Big 12: Braxton Miller

Tuesday night wasn't good for the Big 12's playoff hopes. Thursday night proved to be much better.

Kansas State's 26-20 win at West Virginia provided a boost that the Big 12 really needed. About 48 hours earlier, the league saw one of its playoff hopefuls, TCU, fall a spot to No. 5 in the College Football Playoff Rankings despite a win last week. Its other contender, Baylor, remained stuck at No. 7, now languishing behind Ohio State instead of Arizona State.

As ESPN.com colleague Jake Trotter wrote Wednesday: "Instead of either/or for the Big 12, it could be neither/nor."

Kansas State likely is out of the playoff chase with two losses, but the 12th-ranked Wildcats are alive in the Big 12 race. More important, they're a résumé-enhancer for TCU (which beat K-State on Nov. 8) and possibly Baylor (which hosts K-State on Dec. 6). The Big 12 can lay claim to three elite teams, more than the Big Ten, its primary playoff competitor.

Some might have seen Thursday night's game as a Catch-22 for Baylor, which lost convincingly at West Virginia on Oct. 18. But the selection committee has made it clear that impressive wins count more than unimpressive losses (West Virginia, a much improved team, is far from a bad loss in my view). Baylor needed another opportunity to impress the committee, especially on a day when the other Power 5 conferences are holding championship games.

National links: Bias on the committee? 

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
8:30
AM ET
I have grave news to bring you. The College Football Playoff selection committee is biased.

Yes, the 12-member panel tasked to solve the nation's problems choose the sport's first four-team playoff includes people with real-life experiences, likes and dislikes.

Some of them, apparently, have ideas about the way the game ought to be played and coached.

Take a deep breath and remember, this is what we wanted.

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TCU will stun the Big 12, and soon 

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
10:50
AM ET
Trevone BoykinAP Photo/LM OteroTrevone Boykin has exceeded expectations under center for the TCU Frogs.
Mark it down. One of the next two weekends, TCU is going to wreck the marquee November game that everyone believes will decide the Big 12.

The Frogs are going to beat either Oklahoma this weekend or Baylor next weekend, giving one of those conference favorites an early-season L. (Personally, I believe it’ll be Baylor.)

Here’s why.

They’ve been close

The Frogs lost eight games in 2013 by an average of 8.5 points per loss, including four in conference by two or three points in each game. Think about that. A field goal, #collegekickers and all, decided half their losses.

Two of those games were, you guessed it, Baylor and Oklahoma.

And here’s the takeaway: If you’re continually in games, you’re bound to win games.

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The final Big 12 Heisman Watch of 2012

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
10:30
AM ET
The Heisman finalists have been announced, and the greatest individual award in sports will be handed out at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, live on ESPN.

Let's take one last look at the Big 12's best hope to bring home the award:

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: It might be an uphill battle for Klein to unseat fellow finalists Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o, but simply getting the invitation to New York is a big accomplishment. He has carried the Wildcats to the Big 12 title, and no player in the league has been more important to his team's success. You could definitely make the case that no player in the nation has been more important to his team's success, too. Klein has accounted for 37 touchdowns, 890 rushing yards and 2,490 passing yards. His efforts this season helped K-State surpass modest expectations, and he matured as a passer more than most gave him credit for. Win or lose Saturday night, my hat is off to Klein.

Here's how I voted in the ESPN Heisman Watch this week:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 14

November, 27, 2012
11/27/12
10:30
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We're down to the final weekend of the season, and it's time to survey the Big 12's best Heisman hopes with only four games left in the entire Big 12 regular season.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was off this week, but he's got one last chance to convince voters he's better than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel. I'm not sure what it would take, but I know it would have to be a lot better than what we've seen from Klein in his past two outings against TCU and Baylor. He has been in a bit of a slump since suffering an injury against Oklahoma State.

2. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia: I don't think Austin has a great shot to get to New York, but you can't convince me he doesn't have an argument as the most dangerous man in college football. That's just a fact. I gave him a fifth-place vote on my ballot this week after he broke open Saturday's win over Iowa State with a 75-yard touchdown on a short touch pass, simply outrunning the entire ISU defense. He can't win, but it stinks that his candidacy is hampered because his defense is horrible. Even when Geno Smith struggled, Austin continued to play well.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR/PR, West Virginia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 13

November, 20, 2012
11/20/12
10:30
AM ET
Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the Heisman.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein's Heisman hopes are on life support after a three-interception outing and a blowout loss to four-win Baylor on Saturday night. His completion percentage was his second lowest of the season. Klein hadn't thrown more than 28 passes in a game all season. He threw 50 against Baylor. He also rushed for a season-low 39 yards. He's still likely to receive an invitation to New York barring another bad game against Texas, but he needs a whole lot of help to have any chance of winning.

2. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR, West Virginia: His versatility is what might land him in New York with a big finish, and if he can switch positions and set the Big 12 record for all-purpose yards in his first game at running back with a simplified playbook, he might provide that big finish against Iowa State and Kansas. He lacks a marquee game, and West Virginia is mired in a five-game losing streak, but he nearly broke the NCAA single-game record for all-purpose yardage, coming just 7 yards short with 572, including 344 rushing yards against the Big 12's best defense.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  5. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 12

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
10:30
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The Heisman race is hitting the home stretch. The field is thinning even further, and that's reflected in our Heisman Watch. Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the trophy.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was all alone as the front-runner, but he's got some company now in the form of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Klein surely lost a few votes by way of Manziel's huge performance in the upset of No. 1 Alabama on the road. Klein's pedestrian day (145 passing yards, INT and 50 rushing yards, 2 TD) against a good TCU defense didn't help his case. Manziel has more rushing yards and passing yards, but he also has more losses, more turnovers and a lower passer rating.

2. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege has got zero shot to win, but a strong finish might get him somewhat close to getting an invite to New York. He threw for 476 yards Saturday against Kansas, his second-highest total of the season, and his three touchdowns kept him out in front of Matt Barkley for the national lead in touchdown passes with 34.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  5. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
10:30
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Here are the Big 12's best hopes to bring home the Heisman Trophy. The field is thinning considerably.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein's the only guy in the Big 12 with a real chance to win it, but late runs by the guys below him might land them in New York for the trophy presentation. Klein's mysterious injury could complicate this race, but if Klein's production stays even close to what it's been and K-State wins out, the trophy is his.

2. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Texas' secondary played a heck of a game, but Doege completed 26 of 44 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown, without an interception. Doege missed his chance to really get in the race versus K-State last week, but he's the nation's leader in touchdown passes.

3. Tavon Austin, WR/KR/PR, West Virginia: WVU's offense has slowed, but Austin hasn't at all. He was at his best on Saturday, taking a short catch 43 yards for a score and returning a punt 76 yards for a score. He finished with 11 catches for 101 yards and returned a kick 34 yards, too.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 10

October, 30, 2012
10/30/12
10:30
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Here's the Big 12's best hopes for the Heisman this season.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Notre Dame's Manti Te'o made a move this weekend in the race, but Klein is still alone at the top of the charts, and deservedly so. As long as K-State keeps winning, it'll stay that way. His lead is still pretty enormous. He's known as a runner ... but is second nationally in passer rating. How about that?

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is out of the race for now after two bad games and a bye week, but if he finishes strong and maintains his crazy TD-INT ratio, he'll have a good shot to attend the ceremony in New York. If madness occurs at the top with losses to lots of teams, you never know, either.

3. Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege missed an opportunity to really insert himself into the Heisman race but still played well against Kansas State. He completed 35 of 50 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns, although his interception was returned for a score and he also had a fumble early in the game.

4. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle will absolutely be in the race if he stays at his current pace and Oklahoma State starts racking up wins against ranked teams over the next month of the season. OSU has had a low profile this season, but that could change quickly. Randle is averaging nearly 130 yards a game, which ranks ninth nationally.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, a weekly panel of 15 voters across ESPN platforms:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
  5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 9

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
10:30
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Here are the Big 12's best opportunities to bring home the Heisman this season:

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein is the new front-runner for the award, and largely stands alone atop the standings. He threw for a career-high 323 yards and accounted for seven touchdowns in Saturday's 55-14 win over then-No. 13 West Virginia.

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith hit rock bottom this week and WVU's offense is reeling, but he's still got good numbers, and if he gets back on his previous pace, he might play his way back to the ceremony and who knows, maybe more. Can't emphasize enough how much football is still left to play, and his ratio of 26 touchdowns to two picks is still impressive.

