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April 17, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with David Ubben

David Ubben
  (3:00 PM)

Hey, everybody. What's on your minds this week? Let's get started. Fire away.

go pokes (colorado)

can monken keep the cowboys offense flowing with all the new players? mainly with a true freshman running the show?

David Ubben
  (3:02 PM)

OSU should be good, but they'll take a decent dip from their production last season. Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith will be great this year, but you can't replace the Weeden-Blackmon combo. The good news for the Pokes: The defense should be much, much better from what was already an underrated unit in 2011. The Cowboys are a solid dark horse for the Big 12 title. Also, they won't have a true freshman running the show at QB unless Wes Lunt wins the job. J.W. Walsh redshirted last year and Clint Chelf is a junior.

Jim (Tennessee)

Any more word on possible expansion? I'd like to see the Big 12 get back to 12 and have a championship game.

David Ubben
  (3:03 PM)

I doubt it in the immediate future. Certainly a possibility down the road, but there's not much momentum in that direction just yet. Louisville is probably the only school about everybody in the Big 12 could agree on. A 12th member could get a little sticky.

John Tirpak (Whitehall, PA)

What do you think the chances are of West Virginia running the table and winning the Big 12 championship? And if so, what are the chances of seeing them in the National Championship game?

David Ubben
  (3:05 PM)

Probably not great, though they get K-State and Oklahoma in Morgantown. There's just not really an elite team in the Big 12 this year. If I was guessing, I think the Big 12 champ has two losses. It's too deep at the top without a team that should run the table. WVU is good enough to win the league on paper, but how will they handle the transition? It's different for everybody. We won't know for sure until the fall, but I do think the immediate transition will be easier for WVU than TCU.

OUSoonerFan95 (PA)

Thank you for such a great coverage. Spring game is over for the Sooners and we saw gilmpses of what to expect on the football field this fall. With tough road games toward the end of the season, do you think 11+ win season is a realistic expectation?

David Ubben
  (3:06 PM)

Expectation, maybe not. But possibility? Definitely. Oklahoma's got the best chance of anyone in the Big 12 to win 11 or 12 games this year, but they'll have to stay healthy and Landry Jones has to play well for 12 games. Those have been two big question marks.

Patrick (Washington DC)

I am curious to know what your impressions were of Dana Holgorsen the head coach and how you think he is adapting to that role?

David Ubben
  (3:08 PM)

Like most young head coaches, he's super involved with the day-to-day in practice. Not in every drill necessarily, but he's still in charge of the offense and it shows. He obviously did well in Year 1. WVU had enormous pressure, and they weathered it to win a league title. That says plenty. His team believes in him, and he's given them plenty of reason to do so.

Scott (Jackson, NJ)

David,Thanks for your extensive coverage of the Mountaineers as we get ready to kick off our inaugural season in the Big 12.My question today is: With 3 different conference teams running a version of Holgorsen's offense....it's not like WVU is going to come in surprise anyone schematically like the days of The Product's run-first spread when he unleashed it on the Big East. Who's defensive alignment and personnel are best suited to stop the high-powered offenses of OSU, TT and WVU, and why?

David Ubben
  (3:09 PM)

Texas. Ultimately, great defense starts with great athletes. The Longhorns have that, and a great scheme designed by Manny Diaz to go with it. You're right, though. This is nothing the Big 12 hasn't seen.

henry (greensburg pa)

how does morgantown compare (as a college town) to our new big12 brothers?

David Ubben
  (3:11 PM)

It's nothing like any of them in its layout, but the downtown area is pretty similar to Kansas or Oklahoma in Lawrence and Norman. The campus is full of rolling hills and the area feels a bit secluded because if you're in a valley, you can't see very far in the distance. Most Big 12 cities are pretty flat.

W (Anaheim)

David - Want to go in together on a wedding gift for Optimus Klein?

David Ubben
  (3:12 PM)

Nah, man. I'm good.

