All-Big 12 honors, teams released

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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The Big 12 released its All-Big 12 honors on Wednesday with TCU sweeping the biggest individual honors, as voted on by the league's coaches.

Here’s the rundown of the individual honors and first team: (You can find the entire list including the second team and honorable mention here.)

Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Paul Dawson, TCU
Special Teams Player of the Year: PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Offensive Freshman of the Year: RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
Defensive Freshman of the Year: S Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: ATH Tyreek Hill, Oklahoma State
Defensive Newcomer of the Year: DE Shaq Riddick, West Virginia
Co-offensive Lineman of the Year: T Spencer Drango, Baylor and C B.J. Finney, Kansas State
Defensive Lineman of the Year: DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

All-Big 12 First team
Offense
QB Trevone Boykin, TCU, Jr.
RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Fr.
RB Shock Linwood, Baylor, Soph.
FB Glenn Gronkowski, Kansas State, Soph.
WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr.
WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, Jr.
WR Kevin White, West Virginia, Sr.
TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State, Sr.
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor, Sr.
OL B.J. Finney, Kansas State, Sr.
OL Daryl Williams, Oklahoma, Sr.
OL Tyrus Thompson, Oklahoma, Sr.
OL Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech, Jr.
K Jaden Oberkrom, TCU, Jr.
KR/PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr.

Defense
DL Andrew Billings, Baylor, Soph.
DL Shawn Oakman, Baylor, Jr.
DL Ryan Mueller, Kansas State, Sr.
DL Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State, Soph.
DL Malcom Brown, Texas, Jr.
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas, Sr.
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma, Jr.
LB Paul Dawson, TCU, Sr.
DB JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas, Sr.
DB Randall Evans, Kansas State, Sr.
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, Soph.
DB Chris Hackett, TCU, Jr.
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia, Jr.
P Trevor Pardula, Kansas, Sr.

Thoughts and observations
  • Lockett, Drango and Mueller are the only back-to-back first-team selections.
  • TCU’s sweep of the Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year was well-deserved. Patterson did an exceptional job, both in the offseason with his hires of Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, as well as during the season with TCU's defense. Boykin is a no-brainer and would have won the most-improved award if there was one. Dawson had plenty of competitors for DPOY including Billings, Ogbah, Striker, Brown and Oakman. But it's hard to go wrong with Dawson, who consistently showed up big in TCU's biggest games.
  • The biggest surprise was Ogbah as defensive lineman of the year. I’ve been on the Ogbah bandwagon since before the season began but Texas’ Brown was the guy I expected to walk away with that honor.
  • If the OPOY is not Boykin who could it possibly be? Boykin’s honor joins Perine as the Offensive Freshman of the Year as the easiest picks.
  • Riddick is a good choice for Defensive Newcomer of the Year, although I felt like K-State's Danzel McDaniel deserved that honor. Both are quality options so no major beef with Riddick getting the nod.
  • It’s good to see Cotton-Moya get the recognition he deserved. He’s been good for Paul Rhoads' team all season. The redshirt freshman led the Cyclones with 77 tackles including 55 solo stops.
  • It was a bit of a surprise to see Mueller on the first team after his production dropped as a senior. He had 11.5 sacks in 2013 before recording 5.5 sacks this season.
  • Lastly, I'm not a fan of more than 11 first-teamers on offense or defense, make a decision and live with that decision. It cheapens the honor when you add spots to fit people into the team.
NEW YORK -- Just as Texas did a year ago, the Michigan job has dominated conversations in the halls of the Waldorf Astoria this week during college football’s Hall of Fame events and the Heisman Trophy ceremony lead-up.

The complicating factor with interpreting Michigan’s methods is the mystery man in charge of the search. Interim AD Jim Hackett has a business background, so it’s not as if he regularly has been mingling with the college football bluebloods who descend on Manhattan each holiday season.

That’s why, even with some of the more obvious targets out there -- Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles, among them -- I’m told Hackett could diverge from the perceived plan of “brand-name” college coaches and expand to NFL assistants and off-the-radar college guys.

One such candidate emerged Tuesday afternoon when a report surfaced that Michigan was kicking the tires on Duke coach David Cutcliffe.

Big 12 season recruiting superlatives 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
10:00
AM ET
The Big 12 finished the regular season with a sour taste in its mouth, as TCU and Baylor both missed out on the College Football Playoff. Fortunately, there are still bowl games to play, which means additional opportunities for recruits to watch seven conference teams compete one last time this year.

