Big 12: Delvon Simmons

Texas Tech opens up preseason camp on Saturday after players report today. Let's take a closer look at Kliff Kingsbury's squad going into camp.

Schedule: The Red Raiders begin practice on Saturday, and will also host a local media day that day. The Red Raiders open their season in Dallas on the road at SMU on Friday, Aug. 30.

Setting the scene: Tommy Tuberville's exit came out of nowhere this season, but AD Kirby Hocutt gave Tech fans exactly what they wanted: Kliff Kingsbury. He took a measured approach in spring practice, waiting to learn more about his personnel before he locked in what he wanted to do on offense or defense.

Eyeing clarity: Michael Brewer was the assumed starter in Lubbock, but true freshman Davis Webb enrolled early and made a big impression on the coaching staff. For now, there's no starter, but Kingsbury wants to name one in about two weeks, or halfway through fall camp. "We did that last year at Texas A&M and it worked out a little bit for us. Hopefully, we have that same success," Kingsbury noted. Jameill Showers was the assumed starter for the Aggies until midway through fall camp when Johnny Manziel pulled a big surprise and won the job. He did OK once the season arrived.

Fixing a big hole: Delvon Simmons was a solid defensive lineman for the Red Raiders after signing as a blue-chip recruit, but he left for USC back in June in a surprising decision, his second school change since signing a letter of intent with North Carolina in 2011. Tech has to figure out what to do with the tackle spot the 290-pounder left behind. Another top-level recruit, Michael Starts, also transferred. Kerry Hyder is a star, but the Red Raiders need Jackson Richards to step up in their absence. Hyder might slide over and replace Simmons in the middle, with Branden Jackson moving to defensive end. Redshirt freshman Anthony Smith has an opportunity in camp, too.

All eyes on: Kingsbury. He's attracted a ton of attention since taking the job, which is no surprise after he helped Manziel win the Heisman and returned home to his alma mater at 33, making him college football's youngest major conference coach. He brought back a ton of young assistants to Lubbock with Texas Tech ties, and the youth across the staff can be argued as a major positive or negative. Wins will decide which it is. There has been so much talk between visits with media and alumni. Kingsbury said this week he's tired of it. The heavy-duty work will start on Saturday. I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to find someone more excited than him.

On the mend: Linebacker Terrance Bullitt is a big-time talent that's a little underrated across the league. He suffered a shoulder injury down the stretch in 2012, and that shoulder has been a constant issue since he first hurt it back in 2011. He sounded psyched this spring, saying the game was "fun again" and he's back to full health. Tech's defense will benefit.

Emphasis: Kingsbury knew two big things had to be fixed right away: Penalties and turnovers. The Red Raiders committed almost a full penalty more than any team in the Big 12 and ranked 121st nationally in the stat. They also forced just 11 turnovers in 12 games, less than all but two teams in college football. That has been the focus all offseason, and if he fixes that, Tech will improve in a hurry.

Outlook: The Red Raiders didn't get a vote in the coaches poll, and the Big 12 media picked the Red Raiders seventh in the league. That's a fitting spot, but Tech is an experienced team with a lot of upside, even if it is short on truly elite talents. Eric Ward and Jace Amaro are fantastic 1-2 targets in the passing game, and Jakeem Grant adds some major explosiveness to the offense. Tech will be able to beat anybody in the Big 12, but in a deep league, they can lose to most teams, too. This looks like a 7-8 win team to me.

Quotable: Kingsbury, on the SEC's dominance as he moves into the Big 12. "I think anytime you win seven national championships in a row, you're on top. That's hard to dispute that. Great defenses, great coaches in that league, and I feel the same about the Big 12. I think it's cyclical in a way that in a couple years the Big 12 may be making the same sort of run."

Lunch links: Money can't buy Texas wins

June, 3, 2013
6/03/13
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Gotta love college baseball. Kansas State is inexplicably enjoying one of the best athletic years in its history. Hiring Bill Snyder to coach the baseball team, too? Great move.
Phil Steele knows college football, and rolled out his preseason all-conference teams recently, including the Big 12.

You can see the full conference picks here, but plenty of interesting selections from the college football guru. ESPN.com's teams won't be released until much later this offseason, but here's a few thoughts on Steele's teams:
  • Is it a little bit crazy to pick a guy who has thrown 10 career passes as your first-team All-Big 12 quarterback? Absolutely. If I had to pick one, though, would I tab Baylor's Bryce Petty as the first-team All-Big 12 quarterback to close the season? Yes, I would. Generally, I see preseason honors as a "Who's had the best career to this point?" type of deal and not as much of a prediction, but that's a personal belief and not anything the Big 12 officially states when it sends out preseason All-Big 12 ballots. Petty is an intriguing choice as the Big 12's No. 1 quarterback that's obviously going to draw attention, but I'm not going to be one to argue.
  • I'd say selecting Petty as the Big 12's No. 1 QB says just as much about the rest of the guys in the Big 12 than it does about Petty. Steele tabbed TCU's Casey Pachall as his second-teamer, Texas' David Ash as his third and Oklahoma's Blake Bell on the fourth team. I'd say Clint Chelf or Michael Brewer belongs in that mix, but none of those guys have the statistical potential of Petty. Pachall makes great decisions on the field, but TCU's offense doesn't give him the capability to routinely roll up 400-yard games. Ash is above average, but he's not a world-beater (doesn't need to be for Texas to win a Big 12 title, I might add) and still has to prove he can be more consistent.
  • This might be the deepest season at running back we've seen in a long time. I'd put John Hubert or James Sims ahead of Oklahoma's Damien Williams, but good selections from Steele to give Andrew Buie, Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown a little love, too. Opportunities are all that's limited Jeremy Smith from having a big year. He'll have them now, and I'm betting on him to be the seventh consecutive Oklahoma State running back to top 1,000 yards.
  • Conversely, this could be one of the weakest years for wide receivers. There are a lot of above average receivers in the league, but there's not a guy that jumps out as one defenses really fear and spend a ton of time game-planning for. Mike Davis and Josh Stewart are good, somewhat obvious picks for the first team, but I'd go with Jalen Saunders ahead of Tracy Moore, and probably Eric Ward, too.
  • Tough picks this year at safety, which has been easy for a while in the Big 12 with Tony Jefferson and Kenny Vaccaro hanging around. Tons of depth at that position. Steele went with Ty Zimmerman and Daytawion Lowe as his first-teamers. I'd probably say Joseph over Lowe by a hair but even when you get down to third-teamers like Baylor's Ahmad Dixon or fourth-teamers like Iowa State's Jacques Washington and Texas' Adrian Phillips, you're talking about guys who can really, really play. Could be a very defensive year in the Big 12, relative to what we're used to seeing in this league. Look at the cornerbacks, too. The dropoff from the first to third teams is negligible. Aaron Colvin and Jason Verrett have NFL-type measurables, but so do Justin Gilbert and Quandre Diggs and third-teamers Carrington Byndom and Joe Williams could be strong.
  • Steele illustrates the weight of Delvon Simmons' departure from Texas Tech. The defensive lineman was on Steele's second team before leaving school and electing to transfer. Kliff Kingsbury said last week he wants guys who want to be Red Raiders, but it's still a big loss for the Tech defense.
  • What about the kickers? It seems like everybody in the league hates their kicker these days, but two guys on Steele's list have their jobs up for grabs. Iowa State's Edwin Arceo is a second-teamer, but he'll be battling freshman Cole Nettlen to even get on the field once fall camp begins. Fourth-teamer Ron Doherty from Kansas is on the chopping block, too. Weis was displeased with just about every facet of his special-teams units last year, and completely revamped the way the units are coached. Every assistant coach now is in charge of one facet of special teams, instead of having one special teams coach. He brought in juco kicker Nick Pardula to try and fix those issues, too. He'll compete with Doherty in the fall, but Weis raved about Pardula's big leg when I talked with him last month. First-teamers Jaden Oberkrom from TCU and Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp are certified studs, but it could be an ugly year elsewhere in Big 12 special teams.
Delvon Simmons' road to Texas Tech was complicated, but his stay was short.

