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)
Hello from cloudy and rainy Los Angeles. Ready to talk Big East, Notre Dame and even some TCU/Rose Bowl if you want. Fire away.
Will there be any ranked Big East teams in the final polls/ will any be ranked to start the season next year?
Brian Bennett (4:01 PM)
The only way there is a ranked team at the end of this season is if UConn beats Oklahoma. And if not, I can't see any Big East teams being ranked to start next year. Why would you rank any of them based on what they did this year?
Joseph (West Monroe, LA)
After that miserable performance last night does Oliver Luck need to go ahead and buy out Stewart?
Brian Bennett (4:03 PM)
I was never much of a fan of the succession plan in the first place, and now the Mountaineers go into the offseason on a bad note. It's just one game, so there's no need to overreact. But I thought Luck should have just cut the cord with Stewart if he truly doesn't believe in him.
Matt (New York NY)
Brian, as a Syracuse fan, I would like to thank you for picking Kansas St to win as the Orange are now assured of victory!!! Are you going to be in NYC tomorrow for the game?
Brian Bennett (4:04 PM)
You're welcome. I tried picking Syracuse this year and it never worked. So back to the old standard. I won't be in New York because I'm in the nation's second-largest city on the opposite coast.
Neil (Colchester CT)
well BB i guess WV fans can shut up now after see how bad they are and never should have had thoughts of the BCS bowl and Uconn was are the team to be there we all know u hate Uconn BB give them the respect they should get
Brian Bennett (4:05 PM)
West Virginia was bad. Brutally bad. But UConn hasn't played yet, so I think we'd better hold off on that judgment until late Saturday night.
I know Haywood deserves a chance, but does Pitt really believe hiring a guy like him will bring more fans to the games which is clearly one of the reasons they fired Wannstedt? If so, they are delusional.
Brian Bennett (4:07 PM)
Haywood was not a "sexy" hire, that's for sure. Not much on his resume as a head coach, either. But only one thing will get people excited and sustain it: winning.
RU has added a JUCO center, Dallas Hendrickson, to bolster the line. What other steps do you think are needed to make the Scarlet Knights contenders in 2011?
Brian Bennett (4:07 PM)
I think an entirely new (or old, depending how you look at it) philosophy on offense is needed, and likely major staff changes on that side of the ball. Rutgers has young talent and is not that far away from competing for the Big East title.
Nabi (Charleston WV)
Just wondering if TCU win and Uconn win will the Big East get credit for 2 BCS wins? I just read somewhere that the BCS rankings for TCU will roll over to the Big East.
Brian Bennett (4:09 PM)
It really doesn't matter, because there is no qualification period right now for the AQ leagues. But you can bet that would appear on some Big East promotional materials.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How do you think that Syracuse will do in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium?
Brian Bennett (4:11 PM)
I think Syracuse can find some success running the ball on K-State and should do a decent job of containing Daniel Thomas. But the Orange are a little shorthanded and really lacked any explosive plays by the offense for the final several weeks. Their best chance is to win a slugfest
Josh (Portland, MI)
Hey BB, I was in Cincy for Christmas to visit my family and went to the St Joesph game where Cincy won!!! I got to see the Practice Field and Bubble for the first time and wow... Pretty cool!!! Do you really think with the New Facilities and Weight Room that the Bearcats can pull even a better Recruiting class than they have now and do you see a big turn around in 2011 for the Bearcats. Also will WR Dyjaun Lewis finally see playing time next year and did he lose a year of eligibility sitting out this year?
Brian Bennett (4:13 PM)
I talked to Butch Jones today, coincidentally, and he said he only has a couple more scholarships to hand out and needs to be choosy. He might add another juco, as well. As for Lewis, he should be eligible and ready to go next year as a redshirt freshman.
Why does the media continue to focus on a wisconsin O Line that averages 320 when TCU's O Line clocks in at 313 which includes a Remington Award winner at Center? didn't realize a few extra twinkies (7lbs to be exact) was worth not mentioning the TCU line at all....
Brian Bennett (4:14 PM)
Just being around both teams, Wisconsin is noticeably and impressively larger. It's more Wisconsin's O-line against a TCU defense built on speed. But the Frogs O-line has been great, too, and I'm planning on blogging about that later on today
Daniel (Bel Air, MD)
How does Pitt get a bowl on Jan. 8, the latest of any Big East team, despite a 7-5 record
Brian Bennett (4:15 PM)
It's just the schedule. I don't really think it's a benefit, especially in this particular situation. Might be 5,000 people in Legion Field as Pitt and Kentucky fans are thinking about hoops by now
David (Fort Worth)
Is this one of your first times really covering the Frogs? What do you think so far, and what's your Rose Bowl prediction?
Brian Bennett (4:16 PM)
Very first time. I've been impressed with the athletes they have and their coaches. As for a prediction, I'm going to think on that for another day. I think it is a fascinating matchup, and the most intriguing clash of styles and talent in the BCS this year
WVU looses a ton of defensive talent this year. Are there a good supply of bright new stars waiting in the wings or will there be a major drop of in WVU's D in 2011.
