Chat with David Hale
Welcome to NoleNation! On Tuesday, reporter David Hale stops by to chat about the state of Florida State football.
Hale joined ESPN.com in 2012 after covering the Philadelphia Phillies for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., and the University of Georgia for The Macon Telegraph. Hale has written about college and professional sports since 2004 and currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla.
Send your questions now and join Hale Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
David Hale (11:01 AM)
Greetings, friends. Two days til Turkey Day, two more til FSU-UF. Should be a fun, football-filled week. Let's get to your questions.
Dan (Panama City)
The BCS standings are unbelieveable. 4 teams with 2 losses ahead of FSU. Kansas State gets embarressed by unranked Baylor and stays in the top 6. FSU loses by 1 point to an unranked team, and any chance for the national title is over. If we stomp the Gator team that demolished South Carolina, and beat LSU, maybe we can move past all of the 2 loss SEC teams.
Vern (Atlanta, GA)
I'm quite sure I won't be the only one qqsking this, but how bad are the computer rankings? UGa - 4 touchdown loss, KState- 4 touchdown loss, FSU - 1 point loss, 46 seconds left on the road....Who should be higher ranking?? Never mind the 3, 4 and 5 loss teams...
David Hale (11:04 AM)
You'll get no argument from me about the BCS rankings at this point. I think if you pitted FSU against each of the teams ranked ahead of them right now on a neutral field, Oregon and Alabama are probably the only two I'd be fairly confident would be favored in Vegas. That should say something. I'm not completely on Jimbo's soapbox here -- there's room for strength of schedule in deciding between two teams with similar profiles -- but this system is clearly not giving us an accurate representation of what's happened on the field. And while I do think the SEC is the best overall conference in college football, the rankings, to me, show that there's something of an inherent logical fallacy built into the rankings whereby the SEC can never look bad as long as it loses to other SEC teams.
Matt (Union KY)
If I am Jimbo Fisher I am playing the "respect" card all week with my team. The BCS standings and AP poll would be plastered all over the place as a constant reminder of UF's ranking compared to FSU's. And one thing I have learned in 30 years of watching college football is never to underestimate an underdog mentality. A.) do you believe Jimbo is playing that up with his team and B.) do you see FSU playing with supercharged energy and emotion as if it has "something to prove?" C.) Your prediction?
David Hale (11:07 AM)
Matt -- hard to say entirely what's going on behind closed doors because Jimbo keeps such a tight lid on these things, but the players really have publicly tried to downplay the whole "respect" thing. I think that comes in part because Jimbo was so outspoken about it a week ago, and within the locker room my guess is it's a popular topic of conversation.
David Hale (11:08 AM)
To answer your latter questions: I'd be shocked if FSU came out flat, but I'm guessing Florida has some of its own underdog energy this week, too. I've yet to hear a single "expert" predict a Gators win. I'll add to that chorus, too. I've got FSU 24-Florida 13.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Florida State College Football Players will play in the NFL in 2013?
David Hale (11:08 AM)
Didn't we do this last week? Come on, Chris! I count on you for one of these questions every chat!
Neil (Florence, SC)
What do you think of this SEC koolaid everyone is drinking .... jumping both Clemson and FS in the BCS?
David Hale (11:11 AM)
Again, is the SEC the best conference top to bottom? Yeah, probably. But do they really have half of the 10 best teams in the country? I think that's a stretch. FSU, Clemson and (to a lesser degree of possibility) georgia Tech can do a lot to undo that mentality this week. I mean, when it comes down to it, all these debates can be put to rest one way or another after this weekend. If FSU and Clemson win and Tech keeps it close with UGA, then I think we can officially say the SEC was overrated and the ACC deserved more credit. If the SEC goes 3-0, the ACC folks probably need to keep quiet until a year from now.
Nick Stratman (Ft Lauderdale)
I'll be the 234576892th person to ask this, but is it possible for FSU to make the championship game with our huge disadvantage in the computer rankings if the ACC can go 3-0 this weekend in marquee games?
