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September 12, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ching

David Ching
  (1:00 PM)

What's up everybody? You guys ready for this weekend's games? I know I am. With Georgia off this week, I actually get to watch from the couch like a fan and see more than just one game...So let's get started.

Michael (Ozark, Alabama)

What do you think is Nick Marshall's upside? I love the fact that he threw no interceptions on Saturday. I think that he will only improve as the season goes on. Thanks for the great job you and Ed do covering the SEC!

David Ching
  (1:02 PM)

No interceptions is obviously a good thing. I didn't get to see much of the Ark State game, but I watched the opener. If Auburn's offense is going to do anything with him at QB against good teams, Marshall has to get MUCH more accurate than what I saw against Wazzu. But it was his first game. This weekend should give us a much clearer picture of where he stands.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who are the New Schools in the SEC in 2013?

David Ching
  (1:02 PM)

No new schools this year Chris. They added Texas A&M and Missouri last year.

Mark Lewis (Wilmington, NC)

I have really liked the South Carolina Gamecocks, mainly due to their coach, Steve Spurrier. Clemson jumped them in the AP Poll this week at # 4 after beating Georgia at Clemson by 3. Assuming the Gamecocks dispatch Georgia AT GEORGIA by at least 3 this Saturday, where do you think they will rank in next week's AP Poll? They did beat Clemson AT CLEMSON 9 months ago by 10 points and they also beat Alabama the last time those two teams played each other. I think the Gamecocks would have beaten Alabama last year if they had made it to the SEC Championship.

David Ching
  (1:03 PM)

Might want to look at last Saturday's SEC scoreboard Mark.

Beau (Alexandria, LA)

Chris in your opinion does LSU have what it takes to win the SEC this year? Thank you!

David Ching
  (1:04 PM)

I'm not the SEC expert that Chris is. But in my opinion, absolutely. Gotta tighten up that young defense, but that's an excellent team. Really looking forward to their visit to Georgia in two weeks. Should be a great game.

Kyle (CA)

David, no question just a prediction. Tennessee 42 Oregon 21

David Ching
  (1:05 PM)

Just watched UT-Western Ky last night Kyle. Don't place that bet. I'm begging you. lol

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What College Football Team do you think has the Best Defense in 2013?

David Ching
  (1:06 PM)

Not sure about that one yet. Alabama's still going to be really good there. We'll go with that one for now.

James (Atlanta)

What are your overall impressions of the defense? We knew the young secondary was going to struggle against Shaw and Boyd, and I know the pass rush was designed more to contain them rather than produce sacks, but the run D worries me. Do you see any changes coming up on the defensive line or at linebacker to help stop the run?

David Ching
  (1:09 PM)

They look about like I expected them to look, honestly. People who thought this defense was going to be superior to the one from last year were kidding themselves. Sure, they might post better numbers by the end of the season, once the young guys get things figured out, but to think they'd be great right out of the gate was simply too much to ask. The talent level of that group is really good though. Just got to be patient with them.

DeWayne (Alabama)

I have watched ESPN for the last 2 hours, not a single word about Alabama's DJ Fluker allegations. However, when the allegation was on Cam Newton, every 30 minutes there was plenty of discussions about Cam and Auburn. OSU investigated, first 3 days of the scandal, I could turn to ESPN to see what the hype was about. Johnny Football covered daily numerous times about signing autographs and pay of same. Why is ESPN not covering the Alabama/DJ Fluker allegation like the others? Is ESPN trying to protect those accused in the allegation? Or just the fact that ESPN did not break the story, so you will not cover it? Either or, it seems that ESPN does not cover similar stories equally.

David Ching
  (1:10 PM)

It's easier to cover a story like that when your writer did the original reporting. Certainly there's no protecting going on. Just give it time.

Trey (Hoover, AL)

Explain the impact the situation with D.J. Fluker accepting money from agents will have on the past victories/championships for Alabama. Assuming this is proved by the NCAA, will the championships be taken away, similar to the Reggie Bush situation, or will it have to be proven that the university/coaching staff had knowledge of the payments before any real penalties will take place?

