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August 25, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Dave Ubben

David Ubben
  (2:00 PM)

Alright, everybody. I've got a playlist full of Michael Jackson and Yacht Rock keyed up with a full can of Diet Coke by my side. Let's do this.

Ben (Chicago, IL)

Why is Ebner still with Mizzou?

David Ubben
  (2:02 PM)

Because it's his first offense and nobody should get kicked off a team for one mistake. A suspension is probably going to be played out, but find me someone who's been kicked off a team for any alcohol-related offense without any prior trouble.

Charlie (St. Louis)

I hear the talk of A&M having a break out year. Have you seen any proof that their defense has improved to the point of backing that up? Also, how is the health of Robert Griffin at Baylor?

David Ubben
  (2:03 PM)

Nope. Nobody has, past Jerrod Johnson, who says it's harder for him to operate against the defense in practice. And until Texas A&M faces a test (likely Oklahoma State in its conference opener), we won't know how much, if any, they'll be better. With an inspired coordinator with a lot to prove, you'd think they should be, but there may also be growing pains moving to a new system. We'll just have to see.

David Ubben
  (2:05 PM)

As for RG3, I talked to him yesterday. He's definitely 100 percent, but it's going to be a matter of him taking a few full-speed live hits before we know how he looks when he's officially back. He's moving fine, looks really fast and shifty like he's always been, but I'm excited to see how he does against TCU.

David Ubben
  (2:06 PM)

He's taken a few light hits and gone down a couple times in practice, but he hasn't gotten hit full speed yet and taken to the ground.

Kellen (Boston)

Looking at the poll on ESPN's front page, the majority of people think Gilbert will be better than Jones this year. I'm not sure I follow the logic. Jones had almost a full year playing compared to less than a full game for Gilbert. Both were highly recruited. Texas is returning less experience on their offense than Oklahoma does. The only reason I would expect Gilbert to be "better" is because Texas plays a far softer schedule than Oklahoma. Your thoughts?

David Ubben
  (2:06 PM)

Yeah, that's a little surprising. Jones should have a much better year statistically, if for no other reason than he gets to throw to Ryan Broyles, unquestionably the best receiver in the conference.

Ryan (Dallas, TX)

What do you think about Tuberville naming Potts the starter? We know how he is about keeping promises, do you think he'll keep his promise that he "won't be rotating QB's?"

David Ubben
  (2:08 PM)

Let's be clear about this. Promising not to rotate QBs is not the same thing as saying "Steven Sheffield will not play." It means if Potts goes 1-of-6 and the Red Raiders have three three-and-outs, that he's not going to get benched right away. We may see Sheffield some this year, but ultimately, that's up to Potts. If he plays well and stays healthy, we won't see Sheffield.

drew h (waco, tx)

do you think that baylor has a chance to not only get to a bowl game this year but possibly push for 8 or 9 wins in the next few years? RGIII is back and is supposed to be better than ever and our team has a lot better players this year than his freshman year two seasons ago. not to mention art briles has brought in a great class of freshman this year (as far as baylor goes of course...we're no texas). i know it's baylor football and everyone thinks we are just a joke...but thats what people said about our baskeball team for the past 7 years and then all of the sudden we make the elite 8 last season. you can't be terrible forever right?

David Ubben
  (2:10 PM)

They do, but it's all about steps. Their schedule sets them up to have a chance to win 6-7 games this year, but they have to play well to do it, especially Griffin, for obvious reasons. They've got a young, maturing defense and some nice pieces surrounding Griffin on offense, as well as a very underrated offensive line. You can't rule out maybe 8-9 wins next year, but let's see if they can get to a bowl this year first--and how they do it--before we start throwing out predictions for 2011.

Sean (Pensacola, FL)

Is College Football catching up to or surpassing the NFL in terms of popularity? It certainly gets more air-time I would say, especially from you people at ESPN.

David Ubben
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think so, but the college season kicks off first, so it's getting some nice play right now. Ultimately, it's never going to be as popular or as mainstream because of simple economics. Every single NFL team is in a major U.S. city, with apologies to the Packers, because they have to be. Obviously, that's not the case in college football. Lincoln and Norman aren't exactly New York and LA when you start talking population.

Scott (Denver)

I see you think Texas will beat OU. Why is ESPN so high on the shorthorns? OU is going to be very good.

