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 (12:58 PM)
Hope everyone had a great weekend. Let's get right to it.
David (Denver, CO)
Chris what do you think about the fact Ole Miss has still yet to get any commits for the upcoming season, is it a big cause for concern? It seems thier aiming their sights too high and going after big time 5 and 4 star recruits which are obviously choosing more high profile schools, is it too early too pay any attention to?
Chris Low (1:02 PM)
I'm somewhere in the middle on this one. Recruiting starts earlier and earlier now. So the better start you get off to, the the less hectic January is. Look at what Alabama and LSU have done to this point. With Ole Miss, I think it's more that Houston Nutt and his staff are trying to be patient and let everything play out. I think they are shooting high on some players. But with others, they're allowing some things to sort out. Remember, they got Massie and Patterson late last year. Now, if we're sitting here in October and the Rebels only have a handful of public commitments, then that's a problem.
Will (Metairie, LA)
LSU has a talented secondary this season. Lots of speed. Will Morris Claiborne live up to his spring hype at the CB position? Do you see Craig Loston beating out Jai Eugene for the starting FS?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
Put it this way: I think LSU will have one of the top two or three defensive backfields in the league. The coaches love Claiborne and think he genuinely has a chance to develop into a Patrick Peterson type of player. They still want to see Loston be more physical and more consistent. Down the road, he may move into the starting lineup, but I don't see him beating out Eugene early in the season. Plus, LSU likes having that extra speed on the field.
chris (north richland hills tx)
does john brantley have a chance to be the best qb in the sec this year with that being said do they win the east?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
I think he has a chance to be the best QB in the SEC East, but not the SEC. Ryan Mallett would be my choice there. But, yes, my pick at this point would be the Gators in the East, although I think Georgia will have something to say about that.
Jeremy (B'ham, AL)
Whats up Mr. Low? With Auburn's defense being hit and miss last season and now having coach Roof in his second season with a little more depth will Auburn's defense improve enough to not lose the close games like last year?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
That's the plan. The depth will be better, which should help the Tigers avoid a fade similar to last season. They lost five of their last six SEC games. They also had to play 11 straight weeks before they got a bye. They face that same stretch next season. To me, players like Eguae and Ford up front and Freeman at linebacker are key. They need to have big seasons. And then a guy like Fairley needs to develop into an All-SEC caliber player. Getting help from some of the freshmen will also be important, and I think the final factor is how much they'll get from the three injured safeties returning. I like the idea of playing Bates as a hybrid linebacker. He gives you a different dimension at that position. Stopping the run is where it all starts. Coach Chizik made that very clear when I visited with him this spring. The Tigers have to be significantly improved in that area.
Top 5 running backs in the SEC this year?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
My preseason ranking would be:1. Mark Ingram2. Trent Richardson3. Washaun Ealey4. Jeff Demps5. Derrick LockeNow, once we get into the season, I think some other guys are going to make strong bids to crack that top 5.Among them: Ronnie Wingo Jr. at Arkansas, Mario Fannin at Auburn, Tauren Poole at Tennessee, Marcus Lattimore at South Carolina and Stevan Ridley at LSU.I also think Brandon Bolden at Ole Miss will have a strong season. He's lost some weight, and the Rebels are going to give him the ball.
Chris, Your thoughts on how many NC's Saban will have as coach at Bama. Is it safe to say we will at least get 2 more before he's done?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I wouldn't say anything is "safe" in terms of winning a national title or titles. There are so many different variables that go into winning a title and everything has to fall just right. But I'm already on record as saying the 2009 title won't be Saban's last at Alabama.
Will (Washington DC)
Chris I got a big question. If Ole Miss starts the season 5-0 and if, and only if the beat Alabama, who would they lose to? Think about it. Undefeated season maybe?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
I don't want to spoil your optimisim. But, no, I don't see Ole Miss going unbeaten even if the Rebels were to upset Alabama. They have too many holes to fill and too many unknowns. I do, however, think they have a great chance to be 5-0. Really, they should be, and if they're not, there will be some grumbling in the Grove. I've got the Rebels somewhere between 7-5 and 8-4 next season. They will be very good on defense.
Doran (Talladega, AL)
Which team or teams do you think could hinder Bama's chances at a third regular undefeated season?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
The game at Arkansas on Sept. 25 is pretty ominous. The Hogs can throw it as well as anybody, and Alabama's secondary will still be pretty young and inexperienced at that point.
