Chat with Tim Griffin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin stops by to chat about the upcoming season.
Griffin joined ESPN.com in February 2008. He has covered the Big 12 since its inception, among a variety of beats during a 24-year career at the San Antonio Express-News. Griffin, a Memphis State University graduate, lives in San Antonio with his wife and son.
Send your questions now and join Griffin Wednesday at noon ET!
Tim Griffin (12:01 PM)
Let's get this started. Big games this weekend across the conference. Fire away with some questions.
Mel (Columbia, MO)
Tim, what are the chances Mizzou sneaks into the Cotton Bowl if Okie State beats OU this weekend and Texas beats Nebraska next week?
Tim Griffin (12:03 PM)
Mel: They might have a better shot at coming to Arlington than you think. Other challengers like Texas Tech and Nebraska will have played at that stadium in the last month. How excited would their fans be to make the same trip? That will be one of the major decision facing the Cotton Bowl's selection committee.
What are the chances of the Huskers knocking off the Horns?
Tim Griffin (12:04 PM)
Paul: I liken it to a boxing match. I think they have a puncher's chance of stealing a victory. For that to happen, Nebraska needs a huge performance from the defense, a few breaks and for Colt McCoy to get the yips as he's staring down a championship. In a lot of ways, it's like how Texas beat Nebraska in 1996.
Mario Ramirez (Phoenix)
You predicted Texas Tech to finish much lower in the conference than they currently stand. What did you not see?
Tim Griffin (12:05 PM)
Mario: Quite frankly, I didn't expect Tech's defense to be as good as it has been. And I also thought that Oklahoma would be healthy and Baylor would have Robert Griffin. The South is much weaker now than when the predictions were made before the start of the season.
Ben (Wymore, NE)
Tim, I was wondering how important is the Colorado game to Nebraska? I really believe that Nebraska should not be looking ahead to Texas. Two perfect examples of this situation are when Colorado wrapped up the North title prior to the Nebraska game in 2005 and then lost at home to Nebraska 30-3. Colorado then went on to get blown out by Vince Young and Texas 70-3 or somewhere along that line. Same case last year. Missouri lost to Kansas prior to their big 12 title game against Oklahoma and ended up getting blown out. Now Nebraska has one of the top defenses in the nation and isn't going to give up 60 or 70 points, but if Nebraska beats Colorado no matter how ugly, do you still give them a "puncher's chance" against Texas?
Tim Griffin (12:07 PM)
Ben: I think it's important for Nebraska to win the game. It wouldn't hurt them to get Cody Green into the game just to put some things on film for Will Muschamp to have to worry about next week. I'd also like to see more of Rex Burkhead. It will be interesting to see how Colorado approaches the game. I think if Nebraska was to jump on them early, the Cornhuskers could roll. But it might not be that easy.
I know it's not cool to make excuses, but honestly, how much better would have OU's season been if we had any luck at all this year? Jones had some epic meltdowns trying to lead us to victory, and for the exception of the Tech game, the Sooners had a chance to win all of them. I say Bradford helps us win those, and with Gresham it's beyond a lock. All I'm saying is, I don't think any program could lose two world class players like that and survive. Not too mention the other injuries.... I suppose I'm looking for anyone who will openly admit that, I know it's football and excuses aren't allowed but I know there's not a team in the country that could have taken those licks and had the success that was predicted for them. And I love that lame green bean casserole, take that back!
Tim Griffin (12:10 PM)
Dave: The loss of Gresham was a big one. It absolutely changed the Sooners' offense before the start of the season by removing Sam Bradford's favorite check-down receiver. And when Bradford was hurt and the line crumbled, things got much worse. But I don't think I ever expected 6-5 at this point, no matter how bad it got. The Sooners, even with the injuries, have been the biggest disappointment in college football this season. This team was picked No. 3 in the nation before the start of the season. It might be lucky now to get to the Sun Bowl.
Tom (Sioux Falls, SD)
Tim, how can you say that about green bean casserole? I'm shocked and even a little bit offended. What are your favorite Thanksgiving and/or holiday foods?
