Big 12 releases 2015 schedule

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
The Big 12 released its conference schedule Wednesday for the 2015 season. Here's the schedule, along with a few of my thoughts below:

Sept. 26
Oklahoma State at Texas
TCU at Texas Tech
Oct. 3
Texas Tech vs. Baylor (Arlington)
Kansas at Iowa State
Kansas State at Oklahoma State
West Virginia at Oklahoma
Texas at TCU
Oct. 10
Baylor at Kansas
Iowa State at Texas Tech
Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas)
Oklahoma State at West Virginia
TCU at Kansas State
Oct. 17
West Virginia at Baylor
Oklahoma at Kansas State
Texas Tech at Kansas
TCU at Iowa State
Oct. 24
Iowa State at Baylor
Kansas at Oklahoma State
Kansas State at Texas
Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Oct. 29 (Thursday)
West Virginia at TCU
Oct. 31
Oklahoma at Kansas
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Texas at Iowa State
Nov. 5 (Thursday)
Baylor at Kansas State
Nov. 7
Iowa State at Oklahoma
Kansas at Texas
Texas Tech at West Virginia
TCU at Oklahoma State
Nov. 14
Kansas at TCU
Kansas State at Texas Tech
Oklahoma at Baylor
Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Texas at West Virginia
Nov. 21
Baylor at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at Kansas State
West Virginia at Kansas
TCU at Oklahoma
Nov. 26 (Thursday)
Texas Tech at Texas
Nov. 27 (Friday)
Baylor at TCU
Nov. 28
Iowa State at West Virginia
Kansas State at Kansas
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Dec. 5
West Virginia at Kansas State
Texas at Baylor

  • The biggest thing that jumps out is the Baylor-TCU game on Black Friday. I saw some dissension about this on Twitter, but I actually kind of like it. The Big 12 needs rivalries after the Red River Showdown and Bedlam, and TCU-Baylor seems to be the league's best chance at developing a third major rivalry. Putting the game on a special day like Black Friday places an added emphasis on the game. Especially if it again holds Big 12 title and playoff implications.
  • Baylor has a killer November slate, with road trips to K-State, Oklahoma State and TCU, and a home bout with Oklahoma. The Bears will also play their first two conference games away from home. I doubt Art Briles will be fired up about this schedule.
  • TCU has a brutal stretch late in November, playing Oklahoma and Baylor in a six-day span. That two-game swing could define the Horned Frogs' season.
  • Dec. 5 potentially could be a big weekend for the league. West Virginia, K-State, Texas and Baylor could all be in the Big 12 title mix. The league should have a national presence while other conferences are playing their championship games.
  • The Big 12 has three Thursday night conference games, and all three have a chance to be good ones.

Potential playoff cockroaches

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
[+] EnlargeJalin Marshall
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesWins over Minnesota are used as evidence for TCU and Ohio State's top-10 résumés.

"They are like a cockroach. It isn't what he eats or totes off, but what he falls into and messes up."

Those were the words of Darrell Royal on Nov. 18, 1961. The legendary head coach was speaking of the TCU squad that had just knocked off his top-ranked Texas team, a 24-point favorite, by a score of 6-0 -- and on a trick play, no less. The upset ended the Longhorns' national title hopes and also dashed UT running back James Saxton's chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.

The '61 Horned Frogs posted a paltry 3-5-2 record, but two of those three wins were over top-ranked Texas and eighth-ranked Kansas, and one of those ties was against third-ranked Ohio State. Those tussles with TCU kept each from competing for a national title and damaged the Heisman hopes for players hailing from all three: Saxton, Buckeyes fullback Bob Ferguson and Jayhawks QB John Hadl.

That's some serious cockroaching.

These days feel an awful lot like those days. The era of the College Football Playoff, with an ever-increasing roster of one-loss beauty contestants and a selection committee that has thus far leaned toward "best/worst losses" as one of its most influential criteria, is an environment prime for growing some mighty big cockroaches -- insects much more troublesome than any mere fly in the ointment.

(Read full post)

ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Big 12 

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
With the latest ESPN Junior 300 rankings now live, one thing is for sure: The state of Texas has its share of players in the 2016 class.

