Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to preview the SEC spring 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
Good afternoon to everyone. Anybody up for some college football discussion?
Evan (New Orleans, LA)
Good afternoon Chris, is it just me or is Patrick Peterson possibly the best corner in the country heading into 2010? As an LSU fan, I have seen him make plays that some DBs can't even imagine making. (e.g. interception against Alabama last season where he was incorrectly ruled out of bounds)
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Yes, I believe Patterson enters the 2010 season as certainly one of the best two or three corners in the country. He has great size. He's physical, has great ball skills and is an excellent open-field tackler. He made a couple of plays on Tebow last year you just don't see corners make.
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
My bad for the typo. Should have been Peterson.
Do you really see Alabama going undefeated a 3rd time?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
No, I don't. I think they get tripped up somewhere along the way. This league is just too good for a school to go through a regular season for a third straight year unbeaten. I do believe Alabama will be very good again, the best team in the SEC and the Tide could certainly challenge for a national title again with one loss. But when you look at their losses on defense, I just don't see another unblemished record.
Chris,Why are you such a Gator homer? I've never seen such a biased "journalist" in my life...
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
At some point, I've been labeled a homer for just about every team in the league. It goes with the territory.
Chris, My friends and I went to a big 10 school and are big 10 supporters but cant deny the appeal and atmosphere of the SEC. Last year, we went to a game in Knoxville, and want to do another SEC roadtrip this fall. All factors considered, where should we go??
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
LSU is my favorite stop in the league. Great stadium. Great atmosphere. Great tailgating. Great band and just a great setting for college football. So much history there, too. But you honestly can't go wrong anywhere you go in the SEC. Alabama's expanding its stadium to hold more than 100,000. That place for the Penn State game ought to be crazy.
Matt D. (Spartanburg,SC)
What are your expectations of Steven Garcia this year? Also do you think Stephon Gilmore will also impact at the QB position in 2010-11? Go COCKS!!!!
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
The Head Ball Coach would like to see Garcia be more consistent in 2010. There were still things Spurrier would have liked to have called last year that he didn't because he was afraid to with Garcia. I still felt like Garcia improved a bunch and didn't put the ball in harm's way as much. If he takes a similar step this year, he has a chance to be one of the top three or four QBs in the league.
SEC West -- getting tougher; SEC East -- slip sliding away...Chris, your take?
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
I don't think the East will ever slide away with Florida around. But I do think the West will be stronger this year for the second straight season. Auburn, Arkansas and LSU are all so close, which is going to make it a battle. And Alabama will again be one of the top three teams in the country. I predict Mississippi State makes some noise this year, too.
Brian Harbach (Greensboro, NC)
I would like to read your take on the Auburn defense, obviously a problem last year but Chizik and Ted Roof are good defensive coaches...are the players on the roster to make a big improvement this year?
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
The depth should be better and has to get better if the Tigers are going to contend in the West. Somebody has to step up and be their finisher up front, in the same mold as Coleman last year. It's a big spring for Fairley at tackle, and I look forward to seeing what Eguae can do. If a couple of those defensive backs can come back from injury, I like the younger talent in the secondary. I still think Auburn is another recruiting class away from being where it wants to be defensively.
Evan (New Orleans, LA)
Hey Chris, do you think Craig Loston will now be a starter at safety for LSU? With Chad Jones leaving and Loston's incredible talent, it would make sense. If so, how much of an impact do you think he will have?
Chris Low (2:17 PM)
Yes, I think Loston will slide in for Jones. He has a huge upside with the kind of size and speed John Chavis loves in his safeties.
Brandon (Dawsonville GA)
Chris can my Dawgs win the east this year, or are they still a year away with the changes on D, and a new QB.
Chris Low (2:19 PM)
To me, South Carolina and Georgia have the best chance to knock off Florida in the East this year. But doing it with a first-year player at QB is always tough. The good thing is that everybody else is back on offense. Grantham is a solid coach, but it may take some time to adjust to the 3-4 and the Bulldogs also need to recruit to that defense. Georgia will be more equipped to make a run in 2011, but Florida should also be a lot better that season once its young talent has a chance to develop and mature.
marc (Pensacola, Fl)
hey chris there is alot of hype around brantley at UF..is he gonna be the real deal of course the gators need some recievers to step up too.
Chris Low (2:22 PM)
You nailed it on the receivers. I think Brantley will be fine. He can really throw it and got a lot of quality work last spring with the first unit. But he needs more help from all the of playmakers than Tebow got last year. Debose needs to be really good right away, and Deonte Thompson needs to be more consistent. It will be interesting to see what Rainey does in the slot. And can Florida run it? Moody will be a key now that Tebow isn't around to do all the dirty work on conversion downs.
Chris you posted a list of the 10 best non conference games the SEC has this year. Which of them would be the best win out of the group for the SEC?
Chris Low (2:26 PM)
I'd say Tennessee since Oregon is going to be a Top 5 team. The SEC could use a few wins against the Pac-10. The Vols have lost three of their last four to Pac-10 teams. The other game that jumps out is that Florida State game at the end of the season for Florida. The game's in Tallahassee, and this should be the Seminoles' best chance to beat the Gators in a long time. Meyer has never lost to FSU. It would also be a big lick for the conference if Alabama really hammers Penn State that second week.
Chris, Miss. St was probably the best 7 loss team ever last season- only lost 2 games to unranked teams (Auburn and Ark.)...I know you look at them as a dark horse, but care to take a stab at their 2010 record?
