Chat with David Ubben
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger David Ubben will stop by to chat some college football.
Ubben joined ESPN.com in March 2010 after covering Big 12 football for two seasons at the Columbia Missourian and The Oklahoman. Ubben, a native of Springdale, Ark., lives in Dallas.
Send your questions now and join Ubben Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
David Ubben (2:00 PM)
Let's get started. Thoughts on our post-spring wraps today?
Max (Ocala, Fl)
David, what are you expecting when my noles travel to big 12 country to take on the sooners? I'm expecting a 10 point win by the Noles.
David Ubben (2:01 PM)
I wouldn't be so sure. Owen Field has been a nightmare lately. I think the Sooners' winning streak there is now at 34 games, and Stoops has only lost there a few times in 11 seasons. Better hope Christian Ponder is on his game against a tough Sooners D.
larry smith (palm springs)
David--why the national love affair with Nebraska all of a sudden. They beat my Tigers in one of the ugliest, wettest games I've seen in a long time, which vaulted the teams into two different directions last year. MU will be improved on both sides of the ball and have a NFL style QB with alot more weapons on offense vs. NU. I know the game is in Lincoln this year and NU's defense is > than Mizzou's, but I could easily see MU winning that game if they can get their pass defense shored up, agree?
David Ubben (2:03 PM)
It's kind of like I wrote in my spring overview. It's not the 10 wins that was impressive, it was how they handled the South giants. They beat OU and almost beat Texas. No North team has been able to be competitive like that in awhile. That's going to earn teams respect. As for next year, MU will definitely have a chance, but until 2008, they hadn't won in Lincoln since the 70s. The Huskers will be ready to start a new streak against the Tigers.
Matt (Dallas, TX)
In your links today, you put "dysfunctional" in quotation marks when it was used to describe the Big XII. Are we to assume that you don't agree with the assessment that the Big XII is dysfunctional, especially when you have one of the major tent poles of the conference (Nebraska) willing to entertain Big 10 overtures?
David Ubben (2:04 PM)
Don't assume that. Just quoting Mandel, it was his word.
Luke Mills (Omaha, Ne)
Do you see any big upsets happening this season inside the conference schedule?
David Ubben (2:05 PM)
Teams should be scared of K-State. They don't have a lot that excites people on either side of the ball, but they always seem to hang around. Also, Lubbock is always a weird place for Texas and OU to play, and the Longhorns head there early this season with a young quarterback. That's a dangerous combination.
Jimmy K (Toronto)
David, when is your home state going to re-schedule with Texas? Are they still scared from that beating 2 years ago? Guess they think A&M is good enough competition for them, maybe Baylor is next.
David Ubben (2:06 PM)
Good question, Jimmy. They're in year 2 of a 10-year agreement with Texas A&M though, so don't look for the Hogs to add the Longhorns, too. That's a lot of beef in the nonconference.
Jack Castle (Austin, TX)
Mr. Ubben, Hello! Question about a game I can't wait to watch in the fall: Nebraska @Texas A&M. Amazing Neb defense vs Amazing TAMU offense is what most are looking forward to. What about the game within the game, so to speak, of Neb's lackluster offense against the lackluster Aggie defense? Your thoughts?
David Ubben (2:07 PM)
Probably whoever Nebraska's QB (likely Zac Lee) is vs. the A&M secondary. If there was ever a secondary Lee could tear up all game, it would have been the Aggies last year. If Nebraska can't score at least 20 in that game, they could be in trouble.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Are you going to Attend the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30?
David Ubben (2:08 PM)
It's a little early for that decision, but I certainly wouldn't mind. Now, if you put me outside in the stands watching that game, I might have to reconsider. But a New Year's Eve in NYC would be a nice experience, I've never done it before.
Brian (Abilene, Tx)
What can you really expect from Robert Griffin this year? Dude's unreal...but what does he have around him, really? (I'd like for my aggies to get a win in Waco this year)
David Ubben (2:10 PM)
He's actually got some talent at the skill positions in Kendall Wright and Jay Finley, but they're still patching together their offensive line. But if they can put it all together and the defense holds for a game, they could beat about anyone with Griffin. He's just that good of a playmaker.
Will you be surprised if a team like Texas Tech (instead of Texas or OU) wins the Big 12 South this year, or is that extremely unlikely?
David Ubben (2:11 PM)
I'd be less surprised if it was Texas A&M, because they should be up this year. Texas Tech is kind of a wild card, but I wouldn't bet on them winning it. I wouldn't be shocked if Texas or OU doesn't win this year, because they both have a lot of question marks, but this seems like the best chance for those teams in the South to step up and slip into the title game.
Are you expecting more of like a 45-35 2008 game or more like a 16-13 2009 game at the Cotton Bowl this year?
