Chat with Brian Bennett
Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville.
Send your questions now and join Bennett in The Show at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday!
Brian Bennett (3:00 PM)
Hello, everybody. Let's talk some Big East football and whatever else is on your minds.
Would you say the play of Noel Devine has declined or would you say WVU as a team has declined since last year? I've read some people expect the Backyard Brawl winner to goto the BCS Bowl as the Big East representative. Would you agree or disagree on that?
Brian Bennett (3:01 PM)
Devine isn't having a bad year. He's averaging 90 yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry. But I think we were all expecting a lot more from the little guy, who has only one touchdown. I don't think the holes are there like they used to be because of the lack of a power inside runner, and Devine does seem to dance a little on the perimeter. The Mountaineers' entire offense is down, though. They haven't scored 30 points against an FBS team. Hard to believe.
Good afternoon Brian. Every team has one awful game and UConn just had theirs. If Frazer can manage the game, minimize mistakes, do you think they can win the Big East?
Brian Bennett (3:02 PM)
I think they're very happy that game came out of conference. They still have a Big East road victory in hand, which is nice, and they have as good a shot as anybody in this wacky league race.
What are the chances that greg schiano actually stays with rutgers, and doesnt run off to Penn State when Joe Pa retires
Brian Bennett (3:03 PM)
I can't imagine too many Penn State boosters are crying for Schiano right now after he's gone 9-9 in his last 18. Dare I say that Brian Kelly has moved up the food chain of Big East coaches who might succeed JoePa one day?
Justin York, Pa
With Pitt having a "bye" week this week do you think that hurts them leading up into the game with Navy who just upset a decent Wake Forest squad or does that help Pitt prepare more for Navy who beat them in a close game last year?
If Chazz Anderson continues to play with the poise he exhibited against Marshall, do you think he will be replaced when Tony Pike comes back for UConn?
Brian Bennett (3:04 PM)
Justin, I think the bye week helps to prepare for a difficult Navy offense. However, I'd worry about this young Pitt team getting too full of itself after being congratulated everywhere for two weeks.
Brian Bennett (3:05 PM)
Doug, I still think Pike will be back for the UConn game if he's healthy. He's got a stronger arm and much more experience in the system. My question is, what happens if Grutza gets healthy?
Brian, are you impressed with the Panthers pass rush that the D-line is able to generate? It's a big plus being able to drop 6 and 7 guys into coverage.
Brian Bennett (3:06 PM)
I am, Josh. In fact, I'm writing about Pitt's D-Line in the next couple of days, so be on the lookout for that. I think Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard are two super athletic guys just now coming into their own.
Kyle (Milford, CT)
In all likelihood Brown won't win the Heisman Trophy (he plays for Connecticut, had no hype coming in, variety of other reasons), but what are his chances and what does he have to do to get invited to New York?
Brian Bennett (3:07 PM)
Brown needs UConn to have a great season and he has to put up Herculean numbers. Right now he's on a pace for 2,100 yards, which is pretty incredible. Will he last the whole season under all this work, though?
Hey Brian, Could you rank the teams in the Big East by the likelihood that they could actually go out and win a BCS game? I'd think USF is the only one with a real chance to win, but I'm curious to see how'd you rank, say, Cincinatti's big play ability vs Pat White or Shady.
Brian Bennett (3:07 PM)
Hard to say unless you know the opponent. If the Big East gets matched up against an SEC or Big 12 team, it's going to be tough. Against an ACC or Mountain West team, I think the league winner would have a chance
Bryant Moorhead MN
Please tell me what it's going to take for louisville to bounce back, get out of this rut they're in and bump themselves up to Big East champions again. Can they still pull it off this year figuring the way the Big East has performed so far? thanks
Brian Bennett (3:09 PM)
Bryant, the Cards have a lot of inexperience in key spots, and that has shown up in some of their drive-killing mistakes. I think Louisville has done some good things the past few weeks and is not that far off. These next two games against Memphis and Middle Tennessee should be good tune-ups for the rest of Big East play
Brian, Do you feel like a fool for picking Marshall to upset Cincinnati.
Brian Bennett (3:10 PM)
I regret picking against Brian Kelly, yes. But considering Cincinnati had its fourth-string QB who had never played a collegiate down, I played a hunch. If I could get every pick right, I'd be working in Vegas. And if you could, you probably wouldn't be posting questions in an online chat.
John (Morgantown, WV)
Brian, where do you think the big east champion will end up in the rankings?
