Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 24, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everybody. Hopefully you haven't left town for the holiday and are still around to chat about the Big East and Notre Dame football. Bring it on.

Larry Fitz (Bucks, PA)

B2-How can you pick wvu over Pitt? Pitt will win easily with the growth of Sunseri and balanced offense. Prediction=pain!

Brian Bennett
  (4:01 PM)

I know the WVU defense is going to show up. From there it's probably a matter of who makes the fewer mistakes. Pitt has looked a little too sloppy the past couple of weeks for my tastes. That's why I give the Mountaineers a very slight edge

J.C. (Hartford, Ct.)

Brian, if Uconn, West Virginia and Pitt. end up in a three way tie, I know Uconn wins the tie breaker. However, does this give them the BCS bowl invitation or does the invite go to the highest ranked team?

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

UConn wins the tiebreaker and therefore would go to the BCS. And wouldn't that be something?

GoWVU (Los Angeles)

OK, Brian, assume the following: Pitt wins the Brawl Friday and Notre Dame beats USC Saturday to land the Champs Sports slot. Is there any scenario where WVU doesn't go to Charlotte for a regional "who cares" NASCAR bowl? I'm soooo tired of ACC bowl opponents and I'd much rather gamble on facing a Big 12 team in NY or hope for an SEC squad in Birmingham.

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

I'm not convinced ND goes to the Champs at 7-5. Someone in the know told me it'd be 50-50 that the Irish get picked for that game, which isn't enamored with this particular ND game. But if that does happen, a UConn team that might have a five-game winning streak could go to Charlotte, or perhaps an eight-win Syracuse team. But, yeah, WVU would be the most likely candidate.

LG (Columbus, Oh)

BB,With all that has gone on with ND this year, new coach, injuries and some unfortunate events, IF ND wins at USC and then beats either FSU or Miami in the Champs Bowl they would finish 8-5 with a top 20 SOS, would you consider this year a success and how opptomistic should Domers be in 2011?Thx and happy Turkey day to you and yours!

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

I'd call that scenario very optimistic, but if it happened it would have to be considered the best season Notre Dame has had since its last BCS appearance. Regardless, there is reason to like Notre Dame's chances for 2011 with all the young players who are coming on at the end of this season.

TJ (Cincinnati)

Brian,Love your coverage of the Big East. You provided great coverage for my Bearcats during there 2 year reign of terror over the league. What do you think of there chances of winning out and going to a bowl?

Brian Bennett
  (4:08 PM)

I appreciate the kind words, TJ. I don't like their chances much. The defense is too bad and the offense is too inconsistent. Plus, UConn and Pitt will be difficult opponents.

Ryan (Tazewell, Va)

Are you still taking Tino over Geno? As you did at the beginning of the season or is the jury still out?

Brian Bennett
  (4:09 PM)

Ask me again about 4 p.m. on Friday.

Dave (Syracuse)

While I agree that the firing of the Syracuse special teams coach was odd, his unit was far from "decent". As any SU fan will tell you our special teams were awful during the last year and a half.

Brian Bennett
  (4:12 PM)

I've heard this from a few 'Cuse fans, so here are some numbers:The Orange are 12th nationally in punting, 27th in kick returns, 42nd in punt returns, 90th in kickoff coverage and 42nd in punt return defense. Kicker Ross Krautman, a freshman, and punter Rob Long are both ranked in the Top 20 nationally. Kickoff coverage isn't great, but please explain to me how these numbers compute with your description of "awful."

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which Big East Team do you think will play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday December 30,2010 at Yankee Stadium?

Brian Bennett
  (4:12 PM)

My money is still on Syracuse

Ethan (Louisville)

If Louisville beats Rutgers Friday, where do you expect the BE to put the Cards? Also, are you hearing a TCU announcement to the BE anytime soon?

Brian Bennett
  (4:13 PM)

I think Birmingham or St. Pete would be a good fit for Louisville. Nothing new on the TCU front yet. Big East officials keeping things pretty close to the vest right now.

