Big 12: Terrance Ganaway

Lunch links: BYU and the Big 12

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
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I mean, who hasn't made a halfcourt shot while also doing a front handspring?

A closer look: Holiday Bowl

December, 12, 2012
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As the bowl season approaches, we're going to be looking a little closer at each game. We'll go down the Big 12 bowl schedule in chronological order. Let's start with the Baylor Bears' date with UCLA.

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL

Baylor (7-5) vs. No. 17 UCLA (9-4)

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.

When: Thursday, Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

About Baylor: Nobody knew for sure what was in store for Baylor after not only losing Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, but also the Big 12's leading receiver and fellow first-round draft pick Kendall Wright, and the Big 12's leading rusher, Terrance Ganaway. What we learned was Art Briles truly is a master of offense and quarterback development. The Bears enter this game as the hottest team in the Big 12, fresh off a dominant win over then-No. 1 Kansas State and wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Baylor looked very unlikely to crack the postseason sitting at 4-5 with three solid teams ahead. Then the Bears proved us all wrong and finished the season with the nation's No. 1 offense.

About UCLA: The first season under Jim Mora Jr. has gone better than almost anyone could have figured. The Bruins drew chuckles when they hired a coach with just one season of college experience among his two-plus decades in coaching, and even that was only GA experience at his alma mater, Washington. The longtime NFL coach proved himself in his first season, helping UCLA reach the Pac-12 title game. A loss to Stanford denied the Bruins a Rose Bowl bid, but there's no question that Mora's first season has been a success.

Bears to watch: The headliner is quarterback Nick Florence, the nation's leader in total offense. He's shown a propensity to toss a pick or two (his 13 are more than all Big 12 QBs except Texas Tech's Seth Doege), but he's a lot more than the only Bear to keep an eye on. Running back Lache Seastrunk broke out late in the season, rushing for 693 yards and five scores in the final five games of the season, grabbing a starting role and looking like the hottest player in the league to end the season. Receiver Terrance Williams is an All-American, the nation's leader in receiving yardage and a Biletnikoff Award finalist. Defensively, linebacker Eddie Lackey grabbed a pair of Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning picks for scores in each of Baylor's final two games.

Bruins to watch: UCLA loves the zone read and quarterback Brett Hundley was a breakout star in the Pac-12 this season. So was running back Johnathan Franklin, who racked up 1,700 yards to finish ninth nationally in rushing. That would have led the Big 12. Hundley threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for nine more. If Baylor's going to win this game, it starts with slowing down those two.

Did you know? Baylor's offense doesn't mess around. The Bears have nine touchdown drives this season that lasted exactly one play. That's ridiculous. Baylor also has 16 touchdown drives that lasted three plays or less. The biggest reason for that? Williams and fellow receiver Tevin Reese. Williams' 22 catches longer than 30 yards are eight more than any player in the country, and Reese is eighth nationally with eight grabs of 40 yards or longer. Another reason for BU's success? The Bears were a rousing minus-11 in turnover margin during their 0-4 start in Big 12 play. Since then, the Bears are plus-10 and went 4-1 in Big 12 play down the stretch.

What we learned in the Big 12: Week 9

October, 28, 2012
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Here's what I learned during a pretty wild weekend in the Big 12.

Kansas State needs style points or losses by top-five teams. I didn't buy Notre Dame as a team good enough to run the table ... until last night. The Fighting Irish beat Oklahoma convincingly, and in the process won over a whole lot of voters. K-State did its dirty work early, beating the Sooners, West Virginia and then Texas Tech on Saturday. But in the final month of the season, the Wildcats might go without a matchup against a Top 25 team, while BCS challengers Notre Dame and Oregon go head-to-head with USC, and the Ducks also get a shot at Oregon State to close the season. The chances of K-State hanging on to the No. 2 spot if Notre Dame wins out are minimal at best. Oregon will be a nail-biter. It's unfair for the Wildcats, but somebody has to get left out if there are three or four undefeated teams. As it stands, K-State looks like the team that will get stuck on the outside looking in. That said, there's still a month of football left to be played. Nobody thought Oklahoma State would lose to Iowa State last year, or that West Virginia would lose to Pitt back in 2009. Anything can happen.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannSkies could be sunnier for Mack Brown and Texas even though the Longhorns improved to 6-2.
Texas' season is hanging by a thread. The Longhorns narrowly avoided disaster, but there are still quality teams left on Texas' schedule. The Longhorns wouldn't have beaten any of them playing like they did on Saturday, needing a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback led by Case McCoy to beat Kansas, a team with a 16-game losing streak in the Big 12. A loss to Kansas would have legitimized all the talk about Mack Brown being on the hot seat. He's OK for now, but if Texas stumbles to another eight-win season, will that still be the case? As one fellow scribe reminded me on Saturday, if you change two fourth-quarter throws on fourth down, Texas would be slumming at 4-4. It's 6-2 instead, but not a very impressive 6-2.

