Big 12: Jacory Harris

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 5

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
10:15
AM ET
Here's what I'm keeping an eye on in this weekend's games:

1. Texas A&M's running game. The Aggies have one of the league's best, but it got both stopped and abandoned in a quick-changing game last week against Oklahoma State. That can't happen against Arkansas, especially with Texas A&M's defense now fighting a few key injuries.

2. Kansas State's defense. How much better is this defense ... really? I'm not sure. But I know this: Robert Griffin III is a heck of a lot better than Jacory Harris. We'll learn just how much better when Baylor comes to Manhattan.

[+] EnlargeSteele Jantz
AP Photo/Fred BeckhamIowa State's Steele Jantz provides a stern test for the Texas defense.
3. Texas' linebackers. They better be ready. Steele Jantz is more than willing to run free, and must be accounted for in the running game. It's up to this experienced group to stop him.

4. Robert Griffin III's accuracy. He's been on a tear of late. Will that continue now that the Bears are in conference play? By season's end, I still think TCU's defense will be better than K-State's, but the games that really count start now. We'll see if RG3 comes back to earth a bit.

5. Steele Jantz's decision making. He's gotten off to rough starts in his past two games, but has had two weeks to prepare for a Texas defense that's led the Big 12 in total defense for four seasons and sits in second now. Manny Diaz can make things complicated on QBs, and Jantz will have to overcome his inexperience. Texas is better than UConn. Throwing three INTs before making a completion won't cut it in this one.

6. Kansas' defense. It's probably better than last time out's disaster against Georgia Tech. You can't find an offense less similar than the Yellow Jackets', but Texas Tech is much more similar to what KU will see the rest of its season. We'll see how it does against Seth Doege & Co.

7. Texas Tech's receivers. Tech will be missing top target Darrin Moore, but somebody has to step up. Ten different players caught passes last week, but none had more than 54 yards receiving. The Red Raiders can probably beat Kansas like that, but can they continue to win like that?

8. Oklahoma's focus. You can't blame the Sooners if they look less than sharp this week. Big games against Florida State, Missouri and Texas sandwiched around a rather unappetizing Ball State. What's this team's mental state in a game it could sleepwalk through and win?

9. Malcolm Brown. The Longhorns' running back is continuing to progress, but after a week off to prepare for his first conference game, what does he have prepared? Oklahoma is waiting next week. He'll get plenty of opportunities this week, though.

10. Baylor's defense. This will be a different look than the Bears have seen, and a very physical quarterback in Collin Klein, who reminds me a lot of Austen Arnaud from Iowa State. Baylor's defense took quite a few shots against TCU, but hasn't seen an offense good enough to beat it since. That changes Saturday. Do the Bears respond?

Big 12 predictions, Week 5

October, 1, 2009
10/01/09
8:36
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Oh, so close to perfection last week.

I came close to my first perfect week of the season, missing only on Texas Tech’s late collapse at Houston.

I’m hoping for better luck this time around with an abbreviated schedule of six games that will only feature seven Big 12 teams in action.

Here are my picks:

West Virginia 34, Colorado 17: The Mountaineers will be intent on gaining revenge for their loss last season in Boulder, along with bouncing back from their recent loss at Auburn. The Buffaloes should have Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart close to 100 percent, although they should struggle against West Virginia’s imposing run defense. West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown is looking for some retribution after he was knocked out of the Auburn game after earlier contributing five turnovers. Look for the Mountaineers to try to dictate tempo by running Noel Devine (16th nationally in rushing) against a weak Colorado rush defense (103rd nationally). West Virginia has too many weapons to keep this from being very competitive.

Iowa State 27, Kansas State 24: The winner of "Farmageddon" at Arrowhead Stadium will take an early step to staying out of the Big 12 North cellar and perhaps contending for a bowl berth. Austen Arnaud has played better in recent games and Alexander Robinson's cutback style has emerged in Tom Herman’s running attack. The Cyclones will face an underrated Kansas State defense that ranks among the top 26 teams in each of the major statistical categories of rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. In order to be successful, Arnaud will have to make some plays and stay away from turnovers. But in the end, this game will be settled in the special teams. Kansas State needs to get Brandon Banks involved and Iowa State hopes that Mike Brandtner’s directional punting keeps the Wildcats bottled up. I like Iowa State by a small margin because it has better kicking with Grant Mahoney over Josh Cherry.

