Big 12: Troy Trojans
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that Brown, 29, has been hired to join Tuberville's staff.
Brown has been the youngest offensive coordinator in the nation the past two seasons with the Trojans. He will inherit many weapons with the Red Raiders, including quarterbacks Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield, who helped direct Tech to a 9-4 season in 2009.
Brown, a wide receiver at Kentucky and Massachusetts during his college career, has been an offensive wizard in his short coaching career.
The Trojans ranked third nationally in total offense in 2009, averaging 485.7 yards per game, including fourth in passing (336.5) and 16th in scoring average (33.7 points per game). They finished 9-4, losing a 44-41 overtime game to Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl.
Troy scored 40 or more points in seven of its last eight games of the 2009 season. And the Trojans finished with a bang, averaging 578.7 yards and 7.5 yards per play over their final three games.
It's an interesting hire by Tuberville. And one that proves he isn't paying lip service to his stated aim of trying to build a high-powered aerial attack for his new program.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Top Oklahoma recruit Justin Chaisson has finalized a plea agreement that will dismiss all felony charges against him stemming from his alleged attack on an ex-girlfriend.
The Oklahoman reported today that Chaisson pleaded no contest to four gross misdemeanors in Clark County (Nev.) Court: two counts of false imprisonment, one count of malicious destruction of private property and one count of conspiracy to commit coercion and/or false imprisonment in connection with a March 17 incident in Las Vegas.
District Judge Stefany Miley approved the plea agreement and sentenced Chaisson to three years probation and 120 hours of community service, the Oklahoman reported.
The court ruling would potentially allow Oklahoma to supervise the probation, perhaps opening an opportunity for him to attend school there.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has made no determination on whether he would honor Chaisson's scholarship.
Chaisson was one of the Sooners' top 2009 recruits after a stellar career at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. During his final two seasons of high school, he produced 148 tackles and 28 sacks as one of the nation's top defensive ends. He received scholarship offers from a host of top schools, including Iowa, Arizona, UCLA and Florida along with Oklahoma.
Bishop Gorman has been a fertile recruiting area for the Sooners in recent years. Running back DeMarco Murray and linebacker Ryan Reynolds both attended high school there and former Gorman coach David White is now a graduate assistant for the Sooners.
It will be interesting to see what Stoops does with Chaisson's case.
It's the second-straight year Stoops will be facing a thorny legal problem he will have to decide on.
Top receiving recruit Josh Jarboe of Cedar Grove High School in Decatur, Ga., eventually made it to Norman last summer after his two felony gun charges were pleaded down to misdemeanors. Jarboe was kicked off the team during the summer after a YouTube video of him rapping about shooting people surfaced on the Internet.
Jarboe eventually surfaced at Troy University, where he was arrested earlier this year by university police and was charged with misdemeanor harrassment. Jarboe took part in spring practice for the Trojans this spring.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was among three 2008 Lombardi Award semi-finalists who made the preliminary watch list for the 2009 season.
Weatherspoon is among eight Big 12 players listed on the watch list for the Houston-based award. That total matches the Southeastern Conference for most of any conference.
The Big 12 members of the Lombardi's first watch list include:
- Texas Tech OL Brandon Carter
- Texas DE/LB Sergio Kindle
- Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
- Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
- Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
- Texas T Adam Ulatoski
- Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
- Oklahoma T Trent Williams
Troy University has the most players on the preliminary watch list with three players. Oklahoma and Texas are among seven schools with two players on the list.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
As expected, Kansas State filled a vacancy on Bill Snyder's coaching staff by adding Vic Koenning as the team's assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator.
Koenning arrives from Clemson, where he served as the Tigers' coordinator for the last four seasons. While there, each of his teams ranked among the top 25 nationally in scoring defense, total defense and pass efficiency defense.
Koenning will be returning to his old school after playing as a linebacker on Kansas State's 1982 team -- the first in school history to ever make a bowl appearance.
