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February 1, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ubben

David Ubben
  (3:00 PM)

Hey everybody. I'm sure at least a few of you are joining me this week on snowed-in couches, so welcome, and I hope you're enjoying the off day. I'm ready. Playlist keyed up. Fingers loose. Fire away.

Scooter, minny [via mobile]

Do u think there will ever be a playoff or not?

David Ubben
  (3:01 PM)

Not in the near future. I'd love an eight-team playoff, and clearly the fans want one, but very, very few people with real decision-making power support a playoff. I hope you're not holding your breath.

JL (Warrenton, Virginia)

David: I'm a Texas fan here in Virginia. I wonder if the Texas Longhorn network will ever reach me here. My cable TV provider (without mentioning the name) is dropping, not adding, channels. Will that turn out to be a Texas-available-only channel or will it get nationwide coverage? Thanks.

David Ubben
  (3:02 PM)

It'll depend. That stuff is still in flux, but when it gets closer to network launch in September, I'm sure that information will be more readily available.

Logan (Dallas)

Who do you think will be the best running back next year in the big 12? I think Joe Randle at OSU has a breakout year.

David Ubben
  (3:04 PM)

I agree. I think he's due for a big year. Him and Jeremy Smith both, really. As for the best in the league, I think you have to look at rising stars in the the league. All the best aren't really household names yet. Christine Michael is the closest thing. Cyrus Gray, too. Others in the mix: Roy Finch at OU and don't be surprised if Malcolm Brown is in the conversation quickly, too.

Johnnie (Phoenix)

I read in your reports on recruiting that Justin Blackmon was the 132nd rated WR the year he started college. Really, is there anyone whose eye in fine enough to tell the difference between #100 and #150, say, in a class, or even between #50 and #200? That really seems like too fine a distinction between players to me.

David Ubben
  (3:05 PM)

It's definitely an inexact science. Distinguishing between the guys at the top is pretty doable, but you're right, when you get down that far, the differences are pretty negligible in my opinion. Success depends on how hard they work and develop once they get to college. That's more recruiting character guys than anything.

David Ubben
  (3:05 PM)

Open-ended question for you guys: What did you think about our look back at the ESPNU 150 from the last four seasons on the blog?

W (Californ-i-a)

David - IF Texas suffers through another subpar performance next year, will that open the door for northern schools to fill the gap?

David Ubben
  (3:08 PM)

Not unless Iowa State and Kansas State can relocate to Austin and steal a few of UT's national championships. One, two, even a couple more bad seasons won't ruin Texas' recruiting. If "bad" repeats itself as sub-.500, I could see it, but Texas is such a desireable place to be for so many reasons, they're always going to get a pretty good haul as long as Mack Brown is there. Having a great recruiter as the head of the flagship school in one of the richest recruiting bases in the country pays off, clearly.

Marcus Halberstram (Manhattan)

Thought the look back at the 150 was great.

David Ubben
  (3:09 PM)

Good to hear. I love looking back, and it was enjoyable to put together, but I'm never quite sure if the feeling is mutual.

Logan (Dallas)

Do you know when Mike Gundy will make his decision on the offensive coordinator job?

David Ubben
  (3:10 PM)

It's been pretty quiet up in Stillwater on that front, really. I'm sure it's busy with last-minute recruiting, but my guess is it heats up next week.

Frank Martin (Manhattan)

David - What am I doing wrong? My team is on the skids. Do you think I should seek out Coach Snyder for some advice?

David Ubben
  (3:11 PM)

Interesting question. I can't imagine talking to Bill Snyder about coaching is ever a bad idea.

Matt (Denton, TX)

Gilbert definitely has to cut down on his turnovers, but minus the interceptions last year was a pretty good season for him, do you think this will be a breakout year for him?

David Ubben
  (3:12 PM)

Well, I would definitely disagree with your characterization of his season, but he's got the capability to break out next year. It will be fascinating to see him in a new offense.

dan (philly)

see any surprise commits/decommits going down in the big 12 tomorrow?

David Ubben
  (3:12 PM)

You never know. I haven't heard a ton of rustling, among big-name recruits anyway, but signing day can get crazy sometimes. You can never forget we're talking about 17 and 18-year-old kids here.

Jason (College Station)

I can't believe Matt from Denton said Gilbert had a pretty good year. He was awful this season, there's no way around it. You can't just say "minus the interceptions"....he had 14 of them! And only 7 touchdowns. I don't think we are going to see him become an elite college QB.

