Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Edward Aschoff (1:04 PM)
Hello everyone! It's a cloudy day here in Atlanta, but nothing can get you through a soggy day like some SEC chatter. So let's get started!
Brian (New Orleans)
If LSU were to lose one game all season, which do you think it would be and why?
Edward Aschoff (1:07 PM)
I think the Tigers will have their hands full a couple of times this season. Obviously, going through the SEC no game is a given, but I think the toughest games for LSU are Oregon, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Alabama and Arkansas. I think the Tigers come out and get that early victory over the Ducks in Dallas, so the toughest one for me has to be that trip to Alabama on Nov. 5. Tuscaloosa will be rocking and this game could not only be for the SEC championship but for a chance at a national title as well.
Billy (Louisville, KY)
Kentucky usually wins a game they're not supposed to and loses one they're supposed to win. What would your two picks be for this year? I'd say win over Miss. St. and the loss goes to Vandy.
Edward Aschoff (1:09 PM)
Mississippi State will be tough, but it does come at home, so that should help. Plus, the Bulldogs will no doubt be favored and are that trendy dark horse pick in the West this year. I like it! But why not Tennessee? The Vols could be getting better as the season goes on, but so could Kentucky. The Wildcats are looking for playmakers to emerge and they could find a couple toward the end of the year, right in time for Tennessee to come to town ... As for the loss, Louisville isn't a gimmie this year, so I'll go with Central Michigan. I'm not saying Kentucky will lose this game, but it seems like the most likely game "they should win" that they could drop.
Brandon (Chattanooga TN)
Arkansas seems to have a better offense than most of the league and there defense looks to be in that upper echelon of the conference so why are teams like LSU and South Carolina getting most of the love I think Arkansas has proved itself against both of those teams. Where do you honestly see Arkansas going this year based on the overall balance of this team?
Edward Aschoff (1:12 PM)
I really like what Arkansas has this year. I think the Hogs aren't getting the love because of the defense. It will be much better this year, but everyone is waiting to actually see it before anointing them. Look, this team will score a bunch of points, but can the defense keep up? Bobby Petrino more than thinks so and that's a good thing. I think the athleticism at South Carolina and LSU are other reasons for those teams getting more love than the Razorbacks. Arkansas hasn't really recruited stars, they've developed them, so the star power is in the other teams. I think because of LSU strong defense, the Hogs will finish third in the West, but might only have two losses in the process ...
Mike A. (Texas)
Which SEC team are you most excited about watching this season and what conference game is circled on your calendar as a must watch?
Edward Aschoff (1:13 PM)
I'm most excited about seeing Alabama because I think they are the best team in the country, but two teams that interest me the most are Georgia and Florida. There is so much talent at bot schools, but there are also a lot of questions. There is a new coach in Gainesville and one with a pretty hot seat in Athens. Great story lines for both programs. The game of the year has to be Alabama-LSU. Can't wait!
Stephen (Kennesaw, GA)
Though not related to SEC football, I know you'll answer my question. Did you go to any of the Rockies/Braves games the other week when my beloved Braves swept your Rockies? If so, what did you think of Turner Field?
Edward Aschoff (1:14 PM)
Ouch man. Too soon. Yes I went and Turner is nice, but it's no Coors! Also checked them out at the Nationals new ball park. Niiicccce.
Patrick (Raleigh, N.C.)
I was optimistic towards this year, but with all the injuries and defections this summer I feel it's just the same old story as the past couple of years in Athens...what's goin on? Dawgs can't catch a break.
Edward Aschoff (1:17 PM)
It really is getting tough for Bulldogs fans isn't it? First you lose Trinton Sturdivant then your most experienced running backs leave and even more offensive linemen are gone. It's not a pretty site. However, there is a lot of young talent. Isaiah Crowell should be the guy in the backfield and the Georgia coaches will really have to develop those young offensive linemen fast. Aaron Murray is still throwing the ball and I like the speed and athleticism on defense. It's not going to be easy, but not playing Alabama, LSU or Arkansas is HUGE.
