Tim's mailbag: Why Crabtree-to-Harrell was so memorable

November, 4, 2008
11/04/08
7:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here's another batch of e-mails from this week.

Sean from San Antonio writes: Can you tell me if I'm right or not on this? If Texas wins against Baylor, and Notre Dame loses this week, Texas (3rd) will tie the Irish for 2nd most in all-time wins (829).

Tim Griffin: Sean, you are correct. Here's the current list of all-time victories heading into this weekend.


Michigan: 871
Notre Dame: 829
Texas: 828
Nebraska: 813
Ohio State: 804
Penn State: 797
Alabama : 796


Jeff from Horseshoe Bay, Texas writes: Tim, are you crazy? How can you say that the Harrell-Crabtree reception last week was the biggest play in the history of the Big 12? What about Vince Young's run against USC or James Brown's fourth-down pass in the Big 12 championship game in 1996 against Nebraska to Derek Lewis. Those were pretty monumental, too.

Tim Griffin: I got several e-mails like this over the course of the last several days after I called Crabtree's catch the biggest play in Big 12 history. I think it is for several reasons. First, was the sheer magnitude of the play for Texas Tech. It enabled the Red Raiders to jump into the national championship mix, beating a No. 1 team on the verge of becoming the first team in 65 years to beat four top-12 teams in a row. It snapped a five-game losing streak to Texas and came before the largest home crowd in the history of Jones AT&T Stadium.

It was also a game-settling play with one second left. Young's run, although big and winning the national championship, did have to hold up after a Texas defensive stand later in the game. Heck, an even bigger play in that game could have been Pete Carroll deciding to call a timeout in his unsuccessful stop to let Texas go for two points on the next play. Considering how the Trojans moved the ball on the ensuing possession, I bet Carroll still wishes he had that timeout at the end of the game to have helped set up a field goal.

But I digress. And certainly if some readers don't agree it was the biggest, I certainly think that the Crabtree-Harrell hookup was the most dramatic. Like I said, many people who were watching that game on television are going to remember where they were when that play took place. They have already written to tell me about it.


Dan from Atlanta writes: Mack Brown should look at the one blown call that handed his team the game against Oklahoma State before he starts sending blown calls to the Big 12 from the Texas Tech game. When a quarterback gets knocked down on a late hit after an interception is thrown, you don't give the ball back to them just because he got knocked down. Quit whining and play.

Tim Griffin: To be fair, most Big 12 coaches take advantage of a system to send disputed calls to the league offices after every game. My sources indicate that even more are being sent this year by coaches from throughout the Big 12 than ever before. I just found it a little odd that Brown made his pronouncement that he couldn't talk about officiating and then say that he had sent several disputed calls to their attention. Because everybody does that almost every week anyway.


Drew Merrill from Denton, Texas writes: Is there a scenario out there where the remaining schedule could result in the South Division representative being determined by the BCS standings? I know that somewhere down the list of tiebreakers, BCS standings are a determinant, which would really steam some fans who already hate the BCS. If there was a scenario that resulted in using the BCS, who do you think would be ahead in the BCS?

Tim Griffin: You are right. As I've mentioned on a couple of blog items, the BCS standings at the end of the Big 12 regular season would be the fifth determiner in the list of tiebreakers involving a three-team deadlock.

Potentially, this could be even more controversial than picking a team for a national championship -- at least in this part of the world.

All of those teams that end up at the top of the South are going to be thinking they deserve a shot to play for the championship. And the supporters for each team will think it's a travesty if they don't have the opportunity to do that, especially if they were denied by a nebulous computer formula that nobody really understands.

It's hard to look that far ahead, but I'm guessing that Oklahoma or Oklahoma State would receive the most BCS bounce, if they were to be tied with other one-loss teams. Both would have to win out to force a tie with other one-loss team, meaning they likely would have the momentum generated by beating Texas Tech and/or each other down the stretch.

That would appear to give them more BCS bounce than Texas, which finishes with games against Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M. Texas Tech would have to lose a game to fall into that three-way tie scenario and I'm guessing that would doom their BCS numbers.

