Chuck Carlton, Big 12 beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the league during a live chat Wednesday. Here are some highlights:
Q: How big of a get would Justin Fields be for Oklahoma?
Carlton: Pretty big. Pretty darn big. Fields was a five-star recruit and even considered elite by those standards. The thing is, he’s behind another elite quarterback [at Georgia] in Jake Fromm. Right now, Ohio State and Oklahoma look like the two top landing spots for Fields, partly because of the quarterback-friendly coaches and schemes at each place. A bigger question: Will Fields be eligible for 2019? That might be a hard sell, but the incident where a former Georgia baseball player made racist taunts could provide an opening under the NCAA’s player safety and well-being rules. But yes, whoever lands Fields is getting a big-time talent.
Q: With Shawn Robinson on his way out at TCU, who is the best QB candidate for TCU?
Carlton: Maybe the quarterback of the immediate future for TCU isn’t even on campus yet. How about that? Michael Collins had his moments after taking over for an injured Shawn Robinson but is probably better suited to be a backup. Justin Rogers is still on the mend from the aftereffects of a knee injury suffered in high school. In a perfect world, TCU would probably like to avoid throwing incoming freshman Max Duggan into the lineup too early. So that leaves the grad transfer market. Expect TCU to be a player for a short-term solution.
Q: How has Texas Tech basketball caught so many off guard this year?
Carlton: Good question. It’s like people totally forgot that Chris Beard is a pretty good coach and figured 2017-18 was an aberration, especially with Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith among the players leaving. Instead, Jarrett Culver has stepped up in a big way and grad transfers Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney are having significant impacts. Plus, Tech is continuing to just choke teams out defensively. This is still a real nice team. And the changeover may have actually helped, given Beard’s history of assembling teams on the fly. Here’s what he said at Big 12 media day: “I look around these [Big 12] 10 coaches I don’t know what I’m better than anyone but I would tell you I’m as good as it gets coaching guys in one-year settings.”
Q: Would a win over Duke solidify that Texas Tech is an NCAA tournament contender?
Carlton: Yes, but the Red Raiders don’t necessarily need a win to validate their status. Given the way Texas Tech has played in the nonconference so far and given the injury to Kansas State’s Dean Wade and the struggles of West Virginia, Tech might just be the top challenger to Kansas for the second straight season. There are still questions about Tech’s ability to score on the road, but the defense will keep it in most games. It’s not a stretch to see Tech as landing a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, barring injury.
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