Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com college football writer Ivan Maisel stops by to chat football.
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.
Send your questions now and join Maisel Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:02 PM)
Ivan Maisel (2:03 PM)
Thanks for showing up. We've put in a lot of work to this series this week about college teams in NFL markets. I hope you read it and enjoy it. If nothing else, there is nothing in there about Ohio State or anybody else's problems, so it's got that going for it.
Jeff (Fort Myers, FL)
Ivan: Great article about FBS schools in NFL Markets. What do you think about the impact of the NFL in Los Angeles, specifically USC and UCLA. Both school seem to schedule at least one big non-conference game annually (plus USC/Notre Dame game) and the balance of power in FBS shows that the SEC, Big-10, Big XII, and Pac-12 are the key players annually. Do you think that UCLA and USC will have the same challenges as South Florida in Tampa if the NFL returns to LA?
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
I don't think they will suffer because, let's not forget, in the first heyday of USC in the 60s and early 70s, they shared the Coliseum with the Rams. So there are so many people in southern California that there is room for everyone. Both USC and UCLA have the tradition and history that South Florida does not. That's another piece of the foundation that they have.
Joe (Jacksonville, FL)
Of that 4 game gauntlet in October for the Gators (Ala, at Lsu, at Aub, and Georgia), which games do you see them winning? Thanks.
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
I think they can win all of them. I don't think they will win all of them. It's very difficult to predict Florida, because of the new coaching staff. We all would assume that the offensive struggles of the spring will continue into the fall, but they still have a lot of speed and still have a lot of size, so I think the upside will be great and the chance for mediocrity is there as well?
Ivan, is it more of college teams in urban palces or just teams that don't have an established tradtion and history?
Ivan Maisel (2:10 PM)
Well, I think it's all of the above. We're going to look at, over the course of the week, teams that don't have the tradition and have established themselves, like TCU, which is a short drive from Cowboy Stadium. We'll look at a team like Washington, which has maintained its place in the market because of its history and tradition. We'll look at USC and UCLA that deals with an urban market that does not have the NFL. And look at Charlotte that is looking to establish a program that already has an NFL market. We hope by the end of the week we've looked at the issue from enough vantage points that you'll have a complete picture.
jeffwarwleigh (roy ut)
wher do you think utah will end up in the pac 12 and what bowl game will thay play in
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
I think they'll do very well. The South is the weaker of the two divisions. I'm never sure whether a team coming into a new league benefits from nobody having seen them or loses out because they've never seen anybody they're playing. I think in Utah's place they'll do well. They were young last year and got some very good experience. Because the Pac-12 South is a little down, it will be to Utah's benefit that they don't have a full schedule of the teams in the North.
Ivan, did you look at winning programs in urban areas that don't do well? Couldn't you just say that if you win, you can build a program anywhere?
Ivan Maisel (2:14 PM)
I think winning does help in getting people to come see you. After that, it's up to the program to capitalize on it. I think one of the benefits of the meeting in Tampa that I wrote about today is that they all put their heads together and compared strategies to do it better. Houston has more than doubled their season ticket sales over a two-year period. TCU has come back from oblivion in the shadow of the Cowboys because they have won. It's possible to improve even though you're in an urban market.
What are the schools worried about? Losing fans? Ticket sales?
Ivan Maisel (2:16 PM)
A lot of it is the ability to afford advertising in a major media market. It's the way an NFL team, as well as other pro sports teams suck up all of the oxygen in the market. They see college football as a different product than the NFL and they market it that way: it's less expensive, more family friendly. In Northwestern's case, they have the struggle of not being in the city center. They have the struggle of being a small, private school and don't have the alumni base as a UCLA or a Washington. The issues are the ones that we'd not normally automatically think of.
Kevin (St. Louis, MO)
I'm an architecture student at Tulane and take a particular interest in these urban issues having studied urban design/planning. Talks have surfaced about bringing the team back to campus from the Superdome, creating the great draw again like was once with Tulane Stadium. What are your thoughts on what would be best for the Green Wave? What case studies of similar universities like Tulane with similar problems can be utilized for a continuous study into this issue?
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
I think it helps immensely, Kevin, to play on campus. I know, because I have had nieces and nephews attend Tulane that they would have preferred games on campus rather than the Superdome. That would be an enormous fundraising undertaking, in a city that doesn't have those kinds of resources. TCU raised $143 million in 16 months to renovate its stadium. Since Tulane's probably not going to do that, they're going to have to figure out other strategies. And that's tough when you haven't been able to put a winning program on the field. It's tough to get excited.
Ivan, did you guys look at areas where schools share facilities with NFL teams? Does that happen any more?
Ivan Maisel (2:21 PM)
We discussed it at length in our planning meetings. I think we just probably ran out of time and man power to do that story. But I think it is very interesting. The issues that a Miami and a Pittsburgh, for instance, have have been difficult for some schools to overcome. Houston went back to campus and did well. Historically, Boston College did much better once it stopped going down town and had its own stadium on campus. When it's not possible to have your own stadium, you then get into the politics of who's in charge of the stadium, how hospitable are they to the college program. That varies from relationship to relationship.
Tim (St. Paul)
Ivan, Do you think teams in large markets face greater media scrutiny? I believe there is a perception that teams in small college towns often get treated with kids gloves by the local media compared with teams in "pro" towns.
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
That's a fair question. I think it's a two-edged sword. I think some teams in urban markets would die to be looked at with scrutiny because they are mostly ignored. It's rare that you have a college program in an NFL city that's covered with the attention that other programs receive. Washington has it, which to me is remarkable, given the way that Seattle has grown.
