Top early enrollees: Big 12 

January, 14, 2015
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Big 12 programs have always been big believers of using players that can enroll at midterm and can make a big impact in their program, starting in spring practices. Whether it be through the junior-college ranks or through high school players that are ready to step on the field from Day 1, there will be plenty of fresh faces that do big things in the league early on. Here is a look at five Big 12 early enrollees:

Big 12 morning links

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
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Well, I did not see this one coming. Your thoughts, Baylor fans?
  • The debut year of the College Football Playoff was a rousing success everywhere except Texas, writes Jerry Palm of CBS Sports. Well, he kinda has a point. While the college football world reveled in what a hit the inaugural playoff was, there are still a bunch of deservedly bitter TCU and Baylor fans out there. Palm argues that the playoff was only "a slight improvement" from the BCS era because of those No. 5 and 6 teams left behind, and he lays out some arguments for expanding the bracket. Personally, I think the four-teamer will survive at least a few more years, at least until a real tidal wave of controversy hits.
  • Cool story here from Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman on Bobby Jack Wright, the longtime Oklahoma assistant who has elected to retire. Wright held a news conference on Tuesday and regaled reporters with stories from his 16 years as a Sooner. I especially enjoyed the tales of recruiting road trips with Bob Stoops. It's nice to see that, in light of the staff shakeup at OU, Wright is going off into the sunset without much bitterness. He's earned the right for a respectable exit.
  • Former Oklahoma State athlete Tyreek Hill appeared in court on Tuesday, and his defense attorney claimed "my client is innocent, there is no question about that." Hill is still facing a felony charge of domestic abuse following his Dec. 11 arrest and has moved back to Georgia since being kicked out of OSU. No word on what his football-related plans are going forward, though the deadline to declare for the NFL draft is Thursday.
  • One of the Big 12's more sneaky interesting position battles for 2015 -- West Virginia's quarterback spot -- officially added two more contenders. True freshmen David Sills and Chris Chugunov joined the program as midyear enrollees on Monday. They join Skyler Howard, William Crest and maybe even Paul Millard in a competition that could be fierce. Sills is coming back from a broken ankle and Crest had a shoulder injury this season, but it sounds like they'll be OK for spring ball. WVU is looking deeper at QB now than at any time in Dana Holgorsen's tenure.
  • Iowa State receiver Jauan Wesley received an indefinite suspension on Tuesday after ISU police found him with marijuana in a car and charged him with operating while intoxicated. Wesley was one of just four true freshmen who saw the field for the Cyclones in 2014. He caught 10 passes for 107 yards and even earned one start.
In this week's Big 12 Roundtable, we break down our Too-Early Big 12 Power Rankings, examining who the 2015 preseason favorite should be, and who might challenge TCU and Baylor for the conference crown:

Who should be the Big 12 preseason No. 1?

[+] EnlargeBoykin
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezTrevone Boykin's return is why TCU is the Big 12 favorite in 2015.
Chatmon: TCU is the favorite to win the Big 12 in 2015. Why? Well, he wears the No. 2 and no team had an answer for him in 2014. Trevone Boykin should be considered one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy and he creates all kinds of problems for any defense. He’s always been able to run like a running back but he added the ability to pass like a quarterback in 2014. He is the deciding factor that separates TCU and Baylor.

Olson: The fact TCU is losing almost nothing from its prolific offense (including a pair of brilliant coordinators) is the deciding factor for me at this time. Giving Trevone Boykin and all of the Frogs’ skill and line talent another offseason to prep and jell is a scary proposition, and I don’t doubt Gary Patterson and his staff will find quality solutions for the vacancies in their defense.

Trotter: Baylor has a ton of firepower coming back, but so does TCU. And the Horned Frogs have their quarterback returning as well, while the Bears do not. That is the biggest reason why I have TCU pegged as the preseason No. 1 team. That said, Baylor shouldn't be discounted. Quarterback Bryce Petty is about the only starter not returning. And Art Briles has a tremendous track record with first-year starting quarterbacks.

After TCU and Baylor, who is the No. 3 Big 12 team going into 2015?

