Texas Longhorns: Art Briles
Baylor is a two-touchdown favorite over the Texas they’ll face this weekend in Waco. Say what you want about Vegas, but the line speaks to perception. And perception says these two teams couldn’t be more different.
Though they share I-35, the Bears and Longhorns took two completely opposite roads to get to this game, and yet they’re both 7-1 in the Big 12 and playing for the same goal on Saturday.
For Baylor, 2013 has been the dream season. The No. 9 Bears are 10-1 and chasing their first 11-win season in school history. They’ve won 14 of their last 15. They’ve been one of the great stories of the season.
They have the nation’s No. 1 scoring and total offense, the best QB in the Big 12 in Bryce Petty, a much-improved defense and a coach in Art Briles who’s now revered as one of the best coaches in college football.
“Our focus from day one was to win every game we play this year,” Briles said. “We haven't done it but we've been pretty close and we get another opportunity Saturday."
Texas, meanwhile, has survived the season from hell to reach 8-3 and a No. 25 BCS ranking.
By the time Big 12 play began, the Longhorns already had two losses and a new defensive coordinator. Instead of taking on nonconference cupcakes like Baylor did, Texas scheduled games at BYU and against Ole Miss and lost both. Four games in, they’d lost their quarterback and best linebacker, too.
“I thought we would be really good before the season started,” coach Mack Brown said. “Then the two weeks were just a collapse for us. Then, as we said, we were excited about starting over and challenged by it.”
They’ve won seven games since, including an upset of then-No. 12 Oklahoma, and kept fighting. Brown has survived a season filled with speculation he’ll be fired -- including chatter that Briles could take his job -- and led Texas further than anyone expected.
So here they are, same record in the Big 12. A share of the conference championship is on the line. By the time they kick off, an outright title and Fiesta Bowl trip could be on the table, too.
There are two obvious reasons why, when their paths converge this weekend, these two teams are playing the second-biggest game in the Big 12 on conference championship Saturday. Both lost to Oklahoma State, and both have injuries to blame.
Of course, as is the case with everything else, the narratives are different on that front. Baylor, with the exception of the OSU loss, kept rolling in November despite losing receiver Tevin Reese, running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, tackle Spencer Drango, linebacker Bryce Hager and several others. The rushing duo returned to play TCU, but for much of that game the Bears were without three starters in the secondary.
Meanwhile, Texas is right up there with Georgia and Florida among the most injury-ravaged teams in the country, at least when it comes to critical players.
Somehow Texas has found a way to scrap together wins without quarterback David Ash, running back Johnathan Gray, linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive tackle Chris Whaley and tackle Josh Cochran, and a few more starters have missed games. Now linebacker Steve Edmond is out too.
The laundry list of ailing players has these two teams in similar shape this week. Texas has obvious weaknesses. Baylor no longer looks invincible.
And Oklahoma State made both look bad, with relatively similar beatdowns on back-to-back weeks. That’s why the Cowboys control their own destiny entering Bedlam, and why Texas and Baylor will be watching the scoreboard all the way up to 2:30 p.m. CT.
By then, Briles and Brown will know where things stand in the Big 12. Then comes the real fun: finding out just how far apart their programs stand.
Team of the week: After trailing by three scores for most of the game, Iowa State came roaring back with 17 straight points in the fourth quarter and ultimately prevailed 52-44 in a stunning, triple-overtime comeback. Freshman QB Grant Rohach was terrific in his second career road start, accounting for five touchdowns, including the winning toss on the first play of the third overtime. The defense forced four turnovers to help spearhead the rally. And punter Kirby Van Der Kamp converted a fake punt into a huge first down, igniting the comeback early in the fourth quarter. As a result, Iowa State finished off an otherwise disappointing season with a thrilling road victory and a two-game winning streak to build on for 2014.
Big (offensive) men on campus: Kansas State running back John Hubert and Iowa State wide receivers Quenton Bundrage and Justin Coleman.
Hubert unleashed a monster performance in his final Sunflower Showdown. The senior rushed for a career-high 220 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, as K-State defeated Kansas 31-10 for a fifth consecutive victory in the series.
Together with Rohach, Bundrage and Coleman fueled Iowa State's comeback with huge catches down the stretch. After Van Der Kamp's fake punt conversion, Bundrage hauled in a 62-yard touchdown grab to cut West Virginia's lead to 10. Later, Coleman's 19-yard scoring reception tied the game with a minute left in regulation. And on the first play of the third overtime, Coleman reeled in another touchdown, which proved to be the game winner.
All told, Bundrage and Coleman combined for 12 receptions, 184 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Big (defensive) men on campus: Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett and Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
Lackey played a hand in two turnovers that ultimately led to defensive touchdowns. With the Horned Frogs driving at the end of the second quarter with a chance to take the lead before halftime, Lackey charged up the middle and tagged TCU QB Casey Pachall's legs. The hit forced Pachall's pass to be behind his intended receiver, and Orion Stewart intercepted it and raced 82 yards for a touchdown. Then on TCU's first possession of the third quarter, Lackey picked off Pachall and dashed 54 yards for another score, putting the Bears up 34-17. Lackey added six tackles and a sack in Baylor's 41-38 win.
As good as Lackey was, no player was more dominant than Verrett. Matched up one-on-one with Baylor's Antwan Goodley the entire game, Verrett checked the Big 12's leading receiver to just one reception for 12 yards. As a result, Baylor finished with a season-low 206 passing yards.
Jeffcoat also flourished in his final home game, recording a game-high three sacks as Texas shut down Texas Tech's passing game. Jeffcoat also had seven tackles and a quarterback hurry, solidifying his candidacy as an All-Big 12 defensive end.
Special-teams player of the week: Tech punter Ryan Erxleben produced one of the special-teams plays of the year in the Big 12 in Austin. On Tech's second possession, Erxleben took off on a fake punt and raced 51 yards down the sideline for a touchdown, giving the Red Raiders an early 7-0 lead. After the game, coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Erxleben called the fake on his own. It proved to be Tech's longest rush of the season, but pretty much its only highlight in the lackluster loss to the Longhorns.
Play of the week: After falling behind 34-17 on two Baylor defensive touchdowns, TCU made a furious rally and drove into field goal range with a chance to either win or send the game to overtime. Instead, with 18 seconds to go, quarterback Pachall's pass to Brandon Carter was tipped away by Baylor nickelback Sam Holl and into the arms of Terrell Burt for the game-clinching interception to seal Baylor's victory.
Stat of the week: By holding Baylor to 370 yards of offense, TCU snapped the Bears' 37-game streak of at least 400 yards of offense. Ball State now holds the longest FBS streak at 12 games.
Quote of the week: "Gary Patterson lives in Fort Worth. If he's got a problem with me, that's where I live."
