Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel stops by to chat about the college football 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:00 PM)
Ivan's run into a little wireless Internet issue. He'll be here around 2:05 p.m. ET or so.
Ivan Maisel (2:03 PM)
I'm here. Let's get started. Ten days before the first game. How great is that?
Terry (Norman, OK)
Ivan, are you planning on attending the OU/Texas Game this year? Who is your early pick in the game? And how may Fletcher's corn dogs will you consume?
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
I am glad to see it will be a 3:30 p.m. game. That will be a big day for college football, maybe the biggest. There's also Florida at Alabama, and I know there's a big Pac-10 game that day. I'd be happy with any of them. I am not a Fletcher Corn Dog guy, even after living in Dallas. But there is a turkey leg with my name on it.
Doug (San Diego, CA)
Am I missing something? Oregon State Has the best Defensive player, best Offensive player, great coaching staff, finished 3rd or better three years in a row, and barely gets ranked every year, what is it that gets them no respect? Slow starts?
Ivan Maisel (2:06 PM)
Slow starts may have something to do with it. No, they probably have a lot to do with it. I think if the Beavers beat TCU and Boise State in the first month, your worries will be over.
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
And on the same subject...
Donald (Eugene, OR)
For all the "Johnny Come Lately" fans out here, can you put into words for Oregonians under the age of 35 how amazing it is for both Oregon and Oregon St to be ranked and relevant?
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
The amazing thing is it really wasn't all that long ago. My memory is there was a 0-0 Civil War that may have been rock bottom for the sport of college football in the state. And now, they have two of the best head coaches in the country, all that Swoosh money. They've come a long way.
who is pre-season heisman winner?
Ivan Maisel (2:13 PM)
I'm surprised no one has thought of that before. I think awarding a pre-season Heisman is a great idea. Then we would be done with it. Oh, wait, that's not what you meant. I think Ingram is the leader until deposed.
We always hear about all the transgressions teams and players have, but the media doesn't devote much time to teams doing things the right way. The fact that Rutgers has the #1 APR in the country, wins consistently and puts quality players in the NFL gets so overlooked. Your thoughts?
Ivan Maisel (2:15 PM)
If it wasn't Rutgers, Dave, would you read the story about which team has the No. 1 APR in the country? That's laudable but not exactly a sporting event.
Lynn (Monticello, FL)
Hi Ivan, I like Pitt to win the Big East this season and looking at their schedule I feel they could run the table at having a shot at the National Championship. Your thoughts.
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
I agree on both counts. The Panthers are ranked high enough at the outset that a climb to the top is plausible. That would be a great story. I pull for the great stories.
What is your sense of the national perception of Tennessee? Do you see Derek Dooley as the right man to restore the Vols to national prominence?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
I think the national perception of Tennessee is higher than the actual reality of how far the Vols have fallen. But once this begins, and Dooley starts playing his freshmen against juniors and seniors, the national perception will change. I think Dooley is a smart guy. I see no reason why he can't succeed. But it will take a couple of years to restock the shelves, and no one is patient anymore.
John (Lewiston, ID)
Who is more screwed with what happened last week: Idaho or Hawaii?
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
I think Hawaii. It's hard for Hawaii to schedule non-conference games. If the conference falls apart, it's going to get a lot harder for Hawaii to make a schedule.
John (State College, PA)
Who do you see playing for and winning the Big 12 in its last season as we know it?
Ivan Maisel (2:21 PM)
Nebraska and the winner of Texas-OU. Did everyone else notice that earlier I didn't answer who will win Texas-OU? I'm not going to pick now. Let's see 'em play.
So This is Weird (Hmm)
BC picked to finish middle of the pack again. Are the wonderful national prognosticators going to be incorrect yet again?
Ivan Maisel (2:22 PM)
Wrong but consistent. I think BC will be overlooked again. Let's face it, if they could win eight games with that offense last year, they should be better this year.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
What are the chances Mustain passes Barkely for starter at USC this season?