Earlier, Koenning had been a defensive coordinator at Troy and was head coach for three seasons at Wyoming from 2000-02.
He will be united with Chris Cosh on his staff as co-coordinators. They will have their work cut out to improve a Kansas State defensive unit that ranked 112th nationally in rush defense, 117th in total defense and tied for 110th in scoring defense.
The Wildcats should have a nucleus to improve as they lose only three starters -- defensive end Ian Campbell, defensive tackle Brandon Balkcom and outside linebacker Reggie Walker. Among their returnees will be freshman defensive end Brandon Harold and all four starters from the secondary.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a look at who's hot and who's not around the Big 12, as well as a few other nuggets to provide some interest heading into Saturday's games. Enjoy.
Missouri's offense with Chase Daniel in charge. With Daniel running Missouri's No. 1 offensive unit, the Tigers have yet to have a single three-and-out possession.
Oklahoma State's offense. The Cowboys have produced two of the eight best "total offense" games in school history in the last three games -- 699 yards against Houston and 612 against Troy.
Missouri's defense, which has struggled all season, mainly because senior safety William Moore has been injured much of the year. The Tigers are last in the league in total defense, allowing 378.5 yards per game.
Oklahoma, which is one of three FBS teams not to fumble this season. The Sooners lead the nation in red-zone offense, converting 19 attempts into 18 touchdowns and a field goal.
Oklahoma's special teams. The Sooners are ranked 104th in kickoff return yardage allowed per kick, 51st in punt return yardage allowed per punt and 95th in net punting average.
Missouri, which has trailed for 13 seconds all season.
Missouri's cornerbacks, who have produced only two interceptions in the Tigers' last 19 games.
Freshman Kansas State defensive end Brandon Herald, who has notched three sacks and eight-and-a-half tackles for losses after only four games.
Colorado's depth in the offensive line. Since the start of fall camp, the Buffaloes have lost six offensive linemen because of injuries, academics and suspensions.
Kansas State wide receiver Brandon Banks, who leads the nation in yards receiving per game (115.8 ypg) and has produced at least one touchdown in all four games.
Baylor, which has lost 39 of its last 41 games against ranked teams since joining the Big 12. The Bears have lost 13 straight games against ranked teams since beating Texas A&M 35-34 on Oct. 30, 2004.
Kansas State running back Lamark Brown, a converted wide receiver who has emerged as the Wildcats' leading rushing threat after producing 137 yards on 29 carries last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Kansas State's rush defense, which has been gashed for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games by Louisville and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Nebraska's special teams, specificially at home against Missouri. In the Cornhuskers' last six home games against the Tigers, they have produced four punt returns for touchdowns.
Preseason All-Big 12 kick returner Marcus Hereford of Kansas, who has produced an average of only 11.4 yards per kick return.
Kansas State's offensive line, which hasn't allowed a sack in the first four games of the season.
Oklahoma's offensive line, which allowed four sacks and produced only 25 rushing yards last week against TCU. It was the lowest rushing total for the Sooners in 82 games, dating back to a 37-27 victory over Alabama on Sept. 7, 2002, where they produced minus-23 yards.
Multi-talented Missouri wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Maclin, who has accounted for multiple touchdowns rushing (five), receiving (13), on punt returns (two) and kickoff returns (two). The only other active players with at least career touchdowns in all of those categories are seniors Derrick Williams of Penn State and Brandon Tate of North Carolina.
Texas Tech's opponents so far this season. Of the four teams the Red Raiders have beaten, they have combined for one victory over a FBS program - Nevada's triumph over UNLV.
Colorado's special teams against Florida State last week. The Buffaloes had a punt blocked through the end zone for a safety and allowed a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Returner Josh Smith also fumbled a kickoff at the 4-yard line and kicker Aric Goodman misfired on a 27-yard field goal attempt.
Weird statistical trend: Missouri is 10-3 in games where Chase Daniel has attempted 40 or more passes. Before he earned the team's starting job in 2006, the Tigers were just 1-12-1 in games where a Tiger quarterback had 40 pass attempts or more.
