Chat with Mark Schlabach
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, college football reporter Mark Schlabach stops by to chat about the season.
Schlabach joined ESPN.com in July 2006 as a college football and basketball columnist. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Schlabach spent nine years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering Georgia and the SEC, as well as the NFL and NASCAR. Before joining ESPN, Schlabach spent two years at the Washington Post covering college football and basketball, and boxing.
Send your questions now and join Schlabach to chat Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Mark Schlabach (4:00 PM)
What's up folks? Hope everyone is having a good week. Looking forward to this weekend's games.
Ed (Queens Village)
Does Oregon get tested at UW or they keep on rolling with another double digit W?
Mark Schlabach (4:01 PM)
I don't think the Huskies have beaten the Ducks since something like 2003. Lost nine in a row by more than 25 points. I wonder if UW will be over the deflating finish at Stanford. UW has the firepower on offense to keep it close; its going to be a big test for the Huskies defense, which has looked better this year.
Can Pitt beat Virginia Tech? If so what will they have to do to pull the upset? Pitt seems to be all over the map, Close game with VA 14-3 shoot out with Duke 57-55. I would think a shootout would favor Pitt over VT.
Mark Schlabach (4:02 PM)
I think Virginia Tech's D is too good, but its offense is so inconsistent, a few turnovers might turn the game in the Panthers' favor. I think Virginia Tech is underrated a bit, even given its close finishes against ECU and some others. The defense is really, really good. Logan Thomas might be close to putting things back together, but we'll see.
Is there any chance, America's fav underdog, Boise State makes it to a BCS Bowl game this year?
Mark Schlabach (4:07 PM)
Even if Boise State were to win out and beat Fresno State in the MWC championship game, I can't see them having a high enough BCS ranking. They have to get to No. 12 to get an auto berth. Plus, the AAC champion (Louisville) and ACC champion (FSU or Clemson?) will be ranked higher, along with the other power conferences, so they won't get the automatic entry under the BCS rules even if they're in the top 16.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
How concerned should Sooners fans be going into the RRR after watching the receivers not be able to consistently get open against the first legitimate secondary Bell & Company have faced? LSU's Beckham and Landry had 100 yards a piece. So shouldn't the receiving corps been able to do more?
Mark Schlabach (4:08 PM)
I think the game might be closer than people think. Case McCoy has to play well and UT has to run the ball to take some pressure off of him. I've been surprised at how well Blake Bell has thrown the ball so far this season. Texas is down a CB after last week.
Lance Uppercut (Work...)
UGA's injury report looks like Mizzou from last year. Mizzou's offense looks like that of 2007 with Chase Daniel and company... Crowd should be sleepwalking... I don't see any way this isn't an absolute dog fight in the 4th quarter... You expectations for this one?
Mark Schlabach (4:09 PM)
I think UGA is definitely on "upset alert," but they've played awfully well at home. Still, without Gurley (who is doubtful) and Marshall (who is out), UGA might have problems running the ball. I think they'll still have a chance to win because Aaron Murray is playing so well and has carried this team the last few weeks. UGA's defense will have to find a way to get pressure on James Franklin, which it has struggled to do this season.
Jon (Seattle, WA)
Do the Badgers take care of Northwestern on Saturday? Have to consider them a decent favorite, playing in Madison with an extra week to prepare, right?
Mark Schlabach (4:10 PM)
I like Wisconsin at home, but I think it's going to be a dog fight. Northwestern is really good. Northwestern struggled to slow down Carlos Hyde, and the Badgers run it better than OSU.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Haven't we seen this picture before where Texas is an overwhelming underdog and then walks out of the Cotton Bowl with a victory?
Mark Schlabach (4:11 PM)
I don't think Clemson will be caught looking ahead. This team seems to be more focused than Tigers teams of the past. I know BC will have to score a lot of points to win. Tajh Boyd and Co. are going to put up a lot of points.
Chris (Los Angeles)
Is the winner of the November 7 Oregon-Stanford game in the national championship game?
Mark Schlabach (4:12 PM)
I think the Pac-12 winner is in the national championship game if it finishes undefeated. They're are a few other difficult games left for those two teams. I wouldn't sleep on UCLA.
brandon brown (cincy)
as far as oct. game clemson and FSU, who do you feel will take victory. And y?
Mark Schlabach (4:12 PM)
My early lean is to FSU, but Clemson plays very well at home. It's going to be the biggest game in the ACC in a long, long time.
how is auburn not getting any attention but Missouri and Virginia tech are in the polls and I really don't see how look at who we played compared to them and the games we won. So why haven't we gotten ranked yet?
Mark Schlabach (4:14 PM)
Gus has done a great job. The defense is so much better than I expected under Ellis Johnson. Beat Western Carolina and then Texas A&M and you'll be ranked. The wins over Washington State and Ole Miss don't carry as much weight as you'd think.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Mark, you mixed my question with a Clemson chatter? Do you have a take on the RRR? Thanks
Mark Schlabach (4:15 PM)
It's hard to go against OU given the rivalry's recent history and the way Texas has looked. We'll see if Case McCoy can get anything going against OU's defense. It's Mack Brown's last stand.
