Mailbag: SEC/Big Ten, Kingsbury, Horns

Thanks for all the emails this week. Here's where you can reach me. Stay tuned tonight for coverage of the Cotton Bowl on the blog, and live commentary via Twitter.

Kevin in Austin, Texas writes: David, Why is it that when a player from the state of Texas does well at another school, not at UT, that it was a mistake by us or that we weren't smart enough to recruit them? We can't recruit every player that comes from Texas. For example, when Manziel won the Heisman...Texas wasn't the only one who didn't offer him a scholarship & yet we are the ones who 'missed out'. I do seem to remember us picking up Colt.

David Ubben: I really do hate this criticism of Texas. When you hear stuff like recruiting RG3 and Johnny Football as safeties, it's a black eye for the program, but the simple truth is, if Texas had signed one of those guys and passed over the hometown, All-American kid Garrett Gilbert, Mack Brown would have been roasted. Additionally, any coach who could have gotten Gilbert ahead of RG3 or Manziel almost certainly would have done so. It's fair to criticize Texas for picking Gilbert over Andrew Luck, who was a comparable recruit, but doing so in relation to Manziel or RG3 is just silly.

Texas is the only school in the state that faces this kind of criticism, and in some ways, it's deserved. The Longhorns' inability to recruit any quarterback depth behind Gilbert is their fault, and definitely deserving of criticism. That's why they're in the position they're in now. The bottom line is, Texas can only sign 20-30 guys a year. There are a lot more than 30 great players in Texas. It's absurd to rip on Texas every time some kid from Texas blows up somewhere else. Texas has recruited a lot of talented guys at a lot of positions. It's just lacking a true impact player at quarterback. That absence is glaring, and it's the biggest reason Texas hasn't truly contended for a Big 12 title since running away with it in 2009.

Ken in College Station, Texas writes: David, As I am sure you are aware, Tech fans are excited about the Kliff hire, but I was curious to know what you have heard in your circles of how Kliff Kingbury is ready for the big time? Do you know what kind of recruiter he is or any of his coaches are? Thanks, keep up the good stuff.

DU: This is the biggest reason why I think Kingsbury ultimately got this job. He's young, he's definitely inexperienced, but everything you hear from others in this profession is complimentary about Kingsbury. You hear about his work ethic, you hear about how much time he has spent with great offensive minds and great coaches like Bill Belichick and Mike Leach. You hear about how he soaks up information like a sponge, and has gotten so much better in such a short time. Texas Tech took a chance on him, believing he's the wunderkind that many others in the profession believe he is. I think it'll pay off.

His youth will help him on the recruiting trail with an ability to relate to guys, and his team is going to love him. The next time I hear someone truly question Kingsbury's coaching skill based on something other than, "Well, he hasn't been around long," will be the first time I've heard that.

Jake B. in Fussa, Japan writes: With Florida/LSU going down (to ACC teams), and both S. Carolina/Georgia getting all they could handle from the Big 10 (5th best conference at best and having a consensus "down year"), can we finally quit the "media" pushed message that the SEC is head and shoulders above every other conference? SEC has 6 teams in the top 10 (rediculous). Here are their schedules without looking. Play nobody out of conference, lose a game or two in the SEC, and everyone thinks they are the greatest. In years past it may have been true, but it is dangerous to every year apply this "SEC perception" that is validated every day by ESPN's anchors and college football experts. Can we agree that on a yearly basis, especially this year, they are one of the best conferences along with the Big 12, Pac 12, ACC? P.S.- The computers haven't had them number one for the last two years, maybe we should have listened to the unbiased computers instead of voters who give bonus points for name recognition and tradition.

DU: I've been saying it all year, and the bowls have definitely confirmed it. You can't argue with titles, but the strength of the top six teams of the league was on the back of what the SEC had done in the past six BCS title games. The quality wins for that group was lacking, and having six teams in the top 10 was silly. There aren't six top 10 teams in the SEC, and Louisville and Clemson are poking holes in that idea a little bit. The SEC's still a great league, and does have some fantastic teams. I do still think it's probably the "best" league, but I also believe the Big 12 is the deepest league from top to bottom.

Joe in Charleston, W.Va. writes: David, This past week Michigan's Denard Robinson broke the all time NCAA rushing record for a QB; previously held by WV alum Pat White. However, the last three games he played were not as a QB, but rather as a tailback. How are these still considered QB rushing yards? Robinson is a great player and deserves all the accolades as such, but when you stop taking snaps and start taking handoffs, you're not a QB anymore. Do you think he deserves to hold the NCAA record for yards as a QB when, in actuality, as a QB he fell 241 yards short?

DU: I'm with you on this one, Joe. Yes, Denard Robinson was a quarterback in the loosest sense of the term, but I don't think it's too difficult to go back on tape and only count his rushing yards that happened when he was lined up at quarterback. This should still be White's record. I asked a colleague about your question this week, though, and he joked that it's not going to be contentious for long.

This record is Johnny Football's eventually.

Very true.

Marilyn in San Antonio, Texas writes: Hi Ubbs! On Wednesday you posted that article from SportingNews about how the Big Ten should take Texas and Oklahoma (primarily for star-power). We all know that won't happen for many reasons (LHN, OU and OSU stick together, etc), but if its desperate enough to reach down to the far south do you think the Big Ten is or should be regretting not taking Missouri when it had the chance?

DU: Oh, I definitely do believe it will. I don't believe at all that Rutgers or Maryland is better for the Big Ten brand than Missouri would have been. Recruiting still would have been an issue for Missouri, but it could compete for titles in the Big Ten. It's not going to do that in the SEC for a very, very long time. I've been beating that drum for awhile. If the Big 12 was truly in jeopardy (and in 2010-11, it was), the Big Ten was the best place for Missouri to be.

Late in 2011, with the Big 12 looking more solid and a grant of rights ready to be put into place, Missouri's best landing spot was the Big 12. The Tigers' brass clearly disagreed, and, well, we saw what happened on the field this year.

Playing Alabama sounds fun, but winning 8-9 games in a down Big Ten is a whole lot more fun, and a whole lot better for the program, than getting beat up by the rest of the SEC.