Here's a look at the Big 12 recruiting superlatives, based on what took place in recruiting this season.


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Big 12 morning links

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
8:00
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How's your holiday shopping coming along? Um, I've got some work to do.
  • Here is a pretty good bowl review from Matt Hinton, our colleague at Grantland including the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl matchup as the Reunion Bowl. I was cheering for the Texas-Texas A&M matchup that many wanted to see, but having the Razorbacks take on former SWC foe UT is a pretty solid matchup. Add the Aggies' battle with West Virginia and it seems like a pretty good second option that will help me overcome no Longhorns-Aggies bowl bonanza.
  • Texas coach Charlie Strong hopes Tyrone Swoopes has been watching the TCU tape, writes Mike Finger of the Houston Chronicle. Strong also said the Longhorns will hold an open competition at the quarterback position heading into 2015. I've felt like Swoopes was not the answer for much of the season and his final regular-season performance against the Horned Frogs didn't do much to change my mind. That said, Swoopes did have his moments when he looked like he could be the future, so I'm not as strong in my belief Jerrod Heard must be the guy behind center in Austin in the future.
  • Does Oklahoma have the worst receivers in the Big 12? The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey considers the question. Even though the Sooners' receiving corps was the conference's least productive but I wouldn't go as far as to call them the conference's worst. Why? The lackluster play from the quarterback position played a major role in that lack of production and taking the ball out of the hands of Samaje Perine and Alex Ross to put it in the hands of inexperienced receivers doesn't make much sense, either. But a lack of playmakers at receiver was a problem in 2014 and it's a problem that needs to be fixed heading into next year.
  • The search committee in charge of finding Kansas' new head coach was so impressed by David Beaty the search essentially came to a halt shortly after his interview, writes Jesse Newell of the Topeka Capital Journal. Beaty's desire to coach at Kansas, one of the reasons I thought Clint Bowen would be a solid choice, has really come through during his first few days in charge. If he can transfer that to those around him in the program, great things could be in the Jayhawks' future.
  • The Heisman finalists were announced on Tuesday with Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Alabama's Amari Cooper and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon getting the nod. All three guys deserve a trip to New York but it sure seems like TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin should be making the trip. His exceptional junior year was a driving force behind TCU's 11-1 season. Boykin was outstanding in every single way. I think he should have been a Heisman finalist, no question about it.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
10:00
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TCU added to its 2016 class, a four-star quarterback who’s been in the news since parting ways with an SEC program picked up an Oklahoma offer, and Texas hosted a big recruiting weekend -- without playing a game.

These, and more, in this week’s Big 12 recruiting weekend recap:


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David Cutcliffe of Duke said young coaches should turn to Kenny Rogers for advice on how to get ahead on the recruiting trail. Plus, Florida's Jim McElwain has been busy since he was hired.

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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Sterling Shepard, No. 60 in 2012 class

Shepard’s recruitment coming out of Heritage Gall in Oklahoma City was a lock, he was going to be an Oklahoma Sooner. Not only did his late father Derrick Shepard play for the Sooners, but Sterling grew up around the Oklahoma program and had a bond with head coach Bob Stoops for many years. Shepard was a high school teammate of Stanford running back Barry Sanders Jr., and was a member of an Oklahoma 2012 class that included linebacker Erik Striker, defensive end Charles Tapper, running back Alex Ross, quarterback Trevor Knight, and center Ty Darlington.

Shepard made an instant impact in Norman as a freshman in 2008. He appeared in 13 games, including four starts, and finished the season with 45 receptions for 621 yards and three touchdowns.

He backed up the eye-opening freshman campaign with a sophomore season of 51 catches for 603 yards and eight scores, earning All-Big 12 post seasons honors after starting 12 games.

Shepard’s junior season has been hampered by injury, missing three full games, but he has 50 receptions for 957 yards and five touchdowns in 10 starts.

Though Shepard could opt to enter the 2015 NFL draft and be selected, he is very likely to return to Oklahoma for his senior campaign and be a 2016 draft choice.