-- TCU coach Gary Patterson, after a pair of heated exchanges with Baylor coach Art Briles
And not just because the Bears reached the 10-win mark for only the third time in school history with their 41-38 victory over TCU on Saturday.
Although the Bears remained at No. 9 in the latest BCS standings, their BCS bowl hopes got a boost with losses by Wisconsin, Clemson and Fresno State. Those teams were putting themselves in position to bump the Bears out of the conversation for an at-large BCS bid before stumbling over the weekend. Now the Sugar Bowl could choose the Bears for an at-large berth.
If the Bears can knock off No. 25 Texas to finish 11-1, the Big 12 could get a second BCS berth alongside No. 6 Oklahoma State, assuming the Cowboys win against No. 17 Oklahoma on Saturday. No. 14 Northern Illinois is playing the role of the main BCS-buster to earn an at-large bid this season and will face Bowling Green in the MAC championship game on Friday.
Oklahoma State, which moved up one spot to No. 6, watched its very slim hopes of finding its way into the BCS title game drift further away when Alabama lost to Auburn. The Crimson Tide dropped from No. 1 to No. 4, meaning it won't matter how much chaos occurs on Championship Saturday because the Pokes are pretty much out of the race to earn a BCS title game berth. Quite simply, nothing has changed for the Cowboys this week, as their loss to West Virginia, which finished 4-8, remains an anchor preventing them from climbing into the conversation of the nation's top one-loss teams.
But it was a good weekend for the Big 12 overall, and Baylor in particular, with the Bears’ at-large BCS chances looking brighter than ever. Now, it’s up to Art Briles’ crew to help make its dreams come true by winning impressively against the Longhorns.
Back again with more stats and tidbits courtesy of SID departments across the league and ESPN stats and information. Did you know …
- TCU coach Gary Patterson returns to his alma mater for the first time as a head coach when he visits Kansas State on Saturday. He played linebacker and safety for the Wildcats before graduating in 1983. He was born in Larned, Kan., and lived in Rozel, Kan.
- TCU's Trevone Boykin is the only player in the nation with a 100-yard rushing, 100-yard receiving and 200-yard passing game this season.
- TCU leads the Big 12 with 70.4 percent (2,379 of 3,380 yards) of its scrimmage yards from underclassmen.
- Deante' Gray, who started two games at receiver this season, started at cornerback for TCU against Iowa State last Saturday and had two tackles and a pass breakup. He also leads the squad in special teams tackles.
- Iowa State's DeVondrick Nealy's 98-yard kick return for a touchdown snapped TCU's 135-game streak without allowing a kick return for a score, which was the nation's longest.
- TCU is tied for the conference lead and sixth in the nation with 25 forced turnovers this season.
- TCU holds the nation's third longest streak of games without being shut out at 265, dating back to a 32-0 shutout loss to Texas in 1991.
- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder earned victory No. 175 overall and No. 100 in conference play with the Wildcats' 49-26 win over Texas Tech last Saturday. He's the 46th coach to reach the 175-win mark and just the 11th reach that standard at one school. He joins Tom Osborne of Nebraska and Barry Switzer of Oklahoma as the only Big 8/12 coaches with at least 100 wins at one school.
- K-State has turned it on in the fourth quarter of recent games, outscoring opponents 56-14 during its three-game win streak.
- The Wildcats are 49-17 in November under Snyder since 1991.
- KSU is looking to become the fourth Big 12 team to start 2-4 or worse yet still make a bowl game. 2001 K-State, 2002 Oklahoma State and 2004 Iowa State are the only teams to achieve that feat thus far.
- Since 1999, K-State ranks No. 1 nationally in non-offensive touchdowns with 91.
- John Hubert is averaging 109.5 rushing yards per game and one touchdown in KSU's last four games after averaging 53.6 rushing yards in the Wildcats' first five contests.
- KSU sophomore defensive lineman Travis Britz has blocked four kicks this season, which leads the nation.
- Texas is 6-0 in the Big 12 for the fifth time under Mack Brown (1999, 2005, 2006, 2009).
- The Longhorns has scored 30 points or more in their last six games, matching their longest streak since 2009.
- UT is No. 5 nationally in sacks in its last six games. The Longhorns have gotten to the quarterback 24 times during their last six contests.
- Longhorns' guard Mason Walters has started 47 straight games, the second-longest streak in the nation among offensive linemen (Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson owns the longest streak).
- Texas has scored 11 touchdowns on plays of 45 yards or more this season. Eight different Longhorns have achieved that feat.
- UT receiver Jaxon Shipley is clutch with 30 of his 46 receptions resulting in a first down this season, including three on fourth down. His fourth-down catch kept hope alive in the Longhorns' 47-40 overtime win over West Virginia last Saturday.
- UT defensive end Cedric Reed is the lone FBS defender with at least six sacks, four pass breakups and four forced fumbles. The junior has seven sacks, four pass breakups and four forced fumbles.
- Oklahoma State has won 10 of its last 11 games in the state of Texas.
- An OSU win over Texas would be the Cowboys third-straight victory in Austin and make the Cowboys the first team to do it since Colorado in 1990, 1994 and 1997.
- OSU has scored 20 or more points in 48 straight games dating back to the start of the 2010 season. It's the longest streak in the nation.
- OSU has forced a turnover in 17 straight games.
- Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert leads all active players with six kickoff returns for touchdown in his career after his kickoff return for a score to open the game against Kansas.
- OSU is one of seven teams ranking in the nation's top 20 in both scoring offense (40.7 points per game) and scoring defense (19.7 ppg). Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Louisville join the Pokes in that category.
- The Cowboys are averaging 6.11 three-and-outs forced per game this season.
- OSU ranks No. 9 nationally in yards per play allowed at 4.67 yards per play. Michigan State leads the nation at 3.47 followed by Baylor's 4.08.
- The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in third down conversion percentage at 29.6 percent which ranks sixth nationally.
- The Cowboys could feature the league's most balanced offense. OSU has 343 rushing attempts and 343 passing attempts heading into its battle with Texas.
- Texas Tech's series with Baylor is the longest in school history. The Red Raiders hold a 36-34-1 lead in the series.
- The Red Raiders have scored 20 points or more in 25 straight games, dating back to 2011.
- Linebacker Will Smith has either led or tied for the team lead in tackles in six of TTU's last eight games. He has 72 tackles in 10 games, including 50 solo stops.
- TTU had its nation-leading streak of 257 straight PATs snapped when KSU blocked Ryan Bustin's attempt last Saturday. It also snapped Bustin's personal streak of 101 consecutive PATs.
- TTU tight end Jace Amaro had nine receptions for 67 yards against Kansas State to make it nine straight games with at least eight receptions for the junior, tying Michael Crabtree for the school record. He also moved to 10th on Tech's single season receptions list with 88 catches this season.
- Baylor head coach Art Briles is a 1979 Texas Tech graduate and was an assistant coach on Mike Leach's staff from 2000-02.
