Big 12: Sean Porter

Game prediction: AT&T Cotton Bowl

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
2:30
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Kickoff is only a few hours away, and I'll be there in person shortly, but here's who I'm taking in the Big 12's season finale in Cowboys Stadium.

My pick: Texas A&M 41, Oklahoma 37

I really just don't buy that Oklahoma's defense can slow Johnny Manziel enough to win this. I do think there are a ton of outside factors that might influence how well he plays or doesn't play. He's a young guy, and who knows how he truly handled the time away on the awards circuit? The coaches have had only good things to say, but will he look rusty, and will Mike Stoops have a solid plan to slow him down and keep him contained?

Additionally, how will the loss of Kliff Kingsbury affect him? I do think this game comes down to exactly how "Johnny Football" plays, but I like his chances to overcome that stuff and play well. Oklahoma's defense plays well, too. The Sooners lock down on Sean Porter and Damontre Moore and keep them out of Landry Jones' face, and Jones plays well in his final start, just not quite well enough to win.

Texas A&M's backs, Ben Malena and Christine Michael, are criminally underrated and overshadowed by Manziel, and they'll be the X factors in this one and help the Aggies control the game down the stretch. This offensive line is battle-tested in an SEC full of defensive lines much tougher than the Sooners'. Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews will prove why they're both projected to be NFL draft first-rounders and will ultimately win this game for the Aggies with a bruising running game in the final quarter.

Video: Texas A&M LB Sean Porter

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
11:00
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David Ubben talks with Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter about the difference in Big 12 and SEC defenses, meeting a familiar opponent in the Cotton Bowl and what it's like to be teammates with a Heisman winner.
We're moving on with our postseason position rankings. Today, it's time for linebackers. If you missed it, here's how I ranked them in the preseason.

At this position, depth is a major factor in these rankings. Additionally, I included nickelbacks in this grouping. Hybrid defensive end/linebackers will be grouped with defensive lines.

[+] EnlargeJake Knott
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireIowa State linebackers Jake Knott, 20, and A.J. Klein combined for 231 tackles in 2011.
More postseason position rankings: 1. Iowa State: The Cyclones top the list after a huge year from their outstanding duo, Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. They combined for 231 tackles in 2011, both finishing among the top four in the Big 12 in tackles. They had 241 together in 2010, but this season Knott played through injuries and Klein was awarded co-Defensive Player of the Year honors from the league's coaches.

2. Texas: The Longhorns will sorely miss an outstanding duo of their own with tons of experience. Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho are both NFL-bound after combining for 215 tackles.

3. Oklahoma: The Sooners weren't quite as good as expected in 2011, but part of that was because of a Travis Lewis preseason toe injury that slowed him for much of the season. Lewis, Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort all topped 70 tackles in 2011, and are a solid group.

4. Kansas State: Arthur Brown reinvigorated this group, finishing eighth in the Big 12 with 101 tackles, but the Wildcats linebackers were more than just Brown. Tre Walker and converted safety Emmanuel Lamur combined for 135 stops and helped lead one of the league's most underrated units and a much-improved run defense.

5. Texas A&M: The Aggies' backers were big pass-rushers, though they struggled in coverage this season. Sean Porter was the Big 12's sack champion with 9.5, and Caleb Russell and Jonathan Stewart combined for six more. Damontre Moore is the rawest talent of the bunch, but built on that in 2011, making 72 tackles.

6. Oklahoma State: OSU's group was good, but not great. Alex Elkins' crazy story came to an end with 90 stops in 2011. He showed up everywhere for the Cowboys, but reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year Shaun Lewis didn't quite have the sophomore season some had hoped. Caleb Lavey added some solid play for the turnover-hungry unit, producing 74 tackles and five tackles for loss.

7. Missouri: Zaviar Gooden wasn't quite the impact player Mizzou had hoped, but he was solid alongside a group that's been injury prone over the past two years. Sophomore Andrew Wilson emerged as the team's top tackler with 98 stops, and Luke Lambert added 82 more. A high ankle sprain in the season opener kept Will Ebner off the field, but he'll be back in 2012 after the NCAA granted him a fifth year of eligibility.

