Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 27, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ching

David Ching
  (12:04 PM)

Hi everybody. I'll be pinch hitting for Mr. Aschoff today while he's doing some orientating in Bristol. Let's get going.

Nick(Nashville) [via mobile]

How will derrick mason recover Vanderbilts recruiting class in time to not only bring in a full class but also be able to compete in the SEC?

David Ching
  (12:07 PM)

It's pretty common for commits to jump ship when there is a coaching change. It has been more dramatic than usual at Vandy, but if those kids were committed to Franklin and not the school, you don't want them there anyway. This probably won't be a great class for Mason. Just the way it goes. The telltale sign of whether his staff will be any good is what they do on NSD in 2015 and 2016.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLVIII?

David Ching
  (12:08 PM)

I'm taking Seattle. Not confident in that prediction.

Tony H. (Columbia, SC)

Why are the only times that Nadal loses a major he has an injury? We need to stop giving him credit when he wins & blaming injury when he loses. Takes away from a great match that Stan The Man played on yesterday.

David Ching
  (12:10 PM)

Who knew people in Columbia were interested in something other than the Gamecocks? I've never been the biggest Nadal fan, but the guy is an incredible talent. Wasn't too sad to see that he lost, though.

4CHRIS (MULLINS,S.C)

I WONDER WHAT TEAM WILL JAMES WINSTON WILL GET DRAFTED TOO?

David Ching
  (12:10 PM)

Little early for that, isn't it? I'm guessing we'll be hearing that debate quite a bit this time a year from now.

Joey (SC)

Dylan Thompson will be the #1 QB in SEC next year. So underrated and ya'll don't take him seriously.

David Ching
  (12:14 PM)

I think he's a very good player. If he's the No. 1 QB in the SEC next year, quarterback play in the league will have fallen off a cliff...and it might what with McCarron, Manziel, Mettenberger, Murray, Shaw and Franklin all gone. I don't see a clear-cut No. 1 QB in the league next year, so Thompson will be in the mix, I guess. I might put Mauk or Nick Marshall up there as the early favorite off the top of my head, but who knows. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out and whether SEC defenses might look a little better in the fall as a result.

Trey (SC)

Mike Davis, Brandon Wilds, Shon Carson, and David Williams are THE best RB group in the SEC. No question I would take those guys. Davis has speed and power, Wilds power, Carson speed, and Williams all around.

David Ching
  (12:18 PM)

Lots of Gamecock visitors today. Alabama has the best running back group in the league. I don't think there's much debate about that. South Carolina's are good, too, but Alabama's group is the best in the nation. I'm going to be intrigued to see what Georgia does with all of its TBs next year, too. With Michel and Chubb joining Gurley, Marshall, Douglas, Green and Turman, I'd put them up near the top of the national position rankings, too. That's a ridiculous collection of talent.

Bill (SC)

4* RB Derrell Scott announces today. Tennessee or South Carolina?

David Ching
  (12:20 PM)

Looks like Tennessee from what I've read.

Scratches (the Gump, AL)

So Jake Coker is officially transferring to Alabama. Is he now the favorite for the starting QB position? Also, he's listed as a redshirt sophomore, so he has 2 years left, correct?

David Ching
  (12:22 PM)

My understanding is that he'll be a redshirt junior in the fall, which means two years of eligibility. Seems like folks want him to be the favorite. It's pretty clear they don't love their other options, so I guess he is. Definitely seems like serendipity with him jumping into the mix right after McCarron, with both kids coming from the same high school.

jeff smith (asheville, nc)

Do you see Hutson Mason as the clear starter for UGA this year?

David Ching
  (12:24 PM)

I think Mason's the clear starter, yeah. It would really surprise me if someone else got that job. I know he didn't play great in the bowl, but that was a pretty good opponent and terrible conditions in which to play. I think he has the full confidence of the coaches and his teammates and will win the job. I'm intrigued about 2015, though, with Ramsey, Park and Bauta competing for the job. That'll be interesting.

Allan (Austin,TX)

What do you think of the recent hires at UGA? I don't know how it will affect recruiting this year,but I think it will pay huge dividends in the future.Thoughts?

David Ching
  (12:25 PM)

I agree. Pruitt seems like a home run. They're not done assembling a staff so we'll see how it all works out, but I think Georgia fans are justifiably excited about what's going on over there right now.

victor (Monroe)

What do you think of the new sec network coming this august?