David Ching
  (1:12 PM)

Way too early to make a prediction there, but if you play an ineligible player, you can be forced to forfeit games. Those things are often REALLY difficult to prove, so we'll have to see where it all goes.

Spencer (New York)

I'll be the one to ask the most cliche easy question on everybody's minds...Alabama vs A&M, who ya got?

ray gordon reid ( new orleans la 70112)

QUESTION TO david CHING at 1.20 pm aggies or tide

David Ching
  (1:13 PM)

I'll just answer Spencer and Ray together. Bama. They've got a proven track record in my mind. That said, I picked Bama last year, too, and that didn't work out so well.

JJ (Charlotte)

Will Bobby Petrino be at USC or Texas next year? Or could he even potentially land in the SEC at Mizzou?

David Ching
  (1:15 PM)

That's a fun question. Imagine Bobby Petrino working with the skill talent you could land at USC. And I doubt those liberal-minded out west would have a huge issue with his marital indiscretions if he can win football games. haha. Maybe he needs to do a little something with Western Kentucky before another big school gives him a chance, though. They played terribly against Tennessee last Saturday.

Ben (Charlotte)

Devin Gardner will be in the Heisman discussion by week ___ ?

David Ching
  (1:16 PM)

He's probably somewhere in that discussion now. Michigan has to stay in the BCS title picture for him to be a legit candidate, though, because some other QBs out there are going to put up ridiculous numbers.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

What was the biggest difference between the Aaron Murray we saw last Saturday, and the one we've seen previously in big games? Do you think he can duplicate it next week versus LSU? And does he have to win the SEC to get that "choker" label, that some have placed on him, removed from his resume.

David Ching
  (1:18 PM)

He hasn't played poorly against a ranked team since the first half against Florida last year. That's four games in a row where he has either been better than average or great against some good teams. People who want to label him as a choker already have that in their minds, no matter how much the evidence proves to the contrary. That's my opinion on that.

JJ (Charlotte)

In trying to build hype, everyone talks about how Johnny football beat Alabama last year, but no one is talking about how the aTm defense played so well. I think the lack of defense they have this year will be why Alabama wins big. Thoughts?

David Ching
  (1:20 PM)

I'm not enough of an expert on A&M's roster to know exactly how much the returning defensive players will impact their performance. I agree, the D played a big part in that win last year. I watched a good portion of A

max (athens)

Why is everyone so high on the likes of scrub qb's like winston who did well vs PITT (who is just terrible) when murray and gurley both have had fairly good games in their first 2 against 2 TOP 10 teams in the country? Murray obviously played an average to slightly above average game vs clemson... but he shredded that USCe ddefense. TG2 has been sensational. nuff said. TG2 should be number 2 right now in heisman voting and murray should be 5

David Ching
  (1:22 PM)

You won't see me downgrade Winston at all. To play like that in his first college game was remarkable. I wrote a story about Gurley and the Heisman race earlier this week. Murray said in it that he thinks Todd is the best player in the country and it's not even close. I'd include him on my ballot if we were voting today, but obviously that's premature. Long way to go yet.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

DAVID, we've heard it the past five years. Are you buying or selling that 2013-14 is the year LSU finally gets improved play from the QB position?

David Ching
  (1:24 PM)

Absolutely. Mett set a school record with five TD passes last week. I wrote a good bit about LSU this week since it's Georgia's open week. I'm very impressed with that team, including with ZM. He only had 12 TDs last year. Already has six and he has some great weapons at receiver. I still think they're going to lean heavily on the run against the better teams, but he's got the arm and the weapons to make that offense much more interesting -- and I think he will.

Damian (Texas)

David your awesome dude! Your the man! Enough said.

David Ching
  (1:24 PM)

Thanks Damian. I agree. haha.

Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)

Did SC fans come into this season with too high expectations? They lost so much on defense and that lack of experience and leadership really showed up last Saturday. Do the Gamecocks need to re-adjust their goals for the season? Do you think the fact that they haven't been able to recruit on the same level as the other SEC big boys will come back to haunt them in the next few years?

