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 another busy week of scandal stuff in the college football world. We're just about a month away from fall camp so let's get to the questions!
with the expansion of the previous big 10 and pac 10, do you think we will see the SEC lose its "powerhouse" status or will the SEC remain as top dog?
bruce feldman (2:03 PM)
Given the SEC has won five BCS titles in a row, I don't see the league losing its powerhouse status. I could see other leagues ending the streak but as long as the schools are so committed to spending money on facilities and their programs ensuring top HCs and staffs, it'll be tough to overtake them. Also keep in mind the two biggest programs of the Pac-12 and Big 10 (USC and OSU) are both in the midst of NCAA issues that certainly arent going to help.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
If you had to pick the best men's basketball coach and football coaching combo in the Big Ten it would be hard to pass on Wisconsin right?
bruce feldman (2:04 PM)
Wisky has a very good tandem but given how great Izzo has been it's tough to not take MSU though. It's not like Dantonio hasnt done a good job there too.
Matt (Washington, DC)
The over/under on wins for Maryland this season seems to be 8. You taking the over or the under?
bruce feldman (2:05 PM)
That was the number I picked for them last week in the mailbag. If I had to go with one or the other, I'd lean to the over bc I figure 8-4 regular season and a shot for the bowl win.
Alright.. take away the usual suspects of Nick Saban, Chip Kelley, or anyone else that has been dominant in the last few years. What coach would you pick to run your program? (must be active)
bruce feldman (2:06 PM)
Dillon (Austin TX)
What are Texas A&M's weaknesses (if any) going into this season?
bruce feldman (2:08 PM)
Have to find a replacement for Von Miller on D. He was the focus of every opponent. The front seven is mostly unproven and the schedule is pretty rough.
David (Alexandria, VA)
By the conclusion of the 2011 CFB season, Butch Davis will still be the head coach at UNC...true or false?
bruce feldman (2:11 PM)
I would've thought false. It's startling to think that you can have an associate head coach (a guy who was Butch's righthand man and someone he's known for over 30 years) acting as a runner for an agent on a top loaded with "high-profile" players AND also have a tutor doing the things she was and UNC didn't get charged with LOIC. How Butch didn't know anything going on is stunning. The school is going to get hit probably with a multiple year post season ban and scholarship reductions and to move forward from that you'd think the school would want to hit the re-set button.
bruce feldman (2:12 PM)
I've been really surprised by the level of support Butch has in the wake of all of this with some corners of the UNC fan base. In four years the guy hasn't had a winning season yet in the ACC, but the reaction I've heard from some of them is 'We're not sure we can get anyone better..."
Jonny Danger (Mississippi)
Bring on the football! As a BYU grad in SEC country I am looking forward to the BYU-Ole Miss season opener. What can I expect from my Cougars?
bruce feldman (2:14 PM)
A better season than 2010 because Heaps has more experience. I dont see them being a top 25 team though because I doubt they get off to more than a 2-2 start. I think expecting anything more than 9 wins this year seems overly optimistic.
Justin (Tucson, AZ)
Bruce I think the reason Butch Davis is well liked is that he put 9 North Carolina players in the NFL Draft last season.
bruce feldman (2:15 PM)
Probably but keep in mind a big reason why they got a lot of that talent is because John Blake was the best recruiter amongst all of those assistants. Getting talent was a huge part of Blake's rep.
Duane (Fort Wayne, IN)
A lot of people are saying Hoke and Michigan will end up 7-5 this season. As a fan of UM I am cautiously optimistic we could be as good as 9-3 or 10-2. Is a philosophical change in Offense and Defense too much for us to anticipate a good season?
bruce feldman (2:16 PM)
If the over/under for them is 8, I'd take the over.
Who gets more carries against Boise St in the dome...King or Crowell?
bruce feldman (2:17 PM)
I'll lean to King since he has more experience but as the season goes on, I think Crowell takes over the majority of the load.