Do you see Wisconsin as a Rose Bowl team?
Ivan Maisel (2:24 PM)
I think Wisconsin will be in the mix, but they lost some very good players and some very good much needed experience to graduation. I think Iowa will be very good. Penn State may mature into a contender. I don't know. I'm discounting Ohio State from the ratings, almost automatically. That may prove to be pre-mature. And I'm forgetting Michigan State. They're going to be very good. It will be a fun race.
What are your thoughts of some conferences (ie Pac-12 and ACC) having many large cities, and many teams in NFL cities, as opposed to others (ie Big-12 or SEC), that have barely any, if at all? How do the conference dynamics change?
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
To me, it's more of a regional reflection than a specific conference. Football is king in the SEC, but yet there aren't that many NFL teams because of the size of the markets within that region. The Pac-12 is a great example, with Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, somewhat, having to fight for attention because of the pro teams in the market. Cal is redoing its stadium, finally. I think they will be very interesting to see how they fare and respond once everything is shiny and new again.
I am curious why some teams were left out of the college-NFL comparison. For example, shouldn't Colorado (Denver Broncos) and Michigan (Detroit Lions) be included as well?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
We discussed that, how do you determine who is in an NFL market and who isn't. We erred on fewer rather than greater. We did not include Ann Arbor, we did not include Colorado. I tried to fudge it in the story today by saying more than two dozen schools, but I think I deleted that in hopes no one would notice. And I think you've not just busted me.
USC is where in 5 years?
Ivan Maisel (2:30 PM)
Because of the appeal of the NCAA penalty, USC was able to sign a full class this past February, which will help immensely in the next five years. They are going to be thin. They are not going to be able to afford injuries. Lane Kiffin has discussed the way the Trojans practice to take that into account. He, in his optimistic best, believes that the effect at the end of the five-year period will be small. I do no share his optimism. I just think it's a very small needle that he's trying to thread.
Virginia (Charlotte )
Pick LSU-Oregon and why!!
Ivan Maisel (2:32 PM)
I'm really excited about it, as well as Boise State-Georgia that night in Atlanta. I think who wins will depend on if Oregon has been able to come up with a new offensive line that will gel quickly. The other big question is whether Jordan Jefferson will emerge under QB coach Steve Kragthorpe at LSU. I lean toward LSU at this point. But to be honest with you, I hadn't looked at it real closely.
Ivan, what are your thoughts on the decision to include the LA schools to the discussion? Is LA unique where the teams face the same obstacles of sharing a market with an NFL team, while not actually having one in the city?
Ivan Maisel (2:33 PM)
Well, it's just the unique nature of those two schools. The tradition of those schools in the second biggest city in the nation. I thought it was interesting to include those two schools to compare and contrast them with everybody as we go through the week.
Is there any conference out there that comes close to the QB talent the Pac-12 has right now?
Ivan Maisel (2:33 PM)
Yeah, I'd say the NFC.
Garrett_inLR,Ar [via mobile]
Can Tennessee move forward under Coach Dooley? Had pleasure to meet him in march and was impressed and excited.
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
I'm optimistic. I really felt like they improved a lot over the course of last season. Until we see what the NCAA does based on the hearing earlier this month, I hesitate to make any prediction. But I think Dooley will be successful at Tennessee, all things being equal.
Many NFL franchises are "outpricing" themselves to the average non-alum middle class family. Isn't this where these college programs can capitalize, by keeping their product affordable to the masses, even in an NFL city?
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
Absolutely. And they are aware of that. They market that as best as they can. They hope that the hunger for college football will attract not only families on a budget, but the population that moves into the city and has not affiliation.
Did you look into how prices are different between NFL and non-NFL cities?
Ivan Maisel (2:39 PM)
I don't remember much from Econ 101, other than I would sit in the back and read Sports Illustrated. But I think every entity will charge what the market will bear. Those teams in non-NFL markets have to contend with their history and the expectations of their own fans and figure out how they can give them a good product at a price that won't drive them away.
Do you foresee FSU playing for the national title in the near future? The recruiting that Jimbo is doing has been incredible. Does he relate to the younger players as he keeps getting the studs in a quick timeframe?
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
I agree. It would see as if Florida State is ready to step back into the BCS picture. But the Seminoles have burned me often enough over the last decade when I thought they were going to come back that you will have to excuse my hesitant attitude about this season.
Here in the Bay Area, it's unique because there's 2 major college teams, and 2 NFL teams, in a major metropolitan area of over 7 mil. Does having MORE professional teams make the situation that much more difficult for college teams?
Ivan Maisel (2:42 PM)
It certainly stands to reason that it would. But the marketers that I've spoken to insist that their product is different. That their fan base is different. They operate under that belief. Oddly enough, the people at USF told me that the only school invited to this summit in February that did not respond to the invitation was Stanford. So, maybe they know something everyone else doesn't.
Garrett_inLR,Ar [via mobile]
Being a Vols fan in Arkansas is tough..will I have a reason to hold my head high? Also what you opinion of Vols @ Hogs show down in Nov? Thanks..GB
Ivan Maisel (2:43 PM)
Yes, but maybe not as high as the Razorbacks are holding theirs. I am optimistic about the Vols, in part because of the uncertain nature of the teams in the East. Florida is starting over. Georgia is coming off of a losing season. Tennessee is rebuilding. Somebody is going to take control of the East and it will be a lot of fun to see who that is.
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
Thanks to everybody. Thanks for staying on topic. Great attention span. I encourage everybody to listen to, not only the regular podcast this week, but also the special one that we'll post tomorrow featuring LSU coach Les Miles and UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni. Talk to you soon.