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November 5, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach
  (1:04 PM)

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

Orville (Lubbock, Texas)

Is Art Briles at his destination job at Baylor or will he be willing to a bigger program?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:05 PM)

I think he's a pretty loyal guy. I'm not sure he'd leave after this year, especially after persuading the Baylor people to build a new $260 million stadium. But if Texas or someplace like that comes calling, how do you say no?

Mike P (Greater KC Metro)

Can Nebraska Carry the momentum of the Hail Mary into Ann Arbor this weekend and get a win or will it the mo' fizzle out

Mark Schlabach
  (1:05 PM)

It's certainly better mo than losing. Michigan is certainly beatable. Not very good on defense and offense has been inconsistent

Don (Marietta)

In your opinion who is the number 1 team in the country at this moment? No looking ahead, just who is playing the best ball for the entire year?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:06 PM)

Based on overall body of work, I'd put FSU ahead of Bama and Oregon. But I think Bama is probably still the most talented and dominant team in the country. Tide just hasn't played anybody outside of Texas A&M and was shredded for 42 points in that one. FSU was just so dominant against two top-10 teams. Certainly, Miami was probably overrated, but everybody is probably overrated outside of the top 6

Bill (ATL)

True or False: a homecoming loss to the Commodores this weekend would signal the end of the Will Muschamp era in Gainesville?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:07 PM)

It definitely wouldn't be good. I think he gets at least one more year because of the injuries, but he's probably going to have to make some staff changes. The injuries have really hurt them, but the offense hasn't been good for three years now. You have to beat UGA and can't lose to the teams you're supposed to beat

Steve (Atlanta)

Mark, love your work. How is Stanford ranked #5 when they lost to a 4-4 team? So much for east coast bias...

Mark Schlabach
  (1:09 PM)

Well, the Cardinal has beaten four ranked teams: Arizona State, Washington, UCLA and Oregon State. At least they were ranked when Stanford played them. Utah lost was inexcusable, but probably got caught looking ahead to Bruins and coming off that big win over Washington

Joel (Tx)

Mark, GREAT article on Art Briles. You are an excellent writer.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:09 PM)

Thank you. That one was an easy one to write. He had a great back story

Nate (OKC )

Is Oregon going to get more credit in voters eyes for beating Stanford than FSU did for beating Miami? An undefeated Miami was considered a fraud at #7 so isn't a Stanford team that lost to 4-4 Utah also a fraud at #5?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:10 PM)

I think Stanford played much more difficult competition than Miami did. In my eyes beating Stanford on the road is more impressive than beating Miami at home.

Todd Barry (Orlando)

Hi, Mark. Why do you think Stanford is essentially getting a pass on their horrible loss to Utah; a 4-4 team with a 1-4 record in conference? Other teams have taken a beating in the public opinion poll and actual polls with much "prettier" losses historically. Seems like this is a media manufactured ranking to give Oregon a meaningful win against a team with a very high ranking. I haven't heard one expert talk about that loss all week. It's as if it didn't happen.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:11 PM)

Again, everybody else losing has a lot to do with it. If Baylor keeps winning, the Bears will move ahead of Stanford as their schedule gets more difficult

BenDair (out there)

FSU and tOSU have the easiest remaining schedules amongst the unbeaten teams. Say they both go undefeated and Alabama, Oregon, Baylor each lose a game. Could a 1-loss Stanford or 1-loss SEC champion jump tOSU for the #2 spot?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:14 PM)

I think there would certainly be voters thinking about the possibility of doing it. Ohio State has won 21 games in a row and is coming off its two most impressive performances of the season. But the schedule has been awful. Even the NW win doesn't seem to mean as much anymore. I was stunned to read that OSU hasn't played a top-10 team since beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago. I think the Buckeyes are a very good team, but I'd have a difficult time putting them ahead of one-loss Bama, Oregon or FSU....And I'm not so sure Baylor wouldn't be more deserving if the Bears closed with wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas.

Jeff (Charlotte)

How do you feel about the Texas hire at AD? Texas alum and may not be as friendly to Mack Brown as the current AD

Mark Schlabach
  (1:15 PM)

UT alumnus. NBA background. He might be more willing to make some moves than DeLoss Dodds. We'll see. I'm surprised Oliver Luck didn't get the job, but Patterson might be a more natural fit.

