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 2 p.m. ET!
bruce feldman (2:00 PM)
Thanks for dropping by. Been a chaotic week for June: More OSU news; the mess in West Virginia, UNC NCAA update, Vols COI meeting tomorrow w Kiffin involved.. Let's go.
Bruce, do the Cal Bears have a shot at winning the Pac this year? Your thoughts on their new QB? Thanks.
bruce feldman (2:03 PM)
I think they're a very longshot at best. Just getting into the top 25 would surprise me. They lost a good RB in Vereen and some talented guys on D and they have a very unproven QB. Plus, the schedule in conference is very tough with road games at Oregon, Stanford and ASU... those are probably three of the four most talented teams in the league. I'd be surprised if they do any better than 7-5.
Bruce - Can Ohio State realistically go all next season without naming a new head coach? How could they attract any recruits when the situation is in such flux? Might they not miss the opportunity to hire a top choice if they wait until other vacancies are known and filled?
bruce feldman (2:05 PM)
They'd have to name someone probably by early Jan, but lots of teams deal with coaching transitions through recruiting. What will complicate it is potentially not knowing how severe NCAA sanctions could be and if they need to hire a new AD as well.
bruce feldman (2:06 PM)
Many kids, especially local ones will still want to play for OSU because of the history and the magnitude of the program, but it'll be those blue-chippers from outside their area that OSU will have a harder time landing.... I wrote more about this issue in the blog earlier today: http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=6647896
Evan (Auburn, AL)
What are your thoughts on Gene Chizik's raise and extension?
bruce feldman (2:08 PM)
He just won a BCS title and he is recruiting well. His agent had a good case there considering this was a guy who came in with a 5-19 record and in two years they win a BCS title.
Andrew ((San Diego))
What type of penalties can USC assume to get from the Lane Kiffin Tennessee era?
bruce feldman (2:10 PM)
I don't think they can assume anything at this point.
Dwayne (Charleston, SC)
What are you thoughts on WVU players recently speaking out on the Stewart matter? Thanks.
bruce feldman (2:11 PM)
In a year with plenty of bizarre stuff that has happened the soap opera in West Virginia takes the cake. Whatever they do they need to make a decision fast and move forward. I'd heard Luck goes on vacation after today so I suspect something will get resolved by day's end.
Yes or No: The NCAA will tack on a "Lack of Institutional Control" charge to Ohio State?
bruce feldman (2:13 PM)
I don't know. There is so much swirling around OSU right now and the school already had throw compliance under the bus at that presser in December... I will be surprised if Gene Smith keeps his job as AD after this.
Hey Bruce, what's up with LeBron? I need......ahem.....I mean the Heat need him!
bruce feldman (2:15 PM)
He has been miserable in the fourth quarter and I have been riveted by the drama. Can't wait for Game 6... I do think he still has the chance to shut up a lot of people if the Heat win the next two. These days, more than ever, because of Twitter especially there is a rush to say something's the best ever this or the worst ever that. You get a referendum on ppl every two days with the NBA playoffs.
Jake (Athens, GA)
I know how I feel, but what do you think it takes to save Mark Richt's job this year?
bruce feldman (2:16 PM)
If he doesn't win at least one of the first two games this year (Boise, hosting South Carolina), he'll likely be fighting too much of an uphill battle. I think if he doesn't win at least eight, you could see Dan Mullen or Charlie Strong as the UGA coach in 2012.
Does FSU beat the Sooners in Doak this year?
bruce feldman (2:18 PM)
My guess right now is no, but it will be a lot closer than FSU-OU was last year. Mark Stoops will have his D much better prepared and the Sooners are a much different team outside the state of Oklahoma. But I like the experience of Landry Jones, Broyles and Lewis in a tough road spot.
What are your thoughts on the Badgers potentially getting the QB Wilson from NC State? Would that help the Badgers push for a National Championship?
bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
I have them as a top 20 team, but not much more than that. With Wilson and those RBs, they'd be a more dangerous team but working in a new QB no matter how bright the guy is--and Russell Wilson is very very sharp--is risky especially when the guy wasn't there in the spring to get settled with the new offense/teammates. Cam Newton at least had the spring. Jeremiah Masoli was a talented QB with experience and he had some good RBs too and Ole Miss really struggled. Wilson would have more talent around him than JM did, but it's still not so simple as plugging a new guy in.