Chatmon: I fully expect Oklahoma State to rebound in 2015 and, quite possibly, insert themselves into the Big 12 title race. Freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph looked like a veteran during his short stint as the starter to end the season and he will be surrounded by a much more experienced roster next fall. Oklahoma State took its lumps in 2014 and it could pay off in 2015.

Olson: I was not high on Oklahoma State last summer and believed the bar of expectations would be lowered in 2014, considering the sheer volume of starting experience that exited the program following the 2013 season. The Pokes were young and filled with new faces this season and it showed. As long as Rudolph stays healthy, you can peg Oklahoma State as ready to make a nice leap into top-three consideration.

Trotter: It's amazing what a quarterback can do. And Oklahoma State gets the nod here because it has what Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas State do not at the moment -- and that's a clear-cut answer at quarterback. Rudolph was terrific in three starts, boosting expectations for the 2015 Cowboys despite some mediocre moments this past season before he took over. With the entire receiving corps and almost the entire defense back, too, Oklahoma State figures to be a load.

Who is the darkhorse Big 12 title contender?

Chatmon: West Virginia could be the Big 12 dark horse in 2015. The Mountaineers continue to recruit well and if William Crest can be a breakout performer behind center, I could see West Virginia working itself into championship contention. All the ingredients are there, so great quarterback play from Crest (or Skylar Howard) could spark the Mountaineers into the title race.

Olson: Strangely, I’m thinking Oklahoma. I’ve watched enough East Carolina football over the past two seasons to know Lincoln Riley is legit. It was time for Bob Stoops to shake up the Sooners’ house and rethink the vision, and I like where he’s started with his hires. I’m more concerned about the defense at the moment, but if Oklahoma can get consistently-above-average play from one quarterback and produce a quality line to block for the dangerous Samaje Perine-Keith Ford-Joe Mixon trio, I don’t hate their outlook.

Trotter: I'm going with Kansas State. And I really only have one reason: Bill Snyder. The wizard consistently defies preseason expectations, often putting K-State in the thick of the Big 12 title race with unknown players. The Wildcats have a few pieces coming back defensively. If Joe Hubener produces Jake Waters-like efficiency at quarterback, who knows? Maybe the Wildcats can be a factor again.

Final 2014 Big 12 Power Rankings

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
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» More Final 2014 Power Rankings: Top 25 | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

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2015 Too-Early Big 12 Power Rankings

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
10:00
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» More 2015 Too-Early Rankings: Top 25 | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 morning links

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
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Bye, bye, college football ... you will be missed.
  • Lincoln Riley brings a much-needed identity to Oklahoma's offense, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. The Sooners didn't have an identity in 2014 and Riley will change that, Tramel insists. I'll go even further and say the Sooners have been lost offensively since the decision was made to shift to more of a quarterback-run game after Landry Jones left after the 2012 season. Riley brings a proven system and plenty of experience running that system to Norman, Oklahoma.
  • TCU coach Gary Patterson, Baylor coach Art Briles and the Big 12 have provided a good case study of how to handle being snubbed by the College Football Playoff, writes Jon Soloman of CBSSports.com. Patterson and Briles took two different paths after the snub, with Briles being vocal about the decision and Patterson keeping any discord in-house. A lot of people have taken shots at Briles for saying the committee needed increased representation from the Big 12 region but, quite frankly, he shined a light on something that would have likely gone unnoticed otherwise. That's why I have no problem with what he did.
  • Hiring Riley is an odd move, writes John E. Hoover of The Tulsa World. OU coach Bob Stoops fired Josh Heupel and hired Riley, who runs a similar offense that was Heupel's forte. What Hoover is saying makes sense but it cannot be understated how important it was for the Sooners to inject some excitement into the program, which Riley's hire should do. The season ended with zero excitement around the program but Riley could make people think about the possibilities and remind OU fans their runs of Big 12 titles and national title-game appearances were largely built around "Air Raid" style attacks. It was silly to change styles in the first place but just asking Heupel to revert back to his roots wouldn't have been enough. The program needed change and Heupel got the short end of the stick.
  • The Dallas Morning News has a look at the key contributors from the Class of 2014 at Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas. The Horned Frogs were the only team of the five that did not have a major contributor as a true freshman. That lack of impact points to a major reason for TCU's success. The Horned Frogs had a bunch of experienced players ready to make an impact and didn't have to turn to any true freshmen due to injuries or suspensions. It's going to be important for TCU to have some young guys step up in 2015 with Sam Carter, Paul Dawson and Kevin White among the standouts moving on after sparking a 12-1 season.
  • Kansas receiver Nick Harwell is set to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Harwell is one of multiple Jayhawks who will participate in postseason all-star games to show their skills for NFL scouts. I love the game of Ben Heeney, who will play in the Shrine game, but I have a feeling JaCorey Shepherd, who will play in the Senior Bowl, could follow the footsteps of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib as Jayhawk cornerbacks who made a name for themselves in the NFL. Shepherd had a strong senior season and its quite possible his best football remains ahead of him.
Some simple words left no doubt where Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops stood as he searched for an offensive coordinator to run the Sooners offense.

