Big 12: Ryan Palmer

Big potential free-agent pool among Big 12 players

April, 27, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

I'll be back later today with a complete breakdown of the Big 12's draft.

But here's something to watch as Monday plays out.

There are still some pretty good players available from Big 12 schools who were not drafted.

Most notably are three quarterbacks who set records and took their teams to bowl games this past season.

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz all went undrafted.

Look for teams to be dickering with them for free-agent contracts throughout the day.

Here's a list of some of the more notable Big 12 players who went undrafted.

There are some pretty good players on that list. I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of them make an NFL roster if given the opportunity.

Don't always believe those heights and weights

February, 24, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

When I was a little kid, one element among my favorites of going to a football game was collecting a game program. I loved nothing better than to scan rosters and check the heights and weights of players as I looked at them through my father's binoculars.

It led me to collecting many programs that probably still are around my parents' house somewhere. I guess I just wanted to add to the clutter of my bedroom.

If I had known then what I know now, I might not have been so diligent about all of the effort. Little boys don't know those heights and weights for their football heroes aren't always correct.

The best way to analyze the discrepancy is by comparing the heights and weights of some of the Big 12 players who attended the recent NFL combine and compare them with what they were listed at during their college careers.

The before is their listed height and weight during last season. The after is what they were measured over the weekend by the NFL.

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Forty-one Big 12 players invited to NFL Combine

February, 2, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Here's the official list of 41 Big 12 players who have been invited to the NFL combine Feb. 18 through Feb. 24 in Indianapolis.

Oklahoma led all Big 12 teams with eight players invited to the combine, followed by Texas, Missouri and Nebraska with six players each and Texas Tech with five players.

All Big 12 schools were represented with the exception of Colorado, Iowa State and Kansas.

All players are expected to attend with the exception of Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who was granted an extra season of eligibility and will remain in college. Shipley recently underwent shoulder surgery and will not be able to participate when spring practice begins for the Longhorns later this week.

NFL officials have calculated that players invited to the NFL combine typically are drafted 64 percent of the time. So these players would appear to have the best chance of being picked among eligible players from the Big 12.

Here's a list of invited players listed by their schools.

Baylor: T Dan Gay, T Jason Smith.

Colorado: None.

Iowa State: None.

Kansas: None.

Kansas State: QB Josh Freeman, DE-LB Ian Campbell.

Missouri: TE Chase Coffman, QB Chase Daniel, DT Ziggy Hood, WR-KR Jeremy Maclin, S William Moore, DE Stryker Sulak.

Nebraska: LB Cody Glenn, RB Marlon Lucky, T Lydon Murtha, DE Zach Potter, G Matt Slauson, WR Nathan Swift.

Oklahoma: C Jon Cooper, S Nic Harris, S Lendy Holmes, WR Juaquan Iglesias, WR Manuel Johnson, T Phil Loadholt, G Duke Robinson, G Brandon Walker.

Oklahoma State: P Matt Fodge, TE Brandon Pettigrew.

Texas: WR Quan Cosby, DT Roy Miller, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, DE Brian Orakpo, CB Ryan Palmer, WR Jordan Shipley.*

Texas A&M: DE Michael Bennett, P Justin Brantly, RB Michael Goodson, QB Stephen McGee.

Texas Tech: WR Michael Crabtree, QB Graham Harrell, S Darcel McBath, G Louis Vasquez, DE Brandon Williams.

*  Note: Shipley has elected to stay for a sixth season of eligibility with Texas. He will be available for the 2010 draft.

Nebraska RB Lucky has big East-West Shrine Game

January, 19, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky showed something to pro scouts with a big performance in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game in Houston.

Lucky, who finished the season as the Cornhuskers' No. 3 I-back behind Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille, rushed for a game-high 68 yards and a touchdown to earn Most Valuable Player honors in the East's 24-19 victory over the West on Saturday afternoon.

"It was a big one for me," Lucky told the Associated Press. "I didn't have a strong year and to just come out and play my game and show what I can do, I seized the opportunity. Now it's back to training."

Some Big 12 players had better outings than others. Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee passed for 128 yards, including a 35-yard TD strike to Rice wide receiver Jarett Dillard, and rushed for four yards on three carries.

