Chat with Ivan Maisel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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. He also contributes to ESPN.com's golf coverage.
Send your questions now and join Maisel Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ivan Maisel (2:01 PM)
I'm here, and I'm on time. As Beano would say, "Unbelievable!"
Chip Kelly (Eugene)
Would it be an NCAA violation to buy my players bicycles?
Ivan Maisel (2:02 PM)
I normally refrain from posting people pretending to be coaches/players but that is too funny.
Alan (Rip City, OR)
Tougher game for Stanford? This weekend at USC or in couple weeks at home against Oregon?
Ivan Maisel (2:03 PM)
I think Oregon, don't you? And I say that fully aware of the rivalry between USC and Stanford. I think the game Saturday night will be tough for the Cardinal. But I also think there's a marked difference between the Trojans and the Ducks.
If USC beats Stanford this weekend, will anyone at ESPN admit that Kiffin is a good coach?
Ivan Maisel (2:03 PM)
I will. He should get credit for what USC has done to date. I didn't think it would be 6-1.
Do you have a real early prediction on Lsu/bama? Lsu looks unbeatable.
Ivan Maisel (2:05 PM)
So does Alabama. I don't recall a game this evenly matched with people on both sides so utterly convinced that their team is going to win. And to answer your question, I'd say Alabama has the edge because it's in Tuscaloosa. I'd say LSU had the edge if it were in Death Valley. I think they are that evenly matched.
What would have to happen in order for the loser of the Bama/LSU game to get to the national title game?
Ivan Maisel (2:07 PM)
The LSU-Bama game would have to come down to the final minutes; the Big 12 teams would have to knock each other out, and Stanford and Oregon would have to lose. Even at that, if Georgia wins the SEC East, Boise State will have more credibility than normal. If the winner of the LSU-Bama then loses, the loser will have more of a chance.
What do you make of Brian Kelly throwing his players under the bus after the ND loss last wknd?
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
I always for honesty but I'm still accustomed to coaches defending their players. I'm torn about it.
How come Barkley isn't getting any Heisman attention? It is a bit ridiculous that at this point in the season, a QB that good isn't even mentioned...
Ivan Maisel (2:08 PM)
I assume it's a combination of Luck's shadow and general skepticism about USC. Barkley can take care of both of those issues on Saturday night.
Did the Big 12 just tell WV not to change your Facebook status yet after WV all ready did?
Ivan Maisel (2:10 PM)
Good analogy. I went papal -- no smoke out of the chimney yet.
Trey (Long Beach)
Best WR in the country right now: Robert Woods, no? Next year as a JR, do you see him in the Heisman race at all?
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
You like him better than Sammy Watkins and Ryan Broyles and Justin Blackmon, I take it. To be honest, I haven't seen USC yet; just read about how well he has played. He could be in the race because Barkley may be gone. But if Barkley isn't there to get him the ball, he may not be there.
Jeff (Charleston SC)
Clemson...Buying or Selling??
Ivan Maisel (2:11 PM)
Just curious Ivan, why such a low power ranking for Oklahoma State from you? I believe you have them at 7 which is lowere than anyone else. Too one-dimensional?
Ivan Maisel (2:12 PM)
I've seen them twice (at A&M, at Texas) and I wasn't blown away. The defense isn't of championship caliber in my book.
Raymond (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Have you been privy enough to attend both LSU and Alabama practices in person? If so, could you compare them?
Ivan Maisel (2:14 PM)
I attended a Les Miles practice in the spring a few years ago. I have not attended a Nick Saban practice that I recall. He boots all of us out after 20 minutes. The big donors get to stay, though.
David (Birmingham, AL)
Between the unbeatens left, who is still a pretender?
Ivan Maisel (2:15 PM)
I think Houston, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Clip and save.
with how well Tajh Boyd & Sammy Watkins are playing at Clemson and continued similar success this year, could both of them end up a Heisman Candidates? Say top 5 or 6Has this ever happened with one school before?
Ivan Maisel (2:17 PM)
It's possible. One problem I see is Clemson's lack of marquee games down the stretch. Certainly teammates have finished in the top five before. I feel as if Leinart and Bush did so a few years ago. And I know in 1956, Oklahoma had two guys in the five -- Paul Hornung of Notre Dame won.
Do you agree with some experts that Stanford is the team best suited to knock off the SEC champion in the national championship with a great power run game, great run defense, and an all-galaxy QB?
Ivan Maisel (2:18 PM)
I think Stanford has played the best of the non-SEC schools but the schedule is only now ramping up. The Cardinal defense isn't championship caliber, either. Delano Howell will help when he returns from his hand injury.
