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 (1:01 PM)
Greetings, and yes, it's starting to feel like football season outside.
Phillip (A stadium near you)
Chris, how important is the game tonight for Mississippi State and Coach Mullen?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
For Mississippi State, I don't see any way the Bulldogs make a bowl game this season if they don't win tonight. For Mullen, a loss would hurt, no doubt, but I just don't see how you could justify firing the guy after one bad season when he's had three straight winning seasons prior to that. There's a reason that last happened at Mississippi State in 1997-2000. Now, with State's recruiting just being so-so the last few years, a bad season this year (no bowl) would set up a critical 2014 for Mullen, in my opinion.
Rob (Fulton, Mo)
Do you think Mizzou will finish the regular season undefeated?
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
No, I think there's at least one loss out there for the Tigers. That said, if Mizzou wins this weekend over South Carolina, I think you can pencil the Tigers in Atlanta as the East champ.
Bama boy (T-town)
Ao fsu figures the plan is to grab all of Sabans disciples to see if they can take down the master??? Wont work...thoughts???
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
Florida State needs to worry about taking care of the rest of its business this season before it can set its sights on Alabama. The same goes for the Tide, who still have some tough games upcoming. I do think Alabama has improved since the start of the season, but the Tide have also benefited from a cushy schedule.
Ed (Queens Village)
Bigger Flop Florida or Georgia?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
I wouldn't call either a total flop when you consider all the injuries both of those teams have suffered.
Any chance UK makes it a game tonight?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
Yes, if the Wildcats can make some big plays on offense early and get the Bulldogs on their heels. Kentucky has been in a position all season where it's had to come from behind. The Wildcats need to get up, especially on the road, and play with the lead.
How do you think SC will do with Dylan Thompson in for Connor this week?
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
We know this isn't new ground for Thompson. He's been in this position before and played extremely well at Clemson last season. He hasn't thrown it quite as well this year when he's played. Here's his chance to bail his team out again, though. If the Gamecocks can win, I still think they have a pretty decent shot to win the East.
Do you see anyway that UT can pull off the upset this weekend?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
No ... maybe about a 5 percent chance, which isn't much. But, then, I didn't think Tennessee would win last week over South Carolina, either. Alabama is really hitting its stride defensively, and I just don't think the Vols can score enough to win this game.
Can Texas A&M still make it to a BCS bowl game?
Chris Low (1:14 PM)
Yes, but they need Manziel to stay healthy. He's obviously a huge draw, and then the Aggies would have to win the rest of their games, which would include LSU and Missouri, and then hope Auburn falls off a bit.
Is Auburn a true contender in the SEC West?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
That question should answer itself those first couple of weeks of November when Auburn has to go on the road for two straight weeks to Arkansas and Tennessee. But I'll say this: If the Tigers get to the Iron Bowl with just the one conference loss, that game on the Plains will be epic. Remember, that 2009 national championship Alabama team had to drive late to win at Auburn, and that Alabama team was better and more talented than this Alabama team. That said, I'm not sure Auburn can go unbeaten until that game.
Even with the injuries, you think South Carolina will beat Mizzou? Mizzou is looking great on both sides of the ball, but honestly I think night game and homecoming crowd will have the team fired up, I just don't see how Mizzou lays an egg this weekend....
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
I don't think Mizzou lays an egg, either, necessarily. South Carolina's just a lot better than the Gamecocks showed last week, and I do think at some point, Mizzou has one of those games where things don't go its way.
Last couple of weeks chat has been slowwwwwwwwwwww, I mean it is really dragging
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
Would you liiiiiiiike me to go faster?
What are the odds UT goes bowling this year?
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
A lot better now that the Vols won that game over South Carolina last week. Two more wins is all they need, and while winning at Alabama this week is a real long shot, they will get two games at home in November plus that finale at Kentucky. At this point, I'd say they will be in the postseason.
Should Mike Evans be the front runner for the Biletnikoff?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
He's the toughest one-on-one matchup I've seen at receiver this season. Aggies better enjoy him these next few games because he'll be playing in the NFL next season.
Geoff (Easton, PA)
Which conference has "hurt itself" more by beating up on each other this season.... SEC or PAC12?
