Chat with Ed Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Edward Aschoff will stop by to talk some college football.
Aschoff joined ESPN.com in 2011 after spending four years covering the University of Florida for The Gainesville Sun. He grew up in Oxford, Miss., before attending UF, graduating with a B.S. in journalism.
Send your questions now and join Aschoff Monday at noon ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:01 PM)
Greetings, everyone. I hope all is well. I'm dealing with the infamous "man cold" at the moment, but that wouldn't dare stop me from chatting it up with you lovely people. The first batch of BCS standings are out and there weren't many surprises with the SEC squads. Pretty much domination as usual. Let's get on to the questions, shall we?
Caleb Cummings (Florence, AL)
Hey Ed! I was at the TN game Saturday. I know it is hard to find positives when you are not winning games, but do you feel like Tennessee is improving in any areas. I felt like they did a lot of positive things Saturday specifically in the first half. Do you think they can salvage the rest of the season?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I think defensively, this team is playing better than a lot of us expected. It isn't great, but it did a good job of frustrating LSU throughout the game. The Tigers weren't as efficient as they have normally been against teams. It's always going to be tough when you lose your top two offensive weapons, but you can tell this team hasn't and isn't going to roll over. The second half will be really tough, with games against Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina remaining. And, hey, Vandy is no gimmie, folks.
Elliott (Atlanta, GA)
What sort of punishment(s) will be handed out by the SEC as a result of the clash at the end of the Vanderbilt vs. Georgia game on Saturday?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I don't expect any. No punches were thrown. It certainly got heated and some not-so-nice words were exchanged, but it's not like it was a violent incident. How about the fire in the Commodores??
Elliott (Atlanta, GA)
South Carolina has three remaining SEC Games - at Tennessee, at Arkansas, and vs. Florida. Which of these three games will be the biggest challenge for the Gamecocks?
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
Arkansas, without a doubt. This team can really throw the ball and while the defense hasn't been spectacular, it might not have to do a whole lot with the absence of Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks will have to find different ways to move the ball in order to get by the Hogs.
Brandon (Dawsonville GA)
Hey Edward do you know why Crowell didn't play in the 4th quarter is he hurt or is it somthing eles? He didn't play in the 1st either. Go Dawgs
Edward Aschoff (12:09 PM)
Mark Richt wasn't too detailed with why he was held out, saying it was a "coach's decision." He does have a wrist and forearm injury, but it doesn't sound like it's too serious.
How do you rate the job that Bobby Petrino has done in Fayetteville?
Edward Aschoff (12:10 PM)
I think he's done a very good job so far. He has Arkansas in position to play for another BCS game in two years. I think if he can take advantage of recruiting more in the state of Texas now that Texas A&M is joining, he'll bring in even better players. But considering he hasn't had the most highly rated recruiting classes, which really don't mean that much these days anyway, I think Petrino has done very well since his arrival.
cody (alexandria, la)
I know that les loves jefferson and all, and with him getting more and more touches every week do u see miles trying his best to give jefferson the gig again? I think he's going to replace lee by the Alabama game which is a shame IMO. Lee has been mr. Steady and jefferson hasn't looked very good when passing.
Edward Aschoff (12:12 PM)
Jarrett Lee hasn't done anything to lose his job and Jordan Jefferson hasn't done anything to earn his job back. Les Miles is too smart to allow any sort of friction among his players. This team understands that it will use two quarterbacks going forward and while it seems unconventional at times, it's working. Winning is all that matters at this point and I don't see a reason for Miles to mess up with the Tigers have going for themselves at this point.
Not saying SC isn't going to miss Lattimore (we are), but with our O-line banged up the last few weeks he wasn't rushing for much anyway. Is it wrong for me to still have hope for this season? I think we will use Ellington out of the wildcat more for our rushing plays and lean hard on our defense which has played amazing the last few weeks.
Edward Aschoff (12:15 PM)
With the East being as weak as it is this year, there is certainly hope. Obviously, South Carolina takes a major, major hit with the loss of Lattimore, but there are still enough athletes on that team to make an impact and pick up the slack. Now, we have yet to see anyone outside of Alshon Jeffery do much of anything in South Carolina's offense this season, so that has to be worrisome, but now is the time that players step up for championship teams. If South Carolina is going to make it back to Atlanta, receivers other than Jeffery have to do something. Finding a viable option at running back is going to be tough ...
