Mailbag: New stadiums, schedules, recruits

Thanks for all your emails this week. You can reach me here if you've got more to say.

Luke in Dallas writes: David, you seem to have such high hopes and expectations for TCU next year, but on just about every schedule analysis you have them as the chance to impress or the upset alert. What's the deal with that?

David Ubben: If you haven't realized it yet, the Big 12 is going to be wide open. There are no elite teams. Similar to what we saw last season, there are a ton of teams in the league who can beat every other team. Outside of matchups like KU-Oklahoma State and maybe a few others, every game in the Big 12 will be pretty unpredictable. Part of being at the top of the league will be being very susceptible to losses, but also offering opportunities for lower-level teams to make a name for themselves. Thus what I'm talking about with TCU and the schedule analysis. The Frogs will be one of the highest-ranked teams in the league, but they'll still be very, very beatable. So will everyone else in the Big 12. It's going to be a fun year.

Green and Gold in Baton Rouge writes: Ubbs, love the blog! Could you talk a little bit about Bryce Petty's style and how it is different from Nick Florence and RGIII? Will the Baylor offense look different than it has (more running) or do you think Petty can pull off the throws his predecessors made?

DU: He's a very different type of guy. He's far more physically gifted than Nick Florence as a passer, but Bryce was talking a bit about the differences in our conversation earlier. Petty's deep balls aren't quite as pretty or accurate as Griffin's but he's got a bigger arm than Florence. We'll see about his decision-making. Florence could outsmart you as a runner with good fakes and good angles. Griffin had the crazy speed to run around you. Petty is about a 4.6 runner, but he loves to run guys over and lower his shoulder. I asked him if the coaches like that approach. "I hope so," he said.

I don't expect him to run enough where durability is a huge concern, but if he starts taking a ton of big hits in live action, I'm sure he'll temper that approach a little bit. That's a must for Baylor's offense.

Scott in Edgewater, Md., writes: This just in! Texas signs three recruits for their 2031 class, they were born three days ago, still wearing diapers, and can't even hold a football yet!

DU: Ha, we joke, Scott, but I do often wonder how much further back we can go before programs start offering players. We see a few random kids in seventh and eighth grades get offers from big schools, but I wonder how long it is before kids those ages are more seriously recruited. Will we ever reach that point?

Honestly, I'm betting yes. Maybe not to the point where offers are being consistently handed out, but in arms races like these where you're always fighting for any edge in the recruiting game, I don't think it's crazy for coaches to seek out some of the physical standouts and start working on building those relationships before they even take a snap in high school.

Taylor in Virginia writes: Ubbs -- You post somewhat frequently about BU's new stadium and its progress, and always had lots to say about TCU's additions and renovations last year... but I've rarely seen anything about K-State's $75M West Stadium Center and its progress. That is just a huge and important to K-State as the other two schools... how about some coverage and feedback from the Big 12 Blogger. Thanks and EMAW.

DU: K-State's upgrade is nice, and the plans look good, but it's not on the level of either stadium. Baylor's building a brand-new stadium right on the Brazos River that looks incredibly picturesque. TCU just completely rebuilt most of its stadium.

K-State's upgrades will be nice, but they're nowhere near as expansive as TCU's or Baylor, which is why they haven't drawn nearly as much attention. It'll be a nice addition for KSU, but TCU got a major facelift and Baylor got a whole new stadium transplant.

rtXC1 in Denton, Texas, writes: Hey Dave! With the success of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and Cowboys Classic, along with the emergence of the Texas Kickoff Classic and New York's College Classic, do you think we'll see even more of these games pop up? I'm not suggesting it will expand to 35 games like the postseason, but 8-12 of these could work well (and also provide Big Ten country with some opportunities). The Cotton Bowl and Alamodome would be be smart to get in on it, but Arrowhead Stadium, Soldier Field, the 49ers' new stadium ...

DU: I'd love to see it. Two things are helping these games along: One, almost nobody wants to play a top-25 team on the road in nonconference play anymore. When you're playing on a neutral field, though, it's much easier to talk coaches into signing up for these kinds of games.

Second, when you're handing out huge paychecks to athletic departments, they're very apt to listen in these preseason showdowns. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many of these. I'm in favor of anything that spices up September in college football and limits the number of 52-3 yawners we have to sit through early in the season.

I understand the worth of those games from a coaching perspective preparing for conference play, but it doesn't mean that I, as a fan of the game, have to like the fact that they exist. I would wholeheartedly support banning games between FCS and FBS teams.