Big 12: Limas Sweed

Mailbag: Bowls redrawn, NFL Draft forecast

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
4:00
PM ET
Joe in Omaha, NE asks: If you were in charge of matching a team (reguardless of conference) to all the big 12's bowl eligible teams, which matchups would you want to see?

David Ubben: Interesting question. Most of the Big 12 matchups are snoozers, but Texas A&M and LSU and Missouri and Iowa are decent. So is Baylor and Illinois.

As for the rest, let me see these games (all picked within reason, so no Nebraska-Stanford, aka Luck vs. the Blackshirts. Sorry.):

Oklahoma vs. Ohio State: The Buckeyes took home a BCS bowl last year, but both teams could still use a bump in their street cred. Beating Oklahoma, even if it's not an SEC team, could do it for Jim Tressel. Texas and Ohio State played a couple classic games, including a Fiesta Bowl, this decade. Limas Sweed, anyone? What a catch in the 'Shoe. Quan Cosby, too, in that Fiesta Bowl.

I bet this would be a great game. Like OSU, Oklahoma could use the prestige boost. A win over UConn would be nice for the Sooners, but a win over a four-loss team won't completely satisfy the folks who think Bob Stoops has lost his "Big Game Bob" moniker. The Sooners played a better team last year (No. 19 Stanford, also with four losses) in the Sun Bowl. Plus, if the Sooners lose this year, it's an absolute disaster.

Nebraska vs. South Carolina: The Head Ball Coach against the Blackshirts? Yes, please. I'd like to see the good version of Stephen Garcia show up against the best secondary in the country, and we could see some high-quality football. Oklahoma's Landry Jones played as well as anyone against them and put up great numbers, but I'd like to see them take on Garcia, Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore. That could be a great matchup.

Texas Tech vs. Miami. Because...obviously. Most awkward bowl game ever? Not that he'll leave, but would that be the first time a coach has ever coached against his future team in a bowl game? Might be. If Tuberville actually left, he probably wouldn't coach this game, but remember people, we're operating in an ideal world. And in my ideal world, these things happen.


Joe Guilliams in St. Louis, MO asks: DU,What's happening with Gabbert next year? Is he coming back and if so will he start over James Franklin? Thanks, JG

DU: I'd expect Gabbert to come back this year. I imagine he feels like he left a lot on the table and Missouri should have a pretty good team in 2011, especially if he returns. (And, he won't have to see Nebraska's secondary anymore!)

He could still get a lot better, but it wouldn't surprise me if he made the leap this year. He's obviously a smart, coachable player and with his arm strength at every bit of 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, he'll make a lot of money in the league eventually.

Also, anyone who thinks James Franklin should be playing over Gabbert is out of their mind. He worked really well in the way Missouri used him this year, as a bit of a spot runner a la freshman year Tim Tebow, but nobody on that team is going to be able to run the entire offense as well as Gabbert, no matter how much Franklin improves next year.


Jeff in Memphis,TN asks: No disrespect to the Oklahoma State kicker,but how was the Nebraska kicker not even on the list. I watched the Big 12 title game and was amazed. Please enlighten this confused southerner.

Migu in Columbia, Missouri asks: What happened to the Mackey Award? I thought my man Michael Egnew was the sure bet to get it--I mean, isn't Egnew the top in most statistics for a tight end? Or is the selection process for the award getting ridiculous to the point that statistics doesn't matter anymore?

DU: I figured there would be a lot of questions about this, and there were. I threw these questions in here to refer you back to my thoughts on the issue from earlier today.


Bob Powell in Nazareth, PA asks: I live on East Coast and get no inside scoop anymore. What are the chances Broyles sticks around for Natl Title run?? How high in first round do you think he will go if he comes out?? How fast is he really?? Is he another Mark Clayton - which is pretty damn good. Thanks.

DU: I wouldn't rule out Broyles staying, but I think he'll leave, and it'd probably be a good call. I mentioned it earlier in the week, but he's learned a lot about the game. He's been a contributor for three years in this league. He's seen about everything defenses can throw at him. There's little issue about legacy; he owns eight of the nine major receiving records at Oklahoma. The only one he's missing is the single-game record for touchdowns, but he's had a three-touchdown game and the record is four. He's the best receiver in Oklahoma history, period.

