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May 3, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (4:00 PM)

OK, here we go...Thanks for joining the chat today. Spring ball is behind us and we'll start looking ahead to the 2010 season. FYI: I've got another chat tomorrow, filling in for Chris Low on the SEC. Thanks for joining us today and jump in tomorrow, too.

Drew (New York City)

Virginia Tech and UVA to Big Ten? You could snag another for a third (ND?) to make 14. Any thoughts?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:01 PM)

Not sure what that does for TV markets, because both would be big in D.C. and that's about it. I think Rutgers, Missouri, Nebraska, Pitt, etc., are more likely additions. How about Va. Tech and FSU to the SEC?????

Zach (Toledo, OH)

Hey Mark! First question. I was looking at your new revised Top 25 and saw that you swapped Boise with THE Ohio State University. What was the main thing you saw during the spring that got you to do this? You didn't really say in your post. Thank you!

Mark Schlabach
  (4:02 PM)

Terrelle Pryor's knee? Just kidding. I think if Boise State gets past Va. Tech in opener -- and that's a big if -- Broncos go undefeated. They'll have to beat Oregon State at home, but tough to beat them on the blue turf. Ohio State could be right there, too, but the Bucks face a more challenging schedule.

Joel (Cleveland )

Hey Mark , I know its early but if you're picking the BCS Title Game and winner today... who ya got?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:02 PM)

Boise State and Bama....

Max (Ocala, Fl)

Mark, what do you think of Christian Ponders chances of winning the Heisman? Also could Greg Reid win the Thorpe Award?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:03 PM)

I'm big on Ponder and he looked good during the spring coming back from the shoulder injury. There's a lot of young skill guys around him and a very experienced OL protecting him. FSU will score points; Noles just have to stop somebody on defense. Reid is going to be a star, but he might not win awards as a sophomore.

deputy Gator (vero beach fl)

How will Andre Debose Do this year for florida

Mark Schlabach
  (4:04 PM)

I know the Gators were very high on him before he aggravated the injury last year. A lot of speed and Percy Harvin-like playmaking ability. Gators need a big weapon on the perimeter and he might be the guy.

Dan (Los Angeles)

Who's on the hot seat in 2010? Dennis Erickson and Paul Wulff jump to mind, from this part of the country.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:05 PM)

I'd go with those two (I think Erickson ends up retiring), along with Les Miles (don't know that he should be), Rich Rodriguez, Ralph Friedgen, Dan Hawkins, Ron Zook, Greg McMackin at Hawaii. Just to name a few....

Matt (Philadelphia)

Why did the Tar Heels drop in your rankings? Is Yates just too big of a question mark despite their loaded defense?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:06 PM)

Still not sold on the offense. I think Yates will do fine, but Heels have to run the ball and develop some continuity on offensive line. Young WRs should be better. You know they'll be good on defense, but UNC has to score more points.

Ryan (Blacksburg, VA)

Do you think Virginia Tech has a chance of finally putting all the pieces together and making a run for the national title this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:07 PM)

Best offense they've had since Vick was there. Loaded backfield and good WRs. Have to replace left side of OL, and rebuild defense, but Foster always does a good job of putting one together.

John (Columbia, SC)

Can the gamecocks wrestle away the SEC east from UF this year

Mark W (Wilmington, NC)

Mark -- even with VT's loaded backfield do you see Ryan Williams putting up heisman like numbers again this year and MAYBE getting a ticket to NYC?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:11 PM)

I think he'd definitely have a chance, along with Kellen Moore, Mark Ingram, Jake Locker, Dion Lewis, Case Keenum, Jacquizz Rodgers, among others. How much does Beamer and Billy Hite distribute the carries between Williams and Evans? Same thing for Bama with Ingram and Richardson. Will be interesting to watch.

Fred (East Lansing)

Can my Spartans be a factor in the BIG 10 this season, and where do you rate greg jones among the country's best linebackers

Mark Schlabach
  (4:13 PM)

Greg Jones definitely among the best LBs in the country. Might explode in the 3-4. If Cousins improves, MSU could crack the top 3 in the Big Ten.

Paul (Detroit)

Mark: Do you think Rich Rod makes it through the whole season, or will speculation on the next head coach begin around mid October?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:14 PM)

He's going to face as much heat as any coach in the country this year. Time to produce on the field and keep things quiet off of it. Third year is when most fans start expecting to see results (if not sooner).

John (Columbia, SC)

No answer posted? Everyone hates the gamecocks

Mark Schlabach
  (4:18 PM)

Sorry, having some technical issues. I think defensively they're going to be very good, and they'll be better running the ball. Have to throw the ball better, and Spurrier has to get more out of Garcia.

Will (Lincoln)

What happens to KU and K-State if Nebraska jumps ship to the Big 10?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:19 PM)

Start winning the Big 12 North again? I'll be surprised if Nebraska leaves Big 12, but Cornhuskers definitely seem to be in the mix.

Daniel W (Charlotte, North Carolina)

What do you think Kentucky will do with only one big man? Although Enes Kanter is a very good player I don't see our group of young guards being successful without some kind of post game.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:19 PM)

Dude, wrong chat.

Jake (Logan, UT)

Which team in the MWC will be most likely to give TCU a run for the title? Utah? BYU? Air Force?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:20 PM)

I really liked BYU until the Unger issue popped up. Don't count out Utah, either. Both are capable of unseating the Horned Frogs, who lose a ton on defense.

Jay (Iowa City)

Hey Mark, whats your main reason for ranking Wisconsin higher than Iowa?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:21 PM)

The way Tolzien played down the stretch, along with Clay running the ball. Iowa gets most of Big Ten biggies at home, though.

