"I've never met Nick Saban. I've never talked to Nick Saban. We have not hired Nick Saban," Powers told the Austin American-Statesman. "Mack's our coach, and I can say flatly that the rumors we have hired or come to an agreement with Nick Saban or even talked to him are false."
In October, The Associated Press reported that regent Wallace Hall, one of Powers' top critics, and former regent Tom Hicks spoke with Saban's agent in January about the possibility of Saban coaching at Texas. Tom Hicks is the brother of current regent Steve Hicks, one of the board's two athletic liaisons and a key Powers ally. That conversation took place just a few days after Alabama won the national championship and Texas had wrapped up a 9-4 season that included a bowl victory under Brown.
Powers on Thursday acknowledged that meeting to the American-Statesman.
"There was an outreach to his agent, and I exempt that from this discussion," he told the newspaper. "Whatever happened then happened. We don't have any plans one way or the other (to replace Brown). And we don't have an opening."
According to the newspaper, Tom Hicks spoke with Brown after that meeting about Saban potentially being his replacement, and Brown said he did not plan on resigning, so the conversation with Saban's camp ended.
Brown came under fire early this season as the Longhorns lost two of their first three games. However, they then won six straight before falling to No. 6 Oklahoma State, and they remain in contention for the Big 12 title as they prepare to face No. 9 Baylor on Saturday.
This week’s recruiting storylines focuses on some of the Under Armour All-Americans being recruited by Big 12 programs.
Big 12 representation -- or lack thereof -- at the UA game. The Big 12 currently has four representatives who will compete in the Under Armour All-America Game -- Texas defensive end commit Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and cornerback commit Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Oklahoma quarterback pledge Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Kansas offensive lineman pledge Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches).
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- Here's an excellent story from Jenni Carlson about where Oklahoma State WR Tracy Moore finds his inspiration. Efficiency ratings suggest Oklahoma State's offense is better than its defense. DT Calvin Barnett is looking forward to a trench battle.
- Oklahoma will be prepped for cold weather on Saturday. A win over OSU would help ease Charles Tapper's pain of losing his dreadlocks.
- Baylor has dedicated its full attention to Texas, not its bowl future. Can the Bears survive the first-half suspension of "nice guy" Ahmad Dixon?
- The Washington Post profiles Art Briles' career.
- Mack Brown says his coaching future should be "unimportant" to his players entering the finale. New AD Steve Patterson says he's "working on" resuming the Texas A&M rivalry.
- Iowa State needs to find a "quarterback whisperer" in its next OC, writes Bobby La Gessa of the Ames Tribune. ISU landed another junior college safety, Qujuan Floyd.
- Kansas State is in for a big-time matchup against a Pac-12 power in the Holiday Bowl. K-State makes some schedule changes for 2014.
- Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield had the most memorable debut of this Big 12 season. Could the Red Raiders face Minnesota in a bowl again?
- Reviewing West Virginia's troubles on the road two years into joining the Big 12. A WVU cornerback was charged with DUI.
- What's in store for Charlie Weis' coaching staff during Kansas' offseason?
- A closer look at new TCU offensive coordinator Doug Meacham's resume.
1. Crowning a champion: The Big 12 didn’t need a big prime-time showdown at AT&T Stadium to end up with a marquee final weekend of conference play. The league’s schedule makers should get holiday bonuses for their work this year, pitting the Big 12’s four best teams against each other on championship weekend with a conference title on the line. Odds are Oklahoma State wraps it all up with a victory over Oklahoma, but if the Sooners pull the upset all eyes will be on Texas-Baylor to decide who gets the trophy.
3. Day of the underdog: Texas fans will be unabashedly rooting for Oklahoma on Saturday. Yep, seriously. They have to. Even Case McCoy admitted he’s pulling for a Sooners victory, even if it makes him “sick to my stomach.” The Sooners have a chance to play spoiler and knock OSU from atop the Big 12 standings. If they pull that off, can Texas notch an even more surprising victory in Waco? The Longhorns have embraced the underdog role ever since starting 1-2.
