Burnt Orange Breakdown: Geoff Swaim

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
9:00
AM CT
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Gray, Geoff Swaim
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsGeoff Swaim (left) served as a quality blocker in his first season at Texas.
No. 82 Geoff Swaim
Senior tight end


Recruitment rewind: Swaim was an absolutely unknown commodity prior to his Texas commitment. The junior college tight end from Butte College in California took an official visit to UT in June 2012, got his offer and committed. Credit Bryan Harsin and Bruce Chambers for finding a true sleeper, a juco transfer with no other offers and zero pre-commitment publicity. He ended up being a four-star prospect and ESPN's No. 26-rated juco recruit.

Career so far: Mack Brown would not sign junior college prospects unless he thought they could contribute immediately at a need position. That's what Swaim did in 2013: He played in all 13 games and was credited with nine starts. The honorable mention All-Big 12 tight end was used almost exclusively as a blocker, but he did record three catches for 14 yards.

Best-case scenario for 2014: There figures to be more opportunities for tight ends in Texas' new offense, and Swaim should see his role expand. He was praised by Shawn Watson for having a great spring, and the staff trusts him to set the edge as a blocker. Swaim has never been much of a receiving threat, but his targets should multiply a good deal from the five he got last year. He won't be confused for Jace Amaro, but Swaim can be a sneaky good piece to this offense regardless of who's playing QB.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Being relegated to a blocking-only option would probably be the only thing that would make his senior season a disappointment. Texas has so many talented receivers coming back this fall and will put guys such as Jaxon Shipley and Daje Johnson in the slot a lot, so that might not create a ton of opportunity for Swaim and his fellow tight ends in spread sets. And, of course, if someone else such as M.J. McFarland has their breakthrough, that could mean limited snaps for Swaim.

Future expectations: Swaim's playing time in burnt orange is almost up already. He enters his second and final season at Texas having built up a solid reputation at his position, and he had no trouble transitioning from California juco ball to Big 12 play. The Longhorns are going to run the ball a lot this fall, and Swaim is going to be a big help on that front. He's an important piece to the offense and is getting better.
When Baylor unveils McLane Stadium in its season opener, it will also be unveiling a bronze statue of the school's lone Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, outside the stadium.

RG III's magical 2011 season helped spur the funding for the construction of the $260 million McLane Stadium. Midland, Texas, native Tom White of Tom White Studios in Prescott Valley, Arizona, completed the 9.5-foot bronze sculpture, which will stand in the south end plaza of McLane Stadium.

Griffin joins some exclusive company in the Big 12. Below is a sample of some of the football statues that have been erected outside other Big 12 stadiums:

Crimson Countdown: RB Daniel Brooks

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 34 Daniel Brooks, running back, 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Brooks has never played in a game for the Sooners. He redshirted during the 2012 season after injuring his ACL in high school then didn’t get any playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2013.

Impact in 2014: Brooks will have to force his way onto the field. He's in competition with several talented, young running backs for playing time this fall. There's is minimal experience returning at running back.

Long-term upside: Brooks is talented and showed flashes of ability during the spring game. Nonetheless he faces a tough road to playing time at running back in 2014 and beyond.

Evaluation grade for Brooks: C. Ideally, Brooks would have had some type of impact thus far, even if he just played a role on special teams. After all, several of his fellow 2012 signees are the foundation of OU’s 2014 title hopes, including receiver Sterling Shepard, quarterback Trevor Knight and defensive end Charles Tapper. And several 2013 signees surpassed his productivity in one year on campus. Brooks still has time to make an impact, but he’s clearly looking up at other signees of his class.

Development grade for Brooks: C. The Sooners could have given him a little playing time a year ago, particularly in blowout games, yet chose not to give him playing time. That said, the Sooners have given opportunities to several other players, so the lack of opportunities could fall on Brooks' shoulders as much as anyone else.
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 29 Rashod Favors, defensive end, 6-foot-1, 253 pounds, senior

Impact thus far: Favors' impact has been minimal during his first four years on campus and featured a position change. After a redshirt season in 2010, he played in one game in 2011 as a linebacker. ... In 2012, he had the lone production of his career with 10 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in nine games played. ... In 2013, he played in 12 games, largely in a special teams role. He’s played in 22 career games with zero starts heading into his final season in crimson and cream.

