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)
Good afternoon. Ready to talk some football.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Is the Iron Bowl THE biggest game of the season in the whole country?
Chris Low (1:02 PM)
Has a chance to be one of the biggest, especially if Auburn can pull off the upset. The Tigers run the ball well enough to win. I just don't know if they pass it well enough to keep Alabama's defense honest, and I also wonder if they can stop Alabama. Either way, what a terrific season it's been for Auburn. One of the best turnarounds we've seen in this league in a long time.
Chris - What'll be the difference for UT to get past Vandy?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
For starters, Tennessee needs to make somebody other than Jordan Matthews beat them. The Vols also need to run the ball well and be in a lot of third-and-manageable situations to allow freshman QB Josh Dobbs more freedom.
Chris,People dismissed adding Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC. According to the power rankings, they're the best two additions to any league in the realignment cycle (Most added teams are near the middle of their new conference). Will they keep it up?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
Good point, and I don't think anybody saw Mizzou being this good this season. I felt they would make it to a bowl, but didn't have them contending for the East crown.
HI Chris, among the bottom feeders in the conference which do you see as turning the corner and moving toward competing in the next two years.
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
Probably Tennessee if Butch Jones can finish up this recruiting class the way it looks like he will and then stack another good one on top of it next year. Plus, the East looks pretty wide open right now.
Not directly SEC, but...are the experts really taking NIU and Lynch seriously??? They play teams where most other top 25 teams would be sitting their starters after 2 quarters? Lynch just keeps padding his numbers unlike other "true" Heisman candidates!
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
He's not playing in the Pac-12 or the SEC, I'll grant you. But the guy can play and is one of the best college football players in the country. He won't win it, but might get a few votes.
Jason (Lake Jackson, TX)
Chris,Do you think that Kevin Sumlin would leave TAMU for another college gig, or do you think that the NFL would be a more likely next move for him?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I'd be braced for USC to make a pretty good run at Sumlin. He would be a load recruiting out there in Los Angeles. Now, whether he'll go or not, I don't know. TAMU has pretty deep pockets. Ultimately, I think Sumlin would definitely like a shot at the NFL.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Is Mizzou making a mistake bringing Franklin back on the road against Ole Miss? I know he's starter, but a couple bad plays due to rust, could cost them a trip to Atlanta. Do you think Pinkel gives Mauk a few snaps?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
I've wondered that myself. How rusty will Franklin be, etc? My hunch is that both guys will play and Pinkel will sort of go by feel. It's hard to miss five or six weeks and come back and be right back where you were, especially at QB. That said, Franklin was playing at an extremely high level when he was hurt.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Do you think college coaches should be locked into minimum requirements to stay at a college, barring some scandal or sanctions against the college that is non-coaching related? Schools need to be given the assurance that coaches won't bolt, even when doing well. I thinkt he NFL/NCAA need to come up with a joint agreement to prevent skipping from one to the other as well.
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
There's no way you could ever legislate that, which is why schools try to protect themselves with buyouts. What I hate is that players are tied to that school when a coach leaves and can be held there unless the new coach releases them.
the flip side for mizzou is - can you beat A&M w/o franklin, and if no, then you HAVE to get him in the game this weekend so he's not so rusty for the "tougher" game... right?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
I would go with Franklin to start the game as well because you always know that you have Mauk there if Franklin just doesn't have it. To me, it's a good situation for Mizzou. You've got two guys you've won with.
jackson (lunch break)
where would ohio state place in the sec west? also in the east? I think they are better than a lot of fellow sec fans will admit.
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
This year, honestly, I would put Ohio State somewhere between third and fifth in the SEC. I think they'd probably have somewhere around two losses. Let's say they played Auburn's schedule, what would their record end up being? I would guess at least two losses.
The Saban to Texas rumors died down somewhat during Texas' winning streak. Do you see them heating back up after their most recent loss?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Maybe, to some degree, but I continue to hear nothing on Saban's end that leads me to believe that he will be anywhere other than Alabama next season.
Do you see SC beating Clemson this year for the fifth year in a row? The Gamecocks have struggled pretty much every game. What is your take?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
It's sort of been the epitome of winning ugly for the Gamecocks this season, but that sure beats the alternative. Playing at home and with South Carolina having Clemson's number, I like the Gamecocks. Spurrier is pretty good in these rivalry games.
