Chat with Tim Griffin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin stops by to chat about the upcoming 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris (Salinas, CA)
I gotta agree with one of Mack Brown's comments following the Big-12 title game, when he said that if it had been in the SEC, it would have been called a beautiful game. It seems like almost everytime the score is barely in the double digits at a SEC game its not because the offense is horrid, but because the defense is so good. Yet when it happened in the Big 12, they say that the offense is horried and the defense isn't good either.
Tim Griffin (1:02 PM)
Good afternoon. Looking forward to some interaction.Let's get started.
Tim Griffin (1:03 PM)
Chris:I do agree that a little bit of a double standard exists out there. The low-scoring games in the SEC are hyped, while those in the Big 12 are called boring an unimaginative. I thought the game Saturday night was very interesting. I really enjoyed it. I think most of the people watching it did, too.
Bo Pelini (Lincoln,NE)
Should I fire Watson? My team was sooooo close to being undefeated. How close? One awful offense away. Should I bring in Weis to fix it up?
Tim Griffin (1:05 PM)
Bo: Please tell me you didn't mention Weis as in Charlie Weis? But you are about being 12-1. Take a few plays here and there and the Cornhuskers could have beaten Texas, ISU and Va. Tech. I don't know about Texas Tech. That was 31-10.
Hey Tim! I noticed that the Big 12 got some pretty exciting matchups in the non-BCS bowl games this year, particularly OU, Nebraska, OK State and A
Tim Griffin (1:06 PM)
Jack: There are some winnable games out there. I think it would be huge for the Big 12's national prestige to win some games in the bowl season as an underdog -- starting with Texas over Alabama in the national title game.
Matt (Houston, TX)
What are your early Big XII Bowl predictions? Winners and scores?
Tim Griffin (1:08 PM)
I'll give you a full accounting in a few weeks right before the bowl starts. But I'm leaning to Nebraska, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Missouri to win.Texas, I'm still waffling on. And I think Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas A&M might have some trouble.
Kyle (Lowell, AR)
As a huge Husker fan and after witnessing the Suh's domination in Dallas, there is no way you can pick Colt over Suh to win the Heisman. Yes Suh had some rough games, but greatness is harder to acheive in the DT trenches. As far as I'm concered Colt was not as Outstanding as Suh this YEAR, given their positions. I emphasize year because some may lose sight of the "Year" portion of "Most Outstanding Player of the Year" and give Colt the "Career" Heisman...
Tim Griffin (1:09 PM)
Kyle:I do give some credence to being the starting quarterback and a 70 percent passer on a team that is playing for a team in the national championship. Remember also that Suh wasn't quite the force that some seem to be thinking about in games like Kansas and Texas Tech. And his team was 9-4.
Ben Frantz (Manhattan, KS)
Tim,So many people out there have said that Suh is the best player in the country. But they didn't vote for him for the Heisman. Why is this? Is it because they are afraid to vote for him? Or is it because they have fallen into the realm of voters that believe the Heisman is a political thing above all else?
Tim Griffin (1:12 PM)
Ben: That isn't the case for me. I took a long time to make my vote. And I don't necessarily think it's a political thing, although I'm amazed at how many Heisman voters were swayed by the games in the last week of the season. In a way, it reminds me of voters reacting to the last presidential debate and then changing their vote. For example, the staff of one large Texas newspaper staff printed all of their votes for the Heisman. None of them had Suh listed last week.It was truly was for season-long achievement, wouldn't Suh have been listed by one of them last week?
Brent (Atlanta, GA)
Still loving the blog. Keep up the excellent work. Ok, so I agree that what the officials did in Arlington (The Clock Incident) was perfectly possible and legal. I'm not sure, however, that the move was fair. If you look at each incomplete pass, push out of bounds, first down, touchdown or field goal in the game, you would find that an extra second or two generally passes after all of them. If the officials are going to make an exception for what may have been only a fraction of a second at the end of the game, they should add the other seconds that ticked away earlier in the game (without review-enabled precision) as well. In that case, Nebraska may have had time to work with...time for an errant kick or a personal foul (well probably not the foul considering the officiating). Basically, if they don't feel the need to correct the clock in other instances, it seems unfair to be so precise just so 12-0 Texas can attempt a field goal.
