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 (1:03 PM)
As one of the biggest SEC homers, who would be your preseason top five? Alabama, Florida, Ark, LSU and Kentucky?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
Why would anybody want to be an SEC homer? All the league has done is win the last four national championships. My top five would be: 1. Alabama, 2. Florida, 3. Georgia, 4. Arkansas, 5. Auburn.
deputy Gator (Vero Beach , FL)
how games do florida win this year i got them going 11-1 plus 1 with a national title
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
I'm thinking more in the line of 10-2.
Rico darican (san juan)
Is Bama's defensive secondary going to be able to stop teams like Arkansas, teams that can throw the ball well?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
Lot of talent in that secondary, but a lot of inexperience, too. It helps that it looks like DeQuan Menzie will be healthy enough to play. Bama's pass-rush will help the secondary until it comes around. That fourth game against Arkansas will be a tough test, though, maybe Bama's toughest test of the year with it being on the road and so early in the season.
Cory (Gainesville, Florida)
Good afternoon ChrisAfter one week of practice, are there any teams with their stock rising?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Sounds like it's been a good, crisp start for South Carolina, especially with Marcus Lattimore on campus and doing his thing.I hear that Brantley has thrown the ball very well at Florida, but that's not a surprise.I also look for Mississippi State's defensive line to be one of the most improved units in the league.
Marc (Atlanta, GA)
Which team in SEC do you believe has the strongest secondary? It seems like the league is slowly transitioning to pass-heavy compared to a few years ago.
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
My top five defensive backfields going into the season: 1. Florida, 2. South Carolina, 3. LSU, 4. Auburn, 5. Vanderbilt
Brennan (New York City)
As a Hog fan that was skeptical of the hiring of Willy Robinson from the beginning, how do you rate the improvement of the Arkansas defense over the past 3 years and do you feel that we will represent the SEC West in the conference champion ship game?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Ask me after this season. Obviously, it's a key season for Robinson and that Arkansas defense. The Hogs were 89th in total defense last year. They don't need to move into the Top 25 to make a run. But somewhere in the Top 50 nationally is reasonable and would probably give them a shot when you consider how potent their offense is.
Dylan (Aiken, SC)
How do you see the Gamecocks using Stephon Gilmore at QB this year?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Much like they used him early in that Clemson game a year ago. The only difference is that Spurrier would like to give him a couple of series a game at quarterback. That may vary depending on how the game is going. I'm not sure South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is real thrilled with that idea, at least the thought of his best defensive player potentially going down while playing offense.
How many Vanderbilt quarterbacks do you think will see the field this season?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Larry Smith and Jordan Rodgers for sure. Much of it depends on whether or not the Commodores can move the ball and score some points during that first month of the season. They only completed 48 percent of their passes last season, but there weren't a lot of guys out there making plays for the quarterbacks, either.
Marc (Pensacola, Fl)
Chris, I Think Demps and Moody will have a big year rushing the football as they should get more carries in the new look offense now that Tebow is gone. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
I can see Demps being a 1,000-yard rusher this season. He will get a lot more touches, and the Gators will be in a traditional two-back set with a fullback more than they ever were when Tebow was there. I have to see Moody stay healthy for an extended period of time before I predict what he might do this season.
Jimmy (Birmingham, Alabama)
I went to Bryant-Denny yesterday to watch Bama practice. To me their defense looked very good. Much better than what I think a lot of people are expecting. My question is did you get a chance to see their practice yesterday, and if so what are your takes on their defense?
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
No, I wasn't there, but talked to several people who did and their assessment was the same as yours. I understand Dareus was just a monster in some of the drills and that nobody could block him.
As an extreme dark horse, what would Brantley need for serious Heisman consideration, maybe enough for an invite to NY?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Well, Mark Ingram came of nowhere last season, so it can be done. I think the Gators would have to win 11-plus games, win an SEC title and contend for the national title and Brantley would have to throw for 3,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns. If all those things happen, I'd say there would be a good chance that he's in New York as one of the finalists.
Steve (Atlanta, GA)
How crushing was the loss of Marlon Walls to an injury for the Vols? Is it possible that we could look back in December and say that his injury in fall camp was the tipping point to a losing season?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
It's the position they absolutely could not afford an injury. They just don't have anybody else there (other than Montori Hughes) who's ever played. In the SEC, teams like to rotate four and five tackles during games. Hughes is going to have to play a ton of snaps, which is a killer in the fourth quarter. I still think the Vols could get to 6-6, but this injury gives them no margin for error now.
jake (mh, arkansas)
chris joe adams and jarius wright are great receivers and for some reason they have been overlooked, I understand that greg childs had more catches but if joe adams hadn't gone down with an injury for those games do you think we would be talking about him more?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Honestly, I think they all three sort of steal the spotlight from each other. I doubt Ryan Mallett would trade any of them. Adams is fantastic after the catch and one of the best receivers in the league after the catch.
Bob (Athens, GA)
Do you try to get to any practices around the conference? Also would it do much good with some if not all of the teams closing practice to the public and/or media?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Yes, I try to get to practices in the spring and preseason. Very few teams let the media watch their entire practices anymore during the season. But even when you get to see the first 20-25 minutes, it helps you get a feel for that team, see who's working where, who runs crisp routes, etc.
Tim (San Jose, CA)
How good of a game will jefferson need to have against lsu to beat north carolina/whos your pick to win?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
I'm picking LSU and was even before all the NCAA investigation stuff came to light concerning North Carolina. What Jefferson has to do is get rid of the ball quicker and let the guys around him do the heavy lifting. It's been a really good start to practice for sophomore receivers Russell Shepard and Rueben Randle.
