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 (1:02 PM)
Good afternoon. We're exactly two weeks away from the start of the college football season.
Will an SEC East team make it to a BCS bowl this year?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
South Carolina probably has the best chance. But if the Gamecocks lose in the SEC championship game and any combination of Alabama, Arkansas or LSU is sitting there with 10-plus wins, I'd think there's a greater chance that two from the West would go. Florida and Georgia are the only two East teams to play in a BCS bowl the last decade.
Ray Finkle (Psychoville, USA)
Chris, in your Best Case/Worst Case scenario feature on South Carolina you said that the Gamecocks' best case scenario is 10-2? Isn't that selling this team short, considering that Vegas currently has the Gamecocks favored in 11 of 12 games (that was before the Knile Davis injury) and USC is ranked ahead of all of their opponents? Clearly 12-0 is best case scenario, not saying it's at all likely but it's possible considering the schedule.
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
Actually, I said winning the SEC championship and picking up an 11th win would be the best case ... in my opinion. I'd say that's a pretty good best-case scenario considering the Gamecocks have never won more than 10 games and have never won an SEC championship. I think they will be a very good team, but stumble a couple of times along the way. If they do better than 11 wins and an SEC championship, you're welcome to call me out at season's end.
Does Saban make a quick move to get rid of the 2 former Miami coaches or wait for the investigation to play out?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Saban doesn't do anything without thinking about all the consequences. So, no, he's not going to cut Stoutland or Pannunzio loose without allowing the process to run its course. I believe as long as those two coaches cooperate with the NCAA and are completely forthcoming that nothing major will come out of it for Alabama. Only in the worst-case scenario would they be fired.
Andy (Destin, Fl)
Bray to Hunter and D Rogers....should set up some long plays and touchdowns. Agree?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
It will be interesting to see how improved Rogers is this season. I predict he has a big season, and you saw what Hunter was capable of a year ago. Bray has exceptional arm talent, but Derek Dooley is looking for more consistency out of him. When those big plays are there, he has to hit them. But, yes, I do believe both of those receivers will make their share of big plays this season.
Alex (Hendersonville, TN)
Hey Chris,Who do you see as being the breakout performer on the Alabama defensive line this year (if anyone)? Dial, Square, Jesse Williams?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
I'll go with one you didn't mention -- Ed Stinson at defensive end. Damion Square will also be a big factor in helping the Tide to improve their pass rush.
How much of an impact should we expect Jadeveon Clowney's addition to the D-Line have on SC's pass defense?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
A major impact. He's just a freak athletically and has been hard to block this preseason. He has good players around him up front, and you're going to see him be a force rushing the passer this season.
devin (South Charleston, WV)
what are lsu possible game losses?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
In order, I would say the games LSU is most likely to lose this season are: 1. at Alabama, 2. Oregon, 3. Arkansas, 4. at Miss. State, 5. at West Virginia.
Kevin (Lookout Mtn, TN)
I am starting to feel very positive about Tennessee again...and it is a great feeling. Do you feel this is realistic?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
I think it's realistic to think that Tennessee will be in the middle of the East race in 2012, but not this season. What's realistic this season is to win a game or two that counts -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. What the Vols can't do (and have this season qualify as a successful one) is win their four nonconference games and beat Kentucky and Vanderbilt and finish 6-6 in the regular season. That would be a huge disappointment.
We get it...Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, the seniors, blah blah blah...Auburn has as much talent as an roster in the SEC and Gus Malzahn. No one expects another Championship for the Tigers this year, but lucky to make a bowl...what do you think?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
You sound like the Auburn coaches trying to motivate the players. The Tigers absolutely have talent. It's just a lot young, inexperienced talent. I see the Tigers finding their stride during the second half of the season, winning a game or two down the stretch nobody sees them winning and getting to a bowl game. But, yes, I'd be very surprised to see them back in the SEC championship game. Disclaimer: I didn't see them in it this time last year, either.
Do you think Charlie Weis will be able to turn the Gator offense around as quickly as this fall? If so, who do you think will emerge as a game-breaker in Gainesville?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
I have no doubt that Florida will be better on offense than a year ago under Weis. The question is: Will the Gators be good enough to get to win the East. They're going to lean hard on Demps and Rainey and give Brantley a chance to take some shots down the field. They're really thin in the offensive line and can't afford to get anybody hurt. It's important that guys like Quinton Dunbar and Frankie Hammond play in the games the way they have been this preseason. I still wonder who will get the tough yards for the Gators this season, all those yards Tebow got while he was on campus.
Chris, do you think that Kragthorpe staying on at LSU means he will have some heavy input with the "offensive coordinator", Coach Stud; or will the named OC make all the calls?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
No, I think Kragthorpe will still be very involved. But it's Studrawra's show. He's going to make the calls. Remember, they both will be in the booth together on game days.
