Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big 12 [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Talking best O, QBs, backs, and sleepers

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Miss our weekly chat? Here's a look back and a few highlights.

Didn't get your question answered? Stuff it in my mailbag and I'll get around to it later.

Barry Switzer in Oklahoma asked: Pre-Season rankings are kind of cool but I never really put much thought into them seeing as how every year the Top 25 inevitably shuffle around. Having said that in your opinion how big of a target does OU have on its back from the word go and do you think this OU team has the maturity to handle the pressure week in and week out?

David Ubben: It's a pretty big one, no doubt. But I agree with what Bob Stoops has reiterated all offseason. How's that anything new for Oklahoma? There are plenty of guys on this team that were around for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. It was the same thing then.

Shane in Spring, Texas asked: How many trick plays will Bryan Harsin use against OU?

DU: I'm setting the over/under at 4.5. That's not a joke.

Andrew in Bryan asked: So what happens when the horns move malcolm brown (RB) to DE ( like chris whaley) because johnathon gray is so much better. wont it be weird to have two players on defense named malcolm brown? how will they communitcate? (also asuming he (DT) doesnt decommit)

DU: That smells like Aggie discontent. Seems like Texas A&M does pretty well with two good running backs, no? Is Texas not allowed to do the same? Only one player can get all the carries, and the other will be a malcontent forced to switch positions?

Andrew in Lubbock asked: Since we're already making preseason poll predictions, let's take it a step further. Who in the Big 12 do you think ends the regular season ranked?

DU: My guesses: OU, OSU, A&M, Missouri aaaaaand ... Baylor.

Orville in Lubbock, Texas asked: David: If Ryan Tannehill tanks, what kind of a season will A&M have? How dependent are they on a good/great season by Tannehill?

DU: Tannehill playing well would take them to a great season, but A&M is still solid everywhere else. If Tannehill throws for like 2,600 yards, completes 55 percent of his passes and has like 17 TDs to 13 INTs, A&M probably wins eight games. You have to have great QB play to win big in this league, but the Aggies are good enough to do OK even if he struggles.

Filemon in College Station, Texas asked: Who would you consider the top three darkhorses in the big12-2 for the 2011 football season? Assuming UT 2010 was only a minor blip..

DU: Well, I think it's pretty clear that OU, OSU and A&M are the favorites. My dark horses? Missouri, Texas and the darkest horse of them all: Kansas State.

Clyde in Cleveland asked: Best running back in the conference?

DU: For now, Cyrus Gray. But look out for Joseph Randle and Roy Finch. Losing six of seven 1,000-yard rushers means it's probably going to be a bit of a down year for running backs in this league after a strong class last year with Kendall Hunter, DeMarco Murray, Daniel Thomas and Rodney Stewart, among others.

Coach Rhoads in Iowa asked: David, who should start? It seems like everyone has a built in excuse this spring. Jerome Tiller had a bad throwing elbow, Steele Jantz was brand new, and James Capello and Jared Barnett are really only freshmen. A little help here...

DU: Rhoads told me it was Tiller's shoulder, actually, not the elbow. A teammate fell on it trying to recover a fumble. If I had to bet, I'd go with Steele right now.

Kirk in Texas asked: All time and Big 12 offense with no weaknesses? Who you got? Some are saying this 11 aggie team, others 08 sooners and 05 Longhorns. What's your take?

DU: Uh, let's pump the brakes a bit on the 2011 Aggies. They don't have anyone on that team close to what the Sooners or Longhorns had on offense. The Sooners had one of the best O-lines in the history of college football and a No. 1 pick at quarterback. The Longhorns had one of the greatest college QBs of all-time in Vince Young. A&M? A very good offense, but nowhere near that level. No weaknesses, maybe, but nowhere near as good as either of the other two offenses.