Big 12: James Franklin

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Missouri sent a message for the SEC with a 41-31 win over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Friday Night at AT&T Stadium. Here’s how it happened.

It was over when: Missouri defensive lineman Shane Ray returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown. Oklahoma State was driving to try to take the lead or tie the game in the final minutes when Missouri’s Michael Sam stripped OSU quarterback Clint Chelf of the ball, which Ray picked up for the scoop and score.

How the game was won: After Oklahoma State drove down to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, Missouri responded on its next drive to score the game-winning points. James Franklin led the Tigers down the field to jump right back on top after running back Henry Josey's 16-yard touchdown run made the score 34-31 with 3:08 remaining. Josey’s touchdown capped off a 7-play, 69-yard drive and gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Turning point: Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham made a key 27-yard catch on the Tigers' final drive on 3rd-and-9 from the OSU 43-yard line. Green-Beckham used his size and ball skills to outfight OSU’s Tyler Patmon for the key third down conversion. Josey rumbled 16 yards for the game-deciding touchdown on the next play.

Stat of the game: 256. Mizzou ran for 256 yards on the Cowboys, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Josey was shifty and solid while backup quarterback Maty Mauk was explosive with three carries for 73 yards in spot duty. OSU simply didn’t have an answer for Missouri’s running game, particularly when it needed one in the fourth quarter.

Player of the game: Josey. He didn’t have outstanding numbers, but his quickness and cutback ability gave OSU’s defense fits. He finished with 12 carries for 92 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 7.7 yards per carry.

What it means for Oklahoma State: The Cowboys end the season with back-to-back disappointing losses after falling to the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl and losing to Oklahoma in their regular-season finale. OSU heads into the offseason with very little momentum and looking to replace several starters while opening the 2014 season with Florida State.

What it means for Missouri: The Tigers rebounded well from their SEC championship loss to Auburn. Missouri finishes 12-2 with the Cotton Bowl victory and will head into 2014 with plenty of confidence and momentum.

Texas eyeballing Mora?

January, 3, 2014
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Texas wants to interview UCLA coach Jim Mora for its head coaching vacancy, according to multiple reports, including ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter and Brett McMurphy.

Chip Brown of OrangeBloods Tweeted that Mora will interview "in the next few days." Texas has already reportedly interviewed Louisville's Charlie Strong and Vanderbilt's James Franklin. Baylor coach Art Briles also is thought to be in the mix.

Mora already turned down his alma mater Washington, thereby earning a raise for himself and his coaches along with certain guarantees about upgrades to UCLA's lagging facilities.

No question Mora would be a great hire for Texas. And he and his staff would move up a tax bracket in Austin. Or two.

Things could get interesting.

Digging into the coaches' top 25 votes

December, 3, 2012
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The USA Today coaches' top 25 poll is private all season, until the final week. Every year, the final ballot is made public. Last year, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel made waves by voting Oklahoma State No. 4, instead of No. 3, which would possibly give Alabama the edge in the BCS race with Oklahoma State for the right to play LSU for the title.

So, what happened this year? Half the nation's coaches have a vote, and it rotates each year. I'll go through this starting with the Big 12 coaches' individual ballots, and then we'll look at how each Big 12 team looked on various coaches' ballots. You can see all the ballots in their entirety with this great graph from USA Today.

Let's get started:

Art Briles, Baylor
  • Briles had Oklahoma very high, at No. 6. He also voted Kansas State at No. 4. The Sooners finished No. 11 in the coaches poll, and K-State was at No. 6. Only two other coaches (You might recognize them, we'll touch on it later) had Oklahoma at No. 6.
  • Most coaches typically do have teams in their league higher than others, but aside from that, not much else about Briles' ballot was notable.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

  • Rhoads was the second voter who had Oklahoma at No. 6, joining Briles in voting OU higher than any other voter. We'll talk about the third and final voter to do so later.
  • He cast his vote for K-State at No. 3, behind national title participants Notre Dame and Alabama at No. 1 and No. 2.
  • Rhoads threw Texas a bone, but he was one of just two Big 12 coaches of the five voters to do so. He had the Longhorns at No. 22.

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
  • Holgorsen slotted K-State at No. 4 and Oklahoma at No. 9. He also included Texas at No. 25. He also gave his old friends in the C-USA, league champion Tulsa, a nod at No. 22. Only one coach had the Golden Hurricane higher. They finished at No. 29 in receiving votes.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Stoops had his Sooners at No. 6, joining Briles and Rhoads as the voters who had Oklahoma higher than anyone. Stoops also clearly knew what was going on with Northern Illinois, voting NIU at No. 24, lower than all but one voter in the entire poll. Only one other voter among the 59 had NIU at 24th or lower.
  • Stoops also slotted K-State at No. 3, and didn't include Texas on his ballot.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
  • He was the only Big 12 coach to put Alabama at No. 1 instead of undefeated Notre Dame, who the Tide will face in the national title game.
  • He had Oklahoma down at No. 11, right where the Sooners finished in the poll. He also had K-State at No. 7, the only Big 12 coach to place the Wildcats below where they finished, at No. 6. Tuberville also left No. 25 Texas off his ballot.

All in all, mostly decent ballots from the Big 12 coaches. So, how did the Big 12 teams receiving votes do?

KANSAS STATE
  • We mentioned those two Big 12 coaches that had K-State at No. 3, but they were joined by a third. It won't surprise you. It's Miami coach Al Golden, whose Hurricanes lost in Manhattan in September, 52-13.
  • Fresno State's Tim DeRuyter (DC at Texas A&M last season) and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin had Kansas State all the way down at No. 9, but Kentucky coach Joker Phillips was all alone with the Wildcats at No. 11. Ouch.
  • Franklin, however, did have three SEC teams ahead of Notre Dame on his ballot.
OKLAHOMA
  • You already heard about the three coaches (all from the Big 12, and only the Big 12) that had Oklahoma at No. 6.
  • Not a single coach had OU at No. 7, but Michigan State's Mark Dantonio had the Sooners at No. 8. No other coach had the Sooners below 13.
TEXAS
  • Brady Hoke of Michigan and Kent State's Darrell Hazell love them some Longhorns. Both had No. 25 Texas at No. 16, despite the two losses to close the season and an 8-4 record. Only two other coaches (Jim Grobe, Wake Forest; Mike Riley, Oregon State) had Texas higher than No. 21. It would seem the Horns have not convinced many in the Big 12 that they're world-beaters.
  • Texas appeared on 27 of 59 ballots.

