Chat with Tim Griffin
Griffin joined ESPN.com in February 2008. He has covered the Big 12 since its inception, among a variety of beats during a 24-year career at the San Antonio Express-News. Griffin, a Memphis State University graduate, lives in San Antonio with his wife and son.
Send your questions now and join Griffin in The Show at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday!
Tim Griffin (4:01 PM)
Good afternoon. I'm ready to answer a few questions. Fire away.
Wes (Rolla, MO)
I feel like Mizzou's season is a disappointment. Say something uplifting...
Tim Griffin (4:02 PM)
Wes: I'll take a cue from Gary Pinkel and remind you that the kickoff Saturday for the Tigers and Colorado will be at 5:30 p.m. Does that help?
Ryan (Dallas, Texas)
What is you true opinion of Ron Prince as a coach? Why does the K-State fan base want him out so bad?
Tim Griffin (4:05 PM)
Ryan: Great question. I think some are very tough on Prince. I know he came in with a lot of bluster. And he's also following the most successful football coach in the modern history of the school. He's had to recruit junior college kids to get around his talent deficiencies. His defense isn't very good - even by Big 12 standards. But the thing I'm most impressed with Prince's job are the little things that his team does. I think his team has the best special teams in the conference and maybe in the nation. Josh Freeman, until last week anyway, looked like one of the most improved quarterbacks in the country. I know that Prince also is being judged because arch rivals Kansas and Missouri both are up right now. But it will be interesting to see what happens with the KSU program in the next several weeks. I know they have a meat grinder the next three weeks before moderating at the end. I still think he needs to get to a bowl game to help save his job. And we'll see about that over the next five games.
Littlejohn: Manhattan, KS
Tim: Mel Kiper, during his chat, said that Mizzou would never equal OK or TX in football because of recuiting. What a stupid comment. Teams like Nebraska, K State, etc., would never have arisen if what he said were true. Please give your take on that.
Tim Griffin (4:08 PM)
Littlejohn: I hate to disappoint you, but Mel is true. The development of the master programs at Nebraska and Kansas State were started during the old days of the Big Eight. Those teams were able to take partial qualifiers and really get into the junior college ranks. On an equal playing field, it's going to be impossible for most other Big 12 teams to compete with Texas and Oklahoma in recruiting. What these programs have to do is hope they can take lesser talented players and coach them up once they get into their programs. It's what Missouri has been able to do, as well as Kansas in recent years. Guys like Stryker Sulak, Sean Weatherspoon, Aqib Talib and Todd Reesing weren't recruiting poster boys. But they developed into good players once they came to school. Remember, recruiting isn't an absolute. But it's a big start.
Lewis (Lubbock, TX)
You have Texas Tech predicited to lose this week, do you really think the offense of Texas Tech will be slowed down by Kansas?
Tim Griffin (4:10 PM)
Lewis: Probably not. But I also think the Kansas offense will be the most potent that the Red Raiders have faced this season. Weird things happen on the road sometimes. And that special teams situation kind of scares me. Add it together and it makes me think Tech could struggle.
Scott (Austin, TX)
Which matchup will be the story of the game in Austin this weekend? Texas' D against Ok. State's attack? Vice versa? Or do you think special teams will play a big part?
Tim Griffin (4:11 PM)
Scott: I think special teams will play a big part and I think OSU will be a big test. Ultimately, the big story will be who dominates inside. I think Texas is a little better in the trenches and imposes their will on the Cowboys as the game goes on. This will be a different challenge than what OSU faced at Missouri. I don't know if they are ready for this - particularly defensively.
UW-why so bad, will they be good again soon, who is the right coach for them?
Tim Griffin (4:15 PM)
David: I remember when the Huskies were the scourge of the Pac-10. Dominating teams that won national championships and that kind of stuff. It seems like it was only a few years ago. I think one reason they have struggled recently - on a grand scale - is because of the emergence of USC as the dominant power in the Pac-10. Also, Washington doesn't seem to be getting the players out of California that it used to. But that being said, I think the program is a sleeping giant. The right coach could turn that program around. And a guy who has always intrigued me for doing less than more in that part of the country is Mike Riley at Oregon State. I don't know if there's a culture that would allow a team from the Pac-10 from the conference to go after somebody like that. But somebody from Riley's calm and understated demeanor who knows a little bit about football could make that place good again.
Brady (Midland, TX)
Who would you rather have as a QB receiver combo? Harrell-Crabtree or McCoy-Shipley?
