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November 19, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

mike wilbon
  (1:03 PM)

Hi everybody! In S.F. for tonight's MNF game between Bears and 49ers, the Backup QB Bowl now that we know both Jay Cutler and Alex Smith are out because of concussions each suffered last week...But we'll start with college football...

WTE (Manchester, NH)

Mike, I love Notre Dame football but are they a legit # 1? If they played Alabama tomorrow neutral site what's the score?

mike wilbon
  (1:07 PM)

Of course Notre Dame is a legit #1 team. Look how difficult it is to go undefeated in college football today. Oregon and Alabama couldn't do it; granted each lost to a really good team. It's surprising that they lost at home, sure, but Notre Dame has avoided that...And Notre Dame plays a very difficult schedule, even if a couple of those teams are down this year...It's not Notre Dame's fault Matt Barkley is hurt and USC is down. Do I think Notre Dame is a GREAT team? No. But I don't know that there's a great team in the country this season...Would Notre Dame beat Alabama? I don't know, but Texas A&M did...so 'Bama isn't invincible...

Ryan (DC)

Excited to see Northwestern come to College Park? As a Terps fan, I'm not.

mike wilbon
  (1:10 PM)

If I'm a Maryland fan--and I know something about Maryland fans since I LIVE in Maryland--I'm absolutely NOT excited about it, and I can tell you as a Northwestern alum I have ZERO interest in seeing my school play Maryland. None whatsoever. This conference musical chairs is something I find loathsome. A non-conference game with Maryland? Sure. But a "conference" game? No. There's no relationship between Maryland and the midwest or people of the midwest. Hell, I didn't want Penn State. And I bet most of my neighbors feel the same way about seeing Maryland play Minnesota and Illinois? What? Why would they care? No Duke and North Carolina and Virginia? It's loathsome all the way around.

cp (reno)

ok...so does Belichick get what he deserves by leaving his starters in when the game is already out of hand? I feel bad for Gronk but come on.P.s. love the chats

mike wilbon
  (1:14 PM)

I do tend to think Belichick gets what he deserves...good and bad. He's earned everything he's gotten, every bit, all the successes and these bizarre "failures" if you will, like this one...the victories and defeats. He wants to do it this way, he's earned the right...And if he loses his second best player, so be it. I bet he doesn't even flinch.

Paul (Denver)

What's your prediction for tonights game "battle of the backups?"

mike wilbon
  (1:17 PM)

When it looked like Jason Campbell vs. Alex Smith I figured the 49ers would win the game, especially given the way the Niners have trampled the Bears historically in Candlestick. BUT, now that it's Campbell vs. the 49ers backup (I'll mangle the spelling of his last night, though I'd better get it right by tonight when I write a column for ESPN.com) I'll talk Campbell, who has had some success as a starter in the NFL, who has guided teams with much more sophisticated offenses than the Bears run...And I don't see a pass-challenged QB beating the Bears defense. I think we're looking at a FG deciding a game, a 17-14 Bears win...The acquisition of Jason Campbell is going to pay off for the Bears, I think. Campbell is 100x better than Caleb Hanie, last year's Chicago #2 QB...

Steve (DC)

Cowboys/Redskins playing a meaninful game on national TV on thanksgiving. Isn't this how it should be every year? Also, RGIII's first national game...what does he have in store for us?

mike wilbon
  (1:20 PM)

The kid went 14-for-15 for 4TDs and much of what I heard was about how bad the Eagles are...The Eagles do stink, but most QBs couldn't go 14-for-15 for 4TDs in a scrimmage. It is a meaningful game, since the winner could be only one game behind the Giants, who will very possibly lose to the Packers next weekend...I can't wait for this game now and I can't wait to watch RG3...He's the most exciting player in the NFL today...I didn't say BEST, I said most exciting...And if he beats the Cowboys to climb into the NFC East race, maybe the losers who can't see this kid's extraordinary value will wise up...

Chris Miller (Sebring, Ohio)

Hey Mike! What was more disappointing, the way that the Browns lost the game or that it took Dallas overtime to beat them. BTW, its San Diego slumber time!!! Have a nice Thanksgiving!

mike wilbon
  (1:26 PM)

Hasn't it been slumber time for the Chargers all season? They're the most disappointing team in the NFL, by a lot. What's the difference between Andy Reid/Michael Vick and Norv Turner/Phil Rivers? There is no difference. If you want change in Philly, there ought to be change in San Diego...The Cowboys are No. 2 on that list, probably...But they've got a chance to play their way out at home against a big rival on Thanksgiving Day...Cowboys till breathing, even if barely. The Chargers? I don't think so...

tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]

Hi Mike! Did Jason Garrett save his job yesterday afternoon and do you see him keeping his job unless the Cowboys have a DEEP run in the playoffs? And is Bill Cowher an option.

mike wilbon
  (1:29 PM)

Do you really think Bill Cower, after 5 years away, is coming back because I don't. Maybe he'll be like Jimmy Johnson and be tempted back, but I'm not so sure about that...I think Garrett's job depends entirely on what the Cowboys do the rest of the season, so yesterday's result by itself doesn't change anything, but in the big picture he needed to beat the Browns to keep alive realistic hopes of getting to the playoffs, which probably means winning the division...

