Big 12: Jammal Brown
With the BCS done, we've come up with our Big 12 all-BCS era team (1998-2013) below:
RB: Ricky Williams, Texas (1998) -- Williams was part of the BCS era for only one season, but what a season it was. He rushed for 2,327 yards and won the Heisman Trophy going away. Only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne has more career rushing yards than Williams (6,279).
RB: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2004-06) -- Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Peterson still was a beast in college. After rushing for 1,925 yards while leading the Sooners to the national title game, he finished second in the ’04 Heisman voting, even though there was still a stigma then in voting for a freshman.
WR: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (2007-08) -- Crabtree became the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver. In '08, he and QB Graham Harrell led the Red Raiders to an upset of Texas and a No. 2 ranking in the polls.
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (2009-11) -- Blackmon became the second and only other two-time winner of the Biletnikoff. In his final two seasons, he finished with 233 receptions, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, and he helped propel the Cowboys to their first Big 12 title in '11.
TE: Chase Coffman, Missouri (2005-08) -- Coffman had a monster statistical college career for a tight end with 247 catches for 2,659 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns. He won the ’08 Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. Missouri won 37 games during the four years Coffman was in the lineup.
OT: Jammal Brown, Oklahoma (2001-04) -- Brown was a unanimous All-American and a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He became the fifth Sooner to win the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman.
OT: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State (2007-09) -- In Okung’s final two seasons, Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in rushing yards. The Cowboys were also third in the country in ’07 in fewest sacks allowed with Okung at left tackle. He was a unanimous All-American and Outland finalist in ’09 and became the sixth overall pick in the ’10 NFL draft.
OG: Cyril Richardson, Baylor (2010-13) -- Richardson became Baylor’s seventh all-time unanimous All-American. The Outland finalist was also a key piece on the nation’s highest-scoring offense this season.
OG: Justin Blalock, Texas (2003-06) -- Though a guard in the NFL, Blalock actually started 50 games for Texas, most coming at right tackle. He was a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and a consensus All-American in 2006.
C: Dominic Raiola, Nebraska (1998-2000) -- Raiola was the inaugural winner of the Rimington Award, named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, which recognizes the best center in college football. He was an Outland finalist and a consensus All-American.
APB: Darren Sproles, Kansas State (2001-04) -- One of the most prolific all-purpose performers in college football history, Sproles finished his career with 6,812 all-purpose yards. Among his 39 consecutive starts, his most memorable performance came in the ’03 Big 12 championship, when he had 235 yards rushing and 88 receiving, as K-State upset top-ranked Oklahoma 35-7.
DE: Brian Orakpo, Texas (2005-08) -- Orakpo captured the ’08 Nagurski Award as the most outstanding defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best college lineman or linebacker. He also was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American while piling up 11 sacks his senior year.
DE: Von Miller, Texas A&M (2007-10) -- Out of a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role, Miller led the nation with 17 sacks in ’09. He was a two-time All-American and won the Butkus Award in ’10 as the nation’s top linebacker.
DT: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (2005-09) -- There was no more dominant defensive player in college football during the BCS era. Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting in ’09 and won several national awards, including the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player)and Bednarik (defensive player of the year). He was also a unanimous All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
DT: Tommie Harris, Oklahoma (2001-03) -- Harris was a force from the beginning as a freshman on the OU defensive line. He won the Lombardi his junior year, and he was a two-time consensus All-American, garnering unanimous honors in ’03.
LB: Derrick Johnson, Texas (2001-04) -- Johnson was a menacing linebacker for the Longhorns, earning consensus All-American honors in ’03 and unanimous honors in ’04. He was also a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and won the Butkus (best linebacker) and Nagurski awards as a senior. Johnson finished his career with 458 tackles.
LB: Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma (1998-2001) -- Calmus played a major role in OU’s resurgence under Bob Stoops. He won the Butkus in ’01 and was a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik. A three-time All-Big 12 pick, Calmus led the Sooners in tackles in all three of those seasons.
LB: Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- Lehman too won the Butkus, beating out Johnson for the award in ’03. He also was Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, captured the Bednarik, was a unanimous All-American and played in two national championship games.
CB: Derrick Strait, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- A four-year starter, Strait finished with a school-record 52 career pass breakups. He also won the Thorpe, and was a unanimous All-American.
S: Roy Williams, Oklahoma (1999-2001) -- Nicknamed “Superman,” Williams was the Big 12’s most dominating defensive player until Suh came along. He won the Thorpe and Nagurski in ’01, and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American the same season. He also famously skied over the Texas offensive line to force the game-clinching interception to earn his moniker.
S: Michael Huff, Texas (2002-05) -- Huff became the first Longhorn to win the Thorpe, and was the leader of the ’05 national championship defense. He was also a unanimous All-American that season.
K: Mason Crosby, Colorado (2003-06) -- Crosby was three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and twice was a consensus All-American even though he never won the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker. He was also the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior, and converted 66 field goals in his career.
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (2009-12) -- Sharp became the first three-time All-American in Oklahoma State history, and he earned All-American honors both as a punter and a kicker. He was twice named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. In his career, he made 50 of 59 field goals, averaged 45.9 yards per punt and missed only one extra point.
KR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012) -- Austin was in the Big 12 only one season, but he was unstoppable that one season. On top of being one of the most dangerous kick returners in the country, Austin had 1,289 yards receiving and 643 rushing, and finished second in the country in all-purpose yards.
