Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Big 12 mailbag: Stoops, Brown seem set for now
By ESPN.com staff
We're getting ready for more bowl games tomorrow night involving Big 12 teams.
But we can't start them unless we sift through our mailbag for some of the weekend's better letters.
Jason from Wichita, Kan., writes: Hey Tim, I love the blog...it has become my primary source of Big 12 football information. I was wondering your thoughts as to why every time a major coaching position in college or NFL positions come open, Bob Stoops is inevitably listed as the number one candidate and Mack Brown is never mentioned. Is this because most of the college football world (fans and the media) view Texas as more of a destination job than Oklahoma? With both receiving comparable pay, the only other difference I see is their ages.
Tim Griffin: Jason, first thanks for the compliment. I’ve always been interested in how Stoops seems to be mentioned or portrayed as the more desirable coach as far as other openings, while Brown seems to be permanently affixed to Texas. The point you made about their ages is a good point. Brown is 58 and Stoops is 49. Most would assume that Stoops has at least one more move after never serving as a head coach at another school. Brown has done it before at places like Appalachian State, Tulane and North Carolina before arriving at Texas.
The last time I can remember Brown being mentioned in connection with a job came when his good friend Red McCombs was looking for a head coach of the Minnesota Vikings after the 2001 season. McCombs instead hired Mike Tice at that time and sold the team to Zygi Wilf and five partners in 2005.
The point you made about both Texas and Oklahoma being destination college football jobs is correct. I would include both in the top six or seven jobs in college football -- particularly with the strong support that they receive from Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione.
I think it would take a special job to get either Stoops or Brown to leave their current jobs. And this will give us a chance to savor their rivalry in the Big 12 for at least another few years.
Alex Headington from Iowa writes: Tim, the Big 12 North loses a lot of talent next season. Do you see Iowa State competing for the North title?
Tim Griffin: Even with the Cyclones’ improvement and bowl bid this season, their schedule gets much tougher in 2010. ISU trades Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M for Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Toss in non-conference foes like Northern Illinois and Utah and the Cyclones will be facing a rugged challenge.
Even with the return of players like Austen Arnaud and Alexander Robinson and a second season becoming familiar with Paul Rhoads' coaching style, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cyclones with a better team in 2010 and a worse record.
Brett Cooper from Piedmont, Okla., writes: Hey, Tim. I’m wondering if you are reporting the Big 12 or promoting the SEC with that statistic you dredged up about the SEC’s 10-3 record over the Big 12 in the bowls?
Tim Griffin: Brett, you can’t alibi your way around facts. And the fact is that the Big 12 has struggled mightily against SEC teams since 2003 with 3-10 record.
The Big 12 started slowly Monday night when Texas A&M enabled Georgia to score 30 unanswered points to cruise to an easy victory.
It will be up to Oklahoma State and Texas to claim upsets to give the Big 12 some bragging rights, or else the SEC will boat race them again in this season's bowl games.
It’s been that way since 1997 – the last time the Big 12 had a winning bowl record over the SEC. The only way the Big 12 can claim superiority is to win on the field, which is something its teams have had trouble accomplishing in the last few seasons against the SEC.
James from Dallas/Fort Worth writes: Hey Tim, quick question about the Independence Bowl - what was ever the final reasoning on why it was right for A&M to have not gotten time back after the spike at the end of the first half when ESPN2 clearly showed 0.5 of a second left? It may not have been a game-changer, but it certainly changed the mood and morale of the team after they were sure they had gotten themselves in field goal range in time. Officials reviewed the Colt McCoy time issue at the end of the Nebraska game. Why couldn’t they fix this one?
Tim Griffin: James, I have no real answer for you. The only differences I could see was that the Texas play ended a game and the Texas A&M play ended a half. Also, there was less than a second left, 0.3 seconds I believe.
The chance not to stop the clock happened when Ryan Tannehill battled for extra yardage after making the catch with nine seconds left. He should have gone down and allowed Jerrod Johnson to make a quick spike which would have left a couple of seconds on the clock. I think the Mountain West Conference crew might have given them the call in that situation. Instead, after Tannehill’s catch, the ball was respotted and the clock started immediately without giving the Aggies at least a half-second to re-set.
In the grand scheme of things, the play didn’t really matter that much. But it would have given A&M a shot of momentum to start the second half. And we don't really know how the game would have turned out if the Aggies had gotten the call there.
Justin Kalemkiarian of Minneapolis, Minn., writes: In preparation for the Holiday Bowl, plus being on my "lunch break,” I was a bit curious about Roy Helu Jr.'s statistics. According to ESPN, Helu has rushed for 2,151 yards through this year's Big 12 Championship game. In the pantheon of Husker running backs that puts him at no. 22 all-time, right between Tony Davis and Steve Taylor. With a 100-yard game he would vault into 17th place and pass such heroes as Doug DuBose and Jeff Kinney. If he were to rush for another 1,000 yards in his career he would end up at fifth all-time, just 2 yards behind Calvin Jones for fourth place. This blows my mind!
I think most people would be hard-pressed to name Nebraska's starting running back and would be even more shocked to find out that he has a legitimate shot at ending his career as the no. 3 rusher in the team's history (he needs 1,284 yards to pass Eric Crouch)! What are your thoughts on Helu's place among Cornhusker greats?
Tim Griffin: It’s hard to argue with statistics, although Helu does get a break because would have played in four seasons and basically started for about 3 ½ of those seasons. But it does underscore the kind of numbers he has racked up during his career.
But considering the aggravating injuries that occurred at times in each of the last two seasons, it might be a big presumption to think that Helu will automatically be able to play through next season.
He’ll be an important element for the Cornhuskers – in Wednesday’s bowl game and into next season after Bo Pelini has hinted about moving to a more basic offensive attack.
And if he stays healthy and productive, Helu will go down in history as one of the greatest running backs in Nebraska’s storied history along with immortals like Mike Rozier, Ahman Green, Jones, Ken Clark and I.M. Hipp who rank as Nebraska's top five running back rushers of all time. All five of those players compiled their career totals in only three of playing time.
That's all the time for today. Keep the letters coming and I'll check back later this week.
Thanks again for all of the good correspondence.
I appreciate it.