David Ching
  (12:28 PM)

Obviously it's the best thing to hit cable television since ... maybe ever...Seriously, though, I think it'll be pretty cool to have a one-stop shop for all things SEC sports. Will give a lot of Olympic sports more coverage and will certainly be a good thing for ESPN. I'm excited about it.

SSM (LSU)

As an LSU fan, I am concerned with our young defense and an offense that will be without 2 star WRs, star QB, and star RB Hill that will all play in the NFL. What do you think the coaching staff should do to the game plan to perform with a reasonable level of success?

David Ching
  (12:30 PM)

Hand it to Leonard Fournette. A lot. They've got a good offensive line that returns almost everyone. I'd think whatever they do will revolve around the ground game. Will be interesting to see whether they land Dupre at WR. If they do, LSU will have signed the No. 1 and 3 WRs in this class in him and Quinn. Not a bad way to make up for losing Beckham and Landry, even if freshman WRs often take a while to adjust to the college game.

Tim (AZ)

Is Dupre still coming to LSU? Or does Winston and FSU steal another 5* receiver?

David Ching
  (12:32 PM)

Speaking of which...I guess LSU still seems like the leader, but there are a bunch of schools who still seem to be in the mix. That'll be an interesting one to watch.

Sam (Phoenix)

With all the lead QBs in the SEC (Johnny Football, Aj McCarron, Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray) moving on to the NFL, is it reasonable to expect this to be a down year for the SEC, specifically from an offense standpoint? Will it be a Bama-SCar match-up in the SEC title game?

David Ching
  (12:33 PM)

I do think offenses will fall off a bit next year. Seems like it almost has to be the case. Bama still seems like the favorite from the West. I'd go with SC or Georgia from the East.

Mike (Florida)

Do you think Florida Muschamp get Florida turned around? If so what's their record? thx

David Ching
  (12:34 PM)

Yeah, I think they start moving in the right direction next year as long as they benefit from better health. Wouldn't surprise me to see a team that talented win at least eight or nine games next year.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

How many more wins can the Hogs get next year?

David Ching
  (12:36 PM)

I'd think getting bowl eligible would be a good season next year. They're remolding what Arkansas does, but people are going to want to see some progress soon. Let's set the over-under for them at 6-6.

Steven Wright (Ohio)

ESPN has OSU's recruiting class as #6, Rivals has them at #2. Is there a ESPN SEC Network bias or is 2 thru 10 pretty interchangable?

David Ching
  (12:38 PM)

Looks like you've got it all figured out. If you listen to Luginbill and company, they don't even pay attention to what the other services do, which I appreciate. That leads them to posting some rankings that differ wildly from some of the other services at times, but I appreciate that they are willing to put their necks out, even if I don't always agree with the analysis. To your point, I typically see most of the top 10 as pretty interchangeable, yes. There are usually one or two classes that seem clearly better than the rest and then the others are a matter of who develops the players best.

Scratches (the Gump, AL)

Best RB group in the SEC? I'm going with Yeldon, Drake, and Henry. Can't beat that group.

David Ching
  (12:39 PM)

I agree

Nelson (DE)

Florida is a popular pick to make the biggest turnaround in 2014, however I'm skeptical just how much better they're record will be. For one thing, they trade Arkansas (a win last year) for Alabama. And I'm not sure if other teams they lost to last year that they'll play this upcoming season will be any more beatable. What do you think?

David Ching
  (12:42 PM)

Well, biggest turnaround is a pretty subjective thing. They had one of the all-time worst seasons there ... at least in the modern era of Florida football. There's plenty of talent on the roster, but they've got to be better at QB. If they are, you'd think beating the Georgia Southerns and Vanderbilts of the world -- teams they'd never lose to in a normal year -- would get them back to bowl eligibility and toward the upper half of the East standings.

kevan ((al))

Where do you see Rashaan Evans ending up?

David Ching
  (12:42 PM)

I guess Auburn is the frontrunner? I assume there's still plenty of competition there, though.

SSM (LSU)

Who do you think will make it to the SEC Championship game this year? Is Bama-SCar a safe bet?