Why does the SEC get a bye by the SEC PR Team at ESPN? They do not have one quality OOC game this year... especially since Texas Tech is getting no credit for beating TCU... but LSU is... the Big 12 is the best conference... and ESPN still spends 80% of their half hour shows on the SEC.
Mark Schlabach (4:16 PM)
I think Bama's win over Virginia Tech will look better at the end of the season. The only surprising non-conferences losses in big games were Clemson over an inexperienced UGA team in the opener and Miami over Florida. A lot of the big non-conference games in the SEC are played on the last Saturday of the regular season.
How come Brian Kelly's offense after 4 years still stinks? Why does he asks his QB to make plays that he is incapable of making? Why?
Mark Schlabach (4:17 PM)
Probably because his quarterback is sitting out this season because of academic suspension. We knew what Tommy Rees was going to do before the season. He's good when he doesn't turn over, but not very good when he's throwing picks and fumbling.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you find it ironic that Steve Sarkisian is complaining this week about a tactic Washington is likely to employ on Saturday against Oregon after the Ducks run up and down the field a few times and get into a groove offensively?
Mark Schlabach (4:18 PM)
I think it's always dangerous to accuse an opponent of faking injuries, particularly in the climate surrounding football right now. I've always known Stanford to do things the right way.
Big Ferm (San Diego)
Are you buying Baylor? Vegas currently has them with the 3rd best odds to win a MNC.
Mark Schlabach (4:18 PM)
I'm not buying their competition to date, but I think it's a great football team. Art Briles coaches offense as well as anyone, especially quarterbacks. We probably won't know how good Baylor really is until it plays Oklahoma.
why is miami getting no respect? - their defense is stout and their victory over the gators is looking better! and can the Gators D slow down LSU?
Mark Schlabach (4:20 PM)
I think Miami is getting enough credit right now. Other than beating a UF team that couldn't throw the ball and turned it over too much, Miami hasn't really beaten anyone of consequence yet. Beating Florida Atlantic, Savannah State and South Florida isn't going to buy you a lot of votes.
Do you see Tennessee posing a threat to Bama in a few weeks?
Mark Schlabach (4:21 PM)
No, I don't think they'll be able to put up enough offense. Butch Jones has UT playing hard, which is all you can really ask from him in his first season. The OL is great, and the young receivers are going to be really, really good.
UGA being in the top 10 is a joke, no? Tenn wasn't just beat in Oregon, they were killed. UGA squeeks by them and is not punished. If that was USC squeeking by a Pac10 opp a few years ago, you, yes you, would have called for their head.
Mark Schlabach (4:22 PM)
I'm not sure how long UGA will stay in the top 10 because of its injuries. But I think you also have to give a team credit for winning on the road without its top two running backs, top three receivers and starting safety.
Kaleb Aterburn (Doane college)
can texas tech make a bcs bowl
Mark Schlabach (4:23 PM)
The Red Raiders have already won five games and they only have to get to six to go to a bowl. They still play Iowa State and West Virginia, so I'd say they're going bowling. I actually had them playing in the Cotton Bowl in my latest projections.
Greg P (Dover,DE)
Mark, this should be the yr to start the top 4 tourney! Do you see 4 undefeated teams in top 4? Bama,Oreg/Stan win,Ohio St and Louisville?
Mark Schlabach (4:25 PM)
Bama has to beat LSU and win the SEC championship game. Ohio State has to beat Michigan. Oregon/Stanford winner still has to beat one other ranked team. I don't think Louisville would be in the top four because of its schedule.
Do you see NIU or Fresno going undefeated or both?If so, who makes BCS?Just a few notes-Fresno's 'signature' wins came at home by 2 points, they would also host the MWC Title Game-Both have looked so-so from week to week- Does Fresno playing one less game matter?All this is moot if either lose, but as an NIU fan and alum, I'd like to think the way that the schedules shaked out (both weak) and with Fresno having those big games at home and playing one less game is gotta be worth something
Mark Schlabach (4:27 PM)
You failed to mention that the Huskies struggled to put away Eastern Illinois. Fresno State would have wins over Rutgers (I know) and Boise State (possibly two). Fresno State would have a better chance of getting to a BCS bowl, IMO.
how do u see that Auburn and Texas A&M game?
Mark Schlabach (4:28 PM)
It will be a great test for Ellis Johnson's defense, which is getting better every week. A&M has struggled on defense all year, so Nick Marshall might have a big game. It won't help that Auburn's going to be playing on the road. A
Same question I asked Ivan this morning... Looking at all of the top QBs in the nation right now, if I'm an NFL team with an offensive HC (say Cleveland, Arizona, etc) that can help young QBs out, I'm taking Brett Hundley... Stupid?
Mark Schlabach (4:29 PM)
No, he's a big-time QB. I think Mettenberger might also flourish in a pro-style offense in the NFL when you consider what he's done under Cameron in a short time. I think most everybody in the NFL still loves Teddy Bridgewater.
So Miami is not getting votes because they haven't really beaten anybody good, but Florida State has beaten who? a overrated Maryland team
Mark Schlabach (4:29 PM)
I hear ya. At least FSU beat a ranked (overrated?) Maryland, 63-0.
Mark Schlabach (4:30 PM)
OK, folks, I gotta run. Hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you again next week.