- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Summer is upon on us and things can get a bit slow. But there’s always time to talk SEC football. Might as well clean out that mailbag:
Wondering in Fayettville, Ark., writes: Would you take A. J. McCarron or Denard Robinson for one season as your starting Quarterback? I personally do not think either one is very great but I would rather have Denard Robinson.
Edward Aschoff: See, this is tough for me. While I’ve never officially been named a real football coach or anything, if I were going to run an offense I’d want a dual-threat QB. That’s just my style. I like a guy who can run and pass. I think it adds more to the offense and it helps me get away from speedy defensive ends in the video game world. So if I were running a real football team? I think I’d still go with Robinson. Now, that’s absolutely no disrespect toward McCarron. I think he has a chance to be one of the best in the SEC, but I just can’t ignore the speed and athleticism that Robinson has. Imagine if he had SEC speed around him. I think McCarron is a much more polished passer, and he can run when needed, but Robinson is on a different level when it comes to athleticism. You may say that he only did it against Big Ten defenses, but I think he’d have success in the SEC with his feet. One area of concern I do have with Robinson is that he threw 15 interceptions last year. He forces a lot of plays sometimes. But in the two loses Michigan had last year, he combined to throw just two interceptions, so it seems like the more he makes mistakes the more he makes up for them. I like McCarron much more as a passer, but as a total package, I’d have to take Robinson.
Bruce Columbus, Ga., writes: Thank you for the class and compassion you showed in your article on the Auburn shooting. There are a lot of hurting people out there right now. Speaking as a member of the "Auburn family", we appreciate you focusing on the human side of the story instead of using it to promote an agenda as others already have.
Edward Aschoff: We appreciate the warm responses that we’ve received as well. This is/was a true tragedy for the Auburn family and the SEC family. One thing that has really impressed me since this all happened was how other SEC fan bases reacted. We received a handful of messages from fans across the league issuing condolences and sending prayers. As tough and as rivalry-driven this league can be, it’s still a family at the end of the day.
Justin in Chicago writes: While I understand that the conference champions model receives heavy opposition, though I don't think it was ever an actual Big Ten stance and more of a negotiating tactic, why are SEC fans opposed to the 3 and 1 model, or one chosen fully by a selection committee. I understand that it is possible to have 3 teams in the 4, but to choose those teams based on rankings seems archaic. Using the SEC model, that seems to be only top 4 highest ranked teams, how does one explain Stanford over Oregon last year?
Edward Aschoff: My issue with having conference champs dictate this is that you officially weigh conferences over the others. I’m not naïve enough to believe that doesn’t happen now, but now you basically take the stance publicly that certain conferences are better than others. Do you choose the Big East over the Conference USA? ACC or Pac-12? Are the MAC and the WAC essentially out of it? I feel like you create those four super-duper conferences that commissioners insist they don’t want. Yeah. Sure. I’m not sure how the rankings or selection would be used. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective to an extent. You’re either picking conferences over other conferences or teams over other teams.
William in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., writes: Hey Guys, Mississippi State just got three huge commits this week. Can you tell us a little more about them? Thanks for all do!
Edward Aschoff: What I can tell you is that from June 9-12 Dan Mullen and his coaches have been doing work. The Bulldogs’ staff grabbed seven commitments during that span. Goodness. Three guys to keep an eye on in this class are quarterback Cord Sandberg, wide receiver DeAndre Woods and running back Kailo Moore. I saw Sandberg play in high school down in Bradenton, Fla., and he’s a solid dual-threat for Mullen’s offense. He’ll chuck it around and run over people. Moore is elusive, fast and strong. He looks like he’s an every-down back and rushed for almost 1,500 yards last year. And Woods appears to be that outside deep threat Mullen would like to add to his offense.
Aditya in Bangalore writes: I have to disagree with you when you say former coaches shouldn't take part in a selection committee. No one understands the game better than them, and thus no one can tell a good team from a bad one better. As for biases, which are inevitable, I would suspect that the council would work the same way it does it basketball, where if you are affiliated with a school in consideration, you aren't allowed to talk about them. Not only does this encourage diversity (you can't have 3 Florida Alumni on the council, for example), but it also keeps biases out of it for the most part (no one can claim the NCAA basketball committee has been biased towards a certain league recently, right?)