Texas Tech 56, New Mexico 20: “The Dysfunctional Bowl” will feature two programs that have been featured in the headlines for reasons off the football field. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley scuffled with his assistant J.B. Gerald while Mike Leach banned Twitter usage among his players after some critical comments were made about him by players after their tough loss at Houston last week. The Red Raiders have way too much offense in this one. Taylor Potts and the Tech offense should be able to pile up the points and yards -- particularly if the Red Raiders’ running game emerges again. The weak New Mexico defense ranks 111th on the ground and 107th or worse in the other three major defensive categories. Everything will be peachy for the Red Raiders after a big win in this one.

Baylor 34, Kent State 14: It will be interesting to see how the Bears approach this game after losing quarterback Robert Griffin to a season-ending knee injury and backup Blake Szymanski’s uncertain status with a bruised shoulder. The Bears still have enough offensive weapons to win, particularly against a Kent State defense that allowed 552 yards last week, but produced five turnovers in a 29-19 victory over Miami (Ohio). I’m expecting Baylor to lean on its rushing attack keyed by Jarred Salubi and Terrance Ganaway to dictate the game for the Bears. The loss of Griffin will hurt, but Baylor still has too many weapons to worry in this one.

Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 34: Texas A&M hasn’t faced a top-notch defense and has posted some monster offensive and defensive numbers attributable to its weak competition. That won’t be the case in this one as the Aggies will face a potent Arkansas passing offense keyed by Ryan Mallett and Greg Childs. In the end, Jerrod Johnson, Ryan Tannehill and Uzoma Nwachukwu should be able to exploit a weak Arkansas pass defense that has played better teams, but still ranks 119th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

Oklahoma 24, Miami 14: The big question all week is whether we will see Sam Bradford back in the lineup. The Sooners likely don’t need him -- particularly if backup Landry Jones shows the form he employed in his record-breaking start against Tulsa. And he has a playmaking Oklahoma defense that has been responsible for 12 sacks and nine takeaways primed for the challenge. Miami is coming to the end of the nation’s toughest four-game scheduling gauntlet to start the season. Virginia Tech's defense showed some cracks in Miami's offense as Jacory Harris struggled through a miserable game. And it won’t be any easier this week when the Sooners bring one of the nation’s best defenses to Land Shark Stadium.

Last Week: 9-1 (90 percent)

Season: 35-9 (77.3 percent)

What to watch in the Big 12, Week 5

October, 1, 2009
10/01/09
7:37
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Here are 10 things to watch for in Big 12 games this weekend:

1. Will Sam Bradford play or not? Oklahoma didn’t look like it needed Bradford in back-to-back victories over Idaho State and Tulsa. A trip to Land Shark Stadium Saturday night against Miami might be different. The Sooners offense hummed when Landry Jones threw for a school-record six touchdown passes against Tulsa. It might be in for a more challenging game against Miami, which will be looking to bounce back after the its struggles last week at Virginia Tech.

2. Oklahoma’s defensive dominance: The Sooners enter the game with a scoreless streak of 123 minutes, 3 seconds after posting back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1987. The unit is still haunted by the late touchdown it allowed in the opener against BYU that ended up being the difference in that loss. Since then, the Sooners have forced nearly as many punts (19) as first downs allowed (22), and allowed opponents a scant 2.39 yards per snap. Miami, however, will be a different challenge with Jacory Harris, Graig Cooper, Javarris James and Leonard Hankerson all ready.

3. Texas A&M’s first big test: The Aggies have emerged as one of the nation’s biggest statistical surprises as they rank among the top seven teams nationally in rushing, passing, total yards and scoring and lead the nation in sacks. Those feats have all been accomplished against a tissue-soft schedule that hasn’t provided a true test yet. That will all change Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium as Arkansas and massive quarterback Ryan Mallett will challenge A&M in ways it hasn't seen yet this season.

