Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel stops by for a chat on the 2009 season.
Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. In addition to covering college football for the site, he contributes to ESPN's SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio and ESPN The Magazine. He also contributes to ESPN.com's golf coverage.
Send your questions now and join Maisel Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:05 PM)
Hang in there everyone. Ivan should be here in about 5 minutes.
Ivan Maisel (2:09 PM)
As soon as I finish this, I'm headed to the airport to go to Georgia Tech-Miami tomorrow night. Restaurant recommendations are welcome.
Prediction on Canes/Yellow Jackets? Is Miami really "back?"
Ivan Maisel (2:10 PM)
I think Miami really is back. Todd McShay and I just got through discussing this on the podcast that will post today. It's really a game where you will find out which of these two teams grabs control of the Coastal Division. I'm going to lean towards Miami because it's the home team and the faith I have in Harris. But I think that GT is really good. I'm glad I'm covering it. The game fascinates me. It's still early enough in the season that you don't really know how to calibrate who's good and who isn't. This game will help us all figure it out.
What can we take from the Michigan-Notre Dame game? Is Michigan that good, or Notre Dame over-rated?
Ivan Maisel (2:12 PM)
I think they're both better than advertised. I've made this point in various places this week that you can criticize Charlie Weis for throwing those passes on the last possession that allowed Michigan to keep its timeouts, but you also have to give him credit for what is a clearly much better team and one that scored 34 points and over 400 yards. What I take away is that Notre Dame and Michigan are both a lot better than I thought they would be.
Terry (Norman, Ok)
Ivan, if Bradford comes back by the Miami game, what do you think OU's record will be at the end of season? I would also recommend Joe's Stone Crab in Miami.
Ivan Maisel (2:14 PM)
Everybody knows Joe's and thank you for bringing it up, because there's a reason that everybody knows it. If Bradford comes back for Miami, it's difficult to imagine that he would be sharp in that game. I think depending on how quickly he can rehab and scrape off the rust, then we'll know what to think about OU's chances against Texas. At this point you have to think that Oklahoma at best will be 10-2. Maybe Sam bounces back quicker and better than I'm guessing he will.
Larry (Houston, TX)
Texas/ texas tech...who ya got?
Ivan Maisel (2:15 PM)
I don't think it's going to be the revenge battle that you might think it would. For one thing, Texas Tech is a lot less experienced than they were a year ago. For another, the game is in Week 3, before the young Red Raiders have gotten a chance to learn how to play. Again, to drop Todd's name, he just reminded me on the podcast that Texas Tech has not been nearly as tough at home. It doesn't get the blood boiling as others might.
Second on Joe's Stone crab on Miami Beach. How do you think the FSU-BYU game turns out?
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
I think this is a tough game for the 'Noles. BYU is really good. They are really confident and this game is an event in Provo. This is Florida State coming to town. It's a Florida State team that may have a little seed of doubt in their minds. They lose a heatbreaker, clearly weren't ready to play last Saturday. Maybe they'll come out with something to prove. But they'll be doing it 2,000 miles away at altitude against a talented team. This is going to be a tough game for Florida State to win.
Since the game is really closer to Ft Lauderdale than Miami, I suggest you stay away from South Beach and hit up Canyon at the corner of Sunrise and Federal. Absolutely amazing food and close to the beach!
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
All right! That's what I want to hear. I appreciate it.
Jared (Fairfax, VA)
Taking a look at Michigan's remaining schedule and how the teams on that schedule looked in the past 2 weeks is it possible for Michigan to go 9-2 or if they can beat the Buckeyes 10-1 with the obvious loss to Penn State?
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
That would be 10-2 or 11-1. Sure. It's possible. I don't think it's probable, because you have to allow for Michigan's inexperienced to cost them a game somewhere, probably in the Big Ten. I don't know which game that will be, but as many ups as there were Saturday, there are bound to be some downs somewhere. Just the fact that we can talk about Michigan in terms of 8-10 wins with a straight face, it's nothing anyone would have dreamed weeks ago.
Eric (Venice, CA)
Hey Ivan, Do you think Houston thinks "Every game is a Playoff game" now after beating Ok St and still being ranked below them?
Ivan Maisel (2:21 PM)
Let's not get started on the way that people vote, because I'll never understand it. The plight of the teams like Houston is that if you are thinking of the postseason, every week is a playoff game. The Cougars have a lot of work left to do. There are some tough places to play in Conference USA, especially for conference games. Having this week off was a great scheduling for them, mentally as well as physically. They will be refocused next week. There's no guarantee they would have been that way this week after such a big win.
Coop (Springdale, AR)
Arkansas vs. Georgia - Is this Arkansas coming out party?
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
It could very well be. It's one of 7 games this weekend where a ranked team plays at an unranked team. What struck me about this game, it's really a game that both teams really need to win. Arkansas has got to play at Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU. Georgia has already lost one. This game has a little more juice than we pictured it having during all of the offseason.