He's elected to transfer, according to multiple reports, leaving a void in the middle of Texas Tech's defensive line. Simmons won a starting job last season and made 27 tackles with six tackles for loss and two sacks.

Simmons, a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder from McKeesport, Pa., came to Texas Tech as a four-star recruit and the No. 3 player in his state. He signed with North Carolina originally, but never played. Tommy Tuberville's staff in Lubbock got Simmons to make the big move from Pennsylvania to West Texas in his 2011 recruiting class.

He would have been a junior this season and showed some promise, but can't seem to catch a break when it comes to coaching changes. He's got tons of talent, but wanted to leave UNC after his position coach took a job in the NFL. Now, another coaching change has him looking elsewhere.

It's not great timing for Texas Tech's defense, who won't find many others on the depth chart with Simmons' physical gifts. He didn't live up to the hype at Tech yet, but he definitely was on the right track. We'll see if he can reboot his career elsewhere. Junior Jackson Richards was behind Simmons on Tech's post-spring depth chart. Look for him to slide up into a starting role.

Simmons, who has two years of eligibility left, will have to sit out the 2013 season if he goes to an FBS school. CBS reported reported Simmons planned to visit USC.

Fresh faces: Texas Tech Red Raiders

August, 28, 2012
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Today we continue our look across the league at a few players from each team who had low profiles last year, but you'd better get to know before Saturday. They just might be household names by season's end.

More fresh faces:
Will Smith, LB: Smith's about to become the fresh prince of Texas Tech's defensive backfield. The juco transfer walked into the spring and before it was even over, had already secured a starting spot at middle linebacker. The 6-foot-3, 224-pounder showed up in West Texas via California and racked up 13 tackles for loss during his undefeated season in junior college last year. You never know how guys will handle the transition, but expect Smith to do well and fit in as a major piece that Tech's defense needed badly.

Delvon Simmons, DT: Simmons' growth is paramount to Texas Tech's improvement on defense. He didn't start last year, but made an impact with 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the rotation. It's easy to see why the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder was a super recruit who signed with North Carolina, but later decided he wanted out. Butch Davis' loss was Tommy Tuberville's gain. After a solid freshman year, it's time for Simmons to move into a starring role. He'll start at nose tackle for Art Kaufman's new 4-3 defense, but the Pennsylvania native should inspire plenty of excitement around Lubbock.

Le'Raven Clark, OG: The former high school All-American redshirted last season but will be the team's starting guard to start the season, despite no playing experience. Texas Tech's offensive line is pretty underrated and has big talents in tackle LaAdrian Waddle and center Deveric Gallington, both seniors. They ought to help the young guys along, but the biggest task for everybody on the line is staying healthy.

Opening camp: Texas Tech Red Raiders

August, 10, 2012
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Camp is open over in Lubbock. Before we get too deep in sweltering practices, I'll offer up a quick preview of what you need to know heading into the season.

See more fall camp previews.

Next up: Texas Tech.

Media's predicted finish: Ninth.

Biggest storyline: Texas Tech is on a little redemption tour of its own after breaking the Big 12's longest stretch without a losing season, one that reached back nearly two decades. Last year's 5-7 season was aided by injuries, but the defense simply wasn't good enough. The pundits clearly aren't convinced Texas Tech is ready to rebound and reach the postseason, but the Red Raiders should have the offense. Can they stay healthy and finally turn the corner after a couple of rough seasons to begin the Tommy Tuberville era? He's recruited really well. The Red Raiders have the athletes to make it happen.

Biggest question mark: The entire defense. Texas Tech was by far the nation's worst run defense last season. That's an accomplishment especially in the Big 12, where passing is the name of the game. The Red Raiders gave up 12 more yards a game than New Mexico, the next-worst rush defense and a team that won one game. They gave up 25 more yards a game than the 116th-ranked rush defense. New coordinator Art Kaufman is the fourth man in four years to be in charge of the Texas Tech defense, which fell victim to poor depth in 2011. Coach Tommy Tuberville says the basic terminology and schemes haven't changed, even though the alignments have, from a 4-3 in 2009 to a 3-4 in 2010 to a 4-2-5 last year and back to a 4-3 this year.

Who needs to step up: The defensive line. Even with the injuries, the offense was good enough to win 7-8 games or more last season, averaging almost 34 points a game. Still, there's no underestimating the importance of this unit's improvement. If Tech can't stop the run any better than last year, the offense won't have a chance. Defensive tackle Delvon Simmons must emerge at the front line of the defense. Tackle Kerry Hyder and ends Branden Jackson and Dartwan Bush are the guys who can have the biggest influence on whether or not Texas Tech's rise begins in 2012.

