Chat with Ivan Maisel
Maisel helped choose ESPN.com choose who or what represents each Division I program in the "Face of the Program" feature, which debuted this week.
Send your questions now and join Maisel in The Show at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Ivan Maisel (2:59 PM)
Hello, everyone. Hope you're enjoying the enormous amount of info we're sending your way on Face of the Program.
Trevor (Yorkshire - England)
Hi Ivan. I'm travelling over to see Penn State - Oregon State in September, and wondered if you could tell me a 'must do' thing in State College other than the game?
Ivan Maisel (3:01 PM)
I don't know if you can get a room at the Nittany Lion Inn at this point, but it would be worth a shot. I would try to eat a meal there. Also, go to the campus creamery (Penn State is an agricultural school) and have some Peachy Paterno ice cream. Then you can say you've been to State College.
Ivan, What do you think of Alabama's opening game agantest Clemson?
Ivan Maisel (3:03 PM)
I think it will be a great scene in the Georgia Dome. I love that Nick Saban has been willing to play big-time non-conference opponents, and I hope that more schools realize the significant benefits of these kind of games. I think Clemson is the better team, and should win, but with those fan bases, the Dome will be rocking.
Isaac ( Tempe, AZ )
Do you think that Arizona St. can beat Georgia or USC and go to the rose bowl?
Ivan Maisel (3:03 PM)
Not this year. ASU lost too much, and both Georgia and USC have too much coming back.
What are going to to be some of the best games in week one?
Ivan Maisel (3:06 PM)
Alabama-Clemson, obviously. Missouri-Illinois should be a great game. It's got the feel of a rivalry game because the two schools share a border, yet it's also got an intersectional feel because they are in different conferences. Not to mention both teams have a lot of talent returning from two very good seasons.
Ivan, let's say LSU splits with Florida and UGA and is back in the SEC title game. Will they get a shot to defend?
Ivan Maisel (3:07 PM)
Ralph, I can't tell you without knowing what everyone else has done. A year ago, if you had asked could LSU win the national championship by losing two conference games at home, I would have said absolutely not. But the Tigers picked the right year to do it.
Isaac ( Tempe, AZ )
Ivan, im just a kid but my family is moving to Pittsburgh and my mom was gonna by me a plane ticket to see the Arizona St - Georgia game since we have season tickets. I was gonna sell the rest of the tickets besides that one and the UCLA game. Do you thing that with selling the rest of the tickets it could get a plane ticket
Ivan Maisel (3:09 PM)
Isaac, I like the way you're thinking. I don't think you'll make enough for a plane ticket, given the way that fuel prices have gone up. But I'll say this: if you show that much interest and effort to sell the rest of your tickets, your mom will be proud of your brain for business. I know I'm impressed.
Who has a better chance at the Heisman if both stay completely healthy, Knowshon Moreno or Percy Harvin? Does it come down to who wins the Cocktail Party?
Ivan Maisel (3:11 PM)
I'd say Moreno. For Harvin to win, he not only has to have a monster year but Tim Tebow would have to not have one. Come to think of it, for Moreno to win, Tebow would have to not have a monster year, too. But my point is that Moreno will be the engine for the Georgia offense, and Harvin is not the engine for the Florida offense.
Stuart (Baton Rouge)
what was with saban being on the lsu face of the program ballot? if the answer is "comedy", it worked (i laughed). if you honestly think that anyone but bama fans would vote saban you should quit your job.
Ivan Maisel (3:12 PM)
Stuart, if a coach wins a national championship and sets the table for his successor to win one, I think he deserves to be in the conversation. I think we can agree that we're both glad you're not my editor.
Dave (Lansing, MI)
Agree with you on Bubba Smith for Face of the Program. Wish we could go back to that era when Michigan State was the most dominant team. Do you think MSU is on its way to at least being relevant nationally again?
