Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 29, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Forde

Pat Forde
  (2:00 PM)

Forde present and accounted for. One month in the books already, let's talk it out.

Spencer (Montana)

Sometimes becoming the National Champ is a bit of luck, with that said Florida would seem like the NC considering Tebow got hurt prior to a bye week?

Pat Forde
  (2:01 PM)

Spencer: If there's ever a well-timed injury, this would be it. That said, it also was an avoidable injury if Tebow had been on the sidelines. And he should have been. (See today's Dash for my argument on that.)

Neal (Blacksburg)

with 3 SEC teams in the top 5 where does that leave the rest of the top 10? can boise state or VT sneak in for a National title bid (assuming they win out)?

Pat Forde
  (2:03 PM)

Neal: Texas is clearly the non-SEC leading contender at the moment, but either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State could have something to say about that eventually. Virginia Tech isn't going to get much of a schedule bump the rest of the way, it seems to me. Not a lot of marquee moments left for the Hokies, though if they keep winning they'll stay in the picture. I think Boise State is quite good, after seeing the Broncos in person Saturday, but the schedule is a killer.

Sean (Phoenix, AZ)

Alright, couple scenarios for you. Oklahoma vs. Miami. If Sam Bradford plays how do you see the outcome of this game? Now take Sam Bradford out... how does outcome change with Landry Jones behind center?

Pat Forde
  (2:05 PM)

Sean: Good questions. If Bradford is 100 percent I love Oklahoma's chances. If Jones is the quarterback I like Oklahoma's chances. But mostly because OU's defense is on the muscle. The front seven for the Sooners is very good and will put a lot of pressure on Jacory Harris.

Jean (Atlanta)

How do you see the Auburn-Tennessee game shaping up this week?

Pat Forde
  (2:07 PM)

Jean: The first big-time college football game I covered as a professional journalist was Auburn at Tennessee 22 years ago and it ended in a 20-20 tie. We at least know this game won't end in a tie. This will be the biggest test yet for Gus Malzahn's productive new offense at Auburn, because the Vols D is really good. I think Monte Kiffin showed against Florida that he has a pretty good handle on how to defend a spread, although Florida and Auburn are doing a fair amount of different things at present. Very interested to see if Auburn is for real.

Danny (Dallas)

When is ND going to get love in the polls again?

Pat Forde
  (2:08 PM)

Danny: I have ND in my Top 25 at present. Only loss is a good loss, close on the road to a presently ranked opponent. But you'd like to see the Irish show more than they have the past two weeks.

Nicholas (Bloomington, IN)

after the IU-Michigan game how do you see the hoosiers doing this year?

Pat Forde
  (2:10 PM)

Nicholas: Impressed with IU's showing in the Big House -- thought they got jobbed a bit on the pass that was ruled an interception. I think there are as many as four winnable games remaining on the IU schedule, which would be enough to send the Hoosiers bowling and for Bill Lynch to keep his job.

Alex (Idaho Falls, ID)

Pat, my man, what the heck is going to happen when Houston, Cincy, and Boise all run the table?

Pat Forde
  (2:11 PM)

Alex: I don't know, but I hope it happens. The more chaos the better for a bad system. And don't forget about TCU!

Mike W (Chicago)

What are the chances Univ of Cincinnati makes a bowl game and Tony Pike is in NY for the heisman ceremony?

Pat Forde
  (2:13 PM)

Mike: Chances of making a bowl game are, like, 99 percent. At 4-0 and miserable Miami (Ohio) up this weekend, it would take a complete collapse for the Bearcats not to go bowling. Chances considerably smaller for Pike to make it to NYC. I really like him and put him in my Heisman top five this week, but he's going to have to maintain his productivity (and Cincy has to win) for folks to come around to him.

Jason (Glasgow, Scotland)

After an abysmal Saturday in Oregon, is Jahvid Best still able to win the Heisman?

Pat Forde
  (2:14 PM)

Jason: Nobody loses the Heisman on a single Saturday -- but he's definitely on the outside looking in now. That hurt him and did even more damage to Cal's credibility.

Russ (Eugene, OR)

After the Oregon-Cal blowout, are the Ducks back on the map?

Pat Forde
  (2:16 PM)

Russ: Yes, Ducks are back on the map. If they win the Pac-10 it would be one of the better in-season turnarounds in recent memory after that Hindenberg season opener against Boise. And they might have a chance to win the Pac-10 -- USC has to come to Eugene.

