Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
Looking forward to another great week in the SEC. We'll be down to one unbeaten team after Saturday's Auburn-LSU game.
Any chance of the Vols taking down Alabama this Saturday?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
No chance. Although strange things have happened in this series over the years. The 1990 game stands out when a 2-3 Alabama team shocked No. 3 Tennessee 9-6 in Knoxville. But I think this Alabama team is so far superior to Tennessee that there's really little chance of that happening Saturday night.
Jim (Tampa, FL)
Is Steve Addazio's job on the line if the Gator's don't win 8 this season?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
I would say it's probably already on the line, regardless. But Urban Meyer is extremely close to Addazio and feels that Addazio really bailed him out this past year when Meyer sort of stepped away a bit from his responsibilities. But I do believe that you'll see Meyer as involved as he's ever been in gameplanning and playcalling the rest of the season.
jack (baton rouge)
as Les Miles is saying there no much difference in play of JJ and JR. Do u agree with him?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
No, I don't. I think Lee has been far more effective in throwing the football. I will admit that Jefferson gives them something in the running game with his ability to break loose and scramble. But throwing the football hasn't been close. Lee has been their better option.
Seth (Memphis, TN)
Bama wins out. Boise wins out. Oregon wins out. Who plays in the national championship game?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Oregon is probably No. 1 in that scenario and I would say that Alabama slips past Boise for No. 2. Alabama still has shots at two top 10 teams - LSU and Auburn. It will give them a chance to really move up the polls. In the final balloting in the human polls, I believe Alabama will get enough respect in being 12-1 and navigating through the SEC schedule to move past Boise in the final BCS standings.
Alabama's overall offensive play calling.Good or bad?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
I would say at times Alabama has gotten away from doing what they do best. They did against South Carolina because they got so far behind. This past week against Ole Miss, it had to do with how well Ole Miss played on the line. However, Alabama simply hasn't been as efficient offensively and a lot of that revolves around mistakes, penalties and putting themselves in bad down and distance situations.
Cletus (Selma, AL)
LSU, worst 8-0 team in NCAA history?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
First of all, at 7-0, I would say they're one of the luckiest 7-0 teams. But that doesn't diminish how talented this team is. Very few teams that win championships, don't experience some degree of good fortune along the way.
Before the season, the Gators looked pretty good on paper and capable of winning most their games. Now, not so much. How do you see them finishing out? 6-6 is becoming disappointingly realisitic.
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
I feel your pain, but I think the Gators will utilize this open week wisely. I think they will tweak some things offensively and at least find some semblance of an offensive identity. I still think they're the favorite to win the East and get to Atlanta. But the reality is that everyone in the East may end up with 4 losses.
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Nobody has to this point. The closest was probably Mississippi State the second week of the season. Newton is a much more polished and seasoned player now than he was back then. I'll say this, LSU has the athletes on defense to really challenge him, to go after him. I have no doubt that's what LSU will do - pressure Newton and try to force him into mistakes.
justin webb (T-Town, Alabama)
what do you think will be the biggest factor in the game between the tide and the auburn tigers?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
The first factor would be can Alabama slow down Cam Newton? The second factor would be, can Auburn defensively keep Alabama from dictating what it wants to do offensively - setting the tone early and getting Richardson and Ingram involved?
Do you think that Hartline and the Wildcats offense get it done against Georgia? They did have very impressive games against South Carolina and Auburn.
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
I'm picking Georgia because they seem to be playing their best football of the season right now. Kentucky is coming off a big win and it's hard to duplicate that for a second week. But the Wildcats have scored points on everybody. This game may come down to who has the ball last.
JL (Marshall, VA)
I've always wondered in Steve Spurrier doesn't himself cause some of the poor play seen from his QB's. He shows extreme reactions to individual plays, almost always negative. The QB knows he's going to get yanked for even the slightest error. Doesn't this create a pressure that leads to bad play by the QB?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Welcome to playing QB under the head ball coach. It's certainly something that other schools use against him in recruiting, that he is extremely difficult to play QB for. The other thing is, he hasn't really produced a lot of NFL QBs. He's a perfectionist and he has a certain way he wants it done and if you don't do it that way, he's going to let you and everyone else know.