Oklahoma State might be preparing for a late-season charge. Quietly, the Cowboys beat up on good teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. TCU and Iowa State aren't that far off from being Top 25 teams, and the Cowboys beat both by three touchdowns. When OSU runs the ball, it's really hard to beat. Texas looks overrated, but Arizona knocked off USC on Saturday, and OSU will get its chance to prove just how good it really is with a trip to K-State next week, then a visit from West Virginia the following week. Then it's Texas Tech and OU. That's a whole lot of Top 25 teams, but OSU is going to be a tough out.

Baylor is in big, big trouble. The Bears looked to have the offensive firepower to withstand the losses of Robert Griffin III, Terrance Ganaway and Kendall Wright, but I'm not so sure any more. The defensive deficiencies are catching up to Baylor, and the offense isn't playing well enough to keep up. The Bears are now 0-4 in Big 12 play, joining Kansas as the only teams to lose every league game so far. Baylor talked a big game about validating what RG3 did for the program, but has fallen flat to this point.

Winning at Oklahoma doesn't seem so hard anymore. Oklahoma lost two games under Bob Stoops in Norman from 1999 until the 2011 season. Before this season, it had never lost to a ranked team at home under Stoops. But now? Texas Tech pulled a huge upset last year, and ranked foes K-State and Notre Dame walked into Norman and outplayed the Sooners. The mystique from that 39-game home winning streak is gone, and Notre Dame beat the Sooners by 17 on their home field, dominating the line of scrimmage and the fourth quarter. Ugly stuff. It's worth noting that OU's two losses came to teams that are among just six undefeateds left in college football, but Oklahoma hoped it would be among the nation's elite this season. It's not.

Big 12 top 25 players: Unsung guys

September, 3, 2012
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We wrapped our top 25 players list last week, including a list of the guys who just missed.

Here's a few names you'll probably see on the list at season's end:

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma: Metoyer didn't have the debut many hoped, but count me among those who still see the potential. He caught just four passes for 21 yards after getting shut out in the first half against UTEP, but in his first game action, he wasn't the only Sooners receiver who looked out of sorts. It'll get better, and Metoyer may be a force in this league by season's end.

Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, RBs, Texas: Brown and Bergeron, both sophomores, were much more effective in Texas' 37-17 win over Wyoming. The depth of running backs in this league is weak, and Bergeron and Brown have as much talent as any in the league. They need solid play from the offensive line and quarterback David Ash to offer some support, though. Both topped 100 yards in their first game of 2012, though. That was Bergeron's third 100-yard game, and Brown's fourth.

Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State: I predicted Lunt would throw for 4,000 yards this year, and through no fault of his own, he's off to a slow start. Still, 4,000 yards would be enough to put the true freshman on my top 25 players list. He won't be the first true freshman to be benched in his first start, but he might be the first in a long time to be benched despite not throwing an incompletion. Why was he benched? Oklahoma State was up 35-0 at the end of the first quarter. Lunt finished 11-of-11 for 129 yards.

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia: Alston's anything but a young player, but he may be underrated around the league to start the season. That and a speedy, powerful running style are what Alston has in common with Baylor's Terrance Ganaway. He was an unknown a year ago, but ran for 120 yards in the opener against TCU and won the Big 12 rushing title. Alston? The senior ran for 123 yards and two scores in the 69-34 blowout win versus Marshall.

Nick Florence, QB, Baylor: Florence finally got time to prepare for being Baylor's starter. He'd been the Bears' emergency man as a freshman in 2009 and again for a half last season. He looked like a grizzled vet in his first game of 2012, complete with a beard to match. He torched SMU's defense for four touchdowns and 341 yards on 21-of-30 passing in the 59-24 win on Sunday night. Even better, coach Art Briles said that was below his usual performance. Expect big things from him.
WACO, Texas -- It's been almost five years since Baylor hasn't had Robert Griffin III on its roster, but later tonight, Art Briles begins his first season at Baylor without last year's Heisman winner.

The Bears have plenty of offensive talent returning, though the Big 12's rushing champ (Terrance Ganaway) and receiving champ (Kendall Wright) are gone, too.

What will the new faces look like? We'll find out tonight. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports, and this should be a fun one between two teams that love to open up their offenses and let it fly.

That's what I'm watching today. We know Nick Florence can do it in spots. We saw it last year in the win over Texas Tech, and we saw flashes of it back in 2009 when he filled in for RG3 following his torn ACL early in the season.

Can he do it every week? That starts today. I'm a believer in Florence, in part because of the solid guys in front of him, headlined by center Ivory Wade and tackle Cyril Richardson, who are both All-Big 12-caliber guys. His backs should have plenty of holes and receivers like Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams are speedy, with plenty of experience playing with Griffin the past couple of seasons.

