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 (1:03 PM)
Hope everyone is well. Let's go.
What is the latest news on Auburn Oaks? Chances they will make it?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
They haven't given up on them. A lot of the leaves have turned yellow and brown, and the trees themselves are roped off so people can't too close. Odds are against them, but there's still a chance they will make it.
Mike (Goldsboro, NC)
Best shoot-out of the season? Best defensive struggle of the upcoming season? My vote goes to UT/Arkansas for the shoot-out and LSU/Bama for the defensive struggle.
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
The Alabama-LSU game is a good call for the best defensive struggle. My candidates for the top shootout would be Arkansas-Auburn, Arkansas-Tennessee and Florida-Georgia.
In your opinion, where should the Gamecocks be ranked (nationally) in the preseason? And where should they be ranked if/when they are 2-0 after a theoretical win v. UGA?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
I have to have my preseason poll done by next Monday, and I'm going to have the Gamecocks somewhere around 13-16. If they start out 2-0, I would think they would be in the Top 10. Both of those first two games are away from home. The East Carolina opener is in Charlotte.
Adam Schnable (pelham,al)
Alabama's defensive line had very poor pass rushing last year. Will there be any improvement this year?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
Yes, especially with how much the Tide will use Hightower and Upshaw as pash-rushers off the edge. I also think Square will be an effective pass-rusher up front, and Stinson may be the one of the breakout players on defense.
Brandon (Chattanooga TN)
Everybody is focused on stars when it comes to recruiting but yet BP at Arkansas seems to find kids right under the radar that fits his system which do you think is more important and what do you think needs to be done to keep more of our in state talent in Arkansas? Thanks and WPS!!!
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
You have to recruit great players and develop great players. The most successful coaches do both. Petrino has been very good developing players, and as the Hogs have more success, he's going to keep on getting in on more talented players.
Goldengator (Charlotte. NC)
When will we start getting reports from fall practice?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Most of the teams will start practicing that first week of August. Once they start hitting and put on full pads a few days after that, the reports will start pouring in. Of course, most of the teams have closed practices, so a lot of what we hear will come from coaches and players.
Tom Sandberg (BaristaGator) (Wellington, Florida)
Hey Chris,What is your take on the growing number of college football players who are entering schools with advanced credits, therefore, graduating in 2-3 years and thusly having the chance to become "free agents" and transfer to fulfill more playing time in a different program? I can't help but feel for the NC State alums, students and fans as they watched a high profile QB in Wilson sorta bail on them....your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
I never liked that rule, allowing players to graduate early and then play their final season at another school. Too much like free agency. It won't be a problem in the SEC after this season because the league voted at its spring meetings to no longer take any transfers with just one year of eligibility remaining -- even grad students.
Scott (the 'Ham, AL)
Alabama's freshman RB Hart is out for the season. How big of a hit is this to the Tide? Anything Bama should seriously worry about?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
It's a blow because Hart was a real talent and somebody the Tide were going to use on third downs and also to return punts. He showed in the spring that he was a playmaker, and you can never have too many in this league. For Eddie Lacy, the opportunity gets even bigger, and speaking of big, Fowler's role will grow. Alabama will be careful not to overdo it with Richardson, which is why Hart's speed and elusiveness was going to be so important this season.
John (New York, NY)
Odds Vandy keeps up its current recruiting pace and closes out a top 25 recruiting class in 2012?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
You've got to like their momentum, and Franklin is really working the states of Georgia and Tennessee. To me, it's more important to fill needs, add speed to the roster and get in places the Commodores have never been before than it is to finish in the top 25. Franklin and his staff are doing all three.
Who is the one player, besides Aaron Murray the UGA offense can't afford to lose?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
That's an easy call ... Cordy Glenn. The Bulldogs are already thin on the offensive line. Losing another tackle, especially their top one, would be a huge blow.
Daniel L (Dallas, tx)
Do you think Jordan Jefferson and Kragthorpe can put it together and let this years LSU team live up to its potential and get pass unscaved with their grueling schedule or is that asking for a miracle?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
The good thing with Jefferson is that he's got enough talent around him that he doesn't have to go out and have a great senior season for the Tigers to contend for a title. He just needs to be consistent, make the plays that are there and keep defenses honest by making more plays down the field. I still think Zach Mettenberger is going to play some this season. How much? We'll see. You're right about the schedule. It's a beast. But I think a 12-1 LSU team that wins the SEC championship would have a great shot to finish among the top two teams in the final BCS standings, especially with that schedule.
So is there any chance that the South Carolina baseball teams success could roll over to the football team? What is your best case scenario for SC this season? Any chance at being a true National Title Contender?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
I just can't see South Carolina winning 11 or 12 games and being in that national title hunt. I wonder how it's going to play out at quarterback. The offensive line has improved under Shawn Elliott, but it's still far from dominant, and the Gamecocks have to prove they can defend the pass better than they did a year ago. Let's start with getting to 10 wins, which I think this team is capable of, and getting back to Atlanta and playing in the SEC championship game.
Daniel L (Dallas, tx)
What is your prediction on the shootout of Sept 3rd LSU vs Oregon? Does LSU have the advantage with home and defense?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
LSU is my pick for a number of reasons. The Tigers are better on defense. They're going to have more fans in the house, and you wonder where Oregon will be emotionally with everything going on off the field.
I see where you think that a 12-1 LSU team would have a great shot at being part of the national champ game. Do you think any other team from the west with that same record would have the same chance? Say an Arkansas or Alabama. Plus, does the same hold true for the East?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
LSU would have the best chance, in my opinion, because it plays one of the toughest schedules in the country. But, yes, I would put Alabama and Arkansas in that same category. I think the loss would have to come pretty early, though, and the team would have to be on a pretty good winning streak after winning the SEC title. I don't think it's nearly as realistic for the East. Take South Carolina, for instance. The Gamecocks avoid Alabama and LSU in the regular season this year. I also don't think anybody in the East will finish with just one loss.