But I can't say for sure. I was surprised as anybody to see Oklahoma beat Nebraska, 62-28, and drop two places in the BCS standings last week. I'm sure Bob Stoops was more perturbed than he let on when I asked him about that.


Kyle from Omaha writes: Tim, I'd like to hear your opinion on what Colorado needs to do to turn the program back into Big 12 and national title contenders again.

Tim Griffin: Probably get healthy first. No team has been as affected as the Buffaloes and it got worse last week when Rodney "Speedy" Stewart went down with a season-ending broken fibula. It marks the eighth player the Buffaloes have lost with a season-ending injury.

Another big question that Coach Dan Hawkins will need to answer is whether either Tyler Hansen or his son, Cody Hawkins, really is the quarterback to lead the Buffaloes into Big 12 North title contention. Considering that Colorado has scored 31 points in its five Big 12 games, the early answer might be that the offense needs a boost to get back into the title mix.

But I think the Buffaloes have a nice collection of young talent coming back. Missouri will be down a little after losing Chase Daniel. So it wouldn't surprise me if the Buffaloes were a factor in the North Division race next season.


Joe from New York City writes: Hi Tim. Your blog is bookmarked on my browser. Great work. Can you please answer me one question: Why didn't Mike Leach go for two points on the final touchdown of the Texas game? Kicking the PAT only put Texas Tech up by 6 points which didn't really mean anything except that a hail mary pass in the end zone (if there were a fair catch) or a run back on the kick off (kicked from the 7 1/2 yard line) would have won the game for Texas. I've thought this through a number of different ways but can't think of any reason not to go for two. Can you?

Tim Griffin: Not really. But I know that the excitement of the late play might have had something to do with it. Leach said after the game that he didn't give going for two much thought, but he did consider taking a knee on the conversion. But there also was one second remaining, meaning there would be a kickoff upcoming, no matter what.

But with the way that the crowd charged the field, it made things pretty wild along the sidelines. I can see why the Red Raiders went for the conversion almost as a matt
er of course.


Joseph from College Station writes: Tim, I think it's safe to say that the whole Big 12 South is dominant over the North. Wouldn't you agree? A&M, at the bottom of the South, has beaten both Iowa State and Colorado. Baylor has also beaten Iowa State and almost beat Missouri last week. And then we have Texas' stomp of Missouri. And I don't even want to throw Tech, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in there.

Do you think the Big 12 is that one-sided and do you think they will ever consider the East/West division you wrote about last week?

Tim Griffin: The Big 12 is as one-sided during the regular season as I've ever seen in the history of the league. I think the South Division is clearly the toughest division in college football -- tougher than the SEC East or West or anything found in the ACC.

The record after last week's games is 13-3. The best North teams, Missouri and Kansas are a combined 1-4. The South's four teams in the national top 10 are a combined 10-0 against the North. And the remaining games that will merit watching next week will be when Texas visits Kansas and Oklahoma State travels to Colorado in games that the Longhorns and Cowboys both desperately need to keep their BCS hopes alive.

So the gap appears wider than ever between the two divisions this season. And the South team in the Big 12 should be a heavy favorite against the North, even playing in Kansas City. The South will carry a four-game winning title game winning streak into the game.

But even with that imbalance that has marked the recent history of the league, I don't see the Big 12's administrators rushing to make any change.


Ryan from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Tim, I live in Lincoln but I'm not a Husker fan. Because, my question is, why in the world did Versus pick the Iowa State-Colorado game for the 11:30 a.m. time slot rather than the Kansas-Nebraska game which will be a pay-per-view contest at 1:30 p.m. Am I missing something? Is 2-7 vs. 4-5 really more appealing than 6-3 vs. 5-4?

Tim Griffin: I was thinking the same thing when I looked at this week's schedule. Which means I probably better start looking for some Nebraska or Kansas fans in the Lubbock area who wouldn't mind a blogger visiting their home for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon. Because I definitely would rather watch Nebraska-Kansas (and I'll even pay a few bucks and contribute some non-alcoholic beverages or some munchies) if they let me visit rather than watching the game that Versus will be offering that will be available for free at my hotel.

Again, thanks for all of the questions this week. Keep them coming and be sure to visit my chat beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

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