Friday, November 9, 2012
Mailbag: WVU rebound, upsets, Horns in BCS?
By David Ubben
Thanks for all the e-mails this week, everybody. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.
Let's get to your e-mail!
Terry Nixon in Marietta, Ga., writes: Hey Squinky--uh I mean Ubbs,See you're back with us. What is it the 4th, or maybe just the 3rd time you've picked us for the upset special. Keep doing it and you will get at least one right. I know we ruined your forecasting year the last couple but you didn't have to get even all in one year. Oh well enjoy while you can--next year is out for you.
David Ubben: Ha, this stuff always cracks me up. Fans get more bent out of shape at being put on upset alert than being picked against. I'm not even kidding. You've got me there, Terry. I've put OSU on alert in three of the last four weeks, and they soundly proved me wrong against Iowa State and TCU.
Still, you can only project with given information. I wasn't the one spearheading the upset alert last year, but the simple nature of being an undefeated team is everyone's going to dissect the ways and possibilities you can lose each week. That's what spices up any BCS race. Ironically, the one game almost no one put OSU on upset alert last year for, it lost.
So, maybe we're doing you a favor. Kidding. But don't take it so personally.
Jeremy writes: What percentage do you give each of the four unbeatens to stay undefeated going into bowl season?
DU: You don't have to ask me. The last projection I saw (by our BCS expert Brad Edwards, I believe), the four unbeatens had 7.9 percent chance of all being undefeated, up from three percent last week. Coincidentally, that 7.9 percent is the exact same as the American national unemployment rate.
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN??
Ben Nelson in Dallas writes: You stated that you went 3-2 in your picks last week. Actually, it was more like 3-3."On Saturday, Texas Tech will beat Texas and transform into the best team in Texas after Mississippi State knocks off Texas A&M." I'll be checking for an update to the blog.
DU: You got me here too, Ben. I'll accept my reckoning. Thing about going out on a limb? Sometimes it snaps.
Eric Lovig in Paola, Kan., writes: In a recent blog you posted that "Oklahoma would need two K-State losses to win the conference outright, but would earn a share if they win out and Kansas State slips up in one of its final three games."I was reading up on the big 12 rules and via their website and it reads: "The following procedure will determine the Big 12 Conference representative to the Bowl Championship Series in the event of a first-place tie: a. If two teams are tied, the winner of the game between the two tied teams shall be the representative.") According to the Big 12 website, even if Kansas State "slips up" in one of its last 3 games and OU wins out, Kansas State (having one conference loss) would be the Big 12 champs since they own the tiebreaker with OU (also one conference loss) by beating them head to head. Am I missing something?
DU: You're missing one big thing, Eric. This isn't the old Big 12, where one team has to play for the Big 12 title from each division. Everybody knows K-State would be the real Big 12 champion, just like everybody knows who the real division champions are in the old Big 12. It's the team who represented the division in the Big 12 championship game.
That's true, but the Big 12 rules are only about who represents the Big 12 in the BCS. Oklahoma wouldn't get the Big 12's automatic bid if it tied Kansas State, but it would have earned a share of the Big 12 title. Get used to it now. I don't like it, and I'm sure you don't either.
The simple truth: Split Big 12 titles are a reality in the new Big 12. The Big 12 got lucky and didn't have one last year. It might happen again. Though, if K-State slips up, I expect Oklahoma to be sitting their waiting to collect another Big 12 title -- and a BCS bid, even though it won't be the Big 12's automatic BCS bid.
Johnny Bryant in Austin, Texas, writes: Does Texas have a realistic shot of making a BCS bowl?
DU: It's definitely realistic. Let's break down the obvious path. Texas is sitting pretty at No. 17 in the BCS right now with Iowa State this week and TCU on Thanksgiving night after a bye week. Then it's on the road at K-State.
Texas might be inside or near the top 10 if it wins those first two games, but if it beats K-State, there's no doubt. Texas would likely be at No. 7 or 8 and looking really, really good with a 10-2 record.
Do you really think any BCS bowl would turn down the Longhorns at 10-2 in the top 10 and rolling in with a six-game winning streak? Absolutely not.
Debate the possibility of Texas winning out to that point all you want, but the path is there, and after last week's win at TCU, the possibility looks a lot more realistic.
David Wells in McAlester, Okla., writes: Just read your article about your prediction for an upset, possibly even a blowout in the West Virginia vs Oklahoma State game. I'm not saying an upset isn't possible, but there is a much possibility of a blowout in OSU's favor as there is in WVU's. OSU beat TCU by 22 in Stillwater just 2 weeks ago, and TCU beat WVU at Morgantown just last Saturday. From appearances last Saturday, it looked like OSU's 3rd team quarterback played better than their 1st (it appeared Lunt was suffering from some rust), and by the way Chelf played, if he had played the whole game, OSU may have had a chance of upsetting KState (I don't now how the turnover situation may have panned out, that's anybody's guess). I can't see an advantage of one side knowing the other, both teams know how certain aspects of the other team operate, so any advantage would equal out. Would it surprise you if OSU walked away blowing out WVU?
DU: I mean, you could do this all day with about any two teams with losses. West Virginia beat Texas on the road. Oklahoma State lost to them at home.
WVU isn't playing very well the past month, and the truth is teams don't offer the same quality of play every week. That's the nature of the game. My prediction was West Virginia will snap out of whatever funk it's been in the last month and knock off the Cowboys.
Compare scores all you want. I know what I've seen: A West Virginia team not playing up to its potential the past month. They took a decent step forward last week, and they'll get over the hump this week.
Mike in Oklahoma City, Okla., writes: Terrance Williams has been given little love on the national stage for his performance so far. Do you forsee a repeat of last year when Kendall Wright was overshadowed by a nationally known receiver, Justin Blackmon? Blackmon got the the Biletnikoff in 2011 despite Kendall Wright having better overall numbers. What does Williams have to do to take home the award this year?
DU: Well, last year was kind of the perfect storm for Wright. I think Blackmon was a better receiver last year, but Wright put up his craziest numbers down the stretch last year after the finalists list was made. You can debate the legitimacy of the timing of that finalist list if you'd like. That's fair.
As for this year, Williams is hurt by playing for a weak Baylor team while Marqise Lee has had a lot of attention in playing for a national brand like USC, though the Trojans have plenty of struggles of their own.
I do think Williams ends up winning it if he keeps his pace. He's just been so consistent. We haven't seen a guy rack up numbers like this since Blackmon in 2010. He caught 100 yards and a TD in every single game. That was pretty unbelievable.
Williams has at least 130 yards in every game but one, and scored in every game but two. Keep that pace up, and he's going to be very, very hard to turn down for the award. He's got to just keep on trucking. Baylor winning some games would help, but it doesn't have to happen. Like I've said all season, receivers don't have a heavy influence on whether teams win games when you compare them to running backs and quarterbacks. Teams are running 80-100 plays in the Big 12 these days, and receivers touch the ball 10-15 times a game tops. He can't single-handedly win games for Baylor. He hasn't had much help from the defense and a productive but turnover-prone Nick Florence this year.