No other Big 12 teams received votes.
This time last year, we broke down who in the Big 12's would most likely hit the benchmarks for their positions in 2011. The quarterbacks came first.

Here's what I wrote then.

The clear line designating the best at the position is 3,000 yards. Plenty will top the number, and some from the Big 12 will even hit 4,000 yards.

In 2011, 39 quarterbacks broke the 3,000-yard mark.

SportsNation

How would you grade the QB projections?

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    41%
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    39%
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    9%
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    2%
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    9%

Discuss (Total votes: 850)

Well, it's time to grade the prediction.

I broke down all 10 teams' prospects at having a 3,000-yard passer, but picked only six to do it.
1. Landry Jones, Oklahoma -- Jones topped 3,000 yards as a freshman filling in for an injured Sam Bradford in 2009 and had 4,718 yards last season, almost 500 yards more than anyone else in the Big 12. He also had the most attempts of any quarterback in college football. It's safe to say he's got this.
Final yardage tally: 4,463 yards

Thoughts: Easy pick here. Not much to say.
2. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State -- Weeden is probably a good bet to clear 4,000 yards, too. He had 4,277 last season and brings back a Biletnikoff Award winner at receiver in Justin Blackmon. He and Jones should be locked in a season-long battle for a spot as the first-team All-Big 12 quarterback, among other honors.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,727 yards

Thoughts: Weeden definitely won that battle with Jones, but RG3 surpassed even the highest expectations for him in 2011, winning the Heisman. Still, no contest on the 3,000-yard mark.
3. Seth Doege, Texas Tech -- Texas Tech has had a 3,000-yard passer for 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in college football. Coach Tommy Tuberville wants to run it more, but not that much more. Doege looks likely to slide into a spot as the next in line for two seasons.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,004 yards

Thoughts: His offense sort of crumbled around him thanks to injuries -- his top two running backs and receivers both missed significant time, and the offensive line was banged up, too -- but Doege did a great job continuing the quarterback tradition at Tech as a first-year starter.
4. Robert Griffin III, Baylor -- Griffin's 3,501 yards was his first 3,000-yard season, and he showed lots of development as a passer during his sophomore campaign. That should continue as a junior in 2011, and he's got a deep, talented receiving corps.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,293 yards

Thoughts: Well, undershot this one. We all knew RG3 had upside, but legitimate Heisman potential? He surprised us all with that one. He also helped Kendall Wright win the Big 12 receiving title, too.
5. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M -- Tannehill only had 1,638 yards last season, but he did it in just more than six games. With Jeff Fuller and a handful of other capable receivers, he should clear the mark easily in 2010.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 3,744 yards

Thoughts: Tannehill had his problems in 2011, namely throwing a league-high 15 interceptions and stumbling to a 7-6 record, but he was productive. He parlayed his season and a half of experience into a top-10 draft pick. Not bad. Fuller, though, was another story. We'll get to the receivers later.
6. Tyler Gabbert/James Franklin, Missouri -- I don't have much doubt that the pair will combine for at least 3,000 yards, but Missouri has a handful of solid running backs and both look like capable quarterbacks. If one struggles, the other could fill in and leave the Tigers without a 3,000-yard man at the helm.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 2,872 yards

Thoughts: Gabbert transferred just weeks after this was written, but Franklin took a hold of the job and played well as a sophomore. I knew he'd run and change Mizzou's offense a bit, but I'm not sure I expected him to run as much as he did (217 rushes). He handled it well, but it was surprising. He threw the ball 98 fewer times in 2011 (377 attempts) than Blaine Gabbert did in 2010 (475 attempts).

I didn't believe Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State or Kansas would have a 3,000-yard passer. None of them did. In fact, none of them even had a 2,000-yard passer, even though K-State and Kansas started the same quarterback in each game all season.

All things considered, how would you grade my picks?

Mailbag: Defending the top 25 player list

March, 14, 2012
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As always, lots of responses to my list of the Big 12's top 25 players in 2011.

Here's the list.

And here's what you all had to say.

Dave in Maryland wrote: I think most of your picks are defendable, with the exception of Klein as number 7. I believe you violated your own rule: "Each player's personal role or meaning to his team is irrelevant. This is not a 'most valuable' list. It's the Big 12's best players". Klein may develop into a great QB, but I'd say that last season he was simply above average and did not make mistakes. If you were to hold a draft of the BigXII-ish QBs at the end of the season to play one more game, RG3, Weedon, Jones, Doege, Tannehill and possibly Franklin would all be drafted before him. Klein was arguably the 7th best QB in the Big 12 last season, not the 7th best player.

David Ubben: I'd totally disagree with you on that, Dave. How many guys in this league, much less quarterbacks, could take the kind of beating Klein did last year and keep going, and keep maintaining the production Klein did? The guy was getting beat up every single week and never flinched.

Additionally, he wasn't even practicing much of the second half of the season and still progressed as a passer. That makes me pretty optimistic about his 2012.

Klein may have been the seventh best passer in the Big 12, but he was easily the seventh-best player, and maybe deserved to be even higher.

Bobby in Tulsa wrote: Great list! Just curious your thoughts on Jamell Fleming. I could see maybe not making your top 25 but not even on honorable mention? What was your thought process on him? His stats and importance to the team was as important as any DB in the Big 12. Thanks. Great job, as always.

DU: It's really, really tough to grade cornerbacks in this league. I'll say that for starters. The offenses, receivers and schemes are so good that life is pretty hard out there for DBs in general.

When it comes to Fleming, I thought he underachieved a bit this year, but in retrospect, you were probably right that he deserved honorable mention. He wasn't better than Nigel Malone or Carrington Byndom this year. I feel strongly about that. But he was as good as anyone else.

For me, the lasting image of Fleming this year was those losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State when it looked like OU's secondary wasn't even playing.

He was better than that, but I probably could have contrasted that with how Oklahoma's defense struggled without Fleming in the loss to Texas Tech. That game is probably different with Fleming on the field.

So, point to the people on this one. Fleming deserved honorable mention.