Impact in 2014: Expect Favors to play a similar role to 2013 when he saw spot duty on defense and played a special teams role. He should be a contributor but it would be a surprise if he earns a start this fall.

Long term upside: He’s a contributor, not a game changer, but his experience could prove useful as a senior.

Evaluation grade for Favors: D. He’s a contributor, but entering his senior season without a start drops this grade below average. Favors has played in 22 games as a Sooner, which cannot be overlooked, but more is expected from a Sooners’ signee.

Development grade for Favors: C. Favors flashed some pass-rush ability early in his career but wasn’t moved to the defensive line until his junior season. Yet it’s hard to say he hasn’t gotten opportunities because he has gotten some chances on defense, but other players have simply outperformed him.

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Kennedy Estelle

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
9:00
AM CT
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 77 Kennedy Estelle
Junior offensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: The Under Armour All-American had offers from all over the country (USC, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Notre Dame and Oregon to name a few) but chose the Longhorns after attending a UT summer camp before his senior year. Estelle, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle, was the No. 1 offensive line prospect in Texas and a top-10 in-state recruit.

Career so far: Estelle played in three games as a true freshman backup but missed six games with a left shoulder injury. He broke into the starting lineup in 2013 when Josh Cochran went down and earned starts in eight of Texas' nine conference games. He earned relatively good reviews for his performance, but Estelle was also suspended for the Alamo Bowl vs. Oregon after being ruled academically ineligible.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Estelle appears to be on the right track academically under Charlie Strong's staff, a necessary commitment in order to keep his starting job at right tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, Estelle brings impressive size and a solid year of playing experience to the table.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Strong has zero tolerance for players who don't buy in all the way on their academic responsibilities. He won't be afraid to find someone else at right tackle if Estelle falls short of those expectations. If Desmond Harrison doesn't play up to his great potential, offensive line coach Joe Wickline could move Estelle over to left tackle. That switch isn't as easy as it sounds, but might be necessary if others don't step up.

Future expectations: Estelle could definitely develop into a three-year starter at right tackle, which would be a big plus for the imminent future of this group. The Longhorns lost a big piece of the puzzle up front when Cochran, a 23-game starter, ended his playing career this offseason due to a recurring shoulder injury. A healthy and eligible Estelle answers a big question mark and can be a major asset for Wickline in these next two years.
If you’re just now jumping on board our little road trip, we at the SEC Blog have been getting you ready for the coming season by plotting out our top destinations for each week of the season.

So far we’ve been to some of the usual spots (Athens, Auburn, College Station, Tuscaloosa), and a few outside of the SEC footprint footprint in locals such as Houston and Norman, Oklahoma.

We’ve knocked out 10 weeks of trips in all, which means we’ve got only four more to go. The conference title game in Atlanta is right around the corner.

So without further pause, let’s take a look at the best options for Week 10:

Nov. 8
Alabama at LSU
Texas A&M at Auburn
Florida at Vanderbilt
Georgia at Kentucky
Presbyterian at Ole Miss
UT Martin at Mississippi State

Alex Scarborough’s pick: Alabama at LSU

This game sells itself. The fact that it’s in Death Valley this year only makes it more appealing.

When you think of the SEC, you think of physical, smash-mouth football. And Alabama-LSU is routinely an exhibition of those principles. It’s the one game where offenses truly take a back seat to the defense. It’s the one game where big uglies such as Booger McFarland, Terrence Cody and Glenn Dorsey can steal the show. Sure, the quarterbacks have been good at times, but this is a game for defensive backs such as Mark Barron, Tyrann Mathieu and Eric Reid.

Alabama-LSU has become arguably the most competitive rivalry in all of college football, with only one game decided by double digits since 2007. It’s determined perfect seasons, SEC West championships, and even a national title. It’s showcased countless future NFL draft picks and two of the most successful coaches in the game.

Les Miles versus Nick Saban. That alone is worth the price of admission.

This year’s game has the chance to be another instant classic. The combined talent these two programs have on the defensive line is jaw-dropping. At the same time, the number of gifted running backs on the field will be something to see. And with two first-year starting quarterbacks projected under center, it should be fun to see a heavy dose of the running game for a show of strength versus strength.

Sam Khan's pick: Texas A&M at Auburn

Let's be honest -- the only right answer here is Alabama vs. LSU. Given how often the two are in SEC title (and national title) contention, the amount of talent the two teams have on their rosters, and the personality of the two head coaches, that's the game everyone has their eyes on.

