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 (1:58 PM)
Hi, everyone. Happy New Year and greetings from New Orleans. The sun is out, LSU and Alabama arrive this afternoon, and we're only five days away from a BCS champion. Sounds good to me.
Bama Fan (Denver)
Ivan, the chat boards are PACKED with arguments over Bama being in the National Title game. So I have an entirely different question this time - are you happy that there is so much controversy under the assumption that in your business, this is better than apathy?
Ivan Maisel (2:00 PM)
The BCS seems to have thrived on this argument. College football has never been more popular, even as the fans' frustration with the BCS has climbed. That said, I came away from the Fiesta more convinced that Alabama, and not Oklahoma State, should be in New Orleans.
Ivan Is Mark Richt back on the hot seat? And is it time for Georgia to part ways with OC Mike Bobo?
Ivan Maisel (2:04 PM)
I think the Georgia fans are happier with Richt than the Georgia hierarchy. He did win 10 games and the SEC East, a fact that seems to have escaped many. And the Dawgs have a lot returning next season. Bobo didn't seem to be the issue in that game.
Ivan Maisel (2:04 PM)
Sorry, the internet in my hotel room flaked out for a couple of minutes. Got it worked out.
Kevin (Houston, TX)
If Bama wins a close game against LSU, do you think AP voters would vote either OSU or LSU in as their champion?
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
A few might. The majority won't.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear Ivan, could you see Sly Croom coaching agian?
Ivan Maisel (2:06 PM)
I could see Sly Croom coming back to colleges. I could see him staying in the NFL. He has enough respect that if he wants to continue coaching, he will.
Could you ever see the Cotton and/or Chick-fil-A stealing BCS bowl slots from the Orange? Attendance in Miami has been very poor, as it's not drivable for any fanbase. I would imagine Clemson-WVU would probably sell out the Georgia Dome.
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
I think if the BCS goes to a plus-one in 2014, the first inclination will be to approach the Cotton Bowl and be in Cowboys Stadium. But I don't think the Orange Bowl will be replaced.
Edward Williams (Omaha, Nebraska)
Hey Ivan, If you look at LSU's strength of schedule and the gap between LSU and Alabama in the BCS rankings, it seems like even if LSU were to lose to Alabama they would still finish ahead of Alabama in the BCS rankings, even though Alabama would be declared the National Champion. How do you explain this to LSU fans? (Don't you LOVE the BCS. Lol)
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
The BCS rating ends on Dec. 3, and thank goodness. Could you imagine LSU losing to Alabama and still being rated No. 1. There would be mobs in the streets.
What is Tennessee going to do? Are they the biggest underacheiving team in the country given their resources?
Ivan Maisel (2:09 PM)
Tennessee does have a lot of resources. They also had three head coaches in three seasons (2008-10). That is a big hiccup -- recruiting, different styles thrown at the players -- that will take time to overcome. Tennessee started out this season looking pretty good. But the Vols had no depth (see above) and depth is a necessity in the SEC.
For all the speed the SEC has, did the MSU defense simply wear down Georgia? I thought it was over when they went up 16-0.
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
I'll be honest. The satellite TV in my hotel in Scottsdale couldn't get the ABC signal. So, I thought, I'll listen to the Ga-MichSt. game when I drive 40 minutes to the stadium. I turned on the ESPN station in Phoenix and got....Suns-Warriors. So I saw nothing of that game. Sorry. It's amazing how spoiled we are by media techonology these days.
Ivan, should non-SEC fans be rooting for an LSU blowout in order to show that Bama shouldn't be there and to prevent this from happening again next year (let's face it, we know these two will be in the top 4 preseason next season).
Ivan Maisel (2:13 PM)
Yeah, that would help you make your case. But I don't know that that would prevent future rematches. Voters won't shy away from all rematches because one stunk. Florida demolished Florida State in the Sugar Bowl 15 years ago in a rematch but everyone treated it as a one-time thing.
does or should rob bolden ever take another snap from center and did psu get the right coach if he does
Ivan Maisel (2:15 PM)
Bolden has been a disappointment at Penn State but whoever the next coach is will play him if he's the best quarterback in that system. Could happen.
Steve Spurrier just led the Gamecocks to their winning-est season ever, how serious are they as a national title contender in 2012?
Ivan Maisel (2:16 PM)
If you can tell me how quickly TB Marcus Lattimore will recuperate his ACL, then I'll tell you how seriously to take the Gamecocks.
Bama Fan (Denver)
Follow up - why are you more convinced after the Fiesta Bowl that Bama is deserving?