Mammoth 295-pound Texas A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane, who set a school record with 49 rushing touchdowns, was stopped three times inside the East's 5-yard on unsuccessful attempts to score. Lane produced six yards on four carries and added three receptions for 13 yards.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel struggled through a difficult performance for the East, completing 2 of 9 passes for 1 yards, with a long pass of 4 yards.

And Ray Guy award winner Matt Fodge of Oklahoma State had an inconsistent game, averaging 32.8 yards per kick on four punts. Fodge's longest punt was 67 yards, but he also shanked kicks of 28 and 5 yards.

Here's a look at some of the numbers for other Big 12 players in Saturday's game.

  • Missouri defensive end Stryker Sulak (East): Three tackles (one solo), one pass deflection, .5 of a tackle for a loss.
  • Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller (West): Tied for team-high honors with six tackles and four solo stops. Also added a team-high tackle for a loss.
  • Oklahoma defensive back Lendy Holmes (West): One solo tackle, three total tackles.
  • Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer (West): Two tackles.
  • Texas A&M defensive end Michael Bennett (West): One assist, one quarterback hurry.

Big 12 players will be big part of Shrine East-West game

January, 16, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

All right, admit it. You are going through college football withdrawal after seven days without a game.

If you are really missing college football, check out the Shrine East-West Shrine Game at 4 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 from Houston's Robertson Stadium.

The Big 12 will be heavily represented. Below is a list of players and their uniform numbers if you want to give them a look on Saturday. You can find the rest of the roster on the Shrine Game web site.

East: Missouri QB Chase Daniel (No. 10), Nebraska RB Marlon Lucky (No. 20), Missouri DE Stryker Sulak (No. 38), Nebraska OL Matt Slauson (No. 75), Nebraska LS T.J. O'Leary (No. 82),

West: Oklahoma WR Manuel Johnson (No. 1), Texas DB Ryan Palmer (No. 2), Texas Tech DB Darcel McBath (No. 3), Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane (No. 11), Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee (No. 12), Oklahoma State P Matt Fodge (No. 17), Oklahoma DB Lendy Holmes (No. 22), Oklahoma C Jon Cooper (No. 50), Texas Tech OL Louis Vasquez (No. 66), Baylor OL Dan Gay (No. 71), Texas OL Cedric Dockery (No. 73), Texas A&M DE Michael Bennett (No. 92), Texas DT Roy Miller (No. 98),

Returning McCoy pushes Texas into Big 12 favorite's role

December, 8, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

 Kenny Felt/Icon SMI
 Colt McCoy has thrown 32 touchdown passes this season.

The decision by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to return for his senior season might be the biggest piece in the puzzle of pushing the Longhorns into the role as a favorite for the national championship next year.

McCoy's decision was reported Monday in the Austin American-Statesman. It provides the Longhorns with an experienced senior quarterback who has already started for three seasons.

The Longhorns will lose running back Chris Ogbonnaya and top receivers Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley. But redshirt freshman Malcolm Williams looked explosive in his limited playing time and tight end Blaine Irby should return from a knee injury that caused him to miss most of the season.

Senior guard Cedric Dockery will be the Longhorns' only departing offensive lineman. And while the defense will lose key players like Brian Orakpo, Roy Miller, Rashad Bobino and Ryan Palmer, Will Muschamp should have a more experienced unit in his second season working with the team.

It's not clear whether Sam Bradford will be returning to Oklahoma or declare for the NFL draft. If he leaves, the Longhorns should assume the role as favorites in the Big 12 South.

Texas defense sets tone in win over Aggies

November, 28, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

AUSTIN -- Some wondered if Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp would cool his jets after earning the title of head coach designate last week.

 Brian Bahr/Getty Images
 The Aggies ended up with minus-24 yards on the ground against Brian Orakpo and the Longhorns' defense.

His defense provided more fire than Muschamp needed Thursday simply by providing its best effort of the season. And the Texas head coach-to-be's most memorable sideline moment was when he slipped trying to chest bump defensive end Brian Orakpo.

"Rak pushed me," Muschamp said with a sheepish grin. "That was all it was."

Orakpo and his defensive mates did more than that to a beleaguered Texas A&M offense throughout a convincing 49-9 victory. The Longhorns limited Texas A&M to minus 24 yards rushing as they throttled the Aggies from the first possession.

