The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. Take a look at today’s Q&A and join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
ON THE OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
Is Oklahoma State the front-runner in the Big 12 for 2013? What do they have to do to win championship?
I really like OSU. OSU and TCU. If the Cowboys can get some defensive stops — and find some tailback depth — then I think they will be in the title hunt, with a definite chance to win it. OSU gets two of the other three top teams in Stillwater. TCU and OU. OSU has to go to Texas. Texas has to go to TCU. TCU has to go to Norman and Stillwater.
How, exactly, did OSU determine that the seating capacity of renovated GIA would be 13,611? Seems like such a precise number. Why not 12,611, or even better 10,000? Looking back, I believe that 10,000 would be a good number.
I'm quite sure it was largely structural. If you raise the roof and build suites, etc., you have to go up a certain amount. I don't think there was anything magical about 13,611, but I think clearly OSU wanted to get north of 10,000. Much of it was financial. OSU basketball was helping pay the freight, at that time.
Interesting column on GIA in Stillwater. Not quite the "hit piece" that some commenters described it as, in my opinion. How does GIA attendance as a % of available seating compare to other Big 12 programs? I agree Thunder have a huge impact — but if the Thunder wane (I live in the Phoenix area and Suns are certainly in such a slump now), do you think interest will swing back to college in any circumstance? Finally — to boost the student energy, being back student seating along the sidelines like it was back in my time in Stillwater (mid-80s Paul Hansen era).
I don't know how OSU ranks in the Big 12, because you can't believe the numbers. Some schools give you both tickets sold and actual attendance. Some don't. I think if interest in the Thunder waned, that would help a little, but I wouldn't be betting on it. Durant and Westbrook aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Some have suggested free tickets for the students. That's an idea, at least.
How much longer until OK State finishes paying the debt service on the renovated GIA?
Long time. I asked Holder, and he didn't know for sure, but he thought the original was 30 years, so we're looking at almost 20 years. It's a long time.
So, what's the best solution to fill up GIA? OK State is a long way from being a Top 10 program, the Thunder show no signs of slowing down, gas prices are going down. Is the solution simply to put a black tarp on upper-level seats?
I would cut ticket prices. In a major way. Maybe let the students in for free. I would cut the upper level tickets to virtually nothing: $5-10, and OSU has done some of this. I would get rid of the donor program, such as it is. Sell those front row seats and those floor bleacher seats for a big price, but otherwise, make it affordable to everyone. Try to sell to more Stillwater people, since the OKC or Tulsa drive is a problem.
Any chance one of the many OSU QB's will transfer like OU's Drew Allen is wisely thinking to do? If so, which one?
It's possible one of OSU's trio will leave, but it's also possible they won't. The arrangement is set up for all to succeed. If Chelf wins the job, Lunt could redshirt and still have three years left. If Lunt wins the job, Chelf always has the stretch run of 2012, when he became a Cowboy cult hero forever. And Walsh will have a place as a situational QB and possible fill-in, like he did for several games.
How would you rank Mike Gundy among active college football coaches?
Hmm. Good question. Clearly top 15 and maybe top 10. I haven't put a pencil to it. Let's see, Big Ten, only Meyer goes ahead, right? Pac-12, Kelly is gone, so who goes ahead of Gundy? You might make a case for David Shaw, but who else? In the Big 12, Snyder, Stoops, Gundy, Patterson all deserve consideration. SEC is loaded with Saban, Miles, Spurrier. The guy at Vandy is good, too. I'll plan to do a blog on this soon.
ON THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Which asst. coach, if any, could OU afford to lose to make a place for Mangino, at some point?
Bruce Kittle, clearly. He joined the staff last year with virtually no experience. It was a terribly risky move by Bob Stoops, and it hasn't worked out, in my opinion.
Would you like to see Trey Millard run out of the I-back position more next season, and do you think Stoops will use him more there in 2013?
Not necessarily. I like Millard at fullback. What I would like to see is Millard at fullback — but used more to run and catch. You could do all kinds of things with a two-back set.
OU's offensive line looks pretty solid for next season. Your thoughts?
All depends on the QB. The line should be solid. The receivers are good. I think the running backs will be solid. But it all depends on the triggerman.
Do you know if Drew Allen is going to transfer? Should he?
I assume he is. I don't know why he wouldn't. It's an honorable transfer. He's going to graduate from OU. When you graduate, you're not quitting. Nothing wrong with taking your degree and playing out somewhere else.
Where would you rank Bob Stoops for active college football coaches?
I think he's gone from top 5 to now top 10.
Best OU defensive player going into the 2013 season?
Aaron Colvin. He was the best OU defender in 2012.
ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL AROUND THE NATION
I hate to even ask, but it appears conference realignment is back. What are your thoughts around the Big 12 and do you think Florida State is truly an option?
