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)
Hello to everybody. Wherever you are, I hope you're managing to stay cool.
Do you think that Jarvis Jones will actually be suspended for some part of the beginning of the season? My understanding was that the plane flights were paid for by the boyfriend of his legal guardian at the time which seems reasonable and shouldn't be an NCAA infraction.
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
In talking with several in and around the Georgia program, they do seem braced that he will be suspended for at least a game and possibly more. Some of that is based on what happened last year with Green, and every case is different. But nobody expected Green to be suspended for four games, and he was.
John McK (Greenville, SC)
Chris, which game on South Carolina's schedule will be their annual "slip-up" game? How about UGA's? - Thanks
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
I wouldn't view Georgia as a "slip-up" game, because that game is in Athens and the Bulldogs are certainly talented enough to win the game. Call me crazy, but that Navy game is very dangerous when you look at where it sits on the schedule and the fact that Navy's offense is so difficult to prepare for.
David T. (Savannah, GA)
What are the chances high touted recruit Jeff Driskel supplants John Brantley, given his struggles last year and this spring?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
In talking with several of the Florida players last week at SEC media days, I wouldn't say Brantley struggled this spring. Instead, everybody talked about how he looked like the Brantley of old and how much more confident he looked in the new offense. Obviously, that has to translate to games. I could see Driskel playing some this season, possibly in certain situations. But I think Brantley will have a good season and end up being the quarterback throughout.
Potter (EA's Dungeon)
How is the NCAA allowed to take years to investigate and rule on possible infractions? Even the dmv isn't that slow.
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Good one, and I can assure you that the coaches in the SEC share your sentiments.
ben johnson (Chester, South Carolina)
First i have always wondered how are you from rock hill and yet you moved to Tennessee to cover the vols. Anyway my real question is how good to you think south carolinas defense is i mean we have talent everywhere and we are supposed to have Rodney paulk and shaq wilson back from injuries. I just dont see a weak point.
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Gotta go where the jobs are, brother. As for the Gamecocks' defense, this should be the strongest and best defensive front we've seen at South Carolina in a long time. If Paulk and Wilson can stay healthy, especially when you throw Holloman into the mix at Spur, the front seven should be outstanding. Then it gets down to defending the pass more consistently than South Carolina did a year ago.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be the Best SEC Quarterback in College Football in 2011?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
Georgia's Aaron Murray. Tough call for No. 2. Maybe Arkansas' Tyler Wilson or Mississippi State's Chris Relf or even South Carolina's Stephen Garcia, if he behaves himself off the field.
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Chris,Is no new news on Russell Shepard good or bad for LSU fans?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
Sounds like Shepard is going to be all right and that it's going to work out. Les Miles doesn't anticipate that Shepard will have to miss any games.
Chris (B'ham, AL)
What type of impact do you see Duron Carter having for the Tide this season?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
The plan is for him to enroll in August, and going by his skill set and the fact that he's played in the Big Ten, I think he will be a guy that makes a big impact for the Tide. He's big (6-5) and can go get the football. He should complement Maze and Hanks nicely.
Who is the quarterback of the future at UF, Driskel or Brissett?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
It's still early, but I'll go with Driskel based on his overall athletic ability.
What do you make of the situation down in Tuscaloosa regarding the men's clothing shop owner?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
Obviously, Alabama has had ongoing discussions with the SEC office about this, but didn't file a report because it was determined that no rules were broken. The way it becomes an issue for Alabama is if there's evidence out there or if a player comes forward and says he traded autographs for suits or received discounts. Otherwise, I don't think it will lead to much for Alabama.
Jordan Phelps (Baton Rouge, LA)
What do you expect from Alabama and Arkansas' QB situations.
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
I think McCarron and Sims will share the duties for at least the first month, and maybe after the Arkansas game, somebody will separate himself. At Arkansas, I expect Wilson to have a big season, especially with all the returning talent around him at the playmaking positions.
How will Muschamp handle playing time on the d-line with Powell, Easley, Floyd, Howard, Green, and Hunter all capable of starting?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Exactly, which is a great problem to have. You can never be too deep up front defensively in the SEC. Plus, Powell is going to be more of a hybrid linebacker/end and will move around some.
