Friday, January 27, 2012
SEC mailbag: No more divisions?
By Edward Aschoff
The mailbag is back for your viewing pleasure.
We were hit with a good amount of questions in the past week, so we decided to fill your curious minds.
Signing day is coming up, there are two new teams getting ready to join the league and people are already talking about next year’s SEC champ.
Let’s get to those questions:
Nathan from the Texas panhandle writes: Aggie fan here. My email is in regards to the divisional format of the SEC. I personally think that divisions in a 14-team league are hard to work with since you will hardly see opponents from the division. Why not implement a no division league with a four-team playoff format at the end of the year for the SEC championship game? You keep rivalry games and just alternate opponents every year within the league. League record and rankings would be considered for the four-team slots. Opinion?
Edward Aschoff: First of all, welcome to the SEC … well, almost welcome. You’ll officially join in July, but welcome anyway. The funny thing is that Chris Low and I were actually talking about this exact thing the other day, since basketball has already done it. I know that divisions make it much easier to figure out the teams for the championship game, but I think it would be pretty cool to have just one league with no divisions. The more teams, the harder it is to maintain those traditional rivalries when you have divisions. If you get rid of the divisions, you can maintain every rivalry you want because there would be no obligation to play a certain amount of divisional teams. Alabama-Tennessee would never be in danger and neither would Florida-LSU. You would also have the two best teams in the SEC competing for the championship. Also, “The Rematch” would have happened in Atlanta and there would have been no crying about the national championship because the SEC’s spot would have been settled in Atlanta. I’m all for it.
Brandon Estell from Jonesboro, Ark., writes: With the fairly average recruiting classes, at least ranked that way, that Bobby Petrino has brought to Fayetteville the last couple of years and looking that way again, although it is looking to be picking up come signing day, what is the realistic chance of Arkansas contending for the SEC West title possibly bigger?
Edward Aschoff: As far as the rankings go, Arkansas’ classes haven’t been as high as others in the SEC, but that definitely doesn’t mean that talent hasn’t been going to Fayetteville. Today I looked at some of the unheralded guys who became stars in college and a lot of them played at Arkansas. Just look at the seniors that left. Jake Bequette, Tramain Thomas, Jerry Franklin, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright were pretty much nobodies in high school. Now, everyone knows them. Petrino has done a great job with developing players and I think that if continues the Hogs will be fine. Forget about all the stars and focus on what is happening when they get on campus. Hey, if Arkansas beats LSU, who knows where the Hogs end up last season? Petrino has Arkansas on the right path.
Joe Marina from Orlando, Fla., writes: Hey Ed. I believe you went to school at FL with my sister Jenna Marina. My question is with the recruiting class Muschamp looks to have and also depending on the QB play, I see FL having a much better team than last year. There are still a lot of questions on offense with wide receiver, running back, and QB. But if they play up to their talent, I would say it’s reasonable for FL to win 8 games this year. Would you agree?
Edward Aschoff: Jenna is a great friend of mine. I owe some of my success to her (ask her about our sports reporting project). ... I think that Muschamp’s first “real” class at UF is a pretty good one. He hit the offensive line hard and got the big back that he’s wanted. He could also close with at least one big-play wide receiver. I think this offseason is all about developing a tougher attitude in Gainesville. Muschamp called his team soft at the end of the year and he was right. Florida got pushed around. Can’t do that in the SEC. I think Brent Pease will be very hands on with those young quarterbacks and that offensive line will be worked harder than it ever has. Florida has the talent to compete for the East title, but will it have the attitude? Will it make the necessary plays on offense to help the defense? That schedule is tough with games at Texas A&M and Tennessee to start the year and the season ends at Florida State. Eight wins are possible, but this team has to make a lot of changes on both sides of the ball and has to have a better work ethic.
Tony from Italy writes: With the Big 12 blog leaving Missouri out of many of it's recent conference related post (returning starters/recruiting blogs etc...) when will you start adding them into your blogs on a regular basis?
Edward Aschoff: First off, if you’re in Italy you should be enjoying yourself, not worrying about college football! Please have some gelato for me. As the spring gets closer, you’ll see more Missouri and Texas A&M content. Both schools officially join in July, but any blogs that have to do with the offseason or previewing the fall will have both included. Our recruiting scorecard didn’t have them because it was just a look at where the current SEC teams were. We’ll probably hit both when we look at signing day.
David Whitten from Gadsden, Ala., writes: It seems no one thinks Bama will be very good next season, why is that? They played a lot of players all year and they have experience coming back, maybe the "experts" need to sit back and look at what we were seeing all year then re-think their opinion about Bama.
Edward Aschoff: Not sure where you’re seeing all that. Alabama should be a top-five team to start next season and I honestly think the offense with AJ McCarron and that experienced line coming back with some young talent at wide receiver. I think there will be some hiccups on defense because of all the star power that is gone, but that’s natural. I’m not saying Alabama will be bad at all. I still the Tide will compete for the SEC West and beyond, but you can’t sit there and think that this team won’t have growing pains on defense. You can’t lose that much talent and not take some sort of step back. It happens.
Austin from Conway, Ark., writes: Sooooo, is DGB going to be a Razorback? I know this is the million-dollar question, and of course I'm REALLY hoping this is the case....but starting to get the feeling he might switch directions...thoughts??
Edward Aschoff: Ah, the nation’s top receiver: Dorial Green-Beckham. He’s a stud, for sure, and any team would love to have him. But where will he go? Most of the people that I talk with feel pretty confident that he’ll choose Arkansas, but Missouri is certainly NOT out of it. I think Arkansas is out in front and I think he might be able to catch a couple passes in that offense (sarcasm alert!). If I had to pick, I’d go with Arkansas, but I know that Missouri has done a very good job of recruiting him.