“I want to hire someone to run their system,” the Sooners’ boss said during a postseason news conference, during which he announced the dismissal of co-offensive coordinators Jay Norvell and Josh Heupel on Jan. 6.

[+] EnlargeLincoln Riley
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeLincoln Riley pushed East Carolina's offense toward the top of the national rankings.
Six days later East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley is poised to become the man leading OU’s offense.

Riley's addition could be perfect for the Sooners in several ways. The former Texas Tech assistant coach could return the Sooners’ passing game to among the nation’s best, has Big 12 ties, has proven production, and his overall experience is ideal for the Sooners. And, at 31 years old, he’s a young and up-and-coming offensive mind that could have his best days ahead of him.

Riley’s seven seasons on Texas Tech’s coaching staff makes him familiar with the Big 12 and, as a Tech alum, he has clear ties to the region. During his time at Tech, Riley worked with several top receivers including Michael Crabtree as Tech made seven bowl appearances. His roots are in the “Air Raid” style of attack that contributed to OU’s lone national championship under Stoops in 2000 instead of the zone-read style that turned the Sooners’ offense into an unbalanced anchor on the entire squad during the past two seasons.

Since he took over the offense in 2010, the Pirates’ offense has been stellar under Riley. During his five years in charge, ECU averaged 449.3 yards per game, 5.8 yards per play and converted 46.2 percent of its third down attempts. Additionally, the Pirates averaged 2.5 points per drive since 2010. By comparison, the FBS average was 2.1 points per drive during that same span.

In 2014, Riley’s offense averaged 533 yards per game, 6.48 yards per play, 2.57 points per drive and 371.92 passing yards per game. OU averaged 464.7 yards per game, 6.41 yards per play, 2.44 points per drive and 203.54 passing yards per game. Riley could bring much-needed explosiveness to the Sooners' passing game, while also bringing a willingness to run with 1,000-yard rushers at ECU during two of the past three seasons.

Most importantly, Stoops can simply hand the offense over to Riley and step back with the confidence he can handle the burden. Despite his youth, Riley has five years of running things on his own for an defensive coach in Ruffin McNeil at ECU. In other words, he has been the CEO of the Pirates offense since his mid-20s and will be used to the burden.

While he never has done it at a program like OU, candidates with Riley's combination of youth, experience and proven production aren't easy to find. He's young, experienced and has the ability to spark the offense to greater heights.

Sounds like an ideal fit.
The 2014 campaign was one of the most disappointing seasons of the Bob Stoops era.

An 8-5 season that ended with a pair of ugly losses was not what Stoops & Co. had in mind when the Sooners began the season with national championship aspirations. Thus, changes have been immediate in Norman, Oklahoma. Here's a closer look at how we got here.

Our Big 12 team-by-team season report cards continue Monday evening with Oklahoma.

