Mailbag: A&M conspiracy, best mascots

September, 2, 2011
9/02/11
2:00
PM ET
Thanks for all the emails, everyone. I'm in Waco, Texas, for tonight's game between TCU and Baylor, so I'll be checking in from Floyd Casey Stadium shortly.

I. Am. Excited. ESPN, 8 p.m. ET and right here on the blog all night. See you there.

Matt in Bemidji, Minn., asked: Dave, i'm a Husker fan up here in the Great White North. I miss reading your blog, i really enjoyed your coverage even when i disagreed with you (which wasn't often). As someone with a lot more information, especially the kind that is not biased towards any specific team, not like what i read on my own teams board, nationally does this whole A&M thing sort of vindicate the Huskers or does it make them look even worse for "breaking up the conferance?"

David Ubben: Thanks for the kind words, Matt. And I do think you're absolutely right. I didn't blame Nebraska for wanting to leave a year ago. It was clearly the right move.

This time around, though, there's no question they're looking smarter than ever. My biggest question? How long until Nebraska makes sure we all know about it?

Say what you will about the confidence in the future of the Big 12, but I thought R. Bowen Loftin said it well when he took questions in College Station awhile back.

Look at the SEC's track record. Look at the Big Ten's track record. Those conferences are forever. Maybe the Big 12 is. But nobody knows for sure and most believe it isn't.

All other variables aside, Nebraska and Texas A&M will get stability in their new homes.

Daniel in Santa Fe, N.M., asked: David, I'm a concerned Aggie fan in NM. I wanted to get your opinion on whether A&M will suffer the same fate as Nebraska did last year with what seemed to be an obvious bias in officiating.

DU: I think the actual sense of what Nebraska faced was a bit overstated.

Looking back on it, here's what I see: Was that Eric Martin suspension incorrect? No. Was it enforced more strictly than others across the league? I would say yes.

The bad calls in the A&M game last year were all judgment calls except for one: The roughing the passer penalty on Courtney Osborne when he hit Ryan Tannehill "late." That was an awful call, but really the only one that was indefensibly bad.

I just don't buy the whole conspiracy talk.

Will Big 12 officiating in Texas A&M games this season be watched? It absolutely will, and more closely than any other officiating in the league. Will that show evidence of a conspiracy? I'm saying no.

Mark in Corpus Christi, Texas, asked: Why can't we all get along? Let's go back to the days when the NCAA regulated the TV contracts. Maybe some of the mess could have been avoided.

DU: Your solution isn't the answer, but I really do hate what college football seems to have been reduced to. I discussed this at length in a podcast with SEC blogger Chris Low and columnist Ivan Maisel. Check it out.

Kyle in Fort Hood, Texas, asked: Why would any stable school (like BYU) want to join an obviously unstable, uncertain conference like the Big XII (-2-1)? The idea of luring in a big name school, like BYU or ND, seems a bit assuming since the true colors of how the conference operates have been exposes fairly well in the last few weeks. Especially with legitimate teams leaving two years in a row.

DU: It's a great question, but one I think has a reasonable answer. I've addressed it a bit in the past, but if the Big 12 wants to really convince big-time programs like BYU to come to the league, it has to offer some sort of concrete, contractual agreement that keeps teams in this league for a minimum of 10 years, and perhaps longer.

Eliminating that concern would make it a lot easier to coax the Cougars to come to the Big 12, which I believe the league has to do, or else it risks watching Oklahoma strongly consider a move to the Pac-12 and bring a few teams with it.

Additionally, you'll probably see some concerns about league stability go away if it can convince all 10 teams (or 12?) to sign and commit to the Big 12 long-term. I thought the Big 12 made a mistake in simply taking each school at its word last season, and the league is paying for that mistake now with Texas A&M's move to the SEC.

Mike P in Houston asked: Hey Ubbs, Is Jerrod Johnson's "Thank you Aggieland" one of a kind? I can't think of another athlete leaving a school with any gesture as grand as this one. Thanks for all your work with the Ags in the Big 12, we're going to miss you next year.

DU: Great video from Jerrod. We've seen his singing chops before, but it was nice of him to take the time out and thank the folks that gave him a lot. He gave them a whole lot, too.

Jerrod's a class act, though. It didn't surprise me.

Cowgirl in Tulsa asked: Ubbs: I know you've rated each team's uniforms and helmet logos, but have you ever made a list of your favorite Big 12 mascots? After ranking each player and team in 100 different categories, why don't you just have fun with this one?

DU: Ha, this will no doubt get me in trouble, but here goes. I'm only taking each team's best mascot. Teams have a few too many these days. Also, I miss Ralphie.

1. The Sooner Schooner, towed by Boomer and Sooner
2. The Masked Rider, Texas Tech (Big 12's best entrance, post-Nebraska Tunnel Walk)
3. Bevo, the Texas Longhorn (iconic)
4. Cy, the Cardinal. I've never known why the Iowa State Cyclones have a Cardinal mascot, but Cy looks good
5. Bruiser, the Baylor Bear
6. Reveille, the Texas A&M collie, who is cool, but collies have a very low ceiling on awesomeness
7. Big Jay the Kansas Jayhawk, who is solid
8. Truman the Tiger, who is a bit too cartoony
9. Pistol Pete, whose head is much too large and made of gross plastic with a five o'clock shadow
10. Willie the Wildcat, who, well, I have all kinds of genetic origin questions about.

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