Texas Longhorns: Missouri Tigers
Life is good for the Texas City (Texas) High School star. Offers are coming left and right. He's preparing for a banner senior season with his twin brother, 2014 running back D'Onta Foreman. He's enjoying the final weeks of his junior year of high school. On Tuesday, Armanti was sprinting past defensive backs and juking defenders out of their shorts, showing the playmaking ability that has so many colleges at his doorstep.
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We’ll discuss the state of recruiting in South Florida and who does the best job in Miami. Is it Miami, Florida State, Florida or somebody else? After struggles with the 2013 class, we’ll look at how Texas’ fast start is changing perceptions of the Longhorns’ future. We’ll also talk about how Missouri has suddenly had a tough time defending its home turf and preview the upcoming Dallas Nike Football Training Camp.
We’ll also answer any questions you might have from across RecruitingNation. Tweet questions to @RecruitingESPN or tune in for the live discussion.
In mid-February, Johnson tabbed Texas as his favorite school and Texas A&M as his No. 2 choice. At the time, he hadn't yet visited the A&M campus.
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Texas has averaged just over seven wins in the three seasons since, but don't let DeLoss Dodds catch you comparing these recent down years to some of college football's lesser powers.
“We’re going to have good years again,” Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman. “Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years. But we’ve created a standard.”
Ouch. The Longhorns' men's and women's athletic directors -- Dodds and Chris Plonsky -- addressed the recent issues in the athletic department with the paper, but Dodds' unnecessary (and inaccurate) shot is sure to gain some traction. When was the last time Missouri was happy about a year with five or eight wins like Texas had in 2010 and 2011?
Texas' on-field problems are frustrating for burnt orange folk used to contending for Big 12 and national titles, but Dodds is trying to keep perspective in the recent lean years.
"Football is fine," Dodds told the paper. "Nine wins are not the end of the world. But we want 13 wins."
Texas still looks a little ways away from reaching that point, but at this point, Dodds clearly doesn't seem too concerned with the feelings of the Big 12 expats. Granted, why should he be? Still, he shook things up a little with this one, and I'm guessing criticism over his attitude toward a team the Longhorns don't play anymore isn't very high on his list of concerns.
Neither is deciding if Mack Brown is the right man for the job at Texas, at least for this year.
"Next year we will be having a different conversation. Look at the programs that made changes: Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Phil Fulmer at Tennessee, R.C. Slocum at A&M," Dodds said. "They all had great runs and then two or three average years and have been through two or three coaches since. Mack’s our coach. He’s the best person we can have in that position."
Some may disagree, but Texas has an experienced team with lots of potential coming back in 2013 that will be capable of rewarding Dodds' faith in Brown. Will it happen?
With the dead period in full effect, he was given some time to himself. But now that the contact period is about to get going again and teams are finishing up their bowl schedules, it will pick up again.
"Pretty much it has been going slow," he said. "But I think it is going to pick back up in January after all the bowls and stuff. I will try to take some visits to Texas and Notre Dame, places like that."
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You could feel it anywhere you went in College Station the whole day, whether fans were wearing maroon or burnt orange. There's a special atmosphere that looms over any game like that.
Fans want it more than any game on the schedule and the last century of college football has given us only a handful of games like that between teams of two fan bases who truly despise one another 365 days a year, culminating on one night to decide bragging rights for the next 365 days.
Texas owns those bragging rights for now via a 27-25 win last year that happened somehow, apparently. Looking back on it, I'm still not sure how.
This year, TCU comes into town to face Texas on Thanksgiving night. Texas A&M hosts Missouri two days later.
It's not the same. TCU's all well and good and it should be a fun game. They're not Texas A&M. The crowd in Austin will tell you that from start to finish.
Despite what either side will tell you, it's both of their faults this game isn't happening this year. Texas warned Texas A&M: Leave the Big 12, and this rivalry is over.
Texas A&M left the Big 12. Texas stuck to its word.
Now, here we are.
(For the record, these same things apply to Missouri and Kansas. KU, call me when you win a Big 12 game. Missouri, call me when you stop losing to Vanderbilt and Syracuse at home. Texas A&M and Texas could both still crash the BCS this year.)
