Happy “Black Friday.” Given the choice, I’ll always dig deep into my mailbag to answer a few of your questions rather than battle the traffic around the malls.
So here goes. Thanks again for keeping me inside and busy today.
Jameson Baker of College Station, Texas, writes: Tim, what do you think about the San Antonio newspaper saying that Texas A&M might be selected for the Alamo Bowl if the Big 12 gets two in the BCS? Is it just wishful thinking or do you think there is a possibility?
Tim Griffin: Heading into Saturday’s games, if Oklahoma State and Texas end up in the BCS, here’s how I would handicap the best chances for the Big 12 and its bowl partners. I’m also assuming that Missouri beats Kansas to deny the Jayhawks a bowl berth.
BCS: Texas and Oklahoma State. Cotton: Nebraska. Holiday: Texas Tech. That would leave the Alamo with the likely choice of Missouri, which would have finished 8-4. But the Tigers have been to San Antonio in each of the past two seasons, after meeting Oklahoma in the 2007 Big 12 title game and playing Northwestern in the 2008 Alamo Bowl. So it’s understandable the Alamo Bowl might be a little leery about inviting them again. The teams that would have qualified for bowl games include Oklahoma, Iowa State and Texas A&M. With the Aggies' traditional appeal, I could see why there might be some interest, despite A&M being blown out by Oklahoma and having a record that would be two games worse than Missouri’s.
The Big 12 doesn’t require its bowl partners to take teams according to their records. So it’s understandable why Texas A&M might be more interesting to the Alamo Bowl rather than Missouri or any of the other possible teams.
Rajesh Solanki from Carrollton, Texas, writes: Tim, I would like to ask one thing. Many people are saying that with Colt McCoy winning over Texas A&M he has solidified his Heisman trophy. But why is it such an accomplishment to win over the Big 12’s last ranked defense?
Tim Griffin: Rajesh, you were correct about A&M’s struggling defense. But McCoy’s numbers -- 304 yards passing and a career-best 175 yards rushing -- were impressive if he was playing a pee-wee team. And considering the struggles of Mark Ingram Friday against Auburn, strong games in November aren’t to be assumed by Heisman candidates anywhere.
Brad Stephenson from Osage, Okla., writes: Tim, what has been your biggest surprise and biggest disappointment in the Big 12 this season?
Tim Griffin: Brad, I think the biggest positive surprises have been the bowl bid for Iowa State under first-year coach Paul Rhoads, Kansas State’s surprise challenge for the Big 12 North title and the way that Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has kept his team together despite the loss of key producers like Dez Bryant, Kendall Hunter, Orie Lemon and Jamal Mosley for much of the season. And the biggest disappointment has been Oklahoma. The injuries to Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham have been the major reason the Sooners have limped to a 6-5 record this season -- already the worst regular-season record in Bob Stoops’ 11-season coaching tenure there.
Broc Ward from California writes: As a long time Longhorns fan, I appreciate Texas going with an aggressive no-huddle offense against an equally aggressive and defense that seemed to grow in confidence Aggie defense. It was a smart move for both teams.
Tim Griffin: I agree with you. I thought Texas' use of a no-huddle offense countered the Aggies’ unexpected blitzing. McCoy told me after the game that A&M blitzed only about 30 percent of the time in their studies before the game. McCoy said that the Aggies blitzed on at least half of their plays in Thursday night’s game.
McCoy was able to effectively use the quarterback draws which sparked his big rushing game. But I really enjoyed watching the chess match between Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis and veteran Texas A&M defensive coordinator Joe Kines. It was really interesting to watch.
Josh Newman from Overland Park, Kan., writes: I understand that the Missouri/Kansas "Border War" matchup at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday doesn't have the excitement it has garnered in the past, but it's worth mentioning that it will display three of the top four wide receivers in the Big 12. Not to mention, it's one of the top rivalries in all of collegiate sports. Couple that with the fact that the KU athletic department is in flux (to say the least). Mark Mangino may very well be coaching his last game as a Jayhawk! All this from a KSU alum who's already focused on basketball!
Tim Griffin: I agree that the Missouri-Nebraska game will be interesting. The collection of Kerry Meier, Dez Bryant and Danario Alexander will provide some of the best receivers in one game in college football this season. Like you mentioned, there’s been a lot of speculation about Mangino’s job security. And the rivalry should be just as heated as usual -- simply because it’s Missouri and Kansas.
I know I can’t wait to watch the game tomorrow -- along with all of the rest. And I think the rest of Big 12 fans are with me on this one.
Thanks again for the questions and we’ll answer a few more next week.