8. Kansas: Steven Johnson led the Big 12 with 119 tackles, but the rest of the unit left a lot to be desired. Darius Willis has some potential, but the rest of the team's linebackers have their work cut out for them in 2012. Tunde Bakare also returns from a unit that ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense.

9. Baylor: The Bears needed help just about everywhere. Elliot Coffey was solid, and finished tied for fourth with 114 stops, but Baylor was eighth in the Big 12 in rush defense. Baylor has solid athlete in the secondary and on the defensive line, but at linebacker, Rodney Chadwick and Brody Trahan leave a bit to be desired. Ahmad Dixon was better in 2011, but still has a lot of potential that needs to be filled.

10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are looking for a new defensive coordinator and the 4-2-5 made a short stop in Lubbock. The Red Raiders were awful everywhere on defense, but especially up front. Nobody in college football was worse at stopping the run, and D.J. Johnson, Daniel Cobb and Cqulin Hubert turned in forgettable performances. Time to get better for 2012.

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 10

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
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Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

We're in the top 10 now, officially. That means it could be a little heated from here on. Got beef? Send it to my mailbag, and we'll have a later post logging and answering your complaints.

No. 10: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M

2011 numbers: Made 79 tackles (50 solo), including 17 tackles for loss. He also made 9.5 sacks and broke up two passes. Forced a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Porter was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Porter: Texas A&M's defensive line had a tough time producing pressure and getting sacks in Tim DeRuyter's 3-4, but Porter provided another level of pass rush that helped push Texas A&M to the national title in sacks, with 51. (That's a thing, right?)

His total of 9.5 sacks gave him the Big 12 sack title, and he finished third in the league with 17 tackles for loss. His pass rush won't quite be as valuable in the SEC, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder should be poised for a great year as a senior in 2012.

Porter was on pace for a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year nod, but was held without a sack in five of his seven final games, notching just two sacks in that period.

He made just five tackles for loss in his final five games, and was shut out in two of those games. He's got great speed and great flexibility that allows him to dip his inside shoulder on the edge like Von Miller used to.

It wasn't quite the season it looked like it might be early on, but Porter put together a huge year and earned plenty of respect heading into 2012.

The rest of the list:

The Big 12's top returning NFL talents

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
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This week's Senior Bowl and next month's NFL scouting combine will help decide who will hear their names called, and when, in April's NFL draft, but what about next year?

Mel Kiper unleashed his top five returning players for 2012, the top prospects at their positions in next year's draft.

Lots of interesting names. Here's where the Big 12 talents sit.

Quarterbacks
Fullbacks
My take: Good to see Wilson's name on this list. He's impressed coach Bill Snyder from the start, and Wilson was an underrated reason for K-State's success running the ball the past two seasons with Daniel Thomas in 2010 and Collin Klein/John Hubert in 2011. One of the Big 12's toughest players.

Receivers
My take: Both of those names made me do a double take. Williams was a great player this season, and you perhaps best know him as the player who caught the game-winning touchdown to beat Oklahoma, but he's never looked to me like a player who could be the first receiver drafted. We'll see how he does in 2012 as Baylor's No. 1 receiver, with Nick Florence throwing him the ball instead of Robert Griffin III. Williams could become a star.

Austin always struck me as an undersized player, but there's no denying his playmaking ability. Few can match his game-breaking ability with the ball in his hands.

Offensive tackles
Centers
Defensive ends
My take: No surprise there. Okafor burst on the scene this season, and has that combination of size and speed you rarely see outside of players who become first-round picks.

Inside linebackers
Outside linebackers
Cornerbacks
Punters

Recruiting rewind: All-Big 12 Defense

December, 13, 2011
12/13/11
2:45
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The season has come and gone, and brought with it an All-Big 12 team. But where do these guys come from? How easy is it for a no-name recruit to earn all-conference first-team honors?

We took a look at the offense earlier today.

Now, let's examine the All-Big 12 defense and see who surprises us.

You'll need ESPN Insider Insider to see each player's recruiting page from back in the day, but I excerpted a bit of what the scouts had to say about each player coming out of high school.

