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 a Monday night and of course it would not be a proper mailbag without a drink next to me. Tonight’s drink of choice is a delicious four roses single barrel.
@twojman asks: Why does Tom Manning (ISU OC) want to make Brock Purdy mostly a pocket passer and take away his strengths? ISU defense is playoff level good, but they need help. Also hire a special teams coach.
Duke: I agree for sure on that second part about Iowa State having a playoff caliber defense. They held Iowa to under 175 yards on Saturday and played their tails off. They did their job, and the offense did not. As for Tom Manning, he definitely has his work cut out for him. For whatever reason, the offense is not clicking. I know he likes to slow the tempo down and grind it out but sometimes you got to let Brock be Brock and air it out some. Don’t be afraid to take shots and speed things up a bit.
@clonesjer asks: no real question, just try to come up with something nice about Iowa State, we’re a depressed bunch right now.
Duke: I totally understand why. Losing to your rival at home sucks, especially when you realize how important that game means to the players and fans such as yourself. It stings and the stakes were extremely high as it was a top ten Cy-Hawk matchup for the first time in the series history. I can’t change the loss but what I can do is offer some hope. Iowa State lost to Louisiana in week one a year ago and made a Big 12 title appearance and won a Fiesta Bowl. That game on Saturday did not change their goals this season. Sure, beating Iowa would have been great but at the end of the day, it was not a conference game. I know fans may not agree but losing to Iowa is a better loss than losing to Louisiana-Lafayette.
@troyboy8ball asks: Breece Hall and Bijan Robinson’s Heisman hopes are over, right? Is Spencer Rattler the only Big 12 player still in the running?
Duke: It is way too early to talk about Heisman hopefuls right now. A lot can change in just a few weeks and injuries happens, so I won’t count out anyone just yet. Get back to me in a few weeks.
@JacobVanScoyoc asks: If both teams go on to run the table and win their conference title games, does the Ohio State loss to Oregon hurt them more than the Iowa State loss to Iowa?
Duke: This one is tough because both Iowa State and Ohio State lost at home and did not play well. I think it is about even, however, realize the Playoff Committee holds the power in this decision and if push comes to shove, they will choose the helmet and pick Ohio State over Iowa State any day of the week. As much as I hate to say that it is true.
@joeowaidat asks: Why can’t we hear from Coach Dickey (OSU OL Coach)? I want to hear from him, what’s up. He’s an established coach & he’s been at OSU for 2 years. I realize he probably wouldn’t contradict Gundy but it sure would be nice to hear what he has to say about his unit. He’s always been a straight shooter.
Duke: The Cowboys have had an injury or two up front, but you are totally right. I am not sure what is going on with that offensive line at Oklahoma State. For whatever reason, the guys they have are not getting it done. I am not sure if they aren’t on the same page, or they just flat out are not there yet but it needs to get fixed soon. Against Missouri State, the Cowboys averaged just 1.9 yards per rush and they averaged 3.3 yards per rush against Tulsa on Saturday. Those are inferior opponents that they should be pushing back with ease and it’s just not happening. They better get it figured out quick because they will be taking on Boise State on the blue turf.
@TedFlintKansas asks: How many wins in a row before I can get excited again?
Duke: For those who don’t know, Ted is an Iowa State guy. He is a great guy, and I am sorry sad reasons bring you to the mailbag Ted. However, if Iowa State wins a Big 12 title come December 4th, does it really matter how many games they win? All that matters is a Big 12 championship right now and if they win, you won’t care what the record looks like. Also, cheer up. Iowa State plays UNLV in Vegas. Go nuts and drink a few for me. I already know you will be gambling on some games this weekend.
@Abear91 asks: What do you guys think will be the best new rivalries in the conference?
Duke: That is really tough to say because these new teams aren’t really familiar with these other eight schools. But with that being said, Texas Tech/Houston could be fun and of course I would say either TCU/BYU or Baylor/BYU could be interesting. Cincinnati and West Virginia could become a natural rivalry. UCF is the toughest to figure out. Regardless, rivalries take time to build so maybe give it a few years and we will see what unfolds.
@DwainR11 asks: What team(s) are best positioned to deploy the Iowa strategy in defeating Iowa State? The Cyclones beating themselves or someone else?
Duke: Forget about the strategy for a bit and let me think about teams who are capable of knocking off the Cyclones. Only two come to mind. For sure Oklahoma is capable. Without a doubt in my mind the Sooners can knock off any team in the country. If I had to pick a second team, I would pick TCU, although I would still have Iowa State ahead of the Frogs. Right now, the Big 12 is struggling as a whole and there are few teams that I think have a real shot in winning a conference title.