Big 12: Nick Kasa
Toney Clemons, WR
So what if we've talked about him plenty here? You should get to know the preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver and Michigan transfer. After topping out at 11 receptions and 101 yards as a sophomore at Michigan, he still has to prove his potential and produce. His teammates made him the first pick of the spring game, so clearly they don't need much more convincing. But he's one of three nice additions to the Colorado receiving corps alongside Scotty McKnight, joining UCLA and USC transfers Paul Richardson and Travon Patterson, respectively.
Will Pericak, DT
Pericak (pre-check) started last year and made 39 tackles as the run-clogger for the Buffaloes, adding a pair of sacks and five tackles for loss. Alongside defensive end Marquez Herrod, he'll try to improve on both of those numbers as a sophomore. He possesses nice size at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, but if Colorado is going to improve its rush defense, which ranked ninth in the Big 12 last season, he'll have to be a bigger contributor in 2010.
Nick Kasa, DE
He still has to earn playing time at defensive end, but if he can make it on the field, he'll get a chance to show the potential that made him the nation's No. 17 defensive end in the 2009 class. Kasa chose to stay home in Colorado over playing for Florida, where he originally committed. His debut season was derailed by a torn MCL and missed time because of mono, but he'll try to improve on his underwhelming two tackles as a freshman. If he can stay healthy, he should help a Colorado pass rush that sacked quarterbacks just 27 times in 2009, ninth-most in the Big 12.
More Fresh Faces:
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Big 12 defenses are nearly as proficient as their offensive counterparts. But the best teams in terms of defense will likely end up as the conference’s best teams because stopping the high-powered offenses in the conference is so rare.
Here’s a look at how I rank them:
1. Oklahoma: The Sooners return nine starters and are among the nation’s very best defenses. It starts with three-deep talent along the defensive line keyed by Gerald McCoy and Auston English, who was the conference’s preseason player of the year last season before spraining his knee. They might be a little lacking in depth at middle linebacker behind Ryan Reynolds with the injury to freshman standout Tom Wort and Mike Balogun’s iffy status. The only new starters are strong safety Sam Proctor and free safety Quinton Carter, who have both been impressive in fall camp. The Sooners’ substitutes might be better collectively than most Big 12 units.
2. Texas: The Longhorns have arguably the conference’s best back seven, particularly a developing secondary led by Earl Thomas and corners Chykie Brown and Aaron Williams. Sergio Kindle and Alex Okafor are poised to become the primary pass-rushing specialists. Lamarr Houston has developed into an anchor at defensive tackle, but the Longhorns need to find another player at the other defensive tackle position to juice production for their biggest defensive weakness. Will Muschamp’s unit must do a better job after producing only 16 turnovers last season to rank tied for 104th nationally.
3. Nebraska: It all starts with the defensive line, which is among the best in the nation with Outland Candidate Ndamukong Suh and defensive ends Pierre Allen and Barry Turner. The Cornhuskers are young at linebacker where they might start two linebackers, although coaches really like 6-foot-6, 230-pound buck linebacker Sean Fisher and Will Compton. Coaches say the secondary is playing with more confidence, but the group produced only 12 interceptions last season. Boosting that turnover production will be critical in the Cornhuskers’ division title hopes.
4. Texas Tech: This is where the big drop-off starts from the top three teams. The Red Raiders will miss pass-rushing threats McKinner Dixon and Brandon Williams from last season, but have an experienced unit back. Rajon Henley and Brandon Sharpe are set to fill in as the pass-rushing threats and Colby Whitlock can be a terror at times -- particularly against Texas. Brian Duncan is a producer and the team’s leading tackler at middle linebacker. Jamar Wall is one of the better cover corners in the league. But the unit will depend on the improvement of two projected starters: redshirt freshman free safety Cody Davis and strong safety Franklin Mitchem.
5. Oklahoma State: The development by veteran defensive coordinator Bill Young will determine whether this unit has the goods to lead the Cowboys to their first South title and a potential maiden BCS bowl appearance. The biggest key will be producing more sacks from a defensive front that notched only 15 last season. Young has been concentrating on push from his defensive tackles and thinks he has an underrated pair in seniors Swanson Miller and Derek Burton. The loss of Orie Lemon at middle linebacker will hurt, although Donald Booker has been a producer in limited playing time. The secondary will be playing new starters with only Perrish Cox returning. But keep an eye out for senior free safety Lucien “The Punisher” Antoine who was turning heads last season before blowing out his ACL in the second game last season.
