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November 16, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Buzzmaster
  (2:03 PM)

Mark's running a few minutes late. He'll be here shortly!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:19 PM)

OK, I'm here. Sorry for the delay. Laptop decided to crash and burn last night, so it's been a hectic day. Here we go.

Dave (NJ)

The rankings are just getting absurd. Penn State has beaten Akron, Indiana, Syracuse, Temple, Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Minny, Michigan and Northwestern. They only real good teams they've played, Iowa and OSU, they lost badly to at home. Why are they ranked 13th and ahead of Iowa? Also, USC gets blown out 2 out of past 3 weeks and they're still ranked? Homers and empty voters are really damaging the game. Why should Penn St play anybody if they're treated like this?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:20 PM)

I agree completely. Iowa lost its starting quarterback and still had a chance to beat NW and Ohio State. That's the sign of a good team. I think the last at-large could come down to Iowa and PSU if both win this weekend. I'm hoping common sense prevails.

Adam (Boise)

Whats your take on Kellen Moore? Think he could put up similar numbers if he played for most teams?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:21 PM)

I'm not sure if his numbers would be as gaudy if he weren't playing Utah State, Idaho, Hawaii, etc., but he's a great QB. I almost put him on my Heisman ballot this week, but he's sitting at No. 6 right now. He's a great QB with great numbers.

Ryan (Las Cruces)

What were you more impressed by: Manny Pacquiao or Texas Christian?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:22 PM)

Didn't get to see Manny, so I'll have to say TCU. Can't say I was surprised. Horned Frogs are playing as well as anyone right now. They've always been good on defense and now they're really good on offense, too.

Joe (FL)

Mark, which coach do you see as the best fit for UVA after they fire Groh?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:23 PM)

I do think UVA will make a change. If they can get Al Golden from Temple, who is a former UVA assistant, he'd be the perfect fit. UVA-type of guy and a great recruiter. He's done an amazing job at Temple, which was probably the worst job in the country when he got there. Derek Dooley at La. Tech and Mike London at Richmond would be possibilities, too. Wake Forest's Jim Grobe, who I think has long been one of the most underrated coaches in the country, is a UVA grad.

joe (chicago)

assuming that ND is going to have a new coach next year, should they be acting now or is swarbrick really going to wait until the season is said and done to make a move?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:26 PM)

Swarbrick told me Saturday night in Pittsburgh that he was going to wait until the end of the season, and I think that's only fair to Weis and his players. They can still get to the Gator Bowl, perhaps, by winning their last two games. I think they know who they're going after.

milton (illinois)

mark usc overrated or stanford underrated?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:26 PM)

USC: grossly overrated (even today). Stanford: grossly underrated. I said back in February that USC wouldn't finish in the top 10. I didn't think they'd be this bad, though. They quit in the fourth quarter.

Chris (Pittsburgh)

Did you enjoy yourself at Heinz Field this weekend? Your thoughts on Pitt after seeing them live?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

I had a great trip to Heinz Field. I always enjoy going to Pittsburgh. I was very impressed with Pitt. Great on defense, especially up front. Dion Lewis was as good as advertised, and Baldwin is a beast. Stull is playing very well, too. I'd pick them to beat Cincinnati right now.

Noah ((Canton, Ohio))

Mark who do you see as the best and worst fit for the Buckeyes to play in the Rose Bowl? I'm going with Oregon as the worst fit and Zona as the best fit... agreed?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:28 PM)

Would probably agree with your assessment. I think Oregon probably has too much speed. Stanford would be an interesting matchup because Gerhart is such a bruising runner against OSU's stingy defense.

John (Denver)

Do you think Boise State is to blame for their schedule? What else should have they done? Do you think Florida, Alabama, or Texas would accept a home/home series with them? Oregon regrets their trip to Boise and Oklahoma regrets saying they would play in Provo. I think they are in a no win situation.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:30 PM)

I think Boise State is in a tough position trying to fill games because they don't want to play guaranteed road games anymore, and I don't blame them. But they're also going to have a heck of a time trying to get teams from BCS conferences to play in Boise. It's a no-win situation. You can't blame them for the schedule, but really can't reward them for playing their current schedule. I still think they're fine to play in a BCS bowl game.

Tom (san jose)

If USC is grossly overrated, what does that make Ohio State or have USC regressed so much in the season?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:31 PM)

Ohio State is a little better on offense. But USC's defense has eroded the last three weeks. Worst it's ever played under Carroll.

David (Athens, GA)

Are you surprised that Kiffin kicked two of the three off the team?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:32 PM)

If I were the coach, all three would be gone. They're trying to determine whether Jackson was involved in the robbery because he was in the gas station at the time. He had earlier troubles, though. But, as Kiffin said a couple of weeks, it's his discretion whether to discipline his players (or not).

