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)
Good afternoon. I want to reiterate how much I hurt for the people in Alabama who were ravaged by Wednesday's storm. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
Hey Chris, I enjoy reading your blog. Miss St. is a football team that should continue to compete well in the SEC next year. I would love to hear your prediction on their overall record for this coming season. Thanks
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
The key game for Mississippi State is that second week of the season at Auburn. The Bulldogs have to win that one. If they do, and Relf continues improving, I see them winning nine games again.
Dan (Muscle Shoals, AL)
Chris,You said in your earlier post today about Patrick Peterson that he locks down the best receivers in the game and is the surest thing in the draft. While I agree that he is a fantastic player and will probably develop into a Top 10 NFL cornerback, I'm just not sure his impact to a defense will be as instant as someone like Fairley or Dareus. After all, a healthy Julio Jones dominated him 1-on-1 several times last year in Baton Rouge, including an impressive TD catch. If he struggles at times with elite college talent, won't seasoned NFL receivers have their way with him? Like I said, after a year or two in the league I think he'll be lockdown, but if a team like the Panthers or Broncos needs INSTANT gamechangers, I just don't see him being one in his first year. What say you?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
I've never seen any receiver "dominate" Peterson. I was at that game in Baton Rouge last season and the one in Tuscaloosa the year before. When Peterson was on Jones, it wasn't like Jones was taking over the game at all, although the TD grab you're referring to was a nice one. Hey, Jones is a great player, too. I just feel like Peterson is a once-in-a-lifetime defensive back who can play all three positions as well as change games in the return game. But you couldn't go wrong with Dareus or Fairley, either.
The S. Garcia story has been an interesting one to follow to say the least. Who does your gut tell you we will see under center come season opener this fall- Shaw or Garcia? If you say Shaw, any predictions on his performance?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
At this point, it's hard to count on Garcia, and if I were Spurrier, I'm not sure that I would. That said, who knows if Connor Shaw is ready to lead the Gamecocks back to Atlanta? I'm sure that's what's going through Spurrier's mind as well. My sense is that both guys will play and that Shaw will begin preseason practice as the No. 1 guy, assuming Garcia does what he's supposed to and comes back. From there, whoever plays best in the preseason will start, but I think, down deep, Spurrier wouldn't mind seeing Shaw emerge.
it seems to me that a lot has been, and is beiing, made of urban meyers "dirty" program. i am refering to the arrests. did florida lead the country in that department? from what i heard, there were teams within the SEC that had more arrests during the same time period. yet for some reason, Florida gets singled out. your comments? do you have a list of the numbers for the country, or for the sec ,during the meyer era?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
That's a very fair point. Georgia and Tennessee, in particular, have also weathered their share of arrests over the last five and six years and are probably somewhere in the vicinity of 20 or 30 run-ins with the law during that time. One of the things with Florida that stands out is how many of their high-profile players had issues (Dunlap, Rainey, Jenkins, Marcus Thomas, etc.). Also, Meyer caught a lot of grief for not cracking down more on players.
Eric Lewis (Arkansas)
Where do you think Ryan Mallett will be drafted?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I'm on record as saying he's a first-round talent. He has the strongest arm in this draft, but it sounds like it might be the second round before somebody takes him. Teams are spooked by all the off-the-field speculation, which probably isn't fair. The only known trouble Mallett has ever been in was the public intoxication deal a few years ago. If he does drop to the second round, I can see him coming back and making some teams pay for passing on him.
Clint (New York, New York)
Hi Chris,Haven't seen you comment much on the GA - BSU game opening up the 2011 season. What say you? Any predictions?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
First off, I love these kind of matchups to start the season. The same goes for the LSU-Oregon game. It's a great chance for Boise State to make yet another statement that it can beat anybody, any time, especially playing the game in Atlanta. For Georgia, it's probably going to be a long season in Athens if the Bulldogs don't win. And for coach Mark Richt, it's one of those "must wins," with South Carolina coming to town the next week. I do think Georgia will be a lot better on defense, especially up front.
Chris,First let me say props to Coach Muschamp for doing the right thing with Jenkins. Obviously a tough situation. If I'm correct this was his 3rd suspsension. Now what does this say about South Carolina NOT kicking off Stephen Garcia after his 5th suspension. Granted the crimes were more severe with Jenkins but both have exhibited a blatant lack of caring for their programs.
