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)
Greetings and welcome to Week 4 of the college football season.
Let's talk Dawgs. I'm biased, but I believe our skill players match up with anyone in the country. Even Bama (sure, they are deeper, but they would love to have Jarvis and Aaron Murray!). Does CMR have what it takes to run the table?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
I like the Dawgs' skill people, but I still want to wait a few weeks before saying they match up with anybody in the country. The teams that have won the SEC title over the last few years have typically been the ones with the best combination of offensive and defensive lines with one dynamic playmaker thrown in on offense. The jury is still out on Georgia's offensive line. Bigger tests are coming. The Dawgs remain my pick to win the East, but I don't see anybody in that division going unbeaten.
Boudreaux (Da bayou)
Chris isn't it amazing how much talent lsu has lost to injury and other causes and they still have an elite team with depth
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
That says a lot about the way the Tigers have recruited over the last few years and the way they develop players. All you need to know about LSU's depth is that three of the four starting defensive linemen (Mingo, Montgomery and Logan) have a great chance to be first-rounders next year.
Chris, concerned Gamecock here. Why is Connor Shaw starting against Mizz with a fractured throwing shoulder? Why not start Dylan? He seems more than capable. Also, from your perspective, how is James Franklin looking? is he 100%?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Funny you should ask. I'm working on a story right now on how both of those QBs are hurting and both are two of the biggest running threats at QB in the league. I have a great deal of respect for both players, but I just wonder if it's realistic to think your QB can make it through the entire season in this league when he's running a lot. I know Tebow did, but he was 240. As for why Shaw is starting, the Gamecocks obviously feel they're at their best when he's in and they're running that zone read. Franklin expects to play, but he's not 100 percent.
Chris, who is more famous in Rock Hill- you or JD Clowney?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Clowney by a landslide.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Hey Chris, do you thing Florida has a legit shot at the East? They looked decent against Tennessee, but then again, Tennessee hasn't looked so great recently.
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Absolutely. The Gators already have to SEC road wins, and that's huge. Plus, they can run the ball, are very good on special teams and are playing lights out on defense in the second half. It also works in their favor that they get a bye before LSU's visit. Should be an entertaining race in the East this season.
Let's say Dooley goes 8-4 (losses to FL, UGA, AL, SC). Will the fact that Bray, Hunter and Patterson are all likely to go pro make it less likely DD is brought back? Seems like they'd be better off starting over both on the field and coaching box.
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
I just don't see any way Tennessee makes a move if Dooley wins eight, even if he loses to all the teams you mention. That would be going from five twins to eight wins, and he would have a chance to win nine in the bowl game. In my mind, if he wins eight, he deserves a fourth season based on the shape he found the program in when he was hired.
Chris who do you think has a better shot at the upset this weekend: Rutgers at Arkansas or Missouri at USC?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
I would say Rutgers, but my colleague at ESPN, Mark Schlabach, is going with Missouri. I just wonder if Arkansas is a fractured team.
Yeldon or Gurley? who do you like more in the future?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
That's like saying, "Who was best -- Herschel or Bo?" I'm not comparing the two freshmen to those two icons, but they both have huge upsides. They can run between the tackles. They're electric in the open field and can run away from people. Gurley's a little bigger, but Yeldon looks like he's really good at catching the ball. I'd take either one and be happy.
Blues (Land of the Banished)
Chris - looking down the road...which team (besides LSU) should Bama be on the lookout for? We really haven't faced a team with a vertical threat, and our secondary is awfully young.
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
Maybe Tennessee with Bray and those two receivers, but the Vols could be limping into that game if they lose to both Georgia and Miss. State. The game with Missouri the week before could also be tough if Franklin can stay healthy. The Tigers have some weapons on offense. Both of those games are road games for the Tide, too.
If Bama and LSU played today who would win and what would be the final score?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
This question takes me back to last year when the same one was being asked. I said Alabama -- and was wrong. The truth is that it doesn't matter right now. What matters is how they're playing and how healthy they are on Nov. 3 and which of the younger players keep getting better.
We always hear about Bray, Murray and Wilson. But do you believe McCarron is on the same level if not above them?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Yes, I do believe McCarron is right there. He doesn't throw interceptions and has the arm strength to use the entire field. He's really taken command of that offense and become a strong leader.
will smith (arkansas)
whats your take on John L. Smith and his press conference/ interview comments?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Just silly and not the kind of press the Hogs need right now. He was just trying to lighten the moment, I guess. But timing is everything. Those are the kinds of things that are always a bigger deal when you're losing.
Hey Chris...these polls are really kind of a joke. A&M loses to Florida by 3 pts...not to mention they didn't even get a tune-up game. Florida then trounces Tennessee. How is it A
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
A&M is not ranked? I think the Aggies will get some serious consideration if they win their next three over S.C. State, Arkansas and Ole Miss. That would make them 4-1 heading into LSU's visit.
Mel Kiper said in a chat earlier this week that he thought Alabama was "overrated." Do you agree or disagree? Thanks
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
I have a ton of respect for Mel. But, no, I don't agree. The Tide trounced two teams that started the season ranked in the top 10. My question would be: Overrated as compared to whom?
