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 3 p.m. ET!
BRuce feldman (3:02 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Lots of college football items to get to, but before I get to the questions, I have a link that if you haven't seen is worth checking out from Thursday's blog. This is a Q&A with former FSU DB/Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle on his thoughts on a variety of subjects.http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce
Chase Turner (Clemson,SC)
How good do you think Clemson could be with the new offense and influx of elite talent?
BRuce feldman (3:04 PM)
I know they closed well on Signing Day and bring some gifted WRs and LBs especially but they also lose some outstanding DBs and a great DE in Bowers. I'm skeptical of buying in on Clemson. They've had their share of dynamic players but have underwhelmed. Not convinced Dabo can get a breakthrough season going there this year.
Being a big BYU fan how should I feel about their first season as an independent?
BRuce feldman (3:06 PM)
Pretty good. I have a lot more on this in today's mailbag. The offense should be better in YR 2 for Heaps but the first four games are tricky. I doubt they do better than 2-2 and a 1-3 start is realistic. After that they should settle in.
Who's your darkhorse SEC team this year?
BRuce feldman (3:07 PM)
I think UGA wins the East and it'll be between Bama and LSU in the West.. I like Ark a little but they have to go to both in the West.
Vito (Missouri )
Who do you think will be the Mu starting qb in 2011?
BRuce feldman (3:09 PM)
My hunch was FRanklin, but young Gabbert is talented too even if he doesn't have Blaine's size. It's a good race because they'll push each other to get better. I still think Franklin will emerge as the guy in the fall, but we'll see.
Shawn (West Virginia)
WVU Over/under for ppg under Holgorsen this season 40?
BRuce feldman (3:09 PM)
More likely to get Auburn in trouble...Cam Newton Situation or the Real Sports Quartet?
BRuce feldman (3:11 PM)
Not sure. The Real Sports report ties into players who made allegations but will they specifically name names when they talk to the NCAA? One of them said he got paid by a Tigers coach then, but didn't say who.
SouthernJet (Raleigh, NC)
Hi Bruce. I am hearing UNC self imposed to such a extent , that the eventual penalties might not be as harsh as some originally thought. Your views?Also, how is UNCs draftees shooting up or going down the charts?
BRuce feldman (3:13 PM)
We'll have to see what they self-impose. You're talking about a member of the coaching staff being linked to getting money for steering to agents. If that's proven, it's going to lead to hefty sanctions (see the USC case) and this would involve many more athletes... As for the draft I suspect people will really like Robert Quinn the more they see and study him. his stock should be rising.
Hi Bruce, How good do you think Tennessee will be this year with 2 years of pretty solid recruiting and finally a little coach stability. Any chance to contend for the SEC East title?
BRuce feldman (3:15 PM)
SEC East is wide open with UF going through the transition. There is some nice young talent in K'ville on the offensive side and the schedule is almost a lock to get at least six Ws before toss up games with UGa and SoCarolina. I'd put the over/under on them at 7.5.
darkhorse: "adjective : a usually little known contender that makes an unexpectedly good showing"
BRuce feldman (3:16 PM)
UGA was under .500 last year. Short of me picking MSU or Ole Miss to win the West there isn't a true darkhorse call that I'd buy in this case.
Mike (Austin, TX)
What's the most important coaching/staff change you saw made by Mack Brown this year for the Longhorns? I.E. Which represents the biggest upgrade?
BRuce feldman (3:17 PM)
As people I know here I'm a big believer in Manny Diaz the DC, but the bigger issue was the offense so I'll say Bryan Harsin.
Terry (Chicago, IL)
The Jim Tressel cheating scandal has gotten bad. Then on the HBO special, we find out Ohio State boosters giving recruits cash. How worried should everyone in Columbus be?
BRuce feldman (3:21 PM)
I'd be most concerned with how the Tressel situation has been handled. It keeps looking worse and worse especially when the report came out about him forwarding the news to Pryor's mentor back in PA but not anyone at OSU. That contradicted his confidentiality explanation and OSU, it would seem would've known that at the time of the presser. They could be looking at a lack of institutional control charge after having played star players for an entire season when they knew their eligibility was compromised.