Chris Low (2:30 PM)
My stab is 7-5. The two key games, as I look at the Bulldogs' schedule right now, are Houston on the road and that Auburn game on a Thursday night the second week of the season. Mississippi State plays four of its first five games at home. The Bulldogs need to come out of that stretch no worse than 3-2. If they're 4-1, the cowbells will be clanging loudly, to say the least.
Jeff (Austin, TX)
Chris, love your blogs. What should be the ceiling for my expectations for my Vols this season? And can I expect Tyler Bray to be our starting QB on opening day?
Chris Low (2:34 PM)
If Tennessee can get to seven wins again in the regular season, then Derek Dooley and his staff will have done an excellent job. I would say eight wins would be the ceiling, but I don't know that I can definitively point to six wins on Tennessee's schedule, either. Bray will get every chance this spring to show what he's got. Stephens has an edge in experience. But if he's going to play for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, he has to improve his accuracy.
Jeb (KC Metro)
Does Arkansas live up to the preseason hype, or are they this year's Ole Miss? The Rebs had a good year, but not when compared to expectations.Thanks
Chris Low (2:37 PM)
Give Ole Miss credit for not tanking and coming back strong after a poor start. You're right, the Rebels weren't a factor in the West race, and that was disappointing. This will be new ground for Arkansas, but Bobby Petrino really likes this team's attitude and approach. The Hogs are going to outscore a lot of people, but you always have to grind out a few on defense to contend in this league. We'll see if Arkansas is there yet.
Y. Chen (Tallahassee Fla.)
In your opinion which is the most unsafe (taking your life in your own hands) stadium, for fans of a visiting team?
Chris Low (2:38 PM)
Anywhere you're wearing visiting colors? LOL
Stephen (Baton Rouge)
Chris, I've been seeing a gradual shift in what is being worn around town from LSU to Saints over the last couple of years. Is Les Miles putting the giant back to sleep? How many games does he have to win this year to be safe?
Chris Low (2:42 PM)
I know we all have short memories in the SEC, but Miles did win a national title in 2007. So let's see how the Tigers respond on offense this season, if they're better, use their talent better and are better organized in late-game situations. They still have plenty of talent. But to answer your question, if he loses four or more games again, I'd say he would be on shaky ground. It's just the way it is now in SEC. There is no such thing as a lifetime -- or even a five-year safe haven -- just because you've won a title.
Todd (Decatur, AL)
What do you think about Alabama having to play so many SEC games coming off the opponents bye week?
Chris Low (2:43 PM)
Alabama is trying to address that with the league and make sure that doesn't happen in future seasons.
Chris, Why did you leave Jon Crompton off the 30 best players list when he had the 2nd most productive season behind only Mallett and he will probably be drafted higher than 15 of the guys on that list?
Chris Low (2:47 PM)
Jonathan rebounded from an awful stretch there in September to have a very good season. However, I still didn't think he was one of the best 30 players in the league last season, which is obviously a subjective thing. It wasn't a ranking of pro prospects in the SEC, either, although I have a hard time seeing him go higher than 15 guys on that list.
Aaron (Gainesville )
Good Afternoon Chris, Who do you think will be the starting in Spikes place? Joe Haden's place?
Chris Low (2:51 PM)
At Spikes' middle linebacker spot, I think it will be a duel between Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic. Freshman Joshua Shaw is the guy to watch at corner opposite Janoris Jenkins. If the Gators go with experience, third-year sophomore Adrian Bushell might be the guy. Jeremy Brown could also be a factor at corner if he can stay healthy. He's had injuries the last two years.
Jim (Memphis, TN)
Thoughts on Rebels this year? With 2010 schedule, they could start out 5-0. They return alot of key players on defense. Remember, this is when Nutt shines when guys like you pick them to fall.
Chris Low (2:56 PM)
You are right, sir. Nutt has traditionally done his best work when everybody is counting his team out. And, yes, the schedule is soft, the softest in the SEC for the second straight year. If the Rebels aren't 5-0 to start the season, there's going to be problems. Their toughest game in that stretch is a toss-up between Kentucky or Vanderbilt at home. But after that is when it gets tough. With so many first-year starters on offense, I'm thinking the Rebels finish up around 7-5 in the regular season.
Is this the year that my Gamecocks finally stop making me cry and win the SEC East?
Chris Low (3:00 PM)
If it's not the year, I'm afraid you're going to be crying for several more to come. This is easily their best shot since Spurrier arrived with the 19 starters back and Florida losing so many good players. Tennessee is down. Georgia will be playing a freshman QB and is overhauling its defense. A lot of things point to the Gamecocks making a run. But just like that UConn game in the bowl last year, just when you're ready to think they might be poised to break through, they lay an egg. That said, if they beat Georgia at home the second week, I think they will be in the East race when November rolls around. That's as far as I'm ready to go right now.
Dan S. (Auburn, AL)
Chris, good afternoon. What are your expectations and predictions from Cameron Newton as to he will be most likely the QB for Auburn.
Chris Low (3:02 PM)
A big-time athlete who can run and pass. You're talking about a guy who's bigger than Tebow. I do believe he will be the guy, and I think he's pretty close to what Gus Malzhan is looking for in his offense.
Be honest, did you watch the team USA hockey team last night? I thought it was the most exciting sports event I have seen since the last SEC game
Chris Low (3:04 PM)
I did and the last seven minutes were unbelievable as far as the end-to-end action. Took me back 30 years ago when the Americans beat the Russians.
Chris Low (3:05 PM)
Hey, we answer hockey questions here, too. Thanks again for a super chat. We'll do it again next week at the regular time on Monday. Remember, LSU opens its spring this Friday. Have a great week!