How will the defense handle SMU? The Bears made some strides late in the season in the turnover department, but the last time we saw the Bears, they were giving up 56 points to Washington in the bowl game ... and still finding a way to win. Florence is good, but the loss of RG3 no doubt trims the margin of error for this defense.

Baylor's got to be careful. Cornerbacks K.J. Morton, Demetri Goodson and Joe Williams need to play well against June Jones' run-and-shoot attack, but the bigger concern might be Zach Line up front. Baylor won't face many running backs like him in the Big 12.

Curious Big 12 fans can get a their first look at former Longhorn Garrett Gilbert in his new surroundings. He's a good fit for Jones' scheme, and despite his obvious failures at Texas, there's no denying his physical skills and resume as one of the greatest high school players in Texas history. This is a completely different offense and a completely different challenge. Should be interesting to see how he responds.

I expect the Bears to hang enough points to win this one, but the Mustangs will light up the scoreboard, too, and make it interesting. Either way, this should be a fun one. Let's get started. Stay right here for coverage throughout the night.

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 1

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
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Here's what I'm keeping an eye on in the Big 12 openers this weekend:

1. Close calls. It happens to somebody every weekend. You never know who, but some heavy favorite is going to get locked in a tight game. You can't really read into it too much later in the season, but you always know there's going to be drama somewhere when teams take the field after nine months off. Who's it going to be? Look out for unexpected excitement on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTexas will be counting on improvement from quarterback David Ash this season.
2. David Ash. No single player has more power to reshape the Big 12 preseason landscape. He might look like a whole new quarterback this season, or he might show the same old mediocrity. The odds probably favor the latter, considering how little experience Ash had in practice before starting last season. How much better will he be?

3. West Virginia's offense. The Mountaineers struggled with consistency last season, for those of you who didn't see WVU play a game before its Orange Bowl coming out party. For one, tune in to see how they look in Week 1. For two, I'm betting some of you have legitimately never seen Geno Smith, Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey play before. Change that on Saturday. The Mountaineers are the only Big 12 game going at noon ET.

4. The youngest gun in the Big 12. Wes Lunt surprised a lot of folks when he beat out two older players to win the Oklahoma State quarterback job. He's got great running backs and should have some good targets. Few people have ever seen Lunt play in this offense. That changes this weekend.

5. Iowa State's quarterback(s). Steele Jantz has been named the starter, and he'll have a long leash, but how will he look? We didn't see much of him late in the season, and it's been a long time since this was really his team. It will be to start the season, but Iowa State's receivers need to help him out. Jantz needs to help himself out and control his turnovers, too. Nothing would put backup quarterback Jared Barnett on the field faster than turnovers.

6. Baylor's running back logjam. This one should be interesting. There's no telling just yet what Baylor will do, but it hasn't used a real committee since 2009, when it didn't have Robert Griffin III. Since then, the Bears have had a pair of 1,200-yard rushers, and Terrance Ganaway won the Big 12 rushing title last season. Will Lache Seastrunk, Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin form a committee? Or will a featured back emerge? Ganaway broke out in a big way last season against TCU.

7. Kansas' new faces. I've got no idea what to think of Kansas this season. It's anybody's guess. Nobody's seen a complete overhaul this offseason like KU has. Charlie Weis saw a lot of work that needed to be done when he got to Lawrence and he did it. Big upgrades at quarterback and along the defensive line are the biggest change, but suspensions will keep running back Darrian Miller off the team forever, and James Sims for three games. What's Kansas look like? Here's guessing Dayne Crist holds the answer to that question.

8. Collin Klein's arm. Klein put in a lot of work this offseason to progress as a passer, and threw for 480 yards and six scores in the spring game. That's about all we've seen of Kansas State this offseason, but that was against the Wildcats' second-team defense. That said, it was more than a third of Klein's production through the air in all of last season. How much better has he gotten this offseason? We'll get a preview this weekend.

9. Oklahoma's young receivers. Kenny Stills will be the only eligible receiver on Saturday night who has ever caught a pass in a Sooners uniform. Freshman Trey Metoyer and Penn State transfer Justin Brown will start alongside Stills, and we know they'll have a good quarterback in Landry Jones. However, what can juco transfer LaColton Bester and freshmen Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard do? Shepard has already drawn comparisons to Ryan Broyles.

10. Texas Tech's health and new defense. Tech already lost one of its most talented special-teamers in camp, Aaron Fisher, but can the rest of these guys finally stay in one piece? Art Kaufman has a new defense in place, and we'll get our first look at Eric Stephens on Saturday after a horrific knee injury ended his 2011 season.
I saw colleague Heather Dinich's look at the longest 1,000-yard rusher droughts in the ACC earlier this week, and got curious: What about the Big 12 droughts?

