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Big 12 mailbag

In today’s mailbag, Iowa State fans are feeling better, Bears and Red Raiders go at one another and I’m accused of being a homer for everyone.

To the 'bag:

Farmer in Brownsville, Wis., writes: Jake – OK, Tulsa isn't OU or Baylor, but the 'Clones finally played a solid game. Is this the game that gets the season back on track? And should the gents in Austin be worried coming into Jack Trice this Thursday? Something tells me it's going to be PACKED and LOUD come game time.

Jake Trotter: I thought it was a very solid performance, and yes, Texas had better bring its “A” game to Ames. This was not what the Longhorns wanted to see – Iowa State finding its offensive footing in Tulsa. By the way, how much better did the Iowa State offense look with Tom Farniok back at center and Aaron Wimberly touching the ball on every drive? It made a huge difference Thursday, and could make a huge one going forward.


Jordan in Round Rock, Texas, writes: With 209 points through three games, is Baylor a threat to break the NCAA mark for points scored in a season?

Jake Trotter: I’m not ready to go there just yet. The 2008 Sooners own the modern single-season scoring record with 716 points, meaning Baylor would still have to average 50.8 points a game the rest of the season to get there. Now, if Baylor drops off 60 in Manhattan in two weeks, then we can revisit whether this is a possibility.


Al in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: I’m sure you are tired of hearing about it, but Baylor is just an average team. Here’s some knowledge on why. No pressure on Bryce Petty. Baylor’s wide receivers are way too fast for Buffalo and ULM. If you look at the stats, all the TD throws in those two games were an average 40 yards. Baylor is good, but no way I am drinking the green Kool-Aid yet. Weak opponents. Overrated.

Jake Trotter: First you say Baylor is average, then you say Baylor is good. Which is it? And if Baylor is so average, why were the Bears able to beat down Buffalo and Monroe in ways Ohio State and Oklahoma couldn’t? I agree, Baylor hasn’t been tested. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Bears are overrated, either.


Katy in Dallas writes: I'm really tired of everyone discounting Baylor's wins. While Baylor did (and should have) beaten their first three opponents by record-setting margins, most are forgetting Baylor's starters, Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk specifically, are only playing the first half of each game. Apparently Petty ranks second in passing efficiency. Lache also achieved his seventh 100-yard game on Saturday, reaching that mark before or right after halftime in the past three games. Baylor deserves a little love!

Jake Trotter: The Bears could have scored a hundred on Wofford, Buffalo or Monroe if they had wanted. They’ve been impressive, no doubt.


Big Ferm in San Diego writes: Jake, it appears Texas Tech fans have been quick to disparage Baylor's recent surge. Could they be green with envy? After all, the Bears are riding a two-game winning streak over the Red Raiders and this year’s matchup might have Big 12 title implications. They must be tired of seeing RG3, Nick Florence and Art Briles in their nightmares.

Jake Trotter: The Big 12 needs another heated rivalry. I’m seeing potential for Texas Tech-Baylor to reach another level this year.


Kevin in Houston writes: Why do you think fans are so upset by Baylor becoming one of the top teams in the Big 12? I mean, little ole' Baylor isn't supposed to be competing with the big boys, right?

Jake Trotter: What can I say, people are feeling threatened. One way or the other, this will be straightened out on the field. Either Baylor will prove it belongs among the Big 12’s elite. Or the Bears will be put in their place.


Hopeful in Kansas writes: Considering how awful Kansas State has played the last four games, including the games they won, I am left frustrated with the play-calling from the offensive coordinator. Watching the [Texas] game, I saw four plays called as an option sweep to the short side of the field. The pitch relationship between a QB and RB is four to six yards. With that said, why call a play to the short side of the field on a far hash without the room to make cuts and breaks? Is it me or does HCBS need to make some changes?

Jake Trotter: Are you being serious? Kansas State is coming off its best season in school history, and now you want wholesale changes? K-State’s woes have way more to do with not having Collin Klein anymore at quarterback than the plays being called (though I would like to see the ‘Cats use Daniel Sams more).


Will in Amarillo, Texas, writes: One would think this is the Big 1 with Texas being the only team. You guys are so freaking biased it makes me sick.

Jake Trotter: Hook ‘em Horns.


Jonathan in Tyler, Texas, writes: This is such a Baylor homer blog.

Jake Trotter: Sic ‘em Bears.


Sam in Georgetown, Texas, writes: Seems like you write mostly on OU/OSU. Shouldn’t be surprised considering where you live… Oklahoma.

Jake Trotter: Boomer Sooner and Ride ‘em Cowboys. Four down, six to go. Anyone else?


Ali in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: Where would you rank the Big 12 among conferences? Then how would you rank it if you only included the elite schools of the conference? I think the Big 12 would still sit at No. 2 behind SEC.