Do you think we will see some of the new freshmen offensive weapons for SC in the game against Missouri? I think they all have potential to make big plays (Mike Davis, Jerrell Adams, and Shaq Roland).
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
Roland is the guy they need to come through at WR. Adams also looked like a million dollars in the preseason, but he hasn't been that involved to this point (only one catch). Maybe they break him out this week. I believe he's one of the best young TEs in the league.
BAMA has some chinks...they seem to have issues with the middle crossing routes defensively, and I'm not sold on their pass rush off the ends.Offensively, Fluker seems to get beat often by quick athletic moves both to the outside and the inside...am I wrong here?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Yep, they aren't the 1984 Chicago Bears. I do think they're the best team in the country, but you see the inexperience in their secondary and they did give up a ton of sacks to Western Kentucky. I just have a hard time seeing somebody really playing Alabama close, though, until the LSU game on Nov. 3
Who is this new QB starting for Vandy? Can you give us a quick summary of his game? Runner or thrower?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Austyn Carta-Samuels. He started at Wyoming for two years before transferring. He's a very good athlete and rushed for more than 350 yards each of his seasons there. Was the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year at Wyoming and threw for nearly 2,000 yards his second season there. He's a strong kid and weighs right around 220.
Larry (Las Vegas)
Do you still think TAMU only gets 6 wins this year. They are going to start 5 - 1 and will still have Auburn, MSU, Sam houston, and Mizz left going into the game with LSU. I say 7 wins minimum, 8 likely, and 9 possible.
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Nope, I think I sold them short. The key game is that Arkansas game in two weeks. Gotta win that one. If the Aggies do, I think they have a real chance to win eight, which would be a heck of a debut season in the SEC.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
What's your take on Tyler Wilson actually requesting media time to call out some of his team mates? I think he should have kept that in the locker room and not tell the entire nation their team is basically falling apart.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Ideally, yes, you say those things behind closed doors in the locker room. But I think he wanted the fans to hear him say those things. We'll see if it has the effect Wilson hoped it did. I know some players weren't real thrilled. But, hey, a lot of those guys may be the ones that laid down in the second half of that 52-0 beatdown by Alabama.
Walt (Whitefish, MT)
Mel was merely stating that Bama is "overrated" right now relative to the hype that it could be a historically dominant season, based on their first few games. He wasn't saying they are not the bet tem, just pump the brakes a little.
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I'm right there with him on that. Let's see where they are in late November. A lot can change. Remember all those people talking about how talented USC was? That was before the Tojans' annual loss to Stanford.
James P (Milford, CT)
Tennessee second half collapse.....lack of depth or lack to respond?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
A little of both. Vols are thin in key spots, but you've got to have more resolve, especially at home, when a team hits you with a big play. Tyler Bray wasn't the only one, but he has to be a better leader for this team.
South Carolina is the team to beat in the east. What makes you pick Georgia?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
The Gamecocks' QB situation concerns me, and the Bulldogs don't have to play LSU. Those are the two main things. I think everybody in the East will have at least one loss.
Predict the remainder of Miss State's season please
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
I'll say 9-3. I think Alabama and LSU will be losses. After that, I'm not sure. I just think the Bulldogs slip up against somebody else, probably either Tennessee or Texas A&M.
LSU is good. But after the BCS title game, isn't it fairly apparent that Saban is a a far better coach than Miles? He can't kick the field goals, but his game planning is second to no one...
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Any time you give Saban that much time to prepare, he's going to be hard to beat. But let's not forget that LSU did go to Tuscaloosa and win last season. It's hard to imagine that the two teams will have to play twice this season (although it would be funny to see the rest of the country squirm), so with the game being in Baton Rouge, that has to help LSU. Plus, LSU gets a bye week this year leading into the game and Alabama has to face Miss. State the week before.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
After USC lost to Stanford, who's the nation's best chance to stop the SEC's (or the state of Alabama's) ownership of that crystal trophy?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I would say Oregon and then Florida State.
John (Pensacola, FL)
Chris, should Auburn fans be patient with Chizik? We are disgusted with bottom quartile defense since 2009; but, there is the NC and all those top recruiting classes.
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
To me, it would have to completely unravel for Auburn to seriously consider canning Chizik after this season. One thing I'd mention about those recruiting classes is: How many of those players have panned out and how many are still in the program? I think you're seeing a lot of those misses on the recruiting trail coming back to haunt Auburn now.
Tiger Gombo (Baton Rouge)
Are you realated to Scratches you keep answering his qeustions.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Yes, second cousin twice removed.
Who would you rather have Mettenberger or AJ?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
AJ. He's been there, gone through an entire season and was the MVP of the national championship game. I want to see how Mettenberger does over an entire season. It may be that he changes my mind. But right now, I'd take McCarron in a heartbeat.
Andy (Aiken, SC)
Chris, Do you think its funny how people criticized the zone read play while Tebow was at UF and said that the offense would never work, but now teams like SC are using it more and more?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Yep, pretty ironic. Of course, the big difference was that Tebow was 240 pounds. I'm not sure a lot of these QBs who are 210 or 215 pounds can make it through a season running that much against SEC defenses. No question, though, that a running QB is a pain in the you know what for a defense and can be the great equalizer.
