Chat with David Ubben
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger David Ubben will stop by to chat some college football.
Ubben joined ESPN.com in March 2010 after covering Big 12 football for two seasons at the Columbia Missourian and The Oklahoman. Ubben, a native of Springdale, Ark., lives in Dallas.
Send your questions now and join Ubben Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
David Ubben (12:59 PM)
Happy Draft Day, keep the questions coming.
How about that 2.6 million dollar donation by Suh?Also, what are the chances Neb ends up in the Big 10?
David Ubben (1:01 PM)
Pretty remarkable move by Suh. Impressive all-around. Can't say I can validate it, but I read that it was the biggest gift to a university by an athlete? That could be wrong, but it's made even more impressive by being pledged before he's cashed his first check from the NFL. Of course, with endorsements, he's hardly broke.
David Ubben (1:02 PM)
As for the chances Nebraska goes to the Big Ten, who knows? They're certainly on the radar, but the speculation and hearsay is getting tiresome at this point. A toilet-based expression I won't repeat comes to mind...
David Ubben (1:02 PM)
By the way, on Suh, did you guys see the busts of him and C.J. Spiller made solely out of meats from Subway? That was simultaneously the most fantastic and terrifying thing I've seen all year.
Where you impressed with OU?s spring game? I was impressed with the way Kenny Stills and Marshall Musil played.
David Ubben (1:04 PM)
I was, but don't count on Musil finding his way into the running back conversation. He could be a third-down back, maybe, but Oklahoma has DeMarco Murray, Mossis Madu, Jermie Calhoun and a pair of talented incoming freshmen, Roy Finch and Brennan Clay, coming in.
David Ubben (1:04 PM)
Stills though, could certainly be a contributor. Probably as a No. 3 or 4 option. No. 1 is obviously Ryan Broyles, and Dejuan Miller comes into the season as the No. 2. That could change, though, he was hardly a rock last year.
Mike (Austin, Tx)
Hey David, Which incoming freshmen will make the most impact for Texas this coming season, out of Jeffcoat, BIble, Dorsey, Hicks, Davis, White, Wilson, and Jackson?
David Ubben (1:05 PM)
I'd go with Davis or White, just because Texas needs so much help at receiver.
John (Houston, Tx)
Hey David! How do you see the game playing out Texas vs Tech?
David Ubben (1:06 PM)
Gut says Texas, but weird things happen in Lubbock. Oklahoma has trouble there, and you can't forget what happened to Texas the last time they went.
Jared Wilson (west texas)
Mr. Ubben, I was curious to hear your opinion on the Progression of Sophomore QB Garret Gillbert? I am a huge Texas fan, yet bias aside, I'm concerned about the sophomore slump others often experience in the NCAA, given he did show great natural progression in the title game, and my hope is that this will continue, yet I wanted to see what Yoy thought. Thanks JW
David Ubben (1:07 PM)
The thing about the sophomore slump is teams see players' tendencies, adjust to them, and the player can't rise above the defensive adjustments. Teams don't have enough on Gilbert yet to get a feel of how to make him struggle. If he hits a sophomore slump--and I'm betting he doesn't--it'll be about halfway through conference play.
Cool Sun 13 (Morgantown)
If Tommy Tuberville had decided to keep Ruffin McNeil on his defensive staff, then would TTU have the potential to improve their defense dramatically on the level of Nebraska?s great defense last season? I?m also wondering that with Texas and OU both having a semi-rebuilding year, and with TTU having a lot of talent and experience coming back from last year?s squad. Is there a good chance that TTU might have another breakout season like the 11-1 2008 team and this time possibly winning the Big 12?
David Ubben (1:10 PM)
I don't think so, I like the idea of bringing James Willis in. He meshes more with what Tuberville does on defense, with the SEC mentality of attacking offenses, the opposite of what McNeill did. James Willis was a part of some great defenses at Alabama, and though McNeill is a good coach, leaving him on Tuberville's staff certainly could have adversely affected the chemistry.