David Ubben
  (2:14 PM)

It's not really being so high on the Horns. They're both going to be great, and I think it's a complete toss-up. But in recent years, Texas has made the plays to win that game in Dallas, so I'll lean that way until it changes. I don't expect this season to be any different. Should be a low-scoring game that hinges on a few key plays or a timely turnover or two.

Bryan (Atlanta)

Why is the Big 12 not allowing Colorado to leave with Nebraska? Aren't there more problems playing an 11 team schedule for one season than letting both leave in the same year?

David Ubben
  (2:16 PM)

It's not about the Big 12 blocking them. It's about the Big 12 wanting the money that Colorado promised when they signed the bylaws back in the mid-90s. It's going to be a lot cheaper for Colorado to leave in 2012 than it would be for 2011. I wrote about that this morning in the blog. You should check it out for some more details. It's the 8:30 post.

Logan (Maryland)

Oklahoma looks very explosive with Jones, Murray, and Broyles. Do you think they're 1st in the Big 12 in offense next year

David Ubben
  (2:17 PM)

If the offensive line plays well, it wouldn't surprise me to see them on top. But the safer bet is Texas A&M or Texas Tech. Both are deeper at the skill positions.

Simple Jack (Some Nebraska Farm)

Hey Dave, where did you eat in College Station?

David Ubben
  (2:18 PM)

Ended up getting my hibachi on at Atami. Pretty good.

John ((Richmond, VA))

Iowa State will finish 8-5 with another bowl win. Do you agree?

David Ubben
  (2:19 PM)

That's a tall order if you take a look at who's on the schedule. Utah might not be in a major conference yet, but they're a big-time team.

Sean (Lincoln)

We're getting ever closer to the season, and continue to get no information on the QB situation here in Lincoln, except that Martinez might have shown a bit more improvement than Green and put himself into more of a 2 man race with Lee, as opposed to a 3 man race. Whats your take on this, and who do YOU predict as, not the starting QB, but the most valuable QB on the Husker team by the end of the season?

David Ubben
  (2:21 PM)

People continually underestimate the value of experience when it comes to quarterbacks in this league. Sure, Martinez is exciting. He may be talented. But outside of a few spring game highlights, we have no idea what he's capable of. How will he respond in a big-game atmosphere? What happens when he starts taking hits from guys like Sam Acho? At least with Zac Lee, you have a better idea of what you're going to get, and maybe bring in Martinez or Lee to do what they do best, which is run the ball, in some spots. Maybe it would pay off to bring in Martinez, but anyone would admit that's a huge risk. Is it one Pelini's willing to take? Maybe, but he doesn't sound interested in offering any hints as to his answer.

Jonathan (KS)

Does Nebraska have the best defense in the Big XII?

David Ubben
  (2:22 PM)

Toss-up between OU, Texas and the Huskers. You could make a case either way. But all three will state their cases over the next 12-14 games. We'll find out then.

Scott (Denver)

Tech and A&M will not have more skill players than OU.

David Ubben
  (2:24 PM)

Better check again. Oklahoma's receivers are a mess outside of Broyles. Tech and A&M are loaded. The quarterbacks for all three are reasonably close. A

dustin (bossier city)

do u think nebraska will have a chance to play the sonners every year now that they are in the big ten kinda like georgia and georgia tech do???

David Ubben
  (2:26 PM)

Definitely not every year. Maybe a home-and-home in the future. Don't hold your breath on that one, though. Neither side sounds particularly bent on scheduling the other.

David Ubben
  (2:26 PM)

Based on what Stoops has said leading up to this season, I'd expect Oklahoma to scale back its nonconference scheduling a touch. Not a lot, but not three very good teams every year like this year.

John (Omaha)

Chances anyone other than Texas or Oklahoma win the conference once it is 10 tems seems highly unlikely don't you think? At least now the north has a chance of an upset in the title game, now it's pretty much over.

David Ubben
  (2:28 PM)

It does seem unlikely, which is exactly why the league needs a third team to challenge those two, and fight the perception of being a top-heavy league. Ohio State has dominated the Big Ten, and we might see something similar in the Big 12 without a title game.

David Ubben
  (2:28 PM)

It's just tough to see any of the teams from the North consistently beating Texas or Oklahoma.

Sean ((NYC))

In your response to a question from ACC blogger Heather Dinich asking whether the ACC Coastal or Big XII South is tougher, you answered the Big XII South because you would "take" Texas or OU over any team in the Coastal. Considering that Miami defeated OU last year, why is it that you would nonetheless "take" OU over Miami?

