Big 12: Mitch Mustain

Need a quarterback? Call the Trojans

June, 11, 2010
6/11/10
5:10
PM ET
The NCAA slapped USC with a whole mess of sanctions earlier this week, including a two-year ban from the postseason. Past providing some good, old-fashioned schadenfreude, Big 12 fans probably don't care all that much about the penalty.

This might change that:
Juniors and seniors to-be on the USC Trojans' football team, hit with a two-year postseason ban among other punishments, will be allowed to transfer to other FBS programs without having to sit out a season, the NCAA clarified to ESPN on Friday.

"The second school would have to submit a waiver asking to waive the year in residence, but NCAA rules allow for this waiver to be granted if a student-athlete's first school has a postseason ban in their sport," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said in an e-mail to ESPN's Joe Schad.

The rule does not apply to freshman who have signed national letters of intent, however. But schools with an interest in a USC junior or senior are allowed to initiate contact with the player, Osburn said.

Starting sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley obviously doesn't qualify, and has said all of the right things moving forward with the sanctions, but another quarterback does.

Backup Mitch Mustain. Take it away, colleague Ted Miller:
Mustain is probably the nation's best known backup quarterback. He went 61-2 at Springdale (Ark.) High School and was named the 2005 Gatorade, USA Today and Parade Magazine National Player of the Year before becoming the biggest recruit in Arkansas history. He went 8-0 as a true freshman starter, yet things turned sour between Mustain and Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt -- let's just say it was complicated -- and Mustain opted to transfer to USC.

Full disclosure: I attended the same high school at the same time as Mustain, but I wouldn't even call us acquaintances. We're not even Facebook friends. Point is, I've watched him play for a long time. His biggest strike as a player is he got beat out for a starting gig by a guy who just led the New York Jets to the AFC Championship Game as a rookie. The 8-0 record at Arkansas as a freshman is misleading (Darren McFadden and Felix Jones had a lot more to do with it), but the guy can play.

Pete Carroll had only good things to say about him while he ruled Troy, and he's got the pedigree. He's not better than Barkley or Mark Sanchez, but there aren't a ton of quarterbacks who are.

He'll be a senior with big-game experience who spent three years at USC improving his game. Before that, he spent his high school career and first year of college under the tutelage of Gus Malzahn -- now a hot-commodity offensive coordinator at Auburn on the fast track to a head coaching gig. He's 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. He's extremely accurate, has a strong arm, is deceptively fast and his deep ball is one of the prettiest you'll see in college football. And he's still got the chops, even if Barkley's are choppier.

With Barkley sidelined during the spring game, Mustain stepped in and completed 19 of 29 passes for 299 yards and five scores. Who knows if he'll leave after already doing it once at Arkansas?

But Big 12 coaches, if you need a quarterback and you're not at least calling to gauge his interest, you're making a mistake.

The numbers say UT could win the BCS title and OU won't

July, 7, 2009
7/07/09
11:31
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The number crunchers at Docsports.com have come up with the common statistical traits that the BCS national championship winners have shared.

1. Be a member of a "Big Six" conference or Notre Dame:

Teams still fitting the profile: 67.

2. Have at least eight wins in the previous season. Of the 11 BCS title winners nine teams (and the past six consecutive) have had at least eight wins the season prior to winning the championship. All have had at least seven.

Teams still fitting the profile: 37

3. Have a winning regular-season record in November-December games in the previous season. Winning games late in the season usually ensures a strong finish. Only LSU in 2002 -- with a 2-2 record in November and December -- claimed a BCS national championship without a winning record in those two months in the year before.

Teams still fitting the profile: 25.

Among those still standing are: Alabama (4-0), Boston College (4-1), California (3-2), Cincinnati (5-0), Florida (5-0), Georgia Tech (3-1), Iowa (3-1), Michigan State (3-1), Mississippi (4-0), Missouri (3-1), Nebraska (3-1), Northwestern (3-1), Ohio State (3-0), Oklahoma (4-0), Oregon (3-1), Oregon State (4-1), Penn State (3-1), Pittsburgh (4-1), Rutgers (4-0), Texas (3-1), Texas Tech (3-1), USC (5-0), Wake Forest (3-2), West Virginia (3-2) and Virginia Tech (3-1).

4. Have a junior or senior quarterback with some playing experience. All 11 teams that have won BCS national titles have had a junior or senior playing. All but Tee Martin of Tennessee had starting experience entering the season.

Teams still fitting the profile: 17.

Among those still alive are: California (Kevin Riley), Cincinnati (Tony Pike), Florida (Tim Tebow), Georgia Tech (Josh Nesbitt), Iowa (Richard Stanzi), Mississippi (Jevan Snead), Northwestern (Mike Kafka), Oklahoma (Sam Bradford), Oregon (Jeremiah Masoli), Oregon State (Lyle Moevao), Penn State (Daryll Clark), Pittsburgh (Bill Stull), Texas (Colt McCoy), USC (Mitch Mustain), Wake Forest (Riley Skinner), West Virginia (Jarrett Brown) and Virginia Tech (Tyrod Taylor).

5. Have six returning defensive starters from a unit that ranked in the top 20 in scoring defense in the previous season. Eight of the past nine teams to have won the BCS title have had a defense in the nation's top 20 in scoring defense the previous season (Florida was 46th in 2007) and all but one team (1998 Tennessee) returned at least six starters from their previous season's defense.

Teams still fitting the profile: 6.

Those teams that are eligible include Florida (fourth in scoring defense, 11 returning starters), Iowa (fifth in scoring defense, eight returning starters), Mississippi (20th in scoring defense, eight starters), Texas (18th in scoring defense, seven starters), West Virginia (11th in scoring defense, eight starters) and Virginia Tech (ninth in scoring defense, seven starters).

The formula has been accurate over the years. Of the seven teams that fit the profile coming into last season -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Rutgers, USC, and Wake Forest -- all won at least eight games and Florida won the national championship. The team the Gators beat for the national title, Oklahoma, was not included among those on the list.

So keep these trends in mind this season. It might be the reason why we end up seeing Texas and Florida playing for the national championship, if not Iowa, Mississippi, West Virginia or Virginia Tech at the Rose Bowl.

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