Even with Lattimore out I still see South Carolina winning against Tennessee and Flordia and more than likly losing to Arkansas, but the South Carolina defense is playing as good of defense as any other team in the country so maybe they could slow Arkie up like Bama did but that will be tough to do. I think that will still get South Carolina to ATL, because I don't see UGA beating both Flordia and Auburn, they were lucky to get out of Nashville with a win. Your thoughts on this?
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
I can still see South Carolina beating Florida and Tennessee. The Arkansas game is going to be tough. But I think South Carolina is going to have to root against Georgia here in the next few weeks. If John Brantley is back for Florida, I think the Gators' offense improves. And you can't count Auburn out at all this year.
Nick (Baton Rouge)
Assuming LSU beats Bama in the game of century on Nov 5, what would happen if Arkansas won out and beat LSU the last week of the season, leaving a 3 way tie at the top of the SEC West?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
It goes to BCS rankings. In that case, Arkansas would probably be on top and would represent the West.
Kyle (Troy, AL)
Nov. 5...clash of the Titans. Home field advantage for the Tide, but take that out of the equation, who is playing better right now and has a better chance to win?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
Right now, I'd have to go with Alabama. I didn't see many errors from this team against Ole Miss over the weekend. Trent Richardson looks like the best player in the country right now and only LSU's defense even comes close to comparing to Alabama's (sorry Michigan State).
Yes I know Marcus was lost for the year. I know UGas schedule is easier, but they always find a way to lose to UF. This team will rally and the Gamecocks will be in ATL for the SEC Championship game. Am I crazy?
Edward Aschoff (12:22 PM)
Not crazy at all. History says Georgia loses to Florida and if that happens, the Gamecocks should be fin because I still think they can beat Florida at home at the end of conference play.
Do you think Spurrier will use these two weeks of preparation of Tennessee to add some new wrinkles to the gamecock offense. It's obvious that the offense will have to change with Lattimore out. Any chance we see some option runs with Bruce Ellington and Brandon Wilds in the backfield. You gotta think Spurrier will throw a lot of new stuff in the playbook to open this offense up some.
Edward Aschoff (12:23 PM)
I do. I think the wildcat becomes more of an option and I think the passing game opens up more so that Connor Shaw can make more plays. None of the running backs South Carolina has are even close to being on par with Lattimore, so I don't see the running game being a strength anymore. There will be more pressure on Shaw now, but Spurrier knows how to open his playbook up and he's found ways to win without a strong running game before.
Do you think Chizik deserves more respect after this Auburn team was ridiculed by many preseason and many people predicted 5 or 6 wins for Auburn? People do not even put Chizik in the top 4 SEC Coaches when he has a National Championship and has one of the youngest teams in America and we could win 8-9 games including the bowl game. It just shows how he keeps this team focused and ready to play.
Edward Aschoff (12:26 PM)
Chizik has done a heckuva job so far. Considering the youth on this team and the mistakes that have been made on both sides of the ball, you gotta give him credit for the job he's done. This team is focused and has that don't-quit attitude. The Tigers still have three tough games remaining with LSU and Georgia on the road and Alabama at home, but this team could win eight games when all is said and done.
Ed, it's getting pretty dire in Starkville right now. Cheer me up, man!
Edward Aschoff (12:27 PM)
That secondary is really talented! And Fletcher Cox is really playing like one of the top defensive tackles in the league! The offense is ... well the running game can ... all that depth at wide receiver has really ...
cody (alexandria, la)
hey kid. i was wondering if you also had the sneaking suspicion that les is trying very hard to give jefferson the starting gig back. he's been getting more and more touches as the games go on. i think he'll get the start by the alabama game which is a shame because lee has been mr. steady which is a vast improvement from both qb's the last few years.
Edward Aschoff (12:28 PM)
I've already answered this question, but because you used Chris' new nickname for me, I'll address you. Jarrett Lee is the starter until something unforeseen happens. I don't see The Hat messing up LSU's mojo.