Eric (Indianapolis, IN)

You talked earlier about when Swarbrick will make the decision to replace Weis at Notre Dame. If he does who do you see as the front-runner to replace Weis in South Bend? Urban Meyer, John Gruden, Brian Kelly, maybe a long shot in Bob Stoops?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:34 PM)

It's not Jon Gruden. He just signed a multi-million dollar deal to continue to do MNF gigs for ESPN. I think Brian Kelly would be the front runner and top choice. But that's pure speculation.

Al (Syracuse)

is the Big Ten the most overrated BCS conference? Looking at the schedules of the ranked teams from the Big Ten, not one of them has a solid win besides games against one another

Mark Schlabach
  (2:35 PM)

It's impossible to say. I think the Big Ten is better than most people believe. Iowa, Penn State and Ohio State are all solid, but not great. Wisconsin is pretty solid.

Jackson (Madison, WI)

The Badgers are one of the hottest teams in the Big 10 right now, behind maybe only Ohio State. I know they had the two tough losses to OSU and Iowa, but where do you see Wisconsin playing come bowl time? Outback?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

I would definitely say Outback Bowl. Two Big Ten teams to BCS games and the other (either Penn State or Iowa) to Capital One Bowl. Badgers go to Tampa

Ryan (Richmond, VA)

Is there any realistic chance TCU gets into the title game? I'm a Boise alum, but TCU looks ridiculously good, and I don't know that anyone ranked above them would consider it a walk in the park against them.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:36 PM)

I think TCU could play with any of the top three teams for one game with everything on the line. For TCU to reach Pasadena, Texas would have to lose or Florida or Bama would have to lose before reaching Atlanta, and then have the one-loss team defeat the unbeaten team in the SEC championship game.

Mike (DC)

Speaking of Gruden, do you know if there is an out-clause in his contract that would let him leave for a coaching job like ND?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

I don't work up the contracts in Bristol.

Eric (IA)

Iowa beat Arizona. One of the "solid teams" in the PAC10. If the Big10 is overrated, how about you discredit the PAC10 also.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:37 PM)

Good point. And Arizona is pretty good, too.

Mark (Orlando)

mark - Can you please give us your take on the progress of the Hurricanes? Are they truly on their "way back"? Seems they struggle to win the games they should, and I am tired of hearing they are "young"...other prgrams do it with young players!! Thanks!!

Mark Schlabach
  (2:38 PM)

The bottom line is they are young. Jacory Harris has to take better care of the football, plain and simple. I think he has 16 or 17 INTs, which is the most among quarterbacks ranked in the top 100 in pass efficiency

Donald (Eugene,OR)

Were you surpised Blount did not play against ASU? Do you think Kelly will use him at all?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:39 PM)

No one has told me this, but I wonder if lawyers didn't put Blount back on the team. It's up to Kelly as to whether or not he plays in games. Why disrupt chemistry at this point? And why take LeMichael James off the field?

Taylor (woodlands,TX)

Who do you think will win state in high school in texas?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:39 PM)

If Southlake Carroll is still involved, it would have to be the favorite, right?

Tom (Cincinnati)

Did everyone blow the preseason picks by excluding the BE from the top 25? . . . do you think that perception will change next year?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:41 PM)

I don't know if everyone blew it. I didn't expect replacing 10 starters on defense to be so seamless (see USC). I knew Pitt was talented, but who would have imagined Lewis being so good as a freshman and Stull playing so well after his first three seasons? South Florida is fading like it has done the last couple of years, and West Virginia had to replace Pat White. But, yes, I would hope the league gets more respect in 2010.

Ben (Carrollton)

How bout them Jackets? Paul Johnson has done an amazing job, where would a 12-1 Georgia Tech team on a 10 game winning streak fit into the Title Game discussion?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:42 PM)

He's done a tremendous job. I've said for a long time that people were missing the boat on him. I covered a few of his Navy games when I was in Washington, D.C. The guy can flat-out coach, regardless of his talent level. It would have to be a situation similar to the one I explained for TCU: either Texas or one of the SEC teams would have to lose

Jeff (Oregon)

Do you know what the tiebreaker scenario is in the Pac-10 if there were 3 or 4 teams tied at the top of the conference at the end of the season? Those teams potentially being Oregon, Zona, Stanford, and Oregon State

Mark Schlabach
  (2:42 PM)

I looked at it this morning, but didn't look into three-team tiebreakers. Obviously, Stanford has the tie-breaker over Oregon, but the Cardinal lost to both Zona and Oregon State. Civil War could be really big.

Mesaifnt (Omaha)

If Nebraska makes it to the Big 12 title how likely can they pull the upset against Texas

Mark Schlabach
  (2:43 PM)

Would be interesting to watch. Nebraska's playing better on defense. Offense is coming around. Not out of the question that the Cornhuskers could win.