DE: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
  • Was the nation's No. 41 defensive end and graded out at 77 by ESPN. Was also recruited by Auburn and Tulane. Scouts take: Alexander is a high school tight end / defensive end. He has good hands and good speed, but projects best as a defensive end in college. He has the frame to bulk up and play either position and has good size in general for a high school prospect. Right now his strength is rushing the passer.
DT: Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
  • Was the nation's No. 22 defensive tackle in 2007 and was recruited by Arizona State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Graded out at a 78. Scouts take: Hamilton is a big, physical presence on the interior of the defensive line. He has good size for a high school prospect and the potential to develop into a physical beast at the college level. You would really classify him at this stage as a bit raw. He plays with a bullying style and not much technique. He is capable of coming off the ball and knocking blockers back.
DE: Alex Okafor, Texas
  • Okafor was No. 149 on the 2009 ESPNU 150, and was the nation's No. 12 defensive end. Was also recruited by Oklahoma, Nebraska and LSU. Scouts take: Okafor is a tall wiry defender with a high motor. He needs to get into a college weight program and add some bulk, but for a tall lean kid he displays the ability to play with good leverage. He has a solid get-off and can come out of his stance, keep his knees bent, and on contact generate power from his lower body.


DE: Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State
  • Was the nation's No. 105 defensive end and graded out at 71. He was also recruited by Texas Tech, TCU and Duke. Scouts take: Blatnick is an effort guy on the football field. He will probably fit best as a six or seven technique in college or add bulk and play defensive tackle. He has a good get-off and charges up-field hard. He does an adequate job of using his hands, but needs to be more consistent coming off the ball and shooting them to create separation.
LB: Sean Porter, Texas A&M
  • Porter was the nation's No. 70 outside linebacker and was originally committed to Houston. He was also recruited by Oklahoma State and Kansas. He graded out at 76. Scouts take: Porter is a good-looking athlete with great upside when projecting for the next level. He is tall, high-cut and layered with good muscle tone. Lean frame with plenty of room to add great bulk while maintaining speed and quickness. Very active and athletic 'backer who can run and is light on his feet. Mirrors ball carriers well, changes direction and transitions smoothly.
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
  • Knott was the nation's No. 114 linebacker, and graded out at 74 by ESPN. He was also recruited by Army, Iowa and Northern Illinois. Scouts take: Knott is a great football player who will make any roster better at the next level. This is a kid who is not going to blow you away at a combine with blazing speed and agility, but he gets it done on both sides of the ball and is a tough, instinctive, productive football player. Is tall, well-built and should continue to pack on good bulk.
LB: Emmanuel Acho, Texas
  • Acho was the nation's No. 9 linebacker and No. 100 on the ESPNU 150 in 2008. He was also recruited by Nebraska, LSU and Michigan. He graded out at an 81. Scouts take: Acho is a very productive outside linebacker who flashes all the tools to be successful. Possesses the size, speed and athletic ability to disrupt an offense on any given play. Displays very good feet that are extremely light for a linebacker with his stature. This allows him to play better in space and in coverage, which is why he will probably remain on the outside in college.
NB: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
  • Jefferson was the nation's No. 4 athlete and No. 21 on the 2010 ESPNU 150. He was a four-star recruit and graded out at an 84. He was also recruited by Arizona, UCLA, USC and Florida. Scouts take: There may not be a more fast-twitched athlete in this class -- period. Jefferson has rare burst and acceleration between the white lines and has the ability to be playmaker on both sides of the ball in college. He lacks ideal height at linebacker but is very compact, tightly-built and his striking explosiveness allows him to play much bigger. Pursues to the football like he was shot out of a cannon.
CB: Nigel Malone, Kansas State
  • Malone was a juco recruit and not rated by ESPN.
CB: Carrington Byndom, Texas
  • Byndom was the nation's No. 10 cornerback and No. 122 on the 2010 ESPNU 150. He was a four-star recruit that graded out at an 81. He was also recruited by LSU, Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. Scouts take: Byndom is a very instinctive defensive back with excellent deep coverage skills and range. While we could see programs recruiting him as strictly a corner, he has all the physical and mental tools that project high as a free safety. Has a taller, rangier frame and its that great length that allows him to be so effective breaking up passes as a deep centerfielder.
S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
  • Vaccaro was the nation's No. 42 safety and graded out at a 78. He was also recruited by USC, Florida, LSU and Oklahoma. Scouts take: Vaccaro flies around and makes plays as a safety. He looks the part, tall and stout in stature, he plays like he looks. Really flies around the secondary and attacks the line of scrimmage with ferocity. Instinctive player that reads the run then breaks to the ball with velocity and aggressiveness. Has made many big hits on the blitz and on inside-out contain. Needs to come under a little bit more control; sometimes overruns ball carrier or misses tackle.
S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
  • Martin was the nation's No. 15 safety and graded out at a 79. He was also recruited by Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas and Kansas State. Scouts take: Martin possesses excellent size, range and toughness at his safety position. He will break off the hash over sideline routes and the next play step down and make a physical hit near the line of scrimmage. He is very versatile and well rounded in all facets. His greatest attribute might be his savvy diagnosing skills. He expertly reads the quarterback and underneath routes.