4. Finishing Baylor’s dream season: The loss to OSU knocked Baylor out of the national title hunt, damaged its hopes of playing in a BCS bowl and might’ve killed Bryce Petty’s chances of winning the Heisman. Yet the Bears still have a ton to play for this weekend. This can still go down as the best season in school history, especially if Baylor wins a share of the Big 12 title.
5. Who’s the DPOY? Good luck finding a consensus about who should win the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year honor this season, and this weekend might not change that much. Still, several candidates have a chance to make a strong final impression, including Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey and cornerback Justin Gilbert as well as Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
6. Oklahoma’s next BMOC: Trevor Knight is another guy who could definitely use a strong finale to help his reputation not only for 2013 but, more importantly, for the offseason and beyond. Knight is coming off nice performances against Iowa State and Kansas State. An upset win over OSU could do wonders for proving he is Oklahoma’s quarterback of the future.
7. Mack Brown: What’s on the line? Who knows what this Baylor game means for Brown’s future at Texas, other than this: If Texas wins, good luck firing a coach who brings a Big 12 trophy home after leading his team from 1-2 to 9-3. And if the Bears win a blowout, well, buckle up for another rumor-filled week in Austin.
8. December weather: Introducing the X factor in both of this weekend’s Big 12 games: Winter Storm Cleon. The high and low for Stillwater on Saturday are 28 and 17. Waco is expecting freezing rain and temperatures in the high 20s. We could be in for some very messy, conservative football.
9. Closing out The Case: It’s a historic weekend for Baylor, which plays its final home game at 63-year-old Floyd Casey Stadium on Saturday. The last time a current Big 12 school opened a brand-new stadium was 1980, when West Virginia built Milan Puskar Stadium. The Bears are breaking out retro uniforms and expect the largest crowd ever in stadium history.
10. The Sunday bowl shakeout: The bowl projections for the Big 12’s six bowl-eligible teams are somewhat obvious at this point but could be in for a big shakeup depending on how these final two games play out. You know the committees of the AT&T Cotton, Valero Alamo and Buffalo Wild Wings Bowls will be watching closely and could face difficult decisions if we see some upsets.
With 10 minutes to go in Morgantown, W.Va., I was sitting pretty for an undefeated week. Then Grant Rohach turned into Dan Marino, and the Cyclones rallied from 17 points down before eventually beating the Mountaineers in a third overtime.
Like Oliver Luck with Dana Holgorsen, ESPN management had to issue a vote-of-confidence statement on my behalf. But I’m feeling the heat. And time is running out.
This week’s guest picker is Jason Hanzel, a student at Oklahoma State. I actually selected Jason a couple of weeks ago. But when he didn’t respond immediately, I went with another picker. Turned out, Jason was in class all day. Because I respect education, I gave him another chance.
To the Week 15 picks:
Trotter last week: 2-1 (.667)
Guest picker (Red Raider Shelley) last week: 2-1 (.667)
Trotter overall: 54-19 (.740)
Guest picker overall: 42-14 (.750)
Baylor 35, Texas 31: The overwhelming consensus seems to be that Texas has no shot in this game. I disagree. If the Longhorns can do anything, it’s rush the passer, and since losing left tackle Spencer Drango, the Bears have not protected quarterback Bryce Petty all that well. Without Drango and speedy wideout Tevin Reese, "America's Top Offense" hasn't quite been the same. And if Texas can have success controlling the clock with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron between the tackles, as I expect it will, the Longhorns are capable of making this a fourth-quarter game. That said, Baylor has Lache Seastrunk and its fourth-quarter closer, Glasco Martin, back at running back. As a result, the Bears are able to grind out enough first downs late to hold off Texas and send Floyd Casey Stadium out in style.
