Hello, and thanks for joining me again on another live chat. It is good to be back.We will be discussing my non-AQ spring wrap. Here it is for those who have not seen it yet.http://espn.go.com/ncf/notebook/_/page/2011 Non-AQ post-spring wrap/non-aq-post-spring-wrapNow on to the questions!
1.-Will The MWC conference become a BCS conference anytime soon? if not, what are the possibilities?2.- With the new the addition of nevada, Fresno St and Hawaii to the MWC. Is this conference still better than C-USA despite of losing UTAH, TCU and BYU?thanks you. VIVA CHILE
If you go by the rules as they are currently configured, then no, the Mountain West does not meet the criteria to become a seventh AQ. BUT who knows what will be the result of the Department of Justice inquiry to the NCAA. This could perhaps spur some sort of change, and that could mean even more access to the non-AQs than there is now. And yes, I still think the MWC is stronger than C-USA because it will have the strongest non-AQ team in Boise State.Oh, and Viva Argentina!
What are your thoughts on the Houston Cougars defense. How much will it improve?
Great question, Jeff. I think the defense will be better in Year 2 in the 3-4. There are some good additions to the secondary. But there is also a lack of depth up front, and that could be a problem, especially against so many of the spread teams Houston faces in C-USA. With Keenum back, I am predicting Houston in a bowl game, but I still think Tulsa wins C-USA West (as of today).
I love TCU but think theyre going to lose at least a couple this year. Replacing Dalton, all but 1 Oline, etc. Your prediction for TCU.
I also have TCU losing two times this year (Baylor and Boise State).
With Fresno State hoping for a breakout year in 2011, per your article, pick the State/Nebraska game with comes early in their non-conference schedule.
I still think Nebraska wins. That is going to be the second start of the season for Derek Carr, and the Huskers are going to be a Top 25 team. I think Fresno State is one year away from being a Top 25 team.
Andrea, do you think Boise will beat Georgia and TCU and go to the National Championship
Cory, I do not see a national championship appearance for Boise State this year, but I do think the Broncos win those two games. I am still undecided on whether they will go undefeated. There is a real chance they are going to lose one along the way, though, either to San Diego State, Air Force or Tulsa. I think the AFA and Tulsa might seem hard to believe because it is on the blue turf, but these are teams that are going to be solid this season.
Why does La Tech get so little coverage? I see a break out year in the future. What do you think?
Bob, stay tuned to the blog on Friday for a mention of Louisiana Tech!
Is the coach for Boise State Chris Petersen going to the same seminar that Coach Tressel has to attend? It seems like espn hasn't mentioned him at all! Is Boise getting a free pass from espn?
Jeff, Read my blog and let me know if Boise is getting a free pass. I think a misinterpretation of NCAA rules, in which he allowed incoming student athletes to sleep on the floors of his current players is a little different than Jim Tressel deliberately hiding information from his school and the NCAA.
Which new starter will be most important for Nevada to repeat as WAC champs? Lantrip? Ball? Someone else?
Lantrip. He is the man who is going to be in charge of making that Pistol go.
Due in large part to their members proximity to Florida recruits do you believe that the Sun Belt will be the next non-AQ to crash the BCS party or would you count on the MAC or C-USA to finally break through?
The Sun Belt non-conference schedules are way too difficult for that to happen, because the AQ schools use them for their "cupcake games" in exchange for high $$ in guarantees. C-USA is the most logical choice to me.
Obviously I'm biased but I don't see TCU losing to Boise. I think this is the first time that they will be playing a big-time opponent without the benefit of a huge preparation time. I just don't see their offense being able to do much of anything on the TCU D.
It is quite possible, Matt. Nothing is a slam dunk.
Andrea, Whats a reasonable win total for TCU this year??
My pick is 10.
Am I the only one who is totally bummed out that Utah, BYU, and TCU are leaving the MWC? It would have been an amazingly strong conference with a surefire BCS invitiation with all the teams it would have had in it now.
I don't think Utah or BYU are bummed out, that is for sure. Did you see how much $$$ Utah is going to gain with the new TV deal. BYU has its own TV deal with ESPN, too. TCU is getting a better deal as well. But you are right, if those three teams stayed, with the addition of Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State, the Mountain West would be quite strong.
