Chat with Mark Schlabach
Schlabach joined ESPN.com in July 2006 as a college football and basketball columnist. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Mark spent nine years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering Georgia and the SEC, as well as the NFL and NASCAR. Before joining ESPN, Schlabach spent two years at the Washington Post covering college football and basketball, and boxing.
Send your questions now and join Schlabach in The Show at 2 p.m. ET on Monday.
Buzzmaster (1:58 PM)
Mark will be here soon!
Mark Schlabach (2:01 PM)
Thanks for joining us, I am sure everyone is excited about a great upcoming weekend.
Hey Mark, Was Bama's 17-14 squeaker a low Tide or is the UK D that good?
Mark Schlabach (2:03 PM)
I do not think there is any question Alabama suffered a let down after beating Georgia so bad, but I also think UK's D will cause plenty of problems for people the rest of the season.
Art (South Bend, IN)
What should we look for in the ND-UNC game this weekend? UNC seems to be relying an awful lot on punt blocks and interceptions. Do you see them picking off Clausen like that? Any predictions for the outcome?
Mark Schlabach (2:05 PM)
The Heels have done a great job without TJ Yates, beating Miami and UConn with backup Sexton. I'm sure the Irish will do a better jon of blocking Bruce Carter. UNC's D is very, very good and the Irish have not played as well away from home.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Is Vandy a true SEC East contender, or will they have trouble with GA and FL?
Mark Schlabach (2:07 PM)
I do not think you can take anything away from Vandy. They have a very opportunistic defense and have been just good enough on offense. Their lack of depth would concern me down the stretch, but they had Georgia beat last year and have played Florida as tough as anyone in the SEC over the last few seasons.
JERRY (PARTS UNKNOWN)
TIGERS OR GATORS?
Mark Schlabach (2:09 PM)
I'll be there and I think it will be a great ball game. Florida's running game still concerns me even though it was better against Arkansas. Jarrett Lee will be playing in a tough environment on the road. I would think LSU would win because of its defense, but I would not be surprised to see the Gators steal one at home.
can penn state win the big ten and compete for the national title
Mark Schlabach (2:11 PM)
They keep surprising me each week, great road win at Purdue. We will find out the next three weeks when they play at Wisconsin, at home against Michigan and at Ohio State. Half way through the season I think Penn state is the most impressive Big Ten team.
Is Sam Bradford a better QB than Colt McCoy, or any other QB for that matter?
Mark Schlabach (2:12 PM)
Bradofrd has been a little more accurate, but McCoy brings a little more with his legs. I do not think you can go wrong with any of the Big 12 QBs. But Chase Daniel is playing better than anyone.
After getting waxed by Mizzou, should my Huskers expect more of the same in Lubbock?
Mark Schlabach (2:14 PM)
Their holes on D really cocerned me, when they played Va. Tech a few weeks ago. Bo Pelini is not going to fix the D overnight and I am not sure we will se much improvement until he gets the right personnel in there. I would expect Herrell and Crabtree to do much of the same.
Rick (Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico)
Big12 or SEC? Which is the stronger conference this year?
Mark Schlabach (2:16 PM)
Those are the top two conferences in the country, without a doubt. It really depends on whether you prefer offense or defense. Big 12 teams are scoring a ton of points but most are also giving up points. SEC teams are struggling to score but not allowing many points. I think the SEC is a little bit deeper, when you look at how Baylor, Texas A&M and Kansas State have struggled.
Ty (Frisco, Texas)
What do you think of Texas Tech's dominant performance over Kansas State this weekend?
Mark Schlabach (2:18 PM)
It was not too surprising after the way K-State's defense struggled against La. Lafayette. But I did think Harrell turned it up a notch last week. Tech is getting ready to face the meat of its schedule and he needs to be ready to go.
I understand that Tulsa is in a very weak conference, but what else do we have to do to get into the top 25. I guess we will have to pound SMU this week by 100!
Mark Schlabach (2:20 PM)
David Johnson has played very, very well. It is amazing how well the offense has played under Todd Graham. Conference USA is not great, but I would not be surprised to see Tulsa unbeaten at the end of the season.
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
As a Mizzou fan should I be worried about Ok State? Sure their offense is great, b their defense gave up more points to A&M than Army did.
Mark Schlabach (2:23 PM)
You should be a little concerned since your CBs have not been tested since the Illinois game. If they do not play better than they played against Juice Williams, Ok. State will put some points on the board.
Nate (Provo UT)
What does the BYU program need to do to become a national title contender in the future?
Mark Schlabach (2:26 PM)
Finish unbeaten, win every game impressively and hope no team from the Big 12 or Big 10 or SEC finishes unbeaten. I just do not think right now BYU's schedule is tough enough to earn a BCS title bid. I think they are one of the most consistent programs in the countries, but the disadvantage is playing in the Mountain West, despite some of the league's impressive wins this year.
Shawn ( Gaithersburg MD)
Mark, Is Pitt finally in the driver's seat to win the Big East?
Mark Schlabach (2:27 PM)
They took a big step in that direction last Thursday. They are obvilusly a mucyh better team when McCoy is running the ball well, and they seem to finally have gotten over the loss to Bowling Green. I would not be surprised to see the Pitt-WVU winner, win the Big East.
Rob (New Orleans)
Mark, you have Oklahoma vs LSU in the NC. Do you see both going undefeated, or just those 2 surviving?
Mark Schlabach (2:28 PM)
I would be surprised to see a team from either the Big 12 or SEC finish unbeaten this season. I like LSU because they get Alabama at home, and Oklahoma gets Texas Tech at home. But I would be surprised if either remain unbeaten.
Do the Noles have enough to sneak in and win the ACC? If Clemson beats Wake and the 3 tie with 1 loss who gets the nod (highest ranked team)?
Mark Schlabach (2:31 PM)
I think it is shocking how much FSU has improved over the last few weeks. The defense is playing really well and Antone Smith is giving them a pounding running game. Smith's production has really taken the pressure off the passing game. Wake would still have to lsoe twice for FSU to win the division, but anything is possible.
Blair - Michigan
Mark...Michigan's lack of execution on both sides of the ball Saturday was beyond maddening. How is is that a team can look improved one minute and then fall apart the next? The defensive miscues in the second half were inexcusable.
Mark Schlabach (2:32 PM)
Regardless of the come from behind win over Wiosconsin, they are going to have their growing pains in Rodriguez's first season. I think reaching a bowl game would have been a major achievement and the upset of Wisconsin should be considered a bonus.
Mark Schlabach (2:33 PM)
I hope everyone enjoys the big games this weekend, and we'll chat again next week.
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