Big 12: Kansas State Wildcats

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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Not many new commitments to break down this time around in our weekly check-in on Big 12 recruiting, but that doesn't mean these coaching staffs haven't been busy. Here's the latest on who's taking visits and who's impressing so far in their senior seasons:

BAYLOR
Total commits:
12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Blake Lynch is making the Bears look awfully smart for accepting his early commitment in 2013. The Gilmer, Texas, four-star athlete wowed this weekend against Tatum with 93 rushing yards, 115 receiving yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score. He played quarterback as a junior but has transitioned into a true offensive weapon since transferring to Gilmer.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: No commitments came in this weekend, but it'll be interesting to see how Iowa State's last-second win over Iowa impacts their in-state recruiting battles going forward. For example, could that win and some positive momentum help ISU's chances with 2016 linemen John Raridon and Jake Heinrich? No doubt Paul Rhoads and his coaches will be talking about that game for the next year while recruiting.

KANSAS
Total commits:
13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: KU has not landed a new commitment in almost a month and a half, and a blowout loss to Duke isn't going to help its efforts on the trail much either. One commit whose season is off to a nice start: three-star RB Taylor Martin has racked up 323 rushing yards and seven TDs this year at Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: A Thursday night game, no matter how gigantic the opponent, isn't necessarily ideal for bringing in a bunch of official visitors. K-State is reportedly expecting to have three-star RB Alex Barnes and junior college DT Deonte Reynolds in the house when Auburn comes to the The Little Apple. Both are taking midweek official visits, and they're critical targets for the Wildcats on what should be a pressure-packed week.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits:
13
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Sooners hosted their biggest official visit weekend of the season and secured two pledges Saturday, from ESPN 300 safety Will Sunderland Jr. and junior college lineman Jamal Danley. The long-awaited pregame commitment from Sunderland was huge, but so was getting ESPN 300 studs Keisean Lucier-South, Kendall Sheffield, Ricky DeBerry and Neville Gallimore and four-stars Kahlil Haughton and Anthony McKee on campus.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Pokes added to a promising offensive line class last week with 6-foot-7 offensive tackle Deya Mhiesen, a junior college lineman who can enroll in January. Mhiesen took an official visit to Baylor's season opener, then attended OSU's 40-23 win over Missouri State and decided to pull the trigger. He'll have three years of eligibility at OSU.

TCU
Total commits:
16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Horned Frogs had several commits in the stands Saturday for their 30-7 beatdown of Minnesota, including WR Jarrison Stewart and DT Joseph Broadnax, along with Baylor commit CB Ke'Shawn Somerville, DE Andrew Fitzgerald and several more intriguing recruits in the 2016 class.

TEXAS
Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 7
The latest: Texas hosted some big-time recruits at AT&T Stadium for its 20-17 loss to UCLA, including top ESPN 300 targets Malik Jefferson and Ryan Newsome, ESPN Junior 300 WR Reggie Hemphill and commits DeShon Elliott, Charles Omenihu and Connor Williams. Two attendees who could end up in this class: three-star center Tyler Moore and Purdue three-star cornerback commit Isaac Warren.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 9
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Red Raiders were not able to get Tyron Johnson, the nation's No. 2 receiver prospect, in town this weekend for his official visit due to a scheduling conflict, but he's expected to make it out to Lubbock on Oct. 11 when Tech hosts West Virginia. Tech did have ESPN 300 QB signee Jarrett Stidham, four-star commit OG Conner Dyer and three-star DE Jalen Bates in attendance.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: With Oklahoma coming to town this weekend, expect a lot of talent on the West Virginia sideline before Saturday's big game. Among those reportedly expected to attend on official visits are ESPN 300 CB Jordan Whitehead and four-star ATH Tim Irvin.

Big 12 nonconference rewind

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
11:00
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The majority of the Big 12 enters a bye week with conference play right around the corner.

We're only three weeks into the season but plenty of things have changed. Preseason expectations are out the window and some dreams of breakout seasons have been shattered while other preconceived notions have been re-affirmed.

Here's a review of nonconference play in the Big 12:

[+] EnlargeTrevor Knight
J.P. Wilson/Icon SportswireQuarterback Trevor Knight and a stubborn defense have teamed to make Oklahoma the Big 12's best.
Best team: Oklahoma. The Sooners have done nothing to lose their status as the Big 12 preseason favorite. Bob Stoops' squad has been dominant while reeling off three wins over Louisiana Tech (2-1), Tulsa (1-2) and Tennessee (2-1). Quarterback Trevor Knight has taken a clear step forward from his freshman production and the defense could end up among the best of the Stoops era. Baylor has been just as impressive but against lesser competition with its three opponents holding one FBS win (1-5) combined this season.

Biggest disappointment: Texas Tech. Wait, where are the Longhorns? Did you really expect more from Texas? More players have been kicked off the team (eight) than offensive touchdowns scored by Charlie Strong's team (seven). The Red Raiders are another story, however. Tech has never really looked outstanding at any point this season as penalties, turnovers and defensive struggles turning the Red Raiders' Big 12 title dreams into an early nightmare. Saturday's loss to Arkansas -- which included 438 rushing yards by the Razorbacks -- has Kliff Kingsbury looking for answers. Before the season Tech looked like a team that could catapult itself into the top 3 in the Big 12. Now it looks like a squad facing a fight to go bowling.