David Ching
  (12:44 PM)

So hard to say. I would have bet a year's salary that either Georgia, Florida or South Carolina would play for it last year. Whoops. South Carolina is always in the running and they always find a way to blow it. I just don't have much confidence in them until they stop losing to teams like Tennessee or a mediocre Auburn in 2011 and shooting themselves in the foot.

Matt (Houston)

David, as a Gator alum, I can't wait for next year when we're looking for another coach. Since we had luck the last time after a legend left (Spurrier to Zook to Meyer) I think we hit the jackpot next time. Do you think Muschamp lasts after this season?

David Ching
  (12:45 PM)

If they don't take a big step forward, no. I think this is the make-or-break year for him.

Nelson (DE)

How surprised are you that Steve Spurrier is far less known now for his team's passing game than he was at Florida?

David Ching
  (12:46 PM)

Nah. I think the guy's an offensive genius, but he also knows he has to do what gives him the best chance to win. He's winning at a pretty good clip at SC. Can't argue with the results.

Sam (Rock Hill)

Why is everyone underestimating SC next year? Everyone seems to favor UGA. Is their schedule an easy one? I do know UGA has a bye the week before both SC and FLA. The gods are once again smiling on them.

David Ching
  (12:46 PM)

I don't think people are underestimating them. They're the favorite if not the co-favorite in the division. Like I just mentioned, gotta stop shooting themselves in the foot every year.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins are a nice 1-2 punch.

David Ching
  (12:47 PM)

No doubt. I love that combination. Gotta get a better defense and a better QB to go with them and then they might be dangerous.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

What should the Razorbacks do with the QB situations? Make it an open competition this Spring?

David Ching
  (12:48 PM)

I would. I know fans like Allen's toughness, but I'm not sure he's a guy who can get it done as a passer against the best opponents.

Trey (Huntsville)

David, what's your opinion on the Auburn vs. Arkansas season opener? I feel like it's a pretty interesting early season matchup that potentially could set the tone for the season for either team.

David Ching
  (12:50 PM)

I didn't realize that was the case until you just mentioned it and I took a quick look at AU's schedule. That's an interesting way to open the season: Arkansas, San Jose State, at Kansas State. I guess we'll get a pretty good idea where Auburn's at by the time September is over. I don't remember Auburn ever opening the season against Arkansas. Or even against an SEC opponent. You're right. That will set the tone.

Scratches (the Gump, AL)

As far as recruiting goes, do you think Kiffin is helping or hurting Alabama?

David Ching
  (12:51 PM)

I think he'll help long-term, but I think it's too early to tell for this class. I guess I could speculate about Ricky Town here, but I don't know what guided that kid's decision to decommit.

RJ (OK)

Serious question that i doubt you'll answer: what's the point of a new "SEC Network"? ESPN couldn't get any more "SEC" right now if it learned to talk with a twang and eat grits. Putting Paul Finebaum front and center on important telecasts when he's nothing but an SEC lackey proves it. ESPN announcing the establishment of a "new SEC network" is like the shopping channel announcing they're gonna start selling products.

David Ching
  (12:53 PM)

Clearly you didn't attend business school

Greg (FL)

Ching, How did you feel about your boy Gurley throwing a punch at the cocktail party and not getting flagged/ejected? Do you think this will provide a little extra motivation going into the game this year?

David Ching
  (12:54 PM)

If Florida needs extra motivation going into that game, that might be why they didn't play in a bowl game this year. He shouldn't have been ejected for that although a flag might have been in order. That was a nasty game.

Jack (AL)

When do you think the SEC East will finally tip the scale and get a championship? And what team do you think will do it?

David Ching
  (12:56 PM)

It's funny to use the word "finally" when it happened most recently five years ago. Life in the SEC I guess. Alabama's had a good run, so I don't know that it means the East has been that far down. Florida would have won it all in 2009 and Georgia in 2012 in my opinion had they not lost to Alabama in Atlanta. There are three championship-quality programs in that division most years in SC, Fla or UGA and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see one of them hoist the crystal football one year in the near future.

Scratches (the Gump, AL)

Is Pete Carroll trying to be the first coach to win a national championship and a Super Bowl?

David Ching
  (12:56 PM)

Jimmy Johnson did it didn't he?

Hanson (DC)

With the influx of new QBs spoke of earlier,will tis lead to more offenses with the philosophy of get the ball to the playmaker and let them make a play rather than ball control offenses?

