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 (1:05 PM)
Good afternoon all. Let's chat.
Ray (Pawleys Island)
Chris have you heard anything on how SC's meeting went with the NCAA last week? I know they said it would be several weeks before anything was announced but I haven't heard any statements about it
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
There won't be any statements about it. The school presents its case, and then the committee decides if the self-imposed penalties are enough or if they need to add sanctions. From everything I've heard, South Carolina doesn't expect to be hit with additional sanctions that are serious, certainly nothing rising to the level of a postseason ban. They've already cut some scholarships.
Morgan (Atlanta )
So what is the deal with this new playoff system?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Who knows? It sounds like a bunch of nothing came out of this latest meeting. I like how nobody wants to call it a playoff, but that's exactly what it is -- a four-team playoff. They will drag their feet on it and everybody will go back and forth on it, but I do think we will have a four-team playoff starting in 2014.
Jackson (Waxahatchi, TX)
Where is the bickering worse? Politics or SEC football?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
1. Youth sports2. SEC football3. Politics
Jackson (Baton Rouge)
How big of a blow is LSU losing Ron Cooper?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
I know Chavis hates to lose him, especially with how well the Tigers had played back there the last two years. Cooper relates very well to the players. But LSU has the kind of talent in the secondary that there shouldn't be a drop-off regardless of who comes in.
Tyler (Augusta ga)
Hey Chris love the blog. I'm a huge Georgia fan. A lot of people like to rag on "thUGA" for having disciplinary issues. Just an FYI, Athens Clarke county is one of the few places that takes minors to jail for underage drinking. And CMR usually does the right thing. Although I don't reaLy have a question, I'd just like to point that out. If anyone complains about our discipline, I'd point out that LSUs probable starting qb is Zach mettenberger, whom CMR dismissed from the team. Thanks!
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Every program has its issues with players doing dumb/immature things off the field and getting in trouble. Things such as disorderly conduct, underage drinking and driving on suspended licenses are going to happen on every campus with athletes and non-athletes. So all off-the-field issues aren't created equal. I agree. But when there's a long list of recurring things, that's what it becomes an embarrassment for everyone. Coach Richt has typically cracked down on kids who've embarrassed the program. The stuff that should never be tolerated are multiple drug offenses, violence against women, robbery and any kind of serious assault.
Chris,What is the general perception of fans across the SEC with the additions of A&M and Mizzou to the conference? Also, how do you think the Aggies will fair next season against the Big3 in West?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
I think everybody is anxious to see how the new kids on the block will do and how long it takes them to settle in. The Aggies get LSU and Arkansas at home and play at Alabama. Winning one of the three would be a good place to start in the first season, I would think.
Hey Chris. Florida had a great weekend. I know muschamp is a defensive guy but im a little worried that he's focusing to much on defense and not enough on offense. Shouldnt he be more aggresive with going after wide receivers
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
I know he really wanted a marquee running back and got him in Taylor. That was a huge priority. I would expect now they will fill in the gaps at receiver. But when you look at what they did in this class on the OL and then to add in Taylor in the 2013 class, that ought to tell you what the Gators plan on doing in the future on offense. They want to be a physical running team that also takes its shots down the field and then creates mismatches with their tight ends.
John E (Houston)
Chris, with Sanders Commings suspended for the first 2 games of the season... who do you see replacing him? (My first thought is Damian Swann.)
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
I would say Swann, too. That second game will present a challenge, too, because James Franklin can run and pass, and the Tigers' receiving corps should be pretty good with the addition of Dorial Green-Beckham.
Ronald (Paris, TN)
Chris, if you had to predict...who would you say are sure-fire 1st round draft picks out of the SEC for NEXT year's draft?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
If you're talking about the 2013 draft, I'd say Jarvis Jones at Georgia, Marcus Lattimore at South Carolina, Tyler Wilson at Arkansas, Barrett Jones at Alabama, Jesse Williams at Alabama, Johnthan Banks at Miss. State, Sam Montgomery at LSU and Knile Davis (if he's healthy) at Arkansas. I'm sure I missed a couple.
Adam (Zou Crew)
Chris, how will the perception of Mizzou football in the SEC change if UGA leaves Columbia, MO with a loss in September?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I don't think there's a perception that just Missouri will struggle. It's any team that jumps into the league at this point. There's going to be a transition, and what Missouri and Texas A&M will both find is that the grind of the SEC is what's so tough -- playing three and four straight games against SEC opponents. Beating Georgia in Columbia, Mo., would sure be a great way for Missouri to kick off things in the SEC.
Webber (Fort Worth)
When do you think they are going to fire David Ubben for not staying the full hour during his 1 hour blog in addition to him not answering my Texas A&M questions?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
I will see to it that Ubben is admonished. How dare him? Besides, Texas A&M is a part of the SEC family now. That is, if you want to call anything about the SEC ... family.
Is Connor Shaw the most underrated QB in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Based on the way he played in those last three games a year ago, I would say yes. He really settled into a groove, and now the Gamecocks get to plan and prepare during the entire offseason and spring around his strengths as a quarterback. Garcia was still hanging around this time a year ago.