Tom (Las Vegas)
David (Birmingham) and Ivan-please the biggest pretender is Boise State....Ivan naturally roots for the underdogs so he won't be honest about boise....Boise has been suspect all year....Toledo could have beat them, Air Force almost did at Boise.....Boise is the biggest pretender this year.....
Ivan Maisel (2:19 PM)
To be honest, I forgot about Boise when I answered that question. I do love underdogs -- guilty -- but I think you have to take Boise seriously, especially if Georgia keeps winning.
Steve (San Francisco)
Do voters and the computers factor in the change in rankings. For example, Clemson talks about their great win against then #11 Florida State who isn't even ranked now.
Ivan Maisel (2:20 PM)
I hope that both do. I no longer vote in the polls, and I lasted three weeks in CompSci 101, so I may not be the guy to ask. The voters should take that into account, though.
Do you think there's some hesitation for Missouri moving to the SEC because the Big 12 looks more stable than before? It seems a big reason Colorado moved to the Pac 12 is because at the time, they perhaps thought the Big 12 was going to collapse.
Ivan Maisel (2:22 PM)
I hope there's some hesitation on Mizzou's behalf because they don't want to forsake their history and their tradition. They will be no more than middle of the pack in the SEC. I got into a long argument with my friend Mark Blaudschun of The Boston Globe on Monday. He think Mizzou should grab the offer and be secure for the near future.
Tom (Las Vegas)
Boise's defense is definitely not championship calibre as Toledo and Air Force put up good "O" numbers on them. Had Toledo not turned the ball over INSIDE THE BOISE 20 on 3 different trips, that game would have been decided at the gun....and by pretender i am not saying they are not worthy of Top 12, i'm just saying they are not NC-calibre THIS YEAR....
Ivan Maisel (2:23 PM)
What I find interesting is that OklaSt, Boise, Clemson, Stanford and Houston all have roughly the same profile -- great on offense, good on defense. LSU and Alabama are the opposite. I'm not sure what that means, but it's worth keeping in mind down the stretch.
It seems that Neuheisel is on the hottest of hot seats right now? IF UCLA were to fire him, do you see them doing it mid-season (ie-Arizona) or waiting until the end of the season?
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
I think UCLA will wait. AD Dan Guerrero said very strongly last week after the Arizona debacle that Neuheisel was his coach, and from what I hear, the money guys that UCLA would need to buy Neuheisel out still back him. We'll see.
Why do you think so many schools are changing conferences all of a sudden? They may as well just go to eight superconferences based upon geography and stop the madness already.
Ivan Maisel (2:25 PM)
Panic, mostly. They are all searching for security, making 30-year decisions in 30 days.
would you rank bama's defence this year ahead of thier 92 defence
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
Not yet. Man, that '92 defense was scary. Gino Torretta is still picking John Curry out of his face mask.
I recently had a conversation with an Texas A&M grad and he was telling me how some of the club levels at their stadium allow alcohol to be served. Part of the incentive for boosters to be in the upper levels. I believe it is an SEC rule that does not allow Alcohol in stadiums. How do you see this playing out for Texas A
Ivan Maisel (2:26 PM)
I think alcohol is allowed in some private boxes at SEC stadiums.
Hey Ivan - what do you think of this theory: Les Miles was not actually required to do anything with the three players that tested positive - I saw him say in a news conference that he never said that he had suspended them - and that they were "sat out" against Auburn as a motivational tactic for the Bama game?
Ivan Maisel (2:28 PM)
I think you're overthinking it. As usual with Miles, you get very novel use of the English language. What exactly is the difference between being suspended and being held out a game? It's a distinction without a difference.
Glenn (Red Oak, Iowa)
Although I'm not a K-State fan, it appears that if the Wildcats run the table (as unlikely as that might be) that they will be in the National Championship Game. Your thoughts?
Ivan Maisel (2:29 PM)
Given the strength of the Big 12, I would agree with you. I just don't think K-State will get that done. I'd like you to be right, though. That would make for a great story.
John (Washington DC)
I just want the SEC to know that the new Divisional map going to look really ugly. I mean, Missouri in the East? Heck, Vandy is already there, and both are west of Auburn. Granted, moving Alabama and Auburn east would make it too easy for LSU and Arkansas to dominate, but at least the East would have a legit contender again.
Ivan Maisel (2:31 PM)
The problem is you can't split up Alabama and Auburn. If you do that, then either the Alabama-Tenn or the Aub-Georgia rivalry no longer will be annual. The league doesn't want that to happen, thank goodness.
