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December 1, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

Good afternoon, everybody. Last week of the regular season and there's a 17th team. Lots to talk about (Notre Dame questions welcome, too), so let's get to it. Fire away.

JD (Pittsburgh)

Do you think Gary Patterson is less likely to move on to a "big time" BCS program now that TCU is now going to be BCS?

Brian Bennett
  (4:02 PM)

Patterson has shown no inclination toward leaving and has had several opportunities.I don't know why he'd leave now, unless something like Texas or Oklahoma came open. Then it wouldn't matter what conference he was in.

Daniel (Ohio)

With TCU becoming the 9th member (and possibly adding a 10th later) how many conference games will there be in 2012?Would it definitely be 8 or could there be 9 if it's a 10 team league? And how would that affect non-conference games that are already scheduled?

Brian Bennett
  (4:03 PM)

It hasn't been decided yet, but at least eight and probably nine. That's the way most leagues are going. Teams are going to have to buy out of some games or maybe delay some. League officials will meet later this month to talk about scheduling.

Jeremiah (Columbus,OH but stll on "Country Roads")

Do you think that the edition of TCU alone right now, as some others in your profession do, will solidify the Big East's position as an AQ'er conference.

Brian Bennett
  (4:04 PM)

I think the Big East is on solid ground. It's going to be about more than performance; the Big East has a ton of big markets and the BCS won't want to look more exclusionary. And the Mountain West has had its limbs cut off.

Alan (SC)

Could anthing be worse for the BE if a 7-5 Pitt team were to some how have the stars allign and represent the BE in the BCS. Better 11-1 and 10-2 teams would be left out of the BCS. Your thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (4:05 PM)

Ugh. That would be a nightmare. I'm sure Pitt would lay an egg in the game, too. No one wants that to happen.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

Can you explain why everyone has TCU in the Rose Bowl? Since the Sugar has first choice to replace their champion why would they take a 10-2 #8 ranked Arkansas over a 12-0 #3 ranked TCU?

Brian Bennett
  (4:06 PM)

Simple. The Rose Bowl is required to take a non-AQ team if available this year. The other bowls forced the Rose Bowl to do it because they were tired of getting stuck with the non-AQs

frank (Albany, NY)

With the addition of TCU and hypothetically another member, what are some potential division dividing lines. Or would a ten member conference not have a North and South or whatever division.

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

There is no need for divisions with 10 teams. The Big 10 (11) never had them, nor will the new Big 12 (10)

Joe (Fleetwood Pa)

Hi Brian. I really like the way the Irish finished the season, playing good defense and a power running game. I would give Brian kelly a b to b plus for the season so far agree. Dont care what bowl they in I think they will win.

Brian Bennett
  (4:07 PM)

Don't know about the bowl game until I see an opponent, but I agree with everything else. Kelly really changed the conversation with an amazing November.

Sean (Fort Worth, TX)

Hey Brian, looking forward to following your chats now that TCU will be in the Big East. We've gotten used to the TCU v Utah/BYU rivalry - what team(s) do you anticipate becoming TCU's biggest rival within the conference?

Brian Bennett
  (4:09 PM)

Welcome aboard. Glad to have you, and soon you'll have to give me some food/drink tips in the Fort Worth area. I think it's going to come down to which teams are most competitive, but I think Louisville could be an early rival because of their history in C-USA (and it's the closes BE school -- only about 870 miles away!)

Kyle Mack (Cincy)

Brian what advice would give Butch Jones for next season?

Brian Bennett
  (4:10 PM)

Don't turn the ball over so much and play better defense. The defense will be a year older, but he's got some gaps to fill in recruiting.

Greg (Morgantown)

How does Bruce Irvin not get Rookie of the year? limited playing time with double digit sacks?

Brian Bennett
  (4:11 PM)

Answered your own question: Limited playing time. He only plays on third downs, usually. I'd prefer a more complete player for the award. But what he does, he does awfully well. Speaking of which ...

scott (atlanta)

What's the over/under for the number of sacks Bruce Irvin will have against Rutgers this weekend?