Offense: C

The Sooners offense wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. OU finished among the FBS Top 25 in points per game (36.4), yards per play (6.41), rushing yards (261.15) and yards per carry (6.1). Samaje Perine emerged as one of the Big 12’s best players behind the Big 12’s top offensive line as the Sooners had the ability to run over teams, rushing for more than 250 yards in six games in 2014. Yet, OU’s appalling passing game overshadowed it all. All-Big 12 receiver Sterling Shepard was the lone shining light in an aerial attack that did more harm than good at times. OU’s first three losses were sparked by interceptions and when Shepard was injured in the final half of the season, he took all hope for a solid passing game with him to the sideline. The combination of a poor passing game and 24 turnovers took the shine off Perine and the offensive line.

Defense: C-

Next verse, same as the first. The Sooners' run defense was among the nation’s best but was overshadowed by one of the nation’s worst pass defenses. OU allowed 106.38 rushing yards (eighth among FBS teams) and 3.02 yards per carry allowed (fourth among FBS teams) as defensive tackle Jordan Phillips set the tone in along the Sooners’ front seven. It had some star power with Phillips and linebacker Eric Striker but an inconsistent secondary proved to be a major obstacle toward success. OU finished No. 117 among FBS teams, allowing 276.23 passing yards per game and looked helpless at times, particularly in its 48-14 loss at the hands of Baylor.

Special Teams: C

Alex Ross was one of the nation’s top kickoff returners, sparking wins over Texas and West Virginia with his kickoff returns for touchdowns in those games as he was the main bright spot on special teams. The normally dependable Michael Hunnicutt missed critical kicks against Kansas State and Oklahoma State in those losses but finished 13 of 18 on field goal attempts. Punter Jed Barnett was decent, averaging 41.9 yards per punt with a 37.3 net punting average. OU’s special teams helped win some games but they helped lose a couple of games as well.

Coaching: F

There’s no excuse for the Sooners finishing with five losses. OU was one of the favorites to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff and the talent on the roster didn’t drop from championship worthy to mid-level Big 12 roster in a matter of weeks. The coaches did a poor job of developing the young talent on the roster and putting that talent in positions to excel, on both sides of the ball. The offense and the defense each had moments of brilliance but also moments of hopelessness. The final stretch of the season, which included three losses in five games, cemented an F.

Overall: D

It’s harsh to give a team that went 8-5 and spent several weeks in the Top 25 a D but the Sooners earned it. OU headed into October as an undefeated team fresh off impressive wins over Tennessee and West Virginia then fell apart in the final months of the season. The Sooners were among the nation’s best in run offense and run defense but the lack of balance on offense and inability to adapt on defense was staggering. Worse yet, this squad lost to Oklahoma State at home in Bedlam and got run off the field by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. There’s no other way to look at this season other than as a complete disappointment.

OU hires Lincoln Riley

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
2:24
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[+] EnlargeLincoln Riley
AP Photo/Gerry BroomeLincoln Riley's offense at East Carolina led the American Athletic Conference in total yards per game (533) and yards per play (6.48) this season.

The Oklahoma Sooners hired East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley for the same position on Bob Stoops' staff, the school announced Monday.

A disciple of Mike Leach, who was Stoops' first offensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 1999, Riley, 31, is considered to be one of the up-and-coming offensive minds in college football, calling plays for an East Carolina attack that ranked fifth in the country in total offense this season.

"Lincoln brings a fresh perspective to our program that I believe will help us maximize our potential offensively," Stoops said in a release. "He owns a consistent track record of implementing innovative offensive concepts during his career and has a history of developing productive offensive players. He has been mentored by a number of successful offensive coaches during his career, while developing his own unique offensive approach.

"Lincoln is also a talented recruiter who I'm confident will help attract top-flight talent to the University of Oklahoma. Our student-athletes and our staff will benefit from his skills and passion for the game. We are excited that Lincoln and his family are joining the Sooners."


