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December 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (11:56 AM)

Hope everybody had a great Christmas. Bowl games have been pretty good so far. One more today and then off to Jacksonville for Gator Bowl. Here we go...

RAY GORDON REID (KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE 37214)

QUESTION TO MAR SCHLABACH AT12,20 PM OK MARK SHLABAch boise state BRONCOS OR TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS JANUARY4 2010

Mark Schlabach
  (11:57 AM)

I'm going to go with TCU. Great defense. Better offense than most people believe. A little more battled tested this season than the Broncos, too. It should be a tight game, though.

Chris (Florida)

Who is Georgia's next DC?

Mark Schlabach
  (11:58 AM)

I think Richt makes one more run at Kirby Smart. If Smart doesn't take it, I think Dallas Cowboys DL coach Todd Grantham might be the front runner.

Matthew (Orlando, FL)

I look at the Meyer thing from a different angle, it was a commercial for Gator football. He came back because of how special the place is as well as his players. What recruit, mother, coach etc would want to be there for those reasons?

Mark Schlabach
  (11:58 AM)

No question that press conference yesterday turned into an informercial for the Gators and Meyer's love for Jeremy Foley and vice versa. Strange deal, to say the least.

Hal Applebaum (Denver )

Do you think we would have seen the exact same scenario from Florida and Urban Meyer if they had beaten Alabama and were preparing for the National Title game instead of the Sugar Bowl?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:00 PM)

No, I think the loss to Alabama had a profound effect on Urban Meyer. I think the loss only made his soul searching more profound. Obviously, I don't know what was going through his mind.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:00 PM)

No, I think the loss to Alabama had a profound effect on Urban Meyer. I think the loss only made his soul searching more profound. Obviously, I don't know what was going through his mind.

Mike (Chicago)

So Urban Meyer shocks the world by resigning, now he's pretty much back. I'm confused.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:00 PM)

I think he was confused, too.

james (tennessee)

how do you see the vols doing against va tech in the chicfila bowl.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:01 PM)

I think it will be a close game. Hokies and Vols both run the ball well. Both have struggled to throw the ball at times. Crompton and Taylor have been up and down.

CM (MS)

What do you credit to all the recent hirings of miniortiy coaches in the FBS?? especially in BCS conferences!!!!!

Mark Schlabach
  (12:01 PM)

I think the guys that were hired were certainly qualified head coaching candidates. Glad to see Turner Gill get a chance at a BCS school. I was worried the window had closed after a bad season at Buffalo. Charlie Strong's opportunity was long overdue.

Mike (Chicago)

What's your prediction for the Iowa/GT Orange Bowl?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:02 PM)

I think Iowa has a chance if Stanzi comes back strong. Triple option is easier to defend when you've had a month to prepare. If Iowa runs the ball, the Hawkeyes will have a chance.

Alex (Miami, FL)

Hey Mark, when you were interviewing Bobby Bowden the other day you seemed pretty sad. Are you going to miss him?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:03 PM)

I don't think I was sad. Excited to finally get the interview, more than anything else. But, yes, I'll miss him. I think most college football fans will miss him. He was great for the game. It will be sad to see Joe Paterno go when he steps down, too (whenever that is).

NICOLE (HAPPY VALLEY)

With my joe pa, speaking out on expansion will it happen any time during his tenure, so that he can get a shot at the CONFERENCE championship game he has wanted for his conference??? WHO WILL THEY ADD?????

Mark Schlabach
  (12:04 PM)

I think the Big Ten takes its time in identifying the right school. Rutgers? Maryland? There have been a lot of schools tossed out there in the discussion. We'll see which school ends up getting the invite.

GARRETT (TEXAS)

Can TEXAS pull up the spirits of VINCE YOUNG and beat what the media thinks is an unbeatable BAMMA??????????

Mark Schlabach
  (12:05 PM)

Texas is going to have to block Bama much better than it blocked Nebraska. Texas' lack of a running game has concerned me all season. Defense will have to be solid. Has to get pressure on McElroy. I think Bama wins.

Ryan (Atlanta)

Mark, why does everyone think WVU will blow out FSU? FSU has the motovation (Bowden and keeping the winning season streak alive) and the offense to score. All of FSU's games have been close (excluding UF) and this one should be too.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:06 PM)

FSU certainly has the motivation to win the game with Bowden stepping down. Offensively, FSU can play with anybody. Defense has been FSU's problem this season.

Roddy (San Fran)

LSU vs Penn St seems to be very similar to last year's LSU vs Ga. Tech bowl game: The superior athleticism of LSU overwhelms their opponent. Agree?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:07 PM)

Penn State will keep it close. LSU has lacked something all season, so I don't think they'll show up and blow out Penn State. The Nittany Lions are solid, but didn't win the two games that mattered this season. LSU has played well in bowl games, though.