J.R. in Beckley, W. Va., wrote: hey, i have an interesting question , after the top 25 player polls for the Big12 and Big East ...Griffin and Smith were the #1 players in each conference ...with that being said , who ya got between those 2 guys ? maybe even compare and/or contrast ?

DU: Well, I don't think it's even close between the two, but Smith would have probably been somewhere in my top 10 this year if I had been including West Virginia players.

Griffin is a much better athlete and a better passer than Smith, and they both had comparable weapons this year. Consider, too, that Tavon Austin helped Geno's numbers quite a bit after the catch, while Griffin's biggest asset was hitting receivers on deep balls every week.

Smith's a great player. Don't be surprised to see him at No. 1 on this list. But he wouldn't have been close just yet. Give me Griffin and Brandon Weeden by far over Smith. Landry Jones is close from a big-picture perspective, but last year, Geno was better.

Adam in Washington, D.C., wrote: David, No complaints with your top 25, I just wanted to point out I don't think you go far enough with just what Griffin means to the Baylor program. I'm not sure anybody really can, but it has gone from having a wonderful talking point to taking on a life and identity of it's own. He is discussed at every turn in regards to the draft. His career will be scrutinized from day 1 in the NFL and he will ALWAYS carry that Baylor logo. In 15 years, when Baylor has maintained success in college football (which I strongly believe they will) you will be able to look back and identify a single individual who so instrumental in resuscitating a lifeless program. This kind of stuff just doesn't happen. But he made it happen.

DU: You're preaching to the choir on that one, Adam. It's hard to put into words what Griffin means to the program now and what he'll mean over time. You simply couldn't ask for a better ambassador for your school.

Alex Okafor in Austin wrote: I didn't make your "just missed" list?

DU: Getting around this league and talking to people, you just didn't hear the kind of fear from quarterbacks and OCs about Okafor that you did about some of the other defensive ends in this league, all the defensive ends I put on the list and honorable mention ahead of Okafor.

Texas had a lot of great pieces on the defense, but simply put, Okafor didn't inspire the same kind of respect from people around the league like Frank Alexander, Ronnell Lewis and Jamie Blatnick, or even his teammate, the less-experienced but more physically gifted Jackson Jeffcoat.

Britt Fisher in Austin, Texas, wrote: You really put Moore on there, what he did to eric stevens was disgusting. Also how did Eric Ward not make your list.

DU: Sorry, I just never bought that Damontre Moore's hit on Eric Stephens was dirty. A bit late, yes, but he wasn't trying to hurt him. Moore is a heck of a player.

Also, Ward wasn't even close to the list. Have you been watching Big 12 receivers this year? Ward was probably just inside the league's top 10 if I was ranking receivers.

The best players who just missed the top 25

March, 13, 2012
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Our top 25 has come and gone, but we're taking a deeper look at the list throughout the day on the blog.

As we do with every list, here are the guys who were probably good enough to be on the top 25, but didn't make the cut. After all, there's only so much room.

These are listed in no particular order.

Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas: Broke up 15 passes and picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown. Also forced a fumble and of his 54 tackles, seven were for losses.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Threw for 2,865 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Also rushed for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns on 217 carries.

Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State: Made 71 tackles and broke up eight passes. Also made two tackles for loss and forced a fumble.

Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas: Led the Big 12 with 119 tackles. Made six tackles for loss and had an interception. Broke up two passes and forced two fumbles.

Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas: Second on the team with 98 tackles. Made 8.5 tackles for loss and had one sack. Broke up seven passes and forced two fumbles.

Jeremiah Hatch, OL, Kansas: Bounced back from a scary injury against Oklahoma and played well enough to earn a second-team All-Big 12 nod.

LaAdrian Waddle, OL, Texas Tech: Was the most outstanding member of the Texas Tech offensive line, which finished sixth in the Big 12 in total offense.

David Garrett, CB, Kansas State: Picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown. Made 88 tackles and had 6.5 tackles for loss. Also broke up two passes.

Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State: Made 74 tackles and broke up 11 passes. Made five tackles for loss and forced two fumbles.

Gabe Ikard, OL, Oklahoma: Was the most outstanding member of the Sooners' offensive line, which paved the way for more than 512 yards per game, third-most in the Big 12.

Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M: Missed the final three games of the season, but averaged more than six yards per carry and finished eighth in the Big 12 with 899 yards and eight touchdowns on 149 carries.

Luke Joeckel, OL, Texas A&M: Improved as a second-year starter at tackle, has the most upside of any player on the Aggies' line, which helped produce the Big 12's No. 4 offense.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Third in the Big 12 with 17 tackles for loss. Had eight sacks and broke up three passes. Made 63 tackles.

Clyde Aufner, OL, Kansas State: Aufner helped Kansas State roll to the No. 5 rushing offense in the Big 12 and lead the Big 12 with 606 carries. Earned first-team All-Big 12 honors from the coaches.

Jamie Blatnick, DE, Oklahoma State: Made eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Recovered two fumbles, made 50 tackles and had an interception. Forced a fumble and broke up seven passes.

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 14

February, 23, 2012
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Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

No. 14: Henry Josey, RB, Missouri

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 145 times for 1,168 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 91 yards.

Most recent ranking: Josey was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Josey: The speedster started the season third on Missouri's depth chart, but finally got his shot after De'Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence went down with injuries early in the season.

After breaking out for 263 yards against Western Illinois, an FCS opponent, Josey still had his doubters. Then he rushed for at least 129 yards in five of his next six games and opened up a laughable lead by almost 300 yards in the Big 12 rushing race.

A catastrophic knee injury ended his season in early November, but he still finished third in the Big 12 in rushing, despite ranking 12th in carries. His 8.06 yards per carry was sky-high and second nationally. The only player whose average was higher, though, carried the ball just 61 yards.

His abbreviated season (both early and late) and the presence of James Franklin in the running game to open room for him to run keeps Josey out of the top 10, but not by much. Here's hoping he's able to rehab and get back on the field in 2012 for Mizzou in the SEC.

The rest of the list:
Each offense across the Big 12 starts 11 players on Saturday and plays 12-13 games. That's a whole lot of performances. Some are better than others.

These are the 11 best individual performances from the entire 2011 season. Here's our top 10 from 2010. Why are there 11 this year? Because.

If a player's team didn't win the game, he was ineligible, and this list omitted defensive performances. This is, after all, the Big 12. An opponent's defensive quality is factored in. That considered, my apologies to Henry Josey vs. Western Illinois.