Alex (Boston)

Where's the love for GTech's Dwyer and Nesbitt in the Heisman discussion? Not saying either should win it but shouldn't they at least be worthy of mention in such a wide open race?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:44 PM)

I think they'd split a lot of votes. I know CJ Spiller is great, but I'm not sure Nesbitt isn't the MVP of the ACC. He's carried that team on his back this season.

tyler (Iowa)

Who will be the coach of the year? I would think it could go to Brian Kelly or Kirk Ferentz or maybe Gary Patterson. Being from Iowa I guess I'm biased but all of the adversity that Ferentz has overcome this season and the young team he has led to an incredible season I would think he would have to at least be in the top 3. What do you think Mark?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:45 PM)

All three have done great jobs. But when you look at what Cincinnati lost from last season's team, and then losing Pike is midseason, I don't see how it can't be Brian Kelly.

Pat (Chicago)

Which of the current undefeated teams do you feel will remain undefeated?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:45 PM)

I think all four are unbeaten going into the conference championship games and final weekend. I think Bama and Texas play for the national championship.

paige (tuscaloosa,al)

What do you think it is about this years (compared to last years) Alabama team that could help them upset the Gators?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:46 PM)

I think Alabama is more explosive on offense than a year ago, and Florida isn't as explosive

cc (gaithersburg,md)

do u think maryland will be looking for a new coach?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:50 PM)

I think Debbie Yow faces a very tough decision. Ralph is a Md. guy and put the program back on the map. But they've really struggled and things don't seem to be getting better. What do you do with James Franklin? Let him take over? I don't know.

Drew (Charlotte)

What do you think of Mark Ingram's chances of winning the Heisman. I'm tired of it always being awarded to a QB.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:51 PM)

I think he's the front runner, with Toby Gerhart coming on strong. I think McCoy would really have to put up big numbers in his last three games to win. I can't see Tebow winning it because the production just isn't there.

Shawn (Dallas)

Do you think that Colt McCoy's breaking of the wins by a starting QB will impact Heisman voters?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:52 PM)

I think it's a record that can't be overlooked. He'll leave Texas as the all-time winningest QB in CFB history. That's a heck of a line on your Heisman resume'.

Eric (Indianapolis, IN)

If Notre Dame finds a way to win its final games against Uconn and Stanford, and goes on to win a New Years day bowl, what are the chances Charlie keeps his job? BTW biggest IF in all of sports.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:53 PM)

Swarbrick told reporters in South Bend yesterday that the final two games won't affect Weis' standing, from what I read this morning. I think the Navy loss was what did him in, but that's just my opinion. I think that loss sealed the deal. If he'd won the final three games, maybe they keep him, but I doubt it. Now, it's a moot point anyway.

Michael (NC)

Will Alabama be good again next season?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:53 PM)

I think the Tide will be pretty good as long as Nick Saban is there

Dave (Detroit)

You have to comment on the possibility of Michigan football only winning one conference game... did you ever even think that could happen?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:54 PM)

Pretty amazing and, no, I never thought I'd see it. I thought it would be a struggle because the change was so drastic, but I never imagined Michigan would be this bad in his second season.

Nicholas (Bloomington)

IU Purdue for the bucket who takes it?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:54 PM)

I really like Purdue's basketball team....And the Boilermakers probably win in football, too. Elliott is playing awfully well right now.

Andrew (Cincinnati)

If Bowls were based on performance and not money do you think the Big East would deserve two teams in the BCS (Cincinnati and Pitt)?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:55 PM)

Tough call. A one-loss Cincinnati team would be more deserving than two-loss Iowa or Penn State, but I don't think the fan base is big enough.

Ray (Tampa)

Would it be a travesty if Toby Gerhart wasnt invited to New York this year? I dont want to hear anymore about Tebow or McCoy. Gerhart, Keenum, Ingram are the finalists. Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:56 PM)

If I were handing out invitations, they'd go to Ingram, Gerhart, McCoy, Spiller and Tebow. But the invitations are based on percentage of vote. Sometimes they only invite three or four

Cory (Geneva, IL)

If the writing is on the wall at Notre Dame, why not make a move now? That gives you a leg up in looking for a coach without having to hide the plane as you are doing now. I don't see what it hurts, you aren't playing for anything big now anyway.

Mark Schlabach
  (2:56 PM)

Because it's Notre Dame and Weis is a ND graduate. Again, it's not fair to him or the players. They still have a chance -- not necessarily deserved -- to go to a New Year's Day bowl game.

Tricky (Cincinnati)

Bigger fall...Michigan or Louisville, and which one is easier to fix?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:57 PM)

Bigger fall is Michigan because it's one of the sport's traditional powers. Petrino had Louisville rocking, but it was a short-term deal, in my opinion. The Cardinals can compete in the Big East, but Michigan is supposed to compete for national championships every season.

