Howdy everyone, thanks for stopping by. Happy October to you -- great sports month. Football into the meat of the season, hoops practice starts ... even the baseball playoffs are moderately interesting. To the questions!
What are your thoughts on the Badgers so far this year? Should be a good one this weekend, as they usually play OSU tough, even at the Horseshoe.
Mark: Impressed by the Badgers. They aren't really dominating teams (other than Wofford), but you cannot argue with 5-0 -- especially with a team I expected to struggle a bit. Tolzien has done a really good job at QB and John Clay is running better and better. And the defense has been just good enough so far. But I like the Buckeyes Saturday.
Are Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard the best QB - WR combo in the country?
Kevin: I'll say yes. Gilyard is spectacular -- a home-run threat on every catch, and he'll catch the ball in traffic, too. Catches with his hands, comes back to the ball, etc. And Pike is having a phenomenal year. They've got that hook-up thing going really well.
I know Tebow and McCoy have the name, buy Clausen isn't exactly a nobody. Based soley on on-the-field play, how is he not the Heisman front-runner? (I know it is very early, and I know the Watch in unscientific, but usually a good indicator)
Cory: The Heisman Watch in the first week of October is pretty much just for giggles. Clausen has played great so far and will have a chance to be there in December if he keeps putting up big numbers and ND keeps winning. A LOT of voters will be watching Oct. 17 when USC visits South Bend.
Big LSU fan here Pat...what are my Tigers' chances this saturday? And which Florida QB would you rather play against? Tebow with no prep or Brantley with two weeks of prep?
John: I'd ALWAYS rather play against Brantley than Tebow, especially in a big game. That said, I think Florida can win with either QB. I think the Florida defense will be the best unit on the field and the Gators can win a grinder if their offense stalls.
I love the Dashes' ABPs, SEC Separation Saturday, any early predictions for the marquee match-ups Saturday?
Ed: Thank you. I like the Gators in Baton Rouge and the Crimson Tide in Oxford. Should be a great weekend of football theater in the South.
Where's the Hawkeye love? Tied for the second longest winning streak in the nation, with a stellar defense. Do you think 10 in a row is next with MI & Forcier going to Kinnick's pink locker room Sat?
Pat, How can people not have Miami in the top 10? we are the ONLY school to beat 3 ranked teams. and have BY FAR the toughest schedule thus far. Its time to realize the canes ARE back.
Corey: Canes are back to national competitiveness -- not back to national dominance. They've come through that brutal stretch of games better than I anticipated. I'm impressed. As for Top 10? Close.
What should Florida State do with Bowden? Results can not be questioned, but we are talking about a legend. Obviously, Florida St. lets the season play out, but a decision has to be made.
Vinnie: I thought Colin Cowherd said it well on the radio today -- only in college football do you get to dictate the terms of your exit, even beyond what the realm of common sense says your exit time should be. Bobby Bowden has been a legend, but he's past due to retire and shouldn't have much say in the matter anymore. I think FSU should arrange a graceful retirement for him after this season -- and if he doesn't want to go gracefully, hand him the pink slip.
How big a statement would beating Nebraska be on Thuesday night? Missouri could have a "rebuilding year" that still wins the Big XII North.
Jason: It would be a huge statement for Missouri. Should be an excellent game -- one of two straight big Thursday nighters. Next week is Cincinnati-South Florida.
Why are you hating on Illinois so much in your Basketball rankings?
Greg: Haha. For Illinois to be ranked the sixth-best college basketball program of all-time is, shall we say, ludicrous.
Hey Pat, take all the potshots you want at Kiffin. It's laughable when you consider the complete and utter absence of offensive talent outside of the running backs. Especially that one important thing called a quarterback. So that makes you either A) completely blind to the game of football, or B) a sensationalist. In either scenario, your credibility on the matter is non-existent. Anyone with a pulse can see that this isn't about 2009, it's about the future.
LP: If it's not about 2009, then why is Lane Kiffin's mouth running so much right now? I'd pipe down and wait until my team gets better.
So you are willing to discount Kentucky for their improprieties, but not UCLA and Sam Gilbert?
Marc: Go ahead and lay out the facts related to Sam Gilbert and the penalties the NCAA imposed. Right now there's a lot of myth and folklore surrounding Gilbert -- and some of it might be correct. But as far as tangible penalties the program incurred from his involvement with the program? There are none. So let's go with the record, and the record of NCAA compliance is not very kind toward Kentucky.
Do you think Michigan will respond and pull off the upset against Iowa sat
LaRon: Iowa at home will be tough to beat -- I think. They've had a couple close calls against weaker competition (Northern Iowa and Arkansas State) and seem to play to the level of their opponent to a degree. Should be a powerful offense (Michigan) against a great defense (Iowa).
if tebow plays against lsu, do you see him as the tebow we've known or will he likely be protective of his condition?if he plays cautiously, how effective do you expect him to be?
