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July 19, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (4:01 PM)

I'm sure everyone is getting excited about the season getting closer. I'll be at SEC, ACC and Big Ten media days. Can't wait. Here we go....

Brad (South GA)

What are your expectation for Florida State and first year head coach Jimbo Fisher??

Mark Schlabach
  (4:02 PM)

I think if the defense is better, Noles can win nine or 10 games. Should be very good on offense. Defense has to be much better.

Harold (Athens, GA)

Hi Mark.What R your thoughts on UGA winning the East (as long as they get by SC early), due to a heavy reliance on the ground game? Their OL is one of the best in the SEC, which should let Murray ease into the role a little bit more than normal. Plus, their special teams are superb.Thanks.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:04 PM)

I think the Dogs are definitely a sleeper. Like FSU, UGA's defense has to be much better. A lot will be riding on that trip to Columbia

Matt (VZ(via OH))

What are your Top 5 must see regular season games of the season?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:05 PM)

Boise State-Va Tech, Ohio State-Miami, Bama-Florida, Texas-OU, Bama-Penn State

Andrew B (Tuscaloosa)

What do you expect to see from the Alabama offense this season? Lots of starters returning but surely we'll have to spread it around more so defenses can't just stack the box for the run...well, let's just say they'll try to stop it...

Mark Schlabach
  (4:07 PM)

Tide will have a better passing game if Julio stays healthy. Will probably see more of backup tailback, too

Darren (Tampa FL)

If the Florida allegations are true what could we see as possible punishments? Take away the Sugar Bowl win and...

Mark Schlabach
  (4:09 PM)

A lot of ifs at this point. If Pouncey took the money -- and we don't know if he did at this point -- he would potentially be ruled ineligible by NCAA and Gators would have to forfeit Sugar Bowl

Cullen (richmond, va)

If Va Tech puts a beating on Boise St., and then manages to go through the ACC unscathed, do you think their schedule would be strong enough to put them in the National Title talk?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:12 PM)

If an ACC team beats Boise State and runs the table in the league, I'd be surprised if they'd get left out of the BCS title game.

Sean (New York)

What are your expectations for Ohio State and their star QB Terrelle Pryor this season?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:14 PM)

If he plays as well as he did against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, and the Buckeyes open up the offense like they did in Pasadena, they'll be the team to beat in the Big Ten.

Dan (Chicago)

Do you think Rich Rod ever turns the Michigan program around, or do you think this will be his final year in Ann Arbor?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:16 PM)

I think Rich Rod needs to show marked improvement or he's going to be in serious trouble. Usually have to show real improvement by Year 3.

Dave (San Diego)

What do you think of Pelini's firey style and how will it mesh long-term with the ever calm Tom Osborne?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:18 PM)

I think he's tailor-made for Nebraska. Definitely returned the Cornhuskers to their Black Shirt defense. Really need to improve on offense.

Phil (Atlanta)

The team with the best chance of beating Bama this year is Arkansas. Their past happy offense, and stub wide receivers are a bad match for a young and inexperienced Bama D. I think the Tide may have their hands full with this one. (I'm a Bama fan too).

Mark Schlabach
  (4:20 PM)

I think Mallett gives Arkansas a chance to beat anybody, but the Hogs defense has to be a lot better. As long as Saban and Kirby Smart are in Tuscaloosa, the Bama defense is going to be fine. With Dareus and Hightower coming back, it will be easier to rebuild the defense, even with nine starters gone.

Corey,WI [via mobile]

Who is this years sleeper non-BCS team? Houston maybe?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:21 PM)

Houston with Keenum would definitely have a chance. Navy is going to win 9 or 10 games with Dobbs coming back.

Tom (D.C.)

Call me jaded, but I am having a hard time getting too upset about the alleged UF/Pouncey situation (and I am an Ohio State fan). Are we to expect that the UF program can know and be held responsible for any bad decision-making by an individual?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:22 PM)

No, as long as UF coaches weren't aware of it, then the school is going to be in the clear (except for the bowl game results). Again, we don't even know if Pouncey took the money.