Since were talkin spring wrap up. I feel most talk about BSU this season has been on what they lose at WR and only mention that Moore is back, but what about an experienced, very good and very deep front lines on both sides of the ball. How bout Doug Martin who is quietly one of the best backs in all of college football and DJ Harper who when healthy is as fast as anyone on the field. A lot to like about the returners for BSU other than Moore
Good point, Sean. Doug Martin and Nate Potter are listed as top potential draft picks by Mel Kiper. I do worry about Harper, who seems injury prone, though. The Boise State front should be solid once again. That is the reason the Broncos are a Top 10 team in the preseason.
Call me a pessimist but it sure seems that the NCAA lumping the BSU charges is a way to go after the football team with more than what they truely have. Boise State brought the violations to the NCAA, did all they could to correct them (ultimately adding more viloations) and have complied as much as possible with the NCAA, so in your opinion what are the chances the self imposed sanctions stick and no futher punishment comes from the NCAA. P.S I think it shows just how ludicrous the NCAA can be, a bowl exec can get away with murder but a player being bought a big mac is the end of the world. /rant
Rant accepted.As for the self-imposed sanctions sticking, it all depends on whether the NCAA finds a lack of institutional control. I am not sure how the NCAA will rule on that because there are a wide variety of violations across 5 sports.
Andrea,thanks for the blog on the Non AQ schools.you have alot of teams and geography to cover.With all the academy schools making a bowl last year and all being competitive.Who do you see winning the Commander-In-Chief trophy this year?
I am going with Air Force again.
Andrea, I think this game will be just as HYPED as last years with VT, simply because as you said its against the SEC and UGA will be out to prove that last years 6-7 record was a fluke-ish season! I think we have the best schedule we've had in years to really turn things around and vie for the East Conf Title. Go Dawgs!
You also asked about the self-imposed sanctions, 3 fewer practices for Boise State before UGA. I think this could have an impact because all those preseason practices are important, especially the ones in pads when players get used to tackling again. Big blow for UGA losing Ealey it seems. Not much depth at RB and now having to rely on Crowell to come in right away.
Is there a formula that the Sun Belt conference will move ahead of the MAC in ratings?
Win more games?
What are the chances gameday comes to Lincoln for Nebraska-Ohio St? It's Ohio St. first game with all their players back and the Huskers first Big 10 home game. Should be a great one!
There is a chance. I don't have a say though. Can you believe it?!
Which non BCS team is poised to become the "New" Utah or the "new" Boise St?
Great question, and one I wish I had an answer to. I think it could be BYU but its schedule is going to be hard since it is independent. Fresno State with Derek Carr maybe.
Given the monstrous TV deals the major conferences are getting, will the non-AQ's eventually be so far behind the "haves" that a new sub-division of football will be created ala FBS II?The differences in finances are simply staggering betweein the AQ conference teams and the non-AQ teams...
This is a great question and one that has already been discussed and debated. If there are no changes to the current system, I think it is only fair for there to be two separate divisions. Because we already see the "have nots" are denied any shot at a national championship and mostly lose money throughout their athletic departments trying to keep up with the "haves."
Toughest road game in Texas for BYU? TCU or UT?
Mike, you are making me work today!!! I am going to say TCU as of right now because the Horned Frogs are expected to be better than the Longhorns. But that could change once we see the new and improved Horns on the field and the new Horned Frogs on the field.
I am biased to and say no way BSU comes to the A-T-L and leaves with a W!! Go Dawgs!!
Very well, Scott. I am sure most of the nation agrees with you.
Can ECU make enough improvement in its defense to contend again for the C-USA title? Their offense will continue to be one of the best in nation with Dominique Davis in his second year of the Air-Raid and switching to the 3-4 will definitely help... Right?
Great question, Jared. I do think ECU goes to a bowl game but I am not sure whether it can compete with UCF and Southern Miss for the title this year. Generally a scheme switch takes at least a year for the players to get used to, and the Pirates are going to need to start recruiting more guys to fit those needs. They are probably going to have to rely on young guys as well, and that could be tough. But you are right DD is going to have another outstanding year and do enough to get the Pirates bowling.
Do you expect Boise to get severely penalized by the NCAA? How do these allegations affect your perception of Petersen?
My perception of Petersen has only been altered slightly -- as a coach who was not aware of the NCAA rules. I think he was trying to do the right thing by having these incoming players sleep on couches so they wouldn't have to pay for hotel rooms or housing. He just didn't know the rules.