PR: Ryan Broyles Oklahoma (2008-11) -- On top of being a prolific punt returner, Broyles was one of the most efficient receivers in college football history. He finished his career with an FBS-record 349 receptions, and was a two-time consensus All-American before a knee injury cut his senior season short.
Roughly 90 percent of college football programs would be thrilled to win 10 games in a season. Oklahoma is not one of those programs.
Sharing a Big 12 title? That trophy is a whole lot less satisfying when there are seven others waiting in the trophy case since 2000 that weren't shared with anybody.
"Our expectations are different than everybody else. Everybody’s not Oklahoma," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "When you have Oklahoma across your chest, you expect to win championships, and that’s never going to change here."
He knows firsthand. Stoops helped his brother, coach Bob Stoops, win Oklahoma's seventh national title back in 2000, and the Sooners came up short two more times, once losing in the title game with Mike Stoops in 2003 and again a year later with Stoops coaching at Arizona. Without him coordinating the defense, the Sooners gave up 55 points to USC, more points than any team has ever scored in the BCS National Championship Game.
Arizona fired Mike Stoops six games into the 2011 season, and the Sooners' struggling defense needed an offseason jolt, despite winning 10 games that same season. Mike Stoops returned and brought assistant Tim Kish with him to coach linebackers and help coordinate the defense.
"Sometimes change is good, new ideas are good always, and change is good sometimes," Mike Stoops said. "That happens for whatever reason, and whether it’s complacency or just being stagnant, those things occur. Just trying to reinvent ourselves is something we need to do."
In 2012, there were more late-season defensive struggles after a strong start, but yet again, a 10-win season and a shared Big 12 title weren't enough. Losing three games isn't good enough, and nobody wants to hear that all three losses came to teams that spent time in the top five last season. The Sooners want to get back to competing for national titles, and Bob Stoops went the route of coaching changes to help get Oklahoma back there.
Assistant coaches Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle were shown the door, along with offensive line coach James Patton. The Sooners scooped up Bill Bedenbaugh from West Virginia to replace Patton and brought in Jerry Montgomery from Michigan to coach the defensive line. Jay Boulware filled Kittle's spot on the staff after coaching tight ends at Auburn. The Sooners' reboot was complete, and they're working toward results in the spring.
"[They bring] a new perspective in some areas, new ideas. They’re not drastic changes," Mike Stoops said. "Obviously, the coaches we had in here were involved and knew our systems well, but there’s always little changes in technique and little things schematically that can help you, so we’re always looking for fresh ideas."
Ten wins tastes bitter when you're used to winning 11 or 12, which can be the difference between proving yourself as a very good team and a great team. Oklahoma won at least 12 games six times since 2000 and 11 games on three more occasions. Ten wins isn't good enough, and a few former players and one famed coach were more than willing to speak up about it, echoing fan concerns.
Barry Switzer started it in September when he told one local paper that the Sooners "just don't have the talent."
"We’re not as good as we have been," Switzer said. "We don’t have the Tommie Harrises or Gerald McCoys squatting down there in the middle [of the defensive line]."
Offensive lineman Jammal Brown, an All-American who played in Norman from 2000 to '04, said he was "mad as hell" about the Sooners' 28-point Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M to cap the 10-win season, calling the Sooners "soft." CBS analyst Spencer Tillman, a Sooners running back in the '80s, said Oklahoma lost concentration on what made the program great in the first place.
Considering the Sooners let Shipp go at the end of the season, it's hard to believe Bob Stoops didn't agree in part with what Switzer had to say. As for the rest of it?
"We may not be as skilled at some of the positions as we want to be, but our toughness and pride is what made Oklahoma what it is, whether it was Bud Wilkinson or Barry Switzer or Bob Stoops, I think that’s the common thread that goes to being a great team," Mike Stoops said.
"Some of those, from the outside, may have felt like we didn’t have that common thread between us. I never felt that; I always thought our teams played hard and together. They’re certainly entitled to their opinions, you know. We’ve got to look at ourselves, and if it’s true, we need to change it. The things we needed to change, we’re working on changing, and nobody knows our program like we do.
"There’s areas we certainly need to get better at, and we’re aware of those. Some of those take time. Some of those take adjustments each day to get better."
The Sooners lose a four-year starter at quarterback in Landry Jones from last year's team, along with seven starters from Mike Stoops' defense. The task of winning more than 10 games seems difficult in a Big 12 that's deeper than it has ever been.
"We just need to get better, again, individually and schematically and play better across the board and come up with better ideas and a better scheme. We’re not far off when you look at the big picture," Mike Stoops said. "We had a chance to win 12 games, we lost them all late in the game and down the stretch and didn’t make the plays we needed to, but again, we’re not that far off."
Fellow expert Todd McShay has the same two as Kiper and also is optimistic about the chances of West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
So let’s split the difference and label the potential Big 12 first-round picks as an optimistic three, with Johnson being the only absolute first-round lock.
Those three would represent the fewest Big 12 players taken in the first round of the NFL draft since 2008. Even if four went, the Big 12 still would have the fewest since 2008.
That year, only Kansas -- yep, the Jayhawks -- managed a first-rounder, Aqib Talib to Tampa Bay with the 20th pick. In the four drafts that followed, the Big 12 has always put at least five players into the first round, including the first four overall picks in 2010.