What are your thoughts on Nebraska heading into the fall in the Big Ten? Lot of question marks with the health of Martinez and Crick plus replaing Roy Helu, Niles Paul, and Prince Amukamara.
BRuce feldman (3:22 PM)
With the issues surrounding OSU and given the fact that OSU has to play at Neb, I think the Huskers are the favorite to win the big ten this year. OBV they also have some questions, especially with the QB and how new OC Tim Beck handles the offense, but I think they'll be very tough.
Larry (Alhambra, CA)
Utah or Colorado, who gets to the Pac12 championship game first? Will Chow succeed in Utah?
BRuce feldman (3:23 PM)
Of those two, I'd say Utah because they're much closer and I do like the additions of Chow and Davis to a strong staff.
I know we have heard Wllie Lyles name a lot but how many other people are out there just like him? Also fronm your experience with Meat Market do these third parties really have the influence to steer recruits?
BRuce feldman (3:26 PM)
There are quite a few who operate in a similar capacity. The big thing here is colleges use recruiting services and most of them are legit businesses that provide film databases, but in the past couple of years middle men have popped up who are more relationship driven and who exert some influence over local recruits in their area and they can act as go-betweens and shuttle services to get recruits up for unofficial visits. That side of things has really increased in the past 2-3 years. And yes they do have influence over a lot of recruits and their families.
David Ausberry tested pretty good at USC pro day how come he never produced on the field?
BRuce feldman (3:29 PM)
Not sure. He always looked the part but never seemed to make plays. There are some guys like that at each program where you just kind of scratch your head. USually coaches know relatively early on, maybe the guy runs a good 40 time but is stiff or maybe he's not football savvy or not tough enough. I don't know the specifics about Ausberry though.
Hi Bruce. Curious to what your take is on Al Golden so far. He seems to great from a recruiting and public relations standpoint but is he a good enough coach and motivator to get the Canes to take a big step this year?
BRuce feldman (3:31 PM)
Don't know. He did a lot of good things at Temple. Two big keys for him in the short-term: getting the defense to cut down on the big plays allowed, which I think his DC Mark D'Onofrio will do and getting the team, especially his QBs to cut down on the mistakes and take better care of the ball. That last one is a big mystery at this point. If they cut the INTs in half, they're a top 15 team.
Any thoughts on BC this year, they are my national darkhorse, always strong defense, with a True Soph QB who was an Elite 9 coming out of High School who got some good trial by fire? And Williams/Harris are quite possibly a top 3 RB tandem judging from Williams production when Harris got banged up?
BRuce feldman (3:33 PM)
Like them. They have arguably the best defensive player in the country in Luke Kuechly and some talent around him. Both backs are capable, especially Montel Harris who just puts up numbers every year but if they're gonna be a top 20 team, they need Chase Rettig to blossom. He's got the arm, but he needs more seasoning. May be a year too early for him now.
Would Urban Meyer be embraced in Columbus IF Tressel is fired or resigns? Would the Bucks' community embrace Meyer after the beat down he gave the Bucks in the NCG?
BRuce feldman (3:34 PM)
I think Urban Meyer would be embraced with whatever college coaching job he would take. He won two BCS titles and he's still under 50.
What is your take on the Big 12-2 this year? Who looks to be an early favorite for the conference championship and may play a national role?
BRuce feldman (3:37 PM)
I think OU is the favorite followed by OK State and A&M. OU probably opens the year #1 in the country. IF they win at FSU in mid-Sept, watch out.
Larry (Alhambra, CA)
Where will Delvon Simmons likely end up?
BRuce feldman (3:41 PM)
Don't know. Heard it's between Texas Tech and USC. I know he has a connection to Tech because he has a buddy who is gonna play there.
What is your take on the Paul P hire at UCONN? Alot of people here are not "bowled" over by it. Yes he is loved by the HS coaches, but just how many studs come out of CT?
