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Friday, February 25, 2011
Mailbag: Bowl prospects, A&M recruiting

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Thanks for all the questions this week. Looking forward to next time.

Matt in Austin, Texas, writes: Hey David, [insert generic compliment to increase chances of this getting posted]. What do you think about K-State's bowl prospects for next year?

David Ubben: [insert generic thanks for compliment after posting], Matt. Flattery aside, I don't feel great about K-State's chances. I'm not ruling them out, but without Daniel Thomas and adding a ninth conference game, it's going to be a tough road for the Wildcats. There's a lot of excitement about the Brown Brothers, but I'm going to wait until they show us something concrete on something other than a high school field before I start buying into the idea that they're going to carry Kansas State at all, much less carry them to a season better than last year.

You never know what you're going to get with juco players, so there's a lot of potential in a guy like Justin Tuggle who's played at this level before back at BC, but there are so many other teams in the Big 12 that are more established and set up for success next year than Kansas State. I think they'll be about the seventh or eighth team in the Big 12 next year. They'll probably be better than Iowa State and Kansas, but anything beyond that will be overachieving a bit, unless Tuggle and the Brown Brothers exceed everyone's expectations a la Oklahoma State in 2010 with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.


Ryan in Sallisaw, Okla., writes: David, I love all the preseason hype my Sooners are getting. Although I don't want to be negative, but National Championship teams seem to always have the ability to run power football betweent the tackles to ice those close games. I just haven't seen the Sooners able to blow an opposing defensive line off the ball since 08. My question is what do you think the chances of the Sooners winning it all without this very important piece of the puzzle, or am I not giving the O-line enough credit?

DU: Blowing people off the line during the '08 season? Did you watch the national championship? Seemed like that was the exact reason why they lost. They did it well with that crazy-good O-line during the Big 12 season, but failures on the goal line doomed them against Florida.

The constant failures on the goal line against Texas A&M least season are definitely a concern, though. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Oklahoma lost a game due to the same reasons in 2011, but the Sooners are good enough everywhere else that it might not matter outside of a few occasions. Execute and convert in those spots and these conversations wouldn't happen.


Matt in Texas asked: What do you think the chances of my four on four flag football team getting picked up for the new look big 12 are?

DU: Not good. I'll put you in touch with the Big East, though. They're aggressively expanding into Texas.


Andrew in St. Louis asks: Who needs a haircut worse, Blaine Gabbert or Dave Yost?

DU: Ha, I actually am a big fan of the Yost cut. It gives Missouri's staff a little personality, something severely lacking in college football these days. Gabbert's 'do has progressed into something fairly mane-like by now, but to each his own, I guess. They can both keep it in my book.

Also, in writing this post, I discovered that Missouri's offensive coordinator shares a name with the Blue Ranger from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers of my youth. This is my favorite discovery of the offseason so far.


Andrew in College Station asks: The Aggies are off to an incredible start for 2012 recruiting with 14 commitments, 7 from the ESPNU 150 watch list. While this is all great, is there a point when they need to slow down and save room for players who don't become well know until they actually play their senior season? Or should they keep their momentum going and lock up as many good players as possible right now?

DU: Ha, this is where it's a bit of a double-edged sword. People criticize Texas for racking up high-level recruits this early like they normally do, a practice they curtailed for the 2012 class because some of those high-level recruits didn't turn into high-level Big 12 players. But when those guys commit early to schools that aren't traditionally in the national top 10 for recruiting, fans know it feels pretty good. Can't have it both ways. There's a lot that goes into making that leap from star recruit to star player, but if you have guys you know you want, get them when you can. As it stands right now, Texas A&M's recruiting class, according to our rankings, can compete with about anyone's. What does that mean? Well, I hope you learned recently that it might mean a lot, or it might mean not much at all.


Patrick in Lawrence, Kansas writes: Please stop talking about the state of Texas...we are all getting annoyed. Thanks! and love reading ya daily.

DU: Nah.