Friday, August 26, 2011
Mailbag: Does the SEC want A&M?
By ESPN.com staff
Thanks for the all the emails.
B. Stautzenberger (@coachrock4) in OKC asked: I hear so much that the a&m will struggle in the sec but at there worst they r better than both miss schools and vandy Kentucky. They are on par with auburn and Arkansas. And that's just football. I don't see why the sec wouldn't love to have the aggies.
David Ubben: Yeah, I don't really get it. The folks that know what they're talking about know that the SEC is crazy not to want the Aggies, which they clearly do. The only problem could be the 14th team.
The fans are kind of another story. As an Arkansas native, I know a pretty large group of Arkansas fans, and the majority of them are not excited about bringing in A&M at all. I spent last weekend in Kansas City with a few of them, and the lack of big-time accomplishments on the résumé and a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach has them and lots of other Hog fans pretty lukewarm to the idea.
The program, facilities and fans make it a good fit from the SEC perspective, though I disagree with the move from the A&M perspective.
I think you'll see all three of those get at least a temporary boost with the move to the SEC. The atmosphere for games will be amped up a bit the first couple of years, but I think the Aggies will have to win over a reasonable percentage of the fans.
Fortunately for them, the same doesn't appear to be true for decision-makers.
Ryan in Tulsa, Okla., asked: David,Im an OSU fan. I just don't think new OC Todd Monken will have the same impact as Dana Holgerson did last year. Dana just had that knack to stay patient and not ever get overwhelmed when it came to crunch time in big games. I feel Todd might get flustered and nervous in those big game situations when he has to call the right play at the right time. He already has to be feeling pressure about it. How do you think he will do? Also, do you think Brandon Weeden will get to be like Peyton Manning and have the ability to make his own play calls at times?
DU: Well, the facts add up to this: We have no idea. There's not a lot to draw on regarding Monken's play-calling prowess. We have Gundy's endorsement. That's about it. Monken might be great. He might be a significant downgrade. He might be OK. We'll find out pretty quick. There's not a lot of evidence pointing to any of those options just yet.
What we do know is this: He's going to have a heck of a lot of talent running his plays. That makes everyone look better.
As for Weeden calling plays, I don't see that happening, but he'll no doubt have a lot of input and impact on what's called. And besides, even after a play is called or even snapped, he still has a lot of effect on what's going on during the play.
Chris in San Jose, Calif., asked: Dubbs, I think you did a great job on the top 25 list, but you missed the mark badly on Michael Egnew from Missouri. I'll be the first to admit that he's no Chase Coffman, but he was a All American and voted MVP of the Missouri team by his teammates (over the others you chose for the list). Your point about how average per catch being 44th among receivers is less spectacular when you figure that the highest TE on that stat is at 37th. That's just not a position that lends itself to high avg per reception. He's the only BCS conference TE in the top 100 in yards per game, and he's top 10 in receptions per game, so even though other teams know it's coming to him, they can't stop him.But more to the point, I just don't see how you can leave a returning consensus All American off your top 25 list. There are only 4 returning consensus All Americans in the entire country.
DU: You make some valid points. And it was close. He was probably the first player just outside the top 25. I may be wrong on this, but I just don't see the physical talents that Martin Rucker and Coffman had. And the facts are also this: The crop of tight ends in college football is weak.
There's no Jermaine Gresham or Martellus Bennett in this group.
Here's the core my general thought process: If Andrew Jones was the only tight end on Missouri's roster, and he was given the exact same opportunities Egnew was given, would he be able to have a similar output?
In my opinion, yes. I don't believe you could say that about the players behind guys like Gresham, Bennett, Rucker or Coffman.
JG in Enid, Okla., asked: This is just awesome. Quinn sharp booting a 62 yard field goal in practice. Not only that the whole team cheering against him and special team coach Joe Defo calling timeout to ice him. Backup QB Clint Chelf taunting him in a manner that makes you think of the Karate Kid. Plus, you have to love Jonathan Rush holding back Grant Garner as he barks like a dog earlier in the video.
DU: Outstanding. Had to get that on the blog somehow.
Andrew in College Station, Texas, asked: Have you noticed that Pac 12 blogger continually picks teams to "whip" A&M in _____ bowl in the Pac 12 Best/ Worst case scenarios? Seriously, I know I've seen it at least three times.
DU: No worries. It's all simple reverse psychology. I hear A&M is shopping a new conference, but not one in particular. Ted's trying to talk them into coming out west and proving him wrong. He's a fiend, but never forget: Those West-Coast types are much, much smarter than the rest of us in the heartland.
Jared in Portland, Ore., asked: Dubbs, what's up with this years bowl schedule? No games on New Years Day? Did the BCS forget about tradition? Am I supposed watch parades when I'm hung over?
DU: No worries, fans. It happened a few years ago, and it's happening again. Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday, so the NFL will be playing that day. The good news: College football will be well-sandwiched around those games.
John Thomas in LeBary, Fla., asked: Not a single Red Raider in the top 25? From the team that has the longest string of bowl appearances in the Big 12? David, Southwest Airlines has several flights a day between Dallas and Lubbock. Book a flight. Spend some time there.
DU: Oh, I've made that flight quite a few times. I was out in Lubbock this spring. This isn't the Red Raiders' year, but who, exactly, would you suggest I put in the top 25 or near it?
Someone from the defense that ranked 118th nationally in stopping the pass and 114th nationally in total defense? Or someone from an offense that lost its top two quarterbacks, a three-year starter at running back and the two top receivers?
The Red Raiders have a lot of potential, but not a lot of proven players. Lonnie Edwards or Cody Davis was probably the closest to making the top 25, but they're going to have be a lot better this year.
Here's betting a few of them make the postseason top 25, but they'll only be there once they earn it.
Daniel in St. Louis, Mo., asked: I hear Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown are doing pretty well in the preseason. Is there any other school who produces more potential nfl starters at defensive back?
DU: No doubt about it. Texas is absolutely DBU. Credit Duane Akina for that, though. He's one of the league's best position coaches, and his secondary proves it every season.
Guys like Quandre Diggs have a lot of potential. Akina grooms them into stars.