Chat with Tim Griffin
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Tim Griffin (2:01 PM)
Guys: I'm ready to chat away. It looks like we've got a nice collection of questions in the hopper and I'll also answer a few more over the next hour.So let's get to it.
Matt (Tulsa, OK)
Do you think OSU is getting overhyped?
Tim Griffin (2:03 PM)
Matt: In a way, I kind of do. The Cowboys have great offensive skill players, an All-American lineman in Okung and can score with anybody. On defense, I'm not so sure. I still don't know if they can match up defensively with teams like Texas and Oklahoma -- and maybe even Georgia, for that matter. I have a lot of respect for what Bill Young has done at his earlier stops. This will be a challenge for him.And that's why the Georgia game and also the Houston one immediately after it will tell us if OSU is ready to hang with the big boys in the South.
Chris (Columbia, SC)
Do you think Nebraska's Defense will Gather more than 17 takeaways this year? I remember when the blackshirts thrived on sacks and takeaways in the 80's and 90's but the last 8 or 9 years have been dreadful
Tim Griffin (2:04 PM)
Chris: I've got to believe that Bo Pelini has really emphasized producing turnovers during the off-season. It was his calling card before he arrived at Nebraska as head coach. And like you said, Nebraska has always fed off these big defensive plays. But with Suh, Turner, Asante and Co. I look for the Blackshirts to show a big improvement in this.
Cecil (Plano, Texas)
Without a clear starter for the tight end position and running back, how will Mack and company adjust to properly use all the talent, and will it be enough to upset OU, and OSU this year, or will we be crying in Bevo Crunch Cereal again?Thank you.
Tim Griffin (2:07 PM)
Cecil:Those are big question marks for the Longhorns. I look for Fozzy Whittaker and Vondrell McGee to assume the majority of carries for the Longhorns early. And keep an eye out for Josh Marshall at TE. I don't know if Greg Smith has the pass-catching abilities needed to be a productive Big 12 player at the position. Maybe after his weight loss, he's come back improved in catching. Also, tell me more about that cereal. I've never seen it before. Have seen the new Aggie and Longhorn chips at my nearby HEB. But no Bevo Crunch Cereal. Sounds like something my 4-year-old would like.
Steven (Kansas City)
Why is Nebraska favored over Kansas in the Big 12 North with a much more explosive offense and an underrated defense?
Tim Griffin (2:08 PM)
Steven:Main reason the Cornhuskers are give a slight edge -- and I do mean slight -- is because of the Jayhawks' tough cross-division schedule. They were boatraced by Texas, Oklahoma and Tech last season. Must do much better this year because I don't that ceding three losses to the South will give them enough wiggle room to win the North.
W (So. Cal.)
Tim - I'm hoping to attend the KSU - UCLA game in a few weeks. How well will KSU do? What's your prediction on the game?
Tim Griffin (2:09 PM)
W:That game will be a big litmus test for KSU and their best chance to confound some of us observers. I would give UCLA the edge, but KSU has a puncher's chance of going out there and getting the upset. Especially if Brandon Banks can make a couple of big plays.
Tyler (Tulsa, OK)
Do you think that there is anyway that by the graces of God that Oklahoma State could somehow upset Texas or Oklahoma? Anythings possible right?
Tim Griffin (2:11 PM)
Tyler: Yes, I do think that OSU has a shot in both games. I particularly like their chances at home against Texas. I've got to figure they are due against the Longhorns, considering Mack Brown is 11-0 against them, including four of those victories by four points or less.The law of averages would seemingly be working in their favor, I would think.
Ashtyn (Jefferson City, MO)
I can't help but think that as Big 12 defenses scramble to find certain kinds of players to try to quell some of these crazy potent spread offenses, they may actually find themselves having problems with straight up power running game. For example, I keep hearing Gary Pinkel talk about how this is the "fastest" and "most athletic" team he's ever had. But as he says that, all I can imagine is Quentin Castille plowing over some poor little nickelback in the open field. Any thoughts?