J Stew (Southaven, MS)
Do you think Cam Newton even considers coming back for a senior season?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Given that this is his fourth year out of high school, I think he's going to have to look long and hard at entering the draft after this season. But much of that will depend on where he's projected. I can't imagine him not being taken somewhere in the first round. So, yes, we may be seeing Newton's swan song in the SEC.
Where do you rate Hartline among SEC qb's?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Based on this season? I would have Mike solidly in the top 5, probably No. 4 at this point. You could make a good argument that he and Georgia's Aaron Murray are tied for No. 3, behind only Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett.
Does Newton need Auburn to go undefeated for the season or will his play be suffiecent to get the hiesman?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
I think he's deep enough in the season now and done enough that even if Auburn loses a game that he's still going to be the favorite. Big stages matter in the Heisman race. He has another big stage against LSU. Another one the day after Thanksgiving in Atlanta. If he plays well, I think he's got enough of a lead right now that he would be your winner, regardless of whether Auburn is unbeaten or lost one or two.
Do you see Brantley as a player who is just maturing on the field a little slower than we thought or maybe a player that was overrated and having problems matching his physical skills to his on-the-field play?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Two things are at work here, as far as I'm concerned. 1) Yes, he's still learning on the job. This is the first time he's played meaningful snaps in the SEC. 2) I still think the offense that Florida is running doesn't really fit what he does best. He's a drop back passer, with a good arm. I thought we would see more two-back, play action and throw the football down the field. I think we all agree that running the option with Bradley is a wasted play.
Any chance an East team is anything more than a sacrifical lamb for the West champ in Atlanta? West 10, East 2 so far this year.
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
It certainly looks that way that the power has shifted to the West. But, you never know for sure. In 2001 LSU won the West with three losses and went on to upset a Tennessee team in the SEC championship game that was poised to play in the Rose Bowl for a national championship if they won. So, this league has surprised us before.
Do you think S. Carolina will be able to pull it out the rest of the way after that terrible (but typical) stumble against Kentucky last weekend?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
Based on where everybody else is, they still have the best shot, but like you, I have seen South Carolina stumble too many times. I guess I need to see it to believe it before I'm able to go out on a limb and say they'll win the East.
Has the light come on for Aaron Murray or does having AJ Green back make all the difference?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
I feel like Murray has played well all season long, even while Green was out. But getting Green back has opened up all sorts of possibilities for other guys on offense, which has made Murray's job easier. I can't imagine that anybody at Georgia would have expected more production or more comsistency than what the Dawgs have gotten out of Murray this year. He's one of the better freshmen QBs we've seen in this league in a long time.
Isn't Meyer's misuse of Brantley proof that maybe he is a little overrated as a coach? He did the same thing with Leak, and it was almost as painful to watch him run the ball. Why did they win the national title with Leak? Because Tebow could come in and run those plays to perfection.
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Let's give credit where credit is due. First, Meyer has won two of the last four national championships. I'm not going to call a coach with two titles on his resume overrated. They've also been consistently strong on defense. Their defense was the reason they won the title in 2006. But yes, he does seem to be a bit stubborn when it comes to his offense. Although, he said this week that they were going to do a complete self-evaluation on what needed to change.
Bobby (Albertville, AL)
Furman, Presbyterian, Mcneese State, Idaho State, Georgia State, Memphis, etc.. These are all games played by Auburn opponents the week before Auburn.. With all the media talk about teams having a bye week before playing Alabama, I almost think a "tune up" game is better than a bye.. What's your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
It depends on how banged up you are. The value of an open date is if you have players injured or banged up, it allows them that extra week to rest up, especially at this point in the season. As a coach, I would prefer to not have any game, even if I were playing a team that was woefully outmatched and you knew you were going to win. I say that, because of the grind in this league. It's the grind that gets you and bye weeks are valuable.
Ready to back off your 6-6 prediction for the Vols yet?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Maybe I didn't fully comprehend the issues that this team faces, in particular their lack of depth and lack of experience. So, yes, 6-6 looks like it's probably going to be a long shot this year. However, if they can keep from sustaining any more major injuries, there's not a team on their schedule in November that they're not capable of beating.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Can anybody be considered the favorite in the East right now?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
That's probably a pretty good way of looking at it. South Carolina still has a little edge because they beat Georgia. However, they still have to go to Florida and Georgia and Florida play in Jacksonville. Arkansas plays at South Carolina. There are too many scenarios out there to pick a favorite at this point.
