Chat with Tim Griffin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin stops by to chat about the season.
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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Tim Griffin (2:03 PM)
Lets get started. Lot of interesting stuff around the league.
Tyler (Hastings, NE)
Suh for Heisman? Why Not?
Tim Griffin (2:04 PM)
Tyler:I can't think of a better candidate right now. Carl Pelini told us last night that he had never seen a defensive tackle have a better game than "Big Suh" did last night. Playing like he did on national television can't hurt him.
Jac (Columbia, MO)
What do you think Mizzou needs to do to recover from this loss?
Tim Griffin (2:06 PM)
Jac:That was a devastating loss for the Tigers. The way the game got away from them had to have Gary Pinkel staring at the ceiling when he went to bed last night -- if he could even sleep. It really underscored the Tigers' lack of a running game. They need that to be balanced.Also, I thought the big Nebraska line keyed by Suh just wore the Mizzou line as the game continued. Those are problems that the Tigers likely can't overcome. I look for them finish with seven or eight wins and go to a bowl game in what in reality is a rebuilding after all the losses from last season.
Phil C. (Lincoln, NE)
I'm sending this question in on Wednesday for the record.After Nebraska beats Missouri by multiple touchdowns at Missouri in front of a national audience, will we break into the top 15 in the polls? Also, after Helu has another 100 rushing yard game, will he finally get some national recognition? -- the kid is a beast!
Tim Griffin (2:09 PM)
Phil, or maybe Nostradamus?: I'll vouch for your authenticity as you did send this on Wednesday. Everything you predicted happened with the exception of Helu running for 100 yards. He was bogged down with the flu but came up with a big score that all those Missouri fans who left to get out of the rain missed.I'll be interested to see where Nebraska ends up after this. I don't know if it resonates as much as we in the midwest think. But I think they'll be around the 14-16 ranking with the polls are released on Sunday. .
Do you think ineligibility for the rest of the season was the right punishment for Bryant? What do you think his chances of reinstatement are?
Tim Griffin (2:12 PM)
Matt: I don't like Bryant's chances of getting reinstated because he lied to the NCAA. That is an absolutely no-no. And OSU has had some dealings with the NCAA in that baseball pitcher a couple of years ago. I wouldn't expect any leniency there, either. It will be interesting to see how his personal appeal will work out. Bryant is a good kid and his penalty doesn't fit his crime. OSU is really going to struggle without him, however.
Aaron George (Edwardsville, Il)
Tim, what do you think OUs chances are at a Big XII Title and a trip to a BCS bowl this year if Bradford comes back at 100% and maintains that status? I understand that the o-line still needs improvement and the receivers still havent "shown" up. With that said, OU has lost by a total of only 2 points this year without the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, arguably the best tight end in the nation and now with the loss of our number 1 receiver. With Sam back at 100%, most would have to think that IF they get past Texas, they have a good shot at running the table the rest of the way. Especially with the emergence of Cameron Kenney in the game at Miami. Whats your thoughts on all of this?
Tim Griffin (2:13 PM)
Aaron: It's going to be interesting to see what kind of a factor Bradford's return will have on the Sooners. They do have some problems in the line and at receiver. I've also been surprised that Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray haven't really gotten off of the schneid yet. Bradford's return will give them a shot of enthusiasm. Whether that will be enough to carry them to the South title, we'll see in the next few weeks.
Mark (Mansfield, TX)
Hey Tim, love the blog. I was wondering if you know the status of Blaine Irby, the Texas tight end who suffered a pretty horrific knee injury last year. I know he's out for this season, but I haven't been able to find out if this looks like a career ending injury, or if he's going to try to come back next season. Thanks!
Tim Griffin (2:14 PM)
Mark:From what I'm hearing, Irby is doing what he can to come back for another season. Until doctors rule it out, he's continuing to work towards that goal.
Tim, I'm sure ESPN has guidelines but is there a chance we could have a chat some evening when some of your fans are off work?Describe a typical week during the season. How much time is spend traveling? On research and prep work? How many different media sources do you check daily?Thanks!0X
Tim Griffin (2:16 PM)
Harlanman: Good question and I'll check on it.My typical week is like any of the other bloggers. We're constantly scanning the net, papers and the like. I'm typically only traveling a couple of days, so I still have the opportunity to occasionally play daddy-day-care with my son at home. But I do this football stuff because I love it. Hope you guys like what I'm doing.
Jeff (Augusta, GA)
Could Texas go unbeaten in the SEC like it looks like Florida or Bama is going to do?
