Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 30, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

Hey, everybody. I'm here to answer your questions. Let's talk some football, especially Big East and Notre Dame

Jeff (Cincy)

Assuming that the Bearcats blow out Miami of Ohio, do you think that the game in Tampa in 3 weeks will decide the Big East champion?

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

It's hard not to look ahead to that game. Cincinnati should be 5-0 in the Top 10, and South Florida -- if it beats Syracuse -- would be 5-0 and probably in the Top 25. I still think West Virginia and Pitt will have something to say about this race, but for the time being, that would be the Big East game of the year.

john (charleston wv)

Why cant the big east attract any better bowls.

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But the thing to remember is that bowl games are businesses whose No. 1 job is to fill hotel rooms and bring people to town. Conferences like the Big Ten just have bigger fan bases that are more willing to travel and more name recognition.

Matt (Tampa)

Brian, if Tony Pike keeps putting up solid numbers do you see him being a first round draft pick?

Brian Bennett
  (4:04 PM)

I've talked to a couple of scouts who are really growing fond of Pike. The two concerns: 1) he's still rail-thin, especially by NFL standards. 2) he's in the shotgun a lot and doesn't run a pro-style offense.

RAY GORDON REID ( JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA 32207)

QUESTION TO BRIAN BENNETT AT 4.2OPM HI BRIAN IS SOUTHFLORIDA IN YOUR TOP 25

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

I HAVE THEM AT NO. 22

Tim (Washington WV)

For all the anticipation we had for Williams return this year and Berry... they've panned out about like Finau. What are you hearing as to they're real status for the remainder of the WVU season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:06 PM)

My understanding is that Williams has turf toe, which can be slow to heal. But he should play this week. Berry is still questionable to doubtful, but it doesn't sound like a season-long kind of injury. Another long week after tomorrow should help both.

Ian (Pittsburgh, PA)

Are Pitt's BCS bowl hopes over if they lose to Louisville on Friday night?

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

I suppose Pitt could still go 6-1 and win the Big East if it won out. But this is a game the Panthers absolutely should win, and if they don't, it raises lots of questions.

Kiran (Tampa, FL)

Do you think this year will be different for South Florida's chances in the BE? Cincinnati and WVU are at home on national TV. Also, one thing I have noticed is that our first loss in both previous years has come on a Thursday night on a short week. We have bye weeks before both of our Thursday nighters this year. Will this be the difference?

Brian Bennett
  (4:09 PM)

Impossible to predict. I will be watching closely on Saturday to see how they come out against Syracuse. If they take care of business, I'll feel better about the Bulls. Then they'll have a week and a half for Cincinnati, so no excuses

Kelli (SEC girl just married to Big East boy) (Denver)

Since I love college football I have decided to follow my hubby's Orange in prayer and in reality (he's not as much of a fan). Do they win against South Florida? If SF's October trends continue the Cuse will have 3 games won this weekend!

Brian Bennett
  (4:10 PM)

Well, at least you picked a good year to hop on the Syracuse train. I think it will be close in the Carrier Dome, but I wonder how the Orange are going to contain that Bulls' D-line. It's a whole lot better than what they've seen so far.

Alan (Buckhannon, WV)

Thoughts about the WVU/Colorado game tomorrow night? Does Colorado's passing game pose a threat for WVU giving up a few early passes and points?What do u think the score will be, and do you see this game being closer than what most people would say?

Brian Bennett
  (4:11 PM)

I don't think it will be that close. Colorado hasn't shown me much. West Virginia is at home. Should be a blowout.

Paul Albert (Cincinnati, OH)

Brian, if Cincinnati goes to a BCS bowl this year, what is the probability they will play Ohio State in a BCS bowl (if they can even get there this year with their sub-par offense and their weak quarterback)?

Brian Bennett
  (4:12 PM)

Virtually none. The Big Ten isn't getting two in the BCS, in my opinion, so that means Ohio State would have to win the league. And that means the Rose Bowl, which isn't going to take Cincinnati under any circumstances.

