Thanks for all your mail this week, folk. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.
Let's get to it!
Jared in Odessa, Texas writes: Hey David, just an observation. I remember when Beebe went out as the big 12 commish and Bowlsby came in. My question is, do you feel Bowlsby is fulfilling his obligations to the conference and it's fans? I happen to think he isn't getting the job done. We need a conference championship game again and we need to be proactively searching and talking to new potential conference members (like all the other conferences). It seems like we are on the verge, with the Big East, to slowly fade away and dissolve and Bowlsby seems content with sitting back as the action and deals go by him and the conference. Just wanted to hear your opinion on this one. And on a side note why hasn't the Big 12 reached out to Bosie State along with Florida State to join as full members? I have herd it is because of the academic standards but I have to believe the Bosie State Broncos would generate more revenue for the conference then say Kansas or Iowa State. And Florida State is a no brainier.
David Ubben: I don't buy that at all. The fatalist Big 12 talk is just silly. For one, he successfully executed a 13-year grant of rights deal. That, in conjunction with the league's new television deal, is by far his biggest accomplishment to date, and helps cement the league's security after shaky times the past couple seasons. The idea that the Big 12 is on the verge of fading away is, quite simply, erroneous and misinformed.
I'm also in Bowlsby's camp on expansion, as it stands. Sure, Florida State would be a home run ... for the Big 12. I'm not sure it's the best thing for FSU. The league would love to have them, but most other options reek of expansion for expansion's sake, which does no one any good. Boise State just doesn't make sense for a number of reasons, academics as part of that. There is little to offer beyond football, and unlike TCU, zero proximity or history with the rest of the conference which has helped TCU find a niche in the league already.
Bowlsby has done a great job, and he's made all the right decisions to this point. Fans want to expand, but far too often, their hunger for newness and excitement outweighs their rational thinking on what is actually best for the conference. Right now, what is best for the conference is standing pat and reassessing the landscape after the playoff, and after Maryland's exit to the Big Ten is complete.
Ryan in Austin writes: Where would Baylor's D rank if you ignored the weak showing in the first half of the season?
DU: Kind of a silly question in some ways, because half a season is, well, a lot of the season. Truth is, Baylor was right up there with the best of 'em during their late-season run. It ranked third in total defense in November and led the conference with a +9 turnover margin during the month, not even including the bowl game. Baylor's defense was as good as anyone's but TCU's over the last half of the season.
Alex B. in Kansas City writes: David, I've long held the belief that you overvalue Jace Amaro to a fault. He plays on a team that is known almost exclusively for passing, is decently athletic, and thus gets some good stats for a TE. However, I maintain that multiple tight ends throughout the league could produce similar stats if plugged into the Texas Tech offense. Now granted, I have been given only limited opportunity to watch him, but I was hoping you could explain why you are so impressed with the young man.
DU: Could not disagree more with you, Alex. How many guys in this league have Amaro's speed, route-running skills and hands while also possessing a freakish 6-foot-5, 257-pound frame? There aren't any. He can do things nobody else in the league can do, and if he would have been healthy, there would be zero debate about the league's best tight end.
If he's healthy in 2013, you can expect that to happen, and it will be abundantly clear how few players in the league can do what he does at his position. He's so speedy, but also a load to bring down in the open field and in the red zone, his size and ability to use his body to box out defenders is really strong. That's a nightmare for defenses.
Barry in Victoria, Texas writes: You and I have not always agreed on our assessment of talent and teams; however, you have been correct as many times as I have been wrong. Therefore, if the Texas offensive line comes together under this "ramped-up semi-spread offense" and the defense can come somewhere close to two years ago, do you think Texas will make a run at the National Title game? From where I sit it "appears" that many pieces are finally coming together: J. Gray with good back-up, Daje Johnson off the edges, Mike Davis deep threat, clutch sure handed possession receivers-Shiply and Oliver, Ash improving and Applewhite not afraid to go deep at any time. Add this to what should be an improved defense. Am I just wishing or is this realistic?
DU: Yeah, Texas is right in the mix if its defense comes back and looks like what it did in 2010 and 2011, and David Ash plays like one of the top 2-3 quarterbacks in the Big 12. Those are all big ifs, but I definitely buy Texas as a title contender if all those things happen. The talent is in place, it just has to mature, perform and be consistent from week to week.
Big ifs, all of them, but Texas would surprise no one by progressing from a nine-win season last year to a title contender.
Brian in Portland, Ore. writes: I can already see where this list is heading and find it surprising there's not a single player from Texas Tech on the list. Cody Davis? Seth Doege? while individual statistics and perform are key components of determining the bets players, W-L also has to factor into it as well (especially in Geno Smith's case IMHO).I don't necessarily disagree with your list, just that it seems at least one player from each team that made a bowl game would have been recognized.
Bennie Spiegel in Austin, Texas writes: Once again, you won't include a Tech player in your top 25 list. Are you not a little ashamed of your obvious bias against Tech? I would prefer that you never mention/cover them again. Wait, you don't anyway.
DU: Fundamental disagreement here, boys. Why in the world would I rob someone more deserving of a spot on the top 25 so I can fit in a token player from a bowl team? Completely, 100 percent unfair. This list is for the best players in the Big 12. Period. Texas Tech had a lot of good players. That's how it won eight games. It did not have very many elite players who were also healthy. Doege threw more interceptions than anybody in the league by a wide margin. Davis was good but not as good as other safeties in the league, and not a top 25 talent. Same with Eric Ward and others at his position.