Honorable mention: Nigel Bradham, No 60 in 2008 class. Bradham attended Florida State following a standout career at Wakulla High in nearby Crawfordville, Fla. Bradham started his last 37 games at Florida State, recording 277 tackles his last three seasons. He was selected in the fourth round, No. 105 overall, by the Buffalo Bills in 2012 NFL draft where he currently starts at outside linebacker.
OKLAHOMA SOONERS (8-4) vs. CLEMSON TIGERS (9-3)
DEC. 29, 5:30 P.M. ET, FLORIDA CITRUS BOWL, ORLANDO, FLA. (ESPN)


OKLAHOMA BREAKDOWN

Season highlights:
This season could be remembered for the excellence of Samaje Perine and Sterling Shepard. Perine, the true freshman running back, had 200 rushing yards or more on three occasions, including his FBS-record 427 yards against Kansas. Shepard, a junior receiver, was a game-breaking target with five 100-yard games before a groin injury slowed him late in the season. Wins over West Virginia and Texas showed the potential this team had despite its roller-coaster season, and defensive standouts Jordan Phillips and Eric Striker had special moments.

Season lowlights: OU’s Bedlam loss to Oklahoma State on the regular season’s final day was a glimpse at the Sooners’ struggles in 2014. Miscues and mistakes became all too common for Bob Stoops’ team in losses to TCU, Baylor and Kansas State, and the Sooners capped it off by surrendering a two-touchdown lead in the final five minutes of Bedlam before losing in overtime. OU stumbles into the postseason with a beat-up roster and minimal momentum.

Player to watch: Perine has become the Sooners’ symbol of hope for the future with his vision, physical running style and toughness. At 5-foot-11, 243 pounds with surprising speed, he is a joy to watch. But Striker has the ability to leave blockers grasping at air with his quickness and speed off the edge in pass-rush situations. The junior linebacker is a terror for every quarterback he faces, amassing a team-high 7.5 sacks.

Motivation factor: When is the last time the Sooners looked like one of the best teams in college football? Or the Big 12 for that matter? OU needs to get healthy, first and foremost, then play well in the bowl game to finish its 2014 season strong. Otherwise it will enter the offseason with plenty of questions and not many answers.
-- Brandon Chatmon

vs.
CLEMSON BREAKDOWN

Season highlights:
Deshaun Watson's emergence against Florida State helped Tigers fans find a silver lining in a tough loss. A week later, the freshman quarterback threw six touchdown passes against North Carolina. Watson was one of a number of freshmen to step up for Clemson this season, and the youth movement provided the bulk of the Tigers’ offensive highlights. The season’s high-water mark, however, likely came against South Carolina, when Watson and fellow freshman Artavis Scott connected for two touchdowns to help the Tigers finally knock off their in-state rival for the first time since 2008.

Season lowlights: The Tigers knew from the outset that September would make or break their season. Unfortunately for them, it was the latter. The offense couldn’t muster much of anything with Cole Stoudt at the helm in the second half against Georgia, and the Bulldogs’ ground game eventually overwhelmed Clemson’s staunch D. Three weeks later, Clemson had Florida State on the ropes but couldn’t finish the job, coughing up a late fumble that allowed FSU to win in overtime. An injury to Watson against Georgia Tech keyed Clemson’s third loss in what was without question the Tigers’ ugliest performance, a 28-6 pounding at the hands of the Yellow Jackets.

Players to watch: Watson is set to start at quarterback for Clemson in spite of what coach Dabo Swinney called a torn ACL. Tailback Wayne Gallman is coming off his best game of the season against South Carolina. The defense is one of the best in the nation, led by linemen Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett. Perhaps the most intriguing Tigers to watch, however, will be new offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott, who will be in charge of the offense for the first time after Chad Morris left to become head coach at SMU.

Motivation factor: That Watson continues to play in spite of the knee injury should be the best indication that Clemson desperately wants to win this bowl game and get to the 10-win plateau for the fourth straight season. Beyond ending the season with a nice round number in the win column, it’s also the final game in the careers of Beasley, Jarrett, Stephone Anthony, Robert Smith and a host of other seniors who have built Clemson’s defense from a national joke in 2011 to the No. 1 unit in the nation in 2014. The Tigers surely want to send their veteran leaders out on a high note.
-- David M. Hale

Best of the visits: Big 12

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
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The Big 12 ended its regular season on Saturday. Baylor won. TCU won. And then, they lost. Oklahoma State claimed Bedlam honors over Oklahoma. And Texas hosted a huge recruiting weekend without playing a game.

Here’s a recap of what happened with conference recruiting:

Recruits enjoy Texas visit

Who needs a football game?

Texas had one of its biggest recruiting weekends of the year. It says a lot about a program when recruits make their official visit the weekend after the regular season ends.