Jimmy (New Jersey)

Does RU have any chance to win the Big East still, or was that lost on the first day of the season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:13 PM)

They could win out and have a chance, but I find that highly unlikely. They just don't have enough on offense. They could still be dangerous, though.

Jerry (Missouri)

I don't mind playing the BIG EAST but I will not go sit in the snow in New York

Brian Bennett
  (4:14 PM)

Jerry, have you ever been to New York? I guarantee you you'd have a great trip. And who knows what the weather will be? Of course, I sit inside when I watch a game, so I can't really feel your pain. I hate cold weather too.

Justin (West Virginia )

Do you really think Jimmy Clausen is heisman good and can they win the title game?

Brian Bennett
  (4:15 PM)

If the Irish had beaten Michigan, he might be leading the Heisman race right now. That drive at Purdue was Heisman-worthy. Notre Dame isn't getting near any title games this year.

Brandon (Cincinnati)

After seeing what Fresno State did against Cincy's defense, is there any team that could possibly do the same and exploit the D with a running game and do it with enough success to win?

Brian Bennett
  (4:16 PM)

Pitt, UConn and West Virginia can really run the ball. But they don't have big bruising backs like Ryan Mathews. Dude is leading the country in rushing, after all. UConn might be the one team that would worry me, with Todman and Dixon, but you can load the box against them.

Ryan J (Madison, WV)

Where would Notre Dame finish in the Big East? 6th at best, right?

Brian Bennett
  (4:17 PM)

They wouldn't beat Cincinnati head to head. I can't wait to see the Irish vs. UConn and Pitt this year.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

I wasn't sold on Bill Stewart when he was hired, but don't you think he's doing a pretty good job now?

Brian Bennett
  (4:17 PM)

Let's see: He's 12-5 with bowl wins over Bob Stoops and Butch Davis? That's not too shabby.

Doug (Erie, PA)

I don't know how much you've watched Pitt this year, but it seems like Romeus and Sheard are just trying to get the sack and ignoring their other reponsibilities- such as containment. Russell wilson ran untouched around the ends too many times to recount!!!

Brian Bennett
  (4:18 PM)

That was definitely a problem last week. Wilson can make a lot of people look silly, and for some reason they weren't anticipating him running as much. But clearly, Pitt has been undisciplined on defense this season. Very uncharacteristic.

Steve (New Brunswick)

Is Tom Savage the answer for Rutgers? He is the future of the team with 2 other Senior QB's on the team

Brian Bennett
  (4:20 PM)

If by "answer" you mean best quarterback on the roster and the guy who should be playing now, then yes.

Jerry (China)

Hi Brian, unfortunately I don't get to see the games live over here to assess the teams, but from what I have been told by people who have watched the games -- WVU is the best team in the Big East, in terms of potential. My question is, if WVU gets their turnover problem resolved before league play, will anyone (cincinatti included) be able to challenge them?

Brian Bennett
  (4:21 PM)

Hello over there. West Virginia certainly has a ton of potential on offense. So much speed. I rank them alongside Cincinnati and South Florida as the best teams in the league. Not a whole lot of separation.

Richard (Boston)

I'm starting to believe that Alabama vs. Florida in Pasadena is being unavoidable because Texas in my opinion is the only other team that can into the National Championship if they run the table and I don't believe they well. Well there be an SEC National Championship?

Brian Bennett
  (4:23 PM)

I don't think so. Voters don't like rematches, especially from a game played that late in the year. And I don't believe both will go into that game undefeated.

Steve (New York)

When the year is over do you think Paulus has a shot at an NFL roster? Or would he go back to basketball?

Brian Bennett
  (4:24 PM)

I think he'll get a look. Remember, the Packers worked him out, which is one reason he decided to play again. He has no future in the NBA, maybe Europe or somewhere.

