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 a cold brew or your favorite drink and relax as I answer all your Big 12 questions in my mailbag. I want to thank each one of you who submitted a question this week and for tonight’s drink of choice? Some 1792 Bottled in Bond. Cheers!
@DwainR11 asks: Has there ever been a Big 12 victory you’ve seen like Oklahoma surviving Oklahoma State that could qualify for The Good (1Q blowout, defense), The Bad (nonexistent O the remainder), and The Ugly (horrible clock management)?
Duke: That Bedlam game was odd in so many ways. I saw an Oklahoma offense that was on fire in the first quarter racking up 28 points before looking lifeless. It was one of the strangest offensive performances I have seen in a while. The good news is that the Oklahoma defense held on to that big lead and they were on the field for nearly 38 minutes of that game. It was nice to see the defense have a little fight in them compared to what I have seen over the last few weeks. I know Oklahoma still has some issues to work on, but a win is a win. Could it qualify for good, bad, and ugly? Sure, but I don’t typically criticize the winning team too much because at the end of the day, it’s about winning football games.
@dadfrancis17 asks: When does Iowa State fire offensive coordinator Tom Manning?
Duke: Hopefully after the TCU game or shortly after. Iowa State’s offense has so many problems and they somehow seem to be getting worse as the season goes on. First off, the run game is non-existent. Iowa State has the worst rushing offense in the Big 12 and is ranked 119th nationally in that category. They also have the second-worst red zone offense in the conference and have given up the second-most sacks.
We saw last Saturday just how bad the play calling is in the red zone as the Iowa State offense had the ball on the Texas Tech two-yard line in back-to-back drives and failed to score any points. They ran the ball up the middle multiple times and got stuffed every time. Tom Manning doesn’t seem to have a creative bone in his body when calling plays. Also, can they get the ball to Jaylin Noel a little more? With that said, I think it’s time to not only move on from Tom Manning but maybe the offensive line coach too.
@Schmitty27 asks: Which Big 12 teams exceeded your expectations this year?
Duke: My obvious first choice would have to be the TCU Horned Frogs. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I believe I picked them to finish eighth in the Big 12 back at media days. I was clearly wrong about them, and Sonny Dykes has done a tremendous job with that team. They are gritty and just keep finding ways to win football games. Plus, Max Duggan is having a Heisman-type year.
The other team that impressed me this season was Kansas. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, had this team making a bowl game this year. What Lance Leipold has done with this program is truly amazing and they better try and keep that man in Lawrence.
@b_phillips21 asks: Who could Iowa State go after as offensive coordinator if Tom Manning gets fired?
Duke: I think it’s pretty clear we have a lot of frustrated Iowa State fans in the mailbag, and I totally understand. This season has been tough to watch especially in conference play where the offense looks pathetic. As far as candidates go, I have a few that I can think of. Keep in mind, at a place like Iowa State they aren’t likely to be stealing other offensive coordinators from power five programs so all my candidates come from the group of five. Here are the three names that Iowa State should be looking at. James Madison OC Mike Shanahan, Kent State OC Andrew Sowder, and Coastal Carolina OC Willy Korn. I mean come on; a guy named Korn coaching at Iowa State? Seems too good to be true.