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 (1:01 PM)
Good afternoon. Two weeks to go in the regular season.
Justin (Midland, TX)
Do you agree with Jimbo Fisher's sentiments that computer rankings should be avoided and that the old ranking system was more effective at determining the best teams?
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
I would agree that computer rankings are screwy and very unpredictable. I can see them being used as a gauge, but not one-third of the BCS standings.
Casey (Kandahar, Afghanistan)
Who would you chose as your feature back....Gurley or Yeldon?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
I debated this very question with another media member recently. I was going back and forth between the two and really like Yeldon's versatility, but probably would take Gurley because he's a little bigger and could better handle 25 carries a game if you wanted to give it to him that much. Plus, he has great speed. Both are super players, although I know some are down on Yeldon for fumbling the last two weeks.
Is the Bullard/Fowler combo the next Dunlap/Cunningham combo for UF?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
They sure look the part. I can tell you that the Florida coaches are thrilled with their progress, and when they got Fowler, that was a huge get for them. They've been good enough that Ronald Powell isn't a lock to get his starting spot back when he returns from injury. Nice to have three playmakers like that coming off the edge.
Krosber (College Station)
Let's talk Heisman. The award is supposed to go to the "Most Outstanding" playing in College Football, not the best player on an undefeated team. Why are people still refusing to vote for Johnny? Because he's a freshman and will have more opportunities? He could have a career ending injury next year (god forbid) and never win it.
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
If Manziel finishes out the season strong, I absolutely expect him to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. His numbers to this point are right there with Cam Newton and Tim Tebow through 10 games during their Heisman Trophy seasons.
YES or NO......... in your opinion, if Fowler is still healthy, do you have any doubt Bama runs it down their throats on 1st and goal?.......nobody mentions it, they just say Bama should have ran the ball, but Yeldon had just fumbled and Lacy took a helmet to helmet that wasn't flagged, that might be why the coaches opted to throw the ball.
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
No doubt, Fowler was going to be their short-yardage guy and was a beast when it came to getting the tough yards. In watching that game, I thought Alabama got away from the run too much, period, in the second half and not just there at the end.
Any way LSU goes to Sugar or Fiesta?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
Right now, I believe Texas A&M is the most likely choice for the SEC's second spot in a BCS bowl. The Aggies are hot. Johnny Manziel is one of the biggest names right now in college football, and the Aggies are a compelling story (their first year in the SEC with a first-year coach). If Alabama or Georgia were to still get into the BCS National Championship Game, then I think the Sugar Bowl would look long and hard at LSU.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Chris, has the SEC reign over CFB come to an end? Or do you think 2 of the 3 remaining undefeateds will lose, opening the door for the SEC Championship Game winner?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
I'd say there's still a 50-50 shot for the SEC. Notre Dame will have a hard time winning at USC. Kansas State's game against Texas on Dec. 1 could be dicey. Remember, strange things always happen that last week of the season, and Oregon could have its hands full this week against Stanford.
Is the SEC ever going to step in and keep league teams from making a mockery of the next to last weekend of the season? I know some want a break, but having half the conference schedule FCS teams this weekend is absurd. And it's been happening for a few years now.
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
No argument from me. This many SEC schools playing so many FCS schools the next-to-last weekend of the season is a farce.
Mike (Florida) [via mobile]
Is there any way that Jacoby Brisset can bring out a component of the Gators offense that Driskel couldn't seem to find?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Brissett's forte is supposed to be more of a pocket passer. He's not as mobile as Driskel, so we'll see if the Gators can get that passing game going. But the big holdup has been a receiving corps that's been average at best. The Gators just don't have a lot of guys who know how to get open and make plays down the field. The other thing is that Florida hasn't been great at pass protecting on the edges, either.
