Friday, April 22, 2011
Mailbag: TCU-Big 12, Mack's future, new QB
By ESPN.com staff
Good set of stuff once again. Thanks, all.
Blake Gore in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: David - TCU Alum here....while I do agree that TCU really doesn't bring anything to the Big 12, the Big 12 doesn't already have (strong DFW market presence and another team to split the pie with).....to say we have no alum base or facilities, completely makes not only the response you gave, but essentially any further reporting you could offer about anything in the future; meritless. TCU's athletic facilities are top 10 in the entire country...on top of which, if we have no alum base...how can we pay $100 million + for a stadium...in cash? You live in Dallas so come over and check them out. SMU, Baylor, Tech..even Oklahoma don't have overall facilities like TCU. You're a young guy and obviously inexperienced in being a journalist....so a little tip...stick with the facts and your arguments will go a lot further.
David Ubben: Facts, you say? Who, dare I ask, would agree that a school with a 44,000-seat football stadium and a 7,100-seat basketball arena is among the top 10 facilities in the nation?
Talk about indoor facilities and weight rooms all you want, but none of that matters when you're talking about dollars. Renovate the football stadium all you want, but I don't see any teams in the Big 12 going undefeated and failing to sell out said 44,000-seat football stadium. The Frogs averaged fewer than 43,000 fans per game this past season.
I've been to TCU's football, basketball and baseball stadiums. Football, obviously, is in the process of getting a nice facelift, but like I said, if a 13-0 team can't sell it out every week, what can?
Baseball is already a gorgeous venue, but the Big 12 isn't handing out invites based on baseball stadiums. Basketball went seven years between sellouts this year, and when it did, the stadium was overrun with BYU fans. That program, with its impending entrance into the Big East, better brace for some rough nights in the coming years.
Hey, I'm as big of a proponent of TCU's football team as the next guy. I had it over Boise State on my top 25 ballot all year, and I'd have loved to see the Frogs get a shot at Auburn. That would have been a toss-up, and the Frogs were as good as anyone when they took the field this year. It's just a shame the fans didn't want to come see it.
Just having a good football team isn't enough to warrant inclusion into the Big 12. More than anything, it boils down to enrollment, which, over time, equals alumni. TCU has fewer than 9,000 students.
Baylor is the smallest school in the Big 12, and it has almost 14,000. The next smallest school in the conference? Oklahoma State, with just over 23,000 students.
So, there's some facts for you. Could, in theory, the Big 12 take a risk and invite TCU, hoping that the school and program rises with the Big 12's tide? Sure. But why take that risk? No one wants more than 10 teams right now, and the league is doing better than ever financially. There's no reason to add another mouth to feed that may not add enough value to the league in the future. Fox seemed to be just fine with the number of attractive matchups in the future.
But just remember, Horned Frogs, I only relay these facts because I hate TCU. No really, I hate it.
Filemon in College Station, Texas, asks: Now that Bevo is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN, what is your quota for UT stories?
DU: A minimum of 15 per week, with bonuses for hyperbole and overhyping.
Joe in Houston asks: Hey, Dubs. who you got for most underated player going in to next year?
DU: I may have a post on this in the future. For last year, it was, by far, Rodney Stewart, the running back from Colorado. Going into next season, though? I'll say Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope. Not freakishly athletic, but he's got great hands, doesn't drop the ball, and he's such an important part of that offense. He put up big numbers himself (72 rec., 825 yards, 4 TD, eighth in the Big 12), but because of what he does to defenses, it draws a lot of focus off Jeff Fuller, and was a big reason he had the first 1,000-yard season in school history last year.
Beyond him, people didn't quite appreciate what James Sims did at Kansas last year, either.
Asad in Missouri asks: Will Mizzou's offense look different depending on who is QB? If so what will be different?
DU: No, not really. If Tyler Gabbert wins the job, I think we'll see a good portion of James Franklin as a runner and somewhat of a passer. I think he'll have a bit larger role than he had last year. He's a much, much more powerful runner than Gabbert, who is hardly a statue, but there's not another quarterback on Missouri's roster who can move the pile like Franklin did.
Offensive coordinator David Yost actually compared that ability to that of a young man named Tim Tebow.
If Franklin wins the job, though, I don't think we'll see Gabbert get off the bench much unless Franklin struggles. They're pretty even as passers. It'll be close come fall. But Missouri won't be reverting back to the Brad Smith "snap it and run!" offense with either guy. It'll still be a spread predicated on getting the ball to playmakers like T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew.
