Mailbag: Radical realign, Rhoads, burgers

Thanks for all the questions. Didn't get yours answered? My mailbag is always open.

Adam in Raleigh, NC asked: Texas won't go to the ACC by themselves. They need some traveling partners. Is there a case for OU, OSU, and Tech to join Texas in the ACC over the Pac-12?

David Ubben: I don't think so. Culturally, it's a push. Those three schools aren't perfect fits in either. Academically, it's a push with a lean to the either coast, depending on how you want to spin it.

But more than anything, I think it boils down to recruiting. Oklahoma has had some great success recruiting California, especially lately, and the idea of widening that pipeline excites Bob Stoops, and I imagine Tommy Tuberville and Mike Gundy feel similar. If the Texas pipeline is going to get thinner (and without Texas in tow to the Pac-12, it will) California is a pretty good consolation prize. It won't be easy, and making inroads will be more difficult for Tech and OSU, but they can do it.

Texas, meanwhile, can go to whatever conference it wants. It's Texas. Don't want to follow it? Well, [expletive] you. Texas is the flagship school in one of the richest recruiting basins in the country. Want to play in the ACC? Want to play in the Pac-12? A weakened Big 12? An independent. Who cares, Texas will still have recruits. That's not reality for everyone else.

Also, is the ACC stable? Texas has shown (twice now) that its presence hardly solidifies conference bonds, but could the ACC see teams leave for the SEC? Sure. Nobody from the Pac-12 is going anywhere. Oklahoma knows what it's getting there.

That goes for its future and the recruiting trail. It's not a runaway, but I don't see any way schools like Oklahoma, OSU, and Tech would want to follow Texas to the ACC over the Pac-12. Would Texas Tech get an invite to either without Texas, though?


Brett in Kansas City asked: Hey David, as the majority of K-State's starters are underclassmen and the defense showing signs of quick improvement and younger players contributing on offense, will next year be the year K-State starts showing signs it might be back on its way to success like in the late 90's?

DU: I don't know if I'd go there just yet, but next year could be promising for this defense. It still has to get better up front (a big focus in the 2011 recruiting class for Snyder) but with Ty Zimmerman and Arthur Brown, things are looking up for K-State's defense in the immediate future.

That, and with Bill Snyder's juco wizardry, anybody want to rule out the possibility of him reaching down to Mississippi and grabbing a stud defensive tackle to raise a ruckus in whatever league Kansas State is in this time next year?

I don't.

Offensively, I'm not really sold on K-State as an offense that can consistently produce at a level necessary to win in the Big 12, but it's early. We'll see what Collin Klein's got in the coming weeks.

Robbie in Norman, Okla. asked: Hey David, just wondering what you think about Travis Lewis' new Twitter account, and where you would rank it among other players in the conference? He's a pretty outspoken guy so it should be pretty fun to keep up with.

DU: I'm loving it so far. Lewis (@TravisLewis28) is definitely on my must follow list for now. Jokes and injury updates? What more can you ask for. Oh, updates on Lewis' mohawk trimmings? Outstanding.

Lewis mocking fellow linebacker Tom Wort for looking exactly like Bobby Hill was one of the best tweets of the early season, too.

Wort, by the way, does look like Bobby Hill.

Colin in Tulsa asked: How would you rank these in order of overratedness (not a word, but just go with it): Notre Dame football, Dallas Cowboy Football, In-N-Out Burger, Eskimo Joe's and Big 10 football?

DU: This is guaranteed to get me in trouble, too, but here goes:

1) Notre Dame -- What have you done for me lately? (Besides get stomped in BCS bowls, I mean.)

2) Eskimo Joes -- Pokes fans, yes: I think Pistol Pete (mostly the head, his guns are awesome) is lame and creepy and I think your cheese fries are drizzled with weak sauce. But your football team is pretty outstanding. Take what you can get.

3) Dallas Cowboys -- So, so much fun to watch. So, so few accomplishments this Willenium.

4) Big Ten football -- Sure, it looks overrated from the outside. (How 'bout some offensive creativity!) Then they play teams from outside the conference. Ask Arkansas how overrated Big Ten football is.

5) In-N-Out burger -- It's amazing, but don't oversell it. It's the best fast food burger in existence. You've had better burgers that you've paid more money for. If that's what you're expecting, you'll never go home unsatisfied.