David E. (Wendell NC)

Hi David. I'm a diehard mountaineer fan and I look forward to reading your blog. Now that WVU is in the Big 12 do you think their chances to get to the BCS title game are greater even with one loss compared to playing in the Big east and having to go undefeated and hoping the other teams lose 2 or three games?

David Ubben
  (3:13 PM)

Yeah, you can definitely get in the national title game with one loss in the Big 12 if its a loss to a good team and not a loss late in the season. Even then, it's still possible. OSU couldn't weather a really bad loss last season, but we've seen it over and over with OU and Texas. You rack up a lot of quality wins in the Big 12 if you go 11-1.

Matt Rob (Pittsburgh)

Which Big 12 teams do you anticipate being ranked in the AP Top 25 in week 1? How many do you see in the Top 10 (Oklahoma, WVU)?

David Ubben
  (3:16 PM)

My official guesses: Oklahoma will be around 4-6. WVU will be around 7-11. K-State will be around 10-15. TCU will be around 14-18. Texas will be around 16-22. OSU will probably be around 17-23. So, six teams in the top 20 or 25.

Ryan (Houston)

We all have noticed your recent obsession over WVU, we get it...you love them. But when they go 8-4 / 7-5 (give the Big 12 some credit here people), how will you feel then? By my count there is only 1 team thats a sure lock (Kansas), every other team has a shot at them. I highly highly doubt that a team that plays like Big 12 teams but has never played in the Big 12 will succeed in its 1st year (succeed meaning 9 or more wins). I know Geno's good, but these defenses are used to this style afterall. In fact, we have to be the hardest conference for teams like TCU/WVU to come into because they play Big 12 style but have been doing it against weaker opponents. Thats quite the change for these two teams and I just don't know if you have realized that yet. 9/10 Big 12 teams have a slight SLIGHT advantage in that respect, the fact that they go against this on a regular basis...thoughts?

David Ubben
  (3:20 PM)

Easy there, Ryan. That was quite a rant. I'm going on plenty of visits this spring, and when I get back, there's lots of coverage on that team. WVU opened its doors to us, thus, there's a whole lot more coverage. Doesn't have anything to do with loving or hating anybody in the league. I don't do either. As for WVU on the field, it's not like they're trying to surprise anyone. Simple fact: They might be better than everybody else at running what everybody in the Big 12 has run for quite awhile. Call it the Holgorsen Quotient.

David Ubben
  (3:21 PM)

Defense is where the adjustment period will have to be. The offense needs to be consistent, too. They didn't play well in several games last year.

zane johnson (Charlotte, NC)

Do you think WVU's defense is prepared for the Big 12's offenses?

David Ubben
  (3:21 PM)

No, not yet. But its offense will give it plenty of room for error.

shaneRDT (Lubbock)

Ubben, I still gotta take you to task on excluding Tech from your top 5 list of candidates for best offense next year. Tech was 6th in total offense last year, yes, but two of the teams ahead of Tech will be gone next year. And the two coming in were behind Tech in total offense. (Tech was 5th among last years scoring offense teams and 5th among teams that will be in the league next year.) That puts them at 4th best among teams that will be in the conference next year. Considering the amount of starters and production coming back (isn't that how you look at the other teams when considering them?) as well as new faces, you should be a little higher on the Tech offense than you are. Also Tech's stats come from 12 games vs. 13 from everyone else. Some teams used the bowl game to pad their stats (see WVU).

David Ubben
  (3:22 PM)

You sure about all that, Shane? I'm not. Tech's a good offense, and in the top 20 nationally, but in the Big 12, that's not quite good enough. We'll see. I don't feel bad about excluding them from the poll. Sorry.

W (Anaheim)

David - Which BigXII vs. FCS is most intriguing this season?

David Ubben
  (3:23 PM)

The ones that get canceled by weather.

Craig (Ames)

Looking in your crystal ball, who is the starting quarterback for Iowa State at the beginning of the season? Jantz or Barnett?I know that football is about winning today, but with Barnett being younger and the competition seemingly a wash, I'd like to see him get experience this year so he'll be better the following as well.