Tim Griffin (12:12 PM)
Tom:Just never have liked the green bean casserole. I've always noticed that at many of the gatherings -- family and otherwise -- that the worst cook always brings that particularly item. Given the choice, I love a good broccoli cheese rice casserole my wife makes. We also have gotten a cajun-fried turkey over the years that really turns out well. None for me tomorrow as I'm driving to Kyle Field. Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like one of those delicious hot dogs we get at the stadium.So Tom, enjoy the green bean casserole. I might even miss it tomorrow.
Ryan (Norfolk, NE)
Tim, you predict Oklahoma State to be in a BCS game (Fiesta, if I remember correctly) yet you have them losing to OU. How do you see them getting to a BCS game with a loss to the Sooners?
Tim Griffin (12:13 PM)
Ryan: I had to make those predictions over a two-day period. I thought Zac Robinson would play when I made the bowl picks and came back with a change after I heard some inside information about his condition. I'm thinking the Sooners win this one, mainly because of OSU's uncertain quarterback situation.Brandon Weeden won't be able to light up the Sooners quite like he did Colorado.
Kevin K (Lawton, OK)
This championship game will be my first one. Nosebleed section though. They will never play a championship game closer than that for me.Is it likely that, with their defense, that Nebraska can make a good show if it?If they surprise the world, and win, that makes a tough decision for the Fiesta Bowl. San Diego would probably be too long a trip.
Tim Griffin (12:15 PM)
Kevin: Considering where the press box is in Jerry World, I'll be right up there with you. One cool thing about the stadium is the big-screen high-def television. You'll see things on it you don't see from home. I can remember ready some of the color-coded plays on Mike Sherman's play-calling sheet when they showed it at a game when I saw A&M play Arkansas. So it gives you a chance to see all kind of neat things.
matt d. (austin )
if colt mccoy were 2 throw 4 tds in each of the next 2 games against atm and nebraska, would u consider him the runner up 4 the heisman?
Tim Griffin (12:16 PM)
Matt: Colt has got a good shot at the Heisman if he finishes strongly. He needs the kind of games you are talking about and also needs Ingram and Tebow both to struggle as they finish their seasons.
Tim love the work that you do. Do you think Toston, Robinson, and Cox can play sundays next year? Have you heard anything with respect to what round they could go?
Tim Griffin (12:18 PM)
Bay: Haven't heard anything specifically, but think all of them could make an NFL roster in the right situation. I wouldn't be surprised if Robinson played a different position in the NFL -- like maybe wide receiver. Toston has played well this season, but isn't ranked among the top backs I've seen. But I think he could be a dynamite pro player because of his pass-catching abilities. And I think Cox might be the highest draft pick of the three. The NFL scouts I've talked to are excited about his cover skills and his ability to run back kicks.
Tim, can you tell me why most people are predicting Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl over Texas Tech? first of all, Tech beat NU IN lincoln... and if the rest of the season finishes out like most people assume it will, (Tech beating baylor and Texas beating Nebraska handily in the big 12 Championship), wouldnt that make Texas Tech the most attractive option for the Cotton Bowl? Plus, Dallas will always get great fan support from Tech...
Tim Griffin (12:20 PM)
Brett: With the Red Raiders playing in Arlington this weekend, I think the Cotton Bowl selection might give pause to bringing them back again so soon. Tech might have a better record, but the Cornhuskers have a great reputation about travel. I know Nebraska will have played there a couple of weeks earlier. But I think it will be interesting to see which way the Cotton Bowl ends up going. And keep an eye out for Missouri as well.
Tim,Where do you see weaknesses in the Texas defense and offense? Is there any chance for Nebraska to beat them during the CCG?
Tim Griffin (12:21 PM)
Ron: I think the weaknesses for Texas are a rather ordinary corps of linebackers and the lack of a game-breaking running back to lean on. And like I said earlier, the Cornhuskers have a puncher's chance of stealing the game.
It seens like everyone is picking OU to win over the Pokes. Why is that?
Tim Griffin (12:23 PM)
Matt: I don't think you can discount the homefield edge the Sooners have at Owen Field with Stoops' 63-2 record. And the iffy nature of Zac Robinson plays a part, too.
