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 (1:01 PM)
Hope everyone is well this afternoon. Looking forward to my trip down to Florida this weekend to see the Tide and the Gators go at it.
Samantha Hagan (Macon,ga)
What do you think is different about the Florida Gators this year compared to last year
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
One of the main things that jumps out at you on the field is that they're making more big plays on offense, the kind of explosive, down-the-field plays they didn't make a lot of last season. Charlie Weis has done a terrific job of getting the ball to Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps in space. The other thing is that all the off-the-field drama that hovered last year seems to be gone. There's much better chemistry on this team and some of the younger players have grown up and aren't nearly as immature.
Donnell (Baton Rouge)
Chris, how do you think Jarrett Lee will handle the reinstatement of JJ and when you do think JJ will needed most.
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
Like Jarrett has handled everything else -- with class. Both of those guys are seniors and realize how special this season can be for LSU. I can't see either one of them being selfish at this point. Jefferson will get a chance to play again. The Tigers will need him to come in and win a game somewhere along the way. It's sort of the role Lee played last season.
Any chance we see LSU-Bama twice this year and what would happen to the college football world if this happens.
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
It's highly doubtful, because I just don't see a non-conference champion getting up into one of those top two spots in the final BCS standings. Let's say LSU beats Alabama in a close game, 24-21, and goes on to win the SEC title and stay unbeaten. Alabama also wins the rest of its games. At that point, I think Alabama (or the team that has the one loss) would just about need everybody else to lose nationally -- Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Stanford, maybe even Boise State. What would really get interesting is if Oklahoma, Stanford and Wisconsin did have a loss and Boise State was sitting there unbeaten and then there's a one-loss SEC team (Bama or LSU) that didn't win the league title, what would happen?
Ryan (Bryant Arkansas)
with Texas A&M being a blitz defense goin up against an Arkansas team that has the home run hitters like Hamilton, Wright, and Adams do you think they play a little more conservatively and not blitz as much to not risk a home run play like the hogs are capable of doin, i do relieze the o line has been suspect, but again tyler wilson is a smart Qb and has been working on getting rid of the football quicker in practice this week, i feel like if Wilson has been successful at this in practice and it carries over into the game saturday the hogs have a chance to win it
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
I think what A&M will try to do is exactly what Alabama did last week, and that's keep the Hogs from getting any kind of running game going and make them one-dimensional and having to convert a lot of third-and-longs. Now, I don't think A
Phillip (a stadium near you)
Chris,what do you see as the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment in the SEC so far this year?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Biggest surprises would be Vanderbilt's 3-1 start, Florida being so effective in the running game and LSU making it out of September unscathed, I thought the Tigers might lose one of those.Biggest disappointments are Kentucky's offensive line, South Carolina playing just well enough to win every week, Mississippi State's 0-2 league start and Georgia not winning one of those first two against Boise State or South Carolina, both in the Dawgs' own backyard.
With Justin Hunter out for season. how many wins do you think VOLS will get this season.
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
I'm sticking with seven. I think the Vols will beat either Georgia, South Carolina or Arkansas.
do you think Lattimore is a much better RB than Dyer?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I wouldn't say much better, but I would take Lattimore if I had my choice. Now, a choice between Trent Richardson and Lattimore would take some deep thought. All three are great football players.
SrA Dees (Misawa, Japan)
First off Chris you rock, love all the way from north Japan. Second if the recivers come out of hiding, and Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey continue their explosive plays will my Gators be in good contention to win the east? I think they can take Bama down to the wire and if we get out of this four game slobber knocker 3-1 or 2-2 there is no reason we should not enjoy a trip to the Georgia Dome. Thoughts?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
The Gators have to win one of these next two, in my mind, to win the East, and the LSU game is on the road. I still believe the East champ will have two losses this season. I'm picking Alabama this weekend, but the Gators certainly have a chance with their speed and the fact that they're playing at home. They have to find a way to make AJ McCarron beat them throwing the ball.
Jason Brazil (Birmingham)
Chris, Everybody keeps saying that Alabama hasn't seen speed like Demps and Rainey yet. But Alabama has played against these 2 guys every year since they've been at UF. How is this year any different?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Rainey was suspended and didn't play against Alabama last season, and Demps was banged up, which he has been throughout much of his career. That said, Demps seems to be healthy now and Rainey is playing as well as he ever has. On top of it all, Charlie Weis has been really smart in the way he's utilizing their speed. Alabama has seen great speed, no question. Jarius Wright and Joe Adams were speed guys they shut down last week, but this will be the best combination of speed the Tide have seen in some time, certainly coming out of the backfield.
Clay (Lancaster, SC)
Howdy, Chris! Let's talk about my chickens. Lattimore will always put up good numbers and the defense showed us (against Vandy) how great they are capable of being. Stephen Garcia is the is the same guy who passed for 3,000+ yards in 2010 but he obviously needs to snap out of his slump. Now, all the media guys are proclaiming USC will only win 6-8 games as if the entire offense is on injured reserve. You're from SC. You know as well as I that the South Carolina of old would have lost 3 of those first 4 games. Will they be better for having fought, and won, such close battles and if Garcia, can't get back on track, do you think his current output is enough to win 10 games?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
No way this team only wins eight games. I still think the Gamecocks can win 10 in the regular season, but they have to start playing closer to their talent level and Garcia does indeed have to snap out of it. I still want to see that defense against a better offense. Auburn will be a stiff test this week. Vanderbilt was awful on offense last week.
Which Gator will have a "breakout" game against Alabama?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Keep an eye on Jordan Reed.
If CJ Mosley doesn't get to play this weekend, do you think Bama has enough speed to keep up with rainey and demps in an outside run or short pass situation?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I don't think Mosley is going to play, which hurts Alabama in coverage. He was their best cover guy. So, yes, I think the Tide will be at a big disadvantage without him. That said, I was very impressed with how well the Alabama defensive backs tackled last week, the angles they took and how they were always in position. They need that kind of game this week, too.
I'm a grad student at Tulane. What are the chances I stay in the city to see my team play in its bowl game? Roll Tide!
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
I'd say about as good as your finding a place to eat a Po Boy somewhere in the French Quarter. Even if Alabama doesn't make the BCS National Championship Game, I'd think the Crimson Tide would be a good bet for the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Alan (South Florida) [via mobile]
Chris, will Andre Debose ever have an impact for the Gators? The expectations were high when he came in.
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
The clock is ticking, no doubt. We know he has great speed and acceleration as evidenced by his kickoff returns for touchdowns. But he just hasn't caught on (pardon the pun) when it comes to the technical aspects of being a wide receiver. Urban Meyer probably didn't do him any favors, either, by hyping him so much that first year.
Brian (New Orleans)
Chris, do you see Mo Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu as finalist for the Thorpe Award and who is your choice right now for POY, DPOY, AND COY in the SEC.
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
They're two of the best defensive backs I've seen to this point in college football, so I'd say they both will be strong candidates. My Offensive MVP is a tie right now between Marcus Lattimore and Chris Rainey. My Defensive MVP would be Mathieu, and I'll go with James Franklin as my Coach of the Year, although I reserve the right to change that to Will Muschamp if the Gators win either of these next two games against Alabama or LSU.
Florida's O-line vs. an Alabama D that hasn't been able to get pressure on the quarterback yet this year..who has the edge?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
Actually, Alabama got good pressure on Arkansas' Tyler Wilson last week and delivered some nasty hits on him. The Tide just haven't recorded a lot of sacks. It's not a dominant defensive line for Alabama, and even Nick Saban has admitted that. But they do have Hightower and Upshaw coming off the edge on third down, and both are future NFL players. Florida's offensive line has played well to this point, but I still give the edge to Alabama's defense.
So, I'm surprised Kirby has stuck around this long. I say he's definitely gone after this season. Where does he end up? We'll certainly miss him, he's a beast of a defensive mind.
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
It depends on what head jobs come open. Kirby's not going to leave just to leave. It's going to have to be a head job that he thinks gives him a legitimate chance to win a title. He's making $850,000, so he can afford to be patient.
Lets assume that when all the chips fall you have a 13-0 Oklahoma as consensus number 1 and Boise is sitting there at 12-0 as the only other undefeated team in the country. Don't you think that in light of the Fiesta Bowl (one of the best 4 or 5 games in the history of College Football), that would be your National Championship Game? Particularly if Georgia goes on to have a relatively strong season (8-4 or 9-3).
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
Yes, I think an unbeaten Boise State team in your scenario would finally get its shot and would probably deserve to. You're right, though, that Georgia finishing strong would only help Boise's cause. The one scenario that could hurt Boise is a one-loss SEC champion. Then it could get interesting.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Chris, which powerhouse SEC defense has the best CB tandem? Alabama's Kirkpatrick-Menzie, or LSU's Mathieu-Claiborne?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
That's a great question. As impressed as I was with Kirkpatrick last week, Menzie was just as good and is the guy Alabama slides over to their "star" or nickel position. And then you have Mathieu, who's a turnover machine. Claiborne had a tough night in coverage against West Virginia, but that happens to all cornerbacks somewhere along the way. The fact is that he's good enough to cover guys out there by himself and rarely gets any help. To me, it's a dead heat.
How serious are the NCAA sanctions going to be on Edward if the investigation finds any wrong doing in the SEC Blog pickem scandal?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
A lot of it depends on how his interview went with NCAA investigators. I think we've all seen (ask Bruce Pearl and Jim Tressel) that you better be forthcoming. If he was, then I'd say he would get probation for the rest of the season, meaning he couldn't pick his alma mater, Florida, from here on out. If he tried to mislead investigators in any way, I could see his having to vacate some wins from earlier this season.
Tim (Alexandria, LA)
Do you see a chance of Mark Richt coaching Ole Miss should he and Houston Nutt be fired this season?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
No, I don't. If Ole Miss makes a change, I can't see the Rebels going that route again, bringing in another coach from the league that was sort of pushed out at his previous stop. Whatever happens, and if Nutt doesn't make it, I don't see any way that Pete Boone is the guy making the hire. He may be gone before Nutt.
Justin (The Rocket City, Huntsville, AL)
Chris, if you could assign a letter grade to AJ McCarron so far this season, what would it be? Also, who do you think ends up winning the East this year? I'm certainly nervous about the game in the Swamp this weekend, and so far it appears UF has as good a shot as any. Thanks!
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I would give McCarron a solid B. He's done what Alabama has asked him to do so far. He's completing 66 percent of his passes and has only thrown two interceptions. With that defense, the way special teams are playing right now and Trent Richardson in the backfield, Alabama doesn't need McCarron to put up huge passing numbers. He's got to hit the plays when they're there. But if he's throwing it 35 times, that's a bad sign for the Tide. As for the East, I'll go with South Carolina. The Gamecocks haven't played as well as I thought they would, but they have the head-to-head win over Georgia and Florida has a killer schedule.
Kevin (west virginia)
Chris just wondering as a WVU fan what are the chance of us coming to the Mighty SEC?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
If Missouri does indeed stay in the Big 12 and none of the ACC teams are willing to jump ship, I think the chances are pretty decent. I don't care what anybody at the SEC says, there will be a 14th team and the league won't go longer than a season (at most) with 13 teams.
The Swamp will be the very loud and crazy this weekend!...Go Gators!!.....can you rank which environment is the toughest to win at/ loudest in the SEC 1-5?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
1. Tiger Stadium (at night)2. Bryant-Denny Stadium 3. The Swamp4. Jordan-Hare Stadium5. Sanford StadiumOf note: A loto of this is cyclical. When the Head Ball Coach was at Florida, there wasn't a tougher place to play in college football than the Swamp. This Saturday will be a great opportunity for the Gators to reclaim that distinction.
Outside of LSU and 'Bama, who is the biggest threat left on UF's schedule?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
I'd say South Carolina in Columbia on Nov. 12.
Chris how can state get the run game going with the middle of the O line so banged up? I figured Dan would call some plays to the outside against La. Tech, but all I would see is a run play up the middle for one yard.
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Mississippi State has to get more from its receivers, Chad Bumphis and that group. I think that's the part of the offense that's missing right now.
Derek Dooley (Rocky Top)
Do my Vols have anything to worry about with the NCAA relative to the Willie Garza info leaked this week?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
It could cost the Vols a scholarship or two. The key question now is where did Garza get the money from to send to Will Lyles. The other thing is: How deeply will the NCAA dig on this thing? It's unfortunate for you, coach Dooley, because you keep on having to put out fires (or clean up stenches) left by Lane Kiffin.
Jonny Danger (Houston)
Two middle of the road WAC teams took two middle of the road SEC teams down to the last moments deep in SEC country and the former WAC kingpin throttled an SEC team thought to be well on the rise. Is the SEC still as deep as it has been in past years? Several teams are going to get credit for wins vs ranked teams against those same teams that got taken out and/or scared by WAC teams...
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
No, I don't think the SEC is deep as some years in the past. Kentucky and Ole Miss appear headed for losing seasons. Mississippi State is off to a disappointing start, and it remains to be seen how good Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee are.
Is your biggest disappointment really a 4-0 team? Of all the stats out there, the only one that matters in the end is W-L.
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Right ... at the end of the season. Hey, I'm not the only one disappointed. The head coach knows what's coming if the Gamecocks don't start playing better.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
That's all for today. We'll catch up again next week. Look forward to a great evening of football on Saturday in the Swamp.