It’s that time of year where football is scarce across Big 12 country. If you’re like me, you need a football fix and quick. This mailbag is for all you football junkies out there who root for a Big 12 school who not only have questions about your team, but other teams in the conference as well. So, join me, grab a cold brew or your favorite drink and relax as I answer all your Big 12 questions in my mailbag. For those interested, I will send out a tweet (@Derekduke25) every Monday at noon until last call (No, not 2 AM) at 8 PM CT for you to send in your questions to be answered every Tuesday right here at Heartland College Sports.
I will pick the best question for each mailbag and label it as my question of the week. The winner gets a free HCS Koozie to keep your beer cold (Unless you like it warm, but that’s just plain wrong). It was busy question day which tells me that this mailbag is working harder than me at my day job. Unlike the “Big 12 blog” over at ESPN (I say that loosely because one story a week is a tragedy), we here at HCS are determined to give you the best Big 12 coverage on the planet. I want to thank each one of you who submitted a question this week and for those reading, I am glad you could join me. I am enjoying a late-night ice cold one myself and let’s get this party started!
There are probably some that don’t give a rats you know what about how my weekend was. If you do care or even if you don’t, I am going to tell you anyways. Didn’t do a ton Friday after work but I guess you could say the same thing for Saturday because I watched a TON of college baseball. I am a football guy through and through, but college baseball has grown on me a bit. Can you guess what I did Sunday? That’s right more college baseball and a great chicken fried steak. Can’t beat it.
@RPTexan asks: Who are 2 or more Big 12 coaches (Past or Present) that really don’t like each other and what caused the conflict? Got to name names!
Duke: I had to get the rest of the crew at HCS a peak at this one because only one came to my mind. Keep in mind I am a younger guy, so I may not be able to go back as far as some of the old timers. The one that came to my mind was former Baylor coach Art Briles and TCU head coach Gary Patterson. Apparently back in 2013, a Baylor player had a targeting call on a TCU player and the Baylor player who got ejected was caught laughing on camera. Gary didn’t take that too well and he and Briles had a few words after the game. I think the postgame presser for that one is currently on YouTube, so you can check it out there.
As for a more old school one was former coaches Mike Leach (TTU) and Mike Sherman (TX A&M). Apparently, the argument was about why Stephen McGee (Former A&M QB) got drafted and Graham Harrell (Former TTU QB) didn’t. Of course, after Leach made those comments, Mike Sherman came back to defend his player. I wouldn’t have minded seeing these two in a boxing ring for a few rounds to battle it out.
@yo_inquisitor asks: What’s your preferred swimming stroke?
Duke: Always nice to have a change of pace question here. In fact, they are awesome. I believe there are 4 types of swimming strokes, but the truth is that none of them look like you can hold an alcoholic beverage while doing them. If I am in a pool, river, lake, ocean etc., I have a cold beverage in my hand. That’s almost a rule in my book. But, if I was drowning I guess I would do the butterfly? Swimming isn’t exactly my strong suit. I prefer floating.
@12Podcast asks: What is the most likely chance for a Big 12 football team to get upset in non-conference play this season?
Duke: Glad you could join me here, I appreciate it and was able to listen to the first few podcasts. Great stuff. There are two games that come to mind. The first one is Boise State @ Oklahoma State and the other one is West Virginia @ NC State. Boise State has a senior QB returning and arguably has the best group of five defense overall. It will be a HUGE test for the Cowboys heading into Big 12 play. The West Virginia/NC State game could look like a Big 12 game because I think it could be a shootout in Raleigh. Both teams will have a good offense in this game but who will get that key stop late in the ball game? Both I look forward to watching very much as is the rest of the country.
@KBehr68 asks: Outside of Will Grier or his WRs, who in the Big 12 could be a dark horse Heisman contender?
Duke: I had a question like this a few weeks back and since I am a nice guy, I’ll speak about it again. I really think Justice Hill (OSU RB) and David Montgomery (ISU RB) are both top five players in the Big 12. But let’s face it, a Big 12 running back won’t win the Heisman unless they carry their team to a Big 12 title game or rush for 1,700 yards or something crazy like that. So, it pretty much is a quarterback award for the most part. I firmly believe that Baylor QB Charlie Brewer is the second-best quarterback in the Big 12 but the Bears will be lucky to reach a bowl game this season. If I had to say, (ready for backlash for these answers) it would be Texas QB Sam Ehlinger or Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray. Both guys could find themselves in a conference title game and if they are there or even if one of them is there, that means one of them probably had a fantastic season. I really like the upside for those two quarterbacks, now it’s time we all see it.
@SimonSaysSport asks: Texas and OU both go 10-2 and rematch in the Big 12 Championship?
Duke: We can throw out the exact records because if any Big 12 team has two losses heading into the title game, even if they win you can kiss the CFB Playoff goodbye because the rest of the country has no respect for the Big 12. However, I could see a Red River Showdown (Change it back to shootout, right?) rematch for all the marbles in Jerry World. The best three Big 12 teams right now to me are in no order: West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas. People will bash me for talking about Texas, but I really believe this is when the ship starts to turn around completely for that program. Oklahoma is well, Oklahoma and West Virginia has a high-powered offense with the best quarterback in the league. Defensively I like some JUCO and grad transfers they have added defensively but will it be enough?
@Doc_Texas asks: Will Tech regret extending Kingsbury?
Duke: After signing an extension back like 4 years ago, I believe Kliff’s current contract runs through 2020 and there is like a 6.8-million-dollar buyout if he is fired. Again, I never suggest giving a coach a ton of money and a long contract after ONE SEASON. It wasn’t even a ten-win season back in 2013 so I don’t really understand what the AD (Kirby Hocutt) was thinking or maybe he had too many drinks, I don’t know. Here is my take after the Texas game last season: If Tech would have lost that game, they wouldn’t have made a bowl game and I truly believe Kliff would have been gone. Instead, he won which made Tech bowl eligible last season.
As far as your question goes, I don’t think they will regret it. I can see why brining him back after being bowl eligible but when you are that much on the fence of not having a job, the outcome in the end probably won’t work out the way everyone wants it. What’s crazy is the defense is finally improving in Lubbock but bad offensive play at times has really hurt or visa versa. Can the Red Raiders make a bowl game this year? I have a hard time seeing it. But if you are Texas Tech, what do you have to lose at this point? This team isn’t competing for a Big 12 title or even probably 8 wins, so let’s see what happens. The ticket sales may go down but unless they had a guy they knew they could bring in, I think they did the right thing even though he will likely be gone after this season.
@GroverZach asks: Iowa State finished 26th in ESPN’s offensive efficiency measurement. I have been told that if you remove the OU game, ISU falls to 120th in this metric. Do you see this being true? And where would you rate Iowa State’s offensive efficiency from last season?
Duke: I am going to be honest with you, I don’t really read much into that stuff or ESPN for that matter besides offensive and defensive stats. The efficiency rating is the formula for offensive that is adjusted for strength of opponent, time, wind factor, what color your jersey is, etc. Half of that was a joke by the way. I look at it this way, how could ISU drop that far when Oklahoma had a Charmin soft defense last season? I would have a hard time seeing them drop that far in any metric for that matter. Overall Iowa State was #78 in total offense in 2017. They had the #31 ranked passing offense and the #114 ranked rushing offense. Those stats kind of speak for themselves. I don’t really know what else to say.
**Sign up here for our HCS weekly e-mails for a chance to win FREE Heartland College Sports and Big 12 team gear!!**