Chat with Max Olson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Big 12 reporter Max Olson stops by to chat about college football.
Olson joined ESPN in 2012 after covering the University of Nebraska for the Omaha World-Herald and high school and college sports for the World-Herald and Rivals.com. Olson is a University of Nebraska graduate and lives in Austin, Texas.
Send your questions now and join Olson Tuesday at noon ET!
Max Olson (12:02 PM)
Hey guys, welcome to today's Big 12 chat. I'm filling in for Jake Trotter, who's out in Lubbock working on some Texas Tech stories this week. Send in all your questions and let's get this started.
Mike (Stroud, Ok.)
What are your thoughts on Baylor. It seems like they were missing something in dispatching an average KSU. What happens when they meet a really good offensive team?
Max Olson (12:05 PM)
Mike, the thing that catches your eye when you look at that box score is Baylor rushing for 114 yards vs. KSU and getting 59 from Lache Seastrunk. We knew this would happen eventually, that somebody was going to try to take away one aspect of Baylor's offensive attack. The Bears responded well with a rare road victory this time. But you're right, when they get in a real shootout with somebody, it could get real interesting.
Can Iowa St make it a game against Baylor? They have a knack for doing that when NOBODY expects them too..
Max Olson (12:06 PM)
If this game were in Ames, I'd give them a decent shot. Plus, you know, Iowa State did knock off Baylor last year. We're probably underestimating the Cyclones to some extent this week, but still seems like a game where Baylor can score 50+ and win without much trouble.
Ed (Queens Village)
Can Texas win Big 12?
Max Olson (12:08 PM)
If they beat TCU and Oklahoma State, they're going to be in great shape. Those are the toughest games coming up on the schedule. Get past those and then it gets interesting. Texas finishes with TTU and on the road against Baylor. Not ideal.
Max Olson (12:08 PM)
Max Olson (12:09 PM)
I believe Jake is currently sitting down with Kliff Kingsbury out in Lubbock. Safe to say they're probably talking football and fashion right now, not that Trotter is a big V-neck guy.
Who does Baylor have to play and beat for everyone to stop saying, "well, they haven't played anyone yet?". Each week I read that "this week will be a real test for Baylor.". Then, when they win, it's still, oh they haven't played anybody.
Max Olson (12:10 PM)
The Oklahoma game on Nov. 7 was supposed to be their biggest game in school history, but then the Sooners went out and lost to Texas and looked pretty darn inferior in doing so. So you almost wonder if, at 8-0, people would still be saying that about the Bears now.
Since OU lost to a mediokar longhorn team. Will a Texas Tech win in Norman still give them the attention they would've gotten had OU been undefeated.
Max Olson (12:11 PM)
It would still be perceived as proof that Texas Tech is legit, yes.
Hanging On (Kansas)
Do you find it odd that Jake Waters has had so much trouble with turnovers considering his prior accomplishments prior to coming to KSU? I know the competition is considerably greater than JUCO but it seems like fundementally he's just not making the right decisions.. I mean, we're talking about a guy that threw 37 TDs and only 3 INTs last year. What gives?
Max Olson (12:13 PM)
That's a great question. Not all juco quarterbacks take the world by storm like Cam Newton did. There's an adjustment period, for sure, and Waters is dealing with that. You're right, though, his previous stats suggested immediate success for Waters. I'd say give him some more time, these upcoming games vs. WVU and ISU should help - unless Sams takes over the job.
Craig M. (Dallas)
I know college football fans are prone to overreaction, but Bell's job can't be secure, right? There was a reason he wasn't QB1 to start the season. You said yourself (or you quoted someone, can't remember) the competition with Knight wasn't even close.
Max Olson (12:15 PM)
It's surprisingly secure right now, which might say a lot more about the coaching staff's feelings about Knight than about Bell. The fact Knight didn't get a chance to enter the game against Texas, despite Bell's obvious struggles, was surprising.
It's clear Mack is retiring after this year and Saban will most certainly get the first chance at the job. Anyway he comes to the great state of Texas?
Max Olson (12:18 PM)
All Texas can do in that scenario is offer him whatever he wants. If they put $8 million/year on the table plus an unlimited budget to assemble his staff, and he still says no, there's not a whole lot more you can offer than that. If/when Texas is seeking a HC, it will exhaust all possibilities with Saban. You have to. You might not make another hire in 10 years, so if this is your only chance at the guy, it's a conversation that has to happen.
If Texas goes 5-1 the rest of the year, then wins a non BCS (probably Cotton) bowl and finishes at 10-3 record is Mack Brown done even with 10 wins?
