Thanks for all the questions this week. Here's where you can send me questions or comments to get in next week's Mailbag.
Robin in Williams, Ariz., asked: I will join the multitudes & ask what is your opinion of Kansas hiring Charlie Weis? I think it's a poor hire myself. As a Cornhusker fan I was rooting for Turner Gill to get at least 1 more year, but after watching the Weis experiment at Notre Dame ... a school with far more resources ... this will be a very big disaster I think.
David Ubben: Here's what I wrote about the hire Thursday night. That was talking mostly big picture, though. On the field, it certainly looks questionable. Kansas got progressively worse on offense as the season progressed, which is obviously discouraging, but it's pretty clear that the biggest problem for the Jayhawks was on defense. Their defensive rankings were eye-popping in exactly the opposite way that Alabama and LSU make your eyes pop. That's what made this hire such a head-scratcher.
That, and the randomness of it all. If I made a list of 100 coaches I thought Kansas might hire if it fired Gill, Weis wouldn't be on it. I don't think that's good or bad, it's just out of left field. Weis' offenses at Notre Dame were spotty and heavily reliant on Brady Quinn. We'll see if Weis can prove himself in the Big 12.
As I wrote, though, offense sells tickets. Big names sell even more and turn eyes onto the program. Kansas has been entirely irrelevant since 2009, and that stage is over.
When was the last time Kansas led my mailbag? Or was even in my mailbag? I got flooded with questions about Weis last year.
Maybe, in matters that matter, this wasn't the best idea. Weis has had health issues and that raises all kinds of issues about recruiting, which is a young man's game, full of travel these days. When players do come to campus, though, Weis can probably sell them on his ability to get them in the NFL.
In my mind, his staff decisions will ultimately determine how this tenure plays out. Unlike some, I don't see this as a dead-end idea doomed to failure.
Will Klose in Decatur, Texas, asked: Ubbs: Do you think Kansas is having a more difficult time hiring a coach since they've almost been left out of conference realignment twice and that there's no guarantee that they won't be in the coming years? What about A&M? Seems like a death sentence to me for a coach to take the Ags to play in a new conference (particularly the SEC West) while trying to implement a new system. Too much change.
DU: I think that factored in for sure. You never quite know, especially after the Big 12 looked like it stabilized only to lose two more members. Any coach that doesn't at least consider that before taking the job is crazy. It will matter to some. It won't matter to others. Weis isn't exactly on the up-and-up in his coaching career. He's trying to find a spot he can be happy and can succeed.
A&M looks like it's due for a difficult year next year. Alabama and LSU will be loaded. Arkansas will be solid again. Auburn will be improving. Mississippi State will probably be a bit better.
Texas A&M will be relying on a whole lot of youth and a brand-new staff. Maybe the Aggies surprise some folks, but it's going to be hard. I wouldn't agree that it's a "death sentence," but in terms of immediate success, Missouri is in a lot better shape to compete in the lean SEC East with a team that will bring back a lot of upperclassmen and an entrenched system, versus A&M in relative upheaval. Long-term, I think Texas A&M will be more successful, but the administration needs to have a bit more patience with whoever gets the new job. It's going to be difficult.
DU: I just don't see it. Ash has the better shot, but Texas might need to look elsewhere. McCoy doesn't have the measurables, and as a guy who can't "make all the throws," as they say, that offers a lot of freedom to defenses, who don't have to respect his ability to stretch the field.
Ash and Garrett Gilbert had the measurables, but decision-making is a huge problem for both. Gilbert never fixed it, and now he's at SMU. It's still early for Ash. He might turn the corner. As much as he played this season, at a recruiting powerhouse like Texas, it's easy to forget he was a true freshman. He wasn't exactly swimming in big-time receivers, either.
That said, you didn't see a ton of the flashes of brilliance, however brief, you see with a lot of other freshmen quarterbacks. If Ash going to be the guy of the future for Texas, the biggest thing that has to change is decision-making.
Justin in Stillwater, Okla., asked: What do you think of Saban and others who voted the Cowboys 4th or even 5th? I mean I was proud of Gundy giving Bama respect. Am I asking to much for Saban to do the same? With that being said, I think the best two teams are in the NCG. I like how it fell for OSU, but it is pretty shafty that some of those voters still couldn't respect the POKES!!!
DU: It's terrible. I'm not going to try and peek into their motives, but it's pretty clear that a guy like Nick Saban has clear motivation to put Oklahoma State at No. 4 or even lower if he wanted.
But for others? Come on. Gundy said on a radio interview this week that voters who had Oklahoma State at No. 5 or No. 6 should be eliminated from the process. No arguments here.
One Harris poll voter had OSU No. 6 and Houston (!) No. 5, because the Cougars lost to a better team. (Which, by the way, is debatable: Southern Miss lost to UAB. Iowa State lost to five ranked teams and Missouri.)
That's the only reason you're voting? That's nothing but asinine. These are the people deciding who plays for the national championship. Amazing.
Nick in Dallas asked: What are the odds that 6 out of 10 Big XII teams are in the preseason top 25 next year? 1. OU 2. OSU 3. KSU 4. BU 5. TCU 6. Either WV or UT
DU: Interesting points. Robert Griffin III would have to come back to Baylor for that to happen, and Oklahoma State is probably on the fence, but the Cowboys will probably be around No. 20. TCU and WVU bring back a lot. They'll both probably be in. K-State could be top 10. I think Landry Jones comes back, and Oklahoma will be right there. Texas will be top 25 again. So yep, I think you're onto something, Nick.
James Goss in College Station, Texas, asked: How epic would a Texas-Texas A&M 2013 Cotton Bowl be?
DU: Uh, I'd say epic to ... quite epic?
Dayl Spagnolo in Eugene, Ore., asked: Who votes for the Home Depot College Football Awards? Coaches? Sportscasters?
DU: Every award has a committee that puts together a voting panel of various people. It kind of depends. I'm a voter for the Davey O'Brien Award, Rimington Award and the Lott Trophy, among a couple others. It sort of just depends on each individual award's decision.
Optimus Klein in Catertron asked: [Initiate Question Asking Sequence] Mr. Ubben, Is our matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks one of the best matchups of the bowl season? If my rotator flanges and transmission hydroponic capacitors can hold up, who do you think will win? Optimus (Collin) Klein [Model 2007.84.21.4][Terminating Question Asking Sequence] Catobots, Mobilize!
DU: ... Wow. E-mail of the week.