Big (offensive) man on campus: West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett. Raise your hand if you had Trickett as the first Big 12 quarterback to eclipse 1,000 yards in 2014. He's been outstanding for the Mountaineers while leading the Big 12 in passing yards (1,224) and completion percentage (75.4). He's in the top 3 among FBS quarterbacks in both categories. He's the main reason WVU is emerging as the Big 12's surprise team after three games.

[+] EnlargeMalcom Brown
John Albright/Icon SMIYou can't pin Texas' struggles on defensive tackle Malcom Brown, the Big 12's co-leader in sacks.
Big (defensive) man on campus: Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown. The junior defensive tackle is one of the few blameless Longhorns on the roster. He's been dominant as the Big 12's leader in sacks (3.5, tied with Iowa State's Cory Morrissey) and tackles for loss (seven). He has added 16 tackles and has forced a fumble for Strong's defense. In a league overflowing with defensive talent -- like OU's Eric Striker and Baylor's Shawn Oakman -- Brown is second to none.

Fab freshman: Baylor receiver KD Cannon. The ESPN 300 receiver has no idea what it feels like to go into the halftime locker room without a touchdown catch. Cannon has made an amazing impact with an FBS-high 471 receiving yards in his first three games as a college receiver. The true freshman has 14 receptions, an average of 33.6 yards per catch, and five touchdowns. All-Big 12 receiver Antwan Goodley's biggest competition for the conference's most explosive receiver could be sitting alongside him in the receivers' room.

Newcomer to know: Oklahoma State athlete Tyreek Hill. The junior college transfer burst upon the scene with 278 all-purpose yards against Florida State as he buzzed around the turf in Arlington, Texas, while giving Seminoles defenders fits throughout the loss. His production has dropped significantly in OSU's last two games (24 touches for 154 yards) but it's clear the Cowboys are trying to save their top playmaker for their toughest games.

Best performance: It was the only Big 12 Conference game in the first three weeks but Kansas State doesn't escape Iowa State's upset bid without quarterback Jake Waters. Trailing 28-26 with 3:01 left, the senior led the Wildcats on a seven-play, 80-yard march to win the game. Waters accounted for 74 of KSU's 80 yards on the drive including an 8-yard touchdown run. KSU won 32-28.

Worst performance: Kansas laid an egg in its 41-3 loss to Duke last weekend. The Jayhawks opened the season with plenty of hope for a new and improved offense but, after gaining 457 yards in their season opener, KU took a clear step backward with 297 yards including 97 through the air against Duke. To make matters worse, the Jayhawks allowed Blue Devil freshman running back Shaun Wilson to rush for 245 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. Back to the drawing board.

Dream dashed: It was disappointing to see Iowa State receiver Quenton Bundrage lost for the season with an ACL injury just minutes into the Cyclones' first game. The junior spent the offseason working on becoming more consistent and had the talent to be one of the Big 12's top receivers in 2014. Now he has to wait until next season with an eye on becoming the Big 12 comeback player of the year when he returns to the field in 2015.

Best stat: TCU has held opponents without a first down or touchdown on 60 percent of its drives. In two games, the Horned Frogs have defended 30 total drives and 18 of those drives have ended without a first down including seven of Minnesota's 15 drives last weekend. Gary Patterson's defense is one reason the Horned Frogs cannot be overlooked when Big 12 play reaches high gear next month.

Best quote: "I haven't talked to [kicker] Josh Lambert since he got on campus, and we are going to keep it that way. I know his name and who he is but other than that I'm doing the hands-off approach." -- West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen after Lambert's game-winning kick to beat Maryland 40-37 last weekend.

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 3

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
9:30
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Taking stock of Week 3 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: West Virginia. The Mountaineers paid regional rival Maryland back for last year’s 37-0 beating with a dramatic 40-37 victory on a game-winning field goal as time expired. Truthfully, the Terrapins were fortunate just to be in the game. West Virginia jumped to a 28-6 lead and could have routed the Terrapins had it not self-destructed several times on Maryland’s side of the field. Still, the Mountaineers once again moved the ball at will. Clint Trickett was dishing out dimes. Mario Alford and Kevin White were producing plays. And a certain field-goal kicker, who I’ll get to later, came through in the clutch.

Disappointment of the week: Texas Tech. Something I was thinking about over the weekend: Had it not been for the sparkling win over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl, what would the perception of the Red Raiders be right now? Outside that Arizona State win, Tech hasn’t played a clean game since losing 38-30 at Oklahoma on Oct. 26 of last year. Meanwhile, Arkansas ran right at the Tech defense Saturday, and there was nothing the Red Raiders could do. The offense behind Davis Webb hasn’t been crisp enough to overcome all the deficiencies defensively. Given how difficult the back end of the schedule is again, the concern level in Lubbock should be high.

Big (offensive) men on campus: Trickett and White. If the season ended today, the three All-Big 12 receivers would be K.D. Cannon, Sterling Shepard and White, who is now second in the country (behind Cannon) in receiving. And if the season ended today, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year would be Trickett, who threw for 511 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Maryland. The Trickett-to-White pass-catching combo has been nothing short of awesome so far this season.

Big (defensive) man on campus: Paul Dawson. TCU’s senior linebacker led the purple crushing of the Minnesota offense in a 30-7 win over the Gophers. Dawson finished with 15 tackles, including four for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Overall, the Horned Frogs forced five turnovers and limited Minnesota to just 268 yards of offense.