COREY (DESTIN,FLA)

Why did URBAN make his announcment at that particular time???THen why rectract??? Did he not think it through enough????DO you think their is something we don't know??????????

Mark Schlabach
  (12:08 PM)

I don't think we know the complete story yet and might not. He isn't obligated to reveal his health problems to the world. That's a private matter. But he was very vague in answering questions about his health yesterday. It will be interesting to see how long his leave of absence lasts.

Chris (NYC)

Am I the only conspiracy theorist out there who thinks that Coach Urban Meyer's story changes again immediately after National Signing Day? Your thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:09 PM)

A lot of coaches out there think that might be the case. I think he comes back and coaches in 2010, though. I think it's the only thing he loves to do and he'll have problems staying away from football.

Demetric (Atlanta)

Isn't it time for the Mark Ritch era to end in Georgia, even though he had 1 bad year, he should get the boot, agree? Don't be basis, because you a UGA grad

Mark Schlabach
  (12:10 PM)

Completely disagree. He's the fourth or fifth winningest active coach and put Georgia back on the map. It's his first bad season. He'll get them back on track.

Omar (Charlotte)

I know this is way too early, but what is your prognosis of the Oklahoma Sooners in 2010? In a wide open big 12, will the Sooners be back?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:12 PM)

I think it will help OU that Landry Jones got so much playing time this season. Obviously, some big losses (McCoy, Gresham, Bradford), but they can get back on track pretty quickly. Texas will have some important guys to replace, too.

Nick (Kentucky)

Unfortunately it seems like coach Brooks is going to leave. Saying that, how do you think coach in waiting Joker Phillips will do?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:13 PM)

I think Joker will be fine. I hate to see Rich Brooks go. I thought he was one of the more underrated coaches in the country. I don't think people realize how difficult it is to win at Kentucky. He did a great job.

Jason (Chicago)

How many points are put up tonight?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:13 PM)

NFL or college game? Not many in the Bears-Vikings game but a ton in the Georgia-Texas A&M game.

Aaron (Boise)

I know that you are probably going to be bombarded with Urban Meyer Q's today, so I thought I would ask an expansion question. I am curious as to who the frontrunners would be for the Big 12 spots if Missouri went to the Big 10 and Colorado went to the Pac 10. (two open spots)

Mark Schlabach
  (12:14 PM)

TCU? Boise State? It would be interesting to watch the dominoes fall if expansion takes place.

Roman (Newmarket, UK)

Glad to hear your take on the Georgia coach. I think looking at their bowl opponent, Texas A&M, is a perfect example of why you don't fire a coach after 1 bad season. The Ags haven't been the same since RC left. That being said what do you think it will take for the Aggies to pull off the upset tonight?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:15 PM)

Get Johnson in the open field and exploit Georgia's secondary. I think it would have to be a shootout for A&M to win.

Greg (Las Vegas)

Is it just me, or didn't we witness a similar situation to this Urban Meyer thing a couple weeks ago with Tiger Woods? I don't think he could have contradicted himself anymore with the family talk if he tried. What he said and what he is doing does not add up.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:16 PM)

I don't think you can draw a correlation to Tiger. But it was odd to see Urban talk about his family and faith on Saturday night, and then completely change his mind the following morning. I think he's confused.

Mike (PA)

With Brian Kelly leaving Cincy, and Dion Lewis and Baldwin back at Pitt - you think they can pull off a Big East Title? (Before they bolt to the Big 10 of course)

Mark Schlabach
  (12:21 PM)

I think Pitt would be the favorite in the Big East. Lewis is the real deal. Baldwin is the real deal. But they'll lose three seniors on OL, both TEs and Stull. Big losses on defense, too. If Romeus comes back, that would obviously help.

Alex (Miami, FL)

Is it me or is the staff Jimbo Fisher is quietly building in Tallahassee (especially on defense) will be one of the best in the country

Mark Schlabach
  (12:22 PM)

He's already made a couple of great hires with Stoops and Gran. Craig could be a rising star. Recruiting has picked up for FSU, too. Jimbo is off to a very good start.

DJ (Cuse)

Do you see schools like FSU and Miami using this Urban Meyer debacle as a rallying cry in recruiting and telling recruits why go there when you might know who the coach is in a year or two?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:23 PM)

I don't think the Noles or Hurricanes were the only schools calling Florida's recruits. Not sure when the dead period kicked in, but I'm sure Urban's waffling will be used by opponents.

Alex (Orlando-UCF)

Hi Mark, there has been rumors of expansion in the Big 10, and Big East. Rumors around UCF is that the Big East will add us to their conference. Do we actually have a change to join such a big conference?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:24 PM)

I'm sure the Big East would love to add another Florida market, although I'm not sure it would add that much with Tampa already covered. But it was a big season for the Knights and O'Leary, which helps.

