Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
9:40
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The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.

Oklahoma was the lone Big 12 team to receive a first-place vote in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, which was released on Thursday. The Sooners are the conference’s highest ranked team at No. 3 with Baylor, Kansas State and Texas joining OU as Big 12 representatives in the poll. Florida State, the defending national champion, is ranked No. 1.

Here’s the actual rank for each Big 12 team and a couple of quick thoughts on the ranking:

No. 3 Oklahoma (1382 points, 3 first-place votes): The momentum from OU’s Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama continues but the Sooners still find themselves looking up at No. 2 Alabama in this preseason ranking. If OU, particularly quarterback Trevor Knight, plays like it did against the Crimson Tide, there’s no reason to think the Sooners can’t fulfill this ranking or higher. If not, they’ll likely find themselves outside of the top 10 at some point this season.

No. 10 Baylor (965 points): The Bears could be ranked even higher after a stellar 2013 campaign but memories of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles making big plays against BU’s defense have cast a shadow that’s made people forget the Bears' 11-1 regular season and first Big 12 title. With Bryce Petty at the helm, Baylor has the ability to rise to the top of this poll. But it won’t happen until some untested players step up on defense.

No. 21: Kansas State (257 points): The Wildcats enter the season with plenty of respect after a strong end to the 2013 season and their first bowl win in 11 years. Quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett are one of college football’s top quarterback-receiver duos and defensive end Ryan Mueller is disruptive and productive. A playmaker emerging at running back could be the key to K-State rising higher than No. 21 this season.

No. 24: Texas (143 points): The Longhorns are an interesting case. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Charlie Strong’s team rise into the top 10, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see UT fall out of the rankings altogether. UCLA provides a tough early-season test but also an opportunity for the Longhorns to send a Strong message to the nation.

NR/RV Oklahoma State (56 points): It wouldn’t be the first time the Cowboys entered the season with muted expectations then rose up the Big 12 standings and national polls. A date with No. 1 Florida State to start the season will be the first opportunity for Mike Gundy’s squad to show the world they’re being underestimated yet again.

NR/RV TCU (54 points): Gary Patterson’s squad is nipping at the heels of OSU despite a 4-8 season a year ago. We can always count on the Horned Frogs to play good defense, so TCU’s new offense would likely be the key reason if it finds itself as a consistent member of this Top 25 this season.

NR/RV Texas Tech (8 points): The Red Raiders’ National University Holiday Bowl win was an impressive finish to the 2013 season. The Sooners got all the attention but Tech and Davis Webb had a performance second to none in the Red Raiders' win over Arizona State. Webb will have to carry that stellar display into this season and get some help from a defense which is replacing several key playmakers if Tech expects to break into the Top 25 in Kliff Kingsbury's second season.
The unfortunate part of our Top 25 ranking of the Big 12’s best players is that only 25 players can make the cut.

We’re down to the unveiling of the final five players, which will come out Friday morning. You can review who has made the list so far by clicking here.

But what about the players who narrowly didn't make the list?

SportsNation

Who has the biggest gripe being left out of our top 25 ranking of the Big 12's best players?

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    31%
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    17%
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    19%
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    17%
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    16%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,807)

When putting this ranking together, we gathered a strong case for a dozen other players who didn’t make it -- standouts like Oklahoma receiver Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma offensive tackle Daryl Williams, TCU cornerback Kevin White, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, Texas center Dominic Espinosa and Kansas wideout Nick Harwell, who once finished second in the country in receiving at Miami (Ohio).

But there were five players specifically who were the most difficult to leave out, including two of the league’s top returning running backs.

Malcolm Brown was previously known as Johnathan Gray's wing man in the Texas backfield. But Brown proved he could handle a starring role after Gray suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Nov. 9. Brown stepped in and rushed for 128, 131 and 130 yards in the Longhorns’ final three games. Gray, who did make our top 25 list, is back from the Achilles tear. But Brown will still be a big part of the Texas offense.

Baylor’s Shock Linwood also started out last season in a backup role. But when Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin both suffered injuries against Oklahoma, Linwood stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a beat. He rushed for 182 yards against the Sooners, then 187 the following week against Texas Tech. Despite being Baylor’s third-team running back, Linwood finished sixth in the Big 12 in rushing. With Seastrunk and Martin gone, Linwood will step into the starting lineup full time this season.