6. Colorado: The Buffaloes are faster this season and that should help them cope with the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. The linebackers are deep with Shaun Mohler and Jeff Smart as the prime producers. And I really like the secondary, with Jimmy Smith and Cha’pelle Brown among the best pair of cornerbacks in the conference. The biggest concern is along the defensive line, particularly after the injury of heralded freshman Nick Kasa that may idle him for the season. One area to note will be at right defensive end, where sophomore Lagrone Shields and freshman Forrest West are in the two-deep. Shields has played four snaps in his career.
7. Kansas: The Jayhawks need defensive improvement if they are going to fulfill their hopes of making their first championship game. The Jayhawks were crippled last season without a consistent pass rush. They hope junior-college transfer Quintin Woods, Caleb Blakesley and 304-pound Jamal Greene up front along with sack leader Jake Laptad. After losing three starting linebackers from last season, the Jayhawks will retool. I look for them to play two linebackers and a nickel look in many cases. Look for freshman Huldon Tharp to become a producer at linebacker. The secondary is the strength of the defense with All-Big 12 candidate Darrell Stuckey at strong safety and Phillip Strozier poised to continue his late-season development.
8. Baylor: Up the middle, the Bears might be among the strongest defenses in the conference with heralded transfer defensive tackle Phil Taylor, linebacker Joe Pawelek and hard-hitting safety Jordan Lake. Baylor coordinator Brian Norwood knows he needs more production from a defensive line that collected only 21 sacks and allowed opponents to complete 67 percent of passes for 3,063 yards. Antonio Jones and Antonio Johnson sometimes get overshadowed by Pawelek at linebacker. Junior cornerbacks Tim Atchison, Clifton Odom and Antareis Bryan need to improve or it could be a long season for the secondary.
9. Missouri: Any defense that starts with All-American candidate Sean Weatherspoon won’t be too bad. The Tigers could be a surprise considering that Gary Pinkel has been raving about the speed his unit possesses -- particularly at defensive end and at cornerback. Look for a three-man rotation at defensive end with Brian Coulter, Jacquies Smith and Aldon Smith to boost production in the pass rush. The secondary was a huge liability last season ranking 118th in pass defense. Kevin Rutland has shown a physical style at cornerback and Kenji Jackson and Hardy Ricks might be ready to help at safety.
10. Kansas State: New coordinators Chris Cosh and Vic Koenning plan to run a 4-2-5 defense. Their first concern is developing a rush with 2008 first-team freshman All-America pick Brandon Harold out with an injury. While he’s gone, the Wildcats need Eric Childs and Jeffrey Fitzgerald to emerge up front. John Houlik and Alex Hrebec apparently have earned the starting jobs at linebacker. Three junior college players -- David Garrett, Troy Butler and Emmanuel Lamur -- have apparently earned starting jobs for a secondary that desperately needs to improve after ranking 106th nationally in pass defense. The defense ranked tied for 110th in scoring defense and 117th in total defense, so the new coordinators better boost improvement or it will be another long season.
11. Texas A&M: Whatever happened to the Wrecking Crew defenses from the past? The best indication of the concern that Mike Sherman has for his defensive unit came when he transferred projected starting left tackle Lucas Patterson move back to defensive tackle late in preseason practice to boost production inside. Von Miller was impressive at the “jack” position, but he’ll need some good fortune to hold up consistently rushing against the huge offensive lines in the conference. The Aggies need to improve after yielding 461 yards and 37 points per game and earning the ignominy of being one of three FBS teams to allow opponents to average 200 yards rushing and passing last season. Coaches say the unit is faster and more athletic, but they have to play much better to get the Aggies back into bowl contention.
12. Iowa State: Veteran defensive Wally Burnham has a great reputation and most recently flummoxed the spread defenses of the Big East while at South Florida. The Big 12, however, will be a different story. The Cyclones ranked tied for 110th in scoring defense and 112th in total defense. Coach Paul Rhoads says he’s been frustrated by his team’s lack of tackling techniques. They have a building block in cornerback Leonard Johnson. Burnham and Rhoads know what they are talking about defensively as both were coordinators for top 30 defenses last year. But it will take a lot of patience to help rebuild this unit that needs so much improvement.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Colorado freshman Nick Kasa will be idled for at least three weeks with a torn MCL in his left knee.
