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Big 12 Football Mailbag: Oklahoma State Concerns, Big 12 Non-Conference Woes and More!

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Iowa State

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. 

 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 plain wrong). 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. And don’t forget to send me mailbag question each Monday on Twitter (@DerekDuke25). 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. My choice tonight is an ice-cold Karbach Love Street. Cheers!

@kacie2438 asks: Why did Mike Gundy lose his mullet?

Duke: If I remember correctly, it is still a mullet, right? I know he got it trimmed down quite a bit back in August but I honestly did not even pay attention to it on Saturday maybe due to the fact that his team almost got beat by Tulsa. If I had that kind of hair, I would let my locks flow down to my butt but due to my current day job, that is not something I can do. But if I can be a full-time blogger, I would maybe make an attempt at it although the wife would not be too happy about it. In the end, hair is hair and maybe he will grow it back. 


@bob6666847 asks: Was Oklahoma State’s performance on Saturday an OAN tee shirt hangover or is Tulsa pretty good?

Duke: Well I hope by now we have moved on from the tee shirt because I personally think Mike Gundy and his players have but I understand the attempt at taking a shot at them due to how poorly they played. My answer though is neither. Tulsa is hot garbage and I have no idea on earth how Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith is an NFL prospect and how his team went 0 for 11 on third down and had 15 penalties. With that said, Oklahoma State did not look a whole lot better. The offensive line was poor, Spencer Sanders got hurt and for over two full quarters the staff left Ethan Bullock out there who did a whole bunch of nothing. If not for freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth and that defense, Oklahoma State would have pulled a Kansas State or Iowa State from the previous weekend. 

This question came from Ryan S. from our Facebook Page: Is it fair to say that offense woes experienced by Oklahoma State on Saturday were just as much of a product of play calling with a new play caller than player performance?

Duke: I think the overall game plan was quite vanilla and bland for Oklahoma State on Saturday. They thought they could just bulldoze Tulsa at times and with their sub-par play up front, it showed they could not just run over Tulsa especially when Tulsa loaded up the box and dared the Cowboys to throw it. Now, it is hard for me to say how badly the game plan was affected due to Spencer Sanders going out in the first quarter but my issue with the staff was the quarterback situation. 

Ethan Bullock looked lost at times and the staff looked like they did not want him to attempt a pass over five yards. And once again, Tulsa loaded up the box and dared them to throw even to the point where they were single covering Tylan Wallace on the outside. But when Shane Illingworth went out there (which should have happened much earlier), they started slinging the ball downfield a lot more which opened the offense up. But my issue is not just with the offensive staff or just the players, it was both to be honest with you. The offense looked sloppy and the staff did not help much either. 


@paddyr0 asks: Why do you hate the Dallas Cowboys even though they have been garbage for 2 decades and only have 2 playoff wins?

Duke: For the few people here that know, I am a Houston sports fan. That means Texans, Rockets and Astros. I do not like Dallas teams. With that said, I absolutely despise the Dallas Cowboys more than any other team in the country. The whole “America’s Team” thing and Twitter become unbearable when they win because most of their fans think they just won a super bowl. And I know what some are thinking, Derek is just a Texans, fan, and a hater. You don’t see me saying “This is our year” for the last decade and then laying an egg in a playoff game. You know why? Because I will be the first to admit that my team can not win the big game especially with the current situation at head coach and unfortunately that head coach is also the general manager. My bottom line is that neither the Texans nor Cowboys will win it all this season. It will be the Chiefs or Ravens. 

@BACyclone asks: Did we actually learn anything from the non-conference games?

Duke: Well, I hope that this particular non-conference taught you to to drink a little more on gamedays because we all needed a drink after that disaster of a first weekend. With that said, it looked sloppy for the most part and the thing that really stood out to me was the play of the offensive lines overall. That is a unit that needs time to gel and be on the same page and due to a short offseason and COVID-19, so many players are out, and it affects practices, meetings, etc. And for some teams, penalties and special teams were sloppy which is another thing practice can help clean up. 

But perhaps my big picture takeaway so far is the outlook of this conference. With Baylor and TCU not having played a game yet, Oklahoma and Texas look to be the clear-cut top two teams right now after the past two weeks. Maybe it changes but after seeing some of the issues with these teams, I may have to think a little more on how different this conference will shake out compared to my preseason list. Any by the way, congrats on being the question of the week. 

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