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 (1:00 PM)
Do you think that Aaron Murrary is turning Pro or do you think he will be back for his Senior season?
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
My sense is that he will come back. He's not going to be a first-round pick and probably not a second-round pick, so it makes sense for him to come back. Plus, the Dawgs have a chance to be very good again on offense next season if he does come back. The thing that may drive him to the NFL is if he thinks he's done all he can in college, although I know Murray is a very determined guy and wants to leave a winning legacy at Georgia.
Bobby (Crenshaw, AL)
Have you heard these rumors that Saban might be interested in the Cleveland Brown's job? Surely he wouldn't walk away from being king of college right?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
As long as he keeps winning the way he is, those rumors are always going to be out there. I have talked to Saban about the NFL, and he has told me several times that he and his wife are much happier in the college game. I believe him, but I also know that he's a guy who loves challenges and loves building things. My gut is that he finishes his career at Alabama, but I also wouldn't be shocked to see him seek a challenge elsewhere if he wins another title or two at Alabama.
Curious Gamecock (Chicago)
1. Can Jadeveon Clowney become the first exclusively defensive player to win the Heisman?2. Can SC win the East next year?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Given the publicity Clowney will have going into the season, he may be as good a bet as any defensive player to win the Heisman next season. He's going to need huge numbers, like 15-plus sacks and I also think the Gamecocks will need to be a top 10 or top 15 team again, but there won't be anybody in college football more talented than him next season. I'd probably pick Florida to win the East at this point, but the Gamecocks get the Gators in Columbia, so it will be a good race.
Any chance at all that Ogletree comes back to UGA next season?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
No, I think he's gone and will be a top 15 to top 20 pick.
Marilyn (San Antonio)
Will Johnny have to adjust to a new OC, or will a new OC have to adjust to him?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Something says Johnny Football will be just fine no matter who the offensive coordinator is. Remember, it's Sumlin's offense.
Dennis (East Alabama)
White uniforms and Crimson uniforms for the NCG?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
Alabama is the visitor, so I would say white jerseys.
What do you think Bielema is going to be like for the Razorbacks this coming season and beyond? I'm hoping for a brutal running game with the ability to make the defense pay for loading up the box plus and pretty nasty defense.
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
That was the way he rolled at Wisconsin. The Hogs will certainly have to be able to throw it some, but Bielema will see to it that they are committed to running the football. On defense, it's all about going out and getting better players to be able to play the way he wants to. The personnel on defense was either young or lacking this season for the Hogs.
Likely expansion targets for SEC?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
Virginia Tech would be right there at the top of the list. After the Hokies, I'd say Oklahoma depending on what happens to the Big 12, and Clemson, Miami and Florida State would also be in the running, although Florida and South Carolina wouldn't be too keen on the latter three.
justin (lexingotn, ky)
as a wildcat fan, i am ok with the fact that we may never be a football powerhouse, but do you think its possible for mark stoops to turn ky into a middle of the road sec program?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
That's a fair question. I've just never believed that Kentucky could compete for SEC championships on a regular basis. At the end of Rich Brooks' tenure, the Wildcats were winning seven and eight games and going to bowl games every year. Stoops has to upgrade the talent on defense. That's the first priority. The Wildcats have had some good offenses over the last few years. If they can start attracting better players on defense, then I think it's realistic to win eight and maybe even nine games from time to time and consistently go to bowl games.
Dan Koenig (memphis)
What does mississippi state need to do differently to make it to the next level and become a true contender?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
What hurt them this season was that they simply didn't play very well up front defensively and struggled to stop the run. I was very impressed with Tyler Russell's development at quarterback, but the Bulldogs have to bring in more difference-makers in the front-seven on defense and develop more of those guys if they're going to win in the West, which is obviously the toughest division in college football and getting tougher all the time.
Warren (Bowling Green)
Does Petrino beat Tenn. and/or Kentucky next season?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I would say he's at least 1-1 in those games. You think he'll be licking his chops at the thought of getting a shot at two SEC teams?
Greg S. (Cookeville , TN)
Would like to hear your thoughts on is it harder to get to the top of The SEC , or stay there ?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Staying there, because there are so many schools in this league with great coaches, resources and tradition. Six of the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings were from the SEC, so doing what Alabama has done is mighty impressive. It goes back to two things -- recruiting great players and then developing those players. Evaluating talent is key, but what you do with those players once you get them on your campus is equally important.
Will SEC championship visit sites other than Georgia Dome?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
The game has been so successful in Atlanta that I don't see it happening.
What can we expect from Vandy next year ?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
As long as James Franklin is there -- and Vandy just locked him up with a new deal that will pay him more than $3 million per year -- the Commodores are going to be very competitive. I continue to be impressed with his staff and how much they get out of the players. The other thing is that they're bringing the caliber of players that Vandy hasn't gotten in the past. Defensively, they will be very good again under Bob Shoop, who is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game. On offense, it should be a good battle at QB between Carta-Samuels and Robinette, and the receivers should be among the best in the SEC with Matthews returning. The schedule is tougher, but I see a third straight bowl game for the Commodores for sure.
What is your perception of the new staff at UT after the first week of the new regime? What is your prediction for Tennessee's season in 2013?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
It was a downer for the Vols not to be able to pry Tee Martin away from USC, but Butch Jones has made a good impression on a lot of people. So much of it is going to depend on how many recruiting battles this new staff can go out there and win. When Tennessee had it going in the 1990s, the Vols consistently beat their SEC rivals for great players on the recruiting trail. That hasn't happened in a while. The schedule next season is brutal, which includes a trip to Oregon, so an early guess would be 7-5/6-6.