In fact, the strong defensive effort by Texas may have been its most convincing argument to jump ahead in the BCS standings.

"They have really bought in and believed in what we are trying to do and I've been so impressed with the attitude and emotion they've played with," Muschamp said. "We certainly have some things that we can improve on, but that was a pretty complete performance."

The Longhorns have outscored opponents 84-16 in the last two games, limiting Kansas and Texas A&M to a touchdown apiece.

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Palmer develops as leader in Texas secondary

November, 13, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Experience does matter. Just look at the Texas secondary if you don't believe it.

With all of the young talent roaming the field on the Longhorns' talented secondary, there still needs to be an emotional anchor. And senior cornerback Ryan Palmer has provided that for his team.

Palmer has become an ex-officio member of the Texas coaching staff this season as he has helped guide a group of six freshmen defensive backs to grow up quickly.

"It's been fun being around with all of the young guys," Palmer said. "It's kind of like I'm the big brother around here. It's a challenge to make sure that we are doing the right thing."

Despite struggling with an assortment of injuries this season, Palmer has been a key producer for the Longhorns when he's been able to play. And he's served in a bigger role with his leadership and versatility, playing a variety of positions thanks to his experience with Texas' defensive philosophy.

The secondary was expected to be Texas' weak link this season but Palmer -- a connection to the program's storied past that featured back-to-back Thorpe Award winners in Michael Huff and Aaron Ross earlier in his career -- is helping them get there.

"Ryan has been a solid piece for us," Texas secondary coach Duane Akina said. "He's had a chance to see all of those guys before him. It's been nice to see him emerge and to pass on the things that were passed on to him. This young group has a chance to be really good down the line because of their talent and what he's helped them with."

And he's provided some key plays in the process. Palmer produced a pivotal interception in last week's game against Baylor.

After jumping to a quick 14-0 lead, the Bears stormed back with two quick touchdowns and appeared to have snatched momentum away after a missed Texas field goal early in the second quarter.

"We were sitting on the bench wondering if somebody could step up and give us a play," Akina said. "We needed somebody to give us a spark."

That's when Palmer stepped up. On the next play from scrimmage, Palmer grabbed a ball that was deflected off the hands of Baylor receiver Kendall Wright and scooted untouched 22 yards for the touchdown. The Longhorns never trailed after that and went on to claim a definitive victory to keep their BCS hopes alive.

"It was fitting for him to make that play," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "He had helped Duane Akina hold that secondary together this season. It's been hard, but he's done everything right. He's been here after overcoming knee operations, a pulled hamstring and his dislocated elbow. And he's played well for us."

Palmer and the young secondary will face another challenge Saturday at Kansas. The Jayhawks' aerial attack, featuring Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe, will test them again.

It's just another week in the Big 12 with the Longhorns still harboring serious national championship hopes if they can keep winning.

"We just have to be focused every week because we're still in it," Palmer said. "If we win out, we'll be fine. That's just how we have to approach it."

Big 12 helmet stickers for Saturday's games

November, 9, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Here are my choices from a stellar group of candidates. To say it was a tough choice would be a huge understatement.

Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell -- Completed 40 of 50 passes for 456 yards and six touchdown passes to match his career high in a 56-20 blowout victory over Oklahoma State. After an early fumble on the first possession, Harrell directed seven straight drives that ended with touchdowns to spark the Red Raiders to their first 10-0 start since 1938.

Texas CB Ryan Palmer -- Provided a momentum-changing 22-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave Texas the lead for good. Also notched two tackles, produced a sack and broke up a pass in the Longhorns' 45-21 victory over Baylor.

Colorado QB Cody Hawkins - Rallied his team with four touchdown passes off the bench to direct the Buffaloes' 28-24 victory over Iowa State. Hawkins completed 20 of 29 passes for 226 yards -- all in the second half -- including a 5-yard toss to Cody Crawford for the game-winning score with 1:30 left.

Nebraska DT/FB Ndamukong Suh -- He might have produced the most unique statistical game in Big 12 history. Suh notched 12 tackles, including four for losses involving 2.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry to pace Nebraska's 45-35 victory over Kansas. And for good measure, also snagged a 2-yard TD reception -- his first career catch -- to help boost the Cornhuskers' fourth-quarter rally past the Jayhawks.