Tim Griffin (4:16 PM)
Brady: How about Bradford-Johnson/Iglesias or Robinson-Bryant? Just being facetious there. If asked, I would probably go with Harrell-Crabtree because I think Crabtree is still the best receiver in the conference, even if he hasn't shown it at all times this season.
Tim. Love your chats. Anyways I have posted this numerous times, but i feel like Sam Bradford plays alot like Peyton Manning. Very high football IQ and doesn't make mistakes. what's your take on Bradford. I hope he stays another year
Tim Griffin (4:19 PM)
Todd: Thanks for the compliments. I agree with your comparison. Both are tall, strong players who run their offenses very well. That being said, I think Bradford is a better and more prepared player if he stays for another year. I know the NFL Draft is very weak at quarterbacks and they are talking about him as the No. 1 player picked. But I think he would better suit himself by staying one more season. I wonder how much influence his dad, a former OU player, will have on this. And I also think how the season plays out will have a big effect. If OU wins the national title, I could see him turning pro.
I've heard rumors about a Tennessee going after TT coach Mike Leach if Fulmer is gone after this season. How do you think Leach's high octane offense would fair vs. the SEC defenses and do you think that would be a good fit?
Tim Griffin (4:22 PM)
Dave: I've heard that rumor, as well as one sending him to Auburn as well. Nobody has really tried to implement an offense like Leach's in the SEC yet since he was running it back at Kentucky. It would be interesting to see if he could make it effective in a conference that hangs its collective hat on defense like the SEC does. Keep an eye on how Leach's contract extension plays out. If he takes the Red Raiders to a BCS championship or wins the Big 12, I think the Red Raiders fans would torch Jones Stadium if athletic director Gerald Myers didn't make a good-faith effort to try and keep him. Should make for an interesting few weeks, shouldn't it?
Doesn't the dismantling of Mizzou by Texas show two things: Mizzou is highly overrated and Texas is pretty good this year?
Tim Griffin (4:23 PM)
Juston: I agree with both points. After watching the game last week I think that the pundits might have collectively overrated Missouri and underrated Texas throughout most of the season.
Do you think Mike Leach should go for 2 every time now?
Tim Griffin (4:25 PM)
Mike: Depends on how good this kicker Matt Williams is. I know he was a heck of a baseball player. And wasn't he married to Michelle Johnson after she was in "Blame it on Rio?" Anyway, I digress. I know when I talked to Leach earlier this week - when he was on his way to the voting booth, I may add - he was thinking that going for two might make more sense than a lot of people think. Who am I to argue?
Mike (Shalimar FL)
Is it just me or do you think Colt should go to the NFL as soon as possible. The younger he is the more seasons he can play, the more seasons he can play, the more boats he can buy, the more boats he can buy the more supermodels he can date.......well you see where I'm going.
Tim Griffin (4:27 PM)
Mike: I don't think that Colt is wired that way. I think he likes playing at Texas. Remember he's a small-town kid who grew up dreaming of doing what he's doing now. He's having a lot of fun doing it. So it might be hard for me to see him giving that up for his senior season. In a way, it's kind of like Matt Leinart at USC for his senior season.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Griffin: This is the first time I've checked into one of your chats and I have to say you are very thorough in your replies. I wish someone would be that thorough in answering Big Ten questions.
Tim Griffin (4:28 PM)
J.B. I appreciate your answer. I try to give anything I can to entertain and enlighten my readers.
Kyle (Aspen, CO)
What is it going to take for Penn State to get the big road win at OSU this weekend? Can Ohio State stop the Lions if pryor only attempts 11 passes, or does that give PSU the edge because of the Buckeye's being too one-dimensional?
Tim Griffin (4:30 PM)
Kyle: It's going to be a huge chore for Penn State to win at the Shoe. They need for their skill-position guys to come up big and win the special teams. And I think OSU is going to have to open their playbook and become more balanced to win. I don't think they can win if Pryor only passes 10 or 12 times.
taylor (Amarillo, Tx)
Do you think Texas Tech can knock off Texas next weekend in Lubbock?
Tim Griffin (4:31 PM)
Taylor: I think the Tech game remains Texas' biggest stumbling block to an undefeated season. And I also think that going to Kansas might be tougher than some might think. If Jake Sharp is running like he did last week, that would give them a chance to win. And I bet Kansas coach Mark Mangino still hasn't forgotten Texas' last trip. He bank account took a hit after his post-game comments.