Brian Bennett
  (4:12 PM)

Is 25 too high? Rutgers has given up 55 sacks in 11 games. That's an insane stat.

Fernando (Brazil)

Ok, how embarassing would be for the Big East, and Uconn to be defeated at a BCS Bowl Game? They have ZERO experience in those situations, against what? VTech or Oklahoma probably. ( WV has HUGE rivalries against both of them, what can be an exciting ending for the Big East Fans and, reputation of fans nation-wide to watch the game). Who do you think will win it all? WVU or Uconn?

Brian Bennett
  (4:13 PM)

A loss in itself wouldn't be embarrassing, as the Big East is going to be an underdog no matter what. A blowout loss would be bad. I think people know who I'm picking this week.

Dylan (Charleston, WV)

Who do you really want, Brian, to get the BCS bowl game West Virginia or UCONN

Brian Bennett
  (4:14 PM)

I honestly don't care at all. I'm going to the game regardless. I'd rather go to the Fiesta than the Orange but other than that is makes no difference

Nick (Boston)

After watching Syracuse and Boston College, were you more impressed with BC's defense or Syracuse's offense?

Brian Bennett
  (4:15 PM)

You'd have to be blind or crazy or maybe both to be impressed with Syracuse's offense.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

Who looks worse the NCAA or the SEC commish over the Cam Newton fiasco?

Brian Bennett
  (4:16 PM)

The NCAA. What a bonehead argument. Time for fathers of recruits everywhere to put their hands out.

Beat the Panther (Cincinnati, OH)

Where do you think the Bearcats have advantage over Pitt Saturday?

Brian Bennett
  (4:17 PM)

Definitely at receiver. Pitt's DB's have been playing pretty poorly of late, and Binns and Woods could burn them.

Jimi (Chicago)

Assuming TCU stays a power and UConn goes on to win (and that helps to make them more of a power in the BE), who do you think has the most potential to rise up and become a consistent conference contender?

Brian Bennett
  (4:18 PM)

I think South Florida and Louisville are on the rise. Right coaches in place and good things are coming.

Ug (Bethal Park PA)

Does Pitt win the Big East if last years MVP, Greg Romeus, doesn't miss the whole season ?

Brian Bennett
  (4:19 PM)

I think that's a pretty poor excuse. Brandon Lindsey played great at defensive end. Pitt's problems run a whole lot deeper than Romeus's injury.

eric (Tampa)

Follow up on a rival with TCU. In C_USA, they ended USF's 21 game home winning streak and then USF beat them in double OT at TCU.

Brian Bennett
  (4:20 PM)

That's a good one too. Both like horns as well.

Doug (Tampa)

BB, First let me say today your blogs were much more Proactive for the BE than the recent weeks (good job) Several questions?1. where do you see USF playing in its bowl game?2. What are you thinking when you and Adam want to give more influence to polsters to determine national champions. No offense but I see more subjectivity in polls than anything.3. Why arent you the first one out there defending the Big East to all the haters when its ur bread and butter, instead you seem to jump on board with them and bash away. The BE Bowl record speaks for itself compared to other conferences. PAC 10 cant even fill their bowl ties.

Brian Bennett
  (4:22 PM)

I don't know what you mean about Proactive unless you're talking about the facial soap. My job is to cover the league in an unbiased manner, not promote it. I think USF could go to the Meineke Car Care or BBVA Compass bowls, depending on this week's games. As for the other, pollsters already have enormous influence on the BCS title. They're 2/3rd of the formula. Nothing we discussed today would have any effect on changing the national title race. We were talking about matchups in other games

Andy (Beckley WV)

BrianWho should WVU fans want to see behind center come saturday night for the Bulls?

Brian Bennett
  (4:22 PM)

I think an injured B.J. Daniels is your best bet. If he can't run, he's not very effective.

Jimi (Chicago)

Since, we're close to the end of the season and bowl games are somewhat predictable now, can you estimate how much money each team would get based on our bowl scenarios?