Jason’s pick: Baylor these past two weeks has not been the same Baylor, but I do believe this team is completely different at home. Jackson Jeffcoat will get to Petty, but Case McCoy will be in the Case, meaning I've got to go with the Bears in Waco. Baylor, 38-28
Oklahoma State 40, Oklahoma 23: The Sooners are coming off their most impressive conference performance of the season in a win over Kansas State, and the best game of freshman QB Trevor Knight's young career. But on Saturday they face the top defense in the Big 12, a defense that clobbered Texas and Baylor in dominating back-to-back performances. Even though OU has won nine of the past 10 in the series, the Sooners have usually had to win shootouts against the Cowboys, as Oklahoma State has put up at least 40 points in four of the last five Bedlam meetings. This run-oriented OU offense is hardly equipped to score in the 40s, especially in the cold, on the road, against a veteran OSU defense that has proven to be one of the toughest in the country.
Jason’s pick: This game has the feel of 2011. If I was a betting man, I'd be taking my scholarship money to Vegas. Pokes in a rout! OSU, 42-20
We know Baylor can score 70 points, the Longhorns need to run the ball, somebody will play defense and turnovers and injuries will likely doom the loser. That’s obvious.
Fera is now 19 for 20 on field goals and practically automatic. He’s also a top-25 punter nationally when it comes to pinning opponents inside the 20 and 10. There can be no complaining about his contributions.
But some of Texas’ other special teams numbers this season are not too friendly. Consider the following:
Kickoffs: Nick Rose earned praise from Brown as a freshman for his knack for touchbacks. This season, he’s getting those on 45 percent of his kickoffs, an above-average rate nationally. The coverage of those kicks has been the greater issue.
Kick coverage: Texas ranks fifth-worst in FBS at giving up returns of 30-plus yards, at a rate of nearly 30 percent. Opposing returners are getting stopped short of the 25-yard line just 36 percent of the time.
Kick returns: The Longhorns are averaging 20.9 yards per return, which ranks 74th nationally. Less than 13 percent of Texas’ returns have gone for 30 or more yards. No touchdowns, either.
Punt coverage: Texas is giving up 12.1 yards per punt return, which ranks 107th in FBS. The Longhorns have permitted four returns of 20-plus yards.
Punt returns: If not for Daje Johnson’s 85-yard score against Oklahoma, Texas would be averaging 7.8 yards per punt return. That would rank outside the top 70 nationally. Jaxon Shipley might be the solution here after averaging 13 yards on his four returns last week.
Penalties: Texas ranks among the 10 worst nationally when it comes to special teams penalties, with 18 this season.
Against Texas Tech, the Longhorns allowed a 51-yard touchdown run by a punter, drew a roughing penalty and Fera had a 19-yard punt. Brown liked what he saw from the kick coverage and Shipley’s returns, but kick returns and punt coverage are an issue.
“Those were two things that we need to fix,” Brown said.
That might be easier said than done this week. Weather forecasts call for freezing rain, temperatures below freezing and 15 mph winds in Waco. There’s no way to simulate that in practice, but Brown has already started thinking ahead.
“You've got a situation on Saturday afternoon, you can probably kick it out (on kickoffs) two quarters and you'll probably have to look at some other type of kick for two quarters,” he said, “because if it's 15 miles an hour right in your face, I don't know that you're going to kick it out very often.”
Fera isn’t a fan of rubgy-style kicking either, which will complicate punts. With Fera’s experience kicking in adverse weather at Penn State, the Longhorns won’t have to worry much about his field goals and extra points.
“I do feel like he's as good as there is out there in his field goals,” Brown said. “He's just been unbelievable.”
That’s an invaluable asset, especially in a game this big. But Fera can’t fix Texas’ specials team woes all by himself.
Nick (Texas) I still don't fully understand Mack Brown's decision to burn Tyrone Swoopes redshirt. Do you know why he made that move halfway through the season then barely used him? If not do you have a guess at why?
