In today’s mailbag, Cyclones are feeling heartbroken, Mountaineers are feeling confident and I am called an idiot.
To the 'bag:
Matt in Seattle writes: It’s a disgrace what the Big 12 refs did to Iowa State. Please talk about it on the blog.
Jake Trotter: I have a feeling we’re going to be discussing it plenty.
Timothy in Ames writes:What did you make of the call at the end last night?
Jake Trotter: Looked like a fumble to me.
Cade in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, writes: After watching the Iowa State-Texas game, I am nothing but frustrated. I live in Romania and for the past two years I've stayed up numerous times till 6 in the morning to watch my beloved ISU football and basketball, only to be let down in the last minute of the game. This loss is heartbreaking, but how much will this loss affect the rest of ISU's season? Is there any hope for resurrection later this season? Or should I get my rest and not mind to watch any more games that are in the evening? I'll probably watch them anyways because that’s what ISU fans do, but it would be nice to hear your opinion.
Jake Trotter: Between last night’s game, the overtime losses to Kansas in basketball and the way Ohio State knocked the Cyclones out of the NCAA tournament, it’s been a rough year for Iowa State fans. I wouldn’t give up on this team, though. The offense is finding a groove, and I think the Cyclones finally have their QB in Sam Richardson, who was marvelous against Texas. A bowl game is probably a longshot, but with so many inexperienced players, this team should get better every game – as long as they can put what happened last Thursday night behind them.
Schawki in Anderson, S.C., writes:Hey, man. Hawkeye fan here who generally pays very little attention to the Cyclones. I watched the Texas game, and that was gross! I actually found myself actually cheering for the 'Clones simply because that was the worst case of officials helping a team win that I have ever witnessed in all my years of watching college football.
Jake Trotter: I’m glad this forum could bring Hawkeyes and Cyclones together in perfect harmony.
Andy in Austin writes: Who suspends Mike Davisfirst? The Big 12 or UT? His cheap shot was garbage. Do you believe either organization will make an example of him?
Jake Trotter: I doubt either suspends him. The precedent is not strong for the conference to suspend players for nontargeting hits. OU offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson punched TCU’s Stansly Maponga in the head last year after Maponga was on the ground and the ball had left their vicinity. Nothing happened. I doubt anything will happen here, either, even though it was a pretty sorry cheap shot that could have seriously injured Deon Broomfield.
Caleb Weaver in Lubbock, Texas, writes: As a Tech student, I'm loving the publicity and hype that Kliff Kingsbury has brought back to Lubbock. The game atmospheres have been crazy so far. Before the season, I was expecting, best-case scenario, eight wins. Tech definitely has exceeded a lot of expectations, and is much further in the rebuilding process than what I was expecting. How shocked are you that Texas Tech is where it is in the conference, and are you even more shocked that it is their defense that has taken them there?
Jake Trotter: I’m not shocked, but I am surprised. I didn’t think Tech would emerge into the top tier of the conference with so many questions at quarterback. But the defense has been stout, and the skill guys have made plays for the freshman QBs. At this point, anything less than a top-four finish in the league would be a bit disappointing.
Vivek in San Diego writes: I am a Texas Tech alum, and I keep hearing Kliff's name (and Kevin Sumlin's name) in USC's search for a coach here. Just when I thought there is stability and standards being maintained in the coaching staff, should I start worrying about Kliff leaving the program? What are the chances of him getting offers from big programs (USC or Texas)?
Jake Trotter: There’s always a chance, but I think Kingsbury is where he wants to be. Mike Gundy always called the Oklahoma State gig his New York Yankees job because it was his alma mater. I think Kingsbury feels similarly about being at Texas Tech.
Bob in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: As a former Red Raider I wanted to add a sane perspective on the whole Baylor thing. I have grown a massive amount of respect from what they have done thus far. I don’t think they are a lock to win the Big 12 or anything, but you cannot help but be impressed by their offensive performances no matter who they were against. Every game was out of reach in the first half by. That’s something we are not able to say. One of the most frustrating things about being a Red Raider is having to listen to our fans say stupid stuff about football.
Jake Trotter: A Red Raider complimenting Baylor? What’s next, a Big 12 official making a controversial call against Texas?
Josh in Dallas writes: Give your odds on the following coaches coming to the great state of Texas: Will Muschamp, Charlie Strong, Nick Saban, David Shaw.
Jake Trotter: The ship seems to have sailed on Muschamp; don’t see Saban leaving Alabama, unless Texas makes him a ridiculous financial offer. Strong and Shaw seem the most likely of the four.
Josh in Wichita, Kan., writes: Please make my day and give me a very long list of reasons why Texas wouldn't be interested in John Currie.
Jake Trotter: My impression is that Texas would want to make a splashier hire to replace DeLoss Dodds. But Currie has done a tremendous job at K-State. Last academic year, the Wildcats captured Big 12 titles in football, men's basketball and baseball. In the BCS era, only Stanford (1999-2000), Texas (2005-06) and Louisville (2012-13) accomplished the same feat.
Rob in West Chester, Pa., writes: Why is everyone so hyped over Clint Trickett and saying WV may have found their QB? He was terrible and a lot of his throws were ridiculous. The Mountaineers should go back to Paul Millard. WV's QB problem still exists. This will show over the next couple weeks.