[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireJustin Blackmon was the difference between a win and a loss for the Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl.
1. OSU receiver Justin Blackmon vs. Stanford. Simply put, Blackmon completely changed the game in the Cowboys' 41-38 win. OSU doesn't come anywhere close to winning without him. His first two catches went for scores, and he was uncoverable, hauling in his biggest catch of the night on a slant on fourth-and-6 with minutes to play and OSU trailing by seven. He finished with eight catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III vs. TCU. Interesting that Blackmon's performance came in the second-to-last game of the Big 12 season, and Griffin's came in the very first. Still, both were legendary. Griffin launched a Heisman campaign with four touchdown passes of 28 yards or longer, and extended the game-winning drive with a third-down catch up the middle that resulted with getting the wind knocked of out him. He still marched Baylor down the field for the game-winning field goal in the 50-48 win and finished 21-of-27 for 359 yards and five touchdown passes.

3. OSU QB Brandon Weeden vs. Texas Tech. This was sheer dominance from Weeden, who had an unbelievable game in the 66-6 win, despite throwing passes in what I can assure you was 40 mph-plus winds. He somehow finished 31-of-37 for 423 yards and five touchdowns in the laugher against the Red Raiders.

4. K-State QB Collin Klein vs. Texas A&M. This was by far Klein's best passing game of the season, rescuing the Wildcats from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a pair of deep completions and winning the game, 53-50, in the fourth overtime with a QB sneak. He carried the ball 35 times for 103 yards and five scores. He also completed 17-of-27 passes for 281 yards, a touchdown and an interception. That's a ton of touches.

5. Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles vs. Missouri. Oklahoma fell behind 10-0 early, but Broyles and quarterback Landry Jones helped bring the Sooners back in the 38-28 win. He was uncoverable for most of the game, catching 13 balls for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

6. Griffin III vs. Oklahoma. Griffin became the Heisman frontrunner after a second legendary performance in the same season. He threw the game-winning touchdown pass with seconds left to Terrance Williams, his fourth touchdown pass of the game. He finished 21-of-34 for 479 yards and carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards, including a late scramble on the game-winning drive.

7. Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope vs. Baylor: For once, the Aggies didn't struggle in the second half. Swope was solid for 60 minutes, breaking tackles and breaking loose from Baylor's offense all day. The Bears had no answer, and were blown out, 55-28. Swope finished with 11 catches for 206 yards and was the only receiver to catch four touchdowns in a game this season.

8. Baylor WR Kendall Wright vs. TCU. Now, you didn't think Griffin did it all by himself in the 50-48 win over the Horned Frogs, did you? Wright was blowing by an inexperienced TCU secondary, and RG3 found him all night. He finished with 12 catches for 189 yards and two scores, but he also threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and hit Griffin on his only catch of the night.

9. Baylor RB Terrance Ganaway vs. Washington. Ganaway sealed the Big 12 rushing title with his sixth 100-yard game and second 200-yard rushing game of the season, rolling over the Huskies and overshadowing RG3 in the Heisman winner's final game. He carried the ball 21 times for 200 yards and five touchdowns.

10. Blackmon vs. Kansas State. Blackmon was at his best late, hauling in a 54-yard touchdown pass to take the lead in the final minutes, capped by a two-point conversion to make it a seven-point lead. K-State couldn't handle him, and he finished with 205 receiving yards, 13 catches and two scores.

11. Missouri QB James Franklin vs. Iowa State. Franklin had a handful of great dual-threat games. This was his best, despite going up against the Big 12's best group of linebackers. He helped blow out the Cyclones with 289 yards and three scores on 20-of-28 passing. He threw two interceptions, but he also carried the ball 11 times for 84 yards and two scores.

Honorable mention: Oklahoma QB Landry Jones vs. Texas; Landry Jones vs. Missouri; Texas RB Joe Bergeron vs. Texas Tech; Kendall Wright vs. Texas; Henry Josey vs. Western Illinois
MissouriCal Sport Media/AP ImagesCan Gary Pinkel's squad continue their run of recent success when they move to the SEC?
We introduced Mizzou to the SEC earlier Tuesday, but now it's time to get dirty.

Big 12 blogger David Ubben and Edward Aschoff debate: What awaits Missouri in the SEC?

The decline of one of college football's rising programs? Or new heights in a foreign conference that's college football's toughest?

Let's hash this out.

Edward Aschoff: So, with the Tigers joining the SEC, some are wondering if the Tigers will make more of an impact in basketball, rather than football. After all, the Big 12 hasn't exactly had its way with the SEC lately. But Mizzou does bring back a slew of talent on both sides of the ball and could compete in the SEC East in its first season. David, why should we believe that Missouri will be anything more than just a one-hit wonder?

David Ubben: Gary Pinkel. You'll hear this stat parroted often, but the Tigers are one of just a handful -- six, I believe -- teams in college football to win at least eight games in six consecutive seasons. TCU and Boise State have done it, too, but doing so outside of a power conference is nowhere near as impressive.

The Tigers haven't necessarily won big. The program is still seeking its first BCS bowl appearance but they've won consistently on the back of solid recruiting and even better development. Even in the program's glory years under Dan Devine in the 1960s, it never saw this kind of consistent success.

Players know what is expected of them under Pinkel. He wants to retire at Missouri, a point he's reiterated several times. The fans love him after this six-season stretch that followed some rough years early on, and would love to have him there as long as he wants. He's got the program rolling, and deep enough where a nightmare year of 4-5 wins just isn't going to happen.

Of course, he's done much of this on the back of Texas recruits, a luxury afforded many of the teams in the former Big 12 North after the Southwest Conference merged with the Big 8.

We've already seen them shift some recruiting focus into your neck of the woods, Florida and Atlanta. What does this program have to do to make some recruiting inroads there and continue this success?

[+] EnlargeJames Franklin
Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesHow will James Franklin fare against more athletic and tougher defenses?
EA: Well, getting into the Florida and Atlanta areas is a good start, but Missouri can't forget about the entire Southeast. There are some other states that can be Missouri's friends as well. One thing going for Missouri is that St. Louis and Kansas City are pretty close. Both are about two hours away from Columbia and kids just love the those big cities! But the bright lights and the big malls can only take Missouri so far. Missouri has to prove that it can really compete on the SEC's level for an entire season and beyond. Winning just comes naturally in this conference, so Missouri will have to prove that it can keep up for years to come. One thing that will really get the athletes' attentions in the Southeast will be starting things off on the right foot. Playing in the SEC East and returning a good amount of starters should help with that. But make no mistake about it, there will be tons of negative recruiting thrown Missouri's way because of the Big 12 past and the fact that those starters will soon be gone after their SEC introduction.