David Ching
  (1:26 PM)

What were the expectations? I thought they'd come in second in the East coming into the season. Still think they will. They're a really good team. Playing one of the best offenses in the nation on the road is a tall order, as UGA learned the week before. Defense will get better as the season progresses.

Shaun (TN)

Not enough information out there yet to jump to conclusions about the allegations, but lets say the paper trail backs up the accusations. What are the implications for each team?

David Ching
  (1:27 PM)

Let's see what kind of evidence there is first. It's probably different for each of them, implications wise.

Luke (Atlanta)

Do you have Auburn winning this week? What will their final record be?

David Ching
  (1:29 PM)

I do. Just took a quick glance at the schedule. I've got them at 6-6. Could be a little better, maybe a little worse. Winning this one on Saturday would be huge.

Rick (Alabama)

Which one of Auburn's three running backs do you like the best and why?

David Ching
  (1:30 PM)

Honestly I think all three of them are good players and fun to watch. I think I'd take Mason first just because he's proven himself last year when he was Auburn's only legitimate offensive threat and still had a productive year and he seems like an every-down back to me.

John (GA)

Who is Auburn's best running back? Mason, Grant, or Artis Payne?

David Ching
  (1:31 PM)

Should have included your question with that previous one, John.

Mike (SC)

Any SEC coaches on the hot seat this year?

David Ching
  (1:31 PM)

You hear that about Pinkel, but I think Mizzou might have a little bounceback this year. We'll see. They're off to a pretty good start so far.

Clayton (Houston, TX)

I'm convinced Lacy is more dominant than TJ Yeldon. I think A&M should be able to contain him better than Lacy last year. What say you?

David Ching
  (1:33 PM)

That's an interesting one. I think Lacy of 2012 was scarier than Yeldon of 2012, but I think Yeldon might have a higher upside. Still, it might be a little easier to contain Yeldon right now because Alabama's OL is a work in progress and the one last year was full of dominant veterans. So maybe you're right. I still think Alabama's running game is going to be really good, despite the mess we saw in Week 1 against VT.

Mike (SC)

Miami's defense that much improved or is FLA offense (with Driskell) just that bad?

David Ching
  (1:35 PM)

Florida had 400-something yards of offense. You don't score much when you turn it over four times in the red zone. I don't know why Florida has struggled to land impact skill players on offense in the last few years -- that state's full of them -- but I just don't see many scary players on that side of the ball at UF.

CWE (CLTTE, NC)

So, if you don't watch the games, aren't the SEC expert...why are you here again? Not that we miss CLow and Dash, but seriously...it's an SEC Chat. thanks for the hard work, but do your homework. Agreed on the hating of everyone but Bammer, and ESPN didn't report the Cam stuff first...they made it up from message boards and the NYT. PS...everyday I'm Dufnering

David Ching
  (1:36 PM)

Fair enough. If you want to make a guess as to how all the returning players will impact what has been a really bad A&M defense, Kreskin, feel free to share your thoughts.

Virgina (Charlotte)

The Yahoo sports report seems to be a lot more damaging than the SI, don't you think. One is he said he said and one has receipts and documents..

David Ching
  (1:36 PM)

I agree. But again, it's still early. All that matters is what you can prove.

Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)

Gamecock fans expected the team to compete for the SEC title and possibly the national championship. We really felt the team had a decent shot to run the table. What about the recruiting question? Do you think SC will ever be able to consider itself one of the elite SEC programs?

David Ching
  (1:39 PM)

I don't think SC will ever be one of the league's elite programs, no. There's not enough talent in SC to split between SC and Clemson and sustain a long-term run like Alabama or LSU have been on. Plus, SC had never been worth a flip before Spurrier got there and he's about 70 years old. Once one of the best coaches in college football history retires, I do expect there to be some regression over there. I don't think the recruiting has been all that bad, though. I saw plenty of talented players on the field Saturday.

Anthony (Florida)

Simple question... Was UF involved in any of these allegations?? Thanks

David Ching
  (1:39 PM)

Not that I know of.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Is Todd Gurley the leading SEC candidate for the Heisman Trophy?