No big surprise, Texas Tech leads the way by a long, long time.

Florida State has the nation's longest 1,000-yard rusher drought (Warrick Dunn, 1996), but Tech is only two years behind.

The Big 12 had just three 1,000-yard rushers last year among teams that return for 2012, but every other team in the Big 12 has had at least one 1,000-yard rusher since 2007.

The last team to have two 1,000-yard rushers? Oklahoma's record-setting offense in 2008, which scored more points than anyone in college football history. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown both topped quadruple digits.

The Big 12 is known for its passing acumen, and perhaps no one is synonymous with that than Texas Tech. Last year, Eric Stephens was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season before dislocating his knee, among other damage.

Here's how long each team's drought has been:

No drought
  • Baylor: Terrance Ganaway, 2011: 1,547 yards
  • Oklahoma State: Joseph Randle, 2011: 1,216 yards
  • Kansas State: Collin Klein, 2011: 1,141 yards

One year

  • Oklahoma: DeMarco Murray, 2010: 1,224 yards
  • TCU: Ed Wesley, 2010: 1,078 yards

Two years

  • West Virginia: Noel Devine, 2009: 1,465 yards
  • Iowa State: Alexander Robinson, 2009: 1,193 yards

Four years

  • Texas: Jamaal Charles, 2007: 1,619 yards
  • Kansas: Brandon McAnderson, 2007: 1,135 yards
13 years

  • Texas Tech: Ricky Williams, 1998: 1,582 yards

 

Mailbag: Snyder film, QB race, RG3 '12

July, 13, 2012
7/13/12
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Thanks for all the emails this week, and for putting up with my absence on Thursday. All the birthday wishes from you guys and gals were much appreciated. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say.

Truth be told, a weak set of mailbag questions this time around. Are the summer doldrums catching up with y'all? Step it up, folks.

Stefan F. in Waco, Texas, writes: If RG3 had stayed another year, how many more wins do you think Baylor would have got this year?

David Ubben: Interesting question. Considering we haven't seen Baylor's 2012 squad play just yet, it might be easier to compare the Bears to the 2011 team. Losing Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway is big, but the bigger problem is a very deep Big 12 that should be even better in 2012 than in 2011. My guess is Baylor would stay at 9-10 wins in 2012 with RG3. This season, I've got Baylor slotted for 6-7 wins.

So, in short, I'd give RG3 the worth of about three additional wins for Baylor this season.


Brad in Madison, Wisc., writes: D.U., love the blog! Which Big 12 QB (if named their team's respective starter going in to Week 1) will have the best statistical year in 2012: Casey Pachall? Seth Doege? Nick Florence?

DU: Interesting question. I'll probably go with Doege, talking strictly stats. He'll have the most pass attempts by far, and Pachall will have the fewest. Doege will be chucking it quite a bit, and his receivers should be healthy this season. I'd expect him to clear 4,000 yards much more easily this season. I expect Florence to do the same, but I doubt Pachall will do so.

As for wins: I'll take Pachall with a couple more than Baylor and Tech, who will be really, really close. That race will come down to their game at Cowboys Stadium this season. Both will hover around seven wins.


Chris Cantrell in Savannah, Ga., writes: When is Bill Snyder getting his 30 for 30? He is in one of the all time greats as far as coaches go, so when should we be expecting to tune in to watch?

DU: I'd love to see that, but good luck getting Snyder to sit down for it. Even if he did, I don't know that he'll be very forthcoming or very entertaining. That's not exactly Snyder's forte. Winning is his forte. That said, if he did a movie like that after he retired, discussing how he turned around Kansas State in the early 90s after taking the job? That would be an absolute must see.

I guarantee it'd be awesome, awesome stuff that everybody would enjoy. Coaching the way it's meant to be done.


TX Longhorn Phan in Anytown, Texas, writes: Come on Ubbs, when do weeks 8 & 9 come out?

DU: In time, everybody. In time. We were a little busy this week with our coaching package. We'll get to the rest of the season very soon. Stay tuned.


Kelly Riley in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: David, Will Nebraska transfer, Aaron Green, be eligible to play for the Horned Frogs this fall?

DU: Sorry to disappoint, Kelly, but he won't be eligible this season. It doesn't sound like TCU is going to appeal, either. There's no need for him this season. Even with the loss of Ed Wesley, the Frogs will be fine. Waymon James and Matthew Tucker have a case as the league's best backfield duo, along with Texas and Oklahoma State.

They're going to need Green next season, and it's a huge pickup. Not having him this season is better, especially considering he won't have time to go through the spring. It's the same type of deal we saw last season. Baylor fans were a little mad when Lache Seastrunk couldn't play after transferring from Oregon, but he's going to be a lot better this season after a year in the system than he would have been last season, especially without much practice.

