Big 12 Tuesday mailbag

In Tuesday's mailbag, we talk Johnathan Gray, David Boren's comments and West Virginia's underdog status. As always thanks for your questions. Feel free to submit questions for next week's mailbag.

Derek Duke in San Marcos, Texas, writes: It's been awhile since Texas has had a 1,000-yard rusher. I know there is offensive line issues but this year Johnathan Gray will have to carry the load more. Do you think he will break the streak this year if he stays healthy, which also has been an issue.

Brandon Chatmon: I think Gray has the potential to leave Austin with at least one 1,000-yard season after falling short the first three seasons. You hit on the key point when you said “if he stays healthy” because if he plays 12 games and sets a career mark in carries, I’d be surprised if he does not make it to 1,000 yards.

Cameron in Virginia writes: The opening odds from Vegas for all the Big 12 games came out just recently, and as a West Virginia fan I was wondering why they opened as 20+ point underdogs to BU and TCU. Seems a bit much, doesn't it?

BC: I was wondering the same thing, Cameron. I just don’t see how WVU is nearly three touchdowns worse than BU or TCU, even if they are road games for the Mountaineers. I wouldn’t have WVU as favorites to win either game but I don’t think they should be three, or even two, touchdown underdogs.

Scott G. in Plano, Texas, writes: Any thoughts on the chatter that David Boren's comments were solely fuel to position Oklahoma for a possible SEC or Big Ten invite? You can't imagine that there's anyone left worth adding to the conference at this point, right?

BC: I don’t think that’s the sole purpose but it doesn’t hurt either. The problem, as we know, is finding top-notch expansion options right now which is easier said than done. I do think he is sincerely worried about the long-term health of the Big 12 but letting everyone know the Sooners could be a bit uneasy is a nice little cherry on top if things take a turn for the worse.

Dan in Abilene, Texas, writes: Where would Texas A&M finish in this years Big 12?

BC: Same place they did when they were in the conference. Top half, but not competing for a title.

Isaiah in Oklahoma writes: With Iowa State expanding their stadium to 61,000 just barely edging out Oklahoma State do you see Ok State expanding their stadium say in about 3-4 years? P.S. Last time Ok State expanded was 2009 and also do you you think a possible conference championship would help sway the donors.

BC: No. I think the Cowboys are more concerned with establishing a lengthy streak of sellouts than expanding the stadium. There’s no reason to try to do that right now.

Bobby Cowles in Portland, Oregon, writes: Thanks, Boren. Now we have to suffer through another deluge of silly expansion possibilities submitted by Big 12 fans. However, Jake Trotter did hit on the only scenario that I think is both possible and attractive: getting Nebraska back. I don't think Nebraska fans envisioned joining a conference that boasts Maryland and Rutgers and they surely miss regular tilts with Oklahoma and Texas. Revenue is also shared more equally in the Big 12 now. My questions are, 1) how likely is this scenario 2) how do we get momentum moving this direction 3) did I just join in the deluge of silly expansion possibilities?

BC: First off, I agree that finding a way to get Nebraska back would be outstanding, Bobby, but 1) I wouldn’t use "likely" as a word for this scenario and, revenue wise, the Huskers can’t be too disappointed in their decision; 2) it would be worth the phone call but, again, revenue-wise, why would Nebraska want to return; 3) Yes, yes you did.

Mike T. in Dallas, Texas, writes: Be honest; on a scale of 1-10 (10 being 100%) how confident are you when predicting Big XII outcome? In 2014 after the Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama everyone had OU by far the favorite to win the conference. TCU was barely a blip on the radar. Fast forward to the 2015 season and now everyone has the Big XII as a two team race (Baylor/TCU) with OU and OSU as a "shot" at getting the crown. Predicting what 19-22 year olds will do is difficult to say the least. So, I guess I'm calling you out. How confident are you?

BC: About a 7. I’m not always right but I’m not consistently wrong either. There are always things that come up that were unexpected -- like injuries or Trevone Boykin's maturation as a quarterback -- but I always feel good about my predictions and stand behind them even when I’m wrong. Even if they’re as bad as this. Yikes.

Shane in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Why is everyone so excited about Mason Rudolph? Stats were 57% completion and 6 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. That's very average at best, yet many think they are a dark horse to win the Big 12 because of this guy? What am I missing?

BC: Well, the fact he went 2-1 with a team that was in the midst of a five-game losing streak with little hope when he took over can't be overlooked. Stats are great and all but the difference between the Cowboys before Mason and the Cowboys after Mason was pretty striking. Could he take a step backward as a sophomore? Absolutely. But I’d still take him over the majority of projected starters in the conference.