Allegations have come out that UCF has improperly used runners in recruiting. It was reported today that the NCAA has not sent a letter of inquiry to UCF. What do make of that? And what would be the penalties to UCF if they were found guilty of these recruiting violations?
The allegations against UCF seem murky to me. I still have no idea who this runner is, who he worked for and how he is tied to DaMarcus Smith of Louisville, especially. I think the NCAA is taking its time sorting out the facts to see if there is something there, or if this is all a bunch of smoke and mirrors. The penalty could be a tough one to UCF because it is already on probation for improper phone calls and text messages to recruits.
Is Bryant Moniz's inconsistency a by-product of trying to do too much (bowl game) or his offensive line's deficiencies in your opinion? Can he go a whole season without a meltdown?
Great question. I think it is both. His offensive line certainly did not help matters and he forced a lot of things in that bowl game (though he was on the run much of the time). I have Hawaii rated highly still because of him, but I do worry about how he is going to fare without Salas and Pilares.
Andrea, if you had to chose, would you go with Utah or BYU in terms new conference. Pac 12 or Independence. and what does BYU have to do to make it to a BCS game, does it hurt them that they have cupcakes at the end of the season, no one would care?.. Viva BOLIVIA!
Wow, I must be a star in South America! Luis, that is a very difficult question to answer. You guys are not easing me back into things today. I think conferences offer more stability. Utah is going into a known quantity and is going to be reaping the benefits. We have no idea whether independence is going to work out for BYU. So I guess I would take a surething over a risk. As for BYU going into a BCS game, they would either have to finish in the Top 2 of the standings or get an at-large selection. There is no automatic bid for BYU if it finishes in the Top 12.
Do you think BYU will be happy with 8-9 wins in their first year of independence?
Expectations are very high this year even in Year 1. So I would say probably not.
Will Utah State go bowling this year? I have them second in the WAC
Second in the WAC without knowing who its starting QB is going to be this season? I still have Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech ahead of Utah State.
Andrea, how do you feel about AF's chance to take the MWC and possibly a BCS berth?
There is definitely a chance, but there are a lot of questions on defense that have to be answered. It is going to be tough to go undefeated with a stretch like this: at Navy; at Notre Dame; San Diego State at Boise State.
Is there a chance UNLV catches up to the school up in Reno anytime soon?
I wouldn't rule anything out, but I don't see it happening soon.
Why is no one talking about Dominique Davis out of East Carolina? He scored the second most points of anyone in the entire country last year next to Cam Newton. He could easily put up 50 total touchdowns this year.
I just mentioned him!
Will Fresno State actually win a bowl game this year?
Maybe if the Bulldogs don't play a non-AQ!
Everyone is talking about how losing Titus Young and Austin Pettis could be a problem for Boise State. However, Boise State has two WR that are going to be sophomores this coming season, Geraldo Hiwat and Aaron Burks. What do you know of these two Wide Receivers and what do you think they can do this season for Kellen Moore?
Hiwat made headlines after spring and has been mentioned in every national media outlet I have seen as a breakout star. It's incredible that he has only been playing football for a few years. His upside is tremendous. I have heard good things about Burks, too. Not to forget Shoemaker, Kirby Moore as well.
Can houston go undefeated this year, and can they crash the BCS party. They have been ranked high before.
I don't know that the defense is going to be good enough.
Call me biased, but I've watched a lot of Non-AQ's say they have a play anyone, anywhere philosophy, but then REQUIRE a Home/Home. To truly say this shouldnt a team model Fresno State's example and actually accept Home/Away deals with BCS conference teams?
Do you mean play someplace without getting a return game? Let me ask you this: if you were an athletic director and knew the only way you could make it into a BCS game and therefore get a fraction of the $$ AQ teams get was to go undefeated, would you accept 4 nonconference road games among the toughest of the toughest to prove a point? You would do what is best for your program, and that means doing whatever makes it easier for you to get into a BCS game.
How do you think Crowell will fare during the BSU/UGA match up when he has to match college level DE's , LB's, safeties speed and size with blocking ability on his part against?Is he really that good right out of high school or will it signal an obvious running down almost every time he is in?
Great question. Marcus Lattimore did just fine vs. Georgia last year in Week 2 I believe it was. We will see right away what he has.
Is NIU in a year of transition or can it take the MAC? Any chance of seeing them beat Wisconsin due to Harnish returning, a strong group of running backs and 5 solid wide receivers?
