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October 29, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (3:02 PM)

Hope everybody is doing well. Here we go....

Darren (Walnut Creek, CA)

How is Northern Illinois hot on the tail of Fresno State? The Mountain West is much stronger overall than the MAC. Fresno dropped in the polls this week after winning at San Diego State for the first time in 19 years and snapping the Aztecs' 9-game conference win streak (4th longest streak in the country). NIU beat a 1-7 Eastern Michigan team and rose in the polls. Worse: NIU gets another 1-7 team (UMass) this week, and a 1-8 Western Michigan in a couple of weeks. Fresno may have had a few close games, but isn't it better to beat teams with a pulse than to blowout the weak sisters of the poor?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:04 PM)

I think Fresno State is going to be in good shape as long as they keep winning. The Bulldogs still play pretty good San Jose State and Wyoming teams on the road, and they might get another crack at Boise State in the MWC championship game. The Huskies will get a bump from playing Ball State but the other three regular-season opponents aren't very good. They'd probably get Buffalo or Ohio in the MAC title game.

Erik (Atlanta )

Out of the top 4 teams who has done the most to impress? Who has the best win? Why is Alabama still number 1? Thank you for your time!

Mark Schlabach
  (3:07 PM)

At this point, I'd say FSU's rout at Clemson was the most impressive. Bama's win at Texas A&M doesn't look quite as impressive as it once was. I think Bama has been the most dominant, although not against great competition. Oregon and FSU have both looked really good. Hopefully, all four of them don't finish unbeaten. Somebody is going to be upset.

Lane (NYC)

How could anyone who watches multiple games each week and not just looks at team's records have Fresno St and NIU ranked in the top twenty, both ahead of say UCLA? The Bruins would be double digit favorites over both? Fresno has needed out to get by a terrible Rutgers teams, a down Boise Team and a mediocre San Diego St team.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:08 PM)

They're both unbeaten and UCLA has two losses. Fresno State has some close losses, but they keep winning. It's one of the most difficult seasons to come up with a top 25 every week.

James (Raleigh)

Can you just get your SEC propaganda out of the way, now, so we can move on with the chat?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:08 PM)

SEC isn't very good outside of Bama. That good enough for you?

tom (portland oregon)

With Miami's reputation as not as good as their ranking,does a strong performance ( not necessarily a win) help or hinder FSU.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:09 PM)

The Canes are still unbeaten and ranked in the top 10. If they lose to FSU and don't collapse, it would still be a good win for FSU in the eyes of the computers and most voters. But, yes, I don't think the U is as good as its record.

Nick T (Tulsa OK)

Which game is in higer risk of being a blowout next thursday, OU @ Baylor or Oregon @ Stanford?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:10 PM)

I'd guess Baylor vs. OU. I don't see Stanford getting blown out because of its defense.

Tim (ATL)

Can you help explain the potential tie-breaker scenarios in the SEC east? If Clemson beats SC and A&M beats Mizzou but otherwise UM, SC, and UGA all win out - do they roll a 3-sided die for the trip to Atlanta, or does Mizzou go because they didn't lose in NC play?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:11 PM)

A lot of scenarios, but the first tie breaker is head-to-head, then division play (UGA would have two losses) and then highest-rated BCS ranking, at least that's how I remember it being.

Trevor (Miami, FL)

Which do you prefer: A team that wins all its games or one with losses but lots of "style points"?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:11 PM)

I'd prefer a one-loss team with a tough schedule over an undefeated team with a soft schedule.

Michael (Kingwood, TX)

Which team could cause Alabama more problems, LSU or Auburn?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:12 PM)

Bama has had more problems with spread offenses the last couple of years, so I guess I'd go with Auburn at this point.

Donald (Eugene)

Do you think Stanford has any plans to mow their field prior to the Duck game?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:12 PM)

I wouldn't

Jared (Work)

Was the Ohio St. game against Penn St. a flash in the pan or is Meyer finally putting the pedal to the metal againt the B1G now that it matters for the BCS?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:13 PM)

I thought it was easily OSU's most impressive performance. Penn State's defense isn't very good, but the Buckeyes were firing on all cylinders.

