Chat with Richard Durrett
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN Dallas reporter Richard Durrett stops by to chat about everything to do with the Dallas-Fort Worth sports scene.
Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009 and writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. He spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.
Send your questions now and join Durrett on Thursday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Richard Durrett (3:01 PM)
Hey, everyone. Let's talk about whatever sports topics are on your mind.
Douglas (Marshall, Texas)
Richard, if TCU beats Boise and runs the table next year do you think the BCS will find a way to keep them out of the title game?
Richard Durrett (3:04 PM)
With the BCS, anything is possible. So TCU going undefeated next year won't guarantee them anything. That said, the Fiesta Bowl is huge for TCU. A win means they likely start the 2010 season in the top 5 and ahead of Boise. A loss and they probably start in the top 10, but behind Boise as both teams don't lose too many starters. That's the problem with this system: A bowl game after the 2009 season could impact whether you play for a national title in 2010. That's what happens when you don't have a playoff system. But I do think if TCU wins and runs the table next season that it's going to be tough to keep them out (unless a Big 12 team and SEC team go undefeated...oh wait, that's what happened this year).
Jay (Forth Worth)
Hey, which bowl games are you going to try and attend this year?
Richard Durrett (3:05 PM)
Jay, I'm headed to Shreveport for the Independence Bowl and I'll go to the Fiesta Bowl. Because I'm leaving on Jan 1 to go to Phoenix, I'll miss the Cotton Bowl, which I normally attend.
Daniel (Nashville, TN)
Where do you see the Rangers' payroll in 2011? Is it clear that this new ownership group no longer considers this franchise as a small market team?
Richard Durrett (3:06 PM)
That's tough to say. I do think new ownership will spend some more money. But if you're thinking the payroll is going to explode, I'd say tap the brakes on that. I wouldn't try to put a figure on it, but I think it will be higher than the $65 million or so they have to work with now. But it won't be the Yankees or Red Sox or anything like that, either.
What's your assessment of the Ranger recent addition... Rich Harden? I have major concerns with his health.
Richard Durrett (3:07 PM)
It's a classic risk-reward. Everyone I've talked to say this guy has No. 1-starter stuff. Michael Young told me on Wednesday that Harden had the best stuff he'd seen. That's really saying something. He's got a great splitter and knows how to strike out a hitter. But what he hasn't done is stay healthy. That's the big risk here. I think it's one worth taking. You don't get a chance to get a guy with ace-type stuff every day. He does seem quite focused on staying healthy. Let's hope he can do it.
How would you rank the AL west teams for 2010?
Richard Durrett (3:09 PM)
Oh boy. That's tough. The Angels are the team to beat because of their history. But I'd put Seattle and Texas right in the mix with Oakland getting better. I like what Texas has done thus far, but they can't match the 1-2 punch on the mound of Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. Look out for the Mariners.
Dennis (Denton, TX)
Hey Richard! How you liking your new job? Which local team do you think will be the next championship to the DFW area?
Richard Durrett (3:11 PM)
Hi, Dennis. I like the new job. We hope you like the site. Two years ago, I might have said the Stars. But they are very inconsistent and don't look like a true championship contender right now. The Mavs have some talent, but it's a tough Western Conference. Same with the Rangers, who are getting better. But can they really beat the Yankees at this point, let alone get out of the division? As for the Cowboys....so I guess that doesn't answer your question. I'll say a TCU national championship in 2010. How about that?
Javier (Katy, Texas)
What is it going to take to make the players play to their potential?The Cowboys have a bunch of talented guys but I see no emotion on the sidelines by the coaches at all. I see the head coach just standing there looking puzzled.
Richard Durrett (3:12 PM)
You would think that a hefty paycheck and the chance to play in the NFL and in a new stadium would be plenty to get players fired up and playing up to their level. But it isn't. You need coaches to get them ready and help them find that potential.
Richard, do you think the cowboys can actually pull if off saturday? And if so, what would be the keys for them
Richard Durrett (3:13 PM)
JR, I'd like to be more positive about it, but frankly, I think the Saints are going to crush Dallas. I hope I'm wrong, but New Orleans still has a bunch to play for, starting with that undefeated season. Red zone scoring is critical for Dallas. They can't move the ball and not score TDs or at least make field goals (and it looks like Nick Folk will get another chance) against the Saints.
With the new ownership change im reading there wont be an increase of payroll this off-season but maybe mid year trades if Rangers are contending could add to payroll going into next year, so how much if any change do you see the payroll going to?
Richard Durrett (3:15 PM)
I do think there might be some additional money in time for the July trade deadline. That would give Jon Daniels some flexibility to make his team better. As for 2011, we'll just have to see. How the team does this year could certainly impact that number. But Chuck Greenberg said that if the team wants to make a deal, money won't get in the way. But they want to be smart about it too.
Are the rangers gaining or losing ground to the angels?
