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April 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ubben

David Ubben
  (1:00 PM)

Good news, everyone. I was fouled hard on the way to this chat, but I'll be answering all your questions today left-handed. Because I'm very tough.

Robert (Tahlequah, OK)

Will Sam Bradford be on the cover of EA sports NCAA 2011?

David Ubben
  (1:01 PM)

Sorry, Oklahoma's other favorite QB, Tim Tebow, gets the honor this year.

Robert (Tahlequah, OK)

Does Tech change their style of football this season? Are they going to focus on the run more?

David Ubben
  (1:02 PM)

They're going to be similar, and they'll still throw it plenty. But they're going to run more for sure. A lot of that is because of the talent they have at running back with Harrison Jeffers, Baron Batch and Eric Stephens. Just a guess, but I'd still expect them to chuck it 40+ times a game.

Dave (Austin)

What's your take on the long-term sustainability of the league's current membership? More than a couple reports have speculated the Big 12 could be broken up or seriously fragmented once all the dominoes fall with expansion.

David Ubben
  (1:04 PM)

I'm interested in how that all shakes out, too. But right now, nobody exactly knows. At the BCS meetings last week, commissioner Dan Beebe downplayed all the expansion talk. But who knows what the Big 12, or what remains of it anyway, would look like if Nebraska and/or Missouri go to the Big Ten or Colorado goes to the Pac-10?

hal (Fort Knox, KY)

Do you think Bo Pelini would leave Nebraska for Ohio St after Tressel retires?

David Ubben
  (1:05 PM)

He says no, and both programs have plenty-deep pockets. He called Nebraska his dream job, but if the Huskers slide over the next five years and Tressel leaves Ohio St. in a nice position, don't be surprised if he does.

Jim Pappas (Torrance, CA)

What do you think of the idea of amending the BCS system to allow for more than 2 teams to be considered for a championship playoff? For example, if more than 2 teams end their seasons undefeated, a playoff involving all of them could be arranged. Last year a playoff involving Texas, Alabama, Boise State and TCU could have happened. In short, amend the BCS process so that deserving teams could be included in a championship playoff, and not just 2 teams. If only 2 teams are considered worthy by all other criteria, then only 2 would meet, a la the current format. It makes sense to me to allow for the consensus of opinion regarding which teams deserve a chance at the BCS championship, into the current format. Solve everything on the field, not on paper.

David Ubben
  (1:07 PM)

Long question, short answer. Yes. I'd prefer a playoff. Ideally, I'd take the six conference champions and two at-large bids and play an eight-team tournament. But how would the kids make up the classes from the three extra games?? It just doesn't seem feasible.

Cody (Columbia, MO)

What have you been hearing about Mizzou leaving the Big 12 to join the Big 10?

David Ubben
  (1:09 PM)

Funny you ask. A TV station in Columbia reported it was a "done deal," based on the podcast with Bruce Feldman and Pat Forde on the Scott Van Pelt show. Obviously, that's been retracted. It could certainly happen, and I'm much more convinced it could than I was even a month ago, but I think everyone's watching, and that's a move that would significantly expand the Big Ten's footprint.

mjohn713 (houston,tx)

is Texas overtaking Cali in becoming the hotbed for QB's with enormous NFL potential? Luck, Gilbert, and Mallet all come from Texas. Outside of Barkley I can't name another QB from Cali that has scouts drooling.

David Ubben
  (1:11 PM)

I don't know about that, I think both places have had plenty of talent. All that's kind of cyclical anyway. I can't name a ton of Pac-10 QBs' hometowns, but I'm sure they have plenty of talent out there other than Luck from Texas.

Nick (Ames)

How big of role, if any, will Tiller play for ISU?

David Ubben
  (1:13 PM)

I don't think he'll be playing much. Maybe spot duty, but Paul Rhoads loves the way Austen Arnaud has played this spring. He called him the most improved player on the team when I spoke with him on my visit to Ames. While Tiller looks good and is more of a shifty runner while Arnaud likes to run guys over, it doesn't sound like this is, as they say, Tiller Time.