Missouri's coaches are going to have to get very aggressive when it comes to recruiting over here. It's a rough game in the South. There are no unwritten rules about being respectful of committed prospects. SEC coaches play for keeps down here.

Also, Missouri's coaches are going to have to compete with the distance factor. Columbia is almost 700 miles away. There certainly are players who travel away from the Deep South, but most of them stay home. Can Missouri build enough of that family atmosphere to get these players to venture over to its neck of the woods?

We've hit Missouri's returners, but in order to win in the SEC you have to play well up front. Everyone says this a line-of-scrimmage league and from what I've read it sounds like Missouri's defensive line could have/should have played better in 2011. How do the Tigers make sure they're strong and tough enough up front to compete in this league?

DU: Good points on Mizzou's recruiting trying to spread its wings. The problem? They'll try to maintain those ties in Texas and it'll have to make sure they don't get spread too thin.

These are all issues Mizzou's coaching staff will have to figure out. I'm glad I don't have to.

You're right about the defensive line. They were good in 2011, but not as good as people thought. They'll have to be better. Landing a couple of those big defensive tackles down south would serve the Tigers well. For now, they've got great size coming back in a St. Louis kid, Sheldon Richardson. He's a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder with great athleticism who went to junior college before coming back to Mizzou. Monte Kiffin almost got his hands on him out at USC, but the Tigers have him and need him to have a huge season as a senior in Year 1 in the SEC.

The defensive line lost three starters, but they were deep in 2011 and have good pieces to fill the losses of Terrell Resonno and Dominique Hamilton at tackle and Jacquies Smith at defensive end. The time is now for promising ends Michael Sam and Kony Ealy.

Richardson's the biggest piece at tackle. Brad Madison was a Big 12 preseason Defensive Player of the Year candidate at defensive end, but had a disappointing season after playing through a shoulder injury that really limited his effectiveness and flexibility on the line. He'll be hungry as a senior in 2012. Memo to SEC offensive lines: look out for the spin move.

[+] EnlargeGary Pinkel
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesGary Pinkel's success in coming seasons will hinge on how well Missouri can recruit in the South.
Players like Richardson come down to recruiting, though. The kinds of players Mizzou needs on the defensive lines are much more plentiful in their new recruiting soil. Getting their feet on the ground in junior colleges will be huge.

What about the offense, though? You've seen these SEC defenses up close all season. I'd argue that outside of Alabama, LSU and Georgia, the SEC's defenses were way overrated based on reputation this season.

Will the Tigers' spread offense work in the SEC East? What, if anything, has to change?

EA: Well, you certainly won't make friends down here with that sort of talk. South Carolina fans will surely let you know just how they feel about being left out of the defensive discussion. After all, South Carolina ranked third nationally in total defense and the SEC had six defenses ranked in the top 25, including five in the top eight. But I digress. We've seen the spread work before in the SEC. Florida's 2007 and 2008 offenses were two of the best in the country. The 2009 team put up a good bit of yards too. We've seen elements of the spread in other offenses as well around the SEC and Arkansas does a great job of spreading defenders out with its passing game. Mississippi State also utilized a pretty successful spread offense in 2010.

In order for it to work, the offensive line has to be beefy and athletic. I know, it's an interesting concept, but you won't survive in this league without some real athletes up front. You've said in the past that Missouri's offensive line was a better than average, well that won't cut it in this league.

You also need some elite speed at the wide receiver position and a sound running game. Getting Dorial Green-Beckham out there could be a major get for this offense because of his size and speed. As for running, mobile running backs and commanding the read option are key. Missouri will have to find ways to combat the tremendous speed off the edge from SEC pass rushers every week. That's James Franklin's running ability comes in. Working the option is huge in the spread.

Well, let's wrap this thing up. I think Missouri will be fun to watch next season, but I'm not sure how well the Tigers will do afterward. You've been around Missouri a lot longer, where do you see Missouri stacking up in the next few years in the SEC?

DU: Good point on those SEC defenses being awesome. I know guys like Morgan Newton, Justin Worley and Clint Moseley give defensive coordinators nightmares. Somebody get the Gamecocks a medal for not letting Arkansas score 50 and getting lucky enough to dodge LSU and Alabama on the schedule.

But I'm getting off target here, much like SEC quarterbacks' passes.

As for the Tigers, it's going to be tough when the current players begin to leave. I don't think they'll have as much success recruiting in Texas, but I've got no idea if they'll be able to get a foothold near the SEC East and, like you said, convince some of these kids to come to Missouri.

Neither outcome would surprise me, but I think as the transition happens and the current talent begins to drain out of the program, the Tigers will hit some lean years. Whether they bounce back depends on what everything in college football depends on: recruiting.

Can Mizzou do it? Only time will tell.
Missouri FansJamie Squire/Getty ImagesWhat should SEC teams expect from Missouri, one of the conferences newest members?
Friends, today is the day.

Mizzou officially announced its move from the Big 12 to the SEC back in November, but today we'll make the move official on our blog network.

Mizzou will now officially be members of the SEC blog and moved off the Big 12 blog. We'll have a full day of posts today commemorating, debating and celebrating, but we'll kick things off the right way: with an introduction.

Big 12 blogger David Ubben introduces the SEC to its newest member on the blog with a Q&A with SEC blogger Edward Aschoff.

Edward Aschoff: Once the Texas A&M talks with the SEC heated up, Missouri's name was thrown right in. It wasn't much of a secret the Tigers would join, but what was your reaction to Missouri joining the SEC?

David Ubben: It's a complicated one. This move has so many facets to it. In terms of stability, I totally understand. When Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State started looking west at forming the Pac-16 for the second consecutive year, Mizzou knew it didn't want to have to wonder where it's future league home was going to be. The summer of 2010 when it looked like Mizzou, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor were going to be left out of these new "superconferences" was scary for the Tigers. A move to the SEC, above all, ensures those conversations won't have to occur anymore.

