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Friday, December 10, 2010
Mailbag: Bowls redrawn, NFL Draft forecast

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Joe in Omaha, NE asks: If you were in charge of matching a team (reguardless of conference) to all the big 12's bowl eligible teams, which matchups would you want to see?

David Ubben: Interesting question. Most of the Big 12 matchups are snoozers, but Texas A&M and LSU and Missouri and Iowa are decent. So is Baylor and Illinois.

As for the rest, let me see these games (all picked within reason, so no Nebraska-Stanford, aka Luck vs. the Blackshirts. Sorry.):

Oklahoma vs. Ohio State: The Buckeyes took home a BCS bowl last year, but both teams could still use a bump in their street cred. Beating Oklahoma, even if it's not an SEC team, could do it for Jim Tressel. Texas and Ohio State played a couple classic games, including a Fiesta Bowl, this decade. Limas Sweed, anyone? What a catch in the 'Shoe. Quan Cosby, too, in that Fiesta Bowl.

I bet this would be a great game. Like OSU, Oklahoma could use the prestige boost. A win over UConn would be nice for the Sooners, but a win over a four-loss team won't completely satisfy the folks who think Bob Stoops has lost his "Big Game Bob" moniker. The Sooners played a better team last year (No. 19 Stanford, also with four losses) in the Sun Bowl. Plus, if the Sooners lose this year, it's an absolute disaster.

Nebraska vs. South Carolina: The Head Ball Coach against the Blackshirts? Yes, please. I'd like to see the good version of Stephen Garcia show up against the best secondary in the country, and we could see some high-quality football. Oklahoma's Landry Jones played as well as anyone against them and put up great numbers, but I'd like to see them take on Garcia, Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore. That could be a great matchup.

Texas Tech vs. Miami. Because...obviously. Most awkward bowl game ever? Not that he'll leave, but would that be the first time a coach has ever coached against his future team in a bowl game? Might be. If Tuberville actually left, he probably wouldn't coach this game, but remember people, we're operating in an ideal world. And in my ideal world, these things happen.


Joe Guilliams in St. Louis, MO asks: DU,What's happening with Gabbert next year? Is he coming back and if so will he start over James Franklin? Thanks, JG

DU: I'd expect Gabbert to come back this year. I imagine he feels like he left a lot on the table and Missouri should have a pretty good team in 2011, especially if he returns. (And, he won't have to see Nebraska's secondary anymore!)

He could still get a lot better, but it wouldn't surprise me if he made the leap this year. He's obviously a smart, coachable player and with his arm strength at every bit of 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, he'll make a lot of money in the league eventually.

Also, anyone who thinks James Franklin should be playing over Gabbert is out of their mind. He worked really well in the way Missouri used him this year, as a bit of a spot runner a la freshman year Tim Tebow, but nobody on that team is going to be able to run the entire offense as well as Gabbert, no matter how much Franklin improves next year.


Jeff in Memphis,TN asks: No disrespect to the Oklahoma State kicker,but how was the Nebraska kicker not even on the list. I watched the Big 12 title game and was amazed. Please enlighten this confused southerner.

Migu in Columbia, Missouri asks: What happened to the Mackey Award? I thought my man Michael Egnew was the sure bet to get it--I mean, isn't Egnew the top in most statistics for a tight end? Or is the selection process for the award getting ridiculous to the point that statistics doesn't matter anymore?

DU: I figured there would be a lot of questions about this, and there were. I threw these questions in here to refer you back to my thoughts on the issue from earlier today.


Bob Powell in Nazareth, PA asks: I live on East Coast and get no inside scoop anymore. What are the chances Broyles sticks around for Natl Title run?? How high in first round do you think he will go if he comes out?? How fast is he really?? Is he another Mark Clayton - which is pretty damn good. Thanks.

DU: I wouldn't rule out Broyles staying, but I think he'll leave, and it'd probably be a good call. I mentioned it earlier in the week, but he's learned a lot about the game. He's been a contributor for three years in this league. He's seen about everything defenses can throw at him. There's little issue about legacy; he owns eight of the nine major receiving records at Oklahoma. The only one he's missing is the single-game record for touchdowns, but he's had a three-touchdown game and the record is four. He's the best receiver in Oklahoma history, period.

He's fast, but he's quicker than he is fast. For an undersized guy like him, that's a big deal.  Also a big deal are his hands. They're some of the best in the game. He had one dropped pass this year, and Landry Jones said in midseason that before that drop, he hadn't dropped a ball since the third game of the year in 2009, against Tulsa.

As a receiver under six-foot, he's not going to be a guy that teams will draft in the early first round, like a Calvin Johnson or Michael Crabtree, but he'll have a solid NFL career. He made a brief appearance on Mel Kiper's Big Board earlier this year, but if he impresses in pre-draft workouts, he could probably be a late first rounder, but I'd be surprised if he dropped out of the second round. Other than his size, all of his measurables should be good, and though he's not 6-foot-3, he can still go up and get a jump ball from time to time.


Kanye West (Phoenix) writes: Yo, Dan Bailey, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but Alex Henery is one of the greatest college kickers of all-time!  Of all-time!

DU: A strong, strong candidate for best e-mail of the season. I want to drop a "Yup, these are my readers" so hard right now, you don't even know.