Tim Griffin (2:18 PM)
Jeff: The Longhorns have the best hope, although the return of Bradford makes that game next week a little more interesting. Their game against OSU doesn't look as daunting after Bryant's suspension. Texas has a shot, but I don't know if they can run the table. That's hard to do for 13 weeks including the championship game.
Have you changed your North favorite
Tim Griffin (2:19 PM)
Alex:To be fair, I can't. I'll stick with Kansas at this time. But I was very, very impressed with the pluckiness of Nebraska.It should be a heck of a North Division race.
Chad E. (Austin, TX)
In the NU - Mizzou game, NU had bad snaps, terrible throws/pass attempts, 12 penalties, fumbles on punt returns, and dropped interceptions. True freshman Cody Green was warming up to replace Zac Lee before he threw the 4th quarter pass to Niles Paul for a TD. Do you think their defense can make up for their Offense and Special Teams mistakes week in and week out?
Tim Griffin (2:20 PM)
Chad:Big Suh is a difference maker. But the Cornhuskers won't be able to afford those kind of mistakes and expect to beat a team like Texas or Oklahoma.
Celso (UTSA San Antonio, TX )
Hey should Bradford go this weekend even against a Robert Griffin less team? Or is it a prep for Texas? and can they even beat Texas now at this point?You rock Tim!
Tim Griffin (2:21 PM)
Celso: This is definitely prep work for Texas. I liken it to an NFL quarterback getting ready for the regular season in a final preseason game. I think it will be hard for OU to beat Texas, but their chances got better with Bradford returning to the lineup. And it improved even more with him getting some prep work against Baylor before that game.
Not including the loss of Griffin, what do you think is going to be the biggest obstacle facing the quest for a bowl?
Tim Griffin (2:23 PM)
Scott: They've got to defense the run better. Teams like Nebraska and Okie State (if Hunter is back) and even Tech will eat them alive if the defensive front doesn't play better. The way Connecticut gashed them inside should be a warning as Big 12 play approaches.
Eddy (Fort Worth,TX)
Tim what did you think about Mack Brown sticking up for Bobby Bowden on ESPN. I think MB was right on what he said.
Tim Griffin (2:24 PM)
Eddy: Remember that Mack went to school at FSU and is close with Bowden and his family. It was interesting to see him even take a side in this. But I think most coaches would stick up for one of their own -- particularly one with the popularity and the longevity of BB
Dennis (Airville, PA)
Can any of the North teams upset the big favorites from the South this year? I mean upsets like Kansas against Texas or Nebraska against Oklahoma, etc.
Tim Griffin (2:26 PM)
Dennis:Still see a big balance of power difference between the South and North, although I think Nebraska could challenge OU in that Nov. 7 game.
John (Austin, TX)
What is your take on Texas' "running by committee." Should they continue giving the ball to 3 or 4 different backs, or choose a number 1?
Tim Griffin (2:28 PM)
John: Actually, I like the back by committee idea. All of those backs have a part of their game they do a little bit better. When you throw them together, it might even make for more versatility for the Longhorns because of the different ways they can play. But like an NBA coach, I look for Mack Brown to "shorten his rotation" as the season progresses. By that, I would expect him to feature two or three of backs and give them more of the carries than anybody else.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Why can't you? You did it when Castille got the boot.
Tim Griffin (2:30 PM)
Josh: I was already called a "waffler" on my favorite Omaha sports talk show after I did that. Better stick with this one. I like what the Jayhawks have done so far. It will be a good race.And by the way, do you think if Castille had been there against Virginia Tech that they would have gotten at least one touchdown on one of those red-zone possessions.In other words, would he have been worth a point or two to make a difference in that game?I think so.
Olaf (Boerne, TX)
See any parallels between Obama winning a Nobel prize and the praise bestowed after a few weeks on Gene Chizik at Auburn?
Tim Griffin (2:31 PM)
Olaf: I usually don't refer to politics in this forum. But let me just say that I can see your point.
JJ (Manhattan, KS)
Tim do you think that K-State will be able to compete with Texas Tech on Saturday.
Tim Griffin (2:34 PM)
JJ:I think it might be a reach. Sticks Sheffield looked pretty salty last week. The key for the Wildcats will be to shorten the game, keeping the ball out of Tech's offense and utilizing Thomas on a lot of carries.
Justin (Waco, TX)
Tim,I am a Baylor student and die hard fan. With Griffin out I keep wondering whether Briles is playing head games with the quarterback position. Do you really think that Blake Syzmanski was too injured to go Saturday so Florence got the start against Kent State or could Florence be the starter for the rest of the season? I guess what I am asking is who should Baylor fans expect to see under center if Syzmanski is healthy?