The Sampson Wildman (Union County Florida)
Hey C-Low!! Does The Mighty Gators have a chance to beat LSU in a couple of weeks?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Yes sir. I've seen the Gators live each of the last two weeks, and that is one physical football team. It works in the Gators' favor that they have a bye the week before, and the Swamp should be what I remember it being when Meyer had it going in 2006-08.
Um Chris, all those recruiting misses by AU were Chizik recruits. Isn't that kinda on him too? He caught lightning in a bottle with Cam and Fairley. Other than that 1 year his results have been subpar. And with their 3 biggest rivals - Bama, LSU, UGA - all rolling it's not gonna sit well for long.
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
That's what I was trying to say, that all those high recruiting rankings don't hold a lot of water right now because some of those four- and five-star prospects were really no-stars and didn't make it. So, yes, that's on Chizik.
how does Milliner compare to Mo Claiborne as a pure cover corner? top 10 pick if he continues to play like he has?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
For one thing, Milliner is stronger, a better tackler and more physical. He doesn't have the length of Kirkpatrick, but I really like Milliner as a football player and think he's playing his way into a solid first-round pick.
Jeff H (Huntsville, AL)
Chris, How would you rank the running backs in the SEC right now? I know Lattimore would be number 1 but who are the others in your top five.
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Based on what I've seen this season, I'd have Mike Gillislee No. 1. Lattimore is going to come on. They really haven't needed him the last few weeks, but Gillislee has been a beast for the Gators. He runs tough between the tackles and also has the speed to break long ones. Todd Gurley is right up there, too, Kenny Hilliard is the best power back.
What is it going to take for AJ to be viewed as an elite QB. He has 2 NC rings a NC Offensive MVP. His QBR is 3rd in the nation. He has not an interception all this season. And he plays on the best team in the country. Why doesn't he get more love?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
I think he already is an elite QB. Great arm, an improving leader and seems to raise the level of play of those around him. The SEC has several really good QBs this season. He's one of them. I'll tell Edward you said hello.
Jim (Columbia, MO)
Chris, going back a bit, do you think Mizzou was sold a little short by the media when they lost to Georgia? I did my undergrad at Florida, so I know the SEC and was at the game -- it was a very tough game and close well into the 4th. When I watched College Football Final, it was like Georgia just rose up in the second half and unmasked Mizzou. Just seems like the media might be selling the Tigers a bit short. Your thoughts?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I think Missouri still has a lot of good football left in it. As I said earlier, my colleague at ESPN, Mark Schlabach, is picking Mizzou to upset South Carolina on Saturday. I really like the Tigers' speed on defense. They've just been hammered by injuries on their offensive line.
Blues (Brock's Doghouse)
Chris - what would you have said 4 weeks ago if I would have told you Ole Miss would have a better record than Arkansas? Also, what do you think of Ole Miss putting up 31 on Texas? Thanks, I'll hang up and listen.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Would have told you that you were spending too much time partying in the Grove. Rebels can score some points, no doubt. But it's hard to win 40-something to 30-something every week in this league. The next recruiting class will be critical as far as bringing in more SEC-caliber defensive players.
Tim Turner (Alexander City, AL)
Chris, what do you think Auburn needs to do to have a shot at beating LSU this weekend?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
Force some turnovers early, get the crowd into it and force LSU to play from behind.
If they win their third NC in four years how does Bama stack up historically against the last team to perform the feat (Nebraska 94, 95, 97)? Personally I think that 95 Nebraska squad was the best team in the history of CFB (Florida fans certainly remember 62-24). Or does that split title in 97 (pre BCS) give Bama the edge?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Winning three in four years in an era when the SEC has been so dominant, in my mind, makes Alabama look awfully impressive. But I agree. That 1995 Nebraska team was on another planet.
Robert (Salt Lake City)
What's going on with TAMU's run game? Really thought that o-line would make that a strength, but even against SMU we couldn't run outside of Manziel. He won't be able to get away with that against SEC defenses, so what's keeping the RBs from having the holes they need?
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
New offense, for one thing. The Aggies want to spread you out, and Manziel running is a big part of their attack. Give the Aggies' big guys up front another few games before you make too many evaluations. Florida is a load up front defensively.
It's hard to say that LSU is the difference in USC and UGA's schedules because the LSU loss wouldn't matter if the dawgs come in and win in Columbia
Chris Low (2:17 PM)
Correct, but I'm thinking everybody will have at least one loss. And if you're banking on South Carolina and Florida both losing to LSU (if they do), that's like giving Georgia a one-game cushion. So, for instance, Georgia could lose in Columbia, but win the rest of them, while S.C. and Florida could both lose to LSU and Florida also lose to Georgia and then Florida turn around and beat S.C.
Chris Low (2:19 PM)
Enjoyed it. Appreciate the pep talk from Punch. It's always a lot of fun to talk a little SEC football. Be safe, and I'll look forward to seeing the South Carolina and Missouri fans this weekend in Columbia, S.C.