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Friday, November 23, 2012
Mailbag: Expansion, Tavon for Heisman

By David Ubben

Thanks for all the emails, everybody. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

John Thomas in DeBary, Fla. writes: Hi David, Here we go again. I don't see how the Big 12 can stay at 10 teams when the other major conferences are going to 14 & 16 teams as the playoffs approach. What do you see, if anything, in the future for the Big 12.

DU: I really just don't understand this line of thinking. Quality football is quality football. Field good teams that win inside and outside of conference, and it will pay dividends. How does the size of a league or even the lack of a championship game have anything to do with anything?

Scenario: Oklahoma goes 12-0 or 11-1 at some point in the future. Is anyone really going to vote in a team from the SEC or a 16-team Big Ten because their leagues have more teams? How does that make sense? We've already talked ad nauseam about how a Big 12 Championship Game hurt the league a lot more than it helped.

The Big 12 might expand, but it'll only do so if it makes fiscal sense. That might be the case with Louisville and would be with Florida State, if the Seminoles want to come. The Big 12's grant of rights makes it clear that it doesn't have to worry about its teams being poached this time around. So what, exactly, is the worry? That makes no sense.




Alex in Fort Worth, Texas writes: My question is quite simple. With the 2013 schedule coming out, I was confused as to why TCU will be playing at Oklahoma State again next year when they already played at Oklahoma State this year. Isn't it more traditional for the game location to switch every year to the other teams field?

DU: It's a little odd, yes, but I'll let the folks from The Oklahoman explain. They wrote about this upcoming quirk all the way back in August.
Why back-to-back TCU trips to Stillwater? The Horned Frogs, upon joining the Big 12, inherited Texas A&M's schedule, which had been adjusted a year ago when the Aggies sought relief to accommodate seven home games.

When A&M signed a contract to play Arkansas in Arlington, the Ags were left with just two nonconference home games. OSU agreed to switch, but with the payback that A&M would play in Stillwater in both 2012 and 2013.

Now it's TCU taking their place.

So, there you go. A little complicated, but that's your answer.




Mike Meyer in Norman, Okla writes: I wanted to work out the possible Big12 title finishes, and put this together. Thought you might be interested.

DU: Very cool, Mike. Love when readers do this kind of thing. It's complicated, and there are still a lot of possibilities, but that's a pretty helpful chart.




Lana Hufnagel in Manhattan, Kan. writes: David, I almost consider you a traitor since you voted Collin Klein clear down to #4 on your Heisman list. He isn't even that low on the national straw poll, and you are 'supposed' to be an advocate for the Big 12. Shame on you.

DU: There always seems to be this disconnect from fans and media, especially fans who don't know a lot about media. Not everyone abides, but reputable media have no obligation to support any organization or team that it covers. My job is to provide an objective viewpoint, not spread propoganda or be a cheerleader. When I write good things about the Big 12, or take the Big 12's side in a contentious debate, it's what I believe. Folks that want to are going to classify it as being a homer. When I write negative things about the Big 12 or do not take the Big 12's side in a contentious debate, people are going to call it hating. That just comes with the gig. I like it. I like covering the teams, personalities and people in this league. But my responsibility is to my company, not any team or league. So many people just don't understand this, and many never will. Such is life.




Jay Bowers in Enid, Okla. writes: Ubbs, I love seeing our Enid native Chelf start some games, but I want to touch on the short yardage package before this gets out of hand. The Car Walsh? Can we at least use the Walshing Machine? Can we restrict any modification to Walsh before this gets any attention? I think you have a big impact so let's hear it.

DU: Haha, I wish we had a better name. The CarWalsh isn't my finest work, I will admit that. I wasn't really a huge fan of Todd Monken's selection, either: "The Tonka Truck." That doesn't really even make sense, haha. The Walshing Machine is pretty good, too. I might abandon the CarWalsh this weekend. Get Walshed Up? The WildWalsh? I really don't even know.




Greg Kupfner in Parkersburg, W.Va, writes: Ubbs I know WVU is 5-5 but why isn't Tavon Austin even metioned in the heisman race? He is one of the most electric players in the game! Its not his fault our defense is terrible! Any chance he can make it to New York?

Kris in Hollidaysburg, Pa. writes: David, How can you say that Tavon Austin lacks a marquee game, as you said in your Heisman Watch? Coming within 6 yards of breaking the NCAA single game all-purpose yardage mark against Oklahoma -- one of the bluest of blue-blood programs and ranked in the top 15 -- doesn't qualify to you? Please explain.

DU: Kris, I argued that Austin doesn't have a marquee game left. He can have big games, but doing so against Iowa State and Kansas won't draw very much attention unless he starts breaking more records. I definitely agree that Austin is one of the greatest players in the game right now, but the reality of the Heisman race is you have to win to stay in it. You don't have to be undefeated, but you can't be 5-5. That's just not possible.

I do think Austin has an outside shot to get to New York, but it'll honestly require crazy, crazy stats like he put up last week.