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)
I'm ready. What's on your mind?
Pachy (SEC Blog)
If the SEC wins another title this year will the NCAA ban them from the league?
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Nah, just tweak the BCS championship format to make it harder on the SEC ... only kidding.
Will the Gamecocks offense explode this year with Shaw, Lattimore and Co. at RB, various talented WRs, and best TEs in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
I don't know that it will explode, but I do think it will be efficient, and that's good enough for Spurrier. He knows what he has in Lattimore and knows how to play to Shaw's strengths, and that's what they're going to do.
Chris, how does Florida do this year? Who wins the quarter back battle and why? How many wins?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
I'll say 8-4 for the Gators in the regular season and that Brissett starts the first game, but both quarterbacks end up playing this season.
Do my vols have any shot to win the east? i know that our defense is a little unsure with the transition to the 3-4, but i our offense is going to put up some points that i dont see a lot of teams being able to match or defend
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
They have a shot, an outside shot. It helps that LSU and Arkansas are off the schedule. Winning over Florida the third week of the season is a must if the Vols are going to have any shot. I do think the offense will put up a lot of points. I just don't know that they will be in a position to play championship defense this first year in the 3-4 scheme. And trying to win every game 38-31 in this league just doesn't happen. I do believe Tennessee will be improved and has a chance to be an 8-4 team.
If you were an NFL team, would you take Alshon Jeffery in the 1st round?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
If it's the Alshon Jeffery of two years ago ... yes. He's trimmed down and catches everything. He's also one of those guys who plays faster in pads. I'd take a shot at him later in the first round and certainly if I needed a receiver and was sitting there with one of the top 10 to 15 picks of the second round.
skylar (tuscaloosa, city of champions)
chris, after A-Day I was left wondering that with all the returning talent we have at RB, do you see saban possibly doing the whole running back by committee thing, like we saw at LSU this past season?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
Saban would prefer to play three backs. It's harder to do that when you have Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. But with Lacy, Hart, Yeldon and Fowler, all those guys do different things well and I think you'll see them all play in 2012.
Chance (LaGrange, GA)
C-Low,It seems like every year under Nick Saban the Tide has had a true freshman come in and make a significant contribution to the team (Ingram, Richardson, Mosely, DePriest). The obvious choice this year would be Yeldon...but who else should Tide fans be on the lookout for from THIS year's freshman class?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
One of those receivers -- Black, Cooper or Eddie Williams. They're not true freshmen, but both JUCO corners, Belue and Dixon, are going to make impacts.
MikeDaTiger (Baton Rouge)
With Claiborne gone, will the Tyrann Mathieu be expected to play CB more often this season, or will Les plug in someone else to let the Honey Badger do what he does in the Nickel Back spot?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
No, coach Chavis wants to keep him as the nickel/roamer, although Mathieu will still play some corner. But with five DBs on the field, you're going to see him in that nickel role. Chavis really liked the way redshirt freshman defensive backs Jalen Collins and Micah Eugene came on this spring. They both will be in the rotation, and Tharold Simon may be the next All-SEC cornerback to come out of LSU.
Dawgfan_1977v8.0 (Fort Benning, GA)
Are you not allowed to speculate on coaches being dismissed? Is that why you or ed never answer my serious football question?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
There are no restraints that I know of. What is your "serious" football question, and I'll do my best to answer it.
I am hearing that Showers leads the qb battle mainly due to decision making. Manziels has more bright moments but makes some young mistakes. How do you see this ending?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
That's pretty much what Kevin Sumlin said earlier this week. I think Showers will be the starter to open the season, but that Manziel will also get his chances.
Dawgfan_1977v8.0 (Fort Benning, GA)
Chris...do you seriously see Mike Bobo hanging around if he continues to cost the Dawgs key games due to his predictable and conservative play calling?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I realize that Bobo has taken his share of grief the last couple of seasons, but Georgia was third in the SEC last season in total offense and has broken several team offensive records under Bobo. In SEC games, Georgia averaged 29.2 points in SEC games only last year. All this said, if the Dawgs don't get to the SEC championship game this season and stumble on offense, yes, the heat on Bobo will increase.
Banjo Player (Rural, MS)
Will Joe Morrow be the biggest under the player radar this fall? If not him then who?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
He'll be one of the top ones for Mississippi State along with Ferlando Bohanna.
Jimmy (Washington, D.C.)
With Arkansas choosing to go the interim route for this season, do you see this team rallying behind each other and making a run for a chance to play in the national championship? Do you think they will be able to get by Bama and LSU for that top spot in the west?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
It's not going to be easy, even though I think the Hogs have the talent. John L. Smith obviously knows the personnel on this team and the coaches and players want him there. But will they play with the same edge they played with under Petrino? There's no way to know that at this point. I don't see them getting past both Alabama and LSU, although I didn't see that happening even before Petrino was fired.
Pachy (SEC Blog)
Chris, your take on John L. Smith leaving Weber State hanging?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
It's bad all the way around. I hate that coaches can leave when they want to, usually without much penalty, and players are restricted from doing so when things change on their end. That's what bothers me the most.
Will (Marietta) [via mobile]
Is Barret Jones already the best center in the country?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
To me, Barrett Jones is one of the best football players, period, in the SEC. How many could play at an All-SEC level at guard, tackle and center? He's also a terrific leader and just makes everybody else around him better.
