Mailbag: New rule, stability, WVU, Tech

Thanks for all the e-mails this week, folks. Next week is game week. Get excited. Enjoy your last college football-free Saturday for quite some time.

Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

On to your emails!

Velden Linn in Columbus, Ohio, wrote: Ubbs, I'm wondering if all the administrations in the Big 12 are as united as they want us all to believe? Bob Bowlsby often talks about how well everyone is getting along. And we all saw the comments coming out of the Big 12 media days where coaches were praising each other and touting how cohesive this group of 10 schools is. Is it all an act to divert our attention? Or can fans of the Big 12 really expect a perception change of this once-endangered conference? Go EERS!! Thanks man.

David Ubben: Yeah, I buy it. For one, everybody in this league did their due diligence and explored their options in leagues across the country these past two summers. The teams who wanted to be in the Big 12 came back. It's not some elaborate ruse.

Additionally, let's refresh on what the grant of rights means, which makes any team leaving the league a near impossibility. Right now, a six-year grant-of-rights agreement has been executed and signed. As part of a new media deal with ESPN/ABC, the Big 12 would need to extend that to 13 years. As I understand it, it's been agreed to, but not signed yet as the details of the TV deal get nailed down and all 10 schools agree.

Now, for the grant of rights:

Why did the SEC want Texas A&M and Missouri? Both schools brought in significant media revenue and when they left, they brought that revenue to the SEC. When you agree to a grant of rights, you're saying, I don't want my media revenue, I'm giving it to the conference.

The conference then redistributes that revenue to its members, which it now does equally, instead of based on TV appearances like it used to.

Teams can earn more money with their third-tier media rights, which schools retain. But now, once this new deal is signed into place, if a team wanted to leave for a new league, it would have to sacrifice its media revenue for 13 years. Obviously, that makes no one attractive to a new league.

Oklahoma president David Boren famously called them "handcuffs" and it's pretty true, even if it's not the most harmonious of mental images. What it does is establish stability for the league.

Patrick in Iowa City, Iowa, wrote: I have a question that maybe you can answer about the new helmet rule. At some point I read that any time a helmet comes off the play is immediately blown dead. I'm hoping this isn't going to happen, but what's to stop a frustrated defender from removing his own helmet after being beaten by a running back who's going to run for a touchdown? Will that stop the play right where it is or would they allow what they believe would be the completion of the run?

DU: No, if the scenario you're talking about happens, the defender is basically down and can't keep going in the play. If he does, it's a 15-yard penalty. Now, if a ballcarrier's helmet came off, then yes, the play is blown dead.

If a lineman engaged with an offensive lineman's helmet comes off, he can keep going, but if the QB steps up in the pocket he has to stop.

Yes, that rule is just as stupid as it sounds. It goes against any player's instinct. A coach is going to have a hard time getting mad at his player for getting flagged for a penalty like that, so officials can expect an earful if they flag that, even though the nine-man panel who voted that rule into place should be getting the brunt of the criticism.

Ryan in Houston, Texas, wrote: You better get your excuses ready for your claim at how bad Texas Tech is going to be this year, here's a few I have prepared..."Well with a defense as bad as they have had the past couple years, I just felt playing the odds made the most sense""If you thought Texas Tech was going to be this good in the preseason, you were in the minority""I knew Doege would be good, as I claimed, but this good?""When I made those preseason ballets, I was unaware of Eric Stephens status as I had not made it out to Lubbock to see how he was holding up, who knew he would be back to form""Tuberville stepped his game up, when he needed to most, and he proved that for the 1st season with his players what he preaches works"Ub's, you should save these...

DU: I feel you on this, Tech fans. It's unfamiliar to be picked this low. Last year didn't leave anybody happy. At the same time, let's not act like I'm the only one who thinks this. For what it's worth, I picked Tech to go 5-7 and finish eighth in the league. The media that cover the league voted and Tech finished ninth in that poll. By that logic, I'm higher than most on the Red Raiders. I still think Tech has a good shot to surprise and win 7-8 games, but I'm not going to pick it. It doesn't mean my picks are ironclad, and it doesn't mean I have some mysterious vendetta against Tech. The truth: Tech hasn't been very good lately and isn't very deep. It's got to do something to convince me otherwise. Better start this year.

Kyle in Kansas City: Ubbs -- My cyclones sneaked into a bowl game last year with the W over the pokes. What most people don't remember is that in 5 of our 6 wins, ISU either trailed or was tied with our opponent in the 4th quarter. I haven't seen much discussion on this with regards to the Cyclone's chances to get back to a bowl. Cause for concern? Or is this a positive knowing we have some ability to win close games?

DU: Very interesting stat, Kyle, and you make me feel a little more confident about picking the Clones to win just four games this year. Steele Jantz was unbelievable in the fourth quarter of those first three games last year, but if he doesn't make a couple throws, those games could have gone much, much differently.

I hadn't really seen that stat discussed very often. Jantz engineered fourth quarter comebacks to start the season against Northern Iowa, Connecticut and Iowa. Jared Barnett helped the comeback against Oklahoma State, but I'm more liable to credit that game to the defense. He made some plays to push a late win over Kansas. Texas Tech was the only team Iowa State soundly beat last season.

In a deep Big 12, that doesn't bode well for this season. There's ton of focus on the Oklahoma State game, but it's amazing how many things could have fallen differently and cost Iowa State its bowl bid.

Cale Myers in Kingfisher, Okla., wrote: Ricky Williams was the 1998 Heisman trophy winner for TEXAS. It says he was the last 1,000 rusher for Texas Tech... The numbers are not right.

Wade in Stillwater, Okla., wrote: I'm sure you've already realized that you have Ricky Williams in his Heisman year as Tech's last 1,000 yd rusher! My UT-grad brother wouldn't appreciate it.

DU: Oh, angry, misguided emails. You make me cry tears of both sadness and laughter.

OSU fan in Texas wrote: Problem: to my knowledge, exactly ZERO tv providers in the entire state of Texas carry the Pac12 Network. Also to my knowledge, this is the ONLY network airing OSU AZ. Do you foresee this getting worked out somehow? Will ESPN stream this game live online? Also, will ANY Texas residents from Pac12 schools be able to watch their teams this season?

DU: Well, that's not fully accurate. I use TimeWarner Cable, and the Pac-12 Network appeared on my guide when the channel launched. I've watched a little bit of the programming. It's pretty good so far. ESPN doesn't own the rights to the game, so we won't be streaming it. The deal with DirecTV is still being hammered out as the season gets closer, but it's definitely on TimeWarner. The network has deals with some smaller cable providers, but it also has deals with Comcast and Cox Cable, if you have access to that.