Chat with Mark Schlabach
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, college football reporter Mark Schlabach stops by to chat about the season.
Schlabach joined ESPN.com in July 2006 as a college football and basketball columnist. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Schlabach 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 to chat Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:59 PM)
Mark is running a bit behind. He'll be here at 1:15 p.m. ET to start taking your questions!
Buzzmaster (1:27 PM)
Mark is here!
Mark Schlabach (1:27 PM)
Sorry for the delay. I'm sure everybody is excited for the start of the season and for the games to begin.
the Suits at the Big Ten are talking about putting Ohio State and Michigan in different divisions, which will likely mean "The Game" will not be on the last day of the schedule. This is a travesty IMO. Your thoughts?
Mark Schlabach (1:28 PM)
The Big Ten's biggest mistake would be to mess with tradition. The Game needs to be played on its annual date, even if there is a rematch in the Big Ten championship.
Will Jake Locker do any of the 3 this year?Win Heisman,All American, go to a bowl?
Mark Schlabach (1:28 PM)
Go to a bowl.
Mark Schlabach (1:29 PM)
Could be an All-American. Won't win the Heisman, but could still be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Are we looking at the 1st loss for Boise State in the opening game Verses Virginia Tech
Mark Schlabach (1:30 PM)
I'm picking Virginia Tech to win. It's a home game for the Hokies and a long road trip for Boise State. I think with Evans and Williams Virginia Tech's offense will control the clock and be too physical for Boise State.
Is the NCAA inquiry into Tennessee as serious it sounds? As if the Vols weren't in a huge hole already (on the field) now they have this black cloud. How does this play out?
Mark Schlabach (1:30 PM)
Yes, it's legit. The NCAA is looking into the alleged recruiting violations under Lane Kiffin's watch.
Alex (Corvallis, OR)
Which team does Oregon State have the best chance at beating; TCU or Boise State?
Mark Schlabach (1:31 PM)
Probably TCU, because it's a neutral site game. Opponents rarely beat the Broncos on the blue turf.
Max (Ocala Fl.. will be in Tally on saturday!)
As a member of seminole nation, tell me what we can expect from the new zone defense that Mark Stoops brought to Tallahassee?
Mark Schlabach (1:32 PM)
Less confusion for the Noles and more confusion for the opponents. I think Stoops will upgrade the defense, but it's probably going to be a year or two before you see big improvements because of personnel.
Masoli takes what percentage of snaps this year at Ole Miss?
Mark Schlabach (1:32 PM)
Every one after the first series of the first game. Houston Nutt didn't bring him there to be a backup.
John (Norcross, GA)
UGA and Richt have underachieved after their one shining moment dancing in the endzone against the Gators. Can Richt live up to the, "he's not on the hot seat" hype?
Mark Schlabach (1:33 PM)
I don't think he'll be on the hot seat, unless he has a bad year this season. If Georgia turns the ball over less and creates more turnovers on defense, I think they could win 9-10 games.
Matt (Spokane, WA)
Lane Kiffin's tenure at USC isn't playing out quite like he planned it, is it?!?
Mark Schlabach (1:34 PM)
I think in Kiffin's defense, he inherited an awful situation. USC will be competitive the next two years, but won't be very good when their scholarship losses are felt 3-4 years down the road.
Brad (Crossville, TN)
What is your take on Alabama's defense? I have heard some good things and some bad about them so far. Talented but young is the majority of it. Will they step up and defend the title or will they have a few stumbles along the way?
Mark Schlabach (1:35 PM)
Replacing 9 defensive starters is extremely difficult, even if you're Alabama. Bringing back Hightower certainly helps, but the secondary is very young and might give up some big plays early.
True or False: BYU would benefit by going indenpendent.
Mark Schlabach (1:36 PM)
False. I think BYU, Boise State, TCU would each have a BCS claim if they can win the conference after Boise State comes aboard.
Can Rutgers win the Big East with Sanu,Martinek, and Savage
Mark Schlabach (1:38 PM)
I think the Big East race is wide open. I could see Cincinnati, UConn, Pitt, WVU or Rutgers winning the league. I think Tom Savage can become a big time QB, but Rutgers needs to get back the momentum they lost a couple of years ago.
Andy (Charlotte, NC)
Heather Dinich predicts that neither Ryan Williams or Darren Evans go over the 1,000 yard mark this year. Please inform her that she is insane.
Mark Schlabach (1:39 PM)
Dinich and I often disagree on a lot of subjects. Ryan Williams will run for more than 1,000 yards and will continue to get the bulk of carries. Evans will get his fair share of carries, but Williams will continue to be the work horse.
Nate (Orange Park, FL)
Mark, I saw that you picked Nebraska to win the Big 12. Do you think they will have a chance to get to the NC game?
Mark Schlabach (1:40 PM)
I would put them among 6-7 BCS contenders. The QB position is still worrisome, but I think they will be able to run the ball and continue to play great defense.