Zack (ashville al)
How could both you and edward leave robert lester off your all star list? he lead the sec in interceptions and was second in the nation. Is lester just not that much of a vocal leader or what?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
He was one I thought about it when picking my defensive backs for the West along with Arkansas' Tramain Thomas. Both are coming off very good seasons. I went with more of a nickel back with that fourth defensive back -- LSU's Tyrann Mathieu, who was equally adept at forcing turnovers last season. I did go with Menzie as one of my corners. Coach Saban told me he was as good as anybody they had in the secondary this spring. Both Alabama and LSU are loaded in the secondary.
Bread n Butter (Huntsville, AL)
Which incoming freshman do you think will have the biggest impact?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
We're going to rank our impact newcomers, which would also count junior college players and redshirt freshmen, in the next couple of weeks. But in terms of true freshmen, my picks right now would be Isaiah Crowell at Georgia, Jadeveon Clowney at South Carolina, Brey Cook at Arkansas, Kiehl Frazier at Auburn, Anthony Johnson at LSU, Josh Clemons at Kentucky, C.J. Johnson at Ole Miss, Jermaine Whitehead at Auburn, Curt Maggitt at Tennessee and Josh Grady at Vanderbilt.
Who will make more of a impact Darius slay of MSU-DB or Joe morrow of MSU-WR
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I'm going with Morrow because the Bulldogs need more playmakers at receiver. Morrow has good size, too, and could be a guy capable of working the middle and winning battles with smaller defensive backs.
Morgan (Houston, TX)
Auburn came from #23 to win the Nat'l Championship last year. Any chance they can overcome the odds two years in a row??? WDE!
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
If they do, it would be one of the great coaching jobs of all time by Gene Chizik and his staff. The Tigers lost more than 35 players from that national championship roster a year ago, including the best player in the country (Newton) and the best interior defensive lineman in the country (Fairley). Plus, they lost four really good, veteran offensive linemen. I just think there are too many new pieces in place to make a run this season, although I do believe the Tigers will come into their own that second half of the season and be a tough out for anybody down the stretch. The quarterback situation concerns me, but Gus Malzahn is worth every penny of that $1.3 million he's making. He'll put an effective offense on the field.
Mike Dyer ran for nearly 1100 yards last season and was the Offensive MVP of the BCS Championship Game. Those stats don't qualify him for a spot on your "SEC All Star" team? What does a guy have to do to earn a little respect?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
His only problem is that he has Trent Richardson and Knile Davis in his same division. In my mind, Dyer is the fourth best back in a conference loaded with great backs.
Dylan (Gainesville, FL)
Will this year be a rebuilding year for the Gators? And will they have what it takes to win the SEC again in 2012?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Yes, it will be a rebuilding year in a lot of ways, but I still expect the Gators to be right in the middle of the East race. It's always a rebuilding year when a new coach is in place, and you're putting in new offensive and defensive systems. The good news is that Florida isn't lacking talent, They won eight games a year ago in a very dysfunctional environment. A 9-3 record this year may be good enough to win the East, although the Gators have to play both Alabama and LSU whereas East favorite South Carolina doesn't play either one.
Jason (Springdale, AR)
If The Hogs beat The Tide in Bama will you wear a hog hat the following week?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
We can negotiate. Maybe I'll do my videos that next week in the hog hat. We'll re-visit this topic the week of the game.
Todd (Pittsburgh, PA)
what are some of the key early non-conference games in the SEC this year?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
The two marquee matchups are LSU vs. Oregon in Arlington, Texas and Georgia vs. Boise State in Atlanta to open the season. The other one that's big and isn't getting as much attention is Arkansas and Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas on Oct. 1. That has a chance to be a Top 10 or Top 15 matchup. Ole Miss' opener with BYU will go a long way toward telling us how Houston Nutt and Co. will respond this season.
Mike (Goldsboro, NC)
How much of a stretch is it to think that Tyler Bray will lead the East in yds and td's? He has a better line and skill players than Murray and will need to score points to keep up in alot of games.... besides the idea that he might be better than Murray anyway w/ a more equal comparison this year.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Bray's challenge will be different than a year ago. Defenses will have more of a book on him now, and he's going to see a lot more things. Plus, he'll be going against a lot better defenses than he did in those last four regular-season games last year. That said, Bray has exceptional arm talent and a knack for putting the ball where only the receiver can go get it. If he gets better at reading defenses, the Vols have enought talent around him, coupled with his big arm, for him to pass for 25-plus touchdowns and flirt with 3,000 yards. But more than stats, Bray has to give the Vols a chance to win in the games that count -- Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina ...
You did not say what alabama freshman will have a big impact?
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
I didn't pick one for every team. Obviously, I would have said Hart. Now, I'll go with Clinton-Dix and maybe Kouandjio on the offensive line.
Rob (Baton Rouge)
Do you see any trouble brewing for LSU in the Will Lyles situation?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
No, nothing major. What I will say is that LSU and everybody out there had better be 100 percent honest about their dealings with Lyles. Jim Tressel and Bruce Pearl can attest to that.
Hunter (tuscaloosa, Al)
Do you expect Juco transfer Duron Carter to make a similar impact that Julio Jones made in 08. He has the size and experience, but is he that same caliber of an impact player as Julio?
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
I'm not going to compare anybody to Julio Jones until I see them in an SEC game. I do think Carter will make an impact in what's a very underrated Alabama receiving corps.
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. Appreciate everyone stopping by. Have a great and safe rest of the week!
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