Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Mailbag: Bowls, Hammer time, MMA fights
By ESPN.com staff
Thanks for all the questions in the mailbag. Don't see yours? We'll have another one soon. Drop it in my mailbag.
Trey Willis in Krum, Texas, asked: Will the Big 12 lose any bowl alliances with the loss of 2 conference members next year? Also, is it conceivable, although unlikely that every Big 12 team could be bowl eligible next year?
David Ubben: I actually asked a Big 12 official about this recently. Right now it's still being ironed out. Those contracts will likely be altered, but this is one more thing that may not be finalized until the league's spring meetings in June. The Big 12 isn't going to be able to fill eight bowl spots next year.
Jesse in Amarillo, Texas, asked: Dear Ubbs, Do you think with all of the "love" Demarco Murray has been getting from Dana White and all of the UFC, that he is setting up something if football doesn't pan out? Would you step into the octagon with Demarco?
DU: I don't think that's really the plan for DeMarco. Football should work out for him. He started doing some MMA training during his summers awhile back, and I think he just developed a love for the sport. On Dana White's side, I'm sure he embraced DeMarco's interest. It's always good to have a high-profile athlete associated with a growing sport.
As for stepping into the octagon, I'd do it. DeMarco wouldn't, though. (Thanks to his NFL contract likely prohibiting it.) Guess that means I win by forfeit, right? I'll keep telling myself that.
Ronnell Lewis in Norman, Okla., asked: STOP! Hammer Time! Is it my time in Norman now that Jeremy Beal is gone?
DU: Now's the time if it's going to happen. I don't see Lewis getting beat out for a starting job across from Frank Alexander, but David King and R.J. Washington could make a push for playing time. The same goes for redshirt freshman Geneo Grissom. Get a nice start on a big year and that playing time will come, of course, but neither of those things is a given. Lewis looked like he struggled a bit with the mental side of the game last year, and the coaches barely even played him against option-attacking Air Force when he was at linebacker. He's a big hitter and a pass-rusher for sure, but to have big success, he's got to become a more complete player who better understands Oklahoma's schemes. That stuff takes time. Lewis has had it. Hammer Time is most likely now or never.
CB in Osage Beach, Mo., asked: David,Once Blaine Gabbert is drafted and signed, he will be the third straight Mizzou starting QB to make (and remain on) an NFL roster. That seems pretty rare, although not unheard-of (I think USC has a similar streak with Palmer, Leinart, and Sanchez right now). Am I right that this is pretty unusual?
DU: Yeah, it definitely is. Brad Smith, now a receiver/return specialist for the New York Jets is somewhat of a technicality, but Missouri's quarterback line is rivaled by very, very few across the conference.
Texas had Vince Young followed by Colt McCoy, but we'll see how five-star recruit Garrett Gilbert's career ends up. He may not even be the starter next year. That's still in flux. Before Young, Chris Simms made his way into the NFL. It seems like his ruptured spleen kind of derailed his career, among other things, but he's on the Titans' roster.
Oklahoma and Texas Tech have had great, great college quarterbacks who have had moderate to no success in the NFL after big college careers. Setting Sam Bradford aside (after all, he was the first Oklahoma quarterback ever to throw a pass as a quarterback in an NFL game since 1949), Jason White won a Heisman and Josh Heupel won a national title. That's pretty dadgum impressive, too.
Missouri's got a good thing going at quarterback, though, and the program has benefited. Their rise is only more evidence that having a great quarterback means wins in the Big 12 pretty often.