Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:02 PM)
Two more weeks until we settle this great Alabama-Florida debate. Let's chat.
Which team--Bama or Florida-- is most likely to trip in their rivalry game?
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
I'd go with Alabama, because they're playing at Auburn. Auburn has shown this season that they can score points and move the ball.
What do you think of Alabama's performance on offense? Was it just a fluke or do you think they've finally managed to fix the problems they had during the middle of the season?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
No, I think the last two weeks, Alabama has been much more explosive in terms of plays down the field. I also think Greg McElroy is throwing the ball with the same confidence he did during the first part of the season.
Don (Sanford, FL)
Due to SEC myopia, I haven't seen more than a SportsCenter highlight or two of Texas this year. Between Florida and Alabama, who matches up better?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
I think they both matchup well enough to win the game. But I will always lean to a team that has a running back who you can put the game on his shoulders in a marquee-type matchup. Alabama has that guy in Mark Ingram. Even if the passing game isn't working, you could always fall back on him. Whereas, so much of it right now with Florida offensively rests on Tebow's shoulders.
Will Lane Kiffin have a QB next year to go with his dad defense????OR they next year's favorite in SEC EAST????
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
No. The Gators are still the team to beat in the East. I really don't think QB has been a problem for Tennessee over the last 4 or 5 games. In reality, the Vols might start the season next year at a worse position at QB than they are at right now, because they're going to either be playing a true freshman or Nick Stephens.
Michael.B (daphne, al)
hello chris what a year its been in the SEC. You got ole miss who didn't live up to the hype this year, a up and going tennesse team and florida and bama are right where they should be. But out of this season what is the most thing that has suprised you?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
A couple of things right off the top of my head are the fact that Alabama has been as good as they are, despite losing three starters on their OL, a 1,000-yard rusher and a three-year starter at QB. The second would be that Georgia hasn't played better on defense. The third would be that Vanderbilt fell back into being a bottom-feeder after such a good season in 2008. And lastly, I knew Ryan Mallett was talented, but he's been even better than I thought he was.
Nick M. (Atlanta, GA)
Chris...say it ain't so. Did Willie Martinez just save his job with the Georgia D's performance over Auburn on Saturday?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
I'm not ready to say that. Nor was I ready to say beforehand that Richt was definitely going to make a change. In any situation like this, you've got to let the entire season play out and make your decision as a head coach based on the entire body of work. I do believe, however, given Georgia's struggles on defense the last two years that it's going to be very difficult for Richt to stay status quo and please the Bulldog nation.
I Love my Gators, but are they running Tebox too much
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
He took an awful lot of hits Saturday against South Carolina, a couple in which he actually landed on his head or neck. So, yes, I think he's taking far too many hits this year, but at this point, if the Gators are going to win another championship, he's the guy who's going to have to shoulder the load. And that's because they just haven't shown any consistency with their downfield passing game.
Spc Williams, Anthony (Caserma Ederle, Vicenza Italy (U.S. Army
Hey Chris, Who wins the Heisman and Why, INGRAM RIGHT? Come on 16 national titles and no hesiman
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
I think he's a favorite, but I wouldn't call it a slam dunk. He's had a terrific season. He's come up big when Alabama's needed him to come up big and he's getting a lot of exposure. The big game is going to be that SEC championship game and how he performs in that one. Everyone around the country will be watching that one.
Josh (New York City)
What are people saying about Gene Chizik? Are they satisfied with the progress he has made at Auburn?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
It's been a good start, especially when you consider how handicapped Auburn was with numbers and depth. I wouldn't call it a great season, but it's been better than I think a lot of people might have anticipated. But to be fair, you can't really evaluate coach Chizik, or any program for that matter, until he has a chance to get at least two more of his recruiting classes in there.
Josh (New York City)
Does Georgia have any shot at beating Georgia Tech in 2 weeks?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Given the fact that Georgia Tech has given up some points this season, I think they have a chance. But I haven't seen anything in Georgia's defense this year that makes me think they're going to be able to hold down Georgie Tech. So, I think right now that it would be a pretty major upset for Georgia to win that game. Plus, with AJ Green being iffy with that shoulder injury, if he can't play, that's a huge blow to Georgia's offense.
Chris, do you see the HOGS being a true sec contender next year? And what about Mallett being nationally recongized?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I think they'll be the team in the West that will have a chance to make some noise. I would still put Alabama as the favorite. But the third year into Bobby Petrino's tenure there, it's fair to expect them to at least make a run. I think a realistic goal for them next year is 9 wins or better.
Chris:Give me your assesment of Trent Richardson's devlopment this year playing behind Ingram. Do you think he is as far along as Ingram was at this time last year behind Coffee? Where is he better or worse? TR seems to love contact.
