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)
Good afternoon all.
Christian Dasher (Hattiesburg, MS)
LSU's sluggish start has the whole country muttering under the breath. What is the key reason, the Tigers cannot get their offense rolling? Is it the consistent running formula that prevents LSU from passing the ball, the receivers, Mettenberger, or a combination?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
Losing Chris Faulk at left tackle was a big loss. The Tigers have had to shuffle their offensive line and just haven't been as good up front. Mettenberger hasn't been very consistent, and the receivers have also been hit and miss. They're better offensively than they've played to this point.
Do you see Miss St. getting by Tennessee and ending up at Alabama undefeated?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
Let me see how Mississippi State plays this Saturday after a bye week. I think the Bulldogs are a good team, but what concerns me is that they've sort of played just well enough to get by other than the Auburn game. For both Miss. State and Tennessee, that game is huge.
Chris,What will it take for Auburn to replace Gene Chizik? Do we need to rid ourselves of Pat Dye and Jay Jacobs? I just don't understand the constant exscuses and the lack of coaching that is occuring. Thanks.
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
Probably a losing season, if you're talking about what it would take to get Chizik out. Even then, I don't know if they would pull the trigger. Memories are short everywhere in the SEC, but Auburn did win a national title two years ago. The problem has been too many misses on the recruiting trail where guys were either bad eggs and left the program or simply didn't pan out.
Tiger Gombo (Baton Rouge)
Tell us sooemthing about youself Chris do you like you tater tots with chilly or just plane?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Not a big tots fan, but do like oysters, something you ought to know plenty about down your way.
Daniel Masi (New York)
Do you really think that UGA's defense is this bad? they lost ONE player from last year and it was a cornerback. I think that their struggles are overblown and based on all of the suspensions. They will settle down and will benefit from the added depth
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
No, I don't think Georgia's defense is bad. I will say the Dawgs haven't played as well in some games as I thought they would. But it's hard to be without four starters to start the season and then slowly incorporate them back into the lineup. The second week back, Ogletree and Rambo should be better. Big test this week against a tough-as-nails QB in Shaw who will put pressure on you running and Lattimore, who has had his way with the Dawgs.
whos going to win the national championship?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Alabama has been the best team I've seen so far, so I'll go with the Tide.
Bradley (Panama City, FL)
Do you think that Andre Debose's attitude is from lack of touches or is his lack of touches due to his attitude?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
Honestly, I just don't think he's a great receiver. He's fast and can outrun a lot of people when he gets a step. But he doesn't run great routes, doesn't have that knack for getting open and just hasn't done some of the things it takes to be a great receiver in this league.
Chris, IF SC makes it through October undefeated (notice how big that if was?), and neither Oregon nor FSU looses, where would you see them in the rankings in early Nov?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
You're talking about a huge if. But if the Gamecocks do make it through that grind (three top 10 teams right now), I would think they would vault to No. 2 simply because nobody else would have faced that kind of competition and survived. You could make a case that the Gamecocks would deserve to be No. 1 at that point, although that's way down the road.
Aggie Fan (ON THE ROAD)
How do you think the Aggies will handle their first SEC road game?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
I have the Aggies winning big. I really like the way they're playing now. Manziel is on fire. Veteran offensive line, and the defensive front is also playing well. I think Texas A&M will be that team in late October and November that nobody will want to face.
Paul Finebaum (Homewood)
Chris! When are you coming back on my show?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Will Muschamp (The Swamp)
No love for us in the picks this week, even after we proved you wrong last time you picked against us? Where's the respect?Also, what do you see as our best/worst/realistic case scenarios for this season? I think best case is 14-0 National Champs, Worst we loose all four to LSU, S Car, UGA and FSU and finish 9-4, and realistically I think we take two or three of those 4 and finish with only one or two losses. Thoughts?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
You're a little pushy there, Will. I'm 1-1 with the Gators. Picked them to win at Texas A&M and then whiffed on their game at Tennessee. This is a much better team than a year ago. Not even close. Much more physical and just mentally tougher across the board. I won't be shocked if the Gators win Saturday. I just have a feeling that LSU will break out of its funk and play its best game. The Tigers are due. My best guess on Florida is 9-3, maybe 10-2. But if they win Saturday, all bets are off.
Brian (Oak Harbor)
I?m so tired of the SEC is the greatest of all and if Oregon was in the SEC they wouldn?t be a 500 team. I agree yes they have great defense, can?t deny that. My only thought is preparation; yes with weeks to prepare the SEC has proven to slow the Ducks down. But during a regular season schedule with only a week to prepare I just don?t seeing the SEC stopping the Ducks offense and I am sure the Ducks defense could hold their own. What are your thoughts on what the Ducks would do in the SEC? What are your thoughts on a playoff and teams only having a short time to prepare for not only the Ducks, but other PAC-12 offenses? I could see the PAC-12 making a run with the crystal ball the way the SEC has done with the BCS. Alex believes they wouldn?t be a 10 win team, your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
No, I think Oregon would do well in the SEC, but it wouldn't be a deal where the Ducks were winning 10 or more games every year. The grind of this league is what wears you down. Adjusting to Oregon's fast-pace offense would be a challenge. But the flip side to that is that Oregon would be facing better defenses on a weekly basis.