[+] EnlargeCole Netten
Charlie Neibergall/Associated PressCole Netten connected on a last-second field goal to give Iowa State a big win over in-state rival Iowa.
Special-teams players of the week: Josh Lambert (West Virginia) and Cole Netten (Iowa State). Field-goal kicking seems to have become a lost art in college football. But Lambert and Netten turned back the clock with their heroics in delivering game-winning field goals that beat Maryland and Iowa, respectively. Netten’s was a 42-yarder, while Lambert connected from 47 yards out. Both kicks resulted in massive wins for their teams.

Play of the week (other than the Lambert and Netten field goals): Late in the second quarter with the game knotted at 3-3, Texas elected to go for it facing fourth-and-8 at the UCLA 38-yard line. And in the biggest play of his young career, quarterback Tyrone Swoopes rolled out and delivered a 33-yard strike to John Harris. Three plays later, Swoopes hit M.J. McFarland for a touchdown to give Texas a 10-3 lead and all the momentum heading into halftime.

Stat of the week: Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight has two 300-yard passing games in his career, and both have come against SEC opponents. Knight threw for 348 yards in last season's Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, and he passed for 308 yards in Oklahoma’s 34-10 win Saturday over Tennessee.

Quote of the week: “I haven't talked to Josh Lambert since he got on campus, and we are going to keep it that way. I know his name and who he is, but other than that, I'm taking the hands-off approach.” -- West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, when asked what he said to Lambert before the game-winning kick. Holgorsen added he likes only special-teams coach Joe DeForest talking to his kicker.

Big 12 morning links

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
8:00
AM ET
Bummer again for Robert Griffin III. It hasn't been a good year for former Big 12 quarterbacks.
  • In this story in the Kansas City Star, Kellis Robinett detailed how Kansas State is being careful about giving Auburn too much respect. No doubt Auburn is a great team. The Tigers are explosive offensively in Gus Malzahn's offense. But K-State is to be respected, too. This is a team that has lost once in its past nine games -- and that was to an Oklahoma program currently ranked fourth in the country. The Wildcats should respect Auburn. But they should also realize they are good enough to win Thursday night, too.
  • West Virginia showed grit that had been missing in the recent past in a 40-37 win against Maryland, wrote the Charleston Daily Mail's Mike Casazza. The Mountaineers lost several tight games last season, which fueled their first losing season in a dozen years. And even though West Virginia played Alabama tough, mistakes in the fourth quarter ultimately prevented the Mountaineers from pulling the upset. The Maryland win wasn't without mistakes. West Virginia made six scoreless trips inside Maryland’s 40. But when the Mountaineers had to make plays with the game on the line, they did. That will serve them well the rest of the season, and this weekend in a massive clash with Oklahoma.
  • Even though the Longhorns fell 20-17 to UCLA, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes made strides, according to the Austin American-Statesman's Brian Davis. Before the UCLA game, I had serious doubts about the potential of Swoopes as Texas' long-term answer at quarterback. I'm still to be convinced. But like Davis, I could finally see the potential that Jaxon Shipley and the Texas coaching staff had been raving about from behind the scenes. That said, the road doesn't get any easier for the Longhorns or Swoopes. After an open week and Kansas, Big 12 co-favorites Baylor and Oklahoma await.
  • An Iowa State program that had once forged a reputation under coach Paul Rhoads of winning big games got back to its roots in a 20-17 victory against Iowa, wrote the Ames Tribune's Bobby La Gesse. Early in the Rhoads era, the Cyclones indeed had developed a rep as a giant-killer. But that had waned a bit in the past couple of the years, because of Iowa State's inability to close the deal in close games, including the narrow loss to Kansas State the week before. The Iowa victory should give this program plenty of confidence for the rest of the season, which could be a scary thought for some of the league's top teams.
  • The TCU defense overwhelmed Minnesota in a 30-7 win, but the offense still needs work, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Carlos Mendez. The biggest issue seemed to be third-down offense. TCU converted only twice on 12 third-down attempts. If they want to emerge into a Big 12 title contender, the Horned Frogs will have to clean that up. But, as the Gophers found out, TCU appears to have another Big 12 championship-caliber defense. If the offense can continue to make progress, this could be a team to keep an eye on.

Big 12 bowl projections: Week 3

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
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Overall, it was a good weekend for the Big 12.

Texas showed some fight, Oklahoma and Baylor cruised, and West Virginia continued to impress. Thursday night's matchup with Auburn looms large for Kansas State while a bye week comes at the perfect time for Texas Tech.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma
Cotton Bowl: Baylor
Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State
Russell Athletic Bowl: West Virginia
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: TCU
Cactus Bowl: Texas

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 3

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
2:00
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Although we're just two weeks into the 2014 season, go-to targets are starting to emerge across the Big 12. West Virginia's Kevin White looks like he could fill a playmaking void and Texas Tech's Bradley Marquez has stepped his play up in his final season.

Here's a closer look at the Big 12's leading receivers in several key stats, with the help of ESPN Stats and Information.

[+] EnlargeKevin White, Bradley Sylve
John David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsWest Virginia's Kevin White has been targeted more than any other Big 12 receiver.
Total targets

  1. Kevin White, West Virginia, 26
  2. Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech, 21
  3. John Harris, Texas, 20
  4. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, 19
  5. (Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech, 18

It’s clear White has developed a high level of trust with quarterback Clint Trickett and the Mountaineers are trying to get the ball in the hands of the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior. … Texas’ John Harris is the surprise name on the list as he has emerged as a go-to target in a struggling Longhorns attack. … As Iowa State searches for someone to replace Quenton Bundrage, no Cyclone has double-digit targets through two games.

