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 Wednesday!
Troy: Wichita, KS
How do you feel Chase Daniel's draft status was impacted by his performance in the Alamo Bowl?
Tim Griffin (4:06 PM)
Troy: I don't think that Daniel's draft status was that high, anyway. But Monday's game can't help it. He showed little vertical passing ability, although he did show a lot of moxie fighting his way through a struggling performance to lead his team to a victory.
Nathan (exchange student in Finland)
After reading your blog about the Holiday bowl yesterday, I was very very disapointed in the one sidedness that you wrote in your artical... You gave no credit at all to Oregon And you failed to mention that J.Johnson also broke a record for longest run Give credit where credits due!!!
Tim Griffin (4:09 PM)
Nathan: I hope that fans realize that we do have two different bloggers who are reporting on every bowl game. Ted Miller, my esteemed college who covers the Pac-10, was the one handling Oregon's side. My report was on Oklahoma State and it was the reason I concentrated on the Cowboys highlights and lowlights.
Eric (Venice, CA)
Hi Tim, So the Big 12 is getting off to a rocky start with North Champ Missouri needing overtime to beat Northwestern and Oregon being much more physical than OSU and winning by two scores. Do you think the Big 12 is possibly over-rated a bit this year? Thanks.
Tim Griffin (4:11 PM)
Eric: It isn't the most auspicious of starts, is it? Missouri frankly was lucky to win Monday night against Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl. OSU had the game in hand until Dez Bryant was hurt. I don't think it can be overstated how big of a loss that was for the Cowboys. It helped contribute to the reason why Kendall Hunter wasn't running very well or why Zac Robinson was getting hit as much as he did. So it all added up.
Andre (Tulsa, OK)
Masoli looked like a short linebacker, he played good, but if we had Dez Bryant in the 2nd half.....it would've been all over.
Tim Griffin (4:11 PM)
Andre: I'm with you. And after some of my "positive comments" from Oregon fans earlier today, I'm not going to make any comment about Masoli's shape or lack thereof.
TIM!!! I will ask again, as I did earlier in the season.....Who has ANYONE in the Big 12 beaten this year OOC to warrant the assumed title of Top Conference in the nation!?!?!?!
Tim Griffin (4:14 PM)
Chris: Most conferences are hesistant to play other good conferences during the regular season. For example, the Big 12 and SEC played only once - Texas' victory over Arkansas. Obviously,k the Pac-10's victory over the Big Ten in the USC-Ohio State game looks big. But what about the way that BYU punked UCLA? I think the best way to judge these games is after every bowl game.
Is Detron Lewis the next great Texas Tech WR?
Tim Griffin (4:15 PM)
Steiny: I do think that could be the case. The offense sets up many receiving opportunities. Lewis looks ready to slide into Michael Crabtree's role.
Scott (Austin, TX)
Tim, how big of a factor do you reckon Special Teams will be in the Fiesta Bowl?
Tim Griffin (4:16 PM)
Scott: I think it will be a huge factor. Ohio State traditionally has one of the most complete packages of special teams. It will be a challenge for Texas to control that facet of the game.
Tim, I don't get why everyone is so obsessed with Masoli being "chunky" with "thick ankles", as the bachelor liked to point out last night. Nobody made such a big deal about Chase Daniel... they look the same.
Tim Griffin (4:17 PM)
Jack: You are right that they look to have the same relative body size. But again, as far as Masoli is concerned, I'm not going there ...
Keith (Lawrence, KS)
How sharp of a drop off will happen for Kansas at the end of the ?09 season when Reesing Meier and many other key players leave?
Tim Griffin (4:18 PM)
Keith: I think it's a huge drop, although remember that the Jayhawks do inherit the easier Big 12 South schedule at that time. They'll trade Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma for Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Although that might just the time to get Baylor just as Robert Griffin is peaking as a junior and senior.
Steve (Washington, D.C.)
Who do you like in the Texas Tech-Mississippi game and why?
Tim Griffin (4:20 PM)
Steve: I like the Red Raiders because of Crabtree's playmaking abilities. I think Mississippi will challenge Texas Tech with a kind of defense they haven't seen very often. But if Tech's big offensive line can protect Harrell, I think the Red Raiders have a great chance to win
Big Al (San Antonio)
The Big 12 South division was certainly suprising this year. What game was your favorite and what play was your favorite?
