In Friday's Twitter mailbag, we discuss possible Big 12 sleepers, the Oklahoma and Texas Tech QB battles and my favorite place to eat at every Big 12 stop.
On to the 'bag:
Trotter: Honestly, I would be stunned. Right now, they're giving Cody Thomas, Trevor Knight and Baker Mayfield equal reps with the first team. Thomas has a strong arm and a knack for operating zone-read plays. A few days ago, Bob Stoops also lauded Thomas for his development over the summer. But he would have to make a considerable jump with this throwing accuracy from the spring to leapfrog Mayfield and Knight in an offense that hinges on the QB being accurate.
@Jake_Trotter Read a report of Cody Thomas getting 1st team reps. Odds of him surprising everyone and trotting out on the field Sept 5th?- Chase Freeman (@ChasebFreeman) August 14, 2015
Trotter: Defensively, Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson looks like a good bet. He's going to be a monster in this league over the next few years. Offensively, I'd probably go with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, but if you're looking for a true freshman, then West Virginia wide receiver Jovon Durant; he's gifted, and will have an opportunity to play right away.
@Jake_Trotter who is the frosh of the year? Off. and Def.- Jeff Proctor (@ffejproctor) August 14, 2015
Trotter: No, Skyler Howard is the starter. The Mountaineers are moving William Crest around so much because he's so versatile and talented. It's difficult to sideline a player with so much potential, but I think keeping him at QB is the right move. He needs to develop there, because he really has a chance to become a special QB when his time finally arrives.
@Jake_Trotter WVUs new receivers making a buzz. W. Crest taking more QB reps. Is Howard's hold on the QB1 spot slipping?- JO_P3FE (@Thump8251) August 14, 2015
Trotter: I could bring up a number of factors, but ultimately it's going to come down to Mason Rudolph and whether he becomes the top-tier QB the Cowboys believe he can be. Oklahoma State was a completely different team with Rudolph behind center last year. If he takes the next step as a sophomore, then the Cowboys are going to be a load, especially with that favorable schedule.
@Jake_Trotter what do you need to see out of the Cowboys in able for them to win their second conference title? Obviously the d line play- mike murray (@Gopokes1984Mm) August 14, 2015
Trotter: My money is on Patrick Mahomes, who last time out tossed for almost 600 yards and six touchdowns in a near-upset of Baylor to finish out last season. I'm not ready to give up on Davis Webb, and neither is Tech. He's still a quality prospect who tried to force too much early on last season. Yet given how the rest of the offense clicked with Mahomes at the end of last season, I think it would be difficult for the Red Raiders to remove him from the lineup, at least staring out.
@Jake_Trotter Who will start the season at QB for Tech? Mahomes or Webb?- Walter Wilhelmi (@wkwilhelmi) August 14, 2015
Trotter: By sleeper games, I'm going to assume you want me to remove all games pitting the top four teams (TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) against one another, and all games that include TCU or Baylor. In that case I'll go with Oklahoma State at Texas on Sept. 26, West Virginia at Oklahoma on Oct. 3 and Oklahoma State at West Virginia on Oct. 10. Those three games should ultimately whittle the Big 12 race down to determine the team or teams that will enter November with a chance of challenging TCU and Baylor for the conference crown.
@Jake_Trotter what are the top 3 sleeper games that will impact the Big 12 title in your opinion?- Scott Richardson (@coachrichbb22) August 14, 2015
Trotter: Hickory Park in Ames; Greek House in Norman; Hideaway in Stillwater; Schmaltz's in Waco; Blue Sky in Lubbock; Primanti Bros. in Morgantown; Garozzo's in Lawrence (technically Kansas City, but whatever, it's amazing); Franklin's in Austin; Coco Bolos in Manhattan; and Pappasito's in Fort Worth. Honorable mention honors go to Torchy's Tacos, which has spots in Austin, Waco and Fort Worth.
@Jake_Trotter favorite place to eat in each Big12 town?- Dave Brower (@davebrower) August 14, 2015