He's fast, but he's quicker than he is fast. For an undersized guy like him, that's a big deal. Also a big deal are his hands. They're some of the best in the game. He had one dropped pass this year, and Landry Jones said in midseason that before that drop, he hadn't dropped a ball since the third game of the year in 2009, against Tulsa.

As a receiver under six-foot, he's not going to be a guy that teams will draft in the early first round, like a Calvin Johnson or Michael Crabtree, but he'll have a solid NFL career. He made a brief appearance on Mel Kiper's Big Board earlier this year, but if he impresses in pre-draft workouts, he could probably be a late first rounder, but I'd be surprised if he dropped out of the second round. Other than his size, all of his measurables should be good, and though he's not 6-foot-3, he can still go up and get a jump ball from time to time.


Kanye West (Phoenix) writes: Yo, Dan Bailey, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but Alex Henery is one of the greatest college kickers of all-time! Of all-time!

DU: A strong, strong candidate for best e-mail of the season. I want to drop a "Yup, these are my readers" so hard right now, you don't even know.

Mailbag: Best games and scariest players

August, 13, 2010
8/13/10
3:30
PM ET
Big G in Western Nebraska writes: The Expendables comes out Friday. If you had to make a team of elite warriors using Big 12 players, who would you put on it? Not necessarily an All-Star team, but the toughest, baddest dudes in the conference.

David Ubben: First off, no matter what my friends tell me, that movie looks like garbage. But this question is interesting. I'd invite you all to make your own lists, but here's mine.

1) Nate Solder, left tackle, Colorado: First off, at 6-foot-9 and 310 pounds, he's probably the biggest player in the entire league. But he also hang cleans 470 pounds, runs a 4.88 40-yard dash and has a 32-inch vertical leap. He's very high on my list of guys I wouldn't want to face in a jungle death match. And yes, that list exists.

2) Ronnell Lewis, linebacker, Oklahoma: Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has coached some big hitters in his day like Rocky Calmus and Roy Williams. He says Lewis, just a sophomore, hits the hardest. And he hails from tiny Dewar, Oklahoma. Everybody knows you don't mess with country boys.

3) Cody Johnson, running back, Texas: Anybody want to try and tackle him? The Longhorns' 5-foot-11, 250-pound goal-line back is the closest thing to a bowling ball in the Big 12. Steer clear. I know I will.

Who's on your list?


Craig in Wichita, Kan. writes: Two years ago, the Big XII was known for lighting up the scoreboard. Last seasonit was the defenses that took the spotlight. What's going to be the Big XII's signature in 2010?

DU: A conference takes on the identity of its top teams. There's a ton of other great offenses across the Big 12, but look at the top three teams in the league: Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma. All three should field top-10 defenses in 2010. So even though there are offenses like Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Missouri, the league's going to be known for defense once again. If that's not enough, look around at the Big 12 representatives on any All-American team. Very few offensive players, but lots of defensive guys like Jared Crick at Nebraska, Aaron Williams at Texas or Travis Lewis at Oklahoma.


Cord in College Station, Texas, writes: As a longhorn living in College Station, I've already heard plenty of "noise" from the A&M faithful about this being their year. I know you're an Aggie, too, and I'm just wondering what you're non-biased prediction for the Aggie season is. Hook'em.

DU: I'm afraid you're mistaken. I've never gigged anything or anyone, but nine wins for the Aggies is probably about right. If I had to pick it, they knock off Nebraska at home, but lose to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. They'll need to spring some upsets to win the South.


Craig in Ames, Iowa, writes: Do you think the recent flooding will help or hurt the Cyclones? Will the team-uniting fight against the adversity help, or will the routine-destroying distraction keep ISU from being ready for the first game against NIU?

DU: I don't think it hurts all that much, but if Paul Rhoads' team isn't already one of the league's closest, this sealed it. Some of the guys on that team have been through three coaching staffs, but finally got to experience some real success last season. Really, Iowa State only missed one practice, and though I'm sure there's some family troubles for a few of the players and some difficulty getting around still, I don't see the floods having much of an effect on the on-field product. But it's definitely a memorable experience that should change the way a lot of those guys see the world.


Tony in Lincoln, Neb., writes: Hey Dave, Just curious. What's the best game you've ever seen/been to?

