Hey, great to be back with everybody. Season is right around the corner. I'm sure everyone is getting excited. Here we go...
What do you think about Nebraska becoming a member of the Big 10 starting this fall? Right move or wrong one?
I like the move. I think with the players Nebraska recruits, it's a better fit. I think the Cornhuskers could win the Big Ten in their first season there.
hi Mark, what game(s) are you most excited about in the first couple weeks of the season?
Georgia/Boise State; LSU/Oregon; Oklahoma/FSU; BYU/Texas; Michigan/Notre Dame; Arizona/Oklahoma State.
How do you feel about the loss of rivalries due to realignment, ie. OK/Neb ? Do you think Iowa will develop a new one, with Nebraska?
I think Iowa/Nebraska has the potential to be a very good rivalry. Border states. Two good programs with rich traditions. Two loyal fan bases.
How do you think BYU will fare the first 3 weeks. Ole Miss, Texas, and Utah?
Obviously, a difficult start to the season. But I liked the way the Cougars played at the end of last season. Heaps is going to get better and better. Should beat Ole Miss. A 2-1 start would be a great start.
Your BCS buster this year could be?
Southern Miss? Boise State or TCU (again).
Is this the year someone finally beats an SEC team in the national title?
I think Oklahoma is the team to beat if the Sooners develop a consistent running game. Going to be very good in passing game and defense.
Mark, what are your thoughts on Clemson this year? I see us as an either or team. We beat Auburn in Game 3 and we're a 9-3 type of team. We lose to them an we're 6-6 or 7-5 at best. What are your thoughts?
Want to see more from the QB before I make a real assessment. I think middle-of-the-pack in ACC or a little better.
If florida state beats oklahoma in Tallahassee to stay undefeated how good of a chance do they have at going to the national championship? VT never backs down in the ACC. VT vs FSU ACC championship?
If FSU beats Oklahoma, I think the 'Noles are in the driver's seat at BCS title game. No Georgia Tech, Va. Tech or UNC in regular season. Might have to play Hokies or Yellow Jackets in ACC title game.
Who would you like to see be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame heading into Week 1?
I think it's probably Crist or Rees, and Brian Kelly told me in spring he'll probably play more than one QB.
What do you think of my move of red-shirting Darryl Stonum for this season? Am I sending the right message to my current/future players?
Kid needs to get his priorities in order and make sure he's reliable enough to play at Michigan. I thought it was a smart move.
Where do you see Georgia's defense heading into DC Todd Grantham's second year? Could UGA have the 3rd (behind Bama and LSU) best defense in the league?
Key is going to be Geathers and Jenkins. If they can command double-team blocks in the middle, ends and linebackers could be pretty good. Question marks at one corner spot and safety spot, but I think they'll be much better. Need to see if Jarvis Jones is eligible, obviously.
While the Pac-10 (now 12) is the second best conference out there, do you think with the new TV deal and expansion, they could replace the SEC as the top conference in the future?
Not until USC is off probation and recovered from scholarship reductions. USC and Oregon are on par with Bama, LSU, Florida when they're at full strength; SEC has more depth overall.
What is a realistic record for Florida this year and how do you see the future of the program under Will Muschamp?
I think it might (and I say might) be a bit of a struggle this year. But I think Will is the right fit at Florida. If you look at All-SEC teams in Birmingham -- and I know it's only preseason All-SEC teams -- there were 77 players on first, second and third team offenses and defenses. Only two Gators on third-team defense. That's stunning.
Do the Gamecocks repeat in the SEC East?
A lot comes down to whether or not Garcia is there the whole season. Can he stay out of trouble? Spurrier doesn't seem to have another choice. I think it comes down to USC and UGA.
Isn't it time for Boise to get rid of the gimmick blue turf? Will they ever be taken seriously with it?
NCAA says Broncos can't wear blue jerseys on blue turf anymore.
Ohio State @ Nebraska on October , 8th 7:00PM. Will Memorial Stadium be the loudest stadium Ohio State visits in 2011? Thanks! GO HUSKERS!!!!
It's going to be loud, but so is Camp Randall in Madison, Wis.
What are your thoughts on the Canes now that we have real coaching staff?