You have Boise losing to VaTech and project them in the Rose Bowl. You really think winning only one of their two supposed "real" games is enough to get in the Rose Bowl?
Mark Schlabach (1:41 PM)
I think a 11-1 record definitely puts them in the argument as an automatic qualifier. A close loss to VT wouldn't completely wipe them out of the discussion.
Tim (Jax, Fla)
Mark, worried about my Gators. We lost 65% of our offense, 55% of our defense, lost Strong, lost Tebow, lost Hernandez, lose Cooper. Get Bama & LSU. Should I be worried?
Mark Schlabach (1:42 PM)
I'm not as comfortable about the Gators' losses as others. I think Brantley will do great, but Florida has to have young players step up at receiver and across the defense. I'm also not sure about their short yardage running game without Tebow.
Harder game for the Gators, FSU or Cocktail Party?
Mark Schlabach (1:43 PM)
I think both could potentially be tough games. Florida State could be more difficult at the end of the season if FSU's defense improves. That game is in Tallahassee. I think Georgia might be good enough to beat Florida, but the Gators have owned that series the last 20 years.
Will this year's national championship game have two unbeaten teams playing in it?
Mark Schlabach (1:44 PM)
My guess would be no. I don't see an SEC team finishing undefeating. I think it will be difficult for a Big Ten team to finish undefeated. I think we might have two one-loss teams in the championship game.
Everyone is picking the Aggies to be a 'darkhorse' in the Big 12 Are you drinking the Texas A&M cool-aid Mark?
Mark Schlabach (1:45 PM)
I'm drinking the A+M kool-aid on offense. I think the defense will be better under DeRuyter, but they have a ways to get better.
Matt (Shreveport, LA)
What are your two underrated teams and two overrated teams in top 25?
Mark Schlabach (1:47 PM)
Underrated, Oklahoma, Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oregon State. Overrated: Georgia Tech, North Carolina, USC, LSU.
If the Gamecocks have another dissapointing year, will this be the final time we see the Ol' Ball coach?
Mark Schlabach (1:48 PM)
I think Spurrier's running out of patience. The NCAA problems only exasperate his frustrations. I thought he was going to hang it up last year.
Andy (Charlotte, NC)
Which ACCCG scenario would be better for the ACC? Miami vs. FSU with a decent crowd or 2 teams that are geographically closer, with a full sell out ( VT v. Clemson, UNC v. NC State, etc)
Mark Schlabach (1:49 PM)
I think John Swafford would take either of those scenarios compared to what he's had. I think Miami-FSU not only sells tickets, but also creates a national bowl significance.
Ray (Tuscaloosa, Aalabama)
Mark, good stuff, concerned about Coach Saban's consistency over the years. He's only had 4, top 10 finishes, as a head coach, rarely follows a great season well. Why has he been so inconsistent?
Mark Schlabach (1:49 PM)
His championship teams were senior laden. Only one team in the last 20 years has repeated as national champions.
FSU chances v OU? 1) Win 2) Loss, but competitve 3) Loss, still have ways to go....
Mark Schlabach (1:50 PM)
I would like FSU's chances if that game were later in the season. That's a very tough road game in only the second week of the Jimbo Fisher regime.
Frank (Los Angeles)
With UCLA's recent recruiting success, do you think they have what it takes to narrow the gap with USC??
Mark Schlabach (1:51 PM)
If they don't close the gap this year, they'll probably close it in the next few years. They've recruited well.
Which team has the better chance of winning its conference???Penn St. or Stanford????
Mark Schlabach (1:52 PM)
Stanford. Penn State has uncertainty at QB. Stanford brings back Andrew Luck, one of the best QBs in the country. I think Stanford is a darkhorse to win the Pac-10.
Your prediction on the ESPN opener Southern Miss at South Carolina? Does the rain from Hurricane Earl play a heavy factor for both these pass heavy offenses?
Mark Schlabach (1:53 PM)
I think rain could be a factor, but I think the NCAA investigation into SC players living in a hotel might have more of an impact. I kind of liked Southern Miss' chances before those issues came up at SC.
Tucker (Tallahassee, Fla)
In your new book, Bowden says Richt wasn't reason for his success. But success conincides eerily with Richt's arrival & departure. Not good before of after Richt. Thoughts?
Mark Schlabach (1:54 PM)
I think coach Bowden knows Mark Richt played a big role in his success. Obviously coach Bowden's son Jeff replaced Richt, so it's difficult for him to talk about either coaches.
Why is Michigan State getting a lot of hype? I think they are an average team with a weak schedule
Mark Schlabach (1:55 PM)
I think schedule has a lot to do with MSU's loft expectations. But Mark D'Antonio is a good coach and the Spartans are good enough to finish 4-5 in the Big Ten.
Mark Schlabach (1:56 PM)
Thanks for joining the chat. Sorry I was late. I promise to do my time the rest of the season. Enjoy the games. I'm sure everyone can't wait for the season to start.
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