Thanks for all the e-mails this week, folks. It's been a fun one. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say. On to your mail!
Chris in Cedar Park, Texas writes: Now that Pachall is suspended from his DWI's charge, how are Iowa State's chances looking now for this week? And thanks for giving Tech the upset special, guns up.
Dustin in Amarillo, Texas writes: Hey Ubbs, does the Suspension of Casey Pachall change your prediction of the ISU game this week and how much do you think all these fiasco TCU is having this year is hurting their recurting?
DU: I thought about this one pretty hard. First off, there's a lot more at stake here than a game. Does Pachall have a problem? I'm not close enough to him to really know, but certainly, changes need to be made, and there's evidence to suggest that he does.
Driving issue aside, which is illegal and more importantly, putting others' lives in danger, does anyone else think Geno Smith, Collin Klein, Landry Jones, Seth Doege or Nick Florence are out drinking heavily in the middle of a game week, regardless of the opponent? I'm betting no.
As for this weekend's game, the Pachall loss hurts TCU, but it'll be interesting to see how their offense changes. This game is a tossup now, but I think TCU can rally around Trevone Boykin this week and get the win. Boykin's got crazy speed, and we'll find out how accurate he can look against a pretty good defense on Saturday. I'm sticking with my prediction for now, TCU by a point.
To the recruiting question, there's no doubt that Gary Patterson will have to answer questions about the state of his program on the recruiting trail. How he answers will have a lot to do with its impact, and how he handles this Pachall situation will have a lot to do with what parents around Texas and elsewhere think of his program.
Patterson likes to consider himself a man who teaches his players about a whole lot more than football. If his punishment is perceived as being too light, he'll be perceived as a liar. That's just how it is.
Dan in Fort Worth, Texas writes: Uuuuuggghhhh David. When will 2012 be over? This has been one challenging calendar year to be a Horned Frog. We lose 4 starters to kids being dumb kids. We lose two starting-caliber RBs to different, sad reasons. We lose a bunch of depth in the offseason to injuries, needs to leave the team, etc. And now are starting quarterback joined the "dumb kid" category. I honestly thought TCU had a chance to come in and contend in our first year in the Big 12. But man, we've lost, what? 20+ players to non-graduation reasons? 7 or 8 of which were starters? Can we have 2012 stricken from the calendar? Where can you see TCU landing in the Big 12 when it's all said and done?
DU: Not exactly the best year TCU could have to endear itself to its new conference brethren. No other Big 12 team has dealt with the kind of scandal they have in Fort Worth.
I picked TCU to go 8-4 in the preseason, and they can still reach that. A deep Big 12 will make it difficult, but I probably lean closer to 7-5 now or 6-6. Texas Tech is looking very promising, and if the Red Raiders rise, somebody's got to fall. TCU looks like the most likely team to do so right now, and that would mean something like a 7th, 8th or 9th place finish in the Big 12 in Year 1.
Brad in Madison, Wis. writes: Dave, Being that college football (and bowl games) are such big business revenue to schools, is it more likely that TCU will do everything they can to bring him back asap? Go Bucky,Brad
DU: No, and I think it's a little insulting to Gary Patterson to suggest he will. More than a few people were getting mad at Patterson for something he hadn't even done yet, i.e., bringing back Pachall too soon. Patterson didn't want to make a rash decision on Thursday, and suspended him indefinitely. Let the situation play out before you cast judgment. I like the decision to make Pachall dress out on Saturday, and it's even more insulting to Patterson to suggest he'll be "tempted" to put Pachall in the game. No doubt about it, any positive he does in doing so would be outweighed by the nationwide loss of respect he'd suffer. The PR disaster from that move might be one he'd never recover from on the national scale.
He's simply not going to do that. It's not the right thing for Pachall, who would learn nothing from the instance if he wasn't punished, and considering his history with drugs and the pass Patterson already gave him, he's earned a much stricter punishment this time around. Patterson's goal here isn't to appease his team, the masses or the media.
It's to make Pachall learn and make him a better person when it's all said and done. Literally, the worst thing he could do is play Pachall on Saturday. He's not going to do it.
Shawn Wood in Lubbock, Texas writes: David,How can you say that Iowa St defense played better than Texas Tech defense. Did you watch the game? Please advise of your thoughts.
DU: Got a lot of e-mail on this. Texas Tech fans: You realize that your offense is significantly better than Iowa State's, right? Iowa is not a great team, and it held Iowa State to nine points. The Cyclones rank dead last in the Big 12 in total offense, in part due to one of the Big 12's best nonconference schedules, but still. Texas Tech's defense played well, but it's not easy holding a full-strength Texas Tech team to 24 points and earning a defensive touchdown. That's impressive.
You can't just look at the total yards and say, well, clearly, Texas Tech played better on defense because they gave up fewer yards. Consider the challenge in front of each defense.
Tech proved it was the better team, and it's clear that its offense is another stratosphere compared to Iowa State. The defenses are close, but I lean Iowa State.
Jeff Smith in Dallas writes: David, It's very clear from your writings and reporting that you have a dislike for the Texas Longhorns. As a sports fan, you are perfectly entitled to your beliefs. Fan biases are a great part of sports. I have some of my own. But you should be held to a higher standard as ESPN's Big XII coverage guy. It's really disappointing how you take every opportunity to disparage the Longhorns, who really held this conference together when it needed their leadership the most, while tertiary programs like Missouri and A&M rans for the hills. This is one of the best conferences in the country from a competitive standpoint, and you are in a very good position covering it. It would be nice if you could leave some of your fan bias at the door when you enter your professional world.Everybody needs feedback in their careers, so I hope you don't discard this. You're a talented writer who appears to let personal issues interfere with his professional path. Time to take the next step, David.Jeff
Derek in Oklahoma writes: Ubbs, is it hard to type when you're constantly flashing the "Hook Em" Horns? Texas fumbles, but you say they should still get to keep the ball? Have you ever watched a football game? If you'd put the burnt orange pom poms down for a second, maybe you could see what everybody else sees: That was a fumble, and you were too busy loving Texas to notice, just like the rest of the Big 12. Makes me sick.
DU: The rare contradictory hate mail will never stop making me laugh. During the season, they seem to happen almost every week.
Brett in Kansas City writes: Ubbs, what are you thinking? You said the winner of WVU-Texas will automaticaly jump K-State for number one in the power poll. I'm just in complete shock.
DU: It's a matter of resume. It's nothing K-State's done. West Virginia and Texas both have a pair of really good wins in Baylor and Oklahoma State. They also have a decent nonconference in win Maryland for WVU and Ole Miss for Texas.
Now, they'll have beaten a top 10 or top 15 team, depending on who wins. Kansas State's wins will have come over Miami and Oklahoma, who's looking quite suspect. Miami is playing well, but for the time being, WVU or Texas will have a better overall resume compared to Kansas State, and considering how razor-thin the difference is between these teams, it's going to shift week to week. K-State had the lead, but it wasn't a big one. I had the three teams listed 7-8-9 on my top 25 ballot this week.
My stance remains: Winner of the game in Austin takes over the No. 1 spot on the power rankings. K-State's not going to be able to do anything against KU to change that.