Mailbag: AggieTV, Leach, Bedlam, futures

Thanks for all the questions and comments, everybody.

Tarry Luna in McKinney, Texas, asks: David,I know there has been a lot of discussion about the UT/ESPN deal. There has been a lot of speculation that UT originally offered TAMU the opportunity to be a part of it, but TAMU turned it down. Are you aware of this, and is there documentation to verify that UT did indeed offer it to TAMU, and that TAMU turned it down? Thanks!

David Ubben: That's the first I've heard of that and I haven't seen any documentation to support it. That doesn't really make sense. Basically, what you'd have to have is one of two things.

1) You'd have to be convinced that Texas A&M content and money-making capability would be on par with Texas. I don't believe that's the case. The Aggies are right there alongside UT when it comes to alumni in the state, but Texas has way, way more casual fans. Those casual fans being willing to pony up for the network are a big reason why something like this is viable for a team like Texas and not for most programs.


2) Texas A&M joins up with them, but agrees to take a lower share of the profits from the network. Think that would go over well with the Aggies? No way.

Perhaps something like that was talked about, but your e-mail was the first I had heard of it. An interesting idea, but one that would never work. I do think, if Oklahoma's and Texas' networks are both successful, that an eight-team Big 12 Network is probably only a few years away from being a reality as long as Texas A&M doesn't get antsy and try to get into the SEC.

Brent in Stillwater, Okla., asks: Yesterday you said Leach would be an imperfect fit for OK State mainly because it would be a one year fix, and leave the next OC with out Weeden and Blackmon. My question is this, what if Gundy likes the idea of promoting someone like Meacham, but doesn't think he knows the spread offense well enough yet, and would like to give him one more year to shadow an offensive mastermind? If that were the case would it not stand to reason the Leach would be a perfect one year fit? Give him a one year contract, and have Meacham watch and learn for one more season!

DU: There's some merit to that idea. I could buy into that, and the immediate payoffs are obvious. I don't think Oklahoma State should rule out hiring Leach. I just don't think it's a perfect move. It comes with a lot of positives, and I think further training Doug Meacham is probably one of them.

There aren't a lot of exciting possibilities at offensive coordinator right now, so I could certainly be convinced that hiring Leach would work out well in the long run.

Daniel Hilburn in Pittsburgh, PA asks: Mr Ubben:What is your take on paying college athletes?

DU: I could write on this forever, but in short, it causes more problems than it fixes.

How do you decide who makes what? Should Cam Newton make the same as a backup punter, even if they're both on scholarship? If you let the free market decide, isn't that a dangerous road for college sports? And considering most football programs aren't even in the black to begin with, where does that money come from?

Do you let teams like Texas pay more for players than teams like Baylor? Doesn't that already further eliminate parity in a sport that's running low on parity to begin with?

I don't think there are any good answers for any of those questions, and there are plenty of others, too. The current scholarship + stipend system isn't perfect, but it's better than the alternative. Paying players sounds great in theory, until you start trying to make it happen.

Frank in Oklahoma City, Okla., asks: OK, so we know that OU is stacked for the 2011 season. What positions and who will need to step up for the Sooners? Who do you see as darkhorses on a team of a plethora of talent? You can never be good enough.

DU: Well, obviously, Landry Jones has to continue to mature as a passer. He was a lot better in 2010 than in 2009. As for dark horses for the Sooners, they could use some big years from the defensive tackle spot. Jamarkus McFarland is loaded with potential and looked pretty good late last year, but a big year from him would be a huge help for the Sooners, who weren't fantastic against the run in 2010, especially early in the year. The same for Stacy McGee at the other tackle spot. He got some great experience this year after Adrian Taylor went down again.

Dennis in Irving, Texas, asks: 1. Would you recommend Bedlam moving to Cowboys Stadium championship week? 2. Look at OSU's 2011 schedule. If an unbeaten from the SEC, BIG 10, and OSU remain at the end of 2011, OSU will play for the NC, right? I don't see how they would get left out.

DU: I'm not really a fan of that idea. Moving it to championship week is fine, and that should be a nationally relevant game next year, but it's the wrong game to move to Cowboys Stadium. Playing an Oklahoma in-state rivalry in Texas doesn't make much sense, does it? Bedlam is the game that makes the most sense during championship week, and I think that will happen, but it doesn't look like there's a big game that makes a ton of sense in Cowboys Stadium. The Lone Star Showdown won't work. Red River obviously won't, either.

It'll be interesting to see if that ever becomes a reality. My guess is if it does, it won't be anything close to a marquee game.

Corbin in Austin asks: A&M's year was a fluke. I give them a 3% chance of competing for the conference championship next year. Especially since UT is going to be way better with our new coaching staff, and OU and OSU. Do you agree with me?

DU: Uh, no.

Cliff in Nebraska asks: David, Not trying to get rid of you or anything. Just curious when the official switch will be made and I'll have to start reading Adam's blog for Husker news?

DU: We're discussing a transition date right now. It's coming soon, and you won't miss it. All I can tell you right now is to be patient, and be thankful we're both covering the Huskers for now.

Drew in Columbia, Mo., asks: All the realignment talk got me thinking. Why doesn't the Big 12 raid the Dakotas for new members? The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have quite the following, and also have had successful basketball and football teams in the recent past. Also, they could go international and pick up schools like Oxford and Cambridge. Travel costs would be high, but the move would certainly improve the Big 12's academic perception. What do you think?

DU: I like it. If the Big 12 is supposedly sniffing around San Diego State, why stop there? I studied abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and let me tell you, they had a solid rugby team. It's basically the same thing. Just teach them a few tweaks from rugby to football and let's let Macquarie into the Big 12. What better TV market for the Big 12 than the global market? London? Sydney? There's cash to be made!

Zachary Krider in Lewisville, Texas, asks: It seems like Von Miller is exceeding the expectations of scouts at the Senior Bowl. Do you see him possibly going in the top ten if he has a great Senior Bowl game?

DU: He definitely is. He, along with Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, have been two of the most impressive guys out there this week. By most accounts, Miller has just been unblockable and looks like he's played himself into the top 10. As for the game, it's not quite as important as the week of practice when coaches and scouts can get a front row seat to your workouts. The game doesn't matter all that much in the grand scheme, and unless he's just a completely different player on the field, and there's no evidence to suggest he will be, he's definitely helped his stock this week.

Jeff Fuller in College Station asks: You forgot to add my left handed, behind my head leaping grab against Baylor in your plays of the year. Best catch of the year in the Big 12. Where's the love?

DU: My bad on that one, it probably deserved a spot on the list. Same with the one-handed catch late against Missouri. Seems like nobody had more one-handed grabs this year than Fuller. Another year of those highlights should be fun to watch.