Mailbag: Top 10 players, Stoops, Lunt

Thanks for all the e-mails this week. Good to hear from you. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

Mike in Overland Park, Kan. writes: Hey Dave, regarding your "10 best Big 12 players ever" list -- I guess I should have known it would basically be a TX/OU All-Star team. How about a list of 10 best players NOT on TX/OU?

David Ubben: Well, yeah, Mike. I don't know what you expected. Such is life in the Big 12, which Texas and Oklahoma have dominated for most of its history. Off the top of my head, here's how I'd rank the top 10 players in Big 12 history who didn't play for Texas or Oklahoma:

  1. Ndamukong Suh

  2. Robert Griffin III

  3. Tavon Austin

  4. Justin Blackmon

  5. Troy Davis

  6. Darren Sproles

  7. Grant Wistrom

  8. Michael Crabtree

  9. Eric Crouch

  10. Chase Daniel

I didn't put quite as much time into that list as I did my official Big 12 list, but I'm interested to hear readers' thoughts.

Dave in Dallas writes: How does the Big 12 stop from becoming the Big East? Does it need to have the normal 8 teams fall apart and let UT and OU battle for the top while 3rd place has 7 wins. It isn't very interesting but it seemed everyone was happy when it was a TOP HEAVY conference especially when the winner of the North would be a 9-3 or 8-4 team. Do you think that the loss of Nebraska and now the resurgance of a lost A&M is now weighing on Texas/OU and the overall strength of the conference?

DU: I don't think that's a fair assessment. And I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "becoming the Big East." The Big 12 has two of college football's biggest brands, which the Big East hasn't had since Miami and Virginia Tech left, and both Texas and Oklahoma are bigger brands than both.

As for the Big 12's recent parity, part of it has been Oklahoma and Texas sliding a bit, but you're underrating how much the rest of the Big 12 has grown. Oklahoma State and Baylor are stronger than they've ever been since the Big 12's birth, and you could make an argument for Iowa State as well. WVU is spinning their wheels a bit, but they could bounce back in 2014. Texas Tech is trending in the right direction. The loss of Nebraska and Texas A&M is huge. No doubt about that. Texas A&M's growth -- or at least the speed at which it occurred -- was largely unpredictable. Nebraska hasn't done a lot since leaving the Big 12. Would the league love to have both back if some of the recent history was erased? Sure. But the Big 12 is far from being doomed to having a reputation like the Big East. For now, the Big 12 has a great case as the best conference behind the SEC, and as I've written over and over again, the gap isn't as wide as some might think.

Mark Messick in Nashville, Tenn. writes: I get that Stoops is trying to fight for spots in future football four's to keep what happened to okie state from happening again. but as bad as we've played against SEC teams for the last 10 years, it really comes off as being whiney. Am I missing somthing or does he have another agenda that isn't being discussed?

DU: You make some good points, Mark. For one, I do think Stoops is motivated by knowing the playoff is around the corner, and the SEC's reputation is going to benefit it. I also agree that 1) he has something of a point and 2) the way in which he chose to express it didn't come off like he would have liked. Dropping the term "propoganda" will rarely work out well for you. Like I said, too, seeing how his team has performed against the SEC the last few times they've faced a team from there, his complaints didn't hit home like he would have wanted.

Marty in Manhattan, Kan. writes: Hey Ubben... were you aware that Kliff Kingsbury has a superbowl ring??? How have you gone this long with writing an article about it?

DU: I am, and I mentioned it several times when he got hired. Coincidentally, he earned a ring with the Patriots in 2003 with his new peer, Kansas coach Charlie Weis, as his offensive coordinator. That's quite an odd connection. Still, he was the No. 3 quarterback on that team. That was 10 years ago. I'm sure you'll see more stories on that when Texas Tech preps to play Kansas, but it's a pretty crazy bit of Big 12 coaching trivia.

Lance Casey in Suwanee, Ga. writes: David, Was there any talk about Oklahoma State redshirting Wes Lunt? Especially if Daxx Garman showed enough in the Spring that he could be number 2 or 3 QB. This way they are 3 deep even though Wes is waiting 1 year. He has to wait 1 year anyway if he goes to another D1 school. Thanks for your feedback

DU: You definitely heard that as a possibility if Clint Chelf won the job, and I think it would have worked out well for OSU if everybody would have stayed healthy, but for a young quarterback not anywhere close to home, asking him to sit out a year after winning a starting job a year earlier is tough to do. I don't think Garman would have had anything to do with the decision. You're forgetting about J.W. Walsh. I don't think OSU would have hesitated to pull the redshirt if Chelf had gotten hurt, but who knows how Lunt would have felt about that gamble?

I can't blame the guy for leaving, but I'm sure OSU hates to see him go. I'm expecting him to do big things wherever he ends up.

Brad in Fort Worth writes: Where do you see Wes Lunt transfering to?

DU: My money is on Illinois, where he'd play for former Oklahoma State DC Tim Beckman and help him build the Illini program back up to where it was when Juice Williams, Rashard Mendenhall and Ron Zook somehow earned a Rose Bowl bid.