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Mailbag: UT/A&M, schedule queries

2/16/2012

We had to check out of this week's Tuesday chat, but we keep it fair here on the Big 12 Blog.

To do so, here's a mid-week Mailbag.

If you've got something to say or ask, here's where to reach me. We'll have another on Friday, so get your questions in now.

Bruce in Houston writes: "So, what are you guys doing on Nov. 17? Texas and Texas A&M are both off that weekend. Just a thought, you know. In case you got a wild hair to stop being petty, Longhorns."Stop being petty??? How about you stop being a hater. It's business. TAMU made their choice and Texas is not going to let them have their cake and eat it to. Don't be a jerk.

David Ubben: No, it's not business. That's literally the worst defense possible. It's pettiness.

It's business? Let's do some math. What game's going to bring in the most TV revenue and be a guaranteed sellout? Wyoming? New Mexico? Ole Miss? What's going to pack the silver bleachers in Austin which have had crowds thinning the past few years?

What's going to attract attention? What's going to move the needle with the fan base? Playing Texas A&M every year. Texas can pretend all they want in this. At least Kansas is up front about their pettiness in discontinuing the rivalry with Mizzou. I respect that, even if I disagree with it.

But the schedule is full? Garbage.

Texas A&M is nowhere near innocent in all this. They made what I believe is an ill-advised decision to leave for the SEC, but Texas has the control to continue the Lone Star Showdown. Instead, it's choosing to kill one of the best rivalries in college football.

Congratulations. You're hurting football fans everywhere in Texas as a result of little more than ego on both sides of the rivalry.


Lawrence in Chickasha, Okla., asked: David, love the blog, and here's my question. Why did it take two years of teams leaving the Big 12 before the conference got behind this grant of media rights solution that has now stabilized the conference? Why wasn't this done after Nebraska and Colorado left originally? Who's to blame for this screw up that let Missouri and Texas A&M go as well?

David Ubben: That's a complex issue. The easy answer is the Big 12 has tried. It's tried for a long, long time. Texas and Oklahoma, among others, refused to make that commitment until recently. Often, they were joined by others across the league.

These negotiations have never been very public, but the problem has never been a lack of effort on the part of the Big 12. It's been a reluctance on the part of the Big 12 members to sign away those rights. However, when Texas A&M left and Mizzou started wandering, too, the league's members realized it didn't have a great chance of attracting quality members or going about their business and keeping current members in without the grant of rights. Hence, here we are.


Chris in Bloomington, Ind., asked: I was reading your article on schedules and best coincidences. I noticed that Nebraska and Oklahoma also have a mutual open date. Think you could get a write in campaign started to make that happen?

David Ubben: I'd love to see it, but don't count on it. The Sooners have a pretty good nonconference schedule coming up. Notre Dame is already on the schedule, plus a nine-game Big 12 slate. Add Nebraska to that? That's a little much, if you ask me.

The last few years, Oklahoma has traditionally scheduled one marquee game (Miami, Florida State, etc.) one pretty good opponent (TCU, BYU, Cincinnati, etc.) one just OK team (i.e. Tulsa) and one low-level opponent that's basically a bought win.

It's a solid strategy, and just what the Sooners need. But, with the new nine-game schedule, you could see that strategy become a bit more conservative.


Doug in Sebastopol, Miss., asked: David, When are you going to start including WVU in your player rankings?

David Ubben: Next fall, before the season. Right now, our current rankings are from last season, so it will include Texas A&M and Mizzou players. The preseason rankings will include TCU and West Virginia players.

For West Virginia, check out the Big East's list of the top 25 players from 2011.


Dustbowl in Lubbock, Texas, asked: Texas Tech's non-conference schedule has to be the weakest in the nation (FCS Northwestern State, first year FBS Texas State, and New Mexico). Is anyone else even close to playing a non-conference schedule where the opponents combined for exactly one win over FBS teams last season (and that was a NM win over 2-10 UNLV).

David Ubben: Wow, that's pretty awful. Even worse than usual for Texas Tech. Fortunate for the Red Raiders, their conference home schedule is excellent.

But weak nonconference schedules are nothing new for Texas Tech. Mike Leach never liked to play major conference opponents.

Criticize it if you want. It doesn't really get me all that riled up. Unless you're a team like Texas or OU that wants to win national titles about every other year, the value of playing bigtime nonconference games is pretty overrated.

What's the harm, other than random people like me blasting you for it?

There's a reason Tech went almost two decades without a losing season before 2011.


Adam in Morgantown, W.V. asked: Hello Mr. Ubben! It's good to now be in a conference that has schools with fan support closer to our level. A couple things for you. 1. It's gold, not yellow. 2. While it's officially called Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, if you could please just call it Mountaineer Field. Most of us fans prefer MF over MPS and wish it wasn't changed. Thanks for your time! Here's to a great new era!Let's Go Mountaineers!!!

DU: Thanks, Adam. I was actually wondering about that. I'm pretty uneducated when it comes to all things WVU, so I'm looking forward to changing that as we lead up to the season. Thanks for the head's up.