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 Thursday afternoon to everyone.
Does Ole Miss knock Off Bama? They have had two weeks to get ready.
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
I'll answer that one quickly ... no. Ole Miss doesn't have the offense to move the ball against Alabama. But, then, I don't know that anybody does.
Is Mullen done with Relf for the season?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
No, he's still going to use him and I think you'll see both quarterbacks on Saturday depending on the situation. I don't think with Mississippi State's problems/injuries in the offensive line that they can protect Tyler Russell if the Bulldogs were to go the whole game with him.
Marcus (The Hill)
You said before the season started if the Hogs could be 2-1 in there against Bama, TAMU, and Auburn that they would be good shape the rest of the season. Do you see the Hogs making a run for a 2nd Straight BCS?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
I sure do, especially with the way they've held it together after that Alabama loss. They need to get some guys back healthy, which is why this was such a good week for an open date. But a BCS bowl bid is pretty much in their hands if they can win out, which would mean beating LSU on the road.
Derek Dooley can obviously recruit and he looks the part, but can he actually coach?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Jury's still out, but I don't think it's really fair to fully evaluate him until after the 2012 season. That will be his third season and when he should have a full complement of players. If the Vols aren't at least an eight- or nine-win team in 2012, that's when they heat will be turned up. But Dooley knows that.
You say Miss St. is not playing well, but they are going to pull it together, name a starting QB, shut down Lattimore, and score 24 against a defense that is playing lights out ball. (All in one game Saturday). Think you missed that pick and the kid extends his lead by a game.
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
Funny, that's what The Kid said.
Chris, how do you think D J Fluker is doing on the right side tackle for Alabama
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
He's playing better and more consistently. That whole offensive line is playing extremely well right now. They just had to figure out who was their best combination at the beginning of the season. Kouandjio is still going to be a great player.
Evan (Auburn, Ala.)
Chris: Barrett Trotter or Kiehl Frazier?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
It's still Trotter's job, but you will see Auburn looking for more chances to use Frazier as this season progresses. Once he gets a spring with Malzahn and then an entire offseason in the program, I'd be surprised if he's not the guy next season. Malzahn and Chizik are just being careful not to throw him out there full time before he's ready.
Ken (Tuscaloosa) [via mobile]
Hello Mr. Low......great work!!!! Here is my question: Why is there so much talk about comparing LSU defense to Bama defense when the Tigers only "really" have one good skill player on that side of the ball when Bama have "head hunter" with ball hawks larking in the secondary. Your thought?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
You're selling that LSU defense short. Mathieu is the "one good skill player" you're talking about, I would assume. But Mo Claiborne is an excellent cover cornerback and Brandon Taylor is one of the top safeties in the league. Sam Montgomery off the edge can go get the quarterback, and I think LSU's interior people up front are as good, if not better, than Alabama's. The Tide are clearly better at linebacker. I think both defenses are excellent and can't wait to see these two teams go at it.
Dawgman (The pound)
Chris, stick it to Ed this week in the picks! I know that it is really early to be looking to next year but i cant quit getting excited for how good and young the Dawgs are. Murray will be back, and I cant imagine what 1 offseason would do for Malcolm Mitchell and Isaiah. The defense is young up-front, no one is leaving and they are finally adapting to the 3-4. Dont you think that enough should save Coach Mark Richt's job, plus the fact I dont think we could hire a better coach out there?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Lot of hope in Athens right now and lot of good, young players contributing. If Orson Charles stays in school, they should have the best combo of QB, RB, WR and TE in the league next season.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
If Tyrann Mathieu is now being called the "Honey Badger," what animals should we call Hightower, Upshaw, and the entire Crimson Tide defense?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
How about simply ... "The Predators?"
Stephanie (Lancaster, SC)
Howdy, Chris. Was South Carolina's demolition of Kentucky a fluke or did the offense just finally meet expectations? Either way, do you see the offense playing that well the rest of the season? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
I wouldn't call it a fluke, but Kentucky is really struggling right now, so you have to take that into consideration. But the Gamecocks needed a spark with how poorly Garcia had played at quarterback, and Shaw gave them that spark. I think he will be solid, although he will take some lumps along the way. This Mississippi State game is a scary one for the Gamecocks. It just has that feel. We'll see if South Carolina proves me wrong.
chris dont you think tenn. should have kept chavis instead of monyy sr. or wilcox
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
That wasn't going to happen with Lane Kiffin coming in. Part of the package was that he was bringing his father. But there's no question that Chavis has been one of the best defensive coordinators in college football for a long time, and his track record speaks for itself. His critics will say that he's always had great talent, but doesn't he get some credit for developing some of that talent and putting players in the right spots. I can tell you that the players who have played under him are all complimentary of the kind of coach he is -- tough, hard-nosed, no-nonsense and undying loyal to the people he's with.