(Read full post)


Big 12 recruiting scorecard

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
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While the Buckeyes and Ducks have been preparing for tonight's College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T, the schools in the Big 12 have been busy putting the finishing touches on their recruiting classes. Here's the latest on each Big 12 team's recruiting efforts:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 25th
The latest: The Bears have a big visit coming up in two weeks from ESPN 300 prospect Holton Hill. The No. 19-ranked cornerback in the country, Hill is also considering LSU, Texas, Florida State and Alabama. The Bears are also in on another ESPN 300 cornerback in Kris Boyd, who has Baylor listed among his top five schools.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Iowa State's class took some majors hit last week. Three-star running back Devine Ozigbo flipped his commitment from the Cyclones to Nebraska. Days before that, 3-star defensive end Anthony Nelson changed his pledge from Iowa State to Iowa. With Ozigbo and Nelson bailing, the Cyclones have now suffered five decommitments to this class.

KANSAS
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: David Beaty announced the hiring of six members of his coaching staff last week, including Gene Wier as high school relations director. Wier is a coaching legend in the Kansas City area, having won six state titles at Olathe North from 1996-2002. Wier, who was former K-State standout Darren Sproles' high school coach, should give the Jayhawks a presence in Kansas City they've lacked in recent years.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: The Wildcats continue to look for help on the defensive line. They're scheduled to host 3-star DT Bryce English out of DeSoto, Texas, at the end of the month. English is a former Texas and UCLA commit who would fill a major spot on the checklist in the class. Three-star defensive end G.G. Robinson and 3-star DT Tyrell Jacobs are expected to visit Manhattan before signing day, as well.

OKLAHOMA

Total commits: 19
ESPN 300 commits: 8
ESPN JC50 commits: 3
Class rank: 18th
The latest: Fresh off his promotion to co-defensive coordinator, Jerry Montgomery continued his demolition of the recruiting trail, collecting commitments from ESPN 300 defensive tackle Neville Gallimore and 4-star defensive end Gabriel Campbell. The Sooners now have five defensive linemen committed in this class, including a trio of ESPN 300 prospects .

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 2
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 34th
The latest: Oklahoma State is getting one of the final official visits from ESPN 300 running back Chris Warren III, and the Pokes might have an ace up their sleeve in their pursuit. They've also offered his close friend and Rockwall (Texas) High teammate WR Xavier Castille, who will join Warren on the official visit this weekend. The two will also travel to Washington together before signing day.

TCU
Total commits: 22
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 36th
The latest: More great news for the Horned Frogs' ongoing chase for five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack: The Longhorns are out. Mack canceled his Texas official visit and will instead take trips to Texas A&M, Auburn and TCU before signing day. The Frogs get the final official visit for the Jan. 30 weekend and have to like their chances a little better now, especially since Mack does not have much of a relationship with Auburn beyond Will Muschamp.

TEXAS
Total commits: 26
ESPN 300 commits: 11
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 8th
The latest: Mack is off the table for now, but Texas still has lots of big-time targets for its final six scholarship spots. That includes WR John Burt, the recent decommit who will still take a trip to Texas on Jan. 30. Holding on to early enrollee ATH commit Tim Irvin, who will visit Auburn, is also a priority. This upcoming weekend, Texas is expected to host ESPN 300 DBs Holton Hill and Kris Boyd on campus.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 30th
The latest: The Red Raiders said goodbye to a receiver and hello to another last week. ESPN 300 wideout Carlos Strickland backed out of his commitment and now appears to be focusing on UCLA and Texas. But Tech did accept a pledge from four-star inside receiver Keke Coutee, a speedster who'd been committed to UT prior to Mack Brown's firing.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 23
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 26th
The latest: One intriguing athlete to watch as West Virginia closes out its class this month: Sihiem King. The three-star running back from Georgia will spend the final three weekends of his recruitment at Wake Forest, Washington State and then WVU. As a senior, King racked up 40 rushing touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards.

The best of the Big 12 in 2014

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
10:00
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The college football season is down to its final day. Monday night, Oregon and Ohio State will meet in the College Football Playoff Championship Presented by AT&T to tie a bow on what has been a thrilling 2014 season.