David Hale (11:13 AM)
Actually just the 234567891st... And the answer is pretty much no. Even if ND loses, I don't see them slipping behind FSU in the standings. Then you've got Georgia and Alabama, one of whom is going to win the SECCG, so unless BOTH lose this weekend it'd be tough for FSU to jump them.
David Hale (11:14 AM)
Essentially if you want FSU to have a shot, they'd need to beat Florida (and GT in two weeks) and then you'd need GT, Texas, Auburn, USC and Oregon State to win this weekend for there to be a real likelihood.
Gabe (Tallahassee, FL)
What do you think is FSU's best option in terms of conference realignment?
David Hale (11:16 AM)
If an SEC slot opens up, I think it makes sense to move in that direction. I would not jump ship for the Big 12. The benefit of the SEC is that it's by far the most stable and also the most egalitarian. The Big 12 revolves around Texas, and I don't think FSU needs to go anywhere it's playing second banana.
Looks like the offense really moves the ball well when they run the old Charlie ward fast break offense. I would hope we do that the whole game come saturday
David Hale (11:17 AM)
It has worked well, and I think we'll continue to see more of it, but Jimbo is on record as saying he's not going to move to an Oregon-style no-huddle concept for the bulk of his play calling. For one, it tends to have an adverse effect on the defense and secondly, he has the tools in his arsenal to play a more traditional style and still be successful. But I think against the blitz, it's been a good strategy.
Tom (Watertown NY)
With the news of Maylyand jumping ship paired with the way the computers have kept FSU steady at No. 10 despite winning 5 straight while other teams ahead of them have lost almost every week. Do you think FSU will consider leaving the ACC as well or will they take the "wait and see" approach here?
David Hale (11:19 AM)
I think it's already been (and is still being) considered. It's telling that FSU and Maryland were the only two teams to vote against raising the conference exit fee in September. But as I said earlier, leaving for the sake of leaving doesn't make sense. There needs to be a clearly advantageous alternative (which I think the SEC would be). Maryland had an easy decision. For FSU, it's much more complicated.
Sang (Vancouver Wa)
Hooefully Georgia Loses to Ga Tech, Clemson Kills South Carolina, We beat the Gators And somehiw USC beats the Irish!!!!! That will put us in the title game and we bring the Title back to Florida.
David Hale (11:20 AM)
Maybe... but I'd bet a 1-loss K State, Oregon, Notre Dame and Alabama would all be in line ahead of FSU still in the BCS.
Gary (Apollo Beach, Fl)
I think we all agree the BCS is broken "garbage in garbage out" enough said
David Hale (11:21 AM)
Agreed. I mean, you can argue all you want about where FSU belongs. Are they a top 5 team? A top 10 team? I mean, if they beat Florida but Alabama, Oregon and K-State all have one loss... I wouldn't have a problem with anyone keeping FSU out of the title game. That's fair and logical. BUT... if a computer has FSU not ranked at all, how can you take it seriously at all? It shouldn't be part of the process because the outcome is completely illogical.
Do you think Bjorn Werner has a realistic chance to win the ChucK Bednarik Adward?
David Hale (11:24 AM)
I think you might mean Nagurski (they all run together, right?) since that's the one he's a finalist for. I think he's had an exceptional season, and being a finalist for that award is no easy task... but the competition is REALLY stiff. Clowney and Jones have probably gotten more hype, and Te'o is a legit Heisman candidate.
Is it possible for FSU to be independent? Schedule any team we want. On the contrary, the ACC does provide quality competition in every other sport we participate in.
David Hale (11:25 AM)
There's WAY too much risk and financial concerns with being an independent. ND can get away with it because of its TV contract with NBC. BYU has its own TV network. It just doesn't make sense for anyone else.
Matt (Kennesaw, Ga)
I was at the Clemson FSU game this year, and it was incredible to watch the Noles completely shut down Clemson's 'unstoppable' offense in the second half. However, Clemson has shown in consistency in the weeks since, and FSU (while still winning) has shown many moments of stagnation. If put against each other once more, who do you honestly think would win?