DU: Of the games I've ever seen, it's pretty close between the Texas-Southern Cal Rose Bowl and the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl. I probably said this about 100 times in the weeks following the game, but the best part of that is the hook-and-ladder never works. Ever. It's a great play in theory, but the execution and timing has such a small margin of error required for success, plus it needs a little luck from the defense's call. That makes it impossible to execute. Except that one time.

I also love the big-time clashes. There was just an unfair amount of talent on the field in that national title game between Texas and USC, two teams who 100 percent earned the right to be there. You don't get that with every national championship.

Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Jamaal Charles, Lendale White, Steve Smith, Fred Davis, Selvin Young and Limas Sweed are all factors in the NFL now, most of whom I've started on my fantasy teams at least once. And that's just the offenses. Can't forget Aaron Ross, Michael Griffin and Michael Huff in the Longhorns secondary alone. Brian Orakpo and Roy Miller also played down in front. It just doesn't get much better than two premiere programs and NFL factories going at it in a game of that magnitude that delivered the drama, even if you could see that final drive coming the whole time.

Of the game's I've covered, I'd probably go with the Kansas-Missouri Border Showdown at the end of the 2008 season. Gotta love rivalry games, and Kansas-Missouri has been one of the most dramatic in recent seasons. That game was no exception. A ton of offensive talent on the field during a blizzard at Arrowhead Stadium. It included four go-ahead touchdowns in the final seven minutes, and finished with a Todd Reesing floater over Kerry Meier's shoulder on -- what else -- a broken play. Classic game with a classic finish.

Gilbert shows promise for the future

January, 8, 2010
1/08/10
1:00
PM ET
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- It wasn't the easiest of situations to be thrown into last night for freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert.

After Colt McCoy went out with a nerve injury five plays into the game, the Longhorns had to go to Gilbert, who had no experience in meaningful situations in the first nine games of his college career.

But he did show promise for the future, as these statistics compiled by Trevor Ebaugh from ESPN's Stats & Info indicate.

First, Gilbert had a masterful fourth quarter before a rash of mistakes that enabled the Crimson Tide to salt away a 37-21 victory. Alabama linebacker Eryk Anders forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter, snuffing out the Longhorns' hopes of claiming a comeback victory.

Prior to two desperation interceptions late in the game, Gilbert completed 7-of-9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He compiled a 173.2 pass efficiency rating before Anders' fumble and appeared to be steadily gaining more confidence in his work from the shotgun. Gilbert ended up with 38 of his 40 pass attempts coming out of the shotgun against Alabama on Thursday night.

Here's a look at how Gilbert's numbers compared in the first half and the second half.

As the game progressed, Gilbert honed in on wide receiver Jordan Shipley. The senior wide receiver had a second-half binge with 10 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Shipley's strong finish enabled him to set the Longhorns' career reception record with 248, breaking the previous mark of 241 that was set by Roy Williams between 2000-03.

Shipley's two TD grabs enabled him to set the Texas single-season touchdown reception mark of 13, breaking the previous mark of Roy Williams (2002) and Limas Sweed (2006) who both had 12.

Shipley also boosted his Texas single-season record of receiving yards to 1,485.

Here's a look at how Gilbert honed in on Shipley in the second half.

How Texas compares with 2005 title team

November, 10, 2009
11/10/09
11:35
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

As Texas streaks to its second 9-0 start since 1983, it’s understandable that some are already comparing this year’s team to the other team that started that fast.

Texas’ 2005 national championship team is the benchmark for all of the other Texas teams coached by Mack Brown. And this team appears to be the closest to the national championship squad in many respects.

While Brown says such comparisons are premature, he does say his current team’s fast start makes for some inevitable comparisons.
Brendan Maloney/US Presswire
Colt McCoy and the Longhorns have drawn comparisons to the 2005 national championship team.

“I would think you could compare them because there’s been only one close game for this team and for that team in 2005,” Brown said. “It was the Ohio State game in 2005 and the Oklahoma game this year that was in question late in the ballgame.”

But in order to meet the challenge of matching the 2005 team, Colt McCoy’s team will have to match the finishing kick of Vince Young’s team.

“At this time, they’ve earned the right to be in conversation with the 2005 team,” Brown said. “But they haven’t earned the right to be considered as good because they have to finish like that bunch did.”

