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!
Tim Griffin (1:00 PM)
If it's 1 p.m. on Thursday, we must have a chat !!!I'm ready when you are ...
Have you heard anything on the recruitment of Owamagbe Odighizuwa? What school is he leaning towards?
Tim Griffin (1:04 PM)
Chris: I'm hearing the Cornhuskers and Bo Pelini have a legitimate shot in this recruiting battle. I was a little surprised that Odighizuwa decided to drop Oregon in favor of Oregon State. That seems to be a marked contrast from what is happening with a lot of Oregon's recruits. But I do know that Mike Riley is one of the nation's most underrated coaches and a good recruiter to boot. That's what makes this such a challenge for Bo Pelini and Nebraska. To snatch another top player out of Nebraska would be a huge get for them. I think in the end it will come down to Oregon State and Nebraska. We'll find out next week which way he will decide.
is Texas afraid of Nebraska? Texas says no to NU to play on Thursday night @ NU next October because texas is afraid of it's athletes missing class time? When has academics suddenly become a concern in Austin? Do you believe in Texas' poppycock explanation? To me, I smell fear, and they should be afraid. Your thoughts?
Tim Griffin (1:06 PM)
Derek: I don't get this idea that Texas is "afraid" to play Nebraska. The Longhorns know they are going to have to play Nebraska in Lincoln next season.If both teams are as good as we expect them to be, I don't see much way that the game won't be played on Saturday night, likely with Game Day coming to town as well. What's the difference between playing on a Thursday night and a Saturday night. Fans should be at a fever pitch irregardless.And one other thing to remember. Mack Brown is 3-for-3 in previous games in Nebraska. I know he gets up to play in those games. I think he'll have the Longhorns ready, much as I expect Bo Pelini to have his team as well.
Theres something I dont understand. All and all, I fell like oklahoma does have a good class that will see some immediate playing time. But why can't we land a 5-star recruit? It seems to me the promise of immediate play in a highly regarded team would draw atleast one of them? Besides jeffcoat, are any 5-stars even considering oklahoma?
Tim Griffin (1:10 PM)
Eli:I've noticed a dropoff in Bob Stoops' recruiting haul in recent seasons. The last true five-star recruits the Sooners had were R.J. Washington, Jermie Calhoun and R.J. Washington in 2008. But the Sooners have had players emerge to play like five-star recruits once they got to college. How about the play of Ryan Broyles or Travis Lewis. I think this kind of shows the fallacy of recruiting rankings. Sometimes the players will start to show their talents once they get to college. And you are correct. Jackson Jeffcoat is the last five-star recruit who Oklahoma is contending for.
Kenny (Atlanta, GA)
First off, I love your blog and thoroughly enjoy reading it every day. I am hearing a rumor that Dat Nguyen will be interviewing for the linebacker coaching job at Texas A&M. Have you heard anything or believe there is any truth to that rumor?
Tim Griffin (1:12 PM)
Kenny: I mentioned I had heard some rumblings about this in a recent mailbag. I think Nguyen would be a great get for Mike Sherman and Tim DeRuyter to add to their coaching staff. Dat might be the most popular and decorated A&M player in their recent history. And if some of his determination and work ethic would rub off on A
Scott (Laramie wy)
how will nebraska offense fair next year
Tim Griffin (1:14 PM)
Scott: I look for them to be improved. Zac Lee should be healthy and Cody Green will have a year of experience in the offense. Rex Burkhead and Roy Helu will be back. I'm really excited about the Wildcat formation that Shawn Watson dusted off. Niles Paul will be returning as the featured receiver and the Cornhuskers look to have a cast of thousands at tight end. The Cornhuskers do lose Jacob Hickman at center, but that's about it. I look for the Cornhuskers to be much improved on offense next season.
Philip de los Santos (San Antonio, TX)
I enjoy your columns on Big 12 football everyday Tim. Keep it going. So answer a question for me. Do you think the Aggies are going to lose any of their recruits before signing day?
Tim Griffin (1:15 PM)
Phillip: That's always a concern this time of year, but I think Mike Sherman has done a nice job of tying up the loose ends before Signing Day rolls around. I would be surprised if the Aggies lose any commitments.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
There are about 3 College Bowl Games at Major League Baseball Stadiums, Why Can't one of the College Bowl Games that are in San Diego be played at Petco Park?
Tim Griffin (1:17 PM)
Chris: They could squeeze one in there, but I don't know if the configuration would mean there would be room for a lot of fans to watch. Probably in the 40,000 range. That's not enough to enable a San Diego bowl to compete with the big boys in the bowl business and not even as big as Qualcomm Stadium.