Drew (My Desk, SC)
Everyone knows Lattimore was a large producer of our offense, with him gone it seems the Gamecocks will prob tend pass even more than we have been trying to do in the last two games. Is it un-realistic to try and rely on the defense to help get turnovers, get touchdowns, and basically try and win the game even more than they already do?
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
South Carolina's defense can do that. With Melvin Ingram and Antonio Allen touchdowns can be made by the defense.
John (Birmingham, Al)
Who has Alabama beat & why are journalists so high on them and dissing East teams like SC
Edward Aschoff (12:32 PM)
Oh, boy. Listen, Alabama has literally run over every team it has faced this year and South Carolina sputtered around on offense until two weeks ago and now is without its best player. As for the other East teams, Georgia lost its first two games to the best teams it will play during the regular season and barely left Vanderbilt with a win. Florida has offensive issues across the board and Tennessee is still young and looking for some sort of offensive spark after injuries. The West is extremely better than the East and Alabama and LSU are far and away the best teams in the country. South Carolina lost at home to Auburn and went down to the wire with Navy. Come on man. Give respect where it's due.
how likely do you think Auburn will finish with 9 wins this year? What statement would that make for such a young and talented team going into next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:34 PM)
Ummm, it would say watch out SEC! If Auburn has five wins with a team that is barely out of high school, it could be deadly next year. There are execution issues that have to get cleared up, of course, and the offense needs to find a quarterback, but nine wins isn't out of the question. I could see the Tigers beating Georgia and then winning its bowl to give them nine wins.
Depressed Gamecock Fan (Charlotte, NC)
Ed, last week was brutal. In fact, it's really a microcosm of what's it's like to be a Gamecock fan in general. Please tell me something positive other than Carolina controls its own destiny.
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
In South Carolina's defense you should trust. After the first couple of weeks, I wasn't saying that.
Why are you such a HOG hater? Every article you right about the Razorbacks, it seems like you want them to do bad and you always have some type of smart remark or comment. For example, that comment when you said if the HOGS beat out Bama and LSU for the SEC champ, nobody would never hear the end of it from the HOG fans. Sounds like you are a HATER!!!!!
Edward Aschoff (12:40 PM)
Nah. Not a hater at all. In fact, I love watching the passing game. Good stuff. And my remark was all in fun. Don't take yourself so seriously, my friend. And I think my comments toward Arkansas have been fair. The defense hasn't been as good as we thought, and injuries have been a major reason, but we expected more from this unit coming into the season and so did coach Petrino. Also, the running game is struggling. Outside of a few big plays by wide receiver Joe Adams, the Hogs have no real running threat. That's a problem in this league. For all the talk about depth at the position, the Hogs have really, really missed Knile Davis. You can't argue that. With him, this team is much better. Right now, this team could still make it to a BCS game by beating LSU. The passing game is tremendously strong, but like every team, the Hogs have some issues. Even you have to see them.
Tom tom (Brewton)
Auburn is now 2-1 in October, before the season "experts were saying they could only win 1 game, do you think people underestimated Auburn and their coaching staff?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
Yep, we did. We thought the players were too young. We learned that age ain't nothin' but a number!
Tarlie Chrippi (Macon, GA)
Is UGA your favorite to take the East even though they don't control their own destiny at this point?
Edward Aschoff (12:42 PM)
The Bulldogs are for me. I think it's going to be tough for the Gamecocks to win at Arkansas and Georgia clearly has the easiest road ahead. The Bulldogs' chances of winning out are higher than South Carolina's.
If Bama goes out and beats Tennessee by 30-40 points, do we honestly think LSU will come in to Tuscaloosa and keep it within 2 scores?
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
You aren't really comparing Tennessee's defense with LSU's are you? And what if LSU beats Auburn by 30-40 points? Alabama should win big and that doesn't mean it will or should be LSU by two scores
Clay (Fayetteville, AR)
With Arkansas' resurgence since the blowout in T-Town, is their game in Baton Rouge the day after Thangsgiving, shaping up to be a BCS play in?
