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Big 12 mailbag: They're restless in Texas; will TCU bounce back?

The heat on Charlie Strong already has picked up after a poor showing at Notre Dame in the opener. AP Photo/Michael Thomas

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. Trotter: 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. Trotter: 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. Trotter: 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. Trotter: 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. Trotter: Considering the players that will meet when the series resumes are in like fourth grade, I have no idea. But I'm pumped the rivalry is coming back. I also love how Dana Holgorsen has embraced it. So many coaches and administrators (I'm looking at you guys in Waco and Fort Worth) don't want to acknowledge the importance of rivalry games for whatever reason. As for me, I don't even know for sure what game I'll be at next weekend, much less seven years from now. But if it's Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, 2022, I won't be complaining. Trotter: I think we'll end with that one.