The other notable omissions from our top 25 reside in the trenches.

Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was on his way to an All-Big 12 type of campaign before suffering a season-ending back injury. Phillips is healthy again and might be the best player on one of the nation’s deepest and most disruptive defensive lines.

On the other side of the ball, West Virginia guard Quinton Spain and Kansas State tackle Cody Whitehair were on my preseason All-Big 12 ballot. Spain has 26 career starts and might be the best guard in the league after Texas Tech’s Le'Raven Clark. Whitehair is also a two-year starter and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore last year. Whitehair has moved to left tackle, where he’ll be protecting the blind side of quarterback Jake Waters.

Now, we put the question to you in our weekly Big 12 poll.

Who has the biggest gripe being left out of our Big 12 Top 25 player rankings?

Top Big 12 players: Nos. 10-6

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
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With the season just a month away, we’re taking this week to rank the top 25 players in the Big 12.

This is a ranking of who we think the best 25 players will be over the course of the 2014 season.

You can click here to see the previous three installments.

Today, we continue the series with Nos. 10-6:

10. Le'Raven Clark, OG, Texas Tech: Clark was a freshman All-American tackle two years ago and a first-team All-Big 12 performer last season as the anchor of the Texas Tech offensive line. With the addition of junior-college tackle Dominique Robertson, Clark is moving inside to guard, a more natural position for his 315-pound frame. Clark already has proven to be a terrific pass-blocker, but he could also become a road-grader in the run game in his new spot.

9. Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty found out the hard way just how valuable his left tackle is when Drango suffered a season-ending back injury in early November. With Drango protecting his blindside, Petty was sacked only eight times through the Bears’ first nine games. With Drango sidelined, Petty was sacked nine times in Baylor’s last four games -- two of which the Bears lost as their high-powered offense sputtered down the stretch. The good news for Petty, and Baylor, is that Drango is healthy again and ready to help keep one of the nation’s most lethal quarterbacks upright.

8. Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma: One offensive lineman at Big 12 media days noted that Tapper was the most difficult defender to block in the Big 12. The 6-foot-4, 281-pound junior runs like a linebacker with the strength of a defensive tackle. He was the only defensive underclassman to be named first-team All-Big 12 last season, and considering he’s only started 12 games in his career, he figures only to get better playing alongside one of the most talented and deepest defensive lines in the country.

7. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: Coach Art Briles has been effusive in his praise of Oakman, whom he called “unblockable” during the spring. The 6-foot-9, 275-pound outspoken defensive end could be an unstoppable force this season in the Big 12. Despite being a part-time player in 2013, Oakman still finished sixth in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss. The switch just now appears to have flipped for Oakman this offseason, which is a frightening proposition for Big 12 quarterbacks not named Bryce Petty.

6. Ryan Mueller, DE, Kansas State: Mueller doesn’t have the length or the athleticism that Tapper and Oakman do. But the former unrecruited walk-on finds a way to make plays. In 2013, Mueller finished with 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, both of which were second in the league only to Jackson Jeffcoat, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Mueller forced four fumbles, too. There are players, and then there are playmakers. Mueller fits the latter.

Coming Friday: Nos. 5-1 ...

Sooners kicker gets simple message

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
7:30
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The Oklahoma Sooners reported for the start of fall camp Wednesday. And this year, the Sooners went digital with their playbooks, passing out iPads to the players before their first practice Thursday.



The playbook for Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt, however, came loaded with just one play.



Hunnicutt, who will vie to become the first All-American kicker in Oklahoma history, knows how to kick the ball through the uprights. He went 24 of 27 on field goals last season.

Of course, that's not all Hunnicutt can do. He scored a touchdown off a fake field goal in the upset win at Oklahoma State that catapulted the Sooners to the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Hunnicutt did not divulge on Twitter whether his iPad also included another fake play.

Big 12 players in top 100: Part III

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
1:30
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ESPN.com has taken on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

The first 40 players have already been released. Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 60-41.

Here are the Big 12 players that made the third installment:

No. 42: TCU DE Devonte Fields

No. 49: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

No. 52: Oklahoma LB Eric Striker

Striker and Lockett are two of the most explosive players in the Big 12.