Favorite in SEC next year? Does Georgia and Florida have a chance? Injuries have ruined their year, so next year they both have a lot coming back. Your thoughts!
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
Georgia would be my preseason pick, which is why I think it's crazy all this talk about wholesale changes on the staff. Pretty much everybody comes back for the Dawgs, including injured guys like Malcolm Mitchell who will make a huge difference, and the defense will be a lot more experienced. They also like Mason at QB.
Who do you see starting QB for Miss state this weekend
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Probably the freshman, Damian Williams, unless Prescott or Russell are healthy enough to go. Mullen said he probably wouldn't know until the game. Sounds like Williams has been getting most of the work.
Chris (Los Angeles, CA)
As an SEC I find it laughable when fans, primarily from other conferences, ridicule the out of conference scheduling choices made by the SEC. For example when Alabama plays Chattanooga in Week 13. But these kind of match ups are widespread throughout college football, look at the ACC this week for example. Half the conference has games against schools like Idaho, The Citadel, Old Dominion and Alabama A&M. Do you think the scheduling scrutiny is founded or just more jealous conjecture from fans of other conferences who are tired of the SEC's reign?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
My deal on the schedule in the SEC is that as long as a team plays 10 legitimate games, I don't have a problem with two "buy" games or ready-made wins, especially with how tough the SEC grind is. Some SEC teams do that, and others don't.
Georgia to win the SEC? Losing Murray is no small issue. Auburn starts 1 senior on offense and 2 on defense. I would pick Auburn to win the SEC but maybe play UGA in the SECCG.
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I was saying I like Georgia in the East. The West will be a battle among Alabama, Auburn and LSU.
Rick (LA (not Lower Alabama))
Chris, what was your impression of PAC 12 football witnessing first hand USC vs Stanford?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Had a great time. Was standing right under the goal post when the winning FG was kicked. What jumped out to me more than anything was the atmosphere there at the Coliseum and how festive it was. The place was loud, too. Yes, it's right in the middle of LA, but they know how to do game days right. Met some super people, too.
Brian (College Station)
Can A&M get some love for next year?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Hard to see the Aggies contending next season with Manziel, Evans and Matthews all gone.
If Vandy can keep James Franklin around, then do you think they have a shot a winning a SEC East title at some point?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
If the Commodores are ever going to do it, this may be their window because there aren't two or three top 10-caliber teams in the East right now. But just getting to nine wins, which they have a chance to do again this year, is probably pretty close to the ceiling for that program. Just being honest. Franklin and his staff have done an unbelievable job there.
Who will win the east? Do you think Mizzou will stumble on one of those two remaining SEC games?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
I've got Mizzou winning this week on the road at Ole Miss and then coming up short in two weeks against Johnny Football and the Aggies.
Duck fan (just saying)
Agree with your statement about playing 10 legitimate games ... but that's hard to do sometimes with non-conference schedule given how many years in advance those games are scheduled. Us non-SEC fans would prefer the SEC to play 9 conference games like other conferences. I'm guessing that Mizzou would prefer that this year too, as they got a tougher cross-division draw than S. Carolina did
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
Ultimately, I think it will all work itself out because the SEC is likely to go to nine conference games, maybe as early as 2016.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Do you think Alabama's less-than-amazing performance vs. Miss. St. is a good thing? I think it gives them some extra fire when preparing for the Iron Bowl. We sure can't play like that in Jordan-Hare, or else it'll get ugly.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
I don't read a lot into the way Bama played last week. Coming off that LSU win, you knew the Tide would be a little drained. It's so hard to be on point every single week emotionally. You can bet they will be ready in two weeks.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Kirby Smart's name keeps getting mentioned at the end of every season as one of the next assistant coaches who'll get a head coaching job. Is this going to be his last season in Tuscaloosa? I keep thinking he's gonna leave, but it hasn't happened yet. Is he just waiting on Richt to leave Athens?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
For one, Kirby is getting some serious coin to be Alabama's defensive coordinator, so he's not going to leave just to be leaving for a head job. He's been smart and was in it for the Auburn job a year ago. He wants to go somewhere he thinks he can win a championship, and I think that's what he's waiting on. But, yes, if Richt were to leave in the next few years, Kirby would be in the middle of that.