It's pettiness on both sides. Texas A&M's first year in the SEC has been a fun one, but they're also living in a world in which No. 9 in the BCS is good for third in its division and fifth in its conference. Winning its second conference title in almost two decades will be an uphill battle, even if the Aggies are most certainly headed in the right direction under new coach Kevin Sumlin.
Texas is headed in the right direction, too, and a Big 12 title remains a possibility. Still, this weekend lacks the punch it has for the better part of the past 100 years.
College football fans are suffering because of the bickering of two high-powered programs.
Texas A&M left, but Texas holds the key to bringing back one of college football's greatest rivalry games on an annual basis.
As much as Texas fans are looking forward to Ole Miss coming to Austin next year, I think they'll be forgiving if you replace the Rebels with the team folks in Austin love to pretend they don't care about.
It's good for the bottom line. It's good for the state of Texas. It's good for the game of college football.
Texas wants to stick to its word. It doesn't want to look wishy-washy. I get that. Truth is, neither team needs this game more than the other. Both want it, though, as much as Texas fans want to pretend they don't.
Pretend you're taking the high road if you'd like, but just bring it back. A world of thanks from the world of college football awaits.
Olathe South head coach Jeff Gourley told HornsNation on Thursday that his talented prospect, who is already a known commodity throughout the nation, was offered by Longhorns offensive line coach Stacy Searels.
“Talented is a good way to describe him,” Gourley chuckled. “You can’t say enough about him. We heard the stories and then all of a sudden we saw him as a freshman and he was just what we hoped. He’s legit.”
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In the same breath, it's wholly unfamiliar.
West Virginia in the Big 12? As in the campus that's 500 miles closer (371 miles) to the Atlantic Ocean than another Big 12 campus? (Iowa State, 871 miles).
Yeah, that one. Get used to it (and airplanes, traveling Big 12 fans).
TCU in the Big 12? That school in the metroplex Big 12 folks mocked for being in college football's little league (until their teams played them).
Sanders' dominance came all the way back in 1988, eight years before the Big 12 began competition.
What did fans think was the greatest Big 12 season ever? It wasn't even close.
Vince Young's 2005 campaign blew away the competition, taking home 45 percent of the vote, three times its closest competition.
Young was the first player in college football history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards, and was the only player on our list to lead a Big 12 team to the national title.
Adrian Peterson's 2004 season grabbed 15 percent of the vote, tying Ricky Williams' 1998 season, which checked in at No. 3 on our list of the greatest college football seasons of the past 50 years.
Sam Bradford's record-breaking 2008 season was fourth with 13 percent of the vote after quarterbacking Oklahoma to the most points of any offense in the history of college football, as well as a national title game appearance.
Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh grabbed only 12 percent of the vote to come in fifth place among the five candidates after a season as the Huskers' resident wrecking ball, collecting the Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy, AP Player of the Year and earning an invitation to the Heisman ceremony.
Did the fans get this one right?
College football looks headed straight for a four-team playoff beginning in the 2014 season, but the when, where and how will be hotly debated in the months, and perhaps year, to come.
The Big East, Pac-12 and ACC are campaigning hard for conference championship trophies as required hardware for admittance into the playoff.
The Big 12 and the SEC want the four best teams. Period.
The Big Ten, well, it's not quite sure what it wants.
Once or twice in a long while, the league may do a good SEC impression and send two teams to the playoff in a top-four scenario, but most likely it would only be one.
A Big 12 champion not making the list of the nation's top four teams that also won a conference title? If the Big 12 doesn't reinstitute a conference championship game and allow room for an upset (whoops, Texas '01, Oklahoma '03 and Missouri '07, if you can call the last one a true upset), a Big 12 team that proved itself as the "one true champion" over a nine-game conference schedule will be shut out of a four-team playoff a few occasions short of never.
The Big 12 has made it clear that it wants the best four teams in a playoff and, ideally, would like them selected by a committee, not a human poll or computer ranking.
Is that what would most help the Big 12? It's most what the fans want to see, even if it means seeing another all-SEC national title game. At least then the teams would have proven their worth against teams outside the league to get there.