The chart, part I
Missouri wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Maclin is one of the most versatile players in the nation. But he's been overshadowed in most Heisman polls so far this season.
Here's how Maclin's numbers compare with those of Desmond Howard, who was the last wide receiver to claim the Heisman in 1991.
|Desmond Howard||Jeremy Maclin|
|Receptions per game||5.5||6.5|
|Rec. yards per game||86.4||97.8|
|All-purpose yards per game||165.8||193.5|
|TD average per game||2.1||1.5|
Obviously, if Howard could break a couple of big plays in the next several games, it would immeasurably boost his Heisman hopes.
Source: ESPN.com research.
The chart, part II
Texas is on a remarkable recent streak, winning 34 of its last 37 road games. Here's a look at the road games that Texas has lost during that time.
Nov. 16, 2002 at Texas Tech 38-42
Nov. 11, 2006 at Kansas State 42-45
Nov. 23, 2007 at Texas A&M 30-38
Note: Texas' record in neutral-site games during that period is a more pedestrian 9-9, which includes six losses to Oklahoma in Dallas and three bowl-game losses.
Here are some of the more notable quotes around the Big 12 this week.
"I don't know how many ways you can say it creatively,but we're going through the gauntlet. If you want to spend time handing out game balls because you beat West Virginia or having funerals because you lost to Florida State, that's wrong. You just keep repooling and working it out."
ure over the last two weeks.
"This is not like the NFL, where you might go to the playoffs with a 9-7 record. You don't have that many opportunities in college football, because every game matters. It would do us a lot of good to come out and play well."
Kansas State coach Ron Prince on his team's mindset heading into its game against Texas Tech.
"I've never gone into a game making concessions. I won't start this week. We're going to play the best we possibly can and try to shut them out."
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini on trying to derail Missouri's explosive offensive attack.
|Joe Nicholson/US Presswire|
|Mike Gundy has the Cowboys ranked for the first time since he took over in 2005.|
What a difference a year makes.
Oklahoma State is riding high with a 4-0 record and is one of six Big 12 teams to be ranked this week. An explosive offense that has hung 50 points on each of its last three opponents is bringing back memories of previous Cowboy teams when Barry Sanders was here 20 years ago after a 55-24 rout of Troy last week.
"I would say winning gives everybody a good feeling," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "When the guys are walking on campus, I would guess that people are telling them they are playing well. I imagine they are feeling pretty good about themselves."
Only a year ago, the prospects for the program weren't nearly as bright. The Cowboys limped home after a loss to Troy in quarterback Zac Robinson's first career start. The residue of discontent sparked Gundy's infamous rant after beating Texas Tech in their conference opener.
Fast forward a year later and it's much quieter around Stillwater. Their national ranking -- their first since Gundy took over in 2005 -- is a milestone of sorts for the program as it heads into its Big 12 opener Saturday night against Texas A&M.
"I don't really get excited about many things this time of year because our coaching staff members are firm believers on working and preparing and doing the best we can to give our players the best opportunity to win on Saturday," Gundy said. "But I do think being ranked is good and I'm excited for the team.
"And I'm also excited for everyone involved in building this football program to a championship level, which is where we ultimately want to be. I think we took a good step last week."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas' defense finally is playing up to Will Muschamp's standards. The Longhorns' defense dominated Arkansas from the opening snap, posting seven sacks and limiting them to 11 yards rushing and a season-worst 191 yards of total offense. The resurgence of Brian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle and Henry Melton led to a feeding frenzy on beleaguered Arkansas QB Casey Dick that lasted throughout the game. The only touchdown the Longhorns allowed in a 52-10 beatdown came on a returned fumble late in the fourth quarter. Texas has notched 14 sacks in the last two games and appears to be peaking as conference play approaches.