How well this year’s group of first-round picks will fare might not be known for years. What is known, though, is how well Big 12 players have done when they are selected in the first round. With that in mind, here is a ranking -- from worst to best -- of the Big 12’s best first-round draft classes over the past 10 years.
2008: It’s all about quantity, and a little bit of quality. In 2008, the Big 12 only produced one first-round pick, Talib. He has not produced dramatic returns in the NFL. In the past two years, he has only started nine games. He was somewhat productive for Tampa Bay in the previous three seasons, starting 41 games and playing in 53. But, again, he was the only Big 12 player taken in the first round in 2008.
2006: Vince Young is working out at Texas’ pro day at the end of March. Enough said. Davin Joseph and Michael Huff have been solid producers. But when the No. 3 overall pick is out of the league and having to work out at his alma mater's pro day, it means it was a bad year for the Big 12 in the first round of the NFL draft.
2004: Tommie Harris and Marcus Tubbs, the two defensive tackles taken in the first round, were productive for a few years, with Harris selected to Pro Bowls in 2005, '06 and ’07 before he was beset by injuries. Tubbs lasted four seasons in the NFL. Roy Williams had 5,715 receiving yards but never lived up to the hype he generated coming out of Texas. Rashaun Woods played only two years and had seven career catches.
2005: The lack of numbers might be what hurts this group the most. Cedric Benson, Jammal Brown, Derrick Johnson, Mark Clayton and Fabian Washington all proved they could play at the NFL level. Benson has had three 1,000-yard-plus seasons. Johnson is one of the top linebackers in the game. Brown remains a solid option on the offensive line. Clayton played seven NFL seasons; Washington played six. But there were only five guys selected and that isn't enough to push 2005 to the top of the list.
2007: It wasn’t the biggest group, but it did include Adrian Peterson, so there could be some quibbling that maybe 2007 should be higher in the rankings. Throw in Aaron Ross and Michael Griffin and the debate could get even more heated. Adam Carriker was also taken this year. He started his career strong but suffered an injury and only played in two games last season.
2003: Kevin Williams has been the standout of this group. The defensive tackle has started every game but four in his 10-year career. Terence Newman has been effective as a defensive back, first in Dallas and last season in Cincinnati. Tyler Brayton played at least 15 games on the defensive line in a nine-year career. Ty Warren played eight solid seasons for New England but tailed off last season with Denver. Andre Woolfolk lasted four seasons, mostly as a reserve.
2011: Von Miller, who was the highest pick among Big 12 players this year, has proved to be the top player so far. Aldon Smith is not far behind. Add in Prince Amukamara, Phillip Taylor, who when healthy is a starter at defensive tackle, a somewhat productive Blaine Gabbert and Nate Solder as well as reliable backups Danny Watkins and Jimmy Smith and this proved to be a successful year for Big 12 first-round selections.
2012: Three quarterbacks, and all were not only starters as rookies but also made huge differences for their respective squads. Clearly, Robert Griffin III made the most dramatic impact, but Ryan Tannehill, with the Dolphins, and Brandon Weeden, with Cleveland, were both solid. Kendall Wright and Justin Blackmon each had 64 catches, for Tennessee and Jacksonville, respectively. Blackmon was targeted more (133 to 104) and had 200 more receiving yards.
2010: This list maybe doesn’t have the star power and is not littered with offensive playmakers, but six of the nine players picked were selected for the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl: Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Ndamukong Suh, Earl Thomas, Russell Okung and Jermaine Gresham. And the other three players -- Dez Bryant, Sam Bradford and Sean Weatherspoon -- were vital pieces for their respective teams.
So, what about the Big 12? I'm glad you asked.
I love the NFL, and it's time to take a look at the Big 12's top players at the next level. This isn't about what you did in college. This is about what you've done at the next level. Sorry, Vince Young.
You must be active, and I'm judging this team based on how good players are right now. However, I included players from teams in the Big 12 during the 2011 season.
Let's start with the offense:
QB: Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (Oklahoma)
Bradford edges out Kansas State's Josh Freeman for this award. Bradford won Rookie of the Year honors after winning the Heisman at OU, but had a rough sophomore season. Either way, it's Bradford's spot here.
RB: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (Oklahoma)
Peterson's recovering from a serious knee injury, but he's got a case as the game's best running back.
RB: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (Texas)
Charles is coming back from a torn ACL, but he rushed for 1,467 yards in 2010, his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
WR: Wes Welker, New England Patriots (Texas Tech)
I hated to leave Michael Crabtree off this list, but there's no doubt Welker belongs. His 1,569 receiving yards in 2011 were a career high, and his fourth 1,000-yard season.
WR: Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (Missouri)
Maclin is a deep threat for Michael Vick and dangerous as a runner, too. Anybody who saw him at Mizzou isn't surprised. He dealt with a cancer scare in 2011, but should get back to his form in 2012 like he was in 2010, catching 70 passes for 964 yards and 10 scores.
WR: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (Oklahoma State)
Bryant's a rising star, but health issues have slowed him a bit. He nearly doubled his production in 2011, his second season, with 928 yards and nine touchdowns.
TE: Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers (Texas)
Finley's been a big target for MVP Aaron Rodgers, and caught eight touchdown passes on 55 catches for 767 yards.
OL: Jammal Brown, Washington Redskins (Oklahoma)
Brown is a two-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro who left OU as an Outland Trophy winner in 2004. Most impressive? He's started 84 of a career 85 games.