The Big 12 will be there every year, though. Is eliminating the possibility of two teams worth paring down the field of four teams to those less qualified?
In short, that would give the Big 12 a better chance to win a title in a playoff it would be participating in almost every year, anyway.
It's a difficult balance for sure, but not one with a lot of difference. At least in the proposal the Big 12 favors, it would have a chance to prove its worth as an elite conference. The SEC could land two teams in a playoff fairly often if the top four teams are drafted. The Pac-12 might do it once in a while if USC and Oregon continue to prove their worth as powers.
The Big 12, though, would have the best chance to do it outside the SEC. Texas and Oklahoma would likely compete for annual spots, and Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech or even Kansas State could crash the party in some years. Oklahoma State would have done it last year. TCU would have done it in 2010. Missouri would have done it in 2007.
The one place the Big 12 has a lot to gain, even if it has little to lose? No BCS games are played in the Big 12 footprint as it stands. If the national title game is bid out like the Big 12 wants, we could see big-time football in the Big 12 footprint.
Jerry Jones holds the keys to Cowboys Stadium, and he'll dangle them (along with a truckload of cash), if the opportunity to host college football's Super Bowl arises.
Say goodbye to trying to beat USC at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or trying to knock off Florida at the Orange Bowl just outside Miami.
Let's see somebody else try to beat Texas or Oklahoma in Arlington, just three hours from their respective campuses.
Team selection isn't where the Big 12 has the most to lose or the most to gain. If the national title game stays in one of its current stadiums, life goes on as usual for the Big 12. If it moves to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, that's a big leg up for the Big 12 and one well worth fighting for.
A conference champions-only scenario would cost the SEC. The Pac-12, ACC and Big East would be in trouble with no conference champions requirement.
Either way, though, the Big 12 will be just fine.
After a full school year in the Huskers' new league, athletic director Tom Osborne sat down with the Lincoln Journal-Star to look back on Year 1 in the Big Ten, and of course, the Big 12 came up.
LJS: Now that you’ve been in both Big 12 and Big Ten meeting rooms, how would you compare how each conference goes about making decisions?
TO: "I think in the Big Ten there’s more collegiality. There’s probably a little bit greater concern for the overall welfare of the conference, whereas in the Big 12 there’s probably a little bit more emphasis on self-interest. And part of that stems from the way revenues are divided. In the Big 12, revenues were split unequally, depending on how many times you were on television and how well your teams did on the national stage, you got a bigger slice of the pie. From the Big Ten, it’s actually a little bit the reverse.
“I think the four or five teams that have the best attendance record in football actually contribute a pool of money to the teams that are less well off. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s kind of a reverse perspective to what the Big 12 has been doing for many years.”
That's what we've heard for a long time and, considering the motivations of all involved, it makes sense.
You can certainly defend equal and unequal revenue sharing, but one of the products of equal revenue sharing would certainly be a higher level of collegiality. If it's going to be good for the group, it's easy to see why a school like Baylor or Iowa State would be more apt to cede to Oklahoma or Texas when it comes to exposure, a factor that could influence each team's take from the conference pie.
To be fair, there's a much higher level of collegiality now in the Big 12 than there was when Osborne and the Huskers left, but I highly doubt it's on the level of the Big Ten.
Is that good or bad? Should Texas get the same amount of money from conference revenue as Iowa State?
It's just a different model, and Osborne (whose school long supported unequal revenue sharing in the Big 12, by the way) has taken notice.
“I was wondering when Texas was going to come along,” Walker said. “I thought I would at least get a junior day invitation. I guess not.”
But UT coaches visited the 6-foot-2, 281-pound defensive tackle this spring and got him to attend Texas’ camp on Sunday.
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The Big 12 is the youngest major league, so I'll keep this list to seasons that occurred in the actual Big 12. That means the season had to come during 1996 or later. Missouri, Texas A&M, Nebraska and Colorado are all in the mix on this list. TCU and West Virginia are not.
This was really, really difficult. I'll be polling the rest of you to pitch your best seasons ever later on this week, but here's my top five for now.
