Big 12: Purdue Boilermakers

Heart of Dallas Bowl

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
9:58
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Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5)

Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET, Dallas (ESPNU)

Purdue take from Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett: Purdue will be playing in its second straight postseason when it kicks off the Heart of Dallas Bowl, but that wasn't enough to save head coach Danny Hope's job. Hope was fired on Nov. 25 after a 6-6 season, and assistant Patrick Higgins will serve as interim coach for this game.

Hope was confident this would be his best team at Purdue, and the Boilers got off to a decent 3-1 start that included a close loss at Notre Dame. But with an excellent opportunity to make noise in a probation-ravaged Big Ten Leaders Division, the Boilermakers lost their first five conference games, including multi-touchdown losses to Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Penn State.

The team did rally to win its final three games to salvage a bowl trip, sparked by Robert Marve returning as the starting quarterback. Fans had been calling for that move for weeks, and Marve delivered despite tearing his ACL in the second week of the season and eschewing surgery.

Hope did make some inroads in increasing the overall team speed, and the offense boasts some exciting playmakers such as running backs Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt and receiver Antavian Edison. Defensive tackle Kawann Short is a potential first-round NFL pick, and Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson form one of the Big Ten's top cornerback tandems -- and they will be needed against Oklahoma State's high-powered passing game.

This team was talented enough to push Ohio State to the absolute brink in Columbus yet unfocused enough to fall behind 44-7 at Minnesota. How the Boilermakers respond and play against the Cowboys without their head coach is anyone's guess.




Oklahoma State take from SoonerNation's Brandon Chatmon: OSU coach Mike Gundy has done one of the best coaching jobs of his career as the Cowboys made Big 12 history with three quarterbacks throwing for 1,000 yards or more. Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf each had their moments this season as the starting quarterback for the Pokes and each signal-caller led OSU to a double-digit win over a Big 12 opponent.

The constant in the Cowboys’ offensive attack is running back Joseph Randle, the Big 12’s leading rusher with 1,351 rushing yards. His toughness, versatility and playmaking set the tone for OSU’s offense. It could be the final game for the junior, who may elect to leave early for the NFL after three seasons as a key member of OSU’s offense.

OSU’s defense had an up-and-down season, holding four Big 12 opponents to 21 points or fewer before allowing more than 600 yards of total offense to Oklahoma and Baylor in its final two games. Defensive tackles Calvin Barnett and James Castleman have been the tone-setters for the Cowboys' defense. When they play well, OSU’s defense is noticeably better.

Keep an eye on the Cowboys' defense on third down. In the losses to OU and Baylor, the Cowboys allowed more than 50 percent of third downs to be converted.

Aggies hire defensive line coach Terrell Williams from Purdue

February, 1, 2010
2/01/10
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Texas A&M has hired former Purdue assistant coach Terrell Williams as Mike Sherman's new defensive line coach.

It fills a position created when former defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt resigned to accept the position at Kansas on Turner Gill's new staff, the San Antonio Express-News reports. It was the first hiring by new Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter.

Williams, 35, has come to A&M after four seasons coaching the Boilermakers' defensive linemen. He comes with a strong reputation for developing individual talents such as Anthony Spencer, Cliff Avril, Alex Magee, Mike Neal and Ryan Kerrigan.

The Boilermakers ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally in 2009 as they averaged 2.67 sacks per game. Kerrigan was third nationally with an average of 1.08 sacks per game.

But the Boilermakers struggled mightily against the run, ranking 94th nationally and last in the Big Ten conference against the run. Purdue was gashed for at least 200 yards rushing in four different games during its 5-7 season. Additionally, the Boilermakers yielded 26 rushing touchdowns to rank tied for 100th nationally and in front of only Florida State (27 rushing touchdowns allowed), A&M (29 rushing touchdowns allowed) and Washington State (35 touchdowns allowed) among schools in conferences with automatic BCS berths.

A&M fans continue to hope that legendary former A&M player Dat Nguyen eventually will end up on DeRuyter's staff. Kines coached linebackers in addition to being the defensive coordinator. DeRuyter had no specific positional duties at the Air Force Academy and may be inclined to head to that position on his new staff, freeing up a spot for the former Lombardi and Bednarik award winner on his staff.

Which Big 12 school has produced the most starting NFL QBs?

