Mailbag: Indy UT, Gabbert, Huskers future?

Mid-week mailbag! Boom! Roasted.

Tyler in Cairo, Neb., writes: David, don't worry, us Husker fans haven't forgotten about your amazing blog (at least not quite yet... :) Anyways, who do you think will be the first Big 12 team to schedule a Non-Conf. game with Nebraska and when will it happen? I know there could be an OU-NU series in 2020 and 2021 but do you think anyone will before then? Thanks Dave!

David Ubben: Oklahoma is the only school that, to my knowledge, the school has commented publicly on. The administration said it was in talks with a few others, but left it pretty vague.

The Oklahoma series needs to happen. Playing in 2020-21 centered around the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century would be great.

I'd also like to see Nebraska get a series going with Missouri. And, it'll never happen, but man, a home and home with Texas would be magnificent. The Huskers can't let that 1-9 record since Texas crashed the Big 8 stand forever, can they?

Michael Petr in Houston, Texas writes: Ubben - Just saw that you rated Qdoba and Chipotle over Freebirds. Not only that, you said Freebirds was VASTLY OVERRATED. Seriously?? You're probably the type of person that thinks On The Border is good Mexican food. Pretty much what I would expect someone from Oklahoma to think about anything with actual taste. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy your football commentary. But stay away from being a food critic.

DU: Hey now, this piece of mail was so littered with inaccuracy I had to slip it in here. One, I lived in Oklahoma for all of nine months. If that qualifies as being from there in your book, well, so be it. I'd say 18 years in the great state of Arkansas would qualify it as my home state. Second, you're wrong about On The Border. Anyone who knows anything about Mexican food knows Taco Bell is the genre's pinnacle. Why do you think there are so many across the country? People love it.

(But seriously, Taco Joint near Downtown or Mia's on Lemmon. Do it.)

Tyler Gabbert in CoMo writes: Do you think I can be as successful as my brother?

DU: Honestly, no, but that doesn't mean Gabbert can't still be a pretty good quarterback, good enough to win a whole lot of games for Missouri. Blaine Gabbert's mind, arm and size don't come around very often, so it's asking a lot of a player to be as good as he was. If Tyler's last name was Smith, things might be a little bit easier, and the comparisons would never happen.

But, it's not. He'll have to deal with it, but I don't think it'll be a big problem. The good news is he's got a pretty good source to spend a lot of time with and learn a lot from.

William Tinsley in Austin, Texas writes: Do you think the new tv deal actually ensures the future for the big 12? I am a student at UT, and knowing everything I know, I think the launch of our own network is the first step towards the University of Texas going independent. We bring in the most money (athletically and academically), and soon enough someone will realize that we lose money for being in a conference with universities like Baylor and Iowa State. Do you agree?

DU: I get this question a lot, but it's worth addressing at this point.

Right now, Texas' deal with ESPN for the Longhorn Network pays it $15 million per year from ESPN for 20 years. It's also set to make at least $20 million through 2015 from Big 12 TV money, which is likely to grow when the league gets a new TV deal for its first-tier rights then.

Now, if Texas were to leave the Big 12, it likely would have to make a new TV deal with someone to broadcast its games; I highly doubt Texas would try to broadcast all its games on the Longhorn Network. That's too much of a niche for fans who don't want to pay for the network. They'd want to be on ESPN, ABC or FOX. That's like the Big Ten only playing Big Ten games on the Big Ten Network. It wouldn't happen.

Now, could Texas surpass $2o million for the rights to all its games? I'm no expert on TV revenues, but I highly, highly doubt it. Iowa State and Baylor might not be helping Texas make money, but they're far from costing it money.

If Texas left the Big 12 and went independent, fans wouldn't let the team stop playing Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The Longhorns already play lots of games against in-state teams like Rice, and it's a good bet that Texas legislature might require the Longhorns to play Texas Tech, Baylor and maybe other Texas teams with former conference ties like Houston or TCU from the Southwest Conference. So, Texas already plays three nonconference games. If they go independent, they're probably already locked into four other games.

That means independence would mean wagering you could make more money and try to schedule five other games for what would presumably be a national schedule like Notre Dame plays. That's a big risk for a school that doesn't need to take it. Texas already gets everything it wants in the Big 12. The option to go independent was there last summer. Texas chose not to. I'd be shocked if that changed in the future.

Thomas in Lubbock, Texas writes: Well, as you say "until they put on pads you never know" but with the addition of Delvon Simmons yesterday and now Javares McRoy - I think Texas Tech just put the rest of the league on notice that Texas Tech is here to play. What say you?

DU: I'm not buying McRoy as much more than a good receiver who could contribute, but definitely, Simmons could be a game-changer. In the Big 12, not having good player at defensive tackle isn't a huge problem. You can do well without it, and if you're good everywhere else, it's not going to stop a team from winning 10-12 games like it would in the Big Ten or the SEC.

That said, if you do have great, great play at defensive tackle? I think we all saw what Ndamukong Suh did to Colt McCoy and Texas' offense in the 2009 Big 12 Championship. The same for Nick Fairley and Oregon's offense in last season's national championship.

Now, I'm not saying Simmons is either of those guys, but my point is, if he is, look out for Texas Tech.