Gamecock Fan (Chicago)
Chris, how do you see either SC or Mizzou matching up with either Auburn or Alabama? Could either East team contend, in your opinion, or will the West winner win the conference yet again?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
South Carolina would need to play its most complete game of the season to have a chance (not counting the Arkansas rout). Mizzou has the big, physical weapons at WR to give Alabama trouble. That's assuming Alabama wins in two weeks. If Auburn were to win, imagine the emotional high the Tigers would be on and having to come back down from that for the SEC championship game.
Tyler (Baton Rouge )
Can LSU REALLY stop Johnny Football this weekend? I don't see it happening.
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I don't, either. Here's the deal, though. TAMU hasn't stopped anybody on defense. LSU should have a big day throwing the ball against that defense. Probably going to come down to who takes care of the ball and maybe who has the ball last. I see it being that kind of game.
BenDair (out there)
Fact or fiction: a one-loss 'bama team that isn't SEC champ will still be ranked higher than all 1-loss teams from the other conferences
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
If Oregon were to win out and win the Pac-12, my guess would be that Oregon would be ranked higher than a one-loss Alabama team.
Mike White (Pcola, FL)
Next year having the 4 team playoff, will the Big 12 be allowed to or should they be allowed to be chosen for a spot if they do not have a conference championship game even if they go undefeated?? seems unfair to the other conferences who do play in a championship.
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
No, the Big 12 will be allowed. Remember, for the longest time, only the SEC had a championship game.
Do you see the Hogs being a contender in the west over the next 2-3 years?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
I see them getting to the point where they could win nine games or so. But it's hard to see them making the kind of climb in that division they would have to and unseating Alabama, LSU, TAMU, Auburn, etc. It's the toughest division in college football, by far. So just getting back to where they can win eight or nine games is the start.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you recall any SEC quarterback being more snake bitten than Aaron Murray?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
Nope, not in recent memory. But let me say this about Murray. He's as classy and tough as any kid I've covered in the SEC and has hung in there against impossible odds this season.
Forget the country's SEC fatigue. Do you sense that BAMA itself does not want the natty as much this year ? Every fire burns out eventually, right?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
The thing about that is there are a bunch of kids on that team who haven't really been a part of winning a title, and you know they're hungry for one.
David (MU Tiger fan in Aggie country)
Mizzou has 3 or possibly 4 games left. How many more times will Edward Aschoff pick against Mizzou? Picking Ole Miss to score 30. And Mizzou only scoring 27. Ole Miss has only played only 1 team whose defense is as good or slightly better than MU's defense (AL) and they got shutdown. I think MU will win by 2 TDs. What is his beef with Mizzou?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
He's been watching too much soccer, I guess. LOL
James (Chapel Hill)
Emotional high Chris? Just think 2010! Come from 24 down to win, next week crushes SC 54-17!
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
But that team had Cam Newton, who's the most unstoppable force this league has seen on offense in a looooong time.
If South Carolina wins the east and beats Clemson but loses the Championship game will they get a BCS bid?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
No, I'd say Auburn or Texas A&M, if the Aggies win out, would get that second BCS spot.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Two Alabama decommits in one week. What's up with that? How often do you think you'll here that again Chris?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
The Tide can't win all the time.
Michael (Atlanta GA )
Chris... Do you think with the recent allegations regarding Winston, that the Heisman is Manziel's to lose ?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Manziel has two big-stage games remaining, and if he lights it up in both and the Aggies win both, I think he will win the Heisman regardless of what happens with the Winston case.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
What are your thoughts on Nick Marshall's passing game?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
He's been just good enough, although his TD pass against Mississippi State was a big-time throw. Really, Auburn hasn't had to throw it much to win this year, but will have to throw some to beat Alabama in a few weeks. How much? I don't know, but you're not going to line up and run it 40 times and beat Alabama. Malzahn will have a good plan.
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Look forward to seeing everybody on the Bayou this week. Should be a very entertaining football game.