Do you see Arkansas having the best recieving core as long as Petrino is the coach?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
I see Arkansas having one of the best offenses, period, as long as Petrino's the coach.
Brian (Russellville, AR)
Chris, What I think Ray from Psychoville was saying is that for every team best case is undefeated and national champions/worst case is a winless season. What you presented are realistic expectations not best case/worst case.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
We'll settle on best case/worst case scenarios that are realistic. How's that? As I said, If I end up shortchanging the Gamecocks, I'll pledge to do one of those rooster crows ... on video.
Scott (Simpsonville SC)
Alright Chris...you knew this was coming...Texas A&M to the SEC. Thoughts on the recruiting implications in the state of Texas. Will Texas A
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
In general, it should make it easier for SEC teams to go into Texas, especially East Texas, and get players. The great players around the country want to play against the best, and they want to go where they have a chance to win championships. But with A&M in the SEC, the families of those players would then get to see them play and be a lot more connected if their son were to go to Arkansas, Alabama, LSU or some other SEC school as opposed to him going to play in the SEC with Texas A
David (Dothan Al)
What do think about Tennessee starting two true Freshmen LB's ?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
They're the most talented guys on campus. Why not? Curt Maggitt has a chance to be outstanding. The Vols' coaches can't say enough good things about him. So the good news for Tennessee is that it has freshman linebackers that talented. The bad news is that the Vols are in a position where they have to play them.
UGAs offense produced "ok" for the last scrimmage. Does that mean the offense is slowing down or the defense is speeding up? your thoughts and why?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
Crowell and Samuel have both been sidelined with injuries, so that hurts. Usually, the defense is ahead at this point anyway. That said, I look for the Bulldogs' defense to be one of the more improved defensive units in the league this season. Moving Alec Ogletree to LB and plugging in Jarvis Jones at OLB instantly makes Georgia a better defense, and they're also better up front with Kwame Geathers playing extremely well, John Jenkins coming and DeAngelo Tyson moving to his natural position of DE in that 3-4 scheme.
HAwg11 (Paragould, AR)
Why is Arkansas always listed behind LSU and Bama? I am trying to figure this out. LSU has a young and hopefully talented D, and BAma hasn't even found a starting quarterback yet! Makes no sense.
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
If it matters to you, they're not that far behind Alabama or LSU in my book. That said, the Hogs have some questions to answer in their OL. They just lost oneof the top RBs in the country and they have to play both Alabama and LSU on the road. Those are the main reasons I'm picking the Hogs third in the West. But in that division, they could be third and still be a Top 10 team.
Without using the strength of the SEC conference as a whole as a reason, explain to me why you think the 2011 Georgia team will beat the 2011 Boise State team?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
It's always tough to come that far to play a football game. Another factor is that Georgia will be much improved defensively and more equipped to win a grind-it-out type of game. The crowd will essentially be a home crowd for the Bulldogs, and their special teams units should be among the best in the country. Now, all that said, I realize that Boise State has been money in this type of game in the past and seems to revel in beating up on the boys from the BCS conferences. Should be a great game. Can't wait to get to Altanta.
Do you think it is a reasonable goal for Vanderbilt to get 5 wins this season? And when do you expect Vandy to be an SEC east contender under coach Franklin, if ever?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I would say five or six wins would be an absolute best-case scenario for the Commodores this season. Three of their nonconference games are at home, and I think it would be a disappointment if they didn't win all three of those. After that, you'd like to think they could win at least one in the SEC and then there's the trip to Wake Forest to end the season. They would need to stay healthy and make considerable strides on offense, but five or six wins wouldn't be out of the question. Give me a couple of years before I answer your question about Franklin making the Commodores an East contender. I'll say this: He hasn't slowed down since he set foot on campus. To me, a more realistic goal is getting the program to the point where it's regularly going to bowl games.
Kevin (Columbia SC)
With Shaws solid performance last night do you think there is a legitimate shot at shaw starting over garcia?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Probably not, although if he keeps playing this way, you can bet the Head Ball Coach won't be hesitant to pull the trigger if Garcia isn't moving the team.
So you got shipped to ATL instead of the Cowboy Classic in big D....shame they are on essentially at the same time. What gives?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
I wouldn't look at it like getting "shipped." Both are huge games, and we'll be well represented in Arlington, Texas. The magic of TIVO helps, too.
Are you an idiot or are you just stupid?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
I've been called both.
Texas A&M to the SEC... when?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
My take on the whole deal is simply this: The SEC has told Texas A&M to go get its divorce from the Big 12 if it really wants one. When that happens, the SEC will gladly plan its wedding with Texas A
What will UGA's season look like if Crowell continues to be hampered by injuries and is not the "Lattimore" fans expect. Don't they need Isaiah to be ready to go game one or else?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
They absolutely need him to be ready by the first game, which is why they're being careful with him now. Everybody I've talked to in and around that program has been very upbeat about the way Crowell has run the ball and the way he's competed.
