a looong season.

Brian Bennett
  (4:48 PM)

If Middle Tennessee could win there, Rutgers should, too.

matt (Syracuse)

what team needs to come out on a national stage to help repair the reputation of the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (4:49 PM)

I don't necessarily think it has to be one in particular, but just that one or two each year are really, really good. It would be nice if Pitt could join Cincinnati as major national force this season, for example.

Andy (DC)

As a big Mountaineer fan, I was disappointed in the loss to Auburn, but didn't come away completely dejected. I feel similar to you. What do you see for WVU for the rest of the season? Could that have been a wake up call like the USF loss of a couple of years ago?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

I think this team has the potential to be better than last year's. Just needs to get sharper mentally, because the pieces are all in place.

Taylor (Chicago)

How long do you think it is before the MWC starts clamoring for the ACC's bid rather than the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

Would be a hard argument the way FSU just throttled BYU in Provo

ryan (beckley, wv)

brian, do you honestly think pike can make a better nfl qb than jarrett brown having seen some of his talents over the past few weeks?

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

I'm not Mel Kiper. Both have strengths and weaknesses. Can Pike play under center consistently? Can Brown stay in the pocket? Neither has played all that much football at this level yet.

PAUL (Meeting)

What are your thoughts on the Bearcats Defense thus far, what they did to Qizz Rodgers was impresive.

Brian Bennett
  (4:52 PM)

Very, very impressive. And they did it without Curtis Young.

joe (dirty souf bend)

so about those golden domers, how do you see them making up for the loss of michael floyd?

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

It's going to have to be a combination of guys, but they don't have one guy nearly as good as him. Kamara is the obvious choice because of his physical build, but the guy who intrigues me is Shaq Evans.

Will (Tampa)

Ryne Giddens has barely played this year...what are the options when it comes to a redshirt?

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

Unless he gets hurt, he can't redshirt now

Tim (Washington, WV)

How did CO become worse this year than last, and what's the chance WVU will be looking past that game?

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

Can't answer the first part, because it's baffling. After a loss and with a week and half to get ready, and because they lost in Boulder last year, there's no way the Mountaineers won't be focused. None.

Vinny (Philadelphia)

Why don't the teams in the Big East just agree to let one team run the table, and then let the other 7 teams duke it out? As long as no one found out, it would be great for the league...

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

Vinny, you sound like a shady character.

Tim (Sacramento)

Can Syracuse win the Big Eaat this year?

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

Lacrosse? Definitely

Brian Bennett
  (4:56 PM)

OK, folks, that's it for me. Thanks for all the great question and enjoy the weekend in college football.