OL: Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Oklahoma)
Joseph made two Pro Bowls (2008, 2011) and helped pave the way for LeGarrette Blount and a powerful Bucs rushing offense. He only took a season as a part-time starter before earning full-time honors in his second year in Tampa.
OL: Jeromey Clary, San Diego Chargers (Kansas State)
Clary started 60 games since being drafted in the sixth round in 2006.
OL: Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings (Oklahoma)
Loadholt was a juco transfer who made a big impact on one of the best O-lines in Big 12 history for the 2008 Sooners. He's started every game of the first three years of his career for the Vikings helping pave the way for Adrian Peterson.
OL: Louis Vasquez, San Diego Chargers (Texas Tech)
Vasquez was the only rookie starter for the Chargers in 2009, and he's started all 34 games of his career. He already established himself as one of his division's top linemen.
Come back later this week when we tackle the defense.
Who would you have on the team?
This year, the Big 12 could have as many as five first-round picks, and five players from the league are in New York for the draft.
So, let's take a look back. Since the first NFL draft of the Big 12 era, who has the most first-rounders?
- 2010: S Earl Thomas, 14th overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2009: DE Brian Orakpo, 13th overall, Washington Redskins
- 2007: S Michael Griffin, 19th overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2007: CB Aaron Ross, 20th overall, New York Giants
- 2006: QB Vince Young, third overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2006: CB Michael Huff, seventh overall, Oakland Raiders
- 2005: RB Cedric Benson, fourth overall, Chicago Bears
- 2005: LB Derrick Johnson, 15th overall, Kansas City Chiefs
- 2004: WR Roy Williams, seventh overall, Detroit Lions
- 2004: DT Marcus Tubbs, 23rd overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2002: OL Mike Williams, fourth overall, Buffalo Bills
- 2002: CB Quentin Jammer, fifth overall, San Diego Chargers
- 2001: OL Leonard Davis, second overall, Arizona Cardinals
- 2001: DT Casey Hampton, 19th overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 1999: RB Ricky Williams, fifth overall, New Orleans Saints
- 1997: CB Bryant Westbrook, fifth overall, Detroit Lions
- 2010: QB Sam Bradford, first overall, St. Louis Rams
- 2010: DT Gerald McCoy, third overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2010: OT Trent Williams, fourth overall, Washington Redskins
- 2010: TE Jermaine Gresham, 21st overall, Cincinnati Bengals
- 2007: RB Adrian Peterson, seventh overall, Minnesota Vikings
- 2006: OL Davin Joseph, 23rd overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2005: OL Jammal Brown, 13th overall, New Orleans Saints
- 2005: WR Mark Clayton, 22nd overall, Baltimore Ravens
- 2004: DT Tommie Harris, 14th overall, Chicago Bears
- 2003: CB Andre Woolfolk, 28th overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2002: S Roy Williams, eighth overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 2001: Stockar McDougle, 20th overall, Detroit Lions
- 2010: OL Russell Okung, sixth overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2010: WR Dez Bryant, 24th overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 2009: TE Brandon Pettigrew, 20th overall, Detroit Lions
- 2004: WR Rashaun Woods, 31st overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2003: DE Kevin Williams, ninth overall, Minnesota Vikings
- 1998: CB R.W. McQuarters, 28th overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2010: LB Sean Weatherspoon, 19th overall, Atlanta Falcons
- 2009: WR Jeremy Maclin, 19th overall, Philadelphia Eagles
- 2009: DT Ziggy Hood, 32nd overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 2001: DE Justin Smith, fourth overall, Cincinnati Bengals
- 2009: QB Josh Freeman, 17th overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2003: CB Terence Newman, fifth overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 1997: DB Chris Canty, 29th overall, New England Patriots
- 2003: DT Ty Warren, 13th overall, New England Patriots
- 2003: DB Sammy Davis, 30th overall, San Diego Chargers
- 2009: WR Michael Crabtree, 10th overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2008: CB Aqib Talib, 20th overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2009: OL Jason Smith, 2nd overall, St. Louis Rams
A few thoughts and observations:
- I doubt many would be surprised that this list is also a reasonably accurate reflection of overall success since the Big 12's inception in 1996. Obviously, Texas and Oklahoma have dominated. Since 2000, Texas has the nation's fourth-most first-rounders. Oklahoma is No. 6. Their success has paralleled that, along with recruiting rankings.
- In that same breath, it's impossible to look at this list and not once again be impressed with what Mike Leach did. He obviously has the reputation as an overachiever, but looking big picture, he was able to do it with one first-round pick. Nobody beat Texas and Oklahoma more and Leach helped put together what is still the Big 12's longest bowl streak.
- Texas' consistency sticks out, too. Since just 2001, Texas has had two first-rounders in six different seasons. If you've got two first-rounders on your team, you're probably going to be pretty good. The Longhorns, if you haven't noticed, have been. Those two first-rounders in six seasons are more or as many as half the league has in the history of the Big 12. What else you should note? Texas is unlikely to have a first rounder this year, and after Aaron Williams is drafted, Sam Acho probably will be the next to go, which won't be until the third or fourth round.
- Oklahoma State and Missouri's rise over the past three seasons has paid off in the NFL draft. Missouri had three first-rounders in the last two seasons and figures to add two more this year after having just one in the 12-year history of the league before 2009. That's quite a streak, and even more proof of what Gary Pinkel has built at Missouri. One more piece of evidence? Despite losing those two first-rounders, Missouri should be back in the preseason polls next year after losing two of its top players. That's definitely something new in Columbia. The Cowboys figure to add more soon with Justin Blackmon at least. As long as Pinkel and Gundy are at the helm for their respective programs, expect them to continue to rise.