Terence (New York)
Tim,Appreciate all the work you do keeping us up on the Big 12. I am a little confused however why you would have Texas ranked over OU in the preseason list. The game could have gone either way last year, and OU returns its QB, RB, 4 of its 5 O-line, the best receiver in the Big 12 (Broyles), and 8 starters on the defense it fielded in the Sun Bowl. Texas meanwhile, looses the most productive QB in the school?s history, replacing it with a kid who has made two descent throws to a wide open receiver in his career. The Shipley loss will be a killer as well, then they loose their best 4 defenders. These two teams recruit so well, that the talent level is pretty much equal every year and what separates them is experience. I think this is the first year in a while that has to favor the Sooners. Thoughts?
Tim Griffin (1:21 PM)
Terence: I think that Oklahoma and Texas will be closer in talent than in recent seasons when they meet in October for the reasons you hae listed.I also think Bob Stoops will be charged for revenge after losing four of his last five to Mack Brown. It's going to be close. I think Texas has just enough to nose them out, although I reserve my right to change my mind between now and October. The two teams are very, very evenly matched.
There's some speculation around here at The Zou "Mizzou" that from now on every home game, we will bring a live Tiger to the Sidelines. Do you think this is a good idead or not?
Tim Griffin (1:24 PM)
Cole: Ask the guys down at Baton Rouge how much it adds to the mystique of Tiger Stadium when Mike growls along the sidelines for LSU. I think it would be a cool idea and would add another live animal mascot to the Big 12. Judge, Ralphie, Bevo and Reveille need some company along the sidelines if you ask me.
Sebastian A. (Austin, TX)
Out of the 3 main recruits that Nebraska is still heavily going after (Odighizuwa, Cooper, & Carnes), who do you see wearing an "N" on their helmet in September?
Tim Griffin (1:25 PM)
I'll go with Odighizuwa. And if he comes to Nebraska, there's a good chance he's likely to be playing then, too.
Duncan Brown (Lubbock, Texas)
Tim thanks for the awesome blog! With Tommy Tuberville and James Willis planning to make Tech?s defense more aggressive, with blitzing schemes and implementing a 3-4 defense. And with Neal Brown planning to run the ball more. Do you think Texas Tech?s defense will be as good as the offense and do you think the offense will put up the same numbers they have in the past? Also, I was wondering what you think about Texas Tech University beating both Oklahoma and Texas University in same year?
Tim Griffin (1:31 PM)
Duncan: I'll be interested to see how Willis' 3-4 strategy will work. But I think most observers have underrated what Ruffin McNeill was able to do the last couple of seasons with the Red Raiders. I think their defense was one of the most improved in the nation over the last two or three years. And I don't necessarily get how the offense will be better than the one that Mike Leach had when players like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree were taking the Red Raiders into contention in the Big 12 South. But I do think the last goal for the Red Raiders is moving past Oklahoma and Texas to a Big 12 championship. Mike Leach was never able to beat the Sooners and Longhorns in the same season. If Tuberville wants to take the Red Raiders to elite status, he'll need to do that for the first time in school history in the same season.
It seems to me Nebraska is attracting some high profile guys on defense in the recruiting process. Now I know that the stars and the ratings don't mean everything, but I've read that NE needs to get more play makers on offense. What does Bo and Company have to do to start attracting these kind of players on offensive? Is it more then just going out and scoring more points?
Tim Griffin (1:32 PM)
Tim: I do think they need to juice their production. The easiest way to do that is by getting big-time athletes. They need several players like Niles Paul, Rex Burkhead or Mike McNeill to contend with the offensive juggernauts from the South like Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. In order to be a team that is challenging for national championships, the Cornhuskers need to start getting more elite athletes.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Tim, do you think Jeff Tedford has done all he can at Cal?
Tim Griffin (1:33 PM)
Craig: Nope, I don't. Think the Bears have another step to be competitive in the suddenly wide-open Pac-10.
James (Colorado )
Are there any unexpected contenders for the Heismen coming out of the Big 12 this next season - ala Suh??
Tim Griffin (1:35 PM)
James: We'll have to wait and see. Maybe we might see Jerrod Johnson of A&M or Robert Griffin of Baylor or maybe DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma if they have huge seasons. But I'm not hearing much buzz about many Big 12 players in the early Heisman balloting.
Do you believe the Big 12 will be a little down next year because of the loss of the big QB's in the conference, or will it be just a case of reloading solid talent that will improve as the year goes on?