Tim Griffin (1:14 PM)
Brent: The point you make is the one that I find that most fans who feel Nebraska got hosed keep harping on. Namely, how can a second be added late in the game and not earlier. And I think it's the most prescient argument that what happened was unfair. But there was a second left on the clock. Texas was able to benefit from it.
Who's your heisman pick?
Tim Griffin (1:15 PM)
Ingramham:Check back later today. I'll have a post explaining why I voted the way I did.
Mike (Amarillo, Tx)
How do you see the South looking next year?
Tim Griffin (1:16 PM)
Mike:Look for A&M and Tech to improve. Baylor will be better because Griffin will be back, although they have significant defensive holes to fill. Texas is starting a new QB, so it will be difficult to match what they've been able to do. OU should be a little better. OSU will drop some.Here's my choice now:1.UT/OU3. A
Jared (Kansas City)
If the Texas defense holds Ingram under 75 yds rushing, do the Longhorns win the game?
Tim Griffin (1:18 PM)
Jared: I think the key will be forcing McElroy to beat them. If they can keep Ingram that low, they've got a big shot. Also, they have to win the special teams, too. The runbacks that Niles Paul could be a bad sign as they get ready for Javier Arenas and Co.
Have you heard any Robert Griffin updates? Is he on track for spring practice?
Tim Griffin (1:19 PM)
Matt:I hear that Griffin is progressing well after his surgery and will be back on track for spring practice. I wonder, however, if his injury will cause him to rethink whether or not he tries for track this spring. Remember, he chose not to participate last season in order to get ready for football. I haven't heard anything about that, yet.
Tim...just wanted to make a couple of comments. First of all, it's not entirely true that no one had mentioned Suh in Heisman talk. In fact, after the Missouri game, there was quite a bit of discussion regarding his nomination. You also need to remember Suh's success was largely shrouded by a cloud of obscurity due to the numerous double and triple teams placed on him. Yet, despite this, he was still able to make plays. That, to me, is the most outstanding player of the year.
Tim Griffin (1:22 PM)
Nate: One thing that I found interesting was that Suh's development truly was outstanding. He had all those PBU's and blocked kicks, etc. What would have happened if he had scored on one of those short-yardage plays for the Cornhuskers against Texas? I think if he had that little extra -- like he was able to do last year -- he would have been more of a candidate. What do you think?
How do you think TCU would do in the Big 12?
Tim Griffin (1:23 PM)
Chuck: This year, they would have contended with Texas and Nebraska. Not sure they could have done it every year. But this season, I think they are as good as any team in the country -- and I'm including Texas and Alabama in that list.
What do you think Suh's chances are, percentage wise, of winning the Heisman?
Tim Griffin (1:25 PM)
Kyle, this is how I would break it down now ... Ingram 40 Suh 30Gerhart 15McCoy 15
Andrew (Lincoln, NE)
How do you think the quarterback situation will play out for NE next season. Also, do you see any big play threats turning up on offense?
Tim Griffin (1:26 PM)
Andrew: I think Cody Green will really push Zac Lee in the spring. It wouldn't surprise me if he beats out Lee with a big spring and summer.
Tim Griffin (1:28 PM)
Tim:Also, I meant to add that Nebraska does have some potential big-play players like Niles Paul and Khiry Cooper. I also liked what Brandon Kinnie gave them. All those tight ends are back. I kept waiting for Mike McNeill to blossom during the season. I thought he had a legitimate chance to be the All-Big 12 tight end coming into the season.
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
Mack Brown is full of it. Who are these people saying that the Big 12 title game was horrid? The OU-Texas game was horrid. The reason people are down on Texas after the title game is that Texas was supposed to have a good offense and Nebraska made them look bad. Likewise, Texas was supposed to have a good defense and the Aggies made them look bad. It's 2 (big) weeks in a row that Texas failed to live up to expectations. On the other hand, Bama looked all-around outstanding (at least last week).