Scott (Lincoln, NE)
First I just want to say I am a huge fan and read your columns every day. If Nebraska beats Texas in the Big XII who would they likely end up playing in the Fiesta Bowl? Where would Texas end up?
Clint Miller (NYC)
So do you think Earl Thomas has a shot at the Thorpe award this year or has the media already decided on Eric Berry?
Tim Griffin (12:25 PM)
Scott: I would guess the Cornhuskers could end up facing a team like Iowa or TCU if they should win the Big 12 title game. And if that was to happen, I would think the Longhorns likely would be headed to the Sugar against an SEC team, although they could also drop to the Orange Bowl.
Its been a strange season. A lot of people are knocking Texas's resume for lacking a marquee victory, but in looking at the other top teams I don't see anyone with a marquee victory. Clemson and Oregon both have two losses. LSU and Ole Miss have three. If you want to count Utah and BYU they both have 2 losses as well. How much is Texas hurt by the fact that the best team they beat has the word 'State' in it?
Tim Griffin (12:30 PM)
Eddie: I do think that's the national perception. The Longhorns are a great unknown for much of the season. It will be interesting to see how they perform in the next three games.
Rico Suave (Notre Dame, IN)
Couple of questions about the A&M backfield: What does Jerrod Johnson need to do to beat UT? How much of an impact will Michael be against a dominant UT defense that stuffs the run?
Tim Griffin (12:32 PM)
Rico: Johnson needs to be patient and stay away from mistakes to have success against Texas' strong defense and particularly its secondary. I expect the Aggies will really struggle running the ball against Texas' defensive front. Michael is going to be in for an eye-opening experience when he faces them.
Sara ((Rlaeigh, NC))
If you were Mack Brown, who would be your starting running back based on what you've seen this season? I think he got it right with Newton.
Tim Griffin (12:33 PM)
Sara: I do, too. I think Newton is the best game-breaking threat he's got back there. I think they were a little concerned with his pass-blocking skills and the injury set him back. Or else, he might already be starting.
Thomas (Columbia, MO)
Who is the best first year QB, or second string QB that is playing in the Big 12 this year?
Tim Griffin (12:34 PM)
Thomas: Best first-year quarterback for me has been Blaine Gabbert, followed closely by Taylor Potts. And whoever doesn't start at Tech has been the most solid quarterback this season -- either Sheffield or Potts.
Matt (KC MO)
Tim, what's your favorite place to eat next weekend when your in Dallas? Might I suggest Billy Bob's from the movie Necessary Roughness. Its the only bar with its own professional bullride?n ring. Sorry, Sinbad and Scott Bakula won?t be there this time.
Tim Griffin (12:36 PM)
Matt: Bunch of places I like in Dallas. Used to live there a long time ago. I really like Campisi's for Italian food. And with the game being in Arlington, I might swing to Fort Worth for some killer Mexican food at Joe T. Garcia's. It's definitely worth the trip.
Travis C. (Lake Highlands)
Tim, both Texas and OU are losing a LOT of talent next year. Will they still be the top teams in the Big 12, or do you project another team to the rise to the top, and who would that be?
Tim Griffin (12:37 PM)
Travis: Keep an eye out for Nebraska in the North. They should be better next year, even losing Suh if Helu comes back. OU and Texas will be good again. But keep an eye out for A&M -- all those freshman playing this year will be sophomores. And Tech will be salty, too, with both QBs back.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
How many (if any) awards do you think Suh will end up with at the end of the season? Does it still depend on his production in the next few games or do you think he is a lock for any of them already?
Tim Griffin (12:38 PM)
Josh: From talking to a lot of national writers over the last week to 10 days, I think it's a strong consensus that Suh is one of the best -- if not the best player in the country. We'll see that when the awards start coming out.
Chris R (Colorado)
Final, difinitive word? Is Hawkins stay or go? I hear they want him out, the only issue is the 3 plus million in the buyout.
Tim Griffin (12:39 PM)
Chris: I've heard the same thing. I also hear the buyout is the sticking point.
Jon (Raleigh NC)
If Mangino is out, do you see Kansas hiring Turner Gill?
