In Tuesday's mailbag we discuss Baylor and West Virginia's playoff hopes, Big 12 parity and Kliff Kingsbury. As always, thanks for your questions. To submit questions for next Tuesday's mailbag, click here.
Lennon Coley in Temple, Texas, writes: I’m still not sure why when it comes to playoff discussions, TCU is the only one ever mentioned. Kansas State occasionally gets a little love. But why is Baylor all of a sudden out of it? People act like they have nothing left on the schedule. Oklahoma was a catapulting win for both TCU and Kansas State. Does Baylor not get that luxury? Also a win over K-State has been cited as a quality win for Auburn, but doesn't provide Baylor with an opportunity should they win that game? If Baylor wins out, which won't be easy, what gives TCU the edge? A win over Minnesota? That definitely shouldn't do it, especially when Baylor has the head-to-head win. Both nonconference schedules were extremely weak.
Brandon Chatmon: A loss to two-loss West Virginia doesn’t help and is one reason why Baylor sits behind TCU and Kansas State on the Big 12 queue of College Football Playoff contenders. BU’s best potential remaining wins are at two-loss Oklahoma and home against one-loss Kansas State. Is that enough to get them in the College Football Playoff? Not without some help. Baylor is not out of it by any stretch, particularly if the Bears take care of business, but TCU and K-State should be ahead of the Bears right now.
William Mills in Dunkirk, Ohio, writes: What are the odds of a two-loss West Virginia (if it can win out) making it to the playoff?
Chatmon: Slim. Dubious. Tenuous. All those words apply. Dana Holgorsen’s squad would need some serious help to find its way into the College Football Playoff conversation. Basically, nationwide chaos needs to occur. But, the resume would look pretty solid with wins over TCU, Baylor and Kansas State. But I think two losses is just too much for WVU to overcome without chaos reigning to help out the Mountaineers.
Corey in Allen, Texas, writes: I know it takes a while for a young coach to relinquish the reins as a play-caller, but do you think it's time for Kliff Kingsbury to let go of the offensive play-calling? Seems he needs to focus more on whole team strategy and mentoring his coordinators than just the offense and quarterbacks.
Chatmon: No. I don’t think the problems in Lubbock are related to Kingsbury’s play-calling. In fact, that’s way down the list. The No. 1 problem is lack of depth and overall playmakers in the program. As Kingsbury increases the overall depth and talent on the roster, Tech will improve. We’re starting to see just how much rebuilding was needed when he arrived. The 7-0 start to his head coaching career was a mirage in many ways. So, no, I don’t see any reason for Kingsbury to make that change in his gameday approach.
Chelsea in Pineville, West Virginia, writes: ESPN and the College Gameday crew have clearly recognized what a momentous day it will be in Morgantown on Saturday when the 10th-ranked Horned Frogs roll into town. What is the absolute No. 1 thing the Mountaineers need to do this weekend to send the TCU back to Fort Worth with a loss?
Chatmon: Win the turnover battle. Overshadowed by TCU’s explosive offense has been the Horned Frogs ability to win the turnover battle. TCU is plus-12 in turnover margin, best in the Big 12 and double the plus-six of second-place Oklahoma. West Virginia, meanwhile, is ninth in the conference at minus-9. If the Mountaineers’ can flip the script and win the turnover battle, it takes the ball out of Trevone Boykin’s hands while giving more opportunities to Clint Trickett, Kevin White and the WVU offense. That would be a great recipe for an upset.
rtXC in Denison, Texas, writes: Last week you asked, "All the positives of the offensive change makes you wonder, why didn't TCU make this change earlier?" Well, remember in 2010 when TCU had the most balanced offensive attack possible? That offense worked in the MW, and it might've in the Big 12 too had Pachall played for those two full seasons. Especially with Pachall returning last year, would it really have made as much sense to make the change that quickly?
Chatmon: Yes. Remember why Gary Patterson says he made the move. Not to score more points, not to be more entertaining, he made the move for recruiting. He felt he could attract and keep more talented skill players in the Dallas metro area with this offense. Had he made the move years ago those players would already be in the system. Not to mention the personnel at TCU hasn’t changed much but the results have changed dramatically. Why wouldn’t that have been the right move? But hindsight doesn’t really matter, I’m sure Patterson and the Horned Frog faithful are pretty happy about the change.
Mike in Goldsby writes: I'd like to hear your thoughts on two things. First, I love the drama around the Big 12 round robin title hunt. It seems to produce a down-to-the wire competition regularly, and I think it's much more exciting than the old championship game. How do you feel about it? Second, we've had five different champions in the last five years, and two new teams with a legitimate chance at winning the title this year. What does this say about the depth and parity of the Big 12?
Chatmon: I agree, Mike. I like the Big 12’s scheduling approach, and it has made the homestretch pretty exciting in recent years. I don't think the Big 12 needs a championship game just to say it has one. As far as your other question, the depth of the conference as a whole is pretty awesome. I’m sure it’s not ideal for die-hard fans, because it makes conference and national titles more difficult to achieve, but for a someone who doesn’t care who wins, it’s great to watch. It’s way better than having one or two dominant teams and one or two “title-deciding” games each season. Where’s the fun in that?