TCU's better off for it, just like Baylor was.


Jason in Little Rock, Ark., writes: Hey Ubbs, I really enjoyed the Daily Oklahoman's simulation of Oklahoma State's virtual season on NCAA '13, even though it was brutal. But Lunt is a 68 and Gilbert is an 89 speed?? Come on.Since you are a big fan of the game, I was wondering if you could comment or do a post on your impression of team/player ratings from the Big 12.

DU: I haven't really been playing with very many teams, and I've been a little busy this week, but I heard about the Lunt/Gilbert deal with OSU. The Gilbert 89 speed is ludicrous. He might not be the fastest guy in the league, but he's definitely up there. Anything less than a 97 is an insult.


Jason in Memphis, Tenn., writes: Is Texas Tech the Big 12's biggest question mark team this year? I have seen them be projected to win anywhere between 4 and 9 games, both of which seem very possible. It all comes down to whether or not the defense can improve enough to give the offense a chance.

DU: They probably are in my book. The Red Raiders or Kansas State. It's not outside the realm of possibility for Tech to win 4-9 games, but I'm firmly in the middle of that, probably about seven games. I don't think it's as much about the defense, though. Tech probably would have been a 7-8 win team last season if it had stayed healthy. The defense was completely depleted, and the loss of Eric Stephens hurt more than anyone realized. Doege tried to hold it together, but he wasn't enough without a running game, and with a banged up set of targets in the passing game.

Tech's got a really wide variance of possibilities this season, and yes, the defense needs to get better, but the biggest question is whether or not it can stay healthy.
This time last year, we broke down which Big 12 players would most likely reach the benchmarks for their positions in 2011.

The benchmark for running backs is clearly 1,000 yards. Here's what I wrote about the Big 12's 1,000-yard rushers.

It's time to revisit those projections.

Forty-seven players in college football topped 1,000 yards rushing last season. I ranked the Big 12 backs in order of the likelihood they'd hit 1,000 yards, not how many yards I projected them to reach. The Big 12 had five of them. Here's who I picked to do it:
[+] EnlargeJames Sims
John Rieger/US PresswireJames Sims numbers in 2011 were very similar to those from his freshman season in 2010.
1. James Sims, Kansas -- As a true freshman in 2010, Sims didn't play in the opener, but it was clear as the season went on that he's the Jayhawks most consistent runner. Kansas is deep at the position, but Sims figures to get the biggest share of carries for a team with big questions at quarterback. The Jayhawks averaged nearly 40 rushing attempts per game last year. I don't see that number dropping this year. Sims got just 168 of those 470 carries, and he still managed 742 yards.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 727 yards

Thoughts: Sims simply didn't improve his production as expected from his true freshman year in 2010, even though his carries jumped from 168 to 182. I thought he'd get a few more touches, but the production wasn't there, and Kansas was limited in how often it could run the ball, considering some of the lopsided losses it suffered.
2. Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M -- Gray and his teammate in the backfield, Christine Michael, should both have very good years. I like both of them to clear 800 yards, and it's possible they both hit 1,000 yards, but there's only so much offense to go around. Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller, along with the rest of the talented receiving corps, will have to get theirs. Considering the way Gray closed the season, he's likely to start out with the biggest share of carries.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 1,045 yards

Thoughts: Right on the money for Gray. Yes, Christine Michael was injured, which allowed Gray to grab a few more carries, but remember, Gray didn't play in the final two games of A&M's season. Still, a strong senior campaign.
3. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State -- Randle will also be in split backfield along with Jeremy Smith, but he showed plenty of pop as a true freshman last year. Only DeMarco Murray caught more passes as a running back last year, so he may clear 1,000 yards of offense without doing it on the ground. But the Cowboys run an Air Raid system with a commitment to the run, so the touches should still be there for Randle with Kendall Hunter gone to the NFL.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 1,216 yards

Thoughts: Nailed the upside on Randle. Unlike Sims, he took a huge step forward as a sophomore, in part because of his featured role. Randle finished second in the Big 12 in rushing, and added 24 touchdowns, too.
SportsNation

How would you grade my projections?

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Discuss (Total votes: 847)

5. Roy Finch, Oklahoma -- Finch has the talent to do it. No doubt. But there's no getting around doubting his health. A stress fracture in his foot caused him to miss almost half his freshman season, and the Sooners are mindful of that with a good group of backs behind him that might sap a few carries. Finch will have to hit a few big runs to get to 1,000, but if he gets hurt again, perhaps true freshman Brandon Williams or Brennan Clay could step in.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 605 yards

Thoughts: Whiffed on this one. Finch inexplicably couldn't get on the field early in the season while walk-on Dominique Whaley dominated before breaking his leg in a win over Kansas State. In Finch's defense, after he started getting touches, he topped 83 yards four times in five games late in the season. He also averaged 5.45 yards a carry.

