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October 6, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Ivan Maisel

Ivan Maisel
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, everyone. Let's go right to it.

Scott C. (Orlando, FL)

Do you see Michigan's offense as a younger version of what Oregon's offense currently is?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:03 PM)

Interesting thought. I don't think so. Rich Rodriguez said to me Monday -- if that's not the worst case of name-dropping I've ever seen, but anyway -- that every spread offense is different. That's the beauty of them, if you're an offense-minded guy.

Matt (NC)

Ivan, I know you're tired of me asking this question, but I can't help it! Can Auburn go 4-0 in October and give itself a chance to play Bama for the West in the Iron Bowl? What do you think their chances are of running the table this year?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:05 PM)

Auburn plays at Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU and at Ole Miss. The two toughest games are at Jordan-Hare. Based on what I've seen through five games, the team most equipped to beat Auburn is Auburn. If they don't stop giving the ball away, someone is going to beat them. They stopped in the second half against South Carolina. If that team shows up in Lexington, watch out.

Buckeye nation (Midwest)

I realize that everyone (including you) jumped on the Oregon wagon but why when they have proven to lose against teams that are not in the PAC 10 that play defense. In their last 7 bowl games (did not make a bowl in '04) they are 2-5. In only one of those loses did they score over 17 points and that was against Minn in '03. In their '08 win they allowed 31 points. I know that most writers say the past does not hold water but that is not true or fair. OSU is held to their past like the scarlet letter.(sorry about the pun) All buckeye fans hear about from the writers is choking in big games from the past and that factors into the voting. Constantly OSU is penalized for the '06 NCG, the '07 NCG the '08 bowl game and the OOC games against Texas and USC. Oregon has proven that yes they can throw up 40 to 50 on opponents in the PAC 10 and OOC opponents that are not good but when they play a school that has a good defense they lose. From the look of this years Oregon team I see no difference yet almost every writer on SI and ESPN and Fox Sports have put them ahead of the Buckeyes because OSU has 1 average game. Last year Alabama had a few near loses and no one ever questioned their greatness. Why the double standard for OSU? OSU won a game to a lesser opponent by 11 and the sky is falling. Explain.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:07 PM)

That question is way too long. But it would have taken me way too long to edit it. So here goes: the biggest difference I see is that Ohio State has been under the same coaching staff during its slump. Oregon is different under Chip Kelly than it was under Mike Bellotti, even if the staff is the same. The guy at the top is making different decisions in a different offense. Ohio State had one average game. Oregon beat a top-10 team by three touchdowns on the same day. If the roles had been reversed, and Ohio State hadn't hopped over Oregon, you would be screaming, wouldn't you?

Chris (Athens)

Top 5 favorite college towns?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:09 PM)

In no particular order: State College, Tuscaloosa, Oxford, Eugene, and, if the judges say it qualifies, Austin.

Donald (Eugene)

Do you think Chip Kelly received only a reprimand instead of a fine is because Mr. Scott knows the officiating in the PAC10 is sub-standand?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:10 PM)

I was surprised he wasn't fined. But when I asked the Pac-10 about it, they didn't include a fine in the list of options. Seemed like a wrist-slap to me.

John (Kentucky)

I'm not holding OSU to their previous failures. I had OSU #1 before last week- now they are #3. Oregon and Alabama have been more impressive. I still think the Buckeyes play for the title. (Answered one for you Ivan.)

Ivan Maisel
  (2:11 PM)

I think voters are more likely than before to move teams around. I know I feel as if getting it wrong can be easily fixed the following week. I feel that way with the ESPN poll we do and with the Heisman poll we do, too.

Nick(Cali) [via mobile]

As strange as it is to say this. Does USC have a shot against Stanford?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:12 PM)

As a Stanford grad, that question brings tears to my eyes.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:12 PM)

O.K., I'll spoil the mood and answer it. I think if Stanford bounces back from a tough, emotional loss, it will win. USC hasn't been physical this season. That's what Stanford does best.

Freddy (Vegas)

Seems to me that the SEC this year, outside of Alabama, and possibly Arkansas and Auburn, isn't very tough. The SEC East is on par with the Big East or ACC. Is there a chance that perhaps this season, the SEC isn't the top conference?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:13 PM)

I don't think "chance" is the right word, Freddy. I think you're looking for "fact."

Don (Sugar Land)

Heard everybody input on LSU win vs Tenn except you. What do you think of Les Miles and what to do if he finishes 8-4 or 9-3 agian?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:15 PM)

I came up with the right analogy yesterday talking to Beano Cook on the phone (By the way, our newest podcast is up and awaiting your download). Les Miles should be called Coach Clouseau. He does everything wrong, and gets the right result. I'm just not sure if Steve Martin could master Miles' accent.

