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)
Good afternoon. Hope all is well.
KC (Pensacola, FL) [via mobile]
If Florida beats SC this weekend, will they or should they jump Alabama for the #1 spot based on the two top 10 wins vs Alabama's weak schedule to this point?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
I don't think the Gators will pass Alabama in that scenario, but I certainly think you could make the case that they should when you look at what all Florida has accomplished this season and who the Gators have beaten. The good thing for the Gators is that it's all out there in front of them. If they win these next two over South Carolina and Georgia, they'll probably get a shot at Alabama in the SEC championship game.
So how ugly would it be for the program if UGA loses to FL, given their talent and depth?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Yes, it would get ugly. Georgia is a lot more talented than the Bulldogs have played for much of this season. Even with 10 wins and losses to South Carolina and Florida, there would be major discontent among the Georgia fan base.
Since MTSU has lost its main offensive weapon (Benny Cunningham, RB) and main WR (Marcus Henry) for the season to injuries, and State's SOS has been its main hindrance in the eyes of its detractors, do you see a win by Mississippi State this Saturday moving them into the top 10?
Chris Low (1:11 PM)
Not unless several teams lose in front of Mississippi State. The Bulldogs' big chance will come in two weeks against Alabama.
I saw where you picked TAMU to beat LSU Saturday? Why are you so high on Johnny Manziel when the only decent defense he played against, he couldn't even make a passing TD?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
I just think Texas A&M will be able to score enough points to win and am still not sold on LSU's offense. The Tigers are a load on defense, no doubt. I guess we'll find out Saturday. There are a lot of people around the conference, including coaches, who are high on Johnny Manziel.
Chris, as an alum, even I have to admit this season has been beyond my dreams to this point. Before it started I would've bet anything that we would have lost to LSU and finished with 3 or 4 losses. Do you think that Muschamp is overachieving with this group or are they finally playing up to their talent level?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
I think it's a little of both. More than anything, the Gators have improved up front offensively, and there's no way to undervalue what Mike Gillislee has meant to that team. The defense was very talented a year ago and has taken it up a notch this season, and you also can't discount how good the Gators are in the kicking game. Muschamp weeded out some of the guys who weren't going to buy in, and the addition of strength coach Jeff Dillman has also played a big role. The best news for Gator fans is that Muschamp's best recruiting is still in front of him.
Following up on your reply...if the Bulldogs come into Tuscaloosa in two weeks and pull off the upset, where do you rank them then?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
In the top 5, at least. Again, a lot of it depends on how the teams in front of them fare.
Chris, do you think Lattimore is reallyy hurt or is Spurrier just pulling a hoax?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Somewhere in between. Lattimore definitely has an issue with his hip and it's sore, but I think it was Spurrier's way of saying ... Well, he didn't practice today, so he might not be able to start. The players at South Carolina all expect Lattimore to play, and so do I.
Britton (Baton Rouge)
Does a 1-loss SEC Champ jump an unbeaten Notre Dame to get into the BCS championship game?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
No way, not with the killer schedule Notre Dame plays this season. That said, I think the Irish will lose somewhere along the way.
Mike (Scottsdale, AZ)
At the start of the season many Vols fan were predicting 8-9 wins. Well with the way this season has gone 6-6 is more likely. Best case scenario my beloved Vols go 7-5 worst case they finish 5-7, remember last season Vandy took us to OT and UK beat us with a receiver at the QB position. Any chance UT's AD will go after a big name coach like Bama, USCe, and Florida did? I don't think the fan base would rally behind another small name hire like Charlie Strong, Gus Malzahn, Willie Taggart, Kyle Whittingham, etc. Those coaches may be able to get it done but after Dooley Vol fans want a big name. There is a lot of talk on Vols forums about going after Jon Gruden. Any chance Dave Hart offers him $4-5 million if Dooley doesn't finish the season strong? After all Gruden does have some ties to UT.
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
At the sake of starting a sandstorm of rumors, I do believe there's more of a chance that Gruden would listen than I did a year or so ago. He's even told some people that Tennessee would be a place he would consider if he took a college job. I think it's much more likely he get back into coaching in the NFL, because that's what he knows and loves. As for Dave Hart, I'm sure he's already looking and working the back channel to see who's out there. I agree with you. If he does send Dooley packing, he has to bring in a proven winner and somebody who's going to make a splash. It can't be somebody's who's going to learn on the job.
you talk abuot Alabama as if they already have the west sown up. If LSU take out A&M this weekend - the LSU / Alabama game in Death Valley holds alot of sway.And LSU didnt exacly embarrass themselves agsinst the gators - on the road. I think that LSU is still a major threat in the west. This weekend should answer that either way.