Jon (Gainesville, FL)

As an SEC homer, I respect the Big East way more than the ACC and Big 10, and it's interesting to see the lack of Big East respect. Even after the last 2 big weekends for the Big East, it seems that more statement-wins need to be made. Are there any more opportunities coming up (only USF hosting Miami comes to mind?). Thanks

Brian Bennett
  (4:25 PM)

The Miami game and a couple of cracks at Notre Dame. Cincinnati has Illinois, but the Illini have fallen flat. That's about it.

Jason (WV)

Is J. Brown from WVU starting QB tomorrow? From his injury?

Brian Bennett
  (4:26 PM)

He's fine, by all accounts. Just bruised his nonthrowing shoulder

Kelsey (Wheeling, WV)

Do you think Cinncy is even really that good.... defense is terrible..can they really beat a top 6 team in the country

Brian Bennett
  (4:26 PM)

Defense is terrible? Really? Ask Oregon State about that. Could they beat a Top 6 team? Well, Boise State is in the Top 6. I'd like the Bearcats chances in that one.

adam (ct)

Much is said about the reason the Big East doesn't have strong bowl ties being because of smaller fan bases. With that said, how would you rank the Big East teams fan bases? (Clearly West Virginia is #1) Also how would compare these fan bases to other teams from BCS Conferences, plus MWC?

Brian Bennett
  (4:28 PM)

That's an interesting question. Syracuse has a large fan base but is a slumbering giant. Pitt has lots of fans but doesn't travel well. Louisville was growing steadily but has stalled and even declined in the past two years. Rutgers has unlimited potential. Just to name a few. The fan bases (and stadiums) are smaller than any BCS conference, but better than the Mountain West.

Matt (Cincinnati)

Hey Brian, no one seems to understand Brian Kelly and Diaco ran a modified prevent defense the entire game against Fresno to prevent them from throwing the ball deep and allowing them to pound the ball. If Cincy's defense is at full strength, Fresno would have been lucky to score 10 points.

Brian Bennett
  (4:29 PM)

I agree with your premise, but that doesn't mean Cincinnati's defense will always be at full strength. There are some depth and injury issues.

Chris M (Toronto, Ontario)

Now that the "Yankee Bowl" is looking like a lock to be approved by the NCAA for the 2010-2011 season, has the Big East formally announced that they will not be sending a team to the International Bowl in Toronto?

Brian Bennett
  (4:30 PM)

It hasn't been made official, but it's the worst kept secret around. No more Canadian trips for the Big East

Nick (Cincinnati)

Any word on Cincy's new facilities?

Brian Bennett
  (4:31 PM)

Yeah, they don't exist. A new fundraising initiative was announced next week. Brian Kelly seems to be getting antsy about it.

Alex (Cincy)

Hey BB--Gotta say again, love this blog. Thanks for making the work day more tolerable. Now, on to the question...I know its a long shot for the bearcats to go undefeated--but lets say that continue to win for the next few weeks. Will they start to pass one loss teams like Va Tech, USC and tOSU? And, if so, when? What do you think the chances are the cats run the table but are left out of the title game. Again, I am only dreaming here--but we don't get to do that very often in cincinnati.

Brian Bennett
  (4:32 PM)

Dream away. An undefeated Cincinnati is going to be hard to keep down, though USC and Va Tech are going to get more respect. Root like heck for Oregon State to be good is my advice

Jeff (Cuse)

I don't understand how Louisville has fallen so far. Was the loss to Syracuse in 2007 really the beginning of their slump?

Brian Bennett
  (4:33 PM)

No, it began before that. Kragthorpe and many of the players left over from the Orange Bowl didn't mesh, and there were some holes in the recruiting. They've been trying to get it right ever since

Tom (atlanta)

True or False: If ND wins the next two, they crack the top 10.follow up: True or False: If ND wins the next three, they crack the top 10.

Brian Bennett
  (4:34 PM)

I don't think they get in the Top 10 either way, unless possibly Michigan stays undefeated. This is not a Top 10 caliber team.

chris (philadelphia)

West Virginia has the largest fan base and Cincy has the smallest. Everyone else in the middle is comparable.

