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 your favorite drink, and relax as I answer all your Big 12 questions. For those interested, I will send out a tweet (@Derekduke25) every Monday 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 late Monday evening and of course this mailbag wouldn’t be nearly as fun without a beverage right next to me. Tonight’s drink of choice? I went with a bourbon classic, Wild Turkey 101. Cheers!
@Schmitty27 asks: More likely outcome for Texas this year, going 11-1 or 5-7?
Duke: As we get closer to Big 12 media days, I wouldn’t be shocked to see some idiot putting Texas in the Big 12 title game on their preseason ballot. It happens every single year. With that said, that idiot will not be me because I don’t think Texas even sniffs ten wins this season. I have plenty of questions on offense outside of the running back position and the defense will need some players to emerge at all three levels of the defense. I think Steve Sarkisian made some solid hires that should help down the road, but you would be crazy to think Texas is going to go 11-1 this year. 5-7 is the more likely outcome although I don’t think it will be that bad this year for Texas. Is this the year that Texas is back? No, ask me again in 2022.
@spursnsalsa asks: Who has the best defensive line in the Big 12?
Duke: I think the Big 12 has some good players overall on the defensive line but when I think about the best group, I would have to say Oklahoma. Look at the three starters up front for the Sooners. They return LaRon Stokes, Perrion Winfrey and Isaiah Thomas. That is quite the trio and two of those guys are first team All-Big 12 players in my book with Thomas and Winfrey. Yes, Oklahoma loses Ronnie Perkins, but you can make a strong case that this group will be even better than they were in 2021. Also, I know he isn’t a true defensive lineman but Nik Bonitto coming of the edge is going to be tough for any offense to slow down when you combine him with this talented defensive line.
@MathewCarson11 asks: We’ve pretty much beaten to death everything we can for the upcoming year. Where do you see the programs 2-3 years from now? Who’s challenging OU? Who has fallen off? Has anyone just stalled in place?
Duke: Well, I hope we haven’t beaten everything to death just yet because just brought this mailbag back a few weeks ago. This is a tough question though because so much can change in a year or two. The coaches in this conference change from year to year and that affects recruiting too. I think Oklahoma and Iowa State are in good hands as long as their coaches stay put. Everyone else I would have questions. So, let’s go down the rest of the teams.
Texas: I think they will be better under Sark than Herman but give it some time.
Baylor: Interested to see where they head with Aranda. I think it will take some time and a couple years before they can be taken as a serious threat.
TCU: How long is Gary Patterson there? I am not sure where that program is without him at the helm.
Texas Tech: I think a coaching change is needed sooner rather than later. A bottom tier football program right now.
Oklahoma State: Same as Gary Patterson, how long does Gundy stay? They are a consistent program but it’s time to reach a Big 12 title game already and it should happen in the next few years.
Kansas: Give it time but I believe Lance Leipold can make the program respectable at some point.
Kansas State: I like Chris Klieman. Think it’s a good fit for Kansas State and they should be a program who every so often is in the thick of the Big 12 title race.
West Virginia: Tough to tell but I like Neal Brown. This program lost a ton of good players from that 2018 team, and it was going to take a couple years to get the train back on track. They are slowly getting better.
@bob66668047 asks: What will the Big 12 records be by the first conference game?
Duke: Outside of Kansas and Baylor, each Big 12 team will have played three games before their first conference game. Here are the records I think each team will have when their Big 12 opener rolls around.
West Virginia: 3-0
Iowa State: 3-0
Kansas State: 3-0
Oklahoma State: 3-0
Texas Tech: 3-0
When I look at the out of conference games this year, not a lot scares me. I think we may have a team or two drop one, but I am confident that the Big 12 will do better than they did in 2020.
@thetencenthotdog asks: Iowa State Fan looking to road trip to an away game this year. Already been to Oklahoma, so deciding between West Virginia or Baylor. Which one, and any must see or do’s your aware of?
Duke: So, I have been to Baylor games a few times, but I have not made the trip up to Morgantown quite yet. I’ll say this about Baylor. It’s in Waco and no offense to Baylor fans but Waco isn’t exactly what I call a great destination place to stay. However, the scenery at McLane Stadium is beautiful because it’s right off the Brazos River and it has a great view from the stadium. Personally, I would suggest Morgantown. Fly into Pittsburgh, drive a little bit south and take it all in. I hear the tailgates are great and I would love to have a little moonshine and some homemade pepperoni rolls. I have heard Morgantown is a little different but great experience overall. I hope that helps and I will give you question of the week so you can take that HCS koozie with you this fall.