August, 24, 2009
8/24/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin There was an outstanding piece of research that appeared over the weekend in the Altoona (Pa.) Mirror that set out to ascertain a question that has been vexing over the years. Namely, which college deserves the title of "Quarterback U" for its proficiency in producing college players who eventually started games in the NFL? The findings were very interesting, particularly in terms of which schools have produced starting NFL quarterbacks and which ones have not in the modern era, starting with the 1966 season. Purdue earns an argument in the "Quarterback U" debate because its alums have started more NFL games (704) than any other school. Also, Purdue is the only school to have four quarterbacks start at least 100 games (Jim Everett, Len Dawson, Drew Brees and Bob Griese). USC leads the list with 15 quarterbacks who have started at least one game, followed by Notre Dame (13) and Washington (12). The Big 12, with its previous tradition of ground-based offenses in the old Big Eight and Southwest conferences, struggles mightily in this comparison. Here's the list of Big 12 schools and their starting quarterbacks. In a way, the numbers are a little skewed because it credits the starts of former college quarterbacks like Colorado's Kordell Stewart and Missouri's Brad Smith. Both have gone on to pro careers at positions other than quarterback. Here's how the Altoona Mirror stacks up the Big 12 programs in terms of starting quarterbacks and NFL starts. Kansas State (249 games, four starters): Steve Grogan 135, Lynn Dickey 111, Dennis Morrison 2, Dan Manucci 1. Kansas (190 games, three starters): John Hadl 135, Bobby Douglass 53, Frank Seurer 2. Colorado (95 games, two starters): Kordell Stewart 87, Koy Detmer 8. Nebraska (79 games, six starters): Vince Ferragamo 53, Jerry Tagge 12, Bruce Mathison 9, Dennis Claridge 3, David Humm 1, Terry Luck 1. Iowa State (52 games, four starters): David Archer 23, Sage Rosenfels 12, Seneca Wallace 12, Tim Van Galder 5. Texas Tech (47 games, one starter): Billy Joe Tolliver 47. Baylor (45 games, five starters): Cody Carlson 19, Don Trull 15, Buddy Humphrey 5, Cotton Davidson 4, Brad Goebel 2. Texas (44 games, two starters): Vince Young 29, Chris Simms 15. Missouri (18 games, three starters): Brad Smith 13, Steve Pisarkiewicz 4, Gary Lane 1. Texas A&M (16 games, three starters): Edd Hargett 7, Gary Kubiak 5, Bucky Richardson 4. Oklahoma State (14 games, one starter): Rusty Hilger 14. Oklahoma (no games, no starters). The study also credits a quarterback with where he finished school rather than started. So, Troy Aikman is considered to have attended UCLA rather than Oklahoma. As the story points out, it's interesting that a Division II program like Texas A&M-Commerce has been able to turn out three starters -- more than traditional powers Texas and Oklahoma combined. The Big 12's recent ascension as the nation's foremost passing conference will help change these statistics quickly in a few years. Because I'm thinking quarterbacks like Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin and maybe even Austen Arnaud or Zac Robinson will get their shot in the NFL one of these days.

Parker, A&M's overtime heroics is No. 6 memory

July, 6, 2009
7/06/09
8:14
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 6  

Yes Sirr: Parker's big catches lead A&M to 1998 championship

Date: Dec. 5, 1998
Place: TWA Dome, St. Louis, Mo.
Score: Texas A&M 36, Kansas State 33 (2 OT)

Kansas State was on the verge of the biggest triumph in school history and a likely berth in the first Bowl Championship Series national title game if the Wildcats could claim their first Big 12 title.

That excitement intensified early in the Big 12 title game against Texas A&M after the final score of Miami's 49-45 victory over UCLA was announced over the TWA Dome public-address system. That was only a couple of moments after Darnell McDonald's 66-yard touchdown reception from Michael Bishop boosted the Wildcats to a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.

A berth in the national title game hinged on the Wildcats completing their victory over the Aggies.

But a funny thing happened after that. A&M became the rejuvenated, more focused team in the fourth quarter after the Wildcats had extended their lead to 27-12 on a 5-yard touchdown run by Bishop late in the third quarter.

A&M quarterback Branndon Stewart, forced into action because of starter Randy McCown's broken collarbone, caught fire during a wild fourth-quarter rally.

Stewart cut into the deficit 5:40 into the fourth quarter on a 13-yard touchdown strike to Leroy Hodge to trim the KSU lead to 27-19. And he later moved the Aggies 76 yards on four plays to the Kansas State 14 before a sack by KSU linebacker Ben Leber and a fourth-down pass deflection by Damion McIntosh caused the drive to stall.

The Aggies' "Wrecking Crew" defense came up with a huge play on the ensuing possession after KSU took control with 3:26 left with hopes of running out the clock. But on the second play of the drive, Bishop was hit by A&M linebacker Warrick Holdman, forcing a fumble that was recovered by A&M linebacker Cornelius Anthony at the Wildcats' 35.

A spectacular diving catch by backup A&M wide receiver Matt Bumgardner accounted for 36 yards to the KSU 14. Two plays later, Stewart hit backup tailback Sirr Parker on a slant play for a 9-yard touchdown pass. After a timeout, Stewart and Parker connected on the two-point conversion play to tie the score with 1:05 left.

Bishop had one more chance during regulation. The Wildcats lined up for a 69-yard field goal attempt by Martin Gramatica in the closing seconds, but a delay-of-game penalty prevented them from trying the kick. Instead, Bishop lofted a "Hail Mary" play that was caught by Everett Burnett for a 55-yard gain before he was stopped at the A&M 2 on the final play of regulation.

A&M took the first possession of overtime and marched to the KSU 1 before settling for an 18-yard Russell Bynum field goal. KSU answered by gaining 21 yards on a drive that was capped by a 22-yarder by Gramatica that tied the game at 30.

Gramatica added another 25-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 33-30 lead to start the second overtime. The Aggies then lost two yards on their first play of their possession and faced a third-and-17 play after a penalty from the KSU 32.

But rather than playing to tie the game, Stewart hit Parker on another clutch slant pass. The 5-foot-7 Parker eluded Luke Butler and then streaked past Lamar Chapman en route to the right corner of the end zone. He finished with a 32-yard touchdown reception that ranks as the biggest play in A&M football history.

They said it, part I: "It's a sick feeling. It's a terrible situation," KSU quarterback Michael Bishop on the Wildcats' late collapse.

They said it, part II: "This may be, in their young lives, the most difficult thing that they've ever had to handle. The pain that comes from this is obvious," KSU coach Bill Snyder on his team's collapse at the end of regulation.

They said it, part III: "Once I caught the slant, I felt him (Butler) fall of my back. I saw I had one man to beat, so I ran for the end zone," A&M running back Sirr Parker on his game-winning TD grab.

