Tim's mailbag: Where's the love for Colt McCoy?
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a group of representative letters I received this week. Hope I answered them to everybody's satisfaction.
Heck from Austin writes: Can you or anybody else please tell me why Colt McCoy is riding behind all of the Big 12 quarterbacks? Colt matches numbers with Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel very well. The guy up at Tech is just a Tech quarterback. Colt is being treated like Rodney Dangerfield by the media because they can't believe how hard he is to stop. I hope somebody is surprised after this. I am firmly confident it won't be me.
Tim Griffin: Heck, I think that Colt still is being penalized by some national writers because of his struggles down the stretch last season. Most still remember that and also are factoring in Texas' less-than-stellar array of opponents in Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Rice, Arkansas and Colorado. That group currently is ranked 101st, 103rd, 115th, 87th and 61st in total defense in the NCAA's most recent statistical rankings.
If McCoy has big games and the Longhorns knock off Oklahoma and Missouri the next two weeks, I'm firmly convinced will be talking about McCoy as the Heisman frontrunner in two weeks. But that's a fairly big if, in my opinion.
John from Broken Arrow, Okla. writes: What chance do you give Oklahoma State this weekend against Missouri?
Tim Griffin: I think it's going to be very tough for them, particularly defensively. The Cowboys haven't faced any offense nearly as prolific as Missouri's, which hasn't had a three-and-out all season with Chase Daniel in control.
Oklahoma State is going to need to really dominate in special teams, which is a tough chore with Jeremy Maclin and Jeff Wolfert playing for the Tigers.
That being said, I still think that the Cowboys' offense will be troublesome. This will be a great game to watch on television and I think it will likely become a shootout. First team to 60 will win.
Will from Austin writes: I believe you had zero Texas Longhorns on your preseason All-Big 12 conference list. Are you ready to blow the whistle on yourself and say you vastly underrated this team?
Tim Griffin: Yes I will. I labored on whether to include Brian Orkapo on my original team. He was coming off knee surgery and everything I had heard from people in the North Division was that Ian Campbell was ready for a huge season for Kansas State. Guess that's what I get for listening and asking opinions.
But I still think the only Longhorns who are deserving first-team status so far are Orakpo and defensive tackle Roy Miller and maybe Cedric Dockery. I can see Chykie Brown developing into that kind of player, but just not this season.
As well as Colt McCoy is playing, there's still some debate whether you could pick Chase Daniel, Sam Bradford or even Graham Harrell at quarterback. I think the All-Big 12 team will be determined by how teams finish the season rather than how they started.
Smokey Bear from Loganville, Ga., writes: In the first two quarters of the game, a Missouri player hit the Nebraska player very late and no flag was called. And it was a serious hit. The hit with (Nebraska defensive Zach) Potter and Chase Daniel was barely a hit. What gives?
Tim Griffin: Smokey, I don't know what your definition of hit really is, but if you saw the helmet-to-helmet hit on Chase Daniel was pretty brutal. I was surprised that Daniel got up as quickly as he did.
That being said, I was also very surprised by the discrepancy in penalties in that game. Very rarely do you see something as one-sided as a 14-1 edge like Missouri had over Nebraska.
But it definitely gave Bo Pelini some teaching points in his bid to eradicate sloppy football out of his Nebraska program. And he's got the kind of job on that would make the Pied Piper flinch before he got all of the rats out of Hamelin.
Sandy from Austin writes: Tim, I appreciate your articles on the Big 12. Despite living in Austin I graduated from Texas Tech. What do you think that the Red Raiders' record will be when all the dust settles?
Tim Griffin: I've seen Tech play twice this season and have been impressed with the Red Raiders' defensive development, their improved running game and a new mean streak that seemed to be missing since Dwayne Slay left the program.
But I still think that the Red Raiders will lose in Oklahoma and it wouldn't be surprised if they lose to Texas in Lubbock. That would put them 10-2 and likely have them in the Holiday Bowl.
John from Denver writes: There are a lot of Kansas State fans like me out there like me who, at this point in the season, are realizing that Prince's program has jumped the shark. I've actually been rooting for the Cats to lose since last season when I couldn't see anything in Prince's future besides (at BEST) marginal, sporadic bowl appearances. Unfortunately, the Texas A&M, Iowa State and Colorado could mean victory notches for KSU, which would allow a non-losing season. If they win three conference games this season, do you think Prince will be in Manhattan next year?
Tim Griffin: John, I think it would be hard for the Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause to fire Prince if the Wildcats make a bowl trip. But I'm not sure there are three wins out there for the team I saw last weekend against Texas Tech. Their defense was sporadic at best and will assuredly struggle against Iowa State. Texas A&M could give them problems if the Aggies can get a lead and are able to run the ball, which every other team in the league should be able to do. I think it's going to be a tough season for Ron Prince and the Wildcats down the stretch.
If they don't make a bowl trip, it would be two seasons in a row without a December game. And it would be much easier to jettison Prince after that scenario.
The atmosphere around KSU last weekend struck me as something I had never experienced during my history of covering them. I've been going to Manhattan since the earliest days of the Big 12.
It just seemed very uninspired to me, which was surprising to me on Harley Day, usually one of the most boisterous games of the year. You could almost sense it when I was talking with some tailgaters on my way into the stadium. There was very little traffic coming over from Kansas City. It was the easiest drive I've ever had heading for Manhattan. And it got worse after the game got started. I bet there were less than 5,000 fans still remaining in the stadium at the end of the game. Several press box wags were describing the scene as reminding them of the pre-Bill Snyder days of the late 1980s when Stan Parrish was still coaching there.
That apathy can't remain. And I'm betting that Krause would make a change if it gets worse before it gets better.
Alvino from Corpus Christi writes: Tim, do you think Texas has a chance against a very good OU team? OU has shown some weakness in the offensive line.
Tim Griffin: Alvin, I think that Texas has a puncher's chance of stealing an upset against the Sooners. The Sooners
' offensive line struggled against TCU and they will face more imposing athletes this week in players like Orakpo and Miller.
I think the secret for Texas will be to develop another running threat besides McCoy and to dominate the special teams. This is be a game where Chris Ogbonnaya, Fozzy Whittaker or Cody Johnson needs to step up. Texas can't beat Oklahoma if McCoy leads the Longhorns in rushing.
The Sooners have been susceptible to long kickoff returns. They will need some big effort and I think this could be the area that determines the game. If Oklahoma plays Texas to a push in the special teams, I think the Sooners win.
Chris from St. Louis writes: Before the year, everyone seemed to think that the toughest four-game stretch all year was Georgia with LSU, Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn. If you ask me, I think it's pretty clear that that torch has now been passed to Texas. According to this week's coaches' poll, the Longhorns will be playing #1 Oklahoma, #2 Missouri, #17 Oklahoma State, and #7 Texas Tech in a row. Their combined record? 20-0. Do you agree that this is the toughest four-game stretch for any team in the nation?
Tim Griffin: Yes I do, which is why I think that McCoy could zoom ahead in the Heisman with a sweep. But I'm betting the Longhorns will likely go 2-2 in those games. When it all shakes out, I predict their wins will come over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
Again, thanks for all the correspondence and keep the questions coming. I'll be interested. Enjoy the games this week.
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
11:00 AM ET Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette 2:20 PM ET Utah State UTEP 3:30 PM ET 22 Utah Colorado State 5:45 PM ET Western Michigan Air Force 9:15 PM ET South Alabama Bowling Green
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State