Big 12 Tuesday mailbag: Spring games, coaching changes

In today's mailbag we chat spring games, West Virginia's coaching staff and potential coaching changes. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, email me at bchatmonespn@gmail.com or tweet me @bchatmon.

Brandon Chatmon: It definitely makes things more challenging, as any assistant coach would like to know Dana Holgorsen is tied into the West Virginia program long term with a contract extension. I think it has more of a long-term impact -- on recruiting, securing quality coaches, etc... -- than short-term impact -- wins and losses in 2016. It has a negative effect but, as we all know, this is a huge year for Holgorsen and West Virginia football. The Mountaineers could be a sleeper team in 2016, but it feels like they have been that way for the past few years but have only finished with a winning conference record once since joining the Big 12.

Chatmon: It’s both. The spring game provides the opportunity to take advantage of fans' excitement for the upcoming season while testing some of the untested players on the roster with "the lights on" so to speak. However, everyone needs to guard against making assumptions based on what we see during a spring game. We’ve seen so many spring stars disappear in the fall, and also have seen some guys struggle in the spring then become one of the conference’s top players in the fall. It’s one practice/scrimmage in 15 spring workouts. It’s much more important to see who consistently makes plays in the spring compared to a great spring game. So it matters, but not as much as some people would like to think.

Chatmon: Holgorsen comes to mind as an immediate name on the hot seat, we never know when Bill Snyder will decide to call it quits at Kansas State and Charlie Strong has had people trying to place him on the hot seat since he got the Texas job. Thus, that’s three names in 10 schools, so I’ll go over your 0.5. It’s an interesting question though, because I can see a scenario that does involve zero changes.

Sahil Tonk writes: What do you predict the Red Raiders record will be in 2016 and will the defense make true strides?

Chatmon: Let’s say 8-10 wins for Texas Tech in 2016. Patrick Mahomes is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and if he’s even better as a junior I could see him carrying the Red Raiders to double-digit wins. He is the reason for hope in Lubbock. As far as the defense, expect continued improvement, even if the Red Raiders don’t finish in the top half of the conference defensively. David Gibbs is facing a major rebuild, but we saw signs the Red Raiders could be on the right road during his first season. If Tech can lead the Big 12 in forced turnovers in his second season as defensive coordinator, that would be the best-case scenario and help increase the chances of a season with double-digit wins as the Big 12's surprise team.