But in the interest of making this diverse and offering a quality alternative option, I offer up the Aggies and the Tigers.

Remember, last season's battle between these two teams was quite intriguing. Auburn ran the ball up and down the field and Texas A&M was proficient itself offensively, led by the always-entertaining Johnny Manziel.

Manziel got injured early in the fourth quarter, adding quite a bit of drama to the proceedings, but was able to re-enter in time to lead a potential game-winning drive. Auburn defense came up with a huge stop though -- capped by a Dee Ford sack -- to secure a 45-41 road win, one that proved crucial in the Tigers' ascent from worst-to-first in the SEC West, which eventually netted them the SEC title and a BCS title game appearance.

Ford and Manziel are among the key players that have moved on to greener pastures in the NFL, but there should still be plenty on the line when these two meet on Nov. 8.

Many feel Auburn is poised for another run at the division and conference titles, so should the Tigers live up to those expectations, every game at this late stage in the regular season will carry significant meaning with the coveted spots to the College Football Playoff up for grabs.

The Aggies, who have said goodbye to their three best offensive players via the NFL draft, won't carry the lofty expectations the Tigers will, but they should still be good enough offensively to make this a competitive and compelling game. If you like offense, this is the game for you, with two of the country's brightest offensive head coaching minds -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin. Talents such as Auburn's Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates, Texas A&M's Ricky Seals-Jones and a handful of quality running backs between the two teams could equate another high-scoring affair.

And for any players who were on the Auburn roster back in 2012, there could be yet another score to settle. The Aggies came in and embarrassed Auburn 63-21 in their last trip to The Plains on Oct. 27, 2012, in the midst of a forgettable 3-9 season. So if defending home turf and everything else mentioned above isn't motivation enough for Auburn, that's an added bit of incentive for any young Tigers who were part of or witnessed that showing.

Manziel meets A&M's future QB

July, 6, 2014
Jul 6
9:32
PM CT
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Texas A&M's past and future quarterbacks got together Sunday, as Heisman winner Johnny Manziel stopped by Elite 11 practices and posed for a picture with Kyler Murray, an Aggies commit and the nation's No. 1 signal-caller in the 2015 class.

 

Crimson Countdown: RB Alex Ross

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
10:00
AM CT
During the summer, ESPN.com is taking a closer look at each scholarship player on Oklahoma’s roster in our Crimson Countdown series. Each day, we analyze each player’s impact on the program since arriving on campus, his potential impact this fall, and his long-term projection. Starting with No. 1 Dominique Alexander, the series follows the roster numerically through No. 98 Chuka Ndulue.

No. 28 Alex Ross, running back, 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, sophomore

Impact thus far: Ross hasn’t made a major impact despite impressing behind closed doors in practice. After a redshirt season in 2012, he played in 10 games in 2013, mostly on special teams, ending the season with three carries for 19 yards.

Impact in 2014: Ross had a strong spring, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him earn some carries this fall. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him duplicate his 2013 production with so many talented running backs on the roster. But, regardless of how much talent is on the roster, Ross will be hard to keep off the field if he starts to maximize his potential.

Long term upside: His size/speed combination is hard to match. If he's healthy, he could become a critical piece in the Sooners' offense in the next few years.

Evaluation grade for Ross: C. Even though he’s impressed in practice, Ross has yet to show that potential during his opportunities in spring games or last season. Until he starts to produce, this grade will rise no higher than average.

Development grade for Ross: C. It wouldn’t have been the worst idea to get him more carries in 2013, but he has to play his part in earning those opportunities. Keith Ford’s rise up the depth chart is a sign that the opportunity to play is there if someone is focused on grabbing it.

Quotable: “I paid my dues and waited my time. I felt like I needed time to get acclimated to everything around here. I feel like I’ve matured a little bit just in getting bigger and knowing what to do in my part," said Ross, on the chance to play in 2014.

Schedule Analysis: Oklahoma State

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
2:00
PM CT
We are a month away from the beginning of fall camps, and two months from the start of the season. With the 2014 season arriving in the not-too-distant future, it’s time for us to break down every Big 12 team’s complete schedule.