Whats your thoughts on our scheduling of FCS and even some of the FBS teams we play? I have heard you and others report that SEC coaches arent interested in adding another SEC game, and I understand, but my team plays three games a year that either arent on tv or i dont really care about. I guess thats great for my girlfriend but it sucks. My opinion is add one SEC game a year and eliminate the FCS opponent. In fact, I think there should be a rule that you cant go to BCS/playoff if youve played an FCS school. Im sure your going to disagree with me, but thats my two cents
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
No, I agree with you more than you think. I don't like the idea of SEC schools playing FCS schools, especially those November debacles when it's a glorified scrimmage. I'd like to see the SEC play one big-time nonconference game every year, a second opponent from a major conference, although maybe not a Top 25 team, and then two lesser teams from smaller FBS conferences. I don't see a scenario where anybody in the SEC is going to agree to playing nine conference games.
If Derick Dooley can't produce on the field this year, will he be on the chopping block? How about seeing a Jon Gruden/Peyton Manning tandem coaching after a year in the booth? I have a dream!
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
That's not a dream. That's a fantasy!
As much as I thought that Arkansas defense was kind of a let down last year, I felt that in the 2 big losses to Bama and Lsu, it was their offense that let them down. From watching those games I felt that their offensive struggles can be mainly attributed to a inexperienced offensive line. Can you see their offensive line improving enough to win the west this year?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Don't forget about special teams, either. For the most part, Arkansas was excellent on special teams last year. But against both Alabama and LSU, the Hogs gave up punt returns for touchdowns that changed the complexion of the game. Offensively, Arkansas still has to prove it can run the ball better to beat Alabama and LSU. If Davis is healthy, he should provide that opportunity, and the middle of that Arkansas line also returns.
Thanks for the blog, helps entertain me at work every thursday; But what do you think the SEC needs to do to change its perception around the country as a conference that is high on talent and over-signing and low on academic standards and loyalty? Its nice to keep on winning but at the end of the day we are a conference of college institutions that do seem to give up a lot of the "student" in "student-athlete".
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
There's no question that the SEC has had its share of embarrassing scandals, and the pressure to win in this league has driven people to do things that make us all cringe. But I also think that the SEC has become a convenient target here lately simply because the league has had so much success. They're always throwing stones at the guy on top, and a lot of those people throwing stones tend to live in glass houses. There's a reason Ohio State isn't going to be eligible for a bowl game next season.
Where do you project Dont'a Hightower to go in the NFL Draft? And do you think he has slipped in his draft stock since Upshaw has (sort of) outshined Hightower and his knee injury against Arkansas a few years ago?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I thought Hightower really helped himself with the way he came back and played this season. I had several people tell me his performance in the national championship game was especially beneficial for him. I see him as mid second-rounder. He can also rush the passer, which helps. The fact that he came back strong this year and didn't have any issues with the knee will help him.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Hey Chris, what do you think is the best SEC vs. non-SEC regular season game? Bama-Michigan sets the bar pretty high at the start of the season.
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
That's got to be it. There aren't as many attractive nonconference games featuring SEC teams in 2012 as there were in 2011. You've got Auburn and Clemson the opening weekend in Atlanta. Washington comes to LSU the second week of the season, and Ole Miss hosts Texas the third week of the season. You still have the yearly battles like FSU-Florida and Clemson-South Carolina. But the lineup isn't as good as last year when you had Oregon-LSU and LSU-West Virginia. Losing the Arkansas-Texas A&M game as a nonconference contest (now a league game) also hurts.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
How do you think Kevin Sumlin's wide open offense will fair in the SEC? Could this be the second coming of the Florida Fun 'N Gun?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
This is a different day in the SEC. The defenses are too good across the board to let any offense go up and down the field the way Spurrier's Gators did in the 90s.
Kevin (Huntsville, AL)
Which SEC program do you see making the most improvement in the next 3 years? Which is on the decline?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
I'll go with Florida making the most improvement. I'm not saying that South Carolina is going to go into a steep decline, but I have a hard time seeing the Gamecocks regularly winning 10 and 11 games over the next three years.
Chris, why does the media never seem to report that the two biggest offended of oversigning for the past 3 years have been Alabama and Auburn.... And what do you know? They are the last 3 NC winners.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
You see, I don't understand all the uproar over oversigning as long as schools are up front with recruits and their families. Honestly, the way SEC teams have managed their rosters has been one of the secrets to their success. I never agree with telling a kid at the last minute (which has happened at several places in the SEC) that he no longer has a scholarship and has to grayshirt. But I see no problem with it as long as schools are on the up and up about it.
Typing Critic (Texas)
You have nothing on Dana O'Neil's typing speed and questions answered per chat.
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
I would never claim to be in Dana's class.
There is no doubt that LSU has the offensive personnel and talent to win a championship next year, especially with Mett coming in. My questions is, will LSU have the offensive coaching skill to use all that talent effectively?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Well, they were one win away this season after winning 13 in a row against one of the toughest schedules any football team has faced in a while. I like their chances again.
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Gotta run. Thanks for the questions.