We'll finish off with Baylor next week, but here are the rest of the team-themed mailbags.
Andrew White in Boulder, Colo., asks: Hi David, cautiously optimistic for the Buffs in 2010. We've actually got the most experience and talent in this squad since the Barnett days, but do we have the coaching? (rhetorical) My question to you regards the recent news that CU is planning to stay in the Big 12 thru 2012. I think AD Mike Bohn is calling Beebe's bluff here. The Big 12 does not want CU sticking around for two seasons and having to navigate an 11 team slate in '12. My guess is you'll see the Buffs leave after '11, but having to pay much less of a buyout than previously stated. Thoughts?Thanks and Go Buffs!
DU: Bohn can call all the bluffs he want. I don't see the Big 12 lowering the withdrawal fees for any of the teams leaving. That sets a dangerous precedent. Dan Beebe already has a reputation (an untrue one, I might add) of being a pushover, and this would add some pretty legitimate evidence to support that. He doesn't need that. But this is about more than the reputation of a commissioner. The Big 12 can't be letting teams off easy because they don't want to/can't pay the full price to go when they want, when all it takes is one awkward year and some obnoxious rescheduling. The Buffs may end up staying until 2012, but I'd be very surprised if their withdrawal fees are lowered so that date moves to 2011. All indications so far from the conference suggest they'll do nothing to change that.
Eric of Green Mountain, Colo., asks: David - Colorado has not won a true road game since October of 2007 (over two seasons ago). Which game this year (if any) will the Buffs break the away-game losing streak?
DU: Wow, I didn't realize that. That would explain why winning seasons have been so elusive lately. The obvious choice this year is at Kansas on Nov. 6, for a game that may decide how the bottom few teams in the Big 12 shake out.
Dave in Missoula, Mont., asks: I know its popular to undervalue and underrate Colorado these days, but have you noticed that they have quietly put together the best WR corps in the conference? Add to that the best CB tandem, and the Buffs should surprise this season, that is, if they can overcome their coaching.
DU: Somebody in my chat yesterday referred to the Buffaloes' receivers as the best in the conference, too. Easy, folks. Eaaaasy. Are Paul Richardson, Travon Patterson and Toney Clemons better than the guys Colorado had last year? Sure ... we think so. But do we know? Absolutely not. Those guys have a lot of potential, but most of that potential stems from a) playing at USC or Michigan and b) recruiting stars. A lot of guys transfer and revitalize their careers. It happens a lot. But if these guys were major impact guys immediately, they wouldn't have transferred. Patterson had 10 catches in four years at USC. Richardson has still never played a down of college football and got kicked off his last team. Clemons had 12 catches in two years a Michigan. These guys could be good, and they're definitely underrated across the conference and nation, but they're not the best in the Big 12. If you want to see the conference's best receivers, watch a Texas A&M or Texas Tech game sometime.
Dave in Denver, Colo., asks: Hey David, love the blog.If the former UCLA chancelor is successful in blocking Colorado and Utah from the Pac-10, do you think the Big 12 would take them back? And if so, would they continue on with 11 teams or try to round out with another. If so, who do you see them offering to? Thanks.
DU: First off, the guy you're referencing, Chuck Young, is not going to be successful. This wasn't a hastily made decision. If the Pac-10's current chancellors legitimately try to block those teams' entrances, it would be a PR disaster for the conference. It's not going to happen. But the Big 12 wouldn't let them come back if it did. They'd have a better chance if there was a home-run 12th team hanging around, waiting for an invite. There isn't, and everyone in the conference sounds like they love the idea of a round-robin schedule in football and double round-robin in basketball.
As for future members, it looks like BYU is off the table now. Air Force might not be competitive enough. TCU and Houston make tons of competitive sense, but not enough fiscal sense. Get used to a 10-team Big 12.
Andy Baker in Grand Junction asks: Hey David,Do you think the fact that the caoches are not trying to establish an 'offensive identity' is a posititve in looking at this season?Also, do you think the denfensive backfield has a chance to be the best in the nation this year?
DU: You can make a case for either side. Last year, they tried to come into the season with that so-called "smashmouth" mentality, and they clearly didn't have the personnel to make it a reality. Colorado can do whatever it wants on offense. None of it will look good unless the offensive line gets better. If it gives up 43 sacks again and can't top 90 yards a game in rushing offense, the Buffaloes can forget about a bowl. Improve up front, and then they can start talking about a winning season.