Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel stops by to chat football.
Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. In addition to covering college football for the site, he contributes to ESPN's SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio and ESPN The Magazine. He also contributes to ESPN.com's golf coverage.
Send your questions now and join Maisel Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ivan Maisel (2:00 PM)
Hi, everyone. I'm sitting on my patio, locked out of my house. But the wireless is working and it's a nice day, so we're having class outside. Here we go....
Holland (Kansas City)
What will it take from Oklahoma to convince you they belong at #1?
Ivan Maisel (2:02 PM)
Playing against Missouri the way they played against Florida State and Iowa State. The Sooners' young players are maturing rapidly. And just in time.
Will (Salt Lake)
If Boise royally slips up and loses to Nevada, Hawaii or Fresno what are the odds that the Mountain West could have two teams in BCS bowls (like a 1 loss Utah or TCU being the second team)?
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
It's all relative, Will. It's mid-October, and none of us knows what everyone else is going to do. It's hard to imagine that the loser of TCU at Utah will be attractive as a BCS team, if only because the Fiesta Bowl took TCU last year and has had Boise twice in four years. The Sugar just had Utah. The geographic desirability has to be considered.
Ivan, thinking about making the trek to Salt Lake City for the TCU v. Utah game (21 hour drive)...worth it? What's the gameday experience like there?
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
I saw one game at Utah, the 2004 Holy War against BYU. That place was rocking. And if nothing else, you can see the Olympic torch in person. That's very cool. I say make the trip.
Who has the toughest remaining schedule of the unbeatens? Listening to SVP right now, and they argued between Auburn and LSU, with Auburn winning because they have to go to Alabama whereas LSU gets Alabama at home. But I think LSU battles Arkansas which makes it tougher. I think LSU has the toughest remaining schedule. Thoughts?
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
I agree with you. LSU has yet to play the other three. Although I'll say this: Alabama has Mississippi State coming into Tuscaloosa, and that's not a team anyone in the SEC is taking lightly any longer.
Schlabach, in the BCS chat, mentioned that the "Pac-10 is mediocre". The Pac-10 was almost universally lauded on this site for a pretty amazing run in the early non-conference slate. Now that they're cannibalizing each other, the whole conference is mediocre? Sounds pretty SEC-like, where the conference play creates all the losses, not the non-conf. What's your take?
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
I disagree with Mr. Schlabach. There's a shocking statement. The Pac-10 may be a whole bunch of 8-4, as I said the other day, but I don't think that's a dismissal. I think the league is very good this year.
Are we ever going to revisit the computers used in the BCS? Some of the models being used are not very good. Can we at least look at margin of victory?
Ivan Maisel (2:09 PM)
Don't get me started. I think the computer ratings do the game a disservice. I think the BCS commissioners should do what the NCAA does with EVERY OTHER SPORT. Appoint a committee to pick the teams for the postseason. Take some responsibility.
Larry (Las Vegas)
With all the blame to pass around after Nebraska's poor performance against Texas, it seems to me that Taylor Martinez deserves the least. Why is everyone so down on him when he had no support from the OL or WR's and the defense stunk it up and even the coaches perfromed below standards?
Ivan Maisel (2:10 PM)
I think we will hear from Mr. Martinez again very soon. Agreed.
Doesn't the Rose Bowl have to take the non-BCS team this year if Oregon or the Big Ten champs are in the title game?
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
Yes. That is correct. Makes it interesting. If one or both slip, do we see a Boise State-Oregon rematch?
Love margin of victory in the computers, and I think the computers do a better job not being biased than the humans, which is what we all want. Put margin of victory back into their formulas, and then give them a 50-50 split with the humans. Don't you agree that the humans are more susceptible to bias than computers?
Ivan Maisel (2:12 PM)
I don't want to dump on the computers based on this week. They get smarter every week because they get more data every week. What I hope doesn't happen is that voters change their minds based on what they see in the BCS rating. "Oh, maybe I had Oklahoma too low." Then the ratings, without a lot of data, become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Ivan Maisel (2:12 PM)
Man, this system is weird.
Doesn't Boise State deserve a shot at the NCG if they go undefeated in 2 seasons? Regardless of whether OU, Oregon, LSU/Auburn go undefeated
Ivan Maisel (2:14 PM)
Last season shouldn't matter. But if it makes the voters take them more seriously, I wouldn't be upset.
If Utah were in the PAC10 this season, would they be ranked higher?
