Thanks for all the emails this week. It's been a busy one. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.
Janorman74 in Fort Worth, Texas wrote: Ubbs wanted to get your opinion on something. I was reading the recent Travis Haney piece on weaknesses for the Big 12 contenders. One of the commentators mentioned how he thought TCU might have the hardest 5 game schedule in the country at the end of its schedule - @OSU, @WVU vs. KSU, @UT and vs. OU. I started looking at this and I think he may be right. What are your thoughts on this subject?
DU: Well, I hate to give away too much, but there's a reason why TCU is 7-0 and atop the Big 12 standings through eight weeks in my season projections. The flip side of having such a ridiculously hard finish is the first seven games are pretty manageable. TCU may just go and win them all.
However, I agree with you. Nobody's closing stretch is tougher, and those last five games are when we're going to see the whole "week in, week out Big 12 schedule" cliche come into reality. There's a reasonable chance that TCU loses every single one of those games. Of course, I don't think the Horned Frogs will, but would it be all that surprising if it happened?
Rough, rough finish for the Frogs. We'll see how they handle it. This year's going to be remembered forever in Fort Worth, but that stretch will prove whether or not they're fond memories or ones they'd rather forget.
Dylan in Jacksonville, Fla., wrote: Hey Ubbs, just had a quick question about WVU's defense. I understand we are a little depleted, but do you think Terrance Garvin is being a bit overlooked? He led the team in tackles 2 years ago as a sophomore, and last year as a junior had a very solid year as well. I understand he may not have the hype of a Texas or OU safety, but in his new role in the 3-4, I think he will surprise a lot of people. Just remember Dylan from Jacksonville told ya so.
DU: First things first, the hype from the safeties as Texas and OU is a lot more than hype. Kenny Vaccaro and Tony Jefferson just might be competing for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this season. That said, let's get to your question.
I liked what I saw from Garvin last year, and he's a solid player, but West Virginia's front seven isn't going to give him a chance to show it. We saw some similar stuff from Iowa State last year and Leonard Johnson, a fantastic corner who didn't quite get the respect he deserved because Iowa State's pass rush was underwhelming. I'm expecting something similar from West Virginia defensively. Their offense will have the ability to outscore anybody, but can the defense get a pass rush? If it doesn't, it doesn't matter how good Garvin is. No receivers in this league can be covered for more than a few seconds.
Garvin's a great player, but defensive coordinator Joe DeForest has to be able to scheme around his lack of true impact players on the defensive line to get a pass rush and give Garvin a chance to prove himself.
Nate in Blacksburg, Va., wrote: Hey Dave! About a month ago I saw Sean Snyder on campus here at Virginia Tech. Anything going on there? Possible match up between my two favorite teams?
DU: Interesting note, Nate, but I doubt they were there to talk schedules. Coaches visit campuses all the time, and Snyder coordinates special teams for K-State. Who better to learn special teams concepts from than the man they coined the term "BeamerBall" after?
I guess if we see something fancy from the punt block team next year at K-State, we'll have some idea of where he may have gotten it, eh?
RaiderFace in Lubbock, Texas wrote: Ubbs answer something for me, is Wes Lunt really that good or are the other 2 guys really that bad and how worried should Tech really be come November 17 in Stillwater with a much improved defense and the same prolific offense?
DU: Well, I think they're all three pretty good, and all three could be successful in the spot, but for Lunt, I think it ultimately came down to potential. Clint Chelf, a fourth-year junior, should have been able to separate himself, but didn't. That didn't bode well for his development over the next two years. If the two are even right now, with Chelf having that long in the program vs. four months for Lunt when he was named the starter, who do you think is going to improve the most over the next year (and beyond)?
That's easy. As for J.W. Walsh, he's solid, but Lunt fits more of the mold of the kind of passer OSU wants to use with its offense moving forward. He's a lot like Brandon Weeden in that sense, whereas Walsh isn't tall and doesn't have nearly as strong of an arm. Oklahoma State has a clear vision for their offense, a pass first to set up the run style, and I think there was some reservation among the coaches in changing what had worked so well the past two years. If Walsh took over, you'd have to change it to some degree to fit his strengths.
Todd Monken has been on the job for about a year and a half, but he went out and recruited Lunt, the exact kind of quarterback he needed and wanted. Walsh came in under Dana Holgorsen. That counts for something, too.
I expect Lunt to take his lumps sometimes this year, but I also expect him to put up decent numbers and have plenty of memorable moments. As for Texas Tech, yep. They should be very, very scared to come to Stillwater.
Erinn in Morgantown, W. Va., wrote: Good afternoon, David, it's a common mistake to refer to West Virginia University's colors as "blue and gold" ... please be aware the official WVU colors are "gold and blue." More specifically, "Old Gold and Blue."You may find me silly, but there is a need for this distinction. I wouldn't want anyone thinking I'm a Pittsburgh Panther fan. The University of Pittsburgh's official colors are "blue and gold." Check it out. Thanks for reading and I hope you change your reference to "blue and gold" when it comes to WVU.
DU: I honestly had no idea, but this is indeed one of the silliest emails I've ever received. Additionally, can you think of any other major rivalry where both schools have the same colors? Obviously, Pitt uses a shinier gold vs. the more yellow of West Virginia and a darker navy blue vs. the Mountaineers' brighter shade, but this just sort of blew my mind.
Who does that?
Whoever had it first ought to keep the colors and make the other change it. I'm mostly surprised that didn't happen a long time ago.
Jeremy Dajao in Stafford, Texas, wrote: Now David, you know I don't like sending you these emails when you commit horrible injustices on the world. I noticed you wrote a piece called "The Big 12 Blog's version of the ESPYs" but what I noticed was that you didn't put up a "Best Upset" award. Just wondering what you think was the best upset of last year. You know upseTTU just saying. Also disregard the previous comment you're the best blogger in in the realm of 8.
DU: Ha, well, that sort of depends. In terms of shock value and impact, there's no question that Iowa State's double-overtime comeback against Oklahoma State takes the upset cake.
In terms of entertainment, I might take Baylor's upset win over Oklahoma. The Texas Tech win over Oklahoma was a big shocker, but it's sort of disappointing to see the Red Raiders fall off the map and not win another game the rest of the season. It also makes that game more of an upset, but less of a great game.
You could also consider Texas beating Texas A&M an upset, especially considering that it was on the road and Texas came back from a nine-point deficit. Texas Tech has the advantage of overcoming a big point spread and beating OU at home, which was truly shocking, but the game itself wasn't fantastic.