Jimmy K (Toronto)

David, your thoughts on why some people still question Mack Brown's coaching ability. Looking at the last 5 or 6 recruiting rankings, it looks like Mack is "underrated" compared to guys like Stoops, Meyer and Carroll.

David Ubben
  (1:15 PM)

Not sure what you're getting at Jimmy. Mack's teams have always been near the top of the recruiting rankings, but that's almost as much as being the "TEXAS COACH" as much as it is being "Mack Brown." He's only recently turned it into big-time results, and he's a great recruiter, but I don't know if I'd call him underrated.

Robert (Tahlequah, OK)

Why didn't the ESPN commentators at the draft make a bigger deal out of the dominance of the Big 12 in the top five picks?

David Ubben
  (1:17 PM)

I'm not sure what you want them to say. Other than...the Big 12 had five of the first six picks, what else do you want?

Bucky (Big Sky Country)

Will Missouri ever reach an elite status and play in a BCS bowl game?

David Ubben
  (1:19 PM)

They're on the right track. One of Pinkel's biggest (and most often brought up) criticisms is his 0-11 record vs. Oklahoma and Texas. They might get two more shots this year, and beating one of those teams would really be a big deal for the program. Oklahoma comes to Columbia, and if they can knock Nebraska off the top of the Big 12, they'll probably see OU or Texas again. But this Missouri team isn't as good as the 2007 team, and they'll need to play above their pay grade (is that expression allowed in college sports?) to beat one of them.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

is it true that you live under a bridge?

David Ubben
  (1:20 PM)

Nah. The rumors are false. Sorry, Hayden.

john (NE)

Do you see Helu or Burkhead Becoming an elite running back this year? which one do u give the best shot?

David Ubben
  (1:22 PM)

If by "elite" you mean top five or 10 in college football, then maybe. I'd probably lean Helu because of his experience, but I don't see either of them getting there in yardage. They'll be splitting carries--pretty evenly is my guess--and they'll probably both flirt with 1,000 yards. Could end up pretty close to either side of four digits.

David Ubben
  (1:22 PM)

If by "elite" you mean top five or 10 in college football, then maybe. I'd probably lean Helu because of his experience, but I don't see either of them getting there in yardage. They'll be splitting carries--pretty evenly is my guess--and they'll probably both flirt with 1,000 yards. Could end up pretty close to either side of four digits.

Jim (Grand Junction, Colorado)

Your comments on Colorado having 0 players in this year's NFL draft. To me that seems to be a really negative fact and next year doesn't appear to be significantly better.

David Ubben
  (1:24 PM)

Well, they will have offensive lineman Nate Solder get drafted next year, but you're right, it's not a good sign of the talent level in Boulder. They had a few guys sign UFA contracts, but the Buffaloes could be in for another long season. I would be shocked i they finished in the top half of the North.

Dennis (Airville, PA)

I noticed that the online comments from NY Giants fans about drafting Phillip Dillard were very negative. Do you think he'll make the team and be a pleasant surprise for those fans?

David Ubben
  (1:26 PM)

Nobody knows how anybody will turn out, but Dillard isn't exactly a "Wow" guy. He's a smart player, and some of his best attributes aren't as tangible. That's tough to get fans fired up about. He could have a long, successful career in the NFL. He could be out of the league in five years. We won't have even the slightest idea until preseason camp begins, and we'll get a better idea after his first season.

Chris (DC)

If you don't live under a bridge, do you live in a van down by the river?

David Ubben
  (1:27 PM)

Are you stalking me, Chris? It's not as bad as it sounds, the worst part is the Wi-Fi is sometimes spotty.

Eric (OKC)

Sooners record in 2010? I see one loss at the most.

David Ubben
  (1:28 PM)

That's pretty optimistic, Eric. Oklahoma's schedule is brutal this year. Cincinnati won't be easy. Florida State will put a serious strain on the Sooners' home winning streak, and they have to go to Texas A&M and Missouri. People thought the same thing last year, when the schedule was easier and the team was better. Didn't end up well for all kinds of reasons, mostly injuries.

Matt (Milford, De)

Is Blaine Gabbert a sytem QB (i.e. Chase Daniel) or is he a legitimate pro prospect?