Any truth to the Dan Mullen to Arizona rumors I'm hearing here in town? Think he'd want to work for his old boss again?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
I don't know if there's any truth to then, but Arizona's athletic director, Greg Byrne, hired Mullen at Mississippi State and thinks very highly of him.
josh (bethlehem ga)
What is with so many people saying aaron Murray is having a bad year or struggling this year? Is it purely the number of interceptions? Outside of the ints. He has had a solid year, and hasn't 2 or 3 of the ints hit his receivers in the hands or chest?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
I wouldn't say Murray's having a bad year at all. He's made a few throws he'd like to have back and missed on a couple of deep balls against Tennessee. And, yes, he's also been victimized by drops. But Murray is the kind of guy you want quarterbacking your football team. He's a leader, the kind of guy his teammates want to play hard for, very smart and as tough as they come.
Steve (Los Angeles)
Hi Chris, Great job as always covering the SEC. Just wondering your thoughts on why LSU is ranked ahead of Alabama. While LSU's win over Oregon was impressive, I don't feel their other win's over West Virginia and Mississippi State are anything overly special compared to Alabama's win on the road at Florida and Penn State and their domination of # 10 Arkansas. Your thoughts as to why the media and coaches value LSU higher?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
I would say because three of LSU's wins over Top 25 teams have come away from home and they have four wins over Top 25 teams overall. The Oregon win was especially impressive, doing it at a neutral site. The good thing is that it doesn't matter because we get to find out on the field who's better Nov. 5. Most media members I talk to are split on who's better. My take at this point is that LSU has probably done a little more, but that Alabama has been a little more dominant in all phases of the game.
What's up with Kentrell Lockett? He had a lot of preseason hype, but I haven't heard much about him lately.
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
He just hasn't been able to come back physically from his knee injury.
Ron Morris (forced to leave the room) (Spurrier's BFF)
Will you answer questions while i'm in the chat? Seriously though, Garcia's test results could have been had inless than 2 hours on that Thursday. Did Spurrier withhold the results just in case Shaw failed miserably against Kentucky and he had to put Garcia in??
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
No, Spurrier didn't find out until Monday evening that Garcia had a positive test. And I answer all questions regardless of who's in the room.
Chris, SEC has to go to 14 teams eventually. What's the hold up with Mizzou?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
There's a split right now in the league regarding Missouri. Some of the presidents want to bring the Tigers aboard and like the idea of what adding Missouri will do to enhance the SEC's academic image. There's another faction that thinks the SEC should wait and see what else shakes out and that Missouri isn't a great fit. Several in the SEC would like to see another team from the East since they're already adding Texas A&M.
Rich (Auburn, AL)
Would Malzahn only leave Auburn for a quality SEC job? I keep hearing that, but if/when UCLA fires Neuheisel, would he take that job if they offered it? Seems like his style is perfectly suited for the PAC-12
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Gus wants to be a head coach, but he always wants it to be the right fit. He was close to taking the Vanderbilt job last season, but changed his mind late. His style, to me, is suited for any league. He likes throwing the football, but the thing his offenses have always been able to do is run the ball. If something like UCLA came open, it would be hard for him to turn that down.
With LSU's defense being so great, one of my worries is that Chavis gets some huge contract offer to coach D somewhere else. I know he's very loyal, but what are the chances he would leave for a better offer elsewhere?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
I just don't see it. Texas was interested this past offseason, and he stayed put. Georgia came after him the year before. He likes LSU, likes working for Miles and knows that LSU is always going to have great talent. That said, an NFL def. coordinator job could lure him away.
RYAN TOTHEROW (ROCK HILL SC)
YOU COACHED MY LITTLE LEAGUE TEAM, JOHNS GANG!!!! CONGRATS ON ALL THE SUCCESS! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!! GO CLEMSON!! (I KNOW ITS A SEC CHAT BUT I COULDNT RESIST)
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
The one and the only "Muscles."
Garrett Bell (Henderson, TN)
First time posting, Chris. Love the blog! If Tennessee had Bray, Poole, and Hunter I think they could compete with anyone in the SEC. Yes, LSU and Bama too! What do you think? Also, what are Bray's chances for Heisman next season?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
The thing holding the Vols back now is that they don't have a running game. Even with Bray, it was going to be hard to win the big games not being able to run the ball. I think Bray has exceptional arm talent and really improved this season, but let's let him win a big game before we start talking Heisman.
CJ (Cola SC)
How far do you expect gamecocks to go with shaw and no backup qbs?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
I see at least one more loss out there for the Gamecocks and probably two more, and that's if Shaw stays healthy. If he gets hurt, they may lose three or four more.
Tim (Columbia, SC)
Chris, I just wanted to say that you are not going to be able to catch "The Kid" this week with your poor selection in the SCAR/MSU game. You are completely leaving out the 9th ranked n'tnl defense. Even if Shaw's performance is less than stellar, MSU will have a very hard time scoring. Shame shame.
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
You gotta take some chances every once in a while and go on hunches. I agree that South Carolina is playing better on defense, but something tells me Mississippi State will play its best game of the season. We shall see. And The Kid doesn't need any more props. His head is already swelling to Barry Bonds proportions.
Chris, please answer my question, I asked like 4 last week and you didn't get to any of them.
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
What is it? Ask it again?
