Mailbag: Preseason surprises and parity

November, 12, 2010
11/12/10
3:30
PM ET
Once again, thanks for the questions, everybody. Enjoy the weekend. I'll see you for the games on Saturday.

Adam in Omaha, Neb., asks: Transport yourself back to September 1st. I give you 5 prognostications for the upcoming Big 12 season. They are:

1. Texas will not make a bowl game.

2. Baylor will make a bowl game.

3. Kansas will lose to North Dakota but defeat Georgia Tech.

4. Oklahoma State will win the south.

5. Dan Hawkins won't last the entire season.

Your hypothetical reaction would be? OK, so not all of these are true just yet but could very well be (and yes #5 wouldnt exactly be mindblowing even back then) but still...it's a funny college football world we live in.

David Ubben: Ha, I'll rank these on a 1-10 scale, with one being mildly surprised to 10 being flabbergasted.

1. No way this happens. 10. But if you'd have told me the defense would struggle for stretches like it has (even though its total numbers are OK) and Garrett Gilbert looked more like he did in the first half of the national championship than the second half, I might have believed you.

2. Well, I picked this before the season, so, I'll say 2. Now if you'd have told me they'd win eight games, we might have a different story.

3. Growing pains? I'll give it a 7. I guess they figure it out after that, right?

4. I'll say 7 on this one, too. I've seen a couple people referencing people picking OSU to win "three or four games" before the season? Huh? I picked them fifth in the South, but I still thought they'd win eight games. I figured all six teams in the South would make bowls, three from the North would (Kansas, Colorado, and Iowa State wouldn't), and some combination of two teams among Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska would get a pair of BCS bids. I never, ever thought they'd be as good as they've been, though. Who figured the offense would be this good, this fast? You can't see guys like Justin Blackmon coming. Regardless of Texas being down and Oklahoma being just OK by their standards, OSU would have a shot to win this division with this team in almost any year.

5. Um, 3.


Alex Henery in Nebraska asks: On Monday, Ndamukong Suh called me up and wondered if I could give him a few lessons, he said he would give me a few bucks if I did it. So i have one question do you think this could get me in trouble with the NCAA?

DU: Ha, sounds like something I'd pay to see, but I'm not entirely sure about its legality. What I am sure about is Suh's extra-point attempt was one of the best Big 12-related moments in the NFL this season.


Bryon Parman in Lincoln, Neb., asks: David, What is the difference between parity and mediocrity? You hear so many speak of it as if parity is good for college football like they say it is good for the Big 12. Take the Big East for instance, one could say they have a great deal of parity but I insist that it is mediocrity. The Big 12 seems headed down the same path and Im not sure it is in the best interests of any conference to have its best teams beaten by the middle or bottom of the group.

DU: Great question here, and you're definitely right: It's a fine line. I'd say we can all agree that the Big East falls on the "mediocrity" line, but I'd also argue the Big 12 South is a great example of parity. You play games, teams have to lose. Not everybody can be in the Top 25. Texas and Baylor have taken a few big losses this year, but it's pretty obvious that anybody can beat anybody, especially if you played games at neutral sites. As long as a couple teams do it with more consistency (i.e., Oklahoma State, Oklahoma) than others, that probably falls on the line of parity.


David in Austin, Texas asks: With Jerrod Johnson now on the bench, how do you see his draft stock? Undrafted? Personally i think he'll go undrafted and whatever team takes a chance on him will get a QB who should have been a first rounder but due to and injury to his shoulder he struggled his senior year. His stories reminds me of Arian Foster, amazing junior year, injuries slowed him down senior year, goes undrafted, look at him now. I predict that for Jerrod, What are your thoughts?

DU: He probably would have been a late-round pick with an average year in 2010, but I'm pretty certain his past success will land him in a camp somewhere. If not that, his coach is obviously one of his biggest fans and a guy with a lot of NFL ties. By all accounts, Johnson's been the consummate professional after getting benched, which will help him in the long run.

He'll get a shot somewhere. If he can fix whatever went wrong this year (physical problems or otherwise) and find his 2009 form and show it off in a camp next fall, he'll have a shot to land on an NFL roster.


mhb in KCMO asks: Why all of a sudden is Gabbert struggling? Do you think he had a concussion or other unreported injury in the NU game that is impeding his play?

DU: Good question. It's not time to panic for Gabbert or Missouri. Really, it's just one game. Nebraska's defense had more to do with his numbers in that game than Gabbert did. He played OK; what throws were available he made with some consistency. I didn't talk to him after the Nebraska game, but there were plenty of reports after the game that he was a little loopy. He says he's fine.

And Missouri's coaches talked this week about defenses' common gameplans against the Tigers that have probably contributed somewhat as well. Gabbert definitely missed a lot of throws last week that he usually makes, but until that happens for two or three consecutive games, it's not a huge concern.

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