Marc (San Francisco)
Whats your gut prediction on Stanford's performance this year?
bruce feldman (2:19 PM)
Top 10 again. They have the best player in CF in Luck and some good young backs and tight ends. They play USC on the road and Arizona, which has to replace almost every linemen on both sides of the ball.
Rod (Fyffe, AL)
Do you think an 8 team playoff system that uses the current BCS system AND does not affect any of the other bowl games would ever be considered, seems this would satisfy most everyone involved?
bruce feldman (2:20 PM)
Nothing is going to satisfy everyone when it comes to a college football postseason. My hunch is the most we'd see in the next decade or so would be a four-team playoff. I would be intrigued by an eight-team playoff but nothing bigger than that. Am not a fan of if you have 16 teams, you end up with a few 9-3 teams in there.
Hey Bruce. In your opnion, who wins the Big Ten this year?
bruce feldman (2:21 PM)
I've said Nebraska all along and I'll stick with that.
Ben (South Bend)
Over/Under for wins for the Irish this year?
bruce feldman (2:23 PM)
I'd set it at 9.5 or 10. I'd go over if it was 9.5 and I'd gamble on the over if it was 10, I think. ND regime under Kelly has a lot of momentum right now. This isn't the Charlie Weis group any more.
Larry (Los Angeles)
What do you expect from the UCLA defense this year? Is OWA ready to be a big time player?
bruce feldman (2:25 PM)
Owe, like about a half-dozen young guys on that D, look ready to have breakout years. I'm still skeptical they can get the offense and passing game going enough to be more than a 6-6 type of team though. The O-line is OK, which is better than its ever been for RN there but it's still not where it needs to be and in a QB league, the Bruins are underwhelming at this point. Maybe down the road Brett Hundley can emerge as a star but its too soon.
Just tell me good things about my Gators, thanks.
bruce feldman (2:28 PM)
They still have a lot of speed and some promising young D-linemen who need to mature. I also know from talking to the strength coach Mickey Marotti a few weeks back that LB Jelani Jenkins is ready for a big year. He as fast as any LB they've had in the past few years.... the big issues are the unproven O-line and how good John Brantley can be in the new system?
Did you think Luke Fickell looked uncomfortable and not able to handle the pressures of OSU football in his initial press conference? Looked like he could not get out of there fast enough to me.
bruce feldman (2:30 PM)
Press conferences tend to get overstated. Rick Neuheisel has been great in front of the podium usually but it hasn't worked out yet at UCLA. I don't think anyone gets wowed by Kirk Ferentz or Frank Beamer in front of the mic, but those guys have been proven winners. I'd give Fickell a pass on that one. I thought he was fine.
Jordan (Lincoln, NE)
Who is going to have the biggest improvement on offense this year?
bruce feldman (2:31 PM)
West Virginia. They ranked 78th in scoring last year. They'll move up at least 70 spots this year.
Who do you think will win the starting job when it's all said and done for Alabama this fall?
bruce feldman (2:32 PM)
I've guess McCarron just because he has a little more experience in the system and with that Oline and Richardson, Saban doesn't need his QB to be Andrew Luck.
bruce feldman (2:33 PM)
Speaking of the Tide, here is this week's mailbag which also includes talk about the Vols, Texas and a few other things:http://insider.espn.go.com/ncf/blog?name=feldman_bruce&id=6699584
Hey Bruce, who wins the SEC west this year and does that team make it to the BCS champ. Game?
bruce feldman (2:34 PM)
I picked Bama and I have them in the BCS title game too.
Richard M. Garcia (Corpus Christi, TX)
Do you think the UNC, Auburn, Oregon, USC level wrongdoing really going on everywhere? Or is that a copout that fans of these places are using to alibi for their schools?
bruce feldman (2:35 PM)
Any place that has some passionate fans is ripe to have some cheating an a scandal. There are always going to be people who get tempted by money. It happens. Even if the NCAA figured out a way to "compensate" athlete-students, it's not going to stop people from cheating.
bruce feldman (2:36 PM)
Anyone who is convinced 'my school or my program would never cheat' isn't being realistic.