Greg S. (Cookeville , TN)
So why is it that Coach Saban doesn't even get mentioned for Coach of The Year ? It is clear that he is the best coach and did a great job this year. So he gets penalized because he out works everyone year in and year out and does great every year ? Your thoughts ?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
I think this has been one of his best coaching jobs, but several others in the league were more deserving this year. Remember that Alabama started the season ranked No. 2. Plus, Saban has won a couple of different national coaching awards since coming to Alabama. He'd be the first to tell you that he's received his due.
Chris, I noticed you didn't mention CJ Mosley in your blog on underclassmen who might make the NFL leap. Do you not think he's considering? I think he has 1st round potential.
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Mosley is a great player and had a great season. I just think given his size and the position he plays, and the fact that he's not a proven pass-rusher, that he'll be back next season.
Paul (St. Louis)
What wlll it take for MIzzou to compete?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
They have to get bigger, better and faster on defense -- and build more depth on defense. That's the first thing. The same goes for the offensive line, although they had terrible luck with injuries this season. I saw Mizzou live against South Carolina this season and just didn't think they were physical enough in the trenches or fast enough in key spots to win consistently in this league.
ND scored 22 points against USC, 21 against Boston College. aTm, LSU, and UGa scored 29, 17, 28 against Bama respectively. Analyst keep saying "Bama could be exposed by Notre Dame". So when did Bama's Defense become worse than USC's or BC's Defense?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
I've also been on record as saying this isn't the same Alabama defense as a year ago or in 2009, but the Crimson Tide are still a load on that side of the ball. Any defense would drop off a little when it loses six players that were taken in the draft. With so much time to prepare, I'd say Alabama will be just fine defensively. If the Irish have a chance to win this game, it's going to come down to turnovers and forcing the Tide into three-plus turnovers.
After Saban who's highest paid coach in SEC?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
LSU's Les Miles makes $3.75 million, but just got a bump and is expected to go over $4 million.
Do you have any updates on the injury to Ed Stinson? Also, when do you think we will know if Dial gets suspended?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
They think Stinson should be fine for the game, and the feeling is that if any punishment is handed down on Dial by the SEC, they will know by the time they start practice next week.
Ted (Boerne, TX)
What has to happen for the Gator offense to improve next year?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
Playing more consistently in the offensive line, especially with regard to pass protection, and finding/developing receivers who are better at getting open and can make things happen after the catch.
Your insights on the Cotton Bowl...A&M vs. Sooners?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
To me, it's one of the best bowl matchups of the season. We could be looking at a 48-45 type of game. It probably comes down to which defense can make a few key stops in the second half and make the proper adjustments. The Aggies played a lot better on defense after that debacle against Louisiana Tech.
Ok now will you agree that Coach Mark Richt will never get us to the promised land. He proved it once again in the SEC title game.
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
He's gotten you to the SEC championship game the last two years and came within a tipped pass of winning it this year and getting you to the national championship. Do you really want to run him out of town? And what makes you think that whoever they bring in will be better? Ask Tennessee about canning a future Hall of Fame coach and how bad it can get.
How do you think the Sooners are going to defend Johnney Football? Blitz him? or Contain him and play coverage?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Probably a mix of both, but Florida had success early in the season at keeping him in the pocket, not getting upfield too far and taking away his running lanes. But he learned from that game and got a lot better. I would sure pick my spots on blitzing him, because if you don't get there, he can carve you apart.
Ted (Boerne, TX)
Was Joker Phillips at good move for Florida?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Excellent move. He's great with the players and really relates well to the kids. He can recruit and holds his players accountable. Smart move by Muschamp to bring Phillips aboard.
Michael (Clinton, Mississippi)
What are realistic expectations next year for the Rebels in year two of the Hugh Freeze era?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
To win a few of those games they didn't finish this season in the fourth quarter. Go back and look at how close the Rebels were to being 8-4 or even 9-3 this season. You have to learn how to win those games, and I'd say this year was critical along those lines.
Clayton (Houston, TX)
Are the Aggies a national championship contender next year?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
If they lose Joeckel, Matthews and Moore to the NFL, it's hard for me to predict that they will be in the national title picture. That said, I think they will be vying for 10 wins again.
Have a 2-part question: First of all, did Knile Davis make a good decision to not come back? How do you think Bielema's staff is coming together?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
In Knile's case, he wasn't going to help himself any by coming back to college for another season. A running back only has so many hits. Jim Chaney was an excellent hire for Bielema, and if Chaney brings Sam Pittman with him, it's even better. Pittman did a wonderful job with Tennessee's offensive line this season.
Matt (Asheville, NC)
Has it been confirmed that Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson are going pro? Does this help Tennessee in recruiting certain players if they do indeed declare now??
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Not confirmed, but I fully expect both players to declare for the draft. And, yes, the Vols will have a lot of playing time to sell at WR to big-time recruits.
Is Todd gurley going to be the best back in SEC next year?
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
He would be on my early list, for sure. In fact, I would have five players from the SEC on my early Heisman list -- Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, AJ McCarron, T.J. Yeldon (especially if Lacy turns pro) and Gurley.
Darren (Decatur, Georgia)
Chris, the SEC haters don't like the stranglehold we have over the national rankings. Call me crazy but I actually think the league will be even better next year. BAMA, UF, LSU, S. Carolina, A&M, all are young. Your thoughts?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Hard to argue that. Even with the mass defection of juniors to the NFL, and there will be a ton, look at all the great players returning -- Clowney, Manziel, Gurley, Moncrief, Hill, McCarron.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions. Gotta run. Take care.