Why has the Rachel Mc Coy story been swept under the rug? If players at Texas broke NCAA rules, that should be looked at.
bruce feldman (2:22 PM)
It's not being swept under the rug. I know it is being looked into.
What kind of changes do you see the hire of Brian Harsin at Texas making long term in the Big 12 (10)? You always used to hear about how ridiculously easy the Longhorn offense was to prepare for despite elite talent, so bringing in the Boise St. offense has to cause at least a little concern for other teams in the conference moving forward right?
bruce feldman (2:24 PM)
For all the talk about the tricks they ran at Boise, I think Harsin will enable them to exploit more weaknesses but they'll also run the ball better. That's something that Texas must do in 2011. It was a program that had lost its identity.
Ry (Eugene, OR)
Bruce, do you watch college baseball? Who is your favorite to win it all?
bruce feldman (2:25 PM)
I usually try to but this spring has been chaotic for me with a couple of big projects going. One I just wrapped up, the other I just really dove into, so I've been traveling a lot and haven't had a chance to yet.
How wide open now is the Leaders division? Does PSU have a legit shot at making the Big Ten title game?
bruce feldman (2:26 PM)
Penn State has a shot IF they have one QB emerge to rally the team. Their schedule in conference is really backloaded so it gives them a month or so to sort things out.
Do you think Phil Fulmer would be a good solution for new AD at Tennessee?
bruce feldman (2:29 PM)
I'm skeptical. He's been around the program for so long, which is good and bad. Things started to get away from him in the last few years. If there's a guy in the program who I think would do a good job it's David Blackburn, who was key to keeping things on track at least to some degree in what has been a complete mess through the Mike Hamilton days there.
Hey Bruce, I personally think Georgia is a sleeping giant...To think of all the top recruits from that state fueling Auburn, Bama, FSU and the gators does a strong recruiter and coach like charlie strong able to lock up the state and cherry pick..or is georgia at the point where it's going to become the next florida california where it fuels multiple conference's recruiting boards?
bruce feldman (2:31 PM)
A lot of folks would agree with you about the sleeping giant part. Rich recruiting area, good facilities, big fan base. They've been very good in the past 15 years, but you'd think they'd have won more than the one title almost 30 yrs ago...
Perry (Littleton, CO)
Who wins the Pac-12 North? Stanford or Oregon? And who do you think wins the South?
bruce feldman (2:31 PM)
I'll go with Oregon-ASU in the Pac-12 title game with the Ducks winning.
Aaron (Lincoln, NE)
Can you see any team north of Oklahoma winning the Big XII in the next five to ten years?
bruce feldman (2:32 PM)
Anything's possible, but I think it'll stay within these four: OU, OSU, A&M and UT.
Andrew (San Diego)
Do you think the Trojans will give Arik Armstead a basketball scholarship to save a football one for someone else?
bruce feldman (2:34 PM)
You can't really do much that way because as soon as he would play in a football game, he'd have to go on to a football scholarship. Miami had a five-star recruit (Latwan Anderson) come to school on a track scholarship. That didn't work out so well.
can you compare the Ohio State situation with the UNC situation? it seems like the Heels made out much worse, with many guys getting long suspensions for "taking" less money.
bruce feldman (2:36 PM)
They seem pretty different. With UNC you had one assistant (Butch DAvis' right hand man) John Blake allegedly working with an agent; you had multiple players involved with agents and an academic scandal. At OSU, you had the head coach lying to the NCAA multiple times and playing ineligible players for an entire season knowing their eligibility was compromised. That's a lot of hefty stuff on both fronts because it's numerous players involved and coaches who shouldve turned it in or in UNC's case, not been directly involved.