Lockett was virtually unstoppable at times last season, hauling in 237 receiving yards against Texas and 278 against Oklahoma. He also capped off a tremendous season with three touchdown receptions in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan. With Jake Waters settled in at quarterback, Lockett could put up even bigger numbers in 2014, which is a scary thought for Big 12 defenses.

Speaking of scary, Striker figures to be one of the most feared pass rushers in the country after a breakout sophomore campaign. He sacked Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron three times in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and forced the game-clinching fumble late in the game.

It would have been a crime had Lockett or Striker been left off the top 100.

It will be interesting to see if Fields sees the field at all this season. The voting for the top 100 players was done before Fields was arrested on allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. TCU has since “separated” from Fields, pending the outcome of the case. For that reason, we actually didn’t include Fields in our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players.

By the way, this national list, which was compiled by the entire ESPN.com college football team, won’t necessarily line up with our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players, which was compiled exclusively by Brandon Chatmon, Max Olson, and myself.

Make sure to track the top 100 rankings the remainder of the week, as there will be Big 12 players in the final two parts, as well.

Coming Thursday: Nos. 40-21.

Q&A: Texas CB Quandre Diggs

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
9:30
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DALLAS -- When Quandre Diggs says, "Ya’ll know I’m always going to keep it 100 with you," the Texas senior cornerback is not joking. Not even a little bit.

Diggs has been known to use his Twitter account as a beacon for his hot sports takes, so we spent extra time with him last Tuesday at Big 12 media days and gave him a chance to sound off on whatever he wanted. He was happy to oblige.

[+] EnlargeQuandre Diggs
Cooper Neill/Getty ImagesTexas cornerback Quandre Diggs has no problem sharing his opinion on a variety of subjects.
On his summer: "Summer was great. I worked out. Busted my tail. I went to Angleton (Texas) a couple times. Went to San Diego once. My brother (Quentin Jammer) tried to kill me out there working out with him. That was tough. I didn’t know the old man still had it in him like he does."

On LeBron James returning to Cleveland: "Ah, man. See, this is the type of question I like, something off the topic of football. I think it was best for him to leave Miami, you know? If D-Wade was going to get an extension, I’d say if D-Wade is worth $7 million, I’m worth $2.5 (million) in basketball terms. D-Wade, his knees gone. When your knees gone and you’re a basketball player, it’s hard to succeed in that league.

"On the real, no, I think it was a great move for LeBron. He earned a lot of people’s respect by going back to Cleveland. As a man, you can tell what type of man LeBron really is. He loves the city of Cleveland, he loves being back at his home. Much respect to him. I’m glad he went back. He has a great young team down there and if those guys can pull off that Kevin Love trade ..."

On a Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade: "I’d give up Andrew Wiggins. He’d be gone. Kevin Love gets 26 and 12! That’s way better than what Bosh was doing in Miami."

On being a Heat fan or a LeBron fan: "I’m a LeBron guy! I wasn’t really just a Miami guy. LeBron could’ve gone to the Charlotte Bobcats, I’m going to get me some Bobcat hats or something."

On LSU and other schools claiming they’re “DBU”: "Well yeah, you know, you’ve got the fake DBUs. There’s one real DBU and this tradition is going to continue to go on as long as we’re at Texas. We have (schools) that might’ve just started getting first-round draft picks as DBs. But we’ve had that since, what, the 80s? 70s? I go back in that DB room and look at the wall and I’ve got guys from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, they all made money."

On Texas linebacker Steve Edmond dissing Baylor in May: "Hey man, Steve is going to say what he’s going to say. It don’t matter. Coach [Charlie] Strong can tell him not to say something, but Steve is country. That’s just how it is. When you’re raised in the country, you don’t really care. You don’t care about hurting people’s feelings."

On whether Diggs is OK with that trash talk: "I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t see what’s the problem with it. I’m just going to let that one go. I don’t want to get in trouble. Coach Strong wants us to speak our minds. He speaks his mind. He wants us to be real. I’m not going to elaborate on that situation. ... I’m not bowing down to any man. Any man, any team, I’m not bowing down to anybody. I’m an alpha male and I want to be in charge."

