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Friday, November 11, 2011
Mailbag: Mizzou recruiting, top QB, UT BCS

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Thanks for all the questions. Here's my mailbag if you'd like to see yours here next week or bring up some intriguing info that might be useful for a post.

Ben in Arlington, Texas, asked: So Texas and UCLA have agreed to play again, this time in 2014 at JerryWorld. Funny, cause I thought just a few weeks ago, DeLoss Dodds said a game with A&M wasn't feasible because their schedule was booked ...

David Ubben: Whoops. Money talks. So does pettiness.

Chef in Austin, Texas, asked: Dave, In light of the big 12 and big east both (seemingly) surviving realignment despite hemorrhaging members, do you think it's even possible for a big 6 conference to die? Or will there only be mergers in this modern world of college athletics?

DU: Right now, it seems like both leagues have massive survival instincts. The Big 12 is at an advantage with major powers sitting in the league in Texas and Oklahoma.

Right now, though, most of the shuffling is only happening so leagues can hang onto their BCS automatic-qualifier status, and Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said he sees that going away in the near future, which would put a stop to the more nonsensical moves like Boise State or TCU to the Big East, and teams would go to the BCS on their own merit. It'll be interesting to watch play out.

Clayton in Austin, Texas, asked: If Okie State wins out and blows OU out of the water in the final week, the day before Bowl annoucements, and Texas finishes the season 10-2, who gets the other BCS bid out of the Big 12? Or does the Big 12 not get a second bid?

DU: A scary, infuriating thought to Oklahoma fans, but I could see it. It's less likely that Texas wins the rest of its games, but the blowout in Dallas aside, I'd have to think the bowl-game committee would consider momentum in its selection, particularly if the Fiesta Bowl was all that's left and OSU is playing for the national title. OU fans were there last year and would be swallowing a national-title season undone by an upset and injuries.

Texas fans would be celebrating a return to the national elite.

Just something to chew on with four games left in the season ...

Nick M in New York City asked: More an observation than a question: We've all heard why Mizzou's recruiting will dry up in Texas and how hard it'll be to land recruits against the SEC heavyweights. But I haven't really seen an analysis of how moving to the SEC might benefit Mizzou's recruiting. Surely it can't all be negative. I mean, I wonder how many big recruits, particularly in-state, Mizzou has lost over the years to SEC teams because that's where those kids wanted to play, not in the Big 12. Seems to me that Mizzou figured out how to recruit in Texas pretty well against heavyweight competition (granted by taking a lot of 3-star kids and getting the most out of them), so there definitely should be new opportunities for Mizzou to do the same in the SEC now too.

DU: The issue is two things: One, Texas and Florida have way, way more Division I talent than any state. Check out this study from last year. You're dealing with a huge pool. Texas produced 345 Division I signees last year. Florida produced 344. That's why Texas is so irreplaceable.

California had 253, Georgia had 170, Ohio had 144. No other state had more than 100. Missouri had 18.

So, you're seeing why this math comes into play and why Texas recruiting is so important to Mizzou, which has 35 players from that state on its roster right now.

With the move to the SEC, can Mizzou start recruiting Florida? Maybe. But in the Big 12, Missouri's earned the trust of a whole lot of Texas high-school coaches. They're in the club. Additionally, a ton of those programs in Texas play the wide-open offense that Mizzou's known for. There's a lot of talented, instinctive players who will quickly grasp what Missouri does.

Maybe Missouri can make inroads in Florida and Georgia. That's a long way from home, but so is much of Texas, and Missouri will play games close in the SEC East. Like Texas A&M, though, Missouri has to win to earn the interest of those recruits and credibility. That's the challenge ahead.

JL in Yukon, Okla., asked: If you had to vote right now, is Brandon Weeden your first team all conference quarterback or would you make the case for either Landry Jones or RG3? Thanks so much and love the blog!

DU: It's a tough call, but I'd probably have to lean Weeden right now. The numbers aren't way lopsided, even though Robert Griffin III's QB rating is higher. Weeden has made big plays when his team has needed him, rescuing the Cowboys from holes at Texas A&M and Kansas State. Weeden was the biggest reason for those victories.

RG3 needs a defense, but he didn't have enough juice against A&M and got outplayed against OSU. Jones played poorly in the loss to Tech. He might swipe the award back in Bedlam this year, but for now, my vote is with Weeden.