Brian Bennett
  (4:23 PM)

The Big East, like most leagues, pools and shares all revenue. I think each team got like $1.9 million last year after expenses.

Chris Monti (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I know in the past you have said that Greg Schiano will not be fired after a terrible 2010 season since Rutgers is a program that he built from the ground up...and I agree with that concept. However, I think the pressure will really be on Coach Schiano to take Rutgers to a higher tier (if not BCS) bowl next season since things will only get tougher in 2012 once TCU replaces a school like Florida International on the schedule. Could you see an established FBS head coach coming to Rutgers if Schiano was let go after the 2011 or 2012 season or would Rutgers realistically only be able to attract an up and coming FCS head coach or a FBS coordinator? Rutgers isn't exactly a top 25 coaching destination. Thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (4:24 PM)

Schiano has a ton of money left on his contract and no way can Rutgers afford to buy him out. Plus, his boss has close ties to him. More likely are major staff changes, which are badly needed.

Nate (Glendale (backyard is the u of p stadium))

First off, Fiesta>>>>orange so good choice there.What are chances tommy rees is the starting qb when the irish return to the coliseum in 2012?

Brian Bennett
  (4:25 PM)

That's a looong way away, but the kid has a lot of poise. Dayne Crist had better come back strong or he might have been Wally Pipped

Darrin (Burlington, KY)

Can you shed some light on why Vidal Hazelton was denied a 6th year? Very disappointing for that young man. I figured it would be a no brainer, but alas, the NCAA strikes again.

Brian Bennett
  (4:26 PM)

You have to be able to prove undue hardship to get a sixth year. It's really tough to do for transfers. The NCAA isn't the most compassionate bunch.

Jim (Virginia)

What happens when TCU loses its coach or even as bad as the BE is right now it is still a tougher schedule then they play right now and TCU goes back to being a lousy team either way i dont think they can keep it up with a tougher schedule and go undefeated in B.E play

Brian Bennett
  (4:27 PM)

It's a fair question, but TCU was pretty good under the last coach, too, and has put a lot of money in the program. It's worth the risk. Who else would have been better?

Geoff (Cali)

BB I must say I love reading your blog. One question, why did you not even mention Holtz for coach of the year for what he has done with USF in his 9 months?

Brian Bennett
  (4:28 PM)

I love the job Holtz is doing, don't get me wrong. But they're 7-4 right now with no shot at the title. Bulls were 8-5 last two years. So it's not like there has been vast improvement. I'm trying to predict who will actually win the award and I don't think Holtz will.

Daniel (Wilmington, DE)

If WVU plays VT in the Orange bowl can they play for both the orange bowl trophy and the black diamond trophy?

Brian Bennett
  (4:29 PM)

That would be up to the schools to decide, but does it really matter?

Chris (Wallingford, CT)

No votes for UConn in the Coaches Poll. Not one. Agenda driven?

Brian Bennett
  (4:29 PM)

I found it weird, especially with USF getting votes. Thought Edsall had more friends than that.

Conner (Louisville, Ky)

Is Notre Dame going to get the Champs Sports bowl? It seems like a 9-3/8-4 WVU team or 8-4 USF would be much more attractive than a team that limped to 7-5 with some pretty bad losses.Assuming ND doesn't take the Champs, where do the Cards end up, and who do you see them playing?

Brian Bennett
  (4:31 PM)

What I've been told is that the Champs would take a 9-3, ranked WVU team over an unranked, 7-5 Notre Dame. I like Louisville to go to the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl if that happens.

Drew (WV)

I don't understand all of the flack that the Big East is catching this year. The Big East is 3-2 in BCS bowl games since the BCS started. While the ACC is 1-4 in the BCS. Grant it, the Big East is down this year, but I'll take my Mountaineers against Va Tech, OK or Nebraska anyday.

Brian Bennett
  (4:32 PM)

3-12 against BCS competition, no ranked teams for a month until this week, some bad losses. That should explain it.

Bart (Orlando)

Do you feel Nona will say no to moving up citing various reasons mostly money? Do you think UCF will be asked before the years end? What about the odd chance chance it happens next week after the Conference tourny between SMU and UCF?

