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 3 p.m. ET on Monday!
Tim Griffin (3:02 PM)
Welcome to my chat this afternoon. Please feel free to fire away with any and all Big 12 and college football-related questions. Let get started.
Charlie (OC, California)
Tim - What's your assessment of K-State's coaching staff? Are they going to be able to turn things around this season?
Tim Griffin (3:05 PM)
Charlie: Thanks for being first out of the box. I had a chance for an extensive sitdown with Bill Snyder when I was in Manhattan last week. I know he's very confident in his staff because of their familiarity with him. I think that Andy Ludwig woud have been an intriguing hire if they could have pulled that off. But Del Miller and Dana Miller both are very familiar with what Snyder wants in his assistants. As far as this season, that might be a tad presumptuous, although it wouldn't surprise me if Snyder won a couple of games through experience and moxie and got the Wildcats back to a bowl game.
Tim- who do you think is the best running back in the big 12 this year? I believe it is Helu. GBR
Tim Griffin (3:07 PM)
Pogi: Helu is good, but I think that Kendall Hunter might be a tad better as are the two Oklahoma backs - Murray and Brown. But Helu is a back with 1,000-yard potential this season. And I bet that Nebraska leans on their running game with their experience and lack of a proven quarterback or wide receivers.
Jeff (Denver, CO)
Tim, when are you going to make it out to Boulder? You need to see Marqkes Simas
Tim Griffin (3:08 PM)
Jeff: I'm looking forward to getting out there and to see Simas, Ryan Miller and the new improved and much skinnier Darrell Scott. I still think Colorado could emerge as the darkhorse contender in the North if they can stay healthy and get a little better quarterback play.
Brent Carter in Harlingen, Texas
There is nothing more important than the ********************!!! 2008* - I have contacted Bill Little and he pointed out the validity of the B12 South due to the tie, but had no immediate answer regarding the B12 Title. What have you heard?
Tim Griffin (3:10 PM)
Brent: I appreciate the Longhorns using the celebrated 2008* as a motivational tool, but it doesn't play well among the rest of the conference. Rival bulletin boards have been flaming over the last 24 hours since news of that posting. Yes, Bill is right about the Big 12 tie for the South Division. The Longhorns have a valid claim for that title, along with Oklahoma and Texas Tech. But I was at Arrowhead Stadium for the Big 12 championship game. The only two teams I saw were Oklahoma and Missouri. How does Texas claim the title there?
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
No mention of Scott or Speedy for top running back? If not, you must see Colorao's offense in deep trouble.
Tim Griffin (3:12 PM)
Jim: As far as production goes, Scott was admittedly a disappointment last season and Speedy is coming off a broken leg. I can't include either among the best in the conference - for now. But it wouldn't surprise me if either of them developed into a 1,000-yard back, too, with health and good fortune running behind the Colorado offensive line.
Jared (Kansas City)
Hey Tim, what do you think about the influx of games being held in the new Cowboys' stadium? What effect will it have on the Big XII?
Tim Griffin (3:15 PM)
Jared: It's obvious the reason those schools would like to go to Jerry World because of the extra seats and the fact that the Cowboys' organization is so excited about attracting games. Stephen Jones has been quoted as saying he'd like to have 10 college games a year at his facility. If that's the case, the Big 12 will be a huge part of the equation. The chance to play in what should be a palace in the middle of the richest recruiting area in the conference is a huge benefit for the schools. So it will be interesting to see how many games eventually end up there. But I know the biggest two trinkets the Cowboys' organization would like to get would be a Cotton Bowl that would be part of the BCS and the Texas-OU game. Those are their ultimate goals. It will be interesting to see if they can attain them.
I always assumed that game in the Arrowhead was for determining the first runner up.
Tim Griffin (3:15 PM)
Bevo: I guess Mack Brown did, too.
David (Fort Worth, TX)
Who do you think will have the best defense in the Big 12 next fall? UT's secondary is stacked and I expect Sergio to get 10 sacks again. But OU's bringing back a lot.
Tim Griffin (3:17 PM)
David: It will be close between Texas and Oklahoma, with Nebraska and Texas Tech a rung below. I still like Oklahoma's defense because they have nine starters back, replacing only safeties Lendy Holmes and Nic Harris. And that's not including LB Ryan Reynolds and DE Auston English, who could be two of the best in the conference at their positions if they are healthy.