Chances Dooley is still the UT coach next season?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Chris: I respect the SEC and what they have accomplished over the past 6-7 years -- but lets be honest, a vital reason why SEC teams are so deep and talented stems from the simple fact that high academic standards in the SEC is non-existint. I guarrantee you half the players that play for LSU and Bama couldn't even get into Notre Dame if they tried.. thats just a fact. Period. If Notre Dame had the same standards that a lot of SEC teams have, Notre Dame would be more dominant year in and year out. You thoughts on this issue?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
The standards at a lot of the SEC schools are much higher than you're giving them credit for, but I don't think there's any question that some players get into SEC schools and probably wouldn't be able to get into Notre Dame ... or Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, etc.
Hey Chris! My Crimson Tide seem to be struggling to have fresh legs the past two weeks, and I can't say I blame them. Do you think they will be ready to go for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta (assuming they beat Auburn)? Can they take down Georgia?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Yeah, this week will be a lot like an open week, and I would expect to see a ton of reserves playing a lot of minutes. Georgia will be a tough matchup because the Dawgs can throw it. Murray is playing well right now, and that Georgia defense is starting to play like everyone thought it would when the season began. To me, it will get down to whether or not Georgia can protect Murray.
Hey chris? How do you feel, as it stands now, that no SEC team will be in the NC? Does 6 of the top 9 still prove our dominance?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
I made that point on the SEC podcast this week. Even if the national champion doesn't come from the SEC this season, it says volumes about the balance and parity of the league that six of the top nine teams in the BCS standings this week are from the SEC. I'm not sure anybody in the SEC this season is as strong as the last three national champions from this league, but I think the balance is better than it's been during the SEC's streak of six straight national titles, and lot of that is due to Florida's resurgence, South Carolina's continued move upward and what Texas A&M has been able to accomplish this season.
Chris, I know that my bulldogs are playing better, but I just don't see us being able to take down the beast that is Alabama. We will choke like we always do in the big games, don't you think?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
Nice shot of confidence there. You better hope the Dawgs aren't thinking that way. My sense after spending some time with coaches and players last week on the Plains is that they see a big opening to win their first SEC title since 2005.
Matt (Chatham, VA)
What are the steps Auburn needs to get back on track? Clean sweep of the coaching staff or keep Chizik and all for another year?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I'd still be surprised if Chizik survives, although there are some rumblings that he may get another season. Either way, he's going to have to make some changes. There have been too many issues off the field there. The offense has been a disaster, and the defense has also had its problems. Too many misses on the recruiting trail in terms of kids who either didn't pan out or got into trouble off the field. It's just hard to believe that the program has crashed the way it has two years after winning a national title.
I am in Brazil, but love SEC football! I miss being at the LSU Tigers football games years ago, but am proud of what they have accomplished the past few years! Do you think that their offense has finally turned a corner with Mettenberger?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Thanks for checking in from Brazil. You would have loved that environment at Tiger Stadium for the Alabama game, even though the Tigers lost. My ears were ringing for three days after that game. There's no question that the way Mettenberger played against Alabama gave him a lot of confidence, and probably more importantly, gave the coaches more confidence in him as well as his teammates.
Balance and parity? Are you hiiting the sauce early?. Almost half of LSU wins come from 1-AA schools and that doesn't include Auburn. Three teams have not won a game in the conference. The SEC OCC confernce schedules are a complete joke. Florida had trouble with Bowling Green and Louisiana! The conference is so overrated. Play some tough teams outside the conference!
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
OK, I'll play along. Which league is more balanced?
Saw this question the other day. What team would you say has the best wide receiver combo at this point?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
I would say Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson at Tennessee. although Swope and Evans at Texas A&M are underrated as well as Matthews and Boyd at Vanderbilt.
We all get the SEC has 6 of the top 9, but most would disagree they deserve it. A team like Georgia hasn't beaten anyone. Florida has played close games with ULL and Bowling Green. Etc. etc.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Listen, when you win as many national titles as the SEC has and spend as much time at the top of the polls as the SEC has, everybody else is looking for reasons that the league is not all that. I get it. The wind always blows the hardest at the top of the flag pole. I'm on record that more teams from the SEC need to play marquee nonconference games. But when they've played those games over the last few years, they've typically won -- LSU over Oregon, Alabama over Michigan, South Carolina over Clemson, etc.