Jason (Baton Rouge)

How does the rest of the season pan out for ND? Are they finally progressing under Kelly?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:17 PM)

ND is progressing. They've just been playing better teams. They lost to three ranked teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford) that are a combined 14-1 with the loss coming to the No. 3 team in the country. I think the Irish could beat everyone on their schedule except Utah. I think they will win at least four, probably five or six.

Spencer (NE)

Any predictions for the Neb-KSU game tomorrow night. Manhattan should be crazy.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:17 PM)

I am not sold on K-State. I think Nebraska wins by a couple of touchdowns.

Harvey (OR)

Which team turns their defense around sooner? USC or Michigan?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:20 PM)

That's a good question. Both are playing a lot of young players. I think long-term, Michigan is in better shape. They're not staring at 30 lost scholarships. As for this season, you got me. I haven't seen either one play much. I am going to Michigan-Michigan State this week.

Mike (Chicago)

I assume that you meant ND would win at least 4, probably five or six of their remaining games?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:20 PM)

Yes. I'll say five. 7-5 gets them in a bowl game.

Brandon (SLC, Utah)

Ivan, does the later half of Utah's schedule have enough juice to get them past Boise in the polls. @ #25 Airforce, #5 TCU, @ Notre Dame, @ (3-1) SDSU, and BYU?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:22 PM)

Yes, I do. Listen, I'm like everybody else. I want to project what's going to happen, too. But as I remind y'all weekly, you can't make these decisions in a vacuum. The Utes have marquee games. But what happens to the other ranked teams? Who's undefeated? Who's got one loss? Who beat them? Those questions are impossible to answer.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:22 PM)

Yes, I do. Listen, I'm like everybody else. I want to project what's going to happen, too. But as I remind y'all weekly, you can't make these decisions in a vacuum. The Utes have marquee games. But what happens to the other ranked teams? Who's undefeated? Who's got one loss? Who beat them? Those questions are impossible to answer.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:22 PM)

But they are what makes the regular season so much fun. Keep asking them.

Gary (Seattle)

Is Lane Kiffin on the hot seat?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:23 PM)

Only if the NCAA's poking around at Tennessee uncovers something he or someone on his staff did. I think that football-wise, Pat Haden and John McKay understand how uphill the climb will become.

Brad (Boise, Idaho)

What approach should MSU take to try to contain (not stop) Denard Robinson? Try to blow up plays before they get started? Play gap responsibilities and hope Jones & Co. can make tackles that other teams haven't?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:24 PM)

I'd say play keep away. Move the sticks. Hold onto the ball. He can't score from the sideline.

Sammy (Columbus)

Why don't people realize that Boise has played a tougher schedule than Oregon so far, even if Oregon has played one tougher game?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:25 PM)

I think you're underestimating Portland State, Sammy.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:26 PM)

Actually, that's a good point. But enjoy it while it lasts. The Pac-10 is pretty salty this season.

Tyler (The Ville)

Which coach do you think gets the axe first this season?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:27 PM)

Either Dantonio or Rodriguez. They're playing for the Paul Bunyan Axe on Saturday.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:27 PM)

Either Dantonio or Rodriguez. They're playing for the Paul Bunyan Axe on Saturday.

Chad (Las Vegas)

If people are complaining about the polls they should take a look at the computer polls right now. LSU is 2nd in most of them. Bama isn't even 1st in all of them and there are plenty of other things going on there that would drive a fan nuts.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:28 PM)

There is nothing more entertaining than a computer poll early in the season. They are like funhouse mirrors. I remember in 1988, the New York Times, which used to publish a computer poll, had Washington State No. 1. I called the Cougars' coach, a guy named Dennis Erickson, and told him. He was stunned. "Who said that?" he demanded.

Stu (Pendous)

Ivan, that would be Brewster or Bielema.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:29 PM)

Oops. I screwed up the joke.

Tony (Pensacola)

How many INTs does FSU get this weekend? How many do we need to win in Miami?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:30 PM)

Miami has established itself as being pretty good. I don't know what to think about the 'Noles. That first half in Norman keeps flashing through my head. I get your point, though. Someday, Jacory Harris is going to have to pay for the mistakes he made. I think this Saturday night is big for him.

Brad (Boise, Idaho)

Ivan, I think you got your game trophies mixed up. I believe Minnesota-Wisconsin play for the Axe. MSU-UM play for Paul himself.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:31 PM)

I'll take Big Ten Trophies for $600, Alex.

Adam (Tennessee)

What do you make of Derek Dooley at Tennessee? Can He get his Vols to respond in Athens on Saturday?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:32 PM)

I like how Tennessee has played this year. I like the fight they have shown. I think Dooley is doing fine. They will respond on Saturday.

JP (Florida)

What major changes might a coach make in a week to improve a defense, like say, Michigan's, dead last in passing?Schemes, starters, positions, or practice fundamentals???

Ivan Maisel
  (2:33 PM)

Michigan's biggest problem on defense is inexperience. Rodriguez decided to play a lot of freshmen, and he's having to live with it. Their schemes are basic. You can't give them too much too fast. You don't want them thinking. You want them reacting.