The 2005 national championship led the conference in 11 statistical categories; the current team leads it in five. The 2005 team was the nation’s leading scoring team and led the nation in pass efficiency. The current team is more defensively oriented as it leads the nation in rushing defense and scoring defense and ranks second in kickoff returns.

The 2005 title team ranked 10th or better in 10 of the 17 team statistical categories tracked by the NCAA. The 2009 team ranked 10th or better in eight of those team statistical groups.

Here's a position-by-position comparison of the two teams:

Quarterbacks: Both teams featured quarterbacks who were involved in the Heisman Trophy race. The 2005 team had Vince Young, a multi-purpose player who accounted for 3,036 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes. Most importantly, he provided leadership for a team that had never won a Big 12 title under Brown. McCoy redshirted on that team, earning the opportunity to soak up lessons watching Young’s leadership. He’s capping the most productive statistical career for a Texas quarterback by passing for 2,447 yards and 17 touchdowns with at least three games remaining -- not counting a potential Big 12 championship game and a bowl. And his leadership skills are comparable with Young’s in guiding his team to an undefeated season so far.

Edge: Even

Rushing game: The 2005 team relied on Young, who rushed for a team-high 1,050 yards and scored 12 touchdowns and also had a strong starter in Jamaal Charles and an outstanding change-of-pace player in Ramonce Taylor. That team produced 55 rushing touchdowns and had five different backs with eight rushing touchdowns or more. The current team’s rushing game might be its major weakness without a featured rushing threat, as no current back has rushed for more than 275 yards. Depending on game situations, the team has utilized any of three starters, but its most consistent producer has been Cody Johnson, who will become its fourth starter this week against Baylor.
Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
Vince Young quarterbacked the 2005 Texas team to the national title.
Edge: 2005 Texas

Receivers/Tight end: The 2005 team had a stacked collection of receivers led by top deep threat Billy Pittman and Limas Sweed. But the most consistent receiving threat for Young was tight end David Thomas, who produced 50 receptions, including a career-best 10 in the BCS title game victory over USC. But that team had no receiving threat to match Jordan Shipley, who has already produced 75 catches, four double-figure reception games and broken the school single-game receiving yardage record. Dan Buckner developed early into a receiving threat at flex end and Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll and John Chiles all have been strong in an offense that has lived by short passes. But Shipley has been the focal point of a passing game that features short, quick passes as its primary offensive weapon.

Edge: 2009 Texas

Offensive line: The 2005 team featured three-first team All-Big 12 picks in Justin Blalock, Jonathan Scott and Will Allen. Because of Young's mobility, that team allowed only 14 sacks and produced 5.9 yards per carry and 55 rushing touchdowns. The current team is nearly as strong with key players like Adam Ulatoski, Charlie Tanner and Chris Hall, who have currently combined for 99 career starts and should be peaking as the season continues. The current team is producing 3.9 yards per carry, 16 sacks and 20 rushing touchdowns.

Edge: 2005 Texas

Defensive line: The 2005 team featured first-team All-Big 12 players like Rodrique Wright and Tim Crowder and pass-rushing specialist Brian Robison, a converted linebacker who led the team with sacks. But that team didn’t feature anybody as proficient as Sergio Kindle or a run-stuffing tackle like Lamarr Houston. It’s the main reason the current Texas team leads the nation in rush defense (55.33 yards per game), total defense (230.78 yards per game) and ranks in the top 20 in both sacks and tackles for losses. The 2005 team was 39th nationally in sacks and 29th in tackles for losses.

Edge: 2009 Texas

Linebackers: The 2005 unit was at its weakest at linebacker where no players earned All-Big 12 first-team or second-team designation. Robert Killebrew was that team’s only player to earn honorable mention. The current team features an anchor in the middle in senior linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, flanked by Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho. Will Muschamp’s unit seldom uses three linebackers except in run-stuffing situations, preferring to use a nickel formation. But his current group still has the edge at linebacker over the championship team.

Edge: 2009 Texas

Secondary: The 2005 team might be one of the great college units of all time. That team featured the Thorpe Award winner in Michael Huff and another all-league player in Cedric Griffin. Huff, Cedric Griffin, Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown all were drafted in the NFL and had eventual pro careers. The unit was nearly impermeable as it broke up 85 passes and permitted only two teams to pass for more than 200 yards against them. The current group is young and skilled and might develop into as strong of a group with experience.

