Texas Longhorns: Steele Jantz

Five Storylines: Iowa State vs. Texas 

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
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Here is a look at five storylines that could determine the outcome of Texas' game vs. Iowa State:

1. Alarm Bells
The initial thought and executed plan when the first 11 a.m. kick time appeared on Texas’ schedule was to have the staff start with text messages to players between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on the Monday prior to the game and continue right on through Saturday. The theory was the players would get the message and have their internal clocks set by Saturday.

Big 12 power rankings: Week 1

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
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Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The Big 12 power rankings are heavily influenced by what each team did in the previous week, and aren't necessarily a reflection of the Big 12 standings.

Think of it this way: As of right now, this is how well each Big 12 team is playing. Here's how I slot it to begin the season:

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners have an awkward opener, kicking things off on the road out in the desert against UTEP at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Still, we'll get a first look at a revamped offensive line and the new, young receivers Landry Jones will be throwing to all season. Look out for a coming out party from Trey Metoyer, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year.

2. West Virginia: West Virginia plays Saturday's first game, kicking off against in-state rival Marshall at noon. The Big 12 newcomers have all the offense they need, but what will the pass rush look like with new defensive coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson?

3. Kansas State: K-State opens with Missouri State on Saturday night, with Collin Klein's revamped arm on display after an offseason of development. Everyone's watching that. What they should be watching? How does the offensive line look after replacing three starters?

4. Texas: The Longhorns settled on David Ash at quarterback, but the season opener Saturday night against Wyoming on the Longhorn Network. The defense will be fiendishly fun to watch this year, but how much better is Ash? We'll get somewhat of a feel in this one.

5. TCU: Oh, you poor Frogs. TCU is officially a Big 12 member, but has to sit and watch all Saturday as the rest of the Big 12 opens their respective seasons. It gives Amon G. Carter Stadium one more week to prepare for the debut of its facelift, but by the time it does next week against Grambling, 13 Big 12 games will have been completed.

6. Oklahoma State: The defending Big 12 champs are the sixth team in the mix for a Big 12 title in 2012, but their hopes rest on the 18-year-old shoulders of Wes Lunt, a true freshman we haven't heard much out of all summer or fall camp. The Pokes don't know who his top target will be just yet, but the defense that supports the offense should be improved from 2011. We'll see them open up against the poor saps at Savannah State (yuck) on Saturday night.

7. Baylor: The post-RG3 era doesn't officially kick off until Sunday, when Nick Florence takes a snap against Baylor's old Southwest Conference rival, SMU. Last year's opener against TCU proved to be one of the most memorable games of the season. Florence and receivers Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese have the firepower to outgun the Mustangs in a shootout. Hyped transfer Lache Seastrunk will make his long-awaited debut after coming back home from Oregon.

8. Texas Tech: Tech opens against Northwestern State on Saturday night. That's no big challenge. Staying healthy could be after two injury-riddled years to start the Tommy Tuberville Era. Keep an eye on how running back Eric Stephens looks after returning from a catastrophic knee injury last season.

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones should be challenged in their 3:30 p.m. visit fron Tulsa. Steele Jantz quarterbacked ISU to three fourth-quarter comebacks to open last season, and he may need another one. Paul Rhoads' Cyclones are a slight underdog in this windy weather showdown.

10. Kansas: Kansas' last coach, Turner Gill, opened with a disastrous 6-3 loss against FCS outfit North Dakota State two years ago. This time, Charlie Weis takes on South Dakota State. He's got a better team. Expect a better result Saturday for the former Notre Dame coach and a former Irish quarterback, Dayne Crist.
We'll be walking through the top 10 players at each position in the Big 12 before the season, but we'll start with the most important, especially in this league.

Let's do this:

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia: Smith put up huge numbers (4,385 yards, 31 TD, 7 INT, 65.8 completion percentage) and did so efficiently last season. Both of his top two targets are back and the adjustment to Big 12 defenses shouldn't be too difficult.

2. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones and Smith will go head-to-head all season for honors as the Big 12's top passer. Who comes out on top is anyone's guess, but Jones regressed last season, and his receivers let him down after Ryan Broyles' season ended with a knee injury. He'll try to bounce back with just one reliable target (Kenny Stills) to start the season. The rest of the receiving corps is loaded with potential, but very inexperienced.

3. Collin Klein, Kansas State: Clearly, I'm taking more than just passing acumen into account here. Klein is the Big 12's No. 2 returning rusher, and also threw for just under 2,000 yards last season, adding 13 passing touchdowns to the 27 he scored rushing. We'll see how much better he is as a passer this fall.

[+] EnlargeCasey Pachall
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty ImagesTCU's Casey Pachall could be poised for a big year with a stable of talented receivers.
4. Seth Doege, Texas Tech: I refuse to hang last year's failures on Doege's shoulders. Absolutely not. He played well, at least as well as he could. The running game struggled and offered almost no support after Eric Stephens' injury. The defense was a disaster and there were injuries all over the place. Doege still went for more than 4,000 yards, 28 scores and just 10 picks. Don't be surprised if Doege throws his hat in the ring as the Big 12's best passer by season's end.

5. Casey Pachall, TCU: Pachall didn't have eye-popping numbers, but only because TCU rode on the shoulders of its trio of running backs. Still, Pachall's numbers are going to be better this year, and he's got great targets in Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter, not to mention youngster LaDarius Brown.

6. Nick Florence, Baylor: I like Florence to have a big year with really good receivers, but he's got too much to prove for now. He looked good in spot duty for RG3 against Texas Tech last season, but his senior season will look much, much different than his inconsistent freshman year all the way back in 2009.

7. Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State: The Big 12's only freshman quarterback is a true freshman, and Lunt earned this spot by beating out some really tough competition in J.W. Walsh and Colton Chelf this spring. Amazing stuff, and his coaches know good quarterbacks. Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden have established quite the QB tradition in Stillwater. Here's guessing Lunt continues it.

8. Dayne Crist, Kansas: Crist's college career hasn't been what he imagined after coming to Notre Dame as one of the most highly recruited signal-calling prospects in his class, but he's got a chance to start something special at Kansas in his senior year, reunited with former coach Charlie Weis. Crist won't have the weapons some of the other guys on this list have, but he gives KU a big, big upgrade at the position.

9. Steele Jantz/Jared Barnett, Iowa State: These two have to cut down the turnovers, but they've both shown the ability to be playmakers. There's no guessing who wins this legitimate battle in the fall, but coach Paul Rhoads isn't afraid to bench either one if the turnovers don't stop.

10. David Ash/Case McCoy, Texas: Mack Brown insists it's still a contest. My jaw will be on the floor if Ash doesn't trot out on the field for the first game of the season. Ash has some potential and promising targets in Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, but he hasn't shown the big-play ability of Jantz or Barnett. Expect Ash to move up this list by season's end, but for now, it's all just potential.
Yesterday, the Big 12 unveiled its team-by-team lineup for Big 12 media days, which begin on July 23 at the Westin Galleria in north Dallas.

Here's a few things of note:
  • Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and TCU will be meeting with the media on Day 1, July 23. Texas, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia will meet with the media to close out Day 2.
  • The programs who bring an extra stowaway always attract a little more attention, but it never means very much. This time, it's West Virginia and Baylor, who are both bringing four players to Day 2, instead of just three.
  • Oklahoma State is sticking to its policy of not allowing first-year players to speak to the media. That's no surprise. Coach Mike Gundy expressed that earlier this offseason, but true freshman starter Wes Lunt won't be coming to media days. Oklahoma State joins Texas and Iowa State as the only three teams not bringing a QB to media days. Texas hasn't officially announced a starter, and Iowa State has a legitimate battle between Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett in fall camp next month.
  • The most memorable media days absentee? Remember when Baylor didn't bring RG3 in 2010? Turned out to be pretty interesting.
  • A little surprising to see Oklahoma State bring Cooper Bassett, a relative unknown across the league, though he's a senior who has put in a lot of work in Stillwater.
  • Kansas didn't get very much attention last year, but expect that to change this year. Charlie Weis will be a hit with the horde of media, and the media outside of Lawrence hasn't had a real chance to get to interact with newcomer Dayne Crist, who could morph Kansas into a respectable squad this year. Those two won't be twiddling their thumbs much in Dallas. Bring water and prepare to talk a whole lot.
  • The star power isn't as high this year. Oklahoma's contingent last year was a complete zoo. Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and Travis Lewis could hardly go anywhere last year without being hounded, but this year, Jones is the player with the biggest profile in the league among players.
  • The West Virginia folks in town should be a hit, especially coach Dana Holgorsen, who coached in the Big 12 but never needed to attend media days since he wasn't a head coach. The Big 12 media will learn very soon that Geno Smith is a great interview, arguably one of the best in the Big 12. He's my pick as the guy who'll leave media days as a new star, even if folks are well aware of what he brings on the field.

