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)
Hello and welcome to Week 2!
Stephen (Fort Lauderdale)
I really want to talk about the Gators this season, but all of your chats are during my school hours, could you try to squeeze one in after 3:30
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
I'll do one better and will try to give you some of my thoughts now a week into the season. As I thought, the front seven on defense is very good and will only get better. They're fast, athletic and have some depth in the defensive line. Getting Floyd back will really make them a load up front. The jury is still out on the secondary. I'd say the same goes for quarterback John Brantley on offense. He did look more comfortable in the opener. When I was at Florida in the preseason for practice, the feeling was that Charlie Weis was going to lean hard on Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. I'd say that's definitely the case after watching the opener. I still wonder who will be the Gators' power back when they need the tough yardage and/or need to protect a lead. I think there's an 80 percent chance that Florida will go into that Alabama game unbeaten.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who are the Biggest & Oldest Rivals in the SEC in College Football?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
The Auburn-Georgia game is the South's oldest rivalry. I'd say the best is Alabama-Auburn with Florida-Georgia being a close second.
I liked how we (SC) moved Ingram to DT so Clowny could get in the game more and it seemed to work pretty well. Do you see us doing this again this week against UGA or will we use something else because of the different type of offense they run?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
The Gamecocks played Ingram inside a bunch last season on passing downs, and yes, that's something you'll continue to see in order to get their best pass-rushers on the field. The Gamecocks will need a big game from their linebackers and Spur in this game in terms of tackling.
Derek Jones (Tampa, FL)
Chris - how much should we read into Alabama having 5 turnovers (4 picks) against a Kent State team that was loaded with freshmen? What do you think will be a bigger factor in the Arkansas-Alabama game: Alabama's QB inexperience, or Arkansas' questionable ability to run the ball?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
As Alabama coach Nick Saban said, there's such a thing as bad interceptions and good interceptions. I think we saw a little bit of both last week. The last thing Alabama can do up at Happy Valley is turn it over. That's the only way I see Penn State having a chance in this game. My guess is that you're going to see Alabama do its best to establish the running game and give the Lions a steady diet of Trent Richardson.
Once Texas A and M finally gets in the SEC, who will be next? To me, if it's true that the SEC isn't going to go after the ACC, there aren't that many options -- West Virginia and Missouri seem to be the only logical ones. Your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
If the Big 12 does indeed unravel, Missouri will need to land somewhere and has those two big TV markets, but I'd say the odds right now might be on West Virginia. A long shot would be Virginia Tech, but I think there will be too much political pressure for the Hokies to leave the ACC.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
If this is the best team that Arkansas has assembled in a decade or longer, then what is keeping them from winning the SEC West? Media members keep talking about how good the Hogs can be, but no one is picking them to win the West...why not?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I'm one of those media members who thinks the Hogs are the real deal, but I'm not picking them because they have to play at Alabama and at LSU. If they win in Tuscaloosa in a couple of weeks, I reserve the right to change my mind. How's that for waffling?
I know you and Edward picked USC to beat UGA, but why are most experts still on the UGA train and already giving up on USC?? USC usually has a slow start on the first game of the season..and its not till the end of the year they fall off. so this should pretty much be an automatic win, right??
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Honestly, I went back and forth on this pick because I think Georgia will come out ready and play well. Without Ogletree in the middle, though, I just don't know if the Bulldogs can slow down Lattimore. I also wonder about Georgia's ability to protect against South Carolina's defensive line, although the Gamecocks picked up where they left off last season in terms of giving up big pass plays. But, no, I haven't given up on South Carolina. The Gamecocks remain my pick to win the East until I see differently.
John (Norcross, GA)
Chris, I think the phrase that the loser of the Georgia vs. South Carolina game has never played in the SEC Championship Game is a bit over used and not all applicable. In the past Georgia has won the majority of these matchups and frankly SC has not been SEC Champion material for most of those. Last year and this year are an exception but most years SC was simply not worthy.
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Fair point. But with this game being played so early, it definitely lays the groundwork and makes it really difficult for the team that loses to overcome that head-to-head tiebreaker. I think the East champ will probably have at least two losses again this season. Three losses won it last season.
Chris, call me crazy but I think this week's game against Uconn defines Vanderbilt's season. Win and Coach Franklin clearly has the program headed in the right direction with a ton of momentum behind it; lose and, well, you know the script with Vanderbilt football. Agree?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
I wouldn't go that far, although a win would set the Commodores up to potentially win five or six games. I like what Franklin has brought to that program with his energy and how he refuses to make excuses. He has to continue to upgrade the talent, and I think he's off to a good start. I think the Commodores win Saturday, and if so, you can mark down at least four wins this season.
What game do you think is bigger for Miss St---Auburn or LSU and why?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
I think it's this week. If Mississippi State is going to be a legitimate contender in the West, this is the kind of game on the road the Bulldogs need to win. If they lose this one, they face the prospect of being out of the race three weeks into the season if they can't win against LSU next Thursday.
Any chance we send Baylor over some T-shirts and jerseys signed by some SEC players and coaches, so we can get this expansion stuff over with?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
You know, that was so good that I had to post it.
George (Greeneville, TN)
Chris, what are your thoughts re. Dave Hart being hired by Tennessee? Seems at first glance like a VERY good hire and the perfect person to help the program to continue to heal from the previous regime.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
I agree, a very solid hire for Tennessee. More than anything else, Tennessee needed somebody to come in there that can help Derek Dooley succeed, because if football isn't right at Tennessee, nothing's right. Hart knows what a championship football program looks like from his tenures at Florida State and Alabama, and I think he'll be a huge asset to Dooley in trying to get the Vols back into that upper echelon of the SEC.
Kevin (south Carolina )
Chris, do you see Gilmore finally stepping up and making the big plays he is capable of making this week vs UGA, all I hear is how great Gilmore is but after last seasons poor performance and last weeks poor performance I am starting to doubt Gilmores ability as a play maker. I believe he is a solid CB but Im starting to believe he is overhyped. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
I'm starting to wonder myself. Gilmore is a terrific athlete with all the tools he needs to be an outstanding cornerback. But right now, he's one of those guys who's giving up as many plays as he makes, and that's never good. Technically, he needs to get better, and I think he will. But there's no getting around some of obvious times he's been beaten, both last season and in the opener last week.
I will admit to being old school, but do think some of these uniform changes in FBS college football are garish?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
In a word ... yes. I'm a traditionalist and love those schools (Penn State, Alabama) who have had the same uniforms for 50 years.
Would Va Tech be a good fit to go along with A & M in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
To me, the Hokies would be the best fit and are already an SEC school in a lot of ways playing in the ACC.
Brown Cow (Starkvegas)
Chris, what's keeping the MState v Auburn game from being a blowout (in MSU's favor)? If you compare the Utah State offense to the offense Mullen is running they are very similar, although the Bulldogs would represent the stronger, faster, wiser older brother. These signs point to MSU putting up potentially 40+ points. Auburn's offense looked lost last week, and there is no real reason that should change any this week, especially against a much better Mississippi State defense. I don't think this game will be lopsided either way, but...logic is telling me otherwise. What keeps Auburn alive on Saturday?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
My sense is that Auburn will play a lot better in this game. I doubt very seriously that the Auburn players took Utah State as seriously as they should have, and with so many new faces, that's a bad combination. That won't be a problem this week, and some of those younger players for Auburn will play better. I still have my doubts about that defense right now, and seeing how explosive Mississippi State is on offense, I think the Bulldogs will build a 10- or 14-point lead and end up winning by a touchdown.
Joseph (Arlington, WA)
Hello Chris,It sounds like Russell Shepard will be back for the WVA, when might we see Jordan Jefferson again...could the Tigers be better of without him?Thanks,Joe
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
I wouldn't expect to see Jordan Jefferson any time soon. And if the Tigers are unbeaten and sailing along when (and if) he does come back, I don't see any way you just toss him back into the starting lineup. Now, if the Tigers are struggling in their passing game and not consistently moving the ball, maybe you work Jefferson back in. Either way, I think it's Jarrett Lee's show. The interesting thing will be how much LSU decides to play Zach Mettenberger. At some point, I think they're going to need him to come in and win a game for them this season ... maybe games.
Jmarc (Pensacola, fl)
Kentucky looked terrible in their win last week. What must the wildcats do to get better. The Newton at QB looked really bad. Can he bounce back and perform better?
Marc (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)
Is James Franklin ever going to replace Blaine Gabbert in his college career.
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Joker Phillips was equally disappointed that Newton didn't play better after Newton had made so many strides during the offseason and taken command of that offense. There's no question that Newton has to play better, but I still think it's on this offensive line to set the tempo. The Wildcats are banged up right now in their offensive line and that's been a factor. But if they can't line up and run the ball and keep the ball away from other teams, it's going to be a long season. It sounds like freshman running back Josh Clemons is going to get more touches, and he deserves more touches. He's a really talented player.
Is Mark Richt able to keep his job if he looses this weekend?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Sure. What if the Bulldogs only lose one more time the rest of the way, beat Florida in the process and go to the bowl game with a 9-3 record? That said, I feel like an 0-2 hole would wobble this team, and an 8-4 record would be the best they could do. I'm not sure what Richt's status would be at 8-4, but I do know that things can change in a hurry for the Bulldogs if they can win at home this weekend.
Will (Washington, DC)
Hello Chris. I thought my Rebels did really well passing the ball with Stoudt in the two minute offense that we ran last week. And our defense can only get better. As long as we dont make stupid penalties we should be fine. Stoudt didnt make a bad pass against a good defense in BYU. If we continue to improve like we should, where do you see us going from here?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
Man, what a tough loss for Tyrone Nix and that defense, which looked greatly improved from a year ago. When you give up just one offensive touchdown and score a touchdown on defense (at home), you're supposed to win. Stoudt's ability to throw the ball should open up things for the Rebels, although I think you're going to see Randall Mackey some at quarterback this week, too. This first stretch of games remains critical. Ole Miss needs to find a way to be at least 3-2 going into that Alabama game. If so, I think the Rebels can get to six wins or better and get back to a bowl game. The way the defense played is very encouraging.
Todd ( TN)
What are the chances this Saturday for Tennessee to win over a Veteran Cincinnati team?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
The Vols better win, especially at home, or they're going to have a hard time finishing the regular season with a winning record. My pick is that they win a shootout.
Joseph (Gainesville, FL)
Chris, what are your thoughts about the SEC adding Georgia Tech as the 14th member? How likely is it? Would the SEC face any political struggle from the ACC to pluck them out?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
I don't see a scenario right now where Georgia Tech, Florida State or Clemson are added.
Arman (Columbia, SC)
Chris: During the SC game, I saw a coach berating Clowney who then seemed to go to the bench sulking. Am I misreading that or did such a thing happen? If so, what had he done wrong? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing was barking at him a couple of times when he came off the field, but I think that's good. Clowney needs that kind of coaching and need to be pushed. He can't get by any longer on just being bigger, faster and stronger than everybody. If he listens to Lawing, he'll be the kind of player everyone expects him to be.
Mike (New Orleans)
Do you think LSU has enough offense to make it to SEC Championship game
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
Getting Russell Shepard back in a couple of weeks helps. But, yes, I think there's enough in place offensively for the Tigers to win it all. But with that defense, the Tigers don't have to be a powerhouse offense to win it. They have to be able to run the football, which I think they can. They have to take care of the ball and not give teams short fields, and they have to hit big plays, which is where Rueben Randle, Shepard and those guys come in.
My company wants me to move to California.... If I do, when I wake up in the morning to watch SEC football at 9 AM, am I allowed to pour beer in my Cheerios instead of milk?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
No beer, but Jack Daniels maybe.
Over/Under - Vick Ballard rushes for 22 TD's this year and breaks the 1200 yard mark???
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
I don't know about 22 touchdowns, but I'll go with 1,200 rushing yards. He's obviously off to a good start and is one hungry football player.
Chris, what is up with Ted Roof? Why couldn't he make an adjustment to stop the WR screens that Utah State ran every other PLAY!? I believe everyone in the stadium could tell when Utah State would run that play, except for Roof. What are your thoughts on Roof, and should Auburn look for a new Def. Coord?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Let's cut Roof some slack. After all, he is the one who put in that defensive plan to shut down Oregon last season in the championship game. He's also playing with a ton of young players. I still say that Auburn will be a lot better team the second half of the season when some of those players get their feet up under them.
Your slow typing get us any extra time this week? Who has more passing yards Georgia or South Carolina this week?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Georgia ..... because ..... the Bulldogs .... will have ..... trouble ...... running the ball ..... against that ....... South Carolina front seven ..... and because Aaron Murray ..... is one tough customer ..... and will come back ...... with a much better showing. ................. See, I don't type slow.
would you consider bobby patrino a top recruiter in the NCAA
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
I wouldn't necessarily say he's a top recruiter, but he's a terrific developer of talent.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
Nate (Guess where he's from) wanted to sign off for me this week, so here goes:Hey guys, thanks for stopping by! Gonna be another great weekend for college football heading into this week 2! Hope to see you all next week for a recap of the Bama and GA-SC games. Til then, woooo pig sooie! SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC.Hey, Nate, not bad.