If WVU has such a great offense as you suggest, the LSU game is oging to be interesting. Does LSU have the toughest schedule this year?
bruce feldman (2:38 PM)
They might. I think it's as tough as any I've seen..The Tigers face seven teams ranked in the CFLive preseason top 25.
bruce feldman (2:38 PM)
Anyone think of a tougher road than what LSU faces this year?
Will the Big XII's lack of a championship game ever hurt it's BCS championship game chances?
bruce feldman (2:41 PM)
It may, but I doubt it will in the short term. If OU runs the table, which would including winning at FSU, I doubt they'd get overtaken for one of the top two spots given where they figure to open the season in the polls.
Can we get to LSU vs. Oregon all ready! I am tired of hearing about Ohio State's issues.
bruce feldman (2:44 PM)
Agree.. I think all college football fans and coaches and administrators are tired of hearing scandal talk and can't wait for the season to start.
Kyle (University Park, TX)
I think after what happened in the late 1980's, anyone around my program can say that since then, "my school or my program would never cheat"
bruce feldman (2:46 PM)
All it takes is one or two people to make some bad decisions or feel like they won't get caught. It just happens. I'm not saying it is happening there, but at this point nothing would surprise me with ANY college football program.
thomas (los angeles)
colorado's schedule is pretty tough -- 10 conference opponents (9 count as conference games (cal game treated as non-conference game)) and ohio state.
bruce feldman (2:49 PM)
Yeah, there aren't a lot of bad teams on there, but I say at the most there's four/five ranked teams: Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and USC/ASU... LSU has Oregon, at Miss St, at WVU, at Bama, Arkansas.. plus Florida and at Tennessee and the defending BCS champs (Auburn)
Wisconsin and Iowa are mirror images of each other. The Badgers have been ranked top 15 in some of the early polls while Iowa is in the 40s. Both lost about the same talent. Why the disparity?
bruce feldman (2:52 PM)
Iowa lost even more starters than the Badgers did and people like that Wisconsin has two outstanding RBs compared to just one in Coker for Iowa.
Do you think Louisvilles recent sucess in recruiting can help bring the Big East back to what it was?
bruce feldman (2:54 PM)
I'm not sure the Big East in football was ever really on the level of the other power conferences even when Miami and VT were in it. It's gonna take TCU staying at a high level and WVU surging and for Pitt to also get going for the Big east to get closer to the rest of the the other AQs
Can someone please tell Sark that your 1-AA opponent is not supposed to be the defending National Champs. That would help.
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
bruce feldman (2:55 PM)
Three more questions....
Speaking of the BCS CG, you're picking OU over Bama. I still believe in the old adage that defense wins championships. I realize OU is talented but you have to agree that Bama's D as a unit is on a much higher level, right?
bruce feldman (2:57 PM)
I think it is, but OU still has a lot of talent on D and they have a much more proven QB in Landry Jones and a great go-to WR in Ryan Broyles.
reasons why nebraska wins big 10 this year?
bruce feldman (3:02 PM)
The best D in the league and because OSU, Michigan St, Iowa and NW have to go play them in Lincoln this year.
Oregon, BSU, BYU will be playing 3 SEC teams, LSU, UGA, Ole Miss. If the SEC loses those 3 games vs teams out North West will that drop the perception that the SEC is vastly superior then all top to bottom?
bruce feldman (3:05 PM)
No. The league has won five BCS titles in a row. BYU beating what might be the 11th best team in the league isn't going to make a dent in that. That rep wasn't built in one season and it's not going to taken down in a season either.
bruce feldman (3:06 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. If I didn't get to yours, send it to me via Twitter at BFeldmanESPN. Have a good weekend.