David Ubben
  (3:23 PM)

Jared Barnett.

Michael Miller (Fredericksburg, VA)

Who do you think will have the better record, TCU or WVU?

David Ubben
  (3:23 PM)

WVU in Year 1. TCU over the next decade.

FRF (Heaven on Earth - TEXAS)

How many teams from the BIG12 do you think will get to be Bowl Elgible?

David Ubben
  (3:25 PM)

Seven. Baylor and Texas Tech will battle it out for the seventh spot. Could be eight, but it's going to be tough.

FRF (Heaven on Earth - TEXAS)

Do you think anyone can go undefeated in the BIG12?

David Ubben
  (3:26 PM)

No. Too many really good teams. No truly elite teams.

David Ubben
  (3:27 PM)

OU's got the best shot, but do you like their chances to run the table vs. K-State, WVU, TCU, Texas and Oklahoma State? With as many question marks as the Sooners have? I'd give them about a 10 percent chance.

John (Denver, CO)

Notre Dame at Oklahoma. Is there a better non-conference (although, my Irish buddies debate it's not a non-conference game since ND isn't in a conference to begin with) game in the Big 12 this year?

David Ubben
  (3:29 PM)

Nope. K-State and Miami should be great, but ND vs. OU will be so much fun.

Poke (Columbia, Mo)

Ubbs, It's clear Chelf is not going to win the job, right? He surely would have done so by now. It sounds like Lunt is legitimately still in contention. You've seen them practice - who's your pick, Lunt or Walsh?

David Ubben
  (3:29 PM)

Walsh.

Monty G. (Parkersburg, WV)

Ubbs, Do you think lightening would be faster than Tavon Austin if it didn't zig zag?

David Ubben
  (3:30 PM)

Probably.

David Ubben
  (3:31 PM)

No, not really. Here's the thing: WVU is just as good as any team in the Big 12. So is TCU and K-State. It's just a matter of getting some good bounces and playing well in the fall. Those four on paper can all win the league. They just have to prove it. OU has a touch more talent then the other three, but it's not anything insurmountable.

Craig (Ames)

If there is one team that ISU pulls another mega upset on this year, who is it?

David Ubben
  (3:32 PM)

TCU or West Virginia. Another Paul Rhoads sneak attack. This time, he nabs the new guys.

WVU62 (South Carolina)

WVU is getting good press from individuals such as yourself, and other national writers. While in the Big East, WVU, along with all others, were being maligned for playing in a weak conference. Yet, WVU could not run the table in the conference, and were humiliated by the likes of Syracuse. To you, does that suggest that the Big East was a better football conference than given credit for being, or was WVU just poor in their consistency?

David Ubben
  (3:32 PM)

A whole lot of both. I'll explore those ideas later in the blog. I've still got plenty on WVU in the days and weeks to come.

Jason (Austin, Texas)

Hey Dave (or David whatever you prefer), beside the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas but what your pick for the Big 12 game of the year?

David Ubben
  (3:33 PM)

Oklahoma at West Virginia. Nov. 17.

Casey (Ft Stewart, Ga)

SEC fan here, and I am not bashing nobody in the BIG-12 by any means...just wanted to know a couple of things...Who is your Top 3 Defenses and Offenses coming in to this season? And how do you see the WVU Mountaineers playing in their 1st season? Can they reach 9+ wins facing BIG-12 teams week in and week out now?

David Ubben
  (3:34 PM)

Offenses: 1) WVU 2) OU 3) Baylor. Defenses 1) Texas 2) OU 3) Oklahoma State. Plenty more with legit cases in that top three on both sides, but that's where I'd lean for now.

Kevin (Charlotte, NC)

After seeing Tavon Austin in person, do you think he can, at least, be a Heisman finalist/Top 5? I don't think there is anyone faster in college football, and if he touches the ball as much as Dana lets on that he is, he could easliy end up with over 1500 receiving yards to go along with all of the punt/kick return yards....