Out of those 4 Big 12 schools you mentioned, who's your pick this year?
bruce feldman (2:37 PM)
About one year out, do you think that BYU made this right decision to go indy?
bruce feldman (2:39 PM)
I don't know how much the $$$ will be in terms of a difference. My hunch is you'd have less of a chance to make it into the BCS as an indy with Boise coming to a solid MWC. But I'm not sure. ND is unique animal in that they have a large fan base and conversely, people who DONT like them will also tune in to watch ND. BYU has a passionate following but I don't think they have that other component that ND has.
No mention of EJ Manuel in the Heisman contenders list released yesterday. Not even in the darkhorse category where John Brantley, yes John Brantley, was listed. What's up with that?
bruce feldman (2:40 PM)
It wasn't my list it was KC Joyner's list... I agreed with his #1 guy (Tyler Wilson) as a very good darkhorse candidate.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Mavs close it out in Game 6? Do you even care?
bruce feldman (2:41 PM)
I care. I care. I think there will be a Game 7.
I know it's extremely early, but Vandy with a top 25 recruiting ranking?! Franklin's injected a lot of energy into the program, but how much of this is going to wear-off after Vandy only wins 4-6 games again this year?
bruce feldman (2:43 PM)
Franklin is a very good recruiter and he's got some energetic guys on that staff like Herb Hand. They know what they're doing, but you make a good point. I remember from my Meat Market days Orgeron made a comment to his staff about possibly losing momentum when "bigger" schools come in if Ole Miss wasn't winning games and going 4-8, they'd lose a few kids. One of those commits they'd lost was Drake Nevis.
Are you as interested to see how Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray mix and match in the Texas 2012 backfield as I am?
bruce feldman (2:45 PM)
I am although probably not at the level of your interest since I can hold off to get to 2011 first.
How good can George Uko be?
bruce feldman (2:47 PM)
Very good, especially for a redshirt freshman. He's explosive and has really good feet. He was one of their most pleasant developments this spring. Uko will be a big factor in their three-man rotation inside.
Justin (Tucson, AZ)
Do you think Juron Criner and Dan Buckner are among the top WR Duo's in the country? With USC on probation, Do you see Arizona winning the PAC XII south next season (2012)?
bruce feldman (2:48 PM)
One of the better duos? Yes. I'm not sure about Zona in 2012 because they'll have to replace some outstanding guys, Nick Foles and Criner among them.
SouthernJet (Raleigh, NC)
Join me for a Tailgate BBQ this season at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill? You pick the game.
bruce feldman (2:51 PM)
I would love to get to Chapel Hill for a game this year, but I have no idea about my travel schedule for the season yet. I love that part of the state..I'd spent a lot of time in the area for a magazine feature on Mount Zion hoops years ago.
Trey (Long Beach)
Do you predict Barkley will get any heisman love this season? Invited to NY perhaps?
bruce feldman (2:53 PM)
It's possible. He's got the playmakers around him. Robert Woods is a fantastic you player, but to keep the attention USC will need to win at least 10 games and probably beat Oregon and/or Stanford in high profile games because they're not on the radar the way they were a few years ago.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What is it with Clemson? They've underachieved dating back to Tommy Bowden but landed another top notch recruit this week.
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
Another program that has struggled on the field with consistency and its identity. If Dabo doesn't win eight plus, I think he'll be gone and Rich Rodriguez ends up back there.
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
three more questions...
Who do you see winning the SEC this year?
bruce feldman (2:58 PM)
I got Alabama.
Trey (Long Beach)
Beating Stanford is a big possibility this season. They lost last year on the road by a last second field goal. This season, Stanford is Harbaugh-less and has to play in the Coliseum. USC could do it, no?
bruce feldman (2:59 PM)
They could do it.. Harbaugh's gone, but Andrew Luck is not.
Connor (Jacksonville, FL)
How much can we expect Miami to improve this season?
bruce feldman (3:00 PM)
Good question. I suspect they'll be more disciplined and better on D.. I just don't know how much the QBs will cut down on the turnovers. I think because of the improved D and better run game with an athletic OL and Lamar Miller, winning 9 plus is realistic.
bruce feldman (3:01 PM)
Gotta run.. Turn on OTL for more CF news on Pryor now. Also I will be on OTL Sunday morning talking college football... If I didn't get to your question, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN.