Mailbag: Texas A&M edition

A couple quick housekeeping items before we get to the questions:

I got a few e-mails over the weekend about the Texas A&M link on the site's sidebar down the right side of the blog not working and leading you to a blank page. That's been fixed. You can view all posts about Texas A&M through that link now.

Miss your team's mailbag? Here's who we've covered so far?

Cray in Dallas, Texas, writes: I was just perusing the ESPN website and saw a "List Ranker - Rank 'Em: College Football Quaterbacks". I was oh so excited to see how other people had my Jerrod Johnson ranked against the nations elite. But to my surprise he wasn't even listed as 1 of the top 15 QBs in the nation. I see Josh Brantly which didn't play any meaningful playing time last year. Three Big 12 Qbs are listed, Gabbert (I agree with), Gilbert (Played one half of meaningful football), and Griffin (injured for 2/3 of the season). Is Jerrod really national percieved as the 4th best QB in the Big 12? What gives?

David Ubben: I got about 5-10 e-mails about this Monday and a handful more today. I'll say this: He's not No. 4 in the Big 12 on my list. I suggest we nickname him Jerrod “Like Terrelle Pryor, except good” Johnson. If only Johnson had drawn out his recruitment into one big melodrama so everyone in America knew his name. Also, all non-Texas A&M fans, spare yourself the embarrassment: It's pronounced "juh-RAHD." Like Sayid's last name from Lost.

Mary in College Station, Texas, asks: How much of a chance do you think we have of winning the Big XII South? I'm thinking if by some miracle Texas and Oklahoma just do really bad this year we might have a chance. But I guess thats just wishful thinking. Thoughts?

DU: Texas and Oklahoma being on the down part of their yearly cycle (as I’ve said before, that usually just means 10 wins instead of 11) is a big part of the hype for Texas A&M. They’ve got a shot to jump up and do it this year, but it all comes down to the defense. It just has to be better. But, handicapping the South, I’ll say Texas at 42 percent. Oklahoma at 38. Texas A&M at 15 percent and Texas Tech at five percent.

Michael in College Station,Texas, asks: There has been some articles or websites with a good amount of hype for Jerrod Johnson to win the Heisman, and there has been some saying the least bit about him winning. What do you see his chances being of winning the Heisman?

DU: Part of that disagreement comes from the Heisman’s most important stat: wins. Texas A&M only had six of them, and if writers don’t believe Texas A&M can win at least nine games, there’s no point in considering Johnson for the Heisman. You can’t disagree with his passing, rushing or touchdown numbers. But without the wins, those are all pretty hollow and end up getting you left off lists of the best quarterbacks nationally. If he stays healthy, he’ll put up the numbers. But he has to have the wins.

Jesse Thompson in College Station writes: The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band is hands down the best band in the Big 12, right David? Alright thanks.

DU: Eh, I can never really get into the whole band thing. If they start throwing stuff in the air or setting stuff on fire, I’ll check it out. Otherwise, it’s all kind of the same to me.

Frederic in Corpus Christi, Texas, writes: David do you think that the Aggies will have a better defense this year with new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter?

DU: It’s tough to see them being any worse. They have the advantage of practicing against the best offense in the Big 12, and never having to play them in a game. They’re somewhat at a disadvantage in having all the great offensive teams -- excluding Missouri -- in the South. The defense doesn’t need to be great. It needs to just not be awful and stop giving up 30 points a game. Get inside the top 50 or 60 nationally, start allowing closer to 20 or 25 points a game, and they’re going to give the offense a chance to win a lot of games. They just can’t have the complete defensive breakdowns like they had against Kansas State or Oklahoma last year.

Ethan Ballinger in College Station, Texas, writes: Where does A&M's running back duo, in Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray stack up against the rest of the country? And why was Michael not on the top 25? 844 yards, 10 TD's as the #2 guy (and a freshman). His stats were basically were a mirror image of Trent Richardson's and Richardson is getting much more hype.

DU: Any running back duo that wins a national title is obviously going to get more publicity than two that win half as many games. Excluding the Oklahoma game, he had a nice finish to the season, and he should have a nice year coming up, but you’re going to get more respect putting up those numbers in the SEC. Additionally, just watch Alabama play for a long stretch. Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael are a great duo, but they’re just not on the level of Mark Ingram and Richardson.