Good Thursday to everybody.
do u think the death of kenny mckinley will effect south carolina in a bad way saturday?
Everybody deals with grief differently, Kenny was so popular with everybody in and around the South Carolina program that I know the players and coaches there will go to Auburn this weekend with a heavy heart. So it's hard to say. I do believe it will be an inspired South Carolina team, and I expect the Gamecocks to play well.
Joe Adams is having a great season for the hogs this year. If he has a big game against Bama can he make his way into the heisman watch?
I think Adams is one of the best players in the SEC after the catch. He's terrific in space and making people miss. But it's just so hard for receivers to make a legitimate run in the Heisman race no matter how special they are.
I know you've already picked against Auburn but I think this game could be a toss up and either team can win, Do you think it could go either way?
Absolutely. Both teams are very close in talent and playing with a lot of confidence right now. Picking against Auburn in a home game at night is always dicey. I just think South Carolina's defense is a little better.
After watching LSU's first three games, do you think the Tigers will do better or worste than you had originally predicted?
I felt LSU was probably a 9-3 team at the beginning of the season and still feel like the Tigers will be somewhere in that ballpark. I just haven't seen enough out of their passing game yet to think they can win the West, although that defense just gets better and better.
Chris - In the offseason, you hinted towards a Hogs upset over Bama. Is your flip towards Bama just an instance of bandwagon jumping, or have you seen poorer perfromance in the Hogs than you expected? They have sure looked strong to me!
No, I still think the Hogs can win this game and also believe it will be one of Alabama's stiffest tests. I said back in August that it would be one of the games of the year in the SEC and still feel that way. But seeing how balanced Alabama is on offense and very little drop-off on defense to this point, I just can't bring myself to pick against the Tide until they lose. So it has more to do with Alabama than any doubts I have about Arkansas.
Hey Chris, how long does UGA put up with mediocrity from Mark Richt before something is done?
I'd say this game Saturday in Starkville will go a long way toward telling us how hot Richt's seat really is. I'm still not ready to bury the Bulldogs this season. If they can win Saturday, I could still see a nine- or 10-win season counting the bowl game. Let's see how Georgia finishes this season before we start talking about running Richt out of town. His teams have been very good a lot more than they have been mediocre, although the Bulldogs' 2-6 record in their last eight SEC games sure doesn't help the situation.
Why is everyone keying in on the matchup of Mallett vs. the Alabama secondary when a much more obvious mismatch is present in the matchup between the very balanced Alabama offense vs. the Arkansas defense? I just don't see Arkansas being able to have enough overall success on offense to overcome what they will lack on defense.
I disagree on one point. I think Arkansas will have some success throwing the football and be in the game this season in the second half unlike a year ago when the Hogs were stopped in their tracks offensively. What I don't see is Arkansas being able to run the ball well enough in this game to win it.
If Auburn played every quarter like they did in the third quarter against Clemson, how many game do you think they could win?
Most of them. They were lights out in the third quarter last week. But in this league, if you a first half like Auburn did against Clemson, you end up losing more than you win. The Tigers need to be more consistent offensively, and Gus Malzahn would tell you the same thing.
Is there any realistic way the Ole Miss Rebels can salvage this season and make it to a bowl and pull off at least one upset somewhere?
I just don't see it. The easy part of the schedule was supposed to be the first five games, and the Rebels have already lost twice. The chemistry just doesn't seem to be there with this team. I don't know if it has anything to do with plugging Jeremiah Masoli in at quarterback or not. Houston Nutt says Masoli has been a perfect teammate and I have no reason to doubt him. But something's missing right now with that team and the defense has not performed up to its talent level.
How will you show your love for the Razorbacks if they do manage to pull off an upset against Bama....Will we be hearing a Hog Call or Two????? Woo Pig Sooie
I don't know about calling the Hogs, but I will be having a picture taken in one of those Hog Heads to put on my blog to make good on my promise after missing on the Arkansas-Georgia pick last week.
Take out the sacks given up and Georgia averaged over 5 yards per rush against Arkansas with Ealely making a lot of East and West moves that he didn't need to make instead of just running down hill. Watch the football and the proof is there. Ingram and Richardson know how to run down field, I think.
