Mailbag: On Klein-Tebow comparison, plus coaching carousel talk

Here is this week’s mailbag. As always, send questions to me via Twitter to @BFeldmanCBS:


From @frizz527: If Collin Klein was around College Football before Tebow, would he be as popular and as polarizing as Tebow?

No, I doubt it. A lot of factors went in to building the Tebow aura. Tebow came into college football with so much more hype than Klein. Remember, Tebow had ESPN cameras following him in high school. Klein, according to his recruiting profile on, didn’t have any other FBS scholarship offers. Tebow was ranked as the 22nd best player in the country. Klein was ranked as the eighth-best player in the state of Colorado.

Tebow went to a high-profile program and played in a BCS title game in his freshman year. He played in a more football-mad conference. Many of his games were on national TV.

I’m not sure how many times Klein and K-State actually have been featured in Game of the Week type “national” settings.

Tebow also played for a more polarizing coach. In addition, Tebow was way more demonstrative on the field, with his arm-waving and fired-up reactions. Klein seems more low-key.

No question, there are some parallels with Klein and Tebow as bull-rushing, dual-threat QBs who apparently have similar religious convictions. But because of the focus of the spotlight, the college football world learned about the Gators' star way earlier in his career than it did with Klein. Keep in mind Bill Snyder's program also is one of the most buttoned-up programs in the country from a publicity standpoint. That's also factored in here. In reality, even most die-hard fans still know little about Klein beyond that he's the Heisman front-runner. I'm not even sure many would recognize him without his helmet.

I suspect over the next month we’ll hear a lot more about Klein’s life away from the field and much of that figures to reflect his faith. Dennis Dodd’s profile on him a few weeks back got a lot of play nationally this week in regard to the part where it gets into Klein and his now wife becoming engaged before they formally had a first date, and that their first kiss came on the altar July 21, fulfilling a promise Klein made to himself at age 14. Expect to hear a lot more about that story in November.

What also made Tebow polarizing, and my hunch is this might happen to Klein to a lesser degree, is that neither -- despite their sturdy frames -- has prototypical passing form. That triggers the NFL draft "analyst" skepticism, which fuels debate. And the more you get debate, the more polarizing a guy tends to become.


From @lucas8429: has there been a more disappointing player this season than Logan Thomas?

Nope, it’s definitely the Virginia Tech QB, especially after Thursday night’s ugly loss at Miami.

I’m not sure if it was only media draft analysts who going into this season were touting Thomas as a potential first overall draft pick and not actual real NFL personnel people, but his stock sure seems like it has plummeted.

As I noted a bunch of times last year, Thomas’ accuracy is a major question mark. I’ve talked to coaches of rival teams who were very skeptical of him and now I suspect more people are buying in on that.

I get that the Tech personnel around him isn’t what it was in 2011, but it’s also no longer his first season as a starter and his numbers have dropped off significantly. He’s now thrown two more INTs (12) than he had all of last season despite throwing more than 100 fewer passes. His completion percentage had dropped from 60 percent all the way down to 53. Against opponents who don’t have losing records Thomas’ TD-INT ratio is 9-12.

Thursday night’s blowout loss against a bad Miami defensive team epitomized all of Thomas’ problems. He threw picks in the red zone. He horribly overshot a wide-open receiver on a fourth-and-short. He underthrew another wide-open receiver that would’ve meant a long gain. He also fumbled a snap near the Miami goal line.

The Hokies, who were No. 16 preseason in the AP poll, are now 0-5 away from Lane Stadium and for the first time in almost a decade they won’t win 10 games or more, snapping the country’s longest streak of double-digit win seasons at eight.

After the Miami loss, I still heard some people talk about how Thomas has these great physical tools and they reference his imposing frame along with a powerful arm and good feet. Here's the problem with that: if you’re not accurate as a passer, it undermines it all. Well, unless you play in a triple-option offense.


From @LukeADavis: If Braxton Miller played on a BCS eligible, undefeated team, would he be the Heisman favorite at this point?

He’d still be behind Klein. Miller has proven to be a dynamic weapon in Year One with Urban Meyer. That bodes well for the next two seasons, but he’s still a work in progress, especially as a passer. Miller is only No. 55 in the country in passing efficiency and completes less than 57 percent of his throws. Miller also is playing in a league that’s not getting much respect nationally anymore. This year the Big Ten has been awful. The Buckeyes haven’t played a Top 15 team yet. To even get invited to New York this year, he needs to be much sharper in the passing game while his team runs the table. He probably needs another top candidate to struggle.


From @skipsaw: Would a 1-loss SEC team (Bama/LSU/UGA/Fla) get left out of the BCS champ game with 2 or more undefeateds (ND/KState/Oregon)?

Yes. For as much benefit of the doubt as the SEC gets from having won six BCS titles in a row, it’s not going to get this much benefit of the doubt.

My colleague Gary Danielson talked about how he thinks a one-loss Alabama should still be in the BCS title discussion. In the “discussion” is one thing, but ranking ahead of unbeatens from power conferences, I’m not sure I would buy due to the Tide’s resume this year.