Ty (Columbia, MO)
Tim - It pains me to even think about this but given that every north school, except Kansas, either lost their starting QB and several offensive members, doesn't have an established Big 12 QB, or has had a major coaching change at the head or coordinator positions...would you say that if Kansas doesn't win the north this season it's a disappointing year in Lawrence?
Tim Griffin (3:19 PM)
Ty: From the buzz I got last week in Lawrence, I think that's the case. The Jayhawks return more offensive firepower than any other school. They have some defensive shortcoming, but every team in the North seems to have a flaw or two. But I would say that Kansas and Nebraska will be the two overwhelming favorites coming into the 2009 season.
Evan (Dallas, TX)
As I watched the Spring Game yesterday for UT. I saw some pretty good running game developing amongst other things. Where there any big negatives or suprising positives about the 2009 Longhorns?
Tim Griffin (3:23 PM)
Evan: The biggest positive I saw for the Longhorns was their secondary. Look for a blog post on that later today. I also liked the play of their offensive line for the most part and the play of Tucker as multi-footed punter. As far as negatives, the receivers were a little lacking. That will improve when Shipley comes back, but still can use some work. Nobody emerged at running back. I look for a running threat-by-committee attack there. And the tight ends look lacking without Blaine Irby. Texas needs him to come back quickly.
Bill (Kearney, NE)
What are Mizzou's chances for a bowl game this year? and what players do teams in the Big 12 North need to watch out for from the Tigers?
Tim Griffin (3:26 PM)
Bill: I still think the Tigers make a bowl trip next year, although they are losing a lot of key players. And not just the offensive troika of Daniel, Maclin and Coffman either. I think their defense will struggle without Ziggy Hood, without Sulak and Willie Moore. And the fact they will have two new coordinators also will add another question mark. I think keys for them will be a better-than-expected performance from Gabbert at QB and finding some receivers step up. I think Derrick Washington could emerge into a back who gains 1,200 yards and adds 40 receptions if he's healthy. And they have to find some help on defense. Brian Coulter will be big for them at defensive end to provide a key pass-rushing threat.
No way are UT's WR's lacking. Brandon Collins and James Kirkendoll both proved themselves in the Fiesta Bowl, and Malcom Williams is going to have a monster year. It was a windy day at the Spring game. Don't read into it.
Tim Griffin (3:26 PM)
Eric: I also think the Texas defense had something to do with that, too. But still not a good sign that nobody emerged at receiver in that game - winds or not.
Otto (Denver, CO)
Colt McCoy was Texas' leading rusher last year, a major weakness for Texas. Evan mentioned he saw some good runner during the spring game. Will Texas' running game be good enough to relieve McCoy this year?
Tim Griffin (3:28 PM)
Otto: It better be. I don't see the Longhorns winning the Big 12 if McCoy is their leading rusher again. And that's even if Texas uses a back-by-committee outlook. They need somebody who they can count on for 700 yards for the season. Maybe Chris Whaley is that guy.
Scott (Austin, TX)
Tim, what's with the discrepancy in spring practice periods throughout the Big 12? differing philosophies or just academic/weather/etc concerns? what gives?
Tim Griffin (3:29 PM)
Scott:: A little of all you mentioned. Texas and Baylor have traditionally liked to go early because of the warmer weather in the South. Mack Brown also likes to go earlier because it gives him a chance to capitalize on bowl momentum and give those who are injured more time to get ready for fall practice. I think Bill Snyder went the latest this season at KSU almost by necessity. He needed the extra time to get his staff together.
Tim Griffin (3:35 PM)
Marc: Thanks for the compliments. Mack Brown told us yesterday that Irby will be checked out over the next month. He needs to return. Greg Smith had trouble with dropped passes yesterday. The coaches have high hopes for D.J. Grant. And they are still tinkering with Dravannti Johnson as a defensive end and a tight end. Johnson had the only sack of the scrimmage yesterday.
Gary (Stillwater, OK)
Which team do you think OSU will match up better with next year between OU and UT?
Tim Griffin (3:37 PM)
Gary: Considering how closely the Cowboys have been able to play the Longhorns over the last several years, I would say them. OSU hasn't had the defense to match Oklahoma's firepower in recent years. That's the primary immediate chore for Bill Young to make his defense competitive to them.
