Mailbag: Shifting Big 12, top games, update

Thanks for all the e-mails this week. Signing Day's coming fast. We'll have plenty of coverage leading up to it.

Here's where you can send more e-mails if you want to crack the Mailbag next week.

Rickey in Denison, Texas asked: You should have added a 5th option (none of the above) to the "Which defector will you miss most" poll. I, as well as many others, would have chosen it. I can honestly say I won't be missing any of them.

DU: Ha, you're not the only one to suggest this. But where would we be if I had? Giving folks a chance to remain in denial? I'm not in that business, Rickey. Pretend all you'd like. All four teams (well, three, at least) will be sorely missed. I like TCU and WVU as additions, but it'll never quite be the same.

And the Big 12 was a great, fun league with those four teams.

Apokealypse Now in Houston asked: With stars like Weeden, Blackmon, Griffin, Wright, and Broyles gone, will the high-flying pass attack really still be the dominant scheme across the B12 next season as in 2010 and 2011? I see just 3 top-tier passers coming back: Smith, Jones, and Doege. It seems for all other squads, the pass-first approach is a big question mark, no?

DU: I guess it's a question mark, but not a huge one. I think OSU will still be a solid passing team, perhaps good enough to be pass-first. With Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith in the backfield, that may change. Whoever wins the QB job, whether it be Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh or Wes Lunt, will do well.

By now, though, you ought to have a little faith in the Big 12 to regenerate at QB, which is what makes all this go. Nick Florence is no RG3, but I like his chances to succeed at Baylor stepping into a starter role. I'll cast a vote for him to chuck it for 3,300 yards next year.

You forgot about Casey Pachall at TCU, who should blow up scoreboards next year, too. At Kansas, you'd have to think Dayne Crist will be leaps and bounds better than Jordan Webb, especially if Justin McCay is eligible.

That's a lot of great QBs.

Worry if you must, but the Big 12's pass-first reputation won't be changing any time soon.

Steve in Tulsa asked: I like the series on the "Where are they now" in regards to the ESPN top 150 high school players from 2008.What I would like to see is a list of players that made the most impact but were not on that list.What do you think?

DU: It's always interesting looking back on recruiting rankings. Lucky for you, we do something similar to that.

Every year, we look back on how the All-Big 12 team ranked as recruits.

Here's this year's offensive team.

And the defensive team.

Taylor in College Station, Texas asked: I noticed on your top ten games of 2011 five of the 6 of my Aggies breakdowns were listed. What would you say is A&M's top game is that we actually won? Or should I just revert to last years Nebraska win and stay content??

DU: Ha, well, not much is going to top that Nebraska game for the Aggies. I'd say the dominant win over Baylor was easily A&M's best win of the season. Baylor had some momentum in the second half, but the Aggies squashed it (for once) and hassled Robert Griffin III all day. This was an awful season for the Aggies, but there's no doubt that was a really good win. Baylor finished with 10 wins, and A&M beat them be four touchdowns.

GTCat in Tonganoxie, Kansas asked: Ubbwoofer, with one year under your belt now, did you enjoy the new 10 team format? Notice anything different in the way you could cover games this year compared to last? I'm guessing perhaps you had more time to watch all of them a little more thoroughly. Any thoughts?

DU: Yeah, I didn't think it was all that different from what we thought. The league balance was nice, and it's easier to cover without having to remember who didn't play one another. For fans of one team, that mostly comes in handy when placing out the "who is better than who" arguments.

I missed championship weekend a lot. Seeing OSU and Kansas State play again would have been really fun. Bedlam was great, but it still felt like any other game week. The Big 12 Championship is different.

The 10-team format worked well, though. Like I said, no big changes. Fewer nonconference games made my job a bit easier. I was able to watch a lot more games during conference play, which was nice. One fewer game a week makes a bigger impact than you'd think.