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)
Hope it's a little cooler where all you guys are. It's nasty hot here. Good to be back.
Chris, Thanks for the time as always. Steve Spurrier wrote a now infamous letter to a recruit saying that "You might prolong my coaching career 2-3 years if you come here". Said recruit is believed to be QB Connor Mitch who recently committed. How long does the OBC stick around and does he head off into the sunset of Augusta National with an SEC championship?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
You are correct on Mitch being that quarterback, and my take on the Head Ball Coach is that he will hang around as long as he's legitimately knocking on the door of an SEC championship. He's 10 wins away from being South Carolina's winningest coach. I would say maybe three more years.
Morgan (Atl )
Who has the most to prove this year LSU or the Trojans?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I'll go with LSU after that the Tigers' flop in the national championship game. They had a great season and then laid an egg when it counted most.
olemiss terrell is lexington steele (atlanta, ga)
Ole Miss' recruiting is looking good, if we snag dkemniche, antonio connor, & kailo moore can the rebs compete with bama
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Let's start with winning enough games to get to a bowl game first. Nkemdiche is the big one, and the Rebels have an in with his brother. I like what Freeze and his staff are doing and the way they're spreading out all over the country.
Hey Chris! If Georgia can make it through the first four games, with all of their suspensions, without a loss, what are the odds that they can win the SEC and compete for a national title?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
I expect Georgia to be unbeaten heading into that South Carolina game on Oct. 6, and if the Dawgs win that one (it's in Columbia), then I think they're 11-1 worst-case scenario in the regular season. Then it gets down to being able to knock off the West heavyweight in the SEC title game.
Darrell Patrick (Maumelle AR)
With money admittedly driving many changes in the college football landscape, is College Football going to ultimately be better or worse in your opinion?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
Better ... if we get the playoff right. If we're going to have a playoff, then let's get the best four teams in there and play it off on the field -- not the best four teams that win conference championships. If you do that, you're not solving anything. We might as well go back to the old system. I don't like the idea of teams moving across the country to play in a conference where there are no ties. At some point, I bet we have four major conferences, and I'm not sure that's good for college football.
Darth Tripous (the Death Star )
Will Clowney live up to his potential this year? Or is he going to have another year where he does not even know where to line-up?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
I predict a big year. He was only a freshman last season, and eight sacks and five forced fumbles weren't shabby numbers for a guy who playing on pure talent alone. He'll be a more seasoned player this season.
With Lacy getting the nod at #1 RB for the Tide to start the season, who do you see starting at #2 RB?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Yeldon might not start the season No. 2, but he'll end up getting the second most touches. He's just too talented not to get him the ball. Saban loves all the different things he provides.
If VT were to join the SEC, do you think the other fanbases would like the addition or have no opinion on the matter?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
I've heard nothing but support for Virginia Tech among SEC schools. The Hokies would be a natural rival for such schools as Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.
Alan (Baton Rouge)
Thoughts on the newspaper bloodbath today? NOLA Times-Picayune(One of greatest papers in the country), B'ham, Mobile, and Huntsville papers going to 3 days per week
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
From somebody who started in newspapers 25 years ago in Concord, N.C., I hate to see it. There are a lot of good people in our business out of work.
Quick! Who will win Florida or Tennessee?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I'll waffle and say this is Tennessee's best chance to beat Florida since Urban's first season in 2005. How's that for riding the fence?
Do you think the new playoff scheme will allow a team who doesn't win their conference to play in the play-off series?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Right now, I would say there will be one spot for a team that doesn't win its conference with the other three spots taken up by the highest rated conference champs. So last year, it would have been LSU, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Alabama.
Ray (Pawleys Island)
SC has a tough schedule this year but if you want to to be the best you have to beat the best! GO COCKS!!!!!!Whoooooooo
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Thanks Slick Ric (Flair), who is a good buddy of Steve Spurrier's and is on the sidelines for several of South Carolina's games. He was back in the day at Florida, too.