On the mend: This list could go on and on and on, but we'll focus on the biggest guys who need to be back on the field. That starts with running backs Eric Stephens and DeAndre Washington who are returning from knee injuries. Receivers Alex Torres (knee) and Darrin Moore (ankle) are back and healthy, though Moore is facing disciplinary action after an offseason DWI arrest.

Breaking out: Texas Tech may have a pair of linebackers who are household names by the end of the season. Juco transfer Will Smith took over this spring and earned a starting spot at middle linebacker. Tuberville wants him on the field as much as possible. Terrance Bullitt, a converted safety, is playing outside linebacker and the 215-pound senior is a big hitter who can fly around and be everywhere. He just needs to prove he can be where he needs to be when he needs to be there. He's got the athleticism to make it happen.

Don't forget about: WR Eric Ward. Torres has had a great career already, and Moore has all the potential in the world, but Ward was the guy producing in 2011, and returns as the team's leading receiver. He was steady during a rocky 2011, catching 84 balls for 800 yards and 11 scores.

Mailbag: Tech's woes, best fans, Air Force?

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
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Thanks for all the emails this week. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

Robert Powell in El Paso, Texas writes: David, Good article on Tech. Other than 'coaching cliche's', how can Leach's players not be near good enough for Tuberville's teams? Leach always had good/decent depth and playmakers. Now none of them can play (2011 season)? I know the defensive systems are different, but players play, no matter the system. Also, injuries happen, but Tech's apocalyptic injuries had to be among the most in all of CFB. How do Tech's number of injuries compare with other teams from '11 and in previous years? Keep up the great work!

David Ubben: Players play, yes, and the talent's been there on offense. Defensively, though? No way. Tuberville is right on. The Red Raiders' linebackers have been really underwhelming under Tuberville, because the upperclassmen haven't had the kind of talent you need to field a good defense in this league.

The corners have been bad, but they've been young, too. Tech hasn't had the kind of pass-rushers you need to compete in this league, and the best of the bunch, Scott Smith, missed most of 2010 and 2011 with a coach-imposed suspension. When was the last time under Leach that Texas Tech had a defender that really wowed you? For me, Colby Whitlock was the last I really remember.

Tuberville has stacked his team with some athletes like Leon Mackey and Delvon Simmons that haven't been at Tech for a long while. Those guys have to mature now.

Making matters worse have been the injuries. Tech's been hurt more by those the past two seasons than anyone else, especially on defense. Call it an excuse if you must, but it's the truth. I've been surprised at how slow the improvement on defense has been for Tuberville, who made his career on having great defenses, but there's no question he's been hamstrung by poor depth, and having that poor depth tested quickly by a ton of injuries.


Daniel in Waco writes: What do u think about adding air force as a way to recapture the Denver market?

DU: Not a fan of that idea for several reasons. Chief among those, Air Force does not capture the Denver market. Neither did Colorado in the same sense that, say, Texas or Texas A&M captured a market.

Here's the bottom line: All the true home run expansion possibilities are gone. A&M and Nebraska have massive fan bases that move the needle and provide a lot for any league. None of that is around anymore, but West Virginia was somewhat along that line.

Bigger than that, though, is the reasons why WVU and TCU punched tickets to the Big 12: Greatness on the football field. You don't want to count on a big fan base carrying TV ratings. What carries even more TV ratings? Nationally relevant games. You get nationally relevant games by having top 25 teams playing. Air Force doesn't have that.

To me, teams like Louisville and BYU are big question marks in that area, though BYU has the biggest fan base left. Either way, Air Force won't fit either of those. Not a fan of the Falcons in the Big 12. Louisville should be No. 1 if the Big 12 looks to expand, and BYU supposedly comes with plenty of other complications in terms of wanting to do things its way in the boardroom. They love independence. WVU wanted out of the Big East, and TCU's dreams came true with a Big 12 invite. For now, the league should stand pat.


Bob in Crab Orchard, W. Va., writes: Do you think that if Geno or Tavon Austin either one has standout seasons in the Big 12 that they have a shot at being front runners in the heisman running.

DU: Geno definitely does. I've written that a few times. Austin, though? He's going to have to do a lot in the special teams to truly differentiate himself. And even then, it's going to be tough. We've seen some amazing receivers come through this league, especially Justin Blackmon and Ryan Broyles the past two seasons. Neither had a real chance to win the Heisman. It's too difficult for receivers, and honestly, I think that's how it should be. Great players, yes, but receivers don't have the level of impact to win games like quarterbacks and running backs do. They just don't touch the ball enough. That said, Austin should be a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award.


Joshua Atkins in Tyler, Texas, writes: Ubben! You're Famous! No wait, this photo is supposed to be about Justin Blackmon kissing his girlfriend!

DU: That was only the second-best photo of the Fiesta Bowl, behind this one. A few of you sent me that photo from The Atlantic on Twitter this week. It cracked me up. And you know I can't see a player lay a big one on a cheerleader and not write about it, right?


Jack Thompson in Valdosta, Ga., writes: Hey David, Mountaineer till way after I die! I'm curious as to how well the other schools travel. I know we are well on our way to selling out every game this season and I know a portion of it can be attributed to the Big 12 folks coming to Morgantown. Really what I want to know is, if theres going to be a big ole (insert any B12 school ) motorcoach sporting team colors parking next to ours?!

DU: Well, that's a complex question. When Nebraska left, so did the only team in the Big 12 that completely swarms a city regardless of how big a game is. If it's a huge game, you'll see plenty of Big 12 fans in your city. Texas and Oklahoma obviously have the biggest fan bases, and they'll be, to quote one Big and Rich, comin' to your citaaay.

If I had to pick one team you could count on to travel regardless of the magnitude of the game, I'd probably say Kansas State. The Wildcats don't have the biggest fan base, but it's one of the most loyal. The Cats love them some Bill Snyder.


Seth in Kansas City, Mo. writes: I've got a plan for you to follow. How about, until the 2012-2013 academic year starts, you continue to report on the Mizzou Tigers and A&M Aggies. You know, what your job entails? Maybe I am misunderstanding your position here. You are a college football reporter for the BIG12 for ESPN correct? And the realignment does not take effect until 2012-2013 correct? Now that you have a complete understanding of the situation maybe you'll start to do your job.

DU: Glad to see you're one of our most loyal readers, Seth! Thanks for checking us out every day!

