Big 12: Julio Jones
Expectations from fans and media are high for all three, but for now, coach Bill Snyder isn't ready to tell anyone just what to expect.
Bryce and Arthur Brown are brothers and Wichita, Kan., natives. Bryce, a running back, originally signed with Tennessee before transferring back to Kansas State to be closer to home. Arthur, a linebacker, did the same after signing with Miami originally.
Both were five-star recruits, among the best in their class at their positions. In Arthur Brown's class, ESPN pegged only five players better than him, and four (A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Terrelle Pryor, Da'Quan Bowers) became household names over the course of their careers.
Alabama's Trent Richardson was the only running back ESPN ranked above Bryce Brown.
Neither Brown brother stuck at their respective program.
Quarterback Justin Tuggle, meanwhile, started briefly at Boston College after leaving high school as the nation's No. 38 quarterback. Last year, he spent the season filling Heisman winner Cam Newton's shoes at Blinn College in Texas.
Snyder has built a reputation on turning transfers from junior colleges and other Division I programs into stars, and the Wildcats hope that will be the case with their new trio, who will finally get their chance this fall.
"Are they going to step on the field and be instant successes to an extremely high degree? I can’t guarantee that," Snyder said. "I’d like for it to happen, they’d like for it to happen, our players would like for it to happen, and our coaches, but I wouldn’t instill that kind of pressure on either one of them."
The Brown Brothers have been in the program for a year, and Arthur has already drawn rave reviews for his work on the scout team last year. Tuggle, a dual-threat quarterback, arrived this semester and is working on learning the Wildcats offense while competing with Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur to win the starting job.
"I’d hate to put a ceiling on anybody’s capabilities, whether it’s a transfer student or young people who have been in our program for a period of time. It would be hard to say this is what their limitations are. We try to stress not placing limitations on their abilities to perform successfully," Snyder said. "They weren’t in a position where they were on the field, the kind of repetition that is quality or signifies quick improvement, but they are now and each and all of them are making headway. Where does that take them? That’s certainly up to them."
- Vahe Gregorian of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes you behind the scenes of the training facility in Phoenix that's preparing Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Aldon Smith for the NFL draft. Other prospects at the facility include Nebraska's Prince Amukamara and Texas' Aaron Williams, as well as Julio Jones, Christian Ponder and A.J. Green.
- Oklahoma State added a new transfer, Tulsa native and safety Shamiel Gary.
- Has Nebraska found what it wants to do offensively? Perhaps, reports Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald. More like Oregon. Less like "the Big Ten."
- Texas A&M running back Bradley Stephens is forgoing his senior season as an Aggie to go pro ... in something other than sports, reports Brent Zwerneman in the Houston Chronicle.
- William Wilkerson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a list of winners and losers from the weeks following the bowls. Among the winners: Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Baylor tops the list of losers.
- This could throw a wrench into Oklahoma State's search for a new OC: Cowboys receivers coach Gunter Brewer is leaving to be the receivers coach and passing-game coordinator under Houston Nutt at Ole Miss
- Sorry, K-State fans: Rumored new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt has joined the San Francisco 49ers staff as a linebackers coach under Jim Harbaugh.
- Why did new Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson choose OU? To finish his father's unfinished business, writes John Hoover of the Tulsa World.
- Oklahoma announced its spring practice start time and spring game date.
- The Sooners also lost a commitment to TCU. Brandon Carter is heading to TCU for a chance to play receiver, reports Travis L. Brown of ESPNDallas.com.
- Colorado added its fourth commitment in five days.
- File this under Holy Cow!: UConn may lose $2.5 million by going to the Fiesta Bowl.
- Former Kansas running back Jake Sharp is still chasing his NFL dreams, writes Candace Buckner of the Kansas City Star.
The Big 12 has the best receivers of any league in America. With Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon sitting out on Saturday, the league's No. 2 and No. 3 receivers put on a big-time showcase in wins. Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles set a school record with 208 yards and three touchdowns on nine catches before taking a seat as Oklahoma ran out the clock. Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller used 11 catches to rack up 171 yards and a pair of scores. All three are very different receivers, but eat your heart out Alshon Jeffery, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Greg Childs.
Making difficult decisions will pay off. I can't imagine what that conversation between Mike Sherman and Jerrod Johnson went like. Johnson, I'm sure, took it well and will keep working. He's a great player who'll do whatever he's asked, but there's no question now that Sherman made the right call. He benched the Aggies' all-time leader in total offense and a three-year starter in Johnson in favor of Ryan Tannehill, who torched a mediocre Texas Tech secondary for a school-record 449 yards and four touchdowns. His performance gave the Aggies a much-needed win before they enter a brutal, brutal finish to their schedule against three South teams and Nebraska.
Paul Rhoads is very, very close to shocking everybody once again. Last year, it was impossible because he inherited a two-win team without any hope. This year, the schedule was just too hard for it to even be a remote possibility. But here the Cyclones are, sitting on five wins with a very winnable game at Colorado in two weeks between them and a trip to a bowl game for the second consecutive season. It'd be pretty unfair to say these Cyclones have no shot to beat Nebraska next week. Rhoads has already shown what happens when those types of things start getting said about his team.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 3) vs. Alabama (SEC No. 3)
Oklahoma State's record against the SEC: 2-3
Alabama's record against the Big 12: 3-3
Previous series: Oklahoma State leads the series, 1-0
Most recent game: Oklahoma State won, 34-31, in the 2006 Independence Bowl
Distance between them (as the crow flies according to How Far Is It): 578 miles.
Where they should play: Little Rock, Ark. (283 miles from Stillwater, 295 miles from Tuscaloosa)
Who wins: Alabama.
Why: Nick Saban got his team to the brink of the SEC championship last season. And he clearly wants more this year.
Mike Gundy is hoping to take Oklahoma State into the uncharted area where the Cowboys are challenging for conference titles and BCS bowls. Alabama is just a little further along, and that experience would be the major difference if these two teams would play.
It would be an intriguing matchup of strength against strength as the Crimson Tide's nine defensive starters would be supremely challenged by OSU's vaunted offensive attack. But nose tackle Terrence Cody and linebackers Rolando McClain and Dont'a Hightower should be able to neutralize Kendall Hunter and the Cowboys' rushing game. Gundy also would be tested to get Dez Bryant and OSU's deep passing game involved against a talented athletic secondary keyed by starters Justin Woodall, Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson.
While Alabama isn't nearly as talented offensively, neither is OSU on defense. Saban needs to find a replacement for Andre Smith up front, but James Carpenter and D.J. Fluker are poised to take over and would be strong against OSU's rebuilding defensive front. I'd look for new Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy to manage an efficient game, using Julio Jones just enough to boost the Tide to a tight victory.
The game also would be interesting to see the special-teams battle between Arenas and Bryant on punt returns. If either team could earn a substantial special-teams advantage, it might be enough to catapult them to the mythical victory. But I'm thinking that both teams would make big plays and likely even out, enabling Alabama to win.
Thursday: Oklahoma (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Mississippi (SEC No. 2).
The count: SEC, 6-4.
Note: Matchups are determined by the most recent rankings of Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin and SEC blogger Chris Low. All cumulative records go back to the 1996 season -- the first of competition in the Big 12.