David Ubben (2:12 PM)
Definitely low-scoring. Two still-developing quarterbacks. Two offensive lines replacing a lot. And two defenses that could be among the best in the country. Next year could be first to 20 takes it home.
David, There is a large amount of discussion surrounding the speed of Martinez, however he didnt fully appear ready to throw the ball in the spring game. Do you see the possibility of him moving to another position on the field to get some playing time? Or perhaps just in trick play situations (Like the famous Mike Stuntz to Eric Crouch vs Oklahoma)?
David Ubben (2:14 PM)
That's an interesting question, and one I think will be broached this fall, especially if Lee holds off Green and Martinez for the QB job. I think that's something they'd have to at least explore, lining up Martinez in the slot or something, if only as a decoy. I know I'd at least install a package for it in the fall as something to keep in my back pocket and maybe whip out against Missouri or Texas, who wouldn't have had a chance to see it on tape.
Luke (Manhattan, KS)
Did Kansas State's close win last year signify that game is finally going to become an interesting rivalry, or does it mean that it's K-State's turn again to start dominating their in-state rivals every year?
David Ubben (2:16 PM)
If Kansas State was playing in Manhattan, I'd say they'd probably come into that game as pretty big favorites, but a rivalry game on the road is never a safe bet to win. In the next couple years, I think the rivalry will trend toward the Wildcats, but past that is up to Turner Gill. If he flames out, it could become all Wildcats, all the time. If he succeeds, it could go the other way, or become a great rivalry to watch every year.
Lee (Austin, Tx)
Which Murray do you think will show up for OU this year? He seems to be Jekyll and Hyde at times.
David Ubben (2:18 PM)
I don't know about that, he's consistently electrifying with the ball in his hands. I'm not sure there's a more exciting player in the open field than Murray. Find me another player in the Big 12 who front-flipped OVER a defender into the end zone. I think he'll have a good year, but don't expect him to become a workhorse just because Chris Brown is gone. There's a bunch of good backs behind him like Jermie Calhoun and Mossis Madu, and they won't be feeding him the ball 25 times a game.
Lenny (Columbia, MO)
David, you forget to mention the following about Nebraska. They were arguably outplayed vs. KU, Colorado, Missouri and Kansas State. They lost to Iowa St. although they did out play them for sure. They have not beat a top 20 team on the raod in almost a decade. But all of a sudeen they are some power. Yeah ok.
David Ubben (2:22 PM)
I don't know about that. Nebraska wins ugly. Or at least they did last year. They got outplayed by Missouri for three quarters, but completely dominated the fourth quarter enough to make it a convincing win. And the bottom line is, they got it done how they needed to against North teams and showed up against the powers. That's more than any other team in the North can say. As for road wins against Top 20 teams, well, not too many teams rack those up. Nebraska will have time in years to come.
Does Arnaud cut turnovers and make better decisions this year, and surprise as the #1 quarterback in the North?
David Ubben (2:24 PM)
I don't think so. Arnaud's ceiling isn't very high, as opposed to Gabbert's, who could possibly be the best quarterback in the country by the end of this season. Arnaud's Cyclones will lean on Alexander Robinson this year, and any success he has is probably bound to be discounted by Robinson's performance, especially if he puts up numbers like he did last year. Not saying it's right, but I think that's what'll happen.
Edward (College Station, TX)
Do you think any skill postion trio in the Big XII is likely to more dominant than Jerrod Johnson-Christime Michael-Jeff Fuller? I just don't see it happening. With Michael getting the bulk of the carries, JJ being JJ, and a healthy Fuller all season, that'll be just plain scary for defenses. Your thoughts?
David Ubben (2:26 PM)
I think they've got the best skill position players in the conference, but Fuller isn't the guy that blows me away. It's really just their depth at receiver. They have a ton of guys who can play, and Fuller is just one of those. Guys like Uzoma Nwachukwu and Ryan Swope will factor into that offense this year, too. And don't forget Cyrus Gray. He ran for almost as many yards as Michael last year, even if Michael has more raw talent.
Brian (Odessa, TX)
How important is it for Baylor to make some noise in the Big 12 this season with the continuing conference realignment talk? BU seems to be out of the BCS picture of most projections if the Big 12 implodes.
David Ubben (2:28 PM)
One season isn't going to erase decades of Baylor football history, or a lack of it. If the conferences shift, Baylor is certainly at risk of being stuck out with Rice and the like, and one season isn't going to change that.
Korey (El Dorado KS)
What about the cats! i think they have a serious shot to win the North !! they have alot of players who are going to make a name for themselves this yr. You think they have a good shot!
