Welcome to the HCS Big 12 Football mailbag. This mailbag is for all you football junkies out there who root for a Big 12 school, and 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. I want to thank each one of you who submitted a question this week and for tonight’s drink of choice? You’ll just have to see for yourself. Cheers!
Bmurry Sports asks: Big 12 Bowl Game predictions?
Duke: You are in luck my friend; our managing editor Bryan Clinton wrote an entire piece for our Heartland College Sports bowl projections. You can find that article right here.
Cmack asks: Dave Aranda need to do next season to show Baylor Nation that he deserves to remain in Waco, that he is the guy for the job?
Duke: I am not exactly sure what Baylor wants from him as far as next season goes but I would say anything less than seven wins is unacceptable in Waco. Aranda will be heading into his fifth season when 2024 rolls around and outside of that miraculous 2021 season, what has Baylor done? In fact, if you take away the 2021 season, he is 8-19 in conference play. And in his last 16 games overall, he is 3-13. He’s already changed coordinators multiple times now and he should be on the chopping block next. If the Bears get off to a slow start next season, I would cut bait.
Mat_with2ts asks: Who deserves B12 coach of the year most? Gundy, Campbell, or Sark?
Duke: Our All-Big 12 team and awards should be coming out soon, but I will tell you who I voted for when it comes to coach of the year. I went with Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. You can call me a Texas hater, but NOBODY was talking about Oklahoma State before the season. Everyone was expecting Texas to be in the position they are in now. The Cowboys were picked to finish seventh back in the preseason poll and for them to finish in the top two is pretty remarkable. Just when you count a guy like Mike Gundy out, that is when he is at his best.
Cole Converse asks: Brighter future: Rocco Becht or Abu Sama III?
Duke: Now this is a tough question because I really like both Iowa State players here. As much as I respect Rocco, I think I am going to lean with Abu here. He is just a true freshman, and he has shown flashes of greatness already. He is quick and he is also capable of breaking a tackle or two. What impresses me the most about him is his home run ability. At any moment, he can pop off a 60-yard touchdown run like he did against Kansas State multiple times. I would be willing to bet by the time he is a junior he could be an All-American type of player.
Cyclonator asks: Top 4 teams going in to next year?
Duke: Not to be rude here, but I hate the preseason questions in December. We haven’t even finished the 2023 season and we are already talking about 2024. With so many changes coming, it’s nearly impossible to predict what is going to happen because so much can change in a short amount of time. Just look at the last 48 hours in the Big 12. A coach was fired, and two starting quarterbacks are hitting the portal. Ask this in July and I will tell you my full list.
Eddie Middlebrook asks: How do you feel about Aranda staying at Baylor? Who should be OC and why is it Sean Lewis?
Duke: I talked about Aranda a little bit earlier and you probably know my feelings on him. Personally, I would have moved on because I don’t think he is the right guy to turn things around in Waco. 2021 was a great year but outside of that, it hasn’t been pretty. In fact, this program has gotten worse somehow since winning a Big 12 title. You would think a coach would be able to build upon a great season like that and instead he followed it up by going 6-7 last year and 3-9 this season.
I have a feeling that Baylor is going to regret not cutting ties with him now and will likely do it a year too late. I say that call a guy like Jeff Traylor down here at UTSA and make him say no. As far as the offensive coordinator opening, he has changed coordinators already once before. I don’t see someone coming in and saving his job.
Christian Goodman asks: Which would be a more upsetting 2023 sports result for you personally: Texas winning on Saturday to capture the Big 12 title in their last year in the league, or the Rangers beating the Astros in the ALCS?
Duke: Seeing as I predicted Texas to win the Big 12 this season, I would go with the Astros all day. The fact that they were up 3-2 coming back to Houston and lost that series was a shame. And the Rangers winning the World Series was like squeezing lemon juice over an open wound.