How big of an impact do you think it will be for Arkanasas if they lose Marquel Wade and the other two do to the felony charges. Who do you see stepping up into the number two slot behind Cobi Hamiliton if they do.
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Wade would be the biggest loss. The Hogs were hoping he could give them some of the same things Joe Adams did in terms of the return game and making plays after the catch.
Odds Mizzou will have a somewhat productive year in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
I could see seven or eight wins. The tough thing is that Missouri has both Arizona State and Syracuse as nonconference games, and that final stretch is a bear with away games at Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M. I'll go 7-5.
Cody (Jackson, Ms)
What percent chance does Mississippi State have in starting the season with 7 straight wins?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
At the very least, Mississippi State should be 6-1, and if the Bulldogs drop two games in those first seven, they're going to be in for a so-so season. It gets down to the Bulldogs protecting their home turf. The key game is that second week with Auburn coming to Starkville. The only away games in that stretch are at Troy and at Kentucky. If the Bulldogs plan on being a player in the West, they need to take advantage of those first seven games.
Satey English (College Station)
No aggies questions? what is the easiest SEC road game for us this year... (I know all will be tough)
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I'll make up my own Aggie question for you and/or topic: Can they hold up defensively this season in the SEC? I like some of their playmakers in Porter, Stewart and Moore, and Jenkins really came on this spring. But what would concern me the most as an Aggie fan was whether or not they could up in the interior of that front seven against some of the power running games they're going to face. And they still have to prove they can finish games on defense, something they obviously couldn't do last season under the old regime.
Big Ten Fan (Up North)
It must be a great recruiting tool for SEC coaches when they don't have to worry about any academic requirements for their student athletes. How much better do you think the Big Ten's talent pool could be if we adopted a similar academic apathy to that of the SEC?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
Don't worry. Urban will show you guys all the tricks.
Who do you think will be Florida's starting QB come game one of the season?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
It's just an educated guess, but I'll say Brissett. The more you hear Muschamp talk, the more it sounds like he's content to play both of them, and I think that's what will ultimately happen, at least until somebody separates himself.
Hey Chris, love your chats, quick question...I read an article the other day discussing an early signing period for college football and it seemed to be a no brainer...so my question is what are the arguments against it and why don't we have one?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
The coaches voted for one a few years ago, but wanted to put in rules where you couldn't take an official visit if you signed early. The ADs shot that down. I think down the road, we'll see one.
Brian (Washington DC)
Why should the SEC get everything when it comes to 4 team event negotiations? B1G lost the on campus semis, will probably lose the Rose bowl, and Emperor Slive will make sure that 2 if not 3 SEC always make it into the playoff.
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
Here's the thing: What's best for the game? I agree that campus sites in the semifinal games would help keep that pageantry that makes college football so much fun. But from a logistical standpoint, could you really play a game of that magnitude in Manhattan, Kan., or Clemson, S.C., or College Station, Pa., or even Auburn, Ala. As for the field, why even have a playoff if it's not going to be the best four teams? Picking those teams is the issue -- how you do it -- and understand there are issues no matter what. But you're not solving anything if you just go the four best conference champions. It's all cyclical, and there's going to come a time when the Big Ten deserves two teams in -- just like it would have in 2006 with both Ohio State and Michigan.
Gus (Rock Hill, SC)
The ACC and SEC pretty much have the same recruiting grounds but how come the SEC is so much better?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Tradition of the SEC helps a lot, and I still think the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Louisiana are more fertile than most of the ACC territories, and the big thing is that schools like Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida pretty much go in and pick who they want. Hope everything is well in Rock Hill.
I think Delany's issue with the top 4 teams was their isn't much difference between 4 - 6 so why not pick a conference champ. I get that. As long as there is 1 wildcard.