You were high on Carolina's chances at making a run in the East early this spring, but you seem to have backed off that a bit...Is it the Spurrier/Garcia "spat" or did you see something at their practices that discouraged you?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
The Garcia thing concerns me. I still think the Gamecocks have enough talent to make a run. But if Garcia doesn't respond to Spurrier's calling him out publicly, then the Head Ball Coach sounds like he's serious about playing true freshman Connor Shaw. True freshman quarterbacks and SEC defenses are bad mixes. So much of it for South Carolina (and Georgia) comes down to that game the second week of the season in Columbia. The winner there will have a chance to unseat Florida. I really like South Carolina's defense.
Rob (Baltimore, MD)
Chris, Who do you think has the best secondary in the SEC this year?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Can I give you my top three? I'll go with LSU, Florida and South Carolina in that order. Auburn could also jump in there if Savage, Etheridge and McNeil come back healthy. But right now, I'd go with LSU as No. 1.
I know it's early, but pick one big upset for this season....
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
How about Arkansas over Alabama? That would qualify as big, especially since Alabama hasn't lost a regular-season SEC game in two years.Another one to watch is Mississippi State over Auburn the second week of the season on Thursday night in Starkville.And lastly, Georgia taking down Florida in Jacksonville might not be so farfetched.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Hotter seat in the SEC Miles or Spurrier?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I'll go Miles. Spurrier could go 8-4 this season and be fine. If Miles goes 8-4 (and especially if the Tigers lose to Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss again), then he could be in some trouble. That opener against North Carolina in Atlanta will be huge for Miles and the program to get some momentum heading into the SEC schedule.
Will Justin Houston thrive in Grantham's 3-4 defense? He seems to have some untapped potential.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Once he gets the hang of it, he should be fine. He has excellent pass-rushing instincts and is plenty athletic. I know he's the one Grantham is counting on being their "finisher" in terms of getting to the quarterback.
Kipper (Jax, Florida)
Do you think Florida fans should be worried more about John Brantley's big game inexperience, lack of depth at QB, replacing the starters, losing Charlie Strong, or problems in the running game at the end of the season?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
To me, the biggest concern would be the overall development of the defense with so many key pieces gone. And that includes Strong.
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
I'd have to say Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have to face the last three national champions on the road -- LSU (Sept. 18), Florida (Oct. 16) and Alabama (Nov.13). In addition, the Bulldogs have to face Georgia, Auburn and Arkansas at home and travel to face high-scoring Houston and Case Keenum on the road the week before they go to Florida.
Deuce (Ft. Myers) [via mobile]
Wzup Chris...I have always been a big Will Hill fan do you think now with him starting he will be able to be the ballhawk the Gators need in the backfield
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
Absolutely. He's big and fast, a big hitter, and can cover better than Major Wright could.
What is it about Georgia that you think they have what it takes to challenge Florida next year? They have a new QB and a new DC.
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
10 starters back on offense, a more aggressive approach on defense, Florida losing so many key players and experienced playmakers on offense (Green, Ealey, King and Charles) capable of making big plays.
Chris, as I get older, I think Michigan State refusing to give Nick Saban a ton of money was one of the worst mistakes in college football history. Detractors say that Saban could have never made MSU a powerhouse but seeing what he's done in the SEC, I am still jealous after all these years. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I would say you're right. Alabama gave him a ton of money, and he brought a national championship to Tuscaloosa in his third season after the Tide had gone 17 years without winning one -- and he did it during a time when the coaching, talent level, parity in the SEC was way up there. Saban is one of the few "sure things" in college football, meaning he's going to win and challenge for titles no matter where he is.
Deuce (Ft. Myers) [via mobile]
Hi Chris...have you heard any news on Jelani Jenkins this year, i know the Gators have a spot to fill with Stamper gone do you see him in the mix this season?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
I think he will be the Gators' starting middle linebacker next season. He has unbelievable speed and can cover so much ground. The other thing about Jenkins is that he can also play one of the outside spots. Jenkins and Jon Bostic both are going to be excellent players.
Top WR in the SEC not named Julion Jones or A.J. Green?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Tough question! I think Kentucky's Randall Cobb is the SEC's most versatile player, but he does so much more than just play receiver. As for pure receivers, I'd go with some combination of Greg Childs, Darvin Adams and Alshon Jeffery. Watch the guys at LSU this year, too. Terrance Toliver, Russell Shepard and Rueben Randle can all play.
Todd (Sulligent, AL)
I've heard a ton of talk about Arkansas being a team to watch this season. Have they hired another team to play defense? Because the team I saw last year could not stop anyone.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
True enough. I think they'll be improved on defense. We'll see if they're improved enough to win the big games next year.
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Thanks a bunch. Gotta run. We'll do it again next week.