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)
Good Thursday to everybody and ready to talk some football.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What SEC College Football Team has the Best Defense in 2013?
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
My top three, in no order, would be Florida State, Michigan State and Alabama.
Does Dan Mullen have to make staff changes after this mediocre season?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
Yes, I would say he will tweak things. No way he should get the boot this year. But next season will be critical, so he will need to do whatever he can to fix things.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Hey Chris, do you have Auburn on upset-alert this weekend at Tennessee? The Vols look like two totally different teams when playing home vs. away.
Chris Low (1:05 PM)
No doubt Tennessee is a lot better at home, and I expect this game to be close going into the second half. Just don't see the Vols being able to stop Auburn's running game and get that offense off the field enough to win the game.
Hog Fan (Bentonville, Arkansas)
How big of a mistake did Arkansas hiring Bielema over Gus? Already our longest losing streak in 23 years.
Chris Low (1:07 PM)
Let's allow it to play out and Bielema to get a couple of his recruiting classes in there first before we make any evaluations. Gus has done an outstanding job, but Auburn had more talent when he arrived than Arkansas, and the Hogs' schedule has been pretty nasty as well.
Ed (not the plains)
Did I hear your right on the podcast that you think this Auburn team is better then the 2010 version? Admittedly all I really know about this year's version is they have a cb playing qb and they played wazzu pretty evenly, but it caught me by surprise since that team won a championship.
Chris Low (1:08 PM)
No way. If I said 2010, I meant to say 2009 when the Alabama-Auburn game on the Plains went down to the final drive with the Tide having to go the length of the field to win.
Hey Chris, do you think anyone from the East is capable of beating Bama in the SECCG? If so... who?
Chris Low (1:09 PM)
Sure, Missouri, especially if James Franklin gets back and his healthy, could do it. Maybe South Carolina, although that's probably a long shot. Mizzou would stand the best chance, but I would say Alabama would be at least a touchdown favorite over everybody in the East.
Where do you stand on the Franklin v. Mauk for this weekend if James is near 100%?
Chris Low (1:10 PM)
I saw go with Mauk and allow Franklin to rest another week (two weeks with the bye) before those final two weeks. If you need him, play him. Otherwise, I wouldn't risk it. Mizzou will need him healthy to beat Ole Miss and TAMU.
CWE (CLT, NC)
So CLow...Dash won't field it but maybe you will. alot going on in T-town with reported violations, Saban rumors, etc. Are we all really just supposed to sweep all this under the rug, and will the NCAA (READ: emmert) just let all this go? it's not like there isn't evidence out there, photos of players in Humvee's, tricked out rides, and cash either...the Dufner, does not abide.
Chris Low (1:12 PM)
No question, a lot more of that stuff/smoke/allegations at Alabama than ever before since Saban has been there. It sort of comes with the territory when you recruit that many good players. The key will be what the NCAA can prove and what is fact and what's fiction. Everybody else around the college FB will be watching for sure.
Chris! Whats your take on the rest of Michigan's season, can they beat OSU?
Chris Low (1:13 PM)
Not the Michigan I saw last week. But the game is in Ann Arbor, and that rivalry has spawned some surprising results over the years.
Hey Chris, With Gurley getting healthy and we saw a little more fire out of the Georgia Bulldawgs, prediction on the Auburn Georgia game? Also, do you think Auburn can run on Bama's D? I say no, they'll get a few yards on some trick plays but Bama's D is stout against the run! RTR
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Georgia's obviously a different team with Gurley. Gotta keep him healthy. But my pick now is for Auburn to win that game. The reason being: I just don't see Georgia's defense being able to stop Auburn's running game. I'd say Auburn has been pointing to that game, too, after the way the Tigers were embarrassed at home last season. As for Bama, I don't see anybody rolling it up against them on the ground, but Auburn is versatile enough and commits to the run enough that the Tigers will have some success.
David Mathias (Irmo SC )
Does your Baylor beat OU?
Chris Low (1:16 PM)
Yes, I have Baylor winning big.
Who will be number 2 in the BCS by the end of the season?
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
If all three of the top teams win out -- Alabama, Oregon and Florida State -- my guess is that Florida State would get squeezed out. Not saying that's the way it should be, just what I think will happen. Oregon has games remaining against top tier teams, starting with Stanford tonight, and I don't see Bama falling from No. 1 to No. 3 if the Tide take care of LSU, Auburn and whomever in the SEC championship game. You could make a strong case that FSU should be No. 1 right now based on wins over Clemson and Miami, but I think the Seminoles' schedule the rest of the way will hurt them. Too bad we don't have a playoff this year.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Who's the puppeteer behind the curtain that keeps bringing up the Saban-to-Texas story? It first broke right before the TAMU game, and now it was brought back up right before LSU. Seems like someone is trying to cause some off-field distractions before Bama's big games.
Chris Low (1:21 PM)
I think it's more a few people in Texas are hellbent on getting Mack Brown out. This stuff is coming from Texas. This latest deal was an email the AP got its hands on after submitting an FOI request of one of the Texas regents.
