Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel stops by to chat SEC 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 Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ivan Maisel (2:01 PM)
Hi, everyone. Sorry I missed yesterday. Got home from Fiesta/New Orleans road trip and was pretty well brain dead. But here I am, a day late and a dollar short. Let's go.
Unless you were an Alabama fan the BCS Championship game was a dud. I think an 8 team playoff would be huge and even blow the NFL out of the water as far as interest in concerned. I believe the games would be better since there would not be a long layoff.
Ivan Maisel (2:02 PM)
You are assuming your playoff would be played in December? During finals? Won't happen. Welcome to the wonderful world of figuring out how to have a postseason.
Austin (Austin, TX) [via mobile]
Is the SEC dominance more the result of well funded programs or their geographical location in the most talent rich region in the country?
Ivan Maisel (2:03 PM)
All of the above. The schools have the passion, which fills the big stadiums,which fill the coffers, which attract the coaches, and all you have to do is recruit your backyard. It's become a formidable formula.
Jonny Danger (Houston)
If LSU had been matched with OSU rather than Alabama then they would have had the chance to beat the conference champs from the PAC-12, Big East, SEC-East and Big 12. Instead they got stuck in a rematch situation and didn't ever show up. The whole thing just strikes me as unfair to LSU
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
I hope that all those who believe LSU was treated unfairly are not in favor of a playoff. What happened to LSU is what happens in every playoff format in every sport.
Orville (Lubbock, Texas)
Ivan - You're a jerk. You were a jerk yesterday, you're a jerk today, you'll be a jerk tomorrow. ESPN software prevents me from using the adjectives that are closer to what I think and what you really are.
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
To paraphrase Mac Davis, happiness is Orville from Lubbock in my rearview mirror.
People keep talking about how the OSU offense would move the ball on Alabama, but I think that a Bama defense that didn't allow more than 14 points to anyone this season would limit them to 17 or fewer. On the other side, alabama showed in the NC game that they can throw the ball too, so I think Bama would score plenty. If Alabama and OSU played each other what do you think the outcome would be?
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
I think Oklahoma State would have slowed down, and I think the Pokes defense would have been a liability.
Kellen Moore at the next level -- why do we not hear any comparisons to Drew Brees (size, game management, brains)? Think he has that level of success, if he finds the right program?
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
I'm not sure that Kellen Moore is the athlete that Drew Brees is. That said, I can't wait to see how Moore does at the Senior Bowl at the end of the month. To me, he will be the most fascinating case study in Mobile that week.
Ivan, is there any chance the BCS changes the rule and allows more than 2 teams from a conference? Arkansas clearly deserved a BCS bowl this year and most people have 4 or 5 SEC teams in their preseason top 10 for next year. If there are 3 or 4 SEC teams deserving of a BCS bid, shouldn't they be allowed in?
Ivan Maisel (2:09 PM)
In a blind pick, yes. In a pick where all 11 conferences are trying to get a piece of the pie, no. Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said he would have picked Arkansas in a heartbeat this year, which might have spared him the beating he took for taking Virginia Tech.
Ivan: How do NCAA Divisions 1 2 and 3 do playoffs? During finals? And they do it with real student-athletes. It is doable if there is a will. March Madness goes on foreve. Academics be damned.
Ivan Maisel (2:10 PM)
Two things, Mark. I think FBS playoffs would be a different animal in terms of the time devoted to a game and the pressures/responsibilities placed on the student-athletes. And I think when you make your sales pitch to the powers that be, I'd drop the last sentence. Just sayin'.
I asked Beano the same question yesterday: with 40+ days between the end of the season and a BCS game, would it be best to give the AP championship to the winner of the regular season (Clearly LSU) and the Coaches poll crown the BCS champion. We have seen USC, OU, OSU and now LSU have major letdowns after the end of the season.
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
I don't think that means that the FBS should change the system. I think that means the coaches of USC, OU, OSU and LSU should change their preparation.
Fred (Walla Walla)
Do you think there is a school which could entice Chris Peterson to leave Boise?
Ivan Maisel (2:13 PM)
I think by now, the answer should be clear that he's not leaving. Petersen likes his surroundings and loves the fact that the Broncos are out of the spotlight. It has cost them come BCS time. That's a trade that Petersen, evidently, is willing to make.
Ivan, over/under on underclassmen leaving Bama? 4
Ivan Maisel (2:13 PM)
I'll take over.
Tim (Pensacola, FL)
My Florida Gators have had a rough two seasons in the past two years. The biggest problem has been the offense, under former OC's Weis and Addazio. How do you think UF's offense fairs next season under new OC Brent Pease?
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
Pease is a talented coach. He had an exceptionally smart four-year starter this year to run his Boise State offense. It may be smarter to look at Pease's predecessor, Brian Harsin, to see how he did at Texas. The 'Horns were better but far from outstanding. Pease will need time to get his style of player into the offense to see how well that offense does in Gainesville.
Mike (San Diego)
So do you get to hibernate until spring practices now that the season is over?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
I have a list of offseason/spring ball stories I want to do. Have to make my sales pitch to the editors in the next few days. I will disappear for a lttle time, though.
Troy Waters (Montrose, CA)
The 2011 USC Trojans remind me of the 2002 USC Trojans because both of them got hot late in the season and finished strong. Both teams would have won the national title if there were playoffs. Do you think USC could have beaten Alabama and/or LSU in a bowl game this season?