- Don't be surprised by Texas A&M's swoon following R.C. Slocum's departure. From 1990-1998, the Aggies won nine games every season but one. From 1990-96, the Aggies had eight first-round picks. Since 1998? Two seasons with at least nine wins and just two first-round picks.
- More evidence you can't underestimate the importance of having first-round picks? None for Baylor in the history of the Big 12 before Art Briles. In just three years, Briles may have three if the Bears add two more this year with Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins. Taylor and Watkins both came from unlikely sources. Taylor was a Penn State transfer and Watkins a juco transfer that formerly worked as a fireman in Canada.
All-time Top Offensive Player: Vince Young, QB, Texas
All-time Top Defensive Player: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
All-time Coach: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
QB: Vince Young, Texas
RB: Ricky Williams, Texas and Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
WR: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech and Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State
TE: Chase Coffman, Missouri
OL: Dominic Raiola, Nebraska; Jammal Brown, Oklahoma; Aaron Taylor, Nebraska; Justin Blalock, Texas; Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
DL: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska; Tommie Harris, Oklahoma; Grant Wistrom, Nebraska; Brian Orakpo, Texas
LB: Derrick Johnson, Texas; Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M; Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma; Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma
DB: Roy Williams, Oklahoma; Terence Newman, Kansas State; Derrick Strait, Oklahoma; Michael Huff, Texas
All-purpose: Darren Sproles, Kansas State
K: Mason Crosby, Colorado
P: Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor
Here's how it breaks down by team:
1. Oklahoma: 7
2. Texas: 6
3. Nebraska: 4
4. Kansas State: 2
4. Oklahoma State: 2
6. Baylor: 1
6. Colorado: 1
6. Texas A&M: 1
6. Texas Tech: 1
11. Iowa State: 0
11. Kansas: 0
Who got snubbed? Who doesn't belong?
I've got a game we can play as we get ready for Saturday and I'm curious about readers' thoughts.
Here is a list of the former Big 12 players on Super Bowl rosters. Their playing status is based on the most recent team depth chart released by NFL.com.
SS Melvin Bullitt (Texas A&M), starter.
G Ryan Lilja (Kansas State), starter.
T Charlie Johnson (Oklahoma State), starter.
CB Jacob Lacey (Oklahoma State), backup.
DE Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech), backup.
LS Justin Snow (Baylor), starter.
LB Cody Glenn (Nebraska), backup.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
G Carl Nicks (Nebraska), starter.
OLB Scott Shanle (Nebraska), starter.
TE David Thomas (Texas), backup.
K Garrett Hartley (Oklahoma), starter.
DT Remi Ayodele (Oklahoma), starter.
C Nick Leckey (Kansas State), backup.
QB Chase Daniel (Missouri), backup.
T Jammal Brown (Oklahoma), injured reserve.
TE Dan Campbell (Texas A&M), injured reserve.
MLB Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), injured reserve.
WR D'Juan Woods (Oklahoma State), injured reserve.
From one through five, I'm curious which Big 12 alumnus will have the biggest impact in the Super Bowl.
Here are my choices:
1. Indianapois SS Melvin Bullitt: He'll have to bring a physical, punishing presence to the Colts' secondary to keep the New Orleans receivers and Reggie Bush from running wild.
2. New Orleans G Carl Nicks: New Orleans needs to run the ball effectively to have a chance in springing the upset. Nicks is the Saints' best run-blocker and will be important in moving the pile for them.
3. Indianapolis CB Jacob Lacey: For some strange reason, I have the feeling that Lacey will be a big part of this game. I think Drew Brees will test him early and often and he'll have a chance to make some plays -- or be burned.
4. New Orleans K Garrett Hartley: He won the NFC Championship Game with a clutch kick in overtime. Who's to say he won't have another chance for another big kick or two in Sunday's game?
5. New Orleans TE David Thomas: Brees' second tight end has been a consistent and clutch third-down receiver all season. If this game is a shootout, he'll likely get a lot of playing time.
Those are my picks. How about yours?
It's no surprise that Peyton Manning checked in at No. 1. But some of the other players might have been surprising.
Most notable was former Missouri and current New Orleans quarterback Chase Daniel, who was one of the most storied players in Big 12 history as he twice led Missouri to the Big 12 championship game.
Even with that pedigree, Daniel's value diminished greatly once he hit the NFL. In fact, at No. 102, he's the Big 12 alumni who has the lowest value among Super Bowl participants, according to the survey.
There's no surprise that Peyton Manning is No. 1 or that Drew Brees is second. Carl Nicks, the starting guard for New Orleans from Nebraska is ranked 13th, the highest-ranked Big 12 product in the game. And Melvin Bullitt, Indianapolis' starting strong safety, is the highest-ranked Big 12 alumni on the Colts at No. 18.
Here's a list of the former Big 12 players who are on the rosters of the Super Bowl teams. Their playing status is based on the most recent team depth chart released by NFL.com.
- SS Melvin Bullitt (Texas A&M), starter, No. 18.
- G Ryan Lilja (Kansas State), starter, No. 28.
- T Charlie Johnson (Oklahoma State), starter, No. 34.
