Thanks for all the questions this week. Here's where you can reach me.
Marty Green writes: Ubbs, you have said that you think that in order for Texas to get back among the elite teams, they really need better quarterback play, which I think is true. However, Alabama won a National Championship in 2009 with suspect quarterback play (only 58 yards passing in the BCS NC game). Can Texas return to the elite without great QB play, but with a QB that simply avoids the mistakes and makes a few key plays that extend drives? Or is this an SEC- Big 12 difference, where to win out in the Big 12, the quarterback has to be a difference maker because eventually you will be a game where points will be a premium?
DU: It's exactly the second. What people too often lose sight of is winning national titles isn't about winning one game. It's about being built to win your league. Without that, you can't get to the title game.
And the Big 12's history makes it clear: Without truly excellent quarterback play, you can't win a league title. Winning games in the Big 12 simply requires you to score too many points, and you can't do that every single week without a quarterback. Nebraska in 2009 and 2010 is the perfect case study. Nebraska got rolled by a Texas Tech team in 2009 that was just OK, because they couldn't score points. All they needed was 10 points to beat Iowa State that year and couldn't do it.
In 2010, they couldn't score against Texas or Texas A&M. Blame bad QB play, in terms of throwing the ball.
So, back to Texas. The Longhorns should have a fearsome defense. They should have a very good running game. But if they don't have a quarterback who can consistently complete passes and move the chains, they can rule out a Big 12 title in 2012.
Go Pokes in Tucson, Ariz. wrote: What's up with bedlam not being the final game? Do you have any feelings about it?
DU: It'd probably be better if it were, but Bedlam isn't quite as steeped in tradition as, say, the Lone Star Showdown on Thanksgiving night every year. It hasn't always been that late. In 2003 and 2004 it was on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, respectively. It was earlier in the year for much of the 90s, too.
Last year, the Big 12 got lucky and had Bedlam be a game to get to the Big 12 title game (even if it wasn't the national semifinal it looked like it might be in October), but both sides will be fine with it not being the final game of the season. Not a big deal.
Jon D in Davis, Calif. wrote: Ubben,I disagree with your choice of "Safety" as the weakest position on Baylor's football squad. If you dig a little deeper, you'll see that the DL is where the problem is rooted.Opposing QB's have 6-8 seconds to throw the ball - an eternity. No coverage team can consistently cover for that length of time.
DU: Hate to break it to you, Jon, but it's both. Baylor's defense struggled in a lot of places. You're right, the pass rush was poor. But the safeties were, too. They were rarely disruptive on blitzes, and failed to protect the back line of the defense. It's tough to be encouraged by much from Baylor's defense last year. The task ahead is clear. The Bears have the athletes. The past few years Kansas needed a big talent upgrade. I don't think that's the case with Baylor. They remind me a bit of a less-talented A&M defense from 2009. Plenty of good athletes, they just need to get it together.
We'll see if Phil Bennett can do it in Year 2.
Kris Thomas in Davis, W. Va. wrote: Ah David, and so we meet. I have no questions as I am pretty well versed in football and all the conferences really. I just want to say as a WVU Alum that we are very happy and excited about coming home and being a part of a conference that we belong in and that respects us.This is the perfect fit for WVU, do you know what seperates a mountaineer and a cowboy david? Only a few thousand ft of elevation.What about the connection and similarities between texas and wvu, well a lot of large farms etc. and how about this "Wind Mills" thats right I live in the highest elevation of WV about an hour or so from morgantown and we have ridges and ridges full of Wind Mills like you will find in the plains of texas on the ridge where we live there are atleast 330 - 350 wind mills, not saying were Identical but you wouldn't believe how similar our people and our societies actually are. With this move we went from the outcasts to part of the family and we are proud to call the big 12 home.thanks
DU: Thanks for the note, Kris. I'd say you're right about a lot of that. There are obvious geographical issues with WVU, but culturally, I think it's a great fit.
David in Austin wrote: Now that you've passed the top 5, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed by your exclusion of Carrington Byndom. I always figured you to be an appreciator of the DB arts. KC Joyner previously showed that Byndom at least had better YPA stats than the SEC's Claiborne & Kirkpatrick (No 21 in the SEC per C-Low). Not too shabby for a Big 12 DB. Not to mention his 58 yard pick-6 could have meant a very different outcome to the potentially final meeting between the Horns and Aggies. You'll be hearing from Quandre the Giant if these two aren't on the the pre-season Top 25.
DU: I'll have a "just missed" list at the end of the year -- Byndom was definitely just short. I wouldn't have a problem with including him, but in this league, there are a ton of deserving guys. You'll also note that I only included one cornerback, Kansas State's Nigel Malone. The CBs in this league just have such a hard time with the offenses, even the really good ones are tough to put really high. Byndom was my All-Big 12 first-team corner, so I'm pretty high on him, I'm just not high on the league's cornerbacks. You make some good points, though, and you've got me thinking. We'll deal with more of these complaints in a mailbag in the future.