Glenn: That's the million-dollar question. I don't think it's in his DNA to play cautiously -- which is why I wonder whether they might hold him out another week to make sure he's 100 percent.
Do you foresee Auburn pulling any upsets in the SEC West?
Patrick: I've been very impressed by Auburn so far, especially offensively. But honestly, six of the last seven games are losable. I can see maybe 9-3, and a chance to beat Ole Miss in the Loveliest Little Village on the Plains.
What do you think the chances are for the Ducks winning the PAC-10?
James: Ducks are sitting pretty right now, but this is a tough stretch of games coming up: at UCLA, at Washington, USC and at Stanford. I read a John Canzano column in the Oregonian yesterday saying that it's been something like 60 years since they've swept those four opponents in the same season. The injury to Masoli will be key; if he's not able to play Saturday, I think they can be beaten by UCLA.
Texas' running game and defense seems to be more established than though coming into the season yet passing with McCoy's intereceptions is below where most thought he'd be right now. Can this bizarro trend carry them undefeated to the championship?
Frank: Been hard to get a solid read on Texas so far, mostly because their only significant game (against Texas Tech) was kind of a blah victory. I expect the Horns to blast Colorado Saturday as well, so Oklahoma should be the big revelation game on Oct. 17. If Bradford plays.
Would it be safe to say that the one remaining game Auburn has that is not losable would be their Oct 17th visit from Kentucky....or did you have someone else in mind?
David: Furman would be the not-losable game.
Hey Pat, got any Gators' phone numbers that we as LSU students need to have?
Stewart: Um, no.
Pat, IF ( theres a big if) the Mountaineers can stop turning the ball over, do you think they have a legitimate shot at winning the Big East if they play their best football from here on out. I think the Cincinnati game is going to be HUGE!
Alec: It would be great to see WVU play a game against a quality opponent in which it didn't hand it the ball on a silver platter multiple times. If the Mountaineers can do that, they'll be tough to beat. But Cincinnati, for one, has been a very good team in terms of turnover margin, so keep that in mind.
Is BSU for real? I tend to think not.
Tyler: I think Boise is very good, but unless Oregon wins the Pac-10 it's hard to say the Broncos will have beaten a true heavyweight opponent all season. Tough to defend that schedule when comparing it against other national championship contenders. That said, I predict Boise will make a legit run at a national title next year if it stays healthy. VERY young team.
Mr. Forde: It seems like the Big Ten Champion may be a team not even mentioned in the preseason. Can Iowa or Wisconsin actually take the title?
J.B.: I still think the league title runs through Columbus -- Buckeyes get Wisconsin and Iowa in the Horseshoe.
Hey Pat. How do you see the game down in Oxford turning out?Will Ole Miss rise up and compete or do you see 'Bama running away with it?
Dave: Simply in terms of Houston Nutt dynamics alone, the pendulum swings a bit in the Rebels' favor. Because now that they've lost and re-established themselves as underdogs, that seems to be his more comfortable terrain. But I'm still taking Alabama. Very impressed with the Tide's balance on offense, and I figure Saban will give Jevan Snead a lot to think about.
will rick pitino be UL coach in two years?
Chris: I believe he will be, but this will be a difficult season to get through. We'll have a better idea of that in the spring, I'd say.
How about them Eagles!? 4-1 heading to Blacksburg, for a lazy 12 PM game. You see an upset brewing?? Lane stadium isn't so loud at Noon.
Jay: BC always seems to win the regular-season matchup, then lose the ACC title matchup. But I think that changes this year. I like the Hokies in that one.
The polls are split Pat, so I'm asking you. Who is the best team in Ohio?
Sean: Right now I'll take Cincinnati. But I reserve the right to change my mind.
Forde, can Stanford (dare I say it) win the Pac10 this year?
Jake: Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I still think it's a long shot -- the Cardinal got its one victory over USC for this century -- but I'm very impressed by the improvement under Jim Harbaugh. They're an impressive physical football team right now.
will john calipari win a title with uk?also will billy get the gators back on track?
Chris: I think Calipari has a great chance to win a title at Kentucky, yes. The talent on this year's team will be incredible. As for Florida: I expect the Gators to be back on track sooner rather than later, but I'm surprised it's taken this long. There has been no substantial recruiting payoff for that back-to-back national title run.
What are the chances auburn could run the table? The coaching on this team is amazing as well is the unity. Also how cool would it be for AU to wear all orange jerseys for the iron bowl
Griff: Auburn is not going to run the table. But I like the orange jerseys idea.
Who's the most inpactful defensive player in the SEC in your mind? Berry, McClain, Norwood, Chad Jones, Spikes, Curran?
Chris: I am a huge Berry fan, but I have to give the nod to Norwood at this point. He's been amazing. Constant playmaker, reminds me of James Harrison of the Steelers (with smaller guns).