Brian Bennett (4:19 PM)
Jeff Casteel is still around, which is good. Some players to build with include Julian Miller, Bruce Irvin, Najee Goode, Terence Garvin and Keith Tandy. But there will be a dropoff, if only because this was a historically great year by the defense.
Why in the world would you go to southern California instead of Yankee stadium at this time of year? Oh, was your flight cancelled due to the storm?
Brian Bennett (4:20 PM)
I'm crazy, right?
Joseph (West Monroe, LA)
Any chance Bill Stewart resigns?
Brian Bennett (4:20 PM)
He has 900,000 reasons not to resign.
Ray Stinger Jr (Pittsburgh)
Hi Brian! Do you have any idea if Wanny will coach the Panthers on their Jan 8th bowl game? Do you think the new coach will work out or could this hire cost Pederson his job as AD?
Brian Bennett (4:21 PM)
Wannstedt still hasn't announced yet, which s crazy since it's Dec. 29. This has become absurd and clearly he's trying to make Pederson sweat a little bit. The jury is out on Haywood. Impossible to know at this point.
Brian,Do you see BJ Daniels being the guaranteed starter next year baring any injuries? For some reason I still dont see Eveld being a legitimate canidate for the position if BJs healthy.
Brian Bennett (4:23 PM)
Nothing is guaranteed. I expect there will be a good competition between Daniels and Eveld next spring. Two different styles of QB's, obviously, and Skip Holtz will need to decide which direction he wants to take.
Where do you see Syracuse in the next 3 years?
Brian Bennett (4:25 PM)
In upstate New York. Sorry, had to be done. I like the direction the program is headed under Marrone. Obviously, he needs to upgrade the talent through recruiting, and I think he's doing so. He's building a program now, and the next step is to get some better playmakers on offense. Once that happens, the Orange should be able to compete for the Big East title regularly
Ivan Maisel said the long layoff before a bowl game hurts the spread offense more than other kinds. Do you think this will be true for ND or will the extra practice time actually help them, esp. Rees, more?
Brian Bennett (4:27 PM)
There is some truth to that. Cincinnati didn't look sharp offensively in the '09 Orange Bowl (though Va Tech's defense contributed heavily to that). Still, ND's biggest problem is Miami's defense, not rust. I'd rather be in the Irish's position than the Hurricanes, who are limping in under an interim coach.
Dave (Sea Island, GA)
Brian, which player do you see stepping up and improving the most for Louisville during the 2011 season?
Brian Bennett (4:29 PM)
I think Jeremy Wright should have a big year at tailback, taking over for Bilal Powell. Loved what he did at Syracuse when Powell was hurt, and his KO return in the Beef O bowl was crucial. Josh Bellamy could be improved after adjusting to D-1 his first year as well.
Who is going to replace Natalie Portman now that she is engaged/preggers?
Brian Bennett (4:31 PM)
Way to ruin my mood, Jon. I don't know if I can do the final 30 minutes of this chat now. Looks like Rachel Bilson is in good shape. She's been a solid No. 2 on the depth chart and has prepared every week as if she would be the starter. Let's see what she can do in that role now.
George (Washington, DC)
Robert Sands, pro or no.
Brian Bennett (4:31 PM)
Pro, unless he gets a highly unfavorable report back from the NFL advisory committee
Louis (Bellmore, NY)
What would you say are the keys for SU vs Kansas State tomorrow?
Brian Bennett (4:31 PM)
Louis: Gotta read the blog, my man. I did three keys for the game earlier today.
It seems like every major player on Uconn is a junior, with the exception of Frazer and Lutrus. But Box is likely an upgrade to Frazer anyway and Lutrus is good but not too hard to replace. Win or lose tomorrow it looks like Uconn is positioned for a very big 2011 too.
Brian Bennett (4:33 PM)
Don't forget Zach Hurd and Lawrence Wilson. And Todman could bolt for the league. But, yeah, UConn will still be in pretty good shape for '11 and has to be considered a serious contender.
How does Geno's foot injury impact Holgorsen's ability to effectively install his new offense - and whats your take on ESPN reporting that he has to have foot surgery and then Geno denying the report? Are they blowing smoke or was it a not so entirely accurate report?
Brian Bennett (4:35 PM)
It depends on how long he'll miss and whether he'll be available for spring practice. We don't know that yet. Good job by Rob Stone of reporting that last night; hadn't seen or heard that anywhere before then. Smith had a pretty tepid non-denial denial when asked about it.
Who is going to be QB during spring ball at WVU next semster, since Smith is going to have surgery and could possibly miss it and Brunetti looking to transfer. This can not be good for an offense implementing a new system.