WestCoaster (West Coast)
What will it take for the SEC to play 9 conference games and stop playing "Sisters of the Poor" in OOC games?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
I think you're going to get your wish. I see the SEC moving to nine conference games in the next couple of years, something I never would have believed a year ago. The new playoff and selection committee will demand that teams beef up their schedules. And a lot of SEC teams are already playing marquee out of conference games. Alabama played Michigan to open the season. Let me ask you a question now: What will it take for USC to finally live up to the hype and figure out a way to beat Stanford?
Da Realest Bama Fan (SEC Blogs)
Chris I made a prediction this preseason that Zach Mettenberger would be the next John Brantley. A new unproven QB with a ton of hype, but never ever lives up to that hype. Everyone laughed at me and deemed him the savior. I don't look so far off the mark now do I?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Too early to tell either way. Mettenberger still has a ton of talent. He just hasn't played a lot at this level. We'll know a lot more after these next few weeks. But, yes, he still has a lot to prove.
Chris, I can't say I agree with you picking USCe to win against my beloved Dawgs. Georgia has been playing some high octane offense and I simply don't see the Cocks having an answer for all the weapons we have. What's your take on this?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Well, if Georgia scores 40-plus again for the sixth straight week, the Bulldogs are going to win. I don't see South Carolina winning that kind of game. That said, I think the Gamecocks are good enough and seasoned enough on defense to keep Georgia from hitting some of those big plays on offense and turn it into a second-half game. That's where Lattimore is so good. The other thing is I'm not sure how Georgia's offensive line will match up with South Carolina's defensive front.
Billy Bob (Hoggetowne)
Chris.. you have USC winning this week,and UGA winning the East? What gives, I think if USC gets by this week they run the table... UGA looks to be the toughest team on their schedule.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
See I disagree. I've said from the outset that I think all of these teams will have at least one loss. When you look at South Carolina's schedule the rest of the way, it's a killer. The East will come down to some sort of a tiebreaker.
Derek Dooley (Rocky Top)
How many more games can I afford to lose and still keep my job, or is it already long gone? And if so, after which game will I be fired, or will the let me at least finish this year?
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Coach, thanks for checking in. I would say the Mississippi State game in two weeks is the most important one you've faced to date. Win that one, and I think your Vols will be 8-4 at worst and you'll certainly see a fourth season. But a loss in Starkville could cause things to unravel. I'm not sure you survive at 7-5. It will be close. I do think your team is much improved, but you've got to beat a few teams in the SEC not named Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
Is there anybody in the SEC with a better front seven then the Cocks?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
LSU is right there, probably even better. The Tigers could have three first-rounders off this defensive line, maybe four, when Johnson becomes draft eligible. Florida is also up there.
Chris, you heading to Columbia, SC this weekend? It's going to be CRAZY!
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Yes sir. I'll be there and looking forward to it.
Despite your picks for the week, don't you really feel in your gut that South Carolina goes O for October? And Lattimore has had his way against UGA in the past but that is the past. Why is no one mentions that Georgia has two at Tailback U that have done more than Marcus has this year?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
The Gamecocks certainly "could" go 0-for-October, but they won't. As for Lattimore, he's looked better every week and it was wise of South Carolina not to run him much in Weeks 2 and 3. As for Georgia's two freshman backs, what do you mean ... nobody has mentioned them? Everywhere you turn, media and fans are talking about Gurley and Marshall. I'm doing a piece for Friday on where they rank with some of the best freshman duos ever in the SEC.
A lot of people are saying Amari Cooper could be the next big time WR at Alabama after his break out game against Ole Miss. Do you think he will continue to grow and become that go to WR Bama really needs?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
Even before the Ole Miss game, I thought he had a chance to be a special player. Everybody I talked to at Alabama had raved about him after watching him in the spring and preseason.
Chris (New Zealand)
The stat sheet doesn't do justice to Clowney's game day contributions. For example, he seems to have a knack for causing interceptions and people run away from him only to get clobbered by someone else. Is this pretty common for an elite defense lineman? Are there other elite D-lineman out there whose stat sheet consistently doesn't do justice to their performance?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Great point. We all get too caught up in sacks. When coaches watch the tape, they're watching to see how players affect the QB, force him into quick or bad throws, blow up plays with penetration, etc., and are just generally disruptive. Clowney has played that way most of this season.