Gotta say, most of these scouting reports were pretty spot-on for the defense, but there weren't very many small-time recruits that crashed onto the defensive list.

ESPN.com's 2011 All-Big 12 Team

December, 9, 2011
12/09/11
10:30
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Editor’s Note: Tune into the “AT&T ESPN All America Team Show” on Saturday (ABC, 1:30 p.m. ET) to see who ESPN’s writers and experts selected.

It's been a fun season across the Big 12, with a few big names who didn't play as well as we thought, and lots of unknowns who became household names by the end of the season.

I'll offer my comments below, but here's our All-Big 12 team for 2011.

OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Jerome Miron/US PresswireThe heroics of Robert Griffin III got Baylor to 9-3 and made him a Heisman Trophy finalist.
QB: Robert Griffin III, Baylor
All-purpose: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor
RB: Henry Josey, Missouri
FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma
WR: Kendall Wright, Baylor
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri
C: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State
OL: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
OL: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
OL: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

DEFENSE

DE: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
DT: Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
DE: Alex Okafor, Texas
DE: Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State
LB: Sean Porter, Texas A&M
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
LB: Emmanuel Acho, Texas
NB: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
CB: Nigel Malone, Kansas State
CB: Carrington Byndom, Texas
S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State

SPECIALISTS

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
PK: Randy Bullock, Texas A&M
PR: Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Finally, a few notes and explanations:

  • I loved the media's idea to craft an all-purpose spot to accomodate Collin Klein. The Big Ten did the same for Michigan's Denard Robinson last season. I followed suit, and did so on the defensive side of the ball with a nickel-back spot for Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson. Two players that missed first-team designation by the coaches, but clearly deserve to be recognized.
  • Additionally, I prefer the teams to reflect the Big 12 style of play, so the nickel back fits. Each team doesn't have 11 players, but there were deserving linebackers. The same with Egnew and Millard. Does every team use a fullback or a tight end? No, but both are standout performers. They'd rotate in anyway, just as Jefferson would in a theoretical package.
  • Tough call to leave Philip Blake from Baylor off my team, but Garner's been better. Blake is very, very close, though.
  • Hated to leave off Brodrick Brown and E.J. Gaines, but I went with a more traditional two corners and two safeties, rather than four corners like the media's team.
  • Steven Johnson and Arthur Brown would have been right behind my three linebackers. That race was probably closer than at any other position, except maybe cornerback. Difficult to leave either of those guys off my first team, but the three on the team were better. I gave Brown my Newcomer of the Year nod, though.
  • I don't like going with three defensive ends and one defensive tackle, but there wasn't a defensive tackle who deserved the honor more than Okafor, my third defensive end. Okafor was a defensive tackle last year anyway, so that's close enough, right? He moved from tackle to end before spring practice earlier this year. In the Big 12, an additional pass rusher is necessary, too, right?
  • I made a similar move with my offensive line. Went tackle-heavy, but the guards didn't have quite as many standouts.

Season recap: Texas A&M

December, 7, 2011
12/07/11
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TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Record: 6-6 (4-5)

Through all the rough moments for the Aggies in 2011, the lasting image will be the ecstatic Longhorns sideline emptying onto Kyle Field to chase down Justin Tucker, who kicked a game-winning field goal to beat A&M in the final iteration of the Lone Star Showdown. Texas might come to College Station again at some point before the end of the world, but with an ending like that, it could be awhile. The Aggies are headed to the SEC, but did it with one of the most disappointing seasons in school history, which resulted in coach Mike Sherman's postseason firing.