How about the defense? Will it be able to slow down the Wisconsin ground game? There are questions up front and I am not sure the Huskies have enough on D to stop Wisconsin. But I do think they will give them a very tough game.
Nevada has a brutal stretch to start the season with Oregon, Texas Tech, and Boise, with SJSU thrown in there. Is there any chance they escape with a 3-1 or 2-2 record?
I think 2-2 is best case. I don't see a win vs. Boise this year or vs. Oregon.
What do you make of 2012's Mountain West? Looks a lot like last year's WAC, dont ya think?
It does. Not going to make it into an AQ league that is for sure.
Who do you like to win the SEC East this year? And will Mark Richt get fired by season's end?
Veering off non-AQs but I will accept ... South Carolina and I have no idea. My guess is ... yes.
Is Central Florida a potential BSC buster this year with their manageable OOC schedule (Charleston Southern, BC, FIU. BYU)? Might a visit to one of the big bowls deliver them that coveted Big East invite?
I don't think what happens this season is going to have any impact on the Big East invite. I think you are underestimating BYU and UCF also has to play Tulsa and at SMU this year, along with at Southern Miss. So I don't see an undefeated season, especially with so many questions on defense.
Is Oklahoma worth the hype ?
I have the Sooners No. 1 as well. You have to like Landry Jones and his receiving corps coming back.
BYU @ Ole Miss: Your thoughts?
I have gotten a few questions on this so I will answer it here once. I think this is a winnable game for BYU given the disarray that Ole Miss is in right now. Houston Nutt is on the hot seat big time for the Rebels and they have got many questions. I would pick BYU to win the game if the season started today.
Andrea, in regards to what you wrote earlier: If I was an AD, and knowing how the BCS works in regards to schedule strength, then yes I would add OOC road games if it meant having a much stronger schedule, thereby improving my BCS stock, if BCS bowls were my ultimate goal. Wouldn't you?
How would this improve your BCS stock if you have already gone to BCS games with the schedule you have played? Do you mean BCS national title stock? I am not sure that would do it.
OT: What's your take on the DOJ questioning the NCAA?
My take is I would applaud anything that gets an overhaul to the BCS system.
fearless prediction: the bronco mendenhall led D will be top-10 in the country in both PPG and rushing yards...count on it!
I am writing it down.
How many times do the Sooners need to get creamed in the championship game before people stop having "the Sonners No. 1"
Maybe one more time.
teams i think vie for a BCS bowl bid from non-AQ's: BSU, TCU, BYU, Houston and ND.
Those are good picks, Justin.
Andrea: Pac-12 will NEVER offer BYU an invitation to join the Pac-12.
I never said they would.
Do you think with a new first-time OC and the fact that BYU is playing a bunch of teams they haven't played for a while equate to average offensive numbers for the first 5 or 6 games again this year?
Anything is possible, but I am expecting big things from this offense with Heaps back, a solid offensive line, stacked backfield and great receivers.
How do you think the San Diego State offense will do after losing their top two WR in the draft?
That is a great question, Alex. I want to say San Diego State will be fine with Lindley and Ronnie Hillman and a pretty decent offensive line. But Rocky Long was so unhappy with his receivers this spring, he refused to discuss any of them on a Mountain West conference call a few weeks back. My fear for SDS is that teams are going to stack the box to stop Hillman, then make Lindley throw it to so-so receivers and the offense is going to grind to a halt.
Do you see BSU being able to move to a BCS conference in the next 5 years?
Only if conferences expand to 16 teams and I am not sure that is going to happen in the next five years with the latest TV deals that have been made.
Is the WAC one more defection away from collapse? If C-USA loses a team to the BE and LA Tech gets its much awaited chance to join C-USA will we see others rush to get out (SBC, MWC, or for the less fortunate FCS status)? Wasn't there a rumor that someone in the WAC was talking to the SBC already?
There was a rumor, but the SBC has no plans to expand at this time. I think Louisiana Tech is the only viable candidate to leave for C-USA if Houston/UCF/ECU/Memphis or whoever goes to the Big East. But those smaller conferences are at the mercy of the bigger ones. The WAC will be discussing membership in June.
Follow up, not saying they have to go on the road for all 4 games, yet there have been a few reports indicating that when Nebrask, Ohio State, etc have a single open date that the Non-AQ just can't seem to make it work. Isn't it worth the one road game to prove the metal? No one is faulting the non-AQs to do what is in their best interest, but at the same time much of the college football world will continue to believe they only achieve what they do by the good graces of the BCS and soft schedules.
