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 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 doing this on Monday evening and of course this mailbag wouldn’t be nearly as fun without a cold beverage right next to me. Tonight’s drink of choice? An old fashioned to help wash down the loss of my Houston Texans and get the creative juices flowing. Cheers!
@herdHater asks: In today’s Big 12, will a pocket passer at quarterback ever win a conference title?
Duke: I had to think a little bit, but I would say the last time a true pocket passing quarterback won the Big 12 was back in 2014 when Baylor won a share of the title with Bryce Petty? After that it has been Oklahoma for the last four years with Baker Mayfield (2015-2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). Depending on who you ask, Oklahoma appears to be once again the favorite to win with Jalen Hurts so I guess that wouldn’t answer your question either. Not to mention Texas QB Sam Ehlinger isn’t a true “pocket passer” either. Maybe Iowa State’s Brock Purdy? I am not sure but after the first couple weeks, I think Oklahoma is still my favorite to win the Big 12 crown this season. Now, if a pocket passer will ever win a conference title again? Yes, I think it will happen but just not this season. If you put a gun to my head, I would say it would happen either with TCU’s Max Duggan (Although he was listed as a Dual Threat in HS) down the road or possibly Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler. Both guys are true freshman who in a couple years or next season could be that guy.
@scriv62 asks: Best group of defensive backs in the Big 12?
Duke: For now, and maybe the rest of the season, Texas may want to throw away those “DBU” shirts or give them to goodwill. However, they still have the best safety group in the entire conference although they probably don’t have the best corners. When you look at their safety group (Brandon Jones, B.J. Foster, Caden Sterns, Chris Brown etc.) it would be hard to argue that anyone in the Big 12 has a better group than that when it comes to safety. Corner is debatable between a few teams but when we look at the overall group of defensive backs it would be either Texas or TCU for me. Jeff Gladney and Innis Gaines are stars at corner and safety for TCU and just like other teams, they have question marks too that haven’t been answered yet. Also, I want to shout out the corners A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams from Oklahoma State who are pretty good too.
@SethLDow asks: Name the best player at each position. Eye test or stat based.
Duke: I will generalize I few groups such as corner, safety offensive line, etc. to save some thinking since guys are rotated at more than one specific spot. But here is how I would have it heading into week three.
QB: Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), RB: Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State), WR: Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State), OL: Creed Humphrey (Oklahoma)
DL: Ray Lima (Iowa State), LB: Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)/Garret Wallow (TCU), S: Caden Sterns (Texas)/Greg Eisworth (Iowa State), Innis Gaines (TCU) CB: Jeff Gladney (TCU)/ A.J. Green (Oklahoma State), K: Cameron Dicker (Texas). As far as punter goes, I need to see more.
@TheThomasFitch asks: How big, exposure wise, is getting College Gameday to come to Ames for Iowa State and will the Iowa State offense find someone other than Brock Purdy to do something?
Duke: Glad to see you make it in here Thomas. It’s not everyday you get to ask a Big 12 football question to a below average blogger. You should feel honored. All jokes aside, I think it is big for the fan’s sake. I know Iowa State fans have been wanting this for years and they finally will get the chance to experience it and enjoy it. I would bet you that there are already some people lined up drinking some Busch Light just waiting for Saturday. As far as the program goes, I honestly think Matt Campbell could care less. I mean, don’t get me wrong I would bet he is happy for the fans, but I don’t think he gets too caught up in the hoopla and praise. The most important thing to him is having his team ready to play on Saturday.
As for the Iowa State offense, it is hard to tell after just one game. Although I will say that wide outs Deshaunte Jones and La’Michael Pettway could be those breakout stars Iowa State needs to compete for a Big 12 title this year. I still like Breece Hall at running back and not to mention, Sheldon Croney and Johnnie Land aren’t too shabby either. I think Iowa State will figure it out and this will be the year that Matt Campbell takes down the old and grumpy Kirk Ferentz.
@KBehr68 asks: How much do you plan on drinking in Ames this weekend?
Duke: A LOT………. If I was heading up there. Months before the season I wanted to go to a non-conference game and many of you suggested for me to go to the Cy-Hawk game and while that seemed great, the more I thought about it, it made more sense for me to go see a conference game if I were to travel for a few days for it to be worth it for not only myself but for this website as well. Now, I am not saying this game isn’t worth it, but it is much easier for me to travel during conference games since we don’t have to keep up with 8 to 10 games per week while on the road. With that said, I took a few days off in November to go to the Texas/Iowa State game. I plan on getting in Friday and not leaving until Sunday to get the full “Iowa State” experience.
@Vectoze_ asks: Will Neal Brown fix WVU?
Duke: It sure seems like a tall task after the Missouri game doesn’t it? Look, I knew it was going take some time for this program to get where it needs to be under Neal Brown. Heck, Neal Brown even said it himself at media days that it was going to be a rebuilding year. Personally, I picked the Mountaineers to finish eighth but after seeing them play in these first two weeks, that may be even a little too high considering how Kansas State has played. Keep in mind, West Virginia lost over 75% of their offensive production from last season (Will Grier and their top 4 pass catchers) and it will be an uphill battle on both sides of the ball. I think in about two or three seasons, this program will be on the right track if Neal Brown is there. He turned around Troy and I think he will eventually have success in Morgantown.
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