Tim Griffin (2:35 PM)
Justin: I think Szymanski is their guy against Oklahoma. If he struggles as the season progresses, it wouldn't shock me to see Briles lean more on Florence during the rest of the season. He is their backup quarterback in the future with RG3's return.
Chris (Abilene, TX)
What's the most important thing for A&M to do in order to beat Oklahoma State?
Tim Griffin (2:36 PM)
Chris: They have to protect Johnson better. He was rushed too often last week by Arkansas. Also, it wouldn't hurt A&M to jump ahead early and get the Kyle Field crowd into the game from the beginning.
Chris (Abilene, TX)
With the absence of Dez Bryant, do you think A&M can/will shock OSU tomorrow?
Tim Griffin (2:37 PM)
Chris:Yes I do. I think the Aggies have got a shot to win for the reasons I mentioned above.
Alan (Wilbraham, MA)
Tim, I'm making my first trip to the Red River game. I need your recommendation on must-eat fried foods. So far I've got fried oreos, snickers bars, PB&J, and twinkies on my list. What am I missing?
Tim Griffin (2:39 PM)
Alan:You'll love the ambience of the State Fair of Texas midway. I usually try to steer away from most of those fried foods, save for a traditional Fletcher's State Fair corny dog. I have one a year. But I was reading in the Dallas paper a little early. They apparently have got a new fried food to the horror of cardiologists everywhere. This is deep-fried butter. What they've done is freeze butter and then a tortilla like shell around it. What do you think? Delicious or not?
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Any word yet if Gabbert's ankle injury will be a lingering problem?
Tim Griffin (2:40 PM)
Clay: Haven't heard anything yet. It did look like it affected him as the game went on. He looked like had the bootleg open all game, but just didn't feel comfortable in his movement to take advantage of the play.
LaMarcus (Omaha, Ne)
Hey Tim, do you think Roy Helu Jr. should really be considered one of the better halfbacks in the nation?
Tim Griffin (2:41 PM)
LaMarcus: Yes, I do.I think Helu is one of the best backs in the Big 12. He's a versatile player as a rusher and a receiver. I like his burst and think he's a big key for the Cornhuskers.
Phil C. (Lincoln, NE)
Tim, thanks for answering my other question.In your opinion, should the Blackshirts be given out?
Tim Griffin (2:42 PM)
Phil: Definitely think so after last night. It will be interesting to see if Bo thinks like I do.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Oh, are you doing your conference effectiveness rankings today and will they include last night's game?
Tim Griffin (2:43 PM)
Josh: Should be up late tonight, although I've got a trip coming up in a few minutes. And they won't include last night's game. Only good through the previous week.
Mike (New York City, NY)
Texas Tech vs NU. Who do you like?
Tim Griffin (2:44 PM)
Mike:Depends if Potts is back. But if it's Sheffield vs. Lee, I'll go with the Cornhuskers.
Scott (Papillion, NE)
Can you confirm the rumors that Roy Helu's injury last night was just a stinger?
Tim Griffin (2:45 PM)
Scott: I can describe exactly what it was, but can only add this. He had an ice bag taped to the area around the right side of his neck. And he was walking very gingerly when he boarded the team bus.
Given the injuries that OU has, what chances do you give the Jayhawks to beat OU in a couple weeks?
Tim Griffin (2:46 PM)
Ryan:Maybe better than we think. The Jayhawks are going to have to prove to me, however, that they can stop Sam Bradford and Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray. Even though the Sooners are banged up, their athletes are better than USM's were.
Paul (Houston, TX)
Is OU going to be able to put up points against Texas?
Tim Griffin (2:47 PM)
Paul: I would think so. Although I do think the OU defense will be the biggest test the Longhorns' offense will face this season. I look for a throwback kind of game with the winner scoring in the 20s and the loser in the teens.
Andrew (Oklahoma City)
Do you believe that if Sam Bradford didn't get injured that the Sooners would be undefeated?
Tim Griffin (2:48 PM)
Andrew: I know those BYU fans like to say that OU was struggling with Bradford in the first half. But I've got to think he makes up for a couple of points in both of those losses.
How bad was Lee for the first 3 quarters
Tim Griffin (2:49 PM)
Bad enough that I saw Cody Green throwing on the bench late in the third quarter before that late flurry.
Tom (San Antonio)
Tim, so if Potts is back then you are picking the Red Raiders ?
Tim Griffin (2:50 PM)
Didn't say that. Just that it would make the game more competitive. Remember Tech has had a lot of success against the Cornhuskers in recent games.
