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September 28, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (2:01 PM)

Here we go. Hope everybody had a good weekend. I had a fun time in Kentucky.

Murph (Atlanta)

Why isnt Auburn getting any love in the polls? 4-0 and still not ranked? Auburn is 3rd in scoring offense and 3rd in total offense!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:02 PM)

I'm surprised they're not ranked, but three of the four opponents they've beaten aren't off to great starts. I think La. Tech and Miss. State are better than most people think, and West Virginia is pretty good. I'd have them ranked ahead of Ole Miss at this point.

Chad (Michigan)

Does Notre Dame, despite all their injuries, still have a chance to get to the BCS?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:03 PM)

The Irish can maybe lose one more game. The schedule is tougher than it looked back in August. Stanford, Washington and Connecticut will be tougher than we thought. I think it would be tough for the Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, to pass on ND at 10-2.

John (Louisville, KY)

LSU fan here Mark...Obviously the Tigers have the talent to compete with anyone in the country, yet they have played mediocre at best this year. What do you think the problem is?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:05 PM)

I'm as confused as you are. I thought they were holding back on offense the first three games to bring along a young quarterback. Mississipi State is playing pretty hard for Dan Mullen, but I would have thought LSU wins that game by a couple of touchdowns. Offensive line isn't playing great, and Charles Scott has been really mediocre so far. Defense is better under John Chavis, but still giving up a ton of yards. Will be curious to see them at Georgia on Sunday.

Tod (Sedona, AZ)

Mark, did the Sun Devils effort against Georgia show they may be a factor in the Pac 10? The defense looks like the real deal!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:06 PM)

Defense looked pretty fast. Georgia helped them with some turnovers, but I think the Sun Devils could play with most Pac-10 teams. Offense has a long way to go, though.

andrew (little rock)

mark: i am getting a tad worried about the hogs...first the d takes a vacation against ga and then the offense goes south at bama..top of that we cant tackle...what gives?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:07 PM)

Bama is very, very good. Maybe the best team in the country right now. Mallett didn't throw well when he was under pressure against Georgia, and the Tide really brought the heat. Defense is pretty bad, though. Have to upgrade the talent over there. I thought they'd be very improved on the field, but too tough of a schedule for much improvement record-wise.

Richard (Greensboro, NC)

What are your thoughts on Tyrod Taylor's 4/9 passing, with both attempts and completions low?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:08 PM)

I thought Virginia Tech played it smart. Took an early lead, and then ran the clock in bad weather with Ryan Williams. You don't throw it unless you have to. With as well as Williams was running, and with the defense playing so well, why take a chance at a turnover?

Sam (TX)

Does Greg McElroy have a shot at winning Bama's first Heisman Trophy?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:09 PM)

I'd start with All-SEC. He's playing lights out right now, along with Chris Todd from Auburn. McElroy is a really smart kid, and he's very, very accurate. It helps when you have the great running game to keep defenses honest, but he's really hurting teams with his down-field passing. He could emerge as a Heisman Trophy candidate if Bama keeps winning.

Andrew (Columbus)

What's your take on Oregon? Are they a PAC-10 contender? Masoli seems to have woken up after the slumber in Boise...

Mark Schlabach
  (2:11 PM)

I think it's one of the better coaching jobs I've seen. Chip Kelly really could have lost that team after the first game, especially after losing Blount and with the offense playing so poorly. Masoli was too good to play that poorly for long.

David (CA)

Mark with Boise State ranked 5th in the country are they in a safe position to make it 2 a BCS bowl game even if Houston

Mark Schlabach
  (2:12 PM)

I wrote about this in my On the Mark column today. I would bet that Houston and/or TCU would jump Boise State if those teams finished unbeaten, too. I think both of those schools play tougher schedules. Obviously, Oregon winning helps the Broncos.

