In today’s mailbag, Texas Tech fans attempt a detente with Baylor Nation, Iowa State faithful look to me for answers and we determine whether K-State is the best 2-4 team in college football.
To the ‘bag:
Matt in Dallas writes: Jake, as a K-State fan disappointed with this season's results thus far, I feel I must resort to "moral victories." How encouraged should my fellow Wildcats be that Baylor has destroyed every team BUT K-State? Are we truly the best 2-4 team in the nation?
Jake Trotter: Hmm, let’s find out. Here are the AQ schools with similar winning percentages: Virginia (2-5), Syracuse (3-4), Kansas (2-4), Indiana (3-4), Arkansas (3-5). I think I’d pick K-State against all four. So there you go: K-State is the best team in college football with a sub-.400 winning percentage.
John in Cornelius, N.C., writes: Jake, I'm a 1976 ISU grad. Do you know whether or not the conference sees it as a priority to expand to at least 12 schools? If so, which schools do you think could be good fits? Would BYU be a possibility? UConn?
Jake Trotter: At the moment, conference expansion is not a priority for the leadership of the league. If the Big 12 wanted BYU, the Cougars would already be in the conference. UConn is way too far away. Honestly, who out there is worth adding? The Big 12 missed a chance to get back to 12 by adding Louisville. That was, by far, the best available option.
Squirt in Texarkana, Texas, writes: Why is everyone buying the Baylor hype? Do they not realize all the teams they have played are pretty bad and the only decent competition they had (K-State) barely lost?
Jake Trotter: Don’t look at who they’ve played. Look at what they’ve done to who they’ve played. It’s been incredibly impressive. Baylor’s mettle will be put to the test soon enough. But the Bears are worthy of their ranking just based on their handing out head-kickings like Halloween candy.
Andrew in Phoenix writes: When does Iowa State take the next step? Or are we as fans doomed to be brothers with KU?
Jake Trotter: The thing that has killed your Cyclones has been quarterback instability. Who has been Iowa State’s best QB since Seneca Wallace? Austen Arnaud maybe? In the last three years, the Cyclones have frantically been rotating through QBs trying to find the long-term answer. Until they accomplish that, Iowa State won’t be anything more than a .500 team.
Hunter in Lubbock, Texas, writes: What do Jace Amaro and company have to do to get past Oklahoma’s solid secondary?
Jake Trotter: It’s not just about getting past the OU secondary. It’s about catching balls in front of the OU defensive backs, then making them miss. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tech is averaging 221 yards after catch per game, second-most among AQ teams. The Red Raiders had 266 yards after the catch last week in the win at West Virginia. If Amaro and company pile up yardage after the catch, the Red Raiders will stand a good chance of piling up some points, too.
David in Virginia writes: If Maryland and WVU played again, do you think WVU has improved enough since to win? That loss has just been bothering me all season.
Jake Trotter: I do, but that has as much to do with Maryland’s decline. The Terrapins have looked awful since beating the Mountaineers in Baltimore. But on top of that, QB Clint Trickett has given West Virginia a spark since taking over the week after the Maryland game.
John in Charleston, W.Va., writes: Is Ollie Luck the next AD at Texas?
Jake Trotter: It appears he’ll be taking a very hard look at accepting if offered. I think there’s a good chance he’s offered, too.
Warren in Austin, Texas, writes: Like most Red Raiders fans, I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself here. But say Tech and UT win all of their games from now until Thanksgiving, and UT beats Tech in Austin, only to lose to Baylor the following week. With all three at 8-1, who gets the BCS bid?
Jake Trotter: Probably Baylor.
Red Raider in Phoenix writes: I am loving the depth we have at QB this year. But will all three be on the roster next year?
Jake Trotter: It’s very difficult keeping three QBs of similar age on campus. Just ask Oklahoma State. If Michael Brewer ended up being the No. 3 guy again next year, too, what would the incentive be in him staying?
Kurt in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Hey guys, love the blog, I look at it almost every day! Just wondering if you think Tech's Big 12 title hopes are on the line in Norman. If we lose, do we still have a chance?
Jake Trotter: It’s possible, but I don’t see Tech winning the conference without a win in Norman, too.
