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!
I want to apologize to everyone for the late mailbag but in case you didn’t know, I went up to Frisco, Texas on Sunday to pick up our own Pete Mundo from the airport in DFW for Big 12 Media Days this earlier this week. We started Sunday evening meeting up with Dave Beal and Matthew Postins at Buffalo Wild Wings for a few drinks and a meal. After that was over Pete forced me into a bar for a couple more drinks even though it was 100% NOT MY IDEA!! Anyways if you followed the site and our social media we were as busy as we may have ever been with all the information and content we were able to dish out. Overall, it was a great two days at the Star in Frisco for Big 12 Media Days and now I am ready to get back to work and kick off the season. Again, thank you for your patience.
@FitzDaddy85 asks: After hearing Beaty’s claim that he had 39 scholarship players when he arrived at Kansas, is this the worst you’ve ever heard of? Does he deserve more time in the light of this or does the lack of progress negate that?
Duke: I was very surprised when I heard this. I knew Charlie Weis screwed up this program bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad. Now that Beaty has those numbers about where they should be, this must be THE YEAR we see some progress. In his three seasons as Kansas head coach he is 3-33 overall and has a Big 12 record of 1-26. That’s beyond horrible but if the same thing happens this year, how can you not make a change after four years? How short is the leash for David Beaty under new AD Jeff Long? Whatever it is it can’t be that long. If Kansas doesn’t reach at least 3 wins this season, I think Beaty is done. The biggest issue I had last season is that they weren’t even competitive in most games.
@RPTexan asks: What do you expect the Big 12 storylines to be going into the season and are these different from your pre-media days expectations? What did you learn during media days that caught you off guard? What was the drink of choice at the hotel bar?
Duke: To me, media days doesn’t really make me change my mind about teams that much. Think about it, all we are doing is interviews and interviews aren’t going to change the way I feel about teams that drastically. The great part is that it all plays out on the field. The truth is that we don’t know how the 2 through 8 spots are going to shake out. The Big 12 is so wide open this year and the biggest question is who will be the team to step up and take charge? I did a media days storyline heading into Big 12 Media Days and much of that will still hold true until the season kicks off.
What I learned at Media Days that caught me off guard was Oklahoma offensive lineman Ben Powers. I never interviewed him before but when I asked him about his mentality heading into games he looked me dead in the eyes and said “I want to take a grown mans dream and crush it. I want to crush his dreams.” You want to talk about bone chilling? That was a wow moment for me and probably my favorite out of the entire two days. The drink of choice at the hotel there at media days was a Lakewood Lager. They had an open bar for a couple hours after day one and that was one of a few beer options for the media. We only got to choose between wine or beer. I did get to meet former Notre Dame or Cleveland Brown quarterback Brady Quinn and told him that I was sorry that he had to go to the Browns.
@StrawnBob asks: Which game will ISU wear the other guys black uniforms? TCU to confuse the gremlins? Iowa to show state pride? Or Farmageddon in hopes of breaking the decade long streak?
Duke: If Iowa State will break out these new black uniforms, it will have to be a home game. Their home games are South Dakota State, Oklahoma, Akron, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas State. Out of all those home games I think it must be Kansas State. You just mentioned that Iowa State hasn’t won against Kansas State in the annual Farmageddon game in a decade. In fact, since 1994 the Cyclones have only won two games against Kansas State. That’s insane so I think something must change for Iowa State in this matchup so why not wear the black uniforms? What do you have to lose here if your Iowa State?
@TedFlintKansas asks: Top three places in the Big 12 you want to tailgate at? Also, outside of Kansas, does ISU win a conference road game?
Duke: Great question. Keep in mind I have not been to all the tailgate scenes around the Big 12 so everybody don’t be offended if your school isn’t on here. Here would be my top 3 in no order.
West Virginia- I don’t know why but Mountaineer fans seems a bit crazy to me and being so far east, I’d love to check out a Morgantown tailgate on gameday. Some great country music and a little bit of homemade moonshine sounds perfect to me. Plus, if they win don’t they burn couches up there? Sign me up.
Iowa State- Jack Trice is one of the top venues in the Big 12. The passion that Iowa State fans have are amazing considering what the program has been through for a long time. There isn’t a big winning tradition there, but I have heard great things about the tailgate scene up there in Ames. I’m not crazy about Busch Light but I will gladly down a few with some Iowa State folks.
Kansas State- Much like Iowa State, the passion that Kansas State fans have is incredible. Not to mention, I have heard that Wildcat fans are very nice people to hang out with before the game. Classy just like Bill Snyder maybe? A bonus school would be Oklahoma State if I could add one more.
As far as the Iowa State road game question my answer is yes. I think they could knock off Iowa (How sweet would that be for Cyclone fans?) as well Oklahoma State. I think those are their two best chances at road victories this season.
@jonkev50 asks: Would you rather have Breckyn Hager’s hair or Mike Gundy’s hair?
Duke: This is easy for me. I would rather have coach Gundy’s mullet any day over the blonde locks of Hager. I get itchy sometimes when I have a beard and I shave it off if it gets to be too much. I couldn’t imagine having a head of hair like Hager’s. What would I do with it? How would I wear it? A man bun? Do I braid it? I can barely manage the hair on my head now without looking like a fool. The mullet is much easier to manage so I would take that over crazy long hair.
@Shroudedllama asks: Imagine the Big 12 coaches in a Royal Rumble style brawl, last one in the ring wins. What order do you think they get eliminated and who is the last man standing?
Duke: Somebody get Dave a damn koozie! This may be the best question in my mailbags short history. Oh boy so I will try and take a stab at this. First one gone must be Bill Snyder, right? I respect the hell out of him, but I can’t seem him doing well in this format. Second man gone would be Lincoln Riley. He is a very slender guy an I am not sure about his fighting skills to put him over some of the bigger guys in this matchup. Third man one would be Tom Herman. I just don’t think the guy would be a good fighter if you ask me. Fourth man gone would be Gary Patterson. Gary is a shorter guy, but he has got some size. His age is what keeps him from staying in longer. The fifth coach out would be Kliff Kingsbury. He is in great shape but how tough is he? We now are down to the final five leaving Matt Rhule, Matt Campbell, David Beaty, Mike Gundy and Dana Holgorsen left in the ring.
Next for me is Dana Holgorsen. He made it far, but I can’t put him past this point. The seventh man out is David Beaty. We are starting to split hairs here, but it was the farthest Kanas has gotten in anything football related in a long time. Now comes a bit of shocker for some. The eighth man eliminated is Mike Gundy. Gundy is quirky and scrappy but the size of Rhule and the youthfulness of Matt Campbell are too much to handle. That leaves only two. The battle of the Matt’s. Matt Rhule and Matt Campbell. While the shear size of Matt Rhule has gotten him into two, Matt Campbell is just too young and energetic to lose this fight. The winner of the 2018 Big 12 Coaches Royal Rumble is Matt Campbell.
@JacobVanScoyoc asks: If Matt Campbell fought a grizzly bear, how long would it take him to win?
Duke: I’d give Matt Campbell 10 minutes and he wouldn’t even fight the grizzly bear. He would give that bear a pep talk and by the time the 10 minutes was up, the grizzly bear would be ready to run through a brick wall for Matt Campbell. Seriously, after meeting Matt Campbell at media days, I was ready to run through a brick wall myself for him.