Brian Bennett (3:11 PM)
Hmm.. Well, I suspect the Big East champ is going to have a 5-2 record in conference. I think top 15 is about the best case scenario
Jamie (Knoxville, TN)
Once again, I'm amazed that Brian Kelly at Cincinnati isn't getting more props. Especially in the light of the Bearcats success under so many different starting QBs. Why isn't Cincinnati getting more respect nationally than they are?
Brian Bennett (3:12 PM)
People who know football and know the Big East know what a good football coach he is. But the Bearcats' wins are over E. Ky, Akron, Miami Ohio and Marshall. Sorry, but that's just not going to garner a lot of national attention.
The Orange didn't lose this week. It seems that they should schedule a bye week more often... Do they stand any shot against West Virginia? The gut says no, but the heart says maybe.
Brian Bennett (3:14 PM)
I have a hard time envisioning any way the Orange can do it. On the plus side, they've had a bye week to prepare, they did play Pitt well and West Virginia isn't blowing anyone out right now. But it is Syracuse, and the talent gap is too large.
I see three undefeated teams at the end of the year, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Penn State. In this case does Penn State get the short end of the stick?
Brian Bennett (3:14 PM)
In that scenario, absolutely. The Big 12 and SEC are clearly the two best leagues
Who do you think will win the hismen
Brian Bennett (3:15 PM)
My ballot this week had 4 Big 12 QB's on it. So whichever one wins the league, whether it's Bradford, McCoy, Daniel or Harrell, I think also gets the stiff-armed guy
My wife is a Pitt girl. Before the USF game her and all her Pitt were dying to have Wannstadt out and I agreed with her they looked AWFUL. Is the Pitt program, and their coaching, actually getting better or USF way over ranked, hyped, and just not that good? Boomer Sooner to you all.
Brian Bennett (3:16 PM)
Well, I have to say I really liked the game plan against USF. Cavanaugh and Wannstedt used the Bulls' speed against them and had some nice wrinkles. This is still a young team that's getting better, and maybe Wannstedt is adjusting to the college game better as well. We'll see.
Jamie (Knoxville, TN)
How do you see the loss of Reed Williams effecting WVU's defense? Will Anthony Leonard prove an adequate replacement?
Brian Bennett (3:17 PM)
I think it's a big loss. He's not only a great player, but a real leader for that defense, vocally and emotionally. That's going to be hard to replace.
With Frazer not playing well why doesnt UCONN give Cody Endres a chance at QB?? It does run in his blood!
Brian Bennett (3:18 PM)
I think Frazer is going to be the guy. He made some really nice throws in that UNC games. He made some mistakes, too, mostly out of inexperience. That will come
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Brian, Did you know that Colt McCoy has a punt for 44yds? If he racks up a few more of those could that be a deciding factor in the race for the Heisman?
Brian Bennett (3:18 PM)
Um, no. Maybe he'll get some Ray Guy Award votes, though
Jim - Syracuse
Why is it that coaches are impressed with SU on film? It seems like before every game the opposing coach says they are impressed or saw some great things and they have their attention. But SU falls flat on there faces. Do they do that to make it look like a strong win or to pump up a peer coach or are they trying to keep that coaches job because they know they can get a win every time out?
Brian Bennett (3:20 PM)
I think most of that is coach-speak, Jim. Very few coaches are going to say, 'We looked at Syracuse on film, and my god are they bad. We'll win by 50.'
Jeremy (Dublin, Ohio)
With almost every major powerhouse having one loss already, and the Big East has no Championship game, if UC goes through the Big East unscathed, why could they not be considered for a BCS Game?
Brian Bennett (3:21 PM)
If Cincinnati wins the Big East, it will have an automatic bid to the BCS, Jeremy
Chris (Tampa, Fl
With the loss to Pitt do you think USF has a shot to win the Big East with Pitt being 2-0 or is it out of the question.
Brian Bennett (3:22 PM)
I just talked to Matt Grothe and George Selvie, and I'll be writing about this as soon as this chat is done. Both guys say that the Bulls need to win out to win the Big East. If they can do that and finish 6-1, I think they will be the champs. Big if, though
Jared: ( Waycross,GA )
Hey Brian who is you favorite for the big east?
Brian Bennett (3:22 PM)
I have no idea. Anyone got any nominees?
Just a little teasing earlier about the Marshall game, but seriously in what order would you rank the defenses in the Big East.
Brian Bennett (3:24 PM)
No problem, Eric. I am winning my long-running pick 'em contest among friends, so I can pick some games right. Best defenses? I'd have to put Cincinnati and Pitt at the top right now, with South Florida, West Virginia and UConn a notch below. Then give me Louisville and a big dropoff to Rutgers and Syracuse
Why are we talking about the big east lets talk about the SEC and Big 12? Who will win those conferences?
