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 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 beverage wouldn’t be nearly as fun without a right next to me. Tonight’s drink of choice? I am drinking some Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. Cheers!
@Cptn_Oblivious asks: What was Sonny Cumbie’s role at TCU and why do you think TCU’s offense and Duggan are going to take a major leap? Does it help or hurt that Cumbie is gone, and will he be better for Texas Tech?
Duke: Well, he was the offensive coordinator at TCU since 2017 and before that he was co-offensive coordinator along with Doug Meacham who is now the TCU offensive coordinator. Supposedly there was some tension between the two and heck, there was even tension between Cumbie and head coach Gary Patterson to the point where I though Sonny could be fired.
I am not sure if it will help TCU’s offense because Sonny is gone but I think it has more to do with what is around Max Duggan. Max has some weapons around him now that he didn’t have the last two seasons really. Zach Evans looks to be the big time back we all think he can be, and Quentin Johnston could be the next star wide receiver in the Big 12. On top of all that, the offensive line should be healthy and much better than what they were a year ago. Also, don’t forget about the last offseason. Duggan did not get a full offseason due to COVID-19 and remember, at one point we were not even sure if he would play football again. With good weapons and help around him, Max should take that next step we all are waiting for him to take.
@mkshufeldt asks: Who’s going to guard all of those huge Texas Tech receivers/TEs?
Duke: First off, I can not really speak for Texas Tech tight ends. Travis Koontz is a good tight end, but I would not say he is elite by any means. He had 14 receptions last season which is not many at all. So, I am interested to see if Tech can utilize him more because Texas Tech really is not all in on the tight end. See the rhyme there?
As far as the receivers go you are spot on. Erik Ezukanma is an All-Big 12 wide out and deservingly so. At 6’3, he is a matchup nightmare and I expect him to haver another big season in 2021. I know Tech had some transfers out with KeSean Carter and Ja’Lynn Polk, but I am excited to see what Trey Cleveland can do in his sophomore season. He could be due for a breakout year as well.
@DwainR11 asks: Given your first Big 12 Power Rankings are out, what would that look like if every starting QB was unexpectedly unavailable?
Duke: It is hard to say what that Big 12 would look like because there are so many backups who simply don’t have enough game tape out there because they haven’t really gotten a chance to play. So, it would be really hard for me to even imagine that, but I will say this. If every starting quarterback in the Big 12 was gone, I would still pick Oklahoma to finish first and Kansas to finish last.
@twojman asks: 41,000 attended the Nebraska/Illinois game. Seems like a low amount compared to 33,000 for the UCLA game. But tell me how worthless the Big 12 is.
Duke: First off, you want to hear a joke? Nebraska football. That’s the joke. As for the attendance at UCLA, that was embarrassing and anyone out there who was trying to defend that (Stewart Mandel) is just full of crap at this point. Here is what Stewart had to say about that picture of the UCLA crowd.
First off it is always hot in August. Welcome to football. He made some lame excuse about the beach being not too far away. Well, hello, the beach has always been close to UCLA. They are in Los Angeles which is the second largest city in America. Maybe he lives too close to the situation, but people DO NOT CARE ABOUT COLLEGE FOOTABLL IN THE PAC-12! We have seen it time and time again and the other day he mentioned something about recruiting rankings separating the Big 12 and the Pac-12. Give me a break. What has the Pac-12 done in the last four years? The answer is nothing. This national media has a narrative and my advice to those who read this, just try and stay away from garbage if you can when it comes to things like that.
@DBSportsYT asks: Week 1 game you’re most and least excited for?
Duke: I would say the game I am least exited for is either Missouri State at Oklahoma State or Duquesne at TCU. Both games will be fairly boring in my eyes.
The most interesting game, I could not pick just one. I think the Kansas State/Stanford game will be one to keep an eye on as well as West Virginia at Maryland for the early slot. Afternoon will have Louisiana at Texas which should be good and to cap off the day, Texas Tech at Houston will have my full attention despite me going away on vacation.