Friday, March 22, 2013
Mailbag: Brackets, Tech, draft, UT/Aggies
By David Ubben
Thanks for all your emails this week, folks. Here's where you can reach me if you haven't been heard.
Let's get to your emails!
Randy Wyrick in Leander, Texas writes: RE" your fantasy "March Madness" style playoff bracket involving the 2103 Big 12 football teams, you really didn't think that through too well, did you, David? After all YOU made the seedings and then YOU picked several upsets. That bears repeating. YOU picked upsets against your OWN seeding. And unlike the March Madness basketball selection committee which makes the seedings after the season is over, your seeding was based on exactly zero games played so far in the 2013 season. If you think #5 Baylor will beat #4 OU for example, then seed Baylor #4 and OU #5. Same for your other ?upsets.?
David Ubben: Now, now, Randy. That's no fun. I ranked the teams in the order I see them, but that doesn't mean they'd win 10 out of 10 matchups. Gotta have an upset in there, and part of it is matchups, too. Baylor isn't quite as complete of a team as Oklahoma, but right now, the Bears are a terrible matchup for the Sooners, which is why I picked them to win. It's just like the NCAA tournament. Oklahoma's offense isn't good enough to take advantage of Baylor's defensive shortcomings, and the Bears can get all over Oklahoma's defense. The Sooners' weaknesses were rather obvious late last season against Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas A&M and even Baylor in a late-season game the Sooners won.
It's no fun to just rank the teams and pick chalk. I'd say the way I picked it to play out is what I would like to call near-fetched.
Raider Face in Lubbock, Texas writes: Ubbs, if Kingsbury matches or exceeds last years win total in 2013, where do you see this team heading into the '14 season with a big percentage of our talent heading into their senior year?
DU: For all of Tommy Tuberville's shortcomings in his three-year tenure, he did recruit very, very well. Texas Tech is poised to make some noise soon, but it needs great quarterback play, and Seth Doege tossing 16 interceptions didn't help that. The defense also struggled at times last season, even though it was much improved. Under Kingsbury, I think that will continue. I'd be shocked if he doesn't keep Tech's resurgence on the recruiting trail going, though losing Robert Prunty is bigger for Texas Tech than a lot of people realize.
I've obviously written my thoughts about Michael Brewer this spring, but if Tech wins nine games or more next year, I can pretty much guarantee you that Brewer will be a big reason why. And he'll be back for more in 2014.
If that happens, it's hard to see Tech not being on the short list of the Big 12 title contenders in 2014. Another equally possible situation I could see happening is Tech's offense being nearly unstoppable, but the defense struggling yet again. The unit has a lot of new pieces in a new scheme, under new, young coaches in a league that is as unforgiving as they come for troubled defenses. That will probably translate into a 7-8 win season for the Red Raiders. Their success in this upcoming season will tell us a whole lot about how serious we can take Texas Tech as a team building toward a Big 12 title in the near future, whether that's 2014 or 2015.
Ben in Kansas City, Kansas writes: Ubben... how do the longhorns have bragging rights? They won't play A&M becaude they don't want to prepare for Johnny Manziel. Sounds like they are just scared.
DU: I mean, is this really a question? I'm getting tired of A&M and Texas fans pretending they don't want to play each other, as if the moment tickets for that game went on sale, they wouldn't sell out in minutes and fans wouldn't pack the stadium an hour before kickoff. That happens when you schedule Rice or Louisiana Tech or BYU too, right?
The simple truth is this: Texas would be much more willing to listen to pleas to resume the rivalry if it had lost the last game in 2011. They didn't, and they hold bragging rights for as long as they want. Texas A&M's rise under Kevin Sumlin isn't helping to change Texas' mind. In that way, you could say Texas was "scared," but proving they meant what they said when A&M was mulling a move to the SEC and holding bragging rights are much bigger reasons for not playing the game.
Tyler Krueger in Midland, Texas writes: Dave, Hope the honeymoon went well. Now back to business. I wonder what your thoughts are of a 1 loss Big 12 team reaching the National Championship game in 2013? For example could a one loss OSU, TCU or Texas get the nod based on SOS over a 1 loss Pac 12 or Big 10 team? or will this be the year the Big 12 has a bunch of top 25 teams but nobody strong enough to break through again?
DU: Thanks, Tyler. It was a good week.
Here's the deal with a one-loss Big 12 team: It's just not that simple. In a year like last year, where there were two undefeated teams, a Big 12 team would never get in the title game. In a year like 2011 with Oklahoma State, it's a little more complicated. Ultimately, it comes down to when you lose and who you lose to. If Oklahoma State lost a close game to a top 15 Texas A&M team early in the 2011 season at College Station but runs the table the rest of the way, it definitely would have had a much better chance than losing its 11th game to Iowa State. Late losses are killer. Losses to teams that are below .500 are even worse. So, there's no way to definitively answer your question when it's all relative to what the rest of the field does and the circumstances of that one loss.
Michael Bartlemay writes: Any idea why Terrance Williams has dropped on so many draft boards after such a stellar season?
DU: I don't quite get it. I think he's worth a first-round pick. Guys with his physical skills are truly a rarity. At times, he's not great at using his size off the line of scrimmage and lets corners get up in his space and throw off his timing with quarterbacks, but I don't buy criticisms about his hands or his route-running. He's not a burner, but he can get downfield and over the top of defenses. He proved that over and over again this season, even if his 40 time (4.52) isn't necessarily eye-popping. He's a guy I definitely think is faster in pads than he looks in shorts and a shirt.
If anybody does go ahead and take a chance on him in the first round, they won't regret it. You can't argue with his kind of production.