David Ching
  (1:41 PM)

I wouldn't say that he is, no. You've got some spread QBs who are going to put up video game numbers. Keep an eye on what happens with Clemson. If they run the table, Boyd's going to at least win an invite to NYC. Mariota at Oregon's another one. Maybe Manziel, although I doubt it because of all the off-field stuff. QBs have won 11 of the last 13 years, so UGA would have to stay in the BCS title picture and Gurley would have to post some huge numbers to win, I think.

JJ (Charlotte)

Thoughts on the Hogs frosh RB Alex Collins? First in school history to start his career with back to back 100 yd games and looks like a stud based on the eye test. I'm surprised by his lack of pub so far

David Ching
  (1:42 PM)

I just posted a story about him in the SEC lunch links in the SEC blog today. Really good. He and Williams have been impressive, although I think people are reserving judgment a bit on exactly how good they are until they play a real team.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Does Richt have Gurley sitting out of all physical team activities during the bye week to help heal that hip flexor injury?

David Ching
  (1:43 PM)

No. And it was a thigh injury. Gurley practiced yesterday.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Which unit is more anemic, the Georgia defense or Gator offense?

David Ching
  (1:44 PM)

Gator offense, although it's close. At least UGA fans know there's talent and can have hope it will get better. UF has a thin offensive line and no good receivers.

Art (Arky)

Do you think Arkansas can continue putting up big rushing yard numbers once they get into SEC play?

David Ching
  (1:45 PM)

No, I don't. But they'd better if they're going to have any hope of hanging with the Alabamas and LSUs of the world. That running game is going to get better and better, but running on Samford and Louisiana-Lafayette doesn't prove anything.

David Ching
  (1:46 PM)

I'm just saying it might be a year or so before I think they can do it against the league's best. But really that's just a guess. We've seen Bielema's offense for two games now, which is not enough of a sample size to really know anything yet.

Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)

Is there an SEC game, other than LSU, which you feel UGA may lose or at least could be close, or do you think the Dawgs will run the table pretty easily?

David Ching
  (1:47 PM)

Florida's certainly not a given. They've got to go to Vandy and Tennessee, which won't be cupcakes. Same with Auburn. There are still some obstacles beyond the LSU game, no doubt.

James (Atlanta)

Agree with you totally on Murray. He's not the same QB he was as a FR or SO who couldn't win the "big games." That record everybody points to is deceiving. He has total control of the offense now.

David Ching
  (1:50 PM)

Listen, he's had some rough games when everyone was watching -- Florida in the first half last year and against LSU in 2011 both come to mind, although he was betrayed a bit by some early drops against LSU. And he wasn't as accurate as he should have been against Clemson. Even he would admit that. But he still went 20-for-29 for 323 in that game. Not like he choked at all. He's obviously a great player. Unfortunately for him, some of his team's fans are a bit spoiled and he's been the scapegoat a bit too often IMO.

George (Orlando)

What's the best case scenario for Tennessee this week? Can they keep it competitive for a half or so?

David Ching
  (1:51 PM)

I'd be extremely surprised if that's a close game in the fourth quarter. Tennessee looks better to me this year, but playing Oregon in Eugene? Tennessee might cover that big spread this weekend, but I certainly wouldn't bet on them.

Darryl (May-retta, GA)

Regarding the comment comparing Fluker to Newton, Auburn was accused of offering Cam money to attend Auburn. Fluker was accused of taking money to get him to leave Alabama, more or less. Not an Alabama guy, but see a difference in the two situations.

David Ching
  (1:52 PM)

True, although either scenario would compromise a player's eligibility.

CWE (CLTTE, NC)

Well, aTm lost their #1 DE and LB, so that hurts. However, sometime their lack of D has as much to do with putting up points as it did with the D itself. no need to get crazy on D when you're up big. Bigger losses were on OL IMO, and WR. They will be less dynamic on O against bigger D foes. With a year of tape on JFF and Sabans typical "never lose to a team twice in a row" reality is, barring the off the field issues (which both teams have) Alabama is by far a better team, however, both have major losses on OL and Defensively, arguably more by Bama, but the recruiting has been solid for years, aTm just jumped into that boat. aTm D will have to play well in the trenches (front 7) to do well in this game...tough job, but someone has to do it. :)

David Ching
  (1:53 PM)

There ya go. Thanks.