David Ubben (2:29 PM)
I've handicapped these races before, but yeah, Kansas State has a shot. I'd put it at 55 percent Nebraska, 30 percent Mizzou and 15 percent K-State. Kansas and Colorado won't be good enough to win, and Iowa State's schedule just doesn't give them a shot.
Luke (Manhattan, KS)
How concerned should K-State fans be about the status of John Hubert? If he can't play, would it have a significant impact on the depth of the Wildcats' backfield?
David Ubben (2:31 PM)
It's a concern. Thomas needs somebody who can give him a rest and still be somewhat productive. If Hubert's arrest ends up costing him a few games into conference play, or longer, they'll have to find another back in the fall.
thomas (los angeles)
i'm a pac 10 guy. i've noticed that texas, nebraska, and missouri get mentioned in just about every conference expansion discussion. is there a reason why oklahoma isn't also being mentioned? they are solid in multiple sports, men's and women's. are the academics below average? what gives?
David Ubben (2:33 PM)
That's an excellent question. Can't say I have an answer for that one, but maybe they're just better at keeping their business under wraps. My guess would be proximity. They're a little too far south for the Big Ten, and if the SEC wants to go get Texas, Oklahoma's even further from the rest of the league.
A lot's been made of ISU schedule this fall, but there's UT and OU seem to be the only unwinnable games. Tech's got new coach, Utah's beatable at home, Iowa is a rivalry game, and Nebraska and Mizzou are at home. I think 6-6 should be expected. Am I drinking the Kool-aid?
David Ubben (2:35 PM)
First off, what's with the Iowa State questions? I think I've gotten more today than in my first like, eight chats combined. Sure, those games are winnable, but the chances of Iowa State being favored in them are slim. It'll probably lose more of those games than it'll win, and the potential is there to lose all of them. Iowa State won't be a bad team this year, but all of those teams you listed will be better.
Sean (St.Louis ,MO)
what do you think the emerges of kenny stills in the spring football game, is going to do for the receving corp of OU?
David Ubben (2:36 PM)
He gives them something that resembles depth, or at least he has a chance to this fall. Broyles is the best receiver in the Big 12. Period. But beyond that, they have Dejuan Miller, a big, physical but inconsistent guy at No. 2. Everything beyond that is up for grabs. Whether or not Stills gets it is up to him. If he comes back in the fall and blows people away, its not out of the question that he surpasses Miller as the No. 2 option.
How do you think Bill Young's defense at OSU will look after losing so many players at the end of last year? Big drop off due to personnel? Somewhat stable b/c more time in Young's system?
David Ubben (2:38 PM)
He's got some talent at each level of the defense in Ugo Chinasa, Orie Lemon and Markelle Martin. But they key is going to be everybody else. If they can be good enough to not make mistakes and let those guys make plays, the defense could be pretty good. If not, it could be a rough year for the Cowboys. Might need to score a lot more than they're used to in order to win games.
Lenny- what games were you watching where Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and K-State outplayed Nebraska? Kansas played them close, MU, KSU, and Colorado did not, despite Nebraska having the worst offense in the conference.
David Ubben (2:39 PM)
That's really my point. Nebraska is not just going to dominate teams. The only time they did that was in the Holiday Bowl, which made people wonder if they could do that to Big 12 teams if they play solid offense. If your offense can only score 15-20 points, then of course every game is going to be close. But Nebraska found a way to win those games, and that's impressive.
How many teams would the Big 12 have to lose for it to implode, verses being about to rebuild by adding other teams?
David Ubben (2:41 PM)
That's a good question. If Colorado goes to the Pac-10, Nebraska and Missouri bolt to the Big 10 and Texas accepts a possible invitation to the SEC, you'd have eight teams left behind. The decision-making by those in power if all those dominoes fall (and let's be clear, they're all a long way from even being lined up just yet) is going to be fascinating to watch.
Someone mentioned kool-aid (which was formulated at the University of Nebraska). What is your favorite flavor Ubben? I am thinking cherry-berry, but I might be off!
David Ubben (2:42 PM)
I like muddy brown Kool-Aid that's a mixture of all the colors.
I'm a Texas fan stuck in the offseason doldrums right now. No new recruiting news, spring practice is over.....and save for the occasional conference expansion article there's really not much to talk about. Any suggestions on how I should occupy my time (other than doing stuff that might actually be...you know...productive)?
David Ubben (2:44 PM)
Go wiki DaMarcus Beasley, Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu and come talk to me in mid-July.
Muddy brown does not sound good! Are you sure you won't reassess that answer?
David Ubben (2:45 PM)
It's not the tastiest flavor, but it's good for my well-being.
dont forget nebraska got it handed to them by tech last year.
David Ubben (2:46 PM)
True. That was really the one black eye for the Huskers in 2009.
