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 (12:59 PM)
Hello all. The season is almost upon us.
Tom (Richmond, VA)
What are you hearing on the Pouncey issue with the agent at Florida?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
Still developing. Florida found out about it in June and notified the NCAA and law enforcement officials. Pouncey played in the Sugar Bowl, which was after he allegedly took the money. If that's proven to be true, then he would have been ineligible. Otherwise, I wouldn't think Florida is on the hook as long as they followed all the protocol and reported it in a timely fashion.
Chris, BIG Bama fan writing to you. Please rate the Tide's chances of going undefeated and meeting up with Florida for a rematch in the SEC title game. Do you see Bama being able to beat Florida twice in one season?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
If Alabama gets past that Arkansas/Florida stretch, I think the Tide's chances of going unbeaten are very good. But overall, whether it's having to beat Florida twice or anything else, I think the chances are greater that Alabama loses a game this year somewhere along the way than they are that the Tide has another unbeaten season. Just too hard to do that in this league twice in a row.
Jon (Little Rock, AR)
Chris, how much improvement do you think is possible for the Arkansas defense?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
To be fair, there was some improvement at times last year. I thought the Hogs played very well on defense in the Florida game. But overall, they just have to be more consistent and not give up so many plays of 50 yards or more. A reasonable goal would be to finish among the top 50 teams in the country in total defense.
Nick M. (Atlanta, GA)
Can you explain to me how one unproven QB (Brantley at UF) is being heralded as the second coming of Peyton Manning and another (Murray at UGA) is being treated as the second coming of Joe Tereshinski III? Both were top 2 or 3 QBs ranked in high school, both were red shirted, etc. UGA's offensive line is going to be miles better than UF's. What gives?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I would disagree with you that Georgia's offensive line is going to be miles better than Florida's. I think both lines will be among the best in the league this year. But your point is well taken. Brantley has at least played a few snaps in the SEC and has a little more experience. But, ultimately, you're right. All that matters is what they do out there on the field. Both players were highly recruited. We'll see how it shakes out this year.
Jon (Little Rock, AR)
Chris, explain the AU hype for me. The Tigers lost their best player on O (Ben Tate) and 2 of their best defenders (Coleman, Mcfadden). They also have a new QB, which usually doesn't bode well for contending teams. Help me out here!
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
I still think Auburn is a year or so away from competing for the West crown, but the Tigers should have more depth this season, which cost them dearly a year ago. They're excited about what Cam Newton can do in Gus Malzahn's offense, have four of their five starting offensive linemen returning and really like their playmakers at receiver. There's still some proving to do on defense, but I can see the Tigers at least being a factor in the race this season.
Taylor (Fairfax, Virginia)
Has there been any more news on the SEC working on getting Alabama's football schedule changed so they will not be playing 6 teams coming off bye weeks next year?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
The SEC has said there will be no changes this year. In short, nobody else in the SEC was willing to move any games. Alabama did move its nonconference game with Georgia State to Thursday so the Tide wouldn't have a short week heading into the Auburn game, which will again be played on Friday this season. The Tigers have a bye week before their game with Alabama.
Jeff F. (Baton Rouge, LA)
Will Jordan Jefferson last the full season as the starting QB at LSU or can Jarrett Lee supplant him?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Jefferson will have to be more consistent than he was during the spring to last the whole year. Lee showed this spring that he's not going away. The problem with that is that he's been good in practice before, but threw 16 interceptions two years ago when he was the starter. It's a tough call for Les Miles, but I think Jefferson will get every chance this preseason practice to resolidify himself as the starter. His stats weren't terrible last year. He just has to be more instinctive and make more plays in the passing game.
Chris, what is your opinion on the Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson debate? Who is better at what and who do you see being a better player in the future.
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
My opinion on the debate is that there is no debate. They're both great players, great talents and complement each other well. They make each other better and are fine with sharing the carries. Richardson may be a little more explosive, but Ingram is a better all-around player.
Just how depleted is Tennessee's roster this year, and how many wins you see coming from up on the hill?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I think 6-6 would be a good season for the Vols. A 7-5 season would put Derek Dooley in the running for Coach of the Year honors in the SEC. A 5-7 season may be the most realistic scenario. If you look at the Vols' first eight games, they could easily be 3-5 or even 2-6.
