Big 12 mailbag: Karl Joseph, Charlie Strong and re-evaluating league race


In this week's Twitter mailbag, we discuss the season-ending injury to West Virginia's Karl Joseph, whether Charlie Strong is really in trouble at Texas and what would happen if TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all finished 11-1.

As for game coverage this weekend weekend, Brandon Chatmon will be in Manhattan to see if Kansas State can put a scare into TCU; while I will be headed to the corny dog capital of the world for the Red River Showdown.

Without further ado, on to the 'bag:

Trotter: It's a huge loss for West Virginia, both for this weekend and for the rest of the season. So much of West Virginia's defensive identity was tied to Joseph, who was the enforcer and tone-setter. The Mountaineers still have a good defense. But nobody loses their best player and doesn't feel it.

Trotter: I've gotten no indication that Dana Holgorsen is close to considering a QB change. In fact after the Oklahoma game, he put the loss on his play calling. I actually thought Holgorsen's game plan was fine. It was Skyler Howard who missed open receivers and turned the ball over five times. If Howard has a repeat performance Saturday, William Crest may pop up into conversations in the media and behind the scenes. But for now, the Mountaineers are rolling with Howard.

Trotter: Barring the ship completely sinking, I don't see Texas making a change. The only way the Longhorns would fire Strong is if he somehow lost the locker room. Yes, there were some troubling signs in the last week. But as long as his team doesn't mail it in, Strong figures to be back in 2016, when the pressure to demonstrate progress would really be on.

Trotter: Hold up, no doubt. The Horned Frogs are back to being whole again on the defensive line with the returns of Davion Pierson, Mike Tuaua and Terrell Lathan, which should make a big difference going forward. The secondary is still a work in progress, but the Horned Frogs still have a pair of stalwart safeties in Denzel Johnson and Derrick Kindred. This is not going to be Gary Patterson's finest defense, but it has a chance to be solid enough for the Horned Frogs to still make the playoff -- considering it's paired with one of the finest offenses in the country.

Trotter: I know Tech hasn't won in Austin since 1997, but this isn't really close. We'll see how the Joseph injury affects West Virginia, but I still think that's a quality team; Oklahoma is in the top 10. Texas, meanwhile, is 1-4 and one more no-show away this weekend from falling back into complete turmoil. If the Red Raiders don't beat Texas in Austin this time around, they may never win there.

Trotter: Yes, I think the Wildcats will go bowling. They already have three wins, and they still have Iowa State at home and Kansas. Last I checked, Bill Snyder is still the coach. That's worth at least another win over someone, regardless of the injuries.

Trotter: Interesting. I'd probably go Baylor 35 percent, TCU 30, Oklahoma 25, Oklahoma State 8 and the field 2. The Bears have moved ahead of the Horned Frogs because of TCU's injuries. Despite the lackluster start, the Cowboys can't be written off yet because they still get Baylor, TCU and OU all in Stillwater.

Trotter: The Big 12 seems to be positioned pretty well. The SEC champ is likely to grab one spot; the winner of Ohio State/Michigan State will probably snag another. But the Big 12 appears to be ahead of the ACC and the Pac-12 in the pecking order. A lot can happen between now and December, but I have a hard time seeing a one-loss Big 12 champ not making the playoff at this point.

Trotter: Assuming all three would also be 11-1, the three-way tie would be broken according to scoring differential among the tied teams, per the new Big 12 rules. Scoring differential would eliminate one of the three teams; whoever won the head-to-head meeting among the remaining two would be crowned champ. Of course, that doesn't mean the playoff committee would pick that team. The committee would still be factoring non-conference resumes. Oh by the way, if all three teams had the exact scoring differential? The tie would be broken by a draw, which would be held at the conference office.

Trotter: 1 1/2. I'm definitely getting one at halftime, as I always do. And there remains the possibility I'll get another on the way to the car. The Fletcher's corny dog is my Texas State Fair go-to item.