David Ubben (1:10 PM)
As for having a breakout year, Tech might have the widest margin of possible results of any team in the conference next season.
Gary (Olathe, KS)
Why is everyone waiting on the Big 10 and Pac 10? What's wrong with the Big 12 going on the offensive and add four teams before the Big 10 or Pac 10 announce their intentions?
David Ubben (1:14 PM)
I'm not sure who you want the Big 12 to add. It's not like anyone's looking for an all-out conference war, grabbing teams from everywhere. The Big Ten wants to improve its league, and there's still plenty of possibilities in play for doing that. Adding one team, like a Notre Dame, is one of those options. So is going after five teams, including Nebraska and Missouri. It'll be interesting to watch through the summer, but I don't think the answer is going out and grabbing second-rate programs and universities or trying to raid other major-conference programs. Just a guess, but I think the Big 12 would be perfectly fine with everything remaining how it is now. I know I would be.
David Ubben (1:15 PM)
That said, earlier in one of these chats, I said the most likely scenario was nothing happening, and maybe the Big Ten adds a Rutgers or a UConn. Now, I'm not so sure. Based on what I've read and heard from conference officials, the Big Ten seems pretty intent on doing something a lot bigger than that. The question is just whether they can get it done, or if schools want to shake up the status quo.
Tyler H. (E. Greenwich, RI)
In your opinion David, could Jared Crick be the next Ndamukong Suh?
David Ubben (1:17 PM)
No, and he's not trying to be. Talked to Jared a couple weeks ago, and there's not a lot of pressure trying to "replace" Suh. He knows he's not Suh, and he seems like he's just trying to play within himself. He knows he's got a lot of talent around him, and he wants to create opportunities for them.
Hey David, you got our honest-to-God opinions on the new celebration rule changes earlier this week, so now I'm curious about what you really think. Are you as fired up about this as fans seem to be, or are you impartial to the whole thing?
David Ubben (1:20 PM)
I'm not completely fired up about it, and I don't think its a ridiculous rule, but like a lot of the coaches, my main worry isn't the rule itself. My worry is in the interpretation of the rule. Giving officials the power to take points off the board is not a great idea. And really, let's think about this. You don't see celebrations on a score to put a team up 33-7. You see them on HUGE plays. Defensive, lead-changing scores. Scores that happen in the final minute. Those are the plays that are going to be in danger of being taken off the board. That's scary, and if I'm a coach of a bunch of 18-20 year olds, I'm even more scared.
Tyler (Cairo, NE)
So Dave, If all this conference expansion does happen, will it take two bloggers to cover the super conferences since they will have so many teams?
David Ubben (1:21 PM)
Interesting question. But remember, if expansion is announced this summer, it won't actually happen for awhile, at least a season or two. I'm not sure what the rules are in other leagues, but the Big 12 requires two-year notice before you leave the league. If that happens, they'll have plenty of time to adjust. So will we.
Don (Crescent City)
Will the Big X raid the Big XII for Nebraska and Mizzou? If so, Does the Big XII raid MWC, or are they content to become the new Big X?
David Ubben (1:23 PM)
As for grabbing other teams, I still think TCU and Houston have to be at the top of the list. I do think it'd be pretty funny if the Big 12 just became the new Big Ten and didn't get any new teams. If that happened, the most likely scenario is just kicking Oklahoma State to the North and moving on. Bedlam in the Big 12 title game?
Ryan (Fort Collins, Colorado)
DU-This question is dedicated to my friend Laura:As an insider to the conference, I would love in one word or phrase for you to describe the current state of both Nebraska and Colorado Football.
David Ubben (1:25 PM)
Nebraska: Rising. Colorado: Help.