Of the top 300 players, 39 are from Texas. Seven players in the top 30 are from the Lone Star State, including the nation’s top-ranked player, Texas A&M OT recruit Greg Little.

From a Big 12 perspective, OT Patrick Hudson is the highest ranked recruit. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound lineman, a Baylor pledge, jumped from No. 20 to No. 11, and he’s the nation’s second ranked offensive tackle.

Here are five things to watch involving players in the revised rankings:

The last few days haven't exactly been the best for college football's image.

On Saturday, arguably the country's best player basically ended his career with a devastating ACL injury in his first game back from a four-game NCAA suspension. Sunday brought us the firing of a coach who did everything right, but win. The work week brought more attention to autograph issues with Florida State's star, and two schools are dealing with horrific allegations away from the field.

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Big 12 bowl projections: Week 12

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
The fourth College Football Playoff rankings were revealed Tuesday night, and the Big 12 was left on the outside of the top four.

TCU dropped one spot to No. 5 after struggling to a 34-30 win at Kansas. Baylor remained at No. 7 after having the week off. Both teams remain very alive in the playoff hunt. But for now, we project them to miss the cut.

The outcome of Thursday night's game between Kansas State and West Virginia, meanwhile, could a long way in determining their bowl destination fates.

And with its 28-7 win at Oklahoma State, Texas produced its sixth win to lock up a bowl spot somewhere.

Oklahoma State is the only other team not bowl eligible at the moment that could still get there. But the Cowboys will be major underdogs at Baylor and Oklahoma. So we're still projecting the Cowboys to miss out on a bowl.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: TCU
VIZIO Fiesta Bowl: Baylor
Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Texas
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: West Virginia
Cactus Bowl: None eligible
The Big 12 is full of playmaking defenders.

Several top-notch defensive linemen have made their mark on their teams, productive linebackers have helped shut down running games and defensive backs have changed games with big hits or interceptions. Yet nobody has run away with the moniker of Big 12 defensive player of the year.

In today's roundtable, Jake Trotter, Max Olson and Brandon Chatmon present five defenders who can make a strong case as the defensive player of the year. Here's a look at those five candidates, their stats, their best moment and their case for earning the award:


Who is the Big 12 defensive player of the year?


Discuss (Total votes: 3,182)

S Dante Barnett, Kansas State
Stats: 54 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 INT, 7 pass deflections
Best moment: Thanks in large part to Barnett’s heady pass defense, K-State beat Texas 23-0 on Oct. 25 for the school’s first home conference shutout in 15 years. He was named the Big 12 defensive player of the week for his efforts.
Case for: The Wildcats have been excellent defensively all season, and Barnett is the biggest reason why. He might not have the gaudy numbers of some of the other contenders, but he has been the glue of a K-State secondary that’s been tough against the pass and superb helping against the run. -- Trotter

DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
Stats: 27 tackles (18 solo), eight tackles for loss, two sacks, eight quarterback hurries, one forced fumble.
Best moment: Billings was at his best in Baylor’s lone loss of the season with eight tackles and two sacks in BU’s 41-27 loss to West Virginia.
Case for: While Shawn Oakman has got a lot of attention along the Bears' defensive line, Billings has been a monster in the middle for Art Briles’ team. He’s one reason Briles lauded his defensive line before the season began and the sophomore hasn’t disappointed as one of the Big 12’s best defensive tackles as a disruptive force game in and game out. -- Chatmon

DT Malcom Brown, Texas
Stats: 66 tackles, 14 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles
Best moment: Absolutely unblockable against BYU, racking up 4 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in addition to 10 tackles.
Case for: Brown is giving Texas an All-America caliber season up the middle as an explosive 6-foot-2, 320-pound run-stuffer who can get after your quarterback even when you double-team him. With his wicked combination of brute power and speed, Brown is a nightmare to block. He leads all Big 12 defensive tackles in tackles, sacks and TFLs, and has also helped pave the way for breakout seasons from Texas LBs Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond. The junior has first-round material written all over him and could go pro early. -- Olson