They said it, part IV: "I love opportunities to prove people wrong. People say, 'Stewart can't do this. Stewart can't do that.' I love proving them wrong." A&M quarterback Branndon Stewart, who told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he delighted in confounding naysayers with his dramatic comeback performance.

They said it, part V: "Gimme some sugar! Whoop! Whoop!" The chant of A&M players and Coach R.C. Slocum after finishing the victory that earned them a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

Factoids: Stewart, who transferred from Tennessee after Peyton Manning beat him out for the starting job, struggled early in the KSU game. The A&M quarterback misfired on his first five passes, with one interception ... Despite his late fumble, Bishop had one of the best games of his career, passing for 324 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 101 yards ... Kansas State entered the game with a nation-best 19-game winning streak and had outscored its first 11 opponents of the season by an average margin of 49-11 ... But KSU was its own worst enemy as the Wildcats were penalized 13 times for 110 yards against the Aggies ... A&M tailback Dante Hall gashed KSU's defense for 113 yards and bullish tailback JaMar Toombs added a 1-yard TD plunge. It was only the third rushing touchdown that the Wildcats had allowed during the 1998 season ... Stewart completed just 4-of-11 passes for 89 yards and an interception through three quarters. But he was 9-of-16 for 185 yards for two TDs in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high 324 yards after his overtime TD pass to Parker ... The Aggies claimed their first conference championship since winning the 1993 Southwest Conference title. They also denied KSU's hopes of earning its first title since claiming the Big Six Conference in 1934 ... A&M's comeback from a 15-point deficit tied the school record at the time of the game, matching the Aggies' 15-point comeback in a 1997 overtime triumph over Oklahoma State ... A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen set a Big 12 championship game record with 17 tackles.

The upshot: The victory boosted the Aggies into their first BCS bowl game in history as they advanced to the Sugar Bowl. But the Buckeyes claimed a 24-14 victory that dropped the Aggies to 11-3 for the season. A&M finished the season ranked No. 11 in the final Associated Press poll. They have finished ranked only once at the end of season since then - a No. 23 ranking after the 1999 season.

KSU's loss caused them to free-fall all the way to the Alamo Bowl, where they met Purdue. Bishop struggled with a four-interception performance as the Boilermakers escaped with a wild 37-34 upset victory. The Wildcats finished 11-2 for the season and No. 10 in the final AP poll.

Bishop finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting after the 1998 season, substantially behind winner Ricky Williams of Texas. And Nguyen's big effort in the championship game helped him claim the Lombardi and Bednarik awards as the most decorated player in A&M's Big 12 history.

The countdown:

7. Crouch's TD catch cements Heisman bid, helps 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.

Ochs' tackle of Crouch is Big 12's No. 16 moment

June, 19, 2009
6/19/09
5:49
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 16

KSU finally slays the Cornhuskers

Date: Nov. 14, 1998
Place: KSU Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.
Score: Kansas State 40, Nebraska 30

Kansas State had labored in the shadows of Nebraska for many years. The Wildcats' 10-0 start in the 1998 season had pushed them to No. 1 in the national rankings, but they were still looking for a breakthrough victory against their old nemesis to catapult them into their first Big 12 title game.

They got that and more in an impressive victory over the Cornhuskers  that clinched the Wildcats' North Division title -- the Wildcats' first football title of any kind since 1934.

And they did it with a flourish as a KSU defense that had struggled earlier in the game provided two key plays to seal the victory late in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Travis Ochs made a critical fourth-down stop of Eric Crouch, grabbing his face mask to make the tackle. No penalty was called, although television replays showed that Ochs could have been flagged on the play.

A blitzing Ochs came around untouched on Crouch's left side. As the Nebraska quarterback ducked to avoid him, Ochs grabbed Crouch's face mask and never let go as he nearly spun his helmet around before throwing him to the turf at the Nebraska 20.

Kansas State took over but couldn't move the ball. Nebraska had one more possession, but Jeff Kelly picked up Crouch's fumble and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left to ice the victory.

But it wasn't easy. The Wildcats overcame an early 17-7 deficit after Nebraska had jumped ahead on a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes from Crouch and an 18-yard Kris Brown field goal. It was the first time in the season that KSU trailed.

KSU charged back and pulled within 17-14 at halftime after Michael Bishop added his second TD run of the game.

Bishop helped boost KSU into the lead early in the third quarter - the first time the Wildcats had led Nebraska since 1991 -- on a 17-yard TD pass from Bishop to Darnell McDonald and a 25-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica. But Nebraska tied the score when Ralph Brown recovered a Frank Murphy fumble and rambled 74 yards for a touchdown.


The lead changed again early in the fourth quarter when Gramatica boosted KSU ahead on a 21-yard field goal. Nebraska responded on a 9-yard scoring pass from Crouch to tight end Sheldon Jackson gave put them back in the lead with about 8 minutes left.

KSU then turned to Bishop, who finished with 446 yards of total offense in the game, for its late rally. His 11-yard TD strike to McDonald put KSU ahead for good at 34-30 with 5:25 left.

Delirious KSU fans rushed the field twice before the game ended. It took them about 30 minutes to tear down the goalposts to celebrate what likely is the biggest home victory in KSU history.

