Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football.
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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Hard to believe the season was over. Anybody want to reflect or look ahead to next season?
Don Grisham (Cabot Arkansas)
What impact will the return of Mallet to Arkansas have on the SEC in 2010? Can Arkansas make a BCS bowl? Is Mallet a legit heisman candidate?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
I wouldn't call him a Heisman candidate just yet. Let's see how the Hogs finish and if they can stop anybody on defense, but I think his return puts them solidly in the Top 20 to start the season and makes them a strong candidate to be the second best team in the West.
Would Kirby actually come back to UGA after coaching there in 2005?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
He's thinking hard about it. A tough decision for him. He obviously has strong ties to Georgia, but likes his situation at Alabama. I don't think money will be a factor. Alabama will do what it needs to do financially to keep him. In the end, it's going to come down to what Kirby thinks is best for his career.
How do you think Mississippi State will do next year?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
Lot of good young players coming back who played big roles this year, and that's always a good thing. The key is quarterback. You might see Relf as the runner again and then redshirt freshman Tyler Russell being incorporated in as the passer. If Russell develops, then I think the Bulldogs have a good chance to be in a bowl game.
Chris, I've seen a couple different sources saying that Coach O is looking to return to SoCal in some capacity. Any truth to it and, if so, what are the ripple effects?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
I wouldn't think Orgeron would go back unless he were the defensive coordinator, and a lot would depend on who the head coach was. He's making $650,000 at Tennessee, so it had better be some serious cash to pry him away. I do know he really enjoyed coaching out at USC.
Memphis Rob (Memphis, TN)
What in your opinion are the 5 best coaching positions in college football?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
1. Florida2. Texas3. USC4. Ohio State5. AlabamaSome of the admissions things at Notre Dame is the reason I wouldn't put the Irish in the top 5. Saban has helped make Alabama a top 5 job. LSU and Georgia would be in my top 10.
Chris (Decatur, AL)
Any news on if Rolando Mclain will go pro, and if he does, who would be his likely replacement?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
McClain indicated after the BCS title game that he was leaning toward going pro. He's going to be a top 15 pick, and Saban will advise him to go. I certainly think Hightower is capable of replacing him depending on how Saban wants to shuffle his linebackers. Jerrell Harris and Nico Johnson are both going to be good players.
Chris, who runs the Wild Rebel next year for Ole Miss? What is your thoughts on the team next year? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I'd like to see Jesse Grandy with his hands on the ball more. Tim Simon is a bigger back that the Rebels' coaches like a lot. Bolden will also be back. Unfortunately, I don't see another McCluster in the program right now. I'm not sure there's another McCluster anywhere, though. I would think next season will be a rebuilding one for the Rebels. Lot of holes to fill. Could be tough getting to seven wins.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Any chance LSU fires Crowton and goes after Chow or Leach as their OC?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
If Miles were going to make a move on Crowton, I would have thought he already would have done it. But something has to give with that offense. They were terrible this year, and there's too much talent there to be that bad. The scary part is that I don't know if they'll be any better on the offensive line next year. Surely, they will get Shepard more involved.
On the too early top 25 Auburn wasn't there. I can't see how Auburn isn't in the top 25 starting next year.
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
I would have Auburn in my Top 25, if that makes you feel any better. In the SEC, I'd have Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn and Georgia in that order. I was going to put South Carolina in mine, but I'm boycotting the Gamecocks after that dreadful performance in the bowl game.
No love for Tennessee as top 5 job? Great facilities and recruiting budget, plus we let you hire relatives and spend millions on assistants.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Tennessee wouldn't be in my top four jobs in the SEC. I'd go 1. Florida 2. Alabama 3. LSU 4. Georgia 5. TennesseeTennessee doesn't have the homegrown talent to be one of the top three or four jobs in the SEC, and the facilties aren't as good as you might think compared to Florida, LSU, Alabama, etc. They have done a nice job on the stadium, though, and especially the new locker room at the stadium.
Dan Weber (Iowa City)
What was with Saban scoring a TD with 47 seconds left in the NC game?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
Wondered about that myself. Usually, he just takes a knee there. Saban has never been one to run up the score.
Chris - After their sterling bowl performance, I think it is time to quit using the words "offensive genius" and "Steve Spurrier" in the same sentence. Wouldn't you agree? He has yet to put an offense worth a lick ont he field since he's been in Columbia.
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Honestly, I thought it looked pretty promising for South Carolina next year based on the way the Gamecocks played against Clemson and all the good young talent returning ... and then they go out and lay a giant egg against UConn. I'm holding off on making any more predictions on where the Gamecocks go from here. Spurrier hasn't been able to fix his offensive line problems there, and losing his offensive line coach before the bowl game clearly hurt them. That's where it starts. If they don't get any better up front next season, it's not going to matter anywhere else.
Sean (Pensacola, FL)
C-Low, What are your thoughts on Florida's recruiting thus far and where it might end up? Seems that Urban is working the phones pretty well.
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
Not bad for a guy on leave, huh? Meyer is one of the best recruiters out there and he has the best state to recruit from. Right now, the Gators have nine of the top 33 players in the country committed, so I'd say anybody thinking Florida is going to drift away as a national power might want to think again. They might be somewhat down next season, but it won't last long.
Will (Metairie, LA)
What is your prediction on LSU's record next year? 8-4 maybe?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
If it's 8-4, then Les Miles has a real problem.
How shocking would it be to you if Bama doesn't win the SEC again next year?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I wouldn't be shocked at all if Alabama doesn't win it again next year. Remember, they were saying the same thing about Florida this time last year, and the Gators had more returning players than the Tide.