Edward Aschoff: The problem with having coaches on the committee is that most of them don’t ever see the teams that aren’t on their schedule. It’s hard for Nick Saban to make an honest assessment about Oklahoma if he doesn’t see any of the Sooners’ games. These guy know the game, but they are solely focused on their teams and their opponents during the season. Florida coach Will Muschamp said this spring that he wouldn’t want to be on a committee because he doesn’t even watch conference teams that aren’t on his schedule. And that coaches poll? Yeah, it might as well be called the SID poll because coaches rarely bother with them. If you have a committee you need people who actually watch the games, not the highlights.
UPDATE: Well, my eyes must be going because I missed a very important part of your question. You said "former coaches" and I totally skipped that. Now, that my mind and eyes are working properly, I think you do have a point there, but I wonder how many would want to take the time to do it. I think a committee with former coaches could work, but you'd have to have more than just coaches on it. Biases are going to come no matter who is on it, so I don't think people can really dwell on that. You could easily have a coach on there who strongly dislikes a team he coached against. If you have former coaches on there, you have to have non-coaches as well.
Greg in San Antonio, Texas writes: I have to ask the question "the SEC is the nation's best conference" Folks in the SEC footprint don't really believe the conference as a whole is that good right? Sure 6 straight NC's, but look at it. Florida’s 1st OSU came in cocky and unprepared, then Florida’s 2nd and Auburn’s had the 2 best players in recent memory carry their teams to victory. So you've got LSU and Bama, the only constantly good programs in the SEC.
Edward Aschoff: Well, Greg, if six straight national championships doesn’t illustrate greatness, true perfection must be your only hope. I just don’t understand how you can’t say the SEC is “that good” after it has taken six straight titles and 8 of 14 titles in the BCS era. And those two great players you talk about certainly didn’t score every point and make every tackle, right? Also, making excuses for other teams losing to SEC teams, like arrogance, is very, very weak. That makes no sense. Have you forgotten about Florida’s and Tennessee’s success in the 90s? Georgia averaging 9.6 wins a year in Mark Richt’s 11 years? Arkansas’s recent rise in the conference? South Carolina becoming a real contender in the league? The fact that the SEC has yet to lose in a BCS title game? This question was so bizarre that I don’t even think our friends over at the Big Ten blog would even agree with you. If the SEC isn’t “that good,” which conference is?
Zack in Bryan, Texas writes: I've been waiting for you to finally get to the Aggie's schedule analysis alphabetically and enjoyed looking it over. My question is why you'd put La Tech as the "trap" game. I understand they're a solid team, but with it being the 1st game of the year and over a week before Florida comes to town I think we'll be ready. SMU is who scares me. Surely Garrett Gilbert's high school proven talent is hiding in there somewhere right? Is June Jones' offense the thing to bring it out against an unproven defense learning a new system?
Edward Aschoff: The fact that it is right before that historic game against Florida absolutely makes it a trap game. Trap games are ones in which there is a team that comes in favored, but could be overlooking an opponent capable of pulling off the upset. That Florida talk will begin way before Louisiana Tech is even mentioned. The Bulldogs’ offense should be pretty fun to watch this fall, with Colby Cameron returning at quarterback with receiving threats Quinton Patton (1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns last year), Miles White and D.J. Banks back. The Aggies say they aren’t overlooking this team, but the emotion surrounding the Florida game will be all this team hears about until the game is actually played. Louisiana Tech is no cream puff and it’s looking to start the year 1-0 against a team that does have some concerns on the defensive side and has a new, young QB taking over.
Ed in Dallas writes: I just have one question in this whole mess known as a college football playoff...If The SEC is so hell bent on having the "best four" teams in the playoff...why don't they practice what they preach? I don't think Georgia was the second best team in last years SEC Championship game...I'm not sure they were even in the top four...why Didn't Alabama play LSU in the SEC Championship game if it is so crucial to have the "best" teams play for a championship? Just wondering...I'm totally confused by The Sec's message. Cheers, Ed.
Edward Aschoff: Obviously, LSU and Alabama were the two best teams in the SEC, but because NCAA rules say that you have to have divisions in order to have a conference championship game the SEC had to pit an East team against a West team. I’m all for the SEC (and other conferences) standing up and demanding that divisions be dismantled like SEC basketball. I think it’d be great. Then you really find out who the best teams are. But that’s not how college football works right now. Sorry.
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