Brandon Chatmon I'm right there with you Nick, I don't get it either. It doesn't make much sense but if I had to guess it had everything to do with being prepared in case something bad happened to Case McCoy.
Jerry (Ames, Iowa) Hey Brandon, do you think Iowa State has potential with Grant Rohach next year?
Brandon Chatmon I do Jerry, I like what Rohach brought to the table at the end of the year. He just seemed to play with more confidence as his playing time increased and he finished the season extremely well. I think the Cyclones could return to a bowl in 2014.
Bob Stoops (Norman) Which top recruits do you think I have a chance at actually getting a commitment? Adoree' Jackson? Joe Mixon?
Brandon Chatmon I hate to break it to you Bob but I think the events of the past few days have made your efforts in Cali that much harder. (Meaning Sark to USC is a problem.)
Jake (Dallas) How do you think Baylor will do come next season. Will they stay productive offensively and be decent defensively? Or will they go down in production?
Brandon Chatmon I don't anticipate a big drop in production at Baylor. Why would they take a step backward? But keep in mind I'm talking in comparison to what they've done in recent years, not the crazy numbers they put up early. If you expect that, prepare yourself for disappointment.
Rob (Baltimore) Early prediction on West Virginia's record next season. Give it to me straight, what are we looking at?
Brandon Chatmon Who is the quarterback? That changes everything. WVU has some talented athletes. They find a consistent playmaking QB, everything changes.
Trevor Knight (Norman) Me, or Chelf? And why?
Brandon Chatmon Clint Chelf. Because he's playing as good as any quarterback in the nation in the past month. I love Knight's long-term upside though.
Grant Teaff (Waco, Tx) Let’s get your score prediction for both OU/OSU and BU/UT?
Brandon Chatmon OSU 31, OU 21 Baylor 34, Texas 27
Jake (Dallas) What are your thoughts on the whole ordeal with [Ahmad] Dixon? We all know the hit was targeting even I will admit that. Since it is a new rule everyone in CFB knows the rule but the details are still fresh. Should the coaches have escorted him to the locker room, or the officials since they were the ones who called the penalty.
Brandon Chatmon My biggest issue was his actions when leaving the field. But, I also always try to keep in mind these are college kids. I know we treat them like adults but they are still young adults who make mistakes, make poor choices. I think coaches should escort them, not officials.
Going into the final weekend, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas all remain alive for a Big 12 championship and the conference’s automatic BCS bowl berth. Oklahoma, however, was knocked out of the picture, with the Bears and Longhorns both winning last week.
Here’s a final look at the Big 12 race heading into the final weekend:
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12): For the Cowboys, it’s pretty simple. Beat Oklahoma, and the Fiesta Bowl is theirs. Lose Bedlam, and the outright Big 12 title goes to the winner of Baylor-Texas.
Baylor (10-1, 7-1): The Bears could capture their first outright conference title since 1980 with a win over Texas and an Oklahoma State loss to Oklahoma. If the Cowboys win Bedlam, Baylor could still share the title with Oklahoma State. But with the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Cowboys would go to the Fiesta Bowl.
Texas (8-3, 7-1): The Longhorns are in the same situation as Baylor. They need Oklahoma State to lose to have a chance at the outright title and Fiesta Bowl. Like Baylor, Texas could still share the title with the Cowboys by winning this weekend, though like with Baylor, Oklahoma State would hold the tiebreaker for the automatic BCS bowl bid over the Longhorns.
Oklahoma State, on the field, is one of the hottest teams in the country. From a recruiting standpoint, the Cowboys also have been making waves and this week managed to crack the top 25 of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Oklahoma State, with some assistance from the release of the ESPN Junior College 50, moved up to No. 24.
Aside from Oklahoma State, there wasn’t much movement from Big 12 schools. Texas held on to the No. 8 spot, and Baylor remained at No. 16. Oklahoma slipped a spot, from No. 22 to No. 23, and Texas Tech stayed at No. 36. Here's a look at the conference's rankings .