Bill (SC)

David, i realize you are probably a Gurley guy but would like to know your thoughts on the SC running back, Mike Davis.

David Ching
  (1:55 PM)

Really impressed. He's a lot faster than he looks. He's had a 75-yard run in both of their first two games, hasn't he? I saw someone speculate the other day that he's a superior player to Lattimore. I won't go that far. Lattimore could really push a pile. But I think Davis has a breakaway ability that Lattimore didn't have, and that's going to make him a huge weapon.

Steve (NYC)

Do you see Dan Mullen as the coach of MSU after this year? Seems Ole Miss is the team on the rise in Miss and not Mullen.

David Ching
  (1:56 PM)

The answer to that might very well be no. They've lost, what, six of eight? If they lose to Auburn this weekend, there's a strong possibility that they have another losing season. Not looking too good over there.

Brandon (Houston)

Will Arkansas make it to a bowl this year?

David Ching
  (1:58 PM)

They'd better win ALL of the non-conference games, including at Rutgers. Looking over their SEC schedule down the stretch, there aren't many obvious Ws on there. I'll say yes -- by the skin of their teeth -- if they beat Rutgers.

Ando (west)

All that matters is what you can prove. - thats the problem with the SEC

David Ching
  (1:59 PM)

I don't know that there's a reason to limit it by conference. Or has Oklahoma State joined the SEC and I didn't know?

Bo (SC)

How do we know this isn't Murray's annual big game performance, then he follows up with sub par performances in big games?

David Ching
  (2:00 PM)

Good lord

Bo (SC)

Should Grantham be fired for allowing so many yards and points in almost every big game?

David Ching
  (2:02 PM)

That's an absurd question, but I'll give you kind of a serious answer. Georgia's defense has to play a lot better than it has so far this season and for a good chunk of last season or people will seriously start questioning why he deserves that big salary. He got dealt the short straw to open this season and everybody knew it. I'm not writing off that defense for the entire season yet, though.

Virginia (Charlotte)

Call it now LSU/UGA

David Ching
  (2:02 PM)

Georgia, but only because it's at home. I have absolutely no confidence picking the outcome of that game.

TJ (ATL)

How exactly is Jameis Winston, starting true freshman qb at FSU and #1 dual threat QB in the nation as a senior considered "a scrub"?

David Ching
  (2:03 PM)

Not a scrub to me. Kid looks like he's gonna be a big-time player.

UGAGuy (Athens Ga)

Why is Murray 2-9 vs. top 15 teams?

David Ching
  (2:03 PM)

While playing all 22 positions, plus kicking, he got tired.

Vega (Las Vegas NV)

How many snaps does Hutson Mason get in next cupcake game? Got to get him ready for 2014 right?

David Ching
  (2:04 PM)

Mike Bobo said yesterday that he's not planning to work him in with the starters. They're planning to secure the win and then the backups get to play once the game is in hand. That said, I think you'll probably see Murray play the first series of the third quarter and then Mason and the others get the rest.

Virginia (Charlotte)

West, sorry that the SEC operates like a court of law ....PROOF

Adam (Jackson)

What are your thoughts about the Ole Miss - Texas match up?

David Ching
  (2:06 PM)

Aside from A&M-Bama, that's the most interesting SEC game of the weekend to me. Texas blew them out last year, but who knows how they'll react to what has happened over the last week. I'm still inclined to pick Texas since the game's at DKR, but it wouldn't shock me if Ole Miss won that one. I really like that freshman WR at Ole Miss. That'll be a fun game to watch.

SC (Atlanta)

What's your deal with MState? Seems you have nothing but negativity for the Bulldogs.

David Ching
  (2:07 PM)

Don't remember what I said except that they've been losing a lot. They were 7-0 at one point last year. There's been a lot of awfulness since then. That should be pretty obvious.

Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)

Do UGA fans consider the SC game a rivalry game?