I know it's a little hokey and in today's media landscape, probably a bit unnecessary. Still, I can't help it. I love media days. It's always fun, and good to see the league's players and media in one place, if only for a few days. I'm looking forward to it, and you know we'll have wall to wall coverage right here. Want to know what you can expect? Here's a sampling of our coverage from last year.
The Big 12 season is approaching, and there's no league in which the quarterback position is more important. Want success? Experience is a good place to start. How do the QBs rank in experience? Let's take a look.

1. Landry Jones, Oklahoma (37 starts): Jones is the league's elder statesman by a long, long ways. He took over as a redshirt freshman in 2009 when Sam Bradford injured his shoulder, and didn't miss any of his 27 starts in 2010 and 2011.

2. Geno Smith, West Virginia (26 starts): Smith has been the team's unquestioned starter for each of the past two seasons, and should be ready for a big 2012 after topping 4,000 yards in 2011.

[+] EnlargeCollin Klein
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesNo doubt, Kansas State QB Collin Klein drew a ton of attention from opposing defenses in 2011.
3. Collin Klein, Kansas State (15 starts): Klein had two more starts at receiver earlier in his career, but we're not counting those. Klein was a gadget QB in 2010, but took over as the team's offensive workhorse in 2011, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the team's total offense.

4. Casey Pachall, TCU (13 starts): Pachall played well in his first year as a starter, but often relied on his three star running backs in the offense and didn't top 3,000 yards. He's ready for more responsibility if necessary this year.

5. Seth Doege, Texas Tech (13 starts): Doege earned one start all the way back in 2009, but ceded that spot by the end of the game. He did no such thing in a strong 2011 season, though Tech missed a bowl game and had a losing season (5-7) for the first time in almost two decades.

6. Dayne Crist, Kansas (10 starts): Crist's 10 starts all came at Notre Dame, but there doesn't look to be much challenge from any other QBs on the roster this season. Does he have the offensive weapons to be productive?

7. Nick Florence, Baylor (seven starts): Florence started seven games in 2009 when Robert Griffin III suffered a knee injury, and earned a half of playing time last season against Texas Tech that cost him his redshirt season.

8. Steele Jantz, Iowa State (seven starts): Jantz got off to a strong start, but never figured out his very serious turnover issues. That cost him his starting job in midseason, despite three fourth-quarter comebacks to begin the 2011 season 3-0.

9. David Ash, Texas (six starts): Ash was the fourth-string QB last summer, but when Garrett Gilbert and Connor Wood transferred, it was up to him and Case McCoy to carry the load. By season's end, Ash had established himself as the future at the position, at least immediately, but Texas' coaches haven't given him the official designation yet.

10. Jared Barnett, Iowa State (six starts): Barnett took over for Jantz in the middle of the season and engineered wins over Texas Tech, Kansas and a historic win over No. 2 Oklahoma State, but struggled with inconsistency late and opened up the competition to Jantz in a Pinstripe Bowl loss to Rutgers. There's no assurance for either to be the starter after the spring.

11. Case McCoy, Texas (five starts): McCoy's gutsiest performance came in a comeback win over Texas A&M, but his lack of arm strength limited what the Longhorns could do in 2011. McCoy's got all the heart you could ask for, but his physical attributes bring about plenty of questions about his ability to carry the team over the course of his career.

12. Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State (zero starts): Lunt shocked even his own offensive coordinator by beating out junior Clint Chelf and redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh in the spring to earn the starting job. He still has to validate that spot in the fall, but Lunt is in a class of his own at the bottom of the Big 12 when it comes to experience. He's a big, NFL-sized QB with a big arm, though. Can his mind catch up fast enough to help the Cowboys defend a Big 12 title?
Another spring has come and gone in the Big 12. In this league, it's a long one. Texas Tech kicked things off on February 17, just two weeks after signing day.

Kansas and Kansas State didn't wrap it up until spring games on April 28.

Through it all, we learned a lot. Here's a taste.

Texas is inching much closer to contention: The offense? Well, it's still a work in progress, though David Ash showed some solid progression during the spring. But the defense? It's leading the way for the Longhorns' road back from the 5-7 implosion in 2010. Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom might just be the two best cornerbacks in the Big 12, and Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat are probably the two best defensive ends. Great coverage and a great pass-rush? Sounds like a good start to slowing down Big 12 offenses. Add in junior college man-child Brandon Moore, and solid linebacker play with Jordan Hicks, Demarco Cobbs and Steve Edmond, and the Longhorns have a unit that can help them get back into title contention.

Only one team doesn't know who its quarterback will be: Baylor hardly had a competition to replace RG3. Kansas replaced Jordan Webb with transfer Dayne Crist. Oklahoma State pulled the trigger on a youngster. Texas hasn't officially named him, but Ash has all but sewn up the job in Austin. That leaves Iowa State, which has sophomore Jared Barnett and senior Steele Jantz competing for the job for a second consecutive fall. Anything could happen there.

Mike Gundy has guts: Oklahoma State said goodbye to a mature, big-armed passer in Brandon Weeden, who won 23 games in two seasons. However, the reigning Big 12 champion again will have a big arm at quarterback. Gundy made the league's gutsiest move this spring, handing the reins to 18-year-old Wes Lunt from Illinois. He's one of just six players in the Big 12 from Illinois, and he's a decade younger than Weeden. Robert Griffin III was the league's last true freshman to start a majority of games, but Lunt might be the first to win the job in the spring.

There's a new sherriff in town: The Big 12 knew Chuck Neinas was a quick fix at the commissioner spot, but the league made a quick move in pegging Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby as the new commissioner to replace Dan Beebe, who was fired in September. The Big 12 is likely to cash in on a nice TV deal shortly after Bowlsby takes over, but he'll have to help reconnect a league that must work through some possibly divisive issues like expansion in the near future. He'll also need to manage the relationship between Texas, who he referred to as an "800-pound gorilla," and the rest of its Big 12 brethren. The relationship sounds good now, but over time, issues could arise.

Charlie Weis is making sure KU looks nothing like its 2011 team: Kansas has undergone the biggest change of any team in the Big 12 this offseason. New coach Weis saw a lot of problems at KU, and went about fixing them quickly. He welcomed six Division I transfers, including three from Notre Dame, which included his new quarterback, Crist. He also saw gaping holes along the defensive line and tried to fill them with junior college players and high schoolers who will be challenging for playing time in the fall. Kansas will look a lot different, but will it be better?
The spring is nearing its end with just a little over a week remaining for some.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia will wrap up their spring practices this weekend. Until then, it's time to break down where we stand in the quarterback competitions around the league.

Baylor: Bears coach Art Briles said it was Nick Florence's job to lose entering the spring, and Florence did nothing to let Briles down. Instead, he seized the job ahead of talented backup Bryce Petty, who has a bright future ahead of himself. Florence gave up his redshirt last season by playing the second half against Texas Tech, but he'll try to make his senior season count. For now, this is his team.

Iowa State: Nothing's been settled after Iowa State's spring game last Saturday. Steele Jantz got back into the race when Jared Barnett struggled in the bowl game, and the competition was too close to call at the end of spring. ISU coach Paul Rhoads even said redshirt freshman Sam Richardson isn't out of the race. Former QB Jerome Tiller is, though. He was in the four-man competition last spring, which Jantz eventually won, but missed the season because of academic issues. He's a receiver now, and doing well at the position.