Nick (St. Paul)
I'm of the position that of all the offensive juggernaut styled contenders out there, Stanford's is the only one that will be likely to have some success against whoever comes out of the SEC. They're the only "no frills" offense putting up the big points and yardage, and it feels like they haven't even really opened it up yet. How does an extra month of practice really help you prepare for 6 or 7 linemen and a bunch of tight ends coming out and hitting you in the mouth repeatedly until you're a sucker for the play action?
Ivan Maisel (2:34 PM)
It would be a fascinating matchup of either defense. Washington prepared for Stanford to throw the ball. Luck came out, looked at the defense and started handing off. I started watching Husky linebacker John Timu on one possession. First, TE Coby Fleener buried him. On the next play, an OL -- DeCastro, I think -- moved him several yards out of the way. Luck didn't throw much because he didn't have to.
Ok Ivan you can't be serious. Tom is confused about Boise. They outgained Toledo 610 to 340 and Toledo only had two turnovers in the whole game. And comparing Boise's D to Stanford and the others is crazy. Have you seen Boise play this year?
Ivan Maisel (2:35 PM)
Several of you have written to criticize that characterization of Boise's defense. Duly noted. I did see Boise vs. Georgia and I came away believing the Broncos belong in the same conversation with the other undefeateds.
Luck or Richardson?
Ivan Maisel (2:36 PM)
My Heisman vote right now would be Luck-Moore-Richardson, and I'm looking for space on the ballot for Keenum and Griffin and Wilson. It's a fun race.
Jason Ritch (Chicago, IL)
I have a sneaking suspicion that Penn State is going to win the Leader's Division. They're on an upswing - cemented McGloin at QB, have a top rusher in Redd and a stout front 7. Thoughts?
Ivan Maisel (2:38 PM)
Penn State is playing much better than I thought they would. But finishing up with at Ohio State/at Wisconsin makes me blanch. The defense is outstanding, though, and in a year when there's not a lot of that out there, it's paying off for the Nittany Lions.
As of now, what do you think Trent Richardson's chances are of winning the Heisman in a league full of great QBs? Could a big game against LSU in two weeks vault Richardson to the top of the list or is he just destined to sit in the shadow of Andrew Luck?
Ivan Maisel (2:39 PM)
I think they all are destined to sit in the shadow of Andrew Luck as long as he keeps playing well.
HOW CAN THE BADGERS GET PUNISHED SO HARD FOR LOSING TO A RANKED TEAM ON THE ROAD ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME ON A HAIL MARY PASS? THEY'RE NOW BEHIND NEBRASKA WON THEY KILLED.
Ivan Maisel (2:40 PM)
I agree. That kind of poll vote drives me nuts, too.
Won't the $2k payment to players doom the small-money programs? Should they split Div-I into 2 divisions (those who pay and those who dont)?
Ivan Maisel (2:42 PM)
Joey Galloway and I argued about this on the podcast yesterday. He thinks that all schools must pay it or it shouldn't be passed. I used to think that but I've changed my mind. The level playing field doesn't exist. To pretend otherwise is, well, too pretend. And given all the money flowing into college athletics; given that federal aid to non-athletes pays about $2500-$3000 more than an athletic scholarship, I think the schools that can afford to pay the stipend should do so.
A little bummed Gameday isn't going to be in Manhattan Saturday. Provided KSU and OSU win this weekend does the crew make the trip to Stillwater? LSU-Bama will be on CBS and surely ESPN won't promote a game on another network, correct?
Ivan Maisel (2:44 PM)
I don't make that decision, nor am I consulted. But I can't imagine that the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular-season game in five years wouldn't attract GameDay.
Kyle (Tuscaloosa AL)
Would an SEC team winning the NCG again be a good thing or a bad thing for college football? I think it's starting to get old. This coming from an Alabama fan who will not at all be upset if Alabama takes all the way this year.
Ivan Maisel (2:45 PM)
I don't think it would have an effect one way or the other. Just keep in mind that nothing lasts forever.
Just saw a report that 5 SEC teams are in the top 10 for defense. Is this because of recruiting or coaching or something else?
Ivan Maisel (2:46 PM)
The SEC has more big, mobile defensive linemen than any two conferences in the nation. That's the difference. Check out how SEC defensive linemen get drafted in the early rounds.
Ivan Maisel (2:47 PM)
O.K., everyone. Thanks. Make way for Beano. He'll be here soon. I enjoyed it. Talk to you next week, three days before the biggest game in the history of college football. At least until the next big game.