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Mailbag: Kendall Hunter, realignment and the future

6/10/2010

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Adam in Broken Arrow, Okla., writes: Mr. Ubben,Thanks for all your work covering the big XII - I enjoy it daily. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, I have to tell you that I'm disgusted with you putting Kendall Hunter at #19. I believe OSU officials have confirmed that he's back to 100%, and that being the case he's PROVEN he can be the BEST Running Back in the Big XII when he is 100%- I mean shouldn't he be given the benefit of the doubt after having superb freshman (as a backup) and sophomore seasons? One one hand I understand that he has to prove himself post-injury, but on the other hand I've bet a month's mortgage that you will put DeMarco Murray higher on this list, even though he's proven himself far less than Kendall Hunter has (I'm well aware that you used to cover the Sooners, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised). Bush League...

David Ubben: He was impressive, yes. Two years ago. If I had to bet, I'd say he'll make his way into the top 15 of my postseason rankings, but I can't put a guy who didn't rush for 100 yards in a single game last season in the top 15. The only games he had last year that were even somewhat solid were the first and last. He did absolutely nothing in between those. He's a great running back, and I expect him to return to form this season, but he has to earn it again. That might happen in a couple games, but I can't reason putting him above any of the running backs I placed above him. And as for DeMarco, he was hurt as well, but he's never missed more than three games in a season (just one last season) and never dipped below 400 yards like Hunter did last year. And I think he's a better player because he's got more dimensions than Hunter. He's slightly less shifty, but there's not another back among the conference's best who can truck defenders like he can. Murray's production has been hurt by sharing carries, while Hunter's had the bulk of them when he's healthy.

And as for me being partial to Oklahoma, save it. I hear that stuff from Oklahoma State fans all the time. I hardly see how covering a team for one season after literally zero previous affiliation means I'm suddenly shopping for fresh prescription crimson lenses to go with my cream frames. Those would be some ugly, ugly glasses anyway.


Jim in Grand Junction, Colo., asks: David: Why wasn't Colorado given an ultimatum by the Big 12 as well as Missouri & Nebraska?

DU: We don't know that it wasn't, Jim. My guess is it was. But Colorado's membership in the Big 12 isn't quite as vital as Missouri or Nebraska's, currently. That's why the latter two -- more so Nebraska -- have been receiving the bulk of the media attention regarding realignment. Without Colorado, the Big 12 has a pretty good shot to survive. Without Nebraska and/or Missouri, don't count on it.


TexAgs93 in Ft. Worth, Texas asks: David, many recruits go to a school knowing they can still play a percentage of games in their home state (i.e. Texas recruit going to Nebraska knowing they will play 1-2 games in Texas each year). How will all this realignment affect them? Will they have options to transfer. I understand this will not take effect for a couple of years, but current recruits will still have eligibilty left.

DU: Great, great question...uh...TexAgs. The wake of any realignment is going to be wide-reaching, but this is probably one of the first things that has to be addressed. Obviously, I can't speak to the specifics in this case, but this is something to keep an eye on. I wouldn't expect it to have an effect on the rankings of the top classes, but you might see a good amount of guys reopen their recruitment when all this sorts out.


Carlos Rodriguez in Odessa, Texas, lines up a few questions: Hey David, I have a couple of questions. When the Big XII implodes, are you going to have a job? I'm getting worried about your future on the website. Also, what happens with the football schedules that have already been set? Would completely new schedules have to be made up for the upcoming season?

DU: A bunch of you have actually asked this question over the past couple of weeks. I'll be OK -- and with ESPN. But the Big 12's apparent end won't take effect until 2012, most likely. That's still to be decided. As for schedules and bowl agreements, that could get very, very messy in the future, especially if Kansas, Kansas State or whoever is left over tries to salvage what's left of the Big 12 and keep those bowls in line. The individual teams will probably keep their previous agreements with teams in the nonconference, unless they agreed to play a team in the conference they move to.


Mason Gann in Dallas, Texas, writes: Baylor's athletic program top to bottom is 3rd in the conference. Baseball, basketball, track and field (ever heard of Jeremy Wariner or Michael Johnson- gold medals). Morons like you that making uninformed statements is the problem here.We are a small school but you will find that our alum are some of the best and brightest in this country. We will not go down without a fight.

DU: Look, I appreciate the passion here. And I'm not going to take shots at Baylor. No point. But you could shoot down the idea that Baylor is the third-best athletic program in the conference in any number of ways. Commenters, I'll leave this to you.