Mailbag: Big 12 Network, Trickett, K-State

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

John in Greensboro, N.C., writes: What is missing from the Big 12 to enter in the era of the Conference TV/Digital Networks? I mean in the sense of those working for the BIG, Pac12 and now the SEC. Thanks!

DU: Mostly, the entire structure of the Big 12's media rights. ESPN/ABC owns the Big 12's first-tier rights, which are the league's best games. Fox owns the second-tier rights for the Big 12, and both paid a pretty penny for them. Ultimately, the third-tier rights are mostly what conferences are building conference networks upon, led by the Big Ten and followed by the Pac-12, whose network launched last fall. Now, the SEC is joining the ranks.

However, in the Big 12, each school retains the right to use its third-tier rights in whatever manner it pleases. Texas launched its own network. Many other schools have signed deals with other distributors, and several have launched web-based networks. There is a lot of basketball, baseball and Olympic sports in the third-tier packages that provide a lot of that programming.

Unless those rules change (and considering the Big 12 fashioned this plan to differentiate itself in the marketplace, that is unlikely), a conference network is an impossibility for the Big 12.

Kevin Dobson in Emporia, Kan., writes: How did Meshak Williams go undrafted, or even at this point sign with anyone as an undrafted free agent? If I remember correctly he had 11 sacks, 3 or 4 forced fumbles, over 15 tackles for loss, several highlight reel type plays (one including him tackling the RB and QB in the same play just to make sure the ball wasn't handed off), and was named to the Big 12's First team. Is there something about his attitude, on or off the field that we as fans haven't heard, or didn't get the chance to see? This just makes little sense to me. I even had the chance to write a few sports blogs for the team, and hadn't heard any negative other than over playing the run. Very confused over this.

DU: It's not character concerns. The deal with Meshak is simple: He's an all-too-common case of the tweener. At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, NFL types see him as being too small to play defensive end in the pros. He's also viewed as too slow to move to outside linebacker. Thus, he's a good football player but left without a position.

I completely agree with the speed concerns, and that is pretty difficult to fix. As for the size issue, I understand it from an NFL perspective, but so many guys get invited to camps, and he had such a productive college career, it's shocking to me somebody didn't say, "You know, yeah, he's too small, sure. But let's bring him in here and see if he can prove us wrong." His technique is solid and he knows the position and the game well. What, exactly, is the risk of inviting him to minicamp?

I don't understand it, either.

Glenn in Almena, Kan., writes: Thanks for having KSU picked 6th in your early season Big 12 football rankings. We like that. You sportswriters will jump on our bandwagon when KSU meticulously works through the 2013 Big 12 schedule. Everyone will be shocked and then, once again next year, you will pick KSU to finish 6th or 7th. It's OK though. The same goes for our Basketball team.

DU: Fair enough, Glenn. K-State might prove me wrong, but let's not act like the Wildcats are rolling up 10-win seasons every single year. I believe Bill Snyder is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, but he has won seven games or less in four of his past six seasons at K-State. I'm just saying: It's possible that Wildcats are not just going to roll up 10 wins with a bunch of no-name guys.

Collin Klein was an otherworldly talent, and a huge reason why K-State won 21 games over the past two seasons.

Josh in Wichita, Kan., writes: It looks like Coach Snyder has you all right where he wants you again.

DU: That's a humorous point, actually. Last year at media days, somebody asked Snyder his thoughts on his team being picked sixth in the Big 12. (Which, by the way, I thought was crazy. I picked K-State to finish tied for second last season). He said if he had a vote, he'd pick the Wildcats 99th. It's motivational hyperbole meant for humor of course, but I wonder where he'd vote this team.

Doug in Philadelphia writes: Care to place odds on Clint Trickett being the starter this fall? I can't see any other reason he'd choose WVU unless he saw the writing on the wall that neither Millard or Childress is ready to be an every down starter.

DU: Difficult call here. I haven't seen enough of Millard and Childress up close, and really only got to see them once last spring, plus the highlights from the spring game. I have seen even less of Trickett, but I don't think he was attracted as much to Millard or Childress' lack of experience as he was to getting a chance to head up Holgorsen's offense, which has obviously shown an ability to send you to the NFL.

That, plus his West Virginia roots, are what seemingly attracted Trickett. For me, all three of those guys can win the job and run this offense. The lack of a starter emerging certainly was attractive, I'm sure, but if Trickett simply wanted to play, it seems like Auburn or South Florida would be even more attractive.

Phillip in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Were you aware that Texas Tech is still in the Big 12? Just wondering since you only write about Tech in context with UT or OU.

DU: I wasn't aware. Thanks for the reminder.