Factoids to note: The victory was the first by victory by the Wildcats over Nebraska since 1968 and their first home victory over the Cornhuskers since 1959 ... Bishop passed for 306 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 140 yards on 25 carries and scored twice ... KSU's McDonald produced a career-high 12 receptions for 183 yards ... Crouch completed only 10 of 21 passes for 139 yards, but passed for three TDs and added 108 yards rushing on 22 carries ... It was Nebraska's third loss of the regular season, the first time the Cornhuskers had lost that many regular-season games in 22 years ... The game was played before a then- record crowd of 44,298 at KSU Stadium.

They said it, part I: "I don't want to be branded as a cheater. But the referee was right there. Those are the breaks of the game," Ochs' post-game comments to the Associated Press about his late tackle of Crouch.

They said it, part II: "The torch being passed? I'm not falling for that. I don't believe it. I take nothing from their win. They're a good team. But I believe the best team in the country has three losses this season and it wears 'N' on its helmet," Jackson's post-game comments to the Associated Press about Nebraska's loss.

They said it, part III: "We knew if we lost, people would call us flukes. We had to beat them to get the respect we deserve," Kansas State defensive end Joe Bob Clements, who told the Daily Nebraskan that the victory was monumental for the KSU program.

The upshot: The victory guaranteed KSU a spot in its first Big 12 championship game three weeks later in St. Louis. But the 11-0 Wildcats squandered a 15-point fourth-quarter lead in a 36-33 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M.

That defeat sent the Wildcats careening to the Alamo Bowl, where they lost to Purdue and finished 11-2. After ranking No. 1 earlier in the season, KSU finished the season ranked 10th in the final Associated Press poll.

Nebraska rebounded to beat Colorado the following week, but lost to Arizona in the Holiday Bowl. Frank Solich finished his first season 9-4 and ranked No. 19 in the final AP poll - Nebraska's lowest end-of-season ranking in eight seasons.

The countdown:

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.

Ranking the top new coordinators in college football

May, 4, 2009
5/04/09
12:14
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

While it's not followed as closely as the changes at the top of the football program, the hiring of solid coordinators can often make or break a program.

And it's a chore that sometimes faces successful programs on a pretty regular basis.

For example, former Oklahoma offensive coordinators Mike Leach and Chuck Long both assumed head coaching jobs after coaching on Bob Stoops' staff with the Sooners. And former Texas defensive coordinators like Dick Tomey, Greg Robinson and Gene Chizik all parlayed their experience coaching under Mack Brown to head coaching positions.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will be facing an unprecedented dilemma -- at least while at Missouri -- as he replaces offensive coordinator Dave Christensen and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Adding David Yost as his offensive coordinator and Dave Steckel as his defensive coordinator ranks as among the major changes the Tigers will be facing this season.

College Football News' Robert Cirminiello ranks the 20 biggest hirings of offensive and defensive coordinators for the upcoming season. Several have interesting Big 12 connections.

  • 4. Kevin Steele, Clemson defensive coordinator: The former Nebraska assistant and Baylor head coach will be trying to pump some life into the Tigers' defense on Dabo Swinney's staff.
  • 5. Bill Young, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator: The veteran Oklahoma State graduate returns to his old school from Miami intent on trying to bring the Cowboys' defense in line with their explosive offense.
  • 11. Greg Robinson, Michigan defensive coordinator: After washing out at Syracuse as a head coach, the former Texas defensive coordinator has been charged with bringing some life in Rich Rodriguez's group with the Wolverines.
  • 12. David Yost, Missouri offensive coordinator: After working with Missouri quarterbacks in the past, Yost was a natural pick to replace Christensen after he left for the head coaching job at Wyoming.
  • 13. Andy Ludwig, Californa offensive coordinator: Picked up stakes and moved to California after barely having time to memorize the menu at the Hibachi Hut in Manhattan during his 65-day stint on Bill Snyder's coaching staff.
  • 20. Gary Nord, Purdue: The former UTEP coach had a short stint on Howard Schnellenberger's staff at Oklahoma where he earned much derision among Sooner fans when he mentioned that he didn't see a full set of teeth in the state when coaching there.

Blog ranks Christensen's hiring by Wyoming as best in nation

April, 30, 2009
4/30/09
6:59
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Web site Coacheshotseat.com is one of my must reads every day. They always have an interesting spin on various college football topics and a lot of original content.

One post this afternoon was particularly interesting. The Web site ranks the 22 hirings of new FBS head coaches since the end of last season.

Here's a list of hirings of all new Division I head coaches. The ones that are highlighted have Big 12 connections. 

1. Dave Christensen, Wyoming

2. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

3. Rich Ellerson, Army

4. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

5. Brady Hoke, San Diego State

6. Steve Sarkisian, Washington

7. Doug Marrone, Syracuse

8. Danny Hope, Purdue

9. Mike Locksley, New Mexico

10. Ron English, Eastern Michigan

11. Mike Haywood, Miami (OH)

12. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State

13. Chip Kelly, Oregon

14. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

15. Gene Chizik, Auburn

16. Gary Anderson, Utah State

17. Frank Spaziani, Boston College

18. Tim Beckman, Toledo

19. Stan Parrish, Ball State

20. Dave Clawson, Bowling Green

21. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

22. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee

It's particularly interesting to look at the difference between former Missouri coordinator Dave Christensen and former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

They believe that Christensen's success bringing his version of the spread to Wyoming will pump new life into the Mountain West Conference. And they compare that to the largely unknown Beckman, who will be challenged to succeed in the balanced Mid-American Conference.

The switch from Gene Chizik to Paul Rhoads appears to be a wash, as Rhoads' hiring is ranked No. 14 while Chizik checks in at No. 15.  

But the most interesting comments to me were how the Web site viewed Bill Snyder replacing Ron Prince at Kansas State.