Kansas: Charlie Weis brought in his guy, Dayne Crist, from Notre Dame, and last year's starter, Jordan Webb, transferred. Crist has entrenched himself as the starter midway through spring practice, which ends with the spring game on April 28. BYU transfer Jake Heaps is taking reps with the second team now, but he'll be phased out in the fall while he sits out his NCAA-mandated redshirt season after transferring.

Kansas State: Collin Klein is still developing as a passer, but he is K-State's offense. Moving on ...

Oklahoma: Landry Jones returned for his senior season, but with a healthy set of running backs, the Belldozer, a power formation named after big-bodied backup Blake Bell, may be phased out this season. Bell, though, showcased his arm in the spring game and outperformed the older Drew Allen. The backup QB race should be interesting to watch this fall.

Oklahoma State: Coach Mike Gundy really wanted to name a starter by the end of spring, but it doesn't look likely to happen. No quarterback has established any distance, but they'll have a huge chance in Saturday's spring game. For now, true freshman Wes Lunt is still in the race, though dual-threat man J.W. Walsh may be the favorite ahead of junior Clint Chelf, who has some game experience the past two seasons. This is the league's best race, but also its most difficult to predict. Just about anything could happen.

Texas: Coach Mack Brown isn't making anything official, but sophomore David Ash was getting nearly all the first-team reps in the spring, ahead of Case McCoy. There's no official title yet, but there would be major shock if anyone but Ash starts the season opener. Now, if Ash struggles...

TCU: Casey Pachall had a great first year, and brings back his top three targets in Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter. The sky is the limit for Pachall.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders' staff liked what Seth Doege did as a first-year starter, but the defense and injuries to his offense put too much strain on him in 2011. He'll look a lot better if his receivers and running backs can stay healthy.

West Virginia: Geno Smith may be the league's best quarterback, and coach Dana Holgorsen can't quit calling him "special." That's not to say he should. It could be a special season for him and the Mountaineers as they join the Big 12.
Spring is already underway at three Big 12 schools (Texas, TCU, Texas Tech), but it's March today, and we're headed for full swing this month.

Here's what you can expect when it comes to quarterback competitions this fall. Each spot is ranked from most to least secure entering spring 2012.

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS

1. Oklahoma State: This should be the best battle by far. Junior Clint Chelf is the elder statesman of the group, but redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh and early enrolling true freshman Wes Lunt were both much more highly recruited. Lunt hails from Illinois and Walsh from Denton, Texas, but Chelf, from nearby Enid, Okla., will try to hold off the younger guys to grab the reins of one of the most powerful passing offenses in the country.

2. Texas: The Longhorns didn't resolve much late in the season, but David Ash had the best finish, helping Texas win the Holiday Bowl. Case McCoy is back, too, though, and the coaches say the competition is still wide open. Early enrolling freshman Connor Brewer would like to crash the party, and he and Ash are more physically gifted passers, but McCoy made plenty of plays during the season. He'll be right there fighting, too.

TIME TO LOCK IT DOWN

3. Iowa State: Jared Barnett looked like the future of the program over the second half of the season, but struggled down the stretch and opened the door for senior Steele Jantz, who helped Iowa State start the season 3-0 before being benched for Barnett. It's probably Barnett's job, but he's got to earn it. If he doesn't improve, Jantz could take advantage.

4. Baylor: Nick Florence started nine games in 2009 with mixed results, but looked good in relief of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III in a win over Texas Tech. Coach Art Briles says it's Florence's job to lose to start the spring, but Bryce Petty will be looming during the spring, too.

5. Kansas: Last year's starter, Jordan Webb, has transferred, and ex-Golden Domer Dayne Crist is on campus and taking part in promotional videos for the program. He looks like the guy, but juco national champion Turner Baty is joining the team, too. Could Michael Cummings be a factor, too? Jake Heaps is waiting his turn until 2013 while he sits out his NCAA-mandated redshirt season after transferring from BYU.