Brian Bennett
  (4:33 PM)

What I've heard is that 'Nova is leaning toward yes, but there are a lot of issues to overcome still. More and more, I'm thinking the Big East should just get UCF now. What's the difference between 17 and 18?

ARoz (DC)

How busy has your week been trying to analyze the TCU addition amidst the last week of the regular season? Keep up the good work, BB!

Brian Bennett
  (4:33 PM)

Crazy week, but I'm thankful for interesting stuff to write about. It got a little thin there at times in early October. Thanlks.

JH (Cary, NC)

what the injury situation for UConn? internet rumors had Scott Lutrus having surgery on sunday but nothing was reported. is Coach Edsall hiding anything?

Brian Bennett
  (4:35 PM)

Randy Edsall hiding an injury? I've never heard of such an absurd thing! (We should know tomorrow when the injury report comes out)

Steve (Seattle)

Any chance Rutgers picks up a Miami coach/coordinator and who would be the best bets?

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

Don't think it will be Shannon, though they'd be wise to make a run at Whipple. He should have plenty of opportunities, however. Scarlet Knights need a staff overhaul, for sure.

Jeff (Pittsburgh)

USF got one vote. Probably some Assistant coach with a girl friend in Tampa

Brian Bennett
  (4:36 PM)

More like an SID.

SerraQuse (NJ)

I hear a lot of talk about Stanford's fans rep for not travelling possibly leading to WVU going to the Orange Bowl. Are ticket sales that important? What about TV ratings for the possible #1 pick in the NFL draft in Luck?

Brian Bennett
  (4:37 PM)

Ticket sales and hotel rooms are the most important things. And Orange Bowl has had some bad crowds lately (looking at you, Va Tech)

Stan (USF (Tampa, FL))

Word around campus is that BJ Daniels has been okay for 2 weeks now... they say its more mental then any physical injury.. Do you see that in his demeanor?

Brian Bennett
  (4:37 PM)

If you saw him limping around at the end of the first half at Miami, you'd know that word is stupid.

Bern (Syracuse)

If UConn loses to South Florida, is there any chance that the Huskies end up in the Pinstripe Bowl instead of Syracuse, especially if the Champs Sports Bowl decides to take Notre Dame?

Brian Bennett
  (4:38 PM)

Think about this: UConn could be BCS reps ... or 7-5. There's a chance they could tumble in the bowl pecking order, especially since BBVA Compass probably doesn't want them a second straight year

Jay (Pa)

Brian I think Tommy Rees is the better QB, than Crist, he more of a players QB, they team seemed to responsed to him more.

Brian Bennett
  (4:39 PM)

Not sure what a players' QB is, and I know that Crist is one of the most well-liked players on the team. What I like about Rees, though, is he makes quick decisions and gets rid of the ball. Crist seemed to overthink a bit

Jon (Charleston, WV)

BB, I have a few complaints about the way college coaches handle true freshman these days. It doesn't make sense to me why Bill Stewart didn't redshirt Ivan McCartney if we weren't going to use him that much, if at all. We've thrown it to him 3 times that I can remember. I don't think he's in the top 5 WR rotation so why not redshirt the kid? Its a waste of a year. The same thing happened with Shawne Alston last season when we burned his redshirt for 6 carries late in the Syracuse game. I understand wanting to give those guys on field experience. Those 6 carries last year could really hurt Alston's (Or any other player's) future. That extra year could have helped him go from being undrafted to who knows possibly a 2nd round pick. I think coaches need to be smarter about burning redshirts. Unless he's going to contribute or you absolutely need him why play him? It seems to happen to much these days. Whats your take?

Brian Bennett
  (4:41 PM)

It's a tough call, because situations change. You might go into a year thinking you need that player or you need depth, and then others emerge. You don't want to get caught in a situation late in the year where you have to throw a kid on the field late in the year because of injuries. If a player is physically and mentally ready, it's hard to hold him back

Larry (Glendale, CA)

Why would the Orange Bowl select Stanford over UCONN if the Pac-10 does not travel well?

