- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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In Tuesday's mailbag we discuss West Virginia, our player's poll results and some newcomers at Texas. Feel free to submit questions for next week's mailbag.
Ryan of Vienna, West Virginia, writes: The Big 12 media had West Virginia finishing 6th in the Big 12 with a 7 or 8 wins total. Will that be enough for Dana Holgorsen to keep his job for another year as a Head Coach?
Brandon Chatmon: I think it all depends on how it happens in that scenario. If WVU looks like a title contender that finds its road schedule too tough to overcome, Holgorsen should be fine. If the Mountaineers were to lose to both Iowa State and Kansas, as they did in 2013, that could be a problem.
Cy in Big D from Dallas, Texas, writes: As an Iowa State and a Cubs fan, which happens first, ISU getting to another bowl game or my Cubs getting to the World Series?
BC: Not a lot of faith in Paul Rhoads' Cyclones huh Cy? I’m going with ISU. I don’t think the Cyclones are that far away, but the overall depth in the Big 12 makes it a tough task.
A.J. in Columbus writes: Saw the poll question that asked Big 12 players who was the "One True Champion" last year and a majority said TCU, despite their head-to-head loss to Baylor and was surprised. Have we begun to shift to a sports culture that values "the eye test," style points, and perception more than actually settling it on the field? You'd think players would favor on the field results.
BC: I hope not and couldn’t agree more A.J. That surprised me as well. I think with some players they allowed the fact that TCU is the preseason favorite to kind of influence their thinking as opposed to which team was the toughest to beat when they played in 2014 or who won the head-to-head matchup. I’m pretty sure head-to-head would trump all if they were talking about their own teams.
Connor in Austin, Texas, writes: Who's a newcomer to watch for at Texas on offense and defense (not named Jerrod Heard or Malik Jefferson)?
BC: There is something about freshman linebacker Cecil Cherry that intrigues me, almost to the point that I can’t wait to see what he can do as much as Jefferson (although Holton Hill also sits high on my list). On offense I’d say Ryan Newsome. It seems like the true freshman receiver should get plenty of opportunities to shine in preseason camp, and I think he has the talent to take advantage of those chances.
Jason in The Chuck, West Virginia, writes: Am I too optimistic that WVU will be the surprise team in the Big 12 this year? If our O-line is just adequate, I think this could be the break through year where we don't lose those close games and don't go to sleep the second half of the season. Am I delusional?
BC: No. I’ve been pretty candid in my belief that the Mountaineers can be the surprise team in the conference. The experience on defense should not be overlooked, and I’m a big believer in Holgorsen’s ability to put the ball in the hands of his best players and develop playmakers. That October schedule is a beast, but I still expect WVU to finish higher than most people expect.
Gilbert in Austin, Texas, writes: I don't think it makes sense, but a lot of folks are optimistic about Oklahoma State and WVU. Those are two teams who had new faces at QB for the last few games of the season, neither of which was all that impressive. On top of that WVU lost it's most productive receivers. Still, people peg them to be a serious contender. Your defense can be as good as you want it to be, but you still have to have offense. Just take a look at Texas. Simultaneously we don't know very much about OSU. What gives?
BC: You lost me with "neither of which was all that impressive" when talking about the quarterbacks. Had you said, I need to see it every Saturday, I would have been able to get on board. The main thing is this: Which other Big 12 teams, outside of TCU, have a bonafide playmaker under center? I think Skyler Howard will do a better job protecting the ball and that veteran defense will help WVU win games, and OSU will use the ups-and-downs of a year ago to push to greater heights this fall. Neither team is a favorite to win a Big 12 title, but neither will be easy to beat.
Kameron in Wichita, Kansas, writes: So, its no secret by now that you are down on the Kansas State Wildcats this year. My question is why? Yes losing so many starters is concerning but when has Bill Snyder not been able to fill holes with worthy players? After actually researching what this Wildcat team has, can you still honestly tell me that you think they go 6-6 and fall back to the cellar?
BC: Snyder is the only reason I think KSU will make a bowl game. It’s entirely possible I view the Wildcats different after Week 1, when I can actually see what they bring to the table, but as of right now ... well, let’s just say more questions arose from the spring than answers. And I expected answers.