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
I just don't think Oklahoma State, with that defense, is one of the two best teams in the nation.
Matt (Not a bama fan)
Ivan, so Bama gets a pass for poor performance (and a loss mind you) when they lost to Utah after "not wanting to be there", but Ok. St. in the same situation is just validated as not being deserving?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
Two very different situations. Oklahoma State played like they wanted to be in the Fiesta. They played pretty much as they have played all season. Good on offense, not so much on defense.
more_les (San Francisco)
With BAMA having longer lay off and more time to do conditioning do you think they may have edge physically in the BCS game?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
I don't think one week matters. I call that a wash.
A serious complaint about the ESPN coverage of Nebraska/South Carolina. The did show Pelini griping but didn't show the play he was complaining about, Steinkuhler being held and thrown to the ground. Then the announcers talked about the Rose Bowl because they had lost interest in the current game. Tessatore & Gilmore are not good announcers. ESPN is biased. It was all apparent during that game.
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
I didn't see the play in question -- was driving by then -- but Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore are one of my favorite crews. I have to disagree with you.
im not watching cause i do not support this rematch, do you think other fans outside the sec feel the same way?
Ivan Maisel (2:20 PM)
No, I don't, but I guess the ratings will let us know.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Ivan, any insight on what's going on down in Norman? Is there about to be a mutiny down there in Coach Stoops' program? Things seems to have unraveled a bit after expectations were not met?
Ivan Maisel (2:21 PM)
I've heard and read the stories about the internal problems but I don't know the degree of accuracy. I'm sure no one's more intent on getting everybody going in the same direction than Bob Stoops. And I bet no one's more angry about that Oklahoma State game than Stoops. But the Sooners did win 10 games.
After reading this thread, you sound stupid. Seriously. Stanford and Oklahoma State both have CRAZY good offenses. How can you judge OSU's defense when they are playing one of the top offenses in the nation? Mind you, OSU had more points at the end of that game. So what do you have to say about Stanford's defense? And we know for sure that LSU is the #1 team in the nation, but we have absolutely no clue who is #2, and it's really sad that we didn't get a chance to find out.
Ivan Maisel (2:24 PM)
Don't sugarcoat it, Tyler. They were two very good offenses Monday night. Stanford's defense got exposed just as badly as Oklahoma State's did. But no one is claiming that Stanford should be in New Orleans. The debate over who is No. 2 is just that -- a debate. We disagree.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Should Landry Jones return to Norman for his senior season in your opinion? Also, do you think Mike Stoops will rejoin his brother as co-defensive coordinator again with Venables?
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
I think Jones should return because he can get a lot better. And I would love to see Mike Stoops return to Oklahoma. That would be a good story, and I'm all for good stories. And I think Mike would help the defense, too.
MBall28 is returning for his senior season. Gotta love kids that get their degrees, right?
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
I met him and his parents at the Heisman ceremony last month. I liked who I saw. And Ball coming back would be a great story for college football.
Ivan, if I've learned anything this college football season it's that it doesn't matter who you beat, it's who you lose to. And that if you have some Dr. Pepper, you can have a real good time under a bridge.
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
Pitbull! Itis funny that everyone focuses on the losses and not the wins. But that's how we treat life, right? You expect to win so you don't savor that. The losses always hurt more than the wins feel good.
I'm a Bama fan, but if Tennessee doesn't improve or only improves by a couple of games next year do you think they will give Dooley more time to win? I still think Tennessee is a year away from having an 8+ win season, but I think he can get it done there if people have the patience.
Ivan Maisel (2:29 PM)
I agree, Phil, but no one is patient anymore. I think Derek Dooley has to hit a home run with hiring his defensive staff. He made a great choice in Justin Wilcox, but he wants to coach in the Pacific Northwest again, and you can't blame a guy for going home.
I'm an LSU grad, and while I wish we could have played OKlahoma State, because it would have been a far easier game, there just isn't any question that Bama was the 2nd best team this year in the regular season. Without a rule requiring the teams to be conference champs, the system got it right.
Ivan Maisel (2:30 PM)
I wouldn't have a problem with the conference-champion rule, either. I don't think it's fair that Alabama didn't play a 13th game and got the "bye" straight into the title game.
Edward Williams (Omaha Nebraska)
Take the Oklahoma State and LSU out of the Equation. Do you honestly think Alabama derserves to be in the National title game? They really have no signature wins that separate them from LSU and only Signature game was a Loss to LSU. How can you look at their schedule and justisfy them being there when they didn't actually BEAT anyone of note?