What other school do you think will be brought into the SEC?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
That's the question nobody seems to have an answer for. Everything I get from people in the know in the SEC is that the league doesn't want to go into the ACC and bring in teams like Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech. I've said for more than a year that Virginia Tech makes sense, but it doesn't sound like the Hokies are interested. So I would say Missouri (getting the St. Louis and Kansas City television markets is enticing) could be the favorite.
Chris, where's the Auburn love? They're the reigning national champions, but over the past two chats, there has only one question about them, now two. Vandy has had more questions answered about them. No insult to Vandy, but that's just sad.
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
OK, what would you like to know about the Tigers?
Larry (Charleston, WV)
Has or will the SEC consider West Virginia as a member of the conference?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
West Virginia and Louisville are two names I've heard tossed out there.
Can the Gators catch a top SEC team off guard this year. Any thoughts on who it could be? LSU? Bama?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Sure, the Gators have the talent to do it. But, man, do they have a killer schedule. They get Alabama with the Tide coming off that Arkansas game, so the timing could be good there. South Carolina will also be coming off a trip to Arkansas. The LSU game is in Baton Rouge, but the Tigers have a grueling month of September to get through. You wonder how drained they might be.
Can we get an extra ten minutes of questions, since you type slow?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Since you ask it in such a nice way, sure.
Ms State v Auburn replay of Mich game ?
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
I think you're selling Auburn a little short, and that game is on the Plains. You can bet that Gus Malzahn is going to find a way to run the football. He always has, and with Dyer and McCalebb both back there, the Tigers have two big-time threats. Mississippi State will be playing with three new linebackers, so that will be a matchup worth watching. I don't see Auburn generating as many explosive plays down the field without Cam Newton, so protecting the ball at the QB position becomes even more important. No, I think this will be a close game, similar to last year, and the team that makes a play on offense in the fourth quarter will win.
Chris,Your predictions on UK vs. UF and UK vs. UT. Please say we will win one of those games. The heartache of being a UK football fan for 30 years is almost too much to bear.
Chris Low (2:14 PM)
You're asking me to go way out there on a limb, considering how long it's been since Kentucky has beaten Florida or Tennessee. But I'll say this: The longer it goes, the more the odds are against those two streaks (or droughts) continuing.
Chris, what is your take on Auburn's walk ons? They just awarded 8 of them with scholarships, plus this year they have 3 walk ons who were once rated as four stars. Two of which are from U of Alabama.
Chris Low (2:18 PM)
First of all, when you start camp with 72 scholarship players, you have plenty of room to reward deserving non-scholarship players. Burgess is right in the middle of the center battle. Means has been a valuable special teams guy. Phillips is a guy everybody wanted. Now that he's back and over his issues, he could be a factor at tackle.
MSU dark horse of the SEC West
Chris Low (2:19 PM)
Yes, the Bulldogs would be my darkhorse pick. Unfortunately, they could lose four games and still be a very good team in that division. Too bad they're not in the East this season, huh?
Why is everyone on the LSU bandwagon? Jefferson has not shown great promise and with the Mad Hatter as coach...he can easily snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
Chris Low (2:20 PM)
True, but the Hatter has won 11 or more games in four of his six seasons there. So he's doing something right.
RYAN (PANAMA CITY BEACH)
WHO DO YOU FEEL IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR QB AT AUBURN COME SEPTEMBER
Chris Low (2:22 PM)
I would probably go with whoever they feel is most equipped to manage the offense right now between Trotter and Moseley, see how that goes and then try to work Frazier into the mix. I just think Frazier is going to be their quarterback next season, so at least play him some this season.
Who you got on Sept 3 - Rebs or BYU?
Chris Low (2:24 PM)
Rebs all the way. Everybody has sort of forgotten about Ole Miss after last season's 4-8 disaster. This is when Houston Nutt is at his best, and I can tell you that Tyrone Nix is raring to get out there and make amends for what happened to that defense last season. It's a hungry bunch in Oxford.
Chris, will the NCAA sanctions committee eventual ruling, due any day, affect the Tennessee Vols preparation for their opening games?
Chris Low (2:25 PM)
No, not at all and don't think the Vols' football program will be hit that hard.
Bryan (College Station TX)
Has there ever been a (GROUP) of Recievers as deep and talented as ARK ever in football
Chris Low (2:29 PM)
I don't want to say ever, because there have been some great receiving corps in college football. But in my time of covering the SEC, going back to league expansion in 1992, this group is as good as I've seen. The other group I would say is up there is Florida's receivers in the mid 1990s with Hilliard, Anthony, Doering, Green and Co.
Chris Low (2:30 PM)
OK, that's about 30 minutes of bonus chat time (because I type so slowly). Nah, always a lot of fun and thanks for all the questions. We'll catch up again next week.
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