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
I think they are slim. The USC coaches think Barkley will mature into one of the best quarterbacks in the nation before he leaves. Mustain is a competent, fifth-year backup.
Louis (New Orleans, LA)
Do you think Masoli will be the starter for Ole Miss, and if so how will they do with him this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
It all depends on how well Masoli meshes into a locker room that he just entered. Houston Nutt took a real chance by bringing in Masoli, and I don't mean because of Masoli's legal issues. It's not like Brett Favre dropping in after two-a-days. Masoli doesn't know the players or the playbook. It will take a lot of maturity on everyone's part to make that work. If it does work, Ole Miss will be a lot better with him at quarterback than if he doesn't play.
Do the Gators expose the Alabama secondary in Week 5 and leave Tuscaloosa with a W?
Ivan Maisel (2:27 PM)
I think Arkansas will expose the Bama secondary before Florida does. But the Gators are so young that to ask them to go into Bryant-Denny before 101,000 and beat the defending national champions is asking a lot.
Thoughts on Herbie picking AU out of the SEC West? Any chance on a Nat. Champ. shot if that happens?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
It's a gutsy pick. I think Auburn is the second-best team in the West. But with the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny, I find it difficult to think Auburn can win the West. It's not like the Tuberville days of win-one-for-the-thumb.
Drew (Little Rock)
Ivan: Yesterday I heard Herbie say that Mallett and the Hogs are getting too much hype, and probably won't live up to it. Is the defense still the big unknown that is keeping everyone hesitant about the Hogs or is it something else?
Ivan Maisel (2:29 PM)
I think it's the defense, and until Mallett plays a full, pain-free game on that injured foot, I'd be a little skittish about that, too.
Matt (Anchorage, AK)
Being an ardent Notre Dame fan, I've vowed not to hop on the newest coaching bandwagon, but BK makes it incredibly hard with that charisma. I've seen predictions of anywhere from 6-6 to 10+ wins from you pundits. Does BK really add that many wins on his own? There is clearly talent in the cupboard, but is the coaching staff really good enough to push that many more wins out simply by showing up and coaching?
Ivan Maisel (2:31 PM)
Kelly's offense works. It's not complicated. they spread the field and run the same few plays out of different formations, and they're quite good at using those formations to their benefit. I'm not smart enough to know whether the talent he found when he got there can perform well in that offense. But I find intriguing the changes he made (training table, conditioning, etc.) They are to me one of the most interesting stories of the first half of the season.
Hey Ivan, big fan of your podcast, keep up the good work. Will BYU decide that independence isn't worth the gamble and stick around? If they do, who is the MWC's 12 member? I vote Houston, but with the recent "Alliance" talks between the MWC and Conf USA is that unlikely?
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
To me, it seems like BYU's decision to go off on its own doesn't have much to do with the MWC. Either they want to do it or they don't, especially after commissioner Craig Thompson said last week that the MWC won't cut a Texas-like deal with BYU to entice them to stay. Any C-USA team going to the MWC would be interesting because it would open a spot in C-USA for La. Tech, which would be one more blow to the WAC.
Buckeyes, Hawkeyes or Badgers coming out of the Big ten this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
Ohio State-Iowa is at Kinnick Stadium this year. That makes me think it's Iowa. On the other hand, man the Buckeyes look strong.
with possibly, i say possibly, the best o line in the nation, 2 great running backs, a great receiving group and plenty of other great players, what do you think UGA will do this year? and seriously, i want an actual answer to this next part: why all the hype for brantley, who really hasn't done a thing? i think him, cam newton, and aaron murray should all be ranked pretty much the same until something actually happens. FL bias at espn much?
Ivan Maisel (2:37 PM)
I don't understand the assumption that Brantley will just step into the lineup and do great things. I will say this, though. What I like about him is that he's a fourth-year junior. That's reminiscent of the old Florida State quarterback rotation of the '90s. Bowden always had a fourth-year junior ready to step into the lineup.
