Chat with Bruce Feldman
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, college football Insider Bruce Feldman stops by to chat about the college gridiron.
Feldman is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. He joined ESPN in July 1994 as a writer for ESPNET (now ESPN.com) and in May 1998 came to ESPN The Magazine. He spent much of the past two years in the South working on his book, "Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting."
Send your questions now and join Feldman Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Bruce (1:03 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Less than a week away from actual games. Can't wait... let's get to it.
Ryan (Lincoln, NE)
Nebraska at Washington, early season matchup, should Nebraska fans be nervous about this one?
Bruce (1:05 PM)
Yes, altho I'm not ready to call an upset. But look at how much trouble Washington gave LSU last year in the opener up there. Jake Locker is a fantastic talent. He's got a stud RB and some capable WRs. The question I have is can the U-Dub front handle the physical Nebraska running game?
Bruce, I get the feeling people are writing off the Ducks because of the QB position. I still think they have a chance to be national title contenders. What's your opinion?
Bruce (1:06 PM)
I wouldn't write them off. They have two athletic QBs who have played some and both have leadership skills and have a ton of experience around them. I think this is a legit top 10 team even without Masoli.
Boise - Va Tech prediction?
Bruce (1:07 PM)
Picking VT. My explanation is the lead question to my mailbag which should be up shortly.
Have you been following the WAC/MWC/BYU saga? I realize these conferences don't generate a lot of national coverage, but as more details come to light, it's been a pretty fascinating story.
Bruce (1:08 PM)
It is... I thought former BYU star Vai Sikahema had some really interesting comments about the leadership of the MWC this week. That said I still think leaving the MWC would be a mistake for BYU.
Doug (Pensacola, FL)
Do you think Derek Dickey will be successful in the long term at Tennessee? Not impressing with his 2011 commitments for next year.
Bruce (1:10 PM)
Honestly, not so sure of that. I look for 6-6, 5-7 this year and while the schedule will have 8 home games in 2011, who knows how he'll do? The O-line is being rebuilt. There is talent there and at WR, but it's untested right now.
Alan (Austin, TX)
If Texas can find a running game early in the season to support the budding Gilbert, do you give him any shot at all of making a trip to New York in December?
Bruce (1:11 PM)
Outside shot. The stigma on sophomores winning the Heisman is gone with Tebow and Ingram winning, and now people know Gilbert's name after the title game.
Under the radar question, but do you think Idaho can continue improving under Akey before another school (WSU?) steals him away?
Bruce (1:12 PM)
Impressed by their turnaround in 2009, but not sure how much higher he can take the program there. His soundbyte from the bowl game was one of the more memorable things from last Dec.
Tim (Coral Gables)
Point blank: Do you think Randy Shannon can win a national championship as a head coach?
Bruce (1:14 PM)
I do. Every coach who has been at Miami since the late 70s save for Butch Davis won a national title. I think Shannon will. He's done a major upgrade of the talent level and re-focused the program. What he's done off the field there is one of the better stories in college football.There were growing pains early on as he adjusted to the job, but I see a big difference in the last year or so.
David (Grand Rapids)
Will Sparty make some noise this year? Always think they're ready to break out but then they have a season like last year.
Bruce (1:15 PM)
They will. As I wrote in the blog yesterday, I'm a big believer in Kirk Cousins. They have a lot of skill guys back and don't play a game outside the state of Michigan till late Oct.
Was just announced Dwight Dasher, QB at MTSU has been suspended for receiving a $1500 loan. What effect do you think this will have on their season, and what kind of punishment is in line with this level of offense?
Bruce (1:16 PM)
Just saw that... Could be devastating. They were a team I thought had a chance to win 11 games this fall, but with the cloud around him, I didn't even pick them to win the Sun Belt this year when I submitted my ballott to editors yesterday.
And Bradford. (re: Heisman sophomore winners)
Mike (Miami, FL)
Can Cristobal and FIU finally take the next step this year and get to 6 wins ? He has crushed and out-recruited the SBC last few years...
Bruce (1:19 PM)
I think so. He has some dynamic skill guys, but both lines are pretty inexperienced. I think a big key for them is how physically well they hold up from a rough first month of the season facing four BCS conference teams off the bat and three are on the road. They're staring at 0-4 right out of the game. If they can just win one of them and stay healthy, they should get to six.
Brian Kelly (South Bend)
How many games can i expect to win this year and is a bcs game out of the question?
