December 4, 2008

2008 Tiger Mailbag: 45th edition

Each Thursday, publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at [email protected] On to this week's inquiries:

dennis7474 asks: Is it worth making the Big XII championship game if you don't win? It seems certain bowl games would rather take a team that didn't make the game than take a team that made it but lost. Last season, Missouri was penalized for making the game as well. Texas is going to benefit, like kansas did last season, for not making the game (assuming Missouri loses). How is this fair to the team that makes the game but loses? I don't know, it seems like there is no point to making the game (for bowl purposes) if you don't win.

Yes, and no. The benefit is you get to tell fans, recruits, etc, that you were the Big 12 North/South champion. The downside is that it's going to hurt you in the bowl picture. It just is. It always has, going way back to K-State in 1998. I think the conferences should enact rules that the conference championship game loser should go to no worse than the third-best bowl affiliated with said conference. But the bowls likely wouldn't agree to that. The major problem continues to be that not every conference has one of these games. The ones that have it aren't giving it up, so the key is to convince the Big East, PAC-10 and Big Ten that they should have one.

Colotiger asks: How closely aligned philosophically are Dave Christensen and David Yost? Is the offense likely to look the same next year, and if not, do you think it will be because Chase Daniel is gone or because Yost will put in new wrinkles?

Yost is already more involved in game planning and play calling than many people think. I think you'll see changes in the offense, but I think a lot of that is because they don't have a guy that has proven he's one of the top five passers in college football, and they do have a guy that should be one of the top three running backs in the Big 12. I think the Tigers will run the ball more next year without doubt.

OnThe50 asks: I'm surprised that our pass defense is getting torched on a regular basis, when they practice against our offense every week. The secondary's comfort level with passing teams should be pretty good, and the weakness should be pretty apparent to the coaches before Saturday rolls around. I think it's the pass rush that's killing us. Thoughts?

It's both. Chicken or the egg? You can't ask Deion Sanders even to cover for ten seconds. The pass rush isn't getting to the quarterback much. When it does get there, quarterbacks are often avoiding it and keeping plays alive. At the same time, many of the big plays were results of flat out breakdowns. It wasn't that guys weren't covering well, it's that they passed off receivers when they shouldn't have, or failed to pick them up when they should have. The whole thing has been an issue, you can't pin it on one facet.

AStehl35 asks: Do you think last years team played better than there potential or this years team playing under theirs?

The latter. This team has underachieved a little bit. That's just facts. I don't know that they were good enough to match the hype and be 12-and-0 and win a national title, but I think they're better than 9-and-3. The fact is, they're two plays from being 11-and-1 and in position to possibly get a national title bid. But they didn't make those plays. The great teams make those plays. The pretty good ones don't.

mizzoufan14 asks: Do you think the freshman class for basketball has influenced the seniors, and given them a new type of energy?

No, I actually think that last year's seniors not being here anymore have energized them. This is DeMarre and Leo's team, period. The Tigers are as good as those two. They know that and they've played like it. Last year, there were chemistry issues, I think. This year, there aren't. Amazing what a difference that can make.

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