Tim Tebow (Denver, CO)
Do you think I should have been more of a friend to Cameron Newton to keep him at Gainesville? I think my old coach is biting his fist right now.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Tim, the entire Gator Nation probably wishes they could turn back the clock. The landscape of this league would change dramatically if he were still wearing a Florida uniform.
Who wins FSU-Florida?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
That's still a ways off, but looking at it right now, Florida is playing some of its worst football and FSU seems to be playing some of its best. With the game in Tallahassee, I have to pick the Seminoles.
Agree/disagree: The SEC West will get more "credit" at year's end if Auburn or LSU runs the table versus those two, Alabama, and Arkansas taking turns beating each other. If true...what does that say exactly?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
I agree. If either LSU or Auburn can skate through unbeaten and sit there 13-0 as the SEC champion, I think it's a lock, no matter who else wins in college football, that they'll be playing in the BCS national championship game. However, I think when everything clears in the SEC, everyone will have at least one loss.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Does the SEC retain the NC crown, regardless of which SEC team plays (assuming the SEC champ plays in the NC game), or is this the year that we get beat, or even left out completely?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
The SEC's best chance to be in the game is for either Auburn or LSU to win out. If Alabama is the champ with one loss, then I believe they're the best chance to get into the game with one loss.
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
Once in the game, the SEC has proven, with its unbeaten record in BCS national championship games, that it's not smart to root against them.
What do you think of the new "Black Bear" mascot the "team up north" has ?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
I commented about the Black Bear mascot last week and was told that I was being insensitive. So, I will make no further comment about the Black Bear mascot.
In reference to MS Bulldogs, which games are remaining for wins to them and any chance of major upset considering their current winning momentum?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
The big game that looms for State is the big game against Alabama. That would be a huge win for the program, even bigger than the win against Florida. Other than that game, I think they'll be favored, or at least be right there as a pick 'em type game in every game they play the rest of the way. If they can continue this momentum and continue playing defense and running the football the way they are, this is a team that has a chance to win 8-9 games this season.
How insensitive of you to not make a comment about the Black Bear!!!!!!
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Again, I've said my piece about the Rebel Black Bear. To quote Rick Cleveland, the esteemed columnist at the Jackson (Miss.) Claion-Ledger, "folks, it's just a mascot." Although, I do believe that Colonel Reb is somewhere sipping on toddy as this great debate rages.
Do you think Mark Richt is the reason for the DAWGS disappointment? A lot of my friends are saying he should go, my other question would be could they find a better coach.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
My advice to you is look at what happened at Tennessee. Running off a longtime successful coach doesn't always mean things will get better. In fact, often times they will get worse. Richt isn't going anywhere. The Dawgs seem to be playing better. They're recruiting well and, who knows, with the way the East is going, they may win the East and go to Atlanta.
Who's D steps up and stops the other team's offense for the W: LSU or AU?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
LSU's defense has a lot tougher challenge ahead of it than Auburn's defense. To me, it's more who can make the critical stops on defense in the fourth quarter. That's what's going to win or lose this football game.
Do you think it's an unfair advantage to play 7 out of your 12 games at home like LSU, Auburn and most other SEC teams?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
That's just standard operating procedure in the SEC. No teams play fewer than 7 at home. But that's the same at all of the major conferences. Texas, USC, all of them.
south carolina or lsu?who has the better defense?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
LSU by a long shot. Have you seen South Carolina try to defend the pass lately?
Chad (Las Vegas)
Special Teams will win the LSU AU game and I have to say LSU has the better ST. Would you agree that LSU has better ST's?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Yes, I think LSU is better across the board on special teams. They have one of the most dynamic return men in college football in Peterson. But last week, Auburn sort of broke through on special teams with the 99-yard return and blocking the punt. So, maybe it's not as one-sided as we may have thought.
SEC or the Yankees? Who is more hated on right now? It sucks being the best!
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
Good analogy. As a very successful coach once told me that the wind blows the hardest at the top of the flag pole.
Do you think that the vols should be preparing for next year,or Try to have a winning record?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
First of all, I don't know how it would be possible to play any more young players than they are already playing. They're planning on playing a freshman QB this week. I would say that they're already on that road. They're not just playing for next year, but they're committed to playing young players. The benefit for getting to 6-0 and playing another game would be valuable for a team with this much youth and inexperience.
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday. I guess we'll find out whether offense or defense reigns this season in the SEC.