Yards per target

  1. Kolby Listenbee, TCU, 32.6
  2. Jhajuan Seales, Oklahoma State, 20.8
  3. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, 16.7
  4. KD Cannon, Baylor, 15.4
  5. Nick Harwell, Kansas, 14.9

TCU has only played one game, but it would be a surprise if Listenbee is not a major part of the offense. He proved to be a legitimate deep threat in the Horned Frogs' season opener two weeks ago, and that skill will make quarterback Trevone Boykin and his dynamic running ability even more lethal. … Shepard’s appearance on this list shows the Sooners plan to use him to keep defenses honest while they attempt to establish a physical running game.

Yards after catch

  1. Kevin White, West Virginia, 147
  2. Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech, 103
  3. Brandon Sheperd, Oklahoma State, 98
  4. Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, 92
  5. Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech, 87

White is starting to fulfill the hype that accompanied him when he arrived as a junior college transfer before the 2013 season. He combines terrific size with run-after-catch ability. He’ll be in the mix for All-Big 12 honors if he remains consistent. … Seeing Marquez, not Grant, lead the Red Raiders in yards after the catch is a surprise, but it shows his versatility and overall importance to Tech’s passing game.

Third-down receptions

  1. Davion Hall, Baylor, 6
  2. Kevin White, West Virginia, 4
  3. John Harris, Texas, 4
  4. Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech, 4
  5. Five receivers tied with 3

Hall has a high third-down reception rate but only three of his six receptions have resulted in first down conversions. The Bears have made a point to get him the ball in space, with 7 of his 11 receptions coming within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. … It’s early, but Harris, White and Marquez appear to have separated themselves as go-to receivers in their offenses.

Percentage of receptions for a first down or touchdown

  1. Nick Harwell, Kansas, 100 percent
  2. Kolby Listenbee, TCU, 100 percent
  3. Ja'Juan Story, TCU, 100 percent
  4. KD Cannon, Baylor, 87.5 percent
  5. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, 85.7 percent

Harwell was solid in his first game as a Jayhawk with four receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll be a major part of KU’s offense. … Listenbee and Story have five receptions combined so it remains to be seen if their ability to make key plays continues throughout the season. … Lockett should be a staple on this list with his ability to change games each time he touches the ball.

Big 12 Week 3 predictions

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
9:00
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Why Oklahoma will win: The Sooners have a decisive advantage in the trenches, highlighted by a powerful running game and a swarming defensive front seven. Bob Stoops is also 88-5 at home and will be looking to send another message to his friends in the SEC. Oklahoma 44, Tennessee 16 – Jake Trotter

Why Tennessee will keep it close: The Vols appear to be on the upswing under Butch Jones' better recruiting. UT has several receivers with size (four receivers 6-foot-3 or taller) and could try to test the coverage ability of OU's secondary. If the Vols are able to force mental mistakes from Trevor Knight, all bets are off. Oklahoma 35, Tennessee 21
Brandon Chatmon

 

Why UCLA will win: Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes actually played alright in his first career start last week -- and Texas still couldn't score. With the offensive line and receiving corps completely decimated, the Longhorns have what amounts to a popgun offense. UCLA counters with quarterback Brett Hundley, who entered the season on the short list of Heisman contenders. UCLA 28, Texas 9 – Trotter

Why Texas will keep it close: Defense. Until Swoopes and a patchwork offensive line get some momentum, Texas' defense will have to win the day. They'll get pressure on Hundley, but they'll need turnovers. The Longhorns played three quarters of solid defense against BYU. If they can wreak havoc for four, this game could be close late. UCLA 27, Texas 17
-Max Olson

 

Upset special: The Cyclones showed it is too early to write them off during a close loss to Kansas State. Meanwhile, Iowa hasn't looked like an elite team during its first two games. There were times the Cyclones were dominating K-State, and ISU could carry that momentum into a win over its rival. Iowa State 31, Iowa 27 Chatmon

MORE UNANIMOUS PICKS

Baylor over Buffalo 56-20: Buffalo is going to black out its stadium, but the Bears will light it up in Bryce Petty's return. — Chatmon

West Virginia over Maryland 28-26: The Terrapins hammered the Mountaineers 37-0 last season, but this is a completely different West Virginia team manned by a completely different quarterback in Clint Trickett, who is completing 75 percent of his passes. – Trotter

Texas Tech over Arkansas 38-24: Tech cleans up its penalty problems, and Davis Webb picks apart a D that gave up nearly 600 yards against Auburn. – Olson

Duke over Kansas 38-24: Kansas looked good in the first 45 minutes of its win over Southeast Missouri, but Duke quarterback Anthony Boone will prove simply too much for the Jayhawks. — Chatmon

TCU over Minnesota 17-13: A close game finally goes the Horned Frogs' way. Minnesota's uncertain QB situation is the difference-maker, and TCU's underappreciated defense steps up. – Olson

Oklahoma State over UTSA 42-24: Having a full week to tailor the offense around the arm of quarterback Daxx Garman should do wonders for the Oklahoma State offense. – Trotter

