Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low stops by to chat about the 2009 season.
Low joined ESPN.com in 2007 after 10 years with The (Nashville) Tennessean covering the University of Tennessee and SEC. The Rock Hill, S.C., native lives with his wife in Knoxville and has three sons.
Send your questions now and join Low Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (3:58 PM)
Hey everybody...we're going to get started with Chris at about 4:15 p.m. ET. Keep those questions coming in!
Buzzmaster (4:17 PM)
Chris Low is here!
Chris Low (4:21 PM)
I'm headed back from Auburn. I spent the last couple of days on the plains and still have a few more stops to go around the SEC this preseason.
Robbie (Acworth, Ga)
Georgia seems to have to toughest schedule in the SEC do you think they can keep it together and be a contender at the end of the year..Roll Tide Roll
Chris Low (4:22 PM)
I think they can be a contender to get back to 10 wins, counting the bowl game. I don't think they're good enough to unseat Florida in the East.
Darin (Tebowland, FL)
If Kentucky gets better QB play any chance they win 8-9 games or finish in top half of SEC East?
Chris Low (4:24 PM)
No. Not this year. They won 8 games in back-to-back years when Andre Woodson was there. Those were very good teams. I don't see this bunch surpassing that win total. The loss of Jeremy Jarmon took what could have been a really good defense or an upper tier defense in the SEC to a defense that has some big question marks up front.
Georgia seems like a mystery to me. Can they go to Stillwater and beat Okie State?
Chris Low (4:25 PM)
Yes I do. I think the Dogs have been waiting all offseason to make a statement about where their program is after the disappointment of a year ago. I think the defense will play much closer to their ability this year and the offensive line will be a strength. I think the combination of those two will be enough for Georgia to win in Stillwater.
Ryan (Gainesville, FL)
Don't you get tired of people hating Tebow because he is too perfect? I mean doesn't this just prove that people just love to hate?
Chris Low (4:27 PM)
What it proves is that they're tired of him beating up on other teams. And yes, there is a too-good-to-be-true element to Tebow who everyone who is not a Florida fan doesn't like. But he is a very sincere, good person, who just happens to be one of the better college football players we've seen in the last several years.
Finny (ATL, GA)
What about SC. Can they match thier best finish in recent years with 2nd in the SEC East. Garcia is better at QB and so is the OLine and running game. The defense is young but talented. Thanks
Chris Low (4:30 PM)
This year would seem to be pretty wide open in the East...for second place, that is. It's also the year that they have to play at Georgia and at Tennessee. To me, the key for the Gamecocks is Garcia makiing a significant step from his freshman to sophomore season. The young players that are going to have to play growing up quickly and maybe most importantly, staying healthy. South Carolina is very thin in a couple of key spots, including the secondary.
Who do you see as Florida's biggest threat this year? And what are the chances that they will actually beat Florida?
Chris Low (4:31 PM)
The Gators toughest game will be LSU in Tiger Stadium. The game between those two teams two years ago in Baton Rouge was one of the most physical I've seen in along time. I think this one will be very similar, but if the Gators don't stumble at LSU, I don't think they will stumble.
Robbie (Acworth, Ga)
Eric Berry for heisman?????
Chris Low (4:33 PM)
Maybe if he returns a few kicks, catches a few passes, sort of like that guy at Michigan 12 years ago...seriously, Tennessee would have to win at least 9 games and he would have to play lights out in all of the marquee matchups, i.e. Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Chris, what's your outlook for Vanderbilt this season?
Chris Low (4:35 PM)
The biggest challenge for the Commodores is not taking a step backwards. As great a job as Bobby Johnson and his staff did last season in putting together the school's first winning season in the last 26 years, it would be an even greater accomplishment to sustain that success and win 7 or 8 again this year. But I do believe Johnson has upgraded the talent lever there enough and his staff is good enough that the Commodores aren't going away.
Brendan (Atlanta, GA)
Does Lane Kiffin have ANY idea what he's in for on September 19th?Not his team...him, personally.
Chris Low (4:37 PM)
I'd say he has a pretty good idea. But I don't think any of us can ever know what it's like to come into The Swamp as Public Enemy No. 1 until you've actually been through that ordeal. It's going to be loud, it's going to be nasty hot and you can be sure that the Gator fans will be satisfied with nothing less than a 40-point blowout. But, let's be honest here, it's not like Tennessee has played Florida close in any of the last two years. The last time the Vols visited the Swamp, the Gators won by 39 points and Tim Tebow was still throwing the ball down the field midway through the fourth quarter.
Troy (Tullahoma, TN)
What coach is on the hot seat this year? Spurrier? Chizik? Miles?
Chris Low (4:38 PM)
Of those three, I would say the most likely coach not to be there next year is Spurrier. If he has another 5 or 6 loss season, that might be enough for him to throw up his hands and walk away.
Donny (Irvington, NJ)
Have u seen super frosh Josh Evans from the Gators yet?
Chris Low (4:39 PM)
Haven't seen him. Have heard a lot of good things about him. He's an example of why Florida is so far out in front of everybody right now. They keep bringing in great players every year. And the competition just to get on the field is fierce.
What are some realistic upper and lower limits of Tennessee wins this season?
Chris Low (4:41 PM)
To me, 8 is the ceiling, although I guess you could provide a scenario where they got to 9. On the flip side, they're not any better at QB. If they can't protect the passer, if there are any injuries that rear their heads, a 5 or 6 win season could be a possibility.