Since it's draft day, Im interested to hear what your top 3 look like?? And a little insight as to why would be great
David Ubben (1:29 PM)
I don't really agree with grabbing Sam Bradford No. 1, but I completely understand why St. Louis is going to do it. Bradford could save the franchise. Suh or McCoy couldn't, even if they're much safer picks. But Bradford could also ruin the franchise. If he struggles, or gets hurt again, it's going to set the franchise back another five years with his contract on their shoulders. So, if I'm drafting, I take Suh No. 1. Then McCoy. Tampa is somewhat set at QB with Josh Freeman, and you can't take a QB in the first round two years in a row, but I'm just against taking a QB that early for any team. Sometimes, though, it's worth the risk, and sometimes you have to take it.
David Ubben (1:30 PM)
I generally don't understand how everyone thinks Suh is the greatest defensive player in college football history in December, and then suddenly neck-and-neck with McCoy. All three are great players, but it seems a little odd.
CB (Walnut, CA)
How much of an impact will Chris Harper have as WR for the Cats? Was that a good move for him?
David Ubben (1:31 PM)
Don't expect me to criticize a coaching move by Bill Snyder. They have options at QB with the experienced Coffman and athleticism in Klein and Lamur. They need explosive playmakers on offense, and Harper looks like he could be that type of guy. So, Snyder moved him to receiver. Makes sense.
Is the "neal brown, NASCAR" spread here at tech going to produce more attention in tech's ability to run the ball? and do you think tech will be able to retain its success with this added running game?
David Ubben (1:34 PM)
Playing fast is pretty chic right now, but it should work for Tech. As for the running game, that's Brown adjusting to what he has on his depth chart: running backs. If he's not using Baron Batch, Harrison Jeffers and Eric Stephens, he's crazy. He knows that, and if Tech didn't have the backs they did, you could expect them to throw it 60-70 times like they sometimes do.
Charles Mitchell (Las Vegas, NM)
Other than the free tickets and getting the girls what is the best part of being the Big 12 blogger?
David Ubben (1:35 PM)
Getting to hang out with you guys every Thursday, of course. What else?
Tyler (Ames, Iowa)
Do you think that Iowa State has arguably one of the top ten toughest schedules in the nation, A schedule that includes a bout at Iowa, A tough, tough FCS team in Northern Iowa, Texas Tech in Ames, than here's the stretch that I feel wins it over Utah in Ames than, At Oklahoma, At Texas and out of the last four games the ones at home against a highly touted Nebraska team and at home against Missouri, I know I have my personal opinion but I just want to know what the critics are saying, so what do ya think?
David Ubben (1:37 PM)
Definitely one of the toughest in the country. It's hard to definitively say until teams start playing, but it won't be easy. Paul Rhoads knows that, and talked to his team about the schedule in the first meeting of the spring. He's not shying away from it, and he's not trying to get out of it. He's embracing it and using it as a motivator for his team.
Will you rank the top 5 Big 12 QBs?
David Ubben (1:38 PM)
I'd say Johnson, Griffin and Gabbert, in that order right now. After that, it's kind of a scrum. Gilbert is probably already there, same with Landry Jones. Sheffield/Potts (whichever), is there, too.
Tim (SA, Texas)
Which games are you planning on going this coming season?
David Ubben (1:40 PM)
Looking pretty far ahead, but here's a couple there's a good shot I'll be going to: Texas A&M-Arkansas, Red River, Nebraska/Missouri, Missouri/Oklahoma, Texas/Nebraska.
In your opinion David, isn't Jared Crick more than likely getting tired of being called the "next Suh"......wouldn't he much rather just be Jared Crick....he seems to do fine with his own name.
David Ubben (1:41 PM)
Exactly. I think that's how he sees it, too.
Dave (East Lansing)
I know you're a Big 12 guy, but Michigan State is tossing around the idea of playing an exhibition game against a Big Ten school instead of having a traditional spring game. What are your thoughts on this?
David Ubben (1:42 PM)
Wow, I hadn't heard that. I would absolutely love that, and I think the fans would, too.
David Ubben (1:43 PM)
As long as they do away with these unbearable scoring systems teams use in the spring. I can't stand that. Split the teams up evenly and play a football game.
