Good to have you all at our weekly chat today. Here's the full transcript. And a few highlights:
Ryan in Houston asked: Will the A&M-Arkansas game at Jerryworld ever enjoy the relevance it did in the days of the SWC?
David Ubben: Sure. It probably will this year. It's one of the best nonconference games of the year, and depending on how much both teams win--they'll both open the season in the top 15--before they meet in October, it could get even bigger.
Tim in Baltimore asked: Will Dana Holgerson last long enough to be head coach at West Virginia? There is lots of bad news and there are bad things happening in Morgantown.
DU: Sounds like it's Bill Stewart who should be worried about his job. West Virginia dumping Holgorsen because of an incident that may have been isolated and didn't involve him breaking any laws would be absurd. Leaking damaging information--true or not--to the media about your replacement? That's a fireable offense if true.
It's a weird deal. I love the idea of a coach-in-waiting...in theory. But as we've seen over and over again, in practice, it's been a train wreck.
Malcolm Brown in Austin asked: How many yards do I need to put up this year to not disappoint?
DU: Interesting question. For one, I think this is heavily influenced by what Fozzy Whittaker and Cody Johnson, a pair of seniors do. If those two combine for 1,300-1,400 yards or so, no one will care what Brown does. But if they do what they've done in their careers to this point, and Brown doesn't get on the field or produce if he does, that disappointment is going to bear down on him much more quickly.
Matt in Texas asked: have you really seen enough out of the oklahoma interior lineman on both sides of the ball to think that we have legitimate hope for a national title?
DU: Offensively, yeah. They had a few hiccups at the goal line last year, but they were very good. One of the best in the league. Defensive line is a question, but like I've said before, that's not that important in the Big 12. A pass rush on the outside is way more important, and Oklahoma has that. Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander are solid, and Oklahoma has the best LBs in the league. That interior defensive line might hurt them if it meets an SEC or Big Ten team in the national championship, but in Big 12 play, the Sooners will be fine.
Cam in Dallas asked: Employing the assumption that Weeden and Blackmon are at least considered legitimate pre-season Heisman contenders -- Do you think them being on the same side of the ball, playing pitch and catch with each other, could actually hurt them in terms of voter perception? If they are both experiencing equal success and racking up big wins, how will one separate himself from the other without cannibalizing votes?
DU: Interesting question, and one Texas Tech encountered a couple years back. If you honestly want a player to win the Heisman, anyone with any sense is going to market the quarterback. Receivers, unless they make a big impact in the return game, don't win Heismans. And even then, it's near impossible. Perception or not, marketing for the Heisman is a big deal for players at schools that aren't traditional powers. Obviously, you have to win games, but getting guys names out there is a concern, too. They don't have to do anything special to separate themselves. Weeden's position does it for himself.
Art Briles in Waco asked: Do you think I should let RG3 play defense too? People have been telling me that defense is important, but I'm just not buying it.
DU: Sounds like you're doing exactly the opposite. The Bears got their checkbook out to bring Phil Bennett in. He told me Baylor's committment to improvement (read: financial investment) was one of the things that impressed him the most and convinced him that Baylor was serious about building a program.
SoonerScrooge in Dallas asked: Do you have an early DPOY? What about OPOY? I say Jones, but of course, I'm biased.
DU: I wouldn't pick him to win it, but I'd vote for Travis Lewis in the preseason, mostly because the elite defensive talent in the Big 12 was drained by the NFL and Nebraska's exit. Nebraska probably would have had the top three defenders in the league next year, between Alfonzo Dennard, Jared Crick and Lavonte David.
Offensively, if I had to pick a player to win it, I'd vote Jones. Preseason, I'll be voting Justin Blackmon.
SoonerScrooge in Dallas asked: Not sure I follow. Why isn't your preseason pick the same as who you 'pick to win it'?
DU: Maybe I'm alone in this, but I vote on the preseason awards for the most proven players at the respective positions entering the season. Postseason awards are for who has the best year. I don't think you should vote preseason awards based on what you think will happen. There's no question in my mind: Justin Blackmon was the best player in the Big 12 last year by a pretty solid margin.
James in Atlanta, Ga. asked: Perceived strength of the Big XII next season will: a)Go up b) Go Down c) Stay about the same
DU: Go up, because the Big 12 will be nationally relevant a lot longer. I didn't believe the Big 12 had anything close to a title contender last year, and wrote as much. By November 1, everyone in the league had a loss. This year, Oklahoma is a definite title contender, and OSU and A&M could make it happen if they get hot and get a few favorable bounces.