Yeah, it's not like Bama went undefeated in the regular season in the SEC twice in a row already. Enough with the nonsense about how tough the SEC is.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Nonsense? This is the league that has produced five of the last seven national champions. And go back and look at how Alabama had to scrap last season to go unbeaten. The Tennessee game came down to a blocked field goal. The LSU game came down to the final minutes and included a huge play by Julio Jones to turn the game around and a call that went against LSU. And then the Auburn game saw Alabama rally from two touchdowns down and then drive the length of the field in the final minutes to pull that game out. So, yes, to make it through this league unscathed takes a pretty special team, a little luck and some players stepping up and doing special things along the way.
Aaron (Ft. Benning, Ga)
If Boise State goes undefeated this year and plays in the NC Game, creates a bunch of noise by winning 2 games against BCS teams, Do they need to play an SEC team for the nation to agree with a title for Boise State, (if they won)?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
My stance on Boise State hasn't changed. Chris Petersen has done a terrific job and proven that Boise State can stand toe-to-toe with just about anybody in the country in a one-game situation. But if Boise State were in the SEC, I think they would be an 8-4 or 9-3 type team most years. That doesn't diminish what they've accomplished, but is something to think about when we start throwing national championship scenarios out there.
Any more news on Bobby Johnson? Was he just burned out?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
Honestly, he was ready to get away from football, and the urge to do so got stronger as the summer wore on. He'll be 60 in February and by doing it now, he ensured that his staff would be intact for this season.
Rett (Displaced SEC Fan)
Is there any way that a 1 loss SEC Champion doesn't get to play in the national championship game?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Sure, let's say Ohio State goes unbeaten and somebody else like a Boise State or Texas goes unbeaten. That said, history has shown that a one-loss SEC champion is going to have an excellent shot at playing in the BCS National Championship Game when all the smoke clears. In other words, it usually works out. The best pathway for a one-loss SEC champion is to draw a highly ranked opponent in the SEC championship game (sort of like Florida did with No. 1 Alabama in 2008) and then get a lot of pop with the pollsters by winning that game.
Do you think there is any chance that Ryan Mallet misses the Arkansas opener? I think the Razorbacks can handle the first couple of games without him, but it would be nice to have some warm-ups before the Georgia - Alabama stretch.
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
No, I think Mallett will be ready to go in time for the season. The Hogs are being careful with his recovery and not wanting to take any chances.
Pete (St. Louis)
Chris, thoughts on Ole Miss?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
I don't think they Rebels will be as good or talented as last year. I guess that goes without saying when you lose guys like McCluster and Hodge. But the schedule sets up nicely for them, and I really think they're going to be good again on defense under Tyrone Nix, who does an excellent job. The front seven should be one of the best in the league. So I can see eight wins, maybe even nine counting the bowl game. They're going to need some guys on offense like Brandon Bolden, Jesse Grandy and one of those quarterbacks to come through.
Who needs a bigger year for Florida to be successful on offense, Brantley, Demps, or Debose?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Great question. I'm going with Demps, because he can take the pressure off a lot of people if he has a big year running the ball. Here's the other thing about Demps: He's a big play waiting to happen with his speed. And in this league against these defenses, there's no substitute for two and three-play drives.
So you are saying an undefeated Boise State team would play for a national championship before a 1 loss (to Bama in October) Florida Team?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
No, I'm saying it's possible. Boise State is going to start the season ranked highly and will stay up there if they keep winning.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Chris, tackle the tough questions please. Your thoughts on why my friends and fellow Razorback and SEC fans chant "S-E-C" after bowl games: inferiority complex, consolation prize for no Conference or National title, or both, or neither?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I'll let you tackle that one with your fellow Razorback friends.
Jeb (Little Rock, AR)
What game do you see as being the most dangerous for Alabama?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
At Arkansas, Sept. 25. A young and inexperienced secondary going agaisnt one of the top passing attacks in college football.
people don't understand, it's not that we're saying boise or any other team would be literally worse than 3 or 4 teams in the SEC EVERY YEAR, its that the grind of playing SEC teams week in week out really wears a team down with fatigue and injuries, something most teams aren't used to as much
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
You said it better than I could. Thanks.
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. We'll catch up again next week.