Chat with Jeff Barlis
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC reporter Jeff Barlis will stop by to talk some college football.
A graduate of the University of Florida, Barlis joined ESPN in 2011 to cover Florida and the SEC as a whole.
Send your questions now and join Barlis Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Jeff Barlis (1:01 PM)
All right, SEC fans. Alabama has the big recruiting catch of the day. Let's do this.
Mark (South Carolina)
Looking at the rest of the season...in your opinion...who represents the East in the SECCG? Mizzu or South Carolina?
Jeff Barlis (1:02 PM)
I love what Missouri has done this season. The Tigers are a great story. Taking nothing away from them, I just don't see Mizzou winning out and reaching Atlanta. I think South Carolina gets there.
Do you think auburn has the depth to compete with Alabama for 60 minutes in this season's installment of the Iron Bowl?
Jeff Barlis (1:07 PM)
Ooh, I cannot wait for the Iron Bowl this year. I think Auburn beats Georgia this Saturday, which sets up a colossal grudge match in the Iron Bowl with a trip to Atlanta on the line. My short answer to your question is yes, but ... I don't think Auburn's problem will be depth. I think it's will be when Alabama forces the Tigers to throw.
Can you ever remember two teams that have been as desimated by injuries as Georgia and Florida? Barring injuries, how will those two teams perform next year..
Jeff Barlis (1:12 PM)
The amount of injuries at both schools has been mind-boggling. Coaches, who have a much better take on such things than media, are consistently saying they've never seen anything like it. Season-ending injuries piling up at this level has got to be a little bit flukey. I'm sure they'll still happen next season, but at a much more normal rate. That said, I expect Georgia and Florida to be right back at the top of the SEC East, battling with South Carolina and Missouri. The East has become a lot more balanced.
Whats your prediction for the Ga- Aub game?
Jeff Barlis (1:15 PM)
Revenge on the Plains. Sorry, Bulldog fans, I think you're about to run into a buzz saw. Auburn is hungry to erase the misery it suffered last season, and the last two loses to Georgia by a combined 83-7 score is going to be fresh in the Tigers' minds. Tre Mason and former Georgia DB Nick Marshall pace the nation's third-best rushing attack. I don't foresee Georgia surviving with a win.
So if you had your choice of RBs from the SEC who would you have as your starting RB if you had to play them Saturday.
Jeff Barlis (1:19 PM)
College football fantasy league? My lock of the week has to be South Carolina's Mike Davis against a wounded Florida defense. The Gators lost their best defender, DT Dominique Easley, for the season, and this week announced that middle linebacker Antonio Morrison is out as well. Ouch.
Dan (Vol Nation)
Jeff, good afternoon! My question: the Vols have the #2 recruiting class in the nation, right now. Your opinion: will this class have an immediate impact (i.e. Ole Miss this year), or is will it be a foundation to grow on over the next couple of years?
Jeff Barlis (1:26 PM)
Can it be both? I see Butch Jones taking significant steps to restoring UT's brand. The mission this season was to get competitive again on the field and in recruiting. Check and check. That No. 2 class has a lot to like. It's 31 players deep! Legacies like Todd Kelly Jr. and Dillon Bates bring back a sense of the Vols' traditional success. And Jalen Hurd is very big and very talented at running back.
Morgan (ATL )
I say that if the D can hold tigers to 21 points UGA will win on Saturday what do you think
Jeff Barlis (1:27 PM)
I would agree with that, but I don't see it happening. I'm picturing more of a wild shootout.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Does a bad loss at Columbia warm up Muschamp's seat even more despite the vote of confidence publicly from the AD?
Jeff Barlis (1:30 PM)
Have you seen Florida's list of injuries? I know a lot of fans don't like that excuse, but the Gators also lost seven starters off of last year's defense. This was a very bad time for a plague of injuries to strike Will Muschamp's program. The bottom line in my opinion is that I believe Jeremy Foley when he said "this is not the dreaded quote-unquote vote of confidence" in regards to his support for his coach yesterday. Florida is going to stand pat and trust Muschamp to fix what's wrong.
Roll_Ando (Here and there)
What upsets in the top 25 do you foresee this weekend?
Jeff Barlis (1:35 PM)
Really only one that sticks out to me. I think Texas at home beats Oklahoma State. It would technically be an upset since the Horns are No. 24 and the Pokes are ranked No. 12. UT has won six straight since a rough start to the season. RB Johnathan Gray is out, but Malcolm Brown is coming on strong in his place.