By now, the numbers are well known. The Aggies were good enough to lead 11 games by double digits and bad enough to lose six of those games. It was truly maddening. Texas A&M was so, so much better than 6-6, and stocked with as much talent as any team in the Big 12, and maybe the country. Why were there so many second-half meltdowns? Sherman and everyone else involved never figured it out, and the Aggies will try and bring in a coach to fix it.

Offensive MVP: Ryan Swope, wide receiver. This is a bit of an upset, but the only other option is going with Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael as a shared option. Both could be replaced by the other and missed key games, but Swope was consistent most of the year, and played his best in conference games. He finished with a team-high 81 catches for 1,102 yards with 11 touchdowns. He was one of only four Big 12 receivers to top 1,000 yards receiving. Even with his year, the former high school running back might be the most underrated player in the Big 12. Without him, Texas A&M's passing game wouldn't have been functional, and without that, what happens to the running game?

Defensive MVP: Sean Porter, linebacker. Porter's production slowed a bit late in the season, though he did notch 2.5 tackles for loss against Texas. Even still, he had one of the best years of any defender in the Big 12. He led the team with 16 tackles for loss and had 8.5 sacks. He finished with 73 tackles.

Turning point: The loss to Oklahoma State. That's the game that started it all and was the first of many blown leads. The 20-3 halftime lead was gone before the end of the third quarter, and the 30-29 loss cost them control of the Big 12. That didn't matter long, of course. A&M blew another lead to Arkansas a week later, but the three-game losing streak to Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas State officially made the 2011 season a wash.

What’s next: They'll be walking into the SEC West with a yet-t0-be-determined coach and lots of new faces. The first year in the SEC could be rough. Tannehill is gone, Gray is gone, Jeff Fuller is gone after an underwhelming senior season and four of the top eight tacklers are gone. That's a whole lot of production. A new quarterback, likely Jameill Showers, will have to adjust to much tougher defenses in a new league. The Aggies will rely on a very experienced offensive line and power back, Michael.

Big 12 Awards Update: Week 14

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
1:00
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We were off last week in the awards update, but we're back with one week of games left.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin overtook Weeden after his huge game against Oklahoma two weeks ago, and held on despite the concussion last week. He'll need a big game this week to keep the award though, and even then the voting might be close.

2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden could usurp Griffin regardless of what RG3 does if Weeden has a big game and beats the Sooners. Should be some drama on Saturday, but Griffin leads Weeden in total offense per game.

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was off last week, but his passing numbers are OK and he's fifth in the Big 12 with 1,013 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns. He's also thrown for 11 scores and five interceptions.

Honorable mention: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor; Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander might be alone at the top for this one. He leads the Big 12 with 18 tackles for loss and tied for the Big 12 lead with 8.5 sacks.

2. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter came back to life with 2.5 tackles for loss against Texas and 1.5 in the win over Kansas. He now has 16 to rank second in the Big 12.

3. Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas: Acho makes his first appearance on the list after notching four consecutive games with at least 12 tackles, including a season-high 14 against Texas A&M. He's now second in the Big 12 with 105 tackles.

Honorable mention: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State; Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State; Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma; Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M, Steven Johnson, LB, Kansas.

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: Snyder's Wildcats are still rolling and look likely to win an unbelievable 10 games after being picked to finish eighth in the Big 12. Standing between them: Iowa State, a six-win team picked to finish ninth place in the Big 12. Beware.

2. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State: Rhoads keeps impressing. First the win over Iowa. Then beating Texas Tech by 34 a week after the Red Raiders beat Oklahoma. Two weeks ago, it was the upset over Oklahoma State. Welcome to the postseason for the second time in three years.

3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: Gundy probably won't be able to grab any national coach of the year awards after losing to Iowa State, but he might get a few votes if the Cowboys win the Big 12 title outright, and do it impressively.

Honorable mention: Art Briles, Baylor.

Big 12 awards update: Week 12

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
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Injuries and a big game from K-State force a lot of movement on the offensive list this week. Still not much movement defensively.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden is holding strong at the top of this list after a 423-yard, five-touchdown day in a 66-6 win over Texas Tech. He's the Big 12 leader with 31 touchdown passes and his 3,635 passing yards lead by almost 300 yards. He's nearly running away with this.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: RG3 came to the rescue with three long touchdowns (two passes, one run) to rescue Baylor against Kansas, throwing another TD in overtime. He still ranks No. 3 nationally in passer rating, behind only Case Keenum and Russell Wilson.