Tim Griffin (1:37 PM)
Frank: Actually, I think the big drop came in 2009. We should see offenses a little better with eight of the 12 starting quarterbacks back. Robert Griffin, Jerrod Johnson and Blaine Gabbert could rack up some big numbers. Also, top defensive players like Ndamukong Suh, Sean Weatherspoon, Earl Thomas and Sergio Kindle will be missed, too.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Tim.... How about the PAC-10 picking up Colorado... and the BIG-12 picking up USC..... Shifting Baylor to the BIG12 North and USC to the BIG12 South....?
Tim Griffin (1:38 PM)
Paul:Your fanciful prediction would make Dan Beebe turn cartwheels, I know. I can't say if I would expect a similar reaction when Mack Brown or Bob Stoops would learn about it.
Charlie (Orange County, CA)
Tim - Will the Wildcats remain in the top half of the North Division next season?
Tim Griffin (1:39 PM)
Charlie: It will be tough with Kansas getting an easier schedule, all of Nebraska's returning players and Missouri getting Gabbert back. But I do think that KSU should return to a bowl game in 2010.
Who will have the best defense in the Big 12 next season?
Tim Griffin (1:40 PM)
Travis: It's hard to argue about the work of the Pelini brothers. I would expect them to retool the Blackshirts, even without Suh, Dillard, O'Hanlon and Asante.
Eric (Denver, CO)
How long is CU going to be horrible? What do you think of the 50 million club having an active role in the department, if those donations come to fruition?
Tim Griffin (1:41 PM)
Eric the $50 million plan that was described last week by Woody Paige would tranform the Colorado athletic department. The Buffaloes have fallen on hard times in recent years. They need that kind of shot in the arm to make them relevant again in the Big 12.
Jimmy K. (Toronto)
What are you hearing about Jordan Hicks? Can the Longhorns finally secure an OOS recruit? One they really haven't had since the days of Chris Simms and Ricky Williams.
Tim Griffin (1:42 PM)
Jimmy: I don't know if Jordan Hicks is that player. I hear it's going to be very tough to beat out Ohio State and Jim Tressel in this out-of-state battle. And Lamarr Houston wasn't a shabby player. He was from Colorado Springs, Colo., so he would qualify as an impact out-of-state recruit.
Brad (pensacola florida)
is it true that jeffcoat just eliminated asu and its down to ou texas and houston
Tim Griffin (1:43 PM)
Brad: That is correct. Those are Jeffcoat's three finalists.
Scott (Lincoln, NE)
How many Big 12 teams do you expect to be ranked in the preseason poll?
Tim Griffin (1:45 PM)
Scott: In the early preseason polls I'm seeing, it's typically been Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. Most have Texas Tech just outside that range.
Grant (Topeka, KS)
Tim, I'm a daily lunch time follower at work, and must say you are very thorough. That being said, there seems to be a lot of recruiting news, but with my limited resources, I don't see any 'big splash' recruits for the wildcats. Yes there are a few like DeMarcus Robinson whom have committed but not yet signed, but I don't see much to woo over. Granted I think the level of talent for this class is about where I would expect it for a "second year" coach, but I guess my question is do you have any leaks on possible 2010 recruits that the purple faithful could get excited about?
Tim Griffin (1:48 PM)
Grant: No other coach keeps a lower profile in recruiting than Bill Snyder, who has always preferred to stake the junior colleges looking for players. The Wildcats don't seem to have the impact recruits for the upcoming season. I think Adam Davis and DeMarcus Robinson are both solid players who will immediately help the Wildcats. And keep an eye out for Chris Harper, who will provide a playmaking threat wherever he ends up.
JL (Warrenton, Virginia)
Tim: Overall, how did Mack Brown's early recruiting strategy work? His list of recruits looked like it was in a game of musical chairs - lose one, get one. It seemed to change twice a week. Several other teams that employed this strategy showed the same volatility - LSU as a prime example. Is early recruiting all that good a deal? Thanks.
Tim Griffin (1:51 PM)
JL: Brown's recruiting strategy is really quite ingenious. Mainly, they try to wrap up all of the top players in the summer and tie up the loose ends with a few late additions during the winter. The bulk of his players are already in place, so losing one or two won't necessarily be bad for the Texas program. And considering they are 25-2 in the last two years, it might be a little hard to argue with the success they have been piling up.
Where do you expect the Huskers to end in the polls at the finish of the next season?
Tim Griffin (1:52 PM)
Steve: I'll go on the limb and predict an 11-3 record and a top 10 finish if they can win their bowl.
Nate (Denver, CO)
2010 BIG XII Championship. Teams? Result?
Tim Griffin (1:54 PM)
Nate: I'm not sure about the South, but expect either Texas or Oklahoma to beat Nebraska to extend the South Division's streak to seven straight seasons.
Timothy (Austin, Tx)
Hey Tim which big 12 stadiums do u enjoy going to?