Wrapping up Texas Tech's spring

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
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Got a chance to catch up with Red Raiders coach Tommy Tuberville this week, and if you missed it earlier this week, here's a look at a couple stories from that conversation:
He had plenty more to say, though.
    [+] EnlargeTommy Tuberville
    AP Photo/Eric GayTexas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville came away encouraged with spring practice despite having to deal with numerous injuries.

  • Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are the Big 12's only teams without indoor facilities, so Tuberville readily admits the Red Raiders roll the dice every year with weather when they start spring. This year, Tech began practice on Feb. 17, before any other Big 12 team. They only missed two practices, and made up the time before last Saturday's spring game. Tech is already finished with spring practice, but Kansas State hasn't even started.
  • You know football teams have 22 starters, right? Texas Tech was missing six to seven starters this spring from injuries suffered during the season. Nobody got beat up last year like Tech did. Mizzou was a distant second. Oklahoma had big-impact injuries (Ryan Broyles, Dominique Whaley), but had nowhere near the volume Tech did.
  • Texas Tech has hauled in top 25 recruiting classes in each of the past two years, two of the best in school history. But for the players even in the 2011 class, it's easy to forget most are entering their first spring. Tuberville thought this spring was really valuable for guys like DL Delvon Simmons, LB Branden Jackson, DE Kindred Evans, QB Michael Brewer, RB Kenny Williams and OL Le’Raven Clark. "They didn’t know what to expect but that’s where you can get better. That’s where you work on a lot of fundamental techniques, so that was the main objective, trying to bring up the level of the young guys on the team," Tuberville said. "Some ended up playing, but we didn’t have a lot of time to spend with them on fundamentals because of game planning in the fall."
  • Tuberville loved what he saw from juco transfer Rashad Fortenberry out of Mississippi. "He’s going to be a real solid left tackle behind LaAdrian Waddle, and that was a big concern with him coming out of junior college," Tuberville said. "He had a very good spring, but I think we really readied ourselves there in terms of depth on the offensive line."
  • Looking for leadership? Tuberville feels like he identified it during the last 15 practices. Defensively, S Terrance Bullitt, S D.J. Johnson, S Cody Davis and DE Kerry Hyder emerged this spring. For the offense, Tuberville saw leadership out of offensive linemen Waddle and Deveric Gallington.
  • There was plenty of hype around Brewer at quarterback this spring, and Tuberville loves what he's seen from the apparent heir to the Red Raider QB throne. "He’s got the ability and the luxury of playing behind [Seth] Doege and learning from him and how he handles himself and how he’s worked through adversity. Seth’s been a very good coach," Tuberville said. "He’s got a lot of room for improvement, but the main thing is his leadership and his knowledge of the offense were much, much better this spring."
  • The offense had a rough spring at times, but Tuberville pointed to his reliance on a lot of different players and combinations at receiver and on the offensive line that produced some short-term struggles he hopes are long-term advantages. "We’ve got so many receivers that we’re looking at," Tuberville said. "There wasn’t one day that we had the same guys playing the same position at the same time, so timing was off a little bit, but that’s a luxury for us." Among the receivers who made great strides during the spring: Javon Bell, Tyson Williams and Derek Edwards.
  • Art Kaufman is Texas Tech's fourth defensive coordinator in four years, but Tuberville says his scheme isn't much different from the 4-2-5 Texas Tech ran under Chad Glasgow in 2011. "We’re pretty much running our same things, we just changed a little of our philosophy and some of our techniques that we’re playing in the secondary and at linebacker," he said.
  • From my estimation, Texas Tech may have the best special teams duo of any squad (outside of do-everything Quinn Sharp at Oklahoma State) in the Big 12 next year. New kicker Ryan Bustin "picked up right where Donnie Carona left off." Tuberville estimates he made 90-95 percent of his kicks in game action this spring. Punter Ryan Erxleben averaged about 48 yards on his eight punts in the spring game, and Tuberville called it some of the best punting he'd ever seen. "I think Ryan has finally bought into the situation that golfers and basketball players and a lot of skill guys finally come to the conclusion of, 'I’ve gotta get stronger.' A lot of kickers and punters don’t believe that," Tuberville said. "They believe in more flexibility, but Ryan’s bought into the fact that he’s got to get his leg stronger and in the last eight or nine months, he’s worked on that, and I’ll tell you, he had a really good spring."
  • Tuberville was disappointed in his secondary for good reason in 2011, but likes what the unit showed during the spring, especially after moving receiver Cornelius Douglas to defense and keeping him there. "We’re much better with him and Eugene Neboh and Derrick Mays who, I think, is making a lot of progress. We still don’t have the depth we need at defensive line," Tuberville said. "It’s a work in progress, but we’ve got two more coming in from the high school ranks."

Lunch links: TCU fallout, Big 12 expansion

February, 21, 2012
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It can't be appendicitis. I eat more than enough bacon.

Talking new teams, A&M drama, rivalries

August, 30, 2011
8/30/11
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Thanks for all the questions this week. We had some fun. Here's the full transcript.

Didn't get your question answered? My mailbag is always open.

Now, on to the highlights:

LT in Birmingham asked: What do you think about the BYU to Big 12 chatter?

David Ubben: It's in its very, very early stages, but it'd be mutually beneficial for both sides.

Cris in Waco asked: Hey Ubbs! Can't get enough of the blog or Baylor. What do you think of Lache Seastrunk's chances at being eligible this season, and if so what kind of impact to you think he could have for the Bears offense?

DU: He's better off sitting out by now. It sounds like the decision might take awhile, and if it's already a game or two into the season, he's probably not going to get much out of this year as is. Best to wait until 2012. Might have been different if he transferred in July.

Thomas in Columbia, Mo. asked: How much of an impact do you think the A&M drama affects other Big 12ish schools on the recruiting trail? It seems to me that high caliber players would not want to come o schools where there is uncertainty in the league.

DU: Interesting question. That's something that hasn't been explored yet, but I don't imagine it's a problem for schools like Texas and Oklahoma. Places like Iowa State and Kansas State? Hard to believe it wouldn't be, at the very least, a concern.

Brent in Utah asked: Have there been any rumblings of the pac-12 renewing it's interest in the Texas Oklahoma additions they sought last year?

DU: Not yet. I think Oklahoma would be wise to at least look at the option, but it sounds like everybody's "on the plane" as a man I know once said, regarding the future of the Big 12.