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein nudged his way into the top three for the first time this season. He's seized the national lead with 26 rushing touchdowns and threw for a career-high 281 yards against Texas A&M. He's also got my new favorite nickname in the Big 12: The Billsnyder Kleinsdale.

Honorable mention: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander was off this week, and faces a tough task ahead in a powerful Baylor offense. He still leads the league with 13.5 tackles for loss and is second with 7.5 sacks.

2. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter had a quiet game against Kansas State (six tackles) but he still leads the Big 12 with 8.5 sacks and is third in the Big 12 with 12 tackles for loss.

3. Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma: Lewis takes over Brown's spot at No. 3 in an off week while Brown remained relatively quiet against Texas A&M. Lewis is second in the Big 12 with 12.5 tackles for loss, behind only Alexander.

Honorable mention: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State; Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State; Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State; Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: Snyder's Wildcats got a huge 4OT win over Texas A&M, and enter Saturday's game quizzically as 9.5-point underdogs on the road to Texas. Par for the course for this team. They won't shock many by moving to 9-2 with a win over the Longhorns.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: Gundy and Snyder are both up for the national coach of the year, but OSU's season-defining game is still a few weeks away. In the meantime, the offense has seen no dropoff, and the defense has been better.

3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: Outside of the Tech loss, Oklahoma's been solid. After losses by Boise State and Stanford, Oklahoma has a very real chance to play for the national title if it beats Oklahoma State.

Big 12 Awards Update: Week 10

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
11:00
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Here's our weekly update on the major Big 12 award races.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden's excellence in conference play lands him at the top of the list for the first time this season. He's completing over 71 percent of his passes and has 22 touchdowns.

2. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles leads the nation at 133.8 receiving yards per game, and is second in receiving yards (1,070) and receiving touchdowns (10). He still has an outside shot to break the NCAA career receiving yardage record, too.

3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin's award stock is sliding a bit after two blowout losses, but he's still leading the league in completion percentage and has two fewer interceptions (4) than any Big 12 QB with at least 160 pass attempts.

Honorable mention: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Henry Josey, RB, Missouri,

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown made seven tackles in the loss to Oklahoma, and his chances will be made or broken in the next two weeks against OSU and Texas A&M.

2. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter moved into sole possession of the Big 12 lead in sacks, with 8.5. He's got 12 tackles for loss and 51 total stops.

3. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander had a quiet big night in the loss to Texas Tech, but made just one tackle against Kansas State on Saturday.

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: One loss, no matter how lopsided, does not a coaching campaign ruin. Snyder's still at the top of this list with a 7-1 Wildcats squad.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: The challenge for Oklahoma State now becomes focus. Three games (K-State, Texas Tech, Iowa State) stand between them and a mammoth game against Oklahoma. We've seen teams (Oklahoma, Texas Tech) not show up for two consecutive weeks, and Gundy is tasked with making sure the Cowboys don't become the next on the list.

3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: Stoops gets back on the board after a nice response to the K-State loss and a Tech flop against Iowa State, but this award looks like it'll most likely boil down to a two-man race.

Big 12 Awards update: Week 9

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
11:00
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Time for our weekly update on the Big 12 awards races. Here's how I slot it through eight weeks of football.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin was off on Saturday, but he's still on track to break the NCAA record in passer rating and is tied atop the Big 12 in touchdown passes, with 22.

2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden looks unstoppable from time to time, and he was in the zone against Missouri, even as his receivers struggled with drops. He's second in the Big 12 at just under 72 percent completion percentage.

3. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles didn't have a great night against Texas Tech, but he's still the Big 12 leader and third nationally with just under 130 yards receiving per game. He's also tied for the national lead with nine touchdown catches.

Honorable mention: Henry Josey, RB, Missouri, Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown's production has slowed a bit in recent weeks, but he'll get a big opportunity to prove himself against Oklahoma this week.

2. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander is next on the list of underwhelming performances at the top of the league last week, but his chances of getting back to wrecking ball ways are high. He's tied for the Big 12 lead with 7.5 sacks.

3. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter joins Alexander as the league leader in sacks, adding 10.5 tackles for loss and 46 tackles. He's also forced a fumble.