David Ubben
  (3:37 PM)

You must not have watched much Big 12 football lately. Bottom line: Austin's a great player. He's not as dominant as Michael Crabtree or Justin Blackmon, who hardly sniffed the Heisman. It's just not possible as a receiver anymore.

Nick (Colorado Springs)

Ubbs, any plans to make it to Ames this year?

David Ubben
  (3:37 PM)

Keep winning, Clones.

Brandon (Kansas)

Will there be enough improvement from the Jayhawks that I won't have to be embarrassed to admit I watch KU football anymore?

David Ubben
  (3:38 PM)

I don't think KU will be a contender for a bowl, but they've gotten a huge upgrade in talent. They should at least be competitive this year.

Joe M. ((Almost Heaven-W.Va.))

Do you think that WVU has the deepest QB depth in the league?

David Ubben
  (3:39 PM)

I mentioned that last week, but after looking at it a little closer, I'd probably lean OU. WVU and Baylor are right behind them. OSU's in the mix, too.

Tripp (Dallas, TX)

Any chance Baylor makes a bowl this year?

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

Yes. I'm picking them to do so.

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

A couple more questions before we wrap up.

BigDroot (Tornado Alley)

Ubbs, any chance that Trey "Meteor" makes your all Big 12 frosh team next season?

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

I'd say the chances he doesn't are minimal at best.

JR (Beckley ,WV)

i asked ya a month or two ago about the debate between RGIII or Gino Smith ...and ur answer was very interesting and i agreed with most of it but a follow-up ....Would ya take RGIII from this past year or Gino Smith from this coming season ?

David Ubben
  (3:40 PM)

RG3, probably by a wide margin.

Ryan (Outside H)

Michael Brewer...let says TTU get 8 or 9 wins this year in the regular season, with the hype around Brewer could u see TTU going into 2013 ranked?

David Ubben
  (3:41 PM)

Yeah, definitely.

Joe M. ((Almost Heaven-W.Va.))

If Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey stay for their senior years, will they have any shot at Heisman?

David Ubben
  (3:42 PM)

Austin's a senior this year, but like I said earlier, receivers can't win it. Bailey could take home the Biletnikoff Award, though.

Wayne (Monterville, WV)

Can Geno Smith win the Heisman with 11 wins for WV?

David Ubben
  (3:42 PM)

Yes, definitely.

Ben (San Antonio, TX)

Who develops more as a passer this offseason, David Ash, or Collin Klein?

David Ubben
  (3:42 PM)

David Ash.

Nick D. (Allentown, PA)

What was your favorite restaurant in Morgantown?

David Ubben
  (3:43 PM)

Well, the only real restaurants I tried were Colasessano's and Oliverio's in Morgantown. Big fan of both.

Ryan (Vienna, WV)

Hey David, are you planning on going to WVU on gameday, just to feel the atmosphere?

David Ubben
  (3:43 PM)

No. I'll plan on going to WVU on game day to, you know, see a game.

couchburner (WV)

What is the #1 location/school to visit for our first Big12 away game? And Why?

David Ubben
  (3:44 PM)

Texas. OU. Texas Tech. Kansas State. Great atmospheres, all.

Nick (Colorado Springs)

David, what do you think Iowa State's chances are for a bowl bid in 2012?

David Ubben
  (3:45 PM)

With the depth of the Big 12 and ability of the offenses in this league that ISU can't duplicate, it's going to be very, very difficult. But what else is new? ISU's heard that every year and very nearly made a bowl game in each of the past three seasons. Made a bowl in 2009 and 2011. Were one fluky two-point conversion away from doing it in 2010.

Joe M. ((Almost Heaven-W.Va.))

How did you like the Pepperoni rolls?

David Ubben
  (3:46 PM)

Big, big fan. I've never met a sandwich with too much cheese.

David Ubben
  (3:46 PM)

Thanks for all the questions this week. See you all again soon.