4. Jerrod Johnson: The Aggies’ junior quarterback has shown vast growth since last season as he ranks third in the nation in total offense and is coming off a record game where he accounted for six touchdowns against UAB. Johnson has rushed for four touchdowns, passed for nine touchdowns and yet to be intercepted in 111 attempts this season. Arkansas will be his first BCS conference opponent of the season, but the Razorbacks have struggled against the pass. It could be more of the same for them against Johnson, too.

5. Alexander Robinson’s amazing recent rushing streak: Robinson’s cutback running has been a key to Iowa State’s 3-1 start as he’s rushed for 100 yards in his last three games -- the first Iowa State player to accomplish that feat since Ennis Haywood rushed for at least 100 yards in his first four games of the 2000 season. Robinson has provided some nice balance to what was expected to be a pass-heavy attack. His production will be pivotal as the Cyclones attempt to take a big step toward getting closer to bowl eligibility against Kansas State on Saturday.

6. Paul Rhoads vs. Bill Snyder: The conference’s two new coaches this season have a wide difference in coaching game experience as Kansas State’s Bill Snyder will be directing the Wildcats in his 209th career game and Paul Rhoads will be coaching Iowa State in his fourth. There’s some history between these two as Snyder used to recruit the high schools where Rhoads’ father, Cecil, worked during Rhoads' Hall of Fame career as a high school coach in Iowa. It will be interesting to see if Snyder’s experience provides him an edge in this matchup.

7. “The Dysfunctional Bowl:” Which coach has faced more off-the-field headlines this weekend? Is it Mike Leach’s Texas Tech team that dropped a disappointing loss at Houston, soon followed by the indefinite suspension of team captain Brandon Carter and Leach's banning of his team’s tweeting privileges after several uncomplimentary remarks became widely known. Or is it New Mexico’s Mike Locksley, who has received verbal and written reprimands from his superiors at New Mexico after splitting the upper lip of receivers coach J.B. Gerald after an altercation where a police report was filed. And that’s on top of an 0-4 start for the Lobos. It’s obvious that playing the game will be a relief for both coaches.

8. Texas Tech’s emerging running game: The Red Raiders appeared to have taken control of the game against Houston behind a bruising running game, keyed by a career night by Baron Batch, who rushed for a career-best 114 yards last week. Tech inexplicably got away from running the ball late in the Houston game and that switch might have cost them the game after the Red Raiders appeared to have dictated tempo during the middle of the game. They will have another chance Saturday against New Mexico, which ranks 111th in rushing defense and allowed 245 rushing yards to Texas A&M and 298 to Air Force earlier this season. The Red Raiders won’t run for that much, but they should be able to control the trenches against the Lobos, leading to a big game rushing if they want it.

9. Can Colorado build on its first 2009 victory? The Buffaloes are coming off a bye week after their triumph over Wyoming that turned some of Dan Hawkins’ self-described “conflama” that had dogged his program after two losses to start the season. His team will be facing a tough Thursday night challenge against West Virginia, which blew a fourth-quarter lead in the turnover-marred loss at Auburn. Colorado is a huge underdog in this game and will need a big effort to keep the game from getting away like earlier nationally televised losses to Colorado State and Toledo.

10. Baylor’s injury-plagued quarterbacks: Robert Griffin sustained a season-ending knee injury last week against Northwestern State. His backup, Blake Szymanski, bruised his shoulder later in the game and is listed as day to day. Szymanski will try to keep Baylor’s momentum going against Kent State, if he’s healthy. But if he can’t play, freshman Nick Florence will make the first start of his career against the Golden Flashes. Baylor’s bowl hopes -- so bright after their upset victory over Wake Forest to start the season -- have never looked more evanescent since Griffin’s injury.

Sooners' defense surges after quarterback change

September, 30, 2009
9/30/09
9:48
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Oklahoma’s defense already had supreme confidence long before the Sooners lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford and were forced to insert redshirt freshman Landry Jones into the starting lineup.

That quarterback switch didn’t prompt an attitude change from the Sooners’ single-minded defensive purpose. It was already there.
 
 Boyd Ivey/Icon SMI
 Gerald McCoy and the Sooners are looking forward to facing Miami on Saturday.


