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)
William (Birmingham, AL)
What team do you pick to win the SEC west next season?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
Not going to commit to one team this early. Right now, I see it as a toss-up between Alabama and LSU. It probably helps the Tide that LSU has to come to Tuscaloosa next season.
LSU Reveille reporting Kragthorpe is new OC. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
I guess I'm a little surprised that Miles would go the former head coach route again, but that doesn't mean Kragthorpe won't be successful. He's clearly got a vast background running offenses and coaching QBs. One of the sticking points will be: Does Miles let Kragthorpe run what he wants to, or is it a mix of the two? I think Kragthorpe's knowledge of the passing game will help the Tigers. They obviously need to be able to throw the ball better and have good weapons at WR. Kragthorpe's biggest responsbility, though, will be developing a QB (Mettenberger or Jefferson) and getting better play out of that position.
Gary (Austin, Tx)
Chris Auburn seems to be close on several top level prospects that remain uncommitted to close out this years recruiting cycle. What are the chances they finish strong now that the coaching staff doesn't have national championship game preparation to occupy their time?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Yep, you're right. Sometimes when you go so deep into the season with the national title preparations, that actually hurts recruiting a little bit. But with all the momentum that program has now, combined with the caliber of recruiters on that staff, I think Auburn will definitely win its share of battles down the stretch.
Live in NW Arkansas but am not a local that grew up here. Can you explain to me why the fans here think that the program should be mentioned in the same breath as LSU, Alabama, and Florida?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
Well, they were in the same breath this season. The hard part is sustaining that success in this league and being one of those upper tier programs in the SEC every year. That's Bobby Petrino's challenge. I like his chances if they can continue to recruit at a high level. And if you're a talented offensive prospect, why would you not want to play in that offense? But, yes, it's premature right now to say that Arkansas is on a par with the programs at Alabama, Florida and LSU.
Brandon (Athens GA)
Chris, I have always supported CMR but I really think that we should have let him go at the end of the year. He is going to need to win 10 or more games next year to keep his job and I just don't think he can. So why put it off another year and just get it over with. GO DAWGS!!!
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
That's such a tough call to make. It comes down to whether McGarity really thinks Richt can turn it around. Obviously, he does. If not, then you don't prolong it and get rid of the head coach right then. The Bulldogs are continuing to recruit well, and Richt deserves another chance to fix it. But I would say this is his last chance if the Dogs don't show marked improvement as a program next season -- at least get to the SEC championship game, play in a BCS bowl, beat Florida, win nine or more games in the regular season.
Chris (Lafayette, LA)
Who do you see winning the SEC East next year?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I'll go with the Gamecocks repeating. It feels weird to have just typed that, given the Gamecocks' history. But I think South Carolina will be the most complete team in the East next year. Florida is probably a year away, but there's enough talent for the Gators to challenge if Charlie Weis can get that offense straightened out.
how do you see the vols doing next year and as week as the east is do they have what it takes to run the east?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
The schedule is easier with Oregon coming off and the Vols buying their way out of the North Carolina game. So there's not a nonconference game Tennessee should lose next season. I like the young nucleus of talent on offense, but wonder if Tennessee will be in a position a lot of times next season where it's having to outscore teams. I'll say 7-5 right now, and if the defense is better than I think, maybe 8-4. The big thing for the Vols next season is winning a game that counts. They were close this year against LSU. But getting a win over Georgia, Florida, Alabama or South Carolina will be critical next season in the growth of that program.
Collin Smith (Yazzo City Mississippi)
Hey Chris. I am a huge Auburn fan and i want your opinion on something. After watching the BCS national Camp game i think Micheal Dyer is going to be a huge Auburn Running back in the next few years. Maybe even up there with Bo Jackson. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
I won't put him up there with Bo just yet, but Dyer is one of those guys who's hard to tackle, breaks a lot of tackles and is powerful enough to wear on a defense and explosive enough to break long runs. He looks like the complete package to me. I can't imagine another conference having two better returning sophomore running backs than what the SEC will in Dyer and Marcus Lattimore.
Jamie (Franklin, NC)
what top undecided commits do you see UGA landing?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Crowell is the big one, and I like the Bulldogs' chances. I can see him being the starter, too, from Day 1 sort of like Lattimore at South Carolina this season.
Frank (Lafayette LA)
Do you think the SEC makes it six in a row next season?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
With how strong I think Alabama and LSU both will be, I'd say there's at least a 50-50 chance. Both are likely to start the season in the top 5.
Chirs,What kind of effect on John Brantley do you think that Will Muschamp taking over at UF?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Honestly, I think Charlie Weis will have a bigger impact on Brantley. Weis is going to put in a pro-style offense, and that's the kind of system Brantley wants to play in. More than anything, I thnk Brantley just needs to get his confidence back. He can throw the football. But he needs to believe 100 percent in what the Gators are doing on offense, and the guys around him need to believe in him.