Tim Griffin (12:40 PM)
Jon: Seems like everything is stacking against Mangino, but he seems like he's ready to fight it. If he leaves, Gill would be a wise choice. Also keep an eye out for Skip Holtz, who Lew Perkins knows well from his days at UConn.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Tim, You made the comparison to the 1996 game that Texas upset Nebraska. That Texas team was loaded with NfL talent such as Priest Holmes, Ricky Williams, Bryant Westbrook, Dan Niel, Casy Hampton, Leonord Davis and Sean Rogers. Does Nebraska have that kind of tallent to spring an upset?
Tim Griffin (12:41 PM)
Blake: What about Suh, Asante, Crick, Helu and Henery? All those guys will be playing on Sundays? I think it's a long shot, but Nebraska's got a chance.
Eric P (Omaha, NE)
Its been rumored that Carl Pelini (the D Coord at Nebraska) will take the Youngstown State Head Coaching job if its offered to him. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Tim Griffin (12:42 PM)
Eric: Surprised he would go for that job, although it is home for him. And Youngstown is one of the better FCS jobs out there. But I would think if he stayed at Nebraska for a couple of years, his name would get out more.
You did not answer Travis's Q that was posted above about Texas and OU and next year?
Tim Griffin (12:44 PM)
Bruce: Sorry, I guess it didn't post. Texas and Oklahoma both will be the favorites next year in the South. I think Gilbert and Jones will turn into solid college players. But I do think the fact that Tech will have both quarterbacks returning along with all of the A&M talent back will make for a closer race in the South.
Phil (McCool Jct NE)
Hey what about Jon question about Turner Gill?
Tim Griffin (12:45 PM)
Gill makes sense at Nebraska. His daughter is going to school there now. But I sense he's not as hot this season in the coaching circles because of Buffalo's struggles this year. Look for Skip Holtz or maybe Nolan Cromwell there as well.
Jacob (Aledo, TX)
Still waiting on your thoughts about A&M's bowl opportunities with a win over Texas!
Tim Griffin (12:46 PM)
Jacob: The Aggies could soar all the way to the Alamo Bowl if they upset the Longhorns. I don't see it happening and think a more likely location with be the Insight, Independence or Texas bowls.
JP (Omaha, NE)
In your opinion, how does the Big XII stack up against some of the other conferences like the Pac-10, SEC or ACC? Is there starting to be a narrowing of the gap a little bit or are those other conferences still a bit ahead of the curve?
Tim Griffin (12:47 PM)
JP: Last year, I would have said the conference was right with them. But the Big 12 appears to have taken a step back this season with some of the injuries and suspensions. I think the SEC and Pac-10 are the two best conferences this season.
Top three Big 12 Coaches are?
Tim Griffin (12:48 PM)
For this season: Snyder, Rhoads, Gundy. If I was hiring to build a program: Stoops, Snyder, Brown.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Could we see Leach to Louisville and Briles to Texas Tech?
Tim Griffin (12:49 PM)
Blake: I'm hearing those rumors about Leach to Louisville. Would make sense for a couple or reasons. He would have a better shot at the national championship there than beating his head against Texas and Oklahoma every year in the Big 12 South. Tom Jurich will pay BIG money to get him there. And I hear he likes the lifestyle there after spending some time at Kentucky. If he was to leave, I would think Gerald Myers' replacement list would start and stop with Briles.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Tim, how much longer do you think Dan Hawkins will have to turn it around at Colorado?
Tim Griffin (12:50 PM)
Craig: How about 48 hours?
How did the perception that the Tigers don't travel begin? I know several people who go to ALL the games, home and away. In fact, we had hundreds of fans who circled the Nevada game as their vacation.We sold out the Cotton Bowl in an hour and a half. The only game I know of that we had a poor showing was the Big XII Championship last year. The Sonners were on a roll and many fans didn't want to watch the slaughter in the cold.
Tim Griffin (12:52 PM)
Tiger: Fans have got to learn to take one for the team when you are playing in a championship game. I know Missouri has traveled well to select events over the years. I also think they would do well for the Cotton Bowl. But it will be interesting to see what the bowl selection people think.
