Thanks for all the emails this week. They've been much appreciated. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.
David Carter in The Woodlands, Texas writes: David (great name there) ... love your work and I'm a faithful reader! I'm also a lifelong Baylor fan. It's been a great year to be sure! But the recent success of football recruiting is something I'm not used to. Yes, the Year of the Bear has something to do with it ... but how much does A&M leaving the Big 12 factor? The Ags will tell us everyone is lining up to play in the SEC but I'm not so sure that's some wishful thinking on their part and thus a part of the "upswing" for BU. Your thoughts?
David Ubben: Baylor's success on the recruiting trail this year has been really impressive, but it's silly to think A&M leaving has anything to do with it. I think if A&M stumbles on the field under Kevin Sumlin, its recruiting will falter, but right now, the trail is booming for the Aggies. A&M already has 22 commits, including five in the ESPN 150 and another in the ESPN 300. Four players in the class rank inside the top 10 at their position, and the class ranks sixth nationally, just two spots behind Texas and fourth in the SEC.
I disagree with A&M's assertion that kids in Texas want badly to play in the SEC, but I also disagree that A&M leaving has had anything to do with Baylor's success on the trail. More than anything, the Bears' success on the trail is because of their success on the field.
John in GSO, N.C., writes: Mr. U, with the playoff system set for 12 years and some people still wondering why not an 8- or 16-team system, I have to ask you when, in which season, there have been more than four teams with a resume deserving of being called champions, or at least to get a shot at the Championship game? In my humble opinion a 4-team playoff is the best. Thanks Presidents Overseeing Committee for getting it done and thanks to you Mr. U. for answering this question.
DU: No, and this is something I think fans need to keep sight of once the playoff begins. This isn't about hosting a tournament, this is about giving more teams a chance at a national title. More teams doesn't just mean more teams, though. It means more deserving teams. Eight teams do not deserve the chance to prove themselves as the nation's best team. In almost every season, four do. The only year that sticks out to me where more than four should have had the opportunity was 2008. That's pretty rare. More than two teams deserving a shot? That's pretty much every year.
There are going to be arguments about the fifth team that gets left out, but rarely could you make a case that the fifth team deserves a spot the same as the No. 2 team during the BCS. In many years, Nos. 3 and 4 deserved just as much of a chance as No. 2.
I agree with you. I like the four-team playoff, and I hope it stays this way. Eight would be lots of fun, but it'd be silly, and I do agree that it would discount the regular season quite a bit. Four teams doesn't discount it much at all. Maybe slightly less is on the line every week for top-level SEC teams that could probably afford a loss, but with eight teams, you could easily lose twice and still expect to contend for the national title game. If you lose twice in a four-team playoff setup, you're going to need a lot of help to slip inside the bracket.
Jordan in Touchdown City writes: Hey Ubbs, love the blog! Now that the playoff question has finally been settled how do you see it impacting the Big 12's decision to expand or not? I have to think that with the new 4 team playoff in place the conference would prefer to stay at 10 teams rather than expand to 12 or 14. The last thing a school wants is to be ranked in the top 4 and then have to go play in a conference championship game it might lose. I also don't think winning a conference championship game will propel a team into the playoff that wouldn't have otherwise made it. Your thoughts?
DU: It's tough to tell for now. The playoff situation gave the Big 12 pause, but now that it's settled, the outcome didn't significantly sway the league one direction or another in expansion. At the end of the day, it's going to be about what teams warrant inclusion. The only schools that clearly do are Notre Dame and Florida State. All other possibilities are debatable at best.
David in St. Louis writes: Ubbs, I mostly enjoy your columns, but wondering why you're hatin' on Texas. In your column Predicting the Big 12 season game 3, you say, "Unless Texas is distracted by hoards of it's mascot being grilled in The Grove..." . Funny I don't see you doing that to oklahoma. " Unless the Sooners are distracted by hoards of it's scooner being burned..." See what I mean? How about a little more even handedness? You write a good column, but your bias is showing. Thanks!!
DU: Good points. I know how much SEC fans looooove to slowly braise schooners. If you can get a real char on the tarp covering the wagon, it's far superior to brisket.
Raymond in Main City, Texas, wrote: With all the hooplah, reconstruction and change on how our college football champion will be crowned (and I love it!!!) in the not so far future, do you think The Cotton Bowl will finally get a chance at being on the level with the other four as an elite bowl? If not, why?
DU: It sounds like we'll have six bowls that rotate hosting the semifinal games, and I would be absolutely shocked if the Cotton Bowl was not one of them. It's history is as good as just about any game, and its venue is the nation's best. Prepare to host a semifinal at some point. And about that title game? Well, get out your checkbook, Jerry Jones.
Rick in Waco, Texas, wrote: David,I'm just curious. I only saw Geno Smith play once...and was very much NOT impressed. The comment made about Griffin was that you look at his numbers and you think: "Dink and Dunk, to get that kind of completion %, but not so...he's thowing it down field". When I saw Geno play (only once, mind you) that's all it was. He looked like a good athlete, but almost terrible QB. Not trying to sound like a know it all, but Im curious. It makes me laugh (and a bit angry at times) to read ridculous comments from people who have obviously not watched RGIII play. Am I out in left field? I'm a huge, huge Art Briles fan. AND, Griffin sure had a lot of talent and intagibles to work with. I'm very impressed with Dana H. also, but I'm wondering if he's not the one to be impressed with vs. G. Smith. Any thoughts? Did you get to actually see him play much this past year? Thanks!
DU: No, you're off base on that one. Yes, there's an element of that in West Virginia's offense. With a guy like Tavon Austin on your team, why would you not try to get him the ball with some easy throws in the open field? I watched only a couple of WVU's games last year live, but having spent time there this spring and seeing Smith up close for a full practice, he can definitely sling it, and does quite a bit. Stedman Bailey is the best guy on the team for that, but Austin can run by people, and Smith was hitting J.D. Woods downfield several times up the seam and splitting the safeties.
That said, as good as Geno is throwing the ball down the field, he doesn't compare to RG3. Baylor's legend may have thrown the best deep ball I've seen in a long, long time. Geno's not in the same league just yet. He's good, but Griffin was transcendent when it came to throwing the long ball.