Earl Thomas has played like the best defensive back in the country this season with six interceptions, including two touchdown returns. Curtis Brown, Chykie Brown, Aaron Williams and Blake Gideon have already helped the defense combine for 16 interceptions. And the group is playing with swagger as the season continues.

The current group could match the eventual production of the 2005 team, but it still has to get there.

Edge: 2005 Texas

Special teams: Neither team had to punt very often, but Hunter Lawrence has a narrow edge over David Pino at kicker for his consistency and range. The biggest difference is in the return game. The current team features two threats with D.J. Monroe (two TDs, 36.5 yards kick return average) and Shipley (14.5 punt return average, two TDs), giving it an edge over Ramonce Taylor and Aaron Ross (14.7 punt return average, two TDs).

Edge: 2009 Texas

Coaching: With largely the same cast of coaches, the 2009 team appears to be better coached. In 2005, Brown was trying for his first Big 12 title and utilized defensive co-coordinators with Gene Chizik and Duane Akina. It often seemed that the individual talents of Young took over the game during that championship season. But this team features a better job by Greg Davis as he compensates for his team’s lack of a consistent running game by developing a crafty passing game utilizing quick short passes. And the defense has taken big steps this season in its second season under Muschamp.

Edge:2009 Texas

Intangibles: The 2005 team was trying to become Brown’s first Big 12 title team and played well throughout. It started with a dramatic comeback victory over Ohio State and continued with a run through the Big 12 that featured no victory less than 11 points. The 2005 team needed a comeback over Oklahoma State, but Young helped the team peak as the Longhorns scored at least 40 points in 12 games. The team rolled to victories of 62, 52 and 11 points in November before notching a record-breaking 70-3 triumph over Colorado in the Big 12 title game and the 41-38 BCS title game victory over USC.

This team hasn’t faced many tests, although it did handle Oklahoma in a 16-13 triumph that ranks as its closest margin. Other than that game, the 2009 Longhorns have rolled up at least 34 points in every game and allowed more than 20 points on only two occasions. But it still has its chance to finish strongly in November like the 2005 team did.

Edge: 2005 Texas

If they met: The 2005 team still would merit a slight edge, mainly because this team doesn’t have a transcendent talent like Young. But the current team is developing and could have a chance to match the championship with a strong finish.

Edge: 2005 Texas

Young's title-game dramatics are Big 12's No. 1 memory

July, 10, 2009
7/10/09
8:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Title-game clash of the titans remains the Big 12's game for the ages 

Date: Jan. 4, 2006
Place: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
Score: Texas 41, USC 38

After sorting through the moments that have made the Big 12's history so rich, the most memorable one was easy for me to pick.

 
  Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
  Vince Young threw for 267 yards and ran for 200 more.

All I had to do was think back to the greatest championship game in any sport that I've ever seen.

Admittedly, those are some strong words. But anybody who witnessed Vince Young's game-winning performance that night at the Rose Bowl against No. 1 USC would have to agree.

Young accounted for a Rose Bowl-record 467 yards, running for 200 yards and passing for 267 more. His 8-yard touchdown run with only 19 seconds left brought home the first undisputed national championship to Texas in 36 years, capping a wild 41-38 victory.

And making it even sweeter for the Longhorns, the victory  snapped the 34-game winning streak of a team that was judged as the greatest modern dynasty in recent college football history. USC had two Heisman Trophy winners in its starting backfield in Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush and scads of NFL-quality talent.

The game that preceded Young's late heroics only made the ending that much more unforgettable.

The Trojans and Longhorns combined for 60 first downs, 1,130 yards of total offense and only four punts. But in the end, a defensive play was the most pivotal in the game. 

USC was poised to wrap up the game, nursing a 38-33 lead. On a fourth-and-2 from his own 45-yard line, USC coach Pete Carroll gambled and tried to deliver a kill shot by calling a dive play by LenDale White.

But White was turned away inches short of the first down when he was met by Texas safety Michael Huff and defensive tackle Rod Wright among others.