A ticket to the SEC became possible. The Tigers chased it and caught it.

Well, now they're here. Fans are going to have to travel a whole long way to see road games. The recruiting game is going to be vastly different, and much more cutthroat, perhaps a world the Tigers are a bit unfamiliar with.

This season, they were right outside the national top 25 in recruiting, but that ranked ninth in the SEC. The bar has been raised. The big question is can Missouri clear it and be a successful program in the long run?

[+] EnlargeDorial Green-Beckham
Denny Medley/US PresswireBy signing Dorial Green-Beckham, the Missouri Tigers showed the school can attract top recruits.
EA: Travel will be really interesting. Columbia, Mo., is almost 900 miles away from the other Columbia and Gainesville is more than 1,000 miles away. Talk about Delta miles. Missouri won't have to worry about filling opposing fans' ticket allotments because SEC fans travel well. So, when these fans get on campus, what are some of the new traditions they'll be exposed to from the Missouri faithful?

DU: Good question. There are teams with stronger traditions in the Big 12, but Mizzou's are solid.

The most evident one will be the Rock M at the North end of Faurot Field. Every August, they add a few rocks and the university's freshmen offer a fresh coat of paint to keep it looking fresh, which it always does.

For the biggest games, the Rock M and the field surrounding it will be packed with fans. Lately, the Tigers have had a few big wins to celebrate with ripped up goalposts. Wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska come to mind. When that happens, those goalposts are toted up that field and carried almost a mile to Harpo's, a bar downtown, where fans will cut them up and take home a piece.

If Bama goes down in Columbia next season, the Tide fans will see that up close and personal.

During the game, you'll get a taste of the Missouri Waltz, which is a pretty recognizable song featuring the fans waving their arms to the music.

They'll also get to meet Truman the Tiger, who treks around the track surrounding the field in a fire truck before the game with a hose to spray fans on hot days.

Faurot Field only seats a little more than 70,000 fans, but it's a solid atmosphere more often than not. It won't wow many folks, but it's got a very unique feel, and the stadium is set into the ground, so it feels a little underground, too.

EA: I also hear homecoming is a pretty big deal in Columbia as well. Let's hit the team a little. Some guy named Dorial Green-Beckham signed with Missouri and from all accounts he's a pretty big deal. The Tigers return a couple of solid receivers to help James Franklin, but Green-Beckham might really be special. How big was that pickup and how do you think he'll be used in the Tigers' offense this fall?

DU: Ah yes, how could I forget?

You want to be wowed by Mizzou? Come to campus during homecoming weekend and check out house decorations. I've seen plenty on several campuses in my day. None top Mizzou.

The DGB signing might honestly be bigger off the field than it is on it. He signifies that if you're one of the nation's top recruits, you don't have to go to somewhere like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma or Texas. It's OK to go somewhere in state or somewhere you feel comfortable.

Most importantly, you can go to Mizzou, and DGB will vouch for that.

On the field, I don't think you can expect him to walk in and be a gamechanger. The SEC is a lot different than Missouri high school football. That said, I'd be surprised if he had fewer than 40 catches this season, and of course, he has the potential to become one of the best receivers this game has ever seen.

That idea is kind of crazy to think about. Mizzou's offense will give him a chance to fulfill that potential.

EA: Well, the guy throwing the ball to DGB ain't so bad. We saw quite a bit of Franklin last season and he was pretty impressive running and throwing, but this is the big league. SEC defenses prevent shootouts. So how do you see Franklin adjusting to all that speed on defense? And I might as well put you on the spot and see how you think Missouri will do in its first season in the SEC. What's your prediction, David?

DU: I think he's well-suited for the SEC, really. He doesn't get his yards on the ground with a lot of speed. He's really instinctive and runs when he should run. He does it with power and a great feel for creases in the offensive line and some nice wiggle that makes it hard to lay a good knock on him like SEC defenses will want to do.

Mizzou's production will dip a bit, but I still think the Tigers' offense will be effective.

As for my pick for the Tigers in Year 1?

Nine wins. Second place in the SEC East. Not a bad first season, eh?

Big 12 position rankings: Quarterback

January, 25, 2012
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Today, we'll kick off a look at the postseason rankings for each position in the Big 12. Here's a look back on where our first position, quarterback, stood in the preseason.

Quarterbacks' rushing talents are factored into these rankings. As such, it's tough to figure out how to weigh that vs. passing acumen. Ultimately, teams ranked 4-7 were really, really close.

In these position rankings, we take into account backups, though that impact is minimal at the quarterback spot.

1. Baylor

If your quarterback wins the Heisman, you're not finishing below No. 1 on this list. Robert Griffin IIIlit up defenses and broke the NCAA record for passing efficiency, even though Wisconsin's Russell Wilson did the same this year, and finished higher than RG3. Even when RG3 suffered concussion-like symptoms against Texas Tech, backup Nick Florencecame in and burned Texas Tech's defense in a 66-42 win. Griffin finished with as many touchdowns as Brandon Weeden (37), but threw as few interceptions as Collin Klein (6), despite throwing the ball 121 more times than Klein.

2. Oklahoma State

Brandon Weeden is a solid second place in this ranking, and backup Colton Chelflooked good in lots of mop-up duty, too. Weeden was the star, putting together an All-Big 12 caliber season, though Griffin's otherworldly performance in 2011 knocked him off his first-team perch from 2010. He led the league with 4,727 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also had the second-most pass attempts in the league, with 564.

3. Oklahoma

Landry Jones got some help late in the season when Blake Bell's BellDozer racked up a team-high 13 touchdowns. Jones wasn't outstanding late in the season after Ryan Broyles' knee injury, but his receivers didn't help him much, either. The dropsies seemed to infect everybody after Broyles' college career ended. Jones finished with 4,463 yards passing, second most in the Big 12. He also added 29 touchdowns but must improve on his 15 interceptions, a regression back to freshman-year Jones.

4. Kansas State

Don't like Collin Klein's release? Get over it. He deserves this spot via his ability as a runner. He ranked fourth in the league with his 1,141 rushing yards and tied the Big 12 record with 27 touchdowns. That also tied Ricky Dobbs' FBS record for quarterbacks. He also threw for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns.