The injury will more likely sideline the Buffaloes' top 2009 recruit for 6-8 weeks, although team officials still hold out hope the injury might not be as severe as originally diagnosed.
Kasa told the Denver Post that surgery remains a possibility, but that also won't be determined until the swelling goes down.
"It's definitely a pretty bad setback for me," Kasa told reporters Wednesday morning as he watched the practice with his injured knee immobilized. "I want to play. I think everybody wants to play. I just have to take it in stride and do what I can to get back as fast as I can."
If the injury stretches out through four or more weeks, a redshirt could be likely for the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Kasa. He was in the mix for immediate playing time after coming into the program as the most heralded addition in Colorado's 2009 recruiting class.
The injury occurred during a two-man pass rush drill when an offensive guard blocking the other defensive player unintentionally rolled into Kasa's left side. Kasa told the Denver Post he didn't see it coming.
"The last week, I really started to catch on to things. Everything was going good in practice," Kasa told the Post. "I've got to be out now, especially for CSU (the Buffaloes' Sept. 6 opener at Folsom Field). I really wanted to play in that game. I just have to stay positive."
Marquez Herrod is expected to be the starting defensive end on the other side. Sophomores Conrad Obi and LaGrone Shields have the inside track for playing time, followed by sophomore David Goldberg and freshman Nick O'Neill.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Heralded Colorado freshman defensive end Nick Kasa is out indefinitely with a sprained knee he sustained in practice.
Colorado newspapers reported that Kasa was injured in practice Monday morning. Colorado coach Dan Hawkins was mum about the injury, other than to say it wouldn't be season ending.
"He's got to get a little rehab, but he'll be all right," Hawkins said.
Kasa was injured during a pass-rush drill when an offensive lineman unintentionally rolled into his left side.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pounder was one of the Buffaloes' top recruits after choosing to remain in his home state after a storied high school career at Legacy High School. Kasa originally committed to Florida, but made a late switch to Colorado shortly before signing day.
Hawkins has said that Kasa has been one of the Buffaloes' early standouts in practice and expected him to play as part of the team's rotation of defensive linemen.
If Kasa would be sidelined for an extended period of time, I would look for him to be redshirted. But at least the Buffaloes and Hawkins have the option of him potentially playing this season.
Because after the injury Monday morning, all were fearing the worst for a few hours.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Back from vacation with some Big 12 links for your lunchtime edification.
- Mike Leach advises Missouri to watch out for the clacking thundersticks at Nevada's Mackay Stadium before the Tigers' Sept. 25 visit, the Reno Gazette-Journal's Scott Oxarart reports.
- The Columbia Tribune's Dave Matter analyzes some of the new Missouri freshmen reporting to the program and other roster changes.
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is excited about his new stadium, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports. The facility will host four Big 12 games this year.
- Barry Switzer tells the Omaha World-Herald's John Keenan what Nebraska will need to do to return to Big 12 prominence.
- Confidence is soaring among Oklahoma State coaches as they approach the 2009 season, the Tulsa World's Bill Haisten reports.
- Freshman Colorado players Nick Kasa and Parker Orms received a rude introduction to campus life, according to the Boulder Camera's Kyle Ringo.
- CBS Sports.com's Dennis Dodd ranks Baylor No. 98 in his listing of programs over this decade.
- The Tulsa World's Jimmie Tramel ranks the decade's top plays among Oklahoma schools.
- Lawrence Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan ranks Todd Reesing No. 1 among the biggest star athletes at Kansas.
- The Lincoln Journal-Star's Colleen Kenney has the sad story of former Nebraska player Lynn Finney.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's the first of a look at the North Division teams' recruiting lists. Others will appear throughout the day.
My first team will be Colorado.
Signing day class recruits -- 19
Breakdown -- 18 high school, one junior college.
Positions -- 4 OL, 3 WR, 3 CB, 2 DT, 2 DE, 1 QB, 1 TE, 1 S, 1 K, 1 ATH.