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: Snyder might have already run away with this one, barring a late-season collapse. A win over Oklahoma on Saturday makes a 10-win season seem likely after being picked to finish eighth in the league.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: OSU is on a crash course for the national title game, but Gundy will have to get by Oklahoma, a team he's never beaten as Cowboys coach.

3. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tech has two quality losses and the best win of anyone in the Big 12, beating Oklahoma in Norman last week. My, how quickly things change. A week ago, a bowl game looked questionable. Now, is a 10-win season in play?

Two Big 12 LBs are Butkus semifinalists

October, 25, 2011
10/25/11
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The Butkus Award, given annually to college football's top linebacker, has released its list of 12 semifinalists, and two players from the Big 12 cracked the list.
  • Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
  • Keenan Robinson, Texas

Texas A&M's Von Miller won the award last year.

Odd selections from the committee out of the Big 12, though. From what I've seen, Texas' Emmanuel Acho has been more impressive than Robinson.

The same is true of Texas A&M's Sean Porter and Kansas State's Arthur Brown.

Alas, the deed is done.

Lewis and Robinson were both 2010 semifinalists.

Big 12 Awards Tracker: Week 8

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
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Time for our weekly update on the Big 12 awards races. Here's how I slot it through seven weeks of football.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin's team has already taken two losses, which may hurt his Heisman chances, but he's still been unbelievable this season. He leads the nation in touchdown passes (22) and completion percentage (78.1) by more than two percentage points and has thrown just two interceptions.

2. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones has lots of talent at receiver, and he's using it. He's got 16 touchdown passes and 2,177 yards with six interceptions.

3. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles is second nationally in receiving yards per game (135.8) and is tied with Baylor's Kendall Wright for the national lead in touchdown catches (9). Broyles is now the NCAA career leader in receptions and Big 12 career leader in touchdown catches.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown has 45 tackles, two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. He also has the most raw talent on Kansas State's team, and he's turning it into big-time production.

2. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander is second in the Big 12 with 6.5 sacks, and he's been a wrecking ball on the Sooners' defensive line. He's tied for the Big 12 lead with 9.5 tackles for loss and he's got an interceptions with four pass breakups and a forced fumble the Sooners returned for a score.

3. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter is the Big 12's sack leader, with 7.5. That's fourth nationally, and he's stepped in well for the Aggies, who are missing their best pass rusher from the past two seasons, Von Miller.

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: Snyder's team continues to win. It does it ugly, but it does it week after week. The Wildcats have been underdogs for four consecutive weeks. They've also been winners. For that, Snyder is all alone at the top for this award.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: Gundy's Cowboys haven't missed a beat without offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. They already have two road top 25 wins and rank second nationally in total offense.

3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: The Sooners have carried about their business well this season, remaining as one of the Big 12's most talented teams and one of its last undefeateds. Last week's win over Kansas wasn't too impressive, but wins over Florida State and Texas were.

Re-ranking the Big 12's top players: 15-11

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
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We've ranked the Big 12's best players before the season. We've done it after the season.

Time for a midseason checkup.

Here's the next round of my top 25 list, which we'll be revealing throughout the week. Here's more on my criteria.

11. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M: Swope has been the Aggies' best player this year, especially after last week's four-touchdown, 206-yard explosion. He's third in the Big 12 with 619 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 40 catches.

12. Levy Adcock, OT, Oklahoma State: Adcock continues to be a constant for one of the league's best offensive lines, despite injuries to Grant Garner and Jonathan Rush around him. The Cowboys are second nationally in total offense and have given up just eight sacks.

13. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter could be higher on this list in another conference that doesn't have as many offensive juggernauts, but he's been fantastic this season. He's the league's sack leader, with 7.5, and has 9.5 tackles for loss to lead the Big 12.

14. Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma: Jefferson has been everywhere, and as sophomore safety, is making all kinds of plays and just outside the Big 12 defensive player of the year race. He's sixth nationally with four interceptions, including three in one quarter against Ball State.

15. Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M: Joeckel has continued to mature as a sophomore second-year starter on a solid Aggies line. Texas A&M has the nation's No. 16 rushing offense and has given up just three sacks, the third-fewest nationally.

The rest of the list:

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