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 (1:03 PM)
Anybody up for a chat?
Jared (Cola Sc)
Does Augustes return greatly impact the SC secondary? Why is he listed as the back up?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
Yes, a big deal for the Gamecocks just to add some depth and experience back there. They like the way Hampton and Legree are playing, but I'd say Auguste will see plenty of snaps as he plays his way back into football shape. Swearinger returns, too, at safety this week, but the South Carolina coaches were extremely impressed with the way freshman T.J. Gurley played back there last week. You can never have too much depth back there.
Do you have an upset special for this weekend? And don't say UT over UGA.
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
I'd say UCF over Missouri even though I picked Mizzou, but UCF is actually a slight favorite in that game. I just wonder where Missouri is right now emotionally and what the chemistry like within that team right now. Other than that game, I don't see any so-called upsets this week.
Donnell (Baton Rouge)
Chris, why were you so quick to drop LSU in your power rankings cause they had a bad game against a heated rival in a hostile enviorment who were playing for their season. I thought you said years ago that when you play a rival who has nothing to lose u never know what could happen. could you please explain y you drop my beloved tigers so far.
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
For one, I only dropped them from No. 2 to No. 4, and we're only four weeks into the season. LSU will get plenty of chances to move back up, starting next week in the Swamp. I just felt like after watching them struggle on offense that it was hard to keep them at No. 2. They're still outstanding on defense, but they miss Mathieu on special teams. The good thing is that it's all going to play out on the field. LSU has a killer schedule after this Towson game -- Florida on the road, S.C. at home, Texas A&M on the road, a bye and then Alabama at home. I guarantee you we'll know by then where LSU belongs in the polls.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does Arkansas even make a bowl game this year? And is Kentucky seriously considering Petrino as a replacement for Joker Phillips?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
I'd say it's 50-50 on Arkansas making a bowl. If the Hogs lose this week at Texas A&M, that makes them 1-4, which means they would have to close by winning five of their last seven games. As for Kentucky and Petrino, I was told by somebody I trust there that Petrino would not be an option for the Cats.
Mike (South Carolina)
What did you think about Williams Brice last weekend?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
Always love coming to the Billy Brice. They've really spruced up the area around the stadium, the fairgrounds area, etc. Just a great environment for tailgating, and one of these days when Edward (the ATL Kid) gives me a loan, I'm going buy one of those Cockabooses.
I know Ole Miss is rebuilding with very limited expectations but lets give credit where credit is due... You have Ole Miss listed ahead of Auburn, Arkansas, Vandy, and Kentucky in the power rankings but still not mentioned in your bowl predicitons but some teams ranked lower are mentioned?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
I guess the best way to explain that is that Ole Miss has played well enough to this point (and those other teams haven't played well enough) that the rankings are what they are. Long term, I'm just not sure Ole Miss can get to six wins, but they're definitely improved and have some serious firepower on offense.
George (Houston, TX)
With A&M's offense looking really good so far in the last 2 games. Our secondary has been a major bright point this season so far thanks to Coach Yates. How do you see them looking on Sat against a great QB in Wilson? It looks like that it will rain too. Also, you need to come to Kyle Field and experience The 12th Man.
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I was there the second week for the Florida game and had a great time. I look forward to coming back soon. It's big-time college football at its best, and the people there are first class. As for the team, I sold the Aggies short before the season. I thought they would struggle to get to six wins. You're right. The secondary has been a nice surprise. Damontre Moore coming off the edge is a beast, and Manziel is impossible to collar when he takes off and runs. To me, A&M is headed in one direction and Arkansas in the other direction. I like the Aggies by two touchdowns.
Ryan (West Palm Beach, FL)
Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart is one of the top coordinators and most sought after coaches in college football. Why has he hung around the Capstone instead of cashing in elsewhere? Also any chance he sticks around to take over for Saban when he retires? Thanks and Roll Tide!
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
For starters, Alabama keeps giving Kirby raises. He's making just under $1 million now. He's had some chances to leave, but wants to make sure it's the right fit. He's in a position to be picky. But he definitely wants to be a head coach and I think will be gone in the next year or two.
Chris (Athens )
Do you think Todd Gurley is the best back in the sec other than Lattimore at this point. I know Gillislee has started out well too but you cant overlook Gurley. He has higher totals than both of those guys and he has to share with two guys unlike the other two
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
The thing about Gurley is that he's so big and thick through the lower body and built to take a pounding, yet has track speed. As impressive as he's been, let's allow the season to play out, because the grind of this league is what gets running backs. Can they do it for 12 and 13 straight weeks? I'm not saying Gurley can't. Let's just wait and see where he is in Week 12 and 13 compared to Lattimore and Gillislee.
Is there a QB controversy in either of the Columbia's?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Not in Columbia East. The Head Ball Coach loves Connor Shaw. I can see one brewing in Columbia West.