- It's been a full year since Baylor lost a game and the Bears 12-game winning streak is a school record. Oklahoma was the last team to defeat Baylor on Nov. 10, 2012.
- The Bears' 8-0 start is the best in Baylor's history.
- Baylor is hoping to win three straight games against TTU for the first time since 1984-87.
- Baylor leads the nation in total offense (686 ypg), scoring (61 ppg), pass efficiency (201.5), yards per play (8.64) and passing yards per completion (19.29).
- The Bears defense has more interceptions (11) than passing touchdowns allowed (8).
- Baylor leads the nation in fewest three-and-outs per game (1.02) and is No. 2 in three-and-outs forced (7).
- Baylor is on track to set NCAA records in points per game (61) and yards per game (686). Army averaged 56 points per game in 1944 while Houston averaged 624.9 yards per game in 1989.
- BU's starting offense has 85 drives resulting in 52 touchdowns, getting into the end zone on 61.1 percent of its drives.
- Baylor has won a school-record eight straight conference games. The previous high was five in 2010.
- The Bears lead the Big 12 in tackles for loss with 8.9 per game. That ranks No. 2 in the FBS.
- Baylor has converted 52.7 percent of its third down attempts, which leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 8 in the nation.
- Baylor leads the Big 12 in sacks at 3 per game. That number ties the Bears for 14th nationally.
- BU quarterback Bryce Petty leads the nation in pass efficiency (210.6) and yards per completion (19.68).
- BU running back Lache Seastrunk has 10 games of 100 rushing yards or more in Baylor's last 12 games. He's averaging 8.7 yards per carry, which ranks No. 2 nationally.
- Seastrunk leads the league with 111 rushing yards per game and 11 touchdowns.
- Teammate Shock Linwood, a redshirt freshman running back, is second in the Big 12 with 89.3 rushing yards per game.
- BU receiver Antwan Goodley leads the Big 12 with 121.8 receiving yards per game, which is No. 4 nationally.
- Baylor is 12-1 in November and December since 2011, which is tops in the FBS. That record includes a 5-1 mark against Top 25 teams.
- Iowa State's loss to TCU was the fifth time this season the Cyclones lost a game by eight points or less, including losses to Big 12 foes Texas, Texas Tech and TCU by a combined 12 points.
- ISU and Rutgers are the only two teams with two different players who have returned a kickoff 95 yards or more for a touchdown.
- Nealy has scored in four straight games in three different ways for the Cyclones.
- ISU has used eight different starting offensive lines in nine games. With injuries ravaging its offensive front, 10 different Cyclones have starting along the offensive line.
- Receiver Quenton Bundrage is the only Cyclone to start every game on offense.
- ISU linebacker Jeremiah George has recorded double digit tackles in seven of nine games. He leads the Big 12 with 11.3 tackles per game, ranking fourth nationally.
- Even with ISU's struggles on the field, the Cyclones have had three sellouts this season (Oklahoma State, Iowa, Northern Iowa) and are averaging the highest attendance average (55,617) in program history.
- ISU has converted 23 of 24 red zone possessions into points (18 touchdowns, five field goals) to lead the Big 12 and rank No. 4 nationally at 95.8 percent.
- West Virginia is making its first trip to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.
- Two of the top-20, single-game rushing performances in KU history have occurred on Nov. 16. June Henley rushed for 209 yards against Texas in 1996 (15th best) and John Riggins rushed for 189 yards against K-State in 1968 (19th best).
- Mountaineers running back Dreamuis Smith played at Wichita (Kan.) Heights and was committed to the Jayhawks before spending two seasons at Butler County Community College.
- KU's Michael Reynolds has 5.5 sacks this season, the most by a KU defender since 2009. He has a sack in four of KU's last five games.
- KU punter Trevor Pardula has punted for 3,044 yards this season, nearly 1.73 miles. He leads the nation at 338.2 yards per game.
- West Virginia has scored 30 points or more in 24 games, 40 points of more in 12 games, 50 points or more in six games and 60 points or more in three games during Dana Holgorsen's tenure.
- WVU running back Charles Sims leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage, averaging 124.2 yards per game.
- WVU has forced a turnover in 16 straight games and 28 of its last 29 contests.
- WVU's is looking to extend its streak of making bowl appearances to 12 with wins over Kansas and Iowa State to close the season.
- WVU is 3-1 on the road in November under Holgorsen
- Oklahoma has won 14 straight games against Iowa State and is 8-0 under Bob Stoops.
- The Sooners are 13-1 on Senior Day under Stoops.
- Stoops has 156 career victories and will be looking to tie Barry Switzer at 157 with a win on Saturday.
- OU will honor 17 seniors on Senior Day. This class is 39-10 during their time in Norman.
- The Sooners are seeking a perfect home record for the 11th time in 15 seasons under Stoops and the first time since 2010.
- The Sooners-Cyclones contest will feature a battle of brothers. Tom Farniok is ISU's starting center while Derek Farniok is a backup tackle at OU.
- Baylor will be doing plenty of scoreboard watching this month if the Bears keep winning. Amid a move up to No. 5 in the BCS standings, Art Briles is worried only about what he can control.
- Against Baylor, penalties became a major setback for Oklahoma. A good look here from Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman at how OU and Baylor are going in opposite directions these days. Barry Switzer believes a drop in talent up front has helped cause OU's decline. The Sooners' QB commit is done for the season.
- TCU's depth at running back helped save the day against Iowa State. Top receiver Brandon Carter came back, but the status of two injured defensive backs is still questionable.
- Texas Tech is facing a difficult road ahead after three straight losses. Five issues the Red Raiders must address after losing to Kansas State.
- The Oklahoma State-Texas matchup will have Big 12 title implications after all. Mike Gundy offered a rare injury update on Sunday.
- Losing Johnathan Gray and Chris Whaley is just the next blow in an injury-filled season for Texas. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Stateman says Texas' AD search started with 20 names and ended with two interviews.
- In case you missed it, Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star went to Youngstown, Ohio, for this great piece on Mark Mangino. Freshman Montell Cozart brings a new element to the Kansas offense. Charlie Weis still believes in instilling a "Stanford mentality" to his offense.
- Good luck figuring out this West Virginia team after all its puzzling inconsistency. WVU coaches were frustrated by their final offensive possession in regulation. The Mountaineers need to win their final two games to keep their bowl streak alive.
- Bill Snyder sees major improvement from his team, as Kansas State is one win away from bowl eligibility. KSU's report card from Tech game was about as good as it gets.
- Iowa State's quarterback situation continues to be a confusing mess. It's been a bizarre season for the Cyclones, and Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribute says it got even stranger on Saturday.