Ron (Tampa, FL)
Do you see Florida beating Lame Kiffin and Tennessee by the 29 point spread that the game currently has, will it be that bad? Tennessee does have a decent defense. Thanks
Ivan Maisel (2:24 PM)
If you believe that Florida wants to make Tennessee pay for the comments of its head coach, then I don't think 29 points will begin to be enough.
Darril (New Hampshire)
I will give you two questions, you can choose which one you want to answer.How did the U.S.'s 1939 cancellation of the commercial treaty granting Japan a??most-favored nationsa?ý status effect WWII.Or, Who do you like in the Utah-Oregon game?
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
I think it was just one more spent down that slippery slope toward Pearl Harbor.
Ivan: Your take on the VT-Nebraska game?
Ivan Maisel (2:27 PM)
This is a interesting game. We're going to break it down in detail in the podcast Friday with Heather Dinich. I think you have to feel better about the Virginia Tech offense than you did after the Alabama game. It was against Marshall, but there was a lot more balance there. Great running. It was a powerful performance. Given how well the Nebraska defense has performed its first two games, it makes it a lot more compelling. I'm anxious to see this. Living in the Northeast, I'm assuming I'll be watching it on ESPN360, but whatever I have to do to watch it, I'm watching it.
Alex (Chesterfield, MI)
With a loss to Central Michigan last week, is Michigan State still a threat in the Big Ten?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
Yeah, I think so. Michigan State played well, they just sort of brain cramped their way to the loss there at the end. We talked about Georgia-Arkansas as a little more urgency, I think there's a lot more urgency in this game. All of a sudden, the loser, with an offseason of expectations will be 1-2. I still think these are two very good teams. I'm anxious to see this one.
UW vs USC--who wins--and why?
Ivan Maisel (2:31 PM)
Well, I don't think it will be as bad as you might think. For one thing, it's a little bit of a shorter week for USC in the sense that they had to fly all week to get home Saturday. Going into a game against a bottom half of the league team like Washington. Washington has scored 60-some points in 2 weeks. I think they might be better than some believe. And the game is at Husky Stadium. If anything the presence of Steve Sarkisian might make the USC players focus more. I think Washington will make this more interesting than anyone thought.
AC (Sterling Colorado)
Is Dan Hawkins done at Colorado?
Ivan Maisel (2:32 PM)
I still think it's too early to make that call. There's plenty of time to still have a good season. But you couldn't like what they showed at Toledo. They have time to turn it around, but they don't have a lot of time.
could a wvu win at auburn spring them to an undefeated year?
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
Wow...boy. I'll be honest. I haven't even thought of that. I think if you're going to pick any team in the Big East to run the table at this point, I think you have to pick Cincinnati, based on its performance at Rutgers. Both WVU and Auburn are playing better than I expected. In that sense there will be a nice bounce for the winner. But I don't see this being 1988 all over again.
Brett (Scranton PA)
Is Dan LeFevour the next big prized NFL quarterback out of the MAC?
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
Yeah, by that definition, absolutely. He might be the next big-prized QB, period. That was a remarkable performance Saturday in East Lansing. It also is him doing exactly what he's been doing for a while for CMU.
Sam Kahn (Lawrence)
The Kansas Jayhawks have looked good although they have played two cupcakes in their first two games...could you see the Jayhawks as the second best team in the Big 12 besides Texas?
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
There's a chance. I think the North is looking like it's going to be Nebraska or Kansas and I'm not ready to rule Mizzou out either. Once again, we have to wait for Kansas to play somebody who will challenge them before we can make a decision.
Dana (Ann Arbor, MI)
Ivan,What is your take on the freshman QB Taet Forcier?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
I came away from the game Saturday really impressed. I don't remember a true freshman QB making that kind of introductory statement with his play at QB. It makes me excited to think what his potential is for the next 3 years.
Troy (Montrose, CA)
I know that hindsight is 20/20, but do you think Mark Sanchez should have started for USC instead of John David Booty? Sanchez only lost 1 game as a full-time starter at USC and was picked fifth in the NFL Draft. Booty meanwhile averaged 2 losses per season as a full-time starter at USC and was drafted 137th in the NFL Draft. Sanchez made the Jets forget about Favre, Booty made the Vikings get Favre.
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
Yeah, but remember, the inconsistent moments Sanchez had as a young QB? It took him a while to get to where he is now. I think Forcier and Matt Barkley is going to have some lows. Every player has them. I'm sure if Sanchez had been the best player, Pete Carroll would have played him. It's obvious he's willing to play a freshman QB.
Austin Hansen (Anaheim, CA)
Does BYU get into the top 5 if they beat FSU?
Ivan Maisel (2:41 PM)
It depends as well on the teams above them and what they do. If you're in the top 10 in September, you've got a shot at playing in the national championship, no matter who you are. As we've seen through the years, polls can be quite volitile. As long as you're in the discussion, you've got a chance.
