Big 12: Ryan Lilja

Which Big 12 alumni will have a Super impact?

February, 5, 2010
Forget the quarter squares or the halftime propositions.

I've got a game we can play as we get ready for Saturday and I'm curious about readers' thoughts.

Here is a list of the former Big 12 players on Super Bowl rosters. Their playing status is based on the most recent team depth chart released by


SS Melvin Bullitt (Texas A&M), starter.

G Ryan Lilja (Kansas State), starter.

T Charlie Johnson (Oklahoma State), starter.

CB Jacob Lacey (Oklahoma State), backup.

DE Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech), backup.

LS Justin Snow (Baylor), starter.

LB Cody Glenn (Nebraska), backup.


G Carl Nicks (Nebraska), starter.

OLB Scott Shanle (Nebraska), starter.

TE David Thomas (Texas), backup.

K Garrett Hartley (Oklahoma), starter.

DT Remi Ayodele (Oklahoma), starter.

C Nick Leckey (Kansas State), backup.

QB Chase Daniel (Missouri), backup.

T Jammal Brown (Oklahoma), injured reserve.

TE Dan Campbell (Texas A&M), injured reserve.

MLB Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), injured reserve.

WR D'Juan Woods (Oklahoma State), injured reserve.

From one through five, I'm curious which Big 12 alumnus will have the biggest impact in the Super Bowl.

Here are my choices:

1. Indianapois SS Melvin Bullitt: He'll have to bring a physical, punishing presence to the Colts' secondary to keep the New Orleans receivers and Reggie Bush from running wild.

2. New Orleans G Carl Nicks: New Orleans needs to run the ball effectively to have a chance in springing the upset. Nicks is the Saints' best run-blocker and will be important in moving the pile for them.

3. Indianapolis CB Jacob Lacey: For some strange reason, I have the feeling that Lacey will be a big part of this game. I think Drew Brees will test him early and often and he'll have a chance to make some plays -- or be burned.

4. New Orleans K Garrett Hartley: He won the NFC Championship Game with a clutch kick in overtime. Who's to say he won't have another chance for another big kick or two in Sunday's game?

5. New Orleans TE David Thomas: Brees' second tight end has been a consistent and clutch third-down receiver all season. If this game is a shootout, he'll likely get a lot of playing time.

Those are my picks. How about yours?

Chase Daniel only 102nd in value among Super Bowl teams?

February, 1, 2010
There was an interesting story over the weekend on, where the Scouts Inc. talent evaluators looked at both Super Bowl teams and ranked them from 1 through 106 in terms of talent.

It's no surprise that Peyton Manning checked in at No. 1. But some of the other players might have been surprising.

Most notable was former Missouri and current New Orleans quarterback Chase Daniel, who was one of the most storied players in Big 12 history as he twice led Missouri to the Big 12 championship game.

Even with that pedigree, Daniel's value diminished greatly once he hit the NFL. In fact, at No. 102, he's the Big 12 alumni who has the lowest value among Super Bowl participants, according to the survey.

There's no surprise that Peyton Manning is No. 1 or that Drew Brees is second. Carl Nicks, the starting guard for New Orleans from Nebraska is ranked 13th, the highest-ranked Big 12 product in the game. And Melvin Bullitt, Indianapolis' starting strong safety, is the highest-ranked Big 12 alumni on the Colts at No. 18.

Here's a list of the former Big 12 players who are on the rosters of the Super Bowl teams. Their playing status is based on the most recent team depth chart released by

  • G Carl Nicks (Nebraska), starter, No. 13.
  • OLB Scott Shanle (Nebraska), starter, No. 38.
  • TE David Thomas (Texas), backup, No. 52.
  • K Garrett Hartley (Oklahoma), starter, No. 58.
  • DT Remi Ayodele (Oklahoma), starter, No. 80.
  • C Nick Leckley (Kansas State), backup, No. 86.
  • QB Chase Daniel (Missouri), backup, No. 102.
  • T Jammal Brown (Oklahoma), injured reserve, no ranking.
  • TE Dan Campbell (Texas A&M), injured reserve, no ranking.
  • MLB Mark Simoneau (Kansas State), injured reserve, no ranking.
  • WR D'Juan Woods (Oklahoma State), injured reserve, no ranking.

The listing of players was pretty interesting. I'm guilty of not following the players quite as closely once they got to the NFL.

But I'm still stunned about Daniel's lack of value, even if he is a third-string quarterback for the Saints.

KSU's all-decade team

January, 20, 2010
Kansas State was a dominant North division power early in the decade, earning title-game berths in 2000 and 2003. The Wildcats had three teams that finished among the top 15 teams nationally in the first four seasons of the decade.

That success vanished later in the decade, but Bill Snyder returned to help turn around the program in 2009.

Here are my choices for the top Kansas State players of the last decade.


QB: Ell Roberson

RB: Darren Sproles

RB: Daniel Thomas

WR: Quincy Morgan

WR: Jordy Nelson

TE: Jeron Mastrud

OL: Ryan Lilja

OL: Nick Stringer

OL: Jeromey Clary

OL: Andy Eby

C: Randall Cummings


DL: Tank Reese

DL: Ian Campbell

DL: Monty Beisel

DL: Mario Fatafehi

LB: Ben Leber

LB: Terry Pierce

LB: Josh Buhl

DB: Jerametrius Butler

DB: Terence Newman

DB: Jon McGraw

DB: Dyshod Carter

P Tim Reyer

K Jamie Rheem

KR Brandon Banks

Offensive player of the decade: RB Darren Sproles. The key player on the Wildcats’ 2003 Big 12 title team rushed for a school-record 4,979 yards during his career, scoring 45 rushing touchdowns and notching three 1,000-yard seasons. He finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2003 after rushing for a school-record 1,986 yards to spark the Wildcats' championship season.

Defensive player of the decade: CB Terence Newman. Finished as the most decorated defensive player in Kansas State history, earning All-America honors and the Big 12’s defensive player of the year in 2002. In that season, Newman won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and was a finalist for the Nagurski Award.

Coach of the decade: Bill Snyder. Even a three-season sabbatical couldn’t diminish Snyder’s accomplishments for Kansas State. His 2003 team earned the school’s only Big 12 football championship, punctuating a run of four-straight bowl appearances to start the decade. After returning, he nearly took the team to another bowl game in his first season back in 2009, pushing the Wildcats into the Big 12 North title hunt until its final game of the season.

Moment of the decade: Kansas State notched a 35-7 victory over Oklahoma to earn the 2003 Big 12 title. The Wildcats overcame an early-season three-game losing streak to finish with a seven-game winning streak capped by the title-game upset over the No. 1 Sooners. Darren Sproles rushed for 235 yards and Ell Roberson threw four touchdowns in the wild upset -- the last time a North team has won the Big 12 championship game.