Brandon (Chattanooga TN)
I have heard alot of rumors about Texas A&M flirting with joining the SEC given how they have got handled by the Razorbacks and LSU in Jerry's world the last couple of years where do you honestly put the Aggies in the grand scheme of things in the SEC and which division would you put them in? WPS!!!
Edward Aschoff (1:19 PM)
I have lived in SEC country life and I understand tradition, but it wasn't too long ago that Arkansas and South Carolina joined, so why not bring the Aggies in?? I like the idea of expansion. I was praying Texas and Oklahoma came over to the SEC. It's a viewer's dream. Alabama-Texas! Florida-Oklahoma! Come on! Bring the Aggies, stick them in the West and then find a team for the East. North Carolina would have been a fine addition, but its recent troubles with the NCAA aren't so attractive at the moment.
Patrick (Raleigh, N.C.)
Give me a score and a winner in the UGA v Boise St. game...just for fun.
Edward Aschoff (1:20 PM)
27-24 ... Boise
Why is everyone counting florida out of every SEC championship debate. Does nobody expect the gators to be successful this season? I understand there are questions arising with a new coaching staff, but people are forgetting that the 2009/2010 recruiting classes (top recruiting classes) are now sophmores/juniors...hence they will see plenty of playing time this coming season. Can we get some support from anyone in the press? I love being an underdog, but atleast underdogs get mentioned!
Edward Aschoff (1:23 PM)
Florida had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country last year and it turned out to be nothing but a group of major headaches for the coaching staff. Those recruiting classes you mention have a lot to prove still. This team has a lot of talent, there is no denying that. And Will Muschamp should be fine. He'll recruit with the best and he'll have some pretty nice defenses in Gainesville. But what is the state of the offense? The spring game was awful to watch and we need to know if John Brantley has the confidence to lead this squad. Georgia has issues and who knows how the Gamecocks will respond to all of the hype, so Florida has a chance. The schedule is tough and it's always hard during a coaching transition.
Why isn't Mississippi State getting some love? Last year was a huge breakout year and I feel like they are still getting overlooked as a team that could shock a few "powerhouses" (LSU I'm talking to you)
Edward Aschoff (1:25 PM)
The Bulldogs have been getting a lot of love. Many have them pegged as that sexy dark horse team in the West. The question is if this team has the stamina to keep up with LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. There are glaring holes at linebacker, but the offense should be pretty fun to watch. Also, it will be hard to throw on this team with the defensive backfield it returns. If the Bulldogs pull off an early upset (South Carolina at home) the respect will build even more.
UGA v USC, who's got this game and why? I am a dawg fan and everything seems to be adding up (except depth on O-line) SC has what about what they had last year. Is Lattimore going to be able to run through Big John Jenkins (everything I have read said BJJ was in great shape and the fastest and biggest d-lineman we have)
Edward Aschoff (1:28 PM)
Right now, I'd have to go with South Carolina. That weak line and running back depth isn't going to help the Dawgs. I think Crowell is a star in the making, but I'm not sure if he'll have that immediate impact that Lattimore had. He'll need a few weeks. South Carolina should have all its pieces in place (depending on how DeVonte Holloman's situation ends up).
Marcus (The Hill)
Eddy,How will Bobby Patrino discipline Anthony Oden? Will there still be a place on the team for him? How will this effect the Hogs?WPS
Edward Aschoff (1:31 PM)
It's too early to tell. DWI is serious and we've seen coaches really cracking down on such foolish behavior. This is also the second time he's been arrested on DWI charges, so things could get pretty bad for him if the charges aren't dropped.
If South Carolina didn't blow easy games after big wins, would Georgia still be so hyped up for the East this year?