Chris (Abilene, TX)
You picked A&M to win by 17 points and said that it might get ugly. Do you really believe that, or do you just like getting my Aggies' hopes up?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
No, I like the way the Aggies are playing right now and how they spread the field and score points. Arkansas hasn't been able to stop anybody to this point on defense. Plus, protecting the passer has been a real issue for the Hogs, and the Aggies rush the passer as well as anybody.
will alabama win it all again ?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Hard to pick against them right now. I haven't seen anybody else in college football that's better. A lot can still happen, though.
You still had Vandy in a bowl this week in your predictions. Where do you see them getting their other 5+ wins? Umass, wake, kentucky, and ole miss seem doable, but who do you think that last win will come from?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
I think the only game remaining for the Commodores that I would put in the definite loss category is Florida. That gives them seven games to win five. Right now (and they better find some answers on offense this bye week for this to even be an issue), but I could see potential wins over UMass, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Wake Forest and possibly Auburn or Tennessee. They get both Auburn and Tennessee at home. A lot depends on how Auburn or Tennessee are playing at that point.
John (Columbus, Georgia)
Has Richt officially said that Rambo and Ogletree will be back this weekend or is it still a secret
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
No, Richt hasn't said anything officially, but the feeling around the program is that they will both be back.
Bacon Bawse Hog (Marathon)
The Gators have been much improved on offense and their D is pretty stout. I see them winning the East. They have LSU at home SC at home and UG in Jax. Considering they barely lost to UG and SC last year with a horrific offense, Can you tell me why no one has them winning the East?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Wouldn't shock me if the Gators win the East. I've seen them in person twice now, and they look like an SEC champion-caliber team -- physical, can run the ball, really stout in the front seven on defense and just smothering people in the fourth quarter. The LSU game is the key. The Gators need to win that one. If they do, I will then start to lean toward the Gators being the favorite. Until then, I'll stick with Georgia. All three of those teams are legit in the East -- Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.
Billy (Macon, GA)
The real question is if LSU can beat South Carolina and IF Georgia can beat South Carolina....then who is going to stop the Gamecocks?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
My feel is that it's going to come down to a tiebreaker in the East. Florida and South Carolina both have to play LSU. Georgia does not. The other thing to consider is the head-to-head tiebreaker. For instance, if Florida were to lose to LSU, but then beat Georgia and South Carolina, the Gators would own head-to-head over both Georgia and South Carolina. But if Florida or South Carolina either one lose to LSU, they would then almost certainly have to sweep the other two games against Georgia and each other to have a chance.
Chase (Knoxville )
How bad do you think Georgia will beat tennessee. Im already marking it a loss. Do you think we stand a chance against them
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
I have Georgia winning 38-23. Tennessee will make some plays and score some points. I just don't see the Vols stopping the Bulldogs, who have scored 40 or more in all four games this season. And until I see Tennessee get it done in the fourth quarter against a good team, it's hard for me to pick the Vols. To win, they will have to play the best game they've ever played under Dooley.
Mathsand / David (Columbia SC)
What is the most capable team to challenge the SEC in the PAC 12? Can they play with them head to head?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
My pick would be Oregon right now, but we'll see how the Ducks do later this season against USC. Don't count out Lane Kiffin and the Trojans. They've love to get a piece of the SEC. I still think that would be the most entertaining national championship game -- the SEC champ vs. USC.
Bubba (Ludowici, GA)
Would you consider Miss. State a legit contender yet?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Not yet. I think they have to beat one of the elite teams first. Their schedule has been pretty soft to this point, but I do think this has a chance to be Mullen's best team. That Tennessee game in Starkville on Oct. 13 is key. The other two home games that stick out are Texas A&M on Nov. 3 and Arkansas on Nov. 17. I don't think the Bulldogs can win the West, but I do think it's possible for them to win 10 games, which they haven't done since 1999.
The Situation (England)
What do you think about Pat Dye's comments that he wouldn't trade 1 Chizik for ten Saban's?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
A better question is: If the Auburn fans had a chance to make that trade, would they make it?
I'm sorry but y'all have spent way too much time lamenting the loss of TM7. The two biggest losses from last year have been Reuben Randle and Chris Faulk. No big play receiver for LSU and the pass protection was poor against Auburn.
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Mathieu's loss will be felt most on special teams and already has. You're right about Faulk. That's not the same offensive line without him over there on the left side. The Auburn ends are good, but they tormented Mettenberger for much of that game.
Beer Ape (Homestead)
Driskell is steadily improving every game. Last year he was thrown to the wolves and looked somewhat lost...Do you attribute his improvment more to maturation or Brent Pease coming on board?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Having to win the job in preseason camp was a big factor. When you go through that heated competition and everybody's looking, it has a way of seasoning you and forcing you to man up. I also like the way Pease has brought Driskel along and played to his strengths. The thing Driskel can do is extend the play and make plays with his feet, but he's also been patient and allowed the game to come to him. That pass he completed against Tennessee with a defender bearing down on him says a lot about where he is right now.
