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Big 12 mailbag: Don't expect changes in Big 12's divisions

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Happy Friday afternoon. Here are some of the better questions I received this week in my mailbag.

Roger Simmons from Kansas City, Mo., writes: Hey Tim, I enjoyed the speculation you started about a change in the Big 12’s divisional structure. I know you provided some reasons for the potential of a change.

Now, do you really think we’ll ever see an alteration?

Tim Griffin: Roger, truthfully, no. The league has too many good matchups of teams in the same divisions that would be lost if there ever was a change.

I think league officials are cognizant of that. And that’s why I don’t think we’ll ever see a change. The opportunity of missing out on Texas-Texas A&M, Kansas-Missouri or Oklahoma-Oklahoma State will keep the league’s current divisional structure around, in my opinion.

So expect the North/South divisional arrangement to stay around for a few more years.


Steven Thompson from Beaumont, Texas, writes: Hey Tim, I liked your list of 10 most feared Big 12 players. But where were Sean Weatherspoon and Von Miller. Both seem to be able to produce some fear in Big 12 opposition and probably in you, too.

What gives?

Tim Griffin: Steven, I found it hard to put Weatherspoon on the list because he’s such a kind, garrulous guy off the field. Although he’s a hitting machine, Weatherspoon is the kind of person I’d like to have for my next-door neighbor. I know he’s already a reporter’s dream for his comments. Maybe I should have separated those ideas and just considered him as a hitting machine on defense.

It's the same for Von Miller. I know he's got a lot of sacks. But as far as some of the real intimidators in the conference, I think those guys aren't as scary to me as some of the big bruisers down the trenches like Brandon Carter or Gerald McCoy.

Not meaning to say I'd like to make any of them mad, however.


Devin from Norman, Okla., writes: Tim, do you think Oklahoma will make it back into the BCS Rankings with three losses? Oklahoma is still listed on the AP, ESPN Fan Poll, and many other polls, but not the BCS. Would a convincing win over Oklahoma State help? Keep in mind, Oklahoma has only lost by a combined score of five points in three losses... I think Oklahoma is still most definitely the 2nd best team in the Big XII, and truthfully, I believe they outplayed Texas, regardless of the score in Dallas.

Tim Griffin: If Oklahoma keeps winning, I think it will be impossible for them to stay out of the BCS poll. The reason is like you said. Their record does have three losses, but they are by a combined five points. As other teams around the country would start to lose, I would expect the Sooners will be able to jump back into the poll.

But as far as them being the second-best team in the conference, that will have to wait until Oklahoma State loses. I think as long as the Cowboys have a better record, they will be ranked ahead of the Sooners.


Justin from Austin writes: Hey Tim, I was wondering what your early thoughts are about Garrett Gilbert of Texas. From what I’ve seen, he needs a lot of work before he is game ready, but then again, I am no real football expert. Or even better, how about all of the new quarterback faces we’ll have to learn next season. What’s your take on them?

Tim Griffin: I haven’t seen much of Gilbert from his limited playing time with the Longhorns. I know the Longhorn coaches are very excited about his chance for progress in the future. But truthfully, we haven't seen him play in anything but mop-up roles in his career. We likely won't learn much about him until the spring when he is pressed into duty replacing Colt McCoy.

As far as the young quarterbacks across the league, I’ve been impressed obviously with Landry Jones of Oklahoma, who has received the opportunity for extensive playing time since Sam Bradford’s injury. And Steven Sheffield from Texas Tech, although he’s a junior, will challenge for the starting job next season.

Blaine Gabbert of Missouri has impressed me as a tough and resourceful leader who has played despite an aching ankle. And I’ve been most impressed with Nebraska quarterback Cody Green in his limited playing time with the Cornhuskers. I know he hasn’t been able to be out Zac Lee – yet – but Green seems to have the tools as a runner and thrower to boost the Cornhuskers once he gets more experience with their offense.


Jeff from Pennsylvania writes: Colt McCoy seems to be the front runner for the Heisman in a lot of people’s minds. But after looking at his performances this season, is college football really willing to give the Heisman to a quarterback who has thrown at least one interception in every game this season?

Tim Griffin: Jeff, it will be interested to see if that does happen. As you said, McCoy has thrown an interception in every game this season in a streak that dates back to last season’s Fiesta Bowl. That’s the longest active streak of any quarterback in college football. Georgia’s Joe Cox is the only other quarterback who has thrown an interception in every one of his team’s games this season.

But if Texas runs the table and McCoy plays well down the stretch, I think he’ll be right in the Heisman mix. No candidate has run away from the other contenders. So I think that McCoy can charge back into competition if he builds on his strong game last week against Missouri.


William Ford from Hot Springs, Ark., writes: Tim, which assistant coaches in the Big 12 do you think might get a shot at a head coaching job over the off-season? Any that you see are particularly ready?

Tim Griffin: Good question, William. I know that both of Oklahoma’s coordinators – Brent Venables and Kevin Wilson – are right there. I also have heard that Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warriner has interviewed well for previous jobs. Even with his team’s recent offensive struggles, I would think Nebraska's Shawn Watson will get another shot to be a head coach someday.

I think those four candidates are the most likely choices to be in the mix for some head jobs that will be opening after the season.

Thanks again for all of the good questions and enjoy Halloween tomorrow night. It should be a great night to mix football and ghosts and goblins. Check back again on Tuesday night and I’ll have some more answers to your questions.