What would comprise a "moral victory" for CU down in Austin this weekend? Beating the spread? Getting some picks off McCoy?
Tim Griffin (2:51 PM)
Probably a little of both. I seen a big difference in talent in this game and I look for the Longhorns to roll.
Tim, how do you select what questions to post? You're giving all the love to the south nebraska. What gives?
Tim Griffin (2:51 PM)
Joel:I wish I could answer all of them, but as I answer one, four or five new ones appear.
How do you rank the conferences right now? Do you agree with me that the SEC is definately the best conference where as last year the Big XII was very close behind?
Tim Griffin (2:52 PM)
Kyle: Yes I do. SEC is No. 1. Big 12 No. 2. Pac-10 is No. 3, in my opinion.
charles Urich (Dallas)
Tim- Do you see A&M righting the ship or do you see them continuing to flounder in years ahead? I wanted your opinion on when these young guys get to be Juniors and Seniors if that's the answer to better things for the Aggies.
Tim Griffin (2:54 PM)
Charles: It's going to be tough with the competitiveness never higher in the Big 12. But I like the young kids that Sherman has and I've been pleasantly surprised with some of his recruits.
Tim,Do not forget that Texas plays CU not OU this weekend!
Tim Griffin (2:54 PM)
Jason: Thanks for the catch. I'm doing this on two hours sleep from last night.
Craig (Denver, Colorado)
Do you think if CU only wins 3 or 4 games this year that this will be the end of the Hawkins era?
Tim Griffin (2:57 PM)
Craig: It will be interesting to see. I've heard a lot of my friends up in Boulder telling me that the cash-strapped school can't afford to make a coaching change. They might not be able NOT to make that change. Look how Oklahoma's fortunes turned after Stoops was hired. Or Texas with Brown or Tech with Leach. Coaching is the most important commodity in college football.
It appears that OU blitzes most plays when the game gets tight making for the easy 5 and 10 yd throws. With OU's front four why so many blitzes?
Tim Griffin (2:58 PM)
Joe: I wondered that to. I would have figured the Sooners could line up and get people with their defensive line, kind of like Nebraska does.
We have seem some great rants from head coaches in the Big 12. Mike Gundy (I'm I man I'm 40) and Dan Hawkins (It's Division 1 football!!). What rank from the Big 12 or in general is your favorite?
Tim Griffin (2:59 PM)
Brady, I like the dueling rants that day from Leach and Gundy at Stillwater. Leach called his defense a bunch of poseurs and Gundy going off on the media.Good times.
Brian (Norman, Ok)
There was a lot of debate in Norman about the play calling late in the game against Miami. Do you feel that Kevin Wilson was being too conservative, or what do you think happened in that last drive?
Tim Griffin (3:00 PM)
Brian: I think that because Brown and Murray were running so well earlier in that possession, along with the struggles of the Sooners' receivers, that is was an easy choice for Wilson to call his plays like that.
Were you out partying last night? Did you like to have a little taste on Thursday nights?
Tim Griffin (3:01 PM)
Otto: The only party I had was driving three hours through rain between Columbia and Kansas City. Thank goodness for satellite radio!
Craig (Denver, Colorado)
Watching the re-air of NU-Missouri on ESPNU - I really don't understand MU's play calling after Gabbert got hurt. Why didn't they try to establish more of a running game to not only chew the clock but take some pressure off Gabbert?
Tim Griffin (3:03 PM)
Craig: I got the idea that Pinkel didn't think his team could consistently run against Nebraska's front. The Nebraska line wore Missouri down. It reminded me of an old heavyweight fight where a game challenger is worn down by body shots over the course of the fight.
Jayme (McKinney, TX)
Who do you think Baylor can beat in conference without RG3 ?
Tim Griffin (3:03 PM)
Jayme: I don't think they can make a bowl game. The games they really need to win are against A&M in College Station and Tech. Both will be tough games.
Jared (Las Vegas)
Do you think that Kansas has a chance to do what Texas Tech did last year? Senior QB, talented WRs, surprising running game and a solid defense?
Travis Hulse (Sandy, UT)
Tim, I tried to ask this earlier my apologies in advance if you have already made notice! Curious to know what you think about penalty calls limiting players aggressiveness? (Horse-Collar and Head to Head) I understand the safety precautions, but where do you draw the line? Go Big Red!
Tim Griffin (3:05 PM)
And don't forget solid coaching in both of their cases. Although the North Division isn't going to be nearly as hard as the Big 12 South was last season.
Tim Griffin (3:06 PM)
Guys: That's all I have time for today. Enjoy your football weekend and we'll get back together next week.