David Ching
  (12:57 PM)

I'd say you'll see a bit more ball control on average. Would think offensive coordinators would be less likely to chunk it with younger QBs who are more apt to make bad decisions.

Hanson (DC)

Recruiting class ranks are nice but which staff will do the best developing guys? Top recruits are nice but middle of the road guys developed into gamers is the difference between good and great.

David Ching
  (12:58 PM)

I think we need to pitch that to our recruiting nation guys as a rankings story. Who does that the best. Because I agree, getting the talent is great, but you've got to do something with it. Look at what happened at Auburn between 2012 and 2013.

Beam (KY)

Team with the best OL/DL combo the odds on fav. to win SEC next year?

David Ching
  (1:00 PM)

I think that's the case almost every year. I'm not sure who's going to wear that crown yet next year, though.

Dawg Hater (FL)

Hey Ching are your Dawgs ever gonna have to play Bama this decade during the regular season or will they continue to luck out?

David Ching
  (1:01 PM)

Good question. I think the numbers show that Bama's had an easier time than anyone from a scheduling standpoint. Maybe you should be asking that question in a different way.

Nelson (DE)

How much of a chance do you give Texas A&M in 2014 improving on their 4-4 SEC record from last year?

David Ching
  (1:02 PM)

They're one of the league's biggest wild cards next year with Manziel out of the picture. That looked like a pretty average team when he wasn't playing, but I have confidence in Sumlin. I'm just not sure they'll be great next year, which is what you need to be better than .500 in the West.

Beam (KY)

Better chance of happening a team going 8-0 next year in the conference or UK going 0-8 again next year?

David Ching
  (1:03 PM)

Can't we have both? I'm taking UK, mostly because it's so hard to go 8-0.

Trey (Huntsville)

David, it's interesting to see a lot of people saying that Alabama will win the West again. Replacing a QB is always an interesting endeavor and the local media is treating Coker like he's the best Bama QB in recent memory (Except the leave out the part that he hasn't taken a snap in a crimson jersey).

David Ching
  (1:04 PM)

I think you just play the percentages there. Alabama has a good run going and should be pretty loaded, especially in the backfield. You figure they let the QB be a game manager and just out-talent everyone. But that division looks wide open to me, so it wouldn't shock me if someone else made it to Atlanta. Alabama just seems like the safest bet.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Jimmy Johnson did it with the Hurricanes, as well as Barry Switzer?

David Ching
  (1:05 PM)

There ya go. Two guys

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

What degree is Coker pursuing at Bama that is not offered at FSU? Or have they changed that rule, so we no longer have to continue with that charade?

David Ching
  (1:05 PM)

I think he will have graduated from FSU by the time he enrolls at Alabama.

Dawg Hater (FL)

In all serious though, how do they decided the schedules year in and year out? I thought it revolved every year until A&M and Mizzou threw a wrench into everything.

David Ching
  (1:06 PM)

It did. And it will again, I think. It's just kind of been a year-by-year thing since they expanded. I think they'll get into a more predictable rotation again within the next couple of years.

Doug (GA)

DC, don't these Bama fans know Slive is in their pocket and he doesn't want them to face any more hard games than they have to so they will win the conference?

David Ching
  (1:09 PM)

Haha. Yep, that's what it is. Slive can't make Tennessee be good at football. That would have helped add some strength to Alabama's schedule that hasn't been there in recent years. Jones looks like he has the Vols on the right track, though.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

How much of impact does Fournette make in Baton Rouge next season? Was it politely suggested to Hill that he reconsider and leave early?

David Ching
  (1:10 PM)

Huge. And no, I think Hill surprised them when he said he'd return (and then again when he opted to turn pro), but they were fully on board with him being here next year from what I've been told.

Jim (St. Louis)

Just to refresh your memory, Mizzou won the East last year and are still playing in the East

David Ching
  (1:13 PM)

That's a good reminder. I'll eat my hat if they win it again. Pretty remarkable set of circumstances allowed that to happen this year, although they were much, much better than I gave them credit for in September. We'll see...

David Ching
  (1:14 PM)

And on that note, I'm about 15 minutes past time to finish up. Thanks to everyone for dropping by. I'll try to work quicker next time I'm on here in order to get to everybody. You guys have a great week!