In 2011, I missed out on three of the five rushers. Baylor's Terrance Ganaway rumbled to 1,547 yards rushing and led the Big 12. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein led the league in carries and rushed for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Missouri running back Henry Josey took advantage of the injuries to two backs ahead of him on the depth chart and had a breakout year, rushing for 1,168 yards before suffering a catastrophic knee injury against Texas. He likely won't return in 2012, and just underwent an additional surgery earlier this week.

How would you grade my projections?

Baylor spring wrap

May, 9, 2012
5/09/12
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2011 overall record: 10-3
2011 conference record: 6-3
Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense (8), P/K (2)

Top returners: WR Terrance Williams, WR Tevin Reese, S Ahmad Dixon, S Sam Holl, CB K.J. Morton, S Mike Hicks, OL Cyril Richardson, OL Ivory Wade

Key losses: QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, RB Terrance Ganaway, OL Philip Blake, LB Elliot Coffey, DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DL Tracy Robertson

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Terrance Ganaway (1,547 yards)
Passing: Robert Griffin III (4,293 yards)
Receiving: Kendall Wright (1,663 yards)
Tackles: Elliot Coffey (114)
Sacks: Tracy Robertson (4.5)
Interceptions: K.J. Morton* (4)

Spring answers

1. Don't sweat the quarterbacks: Anybody who thinks Baylor's destined to go back to 3-4 win seasons in the post-RG3 era isn't paying much attention. Nick Florence had a rough time as a true freshman filling in for RG3 in 2009, but he's grown up a whole lot since then, and he'll get a chance to show it this fall. Behind him, Bryce Petty is itching for a chance, too, but Florence's leadership and decision-making assured him the job in the spring.

2. The receivers are ready to roll: And what about Kendall Wright's absence? He led Baylor in receiving for each of the past four seasons, but Baylor's going to be just fine in his wake, too. Terrance Williams is a future NFL draft pick, and Tevin Reese is ready to see an increased role in the offense, too. Lanear Sampson offers more depth and playmaking ability at the position.

3. Lache Seastrunk is a lot more than just hype: The Temple, Texas, native couldn't quite catch on at Oregon, but he's proving he'll be a factor at Baylor at some point, if not immediately. The backfield is still crowded, but he exploded for 138 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. He's the fastest of the Baylor backs, but he's got to prove he can be the most productive too.

Fall questions

1. How much better can the defense get? Baylor doesn't have the RG3 Express to fall back on anymore. He helped make the Bears the first team to ever win four consecutive games in a single season while also giving up at least 30 points. BU won games in 2011 while giving up 56, 48 and 42 points, too. Phil Bennett's defense has the athletes, but it's got to force more turnovers like it did the second half of the season and get those point totals down. Florence is good, but he's no RG3. If the defense doesn't improve, making a bowl will prove difficult.

2. Can Baylor truly carry on without Robert Griffin III? Baylor has all the pieces in place to get back to a bowl game, but RG3 had plenty of truly intangible attributes that are hard to duplicate. He was a compelling leader who always seemed to make everyone around him better. Florence sounds like he has many of those same things, but will they translate into wins? You never quite know for sure. RG3 was a truly transcendent player unlike anything Waco had ever seen.

3. Will the Bears have a featured running back? Seastrunk made lots of noise in the spring game, but Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin have a lot more experience, and that could pay off in playing time when it comes to things like pass blocking and doing the little things right. Jay Finley and Terrance Ganaway grabbed starring roles the past two seasons, but will coach Art Briles use a committee come fall? Or will he find a back to lean on?
The 2012 NFL draft is over, but it's never too early to look ahead to 2013. I mean, we basically have to, right?

NFL draft guru Todd McShay released his first-round mock draft, Insider and there are plenty of Big 12 talents on the list. You'll need ESPN Insider to see it all, but here's who he pegs as a first-rounder for next year.

No. 3, Minnesota Vikings: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

My take: This is the first of many times you'll see Jeffcoat's name on draft lists. Jeffcoat came to Texas as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the 2009 class, and next offseason will be the first in which he's available for the NFL draft. He's made good on his potential, but struggled with an ankle injury that slowed an otherwise outstanding first season. He was very solid in 2011, but could be poised for a breakout season in 2012 on the national stage. Either way, I'd be shocked if Jeffcoat wasn't a first-rounder whenever he leaves. If he continues to progress, top five is a near certainty.

No. 12, Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

My take: Williams has a lot to prove in 2012. He may have had the quietest 900-yard receiving season in history last season, overshadowed by the Big 12's leading rusher (Terrance Ganaway), leading receiver (Kendall Wright, 1,600+ yards), and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Can Williams handle the pressure from defenses as the bona fide No. 1 target for a new quarterback in Nick Florence? You have to love Williams' physical attributes, but can he maintain his production? I'm confidently betting yes, but we'll find out next year.

