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!
David (Washington, DC)
Hey Chris, just a thought... how good is Alabama actually? Everyone is quick to point out Georgia's weak schedule, but up to this point, is Alabama's any harder? Michigan, Arkansas, and Ms State appear to be overrated. Even this weekend, LSU isn't a complete team. They might not face a decently balanced team until the SEC CG.
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
That's a fair question. Nobody has really challenged Alabama, but when you watch the Tide play, it's obvious how good they are up front on offense and across the board on defense, and they simply don't make mistakes. That said, they haven't played the schedule some in the SEC have like LSU or South Carolina. We'll know more after these next two weeks against LSU and Texas A&M. I still think Alabama is the best team in the country at this point.
Mike (Acworth, GA)
If UGA wins out, will they go to the big dance??? Even if LSU beats Bama?
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
No, Georgia needs help. The best scenario for the Dawgs would be to win out and then beat an unbeaten Alabama team in the SEC championship game. Even then, they would need two of the three unbeaten teams (Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame) to lose.
Christian Dasher (Hattiesburg,MS)
Two questions - No one is giving LSU a shot. Terrible offense versus the #1 D. Bama looks unstoppable? What must LSU do to win? And IF they win, and the ND, KSU, and ORE go undefeated will it be the first year that the SEC isn't in the NC in 7 years? (Even if LSU wins out including the SECCHAMP)
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I give LSU a shot, especially on a Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. But to win, the Tigers need to be plus-2 in the turnover battle, find a way to avoid third-and-long and shut down Alabama's running game and make the Tide one-dimensional. An LSU win is probably bad news for the SEC making it seven national titles in a row unless two of the three unbeaten teams lose. I don't see a one-loss LSU team, even with a win over Alabama, jumping unbeaten Notre Dame, Oregon or Kansas State in the BCS standings.
Fat Jesus (Marthon, FL)
Will Ole Miss knock off the Dawgs and send my Gators to the SEC Championship. I think it its a possibility. You're thoughts?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
If Georgia plays defense the way it did last week, no way. But if it's the Georgia defense we saw against South Carolina and for much of the game against Kentucky, Ole Miss is good enough to pull off the upset. The Rebels are playing with a lot of confidence right now.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
What are your thoughts on Alabama's kicking game thus far this season? Shelley doesn't kick the long FGs, but he hasn't missed one all year, and Foster has hit 2 +50 yarders.
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
Big advantage over last year for the Tide, although Shelley kicked very well in the BCS National Championship Game. Foster being able to connect from 50ish is big, too, because this game Saturday is the kind where both offenses are going to have a hard time once they get inside the 30.
Nick J (THE Columbia)
Chris, I've gone over the logistics of this, and I wanted to get an expert opinion on this. Assuming (and I realize all of this is a longshot) that Alabama beats LSU, Kansas State loses to OK State or UT, Notre Dame loses to USC, Oregon loses to USC or Oregon State, Florida loses to FSU and Georgia gets steamrolled in the SECCG again, would that be enough to push South Carolina into the BCS title game versus #1 Alabama?
Chris Low (1:15 PM)
It sure would be interesting. I wonder at that point, though, if Florida State might sneak in, especially with that late win over Florida. The other thing to consider is that a one-loss Oregon or one-loss Kansas State may not drop below a two-loss South Carolina. As I said, it would be interesting, but it's hard to imagine a two-loss team jumping several one-loss teams.
LawMan (Near the Ham)
We all know Auburn is bad, real bad. What are your thoughts on the silence coming from the Athletic Department and President regarding possible coaching (and administration) shake ups? Who is your top choice to replace Chizik?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Of all the coaches on the supposed hot seat in the SEC, I'd say Chizik is probably the least likely to return next season. That's not counting John L. Smith.
Chris, if James Franklin gets Vandy to back-to-back bowl games, what are the odds that teams in need of a coach come after CJF? And what are the odds he leaves?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
Something to remember is that Vanderbilt is paying Franklin very well (around $2.75 million per year), and he has it written in his contract that facility upgrades will happen, including an indoor practice facility. Still, if he gets Vanderbilt to back-to-back bowls, and especially if he beats Tennessee, he's going to have some opportunities. Will those opportunities be good enough to get him to leave after just two years? I don't know. But anybody who does what he's done at Vanderbilt is going to be a commodity.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Hugh Freeze has to be coach of the year. My question is will he only be coach of the year in the SEC of whole nation?