Tim Griffin (2:14 PM)
Ashtyn:You make a great point -- namely, when do you get too small on defense to stand up to the pounding of a tough inside running game. I think that the majority of teams won't be that way, but you still have to wonder about Castille or maybe OSU's collection of backs behind that big line keyed by Russell Okung. It's a fine line to skate and Missouri's defense might be the most interesting one to watch. The Tigers will get an early test Oct. 8 against Nebraska in a huge early-season matchup that will tell us much about the Big 12 North. I can't wait.
Is it possible that the Longhorn defense could be even better this year under Muschamp? What implication could that have in a conference notorious for its run and gun style offenses?
Tim Griffin (2:16 PM)
Jon:I would think the Longhorns are going to be more comfortable in Muschamp's defense and should produce more turnovers. It's amazing that Texas went 12-1 last season with as few turnovers as they produced. That should improve. My biggest question will be the defensive front and particularly the inside guys at defensive tackle.
Jeremy (Ames, IA)
Will Paul Rhoads ever pull Iowa State out of the cellar in the Big 12 and return them to at least where team like Texas will have to think at least twice about them?
Tim Griffin (2:17 PM)
Jeremy: I like the hire of Rhoads and like his two coordinators in Tom Herman and Wally Burnham. Two really good football minds.But that being said, they've got to get the athletes to compete in the Big 12. I don't think they are there by any means and it will take a lot of recruiting to get them there. A more realistic goal this year might be 4-5 victories and snapping that 17-game road losing streak. In a couple of years, more competitive teams and maybe a bowl team might materialize.
What are your thoughts on the Baylor-Wake Forest rematch?
Tim Griffin (2:20 PM)
Matt:I like Baylor's chances this time around better starting Robert Griffin than Kirby Freeman. Baylor is more experience and definitely won't be intimidated by the road trip. They've got to do a better job protecting the ball and getting receivers out into space against the Demon Deacons. Wake does have Riley Skinner back and most of its offense. But only one player is back in their back seven, giving Griffin and his receivers something to target. Don't know if Baylor can win, but I do think the margin will be much closer than last season's 28-point difference at Waco.
Travis (Omaha, Nebraska)
Colorado is getting very little talk, but I believe they are a legitimate contender for the Big 12 North. What are your thoughts on the Buffs?
Tim Griffin (2:23 PM)
Travis:You are right. The Buffaloes are getting little mention behind either Kansas, Nebraska and even Missouri in the North. The quarterback situation troubles me. Don't know if Cody Hawkins has the arm to really exploit Big 12 teams. Also the loss of Josh Smith to UCLA and Markques Simas for two games will hurt. But I do like their cornerbacks, who are among the best in the conference and a real weapon in this conference. I think the Buffaloes will run the ball with a collection of running backs. And another to keep your eye out for is the fact that all of their major games against major North Division foes -- Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas -- will be at home. Add it together and I think they might surprise some people. I definitely think a bowl trip is in the offing this season.
If you could take one QB from the Big Twelve and start him who would it be? Can't be from Texas, Oklahoma, or OK state
Tim Griffin (2:26 PM)
Hugh:You're making it tough on me, aren't you? Give me Robert Griffin if I had a couple of years to build or Todd Reesing if you wanted to win right now. I think I could win with either quarterback.
hey Tim, whats with fans and their obsession with conference strength bragging rights?
Tim Griffin (2:27 PM)
Goose:It's the great thing about college football where everybody wants to measure themselves against somebody else. The bad thing is, however, that we don't get a chance to see many of these games in the regular season. Most come in the bowl games, which makes for a long wait until December, doesn't it?
Eric (Venice, CA)
Hey Tim, Do you think Bob Stoops has lost the right to be called "Big Game Bob" with his many recent Bowl Game failures?
Tim Griffin (2:29 PM)
Eric:Maybe across the country, but Stoops still is called that here in the Midwest. His streak of three-straight Big 12 titles is unprecedented and he's won six Big 12 titles. Nobody else has won more than one. His BCS struggles have stripped much of his national veneer away, but I think most Big 12 fans still respect Stoops as the winningest coach and arguably the pivotal figure in Big 12 football history.
Tim, what can I do to stay sane until sept 5th?
Tim Griffin (2:30 PM)
Bill:Keep reading our blogs. I'm sure there will be something to keep you occupied almost every day between now and then.
Fighting Illini surprise team in the Big 10 this year?