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
And, yes, we are all biased toward Florida at ESPN. Congratulations. You figured it out.
Matt (Houston, TX)
Ivan, I digest the podcast as soon as it comes out and love the work you and Beano put into it. Quick comment and follow up question regarding BYU. BYU potentially leaving has everything to do with the MWC due to its affiliation with the mtn, which has paid a paltry $1.2 million per MWC member. Also, and probably more important to BYU, is the mtn is a scarce as a Mormon in a bar. You can't find it. So, for BYU, it's about exposure and a school doesn't get that on the mtn. What was your sentiment, given all the rumors last week, regarding the press release announcing the UT/BYU series? Seemed pretty deliberate to me.
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
You're right, of course. My point is that if BYU planned to leave last week, I don't see how anything that has happened with the expansion of the MWC would stop them. Yes, the damage to the WAC is a roadblock for BYU in other sports, but there are other leagues that would be amenable to the same sort of arrangement.
Do you think that USC can win 10 games this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
If no one gets injured, and enough freshman develop into contributing players, it is possible. But you can't count on being that lucky every week. See my story that posted today. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview10/columns/story?columnist=maisel_ivan&id=5484021
Ivan, pretend that Boise State is any BCS conference this year...where do you rank them? Is it still third (AP), fifth (Coaches) or something else?
Ivan Maisel (2:44 PM)
I understand your point. But Boise State has won two Fiesta Bowls in the last four years. They have 20-plus starters returning from an undefeated team. I don't think anyone need apologize for ranking the Broncos high. And if they lose, we'll be wrong and we'll all move on.
Jon Brame (Houston)
It seems that the preseason rankings can really skew the course of a season-either teams ranked undeservedly high staying high, or teams off the radar getting no respect. Why don't we just start the new year with the rankings from the end of last year? Yeah, there's new players involved, but that way we preserve the school pride and at least have a basis on something produced on the field...
Ivan Maisel (2:46 PM)
Those teams don't exist anymore. That, to me, is more unfair than trying to assess how good they are with this year's rosters.
Lou (Rockville, MD)
Ivan, liked that you included Evan Royster in your heisman contender list. Odds that the O-line and QB play make that possible?
Ivan Maisel (2:47 PM)
My thought was that Penn State's quarterbacks are so young that this has got to be a ground-centric offense. That thought may occur to opposing defenses, too, though. Good point.
Following up on Jon's question - why don't we just get rid of preseason rankings entirely?
Ivan Maisel (2:47 PM)
Because we have to sell newspapers and internet clicks. That's why polls exist.
Ivan -- I heard somebody said that James Wilder Jr. would be Jimbo Fisher's Ron Simmons -- do you think his impact on recruiting and the program could be that great?
Ivan Maisel (2:48 PM)
Wow. I don't know but that's a great line. Ron Simmons, for those of you who aren't Florida State fans, was Bobby Bowden's first great player with the Seminoles. Simmons, a defensive lineman, is now in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Ivan, USC winning 10 games is possible? Come on... it's more than likely... Do you not know about all the talent on their team even if it is thinning out? I would not be surprised if they went undefeated with their schedule... especially now that they are angry.. which we have not seen in years... This is coming from a CAL fan.
Ivan Maisel (2:50 PM)
As of last Thursday, USC has 67 scholarship players, and 17 of them are first-year freshmen. The Trojans don't have the bodies. That's why I said they can't get hurt. They can't even afford to catch a cold.
What are your 3 must see games this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:51 PM)
Florida-Alabama, Texas-Oklahoma and Ohio State-Iowa.
Is it fair that Stanford keeps winning the All-Sports trophy over Florida?
Ivan Maisel (2:51 PM)
Ivan Maisel (2:51 PM)
That's it, guys. Talk to you again soon. Got a story to finish.