Mailbag: OSU, title, cocky, awards, Pachall

Thanks for all the emails this week. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say. Until then, let's get to your mail!

Honest Abe in Washington, D.C., writes: In celebration of Halloween, is there a team with a more mysterious and scary second half in store than Oklahoma State? They could easily lose every single game left on their schedule, just as they could (not easily) win every single one. They have the horses and coaching to play with anyone, yet they have the injuries and execution of the 9th place team in the league.

David Ubben: I'd agree with that, Abe. I definitely feel like Oklahoma State is better than their record, but the results haven't been there yet. Getting Wes Lunt back (whenever that is) will definitely help, but my gut says somebody falls and hits 5-7, leaving the Big 12 with just eight bowl-eligible teams, instead of nine. Oklahoma State and Baylor look like the two most likely candidates at this point.

Those same teams, though, aren't out of the mix of rising up to win nine games, either. Just a crazy, crazy league this year with a whole lot of parity. Completely unpredictable from week to week.

Josh in Norman, Okla., writes: Can we please stop with the "if K-State wins this weekend, the second half of the season is a coronation" talk? Would you like for me to list the Big 12 teams over the past dozen years who have gotten through the (seemingly) most difficult parts of their schedules only to stumble (sometimes inexplicably) before their season ended? Oklahoma 2002 and 2003, Texas 2006, Oklahoma 2007, Texas 2008, Oklahoma 2010, Oklahoma State 2011. Need I say more? Going undefeated is really hard and, given KSU's style of squeaking out close wins, the odds are stacked against them.

DU: Good list there, Josh. What do most of those teams have in common, though? They won a Big 12 title. Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 title game in 2003, and I don't recall any of that talk about Texas in 2006. Texas got squeezed out in 2008 because of a ridiculous tiebreaker. Point is, the odds are good for K-State to win a Big 12 title because the margin of error would be so large.

WVU and Oklahoma are the two teams with the best chance to continue winning, and K-State would hold the tiebreaker on both teams.

A coronation? Sure, maybe that's a little much. But anyone want to bet K-State doesn't win the Big 12 title if it wins on Saturday?


KB in Albuquerque, N.M., writes: Hi David, I enjoy the blog. How about a little love for KSU punter Ryan Doerr? Punts were huge in the win over ISU. In the 3rd quarter Doerr pinned ISU at their 1. ISU went three-and-out, with a shanked punt from their end zone to their 30 that gave KSU a short field for the TD that proved to be the game winner. Then Doerr pinned ISU at their 3 to start what became a futile attempt at a go-ahead last drive. Thanks and keep up the good work! KB

DU: Doerr's definitely a big talent. The Big 12's got a lot this year at punter. It was tight race between Kirby Van Der Kamp, Doerr and Quinn Sharp at OSU. Sharp's got the biggest leg, but I went with Van Der Kamp because of his consistency pinning teams inside the 20.

Brett in Houston writes: David, At this point in the season, is Terrance Williams the front-runner for the Biletnikoff Award?

DU: He's definitely my front-runner. Thing is, the Big 12 might come pretty close to earning a shutout on all three finalists for yet another year. Kendall Wright should have been in there last year, but this year, it might be Williams and the WVU duo of Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

For now, though, no doubt in my mind: Williams is the Biletnikoff leader. Austin and Bailey aren't far behind and could have their finalists party crashed by Marqise Lee at USC, but if the voting happened today, you might see an all Big 12 list of finalists.

Carter in Minneapolis writes: Any chance a 7-2 team takes the Big 12 Title? Or is it going to take a 8-1 record?

DU: Ask me again after this weekend. If K-State loses, there's almost no doubt in my mind, a two-loss team wins this league. If K-State wins, I think the Wildcats win the league with one loss and maybe share the title. Can't underestimate the gravity of this game in the Big 12 title race.

If WVU wins, this whole league gets tossed back to the wolves and anybody could win it.

Shannon in Fairview, Okla., writes: Hey Dave, I caught myself wondering during the Red River game, if you can call it that, why OU didn't use Trey Millard more in the passing game? Seeing as how they seem to be lacking at the TE position, why not stick Millard in there? He proved Saturday he can be a threat in the aerial attack, and he isn't bad at all after the catch, as evidenced by the 73 yard stiff arm/hurdle. I think the broke the Xbox controller with that one. I was just wondering, what are your thoughts on that?

DU: I'd say it boils down to the simple fact that OU needs him more in the backfield as a blocker and giving Landry Jones another guy to chip. He works well leaking out into the flats as a receiver, but when you want to go max protect and give Jones time, you've got to have him back there. The coaches love his versatility, but the Sooners have plenty of guys who can catch passes. He's got to go where he's needed.

Mr. What If in Fort Worth writes: Since Casey Pachall is disenrolled at TCU, is there a chance that he starts in the B12 next year for another school like Tech , K-State ,BU etc?

DU: No way. Gary Patterson's done a lot to help Pachall, and if that happens, wow. Just a complete jerk move on the part of Pachall.

The door is open for him to return to TCU if he gets things turned around and fixes his addiction issues. If he's ready to come back and play football, there's no doubt he'll do so at TCU and Patterson will make room for him.

Bill in Orange County writes: I ready Cody Davis' post. In Texas, refusing to shake someone's hand is a big deal. Maybe the West Virginia players don't realize how big an insult that is. Maybe they do now. On the other hand, all I could think of while West Virginia was absorbing that epic beatdown in Lubbock was that you don't spell Big 12 "B-i-g E-a-s-t". The competition in the Big 12 is a lot tougher. Now that Texas has been completely exposed as not special, it will be interesting to see how WV does against OU and Kansas State.

DU: I don't think it was the whole "not shaking hands" that was the biggest observation that rubbed Davis the wrong way. It mostly sounded like it was how the WVU players carried themselves on the field. If you like it, people call it swagger. If you don't, people call it cockiness. I don't think it has much to do with whether you're successful or not. It seems to have worked pretty well for WVU up to last week.

One player's observation, and probably a fair one. Not a big deal.