LBs Malik Jefferson and Darrin Kirkland and WR Ryan Newsome, all ESPN 300 athletes, were three of the seven players on official visits over the weekend. Needless to say they had a great time in Austin. So much, that each player was actually trending in Austin on Twitter.
Of the three, Newsome may be the one who most enjoys the limelight. He loves to document each visit with something specific to the environment. It so happened that he, Jefferson and Kirkland found the Longhorn Network production studio -- and when in Rome ... Jefferson, Kirkland and Newsome are three uncommitted athletes. Also in Austin were Texas OL commits Connor Williams and Garrett Thomas, junior college DE commit Quincy Vasser and juco OL commit Tristan Nickelson Bedlam brings out Oklahoma, Oklahoma State targets

Bedlam didn't go the way Oklahoma wanted, as Oklahoma State scored a 35-28, come-from-behind victory in the state's biggest game of the year.

Louisville DB commit Kareem Orr was one of the athletes in Norman on an official visit. Orr committed to Louisville in June, but the Sooners appear to be making a strong push as we get closer to February. ESPN OL Josh Wariboko is one of Oklahoma's top targets. After decommitting from the Sooners in April, he has kept his word in keeping them high on his recruiting list. Oklahoma was Wariboko's fourth official visit and a chance for him to reunite with the coaching staff. It was Dominique Hearne's birthday weekend, and the Oklahoma OL commit enjoyed it spending time with his future team and coaching staff. Sooners OL commit Cody Ford paid full attention to the offensive line -- a group responsible for Samaje Perine's record-breaking, single-game rushing performance a couple of weeks back. The Sooners produced 304 rushing yards against the Cowboys in the loss. Bedlam has the tendency of being the energy needed to land big-time recruits. It also is able to key in on a few younger players - for both teams. 2017 QB Chaz Ah You was in Norman over the weekend. The Utah standout has an Oklahoma State offer in addition to BYU, Hawaii, Utah and Utah State, and before he took in the game atmosphere, he made a trek to Stillwater for an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State. Recruits watch Baylor, TCU shine

Baylor and TCU ended Big 12 play with identical 11-1 overall and 8-1 conference records. And then early Sunday, they both had their hearts broken by watching Ohio State take the fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff bracket.

If there's a bright spot in this, both teams will head to big bowls, and both teams will use this as motivation for next year. Both teams also will have stud recruits to help them in their quests.

For TCU, WRs Jaelan Austin and Jarrison Stewart both were in Fort Worth taking in TCU's 55-3 rout against Iowa State. Austin and Stewart were there with 2016 QB Greg Eisworth. 2017 LB Anthony Hines, who has 56 offers, also was in Fort Worth. Hines recently decommitted from Mississippi State. High three-star DB Montrel Wilson, a one-time Baylor commit, took his official visit to Waco over the weekend. In addition to a great game and a great overall experience, Wilson received a cookie cake.

And who doesn't like cookie cake? Junior college DB Jay'Onn Miles also received a cookie cake, in addition to a great overall experience from the official visit. Miles came to Waco from Pierce College in California. The regular season is over for the conference, but look for official visits to still take place. December and January will be perfect opportunities for teams to score 11th-hour commitments before Feburary's signing day.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 15

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
10:00
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Welcome Oklahoma State to the party!

The Cowboys earned bowl eligibility with an improbable 38-35 overtime win over Oklahoma on Saturday to give the Big 12 seven bowl-eligible squads.

There’s not much movement in the rest of our projections, as nobody really knows what the College Football Playoff committee will do when the top four teams are announced Sunday.

What we do know is TCU entered the weekend at No. 3 in the College Football Rankings and finished its season with a 55-3 win over Iowa State to secure a 11-1 regular season. No. 6 Baylor matched TCU’s 11-1 record with a 38-27 win over No. 9 Kansas State and finished the season as Big 12 co-champions tied with the Horned Frogs at 8-1 in Big 12 play. It’s possible the Big 12 is left on the outside looking in, or TCU or Baylor could find themselves with a playoff berth. There’s plenty of Big 12 intrigue (and debate sure to follow) when the committee’s final decision becomes public on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kansas State and Oklahoma maintain their places in the pecking order, despite losses along to Texas and West Virginia, who ended their regular seasons last week. OSU sneaks in at the bottom of the projections after its Bedlam triumph.

College Football Playoff semifinal (Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual): TCU
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor
Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Texas
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: West Virginia
Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State
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Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine's status for the Sooners' bowl game is in question after the true freshman left Saturday's 38-35 overtime loss to Oklahoma State with an ankle injury.