Jake Trotter: So far to me, the Big 12 is behind the SEC (obviously), the ACC and the Pac-12, but ahead of the Big Ten. If we’re only including the elite teams, I still rank the Big 12 fourth. Oregon-Stanford-UCLA and Clemson-Florida State-Miami have been more impressive than Oklahoma State-Baylor-Oklahoma.


Robert in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Assuming they get wins against KU and ISU, who does Tech have a better chance of beating to get to seven wins this season: WVU on the road, or KSU at home?

Jake Trotter: I usually like Tech in Lubbock better than I like Tech in Morgantown.


Noah in Mount Nebo, W.Va., writes: What do the Mountaineers have to do to get their act together? Do you think that Dana Holgorsen has what it takes to coach this team back to its glory days?

Jake Trotter: Well, it’s not going to happen this season. The offensive line can’t get a push, the receivers are below average and Holgorsen has been unsuccessful so far in unearthing the answer at quarterback. Maybe Clint Trickett will be the answer, but considering he got beaten out by Paul Millard, then Ford Childress, I’m skeptical. If West Virginia can block better and really get the run game going with Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith, maybe that will lead to something. But it doesn’t look like West Virginia has the horses offensively this season. To get back to the glory days, West Virginia needs better horses.


Mark Mangino in Overland Park, Kan., writes: With the current state of the Big 12, does it seem possible for KU to have a six-win year? Iowa State, TCU, Tech and West Virginia all have weaknesses that could be exploited. Than you throw in a "shock value win” over Kansas State and I think it’s possible. You?

Jake Trotter: If you’re going to dream, dream big, right? But six wins isn’t happening. If Kansas can get two wins in the Big 12, it would be a solid year, especially given what we’ve seen from the Jayhawks so far.


TT Gaines in Okinawa, Japan, writes: Jake, with Kliff Kingsbury starting well in Lubbock and things seemingly looking up at Tech, are you seeing any uptick in recruiting for the Red Raiders? I'm not buying us as true contenders yet but I have hope for the first time since The Pirate left – thoughts?

Jake Trotter: You have good reason to have hope. Kingsbury is putting together a very solid recruiting class. The Red Raiders currently rank 31st in ESPN’s recruiting rankings, and they have some very good receiving prospects coming in. Given his ability to connect to players, I’d be surprised if Kingsbury didn’t recruit well every year going forward, either.


Noah in Friendsville, Mary., writes: How can WVU improve?

Jake Trotter: Holgorsen needs to go get better players up front and at receiver. The Mountaineers don’t appear to very talented at either position. Finding the right quarterback would help, too.


Taylor in Dallas writes: Everyone knows that if Texas loses to OU again that Mack Brown will be strongly encouraged to retire. What big-name coaches would likely accept the job? (I know UT will go big.)

Jake Trotter: Accepting is different than being offered. Stanford’s David Shaw is someone I’ve heard Texas would be strongly interested in. Would he accept? He’d have to think hard about it, but I don’t know if he would. He has something good going at Stanford, and apparently has NFL aspirations. Art Briles is another name that would figure to be at the top of Texas’ list. Would he accept? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. Briles has a good thing going, too, especially with Baylor’s new stadium set to be completed next year.


Shane in Dallas writes: Baylor’s receivers have been able to outrun and give Petty wide-open throws in these early games, but has he shown the ability to put the ball to a guy with tight coverage? How much do we really know about Petty at this point, other than he can throw it deep to streaking receivers?

Jake Trotter: How much do we really know about any quarterback in the Big 12? Not much. We’ll find out about Blake Bell on Saturday. We’ll know more about Petty when Baylor goes to K-State. David Ash can’t stay healthy enough for us to tell whether he’s improved. J.W. Walsh only has six career starts. I agree, there’s still plenty to learn about Petty. But it’s not just him. Because of the inexperience, it’s virtually every quarterback in the league.


An objective Longhorn fan writes: Dear Texas Tech fans, you know why people are not talking the Red Raiders up? Because last year you lost four of your last five games. The year before that, you lost your last five games. The year before that? You went 3-5 in conference play. Not to mention you lost your coach to a struggling, non-power-conference school. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. I like Tech, but the school’s fans need to get over themselves. Don't face-plant at the end of a season and the media might start believing in you more. But until then, stop hating on other schools. It makes the rest of your fans look trashy and is a bad representation of the conference. Baylor has looked amazing this year – get over it. The Bears still have a long way to go, but so does everyone. Try actually having a recent win over them before you talk trash. The Big 12 could use the positive attention that Baylor is getting. Have some conference pride. P.S. Looking forward to our fifth straight win over Tech this year.

Jake Trotter: And just when I thought we were all starting to get along…