James in College Station asked: Dave, I'm one of the few that is skeptical of the SEC move but for competitive reasons but I'm sick of people sayings its our fault if the Texas-A&M game goes away. That's ridiculous. We want that to continue no matter what. Why are we the bad guy?

DU: Ha, nobody's saying that. At least not anybody who knows what they're talking about. Texas will probably put the dagger in the rivalry, but let's not act like A&M was an innocent bystander in the whole deal.

Evan in Aggieland asked: Hey Ubbs, has ESPN told you where all you're being sent this weekend yet?

DU: Yep. Will be announcing on the blog on Thursday.

Ryan in Ohio asked: Do you miss the Missouri--Illinois Arch Rivalry?

DU: I do. It was a great game. I'm guessing Ron Zook will not miss it.

Andrew in Missouri asked: Do the Tigers have a prayer in Norman this year?

DU: Yeah, probably sometime before the game, either in the locker room or just before they take the field. Most likely led by James Franklin.

Shep Klinke in College Station, Texas asked: I better make your post-season Big 12 All-Name team!

DU: My apologies. I was so disappointed in myself when I saw that on A&M's depth chart. You'd knock Austin Wuebbels off that team in a second.

Matt in Columbia asked: Oh David, saying the Big 12 won't fold is a little na´ve don't you think? How does the Big 12 survive if Missouri bolts?

DU: Sorry, I can't read your question behind that gigantic if. Can you submit it again?

Jerome in Toronto, Canada asked: Why didn't you list Arizona and Arizona State as your pipe dream teams? Earlier this year, you went on and on about adding these PAC teams. Did you finally see the light and realize they were not going to leave the PAC for the Big 12? Just curious why all of a sudden you didn't include them

DU: After the Pac-12 signed that new television deal and announced the new television networks, it pretty much ended that dream. ASU and UA aren't happening. I wrote as much back when it happened, I think.

Raiderttu06 in Lubbock asked: What are your thoughts on the Red Raider Defensive Line now that Delvon Simmons has gotten the all clear from the NCAA. Looks like the Depth is back on Defense which was missing last year with injuries.

DU: Very underrated entering the season, but a lot of unknown commodities. The best news? Those guys up front may be able to mask possible problems on the back line.

HawkFanBeau in Waffletown asked: If the three best teams comes down to a undefeated B1G, undefeated non-OU/Texas Big XII and a one loss SEC. Who plays for the chrystal ball?

DU: The Big Ten team and the Big 12 team while the SEC's fans wail, thrash and scream.

Notes/thoughts from the Big 12 two-deeps

August, 29, 2011
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A few teams across the Big 12 updated their depth charts in preparation for the season. Here's what you ought to know.

KANSAS STATE
  • Bill Snyder's depth chart for the team's game notes heading into next week's game against Eastern Kentucky? A work of art.
  • Snyder said he'll be releasing the depth chart tomorrow. More later on the Wildcats.
OKLAHOMA
  • Oklahoma didn't have any huge surprises, but the biggest news: Jamell Fleming has officially reclaimed his spot above Gabe Lynn at the boundary corner spot, despite missing all of spring practice after leaving the university.
  • Three true freshmen also broke the lineup. Kameel Jackson will back up Trey Franks at receiver, and recently added linebacker Kellen Jones is a co-backup with Jaydan Bird behind Tom Wort at middle linebacker. Nila Kasitati is a co-backup behind Tyler Evans at right guard.
  • Doubt the committee approach at running back? Brennan Clay, Dominique Whaley and Roy Finch are all co-starters at the position. Finch is listed last on that group, but we'll see how carries are distributed in Week 1 vs. Tulsa. Whaley is a walk-on who has had big days in the spring game the past two seasons.
  • Ronnell Lewis is listed as the starter at defensive end, but the university has yet to officially clarify his eligibility status. Kenny Stills is likely suspended for Saturday's game after an offseason arrest, but he's listed as the starter at receiver.
TEXAS TECH
  • Texas Tech has pair of hyped defensive linemen, and both cracked the two-deep. Leon Mackey, a juco transfer, will start at defensive end in Week 1 for the Red Raiders against Texas State. Meanwhile, former UNC signee and recently cleared true freshman Delvon Simmons will back up Kerry Hyder at defensive tackle in Chad Glasgow's 4-2-5 scheme, fresh from TCU.
  • Glasgow will lean on a true freshman for one of his two linebacker spots. Blake Dees had a huge impact in the spring and solidified his starting spot during fall camp.
  • Receiver Marcus Kennard, a juco transfer, looks like he'll redshirt after not showing up on the two-deep, but Darrin Moore will grab the Z receiver spot for the Red Raiders.
OKLAHOMA STATE
  • The rumors have been officially proven correct at Oklahoma State: The Cowboys return all five starters on the offensive line, but juco transfer Michael Bowie has crashed the starting lineup at left tackle. He'll replace Nick Martinez, who'll back up Lane Taylor at right guard now. The Cowboys offensive line is the league's best, and clearly, Bowie's hyped arrival gives it a whole lot more than depth.
  • Justin Gilbert has officially usurped Devin Hedgepeth as the corner opposite Brodrick Brown. No surprise there. Gilbert's ceiling is sky high.
  • Caleb Lavey was the likely starter at the spot, but he'll officially start the year as Orie Lemon's replacement at middle linebacker, where he began spring camp.
MISSOURI
  • Justin Britt replaces Elvis Fisher at left tackle. The sophomore had been inside, but the team saw him moving outside eventually. He'll take that spot now with Fisher out for the season with a torn patellar tendon.
  • Hyped juco transfer Sheldon Richardson? Fifth on the depth chart no more. The recently cleared big man moved to No. 2 at defensive tackle behind Terrell Resonno.
  • Center Travis Ruth is out for the opener against Miami (OH). Jayson Palmgren fills his void.
  • Starting corner Kip Edwards is doubtful. Trey Hobson is listed as the starter.
  • Receiver Jerrell Jackson is also doubtful. Marcus Lucas will get the nod if Jackson can't go.
  • True freshman Corbin Berkstresser grabbed the No. 3 quarterback spot behind James Franklin and returning backup Jimmy Costello, who left the team and planned to join the Army, but re-joined after Tyler Gabbert's transfer.
IOWA STATE
  • Iowa State made it official on paper: Steele Jantz is the starting quarterback. His backfield? Crowded, but led by Shontrelle Johnson, as expected.
  • I'm not sure if it means he's playing for sure just yet, but Darius Reynolds is listed as the starter at one of the three receiver spots, despite suffering a broken toe earlier in fall camp.
  • A.J. Klein, meanwhile, has moved to middle linebacker next to weak side linebacker Jake Knott. Matt Tau'fo'ou started at middle linebacker spot last year, but after suffering a broken leg, he's backing up Klein in the middle. C.J. Morgan, a freshman, takes over at strong side. I haven't seen Morgan play, but at 207 pounds vs. Klein's 243, he'd presumably offer some more, much-needed speed at the position. Jacob Lattimer? Starting at defensive end, despite a March arrest and suspension.