Mark (Gainesville)

Do the Gators/Tebow still have a shot at a National Championship/Heisman trophy?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:13 PM)

Yes. Tebow would still have a chance at a second Heisman Trophy, as long as he doesn't miss extended time. And the Gators can beat most teams with John Brantley at quarterback. I know Urban Meyer is very, very high on him. The one concern would be Florida's lack of receivers. They would become a more drop-back offense with Brantley under center.

Chaz (Chicago)

Is it possible that Jimmy Clausen is underrated? His numbers are amazing. His performance has been top drawer in every game this year. And he's proving to be one tough competitor playing w/ a tough injury for QBs. Yet, no one is talking about him for the Heisman-- when he should be in the conversation.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:14 PM)

He earned a lot of my respect Saturday night by going back into the game with the toe injury and throwing the winning TD. His numbers have been great. He'd probably be in my top five today, but the Irish couldn't lose another game for him to stay there.

Chris (Florida)

Hello sir, can't help but wonder how much of different outcome there would have been had MIA-VT been played in some reasonable conditions. Not one for excuses because they outplayed us in all facets, just wondering your thoughts.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:14 PM)

No factor. I think Va. Tech wins eight out of 10 times in Blacksburg. It's that much of a home-field advantage. I've been there many times and it doesn't get much louder than Lane Stadium.

Brian (Florida)

Who was more overrated Ole Miss, Penn St or California

Mark Schlabach
  (2:15 PM)

Wow. Tough question. At least Ole Miss and Penn State were competitive in their losses. Cal didn't even show up. Taking nothing away from Oregon, which played great, but the Bears should be embarrassed.

Jon (Mobile)

Top 5 hardest places to play?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:18 PM)

When the teams are good:1. The Swamp, Florida2. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech3. Autzen Stadium, Oregon4. Death Valley, LSU5. Ohio Stadium, Ohio StateTennessee, Penn State, Texas, Nebraska could be on the list, too.

David (CA)

Which team do you feel is on upset alert more for this weekend?Alabama, LSU, Southern Cal, Oklahoma?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:19 PM)

I think LSU/Georgia will be a close game, which could go either way. Same for USC/Cal. I'll be curious to see if Bears bounce back better than they have in the past. Tough trip for Oklahoma to Miami. I don't think Bama has much trouble, though.

Richard (New York)

The coach's poll have Penn State ahead of Iowa, which of course is indefensible. Is it time that the BCS stopped using the coach's poll altogether? Are these coaches even paying attention when they fill out their cards?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

I had to go back and correct my power rankings to make sure Oregon was ahead of Cal. I don't know how you can do it. I've had Houston ahead of Okie State for two weeks, Iowa has to be ahead of Penn State now.

Steve (Las Vegas)

The fact that you don't have the "smurf turf" in Boise on your top five list of toughest places to play shows your lack of football knowledge. Do you realize what their record is there over the past ten years?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

Bronco Stadium should be on the list, too. But it's not as big as the other stadiums I mentioned. It's loud, but the others would be more intimidating for the bigger schools. They're used to playing in front of 90,000 fans.

Wes (Soddy Daisy,TN)

Hey Mark, love your work and contribution to college football. do the Vols have a chance to beat Auburn or will it be along day in Knoxville??

Mark Schlabach
  (2:23 PM)

Thanks, Wes. It would take a great effort from Tennessee, which just lost its middle linebacker. Crompton seems to play well against the lesser opponents and struggles in bigger games. I'm sure Monte Kiffin will have a great game plan for slowing down Auburn's spread offense, though. We'll be interesting to watch him go up against Gus Mahlzahn.

jose jalapeno (cincy)

Mark, assume both teams win out. Who deserves a higher perch in the BCS pecking order - an undefeated Cincy or a 1-loss Ohio State? Ohio State's schedule is far tougher than Cincinnati's, and in the extremely far-fetched scenario that the #2 slot in the BCS rankings comes down to those two teams, I think tOSU would deserve it more.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:25 PM)

Jose, I'm not so sure Ohio State's schedule is so much better than Cincinnati that the Buckeyes would deserve it over an undefeated UC team. They did beat Oregon State and Fresno State during non-conference play, and would have beaten a few good Big East teams. The Big Ten isn't that much better than the Big East this year, either.