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Right, I could live with one wild card.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Chris, do you agree that if we put the 4 best teams in the playoffs, and 2 teams from the same conference make the playoffs, then we should put the 2 teams from the same conference against each other in the semi-final in order to avoid a Championship that would most likely be a repeat of a regular season game? I know that sounds like you are rigging the playoffs, but allowing 2 SEC schools to play in the semifinals against 2 teams from outside the SEC is almost essentially rigging the playoffs for the SEC, no?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
No, I think they would match the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 4 seed and the No. 2 seed vs. the No. 3 seed no matter what. I realize last season's national championship game was a dud, but the goal is still to get the two best teams in that final game. Rematches don't bother me as much as they might some people. We all are going to have to get used to a changing landscape. I also believe a four-team playoff will at some point become an eight-team playoff, although nobody would ever admit that.
Mike Slive (Birmingham)
I'd raise my hand to answer Brian in DC's question, but I can't raise it due to the SIX NC rings on it...
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Mike, gotta give it to you. That's a good one.
Which big game is TN most likely to finally win? GA, USC, FL, AL?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
I'll go with Florida.
kate (manhattan beach)
what can the expectations be for Arkansas?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I'll stay consistent and say 10-2, although I can see the Hogs breaking through and beating either Alabama and LSU this coming season and losing to somebody else.
Scratches (London, Angland (where they play the wrong football))
I go to grad school at an unnamed ACC school with a basketball problem, and I never went to a single ACC football game last season because I'd rather watch the early SEC game on TV. Would you do the same, or am I making a mistake?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
Bad basketball is bad basketball no matter where you are. I'd take any SEC football game over bad basketball all day long.
Stephen (Great Falls)
What is the biggest SEC non-conference matchup of the year? Bama and UM?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Yep, the runaway winner this season. There aren't a lot more, unfortunately, similar to LSU-Oregon and Georgia-Boise State last season. Auburn-Clemson to open the season has some intrigue to it.
Until the SEC has the stones to play up North in November-December, Playoffs should just be conference Champs.
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I don't think anybody in the SEC is running away from playing anywhere. After all, it's not exactly a picnic for the opposition when you play in Tiger Stadium, Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Swamp or Jordan-Hare Stadium any time of the year. That said, in an ideal world, I would love to see the semifinal games of a playoff played on campus sites.
Dylan (Gainesville, FL)
How long will it be before Florida is competing for SEC Championships again?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Let's put it this way: They better at least be in the conversation this season and probably need to be in Atlanta by 2013 if Muschamp is going to be there long term, and he knows that as well as anybody.
Clark (Fairhope, AL)
At this point why does the B1G think that they are owed any respect?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Bingo! Respect is earned, and I'm as tired as anybody of this sanctimonious attitude of some in the Big Ten about how the SEC is this rogue league with a bunch of cheaters and athletes who never step foot in a classroom. My question is this: Where were the two biggest scandals in college football this past season?
Just a quick question..... do you follow any other teams outside the SEC?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
Yes, but not as closely as I do the SEC since that is my responsibility.
Buck (Holler in KY)
What does Joker have to do to keep job job? Seven wins?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
He bought himself some time with the win over Tennessee last season, but he'd be in a bad way if the Wildcats suffer through a second straight losing season. They really need to beat Louisville to open the season, and Joker likes the young talent on his team. I just don't think it's ever fair to judge a coach after only two seasons.
Brian (Washington DC)
Wait...when did SEC Universities get classrooms?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
About the same time the Big Ten did an official notice that there is such a thing as a BCS National Championship Game.
Scratches (London, UK)
Uh, Chris, wasn't the biggest scandal this past season in Fayetteville?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
That was this spring with Petrino. I was talking about last season and heading into last season.
Adam (Chicago, IL)
outside of the SEC, what other conferences do you enjoy watching?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
It varies. I can't remember enjoying watching a player any more than I did Robert Griffin III last season. The same with Russell Wilson at Wisconsin. Overall, I would say the Big 12.
Tim (Huntsville, AL)
Can you do us all a favor and stop posting questions from whiny Big10 fans? We have real football to talk about down here. Also, how big of an improvement should I anticipate in the Auburn passing game with Lutzenkirchen returning to a traditional TE role? Thanks Chris.