David Ubben
  (3:14 PM)

17 interceptions, actually. And 10 TDs. Most troubling: He had six TDs and 16 INTs in conference play. I'm definitely not encouraged at his prospects of becoming an elite college QB, but I'm nowhere near ready to rule it out. He didn't get any help from anywhere last year. Bad running game. Poor play from his receivers. Inconsistent O-Line. All of those things can make a QB look pretty good pretty fast.

Johnnie (Phoenix)

The look back at previous recruiting classes was excellent. Good info, answered just exactly the questions I had in mind. Good job. One question arises for me: how is Scott doing or going to do at South Florida? Will he ever show the potential he began with at Colorado?

David Ubben
  (3:15 PM)

Thanks, Johnnie. I'm not sure what to think about Scott. He showed some potential, but he never really looked like a game-changer at CU. If he didn't know the system as well as a guy like Rodney Stewart, then so be it. Stewart got it done in 2010.

Nathan (LA)

What does Turner Gill have to do this season to turn things around at Kansas?

David Ubben
  (3:16 PM)

Well, No. 1, they have to be competitive first. Another 3-5 win season wouldn't be terrible, but they can't keep getting blown out like last year. You get a few plays away from winning 7-8 games, you build on actually doing it in 2012. The Jayhawks aren't ready to compete yet, but they're getting better, moving in the right direction with a good recruiting class in 2011. One of the best Big 12 classes that isn't nationally ranked.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Dave, thanks for your blog tracking the progress of Big 12 ESPN 150 recruits over the past several years. Do you think 2011 will be breakout years for the highly regarded Jamarkus McFarland and R.J. Washington?

David Ubben
  (3:18 PM)

No problem, Tony. I think it will be for McFarland. As for Washington, he may have trouble cracking the starting lineup. Oklahoma is strong at the defensive end spot with David King, Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander. He could get into the rotation, but I'd be surprised if he became a star right now. Maybe next year.

Trent (Houston)

Will Baylor be able to make a bowl again this year? if so can they get into the convo for a bigger bowl?

David Ubben
  (3:19 PM)

I definitely think they'll be back in a bowl game. A bigger bowl, I'm not so sure, but we'll see. Baylor looks like about the No. 4-7 team in the Big 12 next year. Where they fit in that tier will be decided next year.

josh (missouri)

David- Can Missouri be a top 20 team this year with a new quarterback, You might not think so but it seems Gary Pinkel and co always find a way

David Ubben
  (3:21 PM)

Yeah, I think so. The thing about Missouri is they've gotten so strong everywhere else with Pinkel's recruiting and development, that losing a quarterback isn't a death sentence. You look at all the uncertainty when Brad Smith left, but now, they have much, much better players on both lines, a defense that should be back among the Big 12's best next year, and a pretty good group of receivers to help support James Franklin.

Alexander (St. Louis)

Next year in the Big 12, the top tier is definitely Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Which middle tier team such as Missouri, Texas Tech, or Baylor has the best chance of winning the Big 12? Right now I'd say Missouri best on what they return at most positions (notably offensive line, defensive line, and wide receiver), but I'd like to hear your take on things.

David Ubben
  (3:23 PM)

Yeah, that's an interesting question. It's hard for me to see any of those three teams getting it done. Probably Missouri if Franklin can step in and play well right away. They're a more complete team than Baylor, and the way Baylor played in its marquee games in 2010 doesn't make me feel very confident about their ability to seriously contend for a title in 2011. Texas Tech's defense will be better, but it was awful last year, and bringing in a new, young QB could be difficult, especially without their top two receivers and starting running back. Eric Stephens is a nice fill-in, and Alex Torres should be solid again if he can stay healthy, but they're much more reliant on great quarterback play.

Johnny (Houston)

Why did Christian Westerman decide to go to Auburn than to Texas? Is it because they won the championship game ? Or was it that Texas was going to have alot of new coaches this upcoming season?

David Ubben
  (3:25 PM)

It was a coaching issue. He was close with Auburn's coach, Jeff Grimes, and close with departed UT O-line coach Mac McWhorter. Certainly helped that he was one of just two UT commits coming in from out of state. Not a huge deal for the Longhorns, but not something they like to see.