Tom (Minneapolis)

TCU opponents are 4-0 so far in bowl games. Is the wrong school from Texas in the championship game?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:24 PM)

I argued for the last month of the season that I wasn't sure TCU wasn't the No. 2 team in the country. The Horned Frogs steamrolled their competition over the stretch run.

jay (tuscaloosa)

With Alabama's offensive line being very good (no holding penalties called on them in 34 quarters and mark ingrams success) how will they do running against Texas and that # 1 rush defense.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:25 PM)

I think they'll be fine, but McElroy will have to step up and make some plays in the passing game, too. Texas could load up the box.

Kevin (OH)

How do you see the rose bowl playing out?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:26 PM)

I think it's one of the more intriguing matchups. Ohio State fans are sick of hearing about it, but it's speed again. Are the Buckeyes fast enough and athletic enough to keep up with the Ducks?

Kevin (GA)

So what's your guess as to how the Cincy/UF players respond to what's got to be the most confusing coaching situation in one bowl game?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:26 PM)

Florida's players will probably rally around Meyer and get some extra juice because he's coming back. Cincinnati's players probably want to prove they can win without Kelly.

Evan (BHM)

Doesn't someone at Florida need to look into hiring a defensive coordinator? How will recruits (read: defectors) get any picture of the future org structure at UF? "Who will be my coach?" "Who will be defensive coordinator?"

Mark Schlabach
  (12:27 PM)

Yes, but I think he's probably going to promote from within his staff.

Sean Faircloth (Savannah, GA)

What are your thoughts on the Champs Bowl? Any predictions?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:29 PM)

I like Miami, but I think it could be a very close game. Jacory Harris has to avoid mistakes. Wisconsin will be able to run the ball on UM.

TONY (AUSTIN TEXAS)

DO YOU TEXAS WILL WIN.....THEY WAS IN THE SAME BOAT WHEN VINCE PLAYED IN LOOK WHAT HAPPEN.........

Mark Schlabach
  (12:30 PM)

I don't think Bama will win in a rout, but I think the Tide wins the game. Yes, McCoy could pull a Young and lead the 'Horns to victory, but his line will have to give him more protection than it did against Nebraska.

Rob (Charleston, SC)

Mark, do you really think that adding another team to the Big 10 is truly in the best interest of the conference? I suspect if they had a championship game this year there would be only one BCS bound team. Thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:31 PM)

I think the Big Ten has to do something because its teams are off the radar for too long at the end of the season. There is revenue to be made off a championship game. It's a good thing only if they add the right school, though.

Austen (Birmingham)

It doesn't seem too far fetched that Tim Tebow could have had a "profound" impact on his head coach's new found priority list. I think this is a great story of faith and family (and I'm not a UF fan). What's your take??

Mark Schlabach
  (12:32 PM)

I think Tebow probably had a profound effect on his coach. But Meyer coming back kind of throws the reasons for quitting out the window, right? Not sure what's going on.

Justin (Arizona)

Will A.J. Green play tonight? And will Georgia beat Texas A&M tonight?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:32 PM)

I've been told A.J. Green will play. I've got Georgia in a shootout, winning by a touchdown. But I think a ton of points will be scored.

Brad (Pitt)

after the recent week of bowl games, when both Quiz and Dion Lewis played, i want to go back to your way-to-early Heisman contenders list. Lewis was a man possessed against what was the 6th ranked defense in all the land (he had 101 yards at half time against a team that gives up 93 yards a game). Quiz, wasn't. any chances in the next edition Dion Moves up and Quiz moves down?

Mark Schlabach
  (12:35 PM)

I think both of those backs are Heisman front-runners heading into next season. Along with Ingram, Jacory Harris, Ryan Williams, Kellen Moore and some others.

Adam (SLC)

I don't think the Big Ten's problem is exposure or a championship game, I just don't think they have team that is giving that wow factor, at least not in a good way.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:36 PM)

Penn State and Ohio State have been pretty good over the years. Michigan had its moments, too. I think the Big Ten bashing is overrated.

Ben (Cedar Falls, IA)

why does ESPN constantly act like Bob Stoops NEEDS to leave his job at OU to go get a better job?? Joe Castiglione is the best AD in the business and you at espn treat the OU program terribly.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:36 PM)

I think Stoops would only leave for one or two jobs, and I'm not sure he'd leave even then. You're right about Castiglione. Guys love working for him.

Mark Schlabach
  (12:37 PM)

OK, folks, I have to run. Hope everybody has a great week and enjoys the bowl games. I'll talk to you next week from Pasadena. Take care.