Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 20, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (3:59 PM)

Good afternoon. Hope everyone is having a better day than Cody Endres and Randy Edsall. Fire away with your questions on the Big East or Notre Dame.

Brandon (Storrs, Ct)

Just read in an official UConn announcement that Cody Endres has been suspended for the rest of the season, do you see Edsall giving Frazier another shot or handing the box to freshman Michael Box? And how does this affect the team heading into what can only be described as a must win game for the Huskies this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (4:01 PM)

I think Box will probably start. Frazer has been third on the depth chart since getting demoted, which to me says Edsall has lost some confidence in him. Wouldn't be surprised to see both in Saturday's game. This is not the kind of midweek adjustment the team needed, that's for sure.

Daniel (WV)

If the Big East champion is not in the Fiesta Bowl then what is the next most likely spot they would land in and why?And do you see any conference expansion either by the Big East or taking teams from the Big East in the near future?

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

The Orange would be the next most likely. The Sugar took Cincinnati last year and won't want the Big East two years in a row. Orange at least makes some geographic sense

Gwig (Upper St. Clair)

any word on Romeus' health? I heard some rumblings saying he could be good for the Thursday Nighter vs. Uconn?

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

I asked Wannstedt that this week and he was noncommittal. The team has been hoping maybe the Oct. 30 Louisville game, but if they can get through that and then have a bye week before UConn, it seems to make more sense. Question is how effective/in shape will he be coming off back surgery?

Jake (Honolulu, HI)

Few words on LeGrand?

Brian Bennett
  (4:06 PM)

Wow. I just hope he recovers. From everything I hear, he's a great kid.

MIke (WVU)

Has staying in school and getting injured killed Devine in the pro draft?

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

I don't think so. He wasn't a first-rounder to begin with, and he's got a lot of season left to get over that toe injury and put up some big stats.

JTemp (Denver)

What are Notre Dame's Bowl options going to be if they finish the season with 7-8 wins?

Brian Bennett
  (4:09 PM)

They will almost certainly go to the Champs Sports Bowl if they get to seven wins

JD (New Orleans)

BB, are you riding Forde's Boise bus to heaven? Or Mark May's Boise elevator going downnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn?

Brian Bennett
  (4:09 PM)

Bus ticket is in hand. I've got Boise No. 1 in my power rankings this week

Benny (Hollywood)

Crystal Ball Question. I'm sure that Holtz had an idea that this would be a rebuilding year -on and off the field. Seeing how he is red-shirting Sterling Griffin & a few other recruits looks like he is loading up 2011 and 2012. 2011 season opener is ND - a HUGE game for Skip and USF. Is BJ our starter in South Bend or is he saving freshman QB Gunsby - who looks to be redshirting 0 for that role or a true freshman.

Brian Bennett
  (4:12 PM)

I don't think any coach can really afford to "save" guys any more. There's too much pressure to win now. And I don't think you want a guy playing his first college game ever at Notre Dame. They just need to get Daniels on track somehow

Matt (Ponce, Puerto Rico)

How high of a change does USF have to miss a bowl game this year?

Brian Bennett
  (4:13 PM)

Very high. Bulls are 3-3 and have never won at this week's stop, Nippert Stadium. They also have to go to Miami and have never won at Louisville.

Matt (Bridgeville)

So help me with something, I certainly understand why people were down on Pitt after the non-conference, but the assumption that other Big East teams had to be better than Pitt seems crazy to me. If you look at other resumes in the Big East, no one has beaten anyone of substance. So WVU hung tough with LSU, is LSU that much better than Utah? So Cincinnati hung tough with OU, but they also lost to a mediocre Fresno team. The Syracuse-Pitt point spread last week may have been the lock of the year. All that being said, as a Pitt fan, I am scared to death that Pitt still may be the best team in the conference, which will kill the perception of the Big East nationally. Pitt has tried to be aggressive with its schedule which I originally thought was a good thing, but in hindsight, shouldn't all Big East teams schedule only one good team out of conference (a la Ohio State) so they don't end up in a situation like Pitt is now?

Brian Bennett
  (4:15 PM)

Pitt probably scheduled one tough game too many. I like the formula of playing two BCS teams, a decent non AQ team, a low level FBS team and one FCS. But Pitt thought it had the team to take a shot. The Panthers still might win the league, but they haven't put it all together yet (though Syracuse was a major step in that direction)

Richard (Atlanta, GA)

Brian, Is there a shot that Harrison Smith from Notre Dame could go pro early? He is a workout warrior who can really play. If he does or doesnt where do you see him going in the draft (this year/next year)?

Brian Bennett
  (4:17 PM)

I don't see him as an early-entry candidate, no.

Randy (Louisville)

I was just reading some old blogs about ND joining the Big East in Football. I know this subject is dead, but it's still great entertainment to look back on. Notre Dame made the decision that the $$$ was more important then Championships. The Big East would no doubt be an easier path to a BCS Championship then the current schedule ND plays every year. But not as much $Green$. A 10-2 West Virginia wont get a smell at a BCS Championship, but a 10-2 ND would be welcomed like gods. When championships become priority at ND, they'll commit.