BRuce feldman (3:44 PM)
He's a very good coach. Did a lot of great things for Syracuse and has developed a lot of top players. It's not easy to recruit in that area because there aren't a ton of players, but I like the hire. It's not like they had been beating a lot of ranked teams before he got there.
Do you think ND has what it takes to get in to a BCS bowl? Or are they still couple years away?
BRuce feldman (3:45 PM)
If they have Floyd for a whole season, they have a chance to be a BCS bowl team. You look at their schedule and it's not loaded with top 20 opponents. Kelly's a good coach. They've bought in. Without Floyd, I think they lose some firepower.
jonathan (oklahoma) [via mobile]
how do you think okstate is gonna do this season with weeden and blackmon coming back?
BRuce feldman (3:46 PM)
Top 10 team. They're loaded on offense but they do have a lot to replace on D. Can they beat OU in Stillwater? Not sure their D will be good enough to handle that.
Brian (Columbus, OH)
Bruce Irving might be targeted more by opposing defenses this year in WVU's games but I think he will hit the 14 sacks mark again this season being a starter now. Whats the max #of sacks for him this year?
BRuce feldman (3:49 PM)
I'll say 22. More snaps and since he'll be on a team with a better offense and probably more leads, that means more passing situations. I know Dana H was wowed by him as an athlete.
What do you see as the keys for Florida state to beat Oklahoma this year? I really think the defensive ends and corners are going to determine the outcome
BRuce feldman (3:50 PM)
The back seven being on the same page and being MUCH more prepared when they see that no-huddle coming at them. And EJ not turning it over and making mistakes.
What do you this is the heart of Arizona's inconsistent play? When do you think they will reach the "next level"?
BRuce feldman (3:51 PM)
Good questions on both counts. They have so many linemen on both sides of the ball that they have to replace, I doubt they win more than seven or eight this year. And then they lose Foles and Criner.
What's the deal with USC's appeal? This is beyond annoying as an SC fan. "4-6 weeks for a response" my butt...
BRuce feldman (3:53 PM)
Sounds like the same thing as the time frame on when they were supposed to hear about the sanctions last year. People underestimated the length of time. You know how whenever a coach puts a time on when a player is expected back, usually it's a few weeks earlier. With this stuff it seems to be a few weeks later. Or months.
Does Stanford take a step back now without harbaugh, even though Luck stayed?
BRuce feldman (3:54 PM)
Maybe the year after Luck leaves, but not yet. They also have some nice talent around him and he is the best player in college football.
Urban Meyer quit for health reasons and stress related to being HC at a big time program. It doesn't get anymore stressful than Cols.
BRuce feldman (3:55 PM)
I suspect for some people with the way they work and have to manage such a big program, it's going to be enormously stressful wherever they go, especially when you have to replace so many key assistants as he had to over the past two years.
Trey (Long Beach)
Have you been following USC spring practice at all? Do you see the Trojan defense being a lot better in 2011?
BRuce feldman (3:59 PM)
Hard to tell because they have so few healthy bodies out there now. I've heard they'll simplify the defense some and with the added year under Monte Kiffin that'll help. Plus, they're going to do more contact work this year which they didn't feel like they could risk last year because of depth issues. Better in 2011? Yes, I think so. A lot? Not sure because they still have to replace Jurrell Casey and a few athletic LBs.
BRuce feldman (4:00 PM)
Three more questions...
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
Is there any news on where Sentreal Henderson is going to play next season? The U? Minnesota?
BRuce feldman (4:01 PM)
Both he and Golden have said how much he likes it there. I'd be very surprised if he plays anywhere but Miami considering it wasn't that easy for him to get there in the first place and sitting out a season doesn't seem viable for a guy who may be a three-and-out anyhow.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be the Best Team in the Big East in College Football in 2011?
BRuce feldman (4:02 PM)
Are you buying or selling the UW stock for 2011?
BRuce feldman (4:04 PM)
Selling. Replacing Jake Locker for a program that already is lacking on quality linemen on both sides of the ball is a lot to ask. Sarkisian is the right guy for the job, but I don't see them better than around .500 this year.
BRuce feldman (4:04 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.