Missouri KR/WR Jeremy Maclin -- Rolled up 278 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Missouri to a 41-24 victory over Kansas State. Maclin had eight receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns, four carries for 84 yards and another TD and added 76 yards in returns. Maclin caught TD passes from Chase Daniel of 42 and 16 yards in a span of 106 seconds late in the first half and later added a 56-yard TD run on a direct snap.

Brown battles back from bloody ear as Longhorns lead at half

November, 8, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Colt McCoy has thrown three touchdown passes to boost Texas to a 28-14 halftime advantage over Baylor.

After enabling Baylor to battle back to a 14-14 tie, the Longhorns charged back with two second-quarter touchdowns on Ryan Palmer's 22-yard interception return and McCoy's 26-yard strike to Quan Cosby.

The first half was marred by several injuries for Texas, including Coach Mack Brown. After he was nicked by a player along the sidelines, Brown suffered a nasty looking gash on his left ear.

The cut was not bandaged and was even exhibited when Brown was interviewed after the first half. He should return -- hopefully with a band-aid -- when play resumes after the half.

The Longhorns already are playing without starting defensive end Brian Orakpo and starting cornerback Chykie Brown. And they lost starting defensive tackle Lamarr Houston for the game with a foot injury early in the first quarter.

McGee was struggling with heavy Baylor pressure from a variety of blitzes. He has been intercepted twice in the first half.

And in the other early game today, Iowa State has jumped ahead of Colorado, 3-0, late in the first quarter. Grant Mahoney drilled a 24-yard field goal for the Cyclones to give them the lead after their first possession.

Baylor rebounds after early Texas surge

November, 8, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer's 22-yard interception for a touchdown has returned momentum and given Texas a 21-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

Palmer's interception, which glanced off the hand of Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright was only the second of the season thrown by Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin.

After spotting Texas an early 14-0 lead, the Bears charged back to score on consecutive possessions to forge the tie. Griffin scored on a fourth-down run and then hooked up with Wright on a 55-yard touchdown pass.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy threw touchdown passes on his first two possessions to stake his team to an early 14-0 lead on a 35-yard strike to Quan Cosby and a 1-yard pass to backup tight end Greg Smith.

McCoy has been knocked around a lot already. His offensive line is having trouble keeping him protected and McCoy's uniform is stained with grass from being knocked around by an active, blitzing Baylor defense. And his interception on the final play of the first quarter set up Baylor's second-quarter comback.

And Texas' injury-depleted defensive front took an early hit when starting defensive tackle Lamarr Houston was knocked out of the game with a foot injury. He is not expected to return.

Harrell greets big game with silence

October, 29, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell has the opportunity to do something that's almost unprecedented in the annals of modern Heisman Trophy campaigns.

 Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images
 Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell has thrown 28 touchdown passes this season.

Despite breaking a slew of national passing records and leading his team to an 8-0 record for the first time in 32 seasons, Harrell's contact with the media has been almost non-existent this week as he prepares for the biggest game of his career.

So much for worrying about satellite shoots, radio shows or teleconferences with the national media. If Harrell wins the Heisman this season he'll do it the old-fashioned way -- by earning it on the field with a big performance over No. 1 Texas and during the rest of the season.

The lack of media attention this week was mandated by Tech coach Mike Leach, who decided that Harrell didn't need the distractions of facing the media. All interview requests have been turned down.

"I didn't know it would be as interview-intensive as it was, but I knew it would be a great deal," Leach said. "Graham's job first is to be the best quarterback he can and do interviews secondly. I guess that's a long way of me saying he's a key guy for us and I don't want him to be sidetracked by that stuff."

Leach's mandate comes with some risk. The Red Raiders have never had a player place higher than fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting when Donny Anderson was selected in 1965.

But the Tech coach said he has no second thoughts about shuttering Harrell and Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree out of the media spotlight this week. Even with the realization that national honors for both perhaps could spur recruiting efforts at the remote West Texas school and perhaps make attracting the next standout that much easier.