Tim Griffin (2:31 PM)
Brandon:We'll learn much about them at the dome in St. Louis. I like their chances to beat Missouri in the first game, although the Tigers have had their way in recent seasons. If Juice can win that game -- and not get squeezed by Sean Weatherspoon in the process -- I like their chances to be a darkhorse in the Big Ten this season.
Lindsey (Norman, OK)
Who do you predict will win in the season opener OK State vs. UGA, and why?
Tim Griffin (2:32 PM)
Lindsey:Give me OSU 28, Georgia 24. I just think the home crowd in Stillwater will spark them, along with a couple of big plays from Dez Bryant. Also, the fact that Georgia will be breaking in a new tailback and it will be Joe Cox's first big start in a road game will give them an advantage.
Do you think that Tech will have a chance a being at least 3rd in the south?
Tim Griffin (2:35 PM)
Austin:Interesting season for the Red Raiders.I know Mike Leach is telling everybody that Potts is farther along than many of his quarterbacks. And it appears that Batch isn't as injured as we were led to believe earlier. I don't have many concerns about Tech's offense. I think the defense without McKinner Dixon, Brandon Williams, Charbonnet and Darcel McBath is a bigger question. I'm picking them for fourth, mainly because they play Texas early and will be traveling to OSU, where they always seem to struggle. How about a 7-5 season and a trip to the Alamo Bowl? Will that suit you?
baxter (gosford park)
is it true that colt mccoy saved a man drowning in a pit of pirhanna-infested lava?
Tim Griffin (2:36 PM)
Baxter:Haven't heard that one yet. And if it happened, I would tend to believe I would have heard about it.
Do you think ATM will surprise the world this year?
Tim Griffin (2:37 PM)
Miles: Still thinking it will be a rough season for the Aggies. I'm concerned about the Aggies' offensive line and their secondary. Those are big concerns.Big game for their bowl hopes will be against Arkansas in Arlington. They win that one and start 4-0 and I think they'll go bowling.
Jeremy (Mustang, OK)
Tim, you need to pull your strings and make the OU/texas game a non 11AM kickoff...preferably a night game. I was just commenting about this in the OU/texas article. Snap Snap.
Tim Griffin (2:39 PM)
Jeremy:As much fun as a late start for that game might be, it might be very dangerous for spectators to have all day and some of the night to get "ready" for the game. I'd like a 2:30 p.m. start myself. It's not much fun getting up at 6 a.m. to wind my way through Dallas traffic to get to the Cotton Bowl.
Whats your take on the QB situation at K-State? Does Coffman have it locked up, or will Snider surprise us with Daniel Thomas?
Tim Griffin (2:40 PM)
Robert:I'm expecting to see both those guys play this season. They provide such different talents that Snyder could really alternate the rhythm of the game by changing from one to another.
hey there, big fan here. so my question is if you think sam bradford will win a heisman?
Tim Griffin (2:42 PM)
Lorcan: I could have sworn I saw him taking the trophy away from that banquet last season, didn't I. For him to get two of them, I think the OU offensive line really need to surprise some people. Not saying it won't happen. They were faced with similar rebuilding in 2006 and won the Big 12 title. We'll see if they can do it again.
Ryan (Lincoln, NE)
Nebraska's receivers up to par?
Tim Griffin (2:43 PM)
Ryan:They are getting closer. I like what I've heard from my reports about Niles Paul and Menelik Holt. And when you say receivers, don't figure that five-headed monster that is Nebraska's tight end rotation. They've got more depth at that position than anybody in the conference. And all of them can do different things, too.
1-10 (1 being the worst - 10 being the best) what would you rate Baylor's chances at a bowl game this year?
Tim Griffin (2:44 PM)
Jim:How about a 6?
Andrew (Columbia, MO)
What position is a bigger concern for Mizzou: Receiver or DB?
Tim Griffin (2:46 PM)
Andrew:I think defensive backs have to be -- especially in the Big 12. The Tigers are pretty deep at receiver with Kemp, Alexander, Perry and Moe. I know Pinkel likes his corners. We'll learn something early about them against Illinois.
Who is your favorite coach in the Big 12 to chat with?
Tim Griffin (2:48 PM)
Marco:I like them all, but I've always liked Leach for his off-the-wall answers and Pelini for his directness.
