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Mailbag topics include Jayhawks, Mountaineers and dinosaurs

In this week's Big 12 Twitter mailbag, we pick on the Jayhawks some more, break down the best- and worst-case scenarios for West Virginia and evaluate whether Texas will finish with five-plus losses again.

Also below, I reveal my favorite dinosaur.

On to the 'bag:

@Jake_Trotter: I feel bad for having beaten up the Jayhawks pretty good already this week, but I would take the under here. The FCS opener against South Dakota State, which won nine games last season, is not going to be a cakewalk. But even assuming Kansas beats the Jackrabbits, I don't know where the second win is going to come from. Memphis? Rutgers? Iowa State? The Jayhawks are going to be solid underdogs in all three. This underscores why Kansas needs to give David Beaty three or four years before truly evaluating him. Because of his recruiting gambles, Charlie Weis left Beaty with a completely bare cupboard. Not only do the Jayhawks lack talent, they lack bodies. They were well below the 85-man scholarship limit before losing Corey Avery, Rodriguez Coleman and Jake Love. With apologies to '99 Baylor, we could be witnessing the worst team in Big 12 history this season.

Trotter: Texas beating Notre Dame would do the most for the Big 12 because the Irish will likely be the only top 15 opponent the league faces in the non-conference. Every non-league game, though, is important. The Big 12's overall strength of schedule, which the playoff committee will examine when it deliberates, will be based on how the league performs in non-conference games. And, as I outlined Monday, with so few marquee games on the collective slate this season, the Big 12 will need every non-conference victory it can get. In addition to Texas pulling the upset, that means Oklahoma beating Tennessee and Texas Tech knocking off Arkansas.

Trotter: My guess is that Brandon Sheperd leads the Cowboys in receptions and James Washington finishes with the most yards. Coming off his terrific true freshman season, Washington apparently tore it up this spring. Oklahoma State has enjoyed tremendous success with lightly recruited wideouts, most notably Justin Blackmon. Washington, whose only other offer was from Texas State, appears to be yet another.

Trotter: I'm thinking this season's Longhorns could wind up holding that ignominious honor. Texas has a brutal schedule, which includes a three-game gauntlet of Oklahoma State, at TCU and Oklahoma; the Longhorns also travel to Notre Dame and Baylor. Texas would have to win one of those just to have any chance of avoiding five regular-season losses. Charlie Strong signed an outstanding class in February, but it's going to take a little while for the incoming freshmen to make their mark. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have to replace several quality players off last season's 6-7 squad. This season could be another struggle.

Trotter: The conference scheduled the game for Black Friday to give it more spotlight. I'm not sure what else the Big 12 can do. It would help if the brass in Waco and Fort Worth actually embraced one another as rivals. I still haven't been able to get either side to call this game a "rivalry." Hopefully they will come around. Both TCU and Baylor need this matchup to be a rivalry. After realignment wiped out many of the its best rivalries, the Big 12 needs it, too.

Trotter: This is a fair question. One reason why is that Mason Rudolph has already been declared Oklahoma State's starter and Patrick Mahomes is still technically battling Davis Webb for Tech's starting job. Rudolph is also quarterbacking the better team. But Mahomes is a ballplayer. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he wound up having a monster sophomore season.

Trotter: Absolute best case? 9-3. That would require Skyler Howard outperforming Clint Trickett, somebody stepping into the No. 1 receiver role and the West Virginia defense -- the secondary in particular -- meeting its potential. The Mountaineers visit Baylor and TCU in late October, and I don't see them winning at either place. That means West Virginia would have to split between the Oklahoma schools and run the table otherwise. Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no. As for the worst case, West Virginia could conceivably drop five in a row: Maryland, at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, at Baylor and at TCU. If the Mountaineers start 2-5, they could -- and probably would -- fail to make a bowl.

Trotter: It never hurts to dream. The first four conference games will be telling. If the Mountaineers emerge from that stretch with three wins, then sure, they could be a factor in the title race. Given how difficult that four-game run is, I don't see it happening. Then again, I didn't see West Virginia being a fourth quarter-collapse-against-TCU away from hopping into the driver's seat of last season's conference race, either.

Trotter: I've always been partial to the stegosaurus. As a kid, I would stage dinosaur toy battles, and the stegosaurus would usually win. And yes, the new Jurassic Park movie looks good. I plan to see it.

Trotter: You've obviously read this mailbag before.