Brandy (Omaha, NE)
I'm a little worried about the Nebraska D-Line against Colorado. They don't typically rotate much with only 6 guys seeing much playing time. Do you think with the altitude in Boulder the lack of depth is a concern?
Tim Griffin (12:53 PM)
Brandy: I noticed that last week with the limited substitution pattern the Brothers Pelini had for their grouping. They might need to lengthen it by a couple or three players at altitude.
Ben (San Antonio)
Last year we talked about C Weis.......You said he would not be fired...I said he would. If I'm right...who will be the most likely replacement?
Tim Griffin (12:54 PM)
Ben: I'm hearing Brian Kelly. Or how about Jon Gruden to bring a little sizzle back>
ryan (canton ohio)
There has been much speculation about ND's future coach. The top 3 coaches that ND would like to have is Meyer, Stoops, or Kelly. If ND cannot get one of them, would they consider keeping Weis?
Tim Griffin (12:54 PM)
Ryan: No. I think they are adamant about a change, no matter who it might turn up.
Mike S (CT)
Tim, should the Cowboys beat Oklahoma this weekend, do you feel that they are worthy of a BCS berth? As a fan with no horse in the race, I'm not sold on their body of work, especially if said bid would come at the expense of a 12-0 Boise State team.
Tim Griffin (12:55 PM)
Mike: I definitely believe they are worthy and I'm hearing the Fiesta Bowl people think so, too. Don't discount the connection they have with the Big 12.
Owen (Austin, TX)
What does Texas A&M have to do to have a chance of pulling an upset against Texas?
Tim Griffin (12:56 PM)
Owen: Maybe have the Longhorns stay at that same hotel that Dinish Patel was managing in 1999? Seriously, A&M has to play mistake-free football. It would help them to get ahead so they could get the crowd into the game. And they need to be able to run the ball consistently in order to balance their offense. And that's going to be tough against the Longhorns' top-ranked defense.
Who is the best first year QB, or second string QB that is playing in the Big 12 this year?
Tim Griffin (12:58 PM)
Thomas: Best first-year quarterback is Gabbert, followed by Potts. Best second-string QB is whoever is not starting at Tech.
Phil (McCool Jct NE)
Hey Tim I home on break for the rest of the week and have nothing to do but sit around watch football and eat leftover turkey sandwiches. Which games should I be watching this weekend, other than NU vs. CU or bedlam that is.
Tim Griffin (12:59 PM)
I might also look at Texas-A&M for the rivalry and the shot at a possible upset. Kansas-Mizzou should be interesting because of all the stuff around the KU program. And the national rivalry games should be interesting, too. Like FSU-Florida, Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-Georgia Tech.l
Pellini always looks like he's about to have a stroke when he gets angry. Do you prefer this coaching style to the silent stoic Tom Obsorne days?
Tim Griffin (1:00 PM)
Mark: It's certainly more colorful and I think the Huskers feed off his attitude. I like both styles.
DAVE (LANCASTER, CA)
TIM, NOW THAT LONG HAS BEEN LET GO BY SDSU, DO YOU THINK SNYDER WILL COME CALLING?
Tim Griffin (1:01 PM)
Dave: After watching them last week, I think KSU needs more firepower on offense. That will come from recruiting better players. Considering everything, I think the Wildcats got a lot of the Gregory/Banks/Thomas personnel group. They would have gone to a bowl game if they hadn't played those two cream puffs in the non-conference part of the season.
Eric P (Omaha, NE)
Whats your thoughts on Dan Hawkins stating that he shouldnt have recruited his son?
Tim Griffin (1:02 PM)
Eric: Hindsight being 20-20, I don't think I'd ever want to coach my son in a position like Hawkins is facing. Too much "conflama," to steal a word from him.
Is the Baylor-Texas Tech game at the Cotton Bowl during the Fair next year?
Tim Griffin (1:03 PM)
Matt: No, I believe it will be late in the season again.
Tim Griffin (1:04 PM)
Thanks again to all 400 questioners. I appreciate them all. Have a happy Thanksgiving and we'll meet up again next week.