In this week's Twitter mailbag, we examine the turmoil at Texas, West Virginia's impressive start, the mounting injuries at TCU and the big game in Knoxville between Oklahoma and Tennessee.
To the 'bag:
Trotter: TCU was my preseason pick to win the conference, and while I'm not ready to jump ship on the Horned Frogs yet, the massive defensive attrition definitely is alarming. With Trevone Boykin and Co., TCU still has enough offense to beat anyone on its schedule. But Gary Patterson might have to work some magic on the other side of the ball for the Horned Frogs to make it through the schedule 12-0 or 11-1.
@Jake_Trotter how do you reassess TCU expectations considering they were already vulnerable on D and now even more so being very thin at LB?- Jim Bell (@Bell4Jim) September 10, 2015
@Jake_Trotter Tennesse has below average for years. Are they really that big of a test for the Sooners? - Emerson Mounger (@405beergeek) September 10, 2015Trotter: If this were 2003 Oklahoma, it might not be. But the Sooners haven't exactly been a juggernaut these past few seasons. On the flip side, this might be Tennessee's best team of the post-Phil Fulmer era. Which is why this is a huge test for Oklahoma. And a barometer game for where the program is fresh off a host of offseason changes following the disappointing 2014 campaign.
Trotter: Are we sure it's not West Virginia? That Mountaineers defense looked nasty in the opener. West Virginia obviously has questions lingering offensively. And that brutal schedule, which includes road trips to Norman, Waco and Fort Worth, might be too difficult to overcome. But before the season I boldly predicted that West Virginia would have the league's best defense. After Week 1, I'm feeling pretty confident about that prognostication.
@Jake_Trotter who the dark horse in big 12 and why?- FunstonWM (@FunstonWM) September 10, 2015
@Jake_Trotter is this the worst Texas offense you have ever seen? - Salman Hamid (@salmanH96) September 10, 2015Trotter: It has a chance to be the worst Texas offense since at least before Mack Brown took over. Quarterback problems have plagued the program since 2010. But this Texas offense has problems just about everywhere. The offensive line is abysmal. The playmakers don't scare anyone. And the quarterback situation is just more of the same. I posed this question on Twitter the other day: Does Texas have a single offensive player who could start for Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State? Johnathan Gray could start at running back for the Cowboys. But that's probably it. Which is incredible, and tells you everything about the state of this Texas offense, which added coordinator turmoil to the equation this week.
Trotter: I think so. Texas Tech should beat UTEP this weekend and Kansas later on in the year. The Red Raiders should also be favored to defeat Iowa State in Lubbock for a fourth straight season. That would leave the Red Raiders two games away from bowl eligibility. Right now, especially after what I saw from QB Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, I think they have enough to get there.
@Jake_Trotter Will Tech make a bowl game this year?- Forrest Grimes (@FGrimesN7) September 10, 2015
@Jake_Trotter IF Texas loses to Rice, is this the beginning of the end of the Charlie Strong era? - The Loyal Raider (@TheLoyalRaider) September 10, 2015Trotter: I never envisioned a scenario in which Strong didn't make it at least through Year 3. But if Texas loses to Rice, all bets are off. The Longhorns would be staring down the pike of an 0-6 start. Regardless of what shape you think the program was in when Strong took over, that would be unacceptable. And at that point, Strong would be in immediate trouble. That said, I think the Longhorns bounce back and win Saturday.
Trotter: Texas has issues, but let's not get carried away. If Kansas wins two games this year, I might vote David Beaty Big 12 Coach of the Year.
@Jake_Trotter What is more realistic: Texas becoming bowl eligible or KU winning two games?- Cade Webb (@CWebb_CRFF) September 10, 2015
@Jake_Trotter how concerned should kstate be with Jessie Ertz out for a while? Do you think Joe Huebner will be a reliable backup? - Seth Meadows (@meadows1115) September 10, 2015Trotter: I'm more concerned with the overall K-State offense than the quarterback position alone. Losing Jesse Ertz for the year definitely hurts, but I'm not sure the dropoff from Ertz to Hubener or Alex Delton is precipitous. The dropoff from last year's collection of skill players to this crop, however, is. The Wildcats have two sneaky games coming up in UTSA on the road and Louisiana Tech, which are both decent opponents. The offense struggling the next two weeks would be a red flag for the Wildcats for the rest of the season.
@Jake_Trotter do you think the KSU Band could beat the KU football team? - Robert K. Millan (@RobertKMillan) September 10, 2015Trotter: I think we'll end with that one.