Tim Griffin (4:22 PM)
Big Al: Don't really have a favorite game or player. I thought the Texas-OU game was very interesting, particularly key plays like Shipley's kick return, the interception controversy in the end zone at the end of the third quarter and Ogbonnaya's big play. I also thought the Tech-Texas game was a good one, with memorable plays being Crabtree's catch to start it and Colby Whitlock's safety to set the tone from the very beginning for the Red Raiders.
Randy, Las Cruces, NM
How much of a drop off does Oklahoma's offense experience playing Murray's backup against Florida?
Tim Griffin (4:22 PM)
Randy: It's a big loss for Oklahoma. Murray not only is the Sooners' top breakaway threat in the backfield but also the Sooners' most solid returner. Madu will help fill some of the needs, but definitely not all of them.
Did you feel that the play calling was highly suspect in the OkSt-Oregon game? How do you ignore Kendall Hunter that much?
Tim Griffin (4:23 PM)
Chase: I think Hunter was ignored because he was having trouble running against Oregon's defense. I heard comments on the OSU radio broadcast that he was having trouble with the field. But again, I think the loss of Bryant forced OSU to have more needs from him. He wasn't able to contribute what the Cowboys needed.
Talk about Colt as a pro prospect. Do you think it's a wise decision to stick around for a senior season after a pretty convincing junior campaign?
Tim Griffin (4:26 PM)
South O6: It's obvious that Colt is having fun in college. He might have a better team surrounding him next season, giving him a better chance to win the national championship. So I can't say he's making an ill-advised decision. He'll get better with another year of work with Greg Davis' system. The fears of a salary cap I don't think kick in until next year. So I think it might work out well for him to come back.
Mitch (Salt Lake City)
With Smith out of the game for Bama, do you see the Utes chances increasing that much?
Tim Griffin (4:26 PM)
Mitch: I do see Utah's chances improving after the loss of Smith, who I think is the best offensive linemen in the country. I still like Bama, but not as much.
Even though Clemson hasn't lived up to their preseason expectations,isn't there something to be said for the quality of opponents they lost to (except Bama) when considering the outcome of the Gator Bowl? Nebraska was in a position to beat the ACC Champion and Texas Tech. Missouri and Oklahoma both won their divisions and the Sooners are playing for a championship. Why is everyone so certain Nebraska will lose?
Tim Griffin (4:28 PM)
Ryan: I just think Nebraska is going to see a lot of itself when it matches up with Clemson. A solid quarterback with a couple of good running backs. I also think that Dabo Swinney's arrival was a big thing for Clemson. The Tigers are obviously playing better now than earlier in the season. That's why I think most expect them to win - barely - over the Cornhuskers.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Sorry Tim, The best O Lineman in the country already played and it wasn't Smith. Ever heard of Alex Mack?
Tim Griffin (4:31 PM)
Darryl: The pro scouts that I talk to all are pretty sure that Smith will be among the first two or three players selected. Mack might get lucky to be selected on the first day of the draft.
Thomas (Huntsville, AL)
What do you think of Auburn hiring Gus Malzahn as OC?
Tim Griffin (4:32 PM)
Thomas: Think it was a wise hire by Chizik. Look at what Malzahn has done at several of his recent stops. Auburn needs to develop something offensively and Mahlzahn should be able to help them.
Will Taylor Potts be as good as Graham Harrell?
Tim Griffin (4:33 PM)
Steiny: Potts has got more size than Harrell, who had intangibles from an early age. It will be tough for Potts to measure up to those - particularly early in his starting career next season.
John (Fairfax, VA)
Daniels has never appeared to have the veritica-throwing upside of either McCoy or Bradford. Bradford seems to get the nod when people talk about the next level, but it seems to me that McCoy has shown the most dramatic improvement during his collegiate career and appears to be still developing. Do you agree?
Tim Griffin (4:35 PM)
John: I do see a lot of improvement in McCoy's game, although his arm still doesn't rank with somebody like Bradford's. His running improvement helped him immeasurably in the college game, but I don't know if those skills necessarily translate well into an NFL prospect. But if he can make another quantum jump forward next season like he did this one, he could be poised for some big things.
Allen (Jonesboro, AR)
I would just like to interject and give my opinion on Darryl's comment. While Alex Mack is certainly fun to watch, he isn't even being viewed as a first round prospect. Also, with concern to Smith and Mack, only one of those two was holding the big hardware at the end of the season.