Madison in Albuquerque, N.M. asked: Are you working on your personal conference realignment since the Big 12 won't exist next year?

DU: Perhaps so. I discussed this in-depth in last week's mailbag, so for the 50,000 questions in this vein, here you go.

Jessica Rothschild at Shake Shack wrote: Dear David, On behalf of the entire Shake Shack team I wanted to thank you for the shout out in your "Ten fearless predictions for 2011" article. We are honored to be mentioned in this piece! Thanks again, David.

All the best, Jessica

DU: We're back on burgers! I give credit where credit is due. Shake Shack is the best burger I've ever had, decidedly edging out Booche's in Columbia, Missouri. That said, every time I'm back there, I have to make a stop in the most delicious-smelling pool hall in existence.

Expand into Texas, Shake Shack. Do it!

Case and Jaxon in Austin asked: Hey Ubbs, We haven't got your RSVP yet for our housewarming party. You're still planning on coming right?

DU: Just when you thought this well of comedy had dried up...

And yes, my RSVP is in the mail. My dessert quiche is to die for.

Paul Rhoads in Ames asked: Is there a Coach in College Football more in love with his job than me? I think I hugged and high fived hundreds of people on my way from the field to the ISU locker room after our win, and I could have hugged and high fived hundreds more. Now have you seen my most recent locker room post game celebration speech?

DU: Maybe not. The man loves his job. It's why schools like Michigan annoy people so often by searching for a coach that's a "Michigan Man." Iowa means a lot to Paul Rhoads.

He's not an ISU alum, but he grew up near the program. He knows what it means and he loves it. That's so, so obvious anytime he talks about it, and he's already an emotional guy.

Hired guns can win. The SEC knows this well. But at a school like Iowa State, you need a guy that truly loves the job. Gene Chizik is a great fit elsewhere. Was he a great fit at Iowa State?

Obviously, not. But Paul Rhoads is, and Iowa State is reaping the benefits.

George McFadden in Portland, Oregon asked: If the Big 12 unravels with the exit of Texas A&M why would Oklahoma and others want to join the Pac 12? Not that the Pac 12 is a bad conference but it is a long way from Norman to Seattle. If the realingment results in a Big 18 from the current Big 10 that would produce two 9-team divisions that would play an 8 game schedule to determine a champion to play in the conference championship. In addition each school would also play one interconference game as part of the non-division schedule televised on the Big 18 network.

DU: Here's what needs to happen:

The Big 12's members should disperse to their various new leagues. The Big Ten usurps the Big East to form the Big Eastern Ten.

Then the ACC and SEC merge to form a new league, and name the divisions "Basketball" and "Football." Kentucky, you know where you go.

Then, that new ACC-SEC hybrid merges with the Big Eastern Ten to form the first super duper conference that encompasses every single TV market in the midwest and eastern seaboard.

The Pac-16, unable to compete, tucks its tail between its legs, and merges with the Biggest Eastern Ten hybrid.

This league is now the BET-SEC-ACC-16.

Obviously, this is too cumbersome. They want to rename the leagues, but they can't focus solely on football, so they name it the National College Athletes of America

The tagline: Where champions play, because nobody else is around.

But this super duper conference (We'll call it, oh, I don't know, the NCAA) needs divisions, right? It should divide them up regionally, so it can keep a cap on outrageous travel costs and retain regional rivalries.

So, in one division, you could throw like, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and the like. Probably like 10 or 11 teams.

In another, have like Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and some of the other southern schools. Throw like 12 teams in that division.

In another, put like UCLA, USC, the Oregon schools, the Arizona schools and the Washingtons and such.

There are too many east coast schools, so split them up into two divisions. One could have like Connecticut, Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and those others further north. There's not as many, and they focus on hoops, so just put eight teams in that league.

Another could have Duke and UNC (gotta keep the rivalry, obviously), Miami, the Virginia schools and West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State and the rest of them. Put 12 in there.

The last: Lump all the midwestern schools in another conference. Texas and Texas A&M (gotta keep that rivalry, too, of course. Been together for like a century), Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas State for a 12-team league in the middle of the country.

I know it sounds really radical and maybe a little bit crazy, but I think it would work. I really do.

Let's do it. What do you think?