Dakota (Wichita KS)

Pat, love the columns. If Tebow's concussion is more serious than everybody seems to think. Can my Gators survie with Brantley? And if so how long?

Pat Forde
  (2:18 PM)

Dakota: We'd know that answer really quickly if Tebow cannot play Oct. 10 at LSU. Because there will be no more difficult regular-season game than that for Florida. If Brantley could step into that spot and get a W, the sky's the limit. Florida is hoping/expecting for Tebow to be back by then, but you have to wonder how much this will affect his battering-ram running style.

Greg (Champaign, IL)

What's wrong with Arrelious Benn?

Pat Forde
  (2:19 PM)

Greg: What's wrong with Illinois in general? Maybe too many offensive coordinator changes? The offense is pathetic. Juice Williams hasn't thrown a touchdown pass and Benn has five catches for 42 yards. Zooker has some 'splaining to do.

Jeff (Evans, GA)

Pat, the Dawgs' seem to be a real mystery right now. Do you see them having any chance to beat LSU this week?

Pat Forde
  (2:21 PM)

Jeff: They are indeed a mystery. Offense and defense running hot and cold, not a lot of consistency there. That said, 3-1 against a rigorous schedule is about where I figured the Bulldogs to be. And LSU hasn't been a world-beater yet this year. So I give Georgia a decent chance to defend the hedges Saturday and get a win.

John (Gainesville)

Obviously, you can write this off as being a homer, but I really don't understand how you can say Tebow should have been on the sidelines. When the drive started there were over 7 minutes left in the third quarter, and the Gators hadn't scored since the first quarter. One more good drive down the field, and he'd be out.Also, consider this: If David Nelson hadn't committed a holding penalty two plays earlier, the Gators would have already scored, and Tebow would have been on the bench already.It's really really easy to second guess after the fact, but in the moment, nobody was saying Tebow shouldn't be in the game.

Pat Forde
  (2:23 PM)

John: With a 24-point lead, that game was over. Urban Meyer has never lost a game with a 24-point lead. Urban Meyer has never lost a game with a 14-point lead. That's the bottom line. We all know why Tebow was still in: to pad the score and the stats for Top 25 and Heisman voters. Everyone does it -- but Florida got burned.

Jeff (Washington DC)

With Nebraska, Kansas and Missou all playing well so far, what are the Big 12 North's chances against the South this year?

Pat Forde
  (2:25 PM)

Jeff: Things are looking up a bit in the North, but none of those teams has beaten anyone noteworthy so far. Missouri's opening blitz of Illinois looked good at the time but less so since then. Kansas has only played one decent team, Southern Miss, and only won by a touchdown. Nebraska's best performance is a loss. I still think the league's power rests in the South.

Will J (Portland, OR)

Is parity good in conference play? Looks like no one wants to be the lead dog in the Pac-10?

Pat Forde
  (2:27 PM)

Will: Parity can help a league's power rankings. Last year the ACC had all 12 teams in the top half of I-A (sorry, FBS) -- but that didn't mean it was a great league, and it didn't produce a national title contender. Maybe the Pac-10 is that league this year (minus Washington State). But generally I think it's better for a league to have at least one championship contender than it is to have a bunch of pretty good teams.

Omar (Davidson, NC)

Gerold McCoy for Heisman?

Pat Forde
  (2:28 PM)

Omar: I don't know about that, but he's been the best defensive lineman I've seen this season. He was an unblockable beast against BYU when the game was on the line.

krisotpher (anniston, alabama)

Pat, do you think that, with Alabama's body of work so far, they are the best team in the country?

Pat Forde
  (2:28 PM)

Kristopher: I've got the Tide No. 1 in my power rankings.

Blaine Gabbert (Columbia, MO)

Hey Pat,When will people start giving me looks for the Heisman? No interceptions so far? Are you kidding me? I have better stats than one, Tim Tebow. When will I finally get recognition?

Pat Forde
  (2:29 PM)

Blaine: Son, you've done awfully well to start your career. But don't even think of comparing yourself to Tim Tebow at this point. Different levels of competition to date, and you sure don't run like Tebow, either. You can enter the Heisman discussion after you've done something in a league game.

Matt (Birmingham, AL)

Why no love in the polls for Auburn?