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
I'm at your service. Lutzenkirchen would make any passing game look good. It's uncanny how he always seems to get open down around the goal line. Having him healthy as well as Emory Blake is key for the Tigers. I'm still waiting on Trovon Reed to live up to his billing, although he's also been plagued with injuries.
Karen (Dothan, AL)
Why don't I see Jalston Fowler getting much love when the RB's of Bama are discussed? Everyone is all over Yeldon (not undeservingly, but he's untried at game time and a completely different kind of back) and seem to have forgotten that Fowler had touches in games last season and looked pretty good for a fresh face.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
What a problem to have, huh? The Tide will have to figure out to split up carries among four backs who could play just about anywhere.
L. Blitz (Tampa, FL)
For once, I am excited about Vandy. How do you expect them to do this year?
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
As you know, they have to replace a lot of really productive players on defense and a leader in Chris Marve that was invaluable to that team. I like the way they sort of reinvented themselves on offense last season, but getting back to six wins or better won't be easy. That trip to Northwestern the second week of the season looms large. If the Commodores are going to get back to a bowl game in 2012, I think they have to do what they did a year ago and win all four of their nonconference games.
Mike (Melbourne, FL)
Do the ESPN bloggers of the other conferences (Dinich, etc) whine about the SEC as much as the non-SEC fan tuning in to this chat?
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
Not Dinich. She's the best.
Which two teams will meet in the National Championship this season?
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
LSU vs. USC.
Clyde (Clarksville, TN)
With the new deal between the SEC-Big 12 champs playing each other, how is that going to affect the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta bowl?
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
Not a lot, because I think those two bowls will be in the semifinals rotation of the national playoff.
I'm not saying it's a picnic to play in SEC stadiums, but playing in the Swamp in November is equivalent to playing in the Big House in September. Let's have some games in 30 degree weather with snow and see how well they do.
Chris Low (2:17 PM)
I agree. I'd love to see Alabama playing at Ohio State in November, same as I'd love to see Michigan or Wisconsin playing at Tiger Stadium any time.
Jeff (Dalton, Georgia)
Do you think the SEC wants Virginia Tech? Zero team national championships in any sport, only 9 bowl wins in their history, 6 total postseason NCAA tournament basketball wins in their history, Zero world series (or anywhere near) in baseball, and very bad in most other sports. 1-27 vs top 5 in football, 2-45 vs top 8 and a terrible losing record vs the top 25.
Chris Low (2:20 PM)
Yes, I think the SEC would be very interested, especially if the ACC started to crumble. Virginia Tech has that feel of an SEC school, and despite your stats, has fixture in the national spotlight for a long time. Their fans are passionate about football and travel well, and it's always good to bring in the kind of class the Beamer family would provide.
JT (Mobile, AL)
With everybody coming back from last season, and staying HEALTHY, what are your predictions with Tennessee's upcoming season and what Dooley needs to do stay in Knoxville? Any chances on a 10-4 season?
Chris Low (2:23 PM)
I'm predicting 8-4, which means they could get to nine wins in a bowl game. Again, that's as long as the Vols don't have the injuries they did a year ago. But the schedule sets up for them to win eight games, and with their experience now and added depth, they really should win eight if you're going to make the case that the program is truly making progress. Anything less than eight wins, and I think it gets dicey for Dooley.
Yams (Langley AFB)
Do you think Marcus Lattimore will be back to full strength this fall, or be a little hesitant when carrying the ball? Are there any other running backs who had the same injury and came back just as strong?
Chris Low (2:24 PM)
There's nothing hesitant about Lattimore. He's worked feverishly this offseason to get back to 100 percent and is right on track. The good news for the Gamecocks is that they have enough depth that he won't have to carry the ball as much as he has in the past.
Chris Low (2:27 PM)
OK, that's about an hour and a half, so I have to bolt. As always, I really do enjoy all the questions, debates and even the Big Ten fans coming over and stirring it up. That's what makes college football so much fun. Have a great rest of the week and please remember all those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country this coming Monday on Memorial Day!