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!
Buzzmaster (1:18 PM)
Hang on folks, Chris is logging in.
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
Sorry, had a few technical difficulties. But was finally able to get on. Good to be back and looking forward to a little football. I'll be in Nashville tonight for Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
Orville (Lubbock, Texas)
Chris: What are your expectations for Bret Bielema and Arkansas this year? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
To get to a bowl game. That's realistic. They need to win all their nonconference games and find at least two SEC wins. The other thing is to establish that the program is again pointed in the right direction after last season's nightmare. Bielema breeds confidence, and you can see it in his players.
Who will have the more successful first year- Stoops or Jones? Success should be measured based on expectations at each school.
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Both guys will have a difficult time getting to a bowl game. For one, they both have killer schedules. I would say it may come down to their game the final week of the regular season. My guess is that Tennessee squeezes out six wins and Kentucky four or five.
What is your take on the UNC/Carolina game tonight? Do you see UNC giving us a run for our money?
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Maybe early. South Carolina hasn't been the best starter in opening games. They just barely survived last year against Vanderbilt and overcame an awful start against East Carolina two years ago. The Gamecocks' defensive line will wear down the Tar Heels in the second half.
Jeff (Huntsville, AL)
Chris, What Freshman for Alabama do you expect to have a big impact this season like Cooper and Yeldon did last year?
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
One in particular -- Reuben Foster. He's a hitting machine and has delivered some wincing licks this preseason. Once he gets that defense down -- and he will -- he's going to be a beast. Derrick Henry, I think, will end up being the No. 2 running back behind Yeldon. Raheem Falkins at receiver is one to watch, too. He's a big target and McCarron really likes him.
Do you think Clemson could upset Georgia?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Yes, absolutely, and I'm not sure I would call it much of an upset. The Tigers are very good at home, and Boyd is one tough customer. Probably will come down to which secondary holds up the best. Both have their issues.
Who do you have in the Ole Miss and Vandy Game?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
Was a tough one to pick, but I went with Ole Miss. I just wonder how the Commodores respond from what's been a rocky preseason and the loss of Chris Boyd at receiver makes them easier to defend on offense.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
How do you see the new helmet-to-helmet/ejection penalty going? With our defensive power, I could see this hurting the SEC more than other conferences. And, an important part that I haven't heard many people talk about, a player ejected in the 2nd half will have to sit out the 1st half of the next game.
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
Coaches are very concerned about how subjective the rule is. Go back and watch games last year. There were obvious ones that didn't get called and then some looked not so obvious and were called. The SEC coaches I've talked to are in favor of the commissioner making a call on suspensions that next Monday and not leaving it to the officials during the games.
If the Dawgs start 2-0 where do you see them in the polls? I can see them being top 3 with some first place votes. If they start 4-0 (beating Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU). Should they be considered the best team in college football?
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
In the top 3 for sure, and If they get through September unbeaten and take down Clemson, South Carolina and LSU, I'll rank them No. 1 in my poll regardless of what anybody else does.
Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado)
In the pre-season Top 25's, which teams are most over-rated and which most under-rated?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Ohio State and Texas A&M might be a little overrated. LSU is underrated, and I also think Texas has a chance to have a big year. Watch UCLA, too, in the Pac-12.
Do the aggies have a 1000 yard rusher this year? Not including Manziel.
Chris Low (1:39 PM)
Brandon Williams, in my mind, will be their most explosive running back and will hit a lot of big plays. Not sure he will get enough carries to reach 1,000 yards, especially with Ben Malena, Trey Williams and Tra Carson back there.
Does the NCAA realize that their rulings in the AJ Green, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel cases just prove that players should lie to the them? Finding a money trail is just beyond their capabilities.
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
I've talked to several coaches from a couple of different leagues who would concur. I think we're at the tipping point with the NCAA in terms of it effectively and justly policing big-time college athletics. Just way too many inconsistencies over the last few years.
Is the week off before the A&M game helpful or hurtful for the Bama squad?
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I don't ever think an extra week to prepare hurts a Nick Saban-coached team, although he said this week that he didn't necessarily like having a week off in Week 2.
Mizzou is healthy, how much better will they be this year?
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
Staying healthy is the key, both in the offensive line and at quarterback. I know James Franklin is hungry to come back and show what kind of player he is, and I like his group of receivers. Led by Green-Beckham, they're very underrated. Still not sure Missouri is good enough and deep enough in the trenches to hold up all season in the SEC. The Tigers have an easier nonconference schedule this season, so I see them getting to a bowl game. They're going to need to for Pinkel to be back. He won't survive a second straight losing season. Key games are the back-to-back November contests against Tennessee at home and Kentucky on the road.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which of the following is the bigger obstacle to Alabama winning a third straight title, an inexperienced interior line, complacency, or the secondary?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
They're a little concerned about the offensive line, especially the right tackle spot. I would put that at the top of the list along with a secondary that needs to find the right combination back there.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
In your opinion, was Clowney's epic hit on Michigan legal or illegal?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
If it wasn't legal, then we ought to go to two-hand touch.
