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 (1:02 PM)
Hope everyone is well. I'm ready to go.
Is there a chance Vanderbilt could win the SEC in a couple of years from now.
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
I don't see it. But as the Commodores proved in 2008, they can compete in this league, and there's no reason they can't have a seven- or eight-win season from time to time. To me, that is a more realistic goal.
Some of the Gator o-linemen seem to be a little undersized. I know that last year Kansas City did pretty well running the ball with a small line. Can we expect similar things for Florida?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
A lot of that depends on the running backs. We know Demps and Rainey can both fly. What's been missing is a power running back, that guy who can get the tough yards, ever since Tebow left. He essentially served as their short-yardage and red zone back.
Roger (Bryant, AR.)
If another year goes by with Spurrier failing to make enough noise in the SEC, does South Carolina start looking elsewhere for someone to take them to the next level?
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
The Gamecocks went to the SEC championship game for the first time in history last season, so I'd say the Head Ball Coach is plenty safe.
Chris, Alabama is Alabama but isn't the preseason hype overreaching? They have a QB that has never started in SEC with not much playing time. When has a QB started for 1st time (Junior College not counting) and led their team to a conference or NC?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Very fair point. But I look more at Alabama's defense and how much more experienced they will be on on that side of the ball -- and talented. Richardson is healthy and the offensive line should be better. The other thing is: Who else in the SEC (other than Murray at Georgia) has a QB coupled with a great defense. To me, Alabama and LSU are pretty close. I still want to see Jefferson do it in games consistently, but with that game being in Tuscaloosa, I'm picking the Tide.
Ken S. (ATL, Ga.)
Chris,How realistic is it, that UGA can beat Boise State AND South Carolina to open their season?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Probably more realistic that the Dogs split those two games.
Does Justin Hunter take a backseat to Da'Rick Rogers this coming season?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Actually, I think they will complement each other very well and both have big seasons.
GamecockinMich. (Battle Creek MI.)
Hey Chris gives your picks for the top 3 running backs in the SEC for the upcoming season..
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
1A and 1B would be Marcus Lattimore and Trent Richardson and my third would be Knile Davis.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Chris,great day for a chat,do you think that the QB position is still open at Arkansas and what are the chances that Tyler Wilson will not be the starting QB on September 3rd?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
More than anything, Petrino wants to see Wilson pushing himself this summer and being pushed. I'm confident that Wilson will be the Hogs' starter, but Petrino likes the different dimension Mitchell brings with his ability to run and extend plays. It's always nice to have another option, although Wilson is certainly better at making plays with his feet than Mallett was.
Brandon Johnson (Alabama)
Even though Auburn has not received a letter from the NCAA detailing any wrong doing, does that mean that the NCAA hasn't found anything wrong, or that they just haven't finished their investigation. What do you think are the chances of Auburn being found guilty of violations?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
Well, there are a couple of different things out there now, most recently the guys on HBO saying they were paid. Regarding the Cam Newton matter, I don't see that coming back on Auburn, although there's always a chance down the road that Newton knew more about his father trying to shop him to Mississippi State than has come out to this point. Either way, I would think if the NCAA had something on that, we would have already heard.
Clint (Charlotte, NC)
Chris...I"m concerned about the lack of depth on UGA OL losing Sturdivant and now Harmon. We're putting alot of pressure on Isaiah Crowell to carry the load and be the savior to the running offense much like Lattimore at USC. Thoughts on UGA's running offense this season?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
It would be huge for the Dogs if Crowell could do for them what Lattimore did for the Gamecocks last season. Lattimore makes an average offensive line look a lot better. Is Crowell that kind of back? We're going to find out. I still think Georgia is OK up front if there aren't a bunch of injuries. Glenn has a chance to be one of the best linemen in the SEC, and they really like Gates, too. But they're going to need at least one freshman and either Bennett or Long to emerge from their injury issues to provide depth.
Chris, Have you been on vacation for a month? I wish I had your benefits package.
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
I wish I had the kind you must be thinking about, too. I was gone from May 2-7 on some vacation, but have been right here on the SEC blog ever since cranking away with my main man, Edward Aschoff, who's been a huge addition.
Mark (Columbia, SC)
If Garcia finally gets his head on right, where do you see the Gamecocks season going this year?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Let's just say if the Gamecocks get consistent play from either Garcia or Shaw (or both), they're my favorite to go back to the SEC championship game.
Thoughts on Jim Delany's idea of adding a cost-of-attendance benefit to scholarships?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
I like it in theory, especially if it helps some of these kids from disadvantaged backgrounds put a little extra spending money in their pocket. But the fear, similar to anything like this, is that some people will find a way to abuse it.
Sasha (Little Rock)
Any thoughts Arkansas commitment JUCO Linebacker Robert Atiga next season?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
Hey, the Hogs need all the depth they can get at linebacker. You always want to temper expectations with junior college players because sometimes it takes them a year to adjust. But just having another athletic body to compete and push guys like Terrell Williams and Alonzo Highsmith is a good thing.
Chris, Will Janzen Jackson play for the Vols this year?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Derek Dooley remains optimistic that Jackson will be back, but he still has to go through the process of being readmitted to school and getting a hardship waiver from the NCAA after sitting out last semester. Jackson had a job these last several months, but continued to work out on his own while trying to deal with some personal issues.