Thought the U was already back....Golden will do a good job. Smart coach and good recruiter. Give him a year or two
Mark:What kind of team do you see in AA? Hoke seems to have them on the right track, althought the suspensions scare me. Do you think the defense can improve enough to make them at least competative vs. the top competition in the Big 10?
I think Hoke will surprise people. There's going to be some adjustments going to more pro-style offense. But Denard will be fine and defense will be better under Mattison.
I am still stunned that OSU isn't going to get smacked with Lack of Institutional Control or Failure to Monitor (the latter being PAINFULLY obvious). Seems to me that the NCAA just doesn't want to really bring the hammer down on what was a dirty program. Thoughts?
As much as I hammered them, documents really show that Tressel was most to blame and didn't reveal facts to Gene Smith or Gordon Gee. Can you go in and check a coach's email account every week?
Do you see Luck winning the Heisman this year?
I'd put top guys as Luck, James, Richardson, Blackmon, Broyles, Landry Jones, Kellen Moore. Darkhorse is Geno Smith.
What's Arizona State going to do this year?
They're my favorite to win the Pac-12 South. A lot of guys coming back. A couple of big losses on defense, but Erickson should win 9-10 games this year.
Over / under 9 wins for the Irish this year?
I have the Irish right at 9 or 10 wins
you liked Brady Hoke's decision to redshirt Stonum. What do you think about Michael Floyd being reinstated?
Glad the kid got another chance. Heck of a talent. I don't think Notre Dame administrations of the past would have reinstated him.
Do you see Denard making a shot at the heisman?
I think it's going to be an adjustment going under center. He's still going to run because that's what he does best. But I know Hoke and Borges really want him to be more of a "quarterback" and limit his runs to keep him healthy. But, yes, he'll have a chance to put up huge numbers again.
Big assumption by Steve that the Pac 10/12 is the 2nd best conference. Pretty shallow and lots of underperformers. I think Big 10 is clear #2.
I would agree. Right now, I'd go:1. SEC2. Big Ten3. Pac-104. Big 125. ACC6. Big East
Do you think conference expansion is dead/quiet until the next off-season? Or will we see one or more teams bolt to other conferences this season?
I think it's quiet until the season is over, although you'll probably continue to hear some grumblings out of the Big 12. I don't think expansion and re-alignment is over.
What will be Fsu's biggest problem against Oklahoma?
Protecting Manuel? A lot of new faces on FSU's offensive line.
There are some good vibes at Rutgers with the recruiting and the new coaches. Are you drinking the Kool-Aid yet?
Not yet, but Schiano is too good of a coach for the Scarlet Knights to stay down for long. Too much talent in the area, too.
MarkIf ND can get through September 4-0, do you see a BCS bowl game in their future? I know they have not had an undefeated Sept in a long time. Defense looks good and the team speed is finally "catching up" and able to run past the competition.
Don't know if they'll go 4-0 in September, but I think they'll be in the hunt for a BCS bowl game in November. Irish will be much better on defense in 2011.
Do you have a team that will come out and surprise us this year? I know they are favored to win the Big East but I could still see West Va being a 10 win team this year.
West Virginia will probably be a top-20 team when it's all said and done. Oregon State? NC State? Northwestern?
Buckeyes NCAA date coming up on Aug.12 what do you see happening?
Loss of scholarships, official visits, recruiting trips. Nothing major like USC, I'm guessing. And it's just a guess. You never know what the infractions committee is going to do.
If Florida State can beat Oklahoma, does EJ Manuel go from Heisman sleeper to Heisman front runner?
Notre Dame is probably still making more money than any other school out there, other than maybe Texas. Irish don't have to split TV revenue with anyone.
TCU has not lost a regular season game in over two seasons. How many do you predict they lose this year?
The Horned Frogs' first two games (at Baylor & at Air Force) will be tough with so many new starters. Tough road game at Boise State, too. One or 2 losses?
I see my Spartans taking a step back this year. Losses on the OL and front seven (LB's), and what to me, looks like a brutal schedule, don't seem to bode well. I could see them being 8-4.
I would agree. I was a little higher on the Spartans in the spring, but it's a lot of roster to replace and road schedule is really difficult. I'd say Nebraska and Wisconsin are favorites in Big Ten.
Who will start at QB for Texas? If Gilbert, how many losses until Mack Brown wakes up. I have had season tickets for 8 years and last year was a tough one to sit through!