Billy (Auburn, Alabama)
What do you expect from Nick Marshall and the Auburn offense this season?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Malzahn's track record says that they're going to score points and be able to run the ball. For all the talk about the spread and his up-tempo style, go back and look at how his teams have been able to run the ball. Marshall will be a big part of that running game, and I think Auburn's receivers are better than advertised. If the offensive line comes through, I think the Tigers will be the most improved team in the league and have a chance to win seven or eight games.
If UF LB Morrison is not guilty, then why even have him suspended for one game. Just sounds like Muschamp needed him for the Miami game. It may not be the case, but this is becoming a trend in college football. Either a guy is guilty and should serve his penalty or he isn't and should play in all games. Reporters even commented on his lack of sincerity when he spoke. yeterday.
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Muschamp was upset over Morrison's poor judgment after warning him to say out of situations that could land him in trouble after he'd already been in trouble. That's why he suspended him for two games. But when these latest charges were dropped (and barking at a police dog isn't the worst crime in the world), Muschamp lessened the penalty. I don't have a problem with how Muschamp has handled discipline there at Florida. He's cleaned up a lot of the mess that was left behind by his predecessor.
David (Madison (AL))
What happens to Mark Richt if the Dawgs lose a third-straight SEC Title game?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
He'll be back in Athens next year (if he chooses) to start his 14th season as the Dawgs' head coach. Why would you run a guy off who's consistently getting his team to the SEC championship game? Moreover, is there any guarantee that Georgia could bring somebody else in that would do better? It can always get worse. Just ask Tennessee.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
You are already dodging serious questions that you should know the answer to. Will Bret Bielema ever be able to develop an OL and DL that can highly compete with Bama and LSU?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
Shame on me for playing dodge ball. What Bielema did best at Wisconsin was develop a physical mentality up front on both lines of scrimmage. Can he do it in the SEC? The jury is out. He's gotta keep signing players like the Kirkland kid at OT, the Henry kid at TE and the Collins kid at RB. It's going to take a couple more classes.
Kenyan Drake was a 4 star back outta HS and is now on scout team at Bama after the Tide signed 4 more 4 star RBs. Do you think this hurts or helps the Tide in terms of getting big-time recruits to the program?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
With the way Alabama has that recruiting machine going, I can't imagine anything hurting the Tide.
Chris - I know you said you could see Clemson upsetting UGA.....but who is your pick and why?
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
I picked Georgia 35-31.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Chris,lots of big games this weekend, but who has the most important game and why?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
I'll go Ole Miss-Vandy. The winner has a chance to have the kind of season its fan base expects. The loser could be in trouble. Look at Ole Miss' schedule after this opener. They have to go to Texas in two weeks, get a bye and then travel to Alabama and Auburn in back-to-back weeks. Rebels really need to win this game.
Why does it appear that all the experts are not including SC in the SEC title conversation. They all seem to say this is a great and talented team, but when it comes down to SEC Championship it is all UGA and Florida. What gives/ Is it just a lack of respect due to a not so great history?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
No, the Gamecocks are my pick to win the East this year. They have a little easier schedule in the West than Georgia and Florida and seem to have the Dawgs' number. Their defensive line is also outstanding, and great defensive lines can take you a long way.
A lot of good qb's emerged last season in the SEC. Which quarterback(s) other than Murray and McCarron do you expect to have a good season?
Chris Low (2:02 PM)
Jeff Driskel at Florida will be greatly improved, and I've always felt that Connor Shaw was one of the more underrated players in the league.
Do you give UF a chance for the Championship this year, and what are your thoughts on Vernon Hargreaves?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
If the Gators can find a passing game. They will be scary good on defense. Not sure there are three more talented cornerbacks on one team than Purifoy, Roberson and Hargreaves at Florida.
With The Pirate coming to town this weekend, do you think we could see a coming out party for Lawson and Daniel in AU? With Ford out, someone needs to hit the QB. PS Everyday I'm dufnering.
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
Love the Dufnering reference. Ellis Johnson's defense will get after Washington State. Tigers are good up front on defense, and Johnson also likes his corners and their ability to match up.
LSU seems underrated to me. Yes, they lost a lot of talent. But, no matter what people say about Les, he plays freshmen year in and year out. They may be young on defense, but that doesn't mean innexperienced. Your thoughts?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I wouldn't sleep on the Tigers. Les loves these situations where people are sort of forgetting about his Bayou Bengals. Lot of speed on that defense. My prediction is that LSU is 4-0 going into that Georgia game on Sept. 28.
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Sorry about the delay today and not being able to get on until later. We've got the kinks worked out now and will catch up again next week. Safe travels to everyone this weekend!