Where they came from -- Colorado 5, California 4, Texas 3, Connecticut 1, Illinois 1, Nevada 1, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 1, South Carolina 1, Tennessee 1.
The stud -- DE Nick Kasa, Thornton, Colo. (Legacy High School). Becomes third straight No. 1 recruit from Colorado attracted by Buffaloes.
Recruiting-class sleeper -- LB Derrick Webb, Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven). Productive tackling machine who is a cousin of former Nebraska and San Francisco 49ers standout Roger Craig.
The one who got away -- DB Byron Moore of Harbor City, Calif., was a late commitment to USC. He would have been an ideal playmaker in the Buffaloes' secondary, providing an immediate talent upgrade.
Needs addressed -- Defensive line, wide receivers, linebackers, cornerback, offensive line.
Didn't need much help -- Running backs.
Scouts Inc. grade -- C (eighth in the Big 12, third in North Division).
My take -- Doesn't have the sizzle of some of Hawkins' earlier Colorado classes, but still should be a solid, productive class.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Colorado's recruiting haul might not wow many national analysts, but Dan Hawkins is attracting exactly the players he is aiming for.
Hawkins said the class he announced Wednesday is coming close to matching his recruiting model.
"Since I first arrived here, I've been trying to build a culture," Hawkins said. "We're trying to get guys who fit our profile. You're never going to be 100 percent at that. But in this class, it represents our philosophy of a quality balance of life. We've been in homes with strong values in how they view their kids. And I've been fired up about that."
That goal could be stated in a prospect like wide receiver Terdema Ussery of St. Mark's High School in Dallas. Ussery's father, Terdema L. Ussery II, is president and CEO of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
The Buffaloes added the top player from Colorado for the third straight year by attracting Nick Kasa of Legacy High School in Broomfield. Kasa decided on Colorado's offer after earlier considering Florida.
Also added in the recruiting class was 290-pound defensive tackle Edward Nuckols of San Marcos, Calif., who was ranked by Scouts Inc. as the nation's No. 14 defensive tackle.
Hawkins had a couple of late misses as wide receiver Diante Johnson of Walnut Hills, Calif., picked Oregon over the Buffs. Defensive back Byron Moore, a high school teammate of Johnson's, decided on USC. And wide receiver Emory Blake of Austin, Texas, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, picked Auburn over Colorado and Texas Tech.
But Hawkins still was pleased with what he saw in his incoming class.
"I think it's a very athletic class," Hawkins said. "Three quarters of them were on playoff teams. There are a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions. I like these guys and their pedigrees."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's Thursday's installment on the wide, wide world of recruiting.
- Colorado recruit Nick Kasa told Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo that he opted for the Buffaloes rather than Florida because he wants to play defense. Kasa said he got vibes from Gators coaches that he eventually would be moved to offensive tackle.
- Top remaining ESPNU wide receiver recruit Rueben Randle (say that five times quickly!) got a quick tour of the Louisiana Capitol on Thursday from top LSU alumni in the statehouse, the Baton Rouge Advocate's Michelle Millhollon reports. Randle counts LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama as his finalists.
- Jason Hickman of MaxPreps.com notes that 350 Texas players have committed to FBS programs, including 73 schools (and all Big 12 schools) with at least one commitment from the Lone Star State.
- Oklahoma State defensive back Daytawion Lowe is noted for his toughness after starting all 41 games at Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert High School. And Tulsa World writer Bill Haisten also found out that Lowe owns and regularly rides a horse -- a 3-year-old Tennessee walker.
- Safety Jansen Watson of Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola has switched his commitment from Colorado State to Iowa State, Natalie Meisler of the Denver Post reports.
- Eric Martin, an inside linebacker from Moreno Valley Calif., is receiving some late recruiting interest from Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson. Martin's other finalists include Arizona and Arizona State.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I received a bunch of good letters this week, telling me that Big 12 fans are observant about their football even when the season is over. Here are some of the more notable ones.
Ryan from Austin writes: Tim, Did I read that right? Only one, repeat one Texas A&M player made Dave Campbell's Texas Football's All-Texas list for 2008? Not a knock on Justin Brantly, but has A&M's program really fallen that far, or is it a reflection of the massive amount of talent in the state?
