Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, football guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be stopping by to give his thoughts on the upcoming college football and NFL seasons.
Kiper serves as an analyst for College GameDay on ESPN Radio, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays throughout the season, and Saturday's GameDay on ESPN Radio the rest of the year. Additionally, he is a frequent contributor to ESPN's award-winning SportsCenter during the NFL and college football seasons and other times throughout the year.
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
We're kicking off the season today with a little introductory chat. We'll get going with our weekly chats in August.
Mel, what are your top five can't miss college football games for this season and what two teams do you have playing in the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
As far as the games to watch, I was just going through some of the early games. I like Sept. 5, Georgia at OK State. Virginia Tech at Alabama on Sept. 5. USC at Ohio State, Sept. 12. Notre Dame at Michigan, Sept. 12. The biggest game of the year is Oct. 17, Texas-Oklahoma. Another interesting game is BYU-Oklahoma. Texas Tech at Texas. Florida State at BYU Sept. 19. West Virginia at Auburn, Sept. 19.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Sept. 19, Utah at Oregon. Those are some games. Outside of the Texas-Oklahoma game Oct. 17, the rest are early on. With the schedule that Notre Dame has, USC at Notre Dame Oct. 17 should be huge.
Mel, if Jahvid Best replicates last season, will he be a top 5 pick in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I don't know about top 5, but he has a chance to be the best back in the draft. Right now the top senior is CJ Spiller. Dwyer and Best are your top two underclassmen RBs. If Best and Dwyer come out, they could be above Spiller. For Cal, they have a chance for revenge. They lost at Maryland last year in a game they were sleep walking through the first half for a noon game on the east coast. They get a chance to extract some revenge right off the bat at the season-opener out in California.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Then they have back-to-back games against Minnesota and at Oregon. Then they host USC Oct. 3. You'll know by Oct. 3 where Cal wills tand at the end of the year.
Mike (North Augusta,SC)
Hi Mel Big Fan......My Question Is Do You See Armanti Edwards Geting Drafted..If So Were Do You Think He Will Go?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
You think about where he's going to play in the NFL. He's a QB at Appalachian State. He's had a good career. He got the win over Michigan at the Big House. You look at the scenario with Edwards, he's a possible draft choice, depending on how he plays and what are any position changes.
David from GA [via mobile]
With Moreno and Stafford going pro this year, is UGA hurt more in the run game or in the pass game?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
That's a good question because that was a very balanced offensive team. They had some nice RBs on that roster. Moreno was a great player, no question. But I think you can replace RBs. QBs like Stafford are harder to replace. The OL was very young last year and should be better. To go from Stafford to Joe Cox is an adjustment. I think it's more difficult to replace the QB than the RB.
Are the Illini and Juice in for turnaround season this year in Champaign?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I think they are. I think they could win the Big Ten. I like the Illini team. They learned last year about consistency and getting too big for their britches. They had a disappointing beginning to last season. They finished losing three straight games, including the loss to Western Michigan. They were an underachieving team last year. They should have a chip on their shoulder this year. A Missouri team that they've lost to the last two years. This Missouri game, they've gotten the best of them. If they can beat them, they could be 2-0 going into the heart of their schedule.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Benn is phenomenal, one of the best WRs in all of football. I think they have a shot. When you look at this team defensively, there's some talent coming back. I think they could win the Big Ten this year.
Malik Wilson (Mishawaka, IN )
Who do you have from notre dame that can sneak into the first round of next years draft other than sam young?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Young's still to be determined in how he plays this year. From the guys that you have to think could be - Jimmy Claussen, if he chooses to come out. Right now you're looking at Sam Bradford, Jevan Snead, Colt McCoy, Dan LeFevour. Claussen could jump right into that mix. He was 190 when he came to Notre Dame, he's 220 now. The schedule should allow for a minimum 9 wins and could win 11 or 12 if things fall right. Golden Tate, junior WR good player. Sam Young. After that, there's really not another high profile player. Two of the better players on this team are sophomores.
What kind of year do you expect Eric Decker to have, and what does he need to improve on to prepare for the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He's one of the top 5-7 senior WRs out there. He has good size, athletic. Great hand-eye coordination to outduel the CB for the football. He has to work on separation. Quickness in and out of the break. If they can get out to a good start, they have two home games, Air Force and Cal. We'll see what kind of year they can have. If you're projecting him into the draft, he's probably a 3rd round kind of guy.
Mel, if you had to pick one WR who would you take dez bryant or julio jones?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Whoooh...I would probably say Julio Jones right now. Dez Bryant is a great player. He could be in this draft. Benn, Williams, Bryant, if they go into the draft, they could be first rounders. Speed is going to be key for Bryant. Julio Jones is spectacular. He could be one of the best receivers that school has ever had.
Mel do the cincinnati bearcats have a real chane of repeating as big east champs. and can they conntend for natl title if not another bcs berth
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
When you look at Cincinnati, it's about all the talent they lost from that team. They open up at Rutgers Sept. 7. At Oregon State is tricky. Fresno State at home, tricky game. They lost 10 of 11 starters on defense. Aaron Webster, senior safety is back. And a new defensive coordinator as well. Offensively, you have Tony Pike. He's in the second tier of QBs in the draft. Mardy Gilyard one of the more explosive WRs in college FB. I like some of their offensive linemen they have coming back. Offensively, I think they'll be in good shape. They have a big WR coming over from the juco ranks.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
The big question is the defense.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
The guy that will have that Connor Barwin type role this year is Curtis Young. Combo DE/OLB.
Matt (North Carolina)
Mel, I think Hakeem Nicks was the most underrated of all the WR's in the 1st round . The guy gets open and catches everything and i mean everything. How do you see his season comparing to other big time WR rookies?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Junior WRs do tend to struggle a little bit. But with his knowledge, work ethic, they're going to need him. Eli Manning needs a WR like him, where if the ball's not properly thrown, he can haul them in. The thing about Eli is that he's not always the most accurate passer. They're in the area. The same thing with Ramses Barden. They went for big receivers with a huge range for Manning to throw to. Junior WRs do have a time transitioning, but they can't afford Nicks that. He is going to need to produce right away.
How will Taylor Mays' game translate over to NFL? Will he stick to saftery or convert to LB? Is he more of an Ed Reed or Roy Williams?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I think he's a safety. If he grows out of the position, there's a chance he goes to OLB. But if he's going to go high, it's as a safety. He needs to be more consistent of an open field tackler. If he does, he's a mid round draft choice. The guy that I give a higher grade to is Eric Berry from Tennessee. He could be one of the top 5-10 players drafted overall. He doesn't have great size, but he's more like Ed Reed. He's the best safety in college football. I think he's one of the best football players in the country at any position.
Hey Mel, what do you expect from Pryor thie year? Numbers wise?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I expect him to be one of the best QBs in college football. He has to be with all of the talent lost and the new guys stepping in. He has RBs that should be adequate. He's going to be the straw that stirs the drink now. They lost a lot of leadership on both sides of the ball. This is a re-built team this year in a lot of ways. The thing about this team is, if you're going to beat Ohio State, you have to beat them in Columbus. USC, Illinois, Iowa all come to Columbus. At Michigan, at Penn State are their two tough road games. That will determine a lot of thigns. If they can hold serve at home, they'll be right there. While all of these new kids are adjusting to their roles, playing at home should be a big plus.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
We covered a lot of bases today. We'll start in mid-August with our regular Wednesday chats!