21. Bill Snyder for Ron Prince at Kansas State

"We could have gone either way on the firing of Ron Prince, but bringing Bill Snyder back to Kansas State? No, we cannot understand that move by KSU. OK...Bill Snyder was a great football coach, but that was in another time and another place. Snyder put up some great seasons at K-State, but in his last two years, which happened to correspond to the rise of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Missouri in the Big 12, Snyder went 4-7 in 2004 and 5-6 in 2005. There is a reason that Bill Snyder was fired after the 2005 season and that reason has not changed and we believe K-State will regret hiring Snyder because he will not move the football program forward in what has become a much tougher Big 12. Instead of Bill Snyder, we would have hired Buffalo's Turner Gill, Oklahoma's Brent Venables, Illinois Mike Locksley, Missouri's Dave Christensen or even Dennis Franchione over bringing back Bill Snyder and we believe Kansas State will regret this coaching move."

I would criticique Coacheshotseat.com for saying that Snyder was fired after the 2005 season. He actually resigned. But I'm still intrigued by their comments.

It will be interesting to see how Snyder's return to KSU plays out. Either it will be a home run or a colossal flop.

I'm betting that Snyder's work ethic and his return of a veteran group of coaches familiar with the KSU program will work and work to ensure the program's success.

But even that might not be enough, considering the Big 12's strength.

Marve sets Big 12 stops on his visit of national powers

April, 16, 2009
4/16/09
8:01
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve will visit Nebraska and Texas Tech next week on his swing of potential schools he is considering.

Marve's high school coach Robert Weiner told the Omaha World-Herald that his former player considers the two Big 12 schools as "wild cards" in the search for a new program.

"He hasn't seen those places and has no familiarity with those places at all," said Weiner, head coach at Plant High in Tampa, Fla. "Neither recruited him out of high school. Those are places he really hasn't done a lot of looking into until recently."

Marve will be in Lincoln from Friday through Sunday around his trip to the Cornhuskers' Red-White scrimmage. He also plans a mid-week visit to Texas Tech next week to visit with coach Mike Leach.

Weiner told the World-Herald it's still to early to consider where Marve might end up. He's already visited Purdue and he also plans to make trips to Arizona State and UCLA before making his decision by mid-May. And he's still considering an offer to play at South Florida, where he would be closer to his ailing father.

"Robert's a gut-feel type of kid," Weiner said. "He'll kind of know as he goes along which schools are attractive to him and which ones he probably won't go to."

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, tossing nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He made 11 starts as he shared time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

Marve's season was marred by a pair of suspensions. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Nebraska has been on Marve's list of suitors from the beginning. And Kody Spano's recent knee injury would open up a chance for Marve to take a more active role for him to take an immediate role in the Cornhuskers' program, although he would not be eligible until the 2010 season.

And the chance to see the Cornhuskers' program with the excitement of the spring game is intriguing for those in Marve's camp, Weiner told the World-Herald.

"I think this will be a good trip for him, particularly with how good the spring game is going to be," Weiner said. "He'll get to experience all that hoopla."

Marve has strong visit to Purdue with Big 12 stops to follow

April, 14, 2009
4/14/09
2:53
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve nearly went to Purdue during his first recruiting period.

So it wasn't a surprise that Marve found a lot to like when he visited with the Boilermakers and new coach Danny Hope over the weekend.

Marve made his first recruiting visit to the Boilermakers among his potential suitors. He plans to examine Nebraska this weekend when the Cornhuskers are expected to have a near capacity crowd of about 80,000 at Memorial Stadium for the Red-White spring game.

Marve also is considering Texas Tech, UCLA, South Florida and Arizona State.

But Purdue scored strongly in his first visit, according to Robert Weiner, who coached Marve in high school at Plant City, Fla.

The Boilermakers already have some playing time available at quarterback after the departure of Justin Stiller for a university violation. The Boilermakers would have three quarterbacks eligible in 2010, when Marve would be first eligible.

"Purdue was one of the top schools on his list even before some of these recent things happened," Weiner told the Indianapolis Star. "But I think it plays a lot in Purdue's favor.

"All of the places he's considering have a similar situation to where if he goes in and does what he's supposed to do, he might have a good opportunity to get himself on the field in a time frame you would expect after he would have to sit out a year."

Marve already has a close friendship with Purdue receiver and Tampa native Adam Wolf. He also knows Purdue defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo.

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, tossing nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He split time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

The season was marred by a pair of suspensions for Marve. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

I'm wondering if Marve's recruitment is kind of like when I look for cars. The most recent one that I've examined is my favorite and the ones I looked at before that are kind of shunted to the side.

That's why I still think he's likely to return to South Florida where he could be closer to his family members and have more of an impact on the Bulls' developing program. But I'm still guessing he'll take a long look at the rest of his potential locations before making his final decision.

Miami transfer QB Marve still considering two Big 12 schools

April, 7, 2009
4/07/09
10:21
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska and Texas Tech still rank among the finalists for Miami quarterback Robert Marve, who is transferring from the Hurricane program.

Robert Weiner, Marve's former high school coach at Plant High School in Tampa, told Florida reporters Monday that Marve will begin making trips this weekend when he visits Purdue. Other trips he has scheduled over the next month include Texas Tech, Nebraska and Arizona State.

The Sun Devils are a new entry into the Marve sweepstakes and apparently have replaced Michigan, which recently picked up a commitment for another drop-back passer set to arrive next season.