Pat Forde
  (2:30 PM)

Matt: I think I snuck Auburn into my Top 25 at No. 25, but I might be mistaken. Let's see the Tigers play a road game. Spent entire month of September at home.

Filip (Cincinnati)

Why doesn't anyone even mention USF as a possible contender for the NC game? I realize that they've played horrible vs Big East opponents in the past, but if they go undefeated, wouldn't they have at least a decent shot? To me, it seems like the big east has 2 possible teams that could get into the NC game this year ( assuming that Big 12 and SEC do not both have an undefeated team ).

Pat Forde
  (2:33 PM)

Filip: A couple of reasons. One, while it was impressive to see the Bulls win at Florida State without Matt Grothe, they're still without Matt Grothe. He's merely the Big East career total offense leader, and might be a bit difficult to replace. Secondly, the nation is tired of watching USF start fast and flop. Started 5-0 last year, lost four of next five. Started 6-0 in 2007, lost three in a row. Show us some staying power.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA))

Who's the best team in Ohio right now?

Pat Forde
  (2:34 PM)

J.B.: Close call between the Bearcats and Buckeyes. But I talked to a few Cincy players Saturday who are convinced they are the best team. Might be right.

Nick J (Sellersville, PA)

Penn State is ahead of Iowa in the USA Today Poll. Ole Miss is ahead of (one play away from being undefeated) unranked South Carolina in all polls. Why do we bother with polls, again?

Pat Forde
  (2:35 PM)

Nick: Because the system stinks, that's why. And those poll rankings for this week are the perfect example of how much it stinks.

Mark (Charlotte, NC)

Pat, Russell Wilson at NC State hasn't thrown a pick since September 2008. I think he has over 30 TDs and 1 INT in his career. Can he carry the Pack to an ACC title shot this year?

Pat Forde
  (2:37 PM)

Mark: Those are great numbers. But the last I saw of Russell Wilson, he was making a mess of Carter-Finley Stadium while leading NC State to three points against South Carolina. So I guess I have my doubts. (I know the offensive line contributed to his performance in that game, but still.)

Adam (Boise)

What kind of car does Kellen Moore remind you of? why?

Pat Forde
  (2:39 PM)

Adam: Honda Accord. Doesn't dazzle you with his looks, but wonderfully efficient and never breaks down. Kind of car/QB you can fall in love with. He's terrific.

Joel (Blacksburg)

Pat, last week you had Miami on top of your rankings, after getting whooped by Virginia Tech last weekend how far do you have the Hokies going this season?

Pat Forde
  (2:41 PM)

Joel: Very impressive victory for the Hokies. I still wonder at times how they're going to generate offense -- particularly passing offense -- but Taylor has managed to hit at least one big pass play every game and the special teams/defense are wonderfully reliable. At this point I think Tech is the team to beat in the ACC. If it gets some help in terms of other teams losing, it could have a shot at the big enchilada -- but right now that's a bit of an outside shot.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Does Penn State win the game in better weather?

Pat Forde
  (2:42 PM)

JB: Don't know, don't care. Game wasn't played in better weather.

Jason (State College)

Penn State will still win the Big 10. Agree?

Pat Forde
  (2:43 PM)

Jason: Disagree. Really, the Nittany Lions have showed us nothing so far. Pedestrian wins over three bad teams at home, followed by a double-digit home loss. What's to love?

Alex Brown (Houston)

Pat, lets say the season ends with Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Cincinatti all having one loss, and Houston and Boise finish undefeated. What two teams do you put in the national championship? Do you put Houston ahead of Boise if both go undefeated?

Pat Forde
  (2:45 PM)

Alex: Too many hypotheticals there for me to comprehend. But I hope it comes to that, or something similar. Anything that puts this sorry system further under the microscope, then better.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Great, two questions sent in by someone posing as me hit the board. I would NEVER ask about how the weather affected PSU in a loss. They lost because the O-Line got pushed around all night long and the coaches couldn't come up with an answer. I know you have no idea who is sending in the questions but it's funny that those two were good enough to make the board.

Pat Forde
  (2:46 PM)

JB: Here. Your honor is defended. You are usually an intelligent chatter, so I'm posting this.

Ross (Seattle, WA)

How do you see Arkansas vs A&M going this weekend? Also, what are your thoughts on Jerrod Johnson?

Pat Forde
  (2:47 PM)

Ross: A&M has been a little better than expected and Arkansas not as good as I expected. But the Aggies still haven't played much of anyone, so I'm taking the Razorbacks. And I like Jerrod Johnson. Playmaker and not a mistake maker.