Bruce (1:20 PM)
9 or 10. It's possible, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Adam Nettina (Logan, UT)
At WAC Media Days, Dykes said that the WAC's QBs compared "very favorably" to the Pac-10s. Just wondering your thoguhts?
Bruce (1:22 PM)
Those guys are productive although they are playing against lesser defenses too, but physically they aren't as developed and I think that's a reach. Andrew Luck and Jake Locker are top 10 picks.
Cameron Newton (Auburn)
Me vs Donta' Hightower at the goal line...who wins?
Bruce (1:23 PM)
I'll go with Hightower. Sorry.
Ryan (San Diego)
With Troy Woolfolk going down, any thoughts on how that will affect Michigan's record?
Bruce (1:24 PM)
It won't help that's for sure. You're taking away the most experienced DB from an already suspect group.
Let's say somebody like Mack Brown, Jim Tressel or Urban Meyer went 0-12 on the season with NO major injuries, would they get fired?
Bruce (1:24 PM)
Hey Bruce. Pitt at Utah. Now Utah hasnt lost a home game since sept 7, 2007. Vegas has Utah favored by 3. Do u really think Pitt has a shot to keep it that close?
Bruce (1:25 PM)
I wouldn't dismiss Pitt because they have two great players in Dion Lewis and Jon Baldwin. Those are difference-makers.
Mike (NE Ohio)
OSU-Mich - Stay where it is, or move it to the middle of the season?
Bruce (1:26 PM)
Stay where it is.
What will Pitt's record be after their first 5 games? (2 cupcakes, at Utah, Miami, at ND)
Bruce (1:26 PM)
Carrie (Columbus, OH)
Do athletic departments care about the voice of the fan, voice of alumni, voice of the donor or is it just about the balance sheet? Do traditions matter?
Bruce (1:27 PM)
They do, but they care about money probably a bit more, and so they'll care about the voice of the alums more if it ties into less money.
With Penn State having inexpierience at qb and defense, what do you think is a reasonable finish 9-3, 8-4?
Bruce (1:28 PM)
I'll say 8-4. They have three really rough road trips to deal with too.
Bruce,after watching a few USC practices this summer, how do you see them doing this season?Also, can you dispell any myths about Kiffin that the national media seem to play up?
Bruce (1:30 PM)
Unless they get a bunch of injuries (esp. at LB) I'd expect 11-2.... Myths? That Lane isn't a smart football coach. Anyone who has worked with him will tell you what a sharp offensive mind he has. He does deserve credit for turning Crompton into an NFL draft pick, and everyone expected UT to get blown out at Gainesville and Tuscaloosa and that certainly didn't happen.
Tim Hunt (Fort Collins, CO)
Do you know much about Wyoming QB Austyn Carta-Samuels? Any thoughts on him or Wyoming? Thanks.
Bruce (1:32 PM)
I honestly didn't know too much until watching their bowl game. Impressed. Good athlete. Made good decisions. He's going to be a guy to watch for a long time.
Hey there Bruce,Boise State preseason ranked 3rd, Miami ranked 13th. Both teams go undefeated, which team plays in the National Championship game and why? Thanks! :)
Bruce (1:34 PM)
If both are undefeated, Miami is going to leapfrog Boise. They both would've had to beat VT, Miami also would then own wins at Ohio State and Pitt and over FSU and the rest of the ACC, which is much tougher than the WAC. Plus, they'd have beaten another good team in the ACC title game.
Bruce, whats your favorite gameday tradition? Would you consider Rocky Top and the Running through the T by the Vols as one?
Bruce (1:35 PM)
VT coming out of the tunnel at Lane Stadium to Enter Sandman is an awesome deal.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Bruce did you see the Packers, Colts game last night? Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL today. FACT!
Bruce (1:36 PM)
I watched a little of it in a bar last night. He is a stud. Golfed with him once out here. We crushed the guys we were playing. He's a really good guy and was a terrific college QB... That said, tough to say he's better than Peyton Manning or Brees right now. Maybe two years from?
Count me as one is who can't wait until VT beats Boise and OSU beats TCU so we can stop talking about these irrelevant non-BCS schools like they are real title contenders.
Bruce (1:38 PM)
I feel like there are a lot of folks out there like that who have grown tired of the underdog story as it relates to the BCS. It's why I said that Boise's become the most polarizing subject in college football these days. It's the backlash to the backlash.
charles-savannah ga [via mobile]
hey bruce. If the seminoles have at least an average defense are they good enough to compete for national championship? They're offense/special teams are good
Bruce (1:39 PM)
I think it has to be better than just "average" for that. But count me in on that FSU will be very good. I think they win their division, but not sure going to Norman is gonna be a happy trip.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Better to leave OSU and Michigan in the same division once the Big Ten officially starts a 12-team season or break them up for the rare instances when they may play each other for a BCS bowl berth?