On Texas’ second-best trash talker: "Well, nobody can go blow-for-blow with me, but if I’m going to say one guy that can talk trash: Peter Jinkens. He’s going to say what he wants when he wants. That’s just Pete. He told me to say something stupid for y’all, but I’ll leave that to him when he talks to the media. I hope they don’t let him talk. He hit me up today on Twitter when he saw the pictures and said, ‘Q would be the only one with some Jordans on.’ That’s just me. I’m going to be me. I like to dress up, but I’m not going to dress up in church shoes with pants."

On the cancellation of the “NCAA Football 15” video game: "I was kind of mad. I wanted to see what my rating would be this year. I’d be about 96, something like that. I wish we would’ve had that game. But hey, that’s above my head. I just want to be the best player I can be."

GameDay to be at OSU-FSU opener

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
8:30
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ESPN College GameDay will be in the Metroplex during the opening weekend of the college football season for the Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, between Oklahoma State and Florida State.

 
The GameDay set will broadcast from the Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The Cowboys were host to GameDay last season when they played Baylor in Stillwater. Oklahoma State won that game, 49-17.
The initial response to the preseason poll tells the tale.

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, receiver Antwan Goodley, linebacker Bryce Hager and defensive end Shawn Oakman weren’t exactly thrilled to see Oklahoma atop the Big 12 preseason poll with the Bears sitting at No. 2.

Oakman: “Same ol, same ol.”

Goodley: “I couldn’t believe it.”

Petty: “Let’s go, that’s all I can say.”

Hager: “Just another thing to motivate us.”

These are the same players that handed the Sooners a 41-12 defeat in Waco, Texas a year ago, making their displeasure very easy to understand.

“We beat them last season and won the Big 12,” Hager said. “So that is just another motivation heading into this season.”

All four players took it as a sign they still have work to do, both on the field and off the field.

“That’s not up to us to vote, it’s up to us to play,” Petty said. “That tells us that we’re not there yet, and that’s fine with me. I don’t think you’re ever there. Once you think you’ve arrived, that’s when you're in trouble.”

The Sooners, with their Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, carried more momentum into the offseason while the Bears stumbled into the offseason after a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl loss to Central Florida. OU’s win helped cement Bob Stoops program in the national spotlight during the offseason while Baylor got overshadowed.

“They deserve it, they beat a good football team on a big stage,” Goodley said. “We have no control over that. I guess we still have a lot to prove, we still don’t get the respect we deserve, but we haven’t been at the top that long. I feel like we’re going to get there though.”

Even with the feeling of disrespect helping the spur them into the preseason, the Bears understand their 2013 accomplishments mean nothing. Art Briles squad outscored opponents by 375 total points a year ago but those points don’t carry over into 2014, so this season’s team will still has plenty to prove. It’s part of the reason the Bears still consider themselves the hunter instead of the hunted despite entering the fall as the defending Big 12 champions.

“At Baylor we’ve been fighting for respect,” Oakman said. “One day we’re going to get it, but not today.”

Big 12 players in top 100: Part II

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
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ESPN.com has taken on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

Monday, the first 20 players were released. Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 80-61.

Here are the Big 12 players who made the second installment:

No. 68: Texas CB Quandre Diggs

No. 72: Texas DE Cedric Reed

I can’t argue with either Longhorn cracking the top 100.

I’m not sure Diggs was more deserving than Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, who narrowly missed out on the top 100. But Diggs is a three-year, 36-game starter and probably the best returning cornerback in the Big 12.

Reed definitely was deserving. He finished third in the Big 12 last year in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss. Together with defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who also appeared in the top 100 at No. 90, the Longhorns have one of the best one-two defensive line punches in college football.

Remember to keep in mind this national list, which was compiled by the entire ESPN.com college football team, won’t necessarily line up with our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players, which was put together by Brandon Chatmon, Max Olson and myself.

Make sure to track the top 100 rankings all week long, as there will be Big 12 players in all five parts.

Coming Wednesday: Nos. 60-41.
Visions of long touchdown passes, big plays and head coach Gary Patterson drinking Gatorade during blowouts has TCU fans excited about the potential of the Horned Frogs' new offense.

Patterson brought in co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to jump-start TCU's offensive attack this season after its offense struggled for a large portion of 2013.