I would also like to point out how many Texas Tech players made the list, and it was especially exciting to see Texas Tech running back Baron Batch on the first team. I think he will (if Leach gives him the touches) take a huge load off of a new QB next season. If Batch touches the ball 20-25 times a game, I could see Tech having 9 or 10 wins. Think Westbrook in Red and Black.
Tim Griffin: Ryan, it does speak to how far the talent level has dropped at Texas A&M when you saw no players other than Brantly on the Dave Campbell team. I do think that coach Mike Sherman got some production from players like Jerrod Johnson, Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller. The line struggled and there wasn't a single player who emerged as a top defensive player, other than maybe Michael Bennett. Considering A&M's 4-8 record, it wasn't a surprise the All-Texas team wasn't stocked with many Aggies.
Batch was a big producer for Texas Tech after missing last season with an injury. But he did have Shannon Woods who spelled him in a tailback-by-committee rotation. It will be interesting to see what Batch does as a truly featured back next season. Is he durable enough to thrive in that role? We'll see.
Chuck from Omaha writes: Could you please share any knowledge as to why Iowa State is taking so long to hire a defensive coordinator? Is Coach Paul Rhoads filling that role and I missed it, or does no one want the job? No one in the Ames area is reporting anything. Thanks.
Tim Griffin: As of the time I write this, Iowa State hasn't hired a defensive coordinator yet. I don't know why it's taking so long. Maybe it's because somebody has given Rhoads a qualified answer and might be waiting on another job. Maybe it's because Rhoads is putting more attention on building relationship with meeting with his new players and recruiting. Maybe he has a line on somebody who is still coaching in the NFL and will make an announcement after the Super Bowl.
But it is curious that it's taken so long to fill this position. I'll be interested to see who he chooses and his explanation for why it took so long to fill the position.
Eric from Denver writes: I don't think Colorado's recruiting class this year will have much - if any - effect on if they win 10 games in 2009. They may land one or two junior-college players who can help but the majority of these kids will be freshman and won't be counted on to contribute immediately. The only exception to that is defensive end Nick Kasa, but as Darrell Scott showed us, counting on a true freshman is a risky proposition.
Tim Griffin: You are right, but a truly special freshman player -- like Scott was supposed to be and Kasa apparently is as well -- can lift the play of an entire team because of his athleticism. And Colorado desperately needs that kind of boost if they are going to come close to fulfilling Dan Hawkins' 10-2 prediction for next season.
Kiko Thomas from Los Angeles writes: Ever since Ricky Williams and even before him, Texas has not had a prolific runner. Save for maybe Jamaal Charles. I wonder of your opinion on Chris Whaley who some compare to Darren McFadden from Arkansas. I see he has had many 400 yard-rushing games. No ways to tell how good he will be in college, but the remaining running backs that Texas has now are O.K. at best. Your thoughts on if he could get some time or really make an impact.
Tim Griffin: Kiko, first of all Texas has had some backs like Earl Campbell, Chris Gilbert and Hodges Mitchell who were pretty productive when they had their chances. I think that Campbell even won a Heisman.
But you are right about the needs for a running back at Texas. It was noticeable all season considering that Colt McCoy was the Longhorns' top rushing threat in 2008.
They certainly need more balance in the future. It's tough to project high-school backs into college players. But I would expect Whaley to receive every opportunity to emerge as a featured back once he arrives at Texas. I don't know if it will happen right away. But I expect he'll have that opportunity during his college career.
Korey from Midland, Texas, writes: Tim, Oklahoma plays Sept. 5 and the Big 12 Championship will be held in the billion-dollar new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. How long until the OU-Texas game gets moved to the new stadium?
Tim Griffin: I think that as long as DeLoss Dodds and Joe Castiglione are calling the shots at Texas and Oklahoma, there's a good chance that the game remains at the Cotton Bowl. I think both realize how special the game currently is in its current location. Obviously, Dallas owner Jerry Jones can offer them more seats in his stadium. And it certainly will be a palace, from everything I'm hearing. But by keeping the number of seats at their current levels, both schools can drive interest in priority seating because there is more demand than tickets.