Marve also could visit UCLA after spring practice finishes. And he still includes hometown USF among his finalists.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that USF might have the ultimate advantage for Marve's immediate playing time. If he plays with his hometown school, he could petition for an NCAA hardship waiver because of his father's medical issues.

I still think that playing for USF makes the most sense for Marve. But the fact that he's scheduled recruiting visits across the country over the next few weeks might indicate that playing close to his family isn't his major reason for the transfer.

Marve has scheduled his trip to Nebraska for the Cornhuskers' April 18 spring game.

With Patrick Witt leaving the Nebraska program, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he might be interested in considering what Marve could provide for his team. Marve would sit out a year as a transfer and be eligible for the 2010 season.

"With Patrick leaving, it kind of leaves a hole in the class," Pelini said. "So if it was the right guy, and the right situation, the right kid, it'd be something we'd be interested in possibly. Specifically him, I don't know. But we'll see how it plays out."

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He split time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

The season was marred by a pair of suspensions for Marve. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

Colorado-Toledo set for Sept. 11 ESPN broadcast

March, 26, 2009
3/26/09
2:20
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado filled the final hole in its 2009 schedule with the announcement of a game Sept. 11 at Toledo.

The Friday night game will be nationally televised by ESPN and set for a 9 p.m. ET kickoff.

The announcement is significant because it fills a hole that originally was created when Miami backed out of a game with the Buffaloes in order to play a game against Kentucky at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on the same weekend.

And it provides another nationally televised game for Colorado against a Toledo team that will be breaking in a new coach with the arrival of former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.

"Any time you have late changes to your schedule, it's a challenge and creates angst associated with your fans and your coaches," CU athletic director Mike Bohn told the Boulder Camera. "However, ESPN and many others were diligent, professional and committed to ensuring that all the pieces fit in the right place and for all the right reasons."

The Camera reported that the contract between Colorado and Miami originally called for damages of $750,000 to be paid if one school canceled on the other. But because a suitable replacement was found and the game still will be nationally televised, there will be no damages paid.

The Buffaloes do get one consideration as Miami will play a men's basketball game at Colorado without receiving any compensation, the Camera reported. With some road opponents commanding up to $80,000 for a basketball guarantee, it will represent a sizable savings for the Buffaloes.

It looks like a winnable game for the Buffaloes, but past history might be considered before they chalk anything up before their trip to the venerable Glass Bowl in Toledo.

The Rockets are 2-0 at home against Big 12 schools in the past three seasons, beating Kansas there in 2006 and Iowa State in 2007. They have also beaten BCS teams like Pittsburgh (2003), Minnesota (2001) and Purdue (1997), dating to the era when Gary Pinkel turned them into a solid Mid-American Conference power.

And the most notable victory in the history of the Toledo program came last season with a 13-10 triumph at Michigan. It was one of the few bright spots in a disappointing 3-9 season that eventually cost former Toledo coach Tom Amstutz his job.

Thursday's announcement fills the final scheduling hole in the Big 12 heading into the 2009 season.

Marve planning Nebraska trip for Cornhuskers' spring game

March, 19, 2009
3/19/09
7:24
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

A huge crowd expected for Nebraska's spring game couldn't be coming at a better time for the program to show off for vagabond quarterback prospect Robert Marve.

As Marve continues to consider his potential locations to transfer, his father told the Lincoln Journal-Star that his family plans to be in Lincoln for the Cornhuskers' spring game on April 18.

A crowd of up to 80,000 -- one of the largest in the nation -- is expected to attend Nebraska's spring game.

"Nebraska is great football country with great football tradition, and we're honored with the interest that they've put forward towards Robert," Eugene Marve told the Journal-Star. "I've talked personally to the coaches there and am really impressed with the no-nonsense approach to football that they take there. That's why we're interested; it's Nebraska football."

Nebraska remains among a group of finalists where Marve is considering transferring. Other schools include South Florida, Purdue, Texas Tech, UCLA and Michigan.

Marve talked about playing with the Cornhuskers with Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson earlier this week, Marve's father told the Journal-Star.

"We want a team that will appear to give Robert a fair shot at the quarterback position, meaning that we want the competition to be open and fair, not [against] like a three- or four-year starter ... because that's not a real open competition," Eugene Marve said.

"And Robert wants a program that's on the verge. He's not starting as a freshman anymore. We don't mind rebuilding anything, but he wants to be on a team that's on the verge of winning a conference championship or a player or two away. ... And after examining at all the factors, we see that Nebraska's right there."

Marve wouldn't be able to play until the 2010 season because of transfer rules. But Nebraska will be searching for a quarterback this spring in a wide-open battle featuring Zac Lee, Cody Green and Kody Spano.

Marve passed for 1,293 yards for the Hurricanes last season, passing for nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He split time as a starter with Jacory Harris.

The season was marred by a pair of suspensions for Marve. He was kept out of the first game of the season and the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California by Miami coach Randy Shannon.

It will be interesting to see where Marve ends up. Nebraska couldn't be highlighted better than having him visit the weekend of the Cornhuskers' spring game.

OSU eliminated from Marve's list of potential schools

March, 13, 2009
3/13/09
10:46
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Robert Marve Traveling Road Show apparently isn't heading to Stillwater anytime soon.

Marve's father, Eugene, told the Miami Herald earlier this week that Oklahoma State has stopped recruiting his son, apparently after negative feedback from coaches at his old school, Miami.

"Robert was very hurt," Eugene Marve told the Herald.