Mark (OKC) [via mobile]

Hey Wilbon, enjoy the chats! We're now about 10 games into the season, at what time should we stop saying it's too small of a sample size when judging the good/bad starts of the various teams? Thanks!

mike wilbon
  (1:32 PM)

I tend to say about 20-25 games, but I'll give you this (which you won't like being from OKC)...Memphis looks like a threat in the west...I mean a REAL threat. Gasol/Gay/Randolph might be the best front line in the NBA...If I did a power ranking right now it would be Memphis/OKC/Miami...That's NOT a projection, it's an observation about where things are at this second. Miami is still, by a lot, the team to beat and OKC is second...but after a handful of games I like what Memphis is doing, too...

Brian (New Orleans)

Which is the best team in the NFL right now?

mike wilbon
  (1:34 PM)

I think I might go Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, Packers, New England...Again, not a projection, but an observation about where we are right this second...

Mike (San Diego)

If your rankings are Memphis, OKC, Miami, where does that leave the Clippers? They have beaten two of those three teams already (plus the Spurs). Gut check week for LAC this week, BTW.

mike wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

I'd have the Clippers 4th...They've played REALLY well. I think the Clippers are a real threat to reach the Western Conference finals, but it's a crowded field if the Lakers come around as most of us expect...

tippy (detroit)

The Detroit Lions woes remind me of how Tampa Bay disappointed last season. Does Schwartz get the boot like Morris did at seasons end? Look at the Bucs now they are playing well

mike wilbon
  (1:36 PM)

Nice comparison...The Lions should have won that game yesterday which really would have been a great swing game for their season, There's time, but I think the Lions need to run off 3, 4 straight starting next week...which is gonna be hard...

Keyan (Rockville, Maryland)

Hey Mike....The Lakers look like they are playing free flowing offensive basketball since D'Antoni got hired. I knowy are 5-5 but for the "experts" who said Kobe is not a top 5 player in the NBA...Isn't he easily the leagues MVP this year? He is an absolute Zone and his numbers can only go up with D'Antoni comes in full time....your thoughts?

mike wilbon
  (1:39 PM)

Stop taking one person's opinion and calling it the opinion of ESPN experts. It's really to stupid an assertion to comment on, but I couldn't let it slide because there are a couple of questions about it. Do you think all the people who cover basketball at ESPN have the same opinion on ANYTHING? Do you watch ESPN enough to see the debate and arguing and disagreement? If I had to vote right now I'd have Chris Paul and Kobe in the backcourt, LeBron and Durant at forward and maybe Zack Randolph or Marc Gasol at the other frontcourt position. I work for ESPN. Did you just see Kobe in my top 5? You got that?

Steven (Philly)

Philly Daily News reported yesterday that Ed Snider has soured on the lockout and implied their is hope for the NHL. How horribly haywire must the lockout negotiations have gone for Ed Snider of all people to become a cause for hope?

mike wilbon
  (1:40 PM)

I think the NHL lockout is entering a critical phase as we approach Thanksgiving. I've always thought the season would be saved and this thing settled mid-December after the players have missed four paychecks and the owners believe they have all the leverage. Let's see how this plays out, but I don't believe the season will be lost.

CC (Atlanta)

At what point does not firing Reid mid-season out of respect/loyalty become too much of a circus? I think they should go ahead and do the deed. It's not only going to get worse.

mike wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

The Eagles season is already lost and Andy Reid has meant so much to that franchise for 13 years...I just think they should let him finish the season.

Martin (NYC)

You think the East leading Knicks can give the Heat a run for their money?

mike wilbon
  (1:44 PM)

No...I don't think any team in the East has what it takes to really challenge Miami, which means take them 7 games in the playoffs. I think the Knicks can get through the Celtics and reach the conference finals...I said 'can" not "will" but I don't see anybody in the East knocking off the Heat if healthy...The Knicks look damn good, especially defensively, but I want to see how they solve the dilemma of working Amare Stoudemire back into the lineup with Carmelo Anthony...Still to be seen how/if that's going to work. Mike Woodson has done everything else well, though, so maybe he has just the right answer to this question too!

mike wilbon
  (1:45 PM)

Okay, got PTI and MNF this afternoon/evening here in San Francisco, so gotta run and prepare for that...Thanks for chatting everybody...See you guys next Monday after the huge Thanksgiving Weekend! Have a great Holiday...MW