Colby in San Angelo, Texas, writes: Hey Jake, love the blog! I'm a huge Tech fan/alum and I don't doubt Baylor as the top dog of the conference. But why is everyone discrediting Tech for an easy schedule when Baylor's isn't any different?
Jake Trotter: Probably because Baylor has been pummeling its opponents, while Tech has not.
Thomas in Coppell, Texas, writes: I'm a die-hard Tech fan and have had enough of the Baylor-Tech chatter. It sounds like a couple of second-graders arguing about whose dad is tougher. Wreck 'em, Tech!
Caleb the Great in Lubbock, writes: As a lifelong Red Raider fan and current Tech student, Baylor looks legit. All I see on here are Tech fans hating on Baylor, or the other way around. Both teams look great. But Baylor looks better so far. Until the two teams play or one loses, quit hating.
Jake Trotter: An olive branch? Baylor fans, what say you?
Will in Dallas writes: Baylor beat Iowa State by 64, Tech won by 7. Baylor beat WVU by 31, Tech won by 10. Why do all these Tech trolls still think they can beat Baylor?
Jake Trotter: Oh man, we were so close to an accord.
Charlie Bear in Panama City, Fla., writes: Thanks again for doing what you do. I don't know how you keep writing, even in the face of such criticism and ungratefulness from Big 12 fans. What is your take on the first week of BCS rankings?
Jake Trotter: Wait, people are criticizing me? When did this starting happening? The BCS looked about right to me. Baylor and Tech will only rise when they start beating ranked teams.
Kristin in Dallas writes: Out of the four conference games Texas Tech has played, your guest picker has picked them to lose three times. Just like Kingsbury likes it when the "GameDay" crew picks us to lose, clearly we play better than your guest pickers don't have faith in us.
Jake Trotter: That might be a bad sign for you, Kristin. This week’s guest picker picked Tech to win.
AG in Ames, Iowa, writes: You mentioned that Baylor and Texas Tech have "uphill climbs" to have any hopes of reaching the title game. While I understand they are both at a disadvantage, doesn't the rest of the season set them up well to move up?
Jake Trotter: They might be able to pass Ohio State. But neither has any shot of passing Florida State, Oregon or Alabama. Neither Baylor nor Tech played challenging nonconference schedules and the Big 12 is weak with the computers because of how the league fared during the nonconference season (no wins over a team currently ranked in the Top 25).
Caleb in Waco, Texas, writes: How come Stanford (6-1) is ranked above Baylor (6-0) in the BCS? What's with the computers ranking Baylor 12th?
Jake Trotter: That’s what happens when the only teams you’ve played with a winning record are Wofford and Buffalo.
Beau in Denver writes: I'm glad Baylor is finally getting some love in the polls, but how is Bryce Petty not higher in the Heisman discussions yet?
Jake Trotter: Baylor has yet to play in a national spotlight game, and Lache Seastrunk is splitting the Baylor vote to some degree at the moment.
Gary Patterson in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: When am I firing my offensive coordinators and finding someone to help this team score some points?
Jake Trotter: Probably after the season. Can’t get anyone in the middle of the year.
Colt in Reality Land, Texas, writes: Jake, can you try to shrink some of those giant heads in Red Raider Land by reminding them they have only played one team that is better than .500 this season?
Jake Trotter: I believe you just did.
Baylor Bear in Waco, Texas, writes: Jake, I just wanted to apologize on behalf of Baylor Nation for that one fan who called you an idiot. That's not what our school is all about. We have tough academic standards, but somehow that jackass got in.
Jake Trotter: Apology accepted. Now, don’t let it happen again.
Mike Leach in Dallas writes: Do you think the big reason the Big 12 is down this year is because there is so much overall poor QB play?
Jake Trotter: No doubt. Where would TCU and its defense be with stellar QB play? What about the Bedlam schools? They would surely both be in the top 10. QB play has been the Big 12’s calling card. But it has really hampered teams in the league this year.
Dave in Lagos, Nigeria, writes: Jake, I saw where a Texas high school coach got called in for questioning by school officials on a bullying charge. The coach's team beat another team like 91-0. If these charges stick, is Art Briles next?
Jake Trotter: Baylor does not fall under UIL jurisdiction. Otherwise, Charlie Weis might have to put Texas’ high school governing body on speed dial.