Rob (NYC) [via mobile]

Who do you like btwn UF-UGA? Can the Gators gt out if Jax with the W?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:14 PM)

It's an absolute tossup, IMO. I think UGA is more talented because Florida is actually more banged up. It depends how healthy Gurley and Bennett are. UF's defense is still very good. UF's offense is bad, but so is UGA's defense. UF would probably have the edge in special teams.

qbbearcat (Omaha NE)

If UGA, SC, MIZ all finish 6-2 then Mizzou would go to Atlanta...assuming their second loss isn't to UT or UK. Both SC and UGA have 2 division losses.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:14 PM)

Correct. UGA lost to Vandy and Mizzou and SC lost to UGA and UT. Gators and Dogs need Mizzou to lose to Tennessee.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Are you buying or selling a Longhorn resurgence?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:15 PM)

Buying it the next two weeks. We'll see what happens when the Horns start playing ranked foes. I think they're playing much better.

Chase (Orlando)

What caused you to change your BCS title game predictions this week? Last week you had FSU in and this week you have Oregon in. It looks like they may flip flop over the next few weeks with wins. Your take...?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:15 PM)

If both teams win out, I think it's going to be hard for FSU to stay ahead of Oregon because of schedule strength. I think Stanford might be able to knock off the Ducks. We'll see.

Nelson (DE)

What team do you think is most vulnerable to being upset this weekend and why?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:16 PM)

I'm guessing the Noles were spotting the Tigers three TDs in that scenario

Trevor (Miami)

How did the Canes know their schedule (Playing Florida) would be considered "soft"?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:16 PM)

They didn't. It's a bad break that the Gators are playing so bad. Same thing with Ohio State and Cal.

dan (san francisco)

who ya got.....Michigan State or michigan

Mark Schlabach
  (3:17 PM)

I'd probably lean to Michigan State at home and because of its defense. Can the Spartans score?

Jon (Seattle, WA)

I know you have them in the Orange Bowl, which would be awesome, but if the Badgers win out, how confident are you that they'll reach the top 14? Moving up 10 spots in 5 weeks seems doable.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:18 PM)

I'd feel better about it, obviously, if they were ranked a few spots higher. I think they're still a very good team. It would be a shame if the Arizona State debacle cost them a BCS bid. If they move into the top 14 and Fresno State or N. Illinois finishes unbeaten, I'm guessing it comes down to Clemson, Wisconsin and Oklahoma for an at-large spot (if Sooners and Tigers don't win their leagues).

George (Orlando)

Disappointed to see Blake Bortles left off the Maxwell semifinal list. Should he have been?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:18 PM)

Sure. He's had a great year. Under the radar player.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

When will we know if Minnesota's victory over the Huskers was a "signature" win? What is a "signature win" to you?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:19 PM)

Beat somebody you're not supposed to beat, after you haven't done it for a while? ... Or you're an FCS opponent and you pick up a big signed paycheck.

Jordan (Raiderland)

Is texas tech overrated or did their performance in Norman show they might actually be a big 12 title contender?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:20 PM)

I think Kingsbury was ahead of the game at Tech. I think they're still a very good team and they've done a great job of coaching this season. Tough road game for a young QB.

Billy (Bville)

Does Clemson have a shot at a BCS or do you think SC beats them for a 5th?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:20 PM)

I think Clemson has a shot, but Spurrier has done pretty well vs. Dabo lately.

Tom (NYC)

Lets remember Miami beat Florida when the Gators were at FULL strength, BEFORE their injuries....they NEVER trailed in that game as well

Mark Schlabach
  (3:21 PM)

Yep, but not a lot of voters will remember that, unfortunately

Ned (FL)

Is Muschump's seat getting hot in Gainesville? They haven't improved the offense since he arrived. It wasn't explosive with Driskell or anyone else. The defense can play.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:25 PM)

I think he's fine for this year. Gators need to get better on offense, no question, but they've also had myriad injuries. He can't catch a break

Nelson (DE)

Do you think this year will be Missouri's best shot to win the SEC East? Or will they contend regularly for a while?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:25 PM)

I think the Tigers have gotten better on both lines of scrimmage in a hurry. Their skill players are very comparable. I don't think it's a flash in the pan program.

Tom (Chicago)

I don't think it would be a shame if Wisconsin missed a BCS bowl. They haven't beaten anyone of note (Northwestern lost Colter/Mark early in that game and has now lost 4 straight games) and they don't play Nebraska/Michigan/Michigan State.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:26 PM)

I still think the Badgers are the second-best team in the Big Ten.

Brad (Salem)

If Oregon or Ohio St ends up in the NC, is the Rose Bowl obligated to take an eligible Non-AQ Team?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:26 PM)

I think TCU fulfilled that requirement in January 2011 Rose Bowl

Tom (NYC)

Who is the next team to make a run like Miami, USC or Alabama has put together over the last 13 or so years

Mark Schlabach
  (3:26 PM)

Oregon?

