Senior College Football Columnist

Mailbag: Impact of Petrino firing, Lynch's next move?

Here is this week's mailbag. If you have questions, send them to me via Twitter at BFeldmanCBS.

From @drewmoreno: How do you see Petrino firing changing the outlook in the SEC West both on field and in recruiting? Specifically for A&M?

According to the experts in Vegas, Petrino's messy exit hasn't changed things much. The Hogs are still at 15-1 or they were according to Covers.com. Then, Friday morning Bovada moved them from 15-1 to 18-1. I think it does make a significant difference for Arkansas. He was an excellent offensive coach and game planner. He's gone now. Who knows who will take over? Will it be a first-time head coach? If so, there are really going to be growing pains for a guy learning on the job in the toughest division in football.

It's already impacted recruiting with some kids who were high on Arkansas but have soured in the past 10 days. We have to see who ends up with the job though. There is still a long way to go till February.

In the wake of Jim Tressel getting canned at Ohio State, things looked bleak for the Buckeyes in recruiting. But when Urban Meyer was hired, he infused so much energy and they closed fast. Still, other schools, especially Michigan, benefitted by the recruiting headstart and momentum it gained by OSU being in limbo. A&M certainly coud get a boost. We'll see just how big of an impact in recruiting this has.

I've heard that Arkansas would like to make a decision by the end of next week. If it's an interim guy staying on, I suspect that will hurt more in recruiting because it'll be perceived that the program is in limbo status.

From @Sportscrack: where will Aaron Lynch transfer to?

He has said he wants to go back to Florida, where he's from. My hunch is it'll come down to Florida, FSU, Miami and USF. Don't dismiss the Bulls. I've heard from a source down in Florida, they have a good shot to land him. They all will be interested. Whoever gets him will get a great talent. He is exactly the kind of player the Irish had been lacking over the past 15 years on its defense. With the possible exception of Manti Te'o, Lynch is the most gifted defender the Irish had. ND had desperately been missing real "difference-makers" on that side of the ball. It's the biggest reason why the Irish haven't been able to get near being a Top 5 team in a very long time.

Lynch had an impressive first season at ND and was expected to really blossom over the next two seasons. The agile 6-6, 270-pounder led the team in sacks as a true freshman. He could be dominant. I wouldn't at all be surprised if he ends up as a Top 10 overall pick. It had been reported that Brian Kelly wouldn't commit to an unconditional release for Lynch.

On Friday night, I was told by a source that Notre Dame is NOT releasing Lynch to Florida, FSU or Miami, and that USF was the favorite to land the talented DE. It is worth noting that Lynch can still appeal that decision, and as we've seen with Danny O'Brien and DeAnthony Arnett cases, these types of things can really become publicity grease fires when a program blocks a player's transfer options. ND could say it doesn't want Lynch to go play for some opponent on their future schedule, but keep in mind, the Irish just accepted a transfer (Amir Carlisle) from a program that is their arch-rival (USC).

From @hausoian: who is one player/coach we will be talking about a lot this time next year but was an unknown in 2011?

So many players were hyped as recruits and there is so much attention paid to recruiting and we have so many games on TV, it's hard to call almost any impact player an "unknown." LSU QB Zach Mettenberger may have a big impact on the national title race but I wouldn't call him an unknown. Are former JC transfers Jesse Williams, a 325-pound D-lineman, or DB Deion Belue deemed under-the-radar enough? They might fit as names more people need to remember. Xzavier Dickson is another guy at Bama I expect to emerge in a big way in 2012. But he was a former blue-chipper.

I'll go with Houston QB David Piland, who takes over for Case Keenum. (Piland is an out-going 6-3 sophomore who played a lot in 2010 due to injuries to UH's top two QBs. But is not someone I've seen many people talk or write about.) When I ran into Keenum at the Combine, he told me that Piland will break his records. Given how prolific Keenum was, that is really saying something.

From @blwc1234: Why does everyone in college football (outside of TOSU fans) seemingly already dislike Urban and his Buckeyes?

First, it's because he has won big. The guy won two BCS titles. It's rare to find any top college football head coach who the rest of the country doesn't seem to be annoyed with. Nick Saban? Bob Stoops? Les Miles? Before he was canned, you could've put Jim Tressel in there too. I guess you could say Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen or Frank Beamer, but those guys haven't won BCS titles either and people haven't heard all that much from them.

Meyer has been outspoken. He has made a lot of comments that have inflamed things in retrospect. A lot of people see him as a hyprocrite. His "top one percent of one percent" comment is something so many people have pointed to whenever the 30 arrests thing is referenced. His 180s about wanting to spend more time with his family, etc and those comments to the New York Times right after it's announced he's stepping down, and then the next day, he talks about how they had a good practice and he's back. Then after he left UF he talked about what a sewer college football has become, yet when he comes back it seems like he's in the middle of it all. The Sporting News story, which had a lot of detail in specific things that people find hypocritical for someone who has said many of things Meyer has brought up over the years.

From @chuck baragray: do you agree with McShay that Tannehill is better than Barkley?

No. Although I'm not sure that McShay actually said he'd be "better" than Barkley. He said he had better "tools," which I suspect the NFL draft analyst is saying means Tannehill has a stronger arm and more foot speed. If it's just in those terms, I could see that. But so much of playing quarterback is mental and so a guy's head--his decision-making, competitiveness, leadership, poise--all need to be considered among his tool kit. If you talk to guys who work in the business for teams, they'll say it does. Peyton Manning's head is his best attribute as a QB. Manning's arm isn't as strong as Ryan Mallett or Jamarcus Russell. He doesn't move as well as either guy, but he has way better tools because, in large part, his mind, and that's why the guy is going to be a Hall of Famer.

I'm not saying Tannehill won't be a good QB in the NFL down the road. I could see it. As I said early last fall, he has a lot of ability. He does have a quick release and good athleticism and is a hard worker, but if he goes in the top five, he's a major gamble just because he hasn't played that much QB in college and didn't face many good defenses. And when he did face some talent on D, he was often shaky. Cam Newton obviously didn't play a ton of major college games either, but he shredded some outstanding college defenses.
 
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