Big 12 mailbag

In today’s mailbag, Red Raiders begin to question their freshman QB, Longhorns wonder why they continue to be unranked and Cyclones think if they just changed their play-caller, all would be well.

To the ‘bag:

Cautiously Optimistic in Davis, Calif., writes: Why do people constantly overlook Kansas State?

Jake Trotter: Those that do, do so at their own peril. With the way the offense is beginning to click, K-State is going to be a tough out here down the stretch.

David in Alexandria, Va., writes: Is Texas on upset alert this weekend?

Jake Trotter: I picked West Virginia to win, so clearly I feel so. This is a tough spot for Texas. The Mountaineers have been far better at home, and now they have a ton of momentum coming off the TCU win in overtime.

Steve in Phoenix writes: What are the chances K-State wins in Lubbock this weekend? I am expecting a great game that is closer than most may believe, given Tech's highflying offense

Jake Trotter: I feel like this is a toss-up game. K-State is surging, while Tech is trying to regroup. I picked K-State. Turnover-prone teams usually don’t fare well against teams coached by Bill Snyder.

Michael B. Hess in Dallas writes: Jake, with turnovers being an obvious part of Tech's struggles over the last two weeks, do you think Kliff Kingsbury should consider giving Baker Mayfield or Michael Brewer a shot at QB? Or should he just continue to develop Davis Webb?

Jake Trotter: I would stick with Webb. I thought he showed a lot of promise leading that comeback win at West Virginia. He played pretty well in the loss at Oklahoma, too. Yeah, he had a couple of bad interceptions against Oklahoma State, but the Tech run defense had more to do with that loss than anything Webb did or didn’t do. Remember, he’s only a true freshman that’s only going to improve with every start.

Bobby Layne in Santa Fe, Texas, writes: You said the Cowboys delivered the most impressive Big 12 win of any team this season, dominating Texas Tech before a record crowd in Lubbock. Obviously you did not watch Texas-OU, a Texas win more dominant than the score.

Jake Trotter: Texas hammered Oklahoma on a neutral field. Oklahoma State hammered Texas Tech on the road. That’s why the Cowboys’ victory was slightly more impressive.

Anthony in Columbus, Ohio, writes: Can you please explain why Notre Dame is ranked and Texas isn’t, considering we destroyed the team (Oklahoma) that beat Notre Dame?

Jake Trotter: Don’t blame me. I have the Longhorns ranked 14th in my ESPN Top 25 power rankings. Texas definitely deserves to be ranked, in my opinion. I’m assuming voters have a sour taste from that ugly September. Honestly, though, does it really matter? Texas is not going to the national title game. The Big 12 title and automatic BCS bowl berth is all that matters now, and voters will have no bearing on whether Texas secures either.

Lucien in Omaha, Neb., writes: What an unmitigated disaster this season is turning out to be for the Cyclones. This week there weren't bad calls by the officials, just bad calls by Courtney Messingham. What's it going to take to get a decent offensive coordinator in Ames? First name that comes to mind: Mark Mangino. If the man can take Kansas to an Orange Bowl he should be able to get ISU to .500.

Jake Trotter: There’s no doubt what Mangino accomplished at Kansas was amazing. But this idea that Iowa State is struggling offensively because of play-calling is misguided. The Cyclones simply don’t have the talent on that side of the ball, and for the most part, really haven’t in a long time. The last Iowa State offensive skill player to get drafted was QB Seneca Wallace, and that was 10 years ago. When running back Aaron Wimberly is not on the field, is there a player on this offense for a defense to be nervous about? If you want to rip the coaching staff for not recruiting better players, fine. But when you don’t have the horses, it really doesn’t matter the plays you call.