Peter (Charleston, SC)
How big of an impact will the loss of Bennett have on the Gameday showdown between the Gamecocks & the Dawgs? Do you see it affecting their ability to bust big runs to the outside?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
It doesn't help, but I think Murray's experience helps offset it. Murray is enough of a veteran to still spread the ball around, and if guys are open, he's going to go to them. It will also help if the Dawgs can get something out of Malcolm Mitchell in this game. He's been practicing a lot more on offense and is one of those deep threats that can change a game in a hurry.
Les Miles (Death Valley)
How many times will my team convert on 4th down this week, and do you think I can catch the Gators off guard with a fake kick?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
These are the kinds of stages, Les, where you love to roll the dice. You've almost been too conservative this season, so I'd expect to see a little trickery.
if LSU loses three games this year is Les Miles on the hot seat going into next year?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
My stock answer for these questions: You're always on the hot seat in the SEC if you don't win a championship, go to a BCS bowl or finish in the top 10 of the final polls.
neal (knoxville )
hey chris hope all is well with ya? do you see the sec beating up on its self enough to gget a sec team out of the NC game this year?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
No, I still the SEC putting a team in the national championship game. Five teams ranked in the top 10 right now. One of those teams will make it. Alabama is still my favorite.
Does Vandy have any chance at a bowl now?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I think the Commodores probably need to win this week at Missouri. If they don't, that leaves them seven games to play and needing to win five of those to get to bowl eligible. I just don't see them going 5-2 in their last seven games after starting 1-5.
poll voters assumed LSU could easily replace a starting QB, and Arkansas could easily replace a coach. Both have slid in the polls, one more than the other - which team has surprised more? Ole Miss? Texas A&M?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Another reminder that preseason polls always have teams that aren't as good as they may seem on paper. It's a guess based on what a team has coming back. Ole Miss is much better than I thought the Rebels would be when you consider how many young guys they're playing. But Texas A&M is my pick as the most pleasant surprise. The Aggies have a chance to win eight or nine games.
Da Realest Bama Fan (SEC Blogs)
Chris do you guys read our comments on the articles? I know ed used to comment every now and then. Why don't you?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Yes, we do read them when we can. But as you might imagine, with all the comments we get and as many things that are up there on a daily basis, it's hard to get to a lot of them.
Gary Pinkel (Hopeless In Mizzou)
This is not at all what I was expecting when we moved to the SEC. What can I do to win games here, and do you want to change your mind about picking us this week since three of my players were just arrested?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I wouldn't say it's hopeless. I've had a feeling ever since being in Columbia, S.C., for that beatdown by South Carolina that all wasn't well in the Missouri camp. There just didn't seem to be very good chemistry there. Plus, the Tigers have been swamped with injuries on the offensive line. It's going to take a while to recruit to the level Missouri needs to be at to compete in the SEC. It won't be easy, but I still have Mizzou winning this week.
John (Bwk, GA)
~C-LowPicking SC to beat UGA? Really? Whats up with that? Lattimore had knee surgery last year and hasn't looked the same yet. Jarvis is playing good ball and we have our full D back, with some rust knocked off hopefully from Rambo and Ogletree. Oh yeah, don't forget the "3-4 Punch" team and some kid named Murray at QB.
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
All reasons to pick the Dawgs, but there are a few reasons to pick the Gamecocks, too. Agreed? To me, Lattimore has gotten better every week. He's never been a guy who rips off 75-yard touchdown runs, but he pounds on defenses and wears on them with the best of them. Tough game to pick.
Please Take This Question (In Line)
Could you discuss some of the other match ups in the UGA SC game this weekend. We all know that the SC D-Line has the advantage over the UGA O-line. What about the SC secondary vs the UGA WR's. What about the UGA D-line vs. the SC O-line?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Losing Bennett hurts Georgia in that matchup. I said earlier that Mitchell could be a big key if the Dawgs can get some plays out of him at WR. It sounds like Auguste is healthy for South Carolina, which gives the Gamecocks a veteran back there at CB and more depth. South Carolina hasn't faced a dynamic passing game yet this season. The thing to watch with South Carolina's O-line vs. Georgia's D-line is how healthy is the Gamecocks' Matulis. He's been banged up and is their best tackle. South Carolina has played OK up front offensively, but hasn't seen a front like Georgia's.
Chris...Do you think Nick Saban was being sincere about being concerned for players' safety, or do you think he may be a bit uncomfortable playing against teams with a no huddle offense? Thanks.
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Hard to say. One thing about Saban is that he doesn't usually dodge questions. If you ask him something, he's typically going to tell you how he feels. But, hey, he's a defensive coach. None of those guys like seeing all these big scores and any advantage an offense might have. I will say it would be fun to see Alabama go up against Oregon and the Ducks' attack. Maybe we will.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
That's it for today. Safe travels and look forward to seeing everybody in Columbia East this weekend.