Maybe, some day the game gets moved. But to be honest with you, I think a more likely scenario might be that the game would be moved to campus locations in the future. Alabama-Auburn played at Legion Field forever before moving to campus sites for good in 1998. I could see the same thing happening to Texas-Oklahoma one day -- but likely after Dodds and Castiglione are gone.
Chris Watkins from Lawrence, Kan., writes: Tim, I know ESPN selects a team each spring to broadcast their spring game. Two years ago it was Oklahoma, this past spring it was Florida. Is there enough buzz around the ESPN networks or the nation about Bill Snyder's comeback that they would consider broadcasting the Kansas State spring game? If it's still in the brainstorming process, it might be something you might want to suggest for the spring of 2009. I think it would be a fabulous idea, and if they did, I would bet a large crowd would turn out.
Tim Griffin: Bad news, Chris. Apparently the network has chosen to go to Georgia. The information is related in this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other Georgia papers this morning.
I agree that the trip to Manhattan would have been interesting. But I also think that Kansas State's 5-7 record wouldn't qualify them with some powers that might be a little closer to challenging for a national title. I think that was a major determiner in who got the ex
posure for their spring game.
Adam from Broken Arrow, Okla., writes: I enjoyed your list of 2008 moments and realize this might be a little late now. But how could you forget Artrell Woods of Oklahoma State making his first reception in a game against Iowa State after a spinal injury that nearly caused paralysis and sidelined him for more than a year. Boone Pickens Stadium gave him a standing ovation afterwards. It was a big moment for Oklahoma State football.
Tim Griffin: Adam, forgive my oversight on leaving Woods out. I saw an ESPN story on it and it absolutely brought chills to me when I saw how hard he worked to get back from injury and back into the lineup. I should have mentioned it.
Derek from Salina, Kan., writes: I enjoy reading your Big 12 coverage. I usually agree with or at least understand the things you post. Then I came across your prediction that Nebraska will win the North in '09, and more importantly that you don't think Kansas will win in Lubbock. Are you serious, and if so, why?
Tim Griffin: Derek, again I choose to respectfully disagree with your assessment of the Jayhawks. I think if Nebraska can find a serviceable quarterback from one of their potential starters, the Cornhuskers should be in good shape. Quentin Castille and Roy Helu Jr. give them a nice running attack. They'll be running behind a veteran offensive front. And the return of Ndamukong Suh might be the biggest factor in the reason why I think the Cornhuskers' defense should be stout.
And the reason I think Texas Tech will beat Kansas can be found in past history. I know Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell won't be back next year. But Texas Tech has beaten Kansas 10 out of 11 times in the previous games of the series. The Red Raiders did hang 63 points on Kansas in Lawrence in 2008, didn't they? And Mike Leach's offense has averaged 40 points a game in the last five contests against the Jayhawks.
I think the Jayhawks will struggle in Lubbock, although I think that will be the crossover game they should have the best chance to win. I think Oklahoma will beat Kansas in Lawrence and Texas will be the Jayhawks in Austin.
Again, thanks for all of the great questions this week and keep them coming. I'll check back with more from my mailbag next week.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
So much for the 2008 season. It's not like I'm struggling through the post-season blues -- yet. There's always Big 12 news to keep the off-season hot-stove league crackling.
Here are some stories to keep you going:
- Colorado secured a huge in-state recruiting commitment when top recruit Nick Kasa spurned national champion Florida to commit to the Buffaloes, the Rocky Mountain News' B.G. Brooks reports. And the Denver Post's Tom Kensler writes that Kasa informed Florida coach Urban Meyer on Sunday, the same day the Gators celebrated their national championship in Gainesville, Fla.
- John Hillman of Realfootball365.com writes that the rest of the Big 12 let down Texas, explaining why the Longhorns skidded to fourth in the final Associated Press poll.
- Oklahoma will be transformed from an offensive juggernaut to a team that likely will rely on defensive prowess in 2009, the Oklahoman's Jake Trotter writes.
- Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle writes how Texas A&M almost was involved in college football's first "plus-one" championship game in history -- 69 years ago.
- Brian Davis of the Dallas Morning News reports that Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Reggie Herring has interviewed with Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy about his vacant defensive coordinator position.
- Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star analyzes Jeremy Maclin's decision to declare for the NFL draft in his video log. DeArmond calls Maclin's decision as ultimately the correct one, but still a gut punch to the Missouri program.