Max Olson (12:19 PM)
You never know. Could be a great way to ride off into the sunset, leaving Brown with confidence that he put the program in good shape for his successor. 10-3 would be a pretty stunning turnaround from 1-2.
When all three are healthy, who tops the depth chart for the Red Raiders at QB? Also, over/under 10 wins for the boys from Lubbock this year?
Max Olson (12:21 PM)
Wrote about this a couple weeks ago, but we really don't know how good Michael Brewer can be at this point. Jace Amaro told me guys have a lot of confidence in him if he starts, and it's entirely possible he does in the near future. I'll go with Brewer just because it's so hard to tell whether Mayfield or Webb has the edge among the freshmen. I think Tech wins 9, personally.
Kyle (Fort Worth)
What remaining game on Texas Tech's schedule would be the biggest win from a recruiting standpoint?
Max Olson (12:23 PM)
The home game on Nov. 16 against Baylor is the obvious candidate, because the Red Raiders should have a ton of visitors on campus that day and Baylor is a school they go head-to-head against a lot in recruiting in recent years.
Justin (Seminole, TX)
Whats your take on the Nation seeing less students showing up to games? Doesn't seem to be a problem in Lubbock.
Max Olson (12:24 PM)
Could be a lot of things. Price of season tickets, resale value of student tickets, watching from home is easier, most college stadiums don't allow alcohol, weather, etc. College students are pretty fickle with this kind of stuff and don't worry much about the perception much when their section is 3/4 full.
Justin (Seminole, TX)
Everyone always says "if the Raiders can win this next game, I'll give them credit that they are legit." If they win the next two, will they finally be legit? or will they have to win the next one? and the next? and the next?
Max Olson (12:26 PM)
Texas Tech won't be legit until it wins 13 games. I'm kidding. The nation should get very serious about TTU if they can knock off OSU and/or OU in the next few weeks.
Bentley (San Antonio, TX)
Should Texas Tech be on upset alert vs. West Virginia this weekend? West Virginia seems like one of those teams that plays much better at home and I'm sure they will want to make up for their embarrassing performance in Waco.
Max Olson (12:27 PM)
Anybody can be on upset alert when playing in Morgantown, and there's no longer trip in the Big 12 than going from Lubbock out to WVU's campus. While WVU hasn't piled up many Big 12 wins at home so far, the OSU game at least shows that crowd can be a factor.
How do you see the TCU/Ok St game playing out? Who wins and why?
Max Olson (12:30 PM)
I'm taking Oklahoma State just because I think they get their offense back on track after getting a bye week and essentially two weeks to work out the kinks. If the Frogs lose this game, they could easily be looking at a 3-5 record entering November.
Michael (China Spring, TX)
Jake, after this weekends ugly win in Manhattan, what is your take on Baylor?
Max Olson (12:31 PM)
Still very talented. Still might steamroll this conference. Going to need to win tough road games to do so.
Stephen Case (Tulare, California)
Is Fresno State a potential BCS-buster this year?
Max Olson (12:32 PM)
Yes. Big fan of Derek Carr.
Steven Wright (Da Moin)
What are the red raiders raidering?
Max Olson (12:37 PM)
Swagger. The Red Raiders, under the Kingsbury regime, raid opponents of their swag. I believe the technical term is a "swagger hound."
Most people label Lache as the best RB in the Big12. Who is number two in your opinion? Do you see anyone in the Big12 passing Lache in voters' minds?
Max Olson (12:40 PM)
I don't think anybody is going to pass Lache, because the guy (usually) gets to 100 yards in a game easier than almost any other back in the country. His yards per carry, ever after a down week last week, is an insane 9.96. The No. 2 guy in my eyes is Johnathan Gray, who's averaging 106 per game in his last five and is becoming a legit workhorse for Texas.
cotton bowl groundskeeper (fair park)
Interested in what you think with the possibility of a UT vs aTm at the cotton bowl.
Max Olson (12:41 PM)
Never say never, but to me that's not gonna happen. We could've seen that game in 2012, but I don't think the folks who run that bowl game would go for it.
There are stories about Luck wanting UCF to come to the Big XII for the Florida market...Here's my take, 10 teams in one of the 5 major conferences can only mean that much more money PER TEAM down the line. Why not wait, once 5 or 6 years of making all this money is shown around the country & everyone knows it, then go grab a top ACC team (when the rights are up in 10 years) that is making around $5 to possibly $10 million less a year than they would be making in the Big XII?
Max Olson (12:42 PM)
Quite a theory you have there. Nobody is waiting 5-10 years for a move. I just think everybody is going to 16 teams eventually, that's the end game.