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
It's sort of a draw right now, although the SEC still has two teams who are in the top 5 of the BCS standings -- Alabama and Mizzou. I don't think Mizzou is good enough to win the national title this season, but the Tigers are certainly in position. In the Pac-12, Oregon is really the only team in great position, but Stanford at No. 6 could play its way back into position by beating Oregon and having a few other teams lose. The SEC is deeper toward the bottom and middle part of the league than it has been in past years.
What are Vanderbilt's chances this weekend?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
If Manziel does indeed play and can be effective, I don't see the Commodores being able to score enough -- even against the TAMU offense. Now, if Manziel doesn't play. all bets are off. It looks like Vandy will be playing with its backup QB, too.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Do you feel a little sorry for Aaron Murray? The kid finally has a legitimate chance to check that last box on his resume and his team is decimated by injuries.
Chris Low (1:28 PM)
Was talking to one of my colleagues at ESPN yesterday about this very topic. He's played his butt off and has been a super leader. It's just so hard when all the guys around you that you've worked all summer and offseason with go down with injuries.
The SEC so far is 4-5 against other BCS teams. Most of the teams that they have played are not traditional football powers. I also noticed that powerhouses Austin Peay and Western Carolina are now are a common opponent for SEC powerhouses. Why do they scrimmage such crap games? Please don't tell me about the gauntlet of schedule of playing Kentucky, Arkansas, Vandy, MSU.
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
You're right. The SEC is a fraud. Everybody schedules "buy" games. Listen, the SEC has its flaws like every other league and has had some bad losses this year. But there have also been some good wins and a ton of teams hovering in the top 20. What you or nobody else can debate is that the SEC has won seven straight national titles (with four different schools). I'd say any other league in the country would gladly trade places with the SEC.
SEC Coach of the Year...right now?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
Edward and I had that debate earlier this week. I went with Malzahn (since it was his first season), and Edward went with Pinkel. Both have done outstanding jobs.
Larry M (Athens, Ga)
Chris, lots of chatter here in Atlanta about the Dawgs giving more in-game reps to the backup QB's to prep them for next season, some even suggesting letting them start the game vs. App State. I think that is insane. If the Dawgs are ever ahead comfortably in a game this year, then maybe, but otherwise as soon as you take out Murray you send a message to the rest of the team that you are giving up on the season.
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
Don't see any way they pull Murray out of the starting lineup. You're right, though. If they can get some leads, I'd expect to see Mason.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
True or False, the SEC title streak ends if the champion does not finish undefeated?
Chris Low (1:34 PM)
True. A one-loss SEC champion will not play for the national title this year.
Alan (South Florida)
Chris does 6-6 get Muschamp fired? Please say yes...
Chris Low (1:36 PM)
I don't see a scenario where Jeremy Foley would fire Muschamp after this season, but a 6-6 season would mean that he would almost certainly have to get to the SEC championship game or to a BCS bowl game next season (which would be his fourth) to be safe. The frustrating thing for all Gators is that there simply hasn't been much progress at all on the offensive side. That has to change.
Wait, I'd still say a one loss SEC champion makes it if we have a one-loss PAC-12 and/or ACC or B1G champion......
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Maybe so, but I think there will be at least two other unbeaten teams at season's end (Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor, etc.)
You mentioned the SEC is deeper in the middle and bottom than it has been in years. Besides Alabama, do you also believe the top has come down a bit?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
To a degree. The defenses have struggled to keep up with some of the experienced (and talented) quarterbacks in this league, and there's also been a considerable talent drain on defense the last two years with underclassmen leaving for the NFL draft. But Georgia and Florida, with the injuries, aren't as good, and South Carolina isn't, either, particularly on defense. That said, Auburn and Mizzou are much better.
Don't we say "there will be at least 3 unbeaten teams" every year?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
LOL. You're right. A lot of weird stuff always seems to happen in November. I just have a hard time seeing Florida State losing. Same for Ohio State, and Oregon (even though they still have to play UCLA and Stanford) is the most impressive team I've seen this year.
Chris you mention the sec would not be representing a one loss team can you explain this a little more and leave the big twelve out of this .