Richard Durrett (3:15 PM)
I still think they are gaining ground on the Angels. The offseason isn't over, so we'll see. The problem is that the Mariners are getting better too. The whole division is improving.
If the Cowboys do not make the playoffs will JErry get rid of Garrett and Wade?
Richard Durrett (3:16 PM)
You would think so. Jones is paying a lot of money for that team and they aren't doing the job. It's a lot easier ot change coaches than players. So I would think Wade is gone. Maybe Garrett too. We'll see.
cowboy daryle (california)
Is D Ware going to play or is this a gametime decision
Richard Durrett (3:17 PM)
We don't know yet. Ware practiced some today. It seems like he wants to play, but you don't fool around with a sprained neck. If the doctors don't clear him, he's not playing. If they do, we'll see. The Cowboys sure need him for Saturday's game.
get rid of phillips, get mike shannon
Marco (Austin, Texas)
Hello Mr. Durrett! Love your work! Do you think there is any way possible that the Cowboys do change the running back rotation for this week's game? Also, why don't the Boys use more screens, slants, and bubble screens to Felix and Ogletree that have worked so well in the past?
Richard Durrett (3:19 PM)
I'll forward your thoughts to Jason Garrett. I can't think the rotation would change much. Remember, it's not just the running backs. The offensive line has to do the job. I've seen where folks aren't happy that Marion Barber didn't find a way to get in the end zone from the 1 and I get that. But the line didn't exactly open up a hole, either. Both have to be better this weekend.
Georgia Fan (Cleveland,TN)
Who do you think wins the Independence Bowl?
Richard Durrett (3:20 PM)
That's a tough one. I would probably say Georgia, but I think the Aggies will keep it close. It should be a shootout as both defenses have had issues. Both teams have played well at times and poorly at times. Should be interesting.
Joshua (Ft. Worth)
If the Mike Lowell deal falls through, who should the Rangers go after? Vlad? Thome? Dye? Someone else?
Richard Durrett (3:21 PM)
I'd be fine with any of those three guys, though I think Guerrero wants a two-year deal and I don't know if the Rangers can do that. Dye would be a nice fit.
Saw your article on the Big 10 expansion and how it might affect TCU. Since then the PAC 10 has said that it would consider expansion. What affect do you think that would have on TCU? Do you think that TCU would be a good candidate for the PAC 10 to expand its footprint all the way to where the West begins in Fort Worth?
Richard Durrett (3:23 PM)
The west does, in fact, begin in Fort Worth. Thanks for that. I think inviting TCU would be smart of the Pac-10. And the Frogs would have to jump at that chance. I'm not sure I see the Pac-10 getting into Texas like that, but it would be interesting. The travel isn't a huge concern -- TCU travels all over the place now. But if they expand, I would think it will be someone closer to the other schools than TCU.
you covered all the has beens Joshua
Kyle (College Station, TX)
Have you talked to anyone in the Rangers clubhouse, specifically hitters, about having to face King Felix and Lee next year?
Richard Durrett (3:24 PM)
Not yet. I talked to several of them about both of those guys for some stories last year and all of them talked about how tough they are to face. It won't be easy.
Do you really think Cliff Lee is going to be able to make that big of difference? He's back in the American League playing for a team with questionable defense and offense without some additional moves. They gave up a lot for 1 year of Lee. If he's not staying in Phil, certainly he's not staying in Seattle.
Richard Durrett (3:25 PM)
I would agree they gave up some young players for Lee. But I do think it will help them in 2010. He can pitch. Yes, the team still has some holes. But he will make a big difference.
Got Barber on my FF team, should i drop him for a Giants RB?
Richard Durrett (3:26 PM)
No. Stick with him. I sense a bounce back outing from him.
Nelson (lubbock, tx til saturday)
Do you think SMU will revert to mean and become a powerhouse in the near future??
Richard Durrett (3:28 PM)
I think SMU is on the way up. They play in a very winable conference and are ahead of schedule with a winning record and a bowl game this year. June Jones knows what he'd doing and is recruiting. They are getting there and will continue to progress.
Any comments on new hitting coach Clint Hurdle? He's trying to replace a local legend.
Richard Durrett (3:29 PM)
We (a few writers and radio guys) were able to sit down with him on Tuesday. I'll be blogging about that over the next few days. I do think he's taking the right approach. We'll see how it translates to the field.
Dylan Acosta (College Station)
Richard, is there any word on a big pay day for Miles Austin? I am sure there has got to be some contract talks right?
Richard Durrett (3:31 PM)
I'm sure the Cowboys will have to consider it. You want to have the right timing there. Both sides have to decide if this is the right time. But he's got a lot of confidence and is playing well.
Richard Durrett (3:31 PM)
Thanks, everyone. We'll talk some more next week. Join me Saturday for a Stars in-game chat as they take on the Red Wings. BTW, Brandon from "Defending Big D" will be joining me.