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Friday, October 28, 2011
Mailbag: Examining West Virginia's entrance

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Thanks for all the questions. Here's the link to try and make it in the next mailbag.

Here's my take on the Mountaineers' move into the Big 12.

Brad Waldo in Morgantown, W.V. asked: David,I have been a daily reader of the Big East ESPN blog and now I will start reading yours everyday. What kind of WVU coverage can we expect?

David Ubben: Only the best, Brad. Mostly, I try to offer praise when necessary and criticism when necessary. We've had a lot of both lately in the Big 12. I'm looking forward to getting to know you all, but here's a little bit more about me, back in my first-ever post on the blog.



Scott in Lubbock asked: DUbb Step,With WVU presumably taking Mizzou's schedule, Texas Tech's home schedule looks to have OU, UT, and WVU all coming to the Jones. That has to be one of the most exciting home schedules in the country, no?

DU: Gotta say, that's a new nickname. Not quite a fan. Of the name or the music genre. Anyway, I'd say you're getting ahead of yourself a little bit, Scott. There's no definitive word on scheduling, and there's no telling whether that gets shuffled.

So, on the surface I'd agree with you, but don't get too attached. I'd be surprised if some shuffles aren't on the way.



Kit in Chandler, Ariz. asked: With the decline of the Oklahoma Sooners' defense in the past few years, what are the chances Brent Venables gets the boot and Mike Stoops rejoins the Sooners as their defensive coordinator (he'll likely need a pitstop before getting another head coaching gig)?Also, would Mark Stoops consider moving into that role if it was vacated?Thanks

DU: Oh my. Come on, now. Take a step back, Sooner fans. I heard a similar sentiment this week from quite a few of you, but face the fact on this one: Venables is on the short list of the best coordinators in the country. You're completely nuts if you think the only way he's leaving Oklahoma is if he's getting a head coaching job.

One year, a coordinator does not make. Venables is nothing short of outstanding. I covered Oklahoma during its injury-riddled year back in 2009, and fans wanted to see Kevin Wilson gone, too.

This, a year after he coordinated the highest-scoring offense in the history of college football.

CHILL. OUT.

Fans are much too apt to put blame at the feet of coordinators when anything goes wrong. Oklahoma's problems on defense were mostly just in two games and were small-picture problems in the secondary that Venables is the man to solve. They aren't larger, recurring institutional problems that require a new coordinator. That's insanity.



Gary in Lubbock, Texas asked: What did you mean by the comment about Seth Doege continuing his "awesome march" being quiet?

DU: He's put up huge numbers competitive with any quarterback in the country, and almost nobody on the national stage had heard of him before last week. That was mostly because Tech wasn't ranked and had two losses. The Red Raiders are in the Top 25 now, but I don't know how many people are taking this team seriously as a Big 12 title contender.

Whether that happens or not, Doege's going to continue to be great this year and into 2012.



Andy Poling in Fairmont, W.V. wrote: There is no reason to fly to Pittsburgh to get to Morgantown. All WVU teams fly out of Clarksburg, WV for away games. Clarksburg is a 35 minute drive from Morgantown. Having to fly to Pittsburgh is a red herring.

DU: Good to know, Andy. Thanks for the insight. That helps schools a lot, but I still think it doesn't changes much for fans. Flying into Clarksburg is considerably more expensive. It's going to help make sure athletes aren't exhausted from travel, but West Virginia will be tough to get to for some fans. That said, that's nothing new for most fans.

Manhattan, College Station, Waco, Stillwater and Columbia all required drives of an hour or two after for most fans coming to the game after flying into nearby major cities.



Nucks in Afghanistan: David,I'm a Stillwater native and I bleed nothing but orange. However, I am currently serving in Afghanistan and won't be done with this deployment until spring of 2012. As time has gone by, I have found that the main thing that gets me through every week here (aside from Skype dates with my wife-to-be and family/friends back home) is college football. I read your blog as often as I can and so far, have been lucky enough to catch a few OkState games aired on AFN (American Forces Network). Waking up in the middle of the night or not getting to bed until an hour before sunrise is totally worth getting to watch the Cowboys play. Sometimes I get frustrated that I'm not at home while the Cowboys are doing so well... but at the same time, it definitely boosts morale for all of us Pokes fans while we do what we do over here. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for all that you do. For the Big 12, for the athletes that play and most of all, for those of us that serve overseas. I know you don't really think about it while you're blogging away or typing up stats... but your words help lift a lot of guys' heads over here, even if just for a day. It's the closest we can get to actually being at the game. So thank you, David. I believe in our nation. I believe in the Big 12. And most importantly... I believe in the Cowboys. Go Pokes.

DU: Always love seeing these e-mails. Don't credit me, though. The guys providing the real entertainment are the players on the field. They're why I love this game, and they're the guys that fuel all the excitement in fall around the country.

Thanks for all you and those abroad do.