- CB Jacob Lacey (Oklahoma State), backup, No. 51.
- DE Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech), backup, No. 67.
- LS Justin Snow (Baylor), starter, No. 100.
- LB Cody Glenn (Nebraska), backup, No. 101.
- G Carl Nicks (Nebraska), starter, No. 13.
- OLB Scott Shanle (Nebraska), starter, No. 38.
- TE David Thomas (Texas), backup, No. 52.
- K Garrett Hartley (Oklahoma), starter, No. 58.
- DT Remi Ayodele (Oklahoma), starter, No. 80.
- C Nick Leckley (Kansas State), backup, No. 86.
- QB Chase Daniel (Missouri), backup, No. 102.
- T Jammal Brown (Oklahoma), injured reserve, no ranking.
- TE Dan Campbell (Texas A&M), injured reserve, no ranking.
- MLB Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), injured reserve, no ranking.
- WR D'Juan Woods (Oklahoma State), injured reserve, no ranking.
The listing of players was pretty interesting. I'm guilty of not following the players quite as closely once they got to the NFL.
But I'm still stunned about Daniel's lack of value, even if he is a third-string quarterback for the Saints.
All of those accomplishments are a testament to Bob Stoops, one of two conference coaches to direct his team throughout the decade.
Setting the Sooners’ all-decade team was difficult. The choice at wide receiver next to Mark Clayton was extremely difficult. Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias or Ryan Broyles all would have been good choices. I went with Broyles because of his proficiency despite constant double-team defenses this season when he produced 89 receptions.
And at quarterback, I went with Sam Bradford over Jason White in a tough positional choice between two Heisman Trophy winners.
Here’s my choice for Oklahoma’s all-decade team.
QB: Sam Bradford
RB: Adrian Peterson
RB: Quentin Griffin
WR: Mark Clayton
WR: Ryan Broyles
TE: Jermaine Gresham
OL: Jammal Brown
OL: Trent Williams
OL: Davin Joseph
OL: Phil Loadholt
C: Vince Carter
DL: Dan Cody
DL: Tommie Harris
DL: Gerald McCoy
DL: Jeremy Beal
LB: Teddy Lehman
LB: Rocky Calmus
LB: Curtis Lofton
DB: Derrick Strait
DB: Roy Williams
DB: Andre Woolfolk
DB: Brandon Everage
K: Garrett Hartley
P: Jeff Ferguson
Ret: Ryan Broyles
Offensive player of the decade: QB Sam Bradford. He became the first quarterback in Big 12 history to lead his team to back-to-back titles, capping his sophomore season by throwing for 50 touchdowns and earning the Heisman Trophy. His final season in college didn’t go as expected, but he still leaves school as a player who will be immortalized with a statue at Owen Field in the not-too-distant future.
Defensive player of the decade: S Roy Williams. He was such a natural that Bob Stoops created a position “the Roy” especially for his talents. He set the standard as a physical run-stuffing safety and sealed his legacy with the hit on Chris Simms that sealed the 2001 victory over Texas.
Coach of the decade: Bob Stoops. The only coach of the decade for the Sooners had more unprecedented early success than any coach in Big 12 history, winning the national championship in his second season and claiming a record six conference championships. They aren’t calling him “Big Game Bob” as much as before, but Stoops still ranks among the most pivotal figures in Big 12 history.
Most memorable moment of the decade: On a misty night at Pro Player Stadium, the Sooners’ defense turned in a masterful performance to claim the 2001 Orange Bowl and bring home the 2000 national championship. Josh Heupel managed to direct the offense despite a sore elbow and the Oklahoma defense would have pitched a shutout in a 13-2 triumph over Florida State except for a special-teams safety in the final minute of play.
The two championship teams were the best of the conference's last 10 years. Some of the other BCS title participants were good, but not necessarily among the very best teams during the conference's recent history.
Here's how I rank the Big 12's top 10 teams over the last decade.
1. 2005 Texas: A star-studded team paced by All-Americans Michael Huff, Jonathan Scott, Rodrique Wright and Vince Young ran off 13 straight victories, capping the season with a BCS title-game victory over USC. The team averaged 50.2 points per game en route to a then-NCAA record 652 total points, earning Texas’ first undisputed national championship since 1969. It was the greatest team that Mack Brown ever coached and arguably the best team in the rich football history of Texas.
2. 2000 Oklahoma: Bob Stoops claimed a national championship in his second season coaching the Trojans behind Josh Heupel, who finished second in the Heisman race that season. All-Americans Heupel, linebacker Rocky Calmus and J.T. Thatcher helped the Sooners notch the first undefeated season and national championship in Big 12 history. After winning three of their final four regular-season games by less than five points, the Sooners dominated Florida State in a 13-2 triumph in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.
3. 2008 Oklahoma: Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy with this team, which overcame a midseason loss to Texas and still claimed the Big 12 title in a 12-2 season that was marred by a 24-14 loss to Florida in the national championship game. The Sooners rolled-up a record 702 points as Bradford passed for 50 touchdowns, Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray each rushed for 1,000 yards and Juaquin Iglesias topped 1,000 yards receiving. The Sooners scored 35 points in each regular-season game and finished the regular season with five straight games of at least 60 points before the BCS title-game loss.