Brian Bennett (3:24 PM)
Because I cover the Big East, Ted. But I'll take a shot: LSU and Oklahoma
Mike (Tampa, FL)
Whats your opinion on USF consistency? They play great one game and the next they can't seem to do anything right.
Brian Bennett (3:26 PM)
I agree. I thought the Bulls had gotten over that, but they were flat against Pitt (though the Panthers had a lot to do with it). If I had to theorize, I'd say they play off their emotions too much, and emotions can rise and fall. Maybe a more businesslike approach would suit them better
Tyler (Laramie, WYO)
Who wins a matchup between the Big East and the MWC? Watch them up top to bottom.
Brian Bennett (3:27 PM)
BYU and Utah probably beat anybody in the Big East, on neutral turf. I'd give the edge in the middle to the Big East, and the bottoms are both pretty rotten
Do the numbers of Big East questions you get each week drop as they keep losing, and dropping in national esteem or do they stay pretty consistent?
Brian Bennett (3:28 PM)
They stay pretty consistent, if not increase, Ken. On the flip side, every Big East team thinks it can win the league now and get a BCS bid, so the overall interest increases. (OK, maybe not in Syracuse and Piscataway)
Gary (South Bend)
Is Ball State headed in the right direction for a BCS run?
Brian Bennett (3:29 PM)
Well, they may go undefeated, but I don't see how they're going to make the BCS. The Mountain West winner is almost certainly going to take the non-BCS conference slot
Kansas is ranked 15th - they have not really beaten anyone and lost to USF. How is it that they garner national attention?
Brian Bennett (3:30 PM)
Almost solely because they won the Orange Bowl last year
Gary Louisville KY
do you think that louisville has a chance at making a bowl this early in the season?
Brian Bennett (3:31 PM)
Yes. I think they'll finish 6-6 or maybe 7-5 with a few breaks. Won't be a good bowl, but it'll be better than last year
Brian Trumbull, CT
UConn regroups during the bye week and comes back like a beast the rest of the way, which will lead to a 4-1 (loss at USF) record going into the final home game. 10-1 Pitt at 9-2 UConn for the Big East Championship. What do you think?
Brian Bennett (3:32 PM)
I think Pitt will lose at least one more. And I see UConn going 4-2 the rest of the way. But that game could still decide the league title
Matt - Cincy
I really don't understand how you pick against the Bearcats. Apparently you don't know anything about this team. Pike does NOT have more experience in the system, he's played in TWO college football games. The defense returns most of it's starters including it's CB's, a transfer in Underwood from TOSU.. c'mon, stop being a Bearcat hater and accept the fact that your U. of L just isn't going to do anything this year.
Brian Bennett (3:33 PM)
Pike is a junior who's had a lot of snaps with the first team and came on as a backup a couple times last year and then twice this year. Anderson is a redshirt freshman who had never played a down before last week. I have nothing against the Bearcats. I just like to deal with facts.
steven (gray, TN)
on paper wvu still have a shot to win the big east but looking at game play do you think it is a realistic hope for them to win the confrence?
Brian Bennett (3:34 PM)
They're going to have to play a lot better than what they've shown. And frankly, coach a lot better. But yeah, they have as good a chance as anyone
is the Big East a legitimate conference? Has it ever been since losing its three best teams?
Brian Bennett (3:35 PM)
Mike, do you not watch BCS games? Because the Big East has won three straight, over the champs of the SEC, ACC and Big 12
Greg Robinson (Syracuse, NY)
Why Do i Still have a job?
Brian Bennett (3:36 PM)
The Orange could hire Bill Parcells today, and they still wouldn't win their next two games (at WVU, at USF). So there's no reason to make a change now. But after those two ...
Mike (Lexington, KY)
Is the future bright for USF and I mean beyond this season? How is their recruiting going? Can they become a national power with a fertile recruiting base in Florida? In other words are they set up for the long haul or just peak a few years here and there?
Brian Bennett (3:37 PM)
A prominent Big East school official once told me, 'Once USF gets going, we might all be playing for second.' The reason? They can fill out all their recruiting classes without ever driving more than an hour from campus. They're set up for the long haul, for sure
WVU beat Georgia (during a down year in the SEC), and Oklahoma (who is terrible in bowls), and Louisville beat Wake (Wake! And in a down year in the ACC). The Big East is a second-tier BCS conference.
Brian Bennett (3:38 PM)
You keep on justifying, Ben.
Brian Bennett (3:39 PM)
Hey, Alan from NJ, your question makes no sense and I'm not going to answer it no matter how many times you post it. Please stop
Hunter Kittrell - Nashville
Is the coaching struggle at WVU due to the head coach or the 1st time offencive coach?