Red Raiders get big news from NCAA

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
11:30
AM ET
Delvon Simmons is a 6-foot-5, 286-pound defensive tackle who ranked among the nation's top recruits in the 2011 class.

Now, he's officially an eligible piece of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Simmons, a native of McKeesport, Pa., originally signed with North Carolina, but had a change of heart and decided to head to West Texas to play for Tommy Tuberville.

He began practicing on Aug. 6, but was cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Wednesday.

"He’s a Red Raider a hundred percent now,” Tuberville told reporters after a scrimmage Wednesday. “I think the pressure’s off him. He’s going to be a heck of a football player. I think he even practiced better today knowing he was going to be here for sure.”

Tuberville said he noticed a difference in Simmons after being notified of the news in a meeting before the scrimmage.

"It was stressful,” Simmons told reporters. "Just thinking about it, thinking about playing football, thinking if I was going through all this for nothing. It was stressful."

No more, and now the Red Raiders' depth at defensive tackle gets better, and Simmons could provide a lot more than just depth sooner than later.

Donald Langley and Kerry Hyder are atop the depth chart heading into the Sept. 3 opener against Texas State.

"I hadn’t understood it the whole time, but what else is new when you’re dealing with folks up north?" Tuberville told reporters, alluding to the NCAA offices in Indianapolis. "It worked out. It should have been worked out a long time ago, because he did everything he needed to do. But you’ve got to go through the proper channels. There’s a lot of red tape that we had to work through. A lot of people did a good job of helping in terms of getting our message over."

Talking Aggies/SEC, UT inferiority, future

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
4:45
PM ET
Thanks for all the questions this week. Here's the full transcript of our weekly chat.

Didn't get your question answered? My mailbag is open.

And some highlights:

Greg in Omaha asked: What's been the reaction about Bo's comments on the officiating during the aTm game?

David Ubben: Not much. There's not much that's going to happen at this point. I don't buy it, but I do think Bo believes an official said something to that effect. Doesn't mean that's what an official meant, but Bo also realizes that his reactions during the game brought some of that on himself.

Bo Pelini in Nebraska asked: Is there a statute of limitations for my complaining about being shafted by Texas and the Big "whatever"?

DU: I don't think so, but in his defense, this wasn't a random rant. He was asked directly about it.

Mike Hale in South Austin, Texas asked: Which QB gives Texas the best shot at 9 victories this year Wood, McCoy or Gilbert? If Gilbert is unable to gain the trust of the players around him I see more internal issues arising as long as he continues to start...if that is the case. Whatchu know about them Texas Boyz!

DU: Every indication I've gotten is that Gilbert is the most vocal of the three quarterbacks, unlike the situation at Missouri, where Tyler Gabbert was a lot more vocal than James Franklin, which could have gotten awkward at some point. I don't think gaining his teammates' trust is going to be a problem for Gilbert. Everyone on that offense understands no one got it done last year.

Christopher in Houston asked: Is it football season yet?

DU: A little over four weeks. I can't wait.

Peter Terpstra in Columbia, Mo. asked: Mizzou historically always seems to be a let down in clutch moments. With last year's OU victory, what are the chances that the Tigers can finally bring everything together and land themselves in the Big 12 Championship game or better?

DU: Missouri could put it together, but I don't care what they do...there's zero chance Missouri gets to the Big 12 Championship game this year. I'd bet my life on it.

Damian in Utah asked: as of right now, who do you got between BYU vs Texas?

DU: Cougs.

Dan K. in Trophy Club asked: Has Tubs turned the corner on the recruiting trail in Lubbock?

DU: Certainly looks like it. He's brought in some big time guys almost immediately. Leon Mackey and Delvon Simmons are exciting players, and next year's class has big time receivers, including Dominique Wheeler. I'd expect the 2012 class to be the best ever for the Red Raiders, topping the 2011 class.

Jared in Texas asked: Can you hide your bias view a little better? From what I can tell your man crush on everything non-UT comes through in every chat you do...

DU: Sorry for not fawning over a five-win team with self-declared "entitlement" issues.

Travis in San Antonio asked: What is your favorite stadium in the big 12 and who do you think has the best game day atmosphere?

DU: Texas has the best stadium. Texas A&M has the best game day atmosphere.

Jonathan in Washington, D.C. asked: What exactly do you think it will take for A&M to get rid of the "little brother" perception with Texas?

DU: Not gonna happen. The inferiority complex with A&M toward Texas has intensified quite a bit over the past year, despite A&M clearly being the better football in that same span.

Luke in Pflugerville, Texas asked: Texas A&M seems to think someone cares if they bolt for the SEC....Texas doesn't. Realistically how do you think the Aggies would do...considering over the past 10 years they couldn't hold their own in the BIG 12

DU: Ha, let's not kid ourselves here. People care if Texas A&M leaves. I do think that could likely usher in the end of the Big 12 as we know it, and lots of folks care about that, Texas included, which would have some very difficult decisions to make if it happened. As for how Texas A&M would do in the SEC, I'd see them winning one conference title every 10-20 years.

When I say they would have trouble winning there, people want to make it seem like they'd be a cellar dweller. Not so. They'd win and go to bowl games consistently. But winning big? Not a good chance to do that consistently with the caliber of programs at the top of the SEC that are used to playing SEC-style football.
We've tackled every other spot, and now we'll wrap up out Big 12 position rankings with the defensive lines across the Big 12.

Here are the rest of the position rankings.
Now that we've finished ranking the complete units, we'll start ranking the top 10 at each position very soon leading into the 2011 season.

This is a decent position for the Big 12 this season, and the top half of the league should feel pretty good about their group. There aren't many studs in this group, but there are a whole lot of solid players.