4. 2004 Oklahoma: The Sooners charged to 12 straight victories before a dropping a 55-19 decision to USC in the Orange Bowl for the national title. Freshman running back Adrian Peterson rushed for an NCAA freshman record 1,925 yards to finish second in the Heisman. Jason White claimed the Heisman the previous season and his numbers were down with Peterson's arrival, but he still passed for 3,205 yards and 35 touchdowns. This group had strength in the trenches with All-Americans like Vince Carter, Dan Cody, Jammal Brown and Mark Clayton as it claimed Bob Stoops’ third Big 12 title.
5. 2009 Texas: After streaking to a school-record 13-0 mark through the Big 12 title game, the Longhorns dropped a 37-21 decision to Alabama in the national title game in a contest that changed when Colt McCoy was hurt on the fifth play of the game. McCoy became the winningest quarterback in NCAA history during this season, repeatedly hooking up with favorite target Jordan Shipley, who snagged a school-record 116 receptions, 1,485 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Longhorns led the nation in rush defense, and All-American safety Earl Thomas tied a school record with eight interceptions. Lamarr Houston and Sergio Kindle also added playmaking abilities to the defense.
6. 2004 Texas: The Longhorns overcame a midseason 12-0 loss to Oklahoma to finish the season with seven straight victories in a season capped by a dramatic 38-37 victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The Longhorns ranked second nationally in rushing offense and seventh in total offense as Young gradually found his confidence as a passer late in the season. Cedric Benson rushed for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns, and Young chipped in with 1,079 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. This team showed a knack for comebacks, overcoming an early 35-7 deficit against Oklahoma State and also coming from behind in an early-season victory at Arkansas.
7. 2007 Oklahoma: Bradford led the first of two consecutive Big 12 championships on a team that enabled the Sooners to become the first Big 12 school to win back-to-back titles. The Sooners dropped road games to Colorado and Texas Tech but still overcame Missouri in the Big 12 title game behind a huge defensive effort keyed by Big 12 defensive player of the year Rufus Alexander. Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency, but the Sooners' bowl struggles continued in an embarrassing 48-28 loss to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.
8. 2003 Kansas State: Don’t let the Wildcats’ 11-4 record fool you. After an early three-game losing streak to Marshall, Texas and Oklahoma State (by a combined margin of 15 points), Bill Snyder’s team won its final seven regular-season games by a combined margin of 271-66. That streak was culminated by a stunning 35-7 upset victory over Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game -- the last victory by a North Division team in the title game. The Wildcats ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing, scoring, total defense, scoring defense and pass defense as Darren Sproles rushed for 1,986 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Wildcats dropped a 35-28 Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State in a game they fell into an early 21-0 deficit and had a chance to tie on the final play of the game after a frantic comeback directed by Ell Roberson.
9. 2007 Missouri: Chase Daniel led Missouri into the Big 12 title game for the first time in school history, taking the team to No. 1 nationally heading into the conference championship game. The Tigers lost twice to Oklahoma during a 12-2 season that was capped by 38-7 beatdown over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Tony Temple made that game memorable by rushing for a record 281 yards and four TDs that pushed Missouri to No. 4 nationally at the end of the season. A star-studded collection of talent including Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, Martin Rucker and Sean Weatherspoon helped the Tigers rank among the top-10 teams nationally in passing, total offense and scoring and 11th in turnover margin.
10. 2007 Kansas: The Jayhawks earned Mark Mangino the national coach of the year award by running to an 11-0 start before losing to Missouri in the regular-season finale. The Jayhawks rebounded for a 24-21 victory over Virginia Tech in their first BCS bowl appearance in school history, finishing a 12-1 season that set a school record for victories. Todd Reesing passed for 33 touchdowns to highlight a high-powered offense that scored 76 points against Nebraska and scored at least 43 points in eight games. The Jayhawks were a balanced team that ranked second nationally in scoring offense, fourth in scoring defense and in the top 10 nationally in eight different team statistics. Anthony Collins and Aqib Talib earned consensus All-America honors.
The other finalist named was Idaho guard Mike Iupati.
The finalists will attend the announcement of the award, which will come on Dec. 10 during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The show will begin at 7 p.m. ET.
Okung, a 6-5, 300-pound senior from Houston, has been rated as the top offensive tackle NFL prospect in college football. Heading into the regular-season finale against Oklahoma on Saturday, the durable Okung is slated for his 46th consecutive start for the Cowboys. He's a big reason why the 9-2 Cowboys' offense produces 203.5 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation's leader at the time -- including an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season.
Suh, a 6-4, 300-pound senior defensive tackle from Portland, Ore., leads Nebraska in tackles with 35 unassisted tackles and 30 assisted stops. He has 15 tackles for 52 yards in losses (6.5 sacks), 10 pass break-ups, 20 quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and three blocked kicks. A top NFL prospect, Suh heads up the nation's third-ranked scoring defense that has propelled the Cornhuskers to an 8-3 regular-season record heading into the regular-season finale at Colorado on Friday.
The Big 12 has featured two previous winners in its history. Aaron Taylor of Nebraska claimed the award in 1997 and Jammal Brown of Oklahoma in 2004.
Including its previous history, Nebraska has claimed the award previous a record eight times by seven different players. Previous Nebraska winners include Dave Rimington (twice), Larry Jacobson, Rich Glover, Dean Steinkuhler, Will Shields, Zach Wiegert and Taylor.
An Oklahoma State player has never won the Outland Trophy.
The official 2009 award presentation will be Jan. 14, 2010, in Omaha, Neb., at a banquet sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma and Texas played two players apiece on the Outland Trophy watch list released Tuesday by the Football Writers of America.