3.Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege had a terrible outing in the loss to Oklahoma, but he's been lights-out just about every other week. If Texas Tech springs the upset in Manhattan this week, you might see Doege get some Heisman hype, especially if he plays well. He leads the nation with 28 touchdown passes and is third in the Big 12 with 2,209 passing yards with just seven interceptions.

4. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones has played fantastic football these past three weeks. Blake Bell is still vulturing touchdowns, which hurts Jones' case, but he's kept a low profile this season and could make a late-season charge if the Sooners keep winning. His numbers still aren't fantastic, though. He's fifth in the Big 12 in yards and ninth in completion percentage, though he's thrown 12 touchdowns to three interceptions.

5. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle's been pretty consistent this season and he's all alone at the top of the Big 12 rushing race. He has 765 yards and eight scores, and averages 127.5 yards a game on the ground. No other back averages more than 94. If OSU makes a late-season run, he'll get into the mix, especially considering OSU's quarterback injuries.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, and did so with the belief that there's really only one player in the country right now who's played well enough to really deserve the award:
  1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  2. DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
  3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  5. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 8

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
10:15
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Here are the Big 12's best hopes for the Heisman after seven weeks:

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith's day wasn't as bad as the scoreboard indicated in Saturday's 49-14 loss to Texas Tech, but his lead in the Heisman race was trimmed quite a bit. He completed 29 of 55 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown, moving to 25 touchdowns and no interceptions.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein did what Klein does in a 27-21 win against Iowa State, completing 16 of 24 passes for 187 yards and rushing for three touchdowns and 105 yards on 25 carries. Go up to Morgantown and win next week, while outgunning Geno Smith? Klein is the new Heisman front-runner.

3. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle's quietly still leading the Big 12 in rushing and averaging more than 20 yards more a game than any back in the league. He had a rough outing (29 carries, 80 yards, no TDs) against Kansas, but odds are in his favor to bounce back.

4. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones is back on the list after a pair of big wins and a pair of big performances in both of those wins. He's got a lot of ground to make up to really get back in the race, but the Sooners are back inside the top 10. That's a good start. Jones threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, but his completion percentage still needs a lot of work.

5. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Austin had his worst day of the season, and Stedman Bailey's absence no doubt was a big factor. He was quiet (9 receptions, 99 yards), but we'll see if he'll get back to his old ways this week. Before Saturday, he'd topped 100 yards and 10 catches in every game this season.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch:
  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Big 12 Heisman Watch: Week 7

October, 9, 2012
10/09/12
10:30
AM ET
Here are the Big 12's best hopes for a Heisman after six weeks of football:

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is all alone in this race for now. It's a long season, but after EJ Manuel and Aaron Murray suffered losses this past weekend, Smith would win the award in an absolute landslide if it were distributed this week. He had two fumbles against Texas, but threw four TDs and has thrown 30 touchdowns since his last interception, dating to last season's final regular-season game, Dec. 1 against South Florida. This year, he's got 24 TD passes and no picks.

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein got my No. 2 vote this week, but he's definitely in the mix to win this, and would be in New York if voting were held this weekend. A simple win might not be enough, but Klein might become a co-leader of this race if he goes to Morgantown Oct. 20 and wins. For now, he's got to go to Ames and beat a good Iowa State team.

3. Tavon Austin, WR/KR, West Virginia: Austin turned his first five touches into 166 total yards Saturday against Texas, including a pair of long kick returns and an unbelievable 40-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 that was the best play of the weekend in the Big 12. He caught 10 passes for 102 yards, and his two kick returns went for 111 yards.

4. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle leads the Big 12 in rushing, and if Oklahoma State makes a run later this season, he might get in the Heisman mix, too. Casey Pachall and David Ash took a tumble on this list, and Randle moves up, despite being off last week.

5. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: Bailey was money against Texas, catching touchdowns on three of his eight grabs in the win over the Longhorns. He finished with 75 yards, and the Longhorns simply couldn't cover him in the red zone.

6. David Ash, QB, Texas: The Longhorns lost Saturday, but it wasn't because of Ash. In a 48-45 loss to West Virginia, he completed 22 of 29 passes for 269 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He takes a tumble down this list, but he's still third nationally in passer rating.

Here's how I voted in this week's ESPN Heisman Watch, a panel of 15 voters comprising ESPN experts and analysts.
  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
  4. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
  5. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

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