What's up with this Barkevious Mingo that Chavis keeps raving about at LSU? Is he the real deal or is it just Chavis hyping up his players?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
No, Chavis is stoked about all of his younger talent on defense. In addition to Mingo, he's equally excited about his other sophomore defensive end, Sam Montgomery, who had a great start last season but missed the second half with a knee injury. Everywhere you look on LSU's defense, there's a sophomore or younger who's brimming with talent. You've got Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson at tackle, Kevin Minter at linebacker and a secondary that is full of guys who can play. Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and Tharold Simon all played as freshmen last season, and Craig Loston returns at safety for his sophomore season.
please give me feedback about auburn not in the preseason polls
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
Remember they weren't too high in preseason polls last year (21 or 22), so it's not a huge deal. I think it's more because so many key players from last season are gone. I do think the first half of the season could be a struggle for the Tigers, but there's enough talent in that 2010 class that they will get better and be a good football team by the time mid-October rolls around.
So does the SEC get two bloggers since we are all kinds of awesome?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
You got it. Keep winning national championships and you might get three!
Brad H. (Chicago, IL)
The attrition on the Ole Miss defense was only compounded last week with the dismissal of Clarence Jackson and Delvin Jones. Other than C.J. Johnson, who do you see in their incoming class that could make a impact this year on defense? Could Nick Brassell possibly be moved to corner?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Losing Jackson wasn't ideal, but the crippling blow was losing Shackelford and all he provided to that team from a production and leadership standpoint. Kentrell Lockett will be a key. The Rebels need him back healthy. The two junior college guys also have to play big -- nose tackle Gilbert Pena and cornerback Wes Pendleton. The good thing is that both went through spring practice.
Should Florida's Jeff Demps take the Titan's Chris Johnson's challenge on who's the faster player?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Boy, I would love to see that race.
Chris, I believe Greg McElroy lead the Tide to the SEC and NC in his first year starting!
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
You are correct, sir, although that's rare. I still think a strong defense is a bigger component to winning a national title than a great quarterback is. But here's the deal: If you're average or below average at quarterback or have a quarterback who doesn't protect the ball, a lot of times it doesn't matter how good you are on defense.
GameCockinMich. (Battle Creek MI.)
Who do you think has the Hardest Schedule in the SEC for the upcoming season?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
LSU gets the nod. Tigers play Oregon in Arlington, Texas and also travel to West Virginia in addition to playing at Alabama and at Mississippi State. Arkansas and Florida come to Baton Rouge.
is zach mettenberger frustrated that he chose to transfer to lsu, and had to work for a qb spot? why didnt he transfer to another school with a guaranteed spot? how does he feel now that he lost the starting spot to jordan jefferson?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I wouldn't say he's lost it just yet. Jefferson will start the season. Let's wait and see who finishes it. I see Mettenberger playing some this season.
With State's expansion of Davis Wade and the obvious improvements to our program under Dan the Man, do you see it as a promise of longevity or two or three years in the sun?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
It's a good sign that some teams showed interest in Mullen this past offseason and he's still there after Mississippi State stepped to the plate and raised his salary to more than $2.5 million per year.
It still looks like SC's secondary is not where it needs to be. What team this season should we be worried the most about picking it apart (like Arkansas did last season)?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
The biggest question is that other safety spot opposite D.J. Swearinger. Ellis Johnson wants to leave DeVonte Holloman at the Spur hybrid position, but might not be able to if somebody doesn't separate himself at that other safety spot. I look for Stephon Gilmore to return to form and have an All-SEC season at cornerback.
Arnold (Chantilly, VA)
Will Shariff Floyd and Ronald Powell live up to the hype this year for the Gators?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
Yes, I'd look for both players to make big impacts as well as Dominique Easley. The defensive front may be one of the strengths of that team when you also throw in Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard.
Chris, do you think Auburn will ever get any respect from people outside of Auburn nation and what do you think they will do this year. Iron Bowl victory??
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I can't speak for everyone, but they certainly earned my respect last season as well as what they've accomplished on the recruiting trail under Chizik. I just think this coming season might be a little bit of a rebuilding one with so many new faces.
Is there a clear #2 RB to Trent Richardson at Alabama?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I don't know that will be No. 2, but the Alabama coaches really liked what they saw from freshman Dee Hart this spring.
TERRENCE (WAYCROSS GA.)
If Georgia dnt have a sucessful year but beat FLA,SC,AUB, do u still think Mark R. will keep his job.
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
The only way I see Richt losing his job is if Georgia has a comparable year as last season (6 or 7 wins) and loses all of its key games (Florida, South Carolina, Boise State, Tennessee, etc.).
Where will UT's offense rank in the SEC this year? With one of the best receiving corps in the SEC, a very solid O-line and an up and coming star QB, I think we have the potential for a high octane offense this year and down the road.
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
If the Vols are more consistent running the ball, they have a chance to be very good on offense. The problem is that they may have to outscore teams to win a lot of their games because I'm not sure how well the defense will hold up next season.
mike (philadelphia, ms.)
Why not more good words about Vic Ballard and Chris Relf? You see what they did last year, and yet, not much love from you!
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
Passing on the love as we speak, brother. Don't forget about LaDarius Perkins, either, and maybe this is the year a healthy Chad Bumphis takes off and becomes one of the top receivers in the league.
jamhog (Russellville AR.)
You list Knile Davis as your 3rd RB even though he was 1st in rushing last season. Do you expect him to go backwards or is it the AR O-line that concerns you
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
No, it's more a reflection of how good Lattimore and Richardson are. Davis, too, is an exceptional back. Also, keep in mind that Richardson only carried the ball 112 times last season.
Chris, What's your prediction of another undefeated SEC team going to the NC? Every year the pundits say it can be done but the last two years the SEC has proved them wrong. Can the SEC repeat again this year?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I would bet against an undefeated team for a third straight year simply because the league is so tough, but I'm not betting against a one-loss team getting back there and making it six in a row.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
I'm going to head out on another vacation (only kidding). But that's a wrap on today's chat and I appreciate everyone stopping by. I do want to ask one more time for everyone out there to please keep Aaron Douglas' family in your thoughts and prayers. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!