Richard (Auburn )
I was at the LSU Auburn game and up close Mettenburger looked terrible. I see LSU possibly loosing two games.
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
That was Mettenberger's first test on the road. He's got a lot of talent and will get better. I wouldn't jump off the LSU ship so fast. Every team that wins a championship or contends for one has a few games they have to grind out. Remember Alabama's 12-10 win over a mediocre Tennessee team in 2009 when Cody blocked the field goal? That game was at home, too. I go back to 2008 when Florida lost at home to Ole Miss and then came back and won the title. You're going to have games in this league where you simply don't have your best stuff. The key is finding a way to win them, and LSU did.
Could Nick Saban EVER be hired away from Bama? If so.. in the SEC??
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
No, I think Saban will finish his career at Alabama. He likes it there. His wife likes it there, and he has it going exactly the way he wants it. He turns 61 this October. Why go somewhere else and have to start all over?
Rick (Shreveport, La)
Do you think there is anyone on Bama's schedule besides LSU that can challenge Bama? Tenn doesn't have the depth and Bama has a week off to prepared for Missouri, and A&M has to come to Bryant/Denny!
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
I think you just answered your own question.
Your counterpart in the ACC, Heather said FSU's offense would put on a track meet with South Carolina's defense just like they did against Clemson.....your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Heather's been watching too much basketball.
Chris, do you think Auburn will play a bowl game this year?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
The Tigers have to win their next three against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. The Ole Miss and Vanderbilt games are on the road, so it won't be easy. If they're 2-1 or worse in that stretch, I think the'll stay home this year in the postseason.
These football questions are boring. What's your favorite bar in an SEC town? My votes: Sky Bar (AU) is the best the night before a game and The Swamp (UF) is the best on gamedays. Honorable mention: Fred's free drink Fridays (LSU) and The Houndstooth (Bama). To be fair, I've never been to either Columbia or College Station, but I've hit the other 11.
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
It used to be the Purple Porpoise in Gainesville, hands down. The Swamp on game day is hard to beat. Ivar's is a cool place at LSU. Anywhere in Five Points in Columbia, S.C., is a good time, although the Vista area there now is hopping. We did something before the season on the SEC blog and had fans give their takes on the best restaurants and bars.
Coming into the year everyone thought the more highly regarded RB was Keith Marshall and not Todd Gurley. What happened? Why has Marshall been somewhat mediocre compared to Gurley?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I wouldn't say Marshall is mediocre. I just think Gurley has been so impressive that it seems that way. Really, Gurley was not one of those "must-get, five-star, can't miss" prospects that all of the powerhouses around the country were trying to sign. Watching him play these first four games, I certainly don't know why.
Rachel (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
Which true freshmen have impressed you the most in the SEC this year? Obviously Gurley wins the prize, but who else?
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
Jalen Mills at LSU, T.J. Yeldon at Alabama, T.J Gurley at South Carolina, Antonio Morrison at Florida, to name a few
Chances of Bobby P. coaching Auburn next year?
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
If Chizik's not back (and I believe he will be), then I think Auburn would be the most likely place in the SEC for Petrino to land.
If Dooley and co end up winning seven games this season, will they still be around next year? Further, if Dooley is gone how badly will that hurt recruiting.
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
7-5 would make it dicey. He's definitely safe at 8-4. A lot would depend on what kind of 7-5 it was. For example, do the Vols lose to all their main rivals and lose badly? That would be difficult for Dooley to overcome. What's critical for Dooley is that this team start showing some guts and toughness in second halves of games and beat somebody that counts. That's what is going to give the powers that be at Tennessee confidence that Dooley is the guy to take this program into the future.
If you had to pick 1 player from the Bama OL to build around (based solely on their position and performance this year) who would it be? I am avoiding the Jones because of his versatility answer.
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
Other than Barrett Jones, I would go with Chance Warmack. Both are rocks on that Bama OL and the kind of people you win with.
Dan (Columbia SC)
I think the common factor that separates the SEC from other conferences is their speed on defense, specifically up front. Which teams d-line are you most impressed with so far this season?
Chris Low (2:18 PM)
The same ones I was impressed with going into the season -- (in no order) LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The other one that's jumped up there is Texas A&M.
Am I the only one not sold on Florida? The past two years they are 1-7 in October and 0-6 against the SEC West. They had a lot of hype after going undefeated in September the past two years before Alabama essentially took them over the knee and broke them in half. I think LSU does that next Saturday. Mr. Driskel, meet Mr. Montgomery.
Chris Low (2:20 PM)
You're right. A lot of people forget that Florida was also 4-0 at this point a year ago. But this is a different Florida team, one built for the grind of the season and one built to grind out some games in the second half.
Chris Low (2:22 PM)
I'm out of here. Wanted to stick around for some bonus time because the questions were flowing in and some good ones. We'll catch up next week. Be safe.