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 (1:03 PM)
Good afternoon. Hope everyone is well.
Lot's of coaching search rumors flying about for the Arkansas job. Any truth to any of them that you know of?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
I know Jeff Long has been diligent in checking with different people and seeing if there's somebody he could bring in right now that would be the right fit for the program long term. I'm sure he's talked with several people, although I still think the best option right now is going with the current staff this season and then seeing who he can get in December. I don't think Phillip Fulmer is realistic at this point, and the same goes for Pete Carroll.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Chris, what are your thoughts on Coach Spurrier saying that you should only count the division wins/losses toward the winner of each division.. Is this sour grapes on his part or does he have a good point?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
If go back and look, the Gamecocks would have won the East had that format been in place last season. Convenient on his part. I don't see it happening, though. Every conference game you play should count, although we all know that some conference schedules are easier than others. The 2012 slate is just a one-year deal, and then I think you'll see everything even up going forward.
Kavin (Charlotte, NC)
Do you think that Alabama's offensive veteran line (with good returning quarterbacks and running backs) can offset the questionable defense with all their new players? Also, how do you think Alabama will fair again the 'big boy' teams like Michigan, Arkansas, and LSU?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
Given the way the Tide have recruited on defense, it's hard for me to it a questionable defense. New stars will emerge like Hubbard, Milliner, Jesse Williams, Belue, etc. In no way do I see the defense being a weakness in 2012. Will they be as good losing four first-rounders on defense? No, but they'll be plenty good enough to be right there in the SEC and national title mix.
chad griffith (spokane washington)
is there any word on the Arkansas football job yet. Has been really quite since last week and we hog fans are woundering what is going on.
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Jeff Long likes it that way. He was never going to be in a hurry, and there's no reason to. Unless he can get the guy right now he thinks is the long-term answer, there's no reason to settle just to say you brought somebody in. More than anything, I think Long has simply been weighing his options.
Dave (London, UK)
Thoughts on reports Garrick McGee will be named Hogs HC on Monday?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
I still think it's a real long shot that McGee is the guy the Hogs hire.
How is the QB battle at Florida shaping up and who do you see winning the starting job.
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
I don't even think Will Muschamp knows the answer to that one one. Brissett may be a little better when it comes to throwing from the pocket, but Driskel has a chance to move around and make more things happen. I believe the starter will end up being the one who steps up and takes the leadership reins this summer and then carries that into preseason practice.
Robert (fayettetown, ar)
How hard of a time will Arkansas have recruiting this year with an iterim coach?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
It's not going to help, but I don't think it kills them, either, especially if they have somebody onboard in December. Even under Petrino, it's not like the Hogs went out and signed top 25 classes every year, whatever that's worth. His strength and the strength of this staff was bringing in plays that fit in this program and this system and developing them into top-level SEC players.
I know this is more of a recruiting question, but where do you think #1 recruit Robert Nkemdiche fits in if he goes to a 3-4 defense like Georgia or Alabama? Would he play OLB or DE?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Being that he's already 265 pounds, I'd say defensive end is more probable, but what makes him so appealing is that he's athletic enough and explosive enough to also play an OLB position in a 3-4 and be a Courtney Upshaw or Jarvis Jones kind of player. Upshaw was around 260 last season, although Nkemdiche may get even bigger once he gets on a college campus and into a weight program.
Lee (Aiken, SC)
Hey, Chris. Looking at the schedules, I can see the definite potential for the UGA @ S.Carolina game being between two 5-0 teams, that is unless Vandy or Mizzou pulls an upset in there somewhere. In your opinion, how likely is an undefeated UGA @ undefeated S.Carolina matchup?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I would lean toward both teams being unbeaten, although that Missouri game for Georgia is scary. And you're right in that South Carolina's opener on Thursday at Vanderbilt also has danger written all over it.