Sean Ready (Boston)
David, why do you hate the Colorado football program?
David Ubben (1:44 PM)
In 1973, I lent it $20. Still waiting on it to repay me. I hold grudges, Sean.
Josh (Dallas, TX)
What do you think about Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M's brand new freshman, at the spring game at left tackle? Heard he was a beast.
David Ubben (1:46 PM)
That was kind of funny, Mike Sherman felt weird talking about him like he did, and I felt weird reading it. Joeckel was far from a scrub, but this isn't Seantrel Henderson we're talking about. He's come in and just outperformed everyone else. I watched him a little bit when I was in College Station, but I think everyone's surprised at just how well he's performed. Ideally for the Aggies, he'd use that as a positive motivator for the summer, knowing just how good he could be, work hard, and improve even more in preseason camp.
David Ubben.......I would like to see a change at offensive coordinator at Nebraska at the end of this season. On a 1-10 scale, what are my chances?
David Ubben (1:48 PM)
Probably around 2 or 3. Bo Pelini has faith in Shawn Watson, and they did what they had to do to win games. He expressed his support publicly before the spring even began. The offense will open back up this season, and they've got another year in the system. Expect improvement. If it doesn't come, that number might grow, but there's not going to be a change, barring unforeseen circumstances. Those circumstances don't include bad offense.
Brad (Fort Worth, TX)
What are your thoughts on the A&M vs. Arkansas game at Jerryworld this year?
David Ubben (1:50 PM)
Lots and lots of scoring, just like last year. But might be more even, and could fall in the Aggies favor. Definitely one of the best non-conference games of the season involving Big 12 teams. It could be a matchup between two top 15 teams.
Terry (Denver CO)
Point of Order, David: if the Big XII loses two teams and elects not to replace them? Then there will be no league title game. NCAA rules: leagues must have 12+ teams to even have one (in large part why the Bigi & Pac-10s are looking to expand in the first place...).
David Ubben (1:51 PM)
Forgot about that rule, Terry. Good point.
SD (La Jolla, CA)
I am perplexed why the Big 10 would want Missouri. They are a mediocre draw (i.e., Indiana, Purdue, etc.) that really wouldn't have national pull. Snagging Nebraska or somebody like them would be a huge get for the Big X in terms of national draw, tv, etc. What does Mizzou get them- a few tvs in St. Louis????
David Ubben (1:53 PM)
And Kansas City, yes. Nebraska is obviously a bigger football draw, but doesn't bring a major market with them. Missouri brings decent percentage of two, and quality play on the football field and basketball court.
kevin (houton, tx)
A&M a top 15 team??? sure there offense is good but top 15 with a defense like that.. I think you may need to lay off the kool-aide DU
David Ubben (1:55 PM)
I don't think Texas A&M will finish in the Top 15, but look at the Aggies early schedule. They have to win in Stillwater, and that's the only question mark. Do that, and they'll be riding the hype train heading into Dallas at 4-0 with one of the conference's marquee stars at quarterback.
Why so much love for Gabbert? He's hardly played a meaningful down. You just rated him better than Jones, who had good stats despite a miserable offensive line and has an entire season of experience. I don't get it.
David Ubben (1:57 PM)
Gabbert has more career starts than Jones. He completed a higher percentage of his passes. He threw for more yards. He threw five fewer interceptions, despite playing more. I don't get it.
David, Can you tell us again how much Nebraska football is on the rise? I feel the ego's of some aren't as inflated as they could be...
David Ubben (1:58 PM)
Nebraska football is on the rise.
David Ubben (1:58 PM)
One more question, let's make it a good one. Good set of questions today, otherwise.
Sorry, confused with Gilbert. Gabbert, Gilbert, blah blah. Thanks for the clarification.
David Ubben (2:00 PM)
It's a lot of Gs, Bs and Ts. No problem.
True or False: In 10 years, the Big12 will still exist
David Ubben (2:01 PM)
In its current state? False. Enjoy the draft tonight, folks.