Brian Bennett
  (4:42 PM)

Because they're not sure how UConn would travel. No history there in big bowls. Plus, a Top 5 Stanford is a whole lot more attractive than 8-4 UConn.

Paul Lee (Kokomo, IN)

Should the Big East commissioner threaten to drop all the Catholic schools if Notre Dame football does not join the conference?

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

You obviously have no idea who John Marinatto is. Devoted Catholic with close ties to Providence College

Bearcatvol (Dalton, GA)

There was a revenue sharing question about Bowl games earlier. I hate asking this, never imagined I would this year.. but since UC is staying home for the holidays will they get a share? Or is it only teams that contribute?

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

Yep, it's more profitable to stay home because you don't lose money on the trip

Brian Bennett
  (4:43 PM)

Bearcats could buy another practice bubble they won't use (Sorry, couldn't resist).

Shane (Louisville)

Any word on who gets the starting QB gig for the Cards upcoming bowl? Froman or Burke?

Brian Bennett
  (4:44 PM)

Timing will be important -- Beef bowl is before Christmas. But I've got to believe Froman will be healthy for any post-Xmas bowl for sure

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

Ticket Sales and Hotel Rooms are NOT most important. Keeping the mafia happy is. That is why you will see Arkansas and Ohio St. in BcS games over Boise and Michigan St.

Brian Bennett
  (4:45 PM)

Arkansas and Ohio State fans will buy more tickets and hotel rooms than Boise and MSU, and it's not even close

Steve (Martinsburg)

Good afternoon Brian.I still have concerns with Mr. Stewart at the helm...... He keeps talking about fumbles, injuries, and the defense? But in truth, the offensive problems have been more than just turnovers, injuries. They have also included, at times, a confusing lack of focus on the part of the offensive coaches to know in what direction to go. And, no ability to adjust after half time... The basis of this multiple offense is to have a variety of weapons and be able to keep defenses off balance, and that wasn't happening. The guy is an extremely good man, and cares a great deal about West Virginia. However, I politely disagree that he is the answer for Mountaineer football. Question, do you see Mr. Steward coaching at WV, say in 5 years?

Brian Bennett
  (4:47 PM)

Five years is an eternity in coaching. I'm not sure any current Big East coach is in the same place in five years. I understand your concern, but the guy is about to win 9 games for the third straight year. Gotta count for something, no?

Joe (Morgantown)

Hey BB, nice work this year. Keep it up! How badly do you think the lack of production and injuries have hurt Devine's draft prospects?

Brian Bennett
  (4:48 PM)

Thanks, Joe. I don't think he would ever have been a really high pick because of his size, but this has certainly hurt his stock. Devine has extraordinary ability to cut and reverse; when he can't do that, he's pretty ordinary

Chris (Powell OH)

In a season of disappointments, who (players / teams) were the biggest pleasant surprise?

Brian Bennett
  (4:49 PM)

Syracuse and Louisville, for sure. Surprise players: Bilal Powell, Chas Dodd, Brandon Lindsey ... I'm sure I'm forgetting a few

Ryan (Florida)

Big East still suck, just expressing my view

Brian Bennett
  (4:49 PM)

Your grammar sucks. Just my view.

tom (NYC)

Rutgers won in 05-07 on strong running games that heavily featured play action and deep passing. While the WRs and QBs are talented, the lack of any established RBs and a terrible OLine makes that philosophy moot. Will things get better with new OC(s)?

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

The O-line is awful and the offense won't improve until that changes. There's a lot of youth, but it still shouldn't be this bad. The overuse of the Wildcat must go too. Time to get back to that old style of play

Kendal (MT. Washington Ky)

Hey Brian any chance Charlie Strong takes the Miami job if they offered it to him.