Brian Bennett
  (4:19 PM)

True, but Notre Dame also might be playing Rutgers on a Wednesday night instead of controlling its own schedule, pocketing the cash from seven home games and one neutral site game, and then taking the Big East's No. 2 bowl spot anyway as a fallback plan.

Brian (Orlando)

Do you think Chas Dodd is on a short leash, where one loss and Savage will be starting again?

Brian Bennett
  (4:20 PM)

I don't think it will be wins and losses so much as how he plays. The Scarlet Knights have moved the ball better with Dodd in there than they have with Savage.

Butler (London, UK)

Will WVU be favored in the remaining of their games?

Brian Bennett
  (4:21 PM)

Should be, with the possible exception of the Brawl, depending on how Pitt plays going into that one.

GoWVU (Los Angeles)

Brian, I'm calling it right now: Unless Cincinnati loses the road game at West Virginia, the Bearcats won't be beaten by anyone else in the BE this year. The whole league is way too limited on offense to pose much challenge to Cincy. Agreed?

Brian Bennett
  (4:23 PM)

Odd prediction, given your handle. I can't agree. Cincinnati has a very young defense and has struggled with turnovers. While I think the Bearcats can certainly contend, I'm not as bullish on them as you seem to be.

Sean (Jackson, NJ)

Honestly here, do you think Rutgers has any shot at winning Big East, or do you have 100% no faith in them

Brian Bennett
  (4:25 PM)

I just don't think the offense is good enough to sustain it for seven league games. Rutgers three FBS wins have come by 11 total points. Hard to keep skating by like that.

mark (baren)

your BE coy awards race: what are your thoughts about cinn, b jones as potential coy this year ? my rational for jones if cinn does win is due to not being preseason choice and even thought of as a number three or four in the BE... then having to play the most difficult (depending on what ranking you read ... either pitt or cinn) schedule in the conference... inherited from kelly... playing the current number one team and potential nc close ...having one of the least experienced defensive group in their national division as well as losing several key players to injury... seems to be a challenge some where in there

Brian Bennett
  (4:27 PM)

Realistically, he has no shot at the award. You can't follow a coach that goes 12-0 and then lose three or more games and win coach of the year. I don't think people understand some of the challenges he had to deal with, but nobody said those awards or fair.

Bo (Greer, SC)

In the real world, what is the single best thing that could happen to Big East Football in the next year. Real world, now...don't give me "ND joins the big east" or "Pitt moves up in the BCS rankings"

Brian Bennett
  (4:28 PM)

An 11-1 West Virginia winning a BCS game and TCU coming aboard sure wouldn't hurt the cause.

Jadon (Canandaigua)

Brian, do you think Navy could possibly make it 3 out of the last 4 against Notre Dame on Saturday considering Theo Riddick isn't going to play and Floyd is a gametime decision?

Brian Bennett
  (4:30 PM)

It's going to be a tough game. Notre Dame will have fewer offensive opportunities than most games and will have to be very efficient, while doing so without some of their key weapons. And don't forget that the wind in the Meadowlands can be a challenge for the passing game if you're not used to it

Cardinal Bird (Louisville)

Brian, How many conference games do you see louisville winning? Even though this Cards team hasn't finished games like Strong would like, they may learn how to win by the end of the season. And if Strong ends the season well, how much recognition do you think he'll get as well as the program?

Brian Bennett
  (4:33 PM)

I say 2, and they finish 5-7. People who are paying attention know that Strong and his staff are doing a tremendous job.

Patrick (Herndon, VA)

Brian, do you think Syracuse is for real? As a WVU fan, I have trouble wrapping my head around wins against Akron, Maine, Colgate, and a USF team with a BAD offense. They do look, improved, and WVU shouldn't sleep on them, or anyone the rest of the way. But it seemed like the Syracuse of old showed up this past Saturday against Pitt(who hadn't looked great until that game).

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I do think Syracuse is improved and will be more competitive in most Big East games. Bottom line is the talent gap between the Orange and teams like Pitt and West Virginia is still very wide and is going to take a couple recruiting classes to fix

Bradley (LBI, NJ)

I'm very concerned about the future of the UConn offense with the news of Cody being suspended. Do you think we can fill his role and still finish strong?

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

I'm interested to see what Mike Box can do. Coaches are high on him, but he doesn't have much experience. I'm not sure Frazer can get it done at this point

Bill (Fort Wayne, IN)

Navy is limiting teams to 18 ppg, is that a good defense? favorable schedule?, or ball control offense?

