In today's mailbag, we discuss Mack Brown's future, TCU's defense, OU's quarterbacks and Kansas State's chances in 2014.
To the 'Bag:
J.J. in Tumalo, Ore., writes: All I want to know is this: will the Big 12 add BYU and UCF or 2 other worthy teams? And a championship game? If not, please break up so we can have four 16-team conferences.
Jake Trotter: The Big 12 is in no apparent hurry to add anyone or implement a conference championship game. And I think we’re ultimately headed in the direction you suggest. But will it be the Big 12 that ultimately breaks up, or the ACC? Those have been the two most vulnerable conferences. If we end up with superconferences, it will probably occur when one of those two leagues dissolve.
Chris in Dallas writes: Knowing how all the games played out on championship week, would Baylor have been better off if OSU had won Bedlam and gone to the Fiesta Bowl? Would the Bears be in the Sugar? Is it really worse to be co-champs?
Trotter: The bowl opponent would have been better, but a “co-championship” would not have been as satisfying. It’s more fun to be the outright champ than to have a sexy bowl opponent. At least, that’s what I think.
OU fan in Ponca City, Okla., writes: With two previous Big 12 teams having success in the SEC, and with the possibility of OU beating Alabama and OSU beating Missouri, could the argument be made that the SEC has been and still is overrated?
Trotter: The Bedlam schools winning their bowls would help narrow the perception gap between the Big 12 and SEC. But until the SEC loses a national championship game, any argument downplaying the SEC is difficult to make.
Mitch Connors in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: Why only one TCU player on your first-team defense? I hope y’all realize that TCU still had the No. 1 defensive in conference games. Y’all aren’t giving them any love.
Trotter: TCU did not have the best defense in the Big 12 this year. Sorry. It just wasn’t. We considered Chucky Hunter at defensive tackle and Sam Carter at safety. No one else stuck out as deserving. And we just felt there were more deserving players, like Calvin Barnett and Ahmad Dixon, at those positions.
Omar in Flower Mound, Texas, writes: Hey Jake, I love the blog. I'm wondering why I haven't heard Bobby Petrino's name come up for the Texas job? I know, they probably won't hire him, the whole motorcycle/student athlete ordeal, which is why Arkansas fired him. But don't you think he's done tremendous jobs in college of turning multiple schools around? Texas doesn't really need someone to come in and overhaul the system, but they just need someone who can come in and coach (and win). Your thoughts?
Trotter: I appreciate the outside-the-box thinking, but Petrino would be a terrible fit in Austin. Because of all that will be required of the job, Texas is looking for a CEO and a football coach. Petrino certainly fits the latter. The former, not so much. The Texas job is above taking in reclamation projects, regardless of how well they can coach. And Texas ought to be able to hire a coach as prolific as Petrino -- without the baggage.
Mark in Arlington, Texas, writes: With all the Nick Saban speculation now moot, there are two names that I haven't heard once in connection with the Texas job that I would love to see: Les Miles or Kevin Sumlin. Les obviously has a pedigree that should appease the boosters, and I can just imagine Bill Powers grinning from ear-to-ear if they were to hire away the Aggies' head coach. Your thoughts?
Trotter: I don’t believe Texas would ever resort to hiring an Aggie to be its head coach. Just can’t see it happening. Miles is way more intriguing. He has a national championship. He can recruit Texas. He would be great on the Longhorn Network. And he knows how to beat Oklahoma. Don’t rule him out.
Desert Wildcat in the Valley of the Sun writes: With the circus coming to a close around Mack Brown's future at UT, what do you think of the idea of tabbing Mack as a replacement for Bill Snyder at Kansas State?
Trotter: I think Brown is done coaching, but I would love it if he gave it another go somewhere else. Your K-State idea is interesting, though I hope Snyder has several more years coaching in the Big 12. Here’s another idea -- Nebraska next year. Anyone think Brown couldn’t win there?
Bryan in Yukon, Okla., writes: Who you think will be the starting QB for OU in 2014?
Trotter: Trevor Knight is my pick. They tailored the offense to fit his skill-set before the season even started. I think the plan all along has been to make him the long-term starter, and the last month he’s beginning to show he’s up to the challenge.
Jeremy Hanes at Peterson Air Force Base writes: What is it going to take for OU to pull off a win against Bama?
Trotter: For starters, an exceptional game from Jalen Saunders. OU probably can’t beat Bama straight up. But Saunders in special teams is a great equalizer, as Oklahoma State found out. If Saunders can off some big plays in the return game, like he did in Bedlam, the Sooners could hang around.
Patrick Minter in Abilene, Kan., writes: In reference to your mailbag answer to someone's question on preseason picks for next year, I agree about Baylor being the favorite. But I would advise you to research Bill Snyder’s track record when he has a returning quarterback. They were right there in all four of their conference losses this year. The 'Cats will be better. They might not win the league but will compete for the title.
Trotter: I can’t disagree. Kansas State should be better on defense, Tyler Lockett is superstar and the Wildcats have the best returning situation at quarterback outside Waco, Texas. I can’t see myself picking them to finish first. But I could definitely see myself picking them in the top three or four in the preseason.