Lot of noise in the blogosphere concerning a lack of quality snaps for Gilbert during the regular season and the impact that had in the National Championship game. Would you expect to see Wood (or Harris) get more quality snaps for the Horns this year?
David Ubben (2:47 PM)
No way. Gilbert is their guy, and he'll be getting as many reps as physically possible in the fall. They're all in with the young Austinite.
David, do you think the Big 12 will rewrite some of the revenue sharing rules in order to keep the confrence together? Or is it almost a sure thing that the Big 12 will probably be picked apart by the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-10?
David Ubben (2:48 PM)
I think that's an option, but most likely just a last-ditch option if teams start publicly saying they want to leave.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
David, You cant leave out the young feenom Josey Altidore!
David Ubben (2:49 PM)
True, Blake. But it's Jozy. The Americans got themselves some exciting young players.
Greg (Cincinnati, OH)
Do you think Kendall Hunter will reemerge as a leading rusher in the country and what impact will Dana Holgorsen have his performance?
David Ubben (2:50 PM)
No way he leads in rushing, but he could be really productive in overall offense. He'll get a lot of touches in open space this year, but he won't be running nearly as much as he did in the past. Excluding last year, of course.
Well, there's still a month until the world cup....I guess I'll just have to focus on Texas Baseball's 21 game winning streak and look forward to Omaha.
David Ubben (2:51 PM)
Very true. I forgot about college baseball. That's about to heat up. The NCAA Tournament is great, I love the format there.
Luke (Manhattan, KS)
DaMarcus Beasley? Are you kidding? He'll be lucky to get a roster spot, let alone start. How about some love for Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, plus some prayers for Charlie Davies?
David Ubben (2:52 PM)
This has officially taken a turn for the wrong kind of football. I'm shutting down the World Cup talk now.
Top 3 coaches in the Big 12
David Ubben (2:53 PM)
This has shifted in years past, and it could again. But here's who I've got.
David Ubben (2:53 PM)
David Ubben (2:54 PM)
David Ubben (2:54 PM)
David Ubben (2:54 PM)
For Texas and Oklahoma to have the runs they've had of such consistent success is remarkable. And Snyder gets the most out of his teams every single year.
Do you really think Hunter will get a lot of touches in space? I see teams stacking it up against them and shutting down Hunter. He will be the focal point of that offense, right??
David Ubben (2:55 PM)
No way. State will be slinging it this year. Hunter will get the ball in the flats, on shovel passes and maybe some in the slot. You're welcome to stack the box against that spread, but you'll probably give up 60.
What's the deal with the hyping up of A&M? This reminds me of 2005 with the hype of Reggie McNeal and that Aggie squad that was mediocre at best. The talent level on defense hasn't improved, and their offensive numbers weren't that great against good teams, with the exception of UT. I have a feeling they'll end up at 7-6 when it's all said and done.
David Ubben (2:57 PM)
All valid critcisms there. And the UT game was a rivalry game at home, so its tough to take a ton from that. But the idea is that Texas A&M has a lot of young talent that will continue to get better, and a defensive restructuring that will produce results. They might be the most hyped team based on the fewest tangible results from last season, and they could flop this year, but the potential for a big year is there, too.
I know they are really trying to be Tech, but come on man, they will not put up 60 with that line and a starting qb without any game experience. They are not Tech yet!
David Ubben (2:58 PM)
Let me clarify. They won't put up 60 or Tech-like numbers in year one. But if teams stack the box, they will.
back to NCAA football - where do you see the big 12 squads landing in the preseason polls?
David Ubben (2:59 PM)
Texas is probably well inside the top 10. Nebraska and OU will hover inside the top 15 right behind them. Then Missouri and Texas A&M might sneak into the top 25. They'll get votes, but either of them being just inside or just outside wouldn't surprise me.
Snyder? Wow you are reaching there. He didn't even take his team to a Bowl. I would say you could put Pelini, Rhodes, and Hawkins in front of him. (just kidding about Hawkins)
David Ubben (3:00 PM)
We're talking body of work, not results last year. Snyder might have a case to be the best coach out of any of them.
David Ubben (3:00 PM)
One more question.
I think Pelini is in the Top 3...
Nebraska fans are going to be pissed with your top coaches list. I've had a few crow to me that Pelini is practically #1 already.
David Ubben (3:03 PM)
He's probably in the top 5, but come on, people. Let's take a look at some resumes here. Pelini's entering his THIRD year as a head coach. Stoops and Brown have national championships and have consistently won games in the Big 12 for over a decade. Snyder orchestrated maybe the greatest program turnaround in college football history. And you want to put Pelini over them? Please. He might be there one day, but to do it now is just absurd.
David Ubben (3:04 PM)
Thanks for the questions, everybody. See you here next time.