JL (Warrenton, VA)

Is LSU the last possibility on the schedule to beat Alabama,even in the SEC title game?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:16 PM)

No, I think Auburn or Missouri could give them a test because of the spread offenses they run. Plus, the Iron Bowl is at Auburn. Anything is possible. But I would think LSU is the biggest obstacle left.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:17 PM)

Unfortunately, it's starting to look that way. The Badgers are getting killed by the computers. One computer has the Irish at No. 12 and two at No. 15. Each of the six computer rankings don't even have the Badgers in the top 25. It's a joke.

Todd (Orlando)

Short of the big games this Thursday and Saturday, what is the next big game in your opinion?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:19 PM)

Next couple of weeks aren't very good after Saturday. Texas Tech-Baylor in Arlington and Baylor at Oklahoma State (if the Bears beat OU). Stanford at USC might be big if Cardinal knocks off Oregon on Thursday. The good thing is Thanksgiving week is setting up to be huge with rivalry games.

Bruce (Columbus, GA)

MarK: I sent this question in earlier and I don't mean to repeat but I'm hoping you just overlooked it rather than ignored it. Based on his tenure at Miami, do you expect Shawn Eichorst to be patient or quick on the trigger with Bo Pelini at Nebraska? Thanks.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:21 PM)

Kirby Hocutt fired Randy Shannon and hired Al Golden, so I think his tenure at Miami affects his decision about Bo one way or the other.

Joel (Texas)

I have to say your article today over Art Briles was the best one I have read on ESPN ever. It was so detailed and to be honest had little to do with football. It was about honor and not for trophys but for people. Such an amazing story. Thank you Mark for making my day better. And to all that read this you should go read his article!!

Mark Schlabach
  (1:21 PM)

Thanks, Joel

Erik (Atlanta)

Could GT beat Clemson or UGA this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:22 PM)

I'd give the Jackets a better chance of beating UGA at home. The Bulldogs are pretty banged-up still and their defense is still pretty porous. But UGA has done a nice job against triple option the last few years. Tech can't throw it, which is UGA's biggest weakness

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Is Will Muschamp coaching for his job the last month of the season? Losses at South Carolina, and at home to FSU, could heat things up substantially in Gainesville, right?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:23 PM)

I think as long as he beats Vandy and Georgia Southern he's going to be fine for next year. He'll have to win next year, though. Guy can't get a break in Gainesville.

John (Lansing, Mi)

Living in Big Ten country and a die hard Crimson Tide fan, I hear a lot in this area that the SEC and Alabama sign most of the elite recruits because of the lower acedmic and admission standards than what the standards are at Big 10 schools. Is this true?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:23 PM)

I'm pretty sure Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, etc., are recruiting the same players as the SEC schools.

Andy (College Station)

Would you pick Baylor to beat Ohio State?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:24 PM)

I think it would be a really good game. I'll withhold an answer until after I watch the Bears play OU

Kyle (Boston)

Last year a really banged up Oregon team (missing 4 or 5 starters on the d-line and secondary) held Stanford to 17 points. Do you think a healthier and statistically better Ducks defense might shut down the Cardinal?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:25 PM)

I think Oregon's defense is more physical and better than it was last year. I don't think Stanford is as good as it was the last couple of years. But it's at Stanford, so I think the Cardinal might be able to keep it close and have a chance to win. But I think Oregon is the better team.

Don (Berkeley,, CA)

What are your thoughts on DeAnthony Thomas calling his shot leading up to the Stanford game in Palo Alto?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:25 PM)

I'm sure Helfrich was thrilled

Erik (Atlanta )

To bad this is not the year of the playoff! Somebody is going to be upset.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:25 PM)

Perfect year for it

Irwin (Ga.)

Two of the teams FSU beat will still be in the top 10 come Monday. How many teams have Alabama and Oregon beat that are in the top 10.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:26 PM)

Miami is not a top-10 team

Earl (Fl)

Who wins: Oregon VS FSU?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:26 PM)

I think FSU is better on both lines of scrimmage.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do Auburn and Alabama enter the Iron Bowl with no further blemishes on their record?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:26 PM)

Bama gets a test Saturday and Auburn gets a test from Georgia (as long as Gurley is healthy).