Chris Low (1:20 PM)
I'm on record as saying that if Freeze gets Ole Miss to a bowl this season that I'm voting for him as SEC Coach of the Year.
Duke Belly (The Bottom of the Mountain)
What are the possibilties of UF getting to the Sugar bowl? Would they need to win out and have the Dawgs lose in the SEC Championship?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
If Florida wins out, including beating Florida State, I would think the Gators would be the favorite to go to the Sugar Bowl at 11-1. That's assuming Georgia loses in the SEC championship game. Even then, it would be close, and Georgia would have the head-to-head win over Florida going for it, but I think the Gators would be ranked higher at that point.
Jacob (New Orleans)
C-Low, do you think an Alabama-Notre Dame title game matchup would be the most epic title game matchup of the BCS era, possibly ever? Given the history, tradition, and # of national titles between the two, I'm going with "Yes."
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
From a tradition standpoint, it would be epic. You can bet the TV ratings would be huge, too, but I think an Alabama-Oregon matchup would be the most entertaining.
Chris, Alabama is EXPECTED to win every game this year. If they do stub a toe and lose do they get a pass like they did last year?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
No way. I don't see any way Alabama gets back into the national title picture if the Tide loses. The only conceivable way is if they were to lose a close one to LSU and then everybody else lost. Then, and only then, there's a slight chance you could see Alabama and LSU in another rematch. Wouldn't the rest of the country love that?
Ole miss Terrell is Lexington Steele (Atlanta ga)
When Bama wins another BCS this year, will saban leave for the Dallas cowboys or the Cleveland browns job?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Nope, I don't think Saban is going anywhere. I had that very conversation with him a couple of weeks ago, and he's dialed in at Alabama. He's done the NFL thing and didn't like it. He likes the college scene a lot more and so does his wife.
Bill (Baton Rouge)
Is best case scenario for LSU for Bama to blow us out, so we can have a Gene Chizik level collapse so we can finally replace Miles. I fear this weekends blowout will be the beginning of the end for the Tigers
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Come on. Listen, Les has had his moments, but how do you argue with his success? He's won two of the last three against Saban.
Bill (Carrollton, TX)
Are you not answering questions about why you picked MSU over A&M because you now realize that was a poor pick? All of MSU's conference wins are against winless SEC teams. Not impressive.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Every time I pick against somebody's team, it's a poor pick. When I picked Texas A&M to upset LSU two weeks ago, I heard from the LSU fans what a poor pick it was. Obviously, I was wrong. The Georgia fans killed me when I picked South Carolina earlier this year in that game, and I was right. I think Texas A
What changed with Vanderbilt's athletic department to commit to spending money to get the program up to SEC standards?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
I think they realized after Franklin came in there and upgraded recruiting, stirred it up a little bit and started being more competitive that they were going to lose him if they didn't step up to the plate. A lot of promises were made to Bobby Johnson, too, that weren't kept.
Jay Gouge (The Loveliest Village on the Plains)
You won't write bad things about me when I hire Bobby Petrino in a few weeks, will you?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
Jay, you do what you feel like you need to do there on the Plains to revive your football program. But if you bring in Petrino, brace yourselves for a P.R. bloodbath of epic proportions.
Tex (Charlotte - just north of Rock Hill man!)
Do you feel Tennessee will make a coaching change at the end of this season and will they be able to attract the type of candidate to reestablish Rocky Top?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
The latest I hear is that Dooley has to win out to survive, and even then, it's not a given that he will survive. Athletic Director Dave Hart has heard from several high-level boosters that want to make a change, but I don't think Hart is convinced that making a change is the right thing to do after just three years with Dooley. A lot will depend on how the Vols play down the stretch and who the Vols think they can get. Gruden would be the guy they have the first conversation with, and he's let them know that he would listen. I'm still not sold that he would take the job. Remember, he left Notre Dame at the altar a few years ago.
Mike (Atlanta, GA)
You said the Gruden rumors were burning up knoxville but didn't you talk about it in the local media there? If the media would stop reporting what message board were gossiping about, there would be no rumors!
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
I can assure you that I don't report anything based on message boards. There absolutely would be an interest in Gruden, and he's told people he would have an interest in coaching at Tennessee. That's sort of where it is right now, but a long way from materializing. I'm still not convinced that Dooley is 100 percent done.
Which is the better SEC job; UT, Arkansas, or Auburn and why?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Good question, but a hard one. I would say Tennessee right now. With Saban there at Alabama and that program going the way it is, it's a monster to have to be in that same state and go up against it. Recruiting is tough at Tennessee because the high school talent in Tennessee doesn't compare to Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, etc. But the Vols just spent $48 million on a brand new football complex, and that helps. Arkansas is also spending nearly $40 million on a new complex, but fights the same problem with limited in-state talent.