At this point, Bama has two wins over ranked teams and one of those two opponents (Michigan) isn’t even ranked any more. It’s also not going to help that Bama finishes up against Western Carolina and Auburn. Each of them has only one win this season. And, for as dominant as the Tide has looked, if Nick Saban’s team loses at LSU and then wins out, it would have, at best, wins over three teams ranked in the Top 25 in the regular season, and it’s no stretch to think that none of those three would be ranked in the Top 20 by early December.

Let’s say Alabama loses at LSU this weekend, and the Tigers go on to win the SEC title, their resume is strong, but having a loss compared to teams from other power conferences would be too much to overcome.

LSU would have the strongest resume of the SEC one-loss teams. Beating No. 1 Alabama is going to resonate. Plus, they’d likely have wins over four other ranked teams (assuming MSU is still ranked when they play next weekend).

One other chip in the SEC’s pocket is the fact that they’d have played and survived a conference title game -- something K-State or Notre Dame doesn’t have to deal with.

I suspect Notre Dame fans will be quick to point out their team, though, doesn’t play FCS programs. And that LSU’s second toughest of its four nonconference games was against a 3-5 Sun Belt team (North Texas).

K-State fans can counter LSU’s claim of beating five ranked teams by saying the Wildcats also beat five ranked teams and didn’t lose a game. Although K-State doesn’t have any win close to as strong as beating Alabama and it’s no stretch to think that by early December, the Wildcats might only have one win over a team ranked in the Top 15.

The Irish, if they run the table, likely would have five wins over ranked teams, although their resume could take a hit if USC goes into a tailspin and drops out of the rankings.

Oregon, which has played two ranked teams and beat them by a combined score of 101-21, has three ranked teams remaining and a Pac-12 title game would likely add a sixth ranked opponent if they’re running the table. That -- along with the fact that the Ducks get the benefit of the “eyeball test” as it relates to the human component of the BCS -- despite the notion that the Big 12 is deeper than the Pac-12, this year gives Oregon leverage over K-State and ND.


From @tprobus: Three names to watch for as Kentucky's next head coach?

I’ll go with active head coaches Sonny Dykes, who coached at UK on Hal Mumme’s staff, and Willie Taggart, who has done a good job at WKU and beat the Cats earlier this season for the first two options. Dykes, though, could be in play at a few other spots. In fact, the Arkansas vacancy really could tie in here if Tommy Tuberville ends up coaching the Hogs, leaving Texas Tech open. It wouldn’t surprise me if Dykes went back to Lubbock where his dad coached for a long time. (More on that in a minute.)

The wild card for Kentucky if it fires Joker Phillips is Bobby Petrino. Would UK brass be comfortable signing a deal with him? Not sure. Would Petrino, a former Arkansas and Louisville coach, want it? Not so sure. I would’ve said yes two months ago, but that was before Auburn fell apart. Thing is, the fickle Auburn power structure I’m told isn’t quite what it was a few years ago when Bobby Lowder was flexing his muscle there. Maybe Petrino wouldn’t get the green light there. We’ll see. Going to be an interesting next two months in the SEC.


From @greggds: thoughts on the situation on Rocky Top? You tweeted earlier Dooley had to win Bama or SC to be retained. Still feel same?

Yep. I don’t see how Tennessee can feel good about giving Derek Dooley another season. His teams haven’t beaten anyone of note. Ever. Not at La. Tech. Not in three seasons at Tennessee. They’ve had tons of opportunity and missed on all of them.

Also, for all of the instability that overwhelmed the UT program before he arrived, he’s had more than his share on his watch, too. And quite frankly, many of his hires haven’t proven to be good moves, either. This year, they’ve gone from No. 36 in defense to No. 101 after Dooley went after Sal Sunseri. They’ve played five SEC games and the fewest points they’ve allowed has been 37. And, as I said last month, the Vols may in fact win their last four in a row, but what will that really show? None of these four opponents -- Troy, Mizzou, Vandy or Kentucky -- has a winning record.

From @Jeff_Hood: who is your best guess for the Arkansas job?

At this point, the two most viable candidates for this vacancy are Tommy Tuberville and Charlie Strong. Tuberville’s timing here could be ideal. After a shaky first two seasons in Lubbock, his team looks headed to a 9-3 and maybe even a 10-2 record. He has strong ties to the Arkansas program and knows how to win in the SEC.

Strong, an Arkansas native, has coached in the SEC as an assistant (at UF and South Carolina) and is in the midst of a big year at Louisville. I know that Louisville AD Tom Jurich told Gregg Doyel last week he’ll make Strong the highest-paid coach in the country if they have to. A Big East school paying a football coach more than Mack Brown/Nick Saban money (over $5 mil a year)? I believe that when I see it.

The reality is the Big East has been marginalized by the power brokers of the sport. The fact that Louisville is undefeated now and separated so much from the BCS title discussion from the K-State, Bama, Oregon and Notre Dame cluster tells you plenty about where the Louisville job ranks compared to an SEC job. If Strong can get this job, I think he’s going.

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