Ultimate Curtis (ATL)
Please answer this question. I've asked it 3 weeks in a row...What's with all the hype for Auburn? Did a close game against Bama make people forget that they lost 5 of their last 6 SEC games to finish 3-5 in the league? They have an unproven QB, no depth on the OL, no proven RB, and the defense in undersized with no depth, yet everyone in the national media is pimping them as a possible 10 win team. I don't get it. I think AU will be lucky to win 7 games again this year. What do you think?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
Sorry, I didn't get to it the last couple of weeks. I agree that there are some question marks with the Tigers, revolving mostly around depth. They will be deeper than they were a year ago, but most of that depth will come in the form of first-year players. There's a lot of talent in that freshman class. Receiver Trovon Reed will make a big impact, as well as a couple of guys on defense. The strength of their team is their veteran offensive line, four senior starters returning. Much of what happens will hinge on Cameron Newton, but he wouldn't be the first unproven quarterback to get the job done in his first season. A guy named Greg McElroy did all right last season. I have Auburn as the No. 5 team in the league right now, but just a shade behind Georgia and Arkansas. The Tigers won seven games in the regular season a year ago. I could see eight or nine if all goes well this season ... and possibly 10 if they win their bowl game.
Barndt (Jacksonville, FL)
What's the toughest non-conference game facing a top 5 SEC team?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
North Carolina vs. LSU, Penn State at Alabama and Florida at Florida State would be my top three involving teams in the top half of the conference. Oregon at Tennessee is up there, too, along with South Carolina at Clemson.
Seriously, why would someone actually ask a John Brantley Heisman question? That's just goofy.
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Yeah, probably so. But had anybody said this time last year that Mark Ingram was going to win the Heisman (and I realize he had at least played meaningful snaps and had decent numbers), we all would have said it was goofy to be asking a Mark Ingram/Heisman question.
Good Afternoon,Speaking of Dareus, whats the latest on his off field issue?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Still waiting to hear from the NCAA. The matter is in the NCAA's hands now. There's a chance he will have to miss a few games if the NCAA decides an agent paid for any part of Dareus' trip to Miami. etc.
Robbie (Acworth, Ga)
Alot of tough SEC schedules this year. Do you see Bama being able to hold up to 6 SEC schools in a row all coming off of by weeks.........
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
I can see the Tide holding up and winning the SEC championship again. I don't see them going through the season unbeaten again.
What is your prediction for the Gamecocks this year?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
Nine wins, including the bowl game, which would be only the third time in school history that the Gamecocks had won more than eight games in a season.
Larry (Las Vegas)
Will the NCAA investigations into Tennessee recruiting violations come back to Lane Kiffin? In addition to depleted talent-wise did he also get them into trouble with the NCAA?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
It's looking more and more that way. As former Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey used to say, when the NCAA is flying around the country and spending this much time, money and resources interviewing coaches, players and recruits, they're not doing it to rack up frequent flier points.
greg (jax fl)
I was very upset when Chizik was hired as many AU folks were, has he met, fallen below or exceeded your expectations and why?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
He's exceeded my expectations to this point, although I don't think you can ever fully evaluate a coach until three or four years down the road. Chizik went out and hired an excellent staff. They've recruited their rears off and won eight games their first season despite being way down in terms of numbers and depth. Let's see what Year No. 2 holds.
Is Jordan Reed the Gators short yardage guy similar to how they used Tebow with Leak in previous years?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Jordan Reed and true freshman Trey Burton are the guys they will use in the "Tebow" package in short yardage and down around the goal line.
If anything, this recent round of expansion showed was that the SEC is purely a sports conference with little-to-no emphasis placed on academics. Yes, the SEC has won the last 4 NC titles, but the other conferences actually educate their students. Any rebuttal?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Hackneyed propaganda and nothing more.
You said earlier in this conversation that the Bama vs. Arkansas game would be a real test because it's early in the season and on the road. Don't you think that after three weeks that secondary of Bama's will know what it's doing? It's not like Arkansas does a lot of crazy scheming and such, so dropping six into zone should be easy for Bama.
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
No, I just meant that the Tide's inexperienced secondary would be seeing the best passing attack it's going to see in the fourth week as opposed to the seventh or eighth week when it's had more time to grow up.
Todd (Charleston, SC)
Garcia has been put on the Maxwell Award watch list (out of 60 players in the nation named to this list), what say you now Chris? Still no love for the Gamecocks, not even top 5 in the SEC! See you in Atlanta!
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
How is it that he can make the Maxwell Award watch list and not the cover of his own school's media guide? Nah, just kidding. I'll always love the Gamecocks. I go back to the Jeff Grantz/Ron Bass era, man, although I guess the only thing that really proves is that I'm old.
Drew (Charlotte, NC)
Along the same lines as a previous quesiton, What's with all the hype on Georgia? Brand new QB, brand new coaches, and brand new D scheme...not to mention them losing a few players in the off season. I just don't get why they are so high on peoples lists.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
We have to put somebody No. 3. Georgia has a new quarterback. So does Auburn. Arkansas has a defense that is unproven, and LSU is unproven on the offensive line and lost a ton of guys on defense. South Carolina is equally shaky in the offensive line and even the Gamecocks' own head coach spent the offseason grumbling about his quarterback's commitment level. The translation: Everybody has a few warts, but I do think the race for that No. 3 spot in the SEC could include five or six teams, especially with Masoli at Ole Miss now.
What is your take on coaches like Saban and Les Miles way over-signing classes and then forcing places that are below expectations to transfer or take grey shirts. Is the NCAA going to do something about it?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
I don't like it and think it's unfair to those players, especially a guy who's been on your campus all summer and then you all of a sudden tell him his scholarship won't be good until January. It's not within the spirit of the rules, in my opinion.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
Thanks all. Always a lot of fun to talk a little football. See you next week!