Brian Bennett (3:39 PM)
A little of both. Coaching transitions aren't easy. Give them a little more time.
Brian, do your colleagues give you grief for covering the Big East (a legiti mateBCS conference) like other fans give Big East fans grief? The Big East is doing quite well. Message to fans of other conferences - get off your high horse.
Brian Bennett (3:40 PM)
There's been some good-natured ribbing, just as Heather Dinich got early in the year with the ACC and Ted Miller has gotten with the Pac-10. Yeah, the Big East is a little down, but these things go in cycles.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Big East offensive and defensive players of the year to date?
Brian Bennett (3:41 PM)
Good question. I'd go with Donald Brown (in a head bob over Matt Grothe) for offense and Scott McKillop for defense.
After reading scout.com for the last couple months, Louisville looks extremly short for next year. Why is the recruiting so bad?
Brian Bennett (3:42 PM)
Well, the Cards haven't had a lot of good news coming out of the program, and the losses and bad publicity don't help. Louisville needs to string some wins together, and I think they'll be OK. They've got a good coaching staff around Kragthorpe right now.
Kit (Motown, WV)
Brian you answered Hunter's Question, so answer mine!! What grade would you give for Coach Stew and his staff so far this year??
Brian Bennett (3:43 PM)
Probably a C at best. But we're only at midterms here
Big O - Cincy
Do you think UC's continued success in the Big East would allow them to start drawing recruits away from Ohio State, now that they play in a BCS conference?
Brian Bennett (3:45 PM)
Ohio State is always going to be king in that state and get first choice. What might happen is they guys who know they won't play right away at OSU might start taking a harder look at going to Cincy and playing early. Brian Kelly employs a very attractive style on offense and defense, and if guys like Mickens and Barwin and Gilyard go on to the NFL, that will only help
LOL at "during a down year in the SEC". The 06 Georgia loss is the last BCS bowl the SEC lost right?
Brian Bennett (3:46 PM)
Wonder if Ben would have called it a down year if Georgia won that game
Kyle (Baton Rouge, LA)
Hey first off I want to say Im a big LSU fan but i also go for USF, what do you think they have to do as team to get to a BCS bowl this year???
Brian Bennett (3:47 PM)
Get healthy, shore up the secondary, then win out.
I get a kick out of everybody asking you if this team or that team has a chance to win the Big East. It is WIDE open. IF anybody says they know, they're kidding themselves and everybody else!
Brian Bennett (3:48 PM)
Agreed. I've stopped trying to predict what's going to happen this year (except when I have to for the blog).
Tim (Woodward, OK)
WVU may have beaten uo last year, but I'd like to see them, or any big east team for that matter, challenge the Big XII champs this year! (hopefully my pokes!)
Brian Bennett (3:50 PM)
That would not go well for the Big East, methinks
Do you think Victor Anderson only being a freshman has a chance to be one of the top backs in the country before his time at Louisville is over?
Brian Bennett (3:51 PM)
I think he's already one of the top backs in the Big East, and he's only going to get better. My only concern would be if he can stay healthy given his small frame, but he's also deceptively strong. Plus, he went to a fantastic high school.
Mike (Lexington, KY)
Do you think fans of respective schools focus more on comments that do not pick their school to win etc. and ignore every other positive thing said about their respective school? Selective memory perhaps?
Brian Bennett (3:53 PM)
Absolutely, 100 percent. It's always been that way. I could write 100 glowing articles about a team and 1 semi-critical one and get emails and calls for days about why I hate that team. And it's true for all fans of all teams.
Justin York, Pa
Pitt is getting closer to its away game against Notre Dame what do you for see this game to mean for both teams on Nov 1.
Brian Bennett (3:54 PM)
It could be really interesting, both as a spotlight game for Pitt and one for Notre Dame to prove itself against possibly a ranked team. And don't forget that ND could take away one of the Big East's bowl bids, which makes it even more intriguing to me.
TJ (Aiken, SC)
The Tar Heels are showing big improvements over the past two seasons. Do you think that they can win the ACC?
Brian Bennett (3:55 PM)
I was pretty impressed with them on Saturday, I think their offense still needs work, but the defense and special teams are really coming along. It's going to be tough with having already lost to Va Tech, though. Heels will need some help.
Do you think that mike teel will get drafted in the first round in the nfl draft next year?
Brian Bennett (3:56 PM)
OK, Alan, I give you credit for changing it up and adding some humor (I hope you're joking). That's all for today. Thanks for all the questions, and enjoy the college football weekend.