David Ubben
  (1:30 PM)

He's both. He plays in the same system Daniel did, but look at the measurables. Daniel scrapes 6-foot. Gabbert is 6-5. Daniel was slightly more accurate, but Gabbert has a huge arm and still has time to perfect his accuracy.

Bob (D.C)

So why wont u comment on NE BCS bowl chances?

David Ubben
  (1:32 PM)

Like always, it goes through Oklahoma or Texas via Arlington. Nebraska could within reason play well enough to get an at-large BCS bid, but the more likely scenario is they'll have to beat one of the South giants.

Brian (Richmond, Ky.)

Any way Texas goes to the SEC in a Big XII breakup?

David Ubben
  (1:33 PM)

That's the hot rumor. No way Texas does it pre-emptively. But if Nebraska and Missouri bolt, as well as Colorado, and the Big 12 just kind of sits there, I imagine it's an option they'd have to explore. That's a decision to be made down the road, but I generally think we're headed for more of a super-conference alignment in the future.

ron (montana)

Can you see KSU and Colorado fighting for bottom dweller in the entire conference next year? It looks like they will both be below every team in the south. What do you think?

David Ubben
  (1:35 PM)

Colorado, yes. Kansas State, no. I like Kansas State to make a quiet run at the North. They don't impress you with big plays, but they stay committed to the run, and they just hang around. Both in games and in the standings. Don't forget, they were a game away from winning the North last year. Obviously, the conference opener on Thursday night against Nebraska is huge, but win or lose, I think they'll be in the mix down the stretch.

David Ubben
  (1:35 PM)

Sorry, Kansas State opens conference play a couple weeks earlier in KC against Iowa State.

Big G (Nebraska Panhandle)

What are the chances that I see you at a Husker game this season?

David Ubben
  (1:35 PM)

Strong to quite strong.

Trevor (Manhattan, KS)

What do you think of Kansas States RB Daniel Thomas and what do you expect out of him this year?

David Ubben
  (1:37 PM)

I fully expect him and Alexander Robinson to compete for the conference rushing lead. They're by far the best options on their teams, and they're going to get more touches than the other backs in the conference. Both should break 1,000 yards again, barring injury.

nilgai (South Texas)

I've seen three draft projections for '11. One had Chykie Brown rated ahead of Aaron Williams. Another had Curtis Brown rated higher than Aaron Williams. This just goes to show how little tape these guys have actually watched. Any Texas fan who's paid attention during games knows Aaron Williams is by far our best and most talented corner. It's not even close. And I promise the NFL Draft next year will bear that fact out. Both lists were immediately rendered worthless in my mind.

David Ubben
  (1:39 PM)

I agree. The one I posted yesterday was only seniors, though. Aaron Williams might be the best defender in the entire Big 12, but he's helped out by having so much talent around him. Texas' secondary might be the most talented and the deepest in the conference, and they numbers are going to support that this year.

David (Austin)

Missed class excuse is a farce. 98% of D-1 colleges are on winter break from the 3rd week of December to the 2nd week of January. It would be simple to fit games into that window, and not a single class will be missed.

David Ubben
  (1:40 PM)

Sarcasm, David. Like my girl Martha Stewart says, "It's a good thing."

Josh (Marlow, OK)

So, what kind of impact do you think Demarco Murray will have this season? 1000 yard rusher?

David Ubben
  (1:42 PM)

He's definitely got the potential to go for 1,000, but if I had to put money on it, I'd bet against it. Last year was his healthiest season; he only missed one game. Even if he does it again, he's got a ton of talented backs behind him that will siphon carries away from him. Mossis Madu, Jermie Calhoun, maybe Jonathan Miller if he gets healthy, and a couple freshmen in Roy Finch and Brennan Clay. I still think he's the most talented back in the conference, but that's not necessarily reflected in his production, if for no other reason than he hasn't gotten a ton of touches, for the reasons I listed above.