David Hale (11:27 AM)
That's a good question, but I really think FSU is the better team. Clemson's D has improved as the year has gone on, but the Tigers had a lot of things go right early against FSU and still, the game wasn't really close. On a neutral field, I'd still have FSU favored by 3-4 points and I think they'd probably win by at least a touchdown.
Will FSU be in the ACC to start next season?
David Hale (11:28 AM)
Yes... but that's a no-brainer. Even if FSU negotiated its way out of the ACC and into another conference, the move wouldn't happen until 2014 at the earliest (as Maryland is doing now).
Jason (Crestview, Florida)
Do you think that the strength of schedule issues that FSU Had this year will be taken into account in the future and stronger non-conference teams may be considered?
David Hale (11:29 AM)
Down the line, yes. For 2013... there may not be a ton of wiggle room. There's one open date to fill and FSU will be hard pressed to get a marquee opponent to fill it without promising a return date in 2014, which they're unlikely to do.
Any Love for Witchata state???
David Hale (11:29 AM)
Always love for the Shockers.
Eric (Pensacola, Fl)
David, i know you are answering plenty of BCS questions but make sense of this. UF barely beats ULL and then has a lackluster game against another team they should have clobbered and they move up in the rankings. FSU plays teams they should beat, and they do beat by a lot in Maryland and we don't move an inch. It seems the SEC bias is even inputted into the freaking computers.
David Hale (11:31 AM)
Eric... I agree. If an SEC team gets credit for simply stepping on the field, there's a problem. And quite honestly, I'm not sure how anyone who has watched LSU, FSU and Florida play this year could rank FSU third in that group.
@ Chris Fiegler Duden (Germany)Which players from FSU (except Werner,Carradine, Rhodes and EJ Manuel) and have the chance to be drafted in 2013? And which FSU Player comes first from the board in 2013?David Hale (11:58 AM)Right now I'd say Werner is first off the board, but I've read some recent scouting reports that actually have Tank as their best NFL prospect. I think both of them and Rhodes would go in the first round if the draft was held today. EJ will be probably the 4th or 5th QB taken (as of right now). If Christian Jones came out, he'd be a mid-round pick. Brandon Jenkins is a mystery, but he'll definitely be drafted. Dustin Hopkins will be taken by someone, too, likely as the first kicker off the board. Wouldn't be surprised to see sometime take fliers on Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson, too, though CT4's injury complicates matters a good bit. Dawkins and McCloud are most likely going to be selected, too. Am I forgetting anyone?
David Hale (11:31 AM)
See... I knew I'd answered it before... And, obviously an update: Jenkins is gone.
George Bishop (New Haven, CT)
The question that's on a lot of our minds: how does the recent destabilization of the ACC affect FSU? I may be in the minority, but I would love to see FSU remain in the ACC, especially if there are ways to strengthen the conference (eventual full inclusion of Notre Dame would be crititical). I worry, however, that FSU won't wait and will jump what appears to be a sinking ship. Going to the SEC, of course, would be hard to turn down if an offer comes, but I think the Big XII would be a big mistake. What's the best hope for a strong ACC? Maybe ND could bring someone with them?
David Hale (11:34 AM)
Notre Dame is the big wild card here, and that's why there is reason for patience. FSU is a big enough fish that no matter how realignment shakes out this year, if the Noles decide to jump ship in 2014 instead, there will be takers. But I think there are concerns even when we discuss ND. How far is the ACC supposed to go to get the Irish? How much power will the Irish yield once their in the ACC? How much of a difference does ND really make at the end of the day? The biggest issues for the ACC, in my mind, are a lack of forward thinking by the conference and a lack of on-field success by programs that have the resources to be successful (Miami, UNC, Virginia, etc.) Notre Dame is something of a red herring when it comes to the underlying issues facing the conference.
How do you see the FSU-UF game? A blow out like last year or more of a defensive/special teams-field position type game that's low scoring? What game changers do you see for the winner?