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I think that's a good analogy. The best part for Richardson is that he hasn't had to carry an entire load. Richardson's upside as far as his breakaway speed, his explosiveness and ability to break tackles make him every bit the prospect that Ingram was this time a year ago. You could say that there are some in Alabama that say he will be a better player than Ingram when he is finished.
Will the change of the SCAR Gamecocks bye week to the middle on october next year help stop the November slide we've been suffering the last few years?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
It can't hurt, but South Carolina's biggest problem toward the later part of the season is the fact that they've typically played their toughest teams then, i.e. Florida, Tennessee, Clemson.
Hey Chris, long time no chat. I am a HUGE gators fan, but am afraid Bama is going to eat our lunch. Am i crazy?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I don't see either one of those teams eating the other's lunch. Those two teams are too good for that to happen. Even this year when Florida wasn't clicking on offense, the defense was always right there to make a play or to change the complexion of the game. I think the game in Atlanta in two weeks will absolutely be a four quarter game. It gets down to what offense can consistently convert on key third downs.
Eddie (Shreveport, LA)
Who wins between LSU and Ole Miss this week and why?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
That's far and away my toughest pick of the week. I'm going to brag a little bit here. I haven't missed a game in the SEC. So, I'm going to go with Ole Miss and the hottest player in the league in Dexter McCluster.
What do you make of 6 different teams having bye weeks before they play Alabama next year? How do that happen?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
Bad luck for Alabama. Good luck for everybody else. Although, with 'Bama being unbeaten, it hasn't been good enough luck. But speaking of bye weeks, the fact that Alabama had one coming off of the Tennessee game and before the LSU game may have saved the Tide's season. They appeared to be running on fumes.
Is there any way Kiffin finds a way not to kick all 3 of the players involved in the arrest off the team? I have a feeling he is going to find a way to keep at least one of them.
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Not based on my information, I think all three will be dismissed once the authorities and Tennessee have a chance to sift through all the information.
With two straight years of Alabama and Florida clinching their divisions in early November, LSU and Georgia each with 2+ loss years, and Auburn and Tennessee in the midst of rebuilding with new coaches, will the SEC continue to be dominated by Florida and Alabama in years to come?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
That's the question that everyone else in the league is asking right now. Frankly, it's the reason Auburn has a new coach and Tennesse has a new coach and one of the reasons all the fans at Georgia are restless right now. I do believe the playing field levels somewhat for everyone in the East once Tebow leaves. But it gets down to recruiting and Florida and Alabama both continue to recruit at a higher level than everyone else in the league.
Les Miles (Baton Rouge, LA)
Speeking of bye weeks. What about Slive giving both Florida and Alabama a bye week before they played us? I think Slive hates us.
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Somehow I don't think Mike Slive put together either one of those schedules.
Jason (Akron, OH)
Chris: What's the biggest issue with Florida's offense- 1) O-line can't open inside running lanes 2) Inconsistent pass protection 3) Poor routes by Wide Receivers 4) Riley Copper can't push off on EVERY passing play...5) Urban distracted by redecorating Weiss's office
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
None of the above. To me, the biggest issue offensively is the entire passing game and everything that goes into it. The WRs haven't gotten open consistently. They haven't caught the ball consistently. When they have caught the ball, they haven't made plays down the field. And Tebow at times is trying to do too much and hasn't been patient enough with the passing game.
If Cincy coach goes to ND, any chance Phillip Fulmer lands in Cincy?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Cincinnati would certainly be a job that he'd be interested in. I don't know that he would be at the top of their wish list. Fulmer definitely wants to coach again, but he doesn't want to go somewhere where he doesn't have, in his mind, a realistic chance to compete for a title.
Christopher (Gulf Shores, AL)
What is going to happen to Dexter McCluster at the next level? We know he is a special player, but how will he look against an NFL defense?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
McCluster is one of those guys that just flies in the face of that whole you have to be a certain size and weight to be successful. Especially in the SEC. I don't think that he can carry the ball 20 times in the NFL, but there's a place for him. Be it in the slot, in the return game. Be it as a situational back. You just don't come across a guy who's that explosive with the ball in his hands every day.
Rob (New Orleans, LA)
With Auburn's new recruits coming in, how do u see Auburn doing next year?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
A lot like Arkansas, I think Auburn fans will certainly expect the program to take another step. A lot will depend on the QB position. They certainly need to improve on the defensive side of the ball. I still don't see them as a bona fide contender in the West, but I think they'll improve.
Cory (Orlando, FL)
What do you think of the rumors of Meyer to ND, pure speculation for a possibility?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I don't give them any thought whatsoever. Meyer has answered the question repeatedly and said repeatedly that he's not going to Notre Dame. My question is, on what he's sitting on at Florida and how he has the program going right now, why in the world would he go to Notre Dame?
Quick question. Ryan Mallet next years Hiesman? Id like to think so.