Kevin K. (Lincoln)

If NU would have been stuck like everyone else in this conferences next year, would they have the best best LB (David), DL (Crick), and DB (Denard) in the conference?

David Ubben
  (3:27 PM)

LB would be close. David is great, and racked up big numbers, but Travis Lewis at Oklahoma is another good one. DB, I would say yes. Defensive lineman is probably close, too. OU's Frank Alexander could be a breakout guy next year.

Chris (Texas)

As much as some schools want it to die, I'm sure the head honchos in the Big 12 are looking to keep the conference alive in order to keep their jobs. Is expansion necessary for long-term viability of this conference? If they make a move, what schools are they looking at?

David Ubben
  (3:28 PM)

Necessary? Absolutely not. Advantageous? Perhaps, but it's certainly debatable. I'll go to my stock list of teams I'm sold on as future members: 1) Arizona and Arizona State. 2) Louisville 3) BYU

JM (college station)

All winning streaks come to an end. Even home win streaks like the one Bob Stoops has master mined. What are the chances it ends this year? Especially with a team that has a senior QB, an NFL caliber receiver, and a 1000 yd rusher coming in to Norman on Nov 5th?

David Ubben
  (3:30 PM)

I wouldn't feel great about it. Streak or no streak, Bob Stoops has lost exactly one Big 12 game in Norman. Ever. And Les Miles at Oklahoma State was to thank. It's not so much that Oklahoma wins in Norman, it's that they look completely dominant, more often than not.

Mike (Dallas)

Do you think Mike Sherman needs a play caller or do you think if it's not broken, don't fix it?

David Ubben
  (3:31 PM)

Not broken. Don't fix it. Aggies were good enough on both sides last year to win the league. Keep it rolling.

Chris (Kent, OH)

Could there be a QB contreversy building in Austin if Garrett Gilbert has a repeat performance of last year?

David Ubben
  (3:32 PM)

Absolutely. There was already a strong fan sentiment last year to play Connor Wood or Case McCoy, but neither ever got meaningful time. If he's still struggling midway through the season, the Longhorns will pull him.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Stills and Jefferson be forced to sit a year like Broyles after being arrested?

David Ubben
  (3:33 PM)

Ha, no. One-game suspensions at most. Maybe not even those. Could pay with conditioning during the offseason.

David Ubben
  (3:33 PM)

Broyles' situation was pretty different.

Josh (Columbia)

Who do you think has the most potential in Mizzou's recruiting class this year?

David Ubben
  (3:35 PM)

Does Sheldon Richardson count? You look at what Nick Fairley did this year, and what Lavonte David did, and it's hard to convince me that Richardson couldn't step in immediately and be an impact player.

Mike (H-town)

Texans 1st round pick. Von Miller? A lot of A&M fans want him to. Can he get past the Cowgirls and Titans?

David Ubben
  (3:35 PM)

Sounds like Miller's stock has risen to top 5 status after the Senior Bowl. Good luck, Texans.

Jacob (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Dp you see Nebraska winning the Big Ten Legends Division in 2011 or not?

David Ubben
  (3:36 PM)

That's probably a question better suited for Adam, but their schedule won't make it easy.

Andrew (College Station)

Pick one Big 12 commit most likely to change his mind and sign somewhere else tomorrow:

David Ubben
  (3:36 PM)

Texas A&M.

David Ubben
  (3:37 PM)

I kid, I kid.

Scot (Minneapolis)

What about Mike Leach going to SMU? Texas recruiting base and he could build another BCS buster program.

David Ubben
  (3:37 PM)

Except that the Mustangs already have a less-controversial version of Mike Leach. June Jones. And he's having great success early there.

Steve (Moore, OK)

Am I the only one that believes UT will be a factor in the Big 12 in 2011?

David Ubben
  (3:38 PM)

No, but they have to prove it first. And after last year, they have a LOT to prove.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

David, I know its off subject but the Longhorn Basketball team is doing a good job of easing the pain of the football season.

David Ubben
  (3:39 PM)

It's kind of interesting how that's gone. The basketball team took a huge nosedive in 2009-10 while the football team went to the national title game. Then the football team tanks and the basketball team looks like a possible title contender.

Mike (H-town)

If you have an opinion who do you think is the better QB at Texas? Connor Wood or McCoy?

