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October 12, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (2:02 PM)

Hope everybody had a great weekend. I was at the Georgia Tech-FSU game, where I saw a lot of offense and very little defense. Here we go...

Clint (South Carolina)

How much did the LSU Florida game help Tebows bid for another Heisman?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:02 PM)

I think emotionally, he probably earned a few votes because of his toughness in coming back from the concussion. Surprised to see he's No. 3 in pass efficiency. Not putting up huge numbers, but I'm not sure there's a more valuable -- or important -- player in the country.

Jeff (Gainesville, Fl)

Do you think Alabama is good enough this year to beat Florida in the SECCG?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:03 PM)

I think Bama is the best team in the country right now. I think the Gators are probably better on defense, but Bama's still very, very good. Right now, I think Bama is better on offense. Don't see a lot of explosion from the Gators. We'll see if they get better, though, and develop some young WRs

Brian (Miami)

When is the love affair with USC going to end? How can you lose to (once winless) WASHINGTON and still be back the following week ahead of other 1-loss teams?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:05 PM)

I think USC is getting the benefit of doubt because Matt Barkley and Taylor Mays didn't play in that game. If they beat Notre Dame and Oregon, they'll probably be in the best position of the one-loss teams, other than Virginia Tech. Question: If Bama and Florida go undefeated and play in the SEC championship game, and teams like Virginia Tech and Ohio State lose again, do you take one-loss Bama or Florida or one-loss USC? I'd be surprised to see an SEC rematch.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:05 PM)

That was assuming Texas lost a game, too, obviously.

stefan (the swamp)

Mark...after yet another great weekend of SEC football I see by your bowl projections you are back on the Gator Bandwagon..why?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:06 PM)

Try to do it week to week based on results, and Florida deserved a spot beating LSU on the road. I think Bama is probably better right now, but Florida is defending champion and gets nod until they lose. Bama will have to beat the Gators to go to Pasadena.

Kellen (Boston)

OU or Texas?!?!? Texas looks vulnerable and OU looks better with Bradford back. Perhaps an evenly matched game despite the difference in rankings. Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:07 PM)

Would not be surprised to see a low-scoring game in Dallas. OU is very good against the run, and the Longhorns haven't run the ball well. Now, a couple of backs are hurt. Defense is what separates OU and UT from the rest of the Big 12.

Jason (Dallas)

Mark, How much stock do you put into OU's one-point losses, as something to consider of how good OU is this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:07 PM)

I'm stunned OU has played as well as it has without Bradford (until last week), Gresham, etc. They already had to replace four very good OL and two good WRs. Heck of a coaching job by Stoops. The defense can carry them.

Chad (Iraq)

As a Florida I've always wanted Bowden to lose, but right now its sad. What are the chances he's around in 2010?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:08 PM)

After our interview Friday, I thought he'd come back next year. After talking with him after the Ga. Tech game, I'm not sure he comes back. I think he probably knows the end is near. Be safe in Iraq.

josh (il)

Are the days of non-QB's winning the Heisman trophy over? Suh from Nebraska seems as important to his team as Tebow is for Florida.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:09 PM)

Or Eric Berry or Gerald McCoy or Eric Norwood. They have awards for defensive players, too. I'm not sure they'll win the Heisman.

James (Atlanta)

Mark, When are people going to realize that LSU is a below average team? Good defense with a horrible offense. I am not sure they are top 25 material. You?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:12 PM)

They're top 25 material. Not sure they're top 10 right. Georgia Tech doesn't have a defense, but great offense. USC great defense, pretty mediocre offense. Same for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes are getting better on offense. I think outside of the top three, most teams have issues, and the Longhorns aren't that great on offense right now.

Chris (Blacksburg)

What are your thoughts on Virginia Tech and possible national championship chances now

Mark Schlabach
  (2:13 PM)

Better hope Bama loses twice...And USC loses again and Texas or Florida lose again. Hokies are playing really, really well right now. But playing in the ACC won't help their cause.

Jason (Columbus, OH)

Mark wondering what the talk around the College Football analysts' water cooler is.....Will Terrelle Pryor get his act together this year to make OSU a legit Top Ten team? Or will he keep regressing and waste what are shaping up to incredible Defensive and Special Team units? I ove my Bucks, but personally, I can think of 11 teams that I would put in front of OSU with our offense.Thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:13 PM)

He's a sophomore. He's getting better. Put an above-average line in front of him and see what happens. You'd be surprised.