Steve Spurrier caused some trouble with leaving Tebow off of his preseason depth chart. He claims it was an accident but do you think he did it on purpose?
Chris Low (4:43 PM)
No, I think the head ball coach was just more worried about other things the day he was supposed to sign off on who his preseason selections were and didn't look at it. He's hardly the only coach who has a handler or an assistant fill out these things for him. It just came back to bite him this time.
Lafayette (New Orleans)
If you were a coach, would you prefer at this early date to have 15-20 verbal committments for 2010 or would you prefer to have just a few (4-8) and await developments?
Chris Low (4:45 PM)
In this era of recruiting, you can't wait. Players are committing earlier than ever. If you wait until later on in the process you're probably going to be on the outside looking in. There are always going to be a bunch of the top marquee players that you hold scholarships for, but you better go in, especially in your state, and tie down the core of that year's group as early as possible.
Ray (College Park, MD)
Better defensive unit: USC '08 or Florida '09?
Chris Low (4:47 PM)
It's hard to beat the Trojans last year on defense. They had so much talent and their final numbers were off the charts. However, Florida has at least 22 guys coming back on defense who could play most places in this country. They have a great leader in Brandon Spikes, two lockdown CBs in Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins and one of the best pass rushers in the league in Carlos Dunlap.
Adam (Athens, Ga)
Will UGA's Runningback-by-committee be enough to replace Knowshon Marino?
Chris Low (4:48 PM)
Players like Knowshon Moreno don't come around every day. Georgia still has a bunch of unknowns at the RB position. Caleb King still has to prove that he can take the pounding to be an SEC tailback. Richard Samuel looks like he goes into the season as a starter. But Carlton Thomas will be a valuable member on third down.
Chris,With the powerhouse that Urban Meyer has been building in Gainesville, how many more losses to Florida will it take for Mark Richt to be in the hot seat? I understand how good he's been at UGA, but after a certain amount of time, you have to start beating your biggest rival. I think if he loses 2 more in a row, he's going to start feeling the heat.
Chris Low (4:50 PM)
We've seen the last couple of years in this conference that nobody is ever too far away from the hot seat. But, I just think that Richt has been so consistent at Georgia, is continuing to recruit well as anybody in the country that getting rid of him would be foolish even if he does lose the next couple to the Gators and extend what's been a terribly frustrating last two decades in that series for the Bulldogs.
stacy (georgetown ky)
is kentucky going to go to a bowl game?
Chris Low (4:52 PM)
I wouldn't bet against Rich Brooks. He's brought respectability to that program. Done it in a very classy manner. And there's a winning attitude there that goes back to him. I think 7-5 sounds about right this year, although it could be 6-6 with a chance to get to 7 wins in the bowl game.
Justin (Oxford, MS)
Chris, we all know you think Ole Miss is going to win the west. But do you think they will lose a game, and if so who will it be to?
Chris Low (4:55 PM)
The Rebels are my pick to win the West. But I'm not under any illusions that they're going to go unbeaten. I love Jevan Snead at QB. All of their depth, the DL, the playmakers on offense and most of all, I like their schedule, which looks like a championship schedule. I still think the Rebels could lose two games and still win the West, because I think the teams will beat up on each other. Alabama and LSU are their two toughest tests.
Bo B (Scottsdale, AZ)
Possible injuries excluded...What are the chances that we get a sleeper Auburn team that comes out and shocks everyone?
Chris Low (4:56 PM)
If we have one of those teams, I think the most realistic scenario is Arkansas emerging. The Hogs have the talent to beat everybody on their schedule, but their schedule is brutal with four road games against LSU, Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss.
Bo (Wichita, KS)
Chris, which one do you think is Bama's weakest area, The O-line or the DB's? (The defensive front 7 can't figure into this equation.)
Chris Low (4:58 PM)
I would say their OL because so much of being good on the OL centers around cohesiveness, and guys playing with each other. The Tide are having to try to encorporate three new players this year. So it could take some time.
Who is more likely to win more this season Mullen, Chizik, or Kiffin?
Chris Low (4:59 PM)
I'm taking the winner of the Tennessee-Auburn game on the first weekend in October. Whichever coach comes out on top of that game will win the most games this season.
Henry (Desterhan, LA)
With LSU stable at quaterback with Jordan Jefferson, can they have a better season?
Chris Low (5:00 PM)
I think they will have a better season and they need to have a better season unless they want to draw the wrath of LSU fans.
Chris Low (5:01 PM)
I don't care what you do, when you throw as many INTs as LSU did last year, 7 of which went for TDs the other way, it's difficult to win games. Defensive Coordinator John Chavis said talent won't be an issue on defense and the same goes for the offense.
Any chance the Vols have a big letdown after the game with the Gators and lose to the Ohio Bobcats the following week?
Chris Low (5:02 PM)
It's a scary game for sure, because you're either coming off an extraordinary high or a depressing loss. Ohio took Ohio State deep into that game last season and won't be intimidated.
Will the fact that Florida plans to utilize Brantley more this season affect Tebow's stats for Heisman?
Chris Low (5:04 PM)
I don't think he'll take a lot of Tebow's stats from him. Meyer said he'd like to get him in the first half some. But Tebow is still going to have his hands on the ball 90% of the time. If he has comparable numbers to last year and the Gators keep on winning, he'll be as good a bet as any to win the Heisman.
Chris Low (5:05 PM)
Thanks for the questions, we're getting closer. It looks like there is going to be some new faces in the league, some younger players who are really going to be dynamic and fun to watch this season.