Big 12 mailbag: Offseason hype, quarterbacks

In today's Big 12 mailbag, we discuss offseason hype for a few Big 12 teams, quarterbacks, flag football, TV binge watching recommendations and more.

Olson: I think it has a lot to do with the duo of Baker Mayfield and Lincoln Riley and the fact most of the Sooners’ starters on defense are returning. I don’t think Oklahoma is getting overrated at this point. Dede Westbrook, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon are special talents who will be difficult to replace, but I’m not worried about what OU is working with at the skill positions. For now, I think the early front-runner status is deserved.

Olson: I don’t have a great grasp yet of what the Mountaineers’ ceiling will be for 2017, just because they’re breaking in a new quarterback and a ton of new starters on defense. I do trust Tony Gibson to get that D playing at a similarly stout level, and Will Grier has the potential to be an upgrade at QB. I’d feel better about that firepower if Shelton Gibson had stayed another year. I’ll have a better feel for WVU after the spring.

Olson: Out of curiosity, I went back and looked up the recent history of where Big 12 media voted Kansas State in the annual summer preseason poll. The results starting with 2016: eighth, seventh, third, sixth, sixth, eighth. Yep, us bozos in the media picked K-State to finish third-worst in the Big 12 last year. I do think the Wildcats will be No. 3 or 4 this summer, though I could be wrong because we’re usually wrong about this stuff.

Olson: I got a few mailbag submissions this week asking how many games Kliff Kingsbury needs to win. I don’t know how much sense it makes to put a magic number on that. They obviously have to go bowling, they have to play much better defense and they have to stop losing the games when their offense scores 50-plus. As for this creative question: Texas Tech wins more games than Mahomes starts, no doubt in my mind. I hope Mahomes is not forced to start a lot of games as a rookie. He needs time and patience.

Olson: Is Kenny Hill getting that much hype lately? I’m still getting TCU fans asking me on a weekly basis whether a true freshman is going to take his job. I know Jake ranked the TCU QBs No. 4 in his pre-spring position ranks, which felt fair to me based on Hill’s experience. But he did lead the Big 12 in interceptions last year and ranked No. 9 in the league in passing efficiency. I think we have a pretty realistic understanding of what Hill did and didn’t do in 2016.

Olson: You look at the Big 12 this spring and there are really only three or four teams with legit QB battles. I do think Texas is one of them. Tom Herman and his staff seem to have an extremely high opinion of Sam Ehlinger and the talent, leadership and toughness he brings to the table. He’ll be a legitimate challenger for Shane Buechele this offseason, and I think that’s a good thing for ensuring Buechele takes a big step forward going into his true sophomore year.

Olson: You’ve asked this before, but I think we’ve got a serious new contender in this Baylor staff. Did you guys see Matt Rhule is playing pickup hoops with his players? They’d put up a great fight in a flag game. I’d still give the No. 1 seed to Texas Tech and the Kliff Kingsbury-Eric Morris duo for now.

Olson: The most impossible question I’ve ever been asked in the mailbag. I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I have to judge them by their most recent seasons, since two of these prestige series have only put out one season. My reluctant and hastily considered rankings: “Atlanta” season one, “Fargo” season two, “Game of Thrones” season six, “Mr. Robot” season two, “Stranger Things” season one. Just finished both seasons of Fargo last week and they’re both incredible. Highly recommend. Have a great week, folks.