No. 19, Kansas City Chiefs: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

My take: Jones has plenty to prove, too. When Ryan Broyles went down, Jones struggled. He's back, and coaches love what he's done this spring. If he plays well, I could see Jones reinvigorating his stock and rising into the top 10 or top five. If he struggles again, I'd be shocked if he was a first rounder. Of all the Big 12 talents on this list, I'd say Jones' stock is the most volatile.

No. 25, Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

My take: Love Okafor's game a whole lot, and admittedly, I regret snubbing him from the Big 12's top 25 players in 2011. The thing with him is, his physical attributes don't wow you like his teammate Jeffcoat's does. That said, he's consistently productive, and that says a lot. He has plenty of help in Texas' defense, and the Longhorns defensive line will be scary this year with Jeffcoat, Okafor and juco transfer defensive tackle Brandon Moore, who teammates pegged as "unstoppable" this spring.

Big 12 spring game recap: Baylor Bears

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
11:00
AM ET
Miss Baylor's spring game on Saturday? We've got you covered.

What happened:
  • Nick Florence ruined the defense's day, completing 14-of-18 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Bryce Petty completed 18-of-27 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.
  • Lache Seastrunk stole the show with 135 yards on just seven carries, including a 75-yard touchdown.
  • Lanear Sampson caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Tevin Reese had four catches for 89 yards.
  • Josh Wilson led all tacklers with 10 stops.
  • The Bears ran 112 plays in the 75-minute scrimmage.
  • About 2,750 fans showed up.
What we learned:
  • When I visited Baylor this spring, Seastrunk was the third man in what looked like a pretty balanced backfield by committee. Now, though? If he's that productive for the rest of fall camp, he may be validating that recruiting hype and hoopla that followed his transfer from Oregon. His competition, Jarred Salubi (88 yards, seven carries) and Glasco Martin (58 yards, TD eight carries) were productive, but Seastrunk has that home-run capability. Salubi does, too, but the senior hasn't shown it on the field. Fall camp should be an interesting race. All three could be productive, but Briles prefers to have a featured back in the offense. Jay Finley and Terrance Ganaway were outstanding the past two years, and I like Baylor's chances to have a third 1,000-yard rusher.
  • Color me unsurprised at Florence and Petty's big day. Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have a case as the league's deepest roster of QBs.
  • The easy rebuttal from those numbers is Baylor's defense is terrible. Well, it was last year. It won't be great this year, and it might not be a ton better. That said, putting up those kinds of numbers is difficult, and my point is this: Baylor's still going to have one of the league's most productive offenses. RG3 had lots of help around him and lots of potential behind him. We'll get a chance to see it this year. The spring game didn't change my mind about Baylor as a 6-8-win team, but this is not a program that's going to flatline without RG3 at quarterback. The receivers are really talented, really deep and really smart. The offensive line should be really good and the running backs will be productive.
They said it:
"I'm learning. I know my teammates are going to keep helping me. As long as I keep my head in the books and keep understanding all the checks and calls, I'll be fine." - RB Lache Seastrunk, on his day
Across our little blog village here at ESPN, we're taking a look at the top newcomers in college football this year. You (probably) don't know their names yet, but here's who you need to watch this fall in the Big 12.

Will Smith, LB, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders only found Smith while recruiting another possible impact transfer, running back SaDale Foster. The California juco transfer stepped on campus this winter and by the end of spring, coach Tommy Tuberville called him the team's best linebacker. He started playing outside, but Tuberville moved the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder to starting middle linebacker in the middle of camp so he'd be on the field even during passing downs. He'll be important to Tech's new 4-3 scheme. Think K-State's Arthur Brown, a Miami transfer who's almost the exact same size.

[+] EnlargeDayne Crist
Andrew Weber/US PresswireFormer Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist brings experience as a starter to Kansas.
Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas: You probably know this name, but Crist started nine games in 2010 for Notre Dame and appeared in 17 career games. He began 2011 as the starter, but was benched and transferred to KU to play his final season of college football for Charlie Weis, the coach who recruited him to South Bend as the nation's No. 2 quarterback and No. 22 overall prospect in the 2008 class. He threw 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2010.

Brandon Moore, DT, Texas: Moore is part of a changing world in Austin, thanks to a revamped coaching staff with some SEC sensibilites. He and OT Donald Hawkins were the first juco transfers to sign with Texas since 2002 and Moore may be the lynchpin of the Big 12's best defense this year. Teammates have described the "full-grown man" as "unstoppable." Such is life at 6-6 and 330 pounds. Moore has to work on his conditioning, but he's going to wreak havoc on Big 12 offensive lines when he's on the field this year. Look for him to collapse a pocket or two early and often this season.