5. Missouri

James Franklin's probably the best balance of runner and passer in the league, and quickly developed both throughout the season. He finished with 2,872 passing yards and 981 rushing yards. He also accounted for 36 touchdowns. Could we see a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher in the SEC next year?

6. Texas Tech

Seth Doege was one of the nation's best early in the season, but slipped up later in the season. He'll have the NCAA record for single-game completion percentage after connecting on 40-of-44 passes in a win over New Mexico, and he threw for 4,004 yards with 28 scores and 10 interceptions on a Big 12-high 581 pass attempts. After the win over Oklahoma at midseason, Doege threw just three touchdowns passes over the next four games while Tech dropped to 5-7 on the season.

7. Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill's a physically impressive quarterback with a future in the NFL, but he didn't get it done in 2011. He started the season at fourth on this list, but Tannehill's turnovers played a huge role in the Aggies' second-half struggles this year, when A&M lost five games after leading by double digits, including 17- and 18-point leads against top-five teams Oklahoma State and Arkansas, respectively. He finished fifth in the league with 3,744 yards, but was seventh in the league in completion percentage and only Landry Jones had as many picks as Tannehill's 15. Jones, though, threw for over 700 more yards on just 32 more attempts.

8. Iowa State

The Cyclones rotated Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett this season, with Jantz handling the first half of the season and Barnett the second, thought Jantz replaced a benched Barnett in the Pinstripe Bowl loss to Rutgers. Barnett had the best day of any ISU quarterback this year, topping 375 passing yards and 80 rushing yards in an upset of Oklahoma State. Both QBs strung together three-game winning streaks, and Jantz did it with three fourth-quarter comebacks to start the season.

9. Texas

Texas never quite settled on a guy during the season, but it looks like David Ash will be the man who has time invested in him during the offseason with first-team reps in spring, summer and fall. This year, Ash struggled with decision-making. That's no surprise for a freshman. Case McCoy, meanwhile, limited what Texas was able to do in the passing game with his lack of both arm strength (chiefly) and experience, like Ash. Garrett Gilbert was benched in the season's second game and eventually transferred to SMU.

10. Kansas

The Jayhawks ranked ninth in the league in pass defense and last in total offense by over 20 yards per game. KU fans would simply like to forget the last two years of quarterback play and focus on what could be a promising future under Charlie Weis with Dayne Crist set to take over and Jake Heaps waiting to grab the reins in 2013 and 2014.

The Big 12's 2011 All-Interview Team

January, 23, 2012
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Excluding the shy guys, most players love interviews at first. After time, though, it does get old. Still, these are the players who made stories like mine and others great throughout the season.

With a nod to our buddies in the SEC, here is the Big 12 All-Interview team.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden and the man below him on this team probably did more interviews than any player in the entire league in 2011. It was close for both. Through it all, though, Weeden showed up every week and held court, often for 30 minutes to an hour after games, offering up refreshing honesty and insight, as well as some good humor, often.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Speaking of humor, RG3 is more than a Heisman winner with catchy socks. He's always good for a one-liner and his relentless positivity is more than a shtick. It's a huge reason why his team rallied around him the past few seasons and why so many talented players came (and will come) to Baylor. If you saw his Heisman acceptance speech, it's easy to see why he's on this team.

Fozzy Whittaker, RB, Texas: Whittaker's been through it all at Texas. Injury after injury, including a devastating knee injury that ended his career at Texas. A national championship run -- and title-game loss. A losing season. Being replaced by a freshman at the top of the depth chart. Every step of the way, he answered questions with a smile on his face and intellect in his answers. His teammates gave him a standing ovation the week after his knee injury, and I wish this blog could do the same.

Ben Habern, C, Oklahoma: More often than not, offensive linemen are a team's best interview. Throughout his career, Habern's held that title, and that was the case this season. He's smart, and helps guys like us in the media better understand the game from the inside, much like some coordinators do. It's appreciated.

T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri: So, maybe Moe got out of hand once, but he's good for an honest answer and a catchy one-liner to put in a story pretty often.

Blake Gideon, S, Texas: Like Whittaker, Gideon's been through a lot, too. Almost every year, it seems he's willing to sit and answer questions about one of the most painful football moments of his life. It's not fun to talk about, but it endears him to fans and provides a compelling story. Gideon was also great for insight into Texas' changing defense (and offense) this season.

Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas: Johnson, a former walk-on turned Big 12 tackles leader, plays with an intensity and answers questions with a smile on his face that comes from being a guy who feels blessed to be where he is.

Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State: Knott gave some memorable interviews this season helping put into context two of the most emotionally rewarding wins in his career: Iowa and Oklahoma State. He's also good to tell fans what it's like to be the toughest guy in the Big 12.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Franklin doesn't have much in common with his predecessors, Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert, outside of starting his career with an eight-win season and looking like a player with tons of potential, much of which was realized in 2012. Along the way, he offered up lots of disarming honesty (perhaps too much at times) and a look back on his roots to help fans better understand who he is and what he's about.

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein gets the award for maybe the most impressive thing I've ever heard in an interview. He's probably not the only one who can, but I've never heard anyone rip off Bill Snyder's 16 Goals for Success in about 10 seconds without so much as a pause. He's also great for a look inside the life of a QB who takes a beating every week and gets up hungry for more. The Big 12's version of the Honey Badger will be fun to watch and talk to in 2012.
We're marching along in our recap of 2011 here on the blog, and today it's time to look back on the most improved players of 2011.

Here's a few other posts you might want to check out:
In no particular order, here are the players who showed the most growth during 2011 or from 2010 to 2011.

Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: The physical tools had always been there for Alexander, but he'd never quite progressed into what he looked like he could be as a freshman in 2008. Until this year, that is. Alexander was a monster all season, leading the Big 12 in tackles for loss (19) and finishing second in sacks (8.5) to win defensive player of the year honors.

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Nobody knew exactly what to expect from Klein this season, but he exceeded anyone's expectations on the ground, and developed into a serviceable passer by season's end. That growth should only continue into 2012. He ran for more than 1,000 yards and tied the Big 12 single-season record with 27 touchdowns, which also tied an FBS record for quarterbacks.

Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas: Byndom was a huge question mark when the season began, but by December, he'd developed into arguably the league's best shutdown corner. Players like that don't often put up big stats, but ask around the league's receivers about Byndom and look at how many big plays the Longhorns gave up. Both are testaments to Byndom's talents.

Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: Wright, like Alexander, was a good player who became truly elite in 2011. Wright, believe it or not, had never enjoyed a 1,000-yard receiving season before 2011, even though he'd led the Bears in receiving in the three previous seasons. But who led the Big 12 in receiving this year? It wasn't Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon. It wasn't Ryan Broyles. It was Wright, with 1,663 yards and 17 scores. Insane. Robert Griffin III is the biggest reason for Baylor's rise, but Wright is a much closer second than most realize.

Texas' offensive line: Tough to pick one guy out of this group, which was dreadful last year but was a big part of Texas' moderate rebound this year. Stacy Searels coaches the unit, which ranked third in the Big 12 in rushing offense this season.

Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M: Jeff Fuller earned the headlines at Texas A&M this year, but Swope was the man for the Aggies. He actually had the same number of catches as Fuller in 2010, but had almost 250 fewer yards and eight fewer scores. Fuller battled injuries this year, but Swope caught 89 balls for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns, far surpassing the future NFL receiver's output.

Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State: Johnson, like Byndom, didn't quite get the press of other cornerbacks in the Big 12 like Brodrick Brown, E.J. Gaines or Justin Gilbert who broke up tons of passes and intercepted lots of others, but he quietly earned a reputation as one of the league's premier lockdown defenders.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Franklin looked shaky in a season-opening win over Miami (Ohio), throwing for just 129 yards and looking generally unimpressive. He wouldn't have another game like that the rest of the year. He topped 285 yards passing in four games this season and was sixth in the Big 12 in total offense, throwing for 2,872 yards as a first-year starter, and equaling the eight wins produced by Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert in their first years as starters.

Lunch links: Big 12 scheduling mess

January, 18, 2012
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Sometimes, saying "I made a mistake" is just too difficult.

The best Big 12 games of 2011

January, 18, 2012
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We took a look at the best atmospheres on Tuesday, and today, it's time to rank the top 10 games involving Big 12 teams of 2011.

1. Kansas State 53, Texas A&M 50 (4 OT): Kansas State erased a double-digit lead in the final half of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Collin Klein burrowed into the end zone on a quarterback sneak to earn a huge win and a memorable night in Manhattan.

2. Baylor 50, TCU 48: The first game of the entire season for the Big 12 began in style. Robert Griffin III began his Heisman campaign with five touchdown passes, but the Bears blew a 47-23 lead in just over 11 minutes, giving up 25 fourth-quarter points. Griffin, though, hauled in his only catch of the season to extend a game-winning drive on third down, and Aaron Jones booted a 37-yard game winner with just over a minute left, cueing the Baylor fans to storm the field after a game-clinching interception.

3. Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38 (OT): This was what we thought it was. Neither defense could stop the opposing offense, and Oklahoma State converted a fourth down from Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon to extend the game and take the lead, but Stanford drove back down the field and missed a 35-yard field goal as time expired. It missed another kick in overtime, and OSU kicked a game-winning field goal after Colton Chelf's game-winning touchdown was overturned to just a 24-yard gain.

4. Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38: This gave way to the signature moment of Robert Griffin III's Heisman campaign, and it wasn't the 87-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright off Tevin Reese's helmet. The teams traded second-half leads and Oklahoma erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead before Griffin extended a play and hit Terrance Williams for a 34-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left.

5. Iowa State 37, Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT): This game made our top 10 moments of 2011, too. The Cowboys lost a 24-7 second-half lead and missed a game-winning field goal. Brandon Weeden threw an interception in the second overtime and Jeff Woody set off the biggest party in Ames in a long while with his game-winning, four-yard touchdown run in the second overtime.

6. Texas 27, Texas A&M 25: The Aggies led 10-0 and 16-7, but once again, it didn't matter. Jeff Fuller gave the Aggies back the lead with a big 16-yard touchdown with 1:48 to play. The two-point conversion failed, though, and Case McCoy got free for a 25-yard scramble that set up a 40-yard, game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker as time expired to give the Longhorns bragging rights in the heated rivalry for as long as they want, perhaps forever. The two teams aren't scheduled to meet again after A&M leaves for the SEC.

7. Oklahoma State 52, Kansas State 45: OSU fell behind 24-14 early after a pick six by Weeden, putting the undefeated season in doubt. The teams traded three touchdowns in just under two minutes, and Joseph Randle's 23-yard run gave OSU the lead for good with 3:16 to play, making it four touchdowns in three minutes. Kansas State drove to tie the game and possibly win it with a two-point conversion, but two Collin Klein passes fell incomplete, and OSU survived to move to 9-0.

8. Baylor 31, Kansas 30 (OT): This game wasn't televised, but it was quietly a classic. Baylor struggled to stop the run, and trailed 24-3 in the fourth quarter before RG3 broke a 49-yard run and hit on two long touchdown passes to tie the game. The two teams traded touchdowns in overtime, but Kansas failed to convert a game-winning two-point conversion, and Turner Gill's guts went unrewarded. Kansas also went without a win in conference play. Baylor loses this game, and RG3 doesn't win the Heisman.

9. Missouri 31, Texas Tech 27: This is a sneaky pick for our top 10 list. Texas Tech jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and Missouri trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, but James Franklin threw one touchdown pass and ran for another to take the lead. Texas Tech drove inside the Missouri 10-yard line in the final minute, but a tipped Seth Doege pass was intercepted to give Mizzou a dramatic win.

10. Missouri 38, Texas A&M 31 (OT): The SEC bowl helped bury Texas A&M's season and spark Missouri's. The Tigers trailed by 14 early and 11 points at half before taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Randy Bullock tied the game with a field goal in the final minutes to force overtime. James Franklin hit Marcus Lucas for an 11-yard score and Ryan Tannehill's final pass was batted down as Missouri stormed the field and celebrated the end of their three-game losing streak. The Tigers would win four of their final five games, and that bounced Mizzou to 4-4 instead of 3-5. That loss for then-No. 16 Texas A&M keyed off four in the final five regular-season games, including two in overtime (K-State, Mizzou) and another as time expired (Texas).

Honorable mention: Kansas State 28, Miami 24; Baylor 67, Washington 56; Iowa State 44, Iowa 41 (3 OT); Texas 17, BYU 16; Arkansas 42, Texas A&M 38; Oklahoma State 30, Texas A&M 29.

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