Boise State played Virginia Tech last year, Georgia this year and Michigan State next year. Is that not enough?
How long can houston be satisfied with these finishes. Its in an awesome recruiting place and used to be one of the better teams in the country. They have produced heismen winner and SWC champions. What does it take to bring them back to national prominence. Can Sumlin do it?
Houston was dealt a raw deal last year when Keenum got hurt and Cotton Turner got hurt in the same game. Granted, the defense was not much better but it was only Year 1 in the 3-4. So I think you have to give Sumlin a pass. The question is what expectations do you have for Houston? Are bowl seasons not satisfactory enough? Do you want to be the next Boise State?
Will all the disarray in college football, with investigations going on at Auburn, Ohio State, and other schools, what does the NCAA need to do to cut down on so many violations? It is a steroid like problem now.
Great question, Chris. Unfortunately, NCAA violations have always been a part of the sport and always will be a part of the sport. I think the NCAA needs to beef up its investigative staff first; then I think it really needs to punish some of these violators hard and try for consistency in its rulings. It would surely send a statement if it suspended Tressel for the season, don't you think?
If you're Doc Holliday, how are you suppose to turn Marshall around if you're going to continue to play teams like OSU, WVU, VA Tech, Louisville etc early in the year?
Well that is a question facing 99 percent of the non-AQ teams out there. Most of them have to play those heavy hitters in order to get the $ for guarantee games to pay their bills. Those teams rarely give a return game so you have to get what you can. I think Marshall fans would be satisfied with a C-USA championship game appearance. At least they should be satisfied with that when understanding the reality of the situation.
What chances do you give for San Diego State getting revenge against Michigan next season for "stealing" their coach?
There is certainly a chance, because I am not sure how good the Michigan defense is going to be just yet. Ronnie Hillman really has an opportunity to have 150-plus yards on the ground if the run D is as bad as it was last year.
Do you think that the AQ teams would have a better perception nationally if they scheduled their one "big boy game" (i.e. Boise State vs. VT and UGA) in the middle of the season? That way they wouldnt have an entire off-season or entire bowl-season to plan for one team?
I am not sure Georgia or Virginia Tech would go for that in the middle of their conference season.
Boise playing one of those teams per year (VT, and Georgia and MSU) are nice for, say, a Fiesta Bowl invite. But if Boise wants to go to a NC, they should schedule several top teams each year. The conference schedule they are stuck with, so the OOC games are their opportunity to beef up. 2-3 top teams would be better than one. If they are on the road, so be it.
I do not think beefing up the schedule like that would get them into a national title game over a team from the SEC or Big Ten, or even the Pac-10 or Big 12, do you?
Who do you think wins the opening week matchup of South Carolina at ECU?
do you get to go any games? if so will you go to the Holy War on sept 17? they are sweet games. 13 of last 14 have been decided by 7 points or less and 4 of last 5 on last play of the game.
I went to only a handful last year as I made the transition in to ESPN. I am not sure what is on my docket for this year, but I will put in your request to my editors!
How long can the cougars wait for sumlin to deliver the next step, a BCS bowl berth for houston. Can he get it done?
So you want a BCS bowl berth. Well there is a shot this year with Keenum back. The nonconference is very easy. The problem is the defense. I don't think you should be so down on Sumlin. Who do you want Houston to hire?
Out of all non-AQs who do think will be the biggest surprise or team to look out for this year? And who do think has the best chance to to have a "break-out" season?
People may think I am overhyping BYU but I do think the Cougars have a shot at getting into the Top 25 again.
Excuse me, but don't Oregon, Va Tech and Georgia have all off-season to prepare for Boise State, too? I'm tired of seeing these AQ fans complain about Boise State having some sort of advantage when their opponents have the SAME time to prepare.
Bring it on!
yes andrea. Isnt that what every Non-AQ wants, to be the next Boise State. If you ever see Coach Sumlin, tell him thats what we cougar fans want. Go Coogs. :)
I will pass along your message, manu!
When did the NCAA decide to stop turning a "blind eye" to all of the boosters paying players, inproper benefits, etc. This stuff has gone on for decades and no one ever had a problem with it. Why all the fuss now?
Oh I think people had a problem with it. I think people are more willing to turn in cheaters now.
Thanks to all for your great questions. I will see you again next week on Thursday at 4 pm at my regular day and time.Have a great week! AA