Ingram and Richardson know how to run -- period. And that offensive line under Joe Pendry has consistently been one of the best in the country no matter who they lose or who they have to plug in.
Chris, do you think Kentucky has a shot this weekend? I know Florida has more skill, and being at home certainly doesn't hurt, but I have not been impressed at all by them so far this season. If their defense has an off day against someone, they will be in trouble. Can Cobb make it an off day for them Saturday?
Yes, I think Kentucky has a shot, in part, because Florida simply isn't as explosive as it has been offensively. John Brantley is still feeling his way into the quarterback position, and the Gators don't have the playmakers around him they've had in the past. But as you point out, the defense is stout. And as much respect as I have for Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke, I think the Gators will create a few turnovers on defense to break open a close game in the second half and win their 24th in a row over the Wildcats.
Great job on the blog, really enjoy reading your stuff. Still looking forward to the hog hat photo. Are we going to be getting that this weekend? My real question... Are you still sold on Auburn and LSU, or is Arkansas and Alabama basically playing for the SEC western division crown this weekend on the 4th week of the season?
No, I think the West race will go well into November this year. We find out a lot more about Auburn this weekend, and LSU doesn't have what you call an easy nonconference game. I think it helps Auburn that the Tigers get the Hogs on the Plains, and Auburn has to turn around and play LSU at home that next week. The key game for LSU is that game at Florida on Oct. 9. Of the three -- Auburn, Arkansas and LSU -- the Hogs have looked the strongest to this point, but they've also played just one legitimate team. Should be a great race.
Chris,Spurrier has done a great job making South Carolina competitive in the SEC. What are the remaining pieces of the puzzle needed to make South Carolina an elite team?
Continue to get better in the offensive line. That's the main thing. The Gamecocks have been excellent at keeping most of the top talent in the state at home the last two years. Getting the Clowney kid out of Rock Hill would be a huge get this year. But if they're going to be regular player in the East race, they need to keep bringing in great players on both lines of scrimmage. They're set at the skill positions.
Chris, I have read several times where you think Tennessee football is not likely to bounce back. What is your thinking behind this? Also, do you think Simms is a capable QB1 or should Dooley Let Bray take lumps with the rest of the Freshman? I think it will make them "gel" better for the future.
I never said the Vols wouldn't bounce back. I just think it's going to take a while. They didn't get here overnight, and they're not going to get back to a level where they're consistently playing in the SEC championship game again overnight. I'm not as down on Simms as some fans. Give him a chance to grow with this team. That said, I think you'll see Bray at some point this season, especially if the Vols continue to struggle on offense.
Chris,How is it possible that (according to McShay and Kiper of ESPN) Patrick Peterson is not the best CB in college football?
I think McShay and Kiper both have Peterson right up there near the top. I can tell you I haven't seen a better cornerback in college football, and at least one NFL general manager I spoke with recently thinks Peterson is one of the top handful of defensive prospects in college football. He's the same guy who told me that Rolando McClain as a sophomore was the best inside linebacker out there.
If GA wins Saturday, do people stop sipping the Mullen kool-aid? State's defense has looked fine this year. Mullen's offense, sick. 21 points in two SEC games. Seven interceptions, zero touchdowns. While he's come close to some signature wins, so far the only teams he's beaten in the league are Vandy, Kentucky and Ole Miss. Um.
No question, Mississippi State needs to break that ice and win a big one at home. Obviously, the win over Ole Miss to end the year last season was huge. But the Bulldogs can't afford to go 0-3 in the league, losing two of those at home, and still feel real good about their bowl chances. The passing game is the problem. They just don't look like a team that can beat a marquee opponent right now if they have to throw the ball.
LSU matches up with West Virgnia this Saturday night at 8pm, Do you think Death Valley at night is going to be the factor for the win for LSU?
Listen, Death Valley at night is ALWAYS a factor. Best atmosphere for a game in all of college football.
Enjoy the chat every week. Why do you tend to get through a lot fewer questions than the other conference chats? Last week, you only did 24 question when Heather did over 70.
Probably because my answers are too long and because Heather is a cut above!