Edward Aschoff (12:46 PM)
If Arkansas beats South Carolina on Nov. 5, I don't see why the Hogs can't win out before the LSU game. That means that the winner would get a BCS spot. The Hogs aren't out of the BCS picture at all.
Trent Richardson (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Ed, I had to leave Oxford in a hurry Saturday Night, was the ESPN crew able to pick up my man's ankles on there way out the stadium?How did I look on Sportscenter? Is it a Heisman worthy moment?
Edward Aschoff (12:47 PM)
I just want you to know that, stumbled and fell when I saw that run. And no ... his ankles were never recovered. I don't think he was even allowed to leave the stadium that night. The coaches made him sleep in the utility closet. I don't think he had much of an argument against it either.
Ed, I really don't see any chance of two SEC teams in the National Title picture. That being said, if it did happen how do you think that would shake up things? I could see every other conference in the nation having issue with that.
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
First off, I'm jealous that you live in Denver. Easily my favorite city. I don't see it either. The loser of the Alabama-LSU game would have to barely lose and then win out in grand style. The winner would have to win out as well, obviously. Then other teams would have to fall like, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Boise, Stanford, Clemson. It would be very, very hard. But if it did happen, who cares what the other conferences say? If it gets to the point where it could really happen then those two teams would prove to be the best teams in the country and it would be more unfair not to let them play then to have the actual game.
Tom tom (Brewton)
Do you see Auburn going with Moseley the rest of the way?
Edward Aschoff (12:51 PM)
I think the Tigers should. Moseley came in cold during the second half and played well. Considering he didn't have to throw the ball a ton, he was pretty composed. I'd go with him against LSU.
EA, Why do most analysts believe that LSU's defensive line have the edge over Alabama's? Bama's front 4 is considerably bigger (3-300lbers, 1-270lbers) and more capable of stopping LSU's power running game. While LSU is smaller (2-300lbers, 2-250lbsers) and may not stand up to the Bama offensive line.
Edward Aschoff (12:53 PM)
I can only speak for myself, but I think LSU's more more athletic and faster. Alabama's is good, but I'd go with LSU's right now. But you make a good point when you bring up Alabama's offensive line. That could hurt the Tigers in a few weeks.
Clay (Birmingham, AL)
Can Auburn sneak up on LSU saturday? I know LSU's fans are already looking ahead to 11/5/11, how about the players?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
It's hard to ever really count Auburn out at this point, but I think the players are more focused than fans. This team wants to win championships. It's looking to play in the big game and I don't think it will get caught looking ahead.
Al (athens, GA)
Regret your pre-seaosn predictions about UGA now?
Edward Aschoff (12:56 PM)
I picked Georgia to finish second in the East. That is still possible, considering South Carolina controls its own destiny. Oh, and we are just in Week 8. Plenty of time.
Tom tom (Brewton)
If Arkansas wins out, what are the chances it gets in a BCS bowl? Would a BCS bowl pick a one loss Arkansas team over one loss LSU team or Alabama team?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
If Arkansas wins out, I find it incredibly hard to believe the Hogs won't play in a BCS game.
Bamagrizzly (Queens, New York)
I've been watching Alabama football since I could breathe. This is the best team I've ever seen, and that includes what was till then the best team I'd ever seen, the '09 NC deserving and winning team. The defense is sick, but by now, that's a given with Saban. But the offense? Trent is better than Mark, and even when he was winning the Heisman, he knew that Trent would surpass him, would be him, if he wasn't first. And AJ M is coming along much faster, and they have an incredibly diverse arsenal of offensive weapons (Marquis Maze, anyone? Darius Hanks? It goes on.) So, if they win out this year, which I think they will, will you then agree with me that this is the best Bama team of all time?
Edward Aschoff (12:59 PM)
It's still early, but I think this one has a chance to compete for that title. McCarron is a much better player than McElroy and I agree that Trent Richardson is a better player than Mark Ingram. The defense is just downright scary as well. If this team runs the table, continues to play like it is now and wins it all I think you could make the argument.
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
OK, guys. That's my time. Great chat as usual. Talk to you next week.