"He has a sprained ankle. How severe, I'm not sure. I think he will be OK here soon," Sooners coach Bob Stoops told reporters after the game.

Stoops did not rule out the return of the freshman running back for OU's bowl game.

Perine had 26 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns when he left the game in the third quarter with the ankle injury. He burst onto the national scene on Nov. 22, when he broke the FBS record for single-game rushing yards with a 427-yard performance in the team's 44-7 win over Kansas.

Perine has 1,579 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns this season.


(Read full post)


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NORMAN, Okla. -- Tyreek Hill returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown with 45 seconds remaining to force overtime and Ben Grogan kicked a 21-yard field goal in the extra period to give Oklahoma State a 38-35 victory over No. 18 Oklahoma on Saturday.

On the first overtime possession, Oklahoma's Michael Hunnicutt missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. Oklahoma State took over and pounded the ball with Desmond Roland to set up the winner.

Mason Rudolph passed for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and Brandon Sheperd caught seven passes for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys (6-6, 4-5 Big 12), who snapped a five-game losing streak to become bowl eligible.

Samaje Perine ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns for Oklahoma (8-4, 5-4), but left the game in the third quarter with a left leg injury and didn't return. The Sooners led 28-14 when he was injured.


(Read full post)


Oklahoma still dreams of a 10-win season while Oklahoma State is reaching for bowl eligibility when the Sooners and Cowboys meet in their annual Bedlam battle on Saturday. A pair of quarterbacks could be the X-factor, and Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine is quickly becoming one of college football's most exciting players.

Jake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon break down the matchup:

[+] EnlargeSamaje Perine
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsOklahoma is at its best when running back Samaje Perine takes over the game.
How Oklahoma can control the game: Perine has tree trunks for legs and was last seen running away from Kansas defenders. If Oklahoma puts the game on the shoulders of the true freshman running back along with its offensive line it could be a long game for Oklahoma State. Oklahoma has looked at its best when its running game is humming and controlling the game on the ground, so there is no reason for the Sooners to try to change that recipe for success. -- Chatmon

How Oklahoma State can pull off the upset: Oklahoma State has forced a Big 12-low 11 turnovers all season, and is the only team in the country yet to recover a fumble. If the Cowboys are to pull off a Bedlam stunner, that has to change in Norman. Oklahoma State has athleticism defensively. But the Cowboys have to translate that into forcing turnovers to swing field position and give an Oklahoma State offense that has lacked cohesion easy scoring opportunities. -- Trotter

Oklahoma’s X Factor: Redshirt freshman Cody Thomas gets another chance to show he can be the man behind center for the Sooners. Thomas has given opponents no reason to fear his arm, with 172 passing yards in two starts, but the Sooners are confident in his passing skills. If the young quarterback brings a passing threat to the table while balancing the offensive attack, OSU’s defense will have its hands full. -- Chatmon

Oklahoma State’s X factor: True freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph, who impressed in his first career start two weeks ago at Baylor. The Cowboys had previously fielded the worst scoring offense in Big 12 games before Rudolph got the nod. Though he’s more promise than anything at the moment, he at least gives the Cowboys the potential to put up points, which they haven’t been able to accomplish for much of the season. -- Trotter

What a win would mean for Oklahoma: Another year of bragging rights, as the Sooners would become one win away from their fifth-straight season with double-digit wins. Oklahoma has owned this series in recent years, winning 12 of 15 meetings under Bob Stoops, and the Sooners want that dominance to continue. Finishing the season with three straight wins is key as another loss would simply add to a disappointing 2014 season that saw Stoops' squad slide from preseason title contender to afterthought on the season’s final day. -- Chatmon

What a win would mean for Oklahoma State: An appearance in a bowl game, first of all. The extra bowl practices would be significant for one of the youngest teams in the country as Oklahoma State looks to make a run back at the conference crown again in 2015. Also, besides the momentum it would create for the Cowboys going into next season, a win in Norman would also loosen a bit of Oklahoma’s stranglehold in the series, which included a 33-24 Sooners win in Stillwater last season that prevented Oklahoma State from winning the Big 12 title or advancing to a BCS bowl. -- Trotter

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Oklahoma State Upsets Oklahoma In OT
Oklahoma State scored 17 unanswered points and stunned No. 20 Oklahoma 38-35 in overtime.
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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Monday, 12/22
Saturday, 12/20
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12