Hey guys. Excited to be on the Big 12 football blog. Let’s get to my inaugural mailbag:
Isaiah in Denver writes: Jake, has the Big 12 become the modern day WAC or old Pac-10? High-flying offenses with no defense? You made a comment in your last chat that teams in the Big 12 are focused on winning the Big 12 and not necessarily the national title. Seems to be reflected in recruiting as well.
Jake Trotter: The Big 12 would like to get the defensive linemen that are going to the SEC. But why would a blue-chip defensive tackle want to play in a league where offenses go no-huddle and pass the ball 60 times a game? That style works great for recruiting quarterbacks and receivers and winning Big 12 titles. It hasn’t worked so well against the fronts of the SEC, which has won nine of 10 Cotton Bowls over the Big 12. At some point, the Big 12 powers are going to have to reflect on how their styles match up with the SEC. Because winning a national title is probably going to require knocking off someone from the SEC, especially in the coming four-team playoff format.
John in San Antonio writes: Will Oklahoma ever win a national championship under Bob Stoops again? How long before “Sooner Magic” is back? When will the defense become elite again?
Jake Trotter: I can’t predict the future. But I feel pretty confident in answering “not this year” to all three questions. The Sooners have no dominant players on the defensive line and could be playing as many as three true freshmen in the secondary. Given all the coaching changes Stoops has made, the next couple years will be telling. If new assistants Bill Bedenbaugh and Jerry Montgomery can rapidly upgrade OU’s talent in the trenches, the Sooners definitely have another title run or two under Stoops. If not, that second national championship might elude Stoops for good.
Tim in Louisville, Ky., writes: With all the talk about whether the Big 12 should add more teams, I wondered about the possibility of replacing teams. I am a big fan of quality over quantity and would rather see BYU replace an Iowa State. Do you have any insight as to what it takes for conferences to get rid of schools?
Jake Trotter: Tim, you’re fortunate I left your last name off this submission. Otherwise, all of Ames would be at your doorstep. Besides, is the Big 12 really in a position to kick anyone out? The conference is having a hard enough time keeping people in. Booting Iowa State is not the answer – especially if all you’re going to do is replace them with someone like BYU. If the Big 12 really wanted BYU in the conference, the Cougars would be in it already.
Brian from Tallahassee, Fla., writes: How do you see the OU offense looking this year? Do you see a move more toward the zone read and option?
Jake Trotter: If the Sooners are not running zone read and option, they’re leaving offense on the table. Blake Bell and Trevor Knight can hurt defenses with their legs, and the OU offense will be more difficult to deal with if the QB run game is something defenses have to honor. So, I expect the Sooners attack to be different than the one we saw with Landry Jones and Sam Bradford. In other words, think Nevada when Colin Kaepernick was there.