FIX ALL THE LITTLE THINGS

6. Oklahoma: Hush, Sooner fans clamoring for Blake Bell. He's part of the Belldozer gadget formation that produced 13 rushing touchdowns in the final half of 2011. But it's exactly that, a gadget formation. If OU can run the ball between the tackles well next year, we may not even see much of it. He's not touching Landry Jones' spot, though. Jones enters 2011 as a legitimate Heisman contender.

7. Kansas State: Collin Klein is the guy at Kansas State, but he's still got to develop as a passer. We'll see what kind of growth he shows this offseason.

8. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders' coaches were pleased with Seth Doege's performance in all but two games (Iowa State, Oklahoma State), but the defense gave him almost no chance to succeed. He's back this spring. Michael Brewer's development is encouraging, but it's highly unlikely we see any shift in the starter's status.

9. TCU: Casey Pachall threw for 25 touchdowns, seven picks and completed 66.5 percent of his passes. His top three targets return. When it comes to the QB spot, the spring is about preparing for a big year on offense at TCU.

10. West Virginia: Geno Smith makes WVU's offense go, and he'll be back for his senior year with big hopes in Morgantown. Smith threw for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Like Pachall, Smith's spring is about getting ready for a memorable Big 12 debut.

Big 12 position rankings: Quarterback

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
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Today, we'll kick off a look at the postseason rankings for each position in the Big 12. Here's a look back on where our first position, quarterback, stood in the preseason.

Quarterbacks' rushing talents are factored into these rankings. As such, it's tough to figure out how to weigh that vs. passing acumen. Ultimately, teams ranked 4-7 were really, really close.

In these position rankings, we take into account backups, though that impact is minimal at the quarterback spot.

1. Baylor

If your quarterback wins the Heisman, you're not finishing below No. 1 on this list. Robert Griffin IIIlit up defenses and broke the NCAA record for passing efficiency, even though Wisconsin's Russell Wilson did the same this year, and finished higher than RG3. Even when RG3 suffered concussion-like symptoms against Texas Tech, backup Nick Florencecame in and burned Texas Tech's defense in a 66-42 win. Griffin finished with as many touchdowns as Brandon Weeden (37), but threw as few interceptions as Collin Klein (6), despite throwing the ball 121 more times than Klein.

(Read full post)

Final Big 12 Power Rankings

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
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Welp, this is it. The college football season is over, and two teams have closed up shop in the Big 12. This will be Texas A&M's and Missouri's last time to make an appearance in the Big 12 Power Rankings.

After 14 weeks of the regular season and eight bowl games (the Big 12 went 6-2), here's how the league sits.

1. Oklahoma State (12-1, beat Stanford, 41-38 in overtime): The Cowboys needed some help from Stanford's kicker to get their BCS win, but their spot atop the Big 12 was never at stake. The Cowboys proved themselves as the Big 12's best team throughout the season and beat Stanford to make history. Stillwater's never seen a season like this, and Mike Gundy was rewarded with a $1.6 million raise after the season for his efforts.

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Early 2012 Big 12 power rankings

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
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With the season over, it's time to take a look at the Big 12 in 2012. For now, that means assuming a few things. And we all know what assuming does.

It makes us all look like geniuses.

So, for the purpose of this, I'll assume a few predictions. First, I'll assume Robert Griffin III is heading for the NFL. I'll also assume Mike Stoops lands back at Oklahoma.

That said, it's time to project what this league looks like in 2012.

And, before we start, let me make this clear: The Big 12 from 1-6 is absolutely wide open. Last year, the league only had three legitimate title contenders: Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. This year, every one of the top six teams (and maybe seven, if RG3 returns) can win the Big 12 in a realistic scenario. The difference between Nos. 2 and 6 is minuscule and could change a ton by the end of spring practice.

And for the curious: I would have Missouri behind Kansas State on this list, and I'd have Texas A&M right behind Texas.

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners moved into the familiar role of favorite after Landry Jones announced he'd return in 2012, but not nearly as heavy a favorite as they were in 2011. Injuries hurt Oklahoma late this season, and replacing Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Frank Alexander, along with linebacker Travis Lewis and corner Jamell Fleming won't be easy. Receivers Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds have to play big for the Sooners to get the win.