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

Well, considering Texas holds its practices inside a vault at Fort Knox, that's a tough question to answer.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Dave, how did Oklahoma State get two consecutive home games in the Bedlam series? Is this a result of the conference realignment or something else?

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

Yep. Realignment meant a couple games had to be played again. That's one of them. Should be a great game.

Matt (Manhattan, KS)

Name a few players from the Big 12 you see as early Heisman candidates?

David Ubben
  (3:42 PM)

Well, Landry Jones is probably at the top of that conversation, followed closely by Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. Ryan Broyles behind those two. Sorry, Matt. No Bryce Brown. Yet?

Steven White (Iowa)

What 2011 recruit do you see being a stand out starter next season for OU?

David Ubben
  (3:43 PM)

Supposedly there are some eligibility issues, but Trey Metoyer could get some opportunities alongside Kenny Stills and Ryan Broyles next year.

Newman (Denver)

Now that we're headed for the PAC12, will we have any more success than we did in the BigXII?

David Ubben
  (3:44 PM)

Perhaps not immediately, but the fans and alums (and boosters/donors) are happy. And for right now, that's pretty important.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

David, correct me if Im wrong but I think the state of Texas produces around 400 college football players every year. The number 1 player in the state is 5 stars and the 40th player in the state is 3 stars. I doubt there is a major difference between the two players. With that said do we over hype the 5 and 4 star recruits?

David Ubben
  (3:46 PM)

Yeah, I don't get real caught up in talking "stars." You never know with these guys until they get to campus. There's probably something to guys being overhyped, but certainly there are handful of guys in the top tier who just look different than every other player in their class across the country.

adam (nj)

in your opinion, what player that left for the draft will make the biggest impact on their team because they aren't there in the upcoming season

David Ubben
  (3:47 PM)

Well, there are only three in the Big 12, and it's not Aldon Smith or Aaron Williams. Definitely Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Tigers had a chance to make a big run in 2011, but they'll need to find some consistency from his replacement to seriously compete for a Big 12 title. I don't expect them to have much trouble reaching bowl eligibility, though.

Jason (Grove,OK)

Dave, Do you think Sooners will change their offense that much with Josh calling the plays?

David Ubben
  (3:48 PM)

Nope.

Seth (Norman, Snowklahoma)

David, what song are you currently listening to?

David Ubben
  (3:49 PM)

Ha. The Beatles - For No One.

Mike (H-town)

Will Texas A&M's D be worth anything with Miller and Hodges not there stop the running game?

David Ubben
  (3:49 PM)

I think they may have some struggles early. Guys like Garrick Williams and Damontre Moore need to play well and take some pressure off the new LBs.

Greg (Omaha)

What do you think happens network-wise to schools that don't have a Longhorn for a mascot in the Big 12? Will all 11 get together?Greg

David Ubben
  (3:51 PM)

Well, two are gone. So cross them off. Oklahoma wants to launch their new network by the end of the year. The remaining eight schools could get something together, but I'd be shocked if it happened before 2012. Could definitely be a galvanizing force for the conference, though, especially if it's successful.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you like to win Super Bowl XLV even though you cover College Football?

David Ubben
  (3:52 PM)

Well, I picked Packers-Jets back in May, so I'll go with the Pack.

Brian (Dallas, TX)

Since its hard to out recruit OU or Texas are there any coaches in the conference outside those two that can take less talent and out coach them or is the conference destined to be OU vs Texas every year.

David Ubben
  (3:53 PM)

Mike Leach seemed to be pretty good at it. Hmm...

David Ubben
  (3:53 PM)

A couple more questions before we wrap. Make 'em count.

Mike (H-town)

Do you think Ryan Tannehill will get the Texas A&M senior's curse?

David Ubben
  (3:55 PM)

As long as he avoids injury, I don't think he will.

Michael (Long Beach, CA)

Given how the Big 12 flopped in the bowls and how much better LSU looked than Texas A&M, how do you think OU would have matched up against Alabama on a neutral site?

David Ubben
  (3:56 PM)

Interesting question. You never know, but those two teams looked pretty similar. Would have come down to a few plays, but I'd take Oklahoma by a nose on a neutral field.

rico (lawton, ok )

Who do you think was the best player in the Big 12 this year?

David Ubben
  (3:56 PM)

Gotta wait for our countdown of the top 25 players in the conference, starting next week.

David Ubben
  (3:57 PM)

Thanks for all the questions, everybody. See you again next week!