Big 12 morning links

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
8:00
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I'd have to agree. No. 10 is the problem.
  • Pump the brakes on calling Daxx Garman the answer at quarterback for Oklahoma State, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. It's clear Garman has the ability to help the Cowboys offense. Head coach Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich have praised Garman's arm since the spring and the fact they didn't just hand the job to J.W. Walsh makes it obvious they believe Garman brings something unique to the table. Yet, all that said, I agree with Tramel. It's too early to call Garman the answer behind center in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
  • An interesting nugget in this West Virginia notebook from Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail. Running back Dreamius Smith has tumbled down the depth chart in Morgantown, West Virginia, largely due to his lack of finishing runs. It's a surprise but not a shock to see Smith struggle to find the field for WVU. Dana Holgorsen has a roster full of talented running backs and it appears Smith, the Mountaineers leading returning rusher, hasn't responded to the competition.
  • Saturday's road game at Duke will be a homecoming of sorts for Kansas safety Isaiah Johnson, who played high school football in North Carolina. The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd details the specifics of Johnson's journey to Lawrence, Kansas. The story also compares the Jayhawks secondary to its 2007 version which included three future NFL players (Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Darrell Stuckey). Initially it sounds crazy but KU has the Big 12's most underrated secondary. Cornerbacks Dexter McDonald and JaCorey Shepherd are a strong duo and Johnson pairs with Cassius Sendish as a solid safety duo. They aren't on the level of 2007 now but could be by November.
  • Kansas State has a bye on Saturday, yet Bill Snyder is approaching this week like a game week, reports Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star. Auburn is the next team on K-State's schedule and the extra time could be critical as the Wildcats prepare for the BCS runnerup to visit Manhattan, Kansas, on Sept. 18. Seems like a savvy move by the veteran coach. The early season bye means there's no major concern for the Wildcats being too beat up and requiring rest and the game week approach will underscore the importance of the Thursday night battle with Auburn.
  • Gary Patterson continues to list quarterback Matt Joeckel as a co-starter alongside Trevone Boykin for TCU, reports Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Patterson believes Joeckel has earned a spot alongside Boykin on the depth chart and is preparing him to play. Sounds like as well as Boykin played to start the season, the quarterback derby in Fort Worth is not over.

Big 12 Tuesday mailbag

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
4:00
PM ET
In today's mailbag we talk the lack of love for West Virginia and Oklahoma, Texas' quarterback situation and pride at Iowa State. As always thanks for your questions, you can submit questions for next Tuesday's mailbag here.

On to the mailbag:


Brandon Wilder in Manchester, Tennessee writes: Why do you think it is that the media is reluctant to show Oklahoma any love? All the analysts want to talk about is Bama, Oregon, FSU and Georgia.

Brandon Chatmon: This sits among the top-5 questions I didn’t expect to find in the mailbag. The Sooners have gotten plenty of love.


Raymond Boggess in Charleston, West Virginia writes: WVU has outplayed every BIG 12 team I have watched except OU. Where is the love?

Chatmon: I’m right there with you. That’s why WVU jumped Oklahoma State in our bowl projections. The Mountaineers still have a ways to go, but I like what I’m seeing thus far.


Michael Hess in Dallas writes: I need good news about Texas Tech ... Go.

Chatmon: True freshman running back Justin Stockton looks like a star. ... Outside of that, um, Kliff Kingsbury has some work to do. But Tech is still 2-0 and a strong performance in a win over Arkansas on Saturday would erase some of the concerns that emerged in the first two games.


Alex in Ames writes: Quenton Bundrage was literally on the field for three plays before tearing his ACL. I know he’s only a junior, but is there any chance he is granted medical redshirt for the year by the NCAA?

Chatmon: I see no reason Bundrage, Iowa State's standout receiver, wouldn’t be eligible for a medical redshirt. I've seen other guys play a lot more before their injury and be granted a medical hardship.


 Tyler Weidler in Weatherford, Texas writes: If Oklahoma and Florida State played today, how would you see that game unfolding??

Chatmon: Good question, Tyler. I think it would all come down to the quarterbacks, Jameis Winston and Trevor Knight. Winston has proven to be clutch -- and a proven championship quarterback --so I’d probably give Florida State the slight edge, based on the fact their players have done it before. I think it would be similar to last year's national title game with FSU pulling out the win late in the game. It’s a game I’d love to watch.


Matt Barnett in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania writes: Would a big win for WVU this weekend against Maryland give the Mountaineers enough momentum to go into Morgantown the following weekend and possibly shock Oklahoma?

Chatmon: Yes. And even if WVU doesn’t win against Maryland that visit to Morgantown, West Virginia is looking like a stern test for Bob Stoops' squad. Oklahoma has been as impressive as any team in the nation during the first two weeks of the season, but the Mountaineers have lost two games by a 10 combined points to the Sooners since they joined the Big 12 in 2012. WVU has the talent to beat OU, and they aren't scared of anyone.


Big12erinACCCountry writes: Just how grossly overrated is Baylor after two no-name, lousy opponents?

Chatmon: I’m not sure, but I think I saw Art Briles polishing his Big 12 championship ring during the second half the other day though.


JP in Mebane, North Carolina writes: Given the godlike awesomeness that is Jake Waters, have your expectations for KSU changed any?

Chatmon: Not really. I’ve always felt K-State would end up third behind Oklahoma and Baylor. Nothing has really changed for me with regards to the Wildcats. Waters and Tyler Lockett are the main reason I felt the Wildcats would find themselves near the top of the Big 12 heading into the season.


 Tom in Austin, Texas writes: Short question but it needs to be asked: Should the Longhorns stick with Swoopes when facing UCLA? What about Jaxon Shipley. Didn't he play QB in high school?

Chatmon: I think Jerrod Heard is the future for Texas offense. And if he’s not quite ready, UT should start getting him ready, no matter what it takes. I get that Tyrone Swoopes wasn’t the problem against BYU so the quarterback position shouldn’t be the No. 1 priority, but that doesn’t change the fact I think Heard will end up being the better long-term option under center. As far as Shipley, I'd only try that if Texas can figure out a way he can throw it to himself.


