Mailbag: Best D, ISU upset, recruit rankings

Thanks for all the questions this week. Here's where you can reach me.

El Guapo in Washington, D.C. wrote: Ubb-a-Dub: You have a crack stats team roughly the size of Rhode Island at the Worldwide Leader. Riddle them this: when was the last time neither OU, nor Texas had a first round draft pick? Surely it's got to at least date back to the Fresh Prince days, yah?

David Ubben: Wrong, sir. And I just looked this one up myself. The last time it happened was allllll the way back in ... 2008. Texas' Limas Sweed and Oklahoma's Curtis Lofton both went in the second round. The next season, Oklahoma played for the national championship. The year after that, Texas played Alabama for the 'ship.

J. Woody in Fort Worth wrote: "TCU had a rough 2011 season" ... really Ubbs? "Under coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs led the nation in total defense in 2008, 2009 and 2010."I guess 2011 was a down year after three straight #1 seasons ... BTW Ubbs ... TCU ain't ever going to win any popular pole anywhere based on enrollment, grads or popularity. Big schools rule the voter pool.

DU: Now come on, how can any TCU fan deny the defense was a disappointment last season? Sure, inexperience played into it, but TCU fell all the way to 32nd nationally. That's not very good, especially when you consider where TCU ranks among its conference brethren. Boise State was probably more talented than TCU last year, but outside of the Broncos, TCU is head and shoulders above the rest of its league in talent. When you set the bar for defense as high as TCU has these past few years, how is dropping to 32nd anything but a rough year?

We saw that up close when it gave up 50 to Baylor, but the defense gave up 40 to SMU in another loss, but beat Boise State on the smurf turf in its best performance of the year.

I get TCU's not going to win the best defense poll, but you'd be surprised. If you prove you're the rightful winner of one of those deals, people will vote for you, regardless of affiliation.

Andrew in Colorado wrote: People love to complain about recruit rankings but in the latest mock draft 17 outta 32 first round picks were either 4 or 5 star recruits coming out of high school. 4 and 5 star recruits only make up 5% of the incoming class at college but make up better than 50% of the eventual best of the best. It is always very easy to find a random 2 star kid who did great and find a random 5 star kid who was a bust but on average 4 and 5 star recruits are literally 100 times more likely to succeed.

DU: I'm with you on this one, Andrew. Recruiting rankings aren't the be all, end all. You can offer examples of two stars turned superstars and five stars turned flops all day, but the trends are clear across the board. The better you recruit, the better team you are, unless you have an incompetent coaching staff or didn't evaluate prospects well and have players who don't fit what you do.

Klocke in Athens, Ga., wrote: David, have you got a preseason prediction for this year's big Cyclone upset?

DU: I mean, it has to be one of the new guys, doesn't it? They're unaware of Paul Rhoads' magic. Last year, he did it twice, too. Here's betting Iowa State takes down an unsuspecting TCU or West Virginia squad to keep their bowl hopes alive. The Cyclones close the season on Thanksgiving weekend in Ames against West Virginia, but travel to TCU for their second conference game on Oct. 6.

David in Austin wrote: Since the University of Texas has led the Big 12ish in total defense 4 years in a row, why then don't the Longhorns have a nickname for their D yet? In that same time span we saw the resurrection of Nebraska's Blackshirts and A&M's Wrecking "Crew" (Von Miller). I'm the opposite of creative but with Manny Diaz's constant blitzes can we at least call it the Stampede Defense?

DU: Ha, I'd like to see the Longhorns come up with something. We've already coined the backfield the "Texas Taupe Attack" (Brown + Gray), but here's betting the Longhorns just stick with the "Texas defense." The Longhorns have staked a pretty solid claim as the nation's DBU, though. That'll be especially true next year with Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom holding down the corner spots and Kenny Vaccaro roaming around generally wreaking havoc. Texas could easily grab three of the four first-team All-Big 12 spots in the secondary.

Jared Leggett in Morgantown, W.Va., wrote: Just thought you would like to know that it was indeed snowing in Morgantown this morning. Friday it was in the mid-80s. In the fall, it will be like this too. Thank you for your coverage of Morgantown and WVU in the last month or so - much less biased than many reporters have churned out before. Can't wait for Football season.LET'S GO!- Jared Leggett WVU c/o 2015

DU: Please remember this the first time I rip the Mountaineers the first time they do an A&M impression and blow a game they should have easily had. It's never personal. I don't play favorites in this league. I dole out praise when it's deserved. I dole out criticism when it's deserved.

Sky Froehlich in Norfolk, Neb. wrote: Dear West Virginia,Beat Texas and we'll be best buds forever.Sincerely, Nebraska

DU: I'm not sure 1,000 Texas losses to West Virginia will erase the memory of that one, Sky. An unbelievable, unforgettable day at Memorial Stadium for sure.

Chuck Tyrell in Bemidji, Minn., wrote: Dave I enjoy your comments. Just a thought about KU, I think they maybe better than most folks think. They have had a big change in structure, conditioning and expectations. Also much better coaching, plus alot of good transfers and juco talent that fits major areas of need. My two cents worth prediction is 6-6 with a bowl game. (7-6) It will be interesting...and suprising.. Chuck

DU: I'm starting to buy in a little bit to the Jayhawks, Chuck. Not as a bowl team at all, but I'm starting to think this could be a 4-5 win team that scares a few people. The big talent upgrade at quarterback will make KU look a lot better right away. Weis surprised me by lauding his receivers this week. They must have not been able to shine with Jordan Webb at QB last year, or have some talented guys I didn't see last year. That surprised me.

We'll see. The Big 12 is much too deep in the top 6-7 teams to allow KU to win consistently at the start of the Weis era, but he's building in the right direction. It's got to be encouraging for the Jayhawks faithful who've endured some tough times the past few years and not much to be encouraged by.

I like iowa teams in Iowa wrote: Wait Wait Wait Wait Wait.... Iowa doesn't have a good reputation for football culture? Let me take a moment to put on my Iowa University hat, and dispute that. Have you perhaps heard of Hayden Fry? You mention Snyder served under him, why don't you crawl out from under your rock and look up just how MANY coaches were developed under Hayden Fry. Not to mention, with no pro team in state, Iowa college football is the KING sport in the state. Add a heisman winner to that, a one Nile Kinnick, maybe you've heard about him? War hero, died in service, noted for one of the great acceptance speeches of the heisman's history. Football Culture is one of the few things us Iowa folk can hang our hat on. I want an actual blogpost retraction of that comment. Because it's complete BS

DU: Hey, I'm not talking about historical accomplishments or coaching trees. I'm talking purely cultural. Iowa's isn't bad, but do you really believe it compares to some of the great ones around the nation? Are the multimillion-dollar, 10-20,000-seat high school stadiums all over the place? Do people really obsess over the game? I'd say Texas and Oklahoma's football "culture" are markedly better than Iowa's. It's not to say Iowa's is poor, just that it doesn't compare with the best nationally.

So, if you're looking for a retraction, you're out of luck, sir.