Chat with Edward Aschoff
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC reporter 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 noon ET!
Edward Aschoff (12:02 PM)
Greetings from the Crescent City! Hope you guys rang in the new year in style! Let's talk some SEC football.
As we get closer to Monday night...what is your gut telling you about the outcome of the game?
Edward Aschoff (12:04 PM)
I don't want to reveal my pick just yet, but I have gone back and forth on this one since the matchup was announced. Florida State's defense has been excellent, but these bowls have shown us just how bad the ACC is. Auburn has an outstanding running game, but can that defense handle Florida State's offense? I think it comes down to getting pressure on Jameis Winston and forcing him to make some bad passes, which he has done in the past. Auburn has to run the ball. IF the Tigers have to rely on Nick Marshall's arm ... it's going to be a long night for Auburn. Still not ready to say who I have ...
Jonathan (San Antonio, TX)
I know it is a longshot, but do you think that Dak Prescott of Mississippi State could emerge as a darkhorse Heisman candidate next season? He has certainly looked the part when filling in for an injured Tyler Russell....
Edward Aschoff (12:06 PM)
I think Dak will be one of the best returning quarterbacks in the SEC next fall, but it's going to be very, very hard for him to be a legitimate Heisman candidate. Remember, he was pretty inconsistent during the season before that excellent bowl game. If Mississippi State can make a run like Auburn or Mizzou did, then he has a chance, but I just don't see him being a legit contender unless he can play more like he did in the bowl game and the Bulldogs get a lot more wins than they did this year. He sure is fun to watch with his running style, though.
Tre' (Valdosta, Georgia)
If the playoff system started this year. Do you believe that they would have grouped Alabam and Auburn together in the first round or put them on opposite sides of the bracket?
Edward Aschoff (12:07 PM)
I think so because the committee would probably want to see an SEC-someone else national title instead of a possible all-SEC title game.
drcwmahr1 (St. Louis Metro East)
The SEC has done well so far this bowl season tallying only 1 loss (just catch the ball Dawgs and you win). Who do you see the last three playing out?
Edward Aschoff (12:08 PM)
I picked Alabama (big) and Mizzou. Not ready to say who I have in the national title ... because I honestly don't know. I think Bama handles the Sooners and Mizzou wins a shootout with Oklahoma State.
After watching GA & SC yesterday, Bama without McCaron, UA without their 2013 luck; I thing UT goes 8-3 next year.You?
Edward Aschoff (12:11 PM)
Not so fast my friend. Tennessee still has a long way to go on the field. The Vols played better than I expected this season, but there has to be vast improvement on both offense and defense. The SEC East is going to be wiiiiiide open next year. Georgia's defense didn't do anything yesterday to say that it will vastly improve. South Carolina loses two of its best players. Florida's offense is still a mystery. Can Vandy make a run? Tennessee will factor into the race, but eight wins will be tough.
GATOR BOI (JACKSONVILLE,FLORIDA)
Hey Ed, I wanted your thoughts on Florida as a program and its future. we lost one recruit in dalvin cook and could lose more. but we had the number 2 recruiting class according to ESPN last year and the year before we had the number 3 recruiting class. but injuries happens. im just not understanding is it player not getting developed or something else? plus most from last year red shirted.
Edward Aschoff (12:17 PM)
The offensive players aren't developing. There are coaching questions when it comes to play calling. The defense will be fine under Muschamp, but can Kurt Roper turn the offense around? Who knows? The last three offensive coordinators have struggled without Tim Tebow running things. Also, losing Dalvin Cook was big. He's a dynamic playmaker who could have come in and helped immediately. Don't shrug that off Gators fans. When Florida failed to get Diggs and Agholor it set the receiving corps back. Is Kelvin Taylor the answer at RB? I don't know. Cook would have been a game-changer for Florida. Now, word is that WR Ermon Lane is looking around. It's going to be tough for this team to take any legitimate steps forward if it loses a dynamic receiver like Lane.
Has any team ever had a haul in the under armour game like lsu is about to have? Leonard fournette, speedy noil, gerald willis, tony brown, and jamal adams are all heavily predicted to pick the tigers. And adoree jackson and malachi dupre (who both announce on signing day) are also predicted to pick lsu. Would this be miles best class ever?
Edward Aschoff (12:19 PM)
That's what people are saying. Miles has done an excellent job since he arrived at LSU. And he just keeps reloading with his excellent recruiting classes. This could be a scary good class and could rival the ones Alabama has put together lately.
drcwmahr1 (St Louis Metro East)
A lot of changes will be taking place post bowl season with players leaving for the NFL. I know this is way out, but what schools do you expect to be vying for the East and West champs and who you really think will win the respective divisions next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:21 PM)
I honestly think the SEC is wide open next year. If there were no playoff, I don't think you'd see an SEC team in the national championship because I think it's not only going to be wide open, but it's going to be very balanced. I think Auburn is still the favorite in the West because of all the guys coming back, while I guess you have to peg Georgia as the favorite in the East because of everyone coming back. Still, that defense has to make a lot of improvements if it wants to have a chance at any sort of championship next year.
Mike P (Greater KC Metro)
Were you suprised to see that LSU won with a Freshman QB, Georgia hang in there close with Nebraska all day and South Carolina control the Wisconson run game after Stave went out?
