Texas Longhorns: Waymon James

Big 12 predictions: Week 11

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
9:00
AM ET
Welp, it finally happened. I finally lost to a guest picker. And to a 14-year-old, no less. Thanks, Caymen. I thought you weren’t going to embarrass me?

Anyway, this reporter’s pride is on the line again. This week’s guest picker submission:

My name is Claire Stallings and I would love to one day be a guest picker for you. It’s about time a lady shows these men how to pick a perfect week! I love the Big 12 and of course Baylor. I worked for the team all through college and I am that girl who knows more about Baylor football than most of the men on campus. I think it would be interesting to throw a girl into the “man’s world.” Don’t worry, I can hold my own. #GirlPower

The last time a girl challenged me to something, I was destroyed by my wife in a 5K. So this is my shot at redemption. #BringTheNoiseClaire.

Tonight, Max and national writer Mark Schlabach will be in Waco for Oklahoma-Baylor. Saturday, Brandon will drive to Stillwater to check out Kansas-Oklahoma State. Due to my horrific picking, I've been benched for the weekend.

To the Week 11 picks:

SEASON RECORD

Trotter last week: 2-2 (.500)

Guest picker (14-year-old Caymen) last week: 3-1 (.750)

Trotter overall: 43-14 (.754)

Guest picker overall: 29-11 (.725)

THURSDAY

Baylor 52, Oklahoma 34: The Sooners’ best chance in this game is to pound the ball, wear out the clock and keep Baylor’s high-powered offense on the sidelines. But without star fullback Trey Millard, I’m skeptical OU can pull off such a game plan. The Sooners have no viable tight end, and none of their other fullbacks are capable receiving threats off play-action. OU’s remaining firepower keeps the game interesting into the second half. But a Sooners defense playing two freshman linebackers finally capitulates to the overwhelming speed of the Baylor offense, as the Bears make a statement they belong in the national title picture.

Claire’s pick: The media (including you, Jake) keeps saying K-State laid out the blueprint on how to beat Baylor, but then again, Mack Brown made it clear that OU is far from invincible. Between Baylor’s dynamic receiving duo, Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese, along with Lache Seastrunk and Bryce Petty’s Heisman-worthy performances, this pick was easy. #GoingTarpless. Baylor 56-35

SATURDAY

West Virginia 26, Texas 23: I find it strange the voters still haven’t put Texas back in the Top 25 polls. I actually had the Longhorns ranked 14th in the ESPN power ranking, the highest of the 19 voters in the ESPN poll. But this is a tough spot for Texas. West Virginia has been a far better team in Morgantown than away from it. The Mountaineers also have a ton of momentum from last week’s comeback overtime win over TCU, with a bowl appearance in their sights. Texas QB Case McCoy comes back to earth a bit and the Longhorns get caught peeking ahead to next week’s clash with Oklahoma State, as Charles Sims runs wild again to hand Texas its first Big 12 loss.

Claire’s pick: The Horns will win if they keep the ball with Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray. But they have to make sure Case doesn’t make too many mistakes on the road. If they are not careful, West Virginia will upset Texas, just like they did to OSU. #TexasStayawayfromBriles. Texas 31-28

Kansas State 37, Texas Tech 34: With receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson back in the fold, the Wildcats are finally firing on all cylinders offensively. QBs Daniel Sams and Jake Waters have been terrific lately, and, much to Bill Snyder’s satisfaction, have been taking care of the ball, too. Tech has had a great run. But turnover-prone teams usually don’t fare well against Snyder-coached teams, and only six offenses in college football have turned the ball over more times than the Red Raiders. As a result, K-State continues its late-season push and hands Tech a third straight defeat.

Claire’s pick: I grew up in a Tech-loving family from Midland, Texas. I have lost sleep over this pick, and I may lose friends and a chunk of my inheritance after this is published. Unfortunately, the clock has struck midnight for Cinderella, and they are beginning to look reminiscent of last year’s West Virginia squad. #SorryDad. K-State 38-35

TCU 19, Iowa State 13: Will either side have enough players left to actually stage the game? Iowa State figures to be without running back Aaron Wimberly, who’s been its best offensive player, and could be without QB Sam B. Richardson, too. TCU cornerback Jason Verrett and running back B.J. Catalon are questionable on a team that also will be missing running back Waymon James and receiver Brandon Carter. The difference in this game proves to be TCU QB Casey Pachall, who finally showed signs of returning to his old self last week.