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Every coach handles these situations differently, and you're right, Garcia hasn't been arrested for anything since his second year on campus. That said, enough's enough. When your starting quarterback has been suspended five times, it's only fair to wonder if he's the kind of guy who's going to lead you to a championship.
I'm looking at Tennessee's schedule and I'm seeing 6-6 as the most probable scenario, do I have any legitimate hope for better?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
Yeah, I think they will be better than that. Their four nonconference games are games they certainly should win, and then there's Kentucky and Vanderbilt. That means they have to win one game that counts to get to seven wins, and I think they will do that in 2011.
Brandon (Athens GA)
Hey Chris why didn't UGA make the top 25 countdown on college football live, I think they should have been on there for sure. What do you think?GO DAWGS!!!!!
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
They would be in my Top 25, if that makes you feel any better.
Chris, what if anything will come of the "oversigning" movement apparently being spearheaded by some Ohio State folks?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
We'll find out a lot more at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., but I can tell you that a number of SEC coaches have made it clear to their ADs and to SEC commissioner Mike Slive that managing numbers in terms of scholarships has been one of the best things the SEC has done in football and a big reason the league has had so much success. In other words, the coaches will fight any kind of hard cap (similar to what the Big Ten does)in a big way.
Chris (Carrollton, GA)
Top SEC defenses this season. Go!
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Alabama and LSU would be my top two. The second tier would be led by Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia.
Alabama in 2009 had a tremendous leader in Rolando McClain, and although youth is often blamed for the three Bama collapses, leadership never surfaced in key spots. Do you see this again in 2011, despite the hype from T-town? Thanks for all your good work!
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw will both be strong leaders on this defense, and I also think DeQuan Menzie is moving in that direction. Nick Saban was really pleased with Menzie this spring and the way he blossomed in that defense now that he's 100 percent healthy. Don't forget about Mark Barron, either, His returning for his senior season was a real coup for the Tide.
Chris, heart felt prayers to everyone across Alabama in the wake of yesterdays storms. Two days ago I heard on the Finebaum show several Alabama fans proclaim that Florida doesn't stand a chance against Alabama in the Swamp next year. Other comments where that "Muschump" is a bad hire at Florida and that Wies was a bad hire forced on him by Foley. Now Finebaum, who agreed with most of it, and his show are heavily slanted in a Crimson manner and not the most objective source. Can you give us your take on what was said regarding Muschamp, Wies, Florida and how they look vs. Alabama in 2011 and in the future under their leadership?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
How does anybody know at this point if Muschamp was a good or bad hire? Remember all those people lambasting Auburn for hiring Gene Chizik two years ago? The jury is out on Muschamp. This is the first time he's been a head coach, and he has a lot to prove. But guys like Nick Saban and Mack Brown speak glowingly about him. I'll say this: Muschamp sent a strong message in kicking Janoris Jenkins off the team, a message that should serve him well with his players. I also think Weis was a very good hire. Not many guys in football are as good at putting together an offense as Weis. Let's see how it all plays out. I do think there's a lot of young talent in the program, especially on defense.
The three-headed quarterback situation in Florida failed last year. With John Brantley returning as starting quarterback, Jordan Reed going to TE, where will Trey Burton end up? Will he stay on offense or transfer to the other side of the ball with his brother Clay?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
No, the Gators are keeping him on offense and will use him as a receiver and in other specialty roles. He's obviously very good down around the goal line with the ball in his hands.
chris... do you think ole miss defense be able to recover and still get better than last after losing d.t. ?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
What a tough blow for Tyrone Nix and that defense. Shackelford was such a strong leader ... for the entire team. The Rebels will miss him as much in the locker room as they will the field, but he'll still be around. Nix really likes Mike Marry at middle linebacker, but I'd say incoming freshman C.J. Johnson will get every opportunity to show what he can do at Shackelford's outside spot.
Rhoades (Portland (via Auburn))
So any chance you will approach the question of Dareus vs Fairley and talk about their numbers in basically 2 years each at Alabama/Auburn..