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I'd agree with that. Probably put UConn as the second smallest.

Pete (Boise)

Brian, why do you favor Cincinnati over Boise if they were to play this season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I didn't say I'd favor Cincinnati, just said I'd like their chances. Seems like a pretty even matchup to me. I'd love to see that game, actually.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Does a 10-2 Notre Dame team get a BCS spot?

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

Absolutely. But I don't see it. 9-3 at best.

Vinny (Philly)

Brian - why doesn't Villanova schedule 1 game a year against a BE opponent? They just played (and beat) Temple, why can't they take on Syracuse or Pitt? The added exposure and money could help get the ball rolling for them to join the BE in fball.

Brian Bennett
  (4:37 PM)

They played West Virginia last year. I'm not sure any Big East team wants to play them, to be honest. They're dangerously good.

Wade (Cincinnati)

Would positives do you see in Louisville?

Brian Bennett
  (4:38 PM)

Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Ramsi's, the Derby ... Oh, you mean the football team? Well, they're playing hard. They have playmakers at receiver and running back. Justin Burke is accurate and smart. The defense isn't awful. Not a lot to love, but this team isn't as bad as it was at the end of last season.

Dave (NJ)

Brian, next big game for Rutgers is in a couple weeks when they host Pitt on Fri 10/16. Right now, who do you favor in that game and why?

Brian Bennett
  (4:39 PM)

Pitt should be favored on talent, but until I see Wannstedt beat Schiano, I'll go with Rutgers.

Rob (Cincy)

Following up on the Villanova question, aren't they the ideal 9th BE team if they could make their way into the FBS? I know they have issues with their stadium size, etc, but couldn't they play their big games in the Eagles Stadium?

Brian Bennett
  (4:39 PM)

I've been over this many times in the blog. The stadium is home to the Eagles and Temple, so there's no place to play. And going to FBS costs a lot of money.

Joe (West Virginia)

Brian, I think the new yankee bowl is great, but how do you feel about the big east's number 4 playing against the big 12's 7. Do you think that this matchup looks bad for the conference?

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

It's bad, as is the No. 2 Big East possibly playing No. 4 ACC in Champs Sports. But see my earlier answers about bowl games. That's life.

Joe (WV)

With top ten teams getting beat becoming a pattern again, which teams do you think are next to go down? Do you see a 1 loss Big East team maybe getting a shot like 2007 WVU (before the Pitt game)?

Brian Bennett
  (4:42 PM)

LSU will lose either this week of next. Wouldn't be surprised to see USC and/or Oklahoma lose on the road this year. Everything would have to go right for the Big East for that to happen. Remember, a lot of teams had two losses that year.

Jonah (Pine Grove, WV)

i know it is not happening, anytime soon anyway, but how huge would it be for WVU and Michigan to play in a bowl game in the next 4 years?

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

It would keep the media busy, that's for sure.

Matt (Cincinnati)

What Big East stadium has the best under the lights atmosphere in a packed house?

Brian Bennett
  (4:44 PM)

West Virginia still has the best campus atmosphere. A big night game at South Florida is something else, because people get rowdy. I'd love to see the Carrier Dome really rocking.

Michael (Las Vegas)

Which BCS Buster will make the BCS? Boise St, Houston, or TCU?

Brian Bennett
  (4:44 PM)

I'm pretty intrigued by Houston. Though Boise has the easier road. TCU will lose a game in the MWC.

Blake (Florida)

Brian, I have a question that has been buggin me a lot. HOw many games can you play in a season to get redshirted? Matt Grothe played 2 and a half games so could he get an extra season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:46 PM)

Going off the top of my head, but I believe it's basically a quarter or less of the season, if you get injured. But it has to be a special case to get a sixth year, and Grothe wouldn't get that because he's played so much.

Mitch (Dallas)

Brian, with an undefeated Cinci on the outside looking in, who do you have playing for the NC?

