Thanks for all your mail this week. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say. On to your emails!
Justin in Austin, Texas, wrote: I'm sure I am not alone in disagreeing with your OOC Rankings by team (aside from OU, no team with an FCS opponent should be above those without one), but you are certainly right in the idea that this year's OOC schedule as a whole is pretty weak. With that said, what do you think the overall record will be for the Big 12? Care to take the time and break down what you think are the most likely losses?
David Ubben: Yeah, I see your point, but I don't think you can simply move a team below because it's playing an FCS team. You've got to take into account the top games on the schedule, too. The Big 12 went 33-5 in nonconference games last year, and very well could improve on that in 2012. Missouri and Texas A&M suffered two of those five losses last year, to Arizona State and Arkansas. To the second part of your question, here are the five games the league's most likely to lose in 2012:
1. Kansas at Northern Illinois: KU will still be finding its footing, and Northern Illinois' stabilized a solid program. On the road, too? KU needed some late-game heroics to win this one in 2011, but don't be surprised if the Jayhawks are an underdog.
2. Iowa State at Iowa: The Cyclones sprung a triple-overtime upset to give Paul Rhoads his first win over the Hawkeyes, but ISU hasn't won in Iowa City since 2002. At least ISU gets to keep the one-year redone version of the Cy-Hawk trophy either way.
3. Oklahoma State at Arizona: OSU will be finding itself on offense, too, and ask Missouri how early season trips out west go, even for good teams. Has Wes Lunt ever seen a 3-3-5? Better study up.
4. Miami at Kansas State: Miami is still growing under Al Golden, but the Hurricanes will be good enough to win this one. If they do, it'll be the first sign that the 2011 surprise was a whole lot of fool's gold.
5. TCU at SMU: SMU loses J.J. McDermott, who beat TCU in Fort Worth in overtime last year in a game SMU dominated. Ever heard of Garrett Gilbert? He might be the guy lining up across the Frogs this year.
DoDoDo the Gundy in Tulsa wrote: I am the biggest Cowboy fan on your wonderful Blog, but I got into an OU argument with a guy at the bar last night. He said Mack Brown was a better coach than Bob Stoops because of recruiting. Again, don't know why I keep sticking up for OU, but you have to give credit where it is due. So, I told him he was crazy. What do you think David?
DU: Yeah, no question about it. Bob Stoops is unquestionably a better coach than Mack Brown. There's no question that Texas and Oklahoma have been the two best programs in the history of the Big 12, but Oklahoma's the school with seven Big 12 titles to Texas' two. Granted, Texas played for a national title in both of those seasons (2005, 2009), but Oklahoma's played for a national title four times since 2000.
Recruiting is also easier for Texas. That's not to say it's difficult for OU, but more kids from Texas grow up wanting to be Longhorns than Sooners. Such is life as the flagship of a state like Texas.
Brown's streak of 10-win seasons is remarkable, but you can't discount the program's recent fall, either. To me, there's no debate. Stoops tops Brown.
Pablo in Lubbock, Texas, wrote: Still hating on TTU..... Thus you only post in big print negative stuff most of the time.Yet TTU had a major media day with 3 recruits. Stormy Butler and Darren Dotson scholarship guys along with believe it or not Tuby's son as a preferred walkon
DU: Yes, I'm positively brutal to the Red Raiders. Outside of links, you won't find much coverage of commitments on the Big 12 blog. There's simply too many to warrant a post for every one. If it's one of the nation's top recruits or an interesting situation, I'll post about it, but other than that, you won't see many commitments get a full post on the blog.
Klocke in Athens, Ga., wrote: What is more likely? FSU/Clemson are actually considering joining the Big 12 OR that over the past two years, sports writers have become addicted to filling summer columns with realignment speculation? I don't even remember what you guys used to write about in the offseason before the past two summers, but now I read everyday. Well played, hype-machine.
DU: Ha, well, in our defense, Klocke, it's been a lot more than talk these past two years. The Big 12 lost two teams in 2010 and two more in 2011 before adding TCU and West Virginia. It'd be one thing if nothing ever happened, but these reports are a lot more than media rumormongering.
So, the chances of us filing summer columns without realignment speculation is pretty much nil. Florida State is still a possibility for the Big 12, though the two sides still have reportedly not discussed a partnership.
Matt Rob in Pittsburgh wrote: David; Holy moly, I just read your post on Big 12 nonconference schedules. Quite a list of cupcakes and guaranteed wins.As a WVU fan, I thought this year's nonconf sched was weak (especially compared to last year's), but good gravy, it's like a murderer's row compared to most teams. Although, true be told, the conference schedule will be absolutely brutal, so maybe it is for the best.
DU: Yeah, it's a delicate balance. I think some schools definitely took a second look at how they scheduled once the Big 12 added a ninth conference game. There's no question that West Virginia is in that group. If the Big 12 had eight games or WVU is still in the Big East, the Mountaineers are probably still playing Florida State. They already went out and suited up against LSU last season. They're not shy.
With that ninth game, though, I think you're going to see more Big 12 teams back off scheduling tough games out of conference. That's especially true among teams who aren't exactly guaranteed a bowl game every year. For schools like Texas and Oklahoma and West Virginia, too, they need those strong out of conference games to state their case at the end of the season. But for others who won't be making cases for a BCS playoff? Where's the payoff?
Holland Humphrey in Kansas City, Mo., wrote: Ubbs: Were you really born in 1957? In your blog about FSU (and if they match-up in the big 12) you say FSU last played TCU in 1965 and you were 8 years old. Surely you are joking because you look about 30 to me.
DU: Oh, readers. The number of emails I got with a similar sentiment made me very sad. I hoped we'd understood each other's senses of humor better by now.
Carson in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote: Hey David, TCU fan here. I've been reading about how you think the players in the DFW metroplex could put TCU on par with some of the league powers, and I've got to agree with all that you have said. My question is, how long do you think it takes TCU to start pulling in the majority of top talent from DFW, and how long will it be before the Frogs win their first conference championship in the Big 12?
DU: Glad you feel that way, Carson. I also feel like you feel a certain fondness for purple, as well. It all comes down to if TCU can win consistently in the Big 12. Not necessarily win big, but win like Oklahoma State did before last year. Nine wins or so consistently. That's going to offer some feeling to recruits that they can be the guys who put TCU over the top. I'd expect the Frogs to win a Big 12 title within the next five years.