The J-Train appears to be back on the track. Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman must have had a late-game revelation against Army on Saturday. With the Aggies flirting with a third-straight home loss to start the season, Sherman turned to tailback Jorvorskie Lane, who responded with 34 yards on six-straight carries to salt away a tougher-than-expected 21-17 victory over the lowly Black Knights. With Stephen McGee doubtful with an injured shoulder, it behooves Sherman to keep using Lane to keep bleeding the clock. It might be his best hope for future success.
Bo Pelini has to learn to harness his emotions on the sidelines. The new Nebraska coach picked up a crucial unsportsmanlike penalty late in the game after he argued with officials when nose tackle Ndamukong Suh was flagged for a late hit. The penalties helped Virginia Tech wrap-up its 35-30 victory with a clinching touchdown. Something tells me that Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne will have a talk with his new coach about anger management. A bigger concern will be the play of Pelini's defense that yielded 377 yards by a team that came into the game ranked 112th nationally in total offense. Hey, Bo! Deep breaths. Start practicing, because you'll need them when Chase Daniel and Missouri's top-ranked offense visits next week.
Oklahoma State's offense might be its best defense. The Cowboys rolled up 612 yards and hung more than 50 points for the third straight week en route to an impressive 55-24 victory over Troy. But the most impressive statistic of all was that the Cowboys held the ball for 40 minutes and 25 seconds. If they can continue that trend in Big 12 play, it will give them a chance to keep an inconsistent defense off the field. Oklahoma State has notched only two sacks this season and forced only one punt on Saturday. That production has to improve if the Cowboys have any hopes of challenging the South Division powers.
Ron Prince's nocturnal sprints for his defense last week didn't teach much. The Wildcats were gashed for 335 yards rushing by Louisiana-Lafayette, marking the second straight week they gave up at least 300 yards on the ground. Prince was so perturbed after the first struggles that he made his team run when it got back home in the middle of the night. He probably didn't do it after Kansas State's 45-37 victory over the Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday, but he'll still be steamed when he watches the game tape nonetheless. The Wildcats nearly squandered a 28-3 first-half lead, permitting 27 points in the second half and 509 yards in the game. And it could get a lot worse when Texas Tech's high-powered offense, complete with a resurgent ground game, visits in the conference opener next week.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Another tough week selecting the best of the Big 12's best. But their efforts on Saturday set them apart.
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and WR Manny Johnson: Bradford passed for a career-best 411 yards on 19-of-34 passing with four TD passes to spark the Sooners' 35-10 victory over TCU. Johnson was the main recipient with five catches for a school-record 206 receiving yards and three TDs.
Texas QB Colt McCoy: Accounted for five TDs in the Longhorns' 52-10 victory over Arkansas. McCoy was 17-of-19 passing for 185 yards and three TDs and ran for two more scores on a game-high 84 yards rushing.
Kansas State QB Josh Freeman: Contributed five TDs in the Wildcats' 45-37 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Freeman ran for two touchdowns and passed for 272 yards and three TDs, becoming KSU's career passing yardage leader.
Oklahoma S Lendy Holmes: Produced seven tackles (six solo), recovered two fumbles and made a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff to spark the Sooners' defensive effort against TCU.
Oklahoma State's offense: A collective sticker for a unit that rolled up 612 yards and reached 50 points for the third straight game in a 55-24 victory over Troy -- a defensive unit that came into the game ranked 11th nationally in total defense. Zac Robinson passed for 254 yards and three TDs, Dez Bryant added three TD grabs and Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston both topped 100 yards rushing.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are some things to watch for in Big 12 games on Saturday:
1. Oklahoma's chance to move to No. 1 -- With USC's loss at Oregon State on Thursday night, the Sooners are situated to fill the top spot in the polls by beating TCU. That hasn't been easy for them during the Horned Frogs' recent trips through Norman. Can the Sooners snap history and move to the top of the polls for the first time since 2003?