Tim Griffin (1:54 PM)
All of them. I don't think there's a bad one in the conference.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Is Roy Helu the best RB in the Big 12 going into this year?
Tim Griffin (1:55 PM)
Josh: He might not be even the best on his own team. What about Rex Burkhead? But I'll say Daniel Thomas will be considered the best running back going into the 2010 season.
Edwin (Lincoln, NE)
Tim,On a scale from 1-10, where would you rate Baylor's recruiting class including the early signees who are already enrolled in Waco. I haven't seen as many total stars commit to play for the Bears as there are this year. This is the second year in a row that some good athletes are switching their commitments from top Big 12 schools to play for Briles. How quickly will this increase the W's for the Bears? And yes I know they still play in the Big 12 South.
Tim Griffin (1:56 PM)
Edwin: I agree with you. I'd give the Bears a solid 8 this season. The commitment of Ahmad Dixon and the big Robert Griffin were both impressive. And better players will give them the opportunity to snap that long bowl drought that stretches to 1994.
First love the column check it out everyday...What do you think the chances Owa, Cooper, and Carnes all end up in Lincoln? Think if all three come Huskers end up having a top 15 class?
Tim Griffin (1:59 PM)
Scott: Thanks for the kind words. I don't think Pelini will be able to pull off a hat trick of all three players. One would be great, two would be fabulous and getting all three would be stupendous. If all three were to end up with the Cornhuskers, I would definitely think they would be a top 15 team nationally after National Signing Day.
if the SEC and big 12 played each other who would have more wins?
Tim Griffin (1:59 PM)
C: I'd go with the SEC. Look at how the bowl games have played out between the conferences the last couple of years.
Scott (Lincoln, NE)
Can the Huskers dominate the North like their fans dominate this chat??!!
Tim Griffin (2:00 PM)
Scott: That might be saying something if they did.
Nate (Denver, CO)
Ok, almost every question has been either the South division or Nebraska. Let's throw the other North teams a bone, shall we? You have already said that Nebraska is the leading favorite in the North (a safe assumption), but how would you rank the 2-6 positions in the North for '10?
Tim Griffin (2:01 PM)
Nate:Sorry about that. Other fans need to ask questions, too. But here are my picks for 2010 right now. 1. Nebraska2. Missouri3. Kansas4. Kansas State5. Colorado6. ISU
Tim, you said Snyder prefers trolling for JUCO players, is this strategy or his cupcake non-conf scheduling more responsible for his success??
Tim Griffin (2:02 PM)
James: A little of both. He's had a lot of success in mining the junior colleges for players. But easy non-conference schedules were a KSU trademark in the late 1990s when they were a consistent Big 12 power. That changed a little when Ron Prince was in charge.
Any chance the Big 10 offers membership to Texas?
Tim Griffin (2:04 PM)
Steve: That may be the ultimate deep-dark secret kicking around Jim Delany's head. Getting the Longhorns would be a coup and open the Texas/Sun Belt area for the Big Ten network. It would also be a good match as far as Texas' faculty is concerned. I don't know how much travel costs would factor into that, however.
Scott (Lincoln, NE)
Where and when do you forsee Mike Leach coaching?
Tim Griffin (2:05 PM)
Scott: I think Leach's next coaching gig will be in the NFL somewhere. But before that, I predict he'll be relaxing a lot at Captain Tony's and Sloppy Joe's down in Key West, Fla. I wish I was there with him -- at least with all of the rain we have in San Antonio today.
Timothy (Austin, Tx)
Hey Tim! Who will win the next NC in the big 12?
Tim Griffin (2:06 PM)
Timothy: I'll predict Oklahoma, within the next 3-5 years.
Tim, enjoy the blog. Have you heard any rumors that Neal Brown might try and run a little bit of the wildcat offense at Tech. With Batch, Stephens, and Jeffers returning it could be pretty hard not to consider.
Tim Griffin (2:07 PM)
Andrew: I know it's the offense that's in vogue in football today. All of those players would be pretty good at it. I wonder how Michael Crabtree would have done in the Wildcat? He was a pretty solid quarterback with the athletic ability I saw in recruiting tapes when he was in high school.
Tim, do you think Matt O'hanlon will make an NFL roster?
Tim Griffin (2:07 PM)
Steve: He's got a shot. I can see O'Hanlon developing into a strong special teams player at the start of his career and maybe developing with some seasoning in whatever defense he ends up in.
Who will be the next starting QB at osu?
Tim Griffin (2:08 PM)
MJ:By the end of the season, it will be Johnny Deaton.
Tim Griffin (2:09 PM)
Thanks again for all of the good questions this week. We'll check back again next week.