Derek in Lubbock, Texas: Regarding Big 12 expansion, everyone seems to like this "round robin" schedule right now, but I think we need to expand for numerous reasons. Some people say let's just add BYU, but then we'd need another team. I know who the other team should be. North Dakota State University. BYU and NDSU to the Big 12 for 2015-2016! Let's make it happen.

Chatmon: I’m on the train for adding BYU (eventually) but the plan to add NDSU knocks me off your bandwagon. And even BYU doesn’t change my belief that the Big 12 won’t -- nor needs to -- expand anytime soon. Why add more mouths to feed if you aren’t significantly increasing the overall meal?


Andrew in Phoenix, Arizona writes: So how about them Cyclones, not sure if I can handle the roller coaster of being a fan for them. Which team will show up more this season, the floppers against NDSU or the pride against KSU?

Chatmon: Paul Rhoads’ history makes me think we’ll see Iowa State’s pride showing up more often than not this fall. The two losses aren’t what the Cyclones wanted, but I’ve never watched a Rhoads team and felt like they quit. Pride seems to be a staple of his teams, and I don’t think that will change. I still have questions about their bowl chances, but I feel a lot better about those chances today than I did at this time last week.

Roundtable: Most intriguing matchup

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
1:00
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With seven games against Power 5 conference opponents, this is a huge week for the Big 12. We examine that and other storylines in our weekly Big 12 roundtable:

Which Big 12 matchup are you most looking forward to this weekend?

Max Olson: While watching UTSA give Arizona all it could handle last week, I had to wonder if the rising Roadrunners were playing well enough to beat Kansas or Iowa State. Well, we get to find out on Saturday when UTSA travels to Stillwater. Larry Coker's bunch doesn't have much star power besides a stout defensive line, but they play sound football and can keep it close against an OSU team that might not have J.W. Walsh. An upset win would be absolutely gigantic for this upstart.

Brandon Chatmon: Texas Tech’s battle with Arkansas is intriguing. The Red Raiders will look to rebound after a slow start, albeit two wins, to start the season. Arkansas will try to pound the ball and control the clock so whichever team controls the tempo is likely to win the game. The key for Tech is to start showing some improvement by limiting turnovers and penalties, otherwise it could be looking at a potential loss against an SEC foe.

Jake Trotter: I’m interested to see how West Virginia fares in a payback game against Maryland. The Terrapins returned 17 starters from a squad that throttled the Mountaineers 37-0 last season. But West Virginia has the look of a different team so far. If the Mountaineers also go to Maryland and win, it will be a signal West Virginia might actually be for real this season.

In light of its performance against BYU, does Texas has have hope for the rest of the year?

[+] EnlargeCharlie Strong
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsCharlie Strong's Longhorns get a tough test against UCLA on Saturday.
 Olson: Let's not call them dead just yet, but a 2-4 start seems like a distinct possibility now. If UCLA blows them out of the water, it's hard to envision a scenario in which the Longhorns trip up Baylor or Oklahoma without an absolutely perfect day of defense. The hope rests on the defense coming together as one of the nation's best and, in either Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard, the discovery of a quarterback who can lead this team in 2015 and beyond if David Ash is indeed done.

Chatmon: Yes, just look at last year. The loss to BYU was bad, really bad. But the same thing happened in 2013 yet UT still found itself playing for a Big 12 title on the final day of the regular season. I don’t expect them to match that feat again, but I still think 6-8 wins is possible if the Longhorns can get things turned around and somehow survive this four-game stretch of UCLA, Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma.

Trotter: I don’t have a lot of hope for Texas. Yeah, the Longhorns bounced back after last season’s BYU debacle. But that offense wasn’t gutted to the point this one has been. I just don’t see Texas scoring enough points to avoid a 2-4 start. And after that, the Longhorns would still have road trips to Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It’s not unthinkable that Texas misses out on a bowl game, which would be a disappointing start to the Charlie Strong era in Austin.

What player has impressed you most so far this season?

Olson: Just from an instant-impact standpoint, KD Cannon and Justin Stockton come to mind. But I covered their recruitments and watched them play live in high school at Mount Pleasant and Cibolo Steele, respectively so their play early on hasn't shocked me at all. Two guys who have my respect two weeks in are Clint Trickett and Jake Waters. They're underrated gamers, they've gotten sharper, and they're leading their teams at a high level right now.

Chatmon: This one’s easy. Somehow, someway, Tyreek Hill has been even better than advertised for Oklahoma State. I had my reservations about the track star heading into the season, but his performance against Florida State proved he is a football player not a track guy having fun on the gridiron. And OSU’s use of Hill has been smart as the Cowboys have looked to get him the ball in several different ways. Hill looks poised for a all-conference season.

Trotter: Trickett has impressed me the most so far. He ranks 22nd nationally in QBR, and I’m not sure that rating does justice to how well he’s played. Through two games, he’s completing 75 percent of his passes, a year after he connected on only 53 percent of his throws. As a result, Dana Holgorsen’s offense has been humming. He still has more to prove, including this weekend against Maryland. But if he plays this way the rest of the season, West Virginia will win a lot of games.