Chris (Lynchburg, VA)

Mark your rationale for the answer about Suh and the Heisman makes zero sense. The Heisman isn't an offensive award, according to the Heisman Trophy Trust, it's for the "most outstanding player in college football." Do you truly believe Suh isn't one of the best players in college football?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:14 PM)

I think he's one of the best players in the country. I think he's an All-American at his position. Is he the best DT in the Big 12? McCoy is pretty good, too. Eric Berry is the best defensive player in the country, in my opinion.

Jeff (Destin)

Do you think Christian Ponder would be a legit Heisman candidate if the 'Noles had a better record?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:14 PM)

I think he's the best QB FSU has had since Chris Weinke. He can hurt you with his legs, too, and he's doing it without established WRs and RBs. That makes it even more impressive. He'll play in the NFL.

Alex (Richmond, VA)

Wouldn't a one-loss VT have a better resume than a one-loss USC?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:15 PM)

Win over Nebraska is looking better, along with win over Miami. Would have beaten Georgia Tech. USC would have beaten Ohio State (road), Notre Dame (road), Oregon (road), Cal (road). I know the Bears were overrated, but Trojans would have done most of their damage on the road.

Stu (Hollywood, FL)

Mark I just don't see it. You say that Bama is better than Florida, yet the Tide struggled against a pretty solid defense in Ole Miss. If not for the Rebels bumbling offense that would have been a much tighter game. I think Florida would own Bama and that so called bruising running game.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:16 PM)

I think Tide throws it down the field better than Florida, and I never thought I'd say that.

Scott (St. Louis)

Mark, you brought up OU and UT's defenses in the Big 12. How would you compare the Nebraska defense? They look to be every bit as good as those two, don't you think?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:16 PM)

Yes, Nebraska looks much better on defense. It's why they hired Bo Pelini. And they're much better.

Lee (Mount Pleasant, MI)

In your latest bowl projections, you have Central Michigan going to the GMAC bowl. If they were to finish the year 12-1, do you think they would get invited to a better bowl game? If so, which bowl?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:17 PM)

As far as I know, MAC's No. 1 team goes to GMAC Bowl. Central Michigan wouldn't go to a BCS bowl game.

joe (chicora)

Mark, its true that USC's defense is way better than anything ND has seen thus far, but would you agree that ND's offense is better than any of opponents' USC has faced so far?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:17 PM)

Given that California fell off the West Coast into the Pacific, yes, I would agree with that statement.

Vinnie (ATL)

Does Charlie Weis finally get a win over USC? I say no. Notre Dame can not stop anyone. McKnight will run wild on them. How does Weis continue at Notre Dame without any signature wins?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:18 PM)

Charlie Weis really, really needs to beat USC. There isn't another coach in the country with more to gain this week.

David (Athens)

UGA's got a lot of problems. Do you think that Coach Richt will finally give in and shop for new coordinators after this year? And if so, who would be good candidates for the job?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:19 PM)

I don't know what he'll do. All I know is Mark Richt is very loyal to his assistants, just like Bobby Bowden at FSU. I think everyone underestimated the losses of Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford and Massaquoi. I think they're very fortunate to be 3-3, to be honest with you. I think he has to make some changes, but I'm not sure what they'll be or if he'll make them.

Sean (Birmingham, AL)

Mark, I see what you are saying about Bama's ability to throw the ball a bit better and I agree whole-heartedly. But do you really think McElroy would be able to pick apart that Secondary of the Gators. I Mean it is probably the most talented in the Nation.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:20 PM)

Gators have given up one touchdown pass the entire season. The secondary is sick, which is stunning given how bad it was a couple of years ago. Bama is very, very balanced.

eric (jax fl)

which top ten team is on upset alert and your thoughts on Miami?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech? Notre Dame over USC? Both games are on the road....Miami is a top 10 team. Played one of the toughest schedules so far and survived with a 4-1 record. Jacory Harris is the real deal.

duane (Peoria, IL)

When can we expect Ron Zook to get axed. They players are not just losing they are not even competing. I can take a loss but to see a team not even hustle is unacceptable.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

Stunning how quickly the Illini fell after the Rose Bowl. Zook gets great players, but I'm not totally surprised at their struggles.

Matt (Metairie, LA)

Mark... LSU and USC are both 1 loss teams (LSU has more wins at 5-1 vs 4-1 for USC). LSU falls to #1 Florida in a low-scoring game. Earlier in the season, LSU beat unranked Washington @ Washington, who later beat USC. So, explain to me why USC is ranked #6 and LSU is ranked #10?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:22 PM)

Agreed....Again, USC had some key injuries and Washington isn't that bad.

Newdude (Greensboro, NC)

JUST FYI - The rest of the college football world has had enough of Tebow's name and face everywhere. Would you agree that enough is enough?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:23 PM)

I have his poster on my fridge (I'm kidding). He's the best player in the last 50 years, in my opinion. Why wouldn't we talk about him?