The Sooners and Longhorns were joined by Florida, Penn State, Alabama, Georgia and USC as the only teams to place two members on the 40-man watch list.
The Big 12 had nine players on the list, trailing only 10 players from the Southeastern Conference. No other conference had more than four.
Here's the list of Big 12 nominees
- Baylor C J.D. Walton
- Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
- Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh
- Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
- Oklahoma T Trent Williams
- Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
- Texas T Adam Ulatoski
- Texas C Chris Hall
- Texas Tech G Brandon Carter
The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third-oldest award in major college football. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 10 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 14 in Omaha, Neb.
The Big 12 has had two previous winners in its history with Aaron Taylor of Nebraska in 1997 and Jammal Brown of Oklahoma in 2004.
Among the previous winners from Big 12 schools before the conference was created include Larry Jacobson, Rich Glover, two-time winner Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler, Zach Wiegert, and Will Shields, all of Nebraska; Jim Weatherall, J.D. Roberts, Lee Roy Selmon and Greg Roberts, all of Oklahoma; and Scott Appleton, Tommy Nobis and Brad Shearer, all of Texas.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
With Texas A&M starting practice today in College Station, every Big 12 team is back at work to prepare for the 2009 season.
The Aggies will condition in the sweltering sweatbox that can be College Station in August. But it should have them in outstanding shape for the start of the season.
Only 24 days remain until the start of the season. Here are a few stories from across the Big 12 to get you primed.
- The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel writes that Oklahoma State must be tougher than it was in the Holiday Bowl if it wants to live up to its early hype.
- Colorado will shift seamlessly between three-man and four-man defensive fronts this season, the Denver Post's Tom Kensler reports.
- Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin tells The Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton why he decided to give up track this spring in order to become a full-time football player.
- New Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee's role will be that of a caretaker of the Cornhuskers' offense, Omaha World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel writes. And the Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple writes that Lee has a chance to back up the early hype he has been steadily receiving from coaches and teammates.
- CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodds' all-decade team had a significant crimson and cream hue with four Oklahoma players selected -- Adrian Peterson, Jammal Brown, Rocky Calmus and Roy Williams.
- The Kansas City Star's Paul Suellentrop profiles versatile Kansas State running back/quarterback Daniel Thomas.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal's Kevin Haskin writes that Todd Reesing excels in and is reveling in his college experience.
- The Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls writes that Texas' defense has room for much improvement in its second season working with coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp.
- Oklahoma wide receiver Cameron Kenney is turning heads not only with his catching skills but also with his punting, Jake Trotter and Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman report.
- The Lubbock Avalanche Journal's Don Williams analyzes the battle for playing time among Texas Tech's wide receivers.
- Junior college cornerback Coryell Judie and freshman defensive lineman Chris Henderson were missing as Texas A&M prepared for Monday's first day of practice, the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News' Brent Zwerneman reports.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Don't talk to Oklahoma State walk-on strong safety Jason Evans about having too active of a social life.
Jimmie Tramel of the Tulsa World tells the interesting story of Evans, a former Marine who served in Iraq before coming back to college. He's also recently auditioned for the MTV reality show "The Real World" after earlier appearing on the MTV dating show "Next."
Such notoriety apparently has helped make Evans one of Stillwater's most eligible bachelors, as well as a part of the Cowboy team that will be challenging for its first Big 12 South title later this season.
His introduction to the team, as are those for many walk-ons, came with some bumps and bruises when he was lined up on the same play and challenged to stop a hulking fullback on a power sweep.
"I guess they were just trying to feel me out to see if I was just some punk and I didn't back down one inch," Evans told the World.
"We just blasted each other. I didn't knock him over, but he didn't knock me over. Ever since then, ever since the first 30 minutes of the first practice, everybody has been real cool to me. They found out real quick that I wasn't just some kid out there for a name tag and a jersey. I was actually out there to play."
Even though it's the middle of May, these lunchtime links have come to play, too.
- Big East officials aren't happy with the shared arrangement they currently have with the Big 12 for Gator Bowl appearances, Charleston Daily Mail reporter Mike Casazza writes.
- Clay Travis of fanhouse.com writes that Mike Leach's 64-team NCAA playoff proposal would transform college football.
- Wide receiver Keeston Terry of Blue Springs, Mo., has commited to Nebraska, Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald reports. Terry is the fourth commit of the 2010 recruiting class.
- Offensive tackle Troy Baker of Connally, Texas, has switched his commitment from Texas Tech to Baylor. John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald writes that Baker changed his mind because of his respect for Baylor coach Art Briles.
- The Detroit News' Angelique Chengelis has four Big 12 teams ranked in her preseason top 25 -- all from the South Division.
- Hulking Texas offensive tackle Adam Ulatoski plays a mean euphonium. The Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls relates this story and others, including the results of Ulatoski's independent study of the Longhorn brand.
- KXAN-TV in Austin has the story and some video about the new Field Turf playing surface at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns will become the fifth Big 12 school with Field Turf playing surface at their stadium.
- The Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter has his post-spring predictions with Kansas and Texas favored to win the North and South. Most interestingly, Matter picks Missouri to finish second in the North and Baylor to finish fourth in the South.
- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is particularly proud of how former Sooners Dan Cody and Jammal Brown have finished their college degrees despite flourishing NFL careers, Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler reports.