Hello, everyone! Thanks for kicking off the college football season with us. Let's get to your questions.
If you had to predict right now, what teams do you see in the BCS title game?
I've already had to predict for ESPN.com, and I took LSU and Oregon. I think all of the USC hype (which is justified) has caused people to forget how good Oregon is, and the Ducks are obviously my pick to win the Pac-12. I'm taking LSU to get through the SEC because, as of now, I think the Tigers have a better defense than Alabama.
What stadium do you think is the toughest to play in for visiting teams?
It would be easy to answer half of the places in the SEC, but two others that I've been quite impressed with are Autzen (Oregon) and Camp Randall (Wisconsin). Of course, difficulty of a stadium is mostly due to the talent of the home team, so I think "stadium rankings" are sometimes misguided.
How long do you think it will take Penn State to return to their past glory once the sanctions have ended?
I think it'll be at least two more years before Bill O'Brien will be able to make significant progress in recruiting, and then it will be a few years after that before Penn State is back to a full allotment of scholarships. I think they could be competitive in the Big Ten again by 2018 or so, but even that doesn't necessarily equate to "past glory."
What is more likely this year - Denard Robinson winning the Heisman or Michigan winning the national title?
I'd have to go with Denard, because I think any team from the Big Ten will need to be undefeated to play for the national title. It's possible that Robinson could have average stats in a loss to Alabama and be forgiven for it, as long as he tears up Big Ten defenses. I don't think Michigan's BCS title hopes would survive a loss on Saturday.
How much do u see the dismissal of Greg Reid hurting Florida State
I think the losses of Reid (FSU) and Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) are similar in that both programs are probably deep enough to replace those guys with someone who is just as good of a pure cornerback, but losing them as punt returners is bigger than most people realize. Remember that new rules this season will make it more difficult to get long kickoff returns, so the best opportunity to make big plays on special teams will come from the punt return units. Those guys were arguably the two best punt returners in college football.
Brad, why is there no love for Kansas State? Seems like every year everyone doubts Bill Snyder teams and then they all are surprised when they have another successful season. Lets face it, Snyder can outcoach anyone and for that reason they should deserve some respect.
Many college football fans are too young to know this, but Bill Snyder's first stint as KSU head coach was arguably the best turnaround job in college football history. Personally, I'm not surprised that the program has been revived under him once again, but I don't think the talent level is where he had it 10-15 years ago. Despite all the returning starters, it's easy to be skeptical about a team that went 8-1 last year in games decided by 7 points or fewer and was outgained in most of those wins.
What are your thoughts about USF finally breaking through and meeting expectations of winning the Big East Conference and making a splash in the BCS and final national rankings?
I picked USF to win the Big East, but it's hard to be confident in a team that has never shown the ability to close strong in conference play. South Florida is 1-6 in home Big East games over the last two seasons, and the one win was by a single point over a Rutgers team that finished 4-8! That's some serious history to overcome.
Can a healthy gamecock squad make it to the SEC championship game?
I picked South Carolina to win the East, even though the schedule is more friendly to Georgia, mainly because I like SC to beat UGA head-to-head. These next 10 days could be big for this race, with both of those teams having a loseable conference opener on the road.
What are the odds that more than 2 teams end up undefeated? And if so, would a one loss sec team jump a lesser non bcs major conference team?
For some reason, this doesn't have the feel of a season that could have several undefeated teams. Maybe it's because even the best teams have obvious flaws. I think a 1-loss SEC champ would have a great chance to finish over an undefeated team from a non-AQ league, and probably the Big East, as well. I can also see them having a chance against an undefeated team from the ACC if that team isn't FSU.
Is it possible the University of Utah's defense could sneak up on USC?
USC scored only 23 on Utah last season in LA, so I'd be surprised if the Utes could sneak up on them in Salt Lake City. The Trojans won't be looking past that game. The bigger question is whether Utah's defense is good enough to slow down a USC offense that is expecting a fight. I hear a lot of people saying it might be. I'll need to see the Utes play a few games before I buy in.
What player and team will be the biggest surprise in college football this season?
I'm one of the few people who picked Texas to win the Big 12, so I guess I'd go with the Longhorns as my surprise team. Everyone expects them to be better, but I'm saying 10 or 11 wins.Surprise player is a tougher guess, but I'll go with Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. There's usually a dropoff from a veteran to a first-year starter at that position, but I think Mariota could be the difference in the Ducks getting past USC this year.
With all the conference realignments or additions, which team or teams faces the toughest first year transition?
I think the combination of first-year coach, first-year QB and now (after the postponement of the season opener) no bye week will make it really tough for Texas A&M's debut season in the SEC. The team in transition I'm most intrigued by is TCU.
How do you see the Buckeyes doing this year with no bowl game or Big Ten title championship shot?
Urban Meyer has made an immediate difference at all of his previous coaching stops, so I won't be surprised if OSU can win 10 games. I don't think motivation in the face of no postseason will be an issue. The Buckeyes still have as much talent as anyone in the Big Ten.
Brad what kinda #s do you think LSU Qb will put up&do you think Les will have LSU pass more now that they have a true qb?
Assuming Mettenberger stays healthy, he has to improve the passing attack. It can't possibly get worse than it was in the SEC and BCS championship games. That said, given how good the LSU offensive line is and how deep the Tigers are at running back, it would be foolish to start slinging the ball all over the yard. But I do think Mettenberger will get more out of LSU's talented receivers than the offense has gotten in several years.
Where will my Sun Devils finish in the PAC-12??? Do I smell Roses ;)
I'm smelling something, and it sure ain't roses. I'll be surprised if ASU isn't one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 this year.
How do you feel about FSU's chances to make a National Championship run with their favorable schedule an powerful defense?
Yes, the schedule is favorable. Yes, the defense should be powerful. But I've seen FSU lose too many conference games as a favorite in recent years to believe this before I see it. The offensive line will be the key. If the Noles can finally run the ball, it'll give EJ Manuel a chance to be the superstar everyone's been expecting him to be.
Can Ole Miss get to a bowl game this year?
If they can go 3-1 out of conference, they'll need to be 3-5 in conference. That means they must win three of their four home SEC games against Texas A&M, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. I'm not predicting it, but it wouldn't be crazy if it happened.
If the the quarterback position works out like it should will the the Florida gators be a sleeper to win the SEC?
I think they have a chance to win the SEC East if the offense is better than expected. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina should all have good defenses, so that division might be won by the team whose QB takes the best care of the football.
How you do you think Notre Dame will fare this year having one of the toughest schedules in the nation?
I see the Irish as an 8-4 type team, but that may depend upon the stability at QB. If there is injury or inconsistency, the schedule could bring Notre Dame down into the 6-6 range.
Will Bama wideouts struggle?
Most SEC fans probably couldn't name more than one receiver on Alabama's roster, but I think they'll be good enough, given how strong the running game should be and how improved AJ McCarron should be. I just don't see Bama throwing the ball enough - or to one guy often enough - for any Tide WR to become a household name this year.
Can Nebraska contend for the Big 10 title?
The inconsistency of Taylor Martinez and the defense over the last two seasons leads me to say "no." We'll see if they can change some opinions by mid October.
How is Wes Lunt going to perform?
I got a chance to talk to Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle about a month ago, and his eyes lit up when I asked about Lunt. I don't get the impression that the true freshman won the job due to a lack of quality competition. Seems like the OSU offense might continue to put up big points in 2012.
Thanks, everyone, and thanks to Samsung for setting this up. Enjoy the first (big) weekend of games!