Matt Rob (Pittsburgh, PA)

Brian;I want the 'Eers back in the BCS this year. WVU has to beat Pitt and Rutgers, and UConn has to lose a game.Which game is it more likely for UConn to lose? This week or in its finale?

Brian Bennett
  (4:14 PM)

UConn is far more likely to lose on the road at South Florida in the finale.

Ryan (Champaign)

What's your take on OSU's presidents remarks in regards to TCU and Boise? Foot in mouth?

Brian Bennett
  (4:15 PM)

With all due respect, I think he should shut up. But Gee is a well-known anti-playoff, pro-BCS guy who wants nothing more than for leagues like his own to hog as much of the pie as possible.

Carl (Parkersburg, WV)

If WVU wins out, what are the chances Stewart will keep his job? I was a Stewart fan in the beginning and still think hes a decent coach, just not sure if hes what WVU needs to ever make it to a National Championship. By the way I love your columns and I read them many times a day. Keep up the good work.

Brian Bennett
  (4:16 PM)

There's very little chance WVU fires Stewart if WVU wins out. How do you fire a guy who has just won a Big East title and has three-straight nine-win seasons?

Matt (Washington, PA)

Why is UConn considered to be in such a great spot right now? Sure they have a decent opportunity to go to BCS game, but it seems as though people are already counting their games against Cincy and USF as wins already.

Brian Bennett
  (4:18 PM)

Because if they win out and Pitt loses they're in. Sure, they still have to win out, but that's a given. They're in a better position than WVU, who has to win out and have UConn lose.

Joe (NJ)

Do you think Tom Savage and Deantwan Williams will transfer?

Brian Bennett
  (4:19 PM)

Williams isn't getting any PT and there are younger players coming in at his position, so he'd be wise to transfer or possibly switch positions. Savage is a fascinating case. One of top recruits in school history, and he can't be happy right now.

Matt Rob (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chaos for the BCS --> Virginia Tech loses in the ACC championship to NC State, Auburn loses in the SEC Championship to South Carolina, and UConn wins the Big East.

Brian Bennett
  (4:21 PM)

The only real chaos involves the BCS title game. At the end of the day, the other games are mere exhibitions.

David (Rutherford, NJ)

I know its a little early to be thinking about next year, but I haven't been overly impressed with Ryan Nassib's play over the last two weeks ... do you think that his starting job will be challenged during the spring and summer?

Brian Bennett
  (4:23 PM)

I don't think it's all Nassib's fault. The offense has played very conservatively, he doesn't have the most talented group of receivers and he's been victimized by drops. He makes good decisions for the most part.

LG (Columbus, Oh)

I know you blog for the Big East, but do you really think that a 7-5 team is worthy of a BCS bowl?? Sry But Pitt or WVU against an OSU or Boise is not interesting to me and prob the nation

Brian Bennett
  (4:24 PM)

Deserve's got nothing to do with it. That's the system we have. If you don't like it, don't watch the games on TV. Low ratings will force change faster than anything else

Smurf (Texas)

Who will be in the Title Game i say Auburn and Boise

Brian Bennett
  (4:26 PM)

I like Oregon vs. Boise. Auburn loses to Alabama this week

John (OH)

hey brian, happy thanksgiving. why dont more people think todman could be an nfl stud?

Brian Bennett
  (4:27 PM)

Right back at you, John. The only thing I can think of would be size, as he's not the biggest guy. But his production says it all.

Mike (Cincy)

Brian, seeing how Zach has played this year, do you think he will be mentioned for Heisman next year if he does as well as he did in the Rutgers game?

Brian Bennett
  (4:29 PM)

Well, sure, if he throws four TDs every game. But he's not going to have too much preseason buzz if his team finishes 4-8 or 5-7.

Daniel (Wilmington, DE)

As a WVU fan, i feel like WVU has a better chance beating a top 10 team in the bcs then some mediocre acc team in charlotte. agree?

Brian Bennett
  (4:31 PM)

Not sure I understand that question, but I think West Virginia has the best chance of any Big East team of winning a BCS game. The defense is legit, and perhaps a month of rest will help Devine get back to 100 percent.