David Ubben
  (2:30 PM)

Let's break this down, please. Last year, Oklahoma was playing without a Heisman winner. In Miami. Without its first-round pick tight end. And its best receiver--the Big 12's best receiver, Ryan Broyles, went out on the opening drive. They lost by one point. Also, take a look at the last five years for each team.

Ryan (Denver)

No way Big 12 wants Colorado to stick around in 2011. This would stir up the pot again with Texas and the Oklahomas of the division. The last thing Beebe needs is to throw another consession to UT or OU in the form of a pass on an extra conference game. Someones gonna blink.

David Ubben
  (2:31 PM)

Well, it's not ideal, but nobody can make Colorado leave. If they can't/don't want to pay, they won't. They'll leave in 2012. That's going to make for a weird year with 11 teams, but the Big Ten's gotten long like that for awhile. But the rescheduling that's going to have to happen is going to be a mess.

Alex (Waterloo)

If ISU has another winning season, Rhoads should be Big 12 coach of the year.

David Ubben
  (2:32 PM)

If he wins seven games with that schedule, he's got my vote. Six might depend on what Mike Sherman does at A&M.

sweatervest1 (space)

LA has an NFL team? Wow, i didn't know that.

David Ubben
  (2:33 PM)

Ha, well, my point remains. Just pulling out a couple examples.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

That's actually a perfect name for the new Big 12. The Top-Heavy Ten.

David Ubben
  (2:33 PM)

Based on the last six years, it's pretty accurate, too.

Tom (Austin)

Griffin III @ Baylor is as athletically talented as they come, but he has NO supporting cast. Kendell Wright is good, but wouldn't start at most Big XII schools. Can he do it by himself?

David Ubben
  (2:34 PM)

You're dead wrong about Kendall Wright. He's quick, he's fast, he has great hands and he's really instinctive. He's got a great sense of space on the field. I ranked him as the sixth best receiver in the conference this offseason. He'd start for about anyone.

Snooki (Miami)

David, you used two &'s again...

David Ubben
  (2:35 PM)

Whoops. Here's the rest of that question, comparing Oklahoma's skill position guys to Tech and A&Ms.The quarterbacks for all three are reasonably close. A

David Ubben
  (2:35 PM)

The quarterbacks for all three are reasonably close. A&M's top two backs can go toe-to-toe with about anyone in the country outside of maybe Blacksburg or Tuscaloosa. Tech has three nice ones, too. Oklahoma has DeMarco Murray, who is definitely talented, but their backup played receiver last year and the guys behind him are all unproven guys. Del Edit

Brian (Dallas)

What do you make out of the reports that Jerrod Johnson is 1) struggling on some of his throws 2) Is not fully recovered from shoulder surgery? Without an effective JJ A&M won't win more than 4-5 games

David Ubben
  (2:37 PM)

It's not that he's struggling. He's not at all. He looked fine at practice. He just doesn't have a ton of zip on the ball. He's hitting his receivers fine and his deep ball looks great. He hit Jeff Fuller down the left sideline for 40-yard touchdowns on two consecutive plays and added another a little earlier the first time he threw to him on the go route.

David Ubben
  (2:38 PM)

I noticed it on Friday, but I hadn't gotten to really see him work full-speed up close before. Then I saw some of the A&M beat writers were writing about it, and sort of validated what I had thought.

George/Triton (Houston)

What's the situation with Whaley and Texas' running game? Any update?

David Ubben
  (2:39 PM)

Whaley is still at H-back, but it sounds like Cody Johnson is making a case to start with Tre Newton and Fozzy Whittaker.

Frank (PA)

Hey Dave, is it possible that Zac Lee suddenly transforms Nebraska's offense into a Joe Ganz-like production machine?

David Ubben
  (2:40 PM)

That's what Nebraska fans hope. But I'll take a page out of the book of Pelini. If it's possible Nebraska plays 10 guys at QB, it's also possible he throws for 4,500 yards and 38 TDs.

Brad (Denver, CO)

David,You seem to give Colorado a 0% chance of having a meaningful season (no mention of Buffs in North discussion, even as a darkhorse), even though they showed several times last year that they can hang with the likes of Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, etc. What gives? They have named the correct QB as the starter, they suddenly have the best WR unit in the Big 12, and have talent everywhere. Do you actually think the Buffs won't be improved this year?

