Welcome to the HCS Big 12 mailbag. 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 month 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 beer myself to help me work my way through the mailbag.
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. Friday, I covered a local high school game as I do every Friday. Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early to head to Houston to hang out with some friends but most importantly WATCH FOOTBALL. We had a 3-screen setup and I was in college football heaven. Later Saturday night, we washed it all down with some drinks in downtown Houston. On Sunday I took my time driving back home before the week started.
@FitzDaddy85 asks: What past or present college football player would you compare Kansas RB Pooka Williams to?
Duke: This one is tough because he has only played 2 games but boy were they impressive. He has rushed for over 100 yards in both games and has looked fantastic. At 5’10 170 pounds he kind of reminds of former K-State RB Darren Sproles who is still in the NFL today. Pooka is almost like a Darren Sproles/Tavon Austin cross type of player. He is shifty and can outrun just about anybody on the field. Again, I don’t want to go too crazy here after 2 games but if he continues do put up stats like this, he will create his own legacy at Kansas.
@StrawnBob asks: Bill Snyder beat cancer, but can he do it to the Eers?
Duke: Let me say this before I answer the question. Bill Snyder kicked cancer’s ass. Now, let me break the bad news to you Bob. The first two games for K-State were awful. This past weekend the crush UTSA at home and I am supposed to feel better? I don’t think so. Offensively, I still am not sure what is happening at QB. I guess Skylar Thompson is the guy, but can he be consistent? Can Alex Delton be consistent if his number is called? I can’t confidently answer that. I think there are still issues with this team (QB play, WRs and Run Defense). As for this matchup with the Mountaineers in Morgantown, I am sticking with West Virginia. The Mountaineers are explosive on offense, especially in this passing game with Will Grier and all those receivers so I don’t see an inconsistent Kansas State offense keeping up with them. Even defensively, I don’t think I fully trust them yet especially stopping the run. Can they pressure Will Grier? Again, I will take the home team here.
@jonkev50 asks: What is the situation with the rotating QBs at Baylor? Seems like they can’t decide on which one better suits the offense.
Duke: Totally agree on that last part with you. So, in the first game, Jalan McClendon played well against ACU. In the second game against UTSA on the road, Charlie Brewer looked like the best QB. In the last game against Duke at home, both guys struggled. I am not totally sure what Baylor is doing offensively but I think Charlie Brewer should be the guy but no matter who they decide on, PICK ALREADY! I think it hurts not only the quarterbacks, but the entire offense as well. Chemistry with wide outs, snap cadence, you name it. As for Charlie and Jalan, how does this affect them mentally? Do they play tighter or play scared? When you are on a short leash as a player there is always that “If I don’t make something happen, I am going to be pulled” thought in the back of your mind which could cause you to force things instead of just playing and doing what you do. Unless they name a starter this week, I assume both guys will play against Kansas this weekend.
@codyl25: Did K-State figure offense out enough against UTSA?
Duke: I think Kansas State needs to run the football a bit better and I thought RB Alex Barnes would have more yards, but it is what it is. I like what I saw offensively against UTSA and I thought the Skylar Thompson to Isaiah Zuber connection was fun to watch. However, let’s not lose sight of who they played here. UTSA isn’t exactly a great team this year so I would take this win with a grain of salt. The good news? We will have some questions answered when they play West Virginia on the road this upcoming weekend.
@RPTexan asks: Are the Big 12 mascots the most heavily armed set of conference mascots in all of CFB? If not, who is?
Duke: Well I feel like every mascot has either claws, sharp teeth you name it. However, how many of them are armed with a pistol or a musket? Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia have mascots that are armed, and I guess you could throw in Oklahoma too. I think that is cool because I can’t think of any other conference with that many armed mascots. I think it is fair to say the Big 12 loves some violence and I am all for it. Bravo!
@Shroudedllama asks: Who’s back to being back (to where their programs should be), Texas or Kansas?
Duke: Kansas has been a great story the past 2 weeks but let’s get something straight here. Kansas hasn’t really played anybody yet and I need to see what they can do this season in the Big 12 before I can say “They’re back”. For Texas, the win over USC was nice but I honestly think that USC is a mess this year and had no business being ranked much like Texas has no business being ranked to start the season. But if you are asking what team I am more confident getting to where they need to be its Texas. They have the talent to compete right now, but it needs to all come together (Same story different year, right?). For Kansas, they are still rebuilding not only with talent but the product on the field as well. The good news is that we will start getting answers soon with conference play ahead.
@OKSt8Fan asks: Whose win was bigger this weekend, OU over Iowa State in Ames or OSU as the underdog at home over a top 20 Boise State team?
Duke: For me, I expected Oklahoma to win this game by double digits on the road, so I wasn’t really surprised to see that outcome. So, my answer is Oklahoma State. I predicted them to lose this game much like Vegas did by favoring Boise State. The Cowboys absolutely dominated the Broncos beating them by 23 points and shutting their offense down. Not only did Oklahoma State prove me wrong about this game but maybe even the entire season! I wasn’t sold on the Cowboys entering the season, but I believe now they are a true Big 12 title contender after this win. Maybe I am looking too much into one game but there is no doubt that they had the bigger win.
@bd91373 asks: How does Texas Tech’s offense fair up the Oklahoma State defense?
Duke: I think it’s going to be a fantastic matchup to watch this weekend. Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman just broke the Big 12 freshman single game passing record last week against Houston where he threw for over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns. Texas Tech really go into a rhythm last weekend and I think some of that could carry into this matchup at least confidence wise. The Red Raiders will need to be balanced this week offensively, but I think they will put up some points. As for the Cowboy defense, I really like Jordan Brailford and Calvin Bundage is a superstar. The OSU defense has a solid front, but I still have some concerns in that secondary. I think it is an even battle between the OSU defense and the Tech offense. Now the OSU offense vs the Tech defense is a totally different story.
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