Daniel (WV)

Is the Backyard Brawl going to be a first team to 14 (or less) wins type of game? Who is the key player for each team? I would think yes to this question, but are you going to the Brawl?

Brian Bennett
  (4:32 PM)

Pretty much. I have it as a 17-14 final. Key players I think are both the QBs. Not an original answer, but both will be under heavy pressure. And yes, I'll be at Heinz Field. Can't wait.

bob (picksburgh)

Any chance Wanny suprises everyboby and throws the ball all over he field on Friday, Say 45 passes, Trick plays etc...?

Brian Bennett
  (4:34 PM)

I wouldn't go that far. But it's awfully hard to run against the West Virginia defense, so Pitt is going to have to try and loosen things up with pass. Cignetti said this week he was too conservative early at USF, which leads me to believe they will look to throw more this week.

Madonna (Ohio)

When will ND go for the tittle Do you think Kelly is the right Coach for the job

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I think Kelly is the right guy for the job, and if he can't get it done, I don't know who can. As for a national title, that's impossible to say. Not for a few years. A lot of things have to break just right for them to have a chance.

Matt (Washington, PA)

I think Lewis' dip in production this year was really a blessing in disguise. No way Lewis even tries to test the NFL market, and both Lewis and Graham stay for next two years and will be the best tandem in the country

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

I'd agree with that, Matt.

Mark (Cortland)

Which graduating player in the Big East will be the most difficult to replace next year?

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

I'd probably say Chris Neild. Not a lot of guys like him out there.

Chris (Wallingford, CT)

The last 3 weeks you've picked against my Huskies and now pick them to win by 2 TD's. Thank you for single handedly ruining their season.

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

Talk to the Syracuse fans. They're even madder at me

Chris Monti (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Personally, even if Rutgers finishes 4-8, I think the way that Rutgers has been able to graduate their players and the leadership Greg Schiano has shown during the Eric Legrand injury would mean he should not be on the coaching hot seat. HOWEVER, if Rutgers doesn't win the Big East or go to a higher tier bowl after the 2011 season, I think he is in trouble. I don't think any A List coaches would come to Rutgers unless Rutgers were guaranteed to be going to the Big Ten. What type of coach could you see following in Coach Schiano's foot steps if the 2006 season was the abnormality and a 6-6 season is more likely the best he can produce?

Brian Bennett
  (4:38 PM)

I don't think Schiano would be in any kind of trouble next year. Now, if Rutgers were to struggle again with a losing record in 2011, then 2012 might become critical. But this is his program and he's very safe

Phil (Charleston, WV)

Do you think the Big East will make a major announcement regarding expansion during the dead period after the season and before the bowl games? And what's your take on the possibility of TCU in the big east in football and WAC for other sports?

Brian Bennett
  (4:40 PM)

Hard to get a real good gauge on the timetable at this point. I think the Big East would like to do something soon, by January or so. They're still waiting on Villanova. TCU could happen at any time and is really up to the Horned Frogs. The WAC thing helps, but the school has to decide if that's the direction it wants to go.

Tory (Chicago, IL)

Will Charlie Strong face tough fan/media scrutiny if his team does not make it to a bowl game this year?

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

Not at all. Most people weren't expecting a bowl game this year, and he's done a great job. Louisville fans love the guy

Carl (Parkersburg, WV)

What do you think the chances Jeff Casteel getting some head coaching job oppurtunities next year? Id hate for him to leave WV but he is definately a heck of a coach.

Brian Bennett
  (4:42 PM)

I won't understand it at all if he's not considered somewhere. Just got a release from the Broyles Award and he's one of the nominees. Rightfully so

Mike (Pittsburgh, PA)

Is Stew really as nice as he comes across?

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

Whatever you think of Bill Stewart, he's not putting on an act. He's as genuine a person as you'll ever come across.

Justin (Hurricane, WV)

To cover one more rooting interest, should the Big East be rooting for or against TCU? (or does this years results matter in their decision)

Brian Bennett
  (4:44 PM)

How about this scenario: Boise jumps ahead of TCU and the Horned Frogs get squeezed out of a BCS game. Could happen. And do you think TCU would be a little more interested in having an AQ tie-in after that?