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What makes this Baylor offense so deadly and such a statistical juggernaut is its big-play ability.
Baylor’s 96 plays of 20-plus yards are second to only Oregon nationally. Nobody in FBS has more plays of 30-plus (53) and 40-plus (36) than the Bears.
Three teams have legitimately tested Baylor in 2013: Oklahoma State, TCU and Kansas State. It’s no coincidence those three allowed the fewest 10-plus plays of the Bears’ foes. TCU and KSU held Baylor to 13 and 12 plays of 10-plus, respectively. OSU kept it to 18.
Those three Big 12 teams were also the only ones to slow down Baylor’s run game. The Bears averaged 323.6 rushing yards per game against its other eight opponents but just 124 per game against this trio.
Going into the Oklahoma game, Bryce Petty was one of the nation’s best passers in nearly every important category. The past month has been a different story.
Petty has completed 53.8 percent of his passes and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt in Baylor’s last four games. He ranks 21st nationally in Total QBR, 48th in passer efficiency and 93rd in completion percentage since the start of November. To his credit, Petty’s TD-INT ratio in those games was 10-1.
Facing better opponents plays a role here, as do injuries in the Baylor lineup. Also, Petty is facing more pressure. He has been sacked 10 times in his last four games, and only 13 FBS QBs have taken more sacks during that span.
Texas is coming off a nine-sack performance against the Red Raiders. Tight, physical coverage from the secondary and a consistent pass rush will get Petty out of a rhythm, and that’s probably a must in this matchup.
Darrell Royal liked to say “dance with the one that brung ya.” What got Texas into this position, at 8-3 and 7-1 in the Big 12, was a physical offense that pounded the run and sprinkled in shots downfield in the passing game.
By that philosophy, Texas’ two most impressive offensive performances this season came against Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Both were high-pressure, must-win games. In both, Texas had two backs surpass 100 rushing yards.
The last time Case McCoy played in Floyd Casey Stadium, he went full gunslinger and threw for three touchdowns along with a career-high four interceptions. He knows that’s not his job this weekend.
The Longhorns haven’t lost when they’ve run the ball more than 45 times this season. In their five closest games, they averaged 135 rushing yards. Ground and pound will have to win the day on Saturday if Texas wants to leave Waco with a Big 12 trophy.
Three more to remember
634.4: Baylor’s offense has put up 634.4 yards per game this season. The FBS single-season record is 624.9 per game, set by Houston in 1989.
56: The number of Baylor touchdowns drives that ended in 2:00 or less. That’s eight more than any other FBS team.
6-2: McCoy’s career record as a starter on the road. The two losses were both regular-season finales, against Baylor in 2011 and at Kansas State last season.
- Weather could be a factor in this year's Bedlam game. A preseason meeting set the tone for Oklahoma State's success. Mike Gundy doesn't see Oklahoma as a hated rival.
- Oklahoma has a midseason offense in time for its regular season finale. Brennan Clay has a chance to surpass 1,000 rushing yards on Saturday.
- Oliver Luck released a statement on the state of West Virginia football. Breaking down what Luck's statement means for WVU. The Mountaineers have a lot of work to do, writes Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail.
- Case McCoy says all the marbles are on the table for Texas this week. What if Texas had played an easy nonconference schedule?
- Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon is a planning a big second half against Texas for after sitting out the first half due to suspension.
- TCU is expected to hire Houston's Doug Meachem as its next offensive coordinator. The former OSU assistant was Houston's sixth OC in six years.
- Could Michael Brewer be a candidate for a post-grad transfer? Projecting where Texas Tech could wind up for a bowl game.
- New Iowa State junior college commit wants to start from day one.
- Kansas' AD believes in the direction of the program under Charlie Weis.