As we wait for the final game, it's time to go back and examine the best of the season that was the Big 12:

Game of the year: In a clash of the class of the Big 12, TCU held a 58-37 lead against Baylor on Oct. 11 after Marcus Mallet picked off Baylor’s Bryce Petty and raced 49 yards for a touchdown. Petty and the Bears, however, came roaring back, scoring 24 unanswered points in the game’s final 11 minutes to stun the Horned Frogs, 61-58. The game was the highest scoring between two top-10 teams in the history of the AP poll. And the game ultimately kept TCU out of the playoff while catapulting Baylor to a second consecutive Big 12 title.

Moment of the year: Despite blowing a three-touchdown fourth quarter lead, TCU still had a chance to beat the Bears. From midfield the Horned Frogs faced fourth-and-3 from the Baylor 45 with 1:17 left. TCU used a pair of timeouts contemplating what to do. The Horned Frogs elected to go for it, but Trevone Boykin's fade pass to Josh Doctson fell incomplete. TCU wanted a pass interference call on Baylor cornerback Ryan Reid, but the officials didn’t throw a flag. Baylor took over and drove to set up Chris Callahan’s 28-yard game-winning kick.

Play of the year: The Jayhawks didn’t deliver many wins this season, but they did deliver the play of the year on Nov. 15 against TCU. Midway through the third quarter, Kansas wide receiver Nigel King hauled in a tipped pass with a one-handed acrobatic grab, then raced 78 yards down the sideline to give the Jayhawks a 27-17 lead. The play nearly catapulted Kansas to the upset of the college football season, but TCU rallied to survive King and the Jayhawks, 34-30.

Hit of the year: Even though it came in a loss, Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman delivered a devastating block at West Virginia on Oct. 18. Antwan Goodley hauled in a pass across the middle, with West Virginia cornerback Terrell Chestnut trailing. Coleman peeled back and completely leveled Chestnut, clearing the path for Goodley to dash 63 yards untouched for a touchdown. Chestnut took a while to get up and did not return to the game.

Individual offensive performance of the year: In the rain against Kansas on Nov. 22, Oklahoma true freshman running back Samaje Perine ran for 427 yards, breaking the FBS game rushing record just a week after Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon had set the mark. Before Gordon, the rushing record had stood since 1999, when TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson totaled 406 yards in a single game. Perine, who added five touchdowns against Kansas, finished his first season as the Big 12 rushing champ with 1,713 rushing yards.

Individual defensive performance of the year: Texas defensive end Cedric Reed had a relatively quiet senior season. But he was anything but quiet in a 33-16 win against West Virginia on Nov. 8. Reed finished with 12 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a forced fumble. He also delivered the play of the game when he crashed through the West Virginia offensive line and sacked Clint Trickett for a fourth-quarter safety.

Return of the year: In the final minute on the final day of the regular season, Bob Stoops, with his Sooners clinging to a 35-28 Bedlam lead, elected to re-kick to Tyreek Hill following a running-into-the-kicker penalty. The decision led to one of the biggest backfires of the Big 12 season. Hill fielded the punt at the Oklahoma State 8-yard line, split two Sooners, made a cut off a block and dashed away from the rest for a touchdown to tie the game. The Cowboys would go on to prevail 38-35 in overtime and become bowl-eligible.

Kick of the year: Three weeks after beating Maryland with a 47-yard field goal, Josh Lambert capped West Virginia's two-touchdown, fourth-quarter rally at Texas Tech on Oct. 11 with a career-long 55-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Mountaineers a 37-34 victory on the road. Lambert went on to convert 30 field goals, coming one short of breaking the FBS single-season record.

Quote of the year: "Trevor Knight, call me!" -- pop star Katy Perry, who hit on the Oklahoma quarterback during her Oct. 4 guest-picker segment on ESPN "College GameDay" in Oxford, Mississippi.
video

Heather Dinich and Ivan Maisel recap the newest class of the College Football Hall of Fame, including Brian Bosworth, Bill Snyder and a number of players with Texas ties.
In today's Twitter mailbag, we discuss the defensive hires at Texas Tech and West Virginia, who next year's Big 12 darkhorse might be and the latest on the Oklahoma offense coordinator search.