Avery (Asheville, NC)
Does the current discussion about a four-team playoff increase the chances we'll see expansion to 16 teams?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
No, I don't think so. The only way I see the SEC adding more teams is if somebody like Virginia Tech, Oklahoma or Texas comes to the SEC.
chris, i think everyone is out to get arkansas, you seem to not like th emove why?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Wrong. I've written that Smith was a smart move for right now. It's what the players wanted and you also keep this staff in place. There won't be a transition over the summer where the players have to learn a new offense or get used to a new system. I think it gives this team the best chance to win right now.
Mark (Monticello, AR)
Do you see that possible 3 way tie in the West happening this year, with Bama and LSU coming to Fayettenam, I think it is a very real possibility!
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Yes, this year probably provides the best chance for that to happen, especially with both games being in Fayetteville. That South Carolina game in Columbia is going to be tough because sooner or later the Gamecocks are finally going to play a decent game against the Hogs.
Phyllis (these r parentheses)
If you could choose a SEC dream team on the defensive line for 2012 who would be on it?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
For this year, it would be Easley, Clowney, Mingo and Bennie Logan. Keep an eye on Jesse Williams, too.
Michael (Columbia, South Carolina)
Will Marcus Lattimore be the SEC's leading rusher?If not him then Knile Davis?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
If Lattimore stays healthy, he'll be the top rusher, although Spurrier wants to play a few more guys this season and not wear him out as much.
AUTiger0325 (THE Blog)
Man CLow what is with all the Arkansas talk today? Don't you think we have heard enough of them over the past 3 weeks to take us into the next football season? I mean come on they don't get a Lunchlink for like 4 weeks straight and now everything revolves around them?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
That's funny, because somebody mentioned earlier that I didn't weigh in early enough on the John L. Smith hire. Yes, it has dominated the last few weeks, but you've got to admit that it has been a huge national story.
If Brandon Williams is eligible, do the Aggies have the best running back duo with William and Michael (and true freshman Trey Williams and Ben Malena on call).
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
They're right up there, although LSU has five guys who could play for anybody. I still think it's unlikely that Williams will be eligible this season. But it sounds like he's one talented guy.
what are your 3 cant miss games for out of conference play?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Michigan vs. Alabama, Auburn vs. Clemson and Florida vs. FSU
Avery (Asheville, NC)
Vandy seems like it's putting together some potent offensive weapons this year, if they can find depth on the offensive line. Do you think Jordan Rodgers can find some consistency?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
I think you might even see 12, including Ole Miss' Bobby Massie.
As a Mizzou fan the thing I worry about the most long term is defense. I am just not sure Coach Steckel's bend but don't break D is going to work Is my concern legit? Or does it fit more in the SEC where teams are not pass happy like the Big 12?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
You have to be able to stop the run in the SEC. That's where Mizzou has to make sure it's strong. SEC offenses have a way of bullying you and grinding on you and wearing on you, but they also have the athletes to then hit you with the big play.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
True/False: Vandy will finish ahead of Missouri in the final SEC East standings.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
No, I think Missouri will finish ahead of Vanderbilt in the East. Now, that's provided (Missouri's) James Franklin is healthy.
After spring practice, what do you see for Ole Miss this year
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
A lot of growing pains this first year with a lot of young guys playing. It would be quite an accomplishment to get to 6-6.
Goldengator09 (Sunshine State)
Chris, I heard UF is building a dome in 2020. SAY IT AIN'T SO! WHAT ABOUT MY TAN!
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
That's a new one on me. The Swamp is an institution. Why would the Gators give up one of the best home-field advantages in college football?
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
What young player in Athens will break out this season and become a major contributor for Coach Richt?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I'll go with Keith Marshall, Ray Drew and Jay Rome.
Bren (Berkeley, Ca)
Interesting how the SEC's position has changed so quickly on a playoff. The Big Ten's proposal was the most fair and fan friendly off all the options on the table (you have even praised it in past chats), but clearly Mike Slive will have none of it....what say you?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
I like the idea of playing the semifinal games at on-campus sites, but I also understand the difficulties in doing so. How do you squeeze that many people in Manhattan, Kan., or even Tuscaloosa, Ala.? What I don't want to see is a restriction that says only conference champions are eligible.
Clark Griswold (8^D)
Do you think Auburn's defense will be much improved from last year? I realize they are still young but I like Brian Van Gorder's new philosophy on The Plains
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Yes, for one, I think they'll be better and more experienced in the secondary, and I know VanGorder feels very good about his defensive line.
with bray and hunter back and some good additions to wr, how will the vols offense compare to others in the sec? potentially top 2 or 3? if we stay healthy...
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
I'd say top three in the SEC in passing offense for sure.
Any chance the Vols are in a BCS bowl anytime soon?
Georgia Love (Hart, CA)
Will Vandy get 6 wins and be bowl elgible?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
Yes, and I think they will. The key is going at least 3-1 in nonconference games.
mshoggy (not in the ozarks)
Chris- Just to annoy dusty how about one more question on the hogs. Do you think there is any reason to be concerned that Knile hasn't been involved in contact drills yet
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
No, they're just being careful. They need him healthy in September, not now. Knile told me last week that he feels great and is as fast as he's ever been.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. We'll catch up again next week. Stay safe and have a great week!