Bren (Berkeley, Ca)

So your predicting Iowa to beat Ohio State IN Columbus? I know you raved about the Iowa defense, but will all the teams with back-to-back shut outs please stand up?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:27 PM)

Can all the teams that played Toledo and Illinois raise their hands? The OSU defense looks good, and they actually played very well against USC until the final two minutes. OSU will be much better at the end of the year. What's more impressive? Giving up 22 points in wins over Nebraska and Miami, or shutting out the teams you mentioned? It's all relative.

Nick (St. Paul)

If A.J. Green walked on water, would you be surprised?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

Dude is sick. Georgia would be 0-4 without him. He might be the best WR in the country right now.

Jake (Honolulu, HI)

Can you give any reasonable explanation as to why there are so many upsets this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:30 PM)

Other than parity and 85 scholarships, I can't give a logical explanation. I think a lot of teams were overrated to start the season, and we jumped on some bandwagons too soon after big wins.

jason (nebraska)

why isnt missouri in the top 25

Mark Schlabach
  (2:31 PM)

I was really impressed with the Tigers on Friday night. Gabbert is going to be great, and Alexander is a big-time receiver. They also appear to be better on defense. Might challenge Kansas and Nebraska in the Big 12 North this year, but future definitely looks good.

Virginia (Waco)

If either TCU or Houston wins out, how can voters justify keeping Boise ahead of them in the polls? Not only are the Mountain West and C-USA tougher conferences, but they both already have more BCS school wins on their resumes (Houston's resume looks particularly strong at this point). Is this just a case of Boise starting the pre-season with a higher ranking?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:32 PM)

Yes, I answered that questions earlier. I think TCU and/or Houston would jump Boise State based on schedule strength. Not saying Houston or TCU would beat Boise State, but they'd have better overall bodies of work than BSU, in my opinion. We'll see if all three can win out, though. I doubt they will.

Tim (Chicago)

Almost an entire chat and no mention of Scott Tolzien? Is he the best or second best QB in the nation?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:33 PM)

Great story at Wisconsin. He's a big reason the Badgers are 4-0. They're getting a lot of balance on offense, too.

Erik (Tuscaloosa)

When do you think Julio Jones will have his breakout performance of the year? I know we are using everyone we have to spread the ball, but he is due one soon.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:33 PM)

I was glad to see him get in the end zone vs. Arkansas. He's a great WR, maybe the most physically developed WR in the country. Bama needs to get him the ball more.

Garrett Donnelly (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Who do you think will win the LSU Geogia match-up this Saturday and why?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:34 PM)

Whichever team makes fewer mistakes, probably. Georgia has to eliminate turnovers and penalties to beat a team like LSU. The Tigers have to do a better job of tackling and have to be more efficient on offense.

Tim (VA)

What is you overall view on the Nebraska Cornhuskers right now and their future?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

I think Bo definitely has them headed in the right direction. Tough loss at Virginia Tech, but that's a tough place to play. I'd say it's a three-team race between Nebraska, Kansas and Mizzou.

Chris (Syracuse, NY)

Mark, could the Gators and Alabama both go undefeated play in the sec title game and if its a great game play in the national title game for a rematch?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

Doubtful. Didn't happen with Ohio State/Michigan in 2007 and probably wouldn't happen this year, either. Voters don't like rematches.

Joe (Sewanee, Tn)

Is there a chance Chris Todd could become a Heisman darkhorse candidate in the off chance that Auburn's offense keeps posting the big numbers and the defense steps up enough to win the SEC West?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

Let's see what the Tigers do against the SEC's big boys. He's playing great and he deserves every accolade he gets. He really got thrown under the bus last year when he was hurt. Great comeback story.