Break down this weekends epic matchup between the Tide and LSWho. I saw your prediction. Why do you think the Tide pull out the victory? Are the corners not a liability?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
Yes, this will be a tough matchup for Alabama, going up against two receivers like Beckham and Landry, plus a RN who can pound you and get chunk yards like Hill. I think LSU scores, but I also don't think LSU's defense will be able to stop Alabama and that the Tide are able to pull away in the second half.
Who will win tonight's game?
Chris Low (1:23 PM)
I've got Baylor beating Oklahoma and Oregon beating Stanford.
Matt Harper (Logan, Utah)
If Oregon and Alabama win out and are in the National Champioonship, who wins that game?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
If they played a week later, I'd say Oregon. But with nearly five weeks to prepare, the playing field tilts more to Alabama ... and Saban.
Jesse (Fayetteville AR)
Whats your take on players faking injuries: should NCAA get involved?
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
Sort of a fine line. The hard part is knowing when somebody is legitimately faking an injury. But if there's a push orchestrated by the coaches to slow down the game or the other team by faking injuries, then I think there should be punishment/suspensions. Hard to prove that, though.
Jesse (Fayetteville AR)
Hey chris, who wins the Big 12
Chris Low (1:26 PM)
The Baylor Bears
Michael D. (S.A., TX)
Do you think Butch Jones will be able to keep the outstanding 2014 recruiting class together at least for the most part despite possibly finishing with 5 maybe 6 wins at best?
Chris Low (1:27 PM)
For the most part, yes. The thing he's got going for him is that several high-profile kids in that class who have been very involved in recruiting themselves.
Is Jeremy Foley learning the hard way as to why Top 5 programs should only consider experienced head coaches for vacancies? To think Florida could be this bad offensively for so long is simply unbelievable. Heck, even Ron Zook put a better product on the field.
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
Just a hunch, but if Muschamp doesn't make it (and I definitely think he will be back and should be back for a fourth season), then Foley's next hire will have head coaching experience. Something says he goes for an offensive guy, too.
Would a 1 Loss Bama team finish above an undefeated Baylor or Ohio State?
Chris Low (1:30 PM)
No, I don't think so.
Jay Tucker (DC)
Chris, what are the chances Missouri loses another game and SC makes it to Atlanta?
Chris Low (1:32 PM)
My sense is that Missouri will lose one more game, either at Ole Miss or home against Texas A&M. I don't see the Tigers losing both of those games. The key for South Carolina is Georgia losing at Auburn. That way, South Carolina would get the tiebreaker with Mizzou in a two-team tie based on head-to-head results. If they all three finish with two losses, and one of Mizzou's losses is to a West team, the Tigers will get the nod based on a better division record.
Do you think Johnny Football will have the stats at the end of the year to win another heisman?
Chris Low (1:33 PM)
He'll have the stats, and I still believe he's the best player in college football, but my guess is that Mariota or Winston will win it, especially if both of those teams remain unbeaten.
Going into these final games, who are your top 3 candidates for SEC offensive & defensive player of the year?
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
Offensive Player of the Year: Manziel, Mike Evans and a tie between Mike Davis and Jeremy HillDefensive Player of the Year: C.J. Mosley, Michael Sam and Kelcy Quarles.
Andrew (Michigan )
Who do you think is the number one team right now in college football?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
I've ranked Oregon No. 1 the last three weeks. Most impressive team I've seen from the start of the season until now. We'll see if that's validated tonight.
How much longer will UGA keep Mike Bobo?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
The Dawgs better hope for a while. To me, he's one of the most underrated offensive coordinators in the game. Look at the numbers they have consistently put up on offense on his watch.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Thoughts on Arkansas fans who want Jeff Long gone, saying that he is not from Arkansas and that anyone who ever considers Texas is a traitor?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
All fans think that about their coaches/ADs if their names come up in other jobs. It's a credit to Jeff and Arkansas that he was in that mix. The same goes for his being selected as the College Football Playoff chairman. Tells you what kind of respect he carries around the country.
who do you see as rising to the top for the USC job and will there be a surprise name to emerge?
Chris Low (1:41 PM)
I've said right on through that Kevin Sumlin will be at or near the top of USC's list. Now, whether or not he will pull the trigger and leave TAMU, I don't know. It won't be because of money because the Aggies can pay. Also think Sumlin will be a commodity at some point in the NFL.
So any comment on both LSUs, A&Ms, and Alabama cup cake OOC schedules and the fact that only LSU has to play a quality team from the EAST?
Chris Low (1:43 PM)
Call Les Miles and see what he has to say about it. Just be sure you cover your ears. I've said repeatedly that the whole bridge schedule idea has been a bad one.
Kevin (Wood River)
Chris, why aren't more "experts" taking into account the extremely soft schedule Bama has played? True they have all been blow outs and the stats impressive, but if LSU or Auburn can keep it close in the 4th, I think this team will crack.