Starting in reverse alphabetical order, we continue this series off with the Oklahoma State Cowboys:

Nonconference opponents (with 2013 record)

Aug. 30: Florida State in Arlington, Texas (14-0)
Sept. 6: Missouri State (5-7 in FCS)
Sept. 13: UTSA (7-5)

Big 12 home games

Sept. 25: Texas Tech
Oct. 4: Iowa State
Oct. 25: West Virginia
Nov. 15: Texas

Big 12 road games

Oct. 11: at Kansas
Oct. 18: at TCU
Nov. 1: at Kansas State
Nov. 22: at Baylor
Dec. 6: at Oklahoma

Gut-check time: Pistol Pete better bring his big-boy lunch pail to AT&T Stadium. But when OSU opens with Florida State this year’s youthful version of the Cowboys is more likely to bring a superhero kids’ version. If OSU shocks the nation and upsets the defending national champions it wouldn’t be the first time Mike Gundy’s program has surprised during a “rebound” year. But make no mistake, Jameis Winston and the Seminoles provide the sternest test of the season for OSU, particularly as a season opener with the entire nation watching.

Trap game: When OSU hosts West Virginia in late October the Cowboys could be looking past the Mountaineers toward a four-game stretch that includes Kansas State, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma to end the season. OSU has been tough to beat at Boone Pickens Stadium in recent years, going 28-6 since 2009, so its easy to slot this in as a win, particularly with the Pokes looking to avenge their 2013 loss to WVU. But the Mountaineers, with several staff members having OSU ties, could prove to be a Cowboys’ nightmare right before Halloween.

Snoozer: It’s hard to imagine OSU’s home opener against Missouri State becoming anything more than another destruction of a FCS foe. There should be plenty of points as OSU tries to get its offense off to a strong start despite uncertainty at several positions. The talented Cowboys should be able to recover from any mental mistakes against MSU with sheer physical talent.

Telltale stretch: The Cowboys have a difficult final stretch of the season, but OSU’s three-game start to October could actually define its season more than a final four run of KSU, UT, BU and OU. If OSU struggles at home against Iowa State, then on the road against Kansas and TCU, it might not matter how it fares in November and early December. The Cowboys should be seasoned enough to have success once October starts, and it will be critical for OSU to find a way to go 3-0 during that stretch if it hopes to have a successful 2014 campaign.

Final analysis: The Pokes have one of the most difficult schedules in the conference. Things jump off with a bang against the Seminoles then end MMA-style with the Cowboys facing punch after punch against the Big 12's best down the home stretch. Gundy’s squad will need to grow up quickly and, most importantly, refuse to let their confidence waver when they run into struggles this fall, or a bowl-less campaign could be in play.
Dorial Green-Beckham has joined Oklahoma’s football program after visiting the campus in Norman, Oklahoma, on Thursday. The former Missouri receiver is slated to sit out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules but will likely try to get a waiver to be eligible to play immediately.

OU’s pursuit of Green-Beckham makes sense on many levels. The Sooners were one of the finalists for Green-Beckham when the receiver was making his final choice out of high school, OU is searching for proven playmakers at receiver and Green-Beckham’s talent is unquestioned.

[+] EnlargeDorial Green-Beckham
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe physical attributes of ex-Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham might not outweigh the potential distraction he could bring to Oklahoma.
Unless he allows his off-the-field struggles to continue to derail his future, Green-Beckham is a future NFL player. His physical gifts make him one of the top talents in college football with his tremendous size, athleticism and ball skills. There are no doubts he has the ability to change games with his talent.

Yet OU’s decision to add the elite receiver could end up being the wrong move.

Everyone deserves a second chance, and it’s too early to simply write Green-Beckham off as a troubled individual with no hope for the change that maturity and personal growth would bring. At 21 years old, he still has time to mature. Bob Stoops and the Sooners' coaching staff are banking on his maturation process going smoothly at OU.

But adding Green-Beckham to the mix brings distractions and questions that make it easy to ask the question: Is he worth it?

Although inexperienced, the Sooners are not in horrible shape at the receiver position. Junior receiver Sterling Shepard has the ability to put up numbers second to none in the Big 12 this fall and will enter the season as quarterback Trevor Knight's No. 1 target. Behind Shepard, the Sooners have several talented underclassmen with terrific potential, including sophomore Derrick Woods, redshirt freshman Jordan Smallwood and several others. The 2014 season is an opportunity for those receivers to grow, mature and improve.