1. Vince Young, QB, Texas, 2005
Young takes home this award, breaking a tough set of ties, for carrying his team to a national title. No player outside the SEC has earned a ring since Young knocked off USC (aka The Greatest Team Ever) on the Trojans' home turf in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. He completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 3,036 yards with 26 touchdowns. He also added 1,050 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, none bigger than his 8-yard touchdown on fourth-and-5 to beat the Trojans and send Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush home without any championship hardware. Young finished that game with an absurd 267 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, his second game of the season with at least 200 yards of each.
2. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 2009
No defensive player was more destructive during his time on the field. Just ask Colt McCoy. Suh is the most dominant defensive player in the history of the Big 12, and let's just get this out of the way: He should have won the Heisman Trophy in 2009. Instead, Mark Ingram earned Alabama's first Heisman Trophy. Suh, whose name means "House of Spears," became the first defensive player to ever earn the AP Player of the Year honors and became the first defensive tackle invited to the Heisman ceremony since Warren Sapp in 1994. He finished fourth in the voting, but he didn't end the season empty-handed. Anything but. He had 85 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 10 pass breakups and an interception that changed a season-defining, comeback win at Missouri. For his efforts, he took home the Lombardi Award, the Nagurski Trophy and the Bednarik Award and was a finalist for the Walter Camp Award and Lott Trophy.
3. Ricky Williams, RB, Texas, 1998
Ricky ran and ran and ran. He finished his senior season with 2,124 yards, an average of just under 200 yards a game, becoming the eighth player in NCAA history to top 2,000 yards in a single season. He had two 300-yard rushing games (an NCAA record) and memorably set the NCAA career record for rushing that season with a long touchdown run against Texas A&M. That season, he earned the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award and became the first two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award. Over a decade later, Texas coach Mack Brown still talks about the time Ricky ran for 150 yards to upset No. 7 Nebraska 20-16 and break the Huskers' 47-game home winning streak. Nebraska fans responded by chanting "Heisman" as Williams walked off the field.
4. Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma, 2008
Bradford broke out as a sophomore in 2008 and took home just about every piece of hardware imaginable. He threw for 4,720 yards and an absurd 50 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, while completing 328 of 483 passes (67.9 percent). For his work, he earned the Heisman Trophy (Oklahoma's fifth winner), the Davey O'Brien Award and the Sammy Baugh Trophy. Oklahoma won the Big 12 and staked its claim as the highest-scoring offense in the history of college football. The Sooners reached the national title that season but lost to Tim Tebow's Florida Gators.
5. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma, 2004
Can you imagine a true freshman leading the nation in rushing and carries, breaking NCAA freshman rushing records along the way, and being named a unanimous All-American. Well, it happened not too long ago. The latter seasons of Peterson's career were marred by injury, but Peterson broke the mold of college football in his first year on the field, steamrolling opponents and finishing second in the Heisman voting as a true freshman back in 2004, which was unthinkable. Back then a sophomore had never even won the greatest individual award in sports. He rushed for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns, carrying the Sooners to the national title game. He ran for 100 yards in nine consecutive games and 11 times as a true freshman, both NCAA records. He was also the first freshman finalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Until the new configuration of the BCS is settled (i.e., what form will a four-team playoff take?), the Big 12 won't be taking much action, if any. Outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas confirmed at least that much. Neinas also said he might stay on through July to relieve new commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who has other obligations on the United States Olympics Committee's board of directors. Bowlsby would still come aboard June 15, but there would be a period of overlapping commissioners.
"It was great to see Bob and Chuck together today at the head table, talking about things," Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis told reporters Thursday. "I think the transition will be smooth."
The league's presidents were in attendance Thursday and reaffirmed the athletic directors' stance on expansion.
To my knowledge, that's the first public confirmation that the expansion committee is indeed inactive. Interesting stuff. If Notre Dame becomes a possibility, it's clear the Big 12 would listen, and I'd assume that Florida State would engender a similar reaction, to a lesser extent. For now, though, the Big 12 maintains it's sitting at 10, even if no one (yours truly included) really believes it.
With Florida State officials expressing conflicting messages about the school's future conference affiliation, and the future of the Big East very much in flux, how could you?