Ivan Maisel (3:13 PM)
I do. Someone asked me if I thought Cal-Michigan State should be on the list of top season openers. I have more confidence in the Spartans this season than I do the Bears.
Kendrick (B'ham, AL)
Hey Ivan ... After traveling overseas with Tuberville, did you get any feel for how he thinks the Tigers will be this year? If the spread works, is Auburn one of those teams laying in the weeds for a possible big season?
Ivan Maisel (3:15 PM)
I don't think Auburn is laying in the weeds. I think Auburn is out in the open. That's a very good team. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has an impressive track record, and he had bowl practice and spring practice to begin installing his offense. I like Auburn in the SEC West.
Of Notre Dame and Michigan, who is more likely to improve? Surely, we won't see them both falling on their faces out of the gate will we?
Ivan Maisel (3:17 PM)
I think Notre Dame's season won't be as long as last year's, and Michigan's will be significantly longer. None of Rich Rodriguez's teams have made one-year transitions to his offense. Notre Dame has a lot to prove this season. They were so bad. I hear they are significantly stronger and that spring practice showed some hope.
Kyle DeLand Florida
What about Rutgers Fresno State on Labor Day?
Ivan Maisel (3:18 PM)
Great doubleheader that day: Fresno State at Rutgers followed by Tennessee at UCLA. To tell you the truth, the first one will probably be a more competitive game. Rick Neuheisel has very little offensive depth in his locker room.
Michael (Tulsa, OK)
Ivan, what do the Sooners need to do in 2008 to get back that "Sooner Swagger?" Everyone knows they have talent oozing out of every position. They just seem to have lost that killer instinct.
Ivan Maisel (3:20 PM)
Are you saying they lost the swagger because they got beat in the bowl game? This was a young team that still won the Big 12. I think the Sooners remain the team to beat in the conference, and I have to believe that the coaches have reminded the team of that West Virginia loss for nearly six months now.
Alex (new Rochelle, NY)
Ivan, is this the year Pitt makes some noise in the BE?
Ivan Maisel (3:21 PM)
There's a lot of optimism at Pittsburgh. Dave Wannstedt sees the offensive line coming around, and believes that the o-line will be the foundation of the Panthers' success. I hope so. The Big East could use a contender with tradition. Neither Pitt nor Syracuse has held up its end of the bargain since the league endured its shakeup.
Who will be the starting QB for Cal this year?
Ivan Maisel (3:23 PM)
I know there's a lot of sentiment for Riley, but I have a hard time believing that Longshore will not be the guy when the season starts. I could be wrong. I just know how much coaches love experience.
Duke Football, yes the laughing stock of the NCAA, but what are your thoughts on the Cutcliffe hire? Do you think he can make this program respectable or at least get 2 wins a year?
Ivan Maisel (3:25 PM)
David Cutcliffe has a great track record. I think his firing at Ole Miss may have been the worst coaching decision in college football in the last five years. The hurdles at Duke are enormous. The students don't care, and the recruiting standards are high. But Cutcliffe is a smart guy and a hard worker. I think he can be successful there.
Matt (Grand Rapids)
Ivan, are you telling me I should have a couple extra "pops" at the tailgate before Michigan's opener against Utah?
Ivan Maisel (3:26 PM)
The Utes will be pretty good. But c'mon, you haven't asked anyone's permission for more pops yet. You don't need it from me!
Will the acc get any respect this year? Maybe a team with a shot at the bcs title game?
Ivan Maisel (3:27 PM)
The ACC hasn't earned that kind of respect yet. The league has sputtered for a couple of years. I think it will improve this season. And any team that would run the table in the ACC would have shot at playing in Dolphins Stadium. Clemson starts the season ahead of everyone else.
Should Ohio State even play their schedule this year? They have been told that they are not very good by everyone. Might their time better be served helping out people in Columbus?