Edward Aschoff (1:32 PM)
I think it's more about Georgia's talent rather than South Carolina's shortcomings last season. The Bulldogs have the talent to really compete in the East, but depth is an issue in certain spots.
joe mathis (vero beach)
howard comes back at full strength will floyd start next to him or will we see easly and floyd
Edward Aschoff (1:34 PM)
You're forgetting about Omar Hunter. People aren't really talking about him much because he has yet to really live up to those lofty expectations he arrived with. But he'll be in the mix. I think Floyd will be very hard to keep off the field and Easley made tremendous strides this spring. I think you will see a lot of rotation on the line this year in Gainesville, which you saw with Dan McCarney. That line should be dangerous this fall.
JJ (Destin, FL)
By now you have seen the lineup for SEC Media Days. How about a Top 3 players and coaches you most want to see in Birmingham?
Edward Aschoff (1:37 PM)
I love talking with Steve Spurrier. He always has something witty to say and I'm curious on what he now thinks about compensating athletes. Les Miles is always a trip, even if you can't understand some of his statements half the time. And Houston Nutt always has something good to say. He's not so guarded as some of the other coaches.As for players, Kentrell Lockett is always great and he has such a good story to tell. Russell Shepard thinks he'll be one of the best receivers in the country, so I want to know why. And Aaron Murray has a ton of the hype. I want to see how he handles it this season.
No UGA question; But Why aren't the Tennessee vols not getting any respect from the SEC coaches? Are we really that bad?
Edward Aschoff (1:39 PM)
Young and inexperienced in key places. The linebackers and defensive line need some improvement this year. The offense will score points, but I worry about the defense. Derek Dooley has the right mindset, but he has to develop these players. Give your Vols a year.
Ben (Charleston, S.C.)
Which SEC team do you think is poised to surprise everyone this season and why?
Edward Aschoff (1:42 PM)
Ole Miss. And I don't say that because of my Oxford background, trust me. I think this team has been overlooked by everyone. We barely had any Rebels on our player rankings and they were pretty low on the team rankings. But Houston Nutt is pretty optimistic about this year's squad and Ole Miss tends to do well when the team isn't respected. The defense was surprisingly bad last year and the secondary got a lot of the blame, but there are new bodies back there and new focus. It will be better than last year. the running game is solid with Brandon Bolden and the offensive line should help the new quarterback out. Figuring out things on defense and finding a playmaker at receiver are key for the Rebels to get back to a bowl game.
Kyle (Tampa, FL)
What do you make of the recent comments by NCAA investigators directed towards Auburn and Chizik? It seems like Chizik just wanted some kind of finality on the recruiting trail.
Edward Aschoff (1:45 PM)
I think he should have done it in a more private setting. the situation at Auburn has caused a lot of drama in college football and the college football doesn't exactly have a good image right now across the board. I think he's upset with how everything went down, but you don't want to anger the NCAA. The investigation is still going on and if the NCAA finds that Auburn was in the wrong, things won't be pretty at all on the Plains. There is always going to be negative recruiting and Chizik knows how to handle that. He probably should have chosen his words better or he should have waited to speak in a different setting.
Billy (Louisville, KY)
Could you see Mike Leach getting picked up by an SEC team after this years season? If Mullen has a great season, he could be gone. Mark Richt might be gone at the end of the season. Spurrier has got to be retiring soon. If not a HC, what about an assistant?
Edward Aschoff (1:47 PM)
Why not? He's nutty just like the SEC. He'd fit in nicely. Pirates aren't really accustomed to this part of the country, but he should be fine. His past aside, Leach would bring a great offense to the SEC that any team would love to use. If there is a job open at the end of the year, I'd want to see Leach contacted. There will be some good young quarterbacks in this league soon and Leach could really make him look good. There was talk about Florida being interested in Leach as an assistant, so I could see that as well. He's a great offensive mind.
Gator Mike (Nashville, TN)
Ed with your Florida ties how do you see the offense shaping up in Titletown?? Plenty of weapons for Weis' disposal.
