Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Who had the Big 12's best offense?
By David Ubben
We did this poll in the preseason, but let's take a look back now that the regular season has been completed.
West Virginia ran away with the poll before the year began. Who wins now? Which Big 12 offense was best this year?
Note: We can only include five teams in polls. TCU was in the preseason poll, but obviously won't be in this poll. I also put Kansas State in here, rather than Texas Tech, which was fifth in the Big 12 in total offense.
Let's take a look.
The Bears boast the nation's leader in total offense, quarterback Nick Florence, and led the nation in total offense. Florence even accounted for more yards per game than Johnny Football at Texas A&M. The Bears discovered another weapon in running back Lache Seastrunk late in the season and have one of the league's best offensive lines, but Biletnikoff Award finalist and the nation's leader in receiving yards, Terrance Williams, might be the most talented player on the roster.
The Pokes had quarterback issues, but finished the season with three (!!) 1,000-yard passers and finished fifth in the nation in total offense. Running back Joseph Randle is the Big 12's best, and receiver Josh Stewart broke out with 1,154 receiving yards as a sophomore. The rest of the unit is deep, but even without Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden, the Pokes got up and down the field quickly.
Geno Smith got off to one of the greatest starts in the history of the Big 12, reaching 5-0 and throwing 25 touchdowns before his first interception. He came to Earth a bit in the middle of a five-game losing streak, but Tavon Austin definitely has a case as the league's best overall offensive weapon, even though fellow receiver Stedman Bailey racked up 23 touchdown catches, 10 more than any player in the league and more than Blackmon and Michael Crabtree in their Biletnikoff Award-winning seasons. The Mountaineers never found a consistent running game, but were sixth nationally in pass offense.
Oklahoma relied heavily on Landry Jones, but found a home-run hitter in juco transfer Damien Williams. The youth at receiver showed up early in the season, but transfers Jalen Saunders (Fresno State) and Justin Brown (Penn State) provided solid targets late in the season for Jones, who racked up consecutive 500-yard passing games in wins against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Jones' season has already pushed him into third in NCAA history in passing yardage.
Kansas State didn't rack up yardage by the bunches, but until late struggles against TCU and Baylor, the Wildcats led the Big 12 in scoring offense. Quarterback Collin Klein rumbled his way to New York City as a Heisman finalist, and the ground-inclined Wildcats offense had two of the Big 12's top five rushers, with Klein and running back John Hubert.