Kyle in Norman, Okla., asks: Hey David, tough break DeMarco Murray didn't get on the cover of the new EA Sports NCAA Football 12 game, but this game is something I look forward to every July, will you be picking up a copy this year?
DU: Most definitely. I've bought that game every year since my boy Chris Weinke was on the cover in 2002.
Scott in Lubbock, Texas, asks: We all know that the biggest thing that separates the SEC from the rest of College Football is the talent and depth on the defensive line.With guys like Delvon Simmons, Leon Mackey, Scott Smith, Pearlie Graves, Chris Perry, and Jackson Richards, is Tommy Tuberville quitely putting together the best defensive line in the Big 12?
DU: Not right away, but the potential is there. Guys like Simmons are especially rare in this league, versus the SEC, where there's usually a few greats, like Marcel Dareus, Nick Fairley and Drake Nevis. Smith still has to get back on the field. Tuberville told me he's still in his doghouse.
If one or two of those guys become real game-changers, though? Whoa, look out.
Brett in Kansas City ask: David, how many wins do you think Texas needs to ensure that Mack Brown is back in 2012?
DU: Four. For those keeping score, that's the same number of BCS bowls he's been to since 2004, and one more win than he has in those BCS games. How quickly we forget. The idea of Mack Brown being on a real hot seat in the eyes of people with real decision-making power is comical. After said four-win season, though? Giving him nine wins in two seasons? The heat would definitely be on then.
Hunter in Aggieland, Texas, writes: "Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer 'Here'..." Especially proud to call myself an Aggie today. Support our troops and God bless.
DU: I'm not an Aggie, but Aggie Muster seems like one of the most special traditions of any university anywhere. A good friend of mine was at the big one in College Station last night and made the family trip over from Dallas, proud to honor their grandfather, among other fallen Aggies, the same way their previous generations did. I don't think there are many other traditions like it anywhere.
Big Bear in San Antonio, Texas, writes: Baylor, though almost as deep as anyone in the country at WR, looks to be fairly thin at RB. You have to have a good running game to offset/open up your passing game & of course that starts upfront, but you have to have decent backs to. Who do you see worthy of a starting RB position in the Big 12 out of our backfield? Should we be hoping the Allen, and Selders come right on in as freshman to help out?
DU: I don't agree with that at all. I really think Baylor should be pretty deep at running back next season. I like the complementary duo of Terrance Ganaway and Jarred Salubi a whole lot, and Glasco Martin looked pretty good this spring when I was in Waco. They're definitely good enough to be effective. I don't see either guy topping 1,000 yards this year, but together, they should do it easily.
You also have to remember, with Robert Griffin III attracting so much attention in the zone read and Baylor's high-powered passing game, it's not like these guys are running against nine guys in the box. They don't need to be Adrian Peterson. There will be plenty of room for them to run, and Salubi and Ganaway should take advantage.
Ben in Atlanta asks: Ubben, I'm totally on board with your idea of getting Arizona and Arizona State in the Big 12, but don't you think they'd be just as attached to the California schools as OU and Okie State are to the Texas schools? The money should be pretty close to even when the new TV deals are signed, so what could we offer them besides shedding the "west coast bias" label?
DU: Well, my biggest theory behind why both schools would leave is pretty simple: They've only been in the Pac-12 since 1978. That's not a ton of history. For fans of both teams, I don't see a lot of rivalries besides the one that with each other, that fans would be furious about ending.
To your other question, you're right: The money should be pretty similar in per school revenue (remember, even if the Pac-12 deal is worth more money than the Big 12's, which it likely will be, they're splitting it 12 ways). But the thing that now separates the Big 12 is those third-tier rights. If schools start making a lot of money off those (and this early, it's too difficult to tell how much they will), that's definitely something to offer both schools. At the core, these decisions are about money, and that's the only thing the Big 12 can do to convince them to leave: Convince them that there's a lot more money to be had in the Big 12. That may not be the case right now. In the future, it might be.
Again, the Big 12 isn't looking for membership, but if a situation in the future necessitates it, I don't see anyone other realistic option that would qualify as a huge get. Now, there's that little problem we call New Mexico that would make adding both schools a bit of a geographic stretch, but if there are suddenly superconferences sprouting up, that wouldn't be a huge issue.