1. Baylor (8-0, 5-0 Big 12, last week 1): We’re 11 weeks into the season, and Baylor still leads the Big 12 in total defense, scoring defense and red zone defense. Those numbers aren’t a fluke, as Oklahoma found out the hard way. Ahmad Dixon is one of the best safeties in the conference; Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager are a stout one-two punch at linebacker; and the defensive line has size and speed. The Sooners might not be very good offensively this year. But Baylor made them look downright ridiculous. This is a complete team.
2. Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1, LW 2): This will be just the fifth time Oklahoma State has played Texas when both teams have been ranked in the BCS. The Longhorns have won all four such previous meetings. As a program still aspiring to greater heights, this is the kind of game the Cowboys need to win. Texas is banged up. Oklahoma State has the better defense. And as a result of both, the Cowboys are favored in Austin. Some of the more haunting moments in Oklahoma State history have occurred at the hands of the Longhorns. This is a prime opportunity for the Pokes to produce a memorable one.
3. Texas (7-2, 6-0, LW 3): The Longhorns have depth at running back and defensive tackle. But they no longer have all-conference players at those positions. That’s what tailback Johnathan Gray and defensive tackle Chris Whaley are. Can Texas overcome these additional hits against one of the hotter teams in the Big 12 in Oklahoma State this weekend? If the Horns do, Mack Brown should get votes for Big 12 Coach of the Year.
4. Kansas State (5-4, 3-3, LW 6): More and more, K-State is beginning to resemble the Baylor of last year. Maybe not in style, but most certainly in efficiency. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on their first five possessions to basically put then-No. 25 Texas Tech away on its home field by the second quarter. Think about this: From the third quarter of the West Virginia game three weeks ago to halftime at Texas Tech, K-State has scored touchdowns on 14 of 22 possessions (not counting kneel downs). That level of touchdown efficiency would even impress Baylor coach Art Briles. Like the Bears last year, K-State could finish this season with a flourish to set up a run back at the Big 12 title in 2014.
5. Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2, LW 4): The Sooners’ quarterback situations have been the envy of the Big 12 dating back to the advent of the Bob Stoops era. No more. OU has major problems at the position, not only for the rest of this season, but beyond. It’s difficult to see the Sooners winning a Big 12 championship with Blake Bell at quarterback next season. But the fact the Sooners won’t let Trevor Knight attempt a pass or Kendal Thompson step on the field raises red flags, too. OU had no shot of coming back on Baylor with Bell behind center, yet the Sooners still refused to give either one of the other quarterbacks a chance. Stoops is not one to make drastic changes. But if the Sooners don’t shake things up offensively, they could easily finish this regular season a disappointing 8-4.
6. Texas Tech (7-3, 4-3, LW 5): After three straight losses, the unranked Red Raiders find themselves four-touchdown underdogs to Baylor at a neutral site. A month ago, this game looked like it might be for the Big 12 crown. Instead, Tech will be playing to avoid going 1-11 in the month of November over the past three years.
7. West Virginia (4-6, 2-5, LW 7): The Mountaineers just missed out on landing another marquee home win, falling 47-40 to Texas in overtime. They have to put that behind them. By snagging these next two winnable games against Kansas and Iowa State, West Virginia will go to a bowl. Considering all the pieces the Mountaineers had to replace from last year, that would constitute a solid season for a team in rebuilding mode.
8. TCU (4-6, 2-5, LW 8): Credit TCU for not throwing in the towel after dropping three straight for the first time in the Gary Patterson era. The Horned Frogs continued to struggle offensively. But despite missing several key players, they gutted out a game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown drive at Iowa State to keep their slim bowl hopes alive.
9. Iowa State (1-8, 0-6, LW 9): The Cyclones had yet to win a Big 12 game and were facing an opponent riding a three-game losing streak in a late-morning kickoff. And yet, Jack Trice Stadium was just about full. Cyclone Nation brought it this weekend, even if their team came up another goal-line stand short. Tweeted Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield: “Best fans in nation. Even through a season like this we have a packed stadium. Sorry for the letdown.” It’s been a rough year to be an Iowa State fan. You can bet the players will fight to reward that loyalty in the form of a Big 12 win before the end of the season.
10. Kansas (2-7, 0-6, LW 10): The Jayhawks are 118th in scoring offense, 119th in total offense and 120th in 10-plus-yard plays. Kansas' offense is going nowhere as it’s currently constructed. It’s time for coach Charlie Weis to give freshman quarterback Montell Cozart the keys to the offense. Even though the Jayhawks failed to reach the end zone at Oklahoma State, Cozart flashed promise, leading Kansas to 202 yards on the ground and 13 of its 15 first downs.
To no surprise, Alabama's Nick Saban tops the chart with a salary of $5,545,852 for 2012. Along with Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, the only other $5 million coach is Texas’ Mack Brown. Interestingly, the Associated Press reported this week that Saban’s agent told Texas officials that Texas was the only school he would consider leaving Alabama for. To get Saban, the Longhorns would probably have to pony up a lot more than the $5.39 million he is making.
Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops remain in the top five in coaching salary with an income of $4.74 million.
All told, the Big 12 has six coaches whose salaries rank in the Top 25.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is at $3.45 million after getting close to a $200,000 raise during the summer. Gundy’s salary ranks 11th nationally.
The only other coach in the Big 12 above the $3 million barrier is Gary Patterson. The TCU coach makes $3,120,760.
Kansas State’s Bill Snyder ($2.80 million) and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen ($2.63 million) are the other two Big 12 coaches whose salaries rank in the Top 25.
Wonder why Baylor coach Art Briles might consider leaving? According to USA TODAY, he gets paid less than Kansas coach Charlie Weis, who makes $2.50 million. Briles earns just $2,426,360, which ranks 34th nationally. The Bears will probably have to ante up again to keep Briles in Waco, especially if the Longhorns come calling down the line (USA TODAY didn’t list any bonuses Briles might be eligible for).
There’s a sizeable drop-off to the final two Big 12 coaches. Kliff Kingsbury gets paid $1.86 million, though that’s sure to go up soon enough with the energy he’s brought to Texas Tech’s football program. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads is last in the league with a salary of $1.71 million. Rhoads is still the 59th-highest paid coach in college football, ahead of Big Ten coaches Tim Beckman (Illinois), Kevin Wilson (Indiana) and Jerry Kill (Minnesota).
To the ‘bag:
Matt in Dallas writes: Jake, as a K-State fan disappointed with this season's results thus far, I feel I must resort to "moral victories." How encouraged should my fellow Wildcats be that Baylor has destroyed every team BUT K-State? Are we truly the best 2-4 team in the nation?
Jake Trotter: Hmm, let’s find out. Here are the AQ schools with similar winning percentages: Virginia (2-5), Syracuse (3-4), Kansas (2-4), Indiana (3-4), Arkansas (3-5). I think I’d pick K-State against all four. So there you go: K-State is the best team in college football with a sub-.400 winning percentage.
