Big 12 mailbag: Mike Gundy’s intentions, Baylor program building

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Welcome to our Week 14 edition of the Big 12 mailbag, where we take your questions involving everything Big 12, or otherwise. Email your questions to shehan.jeyarajah@coxinc.com or Tweet @ShehanJeyarajah to see your question featured next week. 

Obviously, we reached a resolution to this question before the mailbag came out. However, it is interesting to examine the question.

There did seem to be some interest in the job. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gundy make such a public display of considering a job. Obviously, a 6-year, $42 million offer is a tremendous situation to leave on the table, even if a job in Stillwater is a virtual certainty for years to come.

However, there were reasons for Gundy to consider his options. Oklahoma State seemed to reach close to a ceiling 2017. The Cowboys had a senior quarterback, Biletnikoff-worthy wide receiver and experience on defense, and it wasn’t enough to win the Big 12. It’s fair to wonder whether Oklahoma State will ever be able to build back to 2011 levels again.

Of course, 2017 Tennessee doesn’t exactly seem like the place to be if you want to win national championships either. It took less than a day for Gundy to realize that.

No. Bill Snyder will be here long after all of us are gone, coaching Kansas State to 8-4 seasons in 2058 while wearing a 1994 Aloha Bowl windbreaker.

But seriously, Snyder is probably close to the end of his career. Since the beginning, his priority has been leaving the program to his son, Sean. If there’s a point where Sean Snyder seems like the best option, Bill Snyder will probably consider leaving.

There is some reason to believe that Kansas State is readying to move on from him. Before the last couple games, there seemed to be some stagnation from the program. A 7-5 finish was still disappointing relative to expectations. Kansas State is almost certainly coming up with a contingency plan for when the day comes.

Carter: How scared should Oklahoma be of TCU?

Oklahoma should definitely take TCU seriously. The Sooners match up well against the Horned Frogs, but TCU is one of the best-coached teams in America.

Gary Patterson is a defensive wizard for good reason. After the Sooners exploded for 38 points in the first half against TCU, Patterson’s defense held Oklahoma without a score in the second half. Granted, Oklahoma went into vanilla offense mode, but it’s still a concern.

Oklahoma has plenty it did not have to put on tape against TCU in the first meeting. But regardless, Patterson is one of the best game planners in America. Given weeks of preparation and a boatload of tape, he can make things happen. Oklahoma will still probably win, but Oklahoma’s coaching staff knows better than to take TCU for granted.

The 2018 season is a great time to mount a bounce-back season at Baylor. Looking around the Big 12, several of the top teams are losing big-time contributors. Oklahoma State should take a massive step back without James Washington and Mason Rudolph. Oklahoma will take one without Baker Mayfield. Even Texas Tech, TCU and Iowa State will be working in different quarterbacks.

The Bears, alternatively, bring back 18 of 22 starters from the opening-day depth chart. Only tight end Jordan Feuerbacher, linebacker Taylor Young, defensive end Brian Nance and offensive lineman Mo Porter are gone. More importantly, a plethora of players got experience behind those players in the lineup. Now, the leaders are players like rising junior Denzel Mims, rising senior Chris Platt, and K.J. Smith, who should hopefully be back with a medical redshirt.

After one of the deepest years in Big 12 history, the conference should take a small step back next season. Baylor was already competitive against a large part of the Big 12 in 2017. Now that six schools will replace opening day quarterbacks and a whole bunch of experience, Baylor has a great chance to compete.

Tyler Pope: Has Baylor ever landed a 5-star recruit, even in the peak Briles era?

There were two players who were rated 5-star prospects in the Briles era by the composite ratings at 247Sports, and both were wide receivers.

KD Cannon was a 5-star, as he should have been. Cannon accumulated 1,000-yard seasons twice in three years at Baylor. If not for concerns with maturity, he would be on an NFL roster today with ease. The other 5-star was Robbie Rhodes. The 2013 recruit was one of the most talented wide receivers to walk through Baylor. Unfortunately, drug issues eventually forced him to Bowling Green, and then out of football completely.

Briles did not win games by recruiting at elite levels. His best classes barely broke the top 25. Only a couple of players every year were blue-chip recruits. That’s an area where Matt Rhule could potentially improve on with some results to show. Baylor should be an attractive place for Texas defensive players to play if Rhule can continue developing NFL players.

Have questions for the next edition of the Big 12 mailbag? Email us: shehan.jeyarajah@coxinc.com or tweet your questions to @ShehanJeyarajah on Twitter. 

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