Hagler (Tullahoma, Tn)
Tim- I wrecked my sister's car last night and OU picked up a commitment from Bell...Can things get any worse for an Oklahoma St fan today?
Tim Griffin (3:38 PM)
Hagler: I don't know. Maybe if something happened to Dez Bryant or Zac Robinson? Or if T. Boone Pickens' fortunes took an even bigger tumble?
Rob (Omaha, NE)
What are your early predictions for Nebraska next season? Any upsets or backsets? How will they fair in the grand scheme of college football?
Tim Griffin (3:43 PM)
Rob: After spending some time with the Cornhuskers last week in Lincoln, I still think they are one of the two favorites in the North along with Kansas. I give the Cornhuskers a slight edge - even with the losses at quarterback and wide receiver - because of Kansas' tough cross-division schedule from the South. I think Nebraska can still beat out Kansas for the title even losing at Lawrence, which I expect them to do. I don't know if Bo Pelini has enough firepower to take his team to Virginia Tech and win that game. If they do that, it's a good indicator this is a special team. I don't necessarily think it will be an upset when they host Texas Tech. But I think the Colorado game could be for the Big 12 North title. And it wouldn't surprise me if the Cornhuskers have a puncher's chance of winning that game. So I would guess they would finish 8-4 or 9-3 with a shot at playing in the championship. Considering they are breaking in a new quarterback and two new wide receivers, I would think that would be an acceptable year for the Husker Nation.
Andrew (Houston, Texas
Any possible way Tech wins the Big 12 this year?
Tim Griffin (3:43 PM)
Andrew: I don't see it. They lost too much when Harrell, Crabtree and Brandon Williams left for the NFL.
Brent Carter in Harlingen, Texas
Hey, I saw L. Seastrunk at the game yesterday although did not have any contact per NCAA regs...any chance he signs with TEXAS?!!
Tim Griffin (3:45 PM)
Brent: Glad to see you're following NCAA rules. Never know when an undercover guy might be stalking the stands at DKR. I think the Longhorns have a great shot at getting him. It seems that Mack Brown gets most people he wants - espeically those from Temple.
Caleb (Omaha, NE)
Hey, who's going to start at quarterback for Nebraska next year? Any inside knowledge on this kind of stuff I actually got to watch a practice the other day and it turns out that it looks like it's going to be Zac Lee. Oh and by the way I think I hurt Codyy Green :(. Just wondering, though?
Tim Griffin (3:46 PM)
Caleb: I should be asking you about what you think, considering none of us media types get much of a chance to watch the Cornhuskers. I'm hearing that Lee likely gets the start because of his experience in the offense. But don't be surprised if Green gets some playing time - kind of like how Ohio State used Terrelle Pryor early in the season - with more coming if he plays up to it. So it wouldn't surprise me to see Green emerge as an offensive force late in the season.
Dr. Gonz (Lubbock, TX)
Tim, do you believe that Texas Tech's Detron Lewis has the potential to be the next break out reciever in the Big 12?
Tim Griffin (3:48 PM)
Like what I've seen from him so far. But to develop into the class of Crabtree/Bryant and the others will be a big step. Let's see if he has it in him - to paraphrase a sports drink commerical.
Tim - Is there anyway you could answer about 15 more questions about Nebraska? They do have the most rabid fan base with the least to do in the Spring.
Tim Griffin (3:48 PM)
Jim: They also are asking most of the questions, too.
Code (Lawrence, KS)
So, basically... what you are saying is... if Kansas has any shot at the Big 12 Title game, they have to beat the weakest of their south opponents...which would be either Texas Tech at Lubbock or Oklahoma at Lawrence (assuming they beat Nebraska).
Tim Griffin (3:49 PM)
Code: They have to sneak into Lubbock and win against the same team that spanked them at home last season, 63-21. I think a more realistic goal would be to win their other five games. And that won't be easy considering they have trips to Colorado, Kansas State and Missouri in Arrowhead. Sweeping their other five games might be a stretch.
Damon Johnson (Austin, Texas)
Is Earl Thomas one of the top 5 safeties in the country? Would he be better playing safety or cornerback?
