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Big 12 mailbag: Kickoff Week expectations

Jim Grobe, the acting head coach at Baylor, is a likeable person, and that can't hurt come playoff selection time. AP Photo/LM Otero

Kickoff Week is finally here. In today’s mailbag, we discuss a hypothetical Baylor playoff bid and address some expectations for Texas, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, tweet me @max_olson.

Olson: No end in sight. You might’ve noticed Jake Trotter dropped a bold prediction today that the Big 12 settles on its plan in November and adds teams in time for the 2017 season. That sounds like a reasonable timeline, one a lot of people involved would probably appreciate. But for now, hang in there, Huskies.

Olson: Definitely an interesting hypothetical. You can argue that going undefeated pretty much guarantees a playoff bid, right? I say that assuming there won’t be two or three other 13-0 teams in contention. We do know the committee doesn’t like Baylor’s nonconference scheduling, and that will still hurt the Bears if they are on the playoff bubble. What impact the scandal would have, I just don’t know. I’m guessing there are some members of the committee who know Jim Grobe and like Jim Grobe, and that could help.

Olson: Unless Texas somehow dominates Notre Dame, this seems doubtful to me. Other than maybe USC and the loser of Georgia-North Carolina, there probably won’t be many teams dropping out of the top 25 after this Kickoff Week. It might take a 3-0 start for Texas to move up to top 25 status.

Olson: More likely: both teams losing multiple games. Oklahoma has to play Houston, Ohio State and TCU first. Texas has to survive Notre Dame, Cal and Oklahoma State. I think Texas goes into the Cotton Bowl with two losses and Oklahoma drops one of those three ballgames.

Olson: I wouldn’t worry too much about Willies. Yes, he’s sharing the "X" receiver spot with Devin Lauderdale. And yes, he’s already dealt with a couple minor injuries this offseason. But the big juco transfer still is going to catch a lot of balls. He’ll be the outside target Patrick Mahomes lacked last year. The only thing that will cut into his production a little is the sheer depth of this receiving corps.

Olson: I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT. Texas Tech will be a little bit better on defense. Transfers Kolin Hill and Ondre Pipkins will help upgrade the defensive line play, and there are veterans in the secondary. They’re not going to shut anybody out; they just need to get a few more stops. Another offseason of learning from David Gibbs has to help.

Olson: McFarland is probably the safest pick, sure. I would also expect linebacker Travin Howard to be in the mix, and cornerback Ranthony Texada should be one of the league’s better cornerbacks if he can stay healthy.

Olson: I guess the question is what would everyone consider turning the corner? Four or five wins? I think that’s still a year or two away for Kansas. What you should hope to see this season, in addition to a couple wins, is the Jayhawks playing competitive four-quarter games against a few Big 12 opponents. Fewer first-half blowouts. Maybe an overtime game or two. KU put up a great fight against TCU and Texas Tech a year ago and needs to make a few more teams sweat.

Olson: Ah, stadium food. I honestly don’t know about best. I can tell you the horror story of my worst food item at a stadium. In 2013, the TCU-Texas game in Fort Worth went into a three-hour rain delay. And for most of that delay, there was no food and only one beverage up in the press box: bottles of Pepsi. Gross. What a long night that was. But in the end, I managed to survive and ended up at a Waffle House at 3 a.m.