Tim Griffin (1:30 PM)
Josh: I agree that Texas struggled, much like Bama at Auburn the week before. I look at it that both teams made plays when they needed to in final drives to preserve their championship hope as proving their championship mettle.
Tim: As I've told several others, I strongly feel that had Suh blocked that kick, he'd have the Heisman won. Frankly, I'm still in shock of the performance that Suh had in the Texas game; I have never seen a player reach the level of domination that he did. And while the Texas game provided the largest stage for him to do so, he's been doing these things all year. I have a lot of respect for Ingram and Gerhart, both amazing players. But from an unbiased perspective (as unbiased as I can be) I am simply amazed by Suh's talent...even from just last year.
Tim Griffin (1:31 PM)
Nate: Me, too. Imagine what would have happened if he had transferred to Oregon State as he talked about almost doing earlier this week.
Matt (Lincoln, NE)
Why is it expected for Suh to have to do a little something extra? Should Ingram, Gerhart or the other two have played a couple of defensive series to cement it into some voters minds?
Tim Griffin (1:33 PM)
Matt: McCoy might have saved the Texas season -- or at least kept their undefeated hopes alive -- with his tackle of Brian Jackson after that fourth-quarter interception against Oklahoma.
Trevor (Grand Island, NE)
How do you think the Big 12 will do overall this bowl season?
Tim Griffin (1:34 PM)
Trevor:I'm guessing a bowl record of 5-3 should be a cause for jubilation in the league offices in Dallas.
Chances Zac Lee is the opening day starter in 2010?
Tim Griffin (1:34 PM)
Jay: About 60 percent. I'll go much lower if you asked me about the Texas game or the Colorado game later in the season.
Turner Gill (Buffalo)
Thers been pretty bad weather up here and my phone isn't working. Have you heard anything about the Kansas opening?
Tim Griffin (1:35 PM)
Turner: Get your daughter to tell you what's going on around the offices at Kansas. I don't know what to tell you except to say it looks like you're the favorite right now.
Well, had he gone to Oregon State...who knows, maybe they would have capitalized and gone undefeated this year. That's the most frustrating part, Tim (and I'm sure you can agree). Had Nebraska even an inkling of an offense, we may have been vying for the BCS national title game. Suh practically carried this team all year...perhaps those outside of Nebraska fandom can't appreciate that, but to me, Suh gave this team everything he had and it showed.
Tim Griffin (1:37 PM)
Nate: If Joe Ganz was playing for Nebraska this year, they would at worst be 11-2 and playing in a BCS game. If they had beaten Texas and finished 12-1, they might be in the top seven or eight teams nationally.
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
I'm not sure my question got through before. The quesion was what to expect from recruiting by Colorado given the fact that Hawkins barely kept his job this year and is on a short leash for next year. Won't that make recruiting very difficult for him?
Tim Griffin (1:38 PM)
Jim: I would think so, particularly the very top prospects who really watch those things.
Jared (Kansas City)
What's up with all of the whining from Nebraska? First in Dallas (they shouldn't expect to win 2 games in which they don't score a touchdown in a year) and now with Suh. I agree that Suh may be the best player in the country, but there's something to be said for a quarterback that leads his team to a national title game and has the ball in his hands on every offensive play. Suh can only do so much on the d-line.
Tim Griffin (1:39 PM)
Jared: I think it's better described as "heavy concern" among my Cornhusker friends. I wouldn't refer to it as "whining."
Bob (Oklahoma City)
Tim- I think that you are seriously underestimating Tech next season...Given the recruits coming in, and almost the entire starting line up coming back, plus with OU struggles, OSU/UT reloading, Tech looks pretty good..agree?
Tim Griffin (1:41 PM)
Bob:Schedule is tougher for them. They have to travel to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which will be two tough games to start. They will also have to play Missouri, which has been a personal bugaboo for Mike Leach ever since he's been coaching the Red Raiders.