David Ubben
  (2:41 PM)

They'll be better, but I'd be shocked if they finished higher than third in the North. In the current Big 12, that's not a real meaningful season. And easy with the gushing praise for the receivers. It's definitely not the best group in the Big 12, and they've only got one proven guy, Scotty McKnight.

Tim (Denver)

Colorado might be the worst team or biggest surprise. Good O line, WR looked to be a weakness going into the seaosn now looks to have depth, and the D secondary should be solid. Or the wheels fall off the bus and Cody finishes a 2 win season.

David Ubben
  (2:42 PM)

We don't know about the O-line. They still have two of the best in the league, but they were indisputably awful last year. It has to start there if they're going to get better.

David Ubben
  (2:43 PM)

I should clarify. The unit was awful. Solder had a couple not great games (namely, Missouri, when Aldon Smith consistently worked him over), but he was fine as a whole.

Tim (Dallas)

If you could be any Big XII player this year, who would you be?

David Ubben
  (2:44 PM)

How about Rex Burkhead? No pressure. The fans love you and want to see you on the field. You get to run behind a great offensive line and your defense might mean you only have to score 20 or so points every week to win.

Jabber Jaw (Des Moines)

Name your top 3 Heisman candidates from the Big 12..

David Ubben
  (2:45 PM)

1) Jerrod Johnson, 2) Landry Jones 3) Garrett Gilbert

David Ubben
  (2:45 PM)

Not the league's best players, but look back at who wins Heismans. More often than not, it's a best player on the best team award.

john (cincinnati)

david, the chances ou gets upset in cincinnati are ___%

David Ubben
  (2:46 PM)

40.

Brian (Dallas)

It seems like kind of a slap in the fact to ISU to have Kansas picked above them when those teams play each other in Ames. The only other game I could conceivably see Kansas winning in conference is at home against Oklahoma St. I know the conference schedule is tough but why do people still doubt Rhoads?

David Ubben
  (2:47 PM)

It's not about doubting Rhoads. It's about Kansas not playing Texas OR Oklahoma, and Iowa State having to play them both on the road. That's two losses for Iowa State.

Mack Brown (Austin, Texas)

David, you sure you want to put all of that pressure and expectation on a QB who has no signature win? Trust me, I know a thing or two about having to rely on one guy. Johnson reminds me more of Chase Daniel than Colt McCoy. I'm just sayin'...

David Ubben
  (2:48 PM)

Maybe, but Chase Daniel was a Heisman finalist in 2007. Not too shabby.

Mike L. (Key West, Fl)

Arrr!

David Ubben
  (2:50 PM)

Sup, Mike?

Alex (Waterloo )

I think your forgetting that ISU is going to work and fight to win those small games. Texas and Oklahoma are just two games.

David Ubben
  (2:51 PM)

Well yes, but Kansas doesn't have a ton of games the absolutely should not win. Iowa State has at least three, if you add in Iowa in Iowa City.

Mike L. (Key West, Fl)

Nothin' much. Just bloggin.

David Ubben
  (2:51 PM)

Good to hear.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who will be the New Wide Receiver at Texas replacing Jordan Shipley

David Ubben
  (2:52 PM)

That's a great question in Austin. Right now, sounds like James Kirkendoll has been their most consistent guy. And with a young quarterback, consistency is going to far outweigh talent of explosiveness.

Andrew (Lubbock, TX)

No questions for Tech outside of the beaten to death QB decision?

David Ubben
  (2:53 PM)

I'm interested to see the balance in the big plays with the new defensive scheme. That's the other big question for the Red Raiders. Blitzing as aggressively and as often as it sounds like they will, they're going to give up some stuff over the top. How much will decide how successful they are this year.

David Ubben
  (2:53 PM)

One more question.

Brett (Muskogee, OK)

Do you see Stoop's placing freshman at #1 on the depthchart at WR and other positions as a trick to convince the upper classman who's spots were taken to play harder or is the freshman talent just that good?

David Ubben
  (2:55 PM)

Not at all. Maybe the upperclassmen use it as motivation, but Stoops isn't a tricky guy. The best players will play, period. He--and really all coaches--are all about competition. Right now, the freshmen are winning some of those competitions in camp.

David Ubben
  (2:55 PM)

Thanks for the questions, everybody. See you next week.