Tressel has been taking a lot of heat in Columbus over the past 72 hours. As a Buckeyes fan, I don't want to see him go, but I would like to see him change things up a little. Are there other head coaches out there that call all the offensive (or defensive) plays or is he the lone HC/OC? What are your thoughts on this type of micro-managing from a head coach?
Ivan Maisel (2:42 PM)
He's not rare, but he's in the minority. Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, Chip Kelly of Oregon both call their own plays. Mark Richt did it for a long time at Georgia. Ralph Friedgen did it for Maryland. It's not rare, and it's not even unusual, but it is in the minority.
Jeff (Norther Cali)
Do you think California has a shot at getting over the USC hurdle this year
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
Sure. I think Cal is better. I think USC is not as good and the game is in Berkeley.
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
We'll know a lot more in the next few weeks, of course.
Ivan, Do you think Penn State will get their offensive line woes, more specifically their run blocking, in time to remain undefeated prior to taking on Ohio State in November?
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
I think Syracuse is a little better than they thought they would be. I think they will get the running game straightened out. I don't think we can assume that if they get it straightened out that we can assume they'll go undefeated until November. The Big Ten is a tough place to go undefeated as we've learned year after year.
With the non-BCS schools having a lot of success this year against BCS schools, will we see the BCS schools refusing to schedule them for fear of losing?
Ivan Maisel (2:46 PM)
No, because more importantly, in an athletic directors mind than winning and losing, is making sure his bottom line zeros out at the end of the day. That's what AD's are hired for. I think the ability to play a non-AQ school without having to give them back an away game in return is a great comodity that those schools have and sell.
Ivan, I think Ohio St. problems are with Pryor. He can't throw the ball with any consistancy. Is Pryor not as big as he was built up to me? You thoughts
Ivan Maisel (2:48 PM)
I was disappointed in his presence on Saturday. Part of it was his throwing game, but it was also he stumbled mentally and competitively on the Buckeyes last drive. You simply can not get a grounding penalty in that situation.
Matt Howard (Cedar City, Ut)
Is the ACC any better this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:49 PM)
I think they're better. These last few weeks have not given any of us any reason to think they're ready to take on the SEC any time soon.
Beau (State College, PA)
You hear on Espn that Miamia has poor facilities, and I was just curious but what schools have the best facilities in the country??
Ivan Maisel (2:51 PM)
Oklahoma just opened a locker room that most country clubs would kill for. There's a lot more wood panneld locker stalls across the nation than I'm sure Bear Bryant ever dreamed of.
How do you think the Arizona-Iowa game will turn out on Saturday, and what are your predictions for UofA this season? I think the Arizona defense is solid, as shown by their clamp down on the Chippewas, and they have a good running attack. Can they beat Iowa on the road?
Ivan Maisel (2:53 PM)
I was hoping you would ask me Sunday. I'm bullish on Iowa. I'm not as bullish on Arizona. That said, certainly week 1 Arizona looked better than Iowa did. Although the Hawkeyes righted themselves last Saturday. I'm going with the Iowa defense at home on Saturday.
Dan ((Bham, AL))
How do feel about University of Alabama True Freshman Trent Richardson?
Ivan Maisel (2:55 PM)
Boy, he had a great game Saturday. I was told that Alabama hasn't had a freshman RB who played like this in a long time. It's really exciting that an offense that looked as if it would have to rebuild has scored 74 points in 2 games. Young players like Richardson have played an important role early in the season.
Matt (Miami, FL)
Ivan, If you want a great steakhouse in Miami go to Prime 112 on South Beach, a little pricey but well worth it
Ivan Maisel (2:55 PM)
OK. That's it I'm blowing the game off Thursday night.
Is the Big 12 actually over-rated or was the beginning of the season just an aberration?
Ivan Maisel (2:56 PM)
Well, it may be an aberration, but it's all we have to go on so far. But the answer is yes, we did overrate it. The league may yet prove that we were right to begin with. Oklahoma State stumbled, Colorado has been a big disappointment, Kansas State has been a big disappointment. It does not give you any confidence that the Big 12 will push the SEC.
Thoughts on Oregon State- Cincinnati? Best game no one is talking about.
Ivan Maisel (2:58 PM)
You know, I would love to see this game in November or even December or January. I say that because as we saw at UNLV last week, Oregon State starts slowly. Cincinnati does not. I think Cincinnati is better than certainly I expected and unless Oregon State gets better in a hurry, the Beavers are going to struggle Saturday.
Sean (Miami, FL)
Ivan, Sushi Samba on Washington is the quintessential place for a good time and great sushi.
Ivan Maisel (2:59 PM)
Wow. I like the idea. I have to admit I haven't been to a Japenese-Cuban restaurant, recently. Or ever.
Ivan Maisel (3:00 PM)
Thanks for participating in this dining chat. Sorry the football interrupted. Happy New Year to everybody who will not be attending a game on Saturday, like me. We'll talk to you next week.