Tim, besides the circumstantial evidence (see: Nebraska's terrible offense), have you heard anything that would lead you to believe Nebraska is actually considering replacing Watson as offensive coordinator?
Tim Griffin (1:43 PM)
Ryan: No I haven't. I thought it was young Gabbert de-committed. That led me to believe that Watson may be entrenched in his job.
The Heisman is what it is Tim. I think the deal with Suh is, defensive players are held to a much higher standard insofar as the Heisman goes. Suh would appear and disappear off the Heisman radar because of that standard. I have no dog in this fight as an OU fan, but in this particular year, i think it is fairly obvious to college football fans that Suh is a once in a generation or more type talent and had that type of year. You can't say that about anybody else in the discussion.
Tim Griffin (1:45 PM)
R.J.: I agree with you. Suh's brilliance is understandable but he's playing on a 9-4 team. McCoy's numbers are down from last year. Ingram's numbers are good, but a couple of other backs on his team might have done the same thing if they had the opportunity. Gerhart's team was 8-4 and much of his yardage was accomplished against some weak early defenses and one big late weak defense in Notre Dame. It's been a tough season to sort all those out.
If Vaughn Miller comes back, and with several other starters coming back what is a realistic outlook for the Aggies
Tim Griffin (1:46 PM)
David: I would say that the return of Miller for the A&M is the biggest recruit for Sherman going into the off-season. If he was to return, I could see them going 8-4, maybe better. Still not to the level of the championship, but closer than last year or this one.
Chris (Washington, DC)
Any thoughts on K-State's quarterback situation next year? I think in order to keep improving we are going to need a good player at Q and I am not sure Snyder has that on the roster right now...
Tim Griffin (1:48 PM)
I look for Chris Harper to really challenge Coffman at QB. He might be the player. But I don't know if the Wildcats have the talent to get into the level of Missouri or Nebraska for next season.
Chris, as a Tide fan living in Austin TX.. I'm scared to death by all this hype that Bama is going to cream Texas in the NCG. Do you think that type of hype will continue or as we get closer to game day the media will perceive a more evenly matched competition?
Tim Griffin (1:49 PM)
Ed:It won't help them if the media harps about Texas' late performances. It's been interesting to see Nick Saban trying to nip all of this talk in the bud. But I think it will a big piece of inspiration that Mack Brown has to be relishing.
Jamie (St. Louis)
Who is the best RB coming back in the Big 12?
Tim Griffin (1:50 PM)
Daniel Thomas, although DeMarco Murray could rush for 1,500 yards if he was featured by Oklahoma.
Do you think Gilbert will be able to live up to UT's quarterback standards.
Tim Griffin (1:50 PM)
Eventually, but not to McCoy's level to start off. That's why I think Texas takes a little step back in 2010.
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
A Texas fan complaining about other whining? Man, what's that saying about a kettle calling the pot black?
Tim Griffin (1:51 PM)
Jim: I think all schools have their complainers. Whining might be a tad too strong. But I think every college football team has that element in their fandom. That's what makes it such a great sport.
Tim, if you are to bet .5 of your salary, who would you pick at top of big 12 N & S in 2010?
Tim Griffin (1:52 PM)
It might not be much. But if you're asking me today, I'll go with Oklahoma and Nebraska. Texas and Missouri won't be far behind in their respective divisions.
What's your take on the Yankee Bowl for next year? Do you think there will be excitement in the Big 12 for it? I think its a cool venue and like the Big East/Big 12 matchup. Better than a ACC school going to Boise - that's for sure.
Tim Griffin (1:53 PM)
Dave: It's an intriguing concept, although I'm still a little dubious about the support for college football in the greater NYC area. But it will be a neat place to play and will beat a lot of other bowls at the bottom of the feeding chain because of the trip alone.
Tom (New York)
After the way NU got robbed by the Big 12 officials and the conference commissioner (Bebee was cheering when Texas made the kick) do you think there is a chance Tom Osborne (who has never liked the Big 12) may say let's go to the Big 10 or somewhere else?