David Hale (11:35 AM)
Last year was a 14-point difference, but not really a blow out. FSU's offense was dismal. But things are a lot different this year -- on both sides really. I think it'll be a close-ish game -- not a blowout -- but I think FSU will largely be in control throughout. I think EJ is the key. If he can get some protection and execute, the QB position is the one area where FSU should have a HUGE advantage.
Noah (New Jersey)
who do u think will FSU will play if they make the orange bowl rutgers or lousville
David Hale (11:37 AM)
Probably lean toward Rutgers simply because they get The Ville at home. Either way, it's going to be rather anticlimactic. Neither will be ranked in the top 15 in the BCS standings at years end.
Allen (eagle -land)
who will replace coach Spaz at BC??
Again Who will replace coach spaz at BC??? are you there? hello??
David Hale (11:38 AM)
Wasn't ignoring you on purpose... just don't have any real insight into the answer. I just hope its someone with a good mustache.
Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)
Am I crazy to think EJ goes in the 1st round? IMO that'll be 4 Noles in the 1st (Werner, Carradine, Rhodes, EJ). With NFL now so dependent on QB's all QB's get an extra bump and I think his stock will raise greatly once the combine starts with his physical traits and intangibles. He has the media drooling over him everytime he does an interview. Can't see why GM's won't do the same. Remember all it takes is 1 team (See Tebow).
David Hale (11:40 AM)
I don't think you're crazy at all. I wouldn't predict it right now -- but there's a ton of time between now and the draft. Plus, EJ is the type of player who will impress a lot of folks once the games are over. He's very well spoken, smart and thoughtful. He'll kill in the interviews. He's got all the physical tools, too, so he should look good at the combine. And Jimbo's track record with QBs will carry some weight, too. A lot depends on how many teams want QBs early, but yeah, I think he's got a real chance.
I have noticed several recruits have decommitted from FSU recently. Do you think that some of this is a result of FSU being penalized in the BCS rankings because the ACC is so week? I'm affraid recruits may think that if they go to FSU they cannot reach the National Championship Game. Is this a concern of anyone on the FSU staff?
David Hale (11:42 AM)
The situation with the ACC may have some marginal effect, but you'd be shocked at how little the on-field stuff at a school affects kids decisions. They are far less concerned about what's happening at a school now and far more worried about what life's going to be like when they get there: Will they have a chance to play, who's ahead of them on the depth chart, how far is campus from home, how fun is the campus, how good are the facilities... those are usually the priorities.
Out of all the underclass guys draft ready which stays in your opinion or has best optinon of staying at FSU?
David Hale (11:43 AM)
I will be VERY surprised if Xavier and Bjoern don't leave. I'd be mildly surprised if Lamarcus doesn't stay. The wild card is probably Christian Jones, who I think could improve his stock a good bit by returning next year, but also has the talent and skill set to go and still be a third-round pick right now. That's enough for some guys.
Gary (Apollo Beach)
Competitive opponents don't want to schedule strong teams for fear of a loss and hurt their computer ranking to get to the big dance. While on the other end, the up and coming programs sign up for the loss because they need the $$ for supporting their athlete programs. It's all about the money and not the sport
David Hale (11:44 AM)
Exactly. The system needs to find a way to balance an honest evaluation of a team's talent with an incentive for those teams to test their own talent on the field.
raul (in the classroom)
Is Jenkins a fit in Dallas?
David Hale (11:45 AM)
He's a good fit a lot of places, but that's a team that I think could exploit his skill set nicely. As an Eagles fan, however, I'd hate to see him go there.
Brandon (Phoenix, AZ)
@ Steve - FSU will be fine at the end of the season getting recruits - See the '13 Draft.
David Hale (11:47 AM)
Lotta time left before signing day, too. And this is sort of that time of year where coaches are more focused on winning on the field than the recruiting trail. As soon as the ACCCG is over, things will heat up a good bit.