Steve (Columbus)

Better overall defense, Ohio St or Iowa?

Pat Forde
  (2:49 PM)

Steve: Good question. Both excellent. Ohio State has dialed up consecutive shutouts -- but couldn't stop USC when it had to in the Horseshoe. Right now I think I'd favor Iowa's D because it isn't getting as much help from the other side of the ball.

Tyler (Peaceful Lawrence)

In your eyes, what will it take for Kansas to get some love from the media? So. Miss is a much better team than anyone gives them credit for and the 'Hawks have blown everyone else out.

Pat Forde
  (2:50 PM)

Tyler: Glad it's peaceful in Lawrence for a change. If the Jayhawks win some league games, the love will follow.

Bob (Spartanburg, SC)

Do you think Stephen Garcia can lead "the real USC" to a 8 or 9 win season?

Pat Forde
  (2:51 PM)

Bob: Garcia is certainly tough, if not much else as of right now. I can see eight wins for the Gamecocks, with the key swing games being at Tennessee, at Arkansas and, of course, Clemson. Win two out of those three and you've got eight total.

chad (gainesville)

Why is Boise State ranked 5th when everyone knows they play a cupcake schedule. If any little school should get a chance, shouldnt it be Houston who has actually beaten some quality teams?Go Gators

Pat Forde
  (2:52 PM)

Chad: Boise dominated Oregon to open the season. Oregon just obliterated No. 6 Cal and also has wins over ranked Utah and a decent Purdue team. So that's a quality win for Boise.

Michael (Louisville)

At what point does the University of Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe actually need to be concerned about his job security? Would a loss at home, making 8 straight losses to D1 opponents be the beginning of the end for him?

Pat Forde
  (2:53 PM)

Michael: This game Friday against Pitt is a big game for Kragthorpe. He's got to give fans some reason for hope. The Cardinals showed up and played fairly well against Kentucky -- but couldn't win a game that was almost handed to them. Then they followed that up with a bad performance at Utah. I'd say it's an urgent week for Kragthorpe.

Nate (Edison, NJ)

Pat, Why does the media rush to push Paterno into retirement after every loss.

Pat Forde
  (2:55 PM)

Nate: Not a rush to retire him after every loss, but this was a major upset. And let's get serious. He's in his EIGHTIES. How much coaching is he really doing?

Matt (Houston)

Why does Houston hate Texas so much? They are single-handedly destroying our strength of schedule. (though hopefully Texas will just keep winning and our SOS won't come in to play....)

Pat Forde
  (2:56 PM)

Matt: Haha. If Texas wins out I have to think it will be in the national title game. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would be quality wins, and neither Missouri nor Kansas are slouches at this point either.

William (Birmingham)

LSU is struggling offensively and defensively and has beat decent teams. (Washington on the road, Vandy at home, and MSU on the road). A lot of the LSU fans are up in arms over the play this season. Many think we lack intensity, lack coaching, or lack discipline. Can you explain the lackluster play or do you think that LSU wil be fine with a step up in competition the next two weeks?

Pat Forde
  (2:58 PM)

William: Great question. I don't know what is holding LSU back, but this team does not seem to be playing to potential. Honestly, I haven't had a chance to watch the Tigers much this year so I haven't formulated any strong opinions on what's missing -- but they need to step it up a notch starting Saturday.

Casey (Ann Arbor )

Who do you like in this weekends match up between the big brother(Michigan) and the little brother(Michigan State)

Pat Forde
  (2:59 PM)

Casey: Gotta like Big Brother. Little Brother has been a big disappointment so far to a lot of people, though I was a bit skeptical given how heavily dependent last year's Spartans were on Javon Ringer.

Brad (Orange County)

Pat, will Stephon Johnson's absence affect USC's running game a lot?

Pat Forde
  (3:00 PM)

Brad: I'm glad Johnson looks like he's going to be OK after a horrible injury. But yeah, I think he will be missed. He's a more physical runner than McKnight, and they like to rotate Rbs and keep them fresh. Even USC is finally finding its RB depth tested.

Pat Forde
  (3:01 PM)

OK, folks, that's a wrap. Great hour of chat. Nearly 1,700 questions, even more than last week. Tried to get to as many as I could, sorry to those who got shut out. Thanks for showing!