Brian Bennett
  (4:46 PM)

Right now, gun to my head: Alabama vs. Texas

Joe (West Virginia)

Back the the yankee bowl. Do you see it eventually growing into a much bigger bowl for the big east, say eventually taking the spot of the number 2 team, due to all the media attention it may get being in nyc?

Brian Bennett
  (4:47 PM)

I think it will grow, but not into a No. 2 bowl. People still like going to warm weather too much. A No. 2 bowl needs a strong opponent, not a No. 7 from another league

Mike (Storrs, CT)

How good can UConn's defense be once they get their best defensive player back?

Brian Bennett
  (4:48 PM)

Hey, glad to see a UConn question. I think the defense is pretty good now. Vastly underrated. But they need Lutrus back, especially with Dabney going down.

Frazier (Welch WV)

Any chance the BE may pick up the bowl slot the Big 12 had with the Independence Bowl after the Big 12 dumped it for the new NY bowl?

Brian Bennett
  (4:49 PM)

I think the Big East bowl lineup is pretty much set already. Champs, Meineke, Papajohns.com, Yankee and St. Pete

Matt (Cincinnati)

In all seriousness, do you get annoyed seeing Tebow updates and reports every 10 minutes?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

Not really. He's the biggest name in college football, and it's a huge story.

Wade (Cincinnati)

Your thoughts on the Big East's Non-conference play thus far?

Tom (Storrs)

How high do you think Lindsey Witten can go in the draft if he leads the nation in sacks at the end of the season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

Very respectable, especially considering that so many of the tough games were on the road. I just wish the league had more cracks against top-ranked teams.

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

Not sure Witten's stats will mean all that much. Scouts will go on his film and his combine work. He's got a lot of athletic ability, and we've seen that UConn players can go high in the draft.

John (Morgantown)

Houston to the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (4:52 PM)

Is there some sort of shifting of the earth's plates I haven't heard about?

Matt (WV)

What do you think the chances a big east star like Tony Pike wins the heisman this year

Brian Bennett
  (4:52 PM)

Wins it? Not very likely. But he's in the discussion right now, which by itself is pretty amazing.

Miguel (Texas)

hey brian if south florida beats syracuse and cincinnati how high do you think they'll be ranked

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

Top 15.

Michael (Las Vegas)

In your eyes, who is the next big name guy in the big east?

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

I wrote about him today. Jason Pierre-Paul. Looks ready to explode. (Not literally, thankfully)

Jeff (Hartford)

UConn has shown to be the best defensively of all the big east teams. Agree?

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

Probably. Then again, North Carolina and Baylor have disappointed

Gary (Clarksburg)

Do you think the big east would ever consider booting a St. Johns, or a Depual to make room for a school that plays football?

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

It would not shock me at all if DePaul is in a different league within 5 years. That has been an unmitigated mistake.

Keenan (Cincy)

Chances that Margy Gilyard gets drafted into the NFL are?

Brian Bennett
  (4:56 PM)

I'm no draft expert, but I see no way he goes undrafted. He's a small guy, by NFL standards, so that could hurt his stock.

David (Cincinnati)

Seriously , even if Pike has better QB stats than say Tebow or McCoy , there is no way they are giving the Heisman to a Big East player , correct ? Just curious where did vote Pike in your latest ESPN Heisman "Experts Poll"

Brian Bennett
  (4:57 PM)

Correct. I voted him fourth, for the second straight week. Couple of people had him third.

Mike (Beckley, WV)

Syracuse is 14th in all-time wins, only one win ahead of WVU. Which program holds the #14 spot at the end of this season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:57 PM)

There's little question that WVU will win more games than Syracuse this year, if that's what your asking.

Will (Tampa)

Can we give the ball to Mike Ford instead of running BJ Daniels into the ground?

Brian Bennett
  (4:58 PM)

Daniels is a heck of a weapon. Don't know why you'd want to take that away. Ford's more of a lumbering back. Only thing I'd worry about is getting Daniels hurt.

Brian Bennett
  (4:58 PM)

OK, folks, that's all I have time for. Good questions today. Talk to you next week, and good luck to your teams this weekend.