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
That's a long way off. For any player to be in the Heisman race, his team has to play well and win a lot of games. Mallet has great numbers this year and you'd think he's going to put up better numbers next year. I still believe that the Hogs will have to be an SEC contender for him to seriously be in contention.
Hey Chris, are Julio Jones and Greg McElroy finally syncing up on the field or are defenses now being forced to cover Marquis Maze a little tighter and lighten up on Julio?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
I think other guys like Maze and Hanks proving that they can make big plays down the field only open things up for Julio. But I look at it from the other perspective. I think guys have had to devote so much attention to Julio, that's one of the reasons the other guys have had the seasons they've had.
Chris, is the SEC Championship a must win for Coach Saban? Not just cause of its NC implications, but if they lose could it be a setback for the Tide?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I don't think any game is must win when you're working on potentiall back-to-back unbeaten seasons in the SEC. But to get there back to back years and not win the SEC title wouldn't sit well with anyone at Alabama.
Ray (Atlanta, GA)
Any chance Urban Meyer goes to the NFL in the future?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
If he leaves Florida, I think the only place he would go is to the NFL. I don't think Urban is any different than a lot of coaches. When you have great success as he has, it's only natural that you wonder and get that itch to find out, if you can also succeed at the highest level of football. That said, Meyer genuinely loves living and coaching at Florida and so does his family.
Ray (Atlanta, GA)
How much longer will Rich Brooks stay on at Kentucky?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
I think he's pretty close to walking away. He can do so with his head held high. He's done an excellent job there of bringing Kentucky's program to respectability. I think he's also comforted by the fact that Phillips is already in line to replace him. I would say if not after this season, then probably the 2010 season would be his last.
SEC defensive player of the year is_____________? I have a hard time seeing anyone but Rolando McClain getting it.
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
McClain would be my pick right now. But other guys who are in the running, in no particular order, would be: Joe Haden, CB, Florida; SC LB Eric Norwood; and LSU CB Patrick Peterson. Along with Tennessee safety Eric Berry.
Is Mike Bobo overrated as an OC?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Let's see what happens next season. Georgia's offense set all sorts of records last season with Stafford there. They haven't been as potent this season. Let's see what happens when he gets one of those young QBs in next season and some of the younger guys have a chance to develop.
Are LSU's struggles mainly due to having a 1st year qb for the second year in a row? I think so.
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
First of all, I wouldn't say that LSU has struggled as a team. They still have a chance to win 10-11 games. They haven't been as good as they should be offensively, if you look at the talent they have on that ball. And yes, I think part of that is Jefferson settling in as his first year at starter. I don't think the OL has played as well as some thought they would this year.
What are people in Starkville saying about their progress under Dan Mullen?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Prior to Saturday's loss to Alabama, they really had a lot of near misses against good teams. I know it's frustrating that they haven't been able to break through and win those games. Mullen hasn't been able to bring in his players to run that spread offense. He's only had one recruiting class.
Matt (Nashville, TN)
How much more does Charlie strong have to prove so people start looking at him as a serious Head Coaching candidate?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Nothing to me. He proved himself a long time ago, as far as I'm concerned. Somebody just has to be willing to give him a chance. Let's hope that chance comes this year, because he's long overdue.
Did Brandon Spikes make a mistake in coming back to UF after the negative press he has gotten? His projected draft stock is not that high as compared to last year.
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
No. I don't think he made a mistake in coming back, because I don't think he was going to be a top 15-20 pick last year. He's played well this year, but for the incident that marred his season somewhat. But he's brought that on himself. He's still going to be a first round/early second round player in my opinion.
I would LOVE Vandy to hire Strong as their HC.
What is the one thing Alabama must be successful at to win the SEC championship game?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
Getting Florida into a lot of third and long situations and making Tebow have to throw the football and not letting him do what he does best in third and short.
Matt (Nashville, TN)
Is Addazio the main reason for a lack luster production level on offense this year or was Harvin and Murphy that huge last year?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
I don't think you can put all this on Addazio. It's a combination of Percy Harvin being the ultimate playmaker. They also miss Murphy's ability to stretch the field and make plays down the field. Some of the younger receivers just haven't stepped up like they thought they would. Losing Andre Debose to surgery back in the preseason also hurt.
who gets the credit or blame for not using mccluster earlier in the fashion ole miss is now this year?? and do you think it would have made a significant difference in their record thus far ??
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
There are two ways to look at that. First off, yes, I think he could have helped him in a couple of early season loses, South Carolina in particular. However, the fact that he didn't take a pounding earlier in the season may be why he looks so fresh now and operating at a different speed.
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
We still have two more weeks before we know the better team, Alabama or Florida. I guess that gives us two more weeks to debate it. Thanks for the questions. I'll talk to you next week.