KC (CA)

Oregon fan here. I think UO deserved to be knocked out of top 25 after its sloppy performance in Boise. But they were also one of the most underrated teams after that game. First game. Tough road game. Lots of mistakes. And Cal is not that bad. Dux are just that good. And losing Blount may have been blessing in disguise. Fresh RB James is for real.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

I said earlier it was one of the best coaching jobs I've seen in a while. They've beaten three decent teams the last three weeks.

David (CA)

Mark I'll give you Houston has a better resume over Boise State 2 a degree... But TCU beat a 2 of the worst teams in the ACC.. BYU laid a goose egg against another ACC team... And as you stated eariler people have jumped on bandwagons 2 quickly Houston's win over the Pokies doesn't look that impressive nor does there win over Tech becuz of a blown call by the officials with about 4 mintues left tech should have been given a TD instead it was a turnover

Mark Schlabach
  (2:40 PM)

Clemson isn't one of the worst teams in the ACC. I think C.J. Spiller would have some success against Boise State, too. Houston would have beaten Southern Miss, Texas Tech, Okie State, Miss. State (which is better) and Southern Miss (which almost won at Kansas). TCU would have beaten Clemson, Utah, BYU and Air Force (which is pretty good). I think that's more than what Boise State would have accomplished. It really doesn't matter because I don't think all three will finish unbeaten.

Mike (MN)

Mark, love your stuffOff the beaten track a little. After what you've seen with Gophers this year, does your opinion of them and Coach Brewster change at all from before the season started?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:41 PM)

I've been very impressed with the Gophers, especially with Minnesota having two new coordinators. Beat a decent Air Force team and played well against Cal.

Michael (WV)

Although they stumbled with 6 TO's versus Auburn, they are very explosive and were clearly the better team on the field. Can they compete with Cincinnati for the Big East Crown?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:41 PM)

I think the Mountaineers are one of the top four teams in the Big East, along with Cincinnati, USF and U Conn. They can play with any of them as long as Brown doesn't turn it over like he did at Auburn.

Finny (Marietta, GA)

Do you think 2 non AQ schools get into the BCS and who do you think they are?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:42 PM)

I think it will be difficult. If there's a one-loss Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame sitting out there, the BCS bowl games are going to take them because they'll get higher TV ratings and will bring more fans. Is it fair? Probably not. But it's reality.

Jerret (Kansas City MO)

Do you think if TCU, Boise and Houston all finish undefeated they go back and look at the factors of how they got to undefeated or just annoint Boise because they started higher in the rankings?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:43 PM)

I would think voters would take a hard look at conference strength. Again, I'm not saying TCU and Houston would beat Boise State, but I think you have to look at who they've played.

bruce (dallas)

Thoughts on Leach's questionable coaching at end of Tech-Houston game. Seems he has a history of these and why he will not be invited to coach at an elite program. Thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:43 PM)

Interesting decision not to kick the field goal for an eight-point lead. I'd take him to coach my team any day of the week.

Kolten (Grand Island)

You said one loss Oklahoma and Notre dame. Are you saying Oklahoma will beat Texas and Notre Dame will beat USC?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:44 PM)

No, I was just throwing out hypothetical teams.

John (OH)

Mark, injury aside, how beautiful was that hit on Tebow? And how did Tebow not fumble?!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:44 PM)

Clean hit. Vicious hit. Not sure how he didn't fumble. He never saw him. I know that.

Clay (Mobile)

Florida or Alabama. Which team, in your opinion has been more impressive, and why?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:45 PM)

I think Bama has played better to this point. Impressive win over Va. Tech, and the Tide can run it and throw it down the field. Great on defense, too.

Dave (Detroit)

Is Rich Rod coach of the year?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:45 PM)

Before or after the Indiana game? He's doing a nice job at Michigan. They're much better than last season.

