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)
Hope everyone is well. Anything shaking in SEC land?
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Still no word on it yet, but if you were Mike Slive, would you suspend Alabama's Dial for his hit on Murray?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
A tough call. It was definitely an illegal hit. But Dial didn't launch into Murray, which may save him. Suspending kids for regular-season games is one thing. But doing it for a national championship game is a whole different story. The precedent has been set this season by the league office, so it will be interesting to see which way they go.
blueze2 (Spartanburg, SC)
How is going to be the next football coach at UT
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
At this point, I don't think Tennessee knows. They're back to square one. Two guys to watch may be Cincinnati's Butch Jones and Arizona's Rich Rodriguez.
Chris, who is the most likely hire for Tennessee now that Charlie Strong has opted to stay at Louisville?
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
The other name I meant to mention was Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. I know Dave Hart said he wanted a head coach, but Smart is too good a coach not to at least explore that option.
Ray (Pawleys Island)
Is SC going to lose any asstitant coaches this year I have heard rumors about Elliot going back to App St
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I can tell you that South Carolina and Spurrier will do everything they can to keep Elliott if he's in play anywhere. He's a guy I would be targeting, if I were the athletic director, to be the next head coach at South Carolina when the Head Ball Coach leaves.
What do you think Georgia will look like next year?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
As long as Murray stays, the Dawgs should have one of the best offenses in the league. On defense, it could be a rebuilding job because I think Ogletree is going pro. And with Jarvis Jones, Shawn Williams, Rambo and John Jenkins all leaving, some new faces are going to have to come through.
Hey Chris. Which team do you think will be hurt most by draft/graduation this offseason?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
LSU is going to take a hit. All three defensive linemen -- Mingo, Montgomery and Logan -- are strong bets to turn pro as well as safety Eric Reid.
It is anticipated that Auburn is going to hire Ellis Johnson as defensive coordinator. Do you think this can right the struggling AU defense?
Chris Low (1:18 PM)
Excellent hire by Malzahn. Ellis Johnson knows this league and what it takes to win in this league on defense as well as anybody. He's also a terrific recruiter. Look at what he did at South Carolina with that defense. There's some talent to work with on defense at Auburn, and Johnson will get the best out of that talent.
Hugh Freeze has the Rebel Nation excited with his first year accomplishments and the recruiting class he is bringing in. What are realistic expectations for year two?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
That's just it. There will actually be expectations next season whereas nobody really expected a bowl trip in Freeze's first season. It will help that the Rebels played all the young players they did this year. They should be that much further along next season. It looks like the Rebels are going to pull in a good recruiting class, too. If the Rebels can get to at least .500 in SEC play next season, that would be another very good season. The West is the toughest division in all of college football, though.
What are the chances Johnny Football takes the Heismann this weekend?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
Very good. I know of at least one voter that I can say with certainty has voted for him.
Have you heard anything about the TN boosters taking over the coaching search? It seems Hart has lost any credibility with the way he has handled it so far. I have not heard any talk of Al golden at Miamai lately. Any news on that front?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
The boosters are upset with the way it's all unraveled, but nobody is taking over the search. Are they making their thoughts and concerns known more demonstratively? Yes. But having boosters take over a search would be a disaster and would set that school up for serious problems down the road.
CLow...long time reader, crazy question asker....What do you think about Gus dropping the entire staff at AU?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
Coaches want their guys, so I wasn't surprised. I doubt Gus would have taken that job unless he had assurances that he would be able to hire the staff he wanted.
How do you think the A&M and OU game is going to be?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Like a mid-1970s ABA basketball game -- back and forth. If you like a lot of points and big plays on offense, it's a game you won't want to miss.
What will the SEC do about the Schedule next year
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
The 2013 schedule is already in place, but it's a one-time deal. Starting in 2014, the league is still working on what would be a regular rotation.
Why do you think Tennessee doesn't look to Bobby Petrino? He is the best coach out there. Period. I know he come with some baggage but this is America. Tennessee would become relivant again immediately. If you ask every coach in the SEC who they don't won't us to hire and they all would say Bobby Petrino.
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Bobby's track record as a coach is very good, no doubt. He won at Louisville and Arkansas. But this latest deal with his affair (more importantly hiring his mistress in the football office and lying to his boss about it) has made him an almost impossible sell to any university president as a head coach.
Who's the front runner for the UK offensive coordinator spot?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown is probably the leader, but he may get a look at a few places as a head coach.
Keith (Dalton, Ga.)
I know you got to be tired of all the Tenn questions, but we Tenn fans are tired also....if you were in Harts place...who would you try and hire?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
At this point, Tennessee has lost the press conference no matter who they hire. It's obvious they're not going to get their first couple of choices, so there's no use in trying to spin it that way. So what I do, if I'm Hart, is go out there and hire the best football coach I can get right now regardless of where he's coaching or what his ties are. One of my first calls would be to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart because I think Smart will be a slam-dunk somewhere as a head coach.
Jay (Madison, GA)
In 2014 does the SEC championship game disappear???