Claire’s pick: This is the “Battle of Who Could Care Less” between two struggling teams. TCU’s players are dropping like flies. TCU barely wins, but for sure is not making a bowl. #NotYallsYear #ByeFelicia. TCU 14-10

Oklahoma State 55, Kansas 9: Kansas has been hanging tough in Big 12 play. That ends here. The Cowboys have finally found their identity offensively with Clint Chelf at QB and the tough-running Desmond Roland at tailback. Oklahoma State keeps rolling in its return to the thick of the Big 12 title race.

Claire’s pick: I have always liked Kansas -- they have great school colors for game-day outfits. But that is all they have. Chelf is a real threat and the Cowboys' backfield has exploded these past few games -- they might actually steal the Big 12 title right out of Baylor’s little paws. #ButPleaseDont. Oklahoma State 56-14

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 5

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
10:15
AM ET
Oklahoma's visit to Notre Dame highlights a very light week in the Big 12. Half of the league’s teams are on byes but there are still some interesting things to learn from the four games involving Big 12 teams this weekend.


Here's what to watch in the Big 12 for Week 5.

  1. Can Oklahoma strike for the Big 12 Conference? The Sooners have the chance to earn the biggest nonconference win of any Big 12 team this season if they can knock off Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday. OU has its eye on inserting itself into the BCS title conversation and that could begin with a win against the Fighting Irish.
  2. What does Dana Holgorsen have in store for his former colleagues at Oklahoma State? Holgorsen spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State before he was named coach in waiting at West Virginia. He played a major part in transforming OSU’s offense into what it is today so both teams will be very familiar with the other’s offensive attack. Add in the Mountaineers’ struggles on offense this season and you have to expect Holgorsen will have some new, creative wrinkles to confuse OSU’s defense and spark WVU’s offense.
  3. How will TCU respond to a 1-2 start? TCU coach Gary Patterson didn’t like how his team was handling its start to the season, saying his group was "feeling sorry for themselves." Yet the Horned Frogs have had two weeks to get things going back in a positive direction and, even though they’ve stumbled at the start, they still have one of the top defenses in the conference. And that’s a terrific foundation to build upon.
  4. [+] EnlargePaul Rhoads
    David Purdy/Getty ImagesPaul Rhoads and Iowa State are off to a slow start.
  5. Can Iowa State get its first win of the season? The Cyclones opened the season with losses to Northern Iowa and Iowa. Worst yet, Paul Rhoads’ crew has played just two games heading into tonight’s game at Tulsa, making it tough to find any kind of rhythm and confidence on either side of the football. ISU’s defense has been particularly bad allowing 27.5 points and 417.5 yards per game thus far. It’s a young roster, full of inexperience, so if the Cyclones don’t win tonight, things could snowball in a hurry for the Cyclones.
  6. Will OSU stumble in Morgantown? The Cowboys will be a big favorite when they step on the field in Morgantown, W. Va., after WVU’s embarrassing 37-0 loss to Maryland last weekend. It would be easy for the Pokes to overlook the Mountaineers and stumble on the road in a conference play, particularly since WVU does have some talented, albeit young, players on the roster. WVU will be looking to prove it is better than it showed against the Terps while OSU will simply be looking to get off to a good start in conference play. Motive advantage: WVU.
  7. Can TCU find some type of offensive identity? What is TCU’s identity on offense? Does anybody know? The Horned Frogs have looked uncertain during their first three games, particularly with Trevone Boykin under center. Don’t be surprised if TCU re-commits its offense to the running game with talented runners B.J. Catalon and Waymon James in the backfield while putting Boykin on the back burner.
  8. How will OU quarterback Blake Bell do in his first road start? The Sooners signal caller has the opportunity to send a message with a stellar performance in his first road start. The Fighting Irish will be looking to stop the run and play physical, forcing Bell to beat them with his arm. If he can do it on a national stage, the junior will remove all doubt who should be leading the Sooners’ offense for the next two seasons.
  9. Is OU’s defense the real deal? The Sooners' defense has been terrific in OU’s first three games. Yet it hasn't been tested like it will be against the Fighting Irish. OU’s defense is built for speed and handling the spread offenses in the Big 12 so if ND comes out and tries to ram the football down OU’s throat, the Sooners will have to have an answer or risk being compared to last season’s disappointing unit.
  10. Will Ford Childress reward Holgorsen for sticking with him? The WVU quarterback has kept his starting job after throwing more touchdown passes to Maryland defenders than his teammates last weekend. He threw more interceptions than he completed passes to WVU receivers in the loss. Yet Holgorsen didn’t hesitate when asked if he was sticking with the redshirt freshman. Childress will be looking to reward that loyalty against OSU.
  11. Will Iowa State find an answer to its offensive woes? This was supposed to be a breakout season for quarterback Sam Richardson. It’s not looking good for the sophomore thus far. His numbers aren’t horrible (502 passing yards, 62 completion percentage) but he’s been unable to spark the Cyclones offense and take the entire team to another level like ISU fans would have hoped. If Richardson hopes to turn things around, he can start against a Tulsa defense that gave up 51 points to Oklahoma on Sept. 14.