Mike Gundy becomes the second Big 12 school to decide to take a pass on Marve. Oklahoma sources earlier told Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler they wanted no part of the controversial former Miami quarterback, although his father still considers the Sooners among his finalists.

Texas Tech is the only other Big 12 school that made Marve's list of finalists, according to his father. Other schools still being considered include Purdue, South Florida, UCLA and new addition Michigan.

Marve, a former Mr. Football in Florida, joined Miami's program in 2007. He was redshirted during his freshman season and made his college debut in the second game of the 2008 season in a loss against eventual national champion Florida.

During 11 starts for the Hurricanes, Marve passed for 1,293 yards and completed 54 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was also suspended on two separate occasions, including the Hurricanes' Emerald Bowl loss to California.

I'm still anticipating that Marve will decide to stay close to home. That's why I think South Florida -- in his hometown of Tampa -- still remains his most logical choice.

Mailbag: There's no place like Nebraska for a spring game

February, 6, 2009
2/06/09
7:58
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here's a collection of letters I received over the last week.

Ross Struss of Lincoln, Neb., writes: Hey Tim, I just wanted to know how you would rate spring games across the Big 12? In my opinion Nebraska should be No. 1 not only in the Big 12 but maybe even in the nation.
We had to buy our tickets for the Cornhuskers' spring game on Wednesday and it took us three hours to get through. Any other place like this?

Tim Griffin: I don't know of many schools that emphasize a spring game as a promotional tool for the school quite like Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers. There is more pent-up demand to watch that game than any place across the Big 12 and likely anywhere in the country.

I think the excitement that Pelini has helped foster there in less than a year has made this the toughest ticket in all of spring football. It will be interesting to watch the spectacle this season, particularly as Shawn Watson sorts through his quarterback options. I'm kind of curious to see how Cody Green looks, too.


Darrell from Orlando, Fla., writes: Any news on Miami quarterback Robert Marve's proposed move to a Big 12 school? Does Oklahoma or Oklahoma State even need Marve. Your thoughts?

Tim Griffin: I know that both Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are on Marve's list of "finalists" along with Purdue and South Florida. All of the Big 12 schools would appear to have more national appeal for the former Miami quarterback than his other finalists. I think he will face some acclamation "issues" wherever he ends up.

Marve would be a natural addition if he chose Oklahoma State, considering that Zac Robinson is leaving school after next year. Most presume that Sam Bradford likely will remain at Oklahoma for only one more year, providing a natural entry at Oklahoma in much the same manner. And Taylor Potts will have two remaining years at Texas Tech.

Strong sources around the Oklahoma program told well-connected Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler the Sooners have no interest in Marve. So I think it's more likely he would end up at Oklahoma State or Texas Tech, if he ends up in the Big 12.

But I'm guessing that the most likely place for Marve to land will be somewhere a little closer to home like South Florida. He grew up in Tampa and staying at home might make sense for him in the end. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.


Matt from Dallas writes: I know in the course of monitoring Texas and Oklahoma recruiting as well as fawning over the talent the Aggies are about to spend four years wasting, you may not have noticed that Texas Tech pulled in a very solid class on the defensive side of the ball. Pearlie Graves and Myles Wade will be added to Colby Whitlock and Chris Perry. Suddenly Texas Tech may not be so soft up the middle anymore.

Tim Griffin: I agree with you. I think this might be the most solid defensive recruiting class that Mike Leach has ever attracted. And I know that Graves and Wade, along with Whitlock, should really anchor the Red Raiders' interior for the next couple of seasons.

I thought the Red Raiders showed a lot of improvement defensively until their late slide against Oklahoma and Mississippi. It will be interesting to see how they will rebound from those struggling performances next season.


Austin R. from Austin writes: Hey Tim, it really didn't surprise me that my Longhorns lost out on Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama or Devon Kennard from Arizona. The moment I hear that these guys are going to announce their school sitting at a table with hats, I knew the Horns are out of the running. Is it that Texas gets the guys that are not into the dramatics? Or is Texas not cool enough for some recruits?

Tim Griffin: I saw Kirkpatrick's announcement on television as well. Longhorn fans might not have liked his sense of dramatics, but I bet they would have warmed to him if they had seen him play cornerback in the burnt orange.

It was interesting to me that Texas wasn't as successful out of state as in previous seasons when they missed out on recruits like Kirkpatrick and Kennard. I'm thinking that the Longhorns are good enough to be at the top of the Big 12 recruiting lists almost every season by dominating Texas talent as they did this season.

But for them to make to challenge for the mythical national championship in recruiting, they need to generate a national splash by attracting a couple of quality out of state recruits. They did it recently with recruits like Blaine Irby and Lamarr Houston and previously were successful recruiting top out-of-state recruits like like Chris Simms, Bo Scaife, and Ricky Williams. They probably need to do it again to reclaim the top spot in national recruiting in future years.

And here's an intriguing nugget I came up with when looking at their recent recruiting lists. Texas has earned only three commitments from out-of-state players in the last three recruiting lists. Compare that with the 49 out-of-state players who have committed to Oklahoma during that time, or the 29 who have committed to defending national champion Florida.


Brent from Overland Park, Kan., writes: Tim, you haven't mentioned Kansas very much since the bowls ended. They are quietly putting together one of the best classes in the nation, but have had little coverage on ESPN, from what I've seen. Mangino is known for getting the 'diamonds in the rough' (Reesing, Briscoe, et al.). Do you see any more in this 09 class?