Tim Griffin (4:37 PM)
Allen: I agree with you.
Keith (Lawrence, KS)
Aside from having all the talented HS players move up North, what could the North do to match the South year in year out?
Tim Griffin (4:38 PM)
Keith: It's going to be hard to narrow that gap because the main recruiting area in the conference is the state of Texas. Obviously, the South Division schools have a big advantage there. The way to get around that, I would guess, would be for North schools to stake their claims in other areas. Like Nebraska was able to do in the 1990s in Florida and California and all over. But it's easier said than done as far as a recruiting strategy.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Tim, since when does being the best O Lineman in the country mean being drafted first? A center has to know nearly as much about the defense regarding coverages, blitzes, etc. as the QB.
Tim Griffin (4:40 PM)
Bradford: You are right, although Smith is a consistent top two or three pick on every draft board I've seen. And the pros value a dominant left tackle much more than they ever will for a center. Something about protecting a quarterback's blind side.
Do you think the Big 12 defenses' have looked as bad or a bit better than the conventional wisdom?
Tim Griffin (4:41 PM)
J: It hasn't been a good start for Big 12 defenses so far, but let's be realistic. Oklahoma State and Missouri neither were ranked among the more dominant units in the conference.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Tim, I see where your coming from about the Big XII-North going to other states, but they'd just be recruiting the same guys. California is raided by everyone, as is Florida.
Tim Griffin (4:42 PM)
Will: And that's what makes it tough for the North Division schools. The ones that have been the most successful recently - Missouri and Kansas - both have made their jumps by grabbing what was perceived as second-line Texas talent and developing them in their programs. Players like Daniel, Reesing, Talib, Sulak and Weatherspoon are products of that.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Tim, centers hardly ever get drafted in the 1st round. Tackles get all the publicity because they typically protect the qb's backside. A center has to read the defense just like the qb and make pre-snap adjustments. Comparing Smith to Mack based on draft position and awards is an injustice.
Tim Griffin (4:43 PM)
But not as much as when Smith compares his paycheck and signing balance to Mack's. Who's going to make the most money?
ray gordon reid conway 73202
quesions TO TIM GRIFFIN AT 4.45 pm tim o.k tim capital one OUTBACK BOWL TAMPA FLA GAMECOCKS OR HAWKEYES CAPITAL ONE Bowl ORLANDO FLA bulldogs OR SPARTANS ROSEBOWL PENN STATE OR USC
Tim Griffin (4:44 PM)
Ray: I'll take Iowa, Georgia and USC
Mike (Cleveland, Oh)
Tim, Nebraska should be slated to return up to 8 starters on defense next year. We will see Bo Pelini's worth?
Tim Griffin (4:47 PM)
Mike: Bo ranks 11th among the Big 12's coaches in annual salary. I think he's in line to get a big raise. And if the defense improves like the unit did last year, he'll deserve every penny of it.
Tim, OK State's defense looked awful last night, and wasn't very good the second half of the season in general. Do you think the fact that Mike Gundy doesn't pay attention to them when they are on the field affects them at all?
Tim Griffin (4:48 PM)
Jack: The OSU defense never was perceived to be a strength. They made some nice tactical moves against Missouri that helped provide the victory. But it's a young unit that should get better. I was impressed in a couple of things they did last night. Their defensive stand midway through the fourth quarter capped by the big hit on Blount showed a little bit of physicality.
Tony (Lancaster, PA)
I'm a Buckeye fan looking for a game against Texas like the one we had a few years back. What are the chances of an Ohio State victory?
Tim Griffin (4:49 PM)
Tony: Your chances aren't as good as for that game in Austin, namely because Colt McCoy has almost two more years of experience. But if Pryor can stay away from mistakes and the OSU defense do a number on Texas' receivers, the Buckeyes have a got a great shot at pulling the upset.
Mark (San Antonio)
Tim - Any idea why Leach hasn't signed his contract extension (or did I miss something over Christmas)?
Tim Griffin (4:50 PM)
Mark: I'm still wondering about that as well. I'm curious if something might be forthcoming after the bowl game? We'll see.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Tim, you're right, maybe Missouri and Kansas have taken a page out of Mike Riley's recruiting book. He rarely even gets "4-star" guys, yet he's on his way to another 9 win season and bowl win as we speak.