Scott (Kanab, UT)

Boise State in the top 5, what bowl game do you have them in?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:23 PM)

Humanitarian Bowl? They finish unbeaten, they'll go to a BCS bowl game in all likelihood. They're a good team, but would have liked them to play a more difficult schedule.

Jacob (Athens, Ga)

Mark, do you foresee Mark Richt's loyalty to Bobo and Martinez to cause him to get into some hot water of his own?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:24 PM)

I think you're entitled to a bad season every few years, don't you. Georgia fans are jumping off the cliff already. It's a pretty young team.

duane (Peoria, IL)

How good is South Florida?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:25 PM)

We'll find out Saturday night. Obviously, beating FSU this year doesn't entitle you to a top 10 ranking. B.J. Daniel is playing very well, though. South Florida has been here before and struggled to close out the season. We'll see if they do it this year.

AC (Tuscaloosa)

Does South Carolina give Alabama any trouble in Tuscaloosa this Saturday? and also Will South Carolina be able to move the ball against Alabama's defense?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:26 PM)

Saban and Kirby Smart will try to put a lot of pressure on Stephen Garcia and try to confuse him with multiple looks. He's avoided mistakes so far, but it will be a tough game on the road. I don't think Bama has too many problems with USC, but we'll see...

John (INDY)

You keep giving USC a break because of injuries. Shouldn't ND get the same vs michigan because Floyd was out during the end of the game and could have turned the tide? SC is always getting the breaks from the media why?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:27 PM)

I've been harder on them than most people. You lose to an unranked team -- even if Washington is better -- than you fall to the back of the line. You can't take Ohio State over USC because the Trojans won at the Shoe. But Virginia Tech lost to a top-five opponent. LSU lost to a top-five opponent. It can be argued they deserve to go before USC.

CC (Atlanta)

Uh Mark.... isn't every team YOUNG? That's the lamest excuse. Tell me -- who for UGA is young? Cox is a senior, the OL is intact from last year. The DL is senior/junior laden. The secondary has alot of starters back. What are you talking about???

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

Skill players. Wide receivers, tight ends and backs. The guys who score TDs. I see a lot of good, young players at the skill positions. Should they be better? Yes. But I only see about three All-SEC players on the field right now. Did recruiting slip? I don't know. All the classes were ranked high.

Eric (State College, PA)

Hey Mark,What are the chances of Penn State winning out the rest of their games with Ohio State at home and going to the rose bowl? Also, based on Iowa's last minute wins...are they a fluke? Or clutch?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:29 PM)

I think when Penn State lost one game they were eliminated from the BCS discussion. Schedule was way, way too easy.

Patrick (Akron, OH)

Texas has played a pretty tame schedule thus far, how much of a factor do you think the jump to playing a quality opponent will be this Saturday?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:31 PM)

I think their running game is more of an issue. Have to run to help McCoy. Not sure they'll do it against Oklahoma. Texas defense will be tougher than what Bradford saw against Baylor, though.

Kyle (Chicago)

Is it safe to say that Iowa under Ferentz pretty much plays to the level of its competition (I'm not complaining, by the way)?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:32 PM)

No, I think that's a fair statement. Look at Northern Iowa and Arkansas State games. As long as you play well in the big games -- Penn State, Ohio State -- and win the rest of them, they'll be fine.

Robert (fort lauderdale florida)

If the canes win out how high could they go in the rankings? and will they jump over boise state?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:32 PM)

Given the schedule Miami plays, it would be a travesty if they went 11-1 and didn't jump Boise State (or a lot of other teams, for that matter).

Wade (San Diego)

Best player in 50 years???? You've got to be joking. Not bad for a fullback who can throw the ball. QB, no way.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:33 PM)

Best leader might have been a better description. Best all-around player. Toughest player. You either love him or hate him. A lot of people dislike him because he gets so much exposure. If I was starting a team right now, he'd be my No. 1 choice at QB.

Mike (Camarillo, CA)

When talking resume, as we did all last year and again in this chat. If Florida loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, why would anyone even consider FL for a rematch. They would have beaten ONE TOP 25 team all year. I know SEC has won the last three NC games but that is because their "resume" got them there in the first place. Florida loses they should not be in the picture based upon "RESUME". Agree?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:34 PM)

I think you bring up a valid argument. Bama might be able to make a claim for a rematch with one loss. Not sure Florida's schedule is tough enough given its soft nonconference sked. FSU struggling doesn't help, either.