Big 12 morning links

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
8:00
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Good morning, everybody. How did your fantasy team fare this weekend? If you've got a good story, share in the comment section below.
  • The Ray Rice news on Monday prompted Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman to offer up a reasonable take: Rice's punishment made OU look good for its handling of the Joe Mixon incident. Tramel breaks down all the comparisons and contrasts between the two cases and points out that, unlike in the NFL case, OU officials did see the video of Mixon's punch and wisely delivered a year-long suspension that was far more stringent that the two-game ban Rice originally faced. In other off-field news, OU's two-month court battle to enforce Frank Shannon's one-year suspension is over and, as expected, Shannon won't play again in 2014.
  • Bill Snyder loved what Jake Waters gave him on Saturday in the comeback win at Iowa State, especially the senior's fiery, vocal leadership. Snyder saw Waters' fourth-quarter poise and emotion as a real breakthrough, and he's dead on with his comments about Waters' investment in the 32-28 outcome. The lick Waters took to the head on his failed two-point conversion run made the whole performance so much more remarkable -- a hit like that could've knocked him out. But he answered in a huge way with one of his finest moments as a Wildcat.
  • A storyline from Morgantown that fell under the radar this weekend: Dana Holgorsen unleashed his true freshman quarterback, William Crest, for his first college snaps. A 40-0 lead over Towson was about as ideal as timing gets to plug in a rookie, and he rushed for 27 yards and passed for 7 with a sack fumble ending his first drive. What's encouraging to see is just how supportive Clint Trickett is of his understudy. Getting these snaps in now should help Crest if injuries force him to play later.
  • The renovated throwback uniform is always a good look. Baylor pulled it off last year. Kansas had this sweet one in 2011. And Texas Tech has done a heck of a job with its threads for this week, a Zach Thomas-era throwback modernized by Under Armour that the Red Raiders will wear against Arkansas. Texas Tech has unveiled new alternate unis every year under Kliff Kingsbury and this one is right up there with the all-gray look among their best in recent years.
  • Finally, we saved the best for last. Check out this exceptional interview that Baylor backup running back Silas Nacita did Monday with the great David Smoak. After scoring two TDs this weekend against Northwestern State, the Cornell transfer told his story of how he got to Baylor. Don't want to spoil anything -- this is too good. Give it a listen.

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
2:30
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After a one-week hiatus, the Big 12 recruiting scorecard returns to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening on the recruiting trail for your favorite Big 12 squad. Here is the latest around the Big 12 on the recruiting trail during the past two weeks:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Baylor landed another player likely to end up among its scoring leaders with a verbal from kicker Drew Galitz (Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett). The three-star prospect is the nation’s No. 3 kicker and picked the Bears over an offer from Miami (Fla.).

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones had several unofficial visitors over the weekend including Urbandale (Iowa) offensive guard Caleb Bright, a Class of 2016 prospect.

KANSAS
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Three-star quarterback Ryan Willis of Shawnee Mission, Kansas/Bishop Miege remains the lynchpin of this class after picking the Jayhawks over Illinois and Kansas State.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Quarterback Alex Delton has officially signed with the Wildcats, inking his financial aid agreement in late August. The three-star prospect from Hays, Kansas is the lone quarterback in Bill Snyder’s class of 2015.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: The Sooners are looking at arguably their biggest recruiting weekend when Tennessee visits on Saturday. Current commits P.J. Mbanasor and John Humphreys along with linebacker target Cassius Peat are among the list of prospects expected to visit for the primetime matchup.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Cowboys have been on a roll in recent days with Covington (Louisiana) St. Pauls receiver Jalen McCleskey picking the Pokes over offers from Air Force, South Florida, Southern Mississippi and others.

TCU
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Manvel (Texas) quarterback D’Eriq King reported a TCU offer last week. The No. 196 player in the ESPNJr300 has offers from Texas Tech, Clemson, Michigan State, UCLA and others.

TEXAS
Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 7
The latest: The Longhorns added a commitment from Coppell (Texas) offensive tackle Connor Williams. The three-star prospect picked UT over OU, Kansas State, TCU, Texas Tech, Ohio State, UCLA and others.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 9
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Red Raiders began their serious pursuit of Clemson commit J.C. Clark, a Class of 2016 prospect from Argyle, Texas. The three-star tight end also boasts offers from Arizona State, Duke and Colorado State.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: Mountaineers’ commitment Kevin Williams (Pompano Beach, Florida/Blanche Ely) made his official visit to Morgantown, West Virginia over the weekend. The three-star safety prospect picked WVU over Florida and Syracuse.

Big 12 Weekend Rewind: Week 2

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
9:30
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Taking stock of Week 2 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: Kansas State. The Wildcats didn’t play their finest game in Ames, and they were on their heels for most of the first half. But when they needed to make plays late, Bill Snyder’s club delivered. Quarterback Jake Waters was especially clutch, engineering a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives and capping the game-winner with an 8-yard touchdown scamper. But Waters didn’t win the game alone. Defensive end Ryan Mueller and nickelback Randall Evans produced some huge defensive plays in the fourth quarter to keep giving Waters back the ball. The Wildcats will have to play much better when Auburn comes to Manhattan next week. But this team should generate plenty of confidence from the resolve they showed in a tough environment.

Disappointment of the week: Texas. This is not the way anyone in Austin envisioned the Charlie Strong era beginning. The 41-7 loss to BYU was the Longhorns’ worst home defeat since 1997 (UCLA, 66-3) and their third-worst home loss since 1950. Even with QB David Ash injured and even with three starting offensive linemen out, Texas should never get manhandled the way it got manhandled Saturday.

Big (offensive) man on campus: K.D. Cannon. In the first half alone of the Bears’ 70-6 demolition of Northwestern State, Cannon hauled in three touchdown passes and 223 receiving yards – the second-highest receiving total in Baylor history. Through two games, the true freshman wideout now leads the Big 12 in both receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards per catch.

