Big 12 Tuesday mailbag: West Virginia surprises, K-State recruiting

In today's mailbag we chat West Virginia spring stars, Bill Snyder and Texas freshman quarterback Shane Buechele. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, email me at bchatmonespn@gmail.com or tweet me @bchatmon.

Brandon Chatmon: Running back Kennedy McKoy and quarterback Chris Chugunov are the names that immediately come to mind for me. McKoy is an early enrollee running back who the Mountaineers are expecting to play as a true freshman. He's even taken the No. 4 jersey vacated by Big 12 rushing leader Wendell Smallwood. Chugunov looks like he could end up as the Mountaineers' backup quarterback after rising up the depth chart following a redshirt season in 2015. Receiver Ka'Raun White, linebacker Justin Arndt, defensive end Adam Shuler and linebacker David Long are other names to keep an eye on moving forward. Chatmon: Baylor fans are proud of the Bears backfield, and rightly so. But I'm still going with Oklahoma. Baylor's not even the Big 12's best. However, I could make the argument that Baylor has a group that is top five nationally. After all, the Bears led all Power 5 teams with 326 rushing yards per game. I just think Oklahoma's duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon is second to none. And the Sooners' depth is comparable to the Bears as well. I wouldn't turn down either group if I was building an offense though. Chatmon: I doubt it. This actually came up while defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was chatting with the media last week and he clearly feels good about his four-man setup over a three-man scheme. And the Cowboys have some really good young talent at defensive end so I really don't think a swap from a down four to a down three is needed because of the departure of Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean. Chatmon: No. The more likely scenario is one of the four dropping back to the pack while someone like Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas State or West Virginia rises. If I had to pick one of the two you mentioned for a rise during this upcoming season that would be Tech. Easy decision. The Red Raiders have Patrick Mahomes, who is nipping at the heels of Baker Mayfield for the moniker of Big 12's best quarterback. Anytime you have a quarterback like Mahomes, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. I love what Charlie Strong has done at Texas but until I see a productive, consistent guy behind center, the Longhorns won't be on my list of Big 12 title threats. Chatmon: It has to hurt recruiting. After all, recruits will what to know who they will be playing for in the future. But there is no way I think Kansas State should let that impact anything. Bill Snyder should stay until he no longer wants to coach the Wildcats, even if it is just on a year-to-year basis along with the uncertainty that would bring. He's worth it, there is not another Bill Snyder.

Austin from Enid, Oklahoma writes: So, how do you think that the Big 12 will turn out next season? I personally think that the Oklahoma Sooners could be a CFP team again and possibly a national title team. What are your thoughts?

Chatmon; I'd agree Austin. I think a College Football Playoff berth and national championship are definitely in play for Oklahoma. Mayfield and Perine are two of the nation's best at their positions, the defense is loaded with athletic, aggressive defenders and program as a whole is sure to learn from its first College Football Playoff appearance in 2015. The only thing that makes me uncertain is a incredibly tough schedule that features Houston and Ohio State along with nine Big 12 games. Even with that challenging schedule, Oklahoma is my favorite to win the conference.

Bledburntorange writes: I simply find it easier to envision (Shane) Buechele as the future of Texas than (Jerrod) Heard. Do you not agree, and if so where do you think the flaw in my reasoning lies?

Chatmon: I can't really find any flaws in your argument to be honest. At this time a year ago I thought Heard was the answer. But he played a lot of games as a redshirt freshman and Texas is no closer to finding an answer at the position than it was 12 months ago. Buechele very well could be the best option, however it would be unwise to anoint him as the savior for the Longhorns. He's young and that's a ton of pressure to put on a early enrollee to ask him to solve a problem that has hampered the entire program for years. I won't be surprised if he sees the field in the fall though. And if he does, that's his chance to earn the “future” label on the field instead of being given it in the headlines.

David Elswick (WVU fan) from Richmond, Virginia writes: Since the Big 12 has been criticized for scheduling weak football opponents, why not make a list of the Top 10 candidates for expansion. Assign a school from this list to an existing Big 12 member. Each year, rotate which school in the Big 12 that the Top 10 Possible Expansion School plays. Then when, or if, the Big 12 finally expands, the new school will have some history vs Big 12 teams.

Chatmon: This is an interesting idea David, if only to ramp up nonconference schedules. I don't know how practical it is however (not to mention finding 10 quality candidates is easier said than done). And, frankly, I don't know that it is needed either as several schools, like Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia, consistently test themselves outside of conference play anyway. Head-to-head matchups would be good for schools to familiarize themselves with each other but I don't think this will ever happen. I like the thinking behind it though.