Ivan Maisel (3:28 PM)
Maybe flood relief in Iowa. Seriously, Ohio State is bearing the brunt of its two championship game losses, but the Buckeyes will get a huge boost, win or lose, from playing USC. Either way, the computers and the fans will show Ohio State newfound respect.
This was a great idea but your pick for Purdue is horrid. Keyes was a great player but is rarely talked about around town and our nickname is the "Cradle of Quarterbacks." It's between Griese and Brees and you can pick which ever you like. Brees has his name on the street that runs next to the stadium, maybe that is the tie breaker.
Ivan Maisel (3:31 PM)
I liked picking Keyes because he (and every other back of the time) played in the shadow of O.J. Simpson. The more I read about Keyes, the more I was amazed at how good he was. I didn't have room to talk about his stardom as a two-way player, and there's a very short list of stars who have finished in the top three of the Heisman vote twice.
First of all, major kudos on the podcasts this year. It's Gameday for smart people. Second, what's the funniest Tuberville-meets-a-soldier anecdote you have from the recent Coaches Of Arabia trip?
Ivan Maisel (3:34 PM)
I couldn't get over how he and Richt both would sign "Go Gators!" or any other SEC slogan on the posters and shirts they gave away. Whatever made those airmen and seamen happy, that's what the coaches wanted to do. I do recall one moment late in the flag football game after the "SEC" team took a 14-6 lead. Tuberville's defense stopped the ACC team, and Mark Richt turned to Tub and said, "That was the greatest defensive call in the history of college football!" Man, they were having fun.
Steve (South Bend)
Ivan, on paper the Irish will improve but if they don't, you have to think a 6 win season or less gets Weis fired, large contract or not, right?
Ivan Maisel (3:36 PM)
I don't think Charlie gets fired this year. That would just compound ND's issues. Don't forget a 6-6 season doubles the number of victories from last season. Why would that get a guy fired?
Jeff (Ann Arbor, MI)
Ivan, fans of a certain school down the road keep telling me that Rich Rod is our John L. Smith. Can you tell them to shut up?
Ivan Maisel (3:37 PM)
John L. may have been successful before he arrived at Michigan State but he won in a less competitive league than Rodriguez won, and he didn't win as much in that less competitive league as Rodriguez won at WVU. I don't buy the comparison.
Pat White is going to be a senior and has never been to NYC for the Heisman. Will that change this season?
Ivan Maisel (3:38 PM)
It depends on how much WVU asks him to throw the ball this season and how successful he is at doing so. All I know is if I'm a defensive coordinator and Pat White has the ball in his hands, I want to see him throw it, not run it.
How exciting will it be to finally see Tennessee move the ball around a stacked receiving core and its bevy of shify tailbacks this season? This team reminds me a lot of '98.
Ivan Maisel (3:40 PM)
I am real curious about how the Vols do in Dave Clawson's offense. Jonathan Crompton is a good quarterback, and they do have some experience. I think Tennessee is a wild card in the SEC East. It seems like all anyone wants to talk about is Florida or Georgia.
If Tiger Woods were a CF program, would he be USC? And would John Daly be LSU?
Ivan Maisel (3:41 PM)
Never describe a Stanford alum as being USC. Under any circumstances. But the Daly/LSU comparison is making me laugh.
How would you set the odds for Tebow winning rhe Heisman? 2:5??
Ivan Maisel (3:43 PM)
No way. They are much higher. He's the favorite, but take into consideration how much attention he will get from defenses, and how every quarterback, especially one who handles the ball so much, is one play away from having his season end.
Alex (San Diego, CA)
Ivan, are you still as shocked as me that a Michigan man isn't coaching the Wolverines? I mean that is a pretty big deal I think.
Ivan Maisel (3:44 PM)
Bo wasn't a Michigan man, Alex, until he got there. In fact, Bo got his master's degree at Ohio State.
Ivan Maisel (3:45 PM)
Hey, thanks for the chat. I've got a story to finish for the last day of Faces. We'll talk to you soon.
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