Graham (Tampa FL)
What are the chances of an East team winning the SEC against Auburn or Alabama and what team would have the best chance between Mizzou or USC, depending on how the wins and losses play out for these teams?
Jeff Barlis (1:38 PM)
South Carolina and Missouri are very close to even, as we saw in their double-OT thriller. But neither is going to beat Alabama in my opinion. If Auburn wins out and reps the West, the championship game could be a lot closer.
LSU fan here. Really need that 10-win season. Talk me off the edge.
Jeff Barlis (1:42 PM)
It could certainly happen for a 7-3 team with two home games to finish out the regular season and a bowl game. The major hurdle, of course, is Johnny Football and A&M next week. And the key to LSU finishing strong is probably the mental state of the players. It's been an up-and-down season with too many highs and lows. If that crushing loss to Alabama has dented their pride, or if the passion and effort dip at all against the Aggies, look out. Texas A
Scratches (the Gump, AL)
Does Miss. St. have any kind of legitimate shot vs. Alabama this weekend?
Jeff Barlis (1:46 PM)
The Bulldogs just haven't fared well against ranked teams this year, and Bama holds the top spot for good reason. With LSU in the rearview mirror and the Iron Bowl coming up, this week's visit to Starkvegas is exactly the kind of trap game most coaches dread. But Nick Saban isn't most coaches. He and his staff guard against letdowns every year. No, I don't think MSU has a chance.
SO which SEC teams get upset this week?
Jeff Barlis (1:47 PM)
None. I've got all the favorites winning.
David Mathias (Irmo SC)
How can on one hand everybody is putting Stanford ahead of unbeatens and the line only 3.0 for the USC Vs Stanford game?
Jeff Barlis (1:50 PM)
That's a good question for handicappers, whose job it is to create action on games like this one. On the field, it's reasonable to point out how the Trojans have shown signs of life since Ed Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin. And this series usually features close games. But Stanford has won four of the past six meetings and clearly looks like the better team.
willy dee (arkansas)
What's your take on Bielema's first season in the sec? Do you think he expected the sec to be this good.
Jeff Barlis (1:54 PM)
For several years now it's been a classic sports-bar debate -- what would happen if you put a Big Ten team in the SEC? Well, maybe the closest we can come is putting a Big Ten coach in the SEC. It's possible Bret Bielema didn't think the league was quite this good. But the situation is compounded by discovering just how many holes he has to fill at Arkansas. It's par for the course in a coach's first season. He's recruiting for his power football style and doing it well (No. 36 in ESPN's class rankings), so I think the Hogs will be back.
Mark (South Carolina)
Jeff, are you "flip-flopping" this weekend? I know some of the reporters for espn.com are getting out of their comfort zones and going to experience other conference games and festivities. If you are also flipping, where are you heading and what game are you going to be watching?
Jeff Barlis (1:58 PM)
The only flipping I'll be doing is between TV channels from the comfort of my couch! But I will be paying close attention to my colleagues who are visiting foreign turf. I love the idea and can't wait to learn more about their forays into strange places. If I could choose my own out-of-the-norm visit, I'd have to go with Michigan. But I don't have a parka, so maybe we could do it next September?
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Are you surprised Hand chose Bama over the consensus favorite Michigan? How much did Michigan's struggles play in the decision?
Jeff Barlis (2:02 PM)
Finally a Da'Shawn Hand question! I thought I'd be looking at two dozen of these. A lot of people, myself included, were surprised the five-star DE didn't pick Michigan. But it goes to show how inexact recruiting predictions can be. We should never forget we're talking about teenagers here. That said, I think this had less to do with Michigan's record than it does Alabama's run of supremacy. These days, I'm surprised whenever a top prospect DOESN'T pick the Crimson Tide.
How bad does UF's season hurt their recruiting this cycle?
Jeff Barlis (2:07 PM)
I get this question a lot, so I'll end with it. Will Muschamp likes to say "Florida is Florida," which is to say the brand isn't going anywhere. And he's right. The record, the injuries and some of the losses might be unsightly, but it's not the end of the world. The state is always brimming with talent. And good recruiters (which UF has) are always going to be able to find high-end prospects who don't see a team that has fallen on hard times but instead see an opportunity to play early and leave a legacy by turning things around.
Jeff Barlis (2:07 PM)
Thank you all for so many terrific questions. I had a lot of fun. Hit me up on Twitter and I'll get back to as many of you as I can: http://Twitter.com/JeffBarlisESPN