Mailbag: Showers, expansion, contenders

Thanks for the emails this week, everybody. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

Kit Sanders in Martinsburg, W.Va., writes: There is nooo way that Baylor's essentially backup running back should be higher then Nick Florence. No WAY! Dude put up more total yards then RG3, and you got a rb that barely got 1000 yards and only 7 scores. No doubt this kid will be a great all purpose player in the coming years, but higher then Nick Florence?? Come on man.

David Ubben: I hear you, Kit, but hear me out on this. One, Florence ended the season a lot hotter than he was during the Bears' four-game losing streak. Look at the way he played against Iowa State and TCU and Oklahoma in those losses. He clearly had a ton of great games this year, but you can't ignore those less-than-stellar days. Florence put up good numbers, but nothing we've really never seen in this league before. There are a few guys in this league who could have done what Florence did with the kind of receiving talent he had.

Seastrunk, though? He can do things maybe no backs in the league could do. He basically racked up a 1,000-yard season in half the time and did so without ever getting more than 20 carries a game. As I wrote when we began, this list is not about who's more valuable to their team. It's about who are the best players. Seastrunk is an amazing talent, and Baylor likely doesn't beat Texas Tech or Oklahoma State without him. Once Seastrunk took over, Baylor went 5-1. You can't ignore that. It's close between the two, but for me, there's no doubt about which player is the bigger talent.

Nicholas in Houston writes: Your post this morning reveals some assumptions and raises some interesting questions: how many NC and BCS contenders were highly ranked in the preseason? Just how accurate of an indicator is preseason ranking of post season ranking?

DU: You're right, Nicholas. Preseason polls aren't a tell-all. Every year, teams surprise and teams falter, but a preseason poll is a somewhat reasonable gauge for the amount of talent teams have and what's expected of them throughout the year. There are always going to be exceptions to that, but it's clear that when you look on a national scale, the Big 12 is lacking in anything close to a real title contender next season. The lead-up to the season may be one of the quietest we've seen in a long time in the Big 12.

Inject whatever meaning you want into it, but there's no way that you can spin the Big 12 having zero top 10 teams for the first time in league history as a good thing for the conference.

Dennis K. in Chadron, Neb., writes: The Big Ten is basing its expansion model on the 'potential' of certain programs in promising markets (see Maryland and Rutgers). If that is the case, why doesn't the Big 12 give a serious look to Colorado State and the Denver TV market. CSU is moving on a new on campus football stadium. Best yet, like the Southwest, population and wealth trends in the Mountain West are only going up. Finally, CSU is a huge university with a Big 12 endowment-it has major potential to grow.

DU: Dennis, you're off base on this. Expanding based on potential might have happened, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. The Big Ten inviting Maryland and Rutgers was roundly and rightly panned. The Big 12 would see the same reaction if it seriously considered inviting Colorado State. The Big 12 already had Colorado, and Colorado State is a lesser program with a lower ceiling and less history. Not only does Colorado State fall short of what the Big 12 wants and needs, the embarrassment factor of inviting Colorado State after losing Colorado would be a nightmare for the conference perception.

Marilyn in San Antonio writes: Hi Ubbs! Just letting you know Jameill Showers will be eligible to play next season because he's going to graduate in the summer (not sure how those are related, all I know is because of that the NCAA has granted him permission to play). My guess is he'll end up at Baylor, Tech, Arixona St. or Cal.

DU: Showers is definitely an intriguing prospect, Marilyn. I tweeted a bit about this earlier this week, but I really don't think he'll end up at a Big 12 school because it's not the best spot for him. It makes sense on its face, but when you look closer, fitting in will be tough. Texas Tech makes a lot of sense with the Kliff Kingsbury connection, but the program has already invested a bit in Michael Brewer, and the fans love him. He's also a fantastic player, based on what we've seen on the field and the way coaches have raved about his growth over the past year. There's no doubt Kingsbury sees that. If you're Showers, why go to a place where it's probably an uphill battle to start? KU has already invited Jake Heaps to come and he sat out a year waiting to be the team's starter. Baylor has a similar situation to Texas Tech with Bryce Petty, a promising young player who's been around the program and the fans love. That's a high-risk situation for Showers.

The best situation in the Big 12 for Showers is probably Iowa State. Sam Richardson is the guy there going forward, but I've seen a good amount of Showers in A&M's practices during my time covering the league, and I'd say Showers is a better player. Thing is, I think Showers might be able to go somewhere he could win more immediately. If I were Showers, I'd take a closer look at Cal or Arizona State and some of those other Pac-12 programs.

Regardless, he's a great player with a promising future and a huge arm who throws a fantastic ball. It's all about finding the right spot for him to succeed and make good on his potential.