It's also intersting how quickly they dismiss EJ from the Heisman race when they stuck with Geno Smith longer than possible and already lobbying to keep Collin Klein in the hunt.....also ranking K State ahead of us when they lost to a team giving up over 500 yds/pergame...let alone the 2 loss teams....bottom line is the pre-season rankings also hurt and the SEC is overrated......UF likely the most overrated team in FBS
David Hale (11:48 AM)
I'd probably be inclined to agree with you on Florida... though Texas is pretty overrated in my opinion, too.
allen (eagle-land )
HA HA HA I hope he can coach a few wins for us!!
David Hale (11:48 AM)
I actually have a computer rating model, that has dozens of different approaches for rating all 124 teams in the FBS. None of them have FSU outside the top 25. Not one. I fail to see how any computer could rank a 4-loss team ahead of a 1-loss AQ team, regardless of schedule acumen. At what point do wins and losses matter more than the strength of the team(s) that beat you? FSU deserves a shot at a National Title. They have the most YPP offensively, and the fewest defensively. No team can boast that, in the last 10 years. Please, explain this to me like I'm a 6 year old. Thank you for your time.
David Hale (11:52 AM)
Jeff, your argument is as valid as any, and I'm completely on your side that any computer model that has FSU unranked (or behind a 4-loss team) is not a valid means of evaluation based simply on logic.
David Hale (11:52 AM)
Obviously if we get down to a point where we have four or five 1-loss teams to choose from -- say, FSU, Kansas State, Oregon, Alabama -- then we need a way of differentiating them. Part of that should be an eye test -- what have we seen on the field? Part should be the stats -- how good are these teams offensively, defensively, etc. based on the numbers? Part of it should be strength of schedule -- whose loss is the best/worst, who has proven their value against the best competition, etc?
David Hale (11:53 AM)
The problem is, that gives us an extremely abstract set of rules -- so your argument for FSU is a valid one, but cases could easily be made for Oregon or Alabama, too, that would be just as valid. That makes the situation impossible to settle without some debate -- which is absolutely fine. It's even better if there is a 4 or 8 team playoff, that allows a portion of the debate to be settled on the field. What isn't acceptable, however, is anything that says FSU doesn't belong in that conversation simply because VT and NC State turned out to not be that good this year.
Hi Dave, Over the past year the ACC has attempted to keep up with the other power conferences, by bringing in new schools. However, regardless of what is said by the Swofford, it appears the ACC is soely concerened about basketball, then academics. Everyone that doesent live under a rock can see it is all about TV deals and football drives that. SO my questions are, who would be a good fit for the conference to bring in to uplift the ACC football wise and academic? And if the ACC continues to ignore the football, do you think The Noles should consider leaving and go make some real money?
David Hale (11:56 AM)
I don't know that the ACC is ignoring football -- I think that still drives the bus for all conferences. I think the problem is that the ACC doesn't have the bargaining power to get top football programs, and so it's sort of trying to find the next best things. If the league could add ND, Louisville and UConn to get to 16, then there's some potential to be a player nationally, and you'd have to assume that eventually Virginia Tech bounces back and either Miami, NC State, UNC, etc. improves. But that's still going to leave some serious economic questions for FSU to answer.
Phatty (My Desk At Work)
Do you see Louisville to the ACC as a legitimate possibility?Any news on the Nevada home & home? if they just all out break the contract, will we at least shell out some cash and get a half-decent d-1 opponent?
David Hale (11:59 AM)
Hard to say on Louisville at the moment, but I think -- of the non-ND teams currently in play -- that's the best option. As for the Nevada game, I've heard they were close on a replacement (and not a particularly glamourous one) but it's dragged on a good bit. I was told that if Nevada can't get a replacement, they'll keep to the contract rather than shell out the buyout.
David Hale (12:00 PM)
OK, folks, that's all the time I've got. We'll have a bunch more UF-FSU stuff on the site this week, and we'll be chatting again next Tuesday in advance of the ACC title game. Have a great Thanksgiving and be safe if you're traveling!