Chat with Brian Bennett
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com's Big East blogger Brian Bennett will stop by to talk some football.
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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Brian Bennett (4:00 PM)
Hey, everybody. I'm here to talk some Big East football, Notre Dame and whatever else crops up. Fire away.
As a big Mountaineer fan, I was wondering if you heard any rumblings of the SEC or ACC expanding? Reason I ask is, since we live in the age of 'every university for itself' and 'don't get left behind', if the Big 11 does take 3 teams from the Big East, the conference could concievably lose their autobid. Would that force other conferences to follow suit in the near future? Also, why doesn't the NCAA just make 10 teams a requirement for conference championships? 12 was only picked because that's what the SEC had when they asked the NCAA for a title game.Thanks for your thoughts!
Brian Bennett (4:02 PM)
I haven't heard any rumblings about the ACC or SEC expanding, but I think every league is considering all options right now. As for changing the rule for conference championship games, I'm not sure that would stop this expansion talk. It's all about money, and in particular, TV revenue.
Ryan (New Jersey via (wvu))
Just read a quote from 5 star recruit about the reason why he chose Miami over WVU. He stated that he felt Miami was closer to winning conference and national championships than WVU. Your opinion? (obviously I strongly disagree)
Brian Bennett (4:04 PM)
I disagree as well. West Virginia has been in better contention for a Big East title the past couple years than Miami and was a whisker away from the BCS title game in 2007. I don't think a high school kid really knows what he's talking about. But if he wants to go to Miami, more power to him.
Notre Dame is in no trouble financially, however, does the school see the money on the table in the Big Ten and how the landscape of the NCAA may change and be proactive in expansion talks (rather than sitting back)?
Brian Bennett (4:05 PM)
I think they should strongly consider it. They could make more money in the Big Ten under the right deal. The one thing they don't want to give up is their ability to control the schedule. Right now, they're basically playing eight home games a year, with that neutral site game.
Christian Martin (Brooklyn)
If I am the Big East. I tell Notre Dame they can join the Big East - keep their 15 million from NBC and their home game video contract. It would be a big boon to the remaining Big East TV contract and get us better bowls. ND would keep a more equal than most perch (financially) in CFB and a chance to actually got to a BCS bowl.. With ND in their back pocket the Big East gets better bowls, better TV contract and can maybe woo BC back into fold. Add UCF and Templa and you have 12 teams
Brian Bennett (4:07 PM)
Again, you'd be talking about a vastly different schedule, not to mention contract issues between NBC and ESPN. It's not nearly as easy as you make it out to be.
Brian...Love the Blog!In the Sugar Bowl the Bearcats really looked like the air had been let out and I know you have to give Florida a lot of credit for that. Mentally how much will the loss of Brian Kelly affect this years squad. Can Butch keep that champion's confidence?
Brian Bennett (4:09 PM)
I think that team was ready to move on. The one thing I wonder about is, can Jones convince guys to do things differently after they experienced so much success doing things Kelly's way? But Jones has done this before.
Greg P (Staten Island,NY)
Brian, I was just reading the rumor page...is there any truth to the Big East and ACC merging if certain teams go a certain way or is this JUST A RUMOR?
Brian Bennett (4:10 PM)
Pretty much everything is just a rumor right now. Take a deep breath.
Scott ((Charleston, WV))
What has been your alltime favorite Big East game that you have attended in person? Also, have you heard any rumblings about the Big East starting their own TV network to help generate revenue?
Brian Bennett (4:12 PM)
Pitt-Cincinnati this year was the most entertained I've been by a truly big game. Marinatto has said the Big East would look at its own network, but I don't think that would be as successful as the Big Ten venture. The Big East will probably get its best deal from ESPN.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Brian: Why should the Big Ten even consider Notre Dame for football at this point? Back when they were somewhat good, they snubbed the Big Ten. Now that the Golden Dome is tarnished, they might consider joining a conference. Let them go to the Mountain West or some other lesser conference at this point.
Brian Bennett (4:14 PM)
Ever taken an economics class, J.B.? It's all about money, and Notre Dame brings lots of it.
Darien Clark (Syracuse, NY)
Do you think Ryan Nassib (or whomever wins the Syracuse QB job) will throw for more than 1500 yards? With the strength of the RB's and lack of any big play receivers, I'm not convinced we have enough weapons at receiver to do so.
Brian Bennett (4:16 PM)
Oh, sure. Over 12 games, 1,500 yards equates to just 125 yards per game. I think we'll see things open up a little more with Marrone calling the plays. And some of those young guys like Lemon or Sales will step up.
Earl (West Virginia)
With no commits for 2011 yet. How is Brian Kelly doing on the recruiting trail?
Brian Bennett (4:18 PM)
New recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin talked last week about how far behind the Irish were on this year's junior class, and said that's been the main focus ever since February. They're playing catchup at this point.
Terry (the 'Burgh)
Hypothetical, you're the Big East commish, and you've postponed tonite's date with Natalie Portman to tackle the big issue of the day: BEast's too-small CFB roster. Do you wait until dominos quit falling nationwide -- after Pac-10 picks off Colorado & Utah and B10 takes Mizzou or Pitt (or ? ), then Big-12 backfills from SEC
Brian Bennett (4:21 PM)
Well, the question is, what do you do? Add a program like Memphis or Central Florida? I don't think that does much to change the landscape. The Big East can't really offer a team from another BCS league a good deal until it renegotiates its TV deal that expires in three years.