Brian Bennett (4:36 PM)
Well remember that Coley White took every live snap last spring, and he never saw the field as Geno had a great year. So it's not the end of the world by any means.
tim (madison, wi)
i hear a lot about how TCU's OL and UW's OL are the same size. UW relies on its guards to pull though, and the fact they are as a quick and mobile as they are (usually getting downfield to block safeties 20+ yards downfield) to me is the difference. yes both lines are big, but Wisconsins is the best in the nation because of their quickness on top of their size. i dont think weight is enough of an indication. do you think the safeties will be able to stand up to the punishment of the pulling guards and hits that john clay is going to put on?
Brian Bennett (4:37 PM)
Tim, you're all over it. TCU's safeties are good, but boy, they're small. Just standing next to both teams in a hotel ballroom makes you pause. That to me is the question of this game.
What was the story with UConn DE/LB Greg Lloyd this year? Came in with huge expectations but I never saw him on the field. RS year?
Brian Bennett (4:39 PM)
He was supposed to redshirt, then had his redshirt pulled and played early in the year. But he wasn't effective and was benched. Makes you wonder why he wasn't redshirted after all
John T (NJ)
Facility-wise (on campus stadiums and weight/training/practice/etc.), Louisville, Rutgers and WVU are tons better than the rest of the BE. Additionally, TCU is undergoing a massive on-campus stadium upgrade in the next two years. Based on this recruiting edge alone, these four programs will probably average out to be the top 4 BE programs over the next 10 years. Agree?
Brian Bennett (4:41 PM)
I don't agree. UConn's facilities are as good as anybody's. South Florida still has access to Florida talent. Who could have predicted the rise of Cincinnati, when the Bearcats had the worst facilities of anyone? To me, it all about who has the best leadership in place.
There was a question earlier about Big East teams and their rankings next year, how do you see a rough order of preseason rankings just in the conference? Will USF be higher then 6 like this past year?
Brian Bennett (4:42 PM)
I think USF will be higher, but it's still a jumbled picture. If UConn wins, then the Huskies probably enter as the favorite. Cincy and Rutgers will be toward the bottom. The rest are indistinguishable at this point.
Jason (Dansville, KY)
How many years do you think it will take Charlie Strong and UL return as a consistent Top 25 team and a contender for the BE title and the BCS?
Brian Bennett (4:43 PM)
Kendal (Mt. Washington,Ky)
BB if you had a son ready to start his college football career, what Big East head coach would you want him to play for and why?
Brian Bennett (4:43 PM)
Whoever did the best job of charming Mrs. Bilson-Bennett
Mike (Storrs, CT)
What is the number of pass attempts the staff would like to see Frazer make Saturday night? I'm think anything over 25 pass attempts and we are in trouble. Thoughts?
Brian Bennett (4:45 PM)
Sounds like a pretty good number. Key is also how they come. If UConn is establishing a run and then playing off that with play-action, good things could happen. If it's throwing to catch up or because Todman is getting stuffed, that's big-time trouble.
Mike (Saratoga, NY)
With the offensive struggles, what do you think about Ryan Nassib being replaced next year? Or would that just be treading water, because you have another first time starter?
Brian Bennett (4:46 PM)
I think he will have to prove he's the best QB again this offseason. But I can't pin too much of the blame on Nassib for the offense's problems. The Orange just don't have a lot of playmakers for him to get the ball to.
john (eau claire, wi)
I keep hearing that TCU has the best statistical defense in the FBS. Are they really that good or are they a product of the soft conference they play in?
Brian Bennett (4:47 PM)
Clearly the schedule wasn't as good this year as it looked on paper. But this is a team that has led the nation in yardage allowed three straight years and beaten some good teams while doing it. It's no mirage.
Who will be # 10 for the BE. Is Houston in the running or will it be Central Florida?
Brian Bennett (4:49 PM)
My money is still on UCF, but it depends on what Villanova decides.
Jackson (Parkersburg, WV)
The Big East is terrible. We need a fresh start in 2011. We need to forget 2010 ever happened.
Brian Bennett (4:50 PM)
2 more days
With the addition of TCU in 2012, do you see TCU dominating the league with a little competition from WVU or does TCU's strong presence help improve the other teams talents ultimately making the Big East a stronger conference altogether over the next 5 to 10 years. Your Thoughts? Side note: UCF looking at an invite as well or is the Big East content with waiting for Nova's decision in April.
Brian Bennett (4:51 PM)
Impossible to say with any accuracy what any team in the country will be like in two years, and TCU has a lot of seniors on this squad. That said, a potential showdown every year between Patterson and Holgorsen could be a lot of fun. The league seems too balanced for any one team to dominate it for long.
Jason Sleik-Gay (Stevens Point, WI)
Does the Big Ten get another upset tonight over Baylor after Iowa took out Mizzou?
Brian Bennett (4:52 PM)
Can beating Baylor in a bowl ever be considered an upset?
Denzel (Richmond, VA)
What do you expect from Bruce Irvin next season?
Brian Bennett (4:53 PM)
He needs to add weight and strength so he can be an every-down player and stay strong against the run. If he does that, he could have a special year.
Brian Bennett (4:57 PM)
Gotta run. Thanks everybody!