Rey (Tucson)

What is your opinion on the Arizona Wildcats, How do you see their season finishing? Do you see a bowl in our future?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:46 PM)

Middle of the Pac-10 is tough to call right now. I had a hard time with the bowl projections this week. Do you knock out Oregon State? I have to think they'll get better. Arizona will be in the hunt, though.

Dan (Morristown, Nj)

Do you think the Wolverines deserve a top 25 ranking?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:46 PM)

Probably in the top 20, but I think we put too much stock in their win over Notre Dame. We'll see how good the Irish end up being.

Miller (Dayton)

Dude if the Buckeyes have one loss they are in the Rose Bowl.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:47 PM)

Again, I was just throwing out the names of traditional powers. If there's a one-loss team from the BCS conferences with a huge fan base, it's hard for the BCS bowl games to pass on them.

Eric (Bettendorf, IA)

What do you think Iowa's chances are of winning a Big Ten crown? Do you think the offense will ever develop enough to keep the defense from having to win games?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:48 PM)

I have to admit: I'm surprised Iowa is 4-0 after losing Greene and his replacement and the big boys on the DL. Great coaching job by Kirk Ferentz, especially after they nearly lost to Northern Iowa.

Eric (Tampa)

Mark - Did USF's defense dominate FSU or was it FSU killing itself?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:49 PM)

USF defense played well, but FSU shot itself in the foot too many times. What was it? Four trips inside the 20 and no points? Too many mistakes.

Lance (Tulsa)

Would a undefeated Boise team get into the NC game over a 2-loss BCS team?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:49 PM)

In that scenario, I think Boise State would get a shot. A one-loss team that played a tougher schedule? I don't know. It would be a huge controversy.

Michael (Columbia, SC)

Are the Gamecocks for real? Everyone says Ole Miss was overrated. But give some credit to South Carolina and thier D. I think Eric Norwood is All-American at LB. Do you argee?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:50 PM)

Eric Norwood is a legit All-America candidate. South Carolina defense played very well. Not sure why they didn't play that well at Georgia. Stephen Garcia is playing better and avoiding mistakes. USC has a chance.

Steve (Houston)

Why are people so hung up on strength of schedule? It's not Boise's fault that the rest of the WAC is weak. If they're a good team, they're a good team. It's a shame that there's no way they can prove that without a playoff.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:51 PM)

Agree. Again, I think Boise State is a very good team. But if it ends up with three or four undefeated teams, they'll look at schedules. And the WAC isn't very good this year.

Elliot (Denver)

Better Safety--Erik Berry or Taylor Mays?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:51 PM)

I'd take either one. Both great players.

Stephen (VA)

What is FSU's Season Future. not lookin to good at this point. Will they even make a bowl game

Mark Schlabach
  (2:51 PM)

They'll make a bowl game. Too much talent.

Sean (Texas )

I think if Tennessee had a decent quarterback, they could be very good. What are your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:52 PM)

I think QB play has really hurt them so far. If they get good QB play at Florida, they might win the game.

Mark (Norman)

Who is better for OU, Landry Jones or Sam Bradford

Mark Schlabach
  (2:52 PM)

Landy Jones will be good, but Bradford is one of the best.

Jeff (Las Vegas)

wondering when your power rankings are going to be updated

Mark Schlabach
  (2:52 PM)

I believe they come out tomorrow.

Tony (Cincinnati)

I no ohio state fans wouldnt agree with this statement. But is Cincinnati the best college football team in ohio right now?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:53 PM)

I'd love to see them play. In Cleveland.

Matt (Houston)

Is McCoy back on top of the heisman pile?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:53 PM)

I'd still go with Tebow at this point. We'll see when he comes back. He's most valuable to his team right now.

Elliot (Denver)

who is your top 5 right now?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:55 PM)

1. Florida 2. Texas 3. Alabama 4. Virginia Tech 5. Oklahoma (forgiving for Bradford injury)

Mark Schlabach
  (2:55 PM)

Folks, gotta run. Have a great week. Talk to you again next Monday.