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
No, I've been around this league long enough to know that nobody has anything locked up. I to believe Alabama is the best team in the league, but the Tide have their toughest stretch of the season coming up. The winner of Saturday's LSU-Texas A&M game is still right there in contention. Alabama has to play at LSU, but Texas A
Justin Giles (KINGSTON, TN)
anyyyyy chance for my vols? Stranger things have happened. 20.5 pts is alot
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
While I think Tennessee's passing game will give Alabama some challenges (the Tide haven't faced anybody this season that can throw the ball), I don't see any way the Vols will be able to stop the Tide. Why would you think at this point that Tennessee could stop anybody? The Vols have given up 129 points in three SEC games.
Randy (Columbus, GA)
If SC beats FLA Saturday, who is the favorite to win the SEC East? And is there really anyone in the SEC that can beat BAMA?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
South Carolina would be the strong favorite at that point. The Gamecocks would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Florida and Georgia and could clinch the East with home wins against Tennessee and Arkansas.
Boudreaux (death valley) [via mobile]
Chris when lsu makes you slip farther away from ed will you learn your lesson on picking against them?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
You might be right. It's sort of like being down in a basketball game in the second half. You start chucking up a few more 3-point shots than normal. I haven't been able to get it right with LSU this season on both sides. I picked the Tigers against Florida and was wrong, then picked against the Tigers in the South Carolina game and was wrong. This is the rubber game.
scooter (hoggetowne, fl) [via mobile]
You have Uf winning this week, but what do the gamecocks need to do to win the game?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Make Florida one-dimensional, which means stopping Mike Gillislee, and turn Jeff Driskel into a pocket passer. Gamecocks also have to win the turnover battle and can't give up a big play in special teams.
Who is your # 1 one loss team right now?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Nationally, it's a close call between USC and Oklahoma.
How can the SEC justify suspended Elston at Ole Miss and fail to punish Fanning? Decisions like this kill the SEC's credibility.
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
That's a very fair question. It sounds like Alabama will suspend Fanning, which the Tide should.
Has eddie Lacy finally broke out? And whats your top 5 RBs in the league so far
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Lacy shares carries with Yeldon, so he's not going to have the numbers that a lot of the guys do. But he's still averaging 6 yards per carry. My top 5 in the SEC to this point would be: 1. Gillislee, 2. Lattimore, 3. Gurley, 4. Lacy, 5. Perkins
dawgfan_1977 (Fort Benning, GA)
Chris, tell the mods to lift my IP ban.
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Were you on indefinite suspension?
John (Sick and in bed)
How far has Auburn fallen to be a 7 point dog to Vandy? They have talent except at the QB position. What's going on?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I'm answering this question every week now and I know it's frustrating for the folks on the Plains, but the Tigers have missed on a lot of players on the recruiting trail as far as ability, character and simply being coachable. And you're right about QB. When you're ineffective at that position, it impacts the entire team. I also wonder about the style of offense Auburn is trying to run with the personnel it has on campus right now.
Do you think Nick Saban would ever return to the NFL?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Nope. I asked him that very question last week when I was in Tuscaloosa, and he was adamant that he had no desire to go back down the NFL path.
Stats are good indicators of a good quarterback, but undefinable leadership qualities are another. Who do you see as the top team-leading quarterbacks this season in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
I did something like this in the blog a few weeks ago. In no order, the five I would take right now would be Driskel, McCarron, Murray, Shaw and Wilson. And if Manziel keeps it up, he'd be right there at the top of that list.
Come on. LSU will be able to pound the ball and run up the time of possession like they did against SC. Poor pick.
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
They're always poor picks before the fact. I had Georgia people telling me the same thing before the South Carolina game and Tennessee people telling me the same thing before the Mississippi State game.
who ends up the best CB in the SEC? can you compare contrast Banks vs Milliner?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Milliner is more physical and plays the run like a safety, but also is excellent in coverage. Banks just has a knack for making plays and possesses outstanding ball skills.