Tim Griffin (1:55 PM)
Tom: I don't believe Dan Beebe was cheering. It cost him $4.5 million when Nebraska didn't win because the Big 12 now won't have two teams in the BCS. Don't know of Osborne's pull to make that kind of call. I would think it would depend more on Harvey Perlman and the board of trustees.
Do you think Gabbert has a break out season next year? Or do you think Nebraska re-established themselves as the big dogs of the North?
Tim Griffin (1:56 PM)
I'm looking for big things from Gabbert if he's healthy. I was really impressed with some of the things he accomplished this season.
Omaha World Herald (Omaha)
Do you like Tom Shatel? He thinks Pelini may choose to fire Watson and hire someone else.
Tim Griffin (1:57 PM)
Tom has been a friend of mine for a long time. And I bet he'd rather get a Chick Fil-A in Nebraska for wide public consumption than a new coordinator. The one that the guys at the Mutual of Omaha offices use isn't enough.
Kevin K (Lawton, OK)
As a longtime Nebraska fan who really started to follow football when Turner Gill became quarterback, the Kansas rumors worry me. I want him to succeed, but I also don't ever want Kansas to beat Nebraska again. I would think that being in the same division as Nebraska has to play a part in any decision.
Tim Griffin (1:59 PM)
Kevin: In a lot of ways, I think that the hiring of Gill would be a masterstroke.Anybody who knows Turner knows what a legitimately good person he is. And Kansas is going to have to recruit the lesser prospects in Texas to be successful. Mangino did a great job of that. Gill is going to have to do the same thing and I like his chances because of him growing up in Fort Worth.
Okay, one more question. Do you really think Nebraska would cut ties with all the old Big 8 and current Big 12 tradition they've developed?
Tim Griffin (2:00 PM)
Dan:That would be hard to believe. Tradition is a big part of the Nebraska experience.
What are the chances Bob Stoops gets a raise within the next year with the increase Mack has received? Does he deserve it, especially with as many Big 12 titles he's won, and BCS appearances he's had?
Tim Griffin (2:01 PM)
Mikel:It will be interesting to see what Oklahoma does in the wake of Brown's new contract. They have always matched it or bettered it in the past. With a 7-5 record, will there be a similar push?
Do you think that a couple non AQ schools will make another run at a couple BCS bowls in 2010.
Tim Griffin (2:02 PM)
Yes I do. I think the phenomena of the non-AQ schools will blossom every year. Just like the use of the term "non AQ"
HAHAHA! Tim, so true! I really want a chicken sandwich! Hahaha!
Tim Griffin (2:02 PM)
Danny: You and hundreds of thousand of others in Omaha and eastern Nebraska. I'll make a trade with you. There are three within about 2 miles of my house. I'll trade you one of them for a Runza to be named later.
Banner flying over the title game" 1 second from the worst debacle in College history"yes UT fans are whiners, come on even the VY fanboys aren't as bad a ut fans
Tim Griffin (2:03 PM)
Allen: All fans are whiners to a degree, some just more than others.
Mizzou is a Zu... (CO)
Tim, mark it down, Missouri will only have 5 wins next year.
Tim Griffin (2:03 PM)
I guess you are expecting Gabbert to be hurt, correct?
Nebraska was three things away from being 12-1 this year: a blown coverage against VaTech, a fumbled touchdown pass against Iowa State, and 1 second in the Big 12 Championship game. The offense has been almost as embarrassing as the 2007 defense was. Do you think this type of season warrants a firing of Watson? I know he's been productive at other places, but his offense struggled against every team not in the Sun Belt this year.
Tim Griffin (2:05 PM)
Josh: Watson is a savvy coach and does a good job of coaching to his talent on hand. Look at the Cornhuskers and tell me how many of their offensive players legitimately were better that their counterparts at Missouri or Kansas? We're not including Texas or Oklahoma or Texas Tech. Just in the Big 12 North. Maybe Helu, Hickman and McNeill (when healthy). But not many others.
Tim Griffin (2:06 PM)
Hey everybody, thanks for all the questions. Let's check back again next week.