Brian Bennett
  (4:38 PM)

A little of both. Navy controls the clock with its offense and goes for it on fourth down probably more than any other team. Its defense is tough and is not afraid to hit you, and your offense is going to get 10-15 fewer plays than normal

Steve (Martinsburg,WV)

Good afternoon Brian, I keep hearing/reading about WV not being able to close the deal on offense. Some folks call it "style points".... and how it will catch up to them? Well, as I recall, it did happen last year in the bowl game with Florida State. It's my opinion that if coach Stew is going to preach "no doubt" then, perhaps the time has come to drop the hammer. Again, we all agree Stew is a fabulous guy. However, with all the talent WV has on offense, there should be no doubt to score some serious points.

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

Honestly, who cares if the final score is 20-6 or 35-6? The defense is really, really good, so the offense doesn't need to take chances. At the end of the year, trust me, the only number you will care about is the won-loss record.

Dave (Philadelphia, Pa)

Is it just me or do you kind of feel bad for Savage, he came in to the year being the big man on campus with all the hopes riding on him and a whole school behind him. Now look at him

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

There's no doubt that Savage was seen as the face of the program coming into this year, and by all accounts is a really good leader. So this whole situation is a little hard to believe.

Tami (WV)

IF SU uses the same defensive scheme vs WVU that it did vs pitt, I could see the outcome being very similar. Yeah for the fact that WVU now has a legitimate passing game. If they didn't, I could actually see SU winning this weekend.

Brian Bennett
  (4:45 PM)

Agree, Tami, and I've already written about that for tomorrow's What to Watch. You sell out on the blitz against WVU and Geno Smith will pick you apart.

Matt (Jacksonville, Fl)

Do you think that Notre Dame has a shot to get to 8 wins given their last few games and the emerging on younger players like Tyler Eifert, TJ Jones and Carlo Calabrese?

Brian Bennett
  (4:46 PM)

If they beat Navy, they should get to 8. Tulsa and Army should be wins, and then all they have to do is split Utah and USC. 8-4 was my prediction before the season.

James (Fredericksburg, VA)

Not really a question, but I am sick of WVU fans not giving Stew the respect he deserves. The only thing he does is win games, and people still complain. We honestly don't understand how great we got it at WVU sometimes.

Brian Bennett
  (4:47 PM)

Agreed. 5-1 and Top 20. I think a lot of Big East schools would trade with the Mountaineers right now.

harry (tampa, fl. )

I think this is a rebuilding year in th BE. With the Young talent sprinkled throughout the league. Do tou think that next year could be something special like 2006?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

I thought this year might be that year, so I think I'll be cautious about that in the near future.

Tim (GA)

If Pitt wins all the rest of their games will they get to go to a BCS Bowl even though they did horrible against all the non-conference teams.

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

If they win all their games then they will win the Big East, so, um, yeah

sgnagie (Denver, CO)

Just heard about Cody Endres. Thats bites. i was really looking forward to him playing Sat against the Cards. Giving his absence now, where do you put the Cards chances of winning this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

I liked Louisville's chances going into this game, and now I like them even better.

Kris (Hendricks, WV)

Do you think Geno Smith will end up being a top-tier QB when he enters the draft in a few years? Seems like he's as good as anybody, though there are differences in the types of plays different teams run. Will he be a potential 1st round pick, like Locker, Mallett, Luck, etc?

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

Geno isn't as physically imposing as those other guys, but his football IQ is off the charts.

Bill (NJ)

How do you fell about Tino's progress so far? Does he have what it takes to lead Pitt to a BE conference title

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

He's gotten better just about every week (Miami game excepted). I think he'll be fine. He and Jon Baldwin still need to get on the same page, though.

Jason (Salt Lake City)

Is Notre Dame going to put up any type of fight against Utah? Is that win going to be brushed off by poll voters?

Brian Bennett
  (4:56 PM)

Remember that Utah has its Super Bowl the week before against TCU. So Notre Dame will be getting the Utes in a pretty good spot.

Tami (Paden City, WV)

Are you going to a game this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (4:57 PM)

I'm going to UConn-Louisville. Just down the street from blog HQ.

Bryan (NY)

Why would TCU not join the Big East? If they slip up vs. Utah or Air Force, they go from a the Fiesta Bowl to the Pointsettia Bowl. Being in the BE allows them access to major bowls without having to be perfect every season.

Brian Bennett
  (4:59 PM)

I think TCU is still trying to figure out where the Big East schools are. Seriously, the travel is a major concern, and something TCU has to think hard about

Jon (Syracuse)

Last week, readers of blog contributed over $1,800 to send a group of young kids from the Boys and Girls club of Syracuse to the game. How cool is that?

Brian Bennett
  (4:59 PM)

Very cool

Will (Washington, DC)

Long term, what kind of set back is this year for UConn? It looked like they could take a pretty big step forward at the beginning of the season. How long is it going to take them to get back to being a candidate for a preseason ranking?

Brian Bennett
  (5:00 PM)

They're not going to get the same kind of buzz again for a while because they blew their capital. Now they just have to win a whole bunch of games before respect comes. Which is the way it should be anyway

Brian Bennett
  (5:00 PM)

That's all my time for this week, folks. Enjoy all the games this weekend.