- Kansas State hasn't won a bowl game since 2002 and intends to end that streak.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Where it all started: The Cowboys opened the season as the Big 12 favorite and as the conference’s top-ranked team at No. 13 in the AP Top 25 and No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. OSU was expected to have one of the best teams in the nation, though it began the season behind two current unbeaten teams, Ohio State and Florida State.
Where it went wrong: Everything went wrong in the Cowboys' 30-21 loss to West Virginia on Sept. 28. OSU’s blocking was horrible, its running game was worse and its kicking game was so bad words cannot describe it. And, worst of all, senior quarterback Clint Chelf watched it all from the sidelines. It was a devastating loss that removed the Pokes’ right to complain about their BCS destiny from that point forward.
Where it got back on track: Things got moving in the right direction when Chelf replaced J.W. Walsh as the starter against Iowa State on Oct. 26. Since that point, OSU has averaged 47.8 points per game, winning by an average of 28.4 points. If the Cowboys had turned to Chelf against WVU, they could have entered this weekend undefeated and with a case to be in the BCS title game. A win over Oklahoma would give the Cowboys four wins over Top 25 teams since October.
Where it all started: The Bears began the season unranked but with murmurs that they could be the surprise team of the Big 12 Conference. They promptly reeled off nine straight wins behind one of the nation’s most explosive offenses to rise to No. 4 in the BCS standings, including a 41-12 win over Oklahoma on Nov. 7 that legitimized the team in many peoples' eyes. In doing so, Baylor sent a clear message to the nation that the program is going to make noise in the Big 12 in 2013 and beyond.
Where it went wrong: Baylor simply did not have any answers on a chilly night in Stillwater, Okla., two weeks ago. The Cowboys overwhelmed a Bears squad handcuffed by injuries to some of its top players. It was a game that showed as far as the program has come, there’s still a ways to go and valuable experience to gain that could be used to get over that hump in the future.
Where it got back on track: Has it? The Bears rebounded after the loss to OSU with a 41-38 win over TCU last Saturday but their offense has taken a clear step backward in recent weeks. Over past two games, the Bears are averaging 29 points per game and 4.73 yards per play. During their nine-game win streak to start the season, they averaged 61.2 points per game and 8.52 yards per play. Baylor can prove those performances were just a small blip on the radar with an impressive win over Texas on Saturday, which would secure a share of the Big 12 title or even an outright championship with an OSU loss.
Where it all started: Texas coach Mack Brown sincerely believed his team had a chance to win every game it played this season. The Longhorns were No. 15 in both preseason polls, and all the ingredients were there on paper: A nation-leading 19 returning starters, a fairly favorable schedule and a wide-open Big 12. If junior quarterback David Ash enjoyed the breakout season he anticipated, the Longhorns believed a conference title and a BCS bowl trip were well within reach.
Where it went wrong: A rough night in Provo, Utah. After storms delayed kickoff nearly two hours, Texas took the field against BYU on Sept. 7 and got absolutely whooped, 40-21. The Longhorns defense gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards, 259 coming from QB Taysom Hill, and completely collapsed. Ash suffered a concussion that eventually ended his season after just 2.5 games. Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz that Sunday and replaced him with Greg Robinson. Texas then lost at home the following week to Ole Miss to drop to 1-2.
Where it got back on track: The first step was a 31-21 win over defending Big 12 champ Kansas State, ending a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats. But the big break was Texas finally beating Oklahoma for the first time in four years. The Longhorns stunned then-No. 12 OU 36-20 on Oct. 12 and went on to start 6-0 in the Big 12 before losing to Oklahoma State. The key to that run? Solid play from Case McCoy, a new run-heavy, physical identity on offense and steady improvement defensively since Robinson took over. Now the Longhorns can earn at least a share of the conference title they coveted, and maybe the whole thing, with a win over No. 9 Baylor.