After talking with Mack Brown in Dallas, I'm not sure he can go back to Gilbert this year. How many other players would have confidence in him going into the huddle? Not necessarily the kid's fault, but the 'Horns had no confidence and swagger with Gilbert out there last year.
Is it true that the first 25,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium for the UO-LSU Game will receive Willie Lyles bobbleheads?
Very nice. I'm sure it went over well in Baton Rouge and Eugene.
Why do you think Oregon has gone 0-3 in games with long layoffs before them under Chip Kelly ((?09 Bosie State, ?10 Ohio State, ?11 Auburn)?
They played really good teams. Both offenses in the BCS title game vs. Auburn seemed a little out of whack. Both attacks are so predicated on timing; long layoff had a lot to do with it.
People are sleeping on Boston College yet again. Can the ACC pre-season player's of the year on offense and defense (Harris and Keuchly) make some noise in the ACC?
Sure. Take care of the football and BC can challenge for strong bowl game. Kevin Rogers was a nice addition on offense.
With the expansion of the Pac-12, how much do you think not playing in Southern California every year will hurt recruiting for teams like Oregon State and Washington State?
Not much. Coaches can still get to So Cal to recruit. Most games are on TV anyway.
Will the southern heat affect SEC practices during camp? High Schools in the ATL area have started practice as early at 530 AM to avoid the heat.
I know UGA is practicing in the a.m. It's hot everywhere. Dallas was brutal when I was there two weeks ago. At least colleges all have trainers and physicians on hand. Some high schools recruiting without any trainers there. That's scary in this heat.
Do you think Bo Pelini would leave Nebraska for the Ohio St. job?
I'm sure he would be on Ohio State's list given his Ohio roots and success at Nebraska.
Do you see Jimbo lessening the coaching load in the next few years with the unfortunate news of his son?
No, he told me last week that he has a great support system in place to help raise money for research and awareness. He'll obviously spend time with Ethan whenever he can, but he doesn't think it's going to affect his coaching duties too much. Again, his son's health and well-being will come first, like any other parent would do.
Is John Jenkins the next Nick Fairley/Terrence Cody? Please say yes.
He has to get past Kwame Geathers first, right? I think he'll be a very good player. Let's see what he does against Boise State before we start making predictions, though.
Are my Texas A&M Aggies BCS bowl bound this year?!??!
Definitely. I think the Aggies might challenge for the Big 12 crown. A lot of offensive firepower and 3-4 defense will be better in Year 2.
Mark, get your facts straight. Big Ten schools all make more than ND from the TV contracts. ND contract with NBC not as much as you think. Do a little research first.
You are correct, Tom. I stand corrected. Notre Dame's NBC contract pays about $9 million, which isn't nearly as much as SEC and Big Ten payments to schools. Don't have Big East basketball revenue and other sports revenue on hand, so I'm not sure of total revenue for Irish.
If Boise State and TCU are both undefeated come the end of the year and the Broncos beat the Horned Frogs do you think they have a legitimate shot at the NC game?
Do the Broncos win or lose against Nevada? Let's not play this game again all year. Let's see if Boise State beats Georgia in Week 1.
Mark, I think Tennessee will be the most improved team in the SEC. Not saying they will be in Atlanta, but I think they are poised to surprise. Your thoughts?
Give Dooley another year or two. 70 percent of Vols' roster is made up of freshmen and sophomores. That's a ton.
Mark, What's your opinion on the Jerry Kill hiring for the U of M? Other Big 10 coaches speak highly of him, but clearly this is a tough place to win.
Good football coach. Has done really well on all levels. No frills, just a good, solid football coach. And, yes, Minnesota is a difficult job.
Mark, last year total revenue for Notre Dame football was 76 million dollars according to Forbes Magazine second only to Texas.
Hey Mark, what do you think about what Kevin Wilson is putting together at IU? I know they are a perrenial losing team, but with Wilson in town and a recruiting surge thanks to the committment of Gunner Kiel, it looks like they have a chance of turning it around??
Wilson is a very good offensive coach and is off to a great start in recruiting. It's as tough of a job as there is in the country: basketball school in basketball-crazed state and not a lot of football talent.
OK, folks, I gotta run. Good to be back for a chat. I'll be back again next week or the week after. Thanks again for stopping by.