"I'm glad I did it and I can more than live with it," Leach said. "As you know, I'm not above keeping them all out of the interview room. My number one job is to coach these guys the best I can. To give interviews is entirely secondary."

Instead, Harrell will have his opportunity to make his biggest statement on the field Saturday night.

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Banged-up Texas secondary braces for stern test

October, 29, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

 Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
 Earl Thomas and the Texas secondary will have a big challenge on Saturday.

Curtis Brown had a huge challenge for his first college start. And it will only get that much bigger if the Texas sophomore cornerback has a second one this week.

After being thrust into the starting lineup when usual starter Chykie Brown missed last week's game against Oklahoma State with an ankle injury, Curtis Brown got his first college starting opportunity. His test was against Dez Bryant, who was merely the hottest receiver in the Big 12 coming into the game.

"I was afraid he would transfer," Texas coach Mack Brown told reporters with a chuckle. "I bet I would have."

There were no first-game jitters. Brown played every snap and led the Longhorns to a gritty 28-24 victory that was punctuated by his game-saving deflection on the final play of the game. The stakes will only get bigger for him and his injury-depleted teammates from the secondary this week.

Like trying to contain Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree and Texas Tech's high-powered offensive attack Saturday night in Lubbock.

"If my number is called, I just show up," Brown told reporters earlier this week. "That's just what I had to do."

The test for Brown mirrors that for the Texas defense, which will be challenged to stop a Tech offense that ranks first nationally in passing offense, second in total offense and third in scoring. The Red Raiders have scored at least 35 points in every game this season and feature a deep collection of playmakers besides Crabtree.

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Texas defense rebounds with dominating second-half effort

October, 11, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

 AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
 Texas coach Mack Brown celebrates with Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller (99) and others after beating No. 1 Oklahoma, 45-35, Saturday.

DALLAS - Will Muschamp might not save the statistical sheet of Texas' victory over Oklahoma for posterity.

Even after being gashed for 435 total yards and five touchdown passes in a 45-35 victory over the Sooners, the Texas defensive coordinator couldn't really complain.

"It's a win," Muschamp said with a big smile as he celebrated his team's strong second-half performance. "I've never had a bad one. Not once in my life. Obviously, we're going to look at things and see if they were technically correct. And then, we'll build on the positives."

When Muschamp looks at the films, he'll see a lot of things to celebrate in the Longhorns' strong performance down the stretch. After struggling to pressure Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford for most of the game, the Texas pass rush rose up during the fourth quarter.

The increased heat came mainly because strong play from Texas' defensive line. Texas coach Mack Brown also credited the play of his secondary, consisting of redshirt freshman safety Earl Thomas, freshman Blake Gideon and sophomore Chykie Brown.

"Our defense has done a great job this year of changing things and they covered well today," Brown said. "I did think our guys kept fighting. Will did a good job of showing pressure and backing out and making Sam hold the ball some."

Bradford directed a fourth-quarter comeback last season, leading the Sooners to a victory as a freshman/ He appeared to have the Sooners in place for another as he trailed 30-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

But he couldn't duplicate his magic on Saturday -- mainly because he was scrambling for his life.

Texas defensive end Brian Orkapo seemed to be taking up residence in the Sooner backfield as he repeatedly beat offensive tackle Phil Loadholt.

"We got some pressure going and we did a tremendous job on defense," said Orakpo. "We got some hits on him and made Bradford throw the ball out of bounds. It was a like a street fight out there."

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Emptying the notebook of Big 12 factoids

October, 10, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Here are some facts, figures and quotes for your edification to get ready for tomorrow's games. Enjoy.



Offense in the Big 12. There have been 43 times in college football this season where a FBS team has scored 52 points or more. The Big 12 has accounted for 17 of them.


Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin, the only FBS quarterback with no interceptions and more than 100 attempts. Griffin has 104.


Colorado kicker Aric Goodman, who has missed four straight field goals since being awarded a scholarship after beating West Virginia in overtime two weeks ago.


The Big 12, has two teams one-two in polls with Oklahoma and Missouri 1-2 in the coaches poll. It's the first time for that since Oct. 8, 2000, when Nebraska was No. 1 and Kansas State was No. 2 in the AP poll.