Every Friday, HornsNation's Sean Adams will answer questions from readers. Send him a question on Twitter here.

Kendall Lewis (@LeweeVuitton) on Twitter: Which game will be tougher: Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor or the Red River Rivalry?

A: Every single game you list is going to be a bear for Texas. The Red River Rivalry is a lot more of a mental hurdle than a football hurdle in 2013. TCU is the best team that Texas has on its schedule. It has 19 starters returning when you include the return of Casey Pachall and Waymon James. The Horned Frogs are always well coached, and they get Texas at home.

Andrew Hughes (@AndrewH91) on Twitter: What will it take for Texas to reach a BCS bowl this year, specifically, how to beat OU?

A: Texas just has to tackle on defense and not turn the ball over on offense. For as much bad conversation as you will hear about Texas, the Longhorns don’t have as big a mountain to climb as most people think. Quarterback David Ash does not have to be great for Texas to be good. The defense does not have to be great for Texas to be good. Texas will be better on both lines. I know that is a big statement when it lost a dominant player in Alex Okafor, but I believe it to be true.

The schedule sets up perfectly for the Longhorns with nine days off before Oklahoma, a full off week before TCU and nine days off before ending the regular season at Baylor. Oklahoma State is the toughest game that has to be played in a regular-week format, and Texas gets the Cowboys at home.

Chris Bennett (@Chrisgb00) on Twitter: Which players were you disappointed you didn't get to draft to your all-time Texas team?


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Brown is here to stay

For a few years now, some people have had Texas coach Mack Brown with one foot out the door and the other foot on a banana peel. Some think he is going to go and some folks think he should go. But all should prepare for the fact that Brown could be around for a while.


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Big 12 Power Rankings: Postseason

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
3:15
PM ET
The season has come and gone, and brought with it lots of change in the Big 12 Power Rankings. Still, with all the games officially over, here's how I ranked the Big 12 to close the season:

1. Kansas State (11-2, 8-1 Big 12, last week: 1) K-State's year met an unsatisfying end in the desert with another ugly bowl loss. Like last season, the loss was to a team not very far outside of the BCS title picture. Oregon knocked off K-State, but the loss didn't mar all the fantastic things K-State accomplished this year.

2. Oklahoma (10-3, 8-1, last week: 2) Oklahoma suffered a bad bowl loss too, but it mostly exposed defensive deficiencies that may get worse next year. Oklahoma shared a Big 12 title this season, but lacked a big, impressive win. It did have two home losses, but the gap between K-State and OU and the rest of the Big 12 is wide in the standings.

3. Baylor (8-5, 4-5, last week: 4) No team was hotter than the Bears, who closed the season with four consecutive victories, including a home win against then-BCS No. 1 Kansas State to kick off the finish. The streak that featured three wins against ranked teams and the blowout bowl victory over UCLA has Baylor thinking big in 2013.

4. Oklahoma State (8-5, 5-4, last week: 3) The Pokes were better than their record this year, with blowout wins over decent teams such as Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU. OSU wishes it had those Arizona and Texas games to do over again, but winning eight games with the injuries at quarterback is no small feat. The Pokes will be loaded for 2013, especially if Joseph Randle returns.

5. Texas (9-4, 5-4, last week: 5) Texas rescued a bowl win against a top-15 team, but David Ash still must be better if the Longhorns are going to return to Big 12 prominence. The tenor of spring practice will be heavily influenced by how an ongoing sexual assault investigation plays out. Regardless, until it's over, it's a possible distraction that could substantially affect personnel.

6. TCU (7-6, 4-5, last week: 6) With a bowl win, TCU might have slid inside the league's top five, but coughing up a late lead put a really frustrating end to a gutsy season from the Frogs. Trevone Boykin and Matthew Tucker did their best filling in for injured players, but the Frogs didn't have enough offense without Casey Pachall and Waymon James to win big in 2012.

