There's no chat this week, so here's a mid-week mailbag. Send me your questions if you want to make an appearance in Friday's mailbag.
Dru in Oklahoma City, Okla. writes: Why are people giving Texas so much hype for next year? They have a quarterback who really hasn't proven anything, Texas lost most if not all of the major supporting cast for GG to throw to, and Texas has not had a running game since Jamaal Charles was in the backfield.
DU: The people giving Texas hype are the same ones looking at Mack Brown's track record, and not Texas' offensive depth chart. Nine consecutive 10-win seasons is tough to argue with, and he's had plenty of seasons with more turnover than the one he'll face in 2010. Part of the reason is how well (even if it's unfairly easy) Texas has recruited over the past decade. Texas doesn't have a lot of proven offensive talent, but they have guys you have to, at the very least, feel comfortable with, starting with Garrett Gilbert.
And I notice you didn't have much to say about the Longhorn defense. Nebraska taught us last season just how far you can get with a world-class defense: 10 wins. Even after Earl Thomas and Sergio Kindle's departure, among others, Texas will be fine. Don't expect the 10-win streak to end this season, and if you're winning 10 games, you're only a couple bounces of the ball away from tripping into the national title game, especially if you start the season in the top 10 like Texas will.
Jonathan in Dallas,Texas writes: With Commissioner Beebe going on the offensive against the Big Ten and speaking specifically about why teams should stay in the Big 12, why didn't he once mention the uneven distribution of revenue amongst his conference members? Not once (since that's one of the key reasons, along with academics, that schools are looking to leave). How come?
DU: Probably because at the spring meetings two years ago, the Big 12's athletic directors voted to keep it. Now, it's a reason teams want to leave? The conference would require nine votes to change the policy, so it's possible Nebraska and Missouri were among those trying to change it, but it didn't happen. Former commissioner Kevin Weiberg said when he left his post in 2007 that revenue distribution could become a more contentious issue in the future. He sounds a bit like Nostradamus these days. But I don't think that alone is going to be a reason for teams to leave. In 2007, Texas made $10.2 million from the Big 12's revenue. Nebraska made $9.1 million. Missouri made $8.4 million. That's not a huge difference -- or at least one that's going to push them out the door. The difference they're leaving for is a reported $22 million payday from the Big Ten.
Allan in Cambridge, Mass. writes: Where are Niles Paul and Roy Helu on the rankings for best fantasy players? Seems insane not to have them on there, especially seeing some of the guys who made it on the list. What's your take on why they're left off?
David Ubben: Even the Harvard folks can't get enough Husker football, I guess. I actually agree wholeheartedly with both, and I'll start with the simplest one: Niles Paul. He's a good receiver, sure. Almost 800 yards receiving, four touchdowns. Those are great numbers in the NFL. But he's not playing in the NFL. He's in college, and those numbers put him at No. 96 nationally last season, and No. 14 in the Big 12. Maybe if he has a big start, you could pick him up, but I'm not drafting him if I'm playing college fantasy. Twenty-nine players had 1,000 receiving yards last season.
As for Helu, I would have taken him early last season, and the Huskers could still have big problems at quarterback this year, making them rely on the running backs. But, note the word "backs" there. Helu isn't alone anymore, and nothing nosedives a running back's fantasy value more than a young upstart. Example: Felix Jones and Marion Barber III. Nebraska clearly has plans to use Rex Burkhead in a big way, and showed it late last season once he got healthy. I'd expect them to get equal carries, and that could mean neither of them hits -- or gets too far past -- the 1,000-yard barrier, a number 53 running backs crossed in 2009.