William (Morgantown)

Javid Best over Noel Devine for heisman watch? How is that even possible Mark?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:34 PM)

I'll have them update it. I'd throw Ryan Williams and Mark Ingram in there, though.

Bob (DC)

True/False - ACC will send two teams to BCS bowls.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

As bad as the league has been at times this year, and it's been pretty bad, I think it could happen if Miami and Virginia Tech win out.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Texas has not looked great, but they also have not looked bad. It is almost as if they have not found ther idenity yet. Would a win over OU (awake a sleeping Giant) so to speak.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

The Longhorns have to turn it up a notch. Beating Oklahoma would probably do it for the stretch run. Have to run the football.

Mike (Camarillo, CA)

Thanks, although your love affair with the South is.......

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

priceless.....I've been defending USC for a half-hour now.

Randy (New York)

I'd take Tommie Frazier leading a team over Tebow.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

Good argument.

gruehls (cincinnati)

Mark, you said USF plays on Saturday night. Don't they play on Thursday night? Oh, and they will beat the vastly overrated Bearkittens, too.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

Yes, it is Thursday night in Tampa. Sorry for the typo

Justin (New Orleans)

Mark, thank you so much for finally saying that the defending champions have to be beaten to lose their #1 ranking. Chris Low doesn't seem to believe that. But then again, all he ever does is jump on the bandwagon. Thank you for understanding football.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

Chris Low knows his SEC. Eats, drinks and breaths it seven days a week.

CHRIS (TENNESSEE)

Tebow will not make it in the pro's..Guaranteed..He is great college player but will be another Heath Shuler,Ryan Leaf..He does not have the passing skills to make it pro..sound fair??

Mark Schlabach
  (2:38 PM)

He's a better passer than he's given credit for.

Justin (Tampa, FL)

When will Tebow get off the Heisman list? If he was any other quarterback, he wouldn't even be sniffing the list. His stats are not good, and don' tell me they don't matter when he won the Heisman on a 9-4 team purely on stats. There are numerous qbs with better stats, numerous ATHLETES of different positions that have better stats and are just as important to their team as Tebow is. Just because Tebow is the media's darling doesn't mean he should win a Heisman. Now the media is going to spin the concussion into a heisman story - give me a break. UF's defense is the reason they are good this year, not Tebow.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:40 PM)

Again, I'm not sure there's a more valuable player in the country. If he's out of the game, Flordia doesn't throw it as well and I'm not sure the Gators run it at all without him on the field.

Dan (PA)

How is playing in the ACC a detriment to VT and Miami? Aside from the SEC, you could easily argue the ACC's strength vs any other conference. And before you bring up those losses by the worst ACC teams to FCS schools realize that those were the top FCS schools that could beat 40-50% of FBS teams.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:41 PM)

ACC's top three teams are pretty good. Although we'll see if Georgia Tech's defense gets any better. But the rest of the league: Clemson, UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest? A few decent teams, but not many good ones.

Josh (Tallahassee, FL)

Buy or Sell: Christian Ponder is the top NFL QB prospect from the state of Florida?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:43 PM)

Pro prospect at QB? Yes, probably Ponder. He's very good.

Mark (Business Stats, Iowa City)

Mark, I have always wondered the following question. How many games do writers actually watch each week and how do you choose which ones? I'm sorry, but the media act like Iowa had to have a last second score in order to beat Ark. St. when we were very conservative the entire game and they never had the ball with a chance to win

Mark Schlabach
  (2:45 PM)

I'd say on average I get to see 5-10 games a Saturday. Bits and pieces of most, but I record all the big ones and watch during the week. And, of course, I'm usually attending at least one game a week.

Rob (Memphis, TN)

Is Rolando McClain the best defensive player in the country right now?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:46 PM)

People in Nebraska say its Suh. South Carolina says Norwood. Tennessee says Berry. Oklahoma says McCoy. Florida says Spikes. They're all very good.

Chad (Lincoln)

Tebow being the most valuable player sounds an awful lot like the argument for Colt McCoy last year and we all know how that worked out.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:46 PM)

I'm wondering if a lot of voters say "It's McCoy's turn" if the 'Horns go unbeaten.

Clint (Fort Polk, La)

Clausen is vastly improved this year, only 2 picks so far. Why doesnt he get the credit that Tebow or McCoy gets? Can they make it to a BCS bowl with a loss to USC?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:47 PM)

If Clausen beats USC, he'll get a lot of Heisman love. Great 4th quarter comebacks so far.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:47 PM)

Sorry, folks I have to run. Have a great week. I'll be in Atlanta or Gainesville this weekend. Hope your teams win Saturday. Take care.