LB Paul Dawson, TCU
Stats: 105 tackles, 15 TFLs, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries
Best moment: A 41-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the game-winning score in a 37-33 upset of then-No. 4 Oklahoma.
Case for: What more does Dawson need to prove at this point? He’s the No. 2 tackler (including tackles for loss) in the Big 12. He ranks in the top 10 nationally in solo tackles. Dawson has been as consistent as it gets from a production standpoint, and the senior has stepped up in huge moments, like the game-changing INTs he snagged against OU and West Virginia. He’s simply a playmaker, and one who’s helped play a major role in the Horned Frogs’ ascent. -- Olson

LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
Stats: 112 tackles, 10 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Best moment: After being snubbed on our midseason All-Big 12 team, Heeney went out and dominated at Texas Tech with 21 tackles and a 37-yard interception.
Case for: While he might not play on a Big 12 contender, Heeney has been tremendous. He leads the country with 78 solo tackles as the anchor of a Kansas defense that has been solid, especially under interim head coach Clint Bowen. Heeney, who has been a stalwart for the Jayhawks the last three years, also sports the best beard in the Big 12. -- Trotter

Who do you think is the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year? Vote in our poll and comment below. Oh, and if you think the real candidate is missing ... well, stay tuned, your candidate could get his chance to shine on the Big 12 blog later this week.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
The Big 12 had a relatively slow week, as three games were on tap. The result of the slow week, however, proved to be prosperous for Baylor, as the Bears landed a commit to increase its 2015 class to a baker's dozen.

Here's an in-depth look at how the weekend fared from a recruiting perspective:

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This week, USA Today, in the latest of its fan index lists, catalogued the top 10 traditions in college football.

Among them, dotting the "i" at Ohio State, lighting the Tower at Texas and rolling Toomer's Corner at Auburn. All fine events, but no list of such customs in the sport is complete without the latest craze: the wait for Tuesday night.

I say that somewhat jokingly, so refrain from the angry tweets. No, I don't really think it's more fun to dream about the details of a five-minute interview with Jeff Long than to decorate an intersection with toilet paper.

But it's close.

So welcome to the fourth of seven Tuesday College Football Playoff poll unveils, where it finally gets real in the selection-committee room.

Why is this Tuesday different? Because after last Saturday, none of the remaining unbeaten or one-loss Power 5 contenders will meet in the regular season or in conference-title games.

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Big 12 morning links

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
What a ridiculous Monday in the Big 12. Good luck topping that, Tuesday.
  • Not going to give it a "-Gate" suffix, but the drama out of Lubbock on Monday was impossible to ignore. Here's our news story if you missed it, as well as the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's. Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman says Texas first tipped off TTU about its stolen signals issues. Whether that's true, I have a hard time believing Texas made use of that information or even needed it in order to beat the Red Raiders, 34-13. I'd be curious to hear more from Mike Smith about when the leaked signals specifically affected Tech games and why the staff didn't change up its signals the minute ex-DC Matt Wallerstedt left.
  • What's going on with Boone Pickens and Mike Gundy? Pickens' comments last week raised the question of whether the Pokes' biggest benefactor and its head coach are at odds. Kyle Fredrickson of The Oklahoman does a good job here of explaining their relationship. Easy to see why Gundy is treading lightly this week and trying not to offer a public overreaction, though surely he's doesn't think we're all dumb enough to believe he was unaware of Pickens' comments until Monday.
  • Continuing with today's coach-heavy theme: Iowa State's Paul Rhoads confesses he's "frustrated as hell" about the state of the Cyclones' season. He can understand why, in the midst of a 2-7 season with no opportunity for postseason play, the fan base is upset and why the stands emptied out midway through ISU's last home loss to Oklahoma. With Sam B. Richardson set to return from injury and an equally frustrated Texas Tech team coming to Ames this week, now is as good a time as Rhoads will get this season to start getting back on the right track.
  • Ah, heck, let's just keep going with Coaches Day. John E. Hoover of the Tulsa World is going after Bob Stoops this week for his "lame excuses" about the Sooners' offensive play calling in the first half against Texas Tech. OU fell behind thanks in part to a pass-heavy approach in the first half that didn't work out well for first-time starter Cody Thomas. Going run-heavy in the second half was an obvious correction. I'm guessing the coaching staff will see some of this criticism as overly sanctimonious since OU won 42-30, but there's no good excuse for that unnecessarily risky first-half plan that led to a 21-7 deficit.
  • Baylor players are convinced their offense hasn't come close to peaking yet, writes Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News. I agree with that, and with Carlton's contention that the Bears seem poised to find an extra gear over their final three Big 12 games. Art Briles say he's oblivious to the national debate about his team (uh-huh...), but he's right to say the best way his team can politic is on the field. This now-healthy unit could look pretty filthy against the, um, permissive defenses of OSU and TTU.

