I've been gone for awhile, but your emails didn't stop. Here's a few that landed in my box while I was away.
Scott in Lubbock, Texas, asked: David, its my birthday today. Because you're so kind-hearted, I figured you'd give me a birthday present of saying the 3 most positive things on any angle about Texas Tech (recruiting, the direction of the program, upcoming season etc) Thanks!
David Ubben: Ha, I’ve got you covered, Scott. I’ve always liked Tommy Tuberville for this job, but I didn’t think the transition would be seamless. It wasn’t, but the hardest parts are over. He’s got the program heading in the right direction, and with his résumé, you know this story is not going to end with Tech taking a nose dive and Tuberville ultimately getting fired. That’s just not how college football works. He’s proven himself.
Secondly, Tech has a strong stable of quarterbacks on the field now, with a good backup and good players coming up at the most important position in the league. You’ve got to feel good about Seth Doege, and Jacob Karam should be a good backup. Better yet, once they learn the game it and slows down for them as they gain experience, Scotty Young and Michael Brewer have a good chance to be better than both of them.
Finally, I think Tech brought in one of the best rising coaches in the game in Chad Glasgow. There’s no arguing what he did at TCU in the secondary, and it’s not like he was doing it with gobs of NFL talent. Tejay Johnson was a Thorpe Award finalist and went undrafted, for various reasons. Combine his potential with Tuberville’s defensive pedigree, and you’ve got to be very optimistic about the program’s future.
Jeremy in Washington asked: DU: Great job as always with the blog. So looking back at your amusing post about best conference uniforms, do you think they have an influence on recruiting and a team's perception, and can you use your immense journalist powers to influence a change to my Cyclones hideous uni's?
DU: Ha, I don’t think they’ll consult me on uniform advice, but I think their influence on recruiting and overall perception is somewhat overrated.
I think most would agree that Iowa State’s uniforms are a fairly shameless ripoff of USC (stopped by Heritage Hall last week, by the way. Looked a little empty.), but I don’t think any recruit is making his decision based off of that. I do think teams with great uniforms might have a slight influence, but it’s not a major one.
Andre S. in San Antonio, Texas, asked: What's going to be the trap games for major contenders in the conference? i.e. how Troy almost got my Pokes and the same could be said for Air Force almost getting OU after they trampled FSU last year...
DU: Interesting question here. I’ve got a few.
The one that jumps out to me is the season opener for Texas A&M against SMU. The Ponies are a good team, and as we’ve learned so many times, it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in A&M when the lights are brightest. It sprung great upsets against Nebraska and Oklahoma last year, but when it was still in the thick of the Big 12 race early in the year, it self-destructed in the second half against Oklahoma State (giving up 28 consecutive points after leading 21-7 at half) before rallying to tie and eventually lose the game. Only when most had written the Aggies off (note: I was not one of those) did they rally and tie for a Big 12 South title.
Few people think SMU’s going to win that game, but they’re definitely capable of doing it. If A&M loses the turnover battle or opens the season flat, that game could come down to a few plays in the fourth quarter. You don’t want that in a game you should win by double digits.
The only other game in which a team will be solidly favored but could lose: Oklahoma State at Tulsa on Sept. 17.
Jon in KCMO asked: Missouri has got to be upset that Nebraska didn't leave 5 years ago, because if they did Missouri would have had a 50% chance of being National Champions. If you remember in the 2007 season, Missouri was ranked No. 1 going into the Big 12 Championship, but lost to Oklahoma. If Nebraska would have left sooner, we wouldn't have had to play that game and would have only had to beat Ohio State to be National Champs. I guess it was just bad luck for the Tigers. Your thoughts?
DU: I’d say your oversimplifying things a bit here. In theory, yes, that’s true. However, Missouri also avoided playing a top 15 Texas team that year because of Big 12 scheduling. In the new Big 12, you’ve got to play everyone, and I have my doubts about whether the Tigers were ready to knock off a team like that. Don’t forget, the next year, with Chase Daniel still at quarterback, Missouri trailed 35-0 in the first half against the Horns in Austin.
Missouri’s 2007 team was better than the 2008 team, obviously, and Texas’ 2008 team was better than the 2007 team, but that much better? I’m taking Texas in that game.
Kevin in San Antonio asked: maybe u answered this but I didn't see it. BIG XII conference is dead. The conference will try to built the year on ONE GAME.... Other than the one game give me another game of interest in the conference, Kansas vs Iowa St, TT vs Baylor... er how about this for a powerhouse game, UT vs KSt....
DU: See, folks? There’s still a wide sect of people who believe this, and it’s the same sect of people who aren’t paying attention. Sure, Michigan-Ohio State is still the most storied game in the Big Ten, but that doesn’t make it the best game. Michigan’s been down for quite some time and hasn’t even beaten the Buckeyes since 2003. There are other great games in that conference, even if the best current teams aren’t as powerful historically.
The same is true in the Big 12. Want examples? Uh, how about the three teams in the Big 12 that will open the season in the top 15 and none of them is Texas. Want other big games?
Oklahoma State-Texas A&M in September may ultimately decide a BCS berth. Bedlam in December may decide the Big 12. Oklahoma-Missouri should be another great game, just like last year. Texas A&M-Missouri should be good, and Texas A&M will get a good shot at trying to end Oklahoma’s crazy home winning streak, now at 36 games.
Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12’s big names, but it’s obvious: If you think that’s the only game in the league that matters, you’re being ignorant.
Taylor in Waco, Texas, asked: You have to be kidding me!!! Please explain how you have Ryan Tannehill AND Seth Doege before RGIII in your latest big 12 qb rankings??? Tannehill impressed everyone by managing the TX a&m offense as a converted WR, but was never the focus of the offense, anyone who could effectively throw to jeff fuller and hand off to cyrus gray would be a good qb there! Seth Doege has no experience at all, why would you rather have Doege with no experience than RGIII who has been one of the most effecent and productive passers over the past three years?!?!?!
DU: Easy, Taylor. Easy. As I said when I first made the rankings, I’m factoring in depth. I didn’t rank Seth Doege above any of those guys.
Texas Tech has two guys that are ready to play in the Big 12 right now, and two more in the fold that could be future stars. That’s a better group than what Baylor has or what Texas A&M has.