Tj (columbus, MS)
Will we continue to see the hype behind the big twelve over the next 5 years as we are seeing this year?
Tim Griffin (4:33 PM)
T.J. I sure hope so ... Just kidding about that. But the quarterbacks have been what fueled the offensive binge. Nine of them are coming back as only Ganz, Harrell and Daniel are set to leave (without NFL defections). And I think that as long as the state of Texas is the recruiting base for most of the schools, they are going to find some good quarterbacks across the area. At least if all those high scores I'm seeing in the newspaper are indicative of the growing offense across the state.
John (Lawrence, KS)
Tim, love your blogs and read it daily. As much of the nation knows, both Texas Tech and KU have struggled with their special teams unit. With that said, I feel whoever wins the special teams battle has the best chance to win because of field advantage, costly field goals, etc. What are your thoughts on this?
Tim Griffin (4:36 PM)
John: Thanks for the kind words. I absolutely agree with you. Tech is having all kinds of struggles in special teams as you know. Their struggles in kick returns led them to put Michael Crabtree out there last week. He got dinged up because of it. But Jonathan LeCour, a pretty good high-school kicker, won't be used at kicker because Tech coaches are concerned about his punting struggles. And then we have the field goals and extra points. Add it all together and it's the biggest reason I think Kansas squeaks out a victory. But what a great story for all of us media types if Matt Williams kicked a game-winning field goal for Tech ...
Vince (Columbus, OH)
Why do you think OSU gets hammered nationally for its performance in its last three "big games" and Oklahoma gets a pass with all of their recent BCS Bowl game losses?
Tim Griffin (4:38 PM)
Vince: You must not have been around Oklahoma the last two or three years. Bob Stoops is getting the same kind of questions that Jim Tressel does. But I think that OU at least gets a little pass because they have been so successful in Big 12 title games. But let me assure you that both Oklahoma and Ohio State are both getting hammered for their BCS struggles.
Tim, you do know that Tech has never lost at Kansas, and that they have a 9-1 overall record against them. Right? Plus leach tends do do well against coaches that he has worked with in the past.
Tim Griffin (4:39 PM)
Spencer: I know it well. I remember the last time they played up there. I was supposed to cover it for my old newspaper, but had to take defensive driving that day instead. But I think in those other games that Tech's special teams were a little more settled than they were heading into Saturday's game.
Reed (Ft. Worth Tx):
I firmly believe TCU would win 5/6 games in the big 12 this year (and most years). Any way for Baylor to get replaced by my fast hard-hitting Frogs? And I do believe TCU will throw down to keep Gary Patterson following the season.
Tim Griffin (4:42 PM)
Reed: I took this question on a radio show last week. I think you are right. They would rank in about the middle of the Big 12 in terms of facilities and recruiting base. But I don't see the Big 12 powers having any rush to make that move. I guess TCU just didn't have enough influential alumni that could push them into the Big 12 like Baylor and Tech did, right? But my question to you, would you rather be a middle to bottom feeder in the Big 12 or the top non-BCS program in the country? And I agree with you about Patterson who already has a pretty good contract, I'm led to believe.
If Graham Harrell wins and outplays Colt McCoy in Lubbock next weekend, will Harrell be the front runner for the Heisman?
Tim Griffin (4:43 PM)
If his team is undefeated when it happens, yes. But he's got to beat Kansas this week and then hope for a monster victory next week at Jones.
Is Nebraska offensive coordinator a good candidate to end up as a head coach somewhere next year?
Tim Griffin (4:44 PM)
Ryan: I think you are talking about Shawn Watson. And yes, I think he's done a nice job. I always liked his work when he was at Colorado. He helped turn the Buffs into a North Division power over several seasons. But I'm wondering if Watson would jump to a low-BCS program or prefer to stay with Pelini for a couple of years to get a potentially better job. I know he's not going to have Joe Ganz next season, which is going to make his job a lot harder in 2009.
Do you think if Texas stays #1 and Bama and Penn St lose that would open the door for OU to be #2? In the end, if Texas is the top 1 or 2 and has to play an additional game for the big 12 title, do you think OU would get the nod to play in the BCS title game vs. Texas seeing how Texas had to do the dirty work?