That provided the opening for Texas' game-winning drive that started with 2:09 left. The Longhorns received a big break when USC defensive back Darnell Bing was flagged for a face-mask penalty after tackling Quan Cosby five yards short of a first down on third-and-12, giving Texas a first down.

Young then accounted for the next 33 yards on runs and passes to give the Longhorns a first down at the USC 13 with 50 seconds left. But after a 5-yard run sandwiched around two incomplete passes intended for Limas Sweed, the Longhorns were looking at a fourth-and-5 from the Trojan 8.

The Trojans gambled with a determined blitz, but Young scooted past them. And thanks to a crunching block from Texas right tackle Justin Blaylock, Young sped toward the right end zone in a serpentine path to the game-winning touchdown.

After Young converted a two-point play, USC had one more chance. Leinart and Bush hooked up on a 27-yard pass that pushed the ball to the Texas 42 for the final play. But Leinart's pass intended for Dwayne Jarrett sailed over his head at the Texas 25 to preserve the wild victory.

USC seemingly moved the ball at will early in the game, piling up a Rose Bowl-record 574 yards in the game. The Trojans struck first barely 2 minutes into the game on a 4-yard touchdown run by White to cap a 46-yard drive.

They were poised to score again when Bush snagged a 37-yard screen pass from Leinart on the second play of the second quarter. But the Heisman Trophy winner inexplicably attempted a sideways pitch to unprepared teammate Brad Walker. Huff fell on the loose ball and the Longhorns took control for the rest of the half.

Texas erupted for 16 straight points, scoring on its next three drives.

The binge started with a 46-yard field goal by David Pino, followed by a 10-yard option touchdown keeper by Young on a disputed play where his knee appeared to hit the ground. And Ramonce Taylor's 30-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 16-7 with 2:34 left in the half.

USC pulled within 16-10 on Mario Danelo's 43-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half. It was the fourth time during the season the Trojans trailed at the break.

A 3-yard scoring run by White enabled USC to reclaim the lead, capping a 62-yard scoring drive after Texas had been forced to punt to start the fourth quarter. But Young responded with a 14-yard touchdown run barely two minutes later to boost Texas back ahead at 23-17.

White's 12-yard scoring run boosted the Trojans back into a 24-23 lead after three quarters.

The Trojans' star power then took over. Bush raced on a spectacular 26-yard touchdown run, punctuated by a somersault in the end zone to boost the Trojans lead to eight with 11:19 left.

And after Pino added 34-yard field goal with 8:46 on the ensuing possession, USC's big-play offense struck again. Leinart whistled a 22-yard touchdown strike to Jarrett with 6:42 left to boost the Trojans' lead to 38-26, capping a four-play, 80-yard drive.

But Young was only getting started. He completed 5 of 6 passes and rushed twice for 25 yards on the next drive, capping the possession with a 17-yard scoring scamper that pulled Texas within 38-33 with 4:26 left.

And after his game-winning drive, the excitement from that ending still resonates to that day.

They said it, part I: "We never, ever, really thought we'd lose the ballgame," Texas coach Mack Brown, after his team's dramatic comeback.

They said it, part II: "You couldn't ask for anything better. This was a great football game. We gave our hearts, they gave their hearts and they came out on top." USC quarterback Matt Leinart on the disappointment of losing his final college game.

They said it, part III: "We couldn't stop them when we had to. Their quarterback ran all over the place. This is their night. It was wonderful doing what we've been doing. But we just didn't get it done tonight," USC coach Pete Carroll, on the end of the Trojans' 34-game winning streak.

They said it, part IV: "I still think we're a better football team. They just made the plays in the end." Leinart on Texas' late comeback.

They said it, part V: "The quarterback just ran all over the place. He's a fantastic player. He was the difference. And how classic was it that he ran it in on the last play?" Carroll on Vince Young's late heroics.

They said it, part VI: "Everybody showed so much heart on both sides of the ball. I said all week that it would come down to the last play of the game and it did," Texas quarterback Vince Young on his late-game heroics.

They said it, part VII: "We have Vince Young on the show tonight. We were able to do something USC couldn't do, we grabbed him," Tonight Show host Jay Leno, in his monologue  when Young appeared on his show several days after the game.