7. Texas Tech (8-5, 4-5, last week: 8) Tech's finish was ugly, and narrowly surviving against a barely mediocre Minnesota team didn't really impress many folks. The Red Raiders' losing four of five in Big 12 play didn't inspire much confidence, but the future will be really, really intriguing in Lubbock.

8. West Virginia (7-6, 4-5, last week: 7) West Virginia's ugly bowl loss to Syracuse removed any question about the conference's biggest disappointment in 2012. The defense is nowhere near good enough to be competitive in the Big 12, and the offense didn't have enough juice to outscore very many good teams.

9. Iowa State (6-7, 3-6, last week: 9) Beating teams twice is never easy, but Iowa State had an opportunity to move up in these rankings with a win over the Golden Hurricane. Instead, Tulsa dominated the final three quarters, and did so on the line of scrimmage. A second lopsided bowl loss in as many years is not the finish Paul Rhoads wanted.

10. Kansas (1-11, 0-9, last week: 10) No bowl, and not much to report, but the recruiting class is loaded up with about 70 percent junior college commits. We'll see how that looks in the fall, but this spring should be interesting, too.
Kyle Hicks’ decision to flip to TCU leaves Texas in a bit of a tough spot.

The Arlington (Texas) Martin running back had been committed to Texas since February and was really the only true tailback the Longhorns seriously pursued during the spring.


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We're moving on with our rankings of the top 10 players at each position in the Big 12. Today, we tackle the running backs, a position with a lot of potential but not very much returning talent. My only rule for this list: No freshmen or newcomers. You don't know until you know.

Let's get started.

1. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State: Randle is the Big 12's only returning 1,000-yard running back, and even the league's best back has something to prove in 2012. Quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon took a ton of pressure off him and opened up a lot of space. Can he help carry the offense early this season with a true freshman at quarterback and unproven receivers in the passing game?

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Brown
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIMalcolm Brown has the talent to emerge as the top rusher in a crowded Texas backfield.
2. Malcolm Brown, Texas: Brown's nose for tiny creases in the line is unparalleled in this league, even though he doesn't have breakaway speed. He's tough to bring down and loves to fall forward. In short, he's a perfect fit for Texas' offense, and the likeliest member of Texas' talented backfield trio to top 1,000 yards in 2012.

3. John Hubert, Kansas State: Life is good for Hubert when defenses focus heavily on quarterback Collin Klein, but you can't argue with his production. He averaged nearly five yards a carry and racked up 970 rushing yards last season.

4. Waymon James, TCU: James averaged a silly 7.23 yards per carry last season, leading TCU's trio of backs in rushing, though all three had between 120 and 123 carries (seriously). Ed Wesley is gone, and James' yards per carry average will drop as he faces tougher defenses this season, but he's still a big talent.

5. Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State: Smith is the forgotten man in Oklahoma State's backfield until he keeps his legs churning and converts third downs, and chips a blitzing nickel back in the backfield to give Wes Lunt a couple more seconds to get rid of the ball. He's faster than he gets credit for, and averaged better than seven yards a carry in the Big 12 last season, the league's second-highest average.

6. Eric Stephens, Texas Tech: Stephens' season was cut way short last year by an awful knee injury. There's no telling how he'll look when the season starts back up, but not many guys were better than him over the first half of last season.

7. Dominique Whaley, Oklahoma: Whaley's season was cut short, too. He suffered a broken ankle, but the former walk-on is back and will try and make a run at a 1,000-yard season for the Sooners' pass-heavy offense. If he plays like he did last season before the injury, expect it to happen, and expect him to hog the carries in a crowded backfield.

8. Matthew Tucker, TCU: Tucker joins James in TCU's backfield. He scored 12 touchdowns last season, which ranks second among returning Big 12 running backs. Without Wesley, Tucker is due for more touches. The trio combined for more than 2,300 yards on the ground last season. Watching Tucker and James race for 1,000-yard seasons will be fun.

9. Roy Finch, Oklahoma: Finch loves to put defenders in the spin cycle, but could hardly get on the field last season until Whaley was injured. Once he did, though, he made a big impact. He topped 83 yards four times in five weeks late last season, but he has to be more consistent. He also had four yards on six carries against Iowa. We'll see if he showcases his explosiveness as a junior in 2012.

10. James White, Iowa State: Iowa State badly needed White to step up when Shontrelle Johnson went down with a neck injury, and White did. He topped 135 yards twice after Johnson's injury and scored eight times, including two in a triple-overtime win against Iowa early in the season.