Coach James Franklin (Nashville, TN)
Don't dodge my questions Chris!Are we going to be taking down UT this weekend or not?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
Coach, I picked your Commodores by a touchdown this week, which would give you five SEC wins in a season for the first time since 1935.
Curious George (Tejas)
Any word on coaching rumors this week? Keep hearing Gruden and Petrino mentioned an awful lot, considering that both seem less likely than a Nutt comeback.
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I'm going out there right now and predicting that you won't see either Gruden or Petrino coaching in the SEC next season.
Frank (Atlanta, GA)
How big are the Clemson/S. Car and FSU/Florida games for the SEC this year? It seems everyone is ready to bury the conference as overrated, winning these only games against top OOC teams would seem to be a big step in stopping that mantra.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
I would say both are very big, and it's also worth noting that both are on the road. South Carolina has beaten Clemson three straight years and hasn't won four in a row over the Tigers since the 1950s. Florida has lost its last two to FSU after winning six in a row in the series.
Hey Chris, as a former SEC football player I always hear the argument that SEC schools are not academically as tough as say a Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, etc. While this may be true and I admit I was an anomally having graduated and obtained both an MBA and PhD, wouldn't you say that the style of and caliber of athlete in SEC country is just better? I've been to high school games in Ohio, PA, Maryland, and North Carolina and the truth is that the quality of football and athletes as a whole just isn't as good. Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi just have better athletes and a way of life that creates a better athlete. Again, I am speaking as a whole. Even if Notre Dame or some of these other so-called academically elite schools lowered their standards a little bit they would still be pulling from the same pool of athletes. The bulk of SEC schools get their athletes from a very small number of states (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina). They would still get these athletes who would not go to a Notre Dame, they would not go to a Vanderbilt, and they would not go to some of these others schools. Most athletes, no matter where they are from go to schools that win championships and will put them in a position to get to the next level.
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Very well said. Kids all pick their schools for different reasons. The reality is that 80 percent or more of the kids schools like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida and Texas A&M sign all think they're going to play in the NFL. The numbers obviously tell us otherwise.
Logan (Topeka, Kansas)
Hey Chris, how ya doing? Since the SEC isn't gonna have anyone in the National Championship game this year, why the heck are you even still coming on this chat? No question that can be asked will even be relevant for the title. So I'm just curious as to what you are gonna be doing with your life once no SEC team makes the championship?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Watching Kansas State and Oregon play in the title game and spending time at home with the family that I haven't had a chance to spend the last six years. But I still wouldn't count your crystal trophies before they hatch (break).
Dabo Sweeney and Mark Richt (Five Points, Columbia, SC)
If you had to guess, what do you think Lattimore will do in terms of his football future if rehab is successful? NFL? One more year with the Gamecocks?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
With major surgeries on each knee, I would think Marcus would work like crazy the next year to rehab and then take his shot at the NFL in 2014. I just don't know that it's realistic for him to get back and play next season anywhere.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Who's gonna steal Kirby Smart from the Crimson Tide after this season?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I would say Arkansas is the most likely destination. Smart is definitely on the Hogs' list.
These people harping on the SOS of the SEC. Who has Oregon beaten and who has Notre Dame beaten? Neither of their big wins look nearly as big now that USC, MSU, Michigan have shown what kind of teams they are this year
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
Come 2014, all this bickering over who has played whom and who has beaten whom will fall in the hands of the selection committee, which will select the four teams for the playoff. I still think the playoff will benefit the SEC more times than not, because I think two SEC teams will always be in the running. For instance, this season, I would say the four would be Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame and the SEC championship game winner. But if Notre Dame were to lose or either Oregon or Kansas State, I could also see Florida (if the Gators beat FSU), LSU, Texas A&M or South Carolina in that mix.
Which do you think is closer to the real Miss. St., the one that looked pretty good vs. bad teams, or the one that has been overmatched vs. good teams?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Somewhere in between. The Bulldogs clearly had a cushy schedule in September and most of October. I think we will get a much better read on the Bulldogs these next two weeks and the postseason.