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma: Metoyer spent a year in military school after not qualifying academically, but he's already made an impact this spring after finally arriving at Oklahoma. He was the nation's No. 8 receiver in the 2011 class and offers the Sooners some much-needed sure hands. The unit came down with the dropsies late last season, and the FBS career leader for receptions, Ryan Broyles, is NFL-bound. Metoyer is exactly what the Sooners need to keep their offense on pace with the league's best, and he'll be catching passes from a Heisman candidate in Landry Jones.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk's short-lived career at Oregon was marred by a recruiting scandal, but he's back home, 30 miles north of his hometown in Temple, Texas, and ready for a fresh start. Baylor needs a replacement for Big 12 rushing champ Terrance Ganaway, and Seastrunk, the nation's No. 6 running back and No. 40 overall prospect in the 2010 class, is battling Glasco Martin and Jarred Salubi for the chance to be the man.

West Virginia and TCU: Have y'all heard about this? It's gonna be kind of crazy. After losing four teams since June 2010, the Big 12 poached the Big East and added the former Southwest Conference-dwelling Frogs and the Mountaineers, badly in need of a home away from the weakened Big East. Here's how we welcomed the Frogs and did the same for WVU earlier this year.

Get a live look at Baylor's pro day

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
11:15
AM ET
WACO, Texas--I'm out at Baylor's pro day Wednesday after taking in Texas' on Tuesday, but if you can't be there, you can still watch live via ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App.

Here's the link.

Heisman winner Robert Griffin III will throw today for scouts for the first time after skipping the exhibition during the combine. If he's going to buck expectations and become the No. 1 pick, today will be the day he does it.

RG3's showcase is the main attraction, but it's not the only attraction.

Can Big 12 receiving champ Kendall Wright improve on his disappointing 4.61 40 time at the combine?

Here are the members of Baylor's 2011 team who'll be taking part in all drills today:
RG3 and Wright are both probable first-rounders and should put on a show while they partake in some drills. Big 12 rushing champ Terrance Ganaway and center Philip Blake will also be partial participants. Check it out. We'll have some coverage later in the day.
WACO, Texas -- Heisman winner Robert Griffin III earned accolades for his performance at the podium at last month's NFL combine, but he elected not to throw until his pro day at Baylor.

The day for NFL scouts, GMs and coaches to see it up close and in person has arrived. Or, at least, it will on Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
AdidasRG3 will get his chance Wednesday to show off for NFL scouts, GMs and coaches at Baylor's pro day.
"It’ll probably be the biggest pro day Baylor’s had in awhile," Griffin said on Monday after arriving to campus to take in his former team's spring practice.

Now, when would Baylor have ever had a bigger pro day?

"Well, I didn’t want to say that," Griffin said with a laugh.

Make no mistake, it's the biggest ever. Around 130 media members were credentialed for Wednesday's event, and 60-80 more NFL personnel are expected to arrive. That number was trimmed from around 120 after the Washington Redskins traded up to No. 2 with intentions to select Griffin.

"We’ll see what happens," Griffin said of his future destination. "Either way, if it’s Indy or Washington or whatever happens in the draft, I’ll be excited to play for that team."

The Bears had originally planned to allow fans to attend, and expected around 1,000 to show up and watch Griffin go throw a scripted set of throws, but that plan was scrapped.

Several networks, including ESPN, will broadcast the pro day live. The Big 12 Blog will be on hand, too. It's not only about Griffin throwing, though.

"We’re trying to show [NFL teams] we’ve got two really good running backs in Terrance Ganaway and Isaac Williams. Kendall [Wright]’s going to show off and do his thing and run great routes," Griffin said. "We’ve got a couple older guys coming back in Ernest Smith and Krys Buerck. They’re looking forward to a shot at the NFL, so I’m trying to help, help everybody out, not just show what I can do. Tape doesn’t lie, so I don’t have to prove anything at pro day, it’s about going out and having fun and helping those guys be successful, so we’re looking forward to it."

Griffin's spent the past two-plus months training in Arizona for Wednesday, and explained some of what Wednesday's workout can prove to NFL teams that want to see more than just his extensive, impressive game tape.

"The routes are all different in different systems, but they give you that generic NFL route tree and they want you to go run that and show them, 'Hey, I can run the basics, now teach me everything else,'" Griffin said. "So, just matching the drops to those throws, because they’re not what anybody does in the college level, no matter whether they’re in a pro system or in a spread system.

"I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quarterback go seven [steps], plant and throw -- throw an out route at the college level. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a spread or in a pro style at college. It’s still a different game and I’m excited to go play that game."

He'll get his chance this fall, but even with an adidas endorsement deal, Griffin isn't showing off any newfound cash just yet.

He hasn't made any car or house purchases, and doesn't have any plans to change that just right now.

"Not at all," he said. "I’m still broke."

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