Jackson (Little Rock, Arkansas)
If Texas pulled Saban, would they destroy on the recruiting trail?
Max Olson (12:43 PM)
Yes. Most definitely. A lot of coaches could come to Texas and destroy on the recruiting trail. Muschamp was a very successful recruiter during his tenure in Austin.
Dillon (Bedford, PA)
In WVU's 3 losses they have looked very bad, but the 3 teams they have lost to have a combined 2 losses. Any reason to be optimistic about my Mountaineers?
Max Olson (12:46 PM)
Yep, their losses this year have all been to good opponents. I think WVU can win a couple more Big 12 games. Don't think the Baylor game was very representative of what these Mountaineers are capable of.
Jon (Temple, Tex.)
Max,I'm having trouble seeing that the Big 12 will field 7 teams as you projected after this weekend's games. Kansas and Iowa State are in the doldrums, and West Virginia and K-State still have a ways to go at 3 wins and 4 wins short, respectively.Honestly, which of those four has the best chance at a bowl?
Max Olson (12:48 PM)
I guess I would have to go with West Virginia, just because of all those teams they actually have a decent shot at getting to 7 wins. I have a hard time seeing K-State at 6 wins right now. But you're definitely right, there is a chance that only 6 end up making bowls after 9 did so last year.
rtXC1 (Denison, TX)
Dec. 7, 2013: 11-0 Baylor vs 9-2 Texas?
Max Olson (12:49 PM)
Honestly, I think 10-1 vs. 8-3 is more likely at this point.
Jordan (Round Rock)
Tech/Baylor game isn't in Lubbock
Max Olson (12:50 PM)
Ah, yes, thanks for the reminder. Still think Texas Tech is going to have a lot of visitors in AT&T Stadium that night and the game would help their efforts in Dallas.
Do you think that Texas will offer Frank Iheanacho? The kid is flying up the recruiting charts of a lot of sites but Texas already has 6 wr commits
Max Olson (12:51 PM)
Huge size on that kid but I don't see it unless one of Texas' 6 WR commits backs out.
Jordan (Round Rock)
What does it say about how good Baylor is when a 10 point road win isn't good enough?
Max Olson (12:52 PM)
Yep, you're right about that. Too many people nitpicking the Bears and looking for reasons why they'll lose now.
I firmly believe that Texas is Case McCoy's team now...but if Ash cannot return this season, would you use Jalen Overstreet as the back up or would you burn the redshirt on Swoopes and play him. Someone else needs some playing time...McCoy can't be the only one prepared!
Max Olson (12:53 PM)
Both guys will be prepared as if they'll play, but I think that's a situation that Texas coaches are just trying to avoid for as long as possible. I bet you would've seen Overstreet on Saturday if McCoy had been injured, and I think Swoopes stays redshirted in the end.
Your opinion tech wins 9 games. Who are the three teams they beat out of the remaining six
Max Olson (12:55 PM)
Just being conservative, because 10 is entirely possible. They win a close one at West Virginia then beat Kansas State and either Texas or Oklahoma State.
Mack Brown made some interesting comments about how the longhorns were "Case McCoy's team" and that even when Ash comes back they will have to evaluate the situation. Does McCoy seriously have a shot of keeping the job as Texas' starting quarterback even if/when ask comes back?
Max Olson (12:57 PM)
If Texas keeps winning, the answer is yes. What McCoy lacks in physical gifts compared to Ash when both guys are healthy, he makes up for in leadership and the fact guys really rally around. Texas showed against OU it can win with run-heavy tempo offense. If they're winning and Ash comes back, why force a change? It's a tricky situation no matter what.
Winston Bishop (LA)
Fried Chicken or Chicken Fried Steak?
Max Olson (12:58 PM)
Can I say both?
Art Briles (Waco)
If I don't pull my starters in the 3rd quarter this weekend and put up 100 points and a 1000 yards, will that shut people up and get my team some respect in the polls?
Max Olson (12:59 PM)
Probably so, Art. Thanks for the question.
Who is most likely to being knocked off by Kansas? Anyone this season?
Max Olson (1:00 PM)
Maybe the season finale against Kansas State?
Was Malcolm Brown's production Saturday an outlier?
Max Olson (1:01 PM)
Compared to what he's done so far in 2013, absolutely. But there was nothing cheap about the 120 yards he put up - he ran the ball up the middle a ton and with great success. He looked like the young Malcolm of 2011 last weekend.
Max Olson (1:02 PM)
All right guys, that's all I've got time for today. Thanks for all your questions, sorry I couldn't get to them all. We've got a ton of good stuff over on the Big 12 blog today and will the rest of the week, so hope y'all keep reading. Thanks!