Berry Tramel: Power Lunch Chat transcript, July 27, 2012

Berry Tramel answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at NewsOK.com/sports.
by Berry Tramel Modified: July 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm •  Published: July 27, 2012

Berry, there doesn't seem to be much talk about the challenges West Virginia (and TCU for that matter) will have playing new teams on a weekly basis. Seems like they will be a disadvantage. They may well be the best team, but that doesn't mean they will win it all.

I think there has been a lot of that talk, but I think that's overrated. Last year, West Virginia played LSU, Clemson, Pitt, South Florida, Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati. How is that different than what OSU played? Stanford, OU, Kansas State, Texas, Missouri, Texas A&M, Arizona. I think WVU will be just fine.

So is the FSU and Clemson to the Big XII dead? What happened to that? I thought it was a done deal and they were on the way.

Nope. It never was a done deal. I don't know that it was ever a proposed deal. I think clearly there has been some talk, but I think FSU would like to stay in the ACC, if at all possible. Will that happen? Don't know.

I wonder if Bob Stoops secretly popped Skip Bayless in the mouth yesterday in Bristol? I'm sorry but I can't stand Skip. He's such a coward. When people that he bad mouths are right in front of him he chickens out.

No. Bob did not pop Skip. I can tell you that.

What are your thoughts on the Darrell Williams trial. Sad deal all the way around. Should Ford have taken the stand?

It is sad, all the way around. I thought Ford taking the stand -- and Williams not taking the stand -- was strange. I don't see how a guy's basketball coach would hold any sway with a jury. Character witnesses don't play too well, in my opinion. Maybe at sentencing, not at the trial.

If Bynum goes to the East, then do the Thunder honestly need Perk? I like Perk and what he brings to the table. But if we can amnesty him can we not do what Miami does and play small ball? With Ibaka at the 5? Or does LeBron's versatility make up for their lack if a true center?

Bynum's not going East unless Howard comes West, so I'd say Perk is still needed. And Perk was mighty handy vs. the Spurs, too. So yes, OKC still needs Perk. But the league is moving towards smaller lineups, and if you could keep Ibaka and Harden only by amnestying Perk, you might have to do it, even though you wouldn't want to.

If Reggie plays well in the preseason and early in the regular season if he gets the burn will give Presti a good problem to have. Along with Maynor, two quality backups. Do you think that Sam will consider moving one of the two, maybe try to get a decent draft pick since keeping payroll low on players outside the main 3 or 4?

I wouldn't be moving anyone who can play, because the guys they have right now could win the NBA title. You might be inclined to let Maynor go, if you believe Jackson can be a good backup. But no reason to move him, if Maynor can help you win the 2013 NBA title.

I noticed at my kids school assembly that where in the past the kids would have been all decked out in OU or OSU gear, Thunder gear was the overwhelming wardrobe choice. I think in kids minds the Thunder have definitely joined and maybe passed the state schools in popularity.

I, too, have noticed a huge uptick in Thunder gear. It's everywhere. I don't know that wardrobe connects directly to popularity, but it is a factor.

What do you think about the Big 10's strategy of keeping the conference schedule to 8 games instead of 9? Delany said it was to make sure their non conference games could keep his teams more eligible for the playoff.

I think it's weak. I think you're going to see some leagues, like the Big 12, push hard, hard, hard for a strength of schedule component. Make the NCAA football committee be like the basketball committee -- who'd you play, where'd you play 'em and how'd you do?

Have there been any stories come out, or maybe off the record gossip about what went wrong when President Boren got played so badly by the PAC 12 and made OU look so bad?

No. It's pretty clear what happened. OU wanted to go West, but with a group of four schools including Texas. At one point, it looked like UT might go. Then it looked like UT wouldn't go, and OU tried to coerce Texas into going. Finally, it was clear that Texas would not go, and OU was left holding the bag, not really wanting to go without Texas but not wanting to look bad, either.

Regarding West Virginia adjusting to the Big 12, yes but of all those teams I think only LSU and Clemson were new team/venues for them. I just feel like on the road especially, week-in, week-out, there will be some times that just catch up to them eventually and they will drop a game or 2 to inferior opponents. Look at 2011 Nebraska in the Big Ten ... seems like they struggled making the adjustment.

