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 simple but delicious Evan Williams Bottled in Bond.
@TheThomasFitch asks: With really all the Big 12 front runners struggling early on, is the conference wide open? Or is it still Iowa State-OU and everyone else?
Duke: Hey Thomas, I hope all is well my friend and that is a great question to open this mailbag. I think right now I would have to say the conference is open at the moment due to the fact that I have not seen any team just blow me away completely just yet in all three games. Some teams have looked the part but have not been consistent with it. Now I will say that at the end of the year, I still expect Oklahoma and Iowa State to be in Jerry World come December.
@eaglesflyhigh23 asks: What is the best big 12 matchup in week 4?
Duke: I think there are a few games that are worthy of this honor but if I had to pick one, I would say that it is Kansas State at Oklahoma State. Both teams are 3-0 and this is a great game on primetime for the Big 12. Unfortunately, it is on ESPN+ which is a darn shame. Kansas State looks good right now and while the Cowboys are 3-0, they have been a bit sloppy, but we will find out a lot about these teams when they meet up on Saturday.
@RPTexan asks: In your mind, which teams are better or worse than what you thought prior to any games played, and why are they better/worse?
Duke: Great question here Robert and I will pick one of each. The team I thought that would be better right now would be Oklahoma. The had just about the entire team coming back and while I know they always start the season off slow, I thought having a national title contending team would fix that and it didn’t. They have the talent, and it is time to start showing why they got all that preseason hype. As for a team that is better than I thought they would be, it’s Kansas State. Losing Skylar Thompson should have put a fork in their 2021 season but last weekend against a good Nevada team, they showed me something. They are a tough, hard-nosed football team with a great run game and a solid defense. They can be a dangerous team who can spoil the party this year.
@WhatStartsHere asks: Rank the official beers of each Big 12 team.
Duke: I honestly have no clue what the official beers are of each Big 12 team. All I know is that no matter what Big 12 stadium I am at or have been to, there is plenty of beer outside the stadium tailgating.
@lewallen_zach asks: Can any team not named Oklahoma make the playoffs?
Duke: Right now, yes because the Big 12 is up for grabs, but by the time November rolls around, I think the only other team who has a real shot is Iowa State. I know they have not looked the part just yet, but they have the talent to do it and especially with the way they are playing defense right now. If the offense can pick it up, they have a legitimate shot.
@frozeup asks: Thoughts on the Texas Tech/Texas line jumping from UT -13 to -8.5 (7.5 in some spots) in a matter of hours?
Duke: No thoughts on that really but I would advise people to not get too big headed about Texas. That initial line that came out was crazy and I don’t blame people for taking that bet early. I can see why the line dropped so quickly.
@kroozer423 asks: Who are the best defenses going into conference play?
Duke: I think there are plenty of defenses in this conference that have looked good in the non-conference. Part of that is the schedule some of these teams have played but to be fair, some of these defenses are just flat out good. Iowa State has been great, and one could make an argument they are the best defense in the country. Kansas State has been dominant along with Baylor despite their easy schedule thus far. Don’t forget about Oklahoma and Oklahoma State either. The Sooners have a monster defensive front, and the Cowboys are no slouches themselves either. I may as well as add TCU in that mix too. There are just so many good defenses right now, but we will see how things unravel in the next few weeks.
@ISUCYfred asks: Even though UNLV has a subpar defense, can Iowa State fans put away the pitchforks and torches over the early offensive woes?
Duke: I am not sure if pitchforks should have ever been out, but I understand the frustrations Cyclone fans have had. The offense did not look as good as advertised in the first two games, but I will say this. Whenever you play a cupcake team, do not let the results fool you. Sometimes we put too much into these types of games and at the end of the day, we don’t learn much from them unless you don’t blow them out. I think there are still questions to be had but the good news is that we will find out a lot on Saturday when they face Baylor.
@Ten12Network asks: With what we know now, who has the best non-conference resume in the Big 12 and who do you think has it at the end of the season?
Duke: Right now, I would have to go with Kansas State. They are 3-0 and have two good wins against Nevada and Stanford. It is hard to predict how these non-conference teams do but I think I would still lean Kansas State at the end of the year as well. Nevada could easily win the Mountain West this year and Stanford has actually looked fairly good after they got beatdown against K-State.