Brad Madison
AP Photo/Pat SullivanMissouri has one of the Big 12's best pass rushers in Brad Madison.
1. Missouri -- Missouri has the Big 12's best returning pass rusher and a Defensive Player of the Year contender in Brad Madison, but its depth is what lands it on top of the list. Jacquies Smith is solid at the opposite defensive end spot, and Michael Sam and Kony Ealy provide great depth at DE. Dominique Hamilton's absence last season hurt after breaking his ankle against Oklahoma, but he's back, alongside Terrell Resonno. Sheldon Richardson, who may be transferring from junior college, is a wildcard that could be anywhere between a complete game changer, irrelevant or absent.

2. Oklahoma -- Oklahoma's defensive tackles are somewhat suspect, but the defensive end combo of Ronnell Lewis (provided he is eligible come fall camp) and Frank Alexander is on par with the best in the Big 12. Both were preseason All-Big 12 selections, but Jamarkus McFarland needs to make good on his potential. Stacy McGee and Casey Walker should both get time at the other tackle spot.

3. Texas -- Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat is loaded with potential as the nation's former No. 1 recruit. He had a big impact early last season before being slowed by an ankle injury. Alex Okafor moved outside from defensive tackle just before spring and had five sacks in the spring game. Inside, Kheeston Randall is an All-Big 12 favorite, but Ashton Dorsey had a strong spring and could help out with Reggie Wilson opposite Randall.

4. Texas A&M -- The Aggies have one of the best linemen in the league in Tony Jerod-Eddie, but Jonathan Mathis, Eddie Brown Jr. and Ben Bass have a lot to prove around him after the loss of Lucas Patterson, who was outstanding in 2010.

5. Texas Tech -- Sam Fehoko has moved to defensive end from middle linebacker, and should provide some good speed to the front line. Scott Smith looked on his way to an All-Big 12 campaign last season, but was suspended for the remainder of the season by coach Tommy Tuberville and has yet to be officially reinstated. For now, Dartwan Bush and Aundrey Barr will help out at defensive end, outside of Donald Langley, Kerry Hyder and Pearlie Graves. The Red Raiders did snatch a big pickup from departed UNC signee Delvon Simmons, a defensive tackle that could have an impact immediately.

6. Oklahoma State -- Defensive line is the biggest weak spot for the Cowboys, who have a decent set of ends in Jamie Blatnick and former heralded recruit Richetti Jones, but an even bigger question mark at defensive tackle where Christian Littlehead and Nigel Nicholas enter fall camp as starters.

7. Kansas -- Top rusher turned defensive end Toben Opurum came on strong late last season and should be one of the most exciting Jayhawks to watch in 2011, but the rest of the line leaves a bit to be desired. Keba Agostino has the other starting spot at defensive end ahead of Pat Lewandowski, who had a great spring. Patrick Dorsey and John Williams enter fall camp as starters at defensive tackles.

8. Kansas State -- K-State recruited this position hard in its 2011 class. For now, defensive end Brandon Harold will try to bounce back from a disappointing 2010 after a promising 2009. Lance Dunbar and Taylor Martinez think this group is ranked too high, but Meshak Williams could start opposite Harold, while Ray Kibble and Raphael Guidry should be the tackles inside.

9. Baylor -- Tevin Elliott was limited this spring because of offseason shoulder surgery, and Terrance Lloyd exited spring practice as the starter, but I'd expect Elliott to regain the spot by the time the season arrives. Phil Taylor, a first-round pick, is a big loss, but Gary Mason Jr. will try to fill his spot next to Nicolas Jean-Baptiste.

10. Iowa State -- Having a pair of linebackers combine for 241 tackles is a good and bad thing. They've got outstanding linebackers, but the defensive line was the Big 12's worst last season for a unit that ranked 10th in rush defense and had just 11 sacks. That was the fewest sacks in the Big 12 and more than just three teams in all of college football. The good news is all four starters return, but for now, this is where the Cyclones start. Stephen Ruempolhamer has some promise, but Cleyon Laing, Jake McDonough and ends Patrick Neal and Roosevelt Maggitt have a lot to prove. Jacob Lattimer ran into offseason trouble, but re-appeared atop the depth chart released by the Cyclones on Wednesday.

Mailbag: TCU-Big 12, Mack's future, new QB

April, 22, 2011
4/22/11
3:00
PM ET
Good set of stuff once again. Thanks, all.

Blake Gore in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: David - TCU Alum here....while I do agree that TCU really doesn't bring anything to the Big 12, the Big 12 doesn't already have (strong DFW market presence and another team to split the pie with).....to say we have no alum base or facilities, completely makes not only the response you gave, but essentially any further reporting you could offer about anything in the future; meritless. TCU's athletic facilities are top 10 in the entire country...on top of which, if we have no alum base...how can we pay $100 million + for a stadium...in cash? You live in Dallas so come over and check them out. SMU, Baylor, Tech..even Oklahoma don't have overall facilities like TCU. You're a young guy and obviously inexperienced in being a journalist....so a little tip...stick with the facts and your arguments will go a lot further.

David Ubben: Facts, you say? Who, dare I ask, would agree that a school with a 44,000-seat football stadium and a 7,100-seat basketball arena is among the top 10 facilities in the nation?

Really?

Talk about indoor facilities and weight rooms all you want, but none of that matters when you're talking about dollars. Renovate the football stadium all you want, but I don't see any teams in the Big 12 going undefeated and failing to sell out said 44,000-seat football stadium. The Frogs averaged fewer than 43,000 fans per game this past season.

I've been to TCU's football, basketball and baseball stadiums. Football, obviously, is in the process of getting a nice facelift, but like I said, if a 13-0 team can't sell it out every week, what can?

Baseball is already a gorgeous venue, but the Big 12 isn't handing out invites based on baseball stadiums. Basketball went seven years between sellouts this year, and when it did, the stadium was overrun with BYU fans. That program, with its impending entrance into the Big East, better brace for some rough nights in the coming years.

Hey, I'm as big of a proponent of TCU's football team as the next guy. I had it over Boise State on my top 25 ballot all year, and I'd have loved to see the Frogs get a shot at Auburn. That would have been a toss-up, and the Frogs were as good as anyone when they took the field this year. It's just a shame the fans didn't want to come see it.

Just having a good football team isn't enough to warrant inclusion into the Big 12. More than anything, it boils down to enrollment, which, over time, equals alumni. TCU has fewer than 9,000 students.