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
In short, I don't expect Florida State to lose. So there's one spot in the national title game. The Seminoles were No. 2 in the BCS standings this week. I also have a hard time seeing Ohio State losing because the Buckeyes' schedule is so weak the rest of the way. There's two teams. Oregon would potentially be a third unbeaten team. I just think the odds are against a one-loss SEC champ getting in this season, but they were a year ago, too, after Alabama lost at home to TAMU in November.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Does Coach Bielema's success at Arkansas hinge on whether he can recruit 4 or 5 star OL and DL?
Chris Low (1:46 PM)
If he's going to play that physical style of lining up and running the football, then yes, he has to be right there in the mix with all the big boys in the SEC when it comes to recruiting the best OL and DL. He has to go get a marquee QB as well to create some balance on offense. He got off to a good start last year with Collins, Kirkland and Henry. All three are going to be very good players.
I keep hearing about injuries of SEC teams, yet Missouri still is grasping for respect and it has its starting quarterback and best defensive player out due to injury. Isn't some of this SEC Teams just not wanting MIzzou to join conference.
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
No, Missouri has been extremely resilient. I noted that when I was at that Georgia game, the fact the Tigers won on the road without their QB and best defensive back (Gaines) playing in the fourth quarter. But they also got some good fortune in facing Georgia and Florida when both of those teams were banged up.
Chris: As an LSU fan, I am very frustrated that LSU has not won a BCS bowl game since 2007. Is they any chance that Les Miles would be on the hot seat if that does not change soon?
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Come on, serious? Listen, every premier program thinks they should win league titles and BCS bowl games every year or at least every other year. But the math just doesn't add up. He did win an SEC title in 2011. That's got to count for something, and he's won 11 games five of his eight seasons. I'd say Les will be at LSU as long as he wants to be there.
Last game of the season...Carolina and Clemson. Call it, who wins?
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Which Carolina? Dabo's Carolina or South Carolina?
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Do you think Randy Shannon's South Florida connection will bring more kids to Fayetteville? Or will the recent news out of Coral Gables limit, or put a halt, to guys like Collins and Kirkland escaping South Beach?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
Arkansas has enough connections to always get a few key kids out of South Florida, but the Hogs also have to win some battles in Texas, which gets harder and harder with TAMU's success.
Bill (Florence, sc)
South Carolina...give me your honest.
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
Had Clemson been unbeaten coming into that game, I really liked South Carolina's chances. Those are the kinds of games Spurrier lives for. Even so, there's a reason the Gamecocks have had the Tigers' number, so I'll go with South Carolina for a fifth straight over Clemson.
If Alabama were to lose a game this season, which team/s it would be?
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
LSU at home, Auburn on the road or potentially the SEC championship game. Keep in mind that Alabama has lost at home in November each of the last two years.
I see FSU as the biggest threat to unseat Bama as NC. How do you see Bama's D stacking up against a "Famous Jameis" offense?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
Can't decide whether I'd like to see that matchup more or Alabama's 'D' vs. that Oregon offense. The thing that changes everything, though, in a national championship game setting is that there's five weeks to get ready. It's like a mini-spring practice, and so far, Saban has shown that he simply doesn't lose those games when he's got that much time to prepare.
Chris i will be watching the Kentucky Mississippi state game tonight pi ck a winner for me.
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I picked Miss. State by a touchdown.
Dax (Somewhere above Colorado)
Saban to Texas? Will it happen?
Chris Low (1:59 PM)
Nope, don't see it happening. Only way it would is if there were some changes at Alabama that Saban didn't like. He's told me repeatedly that he's not looking for any more challenges.
thoughts on Maty Mauks performance last week?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
Very solid, but I don't think anybody at Mizzou was surprised. He pushed Franklin pretty good in the spring and preseason, and Pinkel didn't name Franklin as the starter until midway through August.
Chris (Fort Worth)
How long do you think it will be before Sumlin heads to another school and leaves A&M? How will the aggies look as a team once he leaves?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
I think USC or the NFL could be a possibility after this season.
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Thanks everybody for the questions. Looking forward to my first trip to Mizzou this weekend. Have a great rest of the week!