(Read full post)

Longhorns alone on QB indecision

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
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Texas made it official this week, removing the "or" between David Ash and Case McCoy's names on the depth chart.

[+] EnlargeCase McCoy
Brett Davis/US PresswireTexas has decided on Case McCoy as their quarterback after a season of shuffling at the position.
McCoy, after completing 16 of 27 passes for 110 yards and running 25 yards on seven carries in a 27-25 win over Texas A&M, took over the No. 1 spot. McCoy started and played most of the game, but the Longhorns have had a revolving door at quarterback all season.

Garrett Gilbert began the season as starter after winning the offseason quarterback battle. He was benched midway through the season's second game and eventually transferred to SMU after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Since then, Ash and McCoy have split the starter role. Ash, a true freshman, has had significantly more playing time until a string of five games midseason where he had no touchdowns and six interceptions.

McCoy threw the ball 16 times (the same number as Ash) against Kansas State, tied for his highest total this season before throwing it 27 times against Texas A&M. Ash didn't have a pass attempt, but entered the game on a handful of plays.

McCoy has yet to throw an interception this season.

Looking around the league, the trend at Texas is troubling. The Longhorns are the only team doing the quarterback shuffle.

Here's how the rest of the league has handled their quarterback situation.

  • Baylor: Robert Griffin III started all 11 games, replaced in the second half on Saturday by Nick Florence after suffering concussion-like symptoms. Will return this week versus Texas.
  • Iowa State: Started Steele Jantz for the season's first seven games, benched early for Jared Barnett in a loss to Texas A&M. Barnett started the next four games, winning three, including an upset of No. 2 Oklahoma State.
  • Kansas: Jordan Webb started all 12 games. Quinn Mecham threw 18 passes.
  • Kansas State: Collin Klein started 11 games and will start this week, rushing for 1,013 yards and 25 touchdowns, and throwing for 1,587 yards, 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
  • Missouri: James Franklin started all 12 games, throwing for 2,740 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushing for 839 yards and 13 scores.
  • Oklahoma: Landry Jones started all 12 games, but the Sooners rotate in freshman Blake Bell in short yardage situations in the "BellDozer" formation. Bell has nine rushing touchdowns in four games.
  • Oklahoma State: Brandon Weeden started all 12 games, ceding to Clint Chelf often in blowout wins.
  • Texas A&M: Ryan Tannehill started all 12 games.
  • Texas Tech: Seth Doege started all 12 games, though backup Jacob Karam threw a 43-yard touchdown pass on a trick play this week.

Not a good sign when the Big 12's best recruiting school can't settle on a player at the game's most important position, especially when every other team in the league hasn't had any troubles in that area.

Predictions: Big 12 Week 7

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
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I failed to record a perfect week of picks all last season. This year, I've already had two, thanks to a perfect 5-0 week last week. I also went 10-0 in Week 3.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this development. I'll be in College Station, Texas, for a third time this season to see the Aggies and Bears tangle in the Litigation Bowl.

On to the picks!

Last week: 5-0 (1.000)

Overall: 31-9 (.775)

No. 21 Texas A&M 41, No. 20 Baylor 38: This is my Pick of the Week. I'll have a video later Thursday explaining it.

Missouri 37, Iowa State 27: Missouri gets back over the hump and back into the win column for the first time in a month against an Iowa State defense that has struggled with dynamic offenses. James Franklin outdoes Steele Jantz in a dual-threat battle and the Tigers earn a much-needed win.

No. 6 Oklahoma State 41, Texas 27: Simply put, Texas doesn't have enough offense to hang and Oklahoma State is going to throw a ton of points on the board against everybody. Brandon Weeden tops 400 yards through the air.

No. 17 Kansas State 30, Texas Tech 27: I'm a believer in the K-State defense, and without Eric Stephens, Texas Tech will look lost a bit. The Wildcats will take advantage, and Bill Snyder's run and one of his best coaching jobs continues.

No. 3 Oklahoma 59, Kansas 17: Ugh. Turner Gill may turn it around at some point, but his Jayhawks won't be taking any steps forward this weekend. Oklahoma's not done scoring defensive touchdowns.

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