In the final mailbag of 2013, we discuss West Virginia quarterbacks, Texas coaches, Baker Mayfield and bowl payouts.
To the ‘bag:
Connor in Austin, Texas, writes: Do you think that the last few seasons (let's go back to the 5-7 season) have been enough to legitimately tarnish the self-recruiting power of the Texas football program? I can't imagine 5-star prospects choosing to go to a school they know has underperformed over the years.
Jake Trotter: Texas’ recruiting has slipped a bit the past couple years. But tarnished? No way. Texas is Texas. And with the right coach, the Longhorns will surely be back to landing top-five classes annually.
James in El Paso, Texas, writes: Jake, Do you think Chip Kelly is on the list for Texas, and do you think the talks for the head coaching job heat up once the Eagles' season is over?
Trotter: I actually don’t. Why would Kelly leave Philly after one year? The Eagles are a win away from making the playoffs, and with so much young offensive talent on that team, they ought to be a playoff fixture for years to come. I doubt Kelly bolted for Philly with the idea of going back to the college game after just one year. And I doubt Texas would want a coach under NCAA sanctions.
Scott in Edgewater, Md., writes: I heard West Virginia changed its fight song to "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Who is WVU going to select as QB next season? If you had to guess now, what is WVU's record next year at the end of the season? I would hope that you would pick them as having the toughest non-conference schedule in the league.
Trotter: West Virginia’s schedule next year is brutal. Before conference play, the Mountaineers play Alabama in Atlanta and Maryland on the road. Then in conference, West Virginia has to go to Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. If the Mountaineers win more than seven games, it would constitute an outstanding season. As for the quarterback, I feel like Dana Holgorsen wants Ford Childress to be the long-term answer. But is he? Childress did not play well in his two starts before the pectoral injury. And there will be plenty of competition in the spring with junior-college transfer Skyler Howard set to join the fray.
Alan in Austin, Texas, writes: Really enjoy the Big 12 coverage. Quick question about Baker Mayfield and walk-ons in general. Reports I have read indicate Tech is restricting where Mayfield transfer. This would seem to make sense with a scholarship player since the institution has made a financial investment in the player. However, for a non-scholarship player this comes across as being vindictive. Mayfield does have a pretty good insight into the program but given the type of offense that Tech runs with its limited number of plays and the emphasis on reads, this doesn't make sense to me. Any thoughts?
Trotter: There are all types of double standards in college football, and this is hardly the only one. A coach can take another job within a conference, but if a player does, he suffers severe repercussions to his eligibility. The rules are the rules. But there are a lot of more rules for players than for coaches.
Mike in Goldsby, Okla., writes: Assuming the rumors about Baker Mayfield walking on at Oklahoma turn out to be true, do you think he could be a starter next year?
Trotter: Assuming Mayfield would be eligible to play, I would be stunned. Mayfield is skilled. But he doesn’t fit the pistol option offense the Sooners have installed for the future with Trevor Knight. That said, in all likelihood Mayfield would not be eligible next season under transfer rules anyway. And if that turned out to be the case, he would be too far behind the other Oklahoma quarterbacks by the time 2015 rolled around to have much of a chance.
rtXC1 in Denison, Texas, writes: Hey Jake! Do you think Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott regrets not taking the entire Big 12 South while he could. That would've clearly been the No. 1overall conference in all sports.
Trotter: Don’t blame Scott. He tried twice. And both times, Texas thwarted the deal.
Scott in Plano, Texas, writes: Huge fan of the blog! With the Big 12 only filling in six bowls this year, what kind of financial impact does that have on the conference?
Trotter: The combined payouts of the Texas, New Era Pinstripe and Heart of Dallas bowls comes to around $4.6 million. Since the Big 12 didn’t have enough teams to fill out those bowls, that money is going to other conferences. However, Oklahoma going to the Allstate Sugar Bowl netted an extra $6 million (after expenses) for the conference. So even with three fewer bowl teams than last year, the Big 12 will actually reap more bowl money this year with the extra BCS game.