Bob (DC)

Does VT hurt is NC chances by scheduling all of these tough OOC games?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:58 PM)

No, enchances their chances if they win the games. I commend them for doing it. They're not afraid to play Boise State.

Gus (az)

Why should breaking breaking the wins record at Texas have any bearing on McCoy's Heisman chances? Main reason why this award has become such a joke

Mark Schlabach
  (2:59 PM)

Winning 44 games means nothing? And he's the starting QB for a team that has a chance to win the national championship and he's put up pretty good numbers without a proven running game or receiver corps. Anybody can put up big numbers. Putting up big numbers AND winning means more.

Casey (Fort Worth)

After seeing Dennis Francione get run out of Tuscaloosa and College Station and CFB all together, does Gary Patterson ever leave TCU?

Mark Schlabach
  (2:59 PM)

Gary told me last week that he's in no hurry to leave TCU and another job would have to be a "really, really special place." I don't think he's going anywhere. He moved 17 times before taking the TCU job. I think he's seen enough moving vans.

Steve (Charlotte)

Since GT runs an offense that you only see once a year, do you think it would help teams that play Tech to schedule Navy the week before so they at least get 2 weeks to work on defending the triple option?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:00 PM)

Wouldn't hurt. It's impossible to prepare for that offense when you only have a week to prepare.

Jennifer (Chicag)

Do you think that Auburn has a chance against bama this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:00 PM)

It's at Auburn, so I guess they always have a chance there.

Ben (Ann Arbor)

was rich rod the right move or should the job have gone to someone in-house?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:01 PM)

It shouldn't have gone to somebody in-house. I think Rich Rod is a good coach, but I'm not sure he was the perfect fit for Michigan.

Jeff (Fayetteville)

Is Ryan Mallett the best QB in college football?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:01 PM)

He's pretty good, but the guys at Texas, Florida, Notre Dame and Boise State aren't chopped liver.

Gus (az)

yes it means nothing. It's a one year award not a career award

Mark Schlabach
  (3:01 PM)

So he's done nothing this year? Hmmm

Alex (Chicago)

Better coaching job: Paul Rhoads or Bill Snyder?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:02 PM)

Both have done fabulous jobs. Both took over programs in disarray and turned them around immediately.

Tim (Atlanta)

Do you miss Atlanta yet? It was 70 this past weekend.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:02 PM)

I'm still in Atlanta....Yes, beautiful weather.

Molly (Los Angeles, CA)

USC suffering growing pains or end of an era? Is USC going to be better next year?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:03 PM)

I think it's growing pains. Freshman QB and too many new players on defense. I thought going into the season that it would be impossible to replace so many NFL players, even at USC.

Drew (Gainesville, FL)

Mark, will you be in the Swamp over Thanksgiving for Tebow's last home game? p.s. I heard we, by contract with Nike, have to wear an alternate jersey one of these last two games...Any truth to that? Bet it won't be the FIU game...

Mark Schlabach
  (3:04 PM)

Good chance I'll be at the Swamp. Hoping to do the Iron Bowl and Florida/FSU games in consecutive games. Should be quite a sight. I'll see McCoy's last home game this weekend.

Taylor (CHS,SC)

what chance do you give clemson if they make it to the acccg with only a week to prepare for tech offense

Mark Schlabach
  (3:04 PM)

It's different because they've already played them once this season. And Clemson's defensive front can give Georgia Tech's OL problems. Played it pretty well the first time. Special teams mistakes killed Clemson the first time, if I remember correctly.

Darryl (Oakland, CA)

Because the Pac 10 is by far the best conference is America, Who do you think is the second best conference in the country?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:05 PM)

SEC or Pac-10. Bama and Florida are as good or better than any teams in the Pac-10. Pac-10 might be a little deeper, but the head-to-head matchups would all be competitive. Vandy and Washington State would be a toss-up.

Jordan (Atlanta)

Any thoughts on who's at fault for the disarray in UGA? I hear a number of fans displeased with Martinez. Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:05 PM)

Willie can't shoulder all the blame. Offense accounts for most of the penalties and turnovers.

Dave (Columbus)

I thought the South Carolina jerseys this weekend very classy. Whoever came up with that idea should get a helmet sticker.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:06 PM)

I thought it was a really nice gesture. But I have to admit, a couple of my buddies back home wanted to know why Spurrier benched Garcia and went with "Service." One guy even said he was better than Garcia!

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

If Notre Dame somehow gets to a New Year's Day bowl game, will they be the worst team to ever play on new year's day?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:07 PM)

I don't know. Remember the Pitt team that played Utah in the Fiesta Bowl in Urban Meyer's last game there?

Ricardo (ga)

What your take on the ga vs. ga tech game?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:08 PM)

Georgia better tackle better than it did last year.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:08 PM)

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