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
I'll be glad to approach it. Fairley was the best interior defensive lineman I saw in college football last season, and it wasn't really close. He was equally good against the run and pass and is an exceptional athlete for a tackle. That said, he only did it for one year. Dareus was suspended the first two games last season and also had an ankle that plagued him. He wasn't the game-in, game-out difference-maker I thought he would be after coming off that great performance in the BCS National Championship Game. Still, at 319 pounds, he's probably more powerful than Fairley and has been a guy who's produced at a high level in the SEC for two years. Both will be very good NFL defensive linemen, but I think Fairley will be a guy that makes more big plays.
Long time reader, first time writer. Any update on if Miss St fans will be ringing their beloved cowbells in 2011? There was alot publicity last year about the NCAA attempting to limit artificial noise and from my perspective it didn?t look/sound like Miss St fans followed the new rules.
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
I'd say the cowbells could be in real jeopardy since the agreement with the SEC wasn't closely followed, especially at the beginning of last season.
Does Jadaveon Clowney have a better first season than Ronald Powell? Who has the better career?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
Good question. Yes, I think Clowney will have more of an impact as a freshman than Powell, but it's a reminder when you go back and re-visit all the hype Powell received coming out of high school that there's always some degree of a learning curve. I think immaturity hurt Powell as much as anything last season. He will be a lot better in 2011. I still think, though, that Clowney will have the better overall career. He's just so big (6-6, 255 pound) and equally explosive.
Do you ever see Vanderbilt making a commitment to building SEC quality facilities?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
I can tell you they've already revamped the coaches' offices in the McGugin Center and are also renovating the locker room. Over time, they plan to spruce up the stadium as well, but I don't think you'll ever see Vanderbilt join the arms race with the other schools in the SEC and spend millions of dollars for indoor practice facilities and some of the other player amenities you see popping up all over the league.
First, I'm sad to see Ed leave Gainesville...he'll be great for ESPN. Can the Gators pull a top 3 recruiting class this year? I know they are off to a fast start, and the crop is Deep with quality OL and DL (positions of need)... And looking at this new staff, how could players (especially at these positions) not flock to UF? Bryant Young is a fresh face that could make a HUGE impact with recruits, not to mention all the other NFL veteran coaches.
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
You're sad to see Edward leave, but I'm ecstatic to have him aboard. He's already off to a great start. One of the best things Muschamp does is recruit, and it's not like the Gators have been floundering when it comes to signing coveted players under Meyer. Now that Muschamp will have had a whole year to hit the recruiting trail, I absolutely expect the Gators to have one of the best classes in the country. Of course, when you're recruiting in that state, you should never have anything less than a very good class.
Patrick ((Jacksonville, FL))
Chris,Given the wide-open nature of the SEC East this season, who do you see winning the division? Gamecocks, Gators, Bulldogs, or a surprise team?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
South Carolina is my pick, but watch Georgia. If history holds true, it won't be the loser of their game on Sept. 10. The loser of that game has never played in the SEC championship game.
Jeff (Charleston, SC)
Dust off your crystal ball Low, in the spirit of the draft lets look at next year's draft. Who are the SEC players that we should cherish in this upcoming season because they are going to leave school early?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Arkansas running back Knile Davis and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne are five that immediately come to mind.
Give me the top three games in the SEC you can't wait to see next year.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
South Carolina at Georgia, Arkansas at Alabama and LSU at Alabama.
Jim (Virginia via USC)
With all the attention surrounding the Garcia suspension and the Lattimore potential, it seems that the Gamecocks outstanding receiving corp (Jeffrey, Barnes and incoming Damier Byrd) is getting overlooked. Anyone in the SEC have anything approaching this great 2 headed running and passing game?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Have you taken a look at Arkansas' stable of receivers and running backs lately?
Chris, which is likely: Tennessee upsets LSU,UGA, or SC at home?Or the Gators in Gainsville?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
I would say Georgia at home since Tennessee has won the last two games against the Bulldogs in Knoxville by a combined 80-33 margin. But getting Florida so early in the season might be a good time to get the Gators, too, although I don't see the Vols winning both of those games.
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Hey, gotta run now. Thanks again and remember to keep the folks in Alabama in your prayers. Have a great rest of the week!