Mailbag: 'Noles, OU trouble, expansion?

Thanks for all the e-mails this week. Here's where you can reach me.

On to your letters!

Jeff in Ames, Iowa asked: With the Big East now being leaderless, do you see the Big 12 accelerating any potential plans to raid the conference for Louisville or possibly Cincinnati?

David Ubben: On the surface, it seems like a decent idea, but I don't think anyone in the Big 12 is real keen on doing anything quickly. For one, the conference needs to get its new commissioner in and get settled. For two, it needs to wait and see what the new playoff system is going to look like. I'd be absolutely shocked if we saw any momentum toward expansion grow before that was settled.

That said, Louisville still seems like the school at the top of the Big 12's list. The Florida State and Clemson rumors picked up steam this week, and obviously, I'd expect the Big 12 to at least explore the idea. Geographically, Louisville makes more sense, but Florida State would bring a lot more and be a whole lot more fun, replacing some of the tradition that Nebraska's exit drained out of the league.

So, to your question: No. The Big 12's got a lot of other factors to consider, and the Big East is a mess. A new commissioner won't change that, especially when reports are leaking out of Louisville that the Cardinals want to leave the league. If the Big 12 calls, Louisville is coming. No doubt, regardless of timing.

Casareal in Roanoke, Texas asked: David, I think you are getting a little "Metroplex-centric" in your analysis of TCU over WVU. TCU has recruited the Dallas/Ft Worth area for a hundred years and have never been as successful as you seem to be expecting. Historically, TCU had the greatest success when recruiting west Texas but with the addition of TTU to the old SWC, that well dried up. I expect TCU to have marginal success but will never do better than they historically have.WVU, on the other hand, is still "The University of..." and kids still relate to that and Texas recruiting is going to pick up for them. I fully expect WVU to yearly contest with OU and Texas for the league title. Oh, some others, like OSU this past year, will win it all on occasion, but over the long haul, it will come down to OU, UT and WVU on a consistent basis.

DU: Totally disagree with you, Casareal. Right now, everything is in place for TCU for it to see a huge boom in recruiting in the metroplex. It's winning, and winning big. It has an established coach who's got an absurd amount of respect from around the nation, and especially in Texas. It has a program in place that's built for long-term success.

Now, it takes those things into a major conference that it couldn't be a better geographic fit for? Have the stars ever aligned for TCU like this? No way.

Big things ahead for the Froggies. I maintain it's still possible for them to recruit at something close to the level of Texas and Oklahoma if TCU proves it can win at the major conference level. By win, I mean, be a factor in the Big 12 title race and win 10 games once or twice in its first few years in the league.

Keith from Atop the Mountain writes: David, the euphoria has started to wane and the sweet scent of oranges is fading away, and it got me to thinking. Besides the Fiesta and Cotton bowls, what are the Big 12 Bowl affiliations. I am looking forward to new places to vacate to around the holidays.

DU: I got you and the rest of your Mountaineer brethren covered on this one, Keith. You'll get to know it well once we start doing weekly bowl projections every week in the fall, but here's how the order bowls will pick Big 12 teams for the 2012 season.

  • 1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl -- Glendale, Ariz.

  • 2. AT&T Cotton Bowl -- Arlington, Texas

  • 3. Valero Alamo Bowl -- San Antonio, Texas

  • 4. Insight Bowl -- Tempe, Ariz.

  • 5. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl -- San Diego, Calif.

  • 6. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas -- Houston, Texas

  • 7. New Era Pinstripe Bowl -- New York City

Cowboy-KS in Kansas wrote: Ubbs, What with the recent suspensions of the Sooners starting receiving corp, I posit you with this. Sooners are currently recruiting from for major pools getting roughly 25% of their players from each of OK+midwest (KS, IL, etc), TX, California, and Florida. Having grown up in Native America, me thinks that there will be some significant cultural tension on the campus in Norman with this mix. The OK Midwest TX kids likely come from similar backgrounds. The kids from California and Florida went to high school in a different world, and they combined make up ~50% of the class. Not that one group or another is better/worse, but do you see this as a major impediment to Stoops building a tight team bond? Do you see tension within the team as an ongoing concern for the Sooners?

DU: I don't think so. I'd say you're reaching with a bit of a specious argument, Cowboy. On paper, it sort of makes sense, but I think you're generalizing a little too much. On any team, you're going to have guys with varied backgrounds, regardless of where they're from. It may help a bit if they know each other from high school, but lots of guys get time together through the recruiting process and get to know each other before they go to college.

As for the transfers and trouble on the Sooners, you could attribute that to a lot of things. The leadership on OU left a little bit to be desired last year, and the coaching turnover helped hasten a few guys' exits. Beyond that, sometimes college kids are just not very great decision-makers.

No matter how much you run or suspend some players, they'll continue to not make the right decisions.

Zak in Osaka, Japan wrote: So after seeing those "GameDay" commercial vote totals could you tell me again which two fan bases are going to be an upgrade over A&M and Nebraska? Still love the blog though, keep up the good work.

DU: Hey, I've said it all along. There's no replacing those fan bases. There's no replacing Nebraska's tradition either, but Florida State might help.

What isn't so hard to replace? Texas A&M and Mizzou's results on the field.