The SEC has won those NC because they have the better team aka Bama. Don't lump in the whole conference has being great. What has MSU, Kentucky, SC (BEFORE spruurier) Arkansas, Mississipi.? Those teams are no different then any other conference teams. The SEC is hyped because of one thing MONEY! The OOC games are garbage. When was the last time Florida left the state of Florida for an OOC game? Their schedules are a joke
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Going by your rules, who has Oregon beaten this season? .. Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech? Do those qualify as garbage OOC games?
Cody (Austin, TX)
Chris, why isn't Damonster (Damontre Moore) a Nagurski finalists? He's got better stats than most of the guys that made it. Please enlighten me.
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Not sure, but he was one of seven finalists for the Lombardi Award.
James (Versailles, KY)
Obligatory Kentucky question...Who would be the best hire for UK?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Two guys to keep an eye on are Sonny Dykes at La. Tech and Mike McIntyre at San Jose State.
Are there any updates on the Driskel injury? Did he go in practice yesterday?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
He's out for this weekend and it's wait and see for Florida State. Muschamp said he thinks Driskel will be able to play against the Seminoles, but won't know for certain until next week.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Doesn't UGA have virtually the exact same shot as Alabama to make it to Miami? Same record, same path, same teams need to lose. Isn't Georgia a darkhorse title contender?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
Yes, the winner of the SEC championship game would be in prime position if two of three unbeaten teams (Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State) lose.
Cody (Austin, TX)
Chris, How long do you think we can keep Kingsbury as an OC if he maintains his current success?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Not long. He's done a terrific job, and with the way that offense has clicked, AD's are going to want that same kind of excitement on their campus.
Bill (South Bend, IN)
I know everyone likes to knock ND, but most of those defensive studs they have come from SEC country. I think that D is pretty legit this year, again, mostly because they got the big time DL from the South like Tuitt and Nix.
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Notre Dame's defense is excellent. I've been a fan all season long. I still had the Irish No. 2 in my poll this week. People may dismiss their schedule now because some of the teams haven't been as good as originally thought, but props to the Irish for going out playing that kind of schedule -- Stanford, Oklahoma, USC, Michigan, Michigan State and Miami.
Who will be the next coach at Tennessee?
Chris Low (2:14 PM)
My top five candidates would be, in no order, Al Golden, Gary Patterson, Jimbo Fisher, Bo Pelini and Charlie Strong.
You avoided my question. What has Vanderbilt, Kentucky, MSU, MS, SC (BEFORE OBC) and Arkansas( before Petrino) ever done?
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
We're talking about now and the balance of the league now, so you can't discount certain tenures of coaches. Again, what league would you say is more balanced right now?
What is your take on a 1 loss SEC team getting in over ND or K. State if it comes to that? Part of me wants to say sure as an SEC fan, but I also think you have to win your games, which the SEC hasn't done.
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
No way a one-loss SEC team gets in over an unbeaten Notre Dame or Kansas State.
Ben (H town)
Why would jimbo fisher leave fsu for a lesser job in tenn?
Chris Low (2:17 PM)
I really don't think he will, but I can see Tennessee, Arkansas and Auburn all inquiring.
If the dice roll right is there anyway Florida gets the bid to the Fiesta over A&M?
Chris Low (2:18 PM)
Yes, if Florida beats Florida State and is sitting there at 11-1 and ranked in the top 5.
Butch Silva (Iuka, MS)
ND equals's a above average defense and a average offense. How does that equal national champion?
Chris Low (2:19 PM)
I'm starting to think that everybody in college football is either overrated, not deserving, has a terrible schedule or is not nearly as good as some team in another conference. It's what makes college football so great. Everybody has his own criteria.
Marilyn (San Antonio, TX)
Why do yankees care about the SEC when they aren't exactly in elite territory football-wise?
Chris Low (2:21 PM)
A good one to wrap up a lively chat. Safe travels to everybody this weekend, and we'll catch back up soon. Take care.