In Tuesday's mailbag, we discuss the conference's most important player, the prospects of Bedlam and the opportunity to break out at Kansas. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, click here.
Jeremy G writes: Who's the Big 12 MIP (Most Important Player)? Who hurt their team the most if they are absent?
Brandon Chatmon: Trevone Boykin. He really makes everything tick for TCU’s offense and transforms the Horned Frogs into a title contender. Their quarterback really separates himself from the crowd with his ability to make big plays in the passing game but run like a running back in the open field. It’s a nightmare for defenses. Without him I don’t think we’re calling TCU a national title contender.
Derek Duke writes: More likely to compete for a Big 12 title this season Oklahoma State or Oklahoma?
BC: This is a really good question, Derek, as I have a strong feeling their Bedlam matchup will have Big 12 title implications. Right now I feel like OSU is more likely than OU based off what I’ve seen from Mason Rudolph. Both squads have the talent to compete for a conference title so it really comes down to the quarterback position. And as of now OSU gets the nod based on Rudolph.
Brock May in Oklahoma City writes: Will OU's pass defense (secondary) improve this season, or will they continue to get shredded in Big 12 play? The Baylor game was especially hard to stomach last season.
BC: I think it will be better but it will have to be a lot better to handle Baylor. Expect the Sooners' secondary to be improved, and finish in the top half of the conference in passing yards allowed, but they won’t shut down BU. Nobody will.
Casto in Arlington, Virginia, writes: If West Virginia finds a #1 receiver this year (still have my money on it clicking for Shelton Gibson), could Skyler Howard lead the league in passing yards?
BC: I doubt it. I fully expect Baylor and Texas Tech battling for the passing title. Those two programs have battled for the title for the past few years and I don’t see the Mountaineers supplanting either team, especially with the group of talented running backs at Dana Holgorsen’s disposal. They could finish in the top three however.
Austin Lopez in Lackawanna, New York, writes: How hard is Kansas head coach David Beaty's job now that Jake Love, Corey Avery, and Rodriquez Coleman are done at Kansas? Can this open the doors for a possible breakout year by someone on the Kansas roster no one is talking about?
BC: It was already hard. But those three departures won’t help matters at all on a squad that was already short on talent and numbers. I’d say opportunity is the key word for every player in Lawrence, Kansas, this fall.
Nick Tam in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: I picture my Red Raiders going 8-4 as a best-case scenario for 2015. We're still building so I'm not too concerned yet. Worst-case scenario being 6-6. If we were to go 8-4 this year I think it's apparent that we need an upset during the season. Which team do you pick as our greatest chance to upset this season?
BC: With the middle of the Big 12 being so fluid I wouldn’t really consider a win over anyone except TCU or Baylor to be an upset. Between those two teams, I’d say Baylor is the best chance at an upset for the Red Raiders. Tech pushed BU to the brink a year ago and I think they can do it again this season. It will be tough for Tech to upset the Bears but it’s possible.
Ryan in Denver writes: How come Seth Russell is getting so much hype and praise while other true tried quarterbacks, with more than Northwestern State experience, are afterthoughts or still building?
BC: Are you talking about anyone in particular ,Ryan? I expect Russell to seamlessly slide into BU’s offense because the Bears have a proven track record of replacing quarterbacks with relative ease. Nick Florence and Bryce Petty -- who each threw for 4,000 yards in their first season after replacing a productive starter -- are the reason Russell gets the benefit of the doubt. It has everything to do with Baylor’s proven ability to field productive quarterbacks.
Kris Osborn in Houston, Texas, writes: I was wondering your take on Mark Andrews. Granted OU hasn't had much quality quarterback play the last few years, but he seems like the tight end that we have been waiting for. Do you see him as a guy who can actually contribute (e.g. Jermaine Gresham) or just another bust (e.g. Taylor McNamara). Your thoughts?
BC: I expect Andrews to be much closer to Jermaine Gresham than Taylor McNamara. The redshirt freshman has created a constant buzz in the spring and plays with a confidence that makes me think he will be a key part of OU’s offense in 2015. In fact, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make a significant impact (30 receptions or more).