Nebraska, which has lost its last 19 games against teams ranked higher than 20th nationally and 10 straight games against top 10 teams


Baylor LB Joe Pawelek, who has produced double-figure totals in tackles in all five games this season.


Preseason All-Big 12 defensive end Ian Campbell of Kansas State , who was shut out last week without a tackle, despite Texas Tech having 90 offensive snaps.


Oklahoma and Missouri have both scored touchdowns on the first possession of every game this season.


Oklahoma State, which has lost 34 of its last 35 games against top-10 teams heading into Saturday's game at Missouri. The only win during that streak is a victory over Oklahoma in 2001.


Texas' secondary, which allowed 18 passes of 16 or more yards in the first three games of the season, but only eight 16-yard or more passes in the last two games. The Longhorns have limited opponents to three touchdowns in the last 10 quarters.


Colorado's offense, which hasn't produced a 400-yard game in total offense in its last six games.


Oklahoma, which has not lost a fumble this season.


Kansas' kick return team which ranks last in the nation with an average of 13.2 yards per return.


Texas Tech's running game, which needs only 49 yards to match last season's rushing total.


Colorado running back Rodney Stewart, who rushed for 27 yards last week against Texas after producing back-to-back 100-yard games.


Kansas State's defense. Let us count the ways. After allowing only 16 points in the first two games of the season, the Wildcats have been smoked for 133 points in the last three. KSU ranks 86th nationally in pass defense, tied for 87 in turnover margin, 89th in tackles for losses, 94th in scoring defense, 101st in rush defense, 102nd in total defense, and has started eight different players at defensive back.

It's a fact:

Here's something that might refute those Will Muschamp to a head coaching job rumors - at least at Texas. The Longhorns have not elevated an assistant coach to the head coaching job since Ed Price replaced Blair Cherry in 1951.


"We've still got some stuff up our sleeves. We've got some tricks," Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer, who told the Austin American-Statesman on the Longhorns' defensive plans for Oklahoma.

"I don't like feeling like the little boy at the grocery store, when they pat you on the head and they say, 'Nice job. You almost did it.' I know the intentions are good, but I don't receive those very well," Iowa State coach Gene Chizik, who told the Des Moines Register, about his inability to win in three recent tight losses.

"It's easy for me to close my eyes at night and go to sleep. I've been coaching for 20 years, and it hasn't always been that way," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, to Yahoo about his evolution as a coach.

"Chase Daniel is the best quarterback in the nation. If you ask me, nobody is a counterpart to him. I'm going to say that now, I'm going to say that at the end of the game, I'm going to say that at the end of the season," Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who told the Kansas City Star about the Missouri quarterback's value to his team.

"I didn't really think I had a chance to see the field. But I never gave up ... I just kept fighting," Kansas State walk-on cornerback Rashad Harrell, who told the Wichita Eagle about earning a starting job with the Wildcats despite long odds.

"I think when you start doing things that are exotic and you start beating down on guys, that doesn't solve anything. They're trying and they're working. The reality is we've got the Colts this week. We're playing the Patriots next week and then we're playing the Bears. That's the nature of it," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, who told the Boulder Camera about his team's development despite a tough schedule.

The chart, part I

Turnover margin usually correlates to success. But it hasn't been the case this season for Iowa State, which is the only team in the FBS top 10 in turnover margin to have a losing record. Here's a look at the top 10 teams in turnover margin this season and their records.

1. Vanderbilt           +1.8            5-0

2. Minnesota           +1.67          5-1

3. Florida                +1.6            4-1

3. Iowa State           +1.6                  2-3 

5. Wake Forest         +1.4           4-1

5. Tulsa                   +1.4           5-0

5. Air Force               +1.4           3-2

5. Arkansas State      +1.4           3-2

5. BYU                      +1.4           5-0

10. TCU                    +1.33         5-1

10. Utah                   +1.33         5-1 

The chart, part II

Big 1
2 quarterbacks dominate the list of those FBS passers with the most 20-yard passes this season. Here's how they rank.

Quarterback              School           Number of 20-yard passes   

Chase Daniel            Missouri                   26

Joe Ganz                  Nebraska                 26

Sam Bradford            Oklahoma               25

Graham Harrell          Texas Tech              25

Todd Reesing            Kansas                    25

Source: research