[+] EnlargeSam Carter
LM Otero/AP PhotoSenior safety Sam Carter says the Horned Frogs' defense should benefit from playing against TCU's up-tempo offense in practice.
Yet an overlooked aspect of TCU's new offense is the potential impact on the Horned Frogs' defense. It could have a major impact or it may not affect anything on the defensive side at all. The only certainty is that TCU's defense will, generally speaking, get a better sense of the type of offenses it will face in the Big 12 with the Horned Frogs' new spread attack.

"It should help us get better as a defense, because we're going to be seeing that every day," defensive tackle Chucky Hunter said. "We're going to be in better condition, we're going to be more knowledgable of the plays we're going to see."

Safety Sam Carter loves the potential upside of practicing against Meacham's attack.

"I think it's going to help," Carter said. "I don't think it can hinder us in any way. To have it every day in practice, I'm excited to go against it."

While Carter doesn't envision a scenario that includes a downside, a negative impact appears possible. With TCU installing an up-tempo system of its own, it's a fair assumption to think its offensive plays per game average -- 72.2 during the past two seasons -- will increase in 2014, which could also increase the number of plays the defense will see. Those additional plays would be sure to test the depth and overall conditioning of the defensive unit in ways it has not been tested during TCU's first two seasons in the Big 12.

The defenses at Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, West Virginia, Texas Tech averaged at least 75 opponent plays per game in conference games during the past two seasons. Of that group, only the Cyclones lack a high-tempo offensive attack.

During the same span, TCU's defense faced 70.6 plays per game as Oklahoma was the lone defense to face fewer average plays per game in conference games. The Horned Frogs understand their average number of plays per game could jump significantly this fall but don't consider it a major concern.

It could end up being a bigger deal than anticipated.

During the past two seasons, the Horned Frogs' defense has allowed more points when facing 75 plays or more on defense. In conference games only, TCU allowed 29.1 points per game in the five games it faced 75 plays or more. In the 13 games TCU's defense faced 75 plays or less, the Horned Frogs allowed 25.8 points per game. Obviously a lot of different elements go into the actual number of plays an opponent runs, but these numbers are a clear sign more plays on the field could be a bad scenario for TCU's defense.

Even though their jobs just potentially got much harder, Hunter and Carter each stressed it was the defense's responsibility to stop opponents from scoring, regardless of the circumstances, and they are hopeful their defense is improved this season.

"We talked about it [playing more plays] but we can't control what the offense does," Carter said. "If the offense scores or not, your job is to stop other teams from scoring."
BRISTOL, Conn. – Kansas Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis is a little lighter in his fingers and at his waistline.

Weis, a former Notre Dame coach and NFL offensive coordinator, said he is about halfway through his weight-loss journey, which started in February with the help of a doctor in Overland Park, Kansas.

“Every time you see me this year, I’ll be smaller,” Weis said. “It’s not going to be a debate.”

Weis told the Chicago Tribune earlier this summer that he wanted to lose 100 pounds, and he looks much lighter than he has in the past. Weis said his weight problems go back to a failed gastric bypass surgery in 2002. He also suffered knee and hip injuries when a player was blocked into him on the sideline during a Notre Dame-Michigan game in 2008, in which he tore the ACL in his left knee.

[+] EnlargeCharlie Weis
AP Photo/Eric GayKansas' Charlie Weis isn't flashing rings to recruits these days.
Weis had hip replacement surgery shortly after he was hired as Kansas’ coach in December 2011.

“The pain was just completely unbearable,” Weis said. “Getting my hip done was the greatest day of my life. I woke up pain-free for the first time since that hit.”

Weis, who has a 4-20 record in two seasons as head coach of the Jayhawks, said he hopes to coach for five more years. He said part of his desire to lose weight is so he can enjoy retirement.

“I’d like to enjoy my wife and my daughter and my son,” Weis said. “I don’t want to have worked for 120 hours a week for 30 years and then not enjoy them.”

There’s also something noticeably missing from Weis’ hands – three Super Bowl rings he won as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator.

Weis wore them to impress recruits as Notre Dame’s coach, and some media members criticized him as being arrogant. Now, Weis said he only wears his wedding ring during recruiting visits.

