When I thought about how to convince ESPN's Ivan Maisel to chat with us about college football, I knew I needed to butter him up a little bit. As he'd just posted a sass-tastic mailbag on ESPN.com, I praised his ability to needle the letter-writers and suggested our readers might enjoy a taste of that snooty charm. It worked! Sure, the needling comes at my expense, but whatever - if you can dish it, you can take it. Without further ado, ESPN's Ivan Maisel snorting at yours truly.
Burnt Orange Nation: Did you see the Longhorns championship coming last year, or were you surprised to see us run the table?
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com: Of course I was surprised. Otherwise I would have picked Texas to finish first in the preseason poll or to win the Rose Bowl. In each case (the poll and the bowl), I picked the Longhorns to finish second.
Burnt Orange Nation: The Big 12 North has been lagging behind the South for a few years now. Do you see some improvement on the way from some of the traditional powers like Nebraska, Kansas State, and Colorado?
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com: Peter, you're showing your (lack of) age. Kansas State is no more a traditional power than Britney Spears is an established singing star. But I digress. Yes, I see some improvement on the way for each of those three teams, but let's not confuse that with the Big 12 North reaching the level of the South anytime soon. Tom Osborne warned when the Big 12 came together in 1994 that the power would be coalesce in the south (where the players are) and history has proven him prescient.
Burnt Orange Nation: We're on record saying that Jamaal Charles will be the best tailback to ever play at Texas when it's all said and done (provided he stays healthy). What do you think about Charles?
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com: I think more of Charles than I do of your prediction. Maybe he will match the accomplishments of Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams, but that's an awful burden to put on any player's shoulders. We'll get to the details of your prediction, which I presume was made on Sixth Street at 3 a.m. during South by Southwest, at a later date.
Ivan and I disagree. Partly.
Yes, I write BON drunk. But no, I'm not ready to back down from my claim.
Burnt Orange Nation: Making predictions in June must be done with caveats, of course, but can you give us your early thoughts on Texas - Ohio State?
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com: I can't wait to see it. I think the caveats are a touchdown favorite. In other words, I have no idea. I will say I think asking McCoy/Snead to win that kind of game that early in his/their career is asking a lot.
Burnt Orange Nation: With the same caveats, who do you see playing in the BCS title game next January?
Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com: It's whom do you see, Peter, and now that you know that my mother was an English teacher, I'll take Ohio State and, not to torque your readers, but because these are the teams that I picked one-two in my post-spring top 25, Oklahoma.
Burnt Orange Nation: Thanks, Ivan. And congratulations on becoming the least popular interviewee in Burnt Orange Nation history. Between taking me to task for my youthful appreciation for Kansas State football, deriding my love for Jamaal Charles, and picking Oklahoma and Ohio State, it's safe to say that the readership might not be sending you any Valentines this year.
But in all seriousness, we thank you for taking the time to visit. And hope you're dead wrong on your picks.
Ivan Maisel is a columnist for ESPN.com. You can read all of Ivan's columns here.