Tim Griffin (4:49 PM)
Scott: I think Texas has to win out to help the Sooners' cause. Because if all three teams in front of the Sooners lose, it would subconsciously put a one-loss Texas team in front of a one-loss OU team because most people would say, remember Texas beat Oklahoma. So the best chance for a Texas-OU rematch is for the Longhorns to run the table, PSU and Alabama to lose and Oklahoma to win out. Although it's not unheard of that a team that loses to a team to jump over them in a national title run. Remember Nebraska over Colorado in 2001 - even after the Buffs notched a 62-36 whipping of the Cornhuskers in their final regular-season game.
You can bash Ohio State all you want about the past two BCS games but the fact is they have a winning record in BCS games. What is your opinion about this?
Tim Griffin (4:50 PM)
P.J. - You are true, but I still keep seeing those guys from LSU and Florida ripping through them the last two seasons. And I bet most of the rest of the country does, too.
Tim Griffin (4:52 PM)
Christian: I don't know that Boise would be an addition for one of the Big Six conferences. I don't know if their academics would match either the Pac-10 or the Big Ten. A better situation might be for them to join the Mountain West. If they could add teams like Boise and Tulsa, the MWC might be able to elbow their way to the table. Because I think those kind of additions would make them better than the Big East or the ACC.
chance (San Antonio)
Will Texas win out?
Tim Griffin (4:53 PM)
Chance: I don't see it. I think they either lose to Tech at Tech, Kansas at Kansas or Missouri in a potential conference rematch in Kansas City. Still many hurdles for them to jump.
SEC = Defense, Big 12 = Offense, and USC = Both? Care to share any input?
Tim Griffin (4:54 PM)
Gator Country: I agree to a point, although I would also say this as well Big 12 and SEC > Pac-10 opposition.
Tim.. Would you agree with me if I were to say that Texas Tech has the best squad of receivers in the nation (Crabtree, Lewis, Leong, Morris, Swindall, James)? If you were to disagree, who's is better?
Tim Griffin (4:55 PM)
Ronnie: I do agree with you. And I also think that the talent of the Red Raiders doesn't get to show itself all the time because Crabtree is there. I think that guys like Morris and Lewis could be big producers in an offense where they were the featured threat.
Hey time, thank you for the great work you do. I am all about the great stories of walk-on players, and if Matt Williams comes through for Tech then that would be great. Although, I have my doubts about a kid that wasn't a front runner for Tarleton kicking. How crazy would it be to see Leach go for 2 after each touchdown?
Tim Griffin (4:56 PM)
Justin: It would be pretty crazy, but kind of par for the course for Mike Leach.
Cody (Lawrence, KS)
You still believe KU won't beat Mizzou this year? I am sure that the rest of the Big 12 North doesn't want to see Mizzou go into the title game only to beat whipped around like their past 3 encounters of Texas or Oklahoma.
Tim Griffin (4:56 PM)
Cody: Don't know if anybody else in the Big 12 North could have done much better. OU and Texas are pretty good.
Chris (St. Louis, MO)
Is the only way that a big 12 team is not in the national title game is if the north wins the conference championship game?
Tim Griffin (4:57 PM)
Chris: I think that's the case, even if the winner of the Big 12 South has one loss when it happens.
Rob (Omaha, NE)
Tim, quick point on the OU jumping Texas topic. Nebraska jumped CU because CU had 2 losses, not 1.
Tim Griffin (4:58 PM)
Rob: You're right, although I think it was actually three losses. But Buffs had the convincing win in the last game of the regular season and even a Big 12 championship and the Cornhuskers still jumped them. I bet Gary Barnett hasn't forgotten either.
Charlie (Gainesville, FL)
Tim, wouldn't a 12 team playoff system sound so dreamy right now? All conference champions and / or top 12 in the BCS advance to the playoffs? The top 2 teams in the BCS would get a bye the first week and the rest slug it out to determine a true National Champion? Wow, when will we learn from the former division II football that a playoff system is a way to go?
Tim Griffin (5:00 PM)
Charlie: Why have 12 when you could have 16. But I actually like how college football is now. I know that sets me apart, but I like the discussion and how every game during the regular season means something. No other sport I know of has a situation where the regular season is as important as college football. And I'd hate to lose that.
Where would USC finish in the Big 12 or the SEC?
Tim Griffin (5:00 PM)
I think they would contend and maybe win both conferences. But it wouldn't be an absolute.
Tim Griffin (5:01 PM)
Guys: Thanks for all of the questions again. I really enjoy spending some time with you every week. Same time and place next week, OK?