John in Cornelius, N.C., writes: Jake, I'm a 1976 ISU grad. Do you know whether or not the conference sees it as a priority to expand to at least 12 schools? If so, which schools do you think could be good fits? Would BYU be a possibility? UConn?
Jake Trotter: At the moment, conference expansion is not a priority for the leadership of the league. If the Big 12 wanted BYU, the Cougars would already be in the conference. UConn is way too far away. Honestly, who out there is worth adding? The Big 12 missed a chance to get back to 12 by adding Louisville. That was, by far, the best available option.
Squirt in Texarkana, Texas, writes: Why is everyone buying the Baylor hype? Do they not realize all the teams they have played are pretty bad and the only decent competition they had (K-State) barely lost?
Jake Trotter: Don’t look at who they’ve played. Look at what they’ve done to who they’ve played. It’s been incredibly impressive. Baylor’s mettle will be put to the test soon enough. But the Bears are worthy of their ranking just based on their handing out head-kickings like Halloween candy.
Andrew in Phoenix writes: When does Iowa State take the next step? Or are we as fans doomed to be brothers with KU?
Jake Trotter: The thing that has killed your Cyclones has been quarterback instability. Who has been Iowa State’s best QB since Seneca Wallace? Austen Arnaud maybe? In the last three years, the Cyclones have frantically been rotating through QBs trying to find the long-term answer. Until they accomplish that, Iowa State won’t be anything more than a .500 team.
Hunter in Lubbock, Texas, writes: What do Jace Amaro and company have to do to get past Oklahoma’s solid secondary?
Jake Trotter: It’s not just about getting past the OU secondary. It’s about catching balls in front of the OU defensive backs, then making them miss. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tech is averaging 221 yards after catch per game, second-most among AQ teams. The Red Raiders had 266 yards after the catch last week in the win at West Virginia. If Amaro and company pile up yardage after the catch, the Red Raiders will stand a good chance of piling up some points, too.
David in Virginia writes: If Maryland and WVU played again, do you think WVU has improved enough since to win? That loss has just been bothering me all season.
Jake Trotter: I do, but that has as much to do with Maryland’s decline. The Terrapins have looked awful since beating the Mountaineers in Baltimore. But on top of that, QB Clint Trickett has given West Virginia a spark since taking over the week after the Maryland game.
John in Charleston, W.Va., writes: Is Ollie Luck the next AD at Texas?
Jake Trotter: It appears he’ll be taking a very hard look at accepting if offered. I think there’s a good chance he’s offered, too.
Warren in Austin, Texas, writes: Like most Red Raiders fans, I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself here. But say Tech and UT win all of their games from now until Thanksgiving, and UT beats Tech in Austin, only to lose to Baylor the following week. With all three at 8-1, who gets the BCS bid?
Jake Trotter: Probably Baylor.
Red Raider in Phoenix writes: I am loving the depth we have at QB this year. But will all three be on the roster next year?
Jake Trotter: It’s very difficult keeping three QBs of similar age on campus. Just ask Oklahoma State. If Michael Brewer ended up being the No. 3 guy again next year, too, what would the incentive be in him staying?
Kurt in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Hey guys, love the blog, I look at it almost every day! Just wondering if you think Tech's Big 12 title hopes are on the line in Norman. If we lose, do we still have a chance?
Jake Trotter: It’s possible, but I don’t see Tech winning the conference without a win in Norman, too.
Colby in San Angelo, Texas, writes: Hey Jake, love the blog! I'm a huge Tech fan/alum and I don't doubt Baylor as the top dog of the conference. But why is everyone discrediting Tech for an easy schedule when Baylor's isn't any different?
Jake Trotter: Probably because Baylor has been pummeling its opponents, while Tech has not.
Thomas in Coppell, Texas, writes: I'm a die-hard Tech fan and have had enough of the Baylor-Tech chatter. It sounds like a couple of second-graders arguing about whose dad is tougher. Wreck 'em, Tech!
Caleb the Great in Lubbock, writes: As a lifelong Red Raider fan and current Tech student, Baylor looks legit. All I see on here are Tech fans hating on Baylor, or the other way around. Both teams look great. But Baylor looks better so far. Until the two teams play or one loses, quit hating.
Jake Trotter: An olive branch? Baylor fans, what say you?
Will in Dallas writes: Baylor beat Iowa State by 64, Tech won by 7. Baylor beat WVU by 31, Tech won by 10. Why do all these Tech trolls still think they can beat Baylor?
Jake Trotter: Oh man, we were so close to an accord.
Charlie Bear in Panama City, Fla., writes: Thanks again for doing what you do. I don't know how you keep writing, even in the face of such criticism and ungratefulness from Big 12 fans. What is your take on the first week of BCS rankings?
Jake Trotter: Wait, people are criticizing me? When did this starting happening? The BCS looked about right to me. Baylor and Tech will only rise when they start beating ranked teams.
Kristin in Dallas writes: Out of the four conference games Texas Tech has played, your guest picker has picked them to lose three times. Just like Kingsbury likes it when the "GameDay" crew picks us to lose, clearly we play better than your guest pickers don't have faith in us.
Jake Trotter: That might be a bad sign for you, Kristin. This week’s guest picker picked Tech to win.
AG in Ames, Iowa, writes: You mentioned that Baylor and Texas Tech have "uphill climbs" to have any hopes of reaching the title game. While I understand they are both at a disadvantage, doesn't the rest of the season set them up well to move up?
Jake Trotter: They might be able to pass Ohio State. But neither has any shot of passing Florida State, Oregon or Alabama. Neither Baylor nor Tech played challenging nonconference schedules and the Big 12 is weak with the computers because of how the league fared during the nonconference season (no wins over a team currently ranked in the Top 25).
Caleb in Waco, Texas, writes: How come Stanford (6-1) is ranked above Baylor (6-0) in the BCS? What's with the computers ranking Baylor 12th?
Jake Trotter: That’s what happens when the only teams you’ve played with a winning record are Wofford and Buffalo.
Beau in Denver writes: I'm glad Baylor is finally getting some love in the polls, but how is Bryce Petty not higher in the Heisman discussions yet?
Jake Trotter: Baylor has yet to play in a national spotlight game, and Lache Seastrunk is splitting the Baylor vote to some degree at the moment.
Gary Patterson in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: When am I firing my offensive coordinators and finding someone to help this team score some points?
Jake Trotter: Probably after the season. Can’t get anyone in the middle of the year.
Colt in Reality Land, Texas, writes: Jake, can you try to shrink some of those giant heads in Red Raider Land by reminding them they have only played one team that is better than .500 this season?
Jake Trotter: I believe you just did.
Baylor Bear in Waco, Texas, writes: Jake, I just wanted to apologize on behalf of Baylor Nation for that one fan who called you an idiot. That's not what our school is all about. We have tough academic standards, but somehow that jackass got in.