Any chance that Vandy can hit the 6 win mark this season and head to another bowl? If so, which two SEC games could you see the Commodores winning (let's just assume for this analysis that Vandy beats UConn, EMU and Wake Forest - although as a Vandy fan, I know nothing is ever assumed).
I don't see six wins, but they will at least put themselves in position if they can win these next two over UConn and Eastern Michigan after the bye.
Who do you think will face Alabama in the SEC title game?
Alabama has to get there first. I want to go on record as saying that. I picked Florida at the beginning of the season and am still holding to that pick, although South Carolina's play to this point has me sweating it. The deciding factor might be that South Carolina has to play at Florida this season.
Chris, I can't seem to remember when and to whom Alabama lost their last game to? A lil help...
It's been a while, the 2009 Sugar Bowl to be exact against a hungry, dialed-in Utah team that took it to the Tide. It looks like Utah has an excellent team again this year.
Chris - Please respond to my question about Andre Debose for FL, it is really strange that he has yet to play significant amount of downs - perhaps you know something that us fans aren't aware of. Thank you.
No, I'm at a loss, too. Urban Meyer was asked about Debose this week and indicated that he just wasn't ready. Given how much this team needs an explosive threat at receiver, I think I'd have to at least give him a shot.
Looking at the rest of Kentucky's schedule (Saturday excluded), I don't see a game that I feel like the Cats will be completely overmatched and unable to win. The scheduling gods were kind to Kentucky this year. Having said that, I definitely don't think 11-1 is realistic, but how about 9-3 and a New Year's Day bowl? Too optimistic, too soon?
I can tell you in talking to Randall Cobb this week that he certainly expects a record at least that good.
What do you think will have to happen in order for the hogs to come away with it?
I think the first thing is to force some turnovers and create some short fields, especially early, and keep that crowd rocking. First down will also be huge for the Hogs. They have to make some yards on first down and can't be in a lot of third-and-longs. The other thing is being able to run the ball enough to protect its defense and not get into a situation where the defense is worn-down in the fourth quarter.
Looking past Arkansas, what is Bama's biggest test this season?
I would say at South Carolina on Oct. 9.
I heard a lot of hype about the freshman RB Ford of LSU. But he has not really played. Have you heard anything about him?
Same here. He was outstanding in the spring. Les Miles said again this week that he wants to get him in the game more. It always irks me when coaches say that. My thing is ... just do it.
Robbie Caldwell is a hometown hero here. How long do you think he stays at Vandy, and what type of success does he have there?
I couldn't be happier for Robbie. Just a quality person and a quality coach in an extremely tough job. If the Commodores can win four or five games overall and at least two games in the SEC, I think he has an excellent chance to be back.
is Auburn's problem on both sides of the ball a coaching problem or a player problem?
I'd rather let them lose a game first before I say there's any kind of problem.
Chris, do you feel like Cam Newton will be able to run on the SC Defense like he has on some of the other teams, especially after Shaq Wilson is finally back?
We're going to find out, but I think South Carolin's plan is going to be stopping him from running and making him beat them with the pass.
Celebrity Death Match between all the ESPN bloggers - who wins?
Heather is the No. 1 seed followed by Adam in the Big Ten. Both are ruthless competitors!
Chris, if the hogs win on Saturday, how realistic are their chances to break into the upper echelon of the SEC longer term?
Honestly, I think Bobby Petrino is well on his way to doing that already, but a win Saturday would certainly be a huge springboard and do wonders for recruiting.
Don't you think that you were a little hard on the Gators last week. They won by 2 touchdowns on the road against an SEC East rival. Granted this team is not as explosive as it has been in the past 3 years but some growing pains are understandable.
Not really. I've pointed out repeatedly how strong they are on offense. But didn't you think they would be better than this offensively? Other than Jeff Demps, they don't have anybody they can really lean on right now. They did a nice job in the offensive line of protecting Brantley, but this is not a championship-caliber offense. I do believe they will get better, though.
OK, by my count, that's 33 questions answered. Still nowhere close to that dynamo Heather Dinich. But we all have to learn to play within ourselves. Seriously, had a blast and we'll do it again next week. Look forward to seeing the Hog Nation out in full force this weekend in Fayetteville!