Bruce (1:40 PM)
Same division. Similar to Alabama and Auburn. You can't please everybody and for all of the uproar, what's coming a few years from now if there's a move to 16 teams?
mike b (tampa fl)
pepsi or coke?
Bruce (1:42 PM)
I try to avoid both but occasionally if I'm at a restaurant I might have a diet coke or diet pepsi. No preference although I think DP has a bit less sodium. ... don't ask.
Jim (Denver, CO)
Is this Hawkins last year at Colorado? What do you think about the buffs this year?
Bruce (1:44 PM)
I think this is his last season. They have some talent on offense, but not sure they're going to be better than third in the Big 12 North.. they need to find a way to open at least 3-2 and that won't be easy since they play at Cal, vs UGA and at Mizzou, not to mention CSU and Hawaii. If they open 2-3 with a hot seat atmosphere there'll be too much pressure around for those players to flourish, especially since they have to go to Norman and Lincoln later in the year.
Does Zach Calloras put up the numbers he showed us last year? See UConn game
Bruce (1:45 PM)
Close to it. They brought in some really sharp offensive minds to replace BK and they skill talent is still very good there.
What opening week game do you think is a must watch?
Bruce (1:46 PM)
Going to LSU-UNC and Boise-VT. Can't wait!
I think College Football would lose a lot of it's appeal if it switched to a playoff system, what are your thoughts?
Bruce (1:49 PM)
A 4-team playoff maybe. Going to a 16-team playoff would diminish the significance of the regular season. The college hoops regular season isn't anything like the CF one. I heard someone say this a few weeks back and I agree: there are only two regular season college hoops games people around the country really care about: Duke-UNC and UNC-Duke.People will still complain if they're #17 and didn't get in. Same thing if you the #9 in an eight-team. There is no such thing as an ideal system. Every year has a different flaw. Some seasons you don't need a third team. Some you need more than that.
Lou (Rockville, MD)
Do you think there's any chance Robert Bolden starts next week (and then at Alabama)?
Bruce (1:50 PM)
Possible. He's very talented.
Better defense in your opinion... TCU's last year or VT's this year?
Bruce (1:51 PM)
Good question. Tempted to say TCU.
Bruce (1:53 PM)
Here is today's mailbag with answers about VT-Boise, Dennis Erickson and a few other things, including those interesting Vai Sikahema comments about the MWC.http://proxy.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=5503861
ángel (Los Angeles)
How should I feel about my UCLA bruins this year? Is this the year we finally overcome the Trojans?
Bruce (1:54 PM)
You should feel encouraged but remain patient at least to see what happens in 2011. The talent is getting better, but the O-line is still a mess. I don't see UCLA overcoming USC this year. The Bruins probably will be underdogs in six of their first seven games this year.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Can PSU lose to Alabama and at the same time get respect from the pollsters?
Bruce (1:55 PM)
Sure, if they keep it with single-digits.
Bruce- Now that UT and USC signed, what two mational powers would you like to see play that haven't played in the last 30-40 years. I'd love to see USC-Florida- all that history and Lane v. Urban to boot!
Bruce (1:57 PM)
Sounds good to me, but that won't happen I think for a long time, but maybe if UT becomes a conference game for USC at that point...
How do u think the hawkeyes will do this year and will u go to any of there games like say iowa OSU?
Bruce (1:58 PM)
They should be very good. Great D-line and lots of experience and a favorable sked. The road to the Big Ten title goes through Iowa City. I don't know my travel that far in advance but I hope to get there if things fall into place.
Do you have facebook?
Bruce (1:59 PM)
Bruce (1:59 PM)
Three more questions...
Sighs....Bruce shoot me straight what are the positives for Michigan's upcoming season...defense sure isn't helping
Bruce (2:00 PM)
Experienced O-line. Improved talent and experience in the backfield. More time in Rodriguez' system and a schedule that should give their secondary some time to jell aside from the ND game early.
Would Heisman voters purposefully choose not to vote for any USC players in the next few years as a way to 'punish' USC?
Bruce (2:02 PM)
Doubt it, although a few might.
do you think florida st will beat florida this year?
Bruce (2:05 PM)
Yes. I think this is the year for them to knock off UF.
Bruce (2:06 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.