Jake Trotter: Apology accepted. Now, don’t let it happen again.
Mike Leach in Dallas writes: Do you think the big reason the Big 12 is down this year is because there is so much overall poor QB play?
Jake Trotter: No doubt. Where would TCU and its defense be with stellar QB play? What about the Bedlam schools? They would surely both be in the top 10. QB play has been the Big 12’s calling card. But it has really hampered teams in the league this year.
Dave in Lagos, Nigeria, writes: Jake, I saw where a Texas high school coach got called in for questioning by school officials on a bullying charge. The coach's team beat another team like 91-0. If these charges stick, is Art Briles next?
Jake Trotter: Baylor does not fall under UIL jurisdiction. Otherwise, Charlie Weis might have to put Texas’ high school governing body on speed dial.
To the ‘bag:
Andrew in NYC writes: As exciting as the Baylor offense has been, why haven't there been any comparisons to the WVU team last year? We all saw where they went once they started playing real teams. Any chance we see a similar meltdown this year with the Bears?
Jake Trotter: The difference is that last year’s West Virginia team was really a three-man show with Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. From the offensive line to the depth of the receiving corps, this Baylor offense is way more complete. Baylor’s defense is also far superior to West Virginia’s 2012 unit. I get the comparison. But this Baylor team has more staying power.
rtXC1 in Denison, Texas, writes: Hey, love the work you are putting in! Am I the only person left that believes playing Tyrone Swoopes against OU is unnecessary? If Major Applewhite can create a good gameplan -- getting the 5 RBs 50+ total touches, including Daje Johnson and Jalen Overstreet -- AND STICK TO IT, then Case McCoy CAN win this game and many more. Playing Swoopes, with his current state of poor mechanics (thanks a lot Whitewright coaches), could be as counterproductive as playing Ash was in 2011, and potentially hurt his confidence. The only thing he'd really add is the zone-read element, which Gray and Overstreet could run just as well. What's best for Texas is to follow the gameplan. Thoughts?
Jake Trotter: I enjoy insightful mailbag submissions like this. Texas fans who believe Swoopes is the answer are just not being realistic. There’s a reason he hasn’t stepped on the field yet. He’s just not ready. For all their issues, the Longhorns still have enough offensive playmakers to stay in the game Saturday. It’s about putting them in good positions to make plays -- something Applewhite has struggled to do.
Andy in Austin, Texas, writes: Jake, I was wondering if you could investigate as to why Overstreet hasn't seen more on the field time in the "Wild Horn" formation. Since McCoy seems to lack serious mobility, why hasn't this package been seen more? Will OU be seeing it Saturday?
Jake Trotter: The Longhorns should be pulling out all the stops in this game. Fake field goals, double reverse passes -- whatever is still in the holster. I would give the Overstreet package (if the Horns still have it in the playbook) a shot early, as well, just to test how OU defends it and see if there’s something that can be exploited.
Larry in Austin, Texas, writes: Hi, Jake. When Mack Brown leaves at the end of the season, do Applewhite and (Greg) Robinson get shown the door as well?
Jake Trotter: Yes. As Hawk Harrelson would put it, they gone.
Blake Bell in Norman, Okla., writes: I think I need a new nickname. I've heard "Bellthrowzer" and “Bellicopter.” But what about the “Bellista?” On the other hand, the "Wrecking Bell" sign at the last game was pretty good. So what do you recommend?
Jake Trotter: You have a great nickname. Why do you need another?
Darrell in Huntsville, Ala., writes: This week you said Art Briles would be an excellent hire for Texas. Wouldn't Briles be an excellent hire for any program?
Jake Trotter: Probably, but I feel like he would be an especially good fit for Texas. Briles knows the state. Because of his background, he has relationships with virtually every high school coach in the state. And I think Briles would do a better job of getting the right players to Austin than the Mack Brown regime has done in recent years.
Sic ‘em in Birmingham, Ala., writes: I had a Twitter conversation with a USC fan the other day. He wanted USC to pursue Briles with everything they had, and was convinced Briles would leave if they offered him enough. Thoughts?
Jake Trotter: If Briles were going to leave, I think he’d leave for Texas ahead of USC.
Big Ferm in San Diego writes: Jake, welcome aboard the Baylor Bandwagon. Like Lache Seastrunk, it’s moving at breakneck speeds and pancaking haters like Cyril Richardson does defenders. Most talking heads in the media believe OU is the conference favorite because of its victory over the Irish. Too bad the Bears didn't schedule Notre Dame. They would've hung 70 on them.
Jake Trotter: I’ve been talking up the Bears since the preseason, but so far they have exceeded even my expectations. If I had to pick the Baylor-OU game today, I would pick the Bears.
Jack in Waco, Texas, writes: I am a little confused how OU can be ahead of Baylor in your power rankings. That being said, I'm still a big fan of the blog since you guys took over, great job!
Jake Trotter: Thanks, Jack. The answer is simple. OU has two wins that are better than any Baylor victory. The Sooners have also won away from home. That gives them the edge at the moment, even though Baylor has looked unstoppable through four games. But if the Bears are just as impressive in Manhattan as they have been in Waco, I’ll have to rethink my rankings.
Prescott in The Woodlands, Texas, writes: I know Baylor is planning to take off the tarp for the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium. Would they consider removing it for Oklahoma in November?
Jake Trotter: Sure, if they sell enough tickets.
Mo in Dallas writes: There has been a lot of hate on Baylor’s schedule. Why doesn't Alabama receive the same hate?
Jake Trotter: Come again? Alabama has beaten Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Alabama has also won three national titles in four years. I’m assuming those might be reasons why.
Alex in Austin, Texas, writes: Which do you think is more explosive, the ‘05 Texas offense or this Baylor offense?
Jake Trotter: I’m placing a moratorium on questions like this until after Baylor plays Oklahoma.
Travis the Tech fan in Houston writes: Mr. Trotter, I don't know why there has been so much bickering among Tech and Baylor fans on the Bears’ legitimacy. Tech and Baylor have a lot more in common than what you would think. If anything we should be finding a way to work together to vanquish all who challenge us. Go Bears (not on Nov. 16, though).
Jake Trotter: Get your guns up, Baylor fans.
Casey Parkhurst in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: Do you think Texas Tech is a contender in the Big 12?
Jake Trotter: Sure, the Red Raiders are a contender. The defining game will be at Oklahoma in two weeks. If Tech wins that game, then the Red Raiders could be playing for a Big 12 title in Arlington. Remember, Tech has had OU’s number lately, too. Dating back to 2005, the Red Raiders are 4-4 against the Sooners.
Clint in Houston writes: Tech is currently ranked 32nd in recruiting per ESPN, which is interesting. On one side, we have a new coach. On the other, we have an extremely energetic and passionate staff, and the team is rolling. Do you see us climbing the recruiting rankings before the end of the season?