Blake Sutton (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Chris, after you and Ed did your preseason all SEC teams, Arkansas and Bama had the most players, yet both of you are picking LSU to finish better than Arkansas. Why, just because we play them on the road? It won't be a night game.
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
I don't think there's a lot of difference among the top three teams in the league -- Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. All three are Top 10 teams nationally, in my mind. The other thing is that you can never just line up talent and automatically tell who's going to win a game or the league title, for that matter. So many other variables come into play, and in this case, I do think the Hogs are at a disadvantage in that they have to play both Alabama and LSU on the road. Still, it should be a great race in the West.
David Messerly (chattanooga)
Do you see Vandy making improvement this year under Coach Franklin?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Yes, I definitely do. I could see the Commodores winning four games, which would double the number of games they won each of the last two years. More than that, he's doing a nice job of upgrading the talent and is making waves on the recruiting trail.
Brian Rolle (The reddest tide)
Why do you hate on Alabama so much?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
In what way am I hating on Alabama, although I'm accused of hating on everybody in the league at some point?
Joey (Charleston, SC)
Chris,Do you think the Gamecocks are looking for a new QB Coach? Any names come to mind as a replacement?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Nah, I think G.A. Mangus will probably survive this unless there's some mandate from up top to get rid of him. He made a terrible mistake, the kind of thing that will be embarrassing to him and to the program. The cruel irony is that he coaches Stephen Garcia, who's also made his share of dumb decisions off the field.
Is their any real legitamacy to this talk of expanding the SEC? I've heard Missouri, Oklahoma, and I think Texas A&M thrown around a bit, but who would the SEC bring from the East to balance it out?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I absolutely think the SEC will expand at some point. It's hard to say when -- a year, three years. I'm not sure. The SEC would love to get into the state of Texas, which makes Texas A&M an attractive target. Oklahoma is another one to watch, especially if the Big 12 doesn't make it. I also think Virginia Tech makes sense in that it's a whole new group of fans and a fertile recruiting area you would be bringing into the SEC.
Why do you hate on (insert my school here) so much?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Matt (Oklahoma City)
Do you think Gus Malzhan would take the NC job if offered?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Nothing's going to happen this season. But, if the Tar Heels come after him following the season, that would be a job that would be difficult for a lot of coaches to turn down. You can recruit great players at North Carolina. It's an excellent school, and you're in the ACC, where you're not having to beat your head against Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida every year.
Taylor Douglas (Mobile, Alabama)
How much of an impact do you think Trent Richardson will have on the Crimson Tide's offense this year? And do you think he has a shot at getting in the running for the Heisman?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I see Richardson rushing for 1,400-plus yards this season, and if Alabama is a national championship contender (which I think the Tide will be), Richardson will be right there in the Heisman mix. I can tell you in talking with him last week at the SEC media days that he's extremely hungry to show what he can do as the go-to back.
Hud (Scottsdale, AZ)
State fan here in Arizona. Which MLB do you think will have more of an impact for their respective team? Ole Miss's CJ Johnson or MSU's transfer Brandon Maye? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
Maye would be my choice because he's got a lot more experience. He's going to have several inexperienced guys playing around him at linebacker. Ole Miss also needs Johnson to come in and be a contributor right away. I think he will, but there's always a learning curve for true freshmen.
Besides Georgia's Aaron Murray, does any other team's success hing on only one player's health/performance?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
I would think Georgia left offensive tackle Cordy Glenn would be right up there, too. The Bulldogs can't afford to lose any more OT's. But, yes, Murray heads into the season as the most irreplaceable player in the SEC. Kentucky's in a similar position at quarterback with Morgan Newton. And at Tennessee, the Vols would be devastated up front defensively if they were to lose Malik Jackson. Good question. We're going to look at those guys who are most irreplaceable as we get closer to the season.
Chris,I appreciate your coverage for the best college football confernece in America, my question is....as a Georgia fan its so hard to get optimistic about an upcoming season because we have met expectations the past two seasons, do you honestly think Georgia can have a bounce back season this year and why?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Yes, I did for the longest time and still do, although my confidence is waning somewhat with each player that leaves the program and now the Jarvis Jones situation. The way I break it down is this: Murray is the best quarterback in the league. The Bulldogs should be outstanding on special teams with Walsh, Butler and Boykin as the return man. The defense, with Jenkins in the middle and Ogletree moving to LB, will be a lot better in Year No. 2 in Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme, and Georgia avoids the three best teams in the West this year -- Alabama, LSU and Arkansas. The Dogs have to win at least one of those first two, though, in particular that South Carolina game.