Edward Aschoff (1:49 PM)
A lot of unproven weapons. Weis knows what to do with quarterbacks and offenses, but he's got his work cut out for him in Gainesville. Getting Brantley confident is the first step. Having that young offensive line protect him is second. And he has to find playmakers at wide receiver. Keep an eye on Frankie Hammond Jr. and Omarius Hines. They could really break out.
CFB guru (Decatur, AL)
I know Auburn's schedule is brutal and they only return 3 starters, but do you think people are taking the National Champs too lightly entering the season?
Edward Aschoff (1:51 PM)
This is a rebuilding year for Auburn. And there's nothing wrong with that. More than 30 players from last year's team are gone, so it's natural that people aren't really paying attention to the Tigers. Gene Chizik has done a very good job recruiting since he arrived and this team should be fine in a year or two. Heck, the Tigers could be right back near the top next year if the talent pans out.
Rob (Florence, SC)
Who do see as having the best defense in the SEC this season?
Edward Aschoff (1:51 PM)
Alabama or LSU. Alabama has a lot of star power out there, but LSU is loaded with talent and athleticism. These two seriously could have a 6-3 game in November.
Sam Hillyer (Memphis, Tennessee)
Hey Ed, is there any hope for the Ole Miss defense this year? Possibly going 6-6/ 7-5 and going bowling? What do you think?
Edward Aschoff (1:53 PM)
Six wins certainly isn't out of the question. The defense has a lot to work on, but that young talent could come around toward the latter part of the season. The Rebels might win a game they aren't supposed to. I'm looking at you Arkansas and LSU.
BaristaGator (Any Given Swamp)
EDash....Ironic that Auburn didn't pick up an ESPY last night? If something does "go down" on the plains and they eventually have to forfeit the crystal ball and lil bronze statue, maybe ESPN did them a favor last night?
Edward Aschoff (1:56 PM)
The fans didn't vote for Auburn or Cam Newton. He and Auburn are innocent until proven guilty, but people are upset with what went down with Cam's father last year. But what if Cam honestly didn't know about it? If this investigation ends with an innocent program and player was it fair to deny Newton after the season he had? He set records and without him Auburn doesn't make it to the SEC title or the national championship.
How worried should LSU be about the Lyles situation ?
Edward Aschoff (1:59 PM)
For now, I'm not sure. It seems like LSU associated with him at some point. Patrick Peterson's name came up, but both he and his father denied knowing Lyles. There is so much going on with this guy that's hard to know what will really come about with any of the schools. Oregon looks like it's in the most trouble, while Cal could also be in some hot water. LSU has yet to have much linked to it, for now.
CFB guru (Decatur, AL)
Do you see the SEC East making up any ground on the West this year? Heading into the season, the best SEC East team (USCe) would probably be the 6th best team in the West.
Edward Aschoff (2:00 PM)
I wouldn't got as far to say South Carolina would be sixth in the West, but I do agree that the West is far and away better than the East this year. Things could settle next year and even out, but for now, the West should prevail this season.
If Ark had Bama and LSU at home this year, would they then be the favorite in the West?
Edward Aschoff (2:04 PM)
Interesting question. Maybe not against Alabama, but probably LSU. But who knows where each team will be at those points in the season. Arkansas has a good team. No one is denying that, but Alabama has a little more talent all around and LSU might have the most athletic team in the country. If Arkansas' defense is as good as people there think it will be watch out because it will be hard for any team to stop this offense. I still want to see how Tyler Wilson does when he realizes this is his team and he will be playing every snap. He has the weapons, but can he keep his composure? Arkansas will be in the thick of the race until the end, but for now a lot of people are focused on LSU and Alabama. That should be a good thing for the Hogs. Less pressure and a bigger chip on that shoulder.
Mike A from Texas's question was a softball. Hey Ed, what is your favorite band?
Edward Aschoff (2:06 PM)
Jurassic 5/The Temptations brother. Thanks for all the questions today. We're almost done with the offseason. Preseason practices are just around the corner and the season is getting closer and closer. Talk to you all next week!