Chris Low (1:45 PM)
And that's a fair question. I noted in my column yesterday that only one team they've beaten to this point is ranked (TAMU). So if you were picking the top two teams right now, you could definitely make an argument that FSU and Oregon deserved to be there. But Alabama gets a chance to validate itself over this next month with games against LSU, Auburn and possibly Missouri.
Kevin (Montgomery, AL)
You mentioned best defenses belong to Mich State, FSU and Bama. Who in your opinion is the best of those three?
Chris Low (1:47 PM)
Right now, I would say Florida State. But I reserve the right to change my mind after the entire season plays out.
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
How bad has it hurt Alabama's SOS with VA Tech tumbling the past two weeks? Loses to Duke and BC are mighty ugly.
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
A lot. You saw last week that Alabama dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the computer component of the BCS standings.
Orville (Lubbock Texas)
Chris: Do you think that Shawn Eichorst will be patient with Bo Pelini at Nebraska or will he be quick to pull the trigger if there are more losses? Thanks.
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
With everything that's gone on there, I'd say Pelini will have a hard time surviving if he loses a few more games this season.
Honestly, past years not being considered; is the SEC overrated this year
Chris Low (1:51 PM)
Saying any conference is overrated is relevant. What I think is fair to say is that the league was indeed top-heavy the last few years and is more balanced this year. Alabama is very good, but not as good as the Tide have been in the last 3-4 years. This is LSU team is also not as good as we saw in 2011. QBs are better and more experienced across the board, which has been a big part of the defenses not looking as good.
Do you think Butch Jones will keep Joshua Dobbs as QB next season? He seems to have streaks of really good performances.
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
I'd say Jones will open up the QB competition in the spring among everybody, allowing Riley Ferguson to get into that mix along with Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman again. That's one of the things Tennessee has been missing over the last few years, true competition at positions. It makes everybody better.
Roger (Destin, FL)
CLow, after seeing both in action who in your opinion is better so far. Winston or Mariota?
Chris Low (1:54 PM)
I can tell you what several NFL people I trust have told me. They would take Winston. That said, isn't that like picking between playing Augusta National and Pebble Beach?
Chris W. (Montgomery, AL)
I see that there is already a lot of griping about Alabama's schedule on here...does anyone remember that they had to play a top-5 total defense and a top-5 total offense (with the latter being on the road in a hostile environment)? I don't remember FSU having to play anyone like that yet - they only have a terribly overrated Clemson and Miami teams to brag about.
Chris Low (1:56 PM)
There's always going to be griping about schedules when everybody's playing in different leagues. I do think it clears up a good bit once we get into the playoff format and the committee starts awarding and penalizing teams for the schedules they play. It will revolutionize the way schools schedule.
wayne (clinton tn)
hey chris i know its too early to talk next year but do you think tennessee has a chance at the sec championship. i know yr 3 looks better but tennesse is already looking like a dangerous team and with the recruits coming in how good do you think tennessee has a chance to be
Chris Low (1:57 PM)
Not next year, but if Jones can stack another top recruiting class onto the 2014 class, I think the Vols could be a factor in the East in 2015.
Dean (Birmingham, AL)
Chris, who gets your vote for SEC Coach of the Year? Pinkel and Malzahn have to be the heavy favorites...
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I'd pick Malzahn over Pinkel, but barely. The good news is that I don't have to pick right now.
Mike P (Lenexa, Ks)
Does Johnny Football Leave A&M this year and go Pro or does he try and stay to win another Heisman like Tebow
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
I'd be shocked if Manziel is at TAMU next season, and I think everybody there probably knows he's gone.
CJ Triplestacks (Houston Tx)
What's going on C - Low? If Saban has 0 interests in Texas is it time for him to get rid of his agent, or is this a ploy to get richer?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
I don't think Saban's agent is driving this. It's more a few people in Texas who want Mack Brown out. Any agent is always going to listen. That's what they do, try to get their clients the best deal possible and as much leverage as possible.
Josh (Franklin, TN)
If McCarron put up big number Saturday, do the Heisman voter have to start taking a stronger look at him?
Chris Low (2:01 PM)
I would say he would move into the picture with a big game against LSU and especially if he follows that up with a big game at Auburn. Don't see him winning it, though.
Yalobusha (Pleasanton, CA)
Assuming the Ole Miss Rebels finish the regular season at 8-4, play well in their bowl game, and sign a top-15 recruiting class... where do you think they will place in next years preseason top-25 poll and why?
Chris Low (2:03 PM)
Solidly in the top 20. Just about everybody comes back, and their nucleus of young talent is right up there with anybody's in the SEC. Guys like Nkemdiche, Tunsil, Connor, Treadwell will be much better in their second season.
Jonathan (Atlanta, Ga)
Given UGA's unfortunate injuries this season and extremely young defense, how do you think they will rebound in 2014?
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
With Mason stepping in at QB, Georgia will be a solid favorite in the East and maybe in the SEC.
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
Hey, thanks for all the questions. Big night in college FB tonight. Looking forward to it. Will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend for the LSU game. Great rivalry.