RJ (OK)

David: You heard it here first...the winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby....Mission Impazible ....Pletcher gets his first derby win even without Eskenderya. (had to post it here...not like there's gonna be a kentucky derby chat on here)

David Ubben
  (1:43 PM)

I'll indulge you RJ, but I can't stand horse racing.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Why are you answering the other plaoff questions and avoiding mine?.........David, 6 major confrence champs and 2 at-large bids for a playoff system does not fix anything. Look at two years ago when Texas and Alabama both had one loss and were not their confrence winners. They would have received the 2 atlarge bids leaving out Utah, Boise St, Texas Tech and Penn st, all teams in the top 10 with 0 or 1 losses. This past year Floida gets one of the at large bids leaving the other one to go to either TCU or Boise.St.

David Ubben
  (1:45 PM)

Good examples this year, and I'd be fine with just saying the top 8 teams in the BCS get in, but you know the ACC wouldn't go for that. When was the last time that happened? But, it would help. There are never more than eight teams in college football with a legitimate claim to the national title. But, good example there with two spots available for UF, TCU and Boise. I hadn't thought about that, and those three all definitely had a shot to win it.

Big G (Nebraska Panhandle)

For being the new guy, I would have to say that your blog is the best on here. Do you think playing South Dakota State is going to hurt the Huskers in the BCS rankings enough so that they are left out of the title game perhaps?

David Ubben
  (1:47 PM)

Thanks, Big G. I don't see it hurting them enough. They have a decent non-conference schedule. Nothing to scoff at, but nothing to impress you like OU the past two years or Iowa State this year. If Nebraska is in a group with one or maybe two losses heading into the end of the season, you might want to start cheering on those Washington Huskies.

David Ubben
  (1:48 PM)

Idaho's a solid team, too. Won a bowl game last year, don't forget.

Brandon (Boulder)

Hey David, if the Buffs have any chance to make a bowl, where will it start for them?

David Ubben
  (1:50 PM)

Play Tyler Hansen. Colorado has some decent playmakers at the skill positions in Scotty McKnight and Rodney Stewart. Toney Clemons is impressing, too. But the defense has to improve, and so does the offense. Special teams, too.

Josh (Marlow, OK)

You think OU will get away from the swing pass this year since everyone in the country knows they run it? ALL THE TIME!

David Ubben
  (1:52 PM)

They had to. The offensive line couldn't block anyone. So they got the ball to Broyles and Murray, their two best players, on the outside with receivers blocking. That was their best offense, especially against teams with great defenses like Texas, Nebraska and Miami. Trying to throw the ball downfield would have just gotten Landry Jones killed and they couldn't consistently run between the tackles.

David Ubben
  (1:52 PM)

Two best players on offense, I should add.

David Ubben
  (1:53 PM)

Three more questions. Let's hear some good ones.

Dan (College Station)

when you come to college station, i will buy you shots on northgate, as long as you endorse christine michael and cyrus gray as the best backfield in the conference.

David Ubben
  (1:55 PM)

I think that might make it hard to do my job later, so I'll have to pass. But I'll say it for free. Michael and Gray are the best backfield in the conference, closely followed by those two Huskers.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Also on the year before that was going into the bowl games. Texas Tech of course finished with more than one loss.

David Ubben
  (1:56 PM)

True, but I don't think anyone was touting the Red Raiders as a national title contender. Championship teams don't lose by 40 points in November.

Big G (Nebraska Panhandle)

Tim Tebow, Tyler Hansbrough, and Brett Favre are walking down the street. A truck is coming to hit them. Only 2 can be saved. Which 2 does ESPN save?

David Ubben
  (1:57 PM)

Hansbrough and Favre. Myron Rolle swoops in and sacks Tim Tebow out of the path of the truck.

Mike (Dallas)

do you think Baylor could make a bowl game next year, and if so, which one?

David Ubben
  (1:59 PM)

It's possible, but it's on the back of Robert Griffin. He knows it, Art Briles knows it, and opposing defenses know it. As for where, the Bears could end up in one of the two new bowls, the Pinstripe Bowl or Dallas Football Classic. Both great places to play your first bowl game since 1994.

David Ubben
  (1:59 PM)

Thanks for all the questions today, good chat. I'll see you all again next week.