Tim (ATL)

i'm starting to see the seeds being planted for national pundits NOT giving oregon much credit for beating stanford unless it's "impressive." In your mind, what's the point threshold for that? 2TD enough, or do they need to roll it up in order to jump FSU?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:27 PM)

Winning on the road against a top-5 team is impressive to me. I don't care if it's by 1 point or 70

Todd (Orlando)

Spurrier was on Brando show this morning and said they should install the playoff this year since it looks like there will be at least 4 unbeatens. Any way possible for that to happen?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:27 PM)

Nope. TV contracts, site contracts, etc. Maybe there will be a split national championship. Perfect ending for the BCS

Kevin (New England)

Mark, you logic is abhorrent. Citing Stanford beating 4 ranked teams earlier, then saying "Miami is not a top 10 team." Please frame the issues honestly. It's pretty darn transparent

Mark Schlabach
  (1:30 PM)

I think Al Golden has done a terrific job. He deserves a medal of honor for the job he's done there. But beating a bad Florida team without a QB (even when Driskel was there), along with Savannah State, USF, Georgia Tech, and then barely getting by UNC and Wake Forest doesn't make you a top 10 team.

Aaron (Leesburg, VA)

Have you ever seen a player fall from grace as dramatically as Logan Thomas? I mean the guy was projected as the first pick in the draft two years and now probably won't even be selected?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:32 PM)

He can't take care of the football. He has talent and he certainly has the size that NFL scouts like. In his defense, Va. Tech has gone through some transition on its coaching staff, especially at offensive coordinator, and that's not easy for a QB. Some NFL team can probably get him late and salvage his career.

Tom (NYC)

Lamarcus Joyner said Miami was the toughest team they played so far this year......who should people listen to....someone who plays the game or a journalist that works for a network that consistently bashes a certain team?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:32 PM)

Miami probably was the best team FSU has played this season. Clemson didn't show up

Kevin (New England)

I agree that Miami is not a top 10 team. They're not ranked there anymore. But don't claim Stanford has beaten 4 ranked teams. OSU and Washington are not ranked, and won't be for the rest of the season. That's what's so abhorrent

Mark Schlabach
  (1:33 PM)

which is why I said "at least they were ranked when they played them"

Walter (NM)

Mark, is Michigan State's defense as good as it looks, or is it a function of a soft schedule?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:33 PM)

MSU's defense is very, very good. The Spartans haven't played great teams this year, but what they did to Michigan was unreal.

Nick (Delaware)

What are the chances that South Carolina make it to the SEC Championship game this year?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:34 PM)

I think Missouri is going to have a hard time winning at Ole Miss and over Texas A&M. Not sure they'll win both or lose both.

Trey (OK)

Thoughts on the Baylor/OU game this week and your prediction?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:35 PM)

I think it will be fun to see if OU can slow down Baylor's offense. Kansas State slowed them down a little bit, but it was Bryce Petty's first road game. It will be fun to watch. I like the Bears at home.

Steve (Atlanta)

Mark, Kevin is right. Washington and Oregon State don't look nearly as good as they were perceived to be when Stanford played them and are far out of the rankings. Stanford just doesn't belong at #5.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:36 PM)

Who should be No. 5? Baylor? I like the Bears but they haven't played anyone yet. It's been the most difficult season in which to rank teams because everybody keeps losing.

L Edgar (Chicago)

Did Bret Bielema leave the cupboard full at Wisconsin or is Andersen just a really good coach?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:37 PM)

Little bit of both. Andersen is a very good coach. Brett's a very good coach, too. But Petrino and John L. Smith didn't leave him anything at Arkansas.

Todd (Orlando)

You're making very good points that I feel are not biased. A coach said earlier this week that every conference has 2-3 very good teams...After that, they're just teams. That seems right to me; especially this year in the SEC. Seems like you could change the helmet on Duke and they'd be Auburn. What do you think?

Mark Schlabach
  (1:38 PM)

Thanks. I think the entire country is pretty mediocre outside the top 4-5-6 teams. And as I said earlier, I don't think this Stanford team is as good as the last couple.

Tom (NYC)

Baylor has destroyed everyone they have played with the exception of KSU, as of right now I think they deserve to be 5, possibly 4th

Mark Schlabach
  (1:38 PM)

At the end of the year, after playing OU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas, sure. Right now, I'm not so sure. Baylor hasn't played anyone yet.

Mark Schlabach
  (1:39 PM)

Gotta run, folks. Have a great week. Talk to you again next week.