William (Charleston, SC)

How much longer will Ken Niumatalolo have to wait before a major school takes a chance on him and his triple option?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:23 PM)

Paul Johnson had to wait a while to get a chance. Ken is a good coach, too. He'll get his chance.

Mickey Cantrell (Cherokee, NC)

What do you think of Auburns chances to win the SEC West this year? I have noticed one preseason magazine predicts the Tide and Tigers to both meet 11-0 in the Iron Bowl and if that happens will that be the biggest billing in college football this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:24 PM)

Auburn has to get a lot better on defense. I'm curious to see how Cam Newton plays at QB. The freshman running back Dyer is going to help them.

jimmy (texas)

Do you believe Andrew Luck from Stanford should be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the nation?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:25 PM)

Definitely. He put up unbelievable numbers last year. I'd put him up there with Kellen Moore, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett, etc.

Jim ((Trumbull, CT))

Hey Mark, Travelling to Ann Arbor to see the Michigan vs UCONN game. Tell me UCONN has a good shot to with the game?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:26 PM)

As long as Randy Edsall is coaching, UConn has a chance to win any game. A bunch of starters coming back. It's a very dangerous game for Michigan.

Jacob. Columbus, Ohio [via mobile]

Most pre-season polls that are out now have Ohio State ranked 2nd...what do you think there chances are of winning a national championship this year and silencing critics?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:27 PM)

Depends on how Pryor plays, really. He was great in the bowl game, but pretty mediocre before that. If Tressel opens up the playbook and gives him some chances to make plays, I think the Buckeyes will be a very tough out in the Big Ten.

j new iberia,la [via mobile]

What are lsu chances in sec west this season

Mark Schlabach
  (4:27 PM)

If the Tigers can find an identity on offense, and if Jordan Jefferson plays more consistently and they find ways to get the ball to Russell Sheppard, the Tigers could be a sleeper in the SEC West. Both lines have to play much better than they did a year ago.

Norfolk Ne [via mobile]

What are the chances That Dan Hawkins will be fired? Will Colorado be better team than they we're last year! And they should be better without the coaches son!

Mark Schlabach
  (4:28 PM)

It's obviously a very important year for Hawkins. He might have been fired last season if the school had the money. With Colorado moving to the Pac-10, he needs to show vast improvement. School really wants to keep momentum of moving to another league and keep fans excited.


What is Michigan's record going to be? And how many wins does RICH ROD need to stay? I'm thinking like eight or nine.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:29 PM)

I think it would take 8 or 9 wins for him to be really safe, given what else has happened off the field. I'm not sure they'll be good enough to get there, to be honest.

Kenny (Kabul, Afghanistan)

Do you think Penn State can or will win any of those 3 tough road games (Bama, Iowa, Ohio State) this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:30 PM)

I don't think they'll win at Bama or Ohio State. Young quarterback on the road is never a good mix. I don't think they'll finish 7-5 or 6-6, but 8-4 or 9-3 might be more realistic. At least Royster will be there to carry the load and take pressure off the QB.

chris los angeles, ca [via mobile]

With USC on a post season ban what is the chance of Arizona actually going to the rosebowl this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:31 PM)

I'd put Arizona about fourth-best among Pac-10 bowl-eligible teams, behind Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. Ten starters back on offense, including QB Nick Foles. Seven starters gone on defense.

TJ (Omaha, NE)

Who's your pick for the Heisman?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:32 PM)

Right now, my top five would be: Kellen Moore, Mark Ingram, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett and Dion Lewis.

adam (houston) [via mobile]

Do you think A&M can be a sleeper in the big 12 south this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:32 PM)

If the defense and special teams are better, A&M could fight for second in the Big 12 South.

Nathan P (Lexington, KY)

Randall Cobb has to be the most UNDERRATED player in the SEC, wouldn't you agree? He doesn't get anywhere near the recognition he deserves and he is such a dynamic player.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:33 PM)

Very underrated player, along with RB Derrick Locke.