Edward Aschoff (12:24 PM)
The only thing that surprised me was how sluggish Georgia looked. That defense still has a lot to work on and it showed it again in Jax. Not having JHC hurt, but man that defense looked bad. The offense also looked pretty sluggish as well with Mason under center. Granted, it's still very early in the starting career of Mason, but he has to have more command in the huddle. Todd Gurley can't do it all.
Do you see Florida State overlooking the Tigers in the NC? I am seeing a lot of experts picking FS big time over my Tigers. I think that they see us as having a weak defense, but when you play top teams sometimes the numbers lie. ON the other side if you play a weaker schedule the numbers can make you look better than you are, Right?...
Edward Aschoff (12:29 PM)
I don't think there's anyway that FSU would ever overlook Auburn. Luck has been on this team's side at times but this is still a team that won 12 games and the SEC title. It's rushing for more than 330 yards and can hit the big play in the pass game when it needs to. FSU has seen nothing like this.
aubie (cullman al)
marshal has shown improvement when he has to pass, if it comes down to the 4th quarter, tied game, you think he can throw a winning td pass?
Edward Aschoff (12:31 PM)
He's done it before, but I don't think you can put four quarters on his arm yet. He has to have help from the running game. If Tre Mason can't get it going then that's a lot of pressure on Marshall. He's certainly more comfortable throwing the ball, but he's not built to throw 20 times against a defense like this yet.
Ryan (St Petersburg)
How do you think Ga Southern will do next season? Do you think Bobo is a good fit for HC?
Edward Aschoff (12:33 PM)
I don't see Bobo taking that job. I think he'd want to get his feet wet in bigger, better situation. I know he's interested in being a head coach one day, but I think he also knows that he's been around a while on the big stage and could get it going at a bigger program sooner. But hey, if you have the itch ...
With the current season ending badly for Kentucky, where do you see them finishing up the season next year? Do they make a bowl game?
Edward Aschoff (12:36 PM)
Mark Stoops didn't exactly walk into a great situation, but he has a very good class that is staying together. That's big. If those guys can come in and make an impact immediately, the Wildcats will make some good improvement. I talked to Stoops this month and he's been pretty steady about how this thing is going to take a couple of years to get going. His recruiting efforts have been very good and if that trend continues, the Cats will creep back into bowl talk. Will that be next year? I don't know, but it sounds like guys are buying in more and that's a good sign.
Do you see Tennessee's top 5 recuiting class holding up once all is said and done?
Edward Aschoff (12:41 PM)
It seems that way. Recruits are excited about what Butch Jones is selling. His team showed more heart this season, but the wins just weren't there. I don't think that's affecting Tennessee's recruiting. The Vols should have a very good class come signing day.
Where will James Franklin be coaching next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:43 PM)
I'm not sure. I think big schools would be foolish not to go after him, but I could see them still wanting to wait and see what he does at Vandy for another year. I know Vandy fans won't like this, but I'd be shocked if he was there after next season ...
Edward Aschoff (12:44 PM)
The NFL could also be very interested in Franklin
Jordan (South Florida)
Is Conner Shaw the most underrated QB in college football? What type of career do you see him having in the NFL? Will Kelvin Taylor be a Heisman candidate next year?
Edward Aschoff (12:50 PM)
He's the most underrated player around, regardless of position. He's an excellent player and person. He's the toughest player I've ever seen and I'm glad that he was invited to the NFL combine. He deserves it. I think he'll make a roster. I don't know if he'll ever be an NFL starter because he is limited, but he'll make a team and he'll help a team. I'm going to miss watching him. As for Taylor and the Heisman, I don't see it unless he really breaks out. He has to see the field more. He has to become a better blocker and more well-rounded. And Florida has to win more ...
Chris (Rock Hill)
South Carolina was the underdog even though they were ranked higher. It seems like they never get any love. You even said earlier that the East is wide open because among others, SC loses two stars.We still have a whole host of talent waiting in the wings and a defense that was young this year but has experience. What gives?
Edward Aschoff (12:54 PM)
Losing Shaw is huge. Dylan Thompson isn't Shaw and he has some huge shoes to fill. Can Connor Mitch help? I don't know. Having Mike Davis back is great. I think he'll push to be the best back once again. But losing Clowney, Chaz Sutton and probably Kelcy Quarles is going to hurt a lot. The defense is going to need some work in the offseason. I picked South Carolina to win the East the last two years and they proved me wrong each year ...
You mentioned, appropriately, the issue with UGA's defense and other factors. What do you think is at the root of the Dawgs not getting the potential out of their outstanding recruiting classes? I don't think this is just a Grantham or Bobo issue... thoughts?
Edward Aschoff (12:57 PM)
I think the Bobo talk can be put to rest. Georgia has had an excellent off the last few years. On defense I think there's a combination of things. Players have to develop and a lot of youngsters were thrown into the fire this year. Coaching obviously has something to do with that, but guys have to come to play as well. I just don't think those young guys were ready for the speed of the game this year.
Jeff (High Point, NC)
How about my boy Jeremy Hill???? Who from LSU do you expect to make the jump??
Edward Aschoff (12:58 PM)
Pretty good. Really good. I think it will be tough for him to stay. I think Anthony Johnson, Ego Ferguson could make the jump. Hill, Landry and Beckham Jr. could as well.
Edward Aschoff (1:00 PM)
OK guys, that's my time. Happy New Year and have fun watching the Allstate Sugar Bowl. I like Alabama big.