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Big 12 Tuesday mailbag: Breakout candidates

In today's mailbag we chat expansion, Kansas upset chances and breakout candidates. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, email me at bchatmonespn@gmail.com or tweet me @bchatmon.

Chatmon: Texas running back Chris Warren III, Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton, Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews and West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton immediately come to mind as players who could make a major leap statistically in the fall. Warren and Stockton should get more carries, Andrews will be a bigger part of the Sooners' offense and Benton will be a key piece in West Virginia's defense. As far as general improvement, Kansas State linebacker Elijah Lee, Oklahoma State defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and Iowa State defensive tackle Demond Tucker come to mind as players who could be much improved without having the stats to show it. Chatmon: Yes. Iowa State running back Mike Warren has some serious obstacles standing between him and the award -- namely the top quarterbacks in the league -- but the biggest obstacle could be team success. For example, Warren would need an incredible season to have a chance against the likes of quarterback Baker Mayfield or running back Samaje Perine on a Big 12 title-winning Sooners squad or against quarterback Patrick Mahomes if the Red Raiders are a 10-win team. There's no doubt in my mind Warren could have the best season of any running back in the Big 12 but winning the offensive player of the year will be tough. Dark horse candidate is probably the perfect description. Chatmon: I don't consider expansion to be particularly pressing, but it is probably closer than it was at this time a year ago. The problem is finding quality candidates that are worth adding to the mix and who will interest its television partners. UConn, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida are among the teams that could earn consideration. I'd personally lean toward expanding into Florida if I was in charge. Chatmon: It's the obvious choice but I'm going with Iowa State. When the Cyclones head to Lawrence, Kansas in mid-November the Jayhawks should be a much better team than they will be in September. If David Beaty's first season is any indication, Kansas' chances of pulling an upset in the second half of Big 12 play will be much better than in the first half. I'm not sure who will be on the wrong side of it, but I do think Kansas will win a Big 12 game this season. It's a step forward they'll take thanks to Beaty, who I think is doing a pretty good job considering the state of the Jayhawks when he took over. Chatmon: This is a tough question Ryan, because we'd have to know what happens during those years. Baylor, obviously, has some other things to address that will decide how attractive the job will be in two or three years. Those three names have the potential to be coaches any program would want so why would they choose Baylor over another top job? Thus, I'm going to say no -- and err on the side of caution -- because there are too many unanswered questions right now.

Chatmon: Replacing Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean is a real issue that will be a priority for Mike Gundy's team. Those two were special defensive ends who won’t be easy to replace after they combined for 18.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss in 2015. And even though the Cowboys have talented players fighting to fill those shoes, it will be extremely tough to replace that production. I really like Jarrell Owens, Trey Carter and those young defensive ends who should be ready for bigger roles but they aren’t ready to replace Ogbah and Bean right now. The key will be to make sure the position is not a weak link, which I doubt it will be.