2. Colorado's backfield combination against Florida State's defense -- Heralded TB Darrell Scott has been hampered recently with a knee injury. His backup Rodney Stewart took advantage of his absence to rush for 166 yards against West Virginia last week. With Scott returning to health, I'm curious how coach Dan Hawkins divvies up the carries. It will be interesting to see an improving Colorado offensive line work against a Florida State defense that will be returning four more veteran defenders back from suspension and has allowed only one touchdown this season.
3. Can Kansas State DE Ian Campbell bounce back? -- Coming into the season, the senior was counted as one of the Big 12's top pass-rushing threats and a potential All-American player. But so far this season, Campbell has been missing in action with only three tackles and no sacks. For a reeling Kansas State defense that was forced to run as punishment when it got home from Louisville last week, Campbell's return against Louisiana-Lafayette would be huge.
4. Bo Pelini's step into the national spotlight -- The new Nebraska coach will be facing his most difficult test of his brief coaching tenure as the Cornhuskers host their first BCS foe in Virginia Tech. The Cornhuskers have barely had to battle into the fourth quarter against any of their first three foes. The Hokies are offensively challenged but still should provide a good indication of how far Pelini's rebuilding job has come along.
5. Zac Robinson's progress -- It will be interesting to judge the Oklahoma State quarterback's progress this season against Troy and to compare it to his performance last season against the Trojans. Robinson made his first career start in a nationally televised game and struggled mightily in a 41-23 loss. His chance for revenge could boost the Cowboys to their first 4-0 start under Mike Gundy and a likely return to the national Top 25 with a victory.
6. Texas' tight end options -- Blaine Irby was emerging as a blocking and receiving threat for the Longhorns before suffering a season-ending dislocated kneecap last week against Rice. Texas now is scrambling for a replacement and will use Peter Ullman and Greg Smith as his replacements Saturday against Arkansas. It will hard to match Irby's receiving contributions. Mack Brown has hinted his loss might force the Longhorns to use more four- and five-receiver threats.
7. Texas A&M's uncertainty at quarterback -- Jerrod Johnson had an uneven first start last week against Miami, throwing for three touchdowns but also making several critical mistakes. But he sustained a sprained shoulder and missed practice this week along with Stephen McGee, who is already nursing a similar injury. Which way will coach Mike Sherman turn for his starter Saturday against Army? McGee likely represents his best immediate choice, while starting Johnson would start Sherman's rebuilding project. Sherman desperately needs a victory as he attempts to break the first two-game home losing streak to start the season for the Aggies since 1972.
8. Oklahoma's offense matched against the challenge of TCU's defense -- The Sooners have been one of the nation's most potent offenses, leading the nation in scoring, ranking fourth in total offense and seventh in passing. It will be interesting to see if Sam Bradford can continue that success against a typically feisty TCU defense that leads the nation in rushing and total defense and ranks second in turnover margin. It will be the Sooners most serious offensive test of the season.
9. Colorado's adaptability to the hot sticky climate in Jacksonville -- The Buffaloes played their best football down the stretch in a comeback victory over Eastern Washington and in overtime last week against West Virginia. Can those late rallies continue in the expected heat and humidity Saturday against Florida State? Coach Dan Hawkins and the Colorado training staff has had them drinking green Gatorade throughout the week to get ready. Will those preparations keep them from wearing down against the Seminoles?
10. Nebraska's running game against Virginia Tech -- The Cornhuskers rushed for 330 yards in their most recent game against New Mexico State but will be challenged mightily by a Virginia Tech team that likes to stack the box and force teams to beat them by passing. Nebraska QB Joe Ganz has emerged as more of a running threat in recent weeks, but will likely have his chances to beat the Hokies by the air. And will Pelini turn to OL Andy Christensen, a projected starter who is finally available to play after a six-month suspension that included the first three games of the season? His eventual return could give the Cornhuskers' running game a boost.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I'm hoping that playing all of the conference games on Saturdays again will help boost my percentage after last week.
Here's what I've got.
