Mailbag: Big 12/UT Networks, best '11 games

June, 17, 2011
6/17/11
3:00
PM ET
Good set of questions this week. Nice work, folks. Still time to make your presence known in the next one.

Justin in Forney, Texas asked: DU, Can you expound on your thoughts behind every school in the Big 12 having a network like Texas? Texas has a 14 billion dollar revenue, system wide. A&M, OU and Missouri could possibly have a network. I don't see your Iowa States and K States having a network. Maybe I'm wrong. Your thoughts?

David Ubben: I got a couple emails on this when I said last week I expected "the other nine teams in the Big 12 to form their own network."

Not nine separate networks, though. I meant one new Big 12 Network eventually, so they can reap the benefits of those third-tier rights without having to shoulder the start-up and operation costs, or trying to chase down a partner to make sure the network gets on a cable package.

Oklahoma is the only school that's seriously talked about forming their own network, but they seem to be doing a lot of backtracking since starting up the conversation last summer and saying they wanted to have their own network within a year or so.

I'm not sure I ever see Oklahoma making it happen. My guess is they take the safer route and package their rights along with the rest of the Big 12 for one big network with the remaining nine teams other than Texas.


T.R. in Montgomery, Texas asked: Any truth to the A&M vs SMU move to Sunday rumors? Will the NFL CBA talks factor in to the potential move? I am a firm believer that High School football was made for Friday, College football for Saturday, and NFL for Sunday. What are your thoughts?

DU: If by rumors you mean an official announcement, then yes, there's something to them. That's done. The NFL doesn't have anything to do with it. College football always starts a week earlier, and usually puts a couple games on Sunday the first weekend. Last year, Texas Tech hosted SMU. That was actually the first game I went to last season.

I like the Sunday opener. It gave me -- and fans of the team -- a chance to sit back on Saturday and watch the opening weekend of games before heading out to a stadium the next day. Plus, SMU is a pretty good team. A&M won't lose, but that's hardly a laugher opponent.


Colin in San Diego, Calif. asked: Hey Ubbs, not a Big 12 fan, but I like to use the mailbag columns as a way to keep up with what the fans of the other schools/conferences are wondering.My question for you, if I were to take a road trip out to catch a Big 12 game, which game (this year) would be worth the gas money? Excluding the Oklahoma-Texas game of course, which I think is clear number one because I could go to the Texas State Fair too.

DU: Yeah, the State Fair of Texas on Red River Saturday should be any casual college football fan's first stop in the Big 12. But this year, you ought to head down to College Station for the Sept. 24 game against Oklahoma State.

One, that should be one of the top three games in the Big 12 all year.

Two, you'll get an in-person introduction to the insanity that is all the absurdly complex Aggie Yells.

That's probably going to be a night game, so I'd recommend you sneak into Yell Practice at Kyle Field at midnight the night before the game. Nothing else in college football like 20-30,000 fans coming out to stadium the night before a game for the most unique pep rally you'll ever see.


Tom in Iowa asked: Is Gene Chizik still the most hated man in Ames Iowa?

DU: He's probably up there. The players really felt betrayed when he left, and rightfully so. In the same breath, you can't blame Chizik for leaving. The price of going, as I'm sure he understood, was a locker room full of guys who probably wouldn't like you very much anymore.

It's worked out for both sides, though. Paul Rhoads is the right guy at ISU, and Chizik seems like he's done OK at his next stop, wherever that was. I highly doubt he has any regrets about leaving.

As for ISU fans, maybe they can move on to hating Nebraska safety Eric Hagg, who picked off that two-point conversion on a windy afternoon in Ames last year that kept ISU from a bowl game and stripped control of the Big 12 North from them.


Ryan Tannehill in College Station, Texas writes: How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth game, we would've been Big 12 champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind. Love the blog.

DU: E-mail of the week here. Someone's done the impossible: Make Napoleon Dynamite funny again. To your point? Maybe so. In hindsight, of course Tannehill should have replaced Jerrod Johnson earlier. But at the time? I probably would have made the switch at the same time Sherman did. Maybe a bit earlier, like sometime during the Missouri game.


Chris in Houston, Texas asked: Ubbs, I have sort of a problem. What am I going to watch on Saturday mornings now? Do I watch the new, all- Longhorn Gameday, or the same College Gameday I've come to know and love?

DU: Follow your heart, Chris.

As for me, if there's a big Texas game that week, I'll probably flip back and forth. I'll probably watch the first episode, too, just to see what it's like. Sounds like it'll be a lot of work, but it's a good idea. Any fan base would kill to have a GameDay show every week devoted solely to their team.


Don Bowers in Oklahoma City, Okla. asked: Love the blog and all of your insights in to the world of college football. Great stuff man. Do you think the Longhorn Network's abundant programming on Texas football could be used by other coaches in their game plan against the Longhorns? With programs like "Game Plan with Mack Brown" in which Mack gives "an inside look at game preparation and a breakdown of the keys to victory," could other Big 12 coaches gain any insight they might not otherwise have had going in to game day? When Texas announced it was going to have its spring game broadcast on national TV, several coaches in the Big 12 said they would be tuning in because it was just another opportunity for them to learn about the Texas program. Is the Longhorn Network another opportunity?

DU: This is a fascinating point, and one I'm probably most interested in once the Longhorn Network gets going. I talked extensively with Oklahoma DC Brent Venables about this during the spring, not just about Texas' spring game, but about the idea of coaches giving away too much in general.

His consensus: Yes, some are very bad about it. Some aren't. He declined to name names and I won't venture a guess either.

But this is a whole new level of exposure for Texas' program, and the onus for providing insightful, compelling content, while not giving away too much, lies completely on the Longhorns coaching staff.

Coaches generally know what they're going to get from opponents, but Venables isn't the only guy looking for/reading/watching anything to gain an edge.


Landry Jones in Norman, Okla. asked: You think mine and Whitney's son will be atop the ESPNU 150 class of 2031?

DU: Runner-up for e-mail of the week here, behind Texas A&M QB Uncle Rico from earlier.

And to your question: yes.


Ben in San Antonio, Texas asked: David, How is your schedule for 2011 determined when visiting and attending games?Do you get to choose or does the front office pick which game you will attend?

DU: It's an open conversation. Sometimes, it's obvious and we know a week or two ahead of time. But more often than not, we'll talk late Saturday night or on Sunday afternoon and decide what the biggest game in the Big 12 that week is, and start prepping for travel.

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Monday, 12/22
Saturday, 12/20
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12