Green-Beckham’s off-the-field problems are well-documented, and on the heels of Texas Tech’s dismissal of Nigel Bethel II for allegedly punching a Tech women’s basketball player, Green-Beckham’s addition could be considered a bad PR move for OU. Like it or not, it looks like OU is taking a “win-at-all-costs” mentality.

The Sooners will contend that is just surface-level conjecture. Under Stoops, the Sooners haven’t hesitated to give players second chances and strive to help instead of discard players when they run into off-the-field struggles. OU clearly believes it can help Green-Beckham by giving him a new environment and chance to redeem himself while he provides a significant boost to the team's national title pursuit. And the former Missouri receiver sounds like he understands he could be looking at his final chance.

“I appreciate this opportunity from Coach Stoops and the University of Oklahoma,” Green-Beckham said in a statement issued by the university. “There are people here who will help me build a strong foundation. I’ve disappointed myself and others in the past. I know that I have a lot of work to do and I’m ready to get started. OU is a great program and I feel privileged to be part of it.”

The Sooners have the talent to compete for national championships, even without the ultra-talented former Tiger, during the next few seasons. If the Sooners come up short in their title pursuits, it’s unlikely we’ll point to a lack of production from their receivers as the culprit. In addition, it’s quite possible Green-Beckham, regarded as a top prospect for the 2015 NFL draft, never plays a down in Norman if his waiver appeal for immediate eligibility is denied and he declares for the draft after sitting out the 2014 season.

Thus, there are major questions about the decision to add Green-Beckham, particularly with a best-case scenario that likely includes just one season of production from the Missouri native before he heads to greener pastures in the NFL.

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Kent Perkins

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
1:00
PM CT
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 76 Kent Perkins
Sophomore offensive guard


Recruitment rewind: Perkins committed just days after landing his Texas offer and chose the Longhorns after junior day visits to Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The ESPN 300 lineman from Lake Highlands High near Dallas was the first of five offensive line pledges and a three-year starter at tackle in high school. In Perkins, Texas signed the No. 1 offensive tackle in the state and No. 4 nationally.

Career so far: Perkins was one of only three Texas true freshmen who played in 2013, along with Tyrone Swoopes and Jacorey Warrick. He earned his first career start at right tackle against Texas Tech and played in five more games, typically as the backup to Kennedy Estelle. When Josh Cochran was essentially lost for the season, Perkins stepped up and chipped in when needed. He suffered a minor knee injury that shut him down for more than two weeks of spring ball and the spring game.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Perkins breaks into a starting role at right guard or right tackle. What makes him so valuable to the Texas offensive line is his ability to play inside or outside, along with the size (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) and power you would want. Once he gets healthy, he's going to challenge for a major role somewhere on Joe Wickline's offensive line.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: No downside here. If for some reason Perkins isn't a starter for the opener, he'd still be one of the first linemen off the bench and would help keep the rest of the line fresh. Texas needs depth and options, something it hasn't had much of in recent seasons, and Perkins is going to help no matter what he's asked to do.

Future expectations: Perkins has the look of a potential three-year starter and a future pro if he stays healthy and on the right course. Wickline loves to cross-train his big men at every position on the line, and Perkins is the perfect kind of player who will fit wherever needed. The competition will be stiff at right guard, but he can win that job, or challenge Estelle at tackle. Either way, you're going to see a lot of him in 2014 and beyond.

Schedule analysis: TCU

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
12:30
PM CT
We are a month away from the beginning of fall camps, and two months from the start of the season. With the 2014 season arriving in the not-too-distant future, it's time for us to break down every Big 12 team’s complete schedule.

Starting in reverse alphabetical order, we continue this series off with the TCU Horned Frogs:

Nonconference opponents (with 2013 record)

Aug. 30: Samford (8-5 in FCS)
Sept. 13: Minnesota (8-5)
Sept. 27: SMU (5-7)

Big 12 home games

Oct. 4: Oklahoma
Oct. 18: Oklahoma State
Oct. 25: Texas Tech
Nov. 8: Kansas State
Dec. 6: Iowa State

Big 12 road games

Oct. 11: at Baylor
Nov. 1: at West Virginia
Nov. 15: at Kansas
Nov. 27: at Texas

Gut-check time: Oklahoma’s early October visit to Amon G. Carter Stadium will have a major implications on the Horned Frogs' season. Gary Patterson’s squad can send a message to the entire conference with a win, while an early setback could create a snowball effect with Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech rounding out the schedule in October. TCU’s offense, in particular, will have to be ready for this battle against one of the Big 12’s top defenses with only three games to find some type of rhythm beforehand.