Why isn't Dooley pulling in recruits? The lack of wins? Or is it that he can't recruit on levels like LSU, Florida, Georgia, and (ugh) Alabama?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
Actually, I think Dooley has recruited very well the last two years. The Vols aren't going to pull in as many early commitments as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, etc, but he's shown that he can attract top talent.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Is this Derek Dooley's last season?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
No, because I think Tennessee will find a way to get to eight wins, and I don't see Dooley pushed out after only three seasons when he shows clear progress in his third season.
AJ McCarron [via mobile]
Should I be worried about Deandrew White after today?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
No. 1, let's hope White is all right after sustaining a concussion in what's being reported as an altercation. There aren't a lot of details right now, but unless there's a lot more out there, I'd expect White to be out there in the fall catching passes.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Do you anticipate any transfers accompanying the fallout in Fayetteville?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Not right now. Now, if they bring in a coach who goes with a completely different system, there may be a few. But Knile Davis insisted last week when I talked with him that everybody was on board to stick this thing out and drive toward their goal of winning an SEC title.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
What is your opinion of local media protecting the Universities? The media here never scolded the history of Petrino when he was hired, but now they are killing him and helping the University to look good in their decision to fire Petrino. I completely agree with firing Petrino and think Jeff Long has handled the situation well, but did the local media fail to be critical of Petrino when he came to the University?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
There are a couple of ways of looking at that. Yes, Petrino had some issues in his past that caused you to wonder how much he could be trusted. But he also came right in and did exactly what Arkansas hired him to do, which was make the Hogs a national player. He also signed a long-term deal with a huge buyout that would have made it virtually impossible for him to leave and go somewhere else. At the time, I would have taken the same chance Long did on Petrino while knowing that there was a chance he could break your heart.
Matt (Baton Rouge)
I know the honey badger is one of the best college players in the nation, but considering his size, will he be a good NFL prospect?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
I don't see Mathieu being a prototypical cornerback at the NFL level. He's not a great cover guy. But he's one of those football players who just makes plays, and there's always room for those guys. Maybe he'll play a similar role as Bob Sanders when Sanders had it going for the Colts.
The NCAA has missed the make on announcing sanctions against SCAR for the improper leases, the 45K+ in improper benefits, the "failure to monitor" and whether or not they will be sanctioned as a "repeat offender". In your opinion, given the results of other recent investigations, does this delay looking good for the Gamecocks or could they be looking at harsh penalties?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
I think there will be some penalties, such as recruiting restrictions and some scholarship loss (many of which South Carolina has already self-imposed), but I don't think there will be any type of postseason ban.
Hey Chris, with the story on Urban Meyer breaking and the question of his legacy vs. Spurrier, do you think Muschamp has the ability to outdo both and be the best coach Florida has ever had?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
I'm not ready to go there. Muschamp needs to first get to an SEC championship game. The Head Ball Coach won six of them at Florida.
Who is your SEC Sleeper?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I think the Florida-Tennessee winner that third week of the season has a chance to make some noise in the East.
TidePride (SEC Blog)
Do you see a SEC team winning a 7th BCS title this season? If so who do you think has the best chance at doing so?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
After six straight, why bet against the league now. LSU is the most talented team with a much easier schedule than a year ago. I still think Alabama will be right there when it's all said and done, and the combination of Georgia's returning talent and schedule suggest the Bulldogs could be in the mix. South Carolina will again be very good, but the Gamecocks have to play LSU and Arkansas. It's hard to say how the Hogs will respond from the Petrino scandal, but they're certainly talented enough to be in contention. I think all five teams will start the season in the top 12 to 15 nationally.
Ray (Pawleys Island)
Chris have you ever thought of doing a chat for each team, you know start in the summer and do a different team each weak until the season starts. Just a thought because I would like to get on a chat somtime with no Arky fans LOL
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Not a bad idea at all. Maybe we can come up with some form of that during the summer as we point toward the start of the season.