Charlie Strong: Texas turning corner

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
[+] EnlargeCharlie Strong
AP Photo/Michael ThomasFirst-year coach Charlie Strong says this season is the last in which a Texas team will lose five games.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Riding a three-game win streak that has saved Texas' season, coach Charlie Strong says there's no turning back now.

Two days after the Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 28-7 to improve to 6-5 and clinch bowl eligibility, Strong said Monday the turning point is coming for his program and that another five-loss season "will never happen in this program again."

"I told the coaching staff it's on us," Strong said. "We were sitting here at 3-5 and I said we should not be pleased with where we are. At the University of Texas, that will never happen that, with our [track] record, we go out and get five losses. We're not comfortable with that."

Texas has notched double-digit victories over Texas Tech, West Virginia and OSU since that 3-5 start to ensure Strong's first year with the program will end with a bowl game. Strong praised the play of Texas' senior class as the biggest reason for the late-season push and said he didn't doubt the turnaround was coming.

(Read full post)


Mike Bellotti and Charles Arbuckle debate whether Florida, Michigan, Texas or USC has the greater upside five years from now.

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
Here is what's happening on the recruiting trail around the Big 12 this week:

Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: As if Wide Receiver U needed any more help, the Bears appear to have found a stud for their 2016 class. Navasota (Texas) junior receiver Tren'Davian Dickson, who committed to Baylor in July, recorded 230 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions this weekend, extending his season TD total to 28.

Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It's been a tough month so far for the Cyclones' recruiting class after junior college recruits Xavier Pegues, Tristan Nickelson and Larry Jefferson each backed out of their pledges. Those departures don't mean this class is falling apart, but it's a reminder that Iowa State might have to fight to keep some of its recruits who could be hearing from other schools.

Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Junior college athlete Cory Butler flipped from Utah to Kansas this summer. He went back to Utah last week, committing to the Utes after taking an official visit. Butler could've been a receiver or defensive back for Kansas out of Los Angeles Harbor College, but he says he'll play cornerback at Utah.

Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Kansas State is one of the many programs lining up to get an official visit from big-time junior college receiver Dede Westbrook. He visited Oklahoma State on Saturday, says he'll be at Oklahoma this upcoming weekend and is scheduled to visit Manhattan on Nov. 28.

Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: Oklahoma is one of the many schools pushing to land ESPN 300 linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he decommitted from Michigan this month. After taking his official visit to Norman last week, his next trip is expected to be to Tennessee. Getting the linebacker from Indianapolis on campus was huge, but Oklahoma is in for a fight to land him.

Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: Oklahoma State's brutal offensive line play has a lot to do with its current four-game losing streak, but the good news is help is on the way. The Pokes still have five offensive linemen committed for 2015, including juco tackles Brandon Pertile and Deya Mhiesen, who could help immediately. And despite their slide on the field this season, Oklahoma State has yet to take any hits to its recruiting class.

Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Horned Frogs are making an effort to get back in the mix with ESPN 300 receiver Ryan Newsome. The 5-foot-8 speedster and elite returner has taken visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Oklahoma and UCLA recently, but is still considering Texas and the possibility to staying close to home.

Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: Three big-time commits -- Toby Weathersby, DeShon Elliott and Du'Vonta Lampkin -- took a visit to Texas A&M this weekend, but they remain committed to Texas. The Longhorns' top recruiting target, Malik Jefferson, was also on an official visit to watch A&M's rain-drenched 34-27 loss to Missouri.

Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: Despite the loss to Oklahoma, Texas Tech had a big-time recruiting weekend for its home finale. Early signee Breiden Fehoko made the trip from Hawaii along with ESPN 300 guard Fred Ulu-Perry Jr., a UCLA commit. The Red Raiders also got the final official visit of four-star safety Kahlil Haughton.

Total commits: 22
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Mountaineers get a great opportunity to win over some recruits with their home game Thursday night against Kansas State. Two ESPN Junior 300 recruits, defensive end Rahshaun Smith receiver Steven Smothers, are expected to be in attendance. Considering how critical the state of Maryland is to West Virginia's recruiting efforts, getting two of that state's best for 2016 in town would be huge.

Big 12 FPI rankings: Week 12

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
ESPN's Football Power Index is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward for the rest of the season. Every week, ESPN will be updating its FPI to compile a ranking based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using results to date and the remaining schedule.

Baylor continued its rise up the FPI, moving into the top four, but it is TCU’s drop behind Oklahoma that headlines this week’s update of the FPI.

After a 42-30 win against Texas Tech, the Sooners jumped TCU, moving from No. 10 to No. 9. TCU’s lackluster showing in a 34-30 win against Kansas drops the Horned Frogs two spots to No. 11.

Baylor remains the clear favorite to win the Big 12, with its odds increasing from 71.7 percent to 74.3 during the off week.

TCU saw its odds drop from 24.2 percent to 21.7 percent, yet continues to have hope for a Big 12 title. But, after losing head-to-head to the Bears, TCU will need a Baylor loss to become the conference’s designated champion.

KSU is the only other team with Big 12 title odds, at four percent, with the Wildcats hoping to win out and see TCU suffer a loss to Texas or Iowa State in its final two games.

Three-loss Oklahoma is projected to win out with home games against Kansas and Oklahoma State remaining on the schedule.

Interim coach Clint Bowen’s Jayhawks continue to rise. After sitting at No. 103 two weeks ago, Kansas has risen to No. 89 on the heels of a win against Iowa State on Nov. 8 and the close loss to TCU on Saturday.

Oklahoma State is the biggest mover in the conference, dropping seven spots to No. 62 after Texas manhandled the Cowboys in its 28-7 win at Boone Pickens Stadium over the weekend.


Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 12

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
Taking stock of Week 12 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: The Texas Longhorns are bowl-eligible after hammering Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 28-7. Three weeks ago, it didn’t look like Texas would get there. But the pass rush has become dominant, the offensive line has gradually improved and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has settled in. Getting to a bowl game might not seem like a big deal for a program the stature of Texas. But the way this season began, it gives Charlie Strong plenty to build on going forward.

Disappointment of the week: Even with all their offensive struggles, the Oklahoma State Cowboys had a prime opportunity to get that coveted sixth win at home coming off an open week. Yet once again, the offense no-showed, and Oklahoma State was blown out of its own stadium. The Cowboys had just 51 yards of offense in the first half, which was the lowest total of the Mike Gundy era. With road trips to Baylor and Oklahoma left, the Cowboys will likely miss out on a bowl for the first time since Gundy’s first season in 2005. With one of the youngest teams in college football, this was always going to be a rebuilding season for the Cowboys. Even so, it’s been a disappointing one.

Big (offensive) man on campus: In the spring, Kansas coach Charlie Weis announced a three-way quarterback competition that included Montell Cozart, Jake Heaps and T.J. Millweard, and not Michael Cummings. But since taking over at quarterback, Cummings has been a revelation, and he delivered his best performance yet in the Jayhawks’ narrow 34-30 loss to TCU. Cummings threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score. The Horned Frogs were so nervous about Cummings beating them at the end of the game they went for a fourth-and-one instead of kicking a field goal and giving him the ball with a chance to score a touchdown and win the game on a potential two-point conversion. Honorable-mention honors here go to Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine, who rumbled for 213 yards and three touchdowns to key the Sooners' 42-30 comeback win at Texas Tech. Perine could become Oklahoma's first freshman running back to earn All-Big 12 honors since Adrian Peterson in 2004.