“Regardless of who is playing quarterback, we’ve wanted to be pretty good as a defense and we know our mindset,” Oklahoma sophomore linebacker Travis Lewis said. “If they can give us a field goal, we think we can win any game.”

That assurance would have been expected to be tested by Bradford’s injury. But it didn’t heighten an existing attitude from a group returning nine starters from last season.

“We believe in our offense and whoever plays, we think they will play well,” Oklahoma junior defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “But even though we believe that, we still have to hold our own and do what we have to do. And as of late, we’ve been able to do that.”

The Sooners come into Saturday’s game at No. 17 Miami (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) after notching back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1987. They have a current scoreless streak of 123 minutes, 3 seconds that ranks as the longest in the nation since allowing a late touchdown against BYU.

The defense’s recent surge coincided when Jones took over. They started it with a strong performance in a 64-0 conquest of Idaho State, as the Bengals did not advance inside the Oklahoma 49 and produced only 44 total yards.

The Sooners continued against Tulsa, which led the nation in total offense the past two seasons and was averaging 41 points a game before meeting Oklahoma. The Sooners notched six sacks and forced three turnovers in a 45-0 statement.

Those efforts have enabled the Sooners to lead the nation in rushing defense (40.7 yards per game), scoring defense (4.7 points per game) and tackles for losses (11.3 per game).

It’s a big turnaround from last year's struggling Oklahoma defense. The Sooners finished 68th in total defense and 58th in scoring defense, which were the worst ratings in Bob Stoops’ coaching tenure. Particularly galling were late collapses in the Sooners’ two losses against Florida and Texas that marked bitter disappointment that carried into this season.

“We didn’t come up with key stops against Texas and Florida when we needed them,” Lewis said. “After last year, we decided we’ve got to be more consistent. Last year we were content to hold them to a couple of touchdowns. That’s totally changed now. We don’t want to give anything up.”

Miami’s athleticism will be the biggest test for the Sooners. And the Hurricanes' struggles at Virginia Tech were an anomaly caused by the wet conditions that helped negate their speed edge.

“It’s going to be a major challenge to go up against a team that in the first couple of games was very explosive and productive,” Stoops said. “I think it’s fair to say that their situation and the circumstances in the Virginia Tech game were difficult to handle. They played in a monsoon, basically, and that changes things.”

The wet conditions caused Miami quarterback Jacory Harris to have trouble with Virginia Tech coordinator Bud Foster’s defensive packages. Harris was sacked three times last week by the Hokies after he was sacked only once in Miami’s first two games.

They will face similar pressure from a balanced Oklahoma defense that has featured eight different players responsible for its 12 sacks so far this season.

"Our goal every week as a defensive line is to be disruptive, get in the backfield, and make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable,” senior defensive end Auston English said. “Those goals won't change this week. We need to continue to build on what we've started this year and hopefully do the same thing this week."

And while Stoops has hinted this season that his current group can become special, the Sooners are focused on more immediate task.

“We want to be a physical defense,” junior free safety Quinton Carter said. “But as far as being compared to defenses from in the past, I guess we have to wait until we get to the end of the season and see what our final legacy is going to be."

What we learned in the Big 12, Week 3

September, 20, 2009
9/20/09
11:29
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Here are five lessons we learned in the Big 12 this week:

1. Baylor's rush defense better improve. For all of the talk about Baylor’s offensive weapons, the Bears were beaten Saturday by a recipe that could prove worrisome once Big 12 play begins. Being gashed for 235 rushing yards by a Big East middle-feeder like Connecticut doesn’t sound good considering the Bears will have to stop backs like DeMarco Murray, Roy Helu Jr., Kendall Hunter, Derrick Washington and Alexander Robinson -- all in their first five conference games. Suddenly, all that talk about a bowl berth doesn’t sound quite so promising if the Bears can’t fix their rush defense.

2. Nebraska's killer lost opportunity. Bo Pelini will be kicking himself every time he watches the 12-second scramble by Tyrod Taylor on Virginia Tech’s game-winning play. But upon close examination, he’ll look back on a drive late in the third quarter that turned the game around. An apparent Nebraska touchdown pass from Zac Lee to Mike McNeill was wiped out by a Nebraska penalty. Two more penalties and a dropped pass led to a punt on a drive that should have finished with a makeable field goal attempt at worst. It was a possession the Cornhuskers couldn’t overcome in the end.