Brandon (Fayetteville, AR)
Why is everyone so high on Relf, he was an average QB at best, if anything he's only slightly better than Jefferson at LSU, not great arm strength, sometimes poor decision making, he's just fast, a little reminiscent of Matt Jones at Arkansas a few years back
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I think that says more about the state of the SEC at the quarterback position than it does anything else. That said, Relf improved dramatically last year. He needs to take another step this coming year, but is always tough to defend because he's so big and can run.
Mike (Louisville, KY)
Half the reason I'm putting this out here is just so Kentucky's name can pop up ONCE in this discussion. With both Mississippi schools games at home and the ones we're definitely "supposed" to lose on the road (besides Florida), what do you think the Cats' chances at a 7 or 8 win season are?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Considering the Wildcats only won six last year with a senior quarterback (Hartline), the best all-around player in the league (Cobb) and an underrated offensive line, eight wins may be unrealistic. The key game is Louisville. If the Cats can win that one and start out 3-0, I think they have a chance to get to seven wins in the regular season. They're really going to have to lean on that offensive line and create more turnovers on defense, which is why Rick Minter is there and why they're switching up schemes.
Eric (Sicily Island Louisiana)
LSU is a serious national title contender, but can't seem to get any love by being picked 2nd in the SEC west, and really the only indiviual players getting any respect is Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu. Will you eat crow if guys like JJ, Spencer Ware and Reuben Randle have good seasons?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
They might be picked second in the West, but a lot of people are picking them in the top 5 nationally -- me included. Ware won't surprise me. I think he's one of the top five or six running backs in the SEC and is poised for a breakout season. Randle is another one just ready to break out. A lot of it hinges on Jefferson.
jason (columbia sc)
Steve Spurrier said that the secondary will be much improved from last year. Garcia will be reinstated to the team Aug. 1. D-line will be one of the best in the country and nobody can stop Lattimore/alshon! I see one game that Carolina might not be favored in, Arkansas. Is it a fair assumption thaat a BCS bowl is in our picture?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Anything less than a return trip to the SEC championship game and BCS bowl appearance would be a disappointment this season in Columbia, and I think the players and coaches would tell you the same thing.
chris, all l hear is how my vols are not this and that-no respect obviously-which is earned on the field i know, but i think they can raise eyebrows and prove everyone wrong this year!
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
The best thing going for Tennessee is that there's still a good bit of uncertainty in the East. That said, the Vols have too much inexperience to win the East this year, especially on defense. They're going to have to outscore a lot of teams. I do, however, believe that Tennessee will compete for the East title in 2012. This year, I see seven wins in the regular season and possibly eight.
Chris B (Lafayette,Louisiana)
Chris-- What is your LSU -OREGON score prediction?? I have my Bayou Bengals 31 Oregon 21
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
I'll go 31-24 LSU with Mathieu making a key defensive play late to save it for the Tigers.
James (SP, Brazil)
Chris, what are the chances that Frazier ends up being the starting QB at Auburn this year over Trotter? I here he is really special. He has also had a good bit of exposure to Malzahn's offense in high-school. Doesn't it make sense to really use this year as a rebuild after losing so much from the NC team?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
I expect Frazier to play some this year, but probably more realistically once we get to the fifth or sixth week of the season. Malzahn won't throw him in there until he's ready, but I do believe Frazier's talent will ultimately win out.
It seems like you avoid questions on Tennessee...maybe because you live in Knoxville and cover them already, but, who are they most likely to upset this year?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Nope, just answered one about the Vols. I do think Tennessee will win a game this year that nobody sees coming. Georgia in Knoxville is one to watch, although the Bulldogs could be teetering if they start out 0-2. After that, Florida would probably be No. 2 and then South Carolina No. 3.
Miller (Gadsden, AL)
Can Bama's 2011 defense approach the 1992 team in terms of controlling its opponents?
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Bama will be good on 'D,' but I'm not ready to evoke comparisons to the 1992 'D.' That's one of the best defenses I've seen in college football -- ever.
Chris Low (2:11 PM)
Thanks for the questions. We'll catch up again next week. Have a great rest of the week!