2. When the Big 12 season began, the league drew attention because of its inexperience at quarterback. David Ash of Texas, with 18 starts, led the league. As the Big 12 heads into its final Saturday, only Bryce Petty of Baylor and Jake Waters of Kansas State have started every game. The 10 teams have started 19 different quarterbacks, six of them freshmen. That explains why only three Big 12 guys rank in the top 20 of the QBR: Petty (third), Clint Chelf of Oklahoma State (fifth) and Davis Webb of Texas Tech (18th).
3. Did Chris Petersen wait too long to leave Boise State? He has averaged almost 12 wins a year with the Broncos, taken them to two BCS bowls, and made them a national player. Boise State has gone from 12-1 to 11-2 to 8-4 in its three years in the Mountain West. He also has put his name into a few coaching hats, only to either back off or be passed over, as was the case at USC (assuming that’s why he “withdrew his name” from the search). Petersen seems as if he would fit at Washington. If that gets serious, I hope he takes it.
Matt (Stillwater): Has Bedlam taken over as the Big 12's top rivalry?
Jake Trotter: Bedlam is a long way from overtaking the Red River Rivalry. However, there's no doubt that Bedlam has had more riding on it in terms of Big 12 titles the last five seasons. After the Iron Bowl, Army-Navy, Ohio State-Michigan and the Red River Rivalry, Bedlam has been right there with any rivalry in college football the last five years. It has a chance to only get better, if Oklahoma State can start winning on consistent basis.
Dustin (Tulsa): Is this Trevor Knight's breakout game or is the OSU D too strong?
Jake Trotter: It's a tough matchup for Knight. For one, Oklahoma State has the CBs to lock up OU's WRs on the outside one-on-one. That will allow OSU to add another body to the box, like it did against Baylor. Knight was terrific against K-State, but OSU's front seven is the best in the league. It will not be easy for the Sooners to move the ball.
Harry (Miami): I thought Iowa State was on an upswing. What happened this season? Too many young players? Lack of talent? Poor coaching? All of the above? Thanks.
Jake Trotter: All of the above.
BOXMAN (Everywhere): Assuming OSU and Baylor win, what bowl game do you see Baylor playing in?
Jake Trotter: Cotton Bowl.
Mike (Lenexa, Kan.): Who are your offense/defense players of the year?
Jake Trotter: At the moment, Bryce Petty and Caleb Lavey.
Steven (Atlanta): I'm a Texas fan, but I'm also a realist. Do you think our best defensive ends (Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed) will be able to apply enough pressure on Bryce Petty to give us a chance this weekend?
Jake Trotter: No question. Watch the TCU game. The Frogs got pressure all game.
Patrick (Waco): Who gets the edge in the trenches between Texas and Baylor?
Jake Trotter: Interesting question. Up the middle, Baylor has the advantage on offense. But can its tackles block Reed and Jeffcoat? On the other side of the ball, I think Texas could have success pounding the ball inside.
Handel (Canton): The 2014 Big 12 MVP will be?
Jake Trotter: Petty would have to be the early favorite, right?
Justin (Stillwater): With the season nearing completion, who's your Big 12 head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator of the year?
Jake Trotter: As of today, Art Briles, Philip Montgomery and Glenn Spencer.
KD (Houston): I might have missed it but what's your take on Gary Patterson's rant?
Jake Trotter: I get what Patterson was trying to do, but the timing of it was poor, with Briles having suddenly lost his brother just a couple days before.
Shawn (OK): With the addition of TCU and WV are you surprised that those teams are struggling, even in these last two years the Big 12 has been down?
Jake Trotter: To this degree, yes. There was always going to be an adjustment. But I never expected either team to miss out on bowls in their second seasons in the league.
Larry (Arvada): How much do you HATE WVU... and feel that WVU does not deserve to be in the Big 12... your columns and writings seem to point that out.
Jake Trotter: Why, because I put West Virginia last in the power rankings? That's what happens when you lose to Kansas and Iowa State to finish out the season. Just calling it like I see it.