Florida State 27, Colorado 17 -- Neither Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson played well last week at quarterback for the Seminoles, but their defense kept the game close. With four projected defensive starters returning from suspension, the Buffaloes struggled down the stretch before escaping with a field goal in overtime to beat West Virginia. The guess here is that the Seminoles simply have too many athletes for the Buffaloes, who have tried to prepare for the trip to humid Jacksonville by swigging Gatorade all week. They should stay close before wilting at the Gator Bowl in the fourth quarter.
Kansas State 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 28 -- Coach Ron Prince was so perturbed by his team's defensive performance last week at Louisville that he made them run in the middle of the night as soon as they returned to Manhattan. Louisiana-Lafayette has a strong ground game that is averaging almost 6 yards per carry, but the Wildcats will be up for the test after last week's struggles. Look for Kansas State QB Josh Freeman to return to form and feast on the Ragin' Cajuns' weak defense.
Nebraska 28, Virginia Tech 24 -- The Cornhuskers have been lightly tested in their first three games of the season. This game should be an indicator if the Cornhuskers are legitimate North challengers, as well as an early litmus test of coach Bo Pelini. Virginia Tech is heavily run-based with QB Tyrod Taylor, which should play right into the Cornhuskers' defensive philosophy. Nebraska QB Joe Ganz has shown he can beat top opponents by passing before, but will be challenged by Tech's tough secondary. Give the Cornhuskers a narrow edge, mainly because of a better passing game and the home-field advantage.
Oklahoma 37, TCU 14 -- The Sooners are still smarting from TCU's last visit to Norman, when Horned Frogs shocked OU with an upset victory and the kind of physical whipping that rarely happens to a team coached by Bob Stoops. That was OU's most recent home loss -- the team has charged to a nation-best 20-game home winning streak since then. The Horned Frogs won't be intimidated, considering they have won three of their last four games in Norman and have a seven-game winning streak of their own, tied for third-best in the nation. TCU leads the nation in rush defense and will be a tough matchup against the Sooners' mammoth offensive front. TCU QB Andy Dalton will need to make some downfield plays, something he hasn't done much of this season. Look for the Sooners' superior talent to win this one and make it a runaway late.
Oklahoma State 44, Troy 31 -- After losing at Troy last season, the Cowboys will be ready to play in the rematch. They should be better prepared as their balanced offensive attack, which has hung half a hundred on each of its last two opponents, will keep humming along. Troy looked good in flashes against Ohio State, but could find a bigger defensive challenge this week in trying to keep the Cowboys' multi-faceted offense in check. Look for another big game from Oklahoma State TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant, who was shut out in his most recent game after producing nine catches the previous week.
Texas 45, Arkansas 14 -- This one won't be much of a matchup between the two storied former Southwest Conference rivals. The Longhorns' emerging defense will make life miserable for Arkansas QB Casey Dick. Alabama gashed the Razorbacks for 9.4 yards per carry last week, providing a nice recipe for Texas' backfield-by-committee of Fozzy Whittaker, Vondrell McGee and Chris Ogbonnaya. And Texas QB Colt McCoy will have a chance to boost his Heisman candidacy with a big day against Arkansas' leaky pass defense. I'm wondering if Texas fans will be chanting "Big 12, Big 12" to celebrate a victory in this game after Arkansas fans chanted "SEC, SEC" following wins over Texas in two of the last three games of the series.
Texas A&M 24, Army 10 -- Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman will be looking for his first victory at Kyle Field after opening the season with back-to-back losses, the first time that's happened since 1972. The Aggies' quarterback rotation remains iffy after both Stephen McGee and Jerrod Johnson missed practice this week due to sprained shoulders. The Aggies shouldn't get too much of a test from an Army team that has been outscored 85-20 this season and has lost nine of its last 10 games on the road. Even the offensively challenged Aggies should be able to move the ball on the Black Knights, providing a grind-it-out victory.
My predictions last week: 7-2 (77.8 percent)
My predictions for the season: 38-3 (92.7 percent)