Have Oregon/Notre Dame/Oklahoma done enough to hang with Alabama/FL/SC/LSU? I have a hard time believing that the Ducks or Irish (who will get destroyed in Norman in a few weeks) can move the ball with any consistency vs. the top flight SEC defenses. Are we looking at 7 straight BCS championships?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Yes, I think we are. Thought that before the season and still think it. I'll have to see somebody else figure it out against a top SEC defense in the money game before I'll believe it.
With the improvement to FL offense, do you see Pease leaving FL if offered a job by another program after 1 year?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I don't know that he leaves after one season, but he's going to have some opportunities.
Do you refuse to answer my questions because I used to call you Food Giant on your blog?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Now, why would you ever call me that? What is your question Mr. Impatient?
Ty (Fargo, ND)
If the Gamecocks win today at The Swamp, do they have any chance to play for the National Championship?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
Sure, if they win out and were to take down an unbeaten Alabama in the SEC championship game, I would think the Gamecocks would be one of the favorites for one of those top two spots in the final BCS standings.
Tyler (austin, tx)
Do you think there will be another NG featuring two SEC teams?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Only if Oregon, Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon State all lose. Even then, it would have to be a scenario, for example, where Alabama and Florida met as unbeatens in the SEC title game and played a really close game.
Blues (The SEC Blog)
So....who is the best graduate of UT's journalism school - you or Finebaum?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Definitely Paul. And the richest, too.
Randy (East Tex. )
Kudos to LSU for the success they have had with all the shifting on the offensive line. Any other teams with that kind of depth ?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
You're right about that. Losing left tackle Chris Faulk was a huge blow, and most recently, Williford goes down and Hurst is iffy for the rest of the season. Very few teams could lose three starters up front like that, including their left tackle, and still have the depth and flexibility to find a combination that could win the battle up front against a defense like South Carolina's.
Ry (Long Beach)
So you don't think there is any chance that Saban could go to Cleveland? I would have never thought he would leave Bama, but man the dude has done everything he could and the new ownership might be more apt to give him the same control Bellicheck has.
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
Every conversation I've had with him leads me to believe that he will finish his career at Alabama. He's tried the NFL thing and didn't like it. His wife didn't like it. He's just more comfortable at the college level and has that Alabama program at a point that he could go down as one of the best ever.
Andrew Austin (Spring Lake, NC)
Lets be honest Chris, could anybody have beaten LSU last Saturday? I just don't think South Carolina had much of a chance really no matter how they played. Night game in Death Valley with LSU coming off a lose. I don't know that Alabama could have survived that.
Chris Low (2:12 PM)
Unbelievable atmosphere, for sure, and LSU was hungry for a win. But despite losing the line of scrimmage battle, South Carolina was right there. That interception by Shaw was a killer and then giving up the big TD run to Hill was the difference. Without those two plays, I think the Gamecocks win.
I don't see a 1 loss SEC team making it to the NC game this year if there are 2 unbeaten teams left standing such as ND and Oregon or Kansas State or 1 of those. I know you think so but I don't see it this year considering the outsiders HATE the SEC right now.
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
If Notre Dame goes unbeaten, the Irish will be in the national title game. You can write that down. I agree, though, that a one-loss SEC team won't go if there are two unbeaten teams. That said, I don't think there will be two unbeaten teams.
Parker (Hendersonville, TN)
I disagree with you Chris...you are hands down better than Finebaum...sorry just don't like the guy. I don't hold out hope that the Vols hold the Bama team from scoring alot. What I do hold out hope for is that Patterson makes a few spectacular plays and lights up the scoreboard a few times. Think it can happen?
Chris Low (2:15 PM)
The three most electrifying offensive players I've seen in the SEC this season are Ace Sanders, Johnny Manziel and Patterson. It will be interesting to see if Tennessee can get Patterson some more touches and how he fares against Alabama's cornerbacks.
Do you think that having a 4+ playoff system is a 'good thing'?
Chris Low (2:16 PM)
I like it, absolutely. I'm not crazy about having a selection committee deciding on who makes the playoff.
Chris Low (2:19 PM)
Little bonus chat time since I was on the road last week and couldn't do it. Everyone travel safely this week and I'll see you Gamecock and Gator fans at the Swamp on Saturday.