Tim Griffin (3:50 PM)
Damon: Like where the Longhorns are playing him as a nickel back who basically takes the best of both worlds from both cornerback and safety. And considering the number of high-powered passing games, I think that's the ideal position for him. Don't know if he's one of the five best in college yet - remember he's only played 13 games.
Stefani (Ames, IA)
KU and NU are overwhelming favorites to win the North? I don't think you or anyone else knows who will win. Mizzou, Colorado, NU, and KU all have questions and hurdles to get past. Why don't you and everyone else just admit you don't really know instead of picking the team with the best offense and/or team with the most tradition?
Tim Griffin (3:52 PM)
Stefani: Did you see my blog post after my North travel? I basically said it was difficult for me to come up with a favorite for those reasons. The reasons I elevate Kansas and Nebraska a tad above the rest are Kansas' offensive firepower and Nebraska's coaching, tradition, Ndamukong Suh and Roy Helu and Quentin Castille.
Going into the Spring Game this weekend, who are the people to look for to make a good showing for Oklahoma?
Tim Griffin (3:55 PM)
Jason: I'm curious about the offensive line as a group, Adron Tennell and maybe Quinton Carter at safety.
Who do you see as the best defensive player in the Big 12 next year? Sergio Kindle? Gerald McCoy?
Tim Griffin (3:56 PM)
Wes: How about Ndamukong Suh in that group. All of them are highly ranked in my Big 12 top 40. Keep checking and you'll see how it unfolds.
Tyler Austin, Texas
Why is everyone so down on A&M? I think they can easily get to 6 wins and a bowl. Whats your take?
Tim Griffin (3:58 PM)
Tyler: Their blocking and defense will really have to improve. If we are to believe your prediction, they need to go 4-0 in the non-conference part of their schedule and maybe sneak an upset over somebody like Texas Tech, Oklahoma State or Kansas State. That might be asking a little bit much.
Andrew (Houston, Texas)
How dangerous is Tech's running game going to be next year? Batch and Jeffers...insane!
Tim Griffin (3:59 PM)
Andrew: I don't know about being insane, but it might be much better than what Mike Leach is accustomed to.
As an Iowa State grad, could you try to give me some hope for the upcoming season?
Tim Griffin (3:59 PM)
Mike: After talking with Paul Rhoads last week, wish I could. But it's going to be a long trip back for the Cyclones. I think Rhoads is the guy to get them there, but it might take some patience.
Brad Grand Island, NE
Whats your favorite statium just to sit and watch a game
Tim Griffin (4:01 PM)
Brad: Realistically, it's Blossom Stadium in San Antonio because it's only about 5 miles from my house and I can take my 4-year-old to watch the games. But as far as college locations I've been to over the years, my favorites are Neyland Stadium at Tennessee, the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Husky Stadium in Seattle, Kyle Field at Texas A&M and Tiger Stadium at LSU.
tim, love the blog. got a chance to go to the longhorn spring game yesterday. not too impressed with the offense. your thoughts?
Tim Griffin (4:02 PM)
Frank: I wasn't either, although I think the wind and the defense had a lot to do with Colt McCoy's struggles.
Dennis ( Wayne, Nebraska)
I look at the current Colorado quarterback situation and it reminds me of Kansas a couple years ago. I think Tyler Hansen is Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier is Cody Hawkins, to some extent
Tim Griffin (4:02 PM)
Dennis: Although I don't know if Cody Hawkins would be as athletically gifted to be able to play another position like Kerry Meier did.
Who is your top three national recruiting powerhouses?
Tim Griffin (4:03 PM)
Germain: How about USC, LSU and Texas, followed closely by Florida, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
P. Manuel (New Orleans, LA)
How would you rank the top 5 defenses in the Big XII. Do you think their reputation will be just as bad with everyone outside the conference as it was last season.
Tim Griffin (4:06 PM)
P: How about 1. OU; 2.Texas; 3. Texas Tech; 4. Nebraska; 5. Oklahoma State.
Tom (Omaha, Ne)
Tim, Are we going to see a resurrgence of Defense in the Big 12 in '09. I know the offenses were sickeninly good last year, Can the Defenses catch up?
Tim Griffin (4:07 PM)
Tom: Don't see it catching up overnight. Offenses will be dominant the next few years. The gap is just too big to catch up in one or two seasons.
Tim Griffin (4:07 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. Got to run. Enjoy the rest of spring practice and we'll check back with you later.