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? Some Woodford Reserve. Cheers!
@ia11stat asks: Has Bijan Robinson been overrated in the preseason? I’ve seen him predicted as a Heisman winner but no Breece Hall. Seems delusional considering horns down hasn’t been back in years.
Duke: Well, that depends. If people are talking about Bijan winning the Heisman, then they are crazy. I had Bijan Robinson as a first team All-Big 12 running back along with Breece Hall. Bijan being good has nothing to do with Texas being back though. Go back to the Ricky Williams era at Texas. Ricky put up two outstanding seasons in 1997 and 1998 yet in 1997 Texas had a 4-7 record and in 1998 when he won the Heisman, Texas went 9-3. So, it really doesn’t have anything to do with how good or how bad the Longhorns are because Bijan is a talented running back who will put up some good numbers. I expect big things from both Bijan and Breece this season, so I am excited to see them get back at it.
@statefootballfan asks: In 2020 a lot of teams had covid issues and other teams didn’t have quite as many covid issues. The whole season was very different, but does that make it more difficult to evaluate the teams going into this season because last year was so bizarre? The Big 12 has an obvious top two, so this question is geared towards 3-10 in the conference.
Duke: Not really. Since you are talking about teams 3-10 in the conference you are leaving out Iowa State and Oklahoma. I know Baylor had some serious issues along with Kansas State but when I think about it, every team had to deal with COVID-19. The only difference was some had to deal with it more than others. When I look at this season, we know who is coming back and since we had a normal offseason and spring, I think programs are getting back on track and we have a better idea of what these teams will look like. With that said, the middle of this Big 12 is going to be interesting because I think teams like TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia and maybe even Baylor will feast on each other. You could see several teams with sub-par records.
@SethLDow asks: Who leads the league in each major category: pass yds, rush yds, rec yds, sacks, ints, & tackles?
Duke: I won’t have time to explain all my answers so I will just make a list.
Passing yards: Spencer Rattler-Oklahoma
Rushing yards: Breece Hall-Iowa State
Receiving yards: Marvin Mims-Oklahoma
Sacks: Will McDonald IV-Iowa State
Int’s: Kolby Harvell-Peel-Oklahoma State
Tackles: Mike Rose-Iowa State
@cychas87 asks: Over/under 5 Mike Rose interceptions?
Duke: It’s not often we have a linebacker being tied for a conference high five picks in a single season but that was the case in 2020 with Mike Rose. Mike does it all and is a solid linebacker who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season. However, I am not sure he will get five again this season so I will take the under.
@ColeConverseIA asks: Is Iowa State in terms of recruiting and games on the verge of becoming the perennial team to beat in the Western Midwest?
Duke: I mean if we are talking about Midwest teams does Ohio State count? I’d say Ohio State is the team to beat in the Midwest but then again, I am not really sure what is considered the Midwest. Iowa State is on a recruiting tear though and as far as the state of Iowa goes, I think the Cyclones are now “THE” team in the state. While Iowa is a solid football program, their coach is old school and is a bit outdated in today’s world. Iowa State is the shiny new program that has seemed to take the country by storm and now recruits are starting to take notice. Look at the top six players in the state of Iowa for the class of 2022. Half of them are going to be Cyclones. Maybe that trend doesn’t continue but with Matt Campbell at the helm, I would be willing to bet it does.
As far as where this program goes, obviously this season will be good again, but I will be interested to see what 2022 looks like since they will lose a lot of key pieces. Is Iowa State going to be a top two team in the Big 12 every year? Probably not but under Matt Campbell I don’t see why they can’t compete for a Big 12 title every couple years or so.
@theiceman19751 asks: I’ve been an Iowa State football fan since the early 80s. Is this a dream?
Duke: Well, I hope not. I would hope my dreams don’t consist of me answering football questions because I would prefer to be a billionaire on the beach drinking as I watch the waves roll in. Anyways, I would say congrats to you sir. Last season was special for Cyclones fans and this season could be even more special if Iowa State is able to knock off the Sooners in Jerry World to bring home a Big 12 title.