David Ching
  (2:09 PM)

I don't think it ranks alongside Florida and Auburn and GT, but losing three in a row made them take it a lot more seriously this year than maybe in the past. There's a lot more conference and in-state history with the other ones I mentioned, but SC has been good enough lately that I think Georgia fans at least respect SC now. That probably wasn't the case so much pre-Spurrier.

JD. (GA)

DC!!Who wins the SEC east this year?

David Ching
  (2:10 PM)

I thought the winner of last week's UGA-SC game would win the division, so I'm taking Georgia for now. They've got to improve a lot on defense or I'm changing my pick. Don't think Florida's got the firepower to win it this year.

Danny (Atlanta)

How do you think Hutson Mason will be utilized this year? Obviously he is the backup to Aaron Murray so no one expects him to start a game, but do you think he will take over for a quarter or the second half of any games in order to get him to good game experience for next year? I know he played a bit 2 seasons ago in blowout games.

David Ching
  (2:11 PM)

Only when they're winning comfortably (or, I guess, getting blown out...although I don't see that happening). I don't think they take a healthy Murray off the field in a game that is still undecided in order to put Mason in.

Concerned Gamecock (Chicago)

Odds of Vandy pulling the upset in SC this weekend?

David Ching
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think the odds are zero. SC's defense is reeling a bit right now and Jordan Matthews is one of the best receivers we've seen in the league in a while. I'm taking the Gamecocks, but I doubt it's a runaway.

CWE (CLTTE, NC)

deluded SC and UGA people...typical. lol should we even be talking about Freshmen for heisman? didn't seem to work for JFF, perhaps being the biggest star in CFB should be reserved for people who can handle the fame...not necessarily upperclassmen, but people who aren't complete boneheads? oh...I'd rather be Dufnering.

David Ching
  (2:13 PM)

not sure who we're talking about there. Winston? He's pretty good.

terri (TX)

Do you think Muschamp would ever consider returning to texas if they came calling?? He was once the HC in waiting there and I think they would pay him Saban like $$

David Ching
  (2:15 PM)

Sure, I think he'd consider it. That's one of the plum jobs in sports. Of course, he's already got a plum job, so there's that. From all I've heard, he liked living in Austin -- and who could blame him? that town's awesome -- so if they pursued him, I'd think he would at least listen.

David Ching
  (2:15 PM)

Tee, I'm not posting your question, but it made me laugh out loud.

James (Atlanta)

I still think if both Gurley and Mitchell don't leave hurt after the first series of the Clemson game, UGA beats them. I realize they had to try running Marshall between the tackles, but we all know that's just not what he does best. You think with Mitchell still available they would have spread it out more and opened up the offense while Gurley was out? Do you think with Gurley available for the whole game Clemson still would have won?

David Ching
  (2:17 PM)

That's not an unreasonable assumption. There are a lot of what-ifs for Georgia in that game. What if Josh Harvey-Clemons doesn't get himself suspended? What if Gurley and Mitchell are healthy throughout? None of that was the case and they still lost by a field goal. But they lost nonetheless. You can play the what-if game all day long, but the guys they had on the field didn't get the job done in a winnable game.

KK (Peoria)

Will Vanderbilt make it three years in a row to a bowl?

David Ching
  (2:18 PM)

I've got them going 6-6.

James (Atlanta)

At Concerned Gamecock: UGA fans consider anything with Spurrier involved to be a rivalry.

David Ching
  (2:18 PM)

Well there ya go. Makes sense.

David Ching
  (2:19 PM)

All right everybody, I just looked at the clock and realized I went over my hour by 20 minutes. Time flies when you're trying to get to all the questions.

David Ching
  (2:19 PM)

Y'all have a great weekend and enjoy what should be a fun weekend of SEC football.

robert (knoxville)

do you think vols have a chance against oregon this weekend?

David Ching
  (2:20 PM)

OK, one last question. No I don't. Maybe...MAYBE...Tennessee could make it interesting if this was at Neyland. I just don't think they have the horses to hang with Oregon in Eugene. The Ducks aren't going to just hand the ball over on five straight possessions like WKU did.