Mailbag: All-Name team and top freshmen

Have a good weekend, everybody. There's a decent chance Texas Tech names its starting QB over the weekend, and if that happens, we'll have it here, so keep checking back.

Michael in Raytown, Mo., writes: How long does MU give Pinkel if he continues to get beat down by OU and UT? I mean going to a bowl game every year is great and all, but I'm sick of us having good /very good years then getting slapped down by OU and UT. I know MU will probably never have the same level of talent overall as OU/UT but other inferior talent teams find a way to beat them--what gives?

David Ubben: Gary Pinkel's struggles against Texas and Oklahoma aren't a deal breaker. His job security is as good as it's ever been, and nothing Texas or Oklahoma do is going to change that. Missouri fans sometimes forget where the program was before he came. The Tigers had two winning seasons from 1984 to 2000, when Pinkel arrived. He's guided them to five consecutive bowls and won an impressive 30 games in three seasons. Finally getting over the hump and beating Texas or Oklahoma would be a big step for the program, but it's foolish to suggest Pinkel's job depends on it.

Wes in Hampton, Va., writes: There are plenty major games lined up for the Big XII this year. Do you see any teams with any major "snake in the grass" games? i.e. Nebraska @ Washington?

DU: There are definitely quite a few. I'll define them as games that fans are counting as sure wins that they might warrant a second look.

1) Nebraska at Iowa State -- For all the talk about turnovers, Iowa State still beat Nebraska in Lincoln without Austen Arnaud and Alexander Robinson, among others. It's foolish to think the Huskers over the Cyclones in Ames is a gimme.

2) Oklahoma at Cincinnati -- Probably not viewed as a gimme, but Oklahoma fans see a team that lost its coach, Brian Kelly, and its two best offensive players, quarterback Tony Pike and receiver Mardy Gilyard. I see a team that went 2-5 away from Owen Field last year and still has to prove it can perform on the road, especially Landry Jones.

3) Texas A&M at Baylor -- Baylor might be playing to end its bowl drought, and it'll be ready to go in Waco. The Aggies' defense can't play like it did most of last year against Robert Griffin and Kendall Wright this year. If it does, it'll leave with a frustrating loss.

Jess in Oklahoma asks: What odds do you give Kenny Stills on being offensive newcomer of the year in the Big XII

DU: As a true freshman, he'd be a "Freshman of the Year," rather than newcomer, which are two separate awards, but he's got a pretty good shot to win it. The opportunity in Oklahoma's receiving corps is there, and he's already impressed coaches in practice and fans in the spring game.

Roderick in Denver writes: David, we've seen enough Top XX lists to make our eyes bleed this summer, but how about one more? What are your Top 10 Names in the Big 12? Could be cool, weird, just sounds like a football player, or a personal favorite. Here's a starter kit.

PK Zach Grossnickle of Colorado, DT Stephen Ruempolhamer of ISU, LB Blake Slaughter of KSU, CB Dijon Washington of Nebraska, DT Chris Littlehead of OSU, RB Foswhitt Whittaker of Texas, WR Uzoma Nwachukwu of A&M, RB's Christine Michael and Mister Jones of A&M.

DU: That's a great list. I should mention, Baylor having two Robert Griffins might be my favorite name-related story in the Big 12 right now.

But here are a few additions, my favorite names across the conference:

Trevor Marrongelli, OL, Kansas: As I mentioned in a video earlier this week, he's nothing to spread on toast. He's Kansas' starting right guard.

Oladipo Fajimolu, DL, Kansas State: A native of Nigeria, Fajimolu did a lot in high school: Football, basketball, shot put, javelin, discus, soccer, badminton and table tennis.

Gahn McGaffie, WR, Missouri: It's pronounced "John." As someone with an oft-butchered name, I can relate, and I imagine it's been pronounced correctly on the first attempt about 6 percent of the time. Him scoring a game-winning touchdown is screaming for a "He's Gahn" headline.

Forrest Shock, WR, Missouri: Needed nickname: "Agent Orange" or "The Lumberjack."

Currenski Gilleylen, WR, Nebraska: They say to never trust a man with two first names. I trust any man with two last names.

Yoshi Hardrick, LT, Nebraska: Legitimately nicknamed after the dinosaur, and you won't find a better one in the Big 12.

Hubert Anyiam, WR, Oklahoma State: Find me another player with three words in seven letters in one last name. In order. Fantastic. For reference, it's pronounced "ANNIE-ehm."

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Alliteration is always good, and for more on why he's on the list, see Nebraska's first entry.

Tony Jerod-Eddie, DL, Texas A&M: Does anyone know what you're supposed to do about guys with three first names?

Beau Blankenship, RB, Iowa State: Boom. Sounds tough.

Bront Bird, LB, Texas Tech: Anybody want to mess with him? I don't.

LeQuince McCall, LB, Baylor: Four capital letters, one goal: cracking the Bears' depth chart.

Who'd I miss?

Brett in Kansas City asks: Hey David, do you see K-State getting into a bowl this season and if so what bowl do you think it will be?

DU: I like their chances a lot. You should look into the Pinstripe Bowl. Could be a nice trip.