For pecan praline crunch, lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In small pan, mix sugar and the water. Cook over medium heat stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to boiling. Reduce heat. Without stirring, boil gently uncovered about 7 minutes or til mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat; stir in pecans. Quickly pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Cool for 30 minutes. Break or chop praline into small pieces. Set aside.
In very large bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Add bread pieces, stir to moisten evenly. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 3 quart rectangular baking dish. Transfer bread mixture to the prepared baking dish; Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or til golden brown and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.
Serve warm bread pudding with scoops of ice cream. Sprinkle with pecan praline crunch. Makes 12 to 16 servings.