Jake Trotter: I agree that West Virginia’s QB problem still exists. But I completely disagree that Trickett played terrible. He gave the offense something it desperately needed – a spark. Ford Childress is the QB of the future in Morgantown. But at this moment, Trickett gives West Virginia the best chance to win.
Nick in Frisco, Texas, writes:I'm not sure what to think of this WVU defense. They played OU well, though Bell wasn't there really. They didn't look good against Maryland, but then they looked decent to good against Oklahoma State. Is this defense for real or not?
Jake Trotter: Honestly, I think we’ll find out for sure this weekend. The Maryland game wasn’t as bad as it seemed because of all the offensive turnovers. But then the Sooners weren’t playing Blake Bell yet when the Mountaineers went to Norman. If West Virginia keeps Baylor under 40, we can go ahead and proclaim this to be a solid defense. If the Mountaineers give up 70, well, it was all smoke and mirrors.
Patrick in Charleston, S.C., writes:With the way WVU's defense has been playing, if the offense keeps improving, is it crazy to think of WVU hanging around and possibly beating Baylor in Waco?
Jake Trotter: I don’t see this West Virginia offense scoring with Baylor.
Bit in Knoxville, Tenn., writes:With the win over Oklahoma State, WVU has placed themselves firmly in the Big 12 race. Can they remain there? We'll find out more after the Baylor game next week. I like WVU's chances with this defense.
Jake Trotter: I wouldn’t put them firmly in the race. But I would if they somehow knocked off Baylor this weekend.
Charlie Bear in Panama City, Fla., writes: Hey guys, first of all, I love the work you guys are doing on the Big 12 blog this year. You have brought a much-needed balance to our conference coverage. What would it take for Baylor to get a shot at the BCS title this year? I think we can all agree that Baylor going undefeated this year isn't impossible; though it is unlikely. So, I guess what I am asking is this: What apocalyptic events would have to transpire in the SEC, ACC, and the Pac-12 for an undefeated or one-loss Baylor to be given a title shot? Thanks again for doing what you do – you keep office drones like me sane.
Jake Trotter: No problem, Charlie. Baylor’s only chance is to go undefeated. And the Bears would probably need Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Clemson and Florida State to all lose, too, unless the SEC ate its own.
Kurt Vonnecat in San Lorenzo, Ecuador, writes:In a recent mailbag you stated, "Kansas State is coming off its best season in school history..." I beg to differ. It was one of the best, but actually the 1997 season would have to be the best. K-State went 11-1, won the Fiesta Bowl and its lone loss was to Nebraska in Lincoln. Don't you agree ’97 was best?
Jake Trotter: What about 1998? The 'Cats were three points away from playing for the national title. I think you could argue the ’97, ’98 or ’12 seasons as being the best in K-State history.
Gentry in Las Vegas writes: With the OU D getting better, does Mike Stoops stay as defensive coordinator or does he entertain head-coaching jobs?
Jake Trotter: I think the possibility is there Mike could be Bob’s heir apparent in Norman, especially if the OU defenses get back to the level they were at early in the Stoops era.
Hollis Bartholomew in the Dallas area writes: I know Keith Fordis a true freshman and all, but he's shown that he's a physical running back and gives his all every play that he's been in. So what I don't understand is why he didn't get in the game on offense at all against a physical Notre Dame team. Not complaining, but he could've done very well, in my opinion. Do you agree?
Jake Trotter: In that setting, Bob Stoops wanted his veterans on the field. Ford will get more and more work as the season goes on – the Sooners want him ready to step into the starting role in 2014.
Ohn Thomas in DeBary, Fla., writes: Welcome aboard. I enjoy reading your insight of the Big 12. Regarding future conference realignment, why isn't there more consideration given to UCF? I'm a Tech-san living in Florida; I have seen UCF grow all of their programs. The central Florida area would be a great road trip and would return the favor to the SEC and A&M by opening up Florida to the Big 12. UCF has a student population of almost 50,000 and as the competition has improved, the fan support has grown.
Jake Trotter: If the Big 12 ever committed to expansion and a current BCS conference school were not available, both UCF and South Florida would be interesting options, for all the reasons you point out. The only drawback would be travel. Lubbock, Texas, is 1,488 miles from Orlando, Florida. The football programs could overcome that. But for the other sports, it would be taxing.
John Barnard in Dallas writes:I've noticed that you continually talk about the Big 12 imploding, as if the conference was somehow on its last legs. I would have thought that someone who covers the Big 12 would be a little better informed about the facts. In 2011, the Big 12 members agreed to sign their first-tier media rights over to the conference, essentially locking all the members in from leaving. What evidence do you have that the Big 12 is somehow a faltering conference that is near falling apart?
Jake Trotter: I’ve never suggested that the Big 12 is on the verge of imploding. But if there’s anything to be learned from the past three years, it’s that contracts can always be circumvented in college sports.
Mary in Prairie Village, Kan., writes:You really think the Big 12 is only the fourth-best conference? You're an idiot. Stop insulting us with your lack of intelligence!
Jake Trotter: My wife said the exact same thing to me this morning, except the discussion wasn't centered on conference rankings in college football.