3. Landry Jones might be more ready for a Hurricane warning than we think. If you would have asked me late last Thursday night if Landry Jones could lead Oklahoma to a victory over Miami at Land Shark Stadium in two weeks, I would have been extremely dubious. Miami and Jacory Harris looked that good to me against Georgia Tech. But after watching Jones torch a good Tulsa team for six touchdown passes, I’m thinking he might be able to surprise people when the Sooners visit Miami -- particularly as Brandon Caleb develops into a productive No. 2 receiving threat behind Ryan Broyles.

4. Colorado's simpler defense pays off. There's a message in how Colorado played defense Saturday against Wyoming. After the game, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said that the Buffaloes made things easier by running fewer personnel groups and fewer specialized situations. The result was Colorado’s first shutout in two years, punctuated by only five Wyoming plays of 10 yards or more. Sometimes limiting defensive demands works out better.

5. Texas A&M's receiving depth will have to carry the Aggies the next several games. Jeff Fuller’s cracked fibula will likely rob Texas A&M of its primary receiving playmaker for the next four to six weeks. But the Aggies have other options -- starting with Ryan Tannehill, who transitioned back to receiver and grabbed a team-high five receptions, including a big fourth-quarter TD grab against Utah State. And Uzoma Nwachukwu scored four touchdowns the four times he touched the ball. Fuller is the most talented and explosive of the Aggies’ receivers, but Tannehill and Nwachukwu provide them with pass-catching threats to get through Fuller's absence.

Sooner's hopes dealt blow with Gresham news

September, 8, 2009
9/08/09
7:44
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The announcement that Jermaine Gresham will miss the rest of the season caps a miserable seven-day period for Oklahoma.

A black cloud has seemingly hovered around the Oklahoma program since Gresham was hurt in practice last week. It got worse when Sam Bradford sprained his AC shoulder joint shortly before halftime Saturday night against BYU. The bad news intensified when the Sooners lost that game, failing to mount a late drive behind backup quarterback Landry Jones.

The Sooners' coaches seemed to expect the bad news from Gresham after deciding earlier this week to work Brody Eldridge at tight end. Despite having an exemplary game at his new position of center against BYU, the coaches seem to believe Eldridge will be more valuable to the team by moving him back to tight end.

The Sooners will spend the next several weeks working with a run-heavy offense that likely will feature a lot of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. That offense should be enough to get the Sooners past Idaho State on Saturday and Tulsa next week. Oklahoma then has an open week -- allowing Bradford another week to get ready.

But it's likely that the Sooners will struggle with that simplistic attack against rejuvenated Miami. And after watching Jacory Harris engineer a dramatic comeback at Florida State Monday night, the Hurricanes will be a tough match-up for the Sooners, even if Bradford plays.

As Bob Stoops stated earlier today, Gresham's loss hurts the Sooners in many ways.

First he was the Sooners' check-down receiver and the ultimate security blanket for the quarterback. The Sooners were already inexperienced at wide receiver and Gresham likely would have emerged as the Sooners' go-to receiver, producing 80 or 90 receptions for the Sooners if he was healthy.

The Sooners have to account for that loss. Somebody has to step up to fill that void.

And they'll have to account for Bradford missing the next several weeks.

The Sooners' national title hopes aren't dead. They could still win an outrageous fourth-straight Big 12 title -- a dynasty like we've never seen in the conference's brief history.

But without Gresham, it's going to be very hard.

Marve sets Big 12 stops on his visit of national powers

April, 16, 2009
4/16/09
8:01
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve will visit Nebraska and Texas Tech next week on his swing of potential schools he is considering.

Marve's high school coach Robert Weiner told the Omaha World-Herald that his former player considers the two Big 12 schools as "wild cards" in the search for a new program.

"He hasn't seen those places and has no familiarity with those places at all," said Weiner, head coach at Plant High in Tampa, Fla. "Neither recruited him out of high school. Those are places he really hasn't done a lot of looking into until recently."