Trap game: The Horned Frogs’ mid-November trip to Kansas could be harder than expected. TCU will be coming off six straight weeks of tough conference contests with an eye on a Thanksgiving tilt with Texas. It would be easy for TCU to overlook the Jayhawks. Can KU make it pay if they do? That’s the bigger question.

Snoozer: Even though it is the debut of Doug Meachem and Sonny Cumbie’s offense, the season opener against Samford should be a snoozefest. Even if the new offense scores zero points, TCU’s defense is so talented they have the potential to outscore their FCS foe by themselves. It remains a game to watch just to see how the new offense will look, but if you’re still watching after the first quarter TCU could have a problem.

Telltale stretch: Oklahoma, at Baylor, Oklahoma State. Three of the four teams that finished atop the Big 12 standings in 2013 will battle the Horned Frogs during the first three weeks of October. The Sooners and Bears provide different tests, with OU’s strong defense and Baylor’s explosive offense followed by young Cowboys squad with enough talent to make TCU pay if it is beaten up from the previous two weeks. A 2-1 record during this stretch would make it clear that TCU will be a difficult challenge for any conference team with title hopes. Better yet, an undefeated run through this stretch could make the Horned Frogs the Big 12 favorite.

Final analysis: If TCU returns to a bowl game or battles for a Big 12 title, the Horned Frogs would have earned it. Patterson’s squad has three games to get ready for conference play, including an underrated test from Minnesota, then its conference slate begins with back-to-back games against Big 12 favorites OU and Baylor. The Horned Frogs defense is likely to keep them in any game and the home stretch of the 2014 conference schedule is much kinder than the beginning. It’s very likely we will know everything we need to know about TCU and its new offense by mid-October.

Poll: '00 Oklahoma or '05 Texas?

July, 3, 2014
Jul 3
9:30
AM CT
Our Big 12 16-team BCS era playoff had so much promise.

But off the bat, unsavory collusion from the state of Ohio bounced the 2005 Texas Longhorns from the bracket in the very first matchup in the very first round to rob the tournament of legitimacy.

With no other national champion in its path, the 2000 Oklahoma Sooners cruised with ease through all four rounds to capture our Big 12 BCS era playoff title.

Now it's time to find out whether the '00 Sooners would have won the title anyway.

Now it's time to pit them head-to-head with the '05 Longhorns.

Both teams went undefeated, toppling the preeminent programs of their day (USC/Florida State) in the national championship behind a pair of all-time great title game performances (Vince Young/OU’s defense).

But who do you think was best?

Tell us by voting in the weekly Big 12 poll.

SportsNation

Which team would win?

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Discuss (Total votes: 4,766)

2005 TEXAS LONGHORNS

Record: 13-0

Final ranking: No. 1

Top player: QB Vince Young

Consensus All-America:Young, OT Jonathan Scott, DT Rod Wright, S Michael Huff

First-Team All-Big 12:Young, Scott, Wright, Huff, OL Justin Blalock, DE Tim Crowder, LB Aaron Harris, CB Cedric Griffin

Second-Team All-Big 12: RB Jamaal Charles, TE David Thomas, DT Frank Okam

Best wins: at No. 4 Ohio State (25-22); Oklahoma (45-12); No. 10 Texas Tech (52-17); Colorado (70-3, Big 12 championship); USC (41-38, national championship)

Losses: None

2000 OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Record: 13-0

Final ranking: No. 1

Top player: QB Josh Heupel

Consensus All-America: Heupel, LB Rocky Calmus

First-Team All-Big 12: Heupel, Calmus, DT Ryan Fisher, S Roy Williams, S J.T. Thatcher

Second-Team All-Big 12: QB Quentin Griffin, WR Antwone Savage, OT Frank Romero, LB Torrance Marshall, P Jeff Ferguson

Best wins: No. 11 Texas (63-14); at No. 2 Kansas State (41-31); No. 1 Nebraska (31-14); at No. 23 Texas A&M (35-31); No. 8 Kansas State (27-24, Big 12 Championship); No. 3 Florida State (13-2, national championship)

Losses: None

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Camrhon