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 cocktail 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 much on Friday but I did get to try some beer from Hawaii which was interesting. Saturday, I had to work my day job for a few hours, but the pouring rain kept me inside for most of the evening. I wrapped up the weekend as I made the journey back to my hometown on Sunday.
@RPTexan asks: Would you rather be Sisyphus or a Gig Em fan waiting on that elusive National Championship?
Duke: I think it is safe to say that anyone who reads this mailbag would be just about anything besides an aggie. As far as that “National Championship” goes, don’t you remember? They won last year because they will be riding the coattails of every SEC team that wins a championship. I am sure there is a banner around that place somewhere for every Alabama title.
@jonkev50: Can you name one player from the Big 12 that you would name the most indispensable and why?
Duke: I think this is an easy answer here. We all know the Big 12 is a kicker driven league and what’s the most important position in football? Kicker baby! Kickers are what make the world go around. If you believe this then go ahead and turn of your cell phone or computer you’re reading this on and start your day all over again. In all seriousness, the answer here must be a quarterback but not just any quarterback, the best quarterback in the Big 12 and maybe even the entire country, Will Grier. He is not only the best quarterback in the Big 12 but we ranked him as the number one player in our top 25 list of Big 12 players in 2018. If I was starting a team using only current Big 12 players, Will Grier would be my first pick.
@FitzDaddy85 asks: What are the chances a Big 12 team makes the CFB Playoff? And which teams have the best chance?
Duke: The Big 12 gets a lack of national respect so for me a Big 12 team can only afford to lose one regular season game. That would mean a team would have to go 13-0 with a Big 12 title or worst-case scenario 12-1 with a Big 12 title to even sniff the playoffs. Based on how I feel about a team doing that is probably around 20%. I don’t like the odds and a lot of that has to do with all the changes at quarterback and some defensive issues with certain teams. So as of right now, my top 3 Big 12 teams are Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia so those 3 would have to have the best chance to make it in my book.
If Kyler Murray is the real deal, then Oklahoma could make a lot of noise because they have playmakers all around him and defensively I think they will be better. For Texas, it’s all about Sam Ehlinger. The defense is legit but if he can’t clean up some of those mistakes then they could fall off this list. Now West Virginia is more interesting. The offense will likely be the best in the conference, but that defense was bad last season. If the defense can get back on track, they may have the best odds of any Big 12 team cracking a playoff spot.
@mundodlovoide asks: Can you name 5 newcomers that could have a big impact this season in the Big 12?
Duke: So here would be my list in no certain order
WR Jalen Hurd (Baylor)– Jalen is a former Tennessee running back who now has moved to wide receiver since joining Baylor. Go back and watch his tape at Tennessee. The guy is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. I put him on my Big 12 preseason ballot for newcomer of the year.
CB Brendan Radley-Hiles (Oklahoma)– Radley-Hiles is a very physical corner who has the capability of locking down a receiver. I can almost assure you that you will see this guy on the field in 2018 and I am just curious to see how big of an impact he can have on this Sooner defense.
WR Myller Royals (Texas Tech)- I wrote an article about some early enrollees back in the spring and here is what I said about Myller. “On film, Myller shows that he is every bit of 6’4″, as you will see him go up and catch the ball at the highest point when the ball is thrown his way. His size will remind Tech fans of current WR T.J. Vasher (6’6), but I really think Myller Royals can stand out on his own and be special at Texas Tech. Again, his quickness and ball skills at his size have all the ingredients for success. How in the world was this guy a 3-star? I don’t know. This may sound like a hot take, but I wouldn’t take any other receiver that other Big 12 schools landed in 2018 over Myller Royals. To me, he may be the best WR prospect in the Big 12 for the 2018 class.”
LT Jake Fruhmorgen (Baylor)- Jake started 8 games on the offensive line for Clemson back in 2016. He sat out the 2017 season due to transfer rules but will be eligible to play this season and will likely be the starter at LT protecting Charlie Brewer’s blindside.
CB Corione Harris (Kansas)– It’s not often we talk about Kansas players making a big impact but Corione Harris was the highest rated prospect Kansas has EVER signed. With that roster, I expect him to start right away for the Jayhawks and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make an immediate impact.
QB Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State)– I had to throw in a bonus for this list. Spencer Sanders could very well end up being the starting quarterback for the Cowboys at some point and time this season. He is a dual threat guy who can run and pass which would bring a new dimension to this offense that is loaded with playmakers. But first, he must win the job.
@KBehr68: Rank the current Big 12 quarterbacks
Duke: Oh boy, this ought to stir up the mailbag. I can hear it already on twitter, “Why do you hate my teams quarterback?” Or “He’s too low!”. So, I am going to give you the straight list and nothing else here. If anyone has a comment, let me hear how big of an idiot I am on twitter (@Derekduke25). Enjoy!
1, Will Grier (WVU)
2. Charlie Brewer (Baylor)
3. Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)
4. Kyle Kempt (ISU)
5. Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
6. Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson (KSU)
7. Shawn Robinson (TCU)
8. Whichever Oklahoma State QB
9. Whichever Texas Tech QB
10. Whichever Kansas QB
@mgcsooner asks: Top guesses for POY candidates for offense and defense.
Same for freshman POY. Most improved offenses and defense, best OOC games, most pivotal games and lastly crumbs for everyone, first path to Big 12 championship game OU, UT, WVU etc.
Duke: Questions like this are why I should start taking donations. Money talks! Just kidding. So many questions here but I will do my best to get to them. I’ll keep them short and simple here to make it easy.
1. Offensive POY: WVU QB Will Grier/ Defensive POY: WVU LB David Long
2. Freshman Offensive POY: OSU QB Spencer Sanders/ Freshman Defensive POY: OU CB Brendan Radley-Hiles
3. Most improved offense: Texas/ Most improved defense: Oklahoma
4. We ranked the top 10 non-conference games in the Big 12 so be sure to go back and check those out on the site.
5. First path to Big 12 title game: Oklahoma. Until someone knocks them off, I have to say the Sooners.
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