Jake Trotter: The Red Raiders already have 21 commitments, so there’s not much room to rise. That said, this has been an excellent recruiting effort by Kliff Kingsbury and his staff. Tech fans should be very excited.
Mike writes: Let me say, I really like this season’s version of the Big 12 coverage! It's a major upgrade to what was already an excellent read. Do you think that, given the right upsets, an undefeated Big 12 champion could leap over ALL the one-loss teams to make the title game?
Jake Trotter: Given the absolute right upsets, maybe. But a one-loss Oregon or Alabama would be tough to unseat.
Greg in Richardson, Texas, writes: Jake, now that we are six weeks in, can you compare the Big 12 to the Big Ten? Will an undefeated Big 12 team be more deserving of a title shot than an undefeated Big Ten team?
Jake Trotter: I give the Big 12 a slight edge over the Big Ten. But deserving or not, an undefeated Ohio State would get in over an undefeated Big 12 team. An undefeated Michigan, however, would not.
Alex in Ames, Iowa, writes: Hey, Jake. You've been doing a great job on the blog so far (except those ISU picks... yikes). Anyway, after the gut-wrenching, anger-inducing controversial loss to Texas, we saw anger, confusion, and a TON of passion not only from Paul Rhoads, but fans and players, as well. Does this loss energize the team the rest of the year? Or did it drain them?
Jake Trotter: Thanks, Alex, and sorry about the weekly Iowa State jinx. This really could go either way. But knowing what kind of coach Rhoads is and knowing how his players respond to him, my guess is they’ll play with some energy Saturday.
Bullet in Stillwater, Okla., writes: Since our offense hasn't scored much this year, I've been getting out of shape. Do you think we'll have a new coordinator next year? Mike Gundy needs to get me back in game shape.
Jake Trotter: I would give Clint Chelf a shot and see if that changes anything first.
Matt in Wamego, Kan., writes: As a diehard KU fan I am a believer in always supporting and backing your team. However, I am starting to get very frustrated. Especially seeing teams like Baylor, Louisville and Northwestern, who were once the laughing stock of college football, now building winning programs. Please help me. I am tired of being ready for basketball season in mid-September. What will take to at least make my Jayhawks relevant again?
Jake Trotter: The right coach. Not saying Charlie Weis isn’t the right coach. He’s been there less than two years. But what do the three undefeated teams in the league all have common? The right coach. Mark Mangino proved you can have success at Kansas. But it starts with the head man.
John in San Jose, Calif., writes: TCU's three losses are to three top 20 teams that are a combined 15-1. TCU has been in all three games, too. Is an 8-4 finish in reach, considering four remaining games are at home and TCU has shown it can play well on the road?
Jake Trotter: It’s not out of reach, but it’s going to be pretty tough. The Frogs still have to go to Oklahoma State and face Baylor. The obviously would have to win one of those two games and then run the table. Not impossible. But not likely, either, given how inconsistent the offense has been.
Joe in Gauley Bridge, W.V., writes: Is it totally unreasonable for me as a fan to expect West Virginia to win at least nine or 10 games a year and compete for the Big 12 title yearly? I don't want to be mediocre, I want to be the best.
Jake Trotter: That was probably reasonable in the Big East. It’s not reasonable in the Big 12. What you’re suggesting is what Oklahoma has basically accomplished in the Bob Stoops era. West Virginia’s program is just not on that level.
I had a guest picker lined up: Tyler, a K-State fan in California who is getting married. He pulled at my heartstrings with this submission:
Jake, I'm getting married on the 19th. How about an early wedding present for a Big 12 fan raised in Manhattan, Kan., now living in Pac-12 country?
Well, Tyler flaked out. Either the fiancée was getting on him about focusing more on the wedding and less about Big 12 football, or he got too depressed to send his picks in after his ‘Cats fell to 0-2 in Big 12 play.
I was, however, able to secure another guest picker at the final hour in Curtis, an OU fan in Washington, D.C., who submitted the following:
I'm in Washington, D.C., in the middle of a year-long military deployment, and while I can't say exactly what it is I do, suffice it to say the schedule is not conducive to going to a lot of live games. In fact, every other weekend I'm stuck in a room that we can't even take a phone into. That said, through lurking on various Big 12 message boards when I’m not on duty, I am eminently qualified to pick games.
Last week, Big 12 officials helped derail my upset special, as Texas escaped Ames with a controversial victory. West Ham not only scored its first road goal, but stunned Tottenham 3-to-nil to hand me yet another defeat. Bollocks!!
I’m feeling a bounce-back week, though.
To the Week 7 picks:
Trotter last week: 4-2 (.667)
Guest picker (David in England) last week: 5-1 (.833)
Trotter overall: 30-10 (.750)
Guest picker overall: 17-6 (.739)
TCU 44, Kansas 3: Led by All-American cornerback Jason Verrett, TCU is playing championship-level defense, even without a healthy Devonte Fields, who will undergo season-ending surgery. If only the Horned Frogs could find a way to muster just a little more offense, this could be a dangerous team the second half of the season. Kansas could barely move the ball with playmaking running back Tony Pierson. Without him, it becomes a long day for the Jayhawks in Fort Worth against this TCU defense.
Curtis’ pick: While Kansas has shown some signs of life, they will face a TCU defense far better than any they've seen. TCU, 45-13
Texas Tech 31, Iowa State 23: Iowa State has somewhat had Tech’s number recently, winning two of the last three, including the 41-7 stunner in Lubbock the week after the Red Raiders had upset Oklahoma in 2011. Coach Kliff Kingsbury, however, seems to have the Red Raiders on more solid ground than Tommy Tuberville did. The quarterback position continues to be a moving part due to injuries, but thanks to the defense, that hasn’t cost the Red Raiders yet. The Cyclones, meanwhile, should arrive in Lubbock angry after the way they lost to Texas last week. They also bring an offense that is rapidly improving, thanks to the healthy return of center Tom Farniok and emergence of speed-demon running back Aaron Wimberly. As a result, Iowa State hangs around. But the Cyclones come up short in the fourth quarter again against a Tech defense that continues to buck up in the red zone. By the way, this pick should please Iowa State fans, and concern Red Raiders. I’m 0-4 picking Iowa State games this year.
Curtis’ pick: A little tough to pick this game as there's still no word on who Texas Tech will have under center. Iowa State suffered a controversial loss last week after getting jobbed by the refs, so Paul Rhodes will have his team fired up for this one. The Cyclones are usually good for one upset a year, and this will be their week. Iowa State, 31-28
Oklahoma 34, Texas 16: There’s not much to like about the Longhorns in this game. Texas enters without starting quarterback David Ash or much momentum after a lackluster victory at Iowa State last Thursday. The Longhorns are lacking identity, and have shown little heart recently against the Sooners, as Oklahoma has completely run Texas out of the Cotton Bowl before halftime the last two years. Usually, the pressure is on the favorite in this game. But because of the way Texas has lost to OU the last two games, and because of Mack Brown’s tenuous standing in Austin, all the pressure is on the Horns. The Sooners have their vulnerabilities. The offense has sputtered at times. The defense will be without linebacker Corey Nelson, who is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. But the Cotton Bowl seems to bring out the best in the Sooners and the worst in the Longhorns. This game is no different.