Don't hesitate to ask. Conference realignment is my favorite topic. I think Florida State is an option, if the Seminoles believe the ACC is shaky. I don't know if FSU feels that way or not, but I think the 'Noles are paying attention. An eastern bloc of the Big 12 — FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, whoever — would make for an interesting conference.
Do you think Te'o's story is honest on his part, and, do you give a hoot?
I give a hoot, absolutely. It's fascinating. I assume Te'o is being honest. I don't know why someone would make themselves look like a doofus, otherwise.
Do you think Texas A&M will make it two in a row over Saban's ‘Bama boys in 2013?
I might take Alabama. But give me some time. See how Bama recovers from its losses.
ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA
Who do you foresee in the NBA finals this season?
I'm liking an OKC-Miami rematch. That's what I picked in October and it's looking good, still.
Is Durant the best player in the NBA right now, if not, who is?
No. LeBron James is the best player. Durant is phenomenal. Might be a top-10 player ever. But LeBron might be the No. 1 player of all time.
Thoughts on the Hornets changing their nickname to Pelicans? Cool or not?
Oh, I guess. I don't have major thoughts one way or the other. I wish teams would be more thoughtful when they first make decisions. "Jazz" should never have followed the franchise to Utah. Clay Bennett wisely allowed Seattle to keep the Sonics name, in case another team came back there. Now Charlotte is thinking of taking back the Hornet name. The truth is, the problems in New Orleans and Charlotte concerning the NBA have nothing to do with nicknames. They're putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound.
ON THE NFL
Your thoughts on Dallas getting rid of Rob Ryan and hiring Monte Kiffen? Do you think Ryan well be a good fit for the Rams?
I like Rob Ryan as a d-coordinator. The Ryans-as-head-coaches deal isn't panning out. Rex's problems with the Jets are doing Rob no good in getting a head coach job. But he's still a fine coordinator. Dallas' defense was better. I think firing him in Big D was just a PR stunt by Jerry Jones. I think Monte Kiffin is a fine coach, but he's seventy-something years old and has been out of the NFL 2-3 years and just got lit up by Pac-12 offenses. Someone cracked that Chip Kelly took the Eagles job just so he could play against Kiffin's defenses twice a year.
Do you know what teams would be interested in drafting Landry Jones?
No. I don't know. But I know there are some teams that need a QB, whether or not it's through the draft or through free agency. KC, Arizona, Philly, Buffalo. There are others, too.
How much longer will Tony Romo and Jason G. be in Dallas?
Romo has much better job security than does Garrett. Love him or hate him, Romo is one of the 15 best QBs on planet Earth. You can find 215 coaches just as good as Garrett at most any coaching convention. You just don't know which ones they are. So I'd say Garrett is not long for the job. Romo will be Dallas’ QB four years from now, I predict.
What do you think of Weeden2Fitzgerald?
Weeden to the Cardinals? I think that would be good for Weeden, I suppose. It's always better to be somewhere you're wanted. If the Browns are waffling on Weeden, he would be better off elsewhere.
Who do you like in the Super Bowl? Yesterday, Stephanie Kuzydym said she thinks Harbaugh will win. I thought that was pretty cool response.
I sort of like the 49ers. I think Frisco's defense is better. I sort of want Baltimore to win — my boss will be in a good mood for like seven years if the Ravens win the Super Bowl — but I like that 49er team.
Your comeback player of the year in the NFL? Rookie of the year in the NFL?
Comeback player of the year? Adrian Peterson. From catastrophic knee injury to historic season. Rookie of the year? I vote Russell Wilson. I thought he was the best of the three rookie QB stars.
ALL THE EXTRAS
To borrow one of your signature phrases, what time period would you describe as the "salad days" of sports journalism and why?
The salad days of sports journalism? I'd say today. But newspapers? I'd say the '90s. Writing and information has gotten better and better. The Internet has mucked up the pot, but it's also provided great information and access to information.
I thought you might say "today" for the salad days of sports journalism due to the Internet! I'm 1 for 1 in my weekly pick 'em.
Here's the deal. I have more readers than ever before. Like you in Arizona. My stuff is on a bigger platform than ever before. The technology stuff makes me connected to readers more than ever before, even to the point you can watch videos of me and Jackie O. (Jenni Carlson) on a weekly basis. Hear our voices, see our mannerisms. Now, there are some things that are worse. Relationship with our subjects are much worse.
What is your tool of choice for writing/Internet work? Has Mike Sherman sprung for new convertible Ultrabooks for you guys with all that money saved by having two bowl games within a week in Dallas?
I don't know what an Ultrabook is. I use a Dell computer. If I've got wireless Internet, I'm good to go.
Any chance you can get more sports radio time in place of those two knuckleheads who waste radio drive time by seeing who knows names of songs and other tomfoolery?
I doubt it, because the world is a cold, cruel world. Talent stays underused.