Baylor is the smallest school in the Big 12, and it has almost 14,000. The next smallest school in the conference? Oklahoma State, with just over 23,000 students.

So, there's some facts for you. Could, in theory, the Big 12 take a risk and invite TCU, hoping that the school and program rises with the Big 12's tide? Sure. But why take that risk? No one wants more than 10 teams right now, and the league is doing better than ever financially. There's no reason to add another mouth to feed that may not add enough value to the league in the future. Fox seemed to be just fine with the number of attractive matchups in the future.

But just remember, Horned Frogs, I only relay these facts because I hate TCU. No really, I hate it.


Filemon in College Station, Texas, asks: Now that Bevo is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN, what is your quota for UT stories?

DU: A minimum of 15 per week, with bonuses for hyperbole and overhyping.


Joe in Houston asks: Hey, Dubs. who you got for most underated player going in to next year?

DU: I may have a post on this in the future. For last year, it was, by far, Rodney Stewart, the running back from Colorado. Going into next season, though? I'll say Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope. Not freakishly athletic, but he's got great hands, doesn't drop the ball, and he's such an important part of that offense. He put up big numbers himself (72 rec., 825 yards, 4 TD, eighth in the Big 12), but because of what he does to defenses, it draws a lot of focus off Jeff Fuller, and was a big reason he had the first 1,000-yard season in school history last year.

Beyond him, people didn't quite appreciate what James Sims did at Kansas last year, either.


Asad in Missouri asks: Will Mizzou's offense look different depending on who is QB? If so what will be different?

DU: No, not really. If Tyler Gabbert wins the job, I think we'll see a good portion of James Franklin as a runner and somewhat of a passer. I think he'll have a bit larger role than he had last year. He's a much, much more powerful runner than Gabbert, who is hardly a statue, but there's not another quarterback on Missouri's roster who can move the pile like Franklin did.

Offensive coordinator David Yost actually compared that ability to that of a young man named Tim Tebow.

If Franklin wins the job, though, I don't think we'll see Gabbert get off the bench much unless Franklin struggles. They're pretty even as passers. It'll be close come fall. But Missouri won't be reverting back to the Brad Smith "snap it and run!" offense with either guy. It'll still be a spread predicated on getting the ball to playmakers like T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew.


Kyle in Norman, Okla., asks: Hey David, tough break DeMarco Murray didn't get on the cover of the new EA Sports NCAA Football 12 game, but this game is something I look forward to every July, will you be picking up a copy this year?

DU: Most definitely. I've bought that game every year since my boy Chris Weinke was on the cover in 2002.


Scott in Lubbock, Texas, asks: We all know that the biggest thing that separates the SEC from the rest of College Football is the talent and depth on the defensive line.With guys like Delvon Simmons, Leon Mackey, Scott Smith, Pearlie Graves, Chris Perry, and Jackson Richards, is Tommy Tuberville quitely putting together the best defensive line in the Big 12?

DU: Not right away, but the potential is there. Guys like Simmons are especially rare in this league, versus the SEC, where there's usually a few greats, like Marcel Dareus, Nick Fairley and Drake Nevis. Smith still has to get back on the field. Tuberville told me he's still in his doghouse.

If one or two of those guys become real game-changers, though? Whoa, look out.


Brett in Kansas City ask: David, how many wins do you think Texas needs to ensure that Mack Brown is back in 2012?

DU: Four. For those keeping score, that's the same number of BCS bowls he's been to since 2004, and one more win than he has in those BCS games. How quickly we forget. The idea of Mack Brown being on a real hot seat in the eyes of people with real decision-making power is comical. After said four-win season, though? Giving him nine wins in two seasons? The heat would definitely be on then.


Hunter in Aggieland, Texas, writes: "Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer 'Here'..." Especially proud to call myself an Aggie today. Support our troops and God bless.

DU: I'm not an Aggie, but Aggie Muster seems like one of the most special traditions of any university anywhere. A good friend of mine was at the big one in College Station last night and made the family trip over from Dallas, proud to honor their grandfather, among other fallen Aggies, the same way their previous generations did. I don't think there are many other traditions like it anywhere.


Big Bear in San Antonio, Texas, writes: Baylor, though almost as deep as anyone in the country at WR, looks to be fairly thin at RB. You have to have a good running game to offset/open up your passing game & of course that starts upfront, but you have to have decent backs to. Who do you see worthy of a starting RB position in the Big 12 out of our backfield? Should we be hoping the Allen, and Selders come right on in as freshman to help out?

DU: I don't agree with that at all. I really think Baylor should be pretty deep at running back next season. I like the complementary duo of Terrance Ganaway and Jarred Salubi a whole lot, and Glasco Martin looked pretty good this spring when I was in Waco. They're definitely good enough to be effective. I don't see either guy topping 1,000 yards this year, but together, they should do it easily.

You also have to remember, with Robert Griffin III attracting so much attention in the zone read and Baylor's high-powered passing game, it's not like these guys are running against nine guys in the box. They don't need to be Adrian Peterson. There will be plenty of room for them to run, and Salubi and Ganaway should take advantage.


Ben in Atlanta asks: Ubben, I'm totally on board with your idea of getting Arizona and Arizona State in the Big 12, but don't you think they'd be just as attached to the California schools as OU and Okie State are to the Texas schools? The money should be pretty close to even when the new TV deals are signed, so what could we offer them besides shedding the "west coast bias" label?

DU: Well, my biggest theory behind why both schools would leave is pretty simple: They've only been in the Pac-12 since 1978. That's not a ton of history. For fans of both teams, I don't see a lot of rivalries besides the one that with each other, that fans would be furious about ending.

To your other question, you're right: The money should be pretty similar in per school revenue (remember, even if the Pac-12 deal is worth more money than the Big 12's, which it likely will be, they're splitting it 12 ways). But the thing that now separates the Big 12 is those third-tier rights. If schools start making a lot of money off those (and this early, it's too difficult to tell how much they will), that's definitely something to offer both schools. At the core, these decisions are about money, and that's the only thing the Big 12 can do to convince them to leave: Convince them that there's a lot more money to be had in the Big 12. That may not be the case right now. In the future, it might be.

Again, the Big 12 isn't looking for membership, but if a situation in the future necessitates it, I don't see anyone other realistic option that would qualify as a huge get. Now, there's that little problem we call New Mexico that would make adding both schools a bit of a geographic stretch, but if there are suddenly superconferences sprouting up, that wouldn't be a huge issue.

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