Tim Griffin (4:51 PM)
Will: I think Mike Riley does as consistently as good a job as any coach in the country. I'm surprised another school hasn't swooped him up by now.
Phillip (austin, tx)
Tim. Congratulations on answering Jack's Question. You should probably definitely look into politics with that answer. Please, Im curious as to what you thought on the subject.
Tim Griffin (4:52 PM)
But they made too many breaks and also never considered clamping down on Masoli with a spy. That's something that surprised me. And the departure of OSU's coordinator didn't help either.
Michael C. (Lubbock)
Is an outside shot at the Heisman enough of a reason to play a third year?
Tim Griffin (4:53 PM)
Michael: You might have a better shot than you might think. How about a three-peat on the Biletnikoff Award to go along with that?
The word around town is that Zac Lee has been the most impressive of the candidates to get the starting nod next year at Nebraska? I've heard 70 yards in the air along with good running ability. Any insights that you've heard?
Tim Griffin (4:54 PM)
Ryan: I think the quarterback question is the biggest one that will dog the Cornhuskers during the off-season. Lee has some big stories that are circulating about him. But so did Harrison Beck once upon a time, didn't he?
Bradford (boise, ID)
Tim, Jack was asking if the fact that Gundy ignores the defense when they are on the field affects them? Possibly their psyche?
Tim Griffin (4:56 PM)
Sorry, Jack. You've got a bunch of questions and I can only go with the one I saw. But Gundy was a quarterback and will always be more concerned with offense than defense. That doesn't make him any less of a coach. Mike Leach is the same way. Bob Stoops, on the other hand, is more concerned with defense. So is Bo Pelini. Coaches usually gravitate toward their strengths and hire a strong-willed person to take over for that other area. It will be interesting to see who Gundy hires to be his defensive coordinator.
Erick (Kansas City)
Tim...a break from all the sports questions what is your favorite place to eat ribs in Memphis personally I like Rendezvous?
Tim Griffin (4:57 PM)
Erick: Me, too. I just saw a Rendezvous show on the Travel Channel on Christmas Eve and it made me want to go home. But I will say I enjoyed the Interstate Bar-B-Q pulled pork sandwich on my last time through the Memphis airport. It was worth the trip.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Tim, I think Riley is set where he is, he grew up in Corvallis, and has tried the alternative (NFL), so I'm sure it's by choice he's stayed.
Tim Griffin (4:58 PM)
Will: Don't forget that he won a couple of Grey Cups in Canada. And it would have been interesting to see what he would have done in San Diego without Ryan Leaf.
Though OSU lost last night, they still had 499 yards of offense and killed themselves with the turnovers. Oregon is the 2nd best team in the pac-10 and still had a tough time beating OSU, which is a game they should have lost. the big 12 is the best conference
Tim Griffin (4:59 PM)
Josh: We'll see during the rest of the bowls.
Scott (West Memphis, AR)
Erick, I am from the area, and believe me when I say that the best place is Central Barbecue. It's a tiny place on Central (right off of Parkway) and they have the BEST barbecue.
Tim Griffin (4:59 PM)
Scott: When I was in college there, they had a place called Little Pigs that was close to MSU. Very underrated.
Do you think Jordan Shipley will come up big against Ohio State?
Tim Griffin (5:00 PM)
Huge challenge for him agianst Jenkins, who I think is the best cornerback in the country this season. The scouts tell me that, too.
Ku fan (Kansas City, MO)
After watching the first two big 12 bowl games, it seems that we(big 12), really do have no defense. It has me a little worried for tonights game against Minnesota. Do you believe this is the case, or just a coincidence in the first two games?
Tim Griffin (5:03 PM)
KU fan: Remember the first two teams that have played their bowl games. Neither were a defensive juggernaut during the regular season. I'm interested to see how MInnesota attacks KU tonight. Brewster had them running the spread during the regular season, but fired his line coach and committed to a more physical running game after his hire after the season. I'm curious to see how that turns out. Speaking of, I've got to run. More blogging tonight on the Insight Bowl and all of the rest of the Big 12's bowl games up to the BCS National Title Game. Again, everybody have a happy and safe new year's celebration. I'm looking forward to talking to everybody next week, so let's do it again then.