Ivan Maisel (2:15 PM)
Probably so. They would have played a tougher schedule. It will be interesting to see what kind of boost the Utes get if they beat TCU and then play Notre Dame on national TV.
What's your take on this pro-BSU Championship Game agrument: BSU's schedule was well known before the year began and yet they were ranked behind only Alabama and Ohio State. Since both of these teams have lost, BSU should be #1 based on the rankings established at the beginning....
Ivan Maisel (2:16 PM)
I would hope that any voter, or any sentient human being, would take what they've seen in the first seven weeks and apply it to their assessment. It's not "next man up."
JL (Warrenton, VA)
You and Nick of Albuquerque make good points about the computer input to the BCS, but let me ask you; is it or how could it be more ridiculous than the human input from say the coaches' poll? Of all the problems with the BCS ratings, it seems obvious that the reliance on human input and polling is still one of the main problems.
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
The coaches poll is like using dial-up. They eventually get the signal. It just takes an extra week.
What do you make of USC's dominant performance last weekend? Is USC finally turning a corner now, especially defensively?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
I think a young USC team is maturing, and I think Cal has a disturbing tendency to cave the minute things start to go wrong. We'll find out about the Trojans a week from Saturday when Oregon comes to the Coliseum.
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
I've gotten several questions asking why I keep answering John from Kentucky. First of all, there may be more than one John in the state of Kentucky. Second, I don't always read who sends in the question.
Chris (Charlotte, NC)
How is USC factored into the BCS? They can't be ranked in the SID Poll so how does that affect it and all the teams they play?
Ivan Maisel (2:20 PM)
They are assumed to be factored in by the voters. The computer guys all include USC in their calculations, and then the BCS removes them and moves everybody behind them up one slot.
Mike (Lansing, Mi)
Yes sure and that commitee being made up of you sports writers right ? The Computers are better than you sports writers believe me. They don't care who is number one
Ivan Maisel (2:21 PM)
This may come as a surprise, Mike, but I'm going to disagree with you on that one.
I see the computers as pretty poor Oregon at #8! I hope they get a chance to play for NC if they win out. If you get a chance to watch that offence you'll see why they are special. I know non confrence opponents have a lot to do with it, but Oregon keeps having teams cancel on them(K-State, Georgia). They had to schedule a FCS school this year because of a late cancelation. Why are the computers have Oregon so low? Curious if you have seen Oregon in person this year Ivan?
Ivan Maisel (2:22 PM)
Greg, c'mon. New Mexico may be the worst team in the sport. Tennessee is struggling. Portland State is FCS. Washington State is the worst team in the Pac-10. Having looked at that, the Ducks are lucky to be eighth in the computers.
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
I love sarcasm.
Bryan (Loretto, TN)
Who are your top candidates for Coach of the Year at this point in the season?
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
Do we include Dantonio? I think we do. There's usually an element of surprise in Coach of the Year voting, of exceeding expectations. So I put Gene Chizik in there. And at this point, the rest of the top-10 coaches. I tell you who else is doing a really good job is Rich Ellerson at Army. They are 4-3, which they haven't been in 14 years.
Just wanted to let you know that your article on the Texas-Nebraska game and all of the background was the best I read this week. Completely summarized all the angles.
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
Thanks. The Big Red people did not care for my hyperbolic assessment of the game. They questioned my parentage, intelligence, etc.
Ivan, you're pretty opinionated for someone who can't get in their own house...What? You said you loved sarcasm.
Ivan Maisel (2:27 PM)
You know, I didn't have my house keys when I left, and I thought, oh, someone will be home. Got that one wrong.
What do you think Iowa's chances for a title game berth are if they runn the table. Will a one loss bama or oregon knock the Hawks out?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
I am stunned that Iowa is only rated 15th. With Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State coming to Kinnick Stadium, the Big Ten still tilts toward the Hawkeyes. But a lot is going to have to happen for Iowa to make the championship game.
If Auburn ends up undefeated AGAIN in the toughest conference and doesn't make it to the NCG I may give up on CFB altogether. Thoughts on this possibility?
Ivan Maisel (2:29 PM)
It's possible. But it's mid-October. There are loads of possible out there. If Auburn beats LSU and wins at Alabama, they should rise. But again, we don't know what everyone will have done.
When Auburn or LSU wins this weekend, who will they jump in the polls, and since they're #2 and #3 in the computer, will the winner move up to #1?