Factoids: Texas' conquest marked the second Rose Bowl comeback in as many years by Young, who orchestrated a 38-37 triumph over Michigan to account for Texas' first BCS bowl victory the previous season ... Bush accounted for 82 rushing yards and grabbed six passes for 95 yards ... Leinart completed 29 of 40 passes for 365 yards with one interception and was sacked three times ... Young was
30-of-40 passing for 267 yards ... Michael Huff earned game defensive MVP honors with 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss ... On Young's controversial touchdown run in the second quarter, the play could not be renewed because of a malfunction for the monitor needed to supply different angles to the replay crew .... Both teams finished with 30 first downs, but USC had a 574-556 edge in total yardage. ... USC's 34-game winning streak that ended with the loss was tied for the sixth-longest in FBS history.  The Texas victory was the 800th in school history ... It was the first time that Texas had beaten a No. 1 ranked team since defeating Oklahoma on Oct. 12, 1963.

The upshot: Young's heroics helped boost his record as a starting quarterback to 30-2, finishing with a national championship. He decided to turn pro, informing Brown of his decision four days later.

Texas finished the season No. 1 with a 20-game winning streak. It was the Longhorns' first outright national championship since 1969. And it marked a share of their fourth national championship after claiming titles in 1963, 1969, and a shared one in 1970 with Nebraska.

The Longhorns would stretch their winning streak to 21 games before losing at home to Ohio State in the second game of the 2006 season. That represents Texas' second-longest winning streak in school history, behind only a 30-game streak from 1968-70.

USC has won 34 of their next 39 games since the Texas loss, including Rose Bowl victories to finish each season since then. The Rose Bowl loss to Texas is the only time Carroll has lost a bowl game from 2002 to the present. USC has gone 6-1 in bowl games during that period.

The countdown:

2. Michael Crabtree's last-second grab stuns Texas
3. Superman's leap. Roy Williams' tipped pass punctuates titantic defensive battle.
4. Davison's dramatic grab keeps Cornhuskers' national title hopes alive.
5. Bamboozled again and again and again. Boise State's gadget plays doom OU.
6. Yes, Sirr. Parker's dramatic catches lead A&M to first Big 12 title
7. Crouch's TD catch cements Heisman bid, beats Oklahoma
8. Sproles and Roberson stun top-ranked OU, leading KSU to its first Big 12 title.
9. Emotional A&M victory brings closure after Bonfire tragedy.
10. Roll left: James Brown guarantees victory and then backs it up.
11. When BCS meant "Boo Chris Simms" in Colorado's first Big 12 title.
12. A Buffalo stampede: Six Chris Brown TDs lead CU to first Big 12 title game.
13. Run, Ricky, run. Ricky Williams breaks NCAA career rushing record.
14. Wild game, wilder post-game rants when Gundy and Leach meet in 2007.
15. Rout 66: No, that score wasn't a typo.
16. KSU finally slays the Cornhuskers.
17. Kingsbury and Long hook up in a passing duel for the ages.
18. Henery and Suh make Colorado blue.
19. Stunning OSU rally leads to Stoops' first home loss.
20. It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over.
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" against UNLV in 1999.

Former Big 12 players still in the NFL playoffs

January, 16, 2009
1/16/09
5:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

I'll admit that I don't watch nearly as much NFL as I do college football. Sundays typically are my busiest day during the season and I'm usually fortunate if I can watch a quarter of any regular season NFL game.

But after the bowls are over, I can watch the playoffs with a critical eye. The NFL playoffs are a great spectacle and Sunday's two championship games are one of the four or five best days of sports of the year. Not quite as good as national championship day or New Year's Day to be sure, but still six hours of entertaining football to be savored.

I particularly like to catch up with some of the former players I used to cover during their Big 12 careers. And with free agency drastically altering rosters, it's tough to follow all of the player movement.

I took a quick look at the rosters of the four remaining teams, looking for former Big 12 players and how they are involved on their teams.

Here's a look at each remaining NFL team with Big 12 players and their uniform numbers noted.

Philadelphia Eagles

Arizona Cardinals

  • LB Monty Beisel, Kansas State (52) -- Second-string at middle linebacker
  • CB Ralph Brown, Nebraska (20) -- Second-string at left cornerback
  • C Lyle Sendlein, Texas (63) -- Starter
  • DE Antonio Smith, Oklahoma State (94) -- Starter at left defensive end

Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers

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