I'd say Nebraska did OK in the Big Ten. Finished a game out in the divisional race, with a team not as good as this WVU team. WVU will have a hard time in Lubbock, Stillwater and Austin, but every Big 12 team will have trouble in Lubbock and Austin and Stillwater. That's the way it goes. It won't have anything to do with being new.

Whether Perk gets amnestied or not may be determined by whether he is healthy or not. He seems to get banged up a lot and if he can't stay healthy there may be no choice but to amnesty.

Great point. He's had two injuries coming off the post-season. That's a great point. He might be worth it, healthy, because you have to have a center for certain spots. But if he's not healthy, he's not worth it.

Is this going to be the year OU is finally better in the secondary? I know they will give up yards. Everyone does in this league. But the blown assignments was what killed them

I don't know. OU's been getting burned most years going back even to Mike Stoops' first go-round. In 2009, OU played excellent pass defense, but the Sooners routinely have been burned otherwise.

How can the Thunder beat Miami? Miami will be better next year. Wade will be healthy. LeBron's only 27. The additions of Lewis and Allen. Battier will start the season healthy. I know the thunder can do it. But other than making a few key plays down the stretch what else can they do?

Make foul shots. That's a good place to start. Know what kind of lineup to use. The Thunder went big too often, yet still played a wing player on LeBron. You can't do that. But who says Wade will be healthy? He's chronically injured. Allen is a nice pickup. I don't know about Lewis.

I disagree vehemently with Bob Stoops. The bowl system is ruining college football. The problem is the people running the bowls, maybe if you can fix that the bowls will be more tolerable. But if trips are so important maybe take the team after the season is over and you won't have to worry about playing a game

The only thing ruining college football is a September with a bunch of horrible matchups. And the fans are the ones letting them get away with it, by buying tickets.

Was there any truth to the rumor of the Champion's Bowl requiring both the SEC and Big 12 to have a conference championship game which would require the Big 12 to expand back to 12 teams?

No.

Berry. Would you not have wanted OU to go to the PAC 10 so you can travel to LA, Oregon, Stanford Colorado, etc.? Or are you comfortable right here?

I was looking forward to the travel, on a personal basis, and I think the newness of the competition would have been fun, but there are certainly lots of positives concerning staying in the Big 12. Regional competition is the best way to go.

I think if the Big 12 wants to become truly legit again, they need to get back to having at least 12 teams. It's their namesake after all. I realize the powers that be (UT and OU?) prefer 10 right now, but when will an expansion take place? Next summer hopefully?

I don't think you'll see any Big 12 expansion until several years, to give the new playoff system a chance to play out. UNLESS Notre Dame and/or Florida State want to come. Then you take them.

When do you think we'll see college football teams becoming ineligible for postseason play due to academics like we are beginning to see in college basketball?

It will be hard to see. Football is much better structured than hoops. Basketball is a cesspool. Guys with shaky academics being recruited. Guys leaving early. It's a mess.

If conferences that have 12-14 schools decide to have a 9 game conference schedule, then it will guarantee an additional loss. Wouldn't make sense then to have 8 conference games and schedule tougher non-conference games? It wouldn't be a guaranteed loss.

There's something to be said for that, I suppose. But one problem leagues have and are going to have is trying to fill all the good TV slots. Networks won't keep paying all this money if there aren't enough good matchups to go around.

Regarding West Virginia adjusting to the Big 12, fair enough, good points. But I still think new road venues absolutely have at least some affect on college football players. You can see it in the eyes of the 19 and 20-year-olds on the sidelines once the road crowds really get going loudly. It just seems like it's easier when they've experienced that venue before.

I don't know. OU's had road woes for 10 years. OSU just now is solving its road woes. I don't see how familiarity makes any difference.

Watch out for the Spurs again next year. They will fall under the radar again.

No kidding. Absolutely the Spurs will be tough.

How do you think the "1 and done" rule will play out? I hear that Stern really wants to increase the age limit.

Stern did. But that demand fell by the wayside in the latest labor agreement. So what we have is what we're stuck with for the next decade.

OK, great questions. Really enjoyed it. Talk to you next week.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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