Tyler (Athens, GA)
Chris How many games is Branden Smith(UGA) going to be suspended?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
What I hear is one game.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Spurrier thinks Saban needs to be successful at a school other than Alabama and LSU cause "they've always won." Why is he needling Saban? I know he likes to do that to just about everyone, but seriously, what does it take to impress Spurrier?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
He's not needling Saban. He has a ton of respect for Saban and what Saban has done. That's just the Head Ball Coach being the Head Ball Coach. If something's on his mind, he says it.
Chris-Die hard GA. Dawg fan here....My question is that in your opinion, do you think UGA has had to many discipline issues over the past 5-6 years? and would you think of writing an article listing the discipline issues over the past 5? I bet there are over 20?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
Every team has discipline issues. We're dealing with 18, 19 and 20-year-olds, many of whom have been allowed to get away with stuff in high school because they were great athletes. In Georgia's case, the Dawgs' have a drug testing policy that is stricter than most teams. I can assure you that all drug testing policies are not created equal. At some point, the leadership on the team has to be better. The best teams are those that police themselves.
Hey Chris.When not if, South Carolina upsets LSU in Baton Rouge does that cement them in the national championship conversation?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
The Gamecocks might want to concentrate on winning at Vanderbilt first in that Thursday night opener. But I do think this team has the talent to make a run at an SEC title, which puts you in the national title conversation.
SEC TION (FL)
Chris, Are you gone?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Sorry,had to step away for a moment.
keith (Greenville, SC)
Did Lattimore look great last week while you at SC?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
They're being careful with Lattimore this spring and not letting him have any contact, but his teammates and coaches say he looks better than ever. He's not quite as big as he was this time a year ago.
Larry (Las Vegas)
Based on early returns, it looks like the move to the SEC for TAMU is having the predicted effect on improved recruiting (despite all the naysayers in the Little 12 that said it would kill TAMU's recruiting). What's your take?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
I always thought joining the SEC would help Texas A&M's recruiting, because now kids can stay in the state of Texas and play their college football and also play in the SEC. That's a heck of a deal to offer a kid there in state.
Andrew (Wilmington, NC)
Who do you predict to be the top freshman playmakers in the SEC this year?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Dorial Green-Beckham, Shaq Roland, Keith Marshall, Chris Black, T.J. Yeldon and Latroy Pittman.
Any thoughts on AU this season? They looked solid in the spring game and the new coaching staff has brought NFL style coaching to the team. RB by Committee, Solid O line, DLine Stepping up, actual coaching in the secondary...people are sleeping on the Tigers...should they?
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
I agree that Auburn has sort of been overlooked in the West race. A lot depends on how much that defenses improves under VanGorder. The jury is still out on the offensive line, and we're going to find out if Frazier can throw the ball well enough to be the every-down quarterback. One thing's for sure about Auburn. We'll know early what kind of team the Tigers have. They face Clemson in Atlanta to open the season, go to Mississippi State that next weekend and get LSU and Arkansas at home by Oct. 6.
Christopher K (Fayetteville, AR)
Afternoon, Chris! Do you believe the players at Arkansas can rally around each other, and play as a complete team without a HC? If they do are they poised to still have an opportunity to win the SEC West. I know having both LSU and Ala at home is a prime compliment to achieving the goal.
Chris Low (2:14 PM)
Somebody, be it a new guy or somebody already on the staff, will be placed in charge. However it shakes out, I think this team has the talent, leadership and experience to contend in the West. From talking to the players, they're as driven as ever and committed to not using any of this as an excuse.
Alan (El Paso, TX)
I read an article recently (on ajc.com) stating that Mike Bobo might have a few Head Coaching opportunities being thrown at him. What do you think the possibility is that he'll be leaving UGA in the next 3 years?
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
I don't know if Bobo will be leaving or not, but I think he gets way too much grief at Georgia, especially when you look at some of the offensive numbers the Bulldogs have put up on his watch.
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
That's it for today. Thanks again for stopping by. We'll catch up next week.