Honorable mention: Dustin Garrison, West Virginia; Joe Bergeron, Texas; James Sims, Kansas; Shontrelle Johnson, Iowa State; Tony Pierson, Kansas
Today is the next step in a new series on the Big 12 blog that we've never done before. I love predicting the standings from top to bottom, but we're going to do it week by week leading up to the season. The end goal is to offer my official prediction for each Big 12 team's record heading into the bowl games.

Remember, these are preseason predictions. We'll obviously still do week-to-week picks once the season arrives, and they may change between now and then. There are a lot of preseason practices and a whole lot of games between now and the end of the season.

There are always teams who disappoint and teams who surprise. But here's how I see the Big 12 shaking out in Week 6.

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS
TCU 27, Iowa State 24: The Cyclones nearly trip up the Horned Frogs' undefeated season in a physical game in Fort Worth, but Waymon James rumbles in for a three-yard, go-ahead score in the final minute to deny Paul Rhoads another big upset. James White tops 100 yards, but the struggles at quarterback are catching up to the Cyclones a bit.

Kansas State 44, Kansas 17: The Sunflower Showdown is no longer a joke, but the state is still very much owned by Kansas State. Kansas prevents the Wildcats from scoring 59 points this year (a feat it failed to do in 2010 and 2011), but the Wildcats save their best performance of the season so far for the rival Jayhawks, who leave Manhattan limping.

Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 34: Call this one revenge. The Sooners haven't won in Lubbock in three tries since 2003, and the Red Raiders knocked off top-ranked OU at home last season. The Sooners hold off a late Texas Tech rally behind Eric Ward and Seth Doege, but escape West Texas as winners, an unfamiliar feeling for Sooners in some time.

West Virginia 31, Texas 27: Can West Virginia walk into Austin and leave with a win in its first year as a Big 12 member? Yes, yes it can. The Longhorns don't make it easy. It's a fistfight. Geno Smith is sacked five times and throws two interceptions. Malcolm Brown tops 150 yards on the ground against an inexperienced front seven for the Mountaineers, who somehow find a way to get the program's biggest win in awhile.

And looky who's sitting all alone at the top of the Big 12. It's the new guys.

BIG 12 STANDINGS (after Week 4)

1. TCU: 5-0 (2-0)
1. West Virginia: 5-0 (2-0)
3. Oklahoma: 4-0 (2-0)
4. Kansas State: 4-1 (1-1)
4. Texas: 4-1 (1-1)
4. Texas Tech: 4-1 (1-1)
7. Oklahoma State: 3-1 (0-1)
7. Baylor: 3-1 (0-1)
9. Kansas: 3-2 (0-2)
10. Iowa State: 2-3 (0-2)
We've already discussed the conference's 3,000-yard passers in 2012, followed by the 1,000-yard receivers.

But what about the guys toting the ball?

Last season, 47 running backs topped 1,000 yards, including five from the Big 12.

Here's who will hit quadruple-digit rushing yards in 2012 across the Big 12.

1. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle is one of two returning 1,000-yard rushers in the Big 12, and the league's leading returner. He'll do it again as a junior in 2012. He's the best and most experienced weapon in OSU's offensive arsenal, and he'll get plenty of touches with true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt learning the ropes in 2012.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Nobody could stop him in 2011, so why would anyone be able to do it in 2012? Manhattan, Kansas' resident Panzer tank could have stood up and alerted the entire defense to the play for some of his snaps in 2011, and it still wouldn't have mattered. He led the Big 12 in carries last season and he may do it again this year. He'll top 1,000 yards easily. He may throw it better and a little more, but coach Bill Snyder won't get away from the bread and butter of his offense.

3. Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas: Brown will break through a crowded backfield this season and surge ahead of Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray to earn his first 1,000-yard season as a sophomore. He'll barely do it, but he'll do it. The carries will be spread out between that trio, but Brown should be the most consistent of the group. The only variable is his health. Brown and Bergeron both had trouble staying healthy in 2011.

4. Waymon James, RB, TCU: Ed Wesley's offseason exit frees up 120 or so carries in the offense, and James will be the man to take a few more and top 1,000 yards. James had 875 yards last year, and TCU will have to throw it more than it did in 2011, but James will hit quadruple digits late in the season.

Just missed: Dustin Garrison, RB, West Virginia; Matthew Tucker, TCU; Tony Pierson, Kansas; Joe Bergeron, Texas; John Hubert, Kansas State; Jeremy Smith; Oklahoma State; James White, Iowa State

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