Thoughts on new Jack position at Texas A
Tim Griffin (2:50 PM)
Miles:I've really been impressed with what I've seen in Von Miller in the scrimmages and spring game. I think he's ideal for the position. My question is whether he's big enough to withstand the consistent pounding he'll be facing from 300-pound offensive linemen in the Big 12?
You have missouri falling way off this season, what record do you predict them to finish with?
Tim Griffin (2:51 PM)
Adam:Still think they are going to a bowl game. I'm looking at 7-5 if they can beat Nevada in the early season. I'm thinking that trip will be a rough one for them.
What do you think of Oklahoma's receivers this year after losing Iglesias and Johnson?
Tim Griffin (2:53 PM)
Ryan:It was interesting to me when talking to OU receivers coach Jay Norvell last week. He told me he thinks the Sooners can be more explosive with the capability for bigger plays with the upcoming group. I know that Mossis Madu has been so good in the slot that they are moving him some outside. Ryan Broyles is an underrated deep talent. And Cameron Kenney might be the revelation of camp. Iglesias and Johnson will be big losses, but I think the Sooners still will be very good. And look for Bradford to really lean on Jermaine Gresham as a security blanket. I wouldn't be surprised to see him catch 80 or 90 balls this season.
Jeff (Quechee, VT)
The Big XII has 11 nonconference games against BCS opponents this regular season. How many do you think the Big XII will win, and will that be enough to earn national respect?
Tim Griffin (2:54 PM)
Jeff:Some real statement games for the conference. Just for the first week you've got Baylor-Wake, OU-BYU, Missouri-Illinois and OSU-Georgia. If the conference can win three of those tests, I think it will result in some favorable national attention for the conference.
Dan (Los Angeles)
I just have a feeling the Big 12 South ends in another three-team tie, between OU, OSU and Texas and the Sooners get the nod for the title game again. Am I crazy?
Tim Griffin (2:56 PM)
Dan:Considering there has never been a three-way tie before in conference history, the odds might be great about doing it in back to back seasons. But I could see it happening because of the way the schedule will play out. Also, don't discount a tight race in the North. Wouldn't be surprised in a tie there that will be really close.
Rob (Omaha, NE)
Hey Tim, keeping with the nonconference idea, what does Nebraska need to do to pull off an upset in Blacksburg, VA?
Tim Griffin (2:57 PM)
Rob:The Cornhuskers' chances improved when Darren Evans got hurt. But I'm sure that Frank Beamer will have a couple of other backs ready to go -- like maybe David Wilson and Ryan Williams. The trip to Blacksburg is going to be extremely difficult for the Hokies. Also don't like the fact they are playing just Sun Belt teams to get ready while Virginia Tech will have played Alabama and Marshall before that Sept. 19 game.
baxter (gosford park)
what does baylor need to do to go to a bowl game?
Tim Griffin (2:59 PM)
How about win six games and keep Robert Griffin healthy. In this conference, that's not anywhere close to being a given.
Matt (Lincoln, NE)
Love the blog Tim. Where is the toughest place to play in the Big XII?
Tim Griffin (3:00 PM)
Matt:When they are playing well, still have to believe it's Kyle Field.But as of now, it's Oklahoma at home. They have a phenomenal record under Stoops, losing only twice at home.
Al (Lincoln, NE)
is Kansas' offense or Nebraska's D a bigger asset to win the North?
Tim Griffin (3:01 PM)
Al:Got to think the Cornhuskers' defense -- and particularly their front four -- would be more important.If Pelini can get them producing some turnovers, I really like there chances.
Does the Big 12 Need A Big 12 Network?
Tim Griffin (3:02 PM)
Jon:Don't necessarily think that. The SEC is doing fine without one. Biggest thing for the rest of the Big 12 is to hope there's not a wide-ranging Texas Network or Nebraska Network.
You the man tim, what was the greatest big twelve game of this past decade?
Tim Griffin (3:02 PM)
Lee:I'll say Texas Tech-Texas last season, followed closely by A
Tim Griffin (3:03 PM)
All right everybody, thanks for all of the questions. I'm looking forward to doing this again on a weekly basis once the season starts.How about you?