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Friday, July 19, 2013
Mailbag: Best atmosphere, WVU, polls

By David Ubben

Thanks for all the emails this week. This goes out to many of you who have e-mailed in the past couple of weeks. Looking forward to seeing you all right here for Big 12 media days next week. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

Tyler in Memphis, Tenn., writes: Art Briles and Kliff Kingsbury seem to agree on one topic of discussion when conducting separate interviews. The best road atmosphere belongs to the Little Apple.

Art Briles talking to SBNation: "Right when you said it I thought Manhattan, Kansas. You want to stand next to someone and not be able to hear them, walk your ass into Manhattan, Kansas."

Kliff Kingsbury talking to Grantland: Kingsbury will confess his favorite road-game destination: "Actually, Kansas State. It's their fans. They're pretty choreographed, they do great cheers and chants, and they're always rowdy. That's a great atmosphere."

DU: It's definitely up there. I'd take Kingsbury's thoughts on that issue with a grain of salt, considering he hasn't been consistently around the Big 12 since he played back in 2002. Kansas State is consistently rowdy and definitely in the top tier. When OU and Texas are at peak volume, nobody can compete with either venue. West Virginia's very strong as well. The same is true of Texas Tech.

Phil M. in Bluefield, W.Va., writes: Once again Ubbs WVU did not finish where they would have liked last year. However, to make out like it was terrible is a stretch. They were 7-5 but could have been 9-3 easy. The TCU game we still feel we won and a one point loss to the Sooners. Don't be so quick to dismiss the Mountaineers they just might surprise some people. After all the same people who are burying them this year are the same ones that overated them last year.

DU: Fair points, Phil, but that goes both ways. West Virginia definitely could have lost to Baylor and Texas. Most of the time, close games break even, which is why there was so much skepticism around K-State after their crazy run of close wins in 2011. I'd say West Virginia's 7-5 record is perfectly representative of the team last year. It was easy to say they overachieved, but I think a lot of the folks around the Big 12 (myself included, sadly) were entranced by the flashiness of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and ignored a lot of the weaknesses all over the rest of the depth chart. That got exposed in Big 12 play. I'd expect WVU to make a bowl game this year, but not accomplish much more.

The WVUWonka in Charleston, W.Va., writes: So let me get this straight - Karl Joseph gets snubbed for two national award watch lists and an absolute no-name makes the Biletnikoff watch list(Jordan Thompson) ?!?!? Hold on a second and let me clean up this spilled drink I just spit everywhere when I read that.The national media really is clueless about our team - which is just what we like. Prepare to be surprised by WVU, this year, DubbStep. I guarantee we won't finish lower than 6th in the league.

DU: Let's clear up something about the preseason watch lists: Those are run by the award/trophy groups themselves. Sometimes they'll ask advice, but no media voting takes place on those things. Some are better than others. Some are more inclusive than others. Watch lists are mostly PR for the awards and some preseason hype for programs and various mid-level players, but it's silly to get too bent out of shape about anything regarding watch lists. The right players will be in the mix for those awards by season's end.

Phil in Bluefield, W.Va., writes: Hey Ubbs,Did you read about Steve Spuriers comments regarding Notre Dame. Never really cared for him, a little too arogant for my taste. especially after what he did to my Redskins. But, I will give him an atta boy for those comments. Hit the nail right on the head.The days of Rockne are over, join a conference like everybody else and quit being the leaches of college football.

DU: That rant was pretty high-quality. I didn't really understand the delivery, though. I don't know why the SEC's coaches felt the need to vote on that issue, and then not publicize it. If he really wanted that vote to carry some clout, delivering it in humorous fashion in the middle of a media frenzy this week as part of a rambling opening statement seemed to make sure it got swallowed up by a busy news week in the SEC. Doesn't make sense.

It's still never happening, though. Notre Dame's a big enough brand to exist on their own, and there's zero reason for them to join a conference. When they play in big bowls, the attention and money is far too great for bowls, or the upcoming playoff, to ignore.

Brandon in Ames, Iowa, writes: In the event of Sharknado which Big 12 Players do you want handling the Chainsaw? Flying the Chopper? Spitting out the one-liners?

DU: Well, give me Lache Seastrunk dropping one-liners on people. Self-confidence is paramount in any survival situation. That's Day 1 stuff. I'll take John Hubert with the chainsaw. He's quick, got a low center of gravity and by the way Collin Klein stole the show at K-State the past two years, you know he's not afraid to put himself on the line for the well-being of the group. I'll take Gabe Ikard in the chopper. He's a smart guy. His even-keeled personality and overall versatility is going to pay off in this scenario.