Brian Bennett
  (4:51 PM)

That's a tough job to turn down, but I think Strong will show loyalty to Louisville as the first school to give him a long overdue chance

Chuck Mitchell (Las Vegas, NM)

Utah at home in high altitudes barely got by Pitt. Most BE teams would not be major underdogs to Pitt or anyone else in the BE. Yet Utah routinely defeats Colo St, Wyoming, San Jose, San Diego & UNLV. The reality is that the worst BE team is better than any of the Mtn West teams above. Why is this ignored by people when evaluating conferences? Occasionally even you have shown a lack of appreciation for the absence of low level BE Teams. And don't jump on Rutgers. Someone in the BE has to be worst.

Brian Bennett
  (4:52 PM)

Don't think the Big East has to worry about being compared unfavorably to the Mountain West anymore. As I said last month, this is a torso league: all middle and not top or bottom. Though Rutgers smells like feet right about now.

Hank Hill (Arlen, TX)

Bigger Winner - TCU or the Big East?

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

Both winners, but TCU bigger. The Frogs get an AQ conference, which is huge

Aaron (CT)

Brian, if both Virginia Tech and UConn win this weekend, can you please find a way to remind readers of your blog that the ACC Champs lost to James Madison this year? Thanks, from UConn Country.

Brian Bennett
  (4:53 PM)

And that Va Tech has made the BCS with four losses before. You bet I'll write that.

Andrew (California)

What's your take on the Kansas story you posted in the links earlier today? A lot of us are excited about the potential for an east/west split with the big-12 northern schools.

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

That was well known this summer. If Texas and Oklahoma left, the Big 12 was in pieces and the Big East was prepared to strike. It's no longer the case. Would have been cool though, especially in hoops

Bearcatvol (Dalton, GA)

Its a little early, but since it is the last blog... at least of the regular season.... Merry Christmas or if that isn't your flavor, Happy Holidays! Thank you for what you do, I know its a job... but it means a lot... to a lot of us.

Brian Bennett
  (4:54 PM)

Thanks, and right back to you. But I'll still be chatting and blogging. Gear up for bowl season!

Brian (Tampa)

BB thought u were not biased but you pick Syracuse and Lousiville as the suprises? You just showed your true color right?

Brian Bennett
  (4:55 PM)

Um, let's see: Syracuse hadn't made a bowl since 2004. Louisville hadn't made one since 2006 and was picked dead last but finished 6-6 and was very competitive. It's a no-brainer

Ross (ny)

BB, Who do think will be the 1st 5 draft picks this year?

Brian Bennett
  (4:56 PM)

1. Natalie Portman. 2.Rachel Bilson 3. Wait, what kind of draft are we talking about?

Aaron (CT)

BB,I understand why most Big East fans want WVU in the BCS bid because they think it will help drown some of the criticism of the Big East. However, if WVU goes yet again the criticism won't die down, it will only shift from focusing on a 4 loss UConn team to criticizing the Big East being a one trick pony. WVU and the 7 dwarfs. If UConn can pull off an upset in a BCS bid, it will be far better for the conference than WVU going again and (winning or losing).

Brian Bennett
  (4:57 PM)

A fair point, Aaron. But UConn will get hammered by the national media for making the BCS with its record. And if it gets blown out, that does nothing to help the league. If UConn wins, it's a tremendous story. I just don't like the Huskies' chances against an Oklahoma or Nebraska ... nothing personal, just tough matchups for them

Paul (New York)

As an ND grad, I'm rooting for WVU this weekend. I'd prefer ND plays the best competition on the biggest possible stage. So what are the chances of them playing Boise St. in the Fight Hunger Bowl if they don't go to the Champs Sports Bowl?

Brian Bennett
  (4:58 PM)

That would be a fun game. As would playing Miami in the Sun Bowl

Brian Bennett
  (4:58 PM)

OK, folks, one last question in the last regular-season chat. Who wants to play hero?

Kevin (Cincinnati)

Just wanted to let you know that in my Poli-Sci class today, 8 different laptops were on the Big East blog at some point

Brian Bennett
  (4:59 PM)

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Brian Bennett
  (5:00 PM)

Thanks for a great regular season of chatting, everybody. Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week to talk about bowls and other news.