Ivan Maisel (2:32 PM)
I'm not smart enough to know what that will do to the computers. A lot of you have asked who I think will win. I've thought LSU all week, and now I'm beginning to change my mind. It will come down to the LSU defense being able to clamp down Auburn in a way that no one else has. I think LSU is capable. But the home field....and how does anyone predict what LSU is going to do? Seriously.
Joey (South Carolina)
Do you think that Ohio State is out of the national title picture? Also do you think Terrelle Pryor is out of the heisman race?Thanks.
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
I think Ohio State is out of the national championship race because they don't play anyone rated above them. Maybe if Iowa gets hot and rises up in the BCS after beating Wisconsin and Michigan State, the Buckeyes will have a platform in the Iowa game. But not playing the Spartans hurts Ohio State's chances.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
What is the "Game to watch" this weekend???
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
I think it's LSU at Auburn, if you force me to pick one. But I've already seen Auburn, and Forde hasn't, so I'm happy to see Oklahoma play Mixxou.
What is going on in Gainesville? Not only have the Gators lost 3 in a row (something not even Zook did), today we learn the Urban Meyer is allowing Chris Rainey to return to the team!
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
I have learned, in these deals, that the coaches always know way more about the situation than those of us on the outside. The smart coaches explain their actions. I haven't heard Meyer explain, if he has, and he strikes me as someone who's too stubborn to explain, anyway. On the face of it, though, reinstating Rainey does not look good.
Joey (South Carolina)
Do you think Terrelle Pryor can still win the heisman?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
Oh, I didn't answer that in the last Buckeye question. I doubt it. The Heisman seems to be more tethered than ever to the BCS race (see last season). I love that the voters are more responsive than they used to be to what players actually do. But Tebow winning on a four-loss team in 2007 is unusual.
Who are your Heisman Top 3?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
Moore, Newton, Luck
Who is the most overrated QB in the PAC 10? Jake Locker?
Ivan Maisel (2:39 PM)
You need to stay up later, Jared. Locker had a great game last Saturday night in the double-overtime win over Oregon State.
Can my Bobcats win out and take the MAC East?
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
I'm a big Frank Solich admirer. He can coach.
Who do you see winning the SEC East this season?
Ivan Maisel (2:41 PM)
South Carolina has beaten Georgia and Florida and has a one-game lead in the loss column over Kentucky. I'd say the Gamecocks are still in position A.
Chris (Pasadena (via Reno))
On the subject of Pac 10 QB's, is Barkley showing why he was the number one recruit in the country a couple of years ago? I'd argue he's at least on par with Luck in the conference.
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
Barkley is having a great year. And I'm surprised that he has gotten as little national attention as he has. But if keeps producing 30-something points a game, he'll show up in all the Heisman hype.
um, Florida hasn't played South Carolina yet.
Ivan Maisel (2:44 PM)
Sorry, brain cramp. I was thinking about Spurrier beating someone he never beats. But it was Alabama. Duh. Still, having only two losses when everyone else but Vandy has three is a pretty good head start.
10 days ago, everybody (media and fans) loved Randy Shannon and the direction the program was heading. Now, again 10 days later, most are questioning if he is the right man for the job and some of the locals are saying that he should be fired. Is this what our society has become? That in 10 days you can go from being universally loved to being thrown into the trash?
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
Pretty much, yeah. Memories are shorter and opinions are louder. I don't think the toothpaste is going back in the tube, either.
Aaron (West Virginia )
Ivan, Can Kansas State's defense put a lock on Robert Griffin this weekend?
Ivan Maisel (2:46 PM)
I am a big fan of Robert Griffin. Baylor is going to keep winning, I think. The game is in Waco, and it's Homecoming. That doesn't mean much, because Baylor fans don't fill up their stadium. But it does mean it's not in Manhattan, which is a plus for Griffin. I'm sticking with him.
What city do you live in? How's the weather on the patio?
Ivan Maisel (2:47 PM)
It's about 62 degrees. Yes, Mom, I'm wearing a sweater.
Stephen (Salt Lake City)
Assuming that Oklahoma and Nebraska play in the Big 12 Championship Game wouldn't the edge go to Oklahoma?
Ivan Maisel (2:48 PM)
Yes, for the same reason that Texas shut down Nebraska. Faster players, and Oklahoma has a plan B on offense. Nebraska had nothing to do without Martinez running.
Roland (Eugene, OR)
ISNT COLLEGE FOOTBALL GREAT!
Ivan Maisel (2:48 PM)
Finally, an easy question.
Ivan Maisel (2:49 PM)
Hey, one of my kids just showed up. I can get in the house. My work here is done. Talk to you next week.