Ivan Maisel (2:33 PM)
Well, I'll say this: Alabama is the first team to finish the regular season in all four major defensive categories (scoring, rushing, passing, total) since Oklahoma in the mid-1980s. And among the common opponents of LSU and Alabama, the winning margins are almost identical. I think you can make a good case for Alabama. But as I said before, getting the bye into the championship game isn't fair.
ted (cape cod)
One reason to tune into tonight's Orange Bowl, Ivan? (besides its on ESPN.)
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
Sammy Watkins is healthy again.
Ivan, do you really think the conference champion would be fair? It would clearly make the BCS championship game a joke this year. Also, do you think it makes sense for a playoff system with only conference winners? If that was the case, an 8 team playoff would be without Alabama and Arkansas this year.
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
It would reinforce the importance of the regular season. But an eight-team playoff with only conference champs would be a bit much.
I've watched the overtime td catch in last night's game. For the life of me, I can't see how it was overturned. Your thoughts?
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
I was surprised. I thought he had control of the ball and the point that Todd Blackledge made about his left elbow touching down sold me. I kept looking at the arm holding the ball hitting the white paint and thought he was out.
Ivan a bye into the championship game. What about the other conferences that dont have a championship game. They shouldn't be cosidered in that case.
Ivan Maisel (2:37 PM)
Good point. Very good point. Aaarrrgghhh!
Ivan will you be attending the Saints playoff game? I'd love to get a comparison about crowd noise and electricity between that game and the BCS Title game, of course keeping in mind that though LSU will have a 2 to 1 crowd edge, it won't really be a home game.
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
No one has offered me a ticket and ESPN.com has not asked me to take my talents to the Dome Saturday night. Given that the ESPN.com staff here for the BCS game is having a team dinner that night, I'm guessing I won't see it.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Fast Forward to next year... who's the team to beat in 2012?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
Mark Schlabach will have his Way Too Early Top 25 posted next Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm guessing you'll recognize the names at the top.
Justin Wilson or Paul Prudhomme. Who was the better cajun chef?
Ivan Maisel (2:39 PM)
Justin Wilson? Dude, you are showing your age. And so am I. I remember him.
Avi (Los Angeles)
Ivan, I know this appears to be a strictly BCS chat right now, but I'm curious about how you see the rivalry shaping back up between your Cardinal and Cal in the coming years. With Andrew Luck leaving, do you think Cal retakes control?
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
I think Stanford's ability to recruit nationally has put a foundation of talent in there that Cal has not been able to keep up with. I don't see Luck's departure changing that.
Justin (Callaway, GA)
Where can I get some superior food in New Orleans? Who has the best gumbo you've had?
Ivan Maisel (2:41 PM)
Had an outstanding bowl at Emeril's last night. The gumbo at the Bon Ton Cafe is always A-plus. But the best gumbo I've had has always been in Mobile.
Even though you didn't see it, how big of a win did the Spartans score for their program? Where does MSU start the season ranked next year?
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
Huge for Michigan State, especially with the way the Big Ten has struggled in bowls. I say struggled, even though Michigan, Michigan State (overtime wins) and Wisconsin (tough loss) all acquitted themselves well. Losing Cousins is going to leave a mark, though. That's a good leader.
Jack (New Orleans)
Justin, as far as the food goes, find a local and ask them. You'll get turned on to some great food that won't break your wallet.
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
Yeah, Emeril's ain't cheap.
Adam (Baton Rouge)
Ivan, good afternoon! Do you think that the nation believes Nick Saban is a better coach than Les Miles, and if Miles beats Saban for the third consecutive game in a row do you think that will change peoples opinion of him? Thanks!!
Ivan Maisel (2:44 PM)
I wrote a story about the two of them that is posting today if it hasn't already. Their winning percentage is almost identical. Miles is at .730, Saban at .728.
John Cantwell (New Roads, Louisiana)
Why are people entertaining the possibility if Alabama beats LSU of a split national championship going to Okie State? Wouldn't the more deserving team be LSU if the NC game is a close one? Okie State loss is still worse than what would be LSU's one loss and not to mention the LSU's resume is better. What is your take on this scenario?
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
John, how can you lose the championship game and win the championship? That makes my head hurt.
Roger (Rock Hill, SC)
If healthy, do you think Lattimore will be the best RB in 2012?
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
I thought he was the best in 2011 before he got hurt. But I would be stunned to see him at full strength in September.
Ivan Maisel (2:46 PM)
All right, guys. Thanks. Enjoyed it. Keep it here at the site. We've got a lot of people working down here.