Hi Pat, With Blount's "apology", should the Oregon and the Pac 10 give him another chance and lift the suspension?
Eddie: I'd like to hear an apology from Blount's own lips as opposed to a letter to the paper. That would enhance the sincerity to me. After that, I guess I'd leave it in the hands of the coaches. If it blows up on them, they'd get shredded in the court of public opinion -- and deserve it.
Pat, How do you think wins the Middle Tennessee, Troy game tonight?
James: Some love for the Sun Belt! I actually like Middle. Blue Raiders have played very well this season and I think they can win, even on the road.
Pat, what do you make of second chances and flexible rules? I think some players need more flexibility then others?
Joe: Well said. In general, I think a school should stick by its disciplinary decisions. And I have to think this is a whole lot more of a football decision than a "human being" decision at Oregon with Blount. But my initial reaction was that a full-year suspension was a bit much for Blount, so I can't now change my mind and scream that he needs to sit the rest of the year.
Is Manti T'eo enough to turn around the ND defense this year?
John: I don't know if he can that by himself, but he's really, really good for a true freshman.
Hey Pat, who do you think is the best tight end in college football?
Craig: It WAS Jermaine Gresham before he got hurt. From a receiving standpoint, I have to go with Kyle Rudolph of Notre Dame. He's been outstanding.
Is Jake Locker the best pro prospect at QB in the country? That guy has an arm...
Nate: Yes, he has an arm. But still needs a lot of work on his touch. He missed a couple of wide-open deep throws against ND. And I don't know whether he's ready for a super-sophisticated offense -- maybe he is, maybe he isn't, but I don't know that right now.
How about Eric Decker for Heisman? That guy is unbelievable.
Mike: Might be the best WR in the country. He is excellent.
What is your take on the excessive celebration / taunting penalties being called? Georgia fans could say it cost them the game last week, and the call against Armando Allen at UM had an impact as well.
Jim: Didn't like the call in the Georgia game at all. I honestly don't remember the call in the ND-Michigan game so I can't comment. But I'd like to see that rule be enforced with more common sense -- flag them for taunting and excessive showboating, not for a routine celebration like AJ Green was involved in Saturday, or Jake Locker flipping the ball in the air last year.
Will USC win out in your opinion?
Andrew: If I had to guess, I'm going to say yes. Trojans get better as the season goes along -- this year perhaps more than usual with a freshman QB. But there are some tough road games ahead (South Bend, Eugene).
What do you think of Penn State in the 2nd half vs. Illinois? Is it that Penn State is finally getting it together and could content for the Big 10 championship, or just a showing of how weak Illinois is?
Todd: I wish I knew the answer to that question. At least the Nits really moved the ball and put up points -- but I wonder whether the Illini were sliding into the tank at that point, and whether the defense was worn down. Wait and see.
Is Tebow practicing today? And do you really think he has been sitting in his room NOT watching film because he supposedly isn't cleared to do so?
CLW: I don't know if he's going to practice today. I'd say if he doesn't, chances of him starting and playing at 100 percent are slim. I think sitting out yesterday was a pretty significant sign that the concerns are still there ... And I have to believe he's been watching some film, but I don't know that for sure.
How many teams from AQ conferences will end up with 1 loss or less at the end of the season?
Richard: Good question. I'm going to guess one from the Big East, one from the SEC, one from the Pac-10 and MAYBE one from the ACC. But upsets have a way of thinning the herd.
Will there be a more fun game this weekend than Malzahn vs. Petrino?
Matt: If you like offensive football, that's probably the game to watch. Should be great. But I'd still take LSU-Florida as my first pick -- winner of that game has won the national title three years running.
Pat,Which team has been the biggest surpirse of the season so far and who has been the biggest disappointment?
Jason: I'd say biggest surprise has been Cincinnati and biggest disappointment has been Cal. Cincy has survived loss of 10 starters on D, while Cal has been a huge bust to me. Clobbered last two games.
pat, how much should scheduling factor into pollsters' votes? many of the top programs are scheduling eight home games with three or four against awful teams. should pollsters punish that?
Thomas: I think pollsters have to take schedule into account as much as possible. I'm not a fan of schools who schedule four non-conference home games against lightweights and try to win their way up the polls.
If UK wins 2-3 more championships in the next 5 years, will you then admit thay are at least #2 all time?
KJ: I not only will "admit" it. I will "declare" it. How's that?
Pat: Do you see Coach Hawkins lasting past this season in Colorado?
Drew: I think Hawkins has a chance because it would cost a fortune to buy him out, and Colorado isn't flush in the athletic department coffers. Plus, he has recruited well and should have a lot of experienced talent next year.
OK folks, that's an hour in the books. Thanks for all the questions -- nearly 1,400. Talk to you all next week.