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
This just in: Rolando McClain will hold a news conference at Alabama today at 2:30 p.m. ET where he's expected to announce that he's declaring for the NFL draft.
Chris, Florida had a great week on the recruiting front, what I found interesting though was that all of the recruits mentioned they talked with coach Meyer, he doesn't seem to be taking hi loa too seriously.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
I think he'll take most of his down time after signing day. I'm not sure how much he'll be around for spring practice. But it's like I've been saying: Guys like Urban Meyer don't just easily walk away. It's not the way they're wired.
I thought you lived in Knoxville. Why are you biased against Tennessee? Aren't you afraid of eggs?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
I do live in Knoxville. I'm not biased against Tennessee, and I'm not really all that afraid of eggs.Maybe Kiffin does what Saban has with the Alabama job and makes the Tennessee job a top 5-type job. Still, there are a lot of challenge associated with the Tennessee job. Kiffin seems to be off to a good start recruiting.
Who do you think will be the next SEC assistant to become a head coach somewhere?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
I'll give you a few: Jim McElwain, Gus Malzahn, Kirby Smart, Dan McCarney, Steve Brown, James Willis.
If Jimbo Fischer and Bo Pelini were still in Baton Rouge, do you think LSU would still be a NC contender?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
You want to throw Saban in there, too?
Kenneth (San Diego, CA)
Why is Florida so much more coveted than FSU or Miami? Is it strictly because of recent success? Don't forget the 80's and 90's the Gators played second fiddle in recruiting to those teams, so is it all about recent performance for the recruits or does playing in the SEC give that much of an edge over the ACC?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
I think you'll see Florida State come back strong under Jimbo Fisher.
How quickly will Kiffin be on the hot seat if the Vols have another 7 win season (likely since they must start over at QB)? All of LK's talking could get him trouble once the luster of hope starts wearing off.
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
I don't think you can fairly evaluate Kiffin until after the third season. He needs a chance to get two or three recruiting classes in there first. But, yes, some of his talking has raised the stakes. That said, his approach seems to be attracting players, and that's how you win.
Allen King (Columbus,Ga)
I know it's way early but who you got taking the SEC east next year?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
I think the Gators until they prove otherwise.
Were you surprised by the departure of Snead at Ole Miss given the lackluster follow-up to his stellar finish in 2008? Does this hurt Ole Miss significantly at QB, a spot where Coach Nutt seems better at molding those he's inheritted than ones he has recruited?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Yes, I was surprised Snead came out after such a tough season. I guess he feels like next year wouldn't improve his stock with most of his OL and top playmakers leaving. Whoever it is next year (Stanley) will certainly have to grow into the position and will take his lumps along the way. This team really leaned on McCluster this year.
Did the Texas defense change anyones mind on the big twelve not playing tough defense? They were on the field alot and played pretty well I thought.
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
Actually, that's two years in a row that the Big 12 played some tough 'D' in the title game. Oklahoma wasn't shabby last season against Florida.
Robert Norton (Columbia, SC)
With Snead, Tebow, Cox, and Crompton leaving; other than the obvious choice of Ryan Mallet, who do you think is the quarterback to watch next year in the SEC that will take the next big step?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
I would hope Jordan Jefferson takes a big step, and other than the bowl game, Stephen Garcia was much better this season and much more efficient.
John (SSI, GA)
The Gators? Are you serious? Tell me why? Yes they have Brantley, but Tebow is gone, along with a good portion of their Defense and Offense. Meyer is taking an LOA? Why would the players on that team play hard now? Nobody talks about UGA or UT. No way, IF Kirby Smart comes to Georgia, then watch out SEC!!
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
OK, the Dawgs. Feel better? Nah, Florida will still be very good on defense, and Brantley is a big-time passer. Georgia will be starting a first-time guy at QB. The Bulldogs are losing a ton on defense (Curran, Jones, Atkins, Owens, Weston), but I do like the nucleus of skill players (Ealey, King and Green). Should be a good battle in the East next year.
Did you get a chance to play some golf during your Rose Bowl trip?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Art (St. Augustine)
Chirs, When Chizik was hired at AU the hire was widely panned with one member of ESPN staff saying it was the worst hire in history. After seeing these past season and AU current recruiting standing, how would you rate him?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
A solid B. The only thing you count off agaisnt him is the way Auburn sort of limped to the finish, losing five of its last six SEC games. But that was due more to a lack of depth and playing 11 straight weeks without a bye.
Do you think the SEC will win the NC in '10?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Boy, if they do, maybe they should just start having a title game for SEC teams and then a second one for everybody else ... only kidding.
Who touches the ball more next season, Trent Richardson or Mark Ingram? You have to let Ingram go for another Heisman, right?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Man, what a great problem to have.
When you rank the best coaching jobs, is your biggest factor the recruiting base? Where do facilities, fan support, national exposure, etc. come in?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Recruiting base would be No. 1, followed by facilities and national exposure and right up there at the top is the overall commitment (financial, etc.) to do whatever it takes to make that program an elite program.
I think Alabama was really lucky for Colt McCoy's injury. A couple of their games were lucky wins in my opinion, like Tennessee and Auburn. I also believe Cameron Newton will be a QB to watch next season.
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Hard to find championship teams that don't have some luck along the way. I agree that Newton has a chance to be exactly what Malzahn is looking for in that offense.
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
As always, thanks for the questions. It's always a blast to talk college football. We'll do it again next week.
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