Tim Griffin: No coach has done a better job in developing underrated talent after their arrival at college than Mark Mangino. The story about how they got hooked up with Dezmon Briscoe ranks as one of the most notable recruiting stories in Big 12 history. But this class for the Jayhawks appears to have more talent than any since his arrival. I think recruits are starting to notice the Jayhawks after their back-to-back bowl appearances and particularly their trip to the 2008 Orange Bowl. And I think the fact they attracted top recruits Prinz Kande and Bradley McDougald is a testament to that.


Bruce from Columbus, Ga., writes: This is a long-term recuiting question I asked during your recruiting-day chat and you didn't answer it. Anyway, I had thought that Bo Pelini's tenure at LSU would provide the Cornhuskers with access to top players to recruit, yet he has none. Will it be a source in the future and why hasn't it helped in the short-term? Thanks.

Tim Griffin: Bruce, thanks for the question and I apologize to not getting to it during my chat. I might not have even seen it. I would answer one question and 15-20 more would materialize in the time I had been away from the board. I wasn't able to answer or even read many of them.

You do raise an interesting question. But I don't see the South ever really being a critical recruiting area for Nebraska. Pelini only had three years of exposure in that area when he was coaching at LSU.

Because of that, I think the Cornhuskers will always look first to areas like California and especially Texas. I think they have contacts in place in both states. It was critical for them this year with eight recruits from Texas and six from California.

The South is
really a closed shop where the Southeastern Conference teams really dominate. Look at how both Texas and Oklahoma both were stoned in their bids for top talent when Texas unsuccessfully tried for Dre Kirkpatrick and Oklahoma went for Rueben Randle. So I think most Big 12 teams will look elsewhere for their major areas of recruiting.


J. Aston of Lubbock, Texas writes: Who in your opinion does the most in the Big 12 with the least as far as recruiting goes? I have my personal opinion, but it might be a little biased. And do you think that if those teams got more highly recruited players, would they be able to do better in the big 12?

Tim Griffin: I think in recent years the coaches that have done the most with underrated talent have been Mark Mangino of Kansas, Gary Pinkel of Missouri and Mike Leach of Texas Tech. All have turned their programs into consistent bowl teams while not normally having access to the upper talent base.

It's been interesting to me that those teams all have had trouble with winning consistently against Oklahoma and Texas - the two teams that typically recruit the most top athletes in the conference.

It would be interesting to see what all programs like the Jayhawks, Red Raiders and Tigers would be able to do with the access to five-star talent. Managing those players - and egos - is a little different than working with some of the other recruits. But I'm thinking all of those schools could develop into national powers if they were able to get more top-ranked talent like the Sooners and Longhorns traditionally feast on.


Clint Seaton from Tecumseh, Okla., writes: With Bill Young becoming the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, what would be a realistic timeline for improving their defense? And maybe even having their defense ranked in the top 30?

Tim Griffin: It's not like Oklahoma State fans aren't putting any pressure on Young, is there?

That being said, Young's work will likely determine if the Cowboys can live up to all of the early hype about their team during the upcoming season. The Cowboys appear to have an offense that can keep up with anybody nationally. But in order to contend for their first Big 12 South title, the defense will have to play markedly better than it did in late losses to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oregon.

Young is known as one of the most wily coordinators in college football. And I expect him to improve the Cowboys. But moving them into the top 30 might be a little bit much - particularly with all of the prolific offenses that the Cowboys will be facing next season.

Maybe they might be able to talk about a top 30 defense in a couple of years. The Big 12's offenses should be just as potent in 2009 as they were last year. And Texas, at No. 51, ranked as the Big 12's best defense in 2008.

That's all for this week. Please keep the e-mails coming and I'll try to answer as many as I can. Thanks again for all of the good correspondence.

Miami transfer QB Marve considering OU, OSU, Texas Tech

January, 26, 2009
1/26/09
2:13
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Former Miami quarterback Robert Marve apparently is considering Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State among his finalists as he leaves his old school for a new playing opportunity.

Oklahoman beat writer Jake Trotter reports that Marve is considering both Oklahoma schools.

Tampa Tribune South Florida beat writer Brett McMurphy writes that Marve isn't expected to announce his decision until after National Signing Day next week and adds that he is considering South Florida, Texas Tech and Purdue. The former Miami quarterback wants to look at what each of his potential suitors acquired in recruiting before deciding which new school attend.

Both the Sooners and Cowboys would appear to be strong schools for Marve, who will sit out the 2009 seasons but would become eligible next season.

That would give him a year to learn under Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the Heisman Trophy winner who will be a redshirt junior next season. Bradford had the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft after the end of the season, but opted to return for another season. It's undetermined what he will do after next season, but the Sooners are reloading on offense and should be more experienced in 2010 when Marve would be eligible.

And Oklahoma State might be another intriguing option, considering Marve's run-pass talents. Starting quarterback Zac Robinson will be a senior next season, but key weapons like Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant will return for a team that's a fashionable contender to crack the top 10 next season.

Would the arrival of Marve provide enough impetus for Hunter and Bryant to return for another season in 2010? It would be interesting to see.

And at Texas Tech, projected starter Taylor Potts will be a junior next season would have an additional season in 2011 when Marve would be eligible.

Marve might be inclined to consider the Big 12 because of his previous success against conference teams. In his only previous game against a Big 12 team, Marve blistered Texas A&M for a career-high 212 passing yards and two touchdowns to orchestrate a 41-23 victory over the Aggies in College Station last season.

Marve was a redshirt freshman at Miami in 2008, passing for 1,293 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 11 games last season for the 7-6 Hurricanes. He would have two remaining seasons of eligibility after his transfer season.

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