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
No way, not with the money it generates and the incredible interest that has surrounded that game. It's the second best game in college football every year behind the national championship game.
Chris, other the NCCG, what bowl games do you think the SEC should be wary of?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
The Capital One Bowl would be up there because I'm not sure where Georgia will be emotionally coming off that tough loss to Alabama and being so close to playing for a national championship. Of course, Nebraska is coming off an embarrassing performance in the Big Ten championship game.
Tim K. (Houston)
Do you see either of the two tackles or Damontre Moore coming back to TAMU next year?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
Of the three, I would say Jake Matthews is the most likely to come back.
How bad would UT look to rehire Fulmer? Is that a good or bad idea?
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
The Vols could certainly do a lot worse than Fulmer, but I don't see them going back down that path. It's hard to go back and recapture an era, and that's what Tennessee would be trying to do. Plus, the same people who were pushing to get rid of Fulmer back in 2008 would keep it stirred up. Right or wrong, it would be a divisive hire. That said, I do think there's great irony that Tennessee is going through all this at the same time Fulmer is celebrating his Hall of Fame induction.
Jared (Athens, GA)
Chris, why no love for the Georgia bulldogs? Why would you move Florida ahead of Georgia in your SEC Power Rankings? True, Florida has a good resume of wins, but in the end, Georgia won the east, and was five yards shy of going to the National Championship.
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
Yeah, that was a hard call. Georgia's head-to-head win over Florida speaks for itself and the Dawgs played Alabama to the wire. But Florida's resume is better with the four wins over top 12 teams in the BCS standings.
Thoughts on UF hiring Joker Phillips as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator? Seems like a great pick up to me.
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Couldn't agree more. Phillips' approach to coaching and managing a team jives with the way Will Muschamp wants to do it. Phillips also has an extensive background of coaching receivers and is a very good recruiter. It's always nice to have a former head coach on your staff, too, when you're making key decisions.
William (Bowling Green Ky)
Do you still see the Tennessee Head Coach position as an elite job?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
It's in the upper half in SEC, but it's certainly lost a lot of luster and isn't on a par with the jobs at Florida, LSU, Alabama and Georgia.
Tim (Normal illinois)
Rumblings from Husker fans Bo Pelini is in the mix for Tennessee job. Anything you've heard?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
Yes, I've heard that Pelini would be interested, although I'm not going to begin to guess where Tennessee will go from here giving the way this search has gone to this point.
So in essence you punish UGA for playing Bama in a slobberknocker. You had UGA ahead before that game so let's call it like it is. Pretty much an indefensible position. Sure UF won a bunch of good games but they lost to UGA head to head. Then the SECCG.
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
That's why they call it a poll -- a lot of people ranking teams using different criteria. Both are very good teams, but Florida was ranked ahead of Georgia in the final BCS standings as well as final AP and coaches' polls. So a lot of different people agree with me, but that doesn't make anybody right or wrong.
Keith S. (College Station)
Will Johnny Football break 5000 yards of total offense in his freshman year in the game against OU? Only needs 400 more.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
I wouldn't bet against him, especially given some of the big scores the Sooners have given up here late in the season. It's amazing to watch Manziel play and how elusive he is. He's only going to get better, too.
Rick (Tampa Florida)
Which jrs. do you think turn pro from Florida?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
I would think Sharrif Floyd is the most likely candidate.
So what you're early saying is it's actually better in some cases to finish 2nd in your division than 1st.
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
At times, yes. The SEC championship game loser has historically been on the outside looking in when you get to the bowl picture. It's one of the downfalls of that game -- if you lose. It's the point Saban was trying to make before the game. In Florida's case this season, though, it's hard not to reward the Gators for winning four games over top 12 foes. It's an argument that can swing both ways.
Nathan (Morganton, NC)
Which direction is the Mississippi State program headed at this time? What do you expect from them next year?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
The No. 1 thing that needs to happen is that Mississippi State has to get better on defense, specifically against the run. That's where the Bulldogs fell short this season, and I didn't think they played real well up front defensively. The good news is that quarterback Tyler Russell made huge strides and should be even better next season, although he's losing most of his top receiving threats.
Randy S. (Fort Worth)
How many SEC teams start in the top-10 next year?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU and South Carolina -- all in that order -- have a chance.
Who does Bama lose?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Just about their entire offensive line, which is big. I also think cornerback Dee Milliner will leave early for the draft.
what do u think of the new BC coach??
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Since you were so nice about it, Steve Addazio will bring energy and passion to that job. I can tell you that Urban Meyer had the utmost confidence in Addazio when they were at Florida together, and he's also a very good recruiter.
why doesn't Tennessee look at JIM TRESSELL, am I the only one thinking he would be a great hire?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
His NCAA baggage and sanctions make him a tough sell.
What are your thoughts on the Clemson and LSU game?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Classic offense vs. defense matchup. Will be fun to watch Clemson's offense go up against that defense and try to redeem itself. The Tigers didn't fare so well the last time they faced an SEC defense.
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Thanks for stopping by. Still got one coach search to clean up in the SEC. Have a great week!