Marve will be in Lincoln from Friday through Sunday around his trip to the Cornhuskers' Red-White scrimmage. He also plans a mid-week visit to Texas Tech next week to visit with coach Mike Leach.

Weiner told the World-Herald it's still to early to consider where Marve might end up. He's already visited Purdue and he also plans to make trips to Arizona State and UCLA before making his decision by mid-May. And he's still considering an offer to play at South Florida, where he would be closer to his ailing father.

"Robert's a gut-feel type of kid," Weiner said. "He'll kind of know as he goes along which schools are attractive to him and which ones he probably won't go to."

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, tossing nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He made 11 starts as he shared time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

Marve's season was marred by a pair of suspensions. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Nebraska has been on Marve's list of suitors from the beginning. And Kody Spano's recent knee injury would open up a chance for Marve to take a more active role for him to take an immediate role in the Cornhuskers' program, although he would not be eligible until the 2010 season.

And the chance to see the Cornhuskers' program with the excitement of the spring game is intriguing for those in Marve's camp, Weiner told the World-Herald.

"I think this will be a good trip for him, particularly with how good the spring game is going to be," Weiner said. "He'll get to experience all that hoopla."

Marve has strong visit to Purdue with Big 12 stops to follow

April, 14, 2009
4/14/09
2:53
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve nearly went to Purdue during his first recruiting period.

So it wasn't a surprise that Marve found a lot to like when he visited with the Boilermakers and new coach Danny Hope over the weekend.

Marve made his first recruiting visit to the Boilermakers among his potential suitors. He plans to examine Nebraska this weekend when the Cornhuskers are expected to have a near capacity crowd of about 80,000 at Memorial Stadium for the Red-White spring game.

Marve also is considering Texas Tech, UCLA, South Florida and Arizona State.

But Purdue scored strongly in his first visit, according to Robert Weiner, who coached Marve in high school at Plant City, Fla.

The Boilermakers already have some playing time available at quarterback after the departure of Justin Stiller for a university violation. The Boilermakers would have three quarterbacks eligible in 2010, when Marve would be first eligible.

"Purdue was one of the top schools on his list even before some of these recent things happened," Weiner told the Indianapolis Star. "But I think it plays a lot in Purdue's favor.

"All of the places he's considering have a similar situation to where if he goes in and does what he's supposed to do, he might have a good opportunity to get himself on the field in a time frame you would expect after he would have to sit out a year."

Marve already has a close friendship with Purdue receiver and Tampa native Adam Wolf. He also knows Purdue defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo.

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, tossing nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He split time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

The season was marred by a pair of suspensions for Marve. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

I'm wondering if Marve's recruitment is kind of like when I look for cars. The most recent one that I've examined is my favorite and the ones I looked at before that are kind of shunted to the side.

That's why I still think he's likely to return to South Florida where he could be closer to his family members and have more of an impact on the Bulls' developing program. But I'm still guessing he'll take a long look at the rest of his potential locations before making his final decision.

Miami transfer QB Marve still considering two Big 12 schools

April, 7, 2009
4/07/09
10:21
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska and Texas Tech still rank among the finalists for Miami quarterback Robert Marve, who is transferring from the Hurricane program.

Robert Weiner, Marve's former high school coach at Plant High School in Tampa, told Florida reporters Monday that Marve will begin making trips this weekend when he visits Purdue. Other trips he has scheduled over the next month include Texas Tech, Nebraska and Arizona State.

The Sun Devils are a new entry into the Marve sweepstakes and apparently have replaced Michigan, which recently picked up a commitment for another drop-back passer set to arrive next season.

Marve also could visit UCLA after spring practice finishes. And he still includes hometown USF among his finalists.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that USF might have the ultimate advantage for Marve's immediate playing time. If he plays with his hometown school, he could petition for an NCAA hardship waiver because of his father's medical issues.

I still think that playing for USF makes the most sense for Marve. But the fact that he's scheduled recruiting visits across the country over the next few weeks might indicate that playing close to his family isn't his major reason for the transfer.

Marve has scheduled his trip to Nebraska for the Cornhuskers' April 18 spring game.