Kyle (Dayton)

If you are Jacksonville or Tampa Bay, is Bridgewater or Mariotta good enough to be selected number 1 or do you go safe with Clowney?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:27 PM)

If I'm Jacksonville or Tampa, I definitely take a QB and trade down to do it if I don't want Clowney

Hal (TX)

Did Gilbert have an epiphany at SMU or do they have better QB coaches/OCs than Texas? Did he get enough of an opportunity when he was in Austin?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:27 PM)

He is a perfect fit for June Jones' system. I think he has more confidence now, but I think the system has made him a better QB, if that makes sense.

Brett (Conshohocken, PA)

Do you think John Butler be on the hot seat? Nittany Nation has been pretty understanding due to the cards that have been dealt, but the last three games have been woeful defensively.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:28 PM)

They looked really soft last week, but I'm sure attrition and fatigue are setting in because of lack of depth. Give OSU some credit, too. The Buckeyes were very good last week.

Mark (Milwaukee)

How does long grass slow down one team more than another? Wouldn't Stanford's grass slow them down just as much?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:29 PM)

Yeah, but I don't think Stanford's overall team speed is as good as Oregon's. Not saying Stanford doesn't have fast players, but Oregon's game is built on speed. NW tried it against Ohio State, too.

Brett (Conshohocken, PA)

Does the bludgeoning by Ohio State keep Bill O'Brien off NFL wish-lists this off season? Silver lining? Is there any?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:29 PM)

No, an NFL team isn't going to change its mind about him based on one result. He's still doing an unbelievable job at Penn State, given the circumstances.

Tom (NYC)

Any chance that the media is over hyping FSU.....like they do EVERY year?? I see a Miami that played down to its competition the last 2 weeks and wins a close one vs the Noles

Mark Schlabach
  (3:31 PM)

I don't think FSU is overrated. I think the Noles are very good on offense and defense. That doesn't mean Miami won't keep it close or have a chance to win. It's a rivalry game, but I don't think the Canes are nearly as good as the Noles.

Max (Dayton, Ohio)

Once Louisville joins the ACC next year, the league will have 5 top-15 programs (FSU, Clemson, UofL, UM, Va Tech). Is the ACC finally making a run at the SEC?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:31 PM)

Sure, let's see what happens. But how do you have Va. Tech and Louisville in the top 15?

Mike (Paris, OH)

How legit do you think the Michigan State defense really is?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:31 PM)

Very good. Always good under that coaching staff. Mean up front.

Fred (Walla Walla)

Should USC throw caution to the wind and go after Nick Saben? If he says no, then try Urban Meyer and so forth down the list?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:32 PM)

I'd try Mike Ditka and Chuck Noll, too. I don't think Saban or Meyer are going anywhere. They both have great jobs.

James (TX)

Does Texas retain Brown EOY? Sumlin has major momentum that Texas doesn't have. I really fear top recruits going to College Station or Baylor (gasp) rather than Austin. Your thoughts...

Mark Schlabach
  (3:32 PM)

Let's see how it plays out. What if Mack wins the rest of them, wins the Big 12 and gets to a BCS bowl game? Then you're going to fire him?

chris (Land of the Corn)

Is Bo Pelini done at Nebraska after this year and is can a new coach win here?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:37 PM)

Bo better win the rest of them, especially after the audio tape deal earlier this year. If he's let go -- and I'm not saying he will be -- I'd take a close look at Scott Frost, Oregon's OC. Very impressive guy

Christian (Sacramento)

If Oregon and Alabama both win out, along with Florida State and Ohio State, those are 4 BCS locks. That means Stanford will have 2 losses and Miami is out of the top-10. What happens if Fresno and N. Illinois both sneak into the BCS top 12?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:37 PM)

I believe only the highest ranked non AQ is guaranteed a BCS spot

Common (Sense)

Why do people keep speculating that Meyer or Saban would leave for Texas, USC, Notre Dame, etc.? Do these people really believe their schools' HC jobs are better than two of the most storied programs, if not the most storied, ever?

Mark Schlabach
  (3:38 PM)

Two of the best programs, no question. They're not going to leave.

Mark Schlabach
  (3:38 PM)

Folks, gotta run. Wrapping up a couple of pieces. Talk to you soon. Enjoy the games this weekend. I'll be in Tally.