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
No, I don't. But USC-LSU or USC-Bama would have been a more competitive game
Hoolahan should've taken Boise or K-State, then. Both would've made great games against Michigan.
Ivan Maisel (2:20 PM)
Everyone agrees on that except Hoolahan. He has said on a couple of occasions that he wanted Va Tech because the Sugar Bowl people had so much work to prepare for the enormous fan bases of LSU and Alabama that he wanted a team that had been to the Sugar Bowl before so he and his staff wouldn't have to worry about it.
Ivan, is De'Anthony Thomas the most dangerous open field runner since Reggie Bush?
Ivan Maisel (2:22 PM)
I'd have to think about that. Trent Richardson was pretty dangerous wherever he ran. But DAT really blossomed toward the end of this season. I can't wait to see him as the focal point of the offense next year.
Georgia Southern scored 21 on Alabama in the first half of their game. I'm sure OSU would have put up some points.
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
Apples and oranges. Georgia Southern runs the option better than anyone in the nation.
Jason Kim (Los Angeles, CA)
The SEC defenses are so ballyhooed, but people fail to realize that the offenses in the SEC are horrendous. Do you agree?
Ivan Maisel (2:24 PM)
You have a good point, Jason, although I wouldn't go as far as horrendous. That said, I'll take a good defense over a good offense every day of the week. Especially on Saturday.
James Gray II (Hilton Head, SC)
South Carolina goes undeafeated in the SEC East last season but UGA makes it to Atlanta, How come once again they avoid Bama, LSU, and Arkansas while Carolina has LSU and Arkansas?
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
Good question, James. I think shoving Texas A&M and Mizzou into the SEC at relatively the last minute screwed up the schedule. The 2012 games are a one-time-only deal. Let's see how the SEC sets up games for 2013 and beyond.
Where do you rank Nick Saban among the all-time greats? I think it's unfair to compare modern coaches to Bryant, Wilkinson, etc., but in the scholarship-limitation era, is Saban right on par with Bowden and Osborne for the best there is?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
Saban has won three titles. There are a lot more guys in the last 30 years who have won two titles than there are who have won three (Osborne, Switzer, Saban).
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
Be back in one minute.
A friend of mine stated Alabama defense was the great defense in the last 40 years. I felt like that was a bold statement to make considering team defenses such as the 05-06 Longhorns, and 01-02 Hurricanes. I'm sure there are many more. I may be wrong and time will tell. Where do you believe this defense ranks All-time?
Ivan Maisel (2:30 PM)
Alabama is the only national championship team that I could find that finished first in the four major defensive categories (scoring, total, rush, pass). Other school who led in all four was Oklahoma in 1986.
I heard on Colin Cowherd this afternoon that Bobby Hebert thinks Saban will be headed to Texas if Mac can't turn things around. Do you believe this is a possibility and is there any way for Bama to throw enough money at Saban to keep him there?
Ivan Maisel (2:32 PM)
That Texas rumor has been floating around since midseason. Mack Brown just signed a contract extension, I think, and just because Texas offered money doesn't mean Saban would take it. I think his next stop after Tuscaloosa is his lake house in Georgia.
Will the champions of the PAC12 & SEC meet in the BCS game next year?
Ivan Maisel (2:32 PM)
I think so. I've got LSU and Oregon.
Okie St (Big 12,10,11,13,8, whatever)
Have you ever called out a coach like Bobby Hebert did to Les Miles after the game?
Ivan Maisel (2:33 PM)
Years ago I questioned Gene Stallings at Alabama about not kicking a field goal against Tennessee or Florida. He chewed on me pretty good. But Hebert's style is not mine.
Jennifer (Hickory, N.C.)
Question: With Texas Christian University heading to the Big 12 and Texas A&M moving into the SEC, Who will have a better record? Can either win their respected conference in the next 4 to 5 years?
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
TCU will have a better record and soon will challenge for the Big 12 title. I think A&M's got an uphill battle. I am curious to see what Kevin Sumlin can do.
What kind of impact does Mike Stoops have at OU next year and where do you think Venables lands if he leaves?
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
I think Mike Stoops will have a big impact on OU and I don't know where Venables will land. I hope he stays and adjusts.
Michigan-Alabama is one of the best season-openers in a long time. Congrats to both schools for scheduling this game. Early prediction?
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
I'd take the defending national champion, if for no other reason than we just saw what Nick Saban can do when he has a lot of time to prepare for the opposition.
Larry M (Athens)
Ivan, do all these So Cal folks on here criticizing the SEC not realize their coach tucked his tail between his legs and ran out of Knoxville to LA because the competition in the SEC was too tough for him to handle? Now they think they can compete with big boy football teams? Come on.
Ivan Maisel (2:37 PM)
I think Lane Kiffin left Knoxville to take over a more marquee program at a school where he once coached and felt more comfortable. I wouldn't read anymore into it than that.
VanGorder at Auburn. Difference maker?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
He's a good coach and he has a lot of young talent. I expect he will make a difference, absolutely.
If the College BCS Series adopts a 4 or 6 team playoff for the BCS championship based on the final BCS rankings will this increase or decrease the probability of an SEC team getting into the final game?
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
Hard to say. I don't think the BCS will adjust the seedings to avoid conference vs. conference games in any particular round. Too few teams involved.
Ivan Maisel (2:41 PM)
Thanks, everyone. Check out the story I posted today about the mother of Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson writing a thank-you letter to the parents of the Cardinal players for the way they have treated her son. Talk soon.