Bruce (Columbus, GA)
This queston is in your SEC bailiwick in that is involves a former SEC coach. Is Lane Kiffin under-acheving at USC? Granted he has sanctions, but the USC recruiting classes are always very good. Shoudn't he be doing better? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
I thought Kiffin did a nice job last season, especially with the way USC played down the stretch. But I have been underwhelmed this season. They're not very good on defense, and some of the scholarship cuts have hurt.
MikeDaTiger (SEC Boards)
Do you consider Death Valley to be the toughest venue in all of college football, and if not, would you put it there after the South Endzone expansion is complete and we hit the 100k capacity?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Tiger Stadium is the toughest place to play in college football, and it's also the best game-day experience in college football. Every true college football fan should go there at least once for a game.
If you had to guess who do you think will be the MVP of the Bama LSU game?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Joel (Charlotte, NC)
If Tennessee brought in Jon Gruden at or near the end of this season what initial impact do you think he could make and contribute to this program needing a huge boost in recruiting, ticket sales, and overall fanbase?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
Gruden would be a rock star on the recruiting trail.
C-Low, do you think the Bama v. LSU game will be closer or more one-sided than your 21-10 prediction would indicate?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
I see a game very similar to that one in 2009 where it was anybody's game until the fourth quarter, and one big play turned the game around. Alabama was leading 21-15 and kicked a FG late to win 24-15.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
What kinda tricks do you expect Les Miles to bust out this weekend? He's had extra time to put a few cards up his sleeve, so who knows what he's been up to...
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
The first trick is figuring out a way to not be in third-and-long the whole night.
Do you think Bray, Hunter, and Patterson leave for the NFL? I dont' think any are ready, but Patterson is the closest. your thoughts?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
All three will look seriously at leaving. Patterson is so raw, but maybe the most explosive player on the team. If Bray comes out, I don't think he will be a very high pick. Hunter has had too many drops, but the pros love his height, his speed and leaping ability.
Lee (Las Vegas)
Aside from Gruden who are the hot coaches who might get an SEC vacancy? I suggested Paul Rhoads at Iowa State to Ivan but he says that Rhoads won't leave. Who else is possible?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
Charlie Strong, Gary Patterson, Al Golden, Butch Jones
Casey (Kandahar, Afghanistan)
What are the chances that you repeat as Champion with the weekly picks? Dash has been on a tear this season. And Do you have Jarvis Jones as the best player in the SEC?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Dash is pulling away, but the bowl season always separates the pros from the amateurs. I think Jadeveon Clowney is the best player in the SEC.
Are you a former Bearcat?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
Yes and a proud one. Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.
Dan (College Station) [via mobile]
Trying to get some love here! W-l for the Aggie's after the last game. I'm pulling for 9-3. Only three losses coming from top 10 teams not bad!!
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Aggies could be a strong bet for the Cotton Bowl.
Kevin (Franklin, TN)
Did you miss my question above? Or are you ignoring it? :)
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
What was it? Lot of questions come flowing through on this chat.
Can you reflect on Marcus Lattimore and his work ethic and why we should all expect to see him again on the field?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
One of the best kids I've ever dealt with in my 20-plus years of covering the SEC. Gracious, a deep sense of team, hard worker and very grounded. The best thing about him on the field was how elevated everybody else's play around him. He will do everything humanly possible to get back on the field. I don't think it's realistic for him to be back at the start of next season, but he will work feverishly to get back at some point. I was truly heartbroken when I saw him go down last Saturday.
Kevin (Franklin, TN)
As an Auburn fan, I tried to convince myself early in the season that we just had a young team (and we do!) and that we would get better as the players gained experience (which they haven't!). These last 3 recruiting classes were supposed to be monsters! What happened? Were the classes busts? Or are the coaches not able to develop players?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Lot of busts in those recruiting class, either kids who got into trouble or kids who haven't panned out. Go back and look at all of them -- Dyer, Trovon Reed, DeAngelo Benton, the kids involved in the burglary. They've also not been able to get it right at QB ever since Newton left, and that's been a huge problem.
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Always a lot of fun. Look forward to seeing everyone in Baton Rouge this weekend. If you love college football, that place is nirvana. Safe travels wherever you're headed this weekend and please keep Marcus Lattimore in your thoughts and prayers.