Kate (New Orleans)
Female reader here. A) I'll have whatever Garrett Bell was drinking before his post. B) My husband is trying to get me to give up my annual fall trip to the Northeast to go to LSU-Bama. I'm a huge football fan (LSU). Is going to a game in Tuscaloosa worth it?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Are you kidding? Alabama vs. LSU in November with the winner likely getting a shot at playing for the SEC's sixth straight national title? Two defenses that look like NFL defenses? And the kind of atmosphere on that campus you wouldn't be able find anywhere else on the planet? Heck, I'd love to go as a fan, take in the tailgating, hang out with the fans and party down afterward. I don't know where you're headed in the Northeast, but the game on Nov. 5 is a can't-miss affair.
So Jerry Franklin is leading the Hogs in tackles for a fourth year in a row and the kid doesn't even have him in his top 25 players in the SEC so far this year. I hope you don't make the same boneheaded mistake in your top 25.
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
You'll get to find out here in about 45 minutes. I'll say this: Picking just 25 players in the SEC is the hardest thing I do. You spend two or three hours second-guessing yourself after you get it done and keep thinking about players you should have included.
Brent (The Swamp)
If the gators get Brantley back at QB in time to snag a win against Georgia, who do you see going to Atlanta?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
With the way he was throwing the ball early in that Alabama game, then that should instantly make Florida more of a contender when he comes back. The key will be winning this week against Auburn. I don't think they Gators can lose a third in a row and still go to Atlanta.
First, kudos on the Spurrier/Garcia article this week, very nice! How much of a factor will the injuries to MSU's O-Line be, especially considering that USC's D-Line (maybe the best in the country, but I'm a little biased) should have a healthy Melvin Ingram?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
Mississippi State has struggled most of the season in the offensive line and had to move guys around. I like South Carolina in that matchup, but I see the Bulldogs using Relf to run a bunch in this one and the Gamecocks need to stop that. Ingram being healthier should help, but the Gamecocks better not turn it over and better go in expecting to get Mississippi State's best game.
I'm beginning to think that you're ignoring my questions b/c I'm asking about the Gamecock D-Line, and it's tough to say anything bad about them. Do you hate the Gamecocks?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Second question I've answered of yours, for the record. No, I don't hate the Gamecocks (although I've been accused of hating every team in the league at some point), and I grew up going to South Carolina games at Williams-Brice Stadium when there was no upper deck on the East side. That's how old I am, and I actually remember seeing Ron Bass (from Remember the Titans fame) play for the Gamecocks.
Any thoughts as to who Arizona should & will target for their next coach?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Sounds like there's some buzz in the state of Mississippi that Dan Mullen could be a candidate. I don't know if I believe that. He's making $2.5 million now. How much coin is Arizona going to pay?
Mark (Thomasville, GA)
settle this arguement for me and a friend. Who's the better all-round running back so far? Lattimore or Richardson? Also, who probably has the brighter NFL future?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I'm a huge fan of both of those guys, but I would take Richardson right now. Both should be great players in the NFL. To me, getting a choice of those two would be like getting to choose where I wanted to play golf -- Augusta National or Pebble Beach?
I haven't had a question answered either but you have to understand Richard, these guys get hundreds of questions a session. You can only answer so many in an hour.
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
George, give me your question. I like Orlando, and my kids absolutely love it!
Just wondered who you think the 14th team will eventually be.
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Probably Missouri, with West Virginia my second choice. I still think the SEC would love to have Virginia Tech if they could shake the Hokies loose from the SEC.
Rebel Jim (Dallas)
Chris, Ole Miss questions please? Do you think Houston Nutt will be fired and what do you make of the full page ads that a group has taken out in several newspapers asking for the resignation of AD Pete Boone?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
What I make of it is that a lot of Ole Miss people think Boone has been one of the reasons the Rebels haven't fared better. I could see Boone getting fired before Nutt. Nutt's future probably depends on whether the Rebels can show some improvement this season. To me, he deserves a fifth season when you consider that he won nine games in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009. I think what Ole Miss fans have to ask themselves is: What are realistic expectations year in and year out there, especially with the West being as strong as it is? I'll say this for Nutt. He could help his cause by not losing to Mississippi State for a third straight season.
Britton (Baton Rouge)
Now that the NCAA has settled the Auburn investigation. Are there any other open NCAA investigations that you see blowing up big in the SEC?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Hey, man, it's the SEC. No NCAA investigations in the SEC would be like no sharks off the coast of South Africa.
I saw DRe Kirkpatrick get beat a few times the last few weeks. Over hyped I'd say. Dequan Menzie is the guy that impresses me most. I'm worried about our man-to-man coverage with Dre. What are your thoughts?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Menzie is the best corner on the team and has been the most consistent corner. Kirkpatrick has gotten better, though. Both will play in the NFL. Getting beat like that early in the Florida game may actually help Kirkpatrick.
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
Gotta run to finish up my re-ranking of the Top 25 players in the SEC at the midway point. I'm sure everyone will agree with my choices. Thanks a bunch for the questions. Always enjoy our chats and I'll see everyone on the road. Have a great week!