Matt (AL)

I definitely see your alma mater's spirit coming out in your top 25. If you really think UGA is in better shape than Auburn this year, please back it up with some facts or stats because right now you just seem like a homer.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:23 PM)

Two great running backs, experienced offensive line, top-5 receiver in the country, three tight ends who can play, improved defense. Have to find pass rusher and linebackers, but secondary will be solid. Best punter and kicker in the league. QB might be an issue, but Murray has as much experience as Cam Newton. Auburn is going to be better.

Ryan (Boston)

Hey Mark, who are some of the first coaches that come to mind in terms of who you would not want to face on opening weekend or in a bowl game (i.e. giving them some time to prepare for you)?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:24 PM)

Wouldn't want to face Nick Saban in Week 1.

Jeff (NYC)

Obviously a very high preseason ranking will help Boise a ton in their search for a National Championship game, but even if they do go undefeated, how easily would an undefeated team from an AQ conference slip ahead of them in the rankings?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:24 PM)

They play two high-profile games so I think it would be difficult to keep them out of championship game, given how high they figure to start in the polls.

Clayton (NC)

Can you see Texas winning the Big 12 again despite losing McCoy and Shipley?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:25 PM)

Have to run the ball better than they have the last couple of years, and Gilbert has to play well. Losing a lot on defense, but Muschamp has a lot of good, young players to work with.

CC (Atlanta)

Mark -- didn't UGA spank Auburn late last seaon? Just making sure Matt (AL) isn't "mis-remembering" things!

Mark Schlabach
  (4:25 PM)

Didn't bring it up.

Corey Hodge (Locust Fork, Alabama)

What do you expect from Auburn this season?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:26 PM)

I think a lot of what we saw from Auburn last year. Chizik is obviously recruiting very well, which will start paying dividends next year and years to come. They're going to be good this year, but I'm not quite ready to jump on the bandwagon until I see Cam Newton in action against SEC competition.

Rendall (Tampa)

Of all the new coaches who will have the most successful first season? Is fsu going to be a top 10 team if their defense improves?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:27 PM)

I think the Noles can make big strides, if Mark Stoops fixes the defense. Going to be a lot of youth on the field this year. I think Brian Kelly will do well at Notre Dame -- if Dayne Crist plays well -- and Butch Jones will be fine at Cincinnati. I also don't think Texas Tech will slip much under Tommy Tuberville.

Aaron (Orlando)

Would John Brantley be more effective in a shotgun spread offense like Sam Bradford or a pro style under center offense like Matthew Stafford? And do you think Urban Meyer will acommodate or will they still run a run first spread offense?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:28 PM)

I'd put him in the shotgun spread. I think he's big enough to stand in the pocket and throw down the field.

Chris (DC)

If Bama, Ohio State, and Boise State are all undefeated at the end of the season, who's in the title game? It's gotta be Bama vs Ohio State, right?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:29 PM)

I'm sure Bama and Ohio State would win out over Boise.

Brandon (Iowa City)

If stanzi cuts down mistakes, what do you see Iowa doing in the big ten this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:29 PM)

I think Iowa is talented enough to win the Big Ten and plays a favorable schedule. Stanzi has to cut down on mistakes and OL has to replace some guys.

Paul (Sacramento, CA)

Mark, Why does everyone on these boards say the PAC-10 is weak because of the bowl season....when they did good OOC in the regular season OOC...... And the year b4 in 2008... They did bad in the regular season OOC, specifically against the MWC, then went undefeated in bowl season.. and still everyone says the PAC-10 is weak... What do they have to do?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:30 PM)

Pac-10 wasn't as bad as I thought last year. But USC wasn't nearly as good, either. Keep winning out of conference games, quit losing most games to the Mountain West.

bob (Boise)

You skirted the answer above... Alabama Vs. Boise State if played right now after Spring for a pseudo title game, who's the winner?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:30 PM)

Bama by a field goal

Andrew (Troy Ohio)

I was reading your justification for putting Boise St. ahead of Ohio State which leads me to this question. Do you rank teams according to how good they are or how likely they are to go undefeated/win a National Championship? Do you think Boise State or Ohio State is a stronger team?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:31 PM)

Boise has 21 of 22 starters coming back. I'm not sure Kellen Moore isn't better than Terrelle Pryor. OSU going to be very good up front on defense. Boise St had some OL issues last year.

Brian (Southbury, CT)

Why No love for UConn in yor top 25? If you examine the 2009 portfolio of the UConn football team (tragedy, youth, new offense, 5 losses by 15 pts, finished on 4 game win streak) and examine the amount of 2010 starters back (16: 8 off. and 8 def.) as well as overall depth, you can logically determine that UConn looks loaded and better than the last 5 teams in your top 25.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:32 PM)

Huskies were definitely considered, but just missed the cut. Randy Edsall always does a great job.

jimmy m (Eastside Catholic)

is pryor a legit heisman candidate? does he have the surrounding cast

Mark Schlabach
  (4:32 PM)

If he plays like he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, and the Bucks open up the offense a little more, he'll have a chance.

Tom (Cincinnati, Oh)

What do you think about the Cincinnati Bearcats after losing Brian Kelly to Notre Dame?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:33 PM)

They're not going to fall too far. Collaros is a perfect fit for Butch Jones' offense, and Vidal Hazelton is going to be one of the best transfers out there.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

Hey Mark, how good is Pitt? Dion Lewis, Jon Baldwin, and Greg Romeus are seriously talented, but are we going to have a glaring hole that gets exploited? Last year it was the secondary, the year before that it was QB play.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:42 PM)

Very good. Going to have a very good team.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:43 PM)

Folks, sorry, having issues with connection. I'll be back tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET for SEC chat. Talk to you then.