Vinnie (ATL)

Georgia is a mess, but I got to hand it to Colorado. Storming the field after beating a 1-4 team? Are you kidding me?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:34 PM)

Yeah, that got my attention. I thought of "Act like you've been there before," but then I realized the Buffs haven't been there in a while.

Danny (AZ)

Do you think that Arizona dipping below the radar a bit works in their favor? Everyone is talking about Stanford and Oregon, and seems to have forgotten about the Wildcats.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:35 PM)

They had an off week, so of course no one talked about them. The Oregon State game this week is huge. This is the time of year when the Beavers start to crank it up.

Adam (Chicago)

I'm not sure Coach Rod had much of a "decision" to make with playing freshman. Lots of fallout/injuries.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:36 PM)

yeah, sloppy choice of words on my part.

Chad (SLC, UT)

Hey Ivan, quick, most deserving team of their rank and team least deserving of their rank.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:37 PM)

I supposed that would be Alabama and LSU.

Duran (Indianapolis)

If you look at oregon there defensive ranking is 52nd. What will happen to them when they start facing the elite in there conference. l mean geez they have only played one team with a winning record (stanford) we don't really no how good they are. Everybody acts like going to play at tennessee a 2 win, and 3 loss team is a tough game? They almost lost to UAB in overtime. ALL im saying is when a time gives up 31 points in back to back weeks there is cause for concern. Not that it matters, but I am sure once there exposed you will jump back on the tOSU bandwagon!

Ivan Maisel
  (2:39 PM)

The Oregon defense is good, not great. But with that offense, it doesn't have to be great. As for Saturday: the Ducks committed three turnovers, two on their side of the field, in the first half. Stanford converted the turnovers into 17 points. In the second half. Oregon shut out Stanford. It's a good defense.

Jeff (Columbia, SC)

Does the Ol' Ballcoach have an upset in him this Saturday?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:40 PM)

Ellis Johnson is one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation. He completely befuddled Greg McElroy last season. Ingram took over in the Wildcat and rushed for 246. McElroy is a year older and smarter. Johnson is going to cook up something. If the Gamecocks win, it will be because the defense plays the game of the year.

Chris (Charlotte, NC)

Does Kellen Moore return as a Senior to go for 50 career wins and obliterate Colt McCoy's record?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:41 PM)

Where is he going to go? The NFL's appetite for quarterbacks his size pretty much starts and stops with Kellen Moore.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:41 PM)

I'm losing my mind. I meant to type "starts and stops with Drew Brees."

Hollinger (Bristol)

Ivan - can you explain to people that Oregons defense giving up 31 points per game is good. Because their offense plays so quick, their defense is on the field for more posessions. If you graded oregons defense on points per posession, i'm sure it would be considered a good, not great defense.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:42 PM)

Good point.

Frank (New Jersey)

Sometimes the message a coach preaches and the system he implements just gets stale...isn't that just the case with Mark Richt???

Ivan Maisel
  (2:44 PM)

I don't think it's staleness. I think Urban Meyer is a great coach in his division. I think Nick Saban made recruiting Atlanta a priority and has been effective there. I think that Richt's defense didn't get the job done. He replaced his coaches on that side of the ball. And he's had bad luck at quarterback -- injuries, discipline, etc. I have a lot of excuses there, don't I?

stephanie (cincy)

As a member of the Buckeye Nation I do think that Ohio State is held at times to a different standard. Beating a team on the road by 11 is "surviving a scare", but UM "outlasted" IU by 7. Jim Tressel as everyone knows is a conservative coach and there are times he does whatever it takes to win. It's not always pretty but a W is a W. I will take his conservatism over say Les Miles the Riverboat gambler any day.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:45 PM)

Stephanie, I think the reaction to Ohio State and Michigan was justified. Ohio State was ranked in the top five. Michigan is newly in the top 20, coming off of two losing seasons. They are being held to different standards by the voters.

Nick (Atlanta)

Bad luck at quarterback? Murray is one of the bright spots!

Ivan Maisel
  (2:45 PM)

I meant big picture. He is playing a freshman because of....

Chris (Baton Rouge, LA)

Obviously LSU is terrible and doesn't have one of the best defenses in the country. They also don't have a decent running game. Yes, the coaching at the end of UT game was terrible and will probably drop a couple games but they didn't suddenly become an awful football team.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:47 PM)

You're right. They are good. But they should be better. That's what makes watching them so frustrating. I probably don't have to tell you that, do I?

JOhn (CA)

Which program has the most upside, UVA, GT or ILL?

Ivan Maisel
  (2:48 PM)

I'd say Virginia. They hired Mike London to get them into the Tidewater recruiting base that Virginia Tech has mined for the last decade. If London does that, the Cavs will become a force again in the ACC.

Ivan Maisel
  (2:48 PM)

Thanks, everyone. Talk to you next week.