“When I was at Notre Dame, I’d wear one and got hammered for it,” Weis said. “Now they ask me if I have a ring, and I tell them I’m wearing the only one that matters – and that’s true.”

But Weis still points out to recruits that he helped the Patriots win multiple Super Bowl titles. In fact, Weis and Kansas defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Dave Campo combined to win six Super Bowl rings as NFL assistants.

When a recruit has reservations of playing at Kansas because of its recent record, Weis said he offers them this recruiting speech (he refuses to call it a pitch):

“What is your dream? It should be to graduate from college with a degree. About 98.4 percent of college players don’t play in the NFL; only 1.6 percent do.

“You want to play early, right? Where do you think you fit on their depth charts?

“When you get to that point, in four or five years, and if you’re lucky to have the God-given talent and progress to that point to play in the NFL, you’re questioning whether I can get you there?”

But what recruits won’t be able to see on Weis’ hand is a Super Bowl ring. He said they’re sitting in a box at his home.

“They belong to my son, to be honest,” Weis said. “He doesn’t know it, so be careful how you write it.”
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BRISTOL, Conn. -- Baylor was one of college football’s biggest stories last season after finishing 11-2, winning the Big 12, playing in a BCS bowl game and scoring points at a record pace.

The Bears were featured on national TV and became a social media phenomenon because of their myriad flashy uniforms and fast-break spread offense.

But Bears coach Art Briles takes more pride in being featured on the cover of this year’s issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, which has been called the “Bible” of football in the state.

[+] EnlargeArt Briles
Courtesy of Dave Campbell's Texas FootballArt Briles finally made the cover of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, a highlight for the Texas native.
Briles was born and raised in Rule, Texas (population 636, according to the 2010 census) and has never worked outside the state. In fact, the most time he ever spent outside the Lone Star State was for last season’s Fiesta Bowl, when he spent more than a week in Tempe, Ariz. The Bears were upset by Central Florida 52-42.

“Maybe that’s what went wrong,” Briles said. “Next time I’m going to take some soil and food with me.”

Because of Briles' state pride, it's no surprise he said the Texas Football appearance is bigger than being featured on the cover of some national publication.

“It’s a huge deal. That’s without question the Bible of football in the southwest part of the country,” Briles said. “Not everybody in Texas reads Sports Illustrated,” Briles said. “But if you like football in our state, you’re reading Dave Campbell’s.”

Campbell, a longtime sportswriter and sports editor at the Waco Tribune-Herald, first started publishing his magazine in 1960. For many years, Campbell published it out of his kitchen. It was sold to a media company in recent years.

How coveted is Dave Campbell’s cover? Even after Briles won four Class 4A state titles at Stephenville (Texas) High School, he wasn’t featured on the cover.

“I’d been in there one time,” Briles said. “In 1977, when I was a player at Houston, they had my photo in there. That tells you how big of a deal it is because I remembered it.”

Big 12 lunchtime links

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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Texas coach Charlie Strong spent some time with the Numbers Never Lie crew on Wednesday.

Crimson Countdown: T Derek Farniok

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
10:00
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During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 72 Derek Farniok, tackle, 6-foot-9, 329 pounds, junior

Impact thus far: Farniok made his biggest impact with a start against Oklahoma State in the Sooners’ 2013 Bedlam win at Boone Pickens Stadium. In 2011, he redshirted. He played a special teams role as a redshirt freshman in 2012 then played in four games as a sophomore, including the lone start of his career.

Impact in 2014: Farniok should play a backup role at tackle for the Sooners with veterans Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams manning the position. He clearly has a ways to go in his development, but his start against the Cowboys was a sign he could contribute this fall and expand his role in 2015.

Long term upside: It all depends on Farniok’s continued development. Even with OU bringing in talented tackles around him, Farniok has the ability to be a contributor if he responds to the competition.

Evaluation grade for Farniok: C. He hasn’t starred, but he hasn’t disappointed either. Farniok enters his junior season with a start under his belt, even though a pair of veterans have stood between him and playing time since he stepped on campus.

Development grade for Farniok: A. OU has given Farniok opportunities to play in a backup role behind Thompson and Williams and even threw him into the mix in short-yardage situations. Can’t really ask for much more from the Sooners’ development approach.

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