Curtis’ pick: They should just rename this game the "Texas Turkey Shoot." While most OU fans would love to see Mack Brown finish out the final seven years of his contract, this game will be his last in the series. (Oh, and in front of a home "sellout" crowd, Oklahoma State drops a heartbreaker to "Bye", 10-3). Boomer Sooner! OU, 50-13
Baylor 55, Kansas State 19: The Bears have looked virtually unbeatable through four games. The offense has been unstoppable and the defense quietly has been sound since November of last year. But this will be Baylor’s first game away from Floyd Casey Stadium. And it’s worth nothing that the Bears have won just one Big 12 road game in their last nine tries -- the lone victory being at Kansas. This Baylor team, however, is at another level. This is the best defense Art Briles has had, and the offense has no weaknesses. And even though Bill Snyder has a solid defensive game plan in place, the Bears still drop off 50-plus to secure their first Big 12 road win in two years.
Curtis’ pick: It's tough to find a superlative to apply to Baylor’s offensive output this year, but their defense has also played pretty darn well. KSU isn't playing the mistake-free football characteristic of a Bill Snyder coached team, and their offense isn't built to get into a shootout. The only upset here is if Baylor doesn't drop another 60-point performance. Baylor, 63-27
Jake Lightning (Temple, TX): Who do you think will win between Baylor and OU? And what are the chances that that team will end up the season ranked in the top 5?
Jake Trotter: If I had to pick the game today, I'd pick Baylor. The Corey Nelson injury really hurts the OU D, and I just don't see OU outscoring Baylor given how the offense is currently constructed. The winner of that game will have a good chance to be top 5. Top 2? Probably not, but a lot can happen.
Howard (Houston): What chance do you give Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk making it to the Heisman stage only playing one half each game? Does Art [Briles] really have to put up 100 on people?
Jake Trotter: The dilemma Baylor has is which guy to push for the Heisman. The two are kinda splitting the vote, which is why you don't see a Baylor player anywhere on these straw polls. But if Baylor were to go 12-0, it would definitely have a guy in NYC. Not sure who that will be yet.
Bill Snyder (Manhattan, KS): What the heck do I do now? Both of my QBs are turnover machines...
Jake Trotter: I stick with Daniel Sams. Offense has more pop with him in the lineup. You have to remember, he didn't have Tyler Lockett or Tramaine Thompson for much of the OSU game. If he can limit turnovers, K-State has a chance to be better offensively than they've been with Sams in there.
Josh (Dallas): I hope OU looks over its game against TTU as much as you do. Wouldn't you think that game should get a little more hype than the game after it considering how even that series has been in the recent past? Also, Baylor and Tech play every year in Dallas, which is as neutral as it comes in college football. Just thought you might like to know.
Jake Trotter: Baylor and OU are the hot teams, but neither should be overlooking Tech. As I wrote yesterday, if Tech can figure out the QB situation, the pieces are in place for the Raiders to make a run. They haven't looked as impressive as Baylor or to a lesser extent, OU. But the bottom line is, they are 5-0. And they'll have their say when they go to Norman later this month.
Matt (Des Moines): How does Mike Davis get away with that hit on Deon Broomfield and making comments that he would do it again with no consequence from Texas or the conference?
Jake Trotter: Great question. It was so bad, Texas had to send out an email to a few reporters attempting to clarify what was being reported. Problem is, Davis was saying similar things on Twitter.
Danny (Austin): How does Texas NOT offer the job to Art Briles? He has done more with less. Mack [Brown] has done less with more.
Jake Trotter: Baylor fans will not like me saying this, but Briles, in my opinion, would be an excellent hire for Texas.
Ben (Chicago): What are your odds of WVU making a bowl game?
Jake Trotter: Mountaineers have three wins now. If they can beat Iowa State at home, KU and win one more game, they're in. So I think there's a pretty good chance for it.
Jay (Oklahoma): How do you feel about Condi Rice being on the selection committee? For me personally, I’d have no problem with it if she were an AD somewhere. It’s about her profession, not gender, IMO.
Jake Trotter: I respect smart people. Rice is a very smart person. So I'm all for it.
Danny (Austin): If Mack loses by 25 or more this weekend, could you see a circumstance where he'd just leave? What about 35?
Jake Trotter: In that scenario, I think Mack would just announce in November he would be resigning after the season.
Howard (Houston): What needs to happen for the Big 12 to get back in the top 2 or 3 in conference rank?
Jake Trotter: Texas needs to start carrying its weight.
Wes (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina): Is this year’s Baylor team the best Big 12 team in history?
Jake Trotter: Slow down.
Jwild (Dallas): Who would you take -- Blake Bell or J.W. Walsh?
Jake Trotter: Bell
Mack Brown (Austin): With OU's starting LB out, I am going to shock the world and start Tyrone Swoopes. OU can't stop a running QB. Just wait.
Jake Trotter: The way Mack has gushed about Case McCoy, I don't see it.
Ryan (Dallas): Any trade secrets on navigating the Fair and the RRR?
Jake Trotter: Get to the corn dog booth early.
First Down: Different David Ash?
I was tempted to start this point with a caveat of it tying to production over the course of the 2013 season, but I’ll refrain. Ash is the most confident that I have ever seen him. Again confidence has nothing to do with yelling or pounding your chest. Confidence is about having a command of what you are supposed to do and being capable of doing your job.
Ash spoke on his confidence level and his team confidence level in him.
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Class of 2015 quarterback Jarrett Stidham (Stephenville, Texas/Stephenville) is surely headed to Baylor given he already has a Bears offer and Baylor head coach Art Briles was once the head coach in Stephenville, right?
Well, not exactly. Stidham is also considering Texas Tech, which has offered him, and really any school that chooses to show an interest in him.
That includes the Longhorns, which sent co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to watch Stidham throw last week. Not bad for a quarterback who was mainly a receiver in 2012 and who only threw three times as a backup to Texas State signee Tyler Jones.
HornsNation caught up with Stidham, who is 6-foot-3, 183 pounds, to discuss how his recruitment is going and if the Bears are indeed the prohibitive favorite for his commitment. He is attending Texas' camp on June 2.
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By Sunday, the Irving, Texas, offensive lineman certainly understood why Aaron De La Torre said that. The visit left such a strong impression that the three-star recruit decided it was time to decommit from Baylor.
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