Larry (Glendale, CA)
Which USC will have a better record in 2011...Southern California or South Carolina?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I'll go with South Carolina breaking through and winning 10 games next year.
In your opinion whose National Championship was more impressive, Alabama 2009 or Auburn 2010?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Well, both put together perfect seasons. It's hard to distinguish between perfection. I'm sure the Alabama fans will love hearing this, but I'd say Auburn for the simple fact that Oregon was full strength and had put up such outrageous offensive numbers coming into the game, whereas Texas had to play the bulk of the title game with its backup quarterback. The other thing that would tilt it in Auburn's favor, in my opinion, was the Tigers' incredible comeback in Tuscaloosa. It will be a long time before we see a comeback like that again. So congratulations on getting me to stir up that Iron Bowl rivalry even more.
Which QB transition do you expect to be more smooth? McElroy to McCarron or Mallett to Wilson?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
Great question. Wilson's experience in that Auburn game this season should prove invaluable. He's played more in games than McCarron and has been around a year longer. Remember, too, that Wilson worked exclusively with the Arkansas first team last spring while Ryan Mallett was out with his foot injury. Both players will be fine and have a ton of ability, but I'll go with Wilson as far as the smoothest transition.
Chris, do you think adding Coach Remph from Clemson will help Bama land Clowney now.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
I think it helps, and I think Alabama has done a good job of making his mother feel comfortable about Alabama. In the end, I think the pull of staying home will be too much and Clowney will sign with the Gamecocks.
Mike (Goldsboro, NC)
Who are the "gotta have" recruits for the Vols? And don't you the potential for them to scare some teams next year with all their young experienced talent. Also don't discount motivation after getting robbed in the bowl game.
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
The "gotta have" recruits left on the Vols' board would probably be OL Antonio Richardson, OL Cameron Clear, DT Gabe Wright, RB Marlin Lane and LB Lamar Dawson. Richardson and Clear are the top two in-state prospects, so it's always important to protect your borders. The Vols also need a big-time running back and as much help as they can get on the defensive line.
do u think driskel can come in and start right away at florida
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I hesitate to say he can start right away. But, man, what an athlete. I'd sure bet that he plays some next year.
Lloyd (Baton Rouge)
When Les Miles's luck runs out and he goes 6-6 next season, I guess we are stuck with him, for 7 YEARS. ughh
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
You've got to be kidding, right? The guy has won 11 games four of the six years he's been there. If that's lucky (and, yes, he does say weird things and has botched the end of a few games), but I'll take lucky every time. He's a terrific recruiter as a head coach. His players play hard for him, and he's going to have one of the best teams in the SEC next season. Plus, he eats grass. What else do you want from the guy?
If you believe that the SEC faces the toughest conference schedule, which I agree with 100%, why is it imperative for the SEC teams to beef up their non-conference schedule? Weaker top-to-bottom conferences MAY play some tougher teams in their non-conference schedule, but they don't have to endure the gauntlet of teams that the SEC puts on the field. That argument always frustrates me from the ACC/PAC10/Big (insert #) backers.
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
What I said was that it was imperative to play at least one marquee nonconference game every year, which just about all SEC teams are doing now.
Bruce (Columbus, GA)
Houston Nutt at Ole Miss has, last I heard, 28 recruits, far more than he can possibly take. I thought the SEC had placed restrictions on over-recruiting.
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
You can't sign more than 28 players each year (and can only get 25 into school in August), but teams are able to play with that number a little bit by back-counting players on the previous class, etc.
Leedon (Palm Beach)
In regard to Frank's question about the SEC taking 6 in a row, how bad do the early committments to the NFL hurt? In addition to seniors, the SEC is losing major undergraduate talent.
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Actually, most of the talent the SEC is losing is comprised of underclassmen, and in my opinion, perhaps the best crop of underclassmen we've ever seen in this league. Still, teams have recruited so well that other players will emerge. Think about Fairley and Newton at Auburn last year. You've got Jeffery and Lattimore at South Carolina. Alabama returns eight starters on defense. LSU returns 17 starters and is oozing with young talent on defense. Also, Zach Mettenberger comes in at QB, and the coaches at Georgia tell me he was every bit as impressive as Murray throwing the ball before he got in trouble there and got the boot.
Ken (Moody AFB, Ga)
I remember when you predicted last year that Florida would win a National Championship and that John Brantly would win the Heisman in 2 years. What happened? Any chance in ..... that will happen now?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
You got the wrong dude. I think I had Brantley on a preseason list of Heisman candidates, but didn't predict he would win the Heisman. And I picked Alabama to win the national title, which obviously was wrong.
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
We'll do it again next week. National signing day is less than two weeks away. Strap it on tight.