With Patrick Witt leaving the Nebraska program, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he might be interested in considering what Marve could provide for his team. Marve would sit out a year as a transfer and be eligible for the 2010 season.

"With Patrick leaving, it kind of leaves a hole in the class," Pelini said. "So if it was the right guy, and the right situation, the right kid, it'd be something we'd be interested in possibly. Specifically him, I don't know. But we'll see how it plays out."

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He split time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

The season was marred by a pair of suspensions for Marve. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Big 12 picks: Look for more struggles vs. Big East

September, 18, 2008
9/18/08
10:16
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Big 12 will be on display the next two nights as underdogs against two powerful Big East foes. After losing two games in six days to the Big East, the conference is looking for a quick turnaround.

Here are my picks:

West Virginia 33, Colorado 28: The Mountaineers have too much offensive firepower in this one, even with Colorado fans planning a "Blackout" and West Virginia offensive linemen worrying about Boulder's altitude in game preparation this week. The Buffaloes are still a little young to prevail, but will pick up some important lessons that could help them later in Big 12 play.

Connecticut 42, Baylor 17: The quick development of Baylor freshman QB Robert Griffin has given this game a little bit more sizzle than it might have had a couple of weeks ago. Baylor will be looking for its first road victory at a BCS opponent since 1996. But look for the Huskies to dominate inside because of the tough running of Donald Brown, cruising to their ninth-straight victory and second straight 4-0 start.

Missouri 57, Buffalo 20: The Bulls will be looking for their first 3-1 start since 1996. It won't happen here, however, because Missouri's potent offense is cruising, even if Gary Pinkel is claiming he can't find the off switch. The Tigers lead the nation with an average of 57.7 points per game and 10 yards per snap. It might just be a moral victory for Buffalo to keep Missouri from scoring every time they get the ball, considering that QB Chase Daniel has led Missouri on 13 straight scoring possessions over the last two games.

Miami 17, Texas A&M 7: Both teams have unsettled quarterback situations. Robert Marve and Jacory Harris have been alternating snaps for the Hurricanes. And the Aggies' starter is in flux as Stephen McGee is coming off a sprained shoulder after Jerrod Johnson's impressive relief work against New Mexico. Both teams have been offensively challenged, so look for points to be hard to come by. Even though A&M president and Miami native Elsa Murano has made beating "The U" a priority, the Aggies don't have enough firepower to do it.

Texas 48, Rice 17: The Longhorns will be looking for their 10th straight victory and 37th in the last 38 games against Rice since 1966. Look for the Longhorns to try and emphasize their running attack and their physical advantage in the trenches. Rice QB Chase Clement and WR James Casey, who is tied for first nationally in per-game receptions, could give the young Texas secondary some problems. But not that many.

Texas Tech 61, Massachusetts 10: Tech coach Mike Leach called out his quarterbacks and receivers this week -- and by inference QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree -- for lack of production after beating SMU last week. Look for an inspired offense from the Red Raiders with a lot of points and yardage against the FCS Minutemen. Massachusetts QB Liam Coen has thrown 75 career touchdown passes, but will be challenged by a Tech defense that picked off five passes last week.

Kansas 45, Sam Houston State 10: After a disappointing defeat last week at South Florida, the Jayhawks are hoping to rebound and rebuild confidence in their running game at the same time. Sam Houston State hasn't played since beating East Central, 58-14, on Aug. 28. The Jayhawks will be looking for defensive improvement after failing to produce a turnover and allowing 31 straight points at one juncture last week. And they'll be challenged by Sam Houston State QB Rhett Bomar, who formerly played at Oklahoma and beat the Jayhawks while playing there.

UNLV 24, Iowa State 22: The Rebels enter this game brimming with confidence after their stunning overtime victory at Arizona State last week. It's helped them post a winning record for the first time since 2003 after failing to win more than two games in any of the last four seasons. The Cyclones are trying to bounce back after failing to score a touchdown in a loss at archrival Iowa. Iowa State remains the Big 12's most opportunistic team, but will need some big plays to win in the desert and snap Gene Chizik's 12-game road losing streak.

My pick last night: 0-1 (0 percent)

My picks for the season: 31-2 (93.9 percent)

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