How do you see Cinci doing this season? I am very excited to see Collaros starting
Brian Bennett (4:23 PM)
Just about anything's possible. Lots of offensive talent back, plenty of questions on defense. Plus an almost entirely new coaching staff. It's hard to improve on 12-0. I suspect the Bearcats will still be a strong contender for the league title yet again.
Mark Harrison (Rutgers)
Am I the key to us winning a Big East title next season?
Brian Bennett (4:26 PM)
I like your potential a lot at receiver, but a whole lot more things have to go right for Rutgers to win the Big East. This is going to be a very young team.
Daniel CA [via mobile]
If the Pac 10 were to expand, where do you think they would have the conference championship game? Rose Bowl? Phoenix Stadium?
Brian Bennett (4:28 PM)
Not my area of expertise, but I would think you'd be hard pressed to find a better venue than the Rose Bowl.
Frank (Coram, NY)
How do you think USF will be next year?
Brian Bennett (4:32 PM)
Another fascinating team, mostly because of the coaching change. The Bulls will be very young, but extremely talented, on defense, with a lot of key pieces back but perhaps a new philosophy on defense. Plus games on the road at Florida and Miami. I see this as a 7- or 8-win team. Anything more, and Skip Holtz has done a fantastic job in Year One.
Rob (South Bend, IN)
Given ND's rivalry with USC, do you think it is possible for them to join the Big-10, knowing that if they win the Conference and SC wins the PAC-10, they'll be rematched on Jan. 1st? (or maybe 5th, if the SEC/Big-XII champs flounder) Then again, with the dollars that an NC/SC game brings, maybe that'd be best for both conferences.
Brian Bennett (4:34 PM)
I doubt that would have much impact on the decision either way.
Noel Devine (WVU)
Does WVU have to undefeted for me to win the Heisman or can I still win if we finish 11-1.
Brian Bennett (4:37 PM)
It's quite dependent on what other players on the top teams do. But for Devine to get serious contention, I think he'll have to put up huge numbers. A 2,000-yard type season or some more giant plays in big games. A monster performance at LSU wouldn't hurt
Pitt has a very respectable schedule this year. Can they get through non-conference play undefeated? Would that position them for national title consideration by winning the BE?
Brian Bennett (4:40 PM)
What will help Pitt more than Cincinnati last year is that Pitt should start the season ranked in the Top 20. But national championship talk is still a bit much, I think. The Panthers need to focus on trying to win their first Big East title under Wannstedt.
JL (Warrenton, VA)
With all the talk about expansion swirling around, which MAC team is best positioned to move? Is any team a realistic candidate for, say, the Big East if they lose a team or even if not?
Brian Bennett (4:41 PM)
A MAC team joining the Big East? No, not happening. Not even close
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Brian: Follow up. Yes ND brings money but isn't the Big Ten already one of the riches conferences? Notre Dame needs the Big Ten far more than the Big Ten needs Notre Dame.
Brian Bennett (4:43 PM)
Notre Dame would make the rich richer. By a lot.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
If, hypothetically, the Big 12 came after Arkansas to fill a hole, would the SEC try to steal Louisville from the Big East or an ACC team like Georgia Tech (a former SEC member)?
Brian Bennett (4:44 PM)
Nobody's leaving the SEC right now. That conference is printing money.
Terry (the 'Burgh)
Chances that before they leave Pitt (probably early, either way too soon for homers): Dion Lewis wins a Heisman, Greg Romeus wins an Outland, and/or Jonathan Baldwin wins a Biletnikoff? If not all, which is most likely?
Brian Bennett (4:46 PM)
Of those, Baldwin winning the Biletnikoff is the most realistic. I think he'll be a legit candidate for that this year.
As you said many times, expansion comes down to money. In that case - besides ND - how can any other rumored candidate add more to the big 10 than Rutgers does?
Brian Bennett (4:48 PM)
That's assuming Rutgers can truly deliver the New York City market. None of the candidates mentioned -- Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Missouri, Nebraska -- are slam dunks on the order of a program like Notre Dame or Texas.
Thomas (Windsor Locks)
UConn's chances in 2010?
Brian Bennett (4:49 PM)
I like the Huskies a lot. I've said I think they're a preseason Top 25 team and are among the four serious contenders for the Big East title in 2010.
i am a long time ND fan my hopes of getting to the BCS game this year is that possible?
Brian Bennett (4:51 PM)
I think it's a long shot at best, but never put anything past Brian Kelly.
Jim Leavitt (Florida)
Do you know if there any job openings at ESPN right now?
Brian Bennett (4:51 PM)
You've never been much of a public speaker, Jim.
KS (Penn State)
What is the best game on tonight? Who do you think will win it?
Brian Bennett (4:53 PM)
Seton Hall-Notre Dame could be a lot of fun, and a total shootout. Both are bubble teams, too.
Weighing all the known pros and cons of ND joining a major conference (say Big 11 or Big East), gun to your head: what's the verdict?
Brian Bennett (4:55 PM)
At the end of the day, I have a hard time seeing Notre Dame give up its independence. And it may be to the school's detriment this time around.
Brian Bennett (4:56 PM)
OK, folks. I've got to jump out of here. Thanks for the time and the questions today.