Julian (San Juan, PR)

Happy Turkey Day from Puerto Rico!! If USF wins out the rest of the season including Miami what bowl do you see them playing in?

Brian Bennett
  (4:46 PM)

Feliz Dia del Pavo! Still so many possibilities, but I think you could rule out New York and Beef 'O'Brady's in that instance. Probably Charlotte, though Champs might be open if WVU were to go to the BCS. (Pitt is not going to the Champs under any circumstances, I don't think)

Glover (Morgantown)

Brandon Hogan has been sub-part on punt returns. Any chance Coach Stewart puts Austin back there or is he to valuable to the offense?

Brian Bennett
  (4:47 PM)

Stewart said this week he will stick with Hogan. You want reliability back there more than a guy to make big plays. Especially this week

Cloudy (Louisville)

This year is still going strong but what do you predict next year for Louisville and Syracuse who have been the bottom teams of the Big East.

Brian Bennett
  (4:48 PM)

It is most definitely cloudy in Louisville today. Interesting to see what happens with both teams, because they both lose a great deal of important seniors. Louisville will have to break in a new QB and most of its O-line. Syracuse should be in better shape experience-wise.

david e (raleigh nc)

As well as the WVU defense as played this year, if the offense could have played just as good, where do you think the mountaineers would be ranked now?

Brian Bennett
  (4:50 PM)

If the offense had just scored 22 points in every game then the Mountaineers would be undefeated and in the Top 5

neil (colchester CT)

why is Jordan Todman so over looked plz dont say small school this is the BIG EAST right what can be done to help great players like him get the credit he should get!

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

It makes no sense to me. UConn might need to step up its promotional campaigns. But if people were paying attention, it wouldn't be an issue. Doak Walker Award has zero credibility in my eyes

Jeff (Pittsburgh)

How are bowl payouts shared within the conference?

Brian Bennett
  (4:52 PM)

Pooled and split equally among all eight members

Drew (Morgantown)

Chances Bruce Irvin and Robert Sands come back to WVU??

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

Good chance Sands leaves, but not Irvin unless he makes a poor decision. He's mostly just a third-down guy now and doesn't have the size to play in the NFL yet.

Chris (Wallingford, CT)

On the spot, right now, who goes to the Fiesta Bowl?

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

I've got West Virginia winning Friday and I think UConn loses at USF. So I'm picking the Mountaineers

Jeff (Pittsburgh)

Even thogh BJ Daniels has not done well this season. He was really awful last Saturday. How badly injured was he?

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

He has a bruised quadriceps and it clearly affected his mobility. Might have contributed to some errant throws, too, but he's struggled with that even when healthy

Tim (Baltimore, MD)

Realizing there are still numerous scenarios for the BE standings depending on games this weekend, what would you project the order of finish for the 1st thru 4th place teams?

Brian Bennett
  (4:57 PM)

How's this:WVU: 5-2 (champions)Pitt: 5-2UConn: 4-3Syracuse: 4-3USF: 4-3Louisville: 3-4Cincinnati: 2-5Rutgers: 1-6

EC (Long Island)

So, let's assume that Syracuse is a good match for the Pinstripe Bowl....who's your guess as to who they would play??

Brian Bennett
  (4:58 PM)

I'd say either K-State or Baylor

Carl (Parkersburg, WV)

I love Noel Devine but it seems to me the the offense does better when they run between the tackles and not trying to get outside, like when Alston is in there. I think Alston should be the starter next year and they should leave Austin at WR. Your opinion?

Brian Bennett
  (4:59 PM)

I'm not sold on Alston yet, but I agree a bigger back couldn't hurt. Don't forget about Ryan Clarke as well.

Dave Wannstedt (Pittsburgh)

What's scarier? WVU's Third-Down defense or my mustache?

Brian Bennett
  (4:59 PM)

On that note, we'll call it quits. Thanks for chatting, and have a happy Thanksgiving, everybody!