Big (defensive) man on campus: Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown obliterated yet another offensive line. This time it was Oklahoma State’s. Brown finished with three tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble as the Longhorns put the clamps on Oklahoma State’s anemic offense that had only two first downs until late in the second half. After another strong performance, Brown is making a strong push for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Special-teams player of the week: With TCU trailing 27-24 late in the third quarter, Cameron Echols-Luper hauled in a punt, then weaved through the Jayhawks for a 69-yard touchdown to give the Horned Frogs the lead. The Echols-Luper return wound up being the difference in the four-point game.

Play of the week: Midway through the third quarter, Kansas wideout Nigel King hauled in an acrobatic one-handed grab off a tip, then raced 78 yards down the sideline to give the Jayhawks a 27-17 lead. When the Jayhawks recovered the ensuing kickoff, it looked like it was actually going to be their day. But Kansas couldn’t capitalize off the turnover, and TCU scored 17 straight points to regain control of the game.

Stat of the week: Via, Oklahoma State has either punted or turned the ball over on 50 of its past 59 offensive possessions dating to halftime against Kansas on Oct. 11. The Cowboys now rank last in the Big 12 in total offense in conference games.

Quote of the week: "They thought it was cold. I told them it wasn't cold." -- Texas coach Charlie Strong, who had his players remove their cold-weather gear before the game in Stillwater.

Big 12 morning links

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
It's always hard to keep your bluff when this happens.
  • Will Muschamp was fired Sunday, and seemingly every coach in the Big 12 has been mentioned as a possible replacement at Florida, including Bob Stoops, Charlie Strong, Mike Gundy, Art Briles and Gary Patterson. If I were a betting man, I would place a wager that the next coach at Florida will not come via the Big 12. But, this will be worth monitoring the next couple months.
  • Of those five names, Stoops would probably be Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley's No. 1 choice. Foley has made overtures toward Stoops before, and the two have a history dating to when Stoops was the Gators' defensive coordinator in the 1990s. The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey, however, raised an astute point that could turn this into a non-starter for Stoops. His brother, Mark, is the head coach at Kentucky. Would Stoops really sign off on playing his brother every year?
  • Speaking of coaching vacancies, the Lawrence Journal-World's Tom Keegan believes Clint Bowen deserves to have the interim tag stripped at Kansas. Following a valiant performance in a narrow 34-30 loss to fourth-ranked TCU, Keegan wrote that Bowen has transformed a depleted roster into a high-flying, hard-hitting ball of focused fire." I was in Lawrence on Saturday, and it's hard to disagree. Kansas looks like a completely different team right now. And Bowen is making it very hard for Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger not to hand him the keys to the program full time.
  • The one silver lining in Texas Tech's 42-30 defeat against Oklahoma over the weekend was the performance of true freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who tossed four touchdown passes and no interceptions. In the opinion of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Nick Talbot, the Red Raiders should turn the offense over to Mahomes for good. I'm not ready to write off Davis Webb just yet. But Mahomes' ability to make plays outside of the pocket definitely sparked the Red Raiders, and opened up big plays. He also avoided turnovers, which has been Webb's downfall this season. Whether it's Mahomes, Webb or high school senior Jarrett Stidham, it's going to be interesting to see who eventually emerges as Tech's quarterback of the future.
  • Back to the coaching theme, the Des Moines Register's Randy Peterson weighed in on whether Iowa State should fire coach Paul Rhoads after a second straight disappointing season. Personally, I think it's way too soon for the Cyclones to be seriously considering this. Sure, this season has been a disaster in every way. But Rhoads took Iowa State to three bowl games in his four years. Under Rhoads, Ames had been a difficult place to play. And the fans have been coming to the games, propelling plans to renovate Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State bailed on former coach Dan McCarney too early. The Cyclones would be making the same mistake in bailing on Rhoads at this point, too.


Heated Rivalries Extend To Recruiting
National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to discuss the impact of negative recruiting and break down some prospects torn between rival schools.


Thursday, 11/27
Saturday, 11/29