On to the 'bag.

Trotter: I think we'll know a lot more within a week. TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie has interviewed for the job, but Bob Stoops is also looking at several other candidates, including East Carolina offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Trotter: It would be if he became the primary play-caller, which he currently is not at TCU. But I'm told that OU is only looking at Cumbie for the quarterbacks coach/primary play-calling job. And I've also been told that Cumbie wouldn't leave TCU for anything less. Trotter: Maybe a pie-in-the-sky chance. Logically, if you were Frost, why would you leave Oregon for Oklahoma? Feels lateral at best. Plus, Frost wouldn't have the political capital at OU that he's built up at Oregon. The next step for Frost should be a head job. So if the money is even close to being equal, I don't see him bolting Oregon for OU. Trotter: Yes. That doesn't mean Tech will be a juggernaut defensively right away. But I think they'll be more sound, more confident and definitely more opportunistic, which has been Gibbs' calling card as a coordinator. Under Gibbs, Houston forced 73 turnovers during the last two seasons. Tech forced only 34 over the same span. Playing more opportunistic alone will immediately make Tech a better defense. Trotter: TCU definitely is a contender. Baylor, as well, assuming the Bears can find a QB replacement for Bryce Petty. And if you're looking for a darkhorse, Oklahoma State, which has a budding QB in Mason Rudolph and a favorable schedule. Trotter: There is a way. I don't know there's a will. Trotter: If we're putting Iowa State, Kansas and Texas Tech in the bottom tier, the answer then obviously is Tech. The Red Raiders are a year removed from a 7-0 start and a top 10 ranking in the polls. Tech also has the requisite firepower offensively. That said, the Red Raiders would have to pass a bunch of teams to get to sniff top of the Big 12. A bowl game next year is doable. Challenging for a Big 12 title is a pipe dream. Trotter: 10-3 seems too high for a team that will be replacing Kevin White and Mario Alford and also has quarterback questions. But with eight returning starters, the Mountaineers have a chance to be pretty good defensively. The AutoZone Liberty Bowl showed they still have a ways to go before becoming better than pretty good. But I love the potential of a Karl Joseph/Dravon Henry/Daryl Worley secondary. If the D-line improves, West Virginia could boast its best defense in quite a while. Trotter: Catalon is a good player, but it's impossible to pencil him into the lineup until he recovers from the concussion issues. Green is a good player, too, and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors from us. I think Green starts regardless, but Catalon's all-around versatility in the return game and catching passes out of the backfield obviously makes TCU even more lethal. Trotter: Welp, it's definitely the offseason again.
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DALLAS -- Thirty years later, there is gray in Brian Bosworth's beard. There is also a softness in his gaze and wisdom in his words.

Bosworth didn't have any of the above when he played linebacker at Oklahoma from 1984 to 1986.

He became a two-time All-American and as The Boz, he became a national figure known for brash, egocentric stunts that helped usher in a different kind of college football celebrity.

Bosworth paid for his behavior. His beloved Oklahoma pretty much blackballed him. Former Sooners coach Barry Switzer, in his autobiography, praised the Bosworth who graduated with a 3.6 GPA and a business degree and criticized The Boz with an expletive, saying he "strutted around Norman like he owned the place, both stiffing and intimidating people. ... The Boz was an obnoxious, overbearing loudmouth and deadbeat."

It doesn't usually take 30 years for a player with Bosworth's credentials to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. The rest of college football followed Oklahoma's lead. Bosworth washed out of the NFL because of physical problems. He spent a lot of time angry for what had happened to him.

"I have had a very heavy heart," Bosworth said Friday.

He spoke of how Christianity had helped him let go of the burdens in his life. He has apologized to those he let down at his alma mater, including his head coach.

When Bosworth joined 14 other players and two coaches in the class of 2015 announced Friday by the College Football Hall of Fame, the delay made the gratification all the sweeter.


(Read full post)


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Assistant Hires Sway Recruiting Momentum
National recruiting analysts Gerry Hamilton, Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill analyze which recent assistant coach hires will have the biggest impact on signing day.
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