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Big 12 mailbag: WVU/Tech defenses, TCU's playoff chances and Drake

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In today's Big 12 Twitter mailbag, we break down the league's potential 1,000-yard rushers, something that could hinder TCU's playoff chances and, thanks to Art Briles, diss tracks.

On to the 'bag:



Trotter: You must be referring Art Briles' tweet the other day, when he referenced Drake's diss drop on Meek. Briles' tweet: "Guess @Drake ain't the only one to go #BackToBack! #YB #IHearYouDrake." As for the greatest diss track of all time, I'd probably have to go with 2Pac's "Hit 'Em Up," which, of course, went after Biggie Smalls.





Trotter: The Sooners have a chance, although I think it's more likely they go 8-4 than 11-1. Then again, OU was a pick-six, shanked chip-shot FG and re-kick to Tyreek Hill away from winning 10 games last season in what generally was considered a disastrous season. Ten wins is not unattainable.





Trotter: Probably not. Assuming Baylor's Shock Linwood and OU's Samaje Perine simply matched their rushing totals from last year, third place would need to generate at least 1,200 yards. Considering Tech's DeAndre Washington is coming off an 1,100-yard season and TCU's Aaron Green averaged 7.15 yards per carry last season, I think those two are more likely to finish third in the league rushing. That said, I'm bullish on Chris Carson. I voted him preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year because I think he has the talent and the opportunity to be a 1,000-yard rusher.





Trotter: People have forgotten about inside linebacker Jared Barber because he didn't play last year. But he was averaging seven tackles a game before tearing his ACL two seasons ago. Barber is going to be an important piece for the West Virginia defense. In fact, defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has been calling him his "quarterback." K.J. Dillion and Nick Kwiatkoski, combined with the return of Barber, should give West Virginia one of the top linebacking corps in the league.





Trotter: I wrote about this Thursday. Yes, I think West Virginia could have one of the three-best defenses in the league. The key will be forcing turnovers and finding guys who can pressure the QB. The Mountaineers ranked last in the league in turnovers forced last season. And with Shaq Riddick gone, they need to uncover a new primary pass-rusher (Larry Jefferson?). Otherwise, the pieces are in place for the Mountaineers to be nasty defensively.





Trotter: In no particular order, Karl Joseph, Daryl Worley, Jordan Sterns, Kevin Peterson, Dante Barnett, Danzel McDaniel, Derrick Kindred, Zack Sanchez, Orion Stewart and Duke Thomas.





Trotter: I think the Red Raiders will be better (they can't be worse, right?). Adding talents such as Mike Mitchell and Breiden Fehoko are going to help, but the biggest addition should be defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who will at least have the Red Raiders filling the proper gaps. They were all over the place at times last season. If you can't maintain your gaps, you have no chance in stopping the run. That's something Gibbs has been stressing and will continue to do so in the preseason.





Trotter: They gave Ohio State a pass on its Virginia Tech loss last season. I don't know why they wouldn't do it again if the Buckeyes ran the table and won the Big Ten again. Speaking of Ohio State, this is something that should worry you TCU fans ... The Horned Frogs are going to be off on the final weekend. Given how strongly championship weekend influenced the committee's final rankings last season, being off on that day could really wind up hurting TCU if the Frogs are in the playoff mix.





Trotter: It's unreasonable for us to assume Baylor won't miss Bryce Petty, at least a little. He was a fabulous QB. But Briles has a budding track record at Baylor of developing QBs and plugging them in when it's their time, with the offense humming right along. I don't think the Bears will be as prolific at QB as they were last season with Petty. But given the experience and talent that will be surrounding Seth Russell, the Bears are still going to be a load offensively.





Trotter: Ask me again in three months.