Thanks for all the emails this week. It's been fun.
On a related note, our bracket winner, wvewe1, has been MIA. I've emailed and tried to contact, but haven't gotten a response. You're missing out. We'll try to get in touch for next week's mailbag. If not, second-place finisher MonsterBack24 should contact me here and you can post whatever you'd like in next week's mailbag.
On to this week's mailbag:
Jeff Slayer in Wilmington, N.C., asked: UBBS! Everybody is talking about the possible expansion, but only when a new commissioner is set in stone. Have you heard any news on those possible candidates and any authentication on the rumors we have been hearing the past few months. Also if FSU was actually interested do you think they would leave their troublesome little brother in Miami? Thanks!
David Ubben: That's going to be a huge question for whoever steps into the role of commissioner in the coming months. Chuck Neinas will be gone on July 1 officially, but the new man could be on board before then. His opinion and stance on future expansion will be a huge question, the first big one he'll have to answer. The Big 12 is stabilized in the immediate future after the grant of rights.
It's important to note the Big 12 commissioner isn't quite as powerful as some in other leagues. He's mostly a representative of the membership more than a guy that calls the shots for the league like some of the others we've seen. That said, if he can sell the members on expansion (he may or may not try), it could become a possibility. That said, the Big 12's members haven't expressed much interest in expansion. That question will come up in the interview process, and the league's search committee would probably be tentative to bring aboard a commissioner who was fired up about expansion.
I just don't see any realistic scenario in which Florida State joins the Big 12, but like I've said before, Louisville and Cincinnati/BYU would probably make the most sense as the 11th and 12th members, but I don't really think it'll happen.
Tyler S. in Red Bluff, Calif., wrote: No love for Bill Snyder and company! Ubbs, you may be new to the big 12, but there is one thing that all big 12 fans know. You underestimate Bill Snyder, you are going to get burned. Can you explain to me why, after 20 years of exceeding expectations, "experts" continue to put expectations so low for KSU and Bill Snyder?
DU: Yeah, I've talked a lot about K-State overachieving and doing it by the narrowest of margins last year, but no question, Snyder is the X-factor that makes me doubt a Wildcat recession.
K-State brings back so much talent from last year's team, and this is a Bill Snyder team. His entire program is based upon daily improvement, and he's proven he can get teams to do it so many times. I still think K-State is a 9-10 win team and I'll have them somewhere in the ballpark of the top 15 to start the season, but it's still hard for me to see the Wildcats actually winning the Big 12. Maybe I'm crazy. Either way, it'll be fun to watch. The Big 12 is really, really crowded at the top. OU, K-State, TCU and West Virginia are all legit contenders to win the league, and OSU and Texas could surprise some people and take the league, too.
And hey, for the record, I picked every K-State regular-season game correctly after the Baylor win.
Dylan in Jacksonville wrote: Hey Ubbs great blog, but I have a really important question that I know all of Mountaineer nation wants to know. When do you plan on making your first trip to the mountain state since you said that you've never been? You've got the guide to our home turf, now you need to make a visit before football season starts so you get a taste of calm Morgantown. Do you plan on going for the spring game? A summer session? Or just the first week when you have us vs. our little sister Marsha as your Big 12 road trip that week?
DU: How's next week sound? This is where I would have a winking face, but I'll spare you all that one. See you soon, 'Eers.
Robert Powell in El Paso, Texas,wrote: David,When Neal Brown was hired as Tech's OC, he was billed as "one of the top offensive minds in college football." After two seasons, I don't see it. First, neither Potts nor Sheffield had much success in his first year. Throw in a couple debacles like 150 total yards vs. UT, coupled with uninspired play versus Iowa State, aTm, and OU. Second, in 2011 Doege threw for 4,000 yards, but that's pretty commonplace anymore. And at least once a game, Brown substitutes players, and goes on a quick count to catch the defense unaware, but when the offense subs, the defense gets to sub as well, so the play is called back. Is Brown still highly thought of, or has everyone seen through the masquarade and figured out his predictability? Thanks!
DU: Well, let's step back and take a wide-angle look at this. One, the injuries last year have to be a factor. He lost his best back, Eric Stephens, and what I'd say are his two best receivers, Alex Torres and Darrin Moore last year. Torres was banged up in 2010, too.
But look at the numbers: Last season, Tech was 13th nationally in total offense. In 2010, the Red Raiders were 15th. They were in the top five in 2009, 2008 and 2007, but it wasn't a huge step back, and the talent Tech had in those seasons was more impressive.
Meanwhile, Tech was 114th last year in total defense, and ranked the same in 2010. In 2009, the Red Raiders were 49th in total defense and 80th in the previous season. They were up to 45th in 2007.
That should be obvious by now. It's really this simple. Tech's offense hasn't been good, but when it comes to losses, don't blame Neal Brown. He's been fine.
Darren in Columbia, S.C., wrote: As a WVU fan, I am obviously excited and honored to be in the Big XII (or at least almost in the B12).As far as the ESPN blogs are concerned we are in a bit of a no-man's land, not quite in the B12, not quite out of the BE. Of course, understandably the BE blog isn't mentioning us at all now. I want to thank you for talking about the Eers as much as you are. You could completely ignore us, and it would be understandable if you did. Afterall, we are not really a B12 team yet. I and a whole helluva lotta other Eers are really looking forward to seeing the Flying WV logo appear on the right side of your blog page!
DU: Glad to have you, Darren. I'm pretty excited to learn about the new teams in the league and see them week to week. And, of course, interact with two brand-new fan bases.