A few other quick notes:
- Texas AD DeLoss Dodds came out firing on Thursday, tossing barbs just about everyone's way. The SEC has Texas in its footprint? "They have a sliver of the east side," he told reporters. On the Big East? "I don't know if they qualify as a BCS [conference]. They've lost a lot of strength."
- Neinas, on the league extending its six-year grant of media rights agreement, which is in progress, but not a done deal? "I don’t believe the membership feels it’s a gun-at-the-head arrangement. It’s just a step forward moving together."
- The league membership also didn't sound very fired up about re-instituting a championship game in the new iteration of the BCS. Reports John Hoover of the Tulsa World: “We have come to really appreciate the position we’re in right now by not having a championship game,” said Iowa State’s Jamie Pollard, chairman of the Big 12 athletic directors. Said Dodds: "If this all happens the way we’re visualizing today, I think there are some football coaches out there that will say, ‘Well, what are we doing? We’re 12-0, we’ve got to go into play a team that’s 9-3, we’ve got a shot at getting beat.' Or, 'We win the game, it’s a struggle, we get two kids hurt’ -- I mean, those kinds of things are gonna be the reality of it."
Dodds might not have been making many friends Thursday, but he did make some among the league's coaches with that comment for sure.
Friday is the final day of meetings, but it's been a quiet week compared to the past two years at Big 12 spring meetings. For now, it's mostly just been the league's members drawing battle lines on where they stand in relation to the playoff and expansion.
- Players must be active
- Players are judged by their current skills
- The 2012 draft class is not eligible
- Only players from the 2011 configuration of the Big 12 (No Nebraska, Colorado. Mizzou, Texas A&M are included.) are eligible
Let's get to it.
DE: Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers (Missouri)
Smith has made Pro Bowls in each of the past three seasons and emerged as one of the NFL's premier pass rushers, nearly winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He's forced 14 career fumbles and had 72.5 career sacks.
DT: Phil Taylor, Cleveland Browns (Baylor)
Taylor snuck into the first round of the 2011 draft and started every game for the Browns in 2011, making 59 tackles and four sacks, as well as forcing a fumble.
DT: Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh Steelers (Texas)
Hampton's career has peaked, but the 2001 first-rounder is still effective. He's won two Super Bowls and made five Pro Bowls, the last coming in 2009. He has 350 career tackles with nine sacks and four forced fumbles.
DE: Antonio Smith, Houston Texans (Oklahoma State)
Smith earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl last season, even though it was as an alternate. He has 29.5 career sacks and seven forced fumbles.
LB: Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers (Missouri)
Smith was one of the NFL's best pass rushers as a rookie in 2011. He didn't start a single game, yet came within a half sack of Jevon Kearse's rookie record for sacks, with 14 sacks. That broke the team record, and the Pro Football Writers of America named him the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
LB: Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins (Texas)
Orakpo edges out Derrick Johnson for this spot, though Johnson was better in 2011. Orakpo was an alternate on this year's Pro Bowl team, but made the squad as a rookie in 2009 and in 2010.
LB: Von Miller, Denver Broncos (Texas A&M)
Miller earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl after notching 11.5 sacks and making 64 tackles. He forced a fumble on the first snap of his career, too.
CB: Terence Newman, Cincinnati Bengals (Kansas State)
Newman's taken his fair share of knocks as a Cowboy before being released, but he made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009 and has 32 career interceptions. The Wildcats' former Thorpe Award winner is moving on to the next phase in his career after an up and down career in Dallas.
CB: Aaron Ross, Jacksonville Jaguars (Texas)
Ross won two Super Bowls as a New York Giant, but he's moving on to warmer climates this offseason. He's made 200 career tackles and intercepted 10 passes in five seasons as a Giant before the former Thorpe Award winner signed a new deal with the Jags.
S: Michael Griffin, Tennessee Titans (Texas)
Griffin was a first-round pick in 2007 and made Pro Bowls in 2008 and 2010. He earned an All-Pro selection in 2010 and has 17 career interceptions and seven forced fumbles with his 389 tackles.
S: Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks (Texas)
Thomas gives the Longhorns a third member of the All-Big 12 NFL secondary after a Pro Bowl season in his second year, 2011. Thomas was arguably the Seahawks' top defender and has seven career interceptions.