Jack (VA)

Is this the best year for the ACC since expansion?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:34 PM)

Don't know; I thought the same thing last year. Miami and FSU should be better. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will be up there. Clemson and Wake Forest might take a couple of steps back. Still don't know about UNC offense -- or the defense with everything that's going on.

Scott (St Louis)

I'm assuming that your ommission of Texas - Nebraska from the must see games to see is an oversight?!

Mark Schlabach
  (4:34 PM)

Yes, right next to the Red River Rivalry

Clay (Charlotte)

Better year from Debose or Demps to take the pressure off Brantley?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:35 PM)

Demps. Gators have to have a solid running game to take the pressure off of Brantley. He's going to be very good, but Gators relied on Tebow to run between the tackles and pick up tough yards. Is this the year Emmanuel Moody shows up?

Jason, Roanoke,VA [via mobile]

UVA, any reason for hope in the near future?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:35 PM)

London is a great recruiter and will get the Cavs back into the 757 area code. Talent should be better in the future.

Mike (New York)

Do you think this is the year Spurrior finally makes some noise at SC?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:37 PM)

A lot depends on how Stephen Garcia plays and if Marcus Lattimore can help the running game. We've been saying this is USC's year for the last three years. They'll be good on defense, but offense has to get better.

Matt (Virginia)

What are your early impressions on the new Vols coach Derek Dooley?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:38 PM)

He'll do a great job up there, but it's going to take time. Vols fans will have to be patient while he cleans up the mess. The Vols might start four freshman on the offensive line, which is never good.

Gary (TX)

I am assuming that your ommission of UT vs TTU on Saturday Night Primetime (rematch of game of the decade two years back) is an obvious oversight as well? Right???

Mark Schlabach
  (4:38 PM)

No, you can't get every Big 12 game on the list.

randy (sanger,TX)

Ok nobody is talking longhorns or big 12. How do u see the longhorns season, or garett grilbert as the quarterback? BCS game? another 10 win season?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:38 PM)

Like the Gators, the Longhorns simply reload. If they can find a running game to take pressure off Gilbert, UT is still the team to beat in the Big 12 South.

Brett (King of Prussia, PA) [via mobile]

Mark, I'm headed to Tuscaloosa for the big matchup week two. We're hopeful but not overly confident of a PSU win, so do you have any restaurant and/or bar recommendations for mr to look forward to? Which PSU QB do you think would give us our best shot?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:39 PM)

Dreamland BBQ

richard (fort worth)

what are the chances the horned frogs return to a BCS game?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:40 PM)

Big test in Week 1 vs. Oregon State. Should be very good on offense with Andy Dalton coming back, but big playmakers have to be replaced on defense. But that's what Gary Patterson does best.

Christian Ponder (FSU)

Why do you have Mallett over me when last year before getting hurt I was probably the best QB in the country?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:41 PM)

Ponder is going to have a very big year. He could very well be on the Heisman finalists list by season's end.

Joseph (Greenfield,MO)

how do you think the future looks for the missouri tigers

Mark Schlabach
  (4:42 PM)

I think the Tigers might be flying under the radar this season. Tailback and quarterback are back, but must find new receivers. And, of course, defense has to continue to get better.

Bradford (Boise, ID)

Mark, Why do so many people think Boise State is going to get whacked by VT similar to our trip to Athens FIVE YEARS AGO? People must not know that our coach in 05 was Zen Master Hawkins - not Coach Petersen. I think they may be in for a surprise.

Mark Schlabach
  (4:42 PM)

And Kellen Moore isn't Jared Zabransky, right? That was the worst game of his college career.

lane kiffin (usc)

USC against the world is the motto for the season in a quest for the AP title. how do you like our chances?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:43 PM)

Would like it better if Pete Carroll was still in LA

Wes F (South Carolina)

Is the back-up running back at Bama, Trent Richardson, as good as rumor has he is?

Mark Schlabach
  (4:43 PM)

He might be better than the starter, who won the Heisman Trophy

Mark Schlabach
  (4:44 PM)

Folks, have to run. I'll be back next week from SEC media days. Have a great week.