Big (defensive) man on campus: Ryan Mueller. Kansas State’s All-Big 12 defensive end finished with five tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries. But it was his final play that earned him distinction here. With four minutes left, Iowa State led 28-26 and faced third-and-1 with a chance to all but clinch the win with a first down. Instead, Mueller crashed through the line and dropped running back Aaron Wimberly for a 3-yard loss. The Cyclones had to punt and K-State wound up winning the game.

Special teams player of the week: Jarvis West. After K-State jumped to an early 13-0 lead, West fueled Iowa State to 28 unanswered points in just under a full quarter. First, he hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass. Then, he took a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. And to cap the scoring splurge, he threw a 29-yard touchdown pass off a double reverse to become the first player since Kentucky’s Randall Cobb in 2010 to have receiving, returning and passing touchdowns in the same game.

Play of the week: Early in the fourth quarter, Iowa State still held a 28-20 lead and was on the move near midfield. Sam B. Richardson appeared to have completed a first down to West across the middle of the field. But as West hit the turf, Kansas State nickelback Randall Evans wrestled the ball away. Officials awarded Evans the interception, and four plays later the Wildcats were in the end zone, igniting their comeback fourth quarter.

Stat of the week: With his interception return against Tulsa, Geneo Grissom became the first Oklahoma defensive lineman or linebacker to score three touchdowns in his career.

Quote of the week: "It is an embarrassment to this program and an embarrassment to the university." -- Coach Charlie Strong after Texas lost to BYU 41-7, the program’s worst home loss in 17 years.

Big 12 morning links

September, 8, 2014
Sep 8
8:20
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Hope everyone enjoyed their NFL Sundays:

Texas coach Charlie Strong said he was embarrassed for his football program and that he knew during warm-ups his team wasn't ready to play against BYU. Though his players contended that assertion to the Austin American-Statesman's Brian Davis, it's beyond unfathomable that the Longhorns wouldn't have been ready to play against BYU. Didn't they have the whole year to get ready for this game after getting completely humiliated in Provo last year? Honestly, I have to disagree with Strong. Coming out ready to play wasn't the Longhorns' issue. After all, Texas only trailed 6-0 at halftime. The primary issue is that the Longhorns just aren't very good. Without David Ash (not that he would have saved them) and the missing linemen, the offense isn't any good. And the Texas defense isn't good enough to overcome the team's problems offensively. On deck the Longhorns have to play three top 12 teams in their next four games. It's probably going to get worse before it gets any better for Strong.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy hasn't revealed how long quarterback J.W. Walsh will be out with an apparent foot injury, but it could be several weeks. The silver lining for the Cowboys is that backup Daxx Garman shined in relief of Walsh in Saturday's 40-23 win against Missouri State. Especially considering Garman hadn't played in an actual competitive game since 2009. Garman still has rust to shake off. And tougher competition than Missouri State awaits. But Garman has a big-time arm. And in the short and long term, he might actually be a better fit for the Oklahoma State offense, which is loaded with talented receivers, than the dual-threat Walsh, who often has struggled to get them the ball downfield because of his limited arm strength. If Walsh is in fact out for weeks, the Cowboys will have time to adjust with Garman. Oklahoma State plays host to UTSA this weekend, then is off before welcoming Texas Tech for a Thursday night game Sept. 25.

The Big 12 suspended a replay official and replay communicator after a questionable play wasn't reviewed in Kansas State's 32-28 victory at Iowa State. The play in question came just before halftime, when K-State's Tyler Lockett hauled in pass. He appeared to be in contact with a pylon, which is considered out of bounds, but on-field officials ruled it a completion at the 1. Iowa State was unable to challenge because it was out of timeouts, and the Wildcats quickly snapped the ball and scored a touchdown. The Cyclones have had some poor luck the past two seasons with Big 12 officiating. If anyone deserves to have a call break their way in the coming weeks, it's them.

True freshman running back Justin Stockton was the difference-maker in Texas Tech's 30-26 win at UTEP over the weekend, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's Nick Talbot. Stockton got only eight carries, but gained 135 yards. He scored a 75-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and later on the Red Raiders’ game-winning drive broke off runs of 20 and 24 yards on back-to-back plays. Stockton, however, was about the only positive coach Kliff Kingsbury could take out of his team's performance in El Paso. The Red Raiders endured another horrible night with penalties and also gave up 277 yards on the ground. Penalties and run defense plagued Texas Tech during its five-game losing streak last season. The Red Raiders don't have much time for improvement with a three-game stretch of Arkansas, at Oklahoma State and at Kansas State coming up. To win any of those games, Tech will have to play much better than it has these first two games of the season.

Running backs De'Andre Mann and Corey Avery give Kansas hope for this season, in the opinion of the Lawrence Journal-World's Tom Keegan. The duo rushed for a combined 212 yards in their Kansas debuts in a 34-28 win against Southeast Missouri State (the Jayhawks led 34-7 in the fourth quarter). The running backs aren't the only reasons for hope, though. Wideout Nick Harwell caught two touchdowns in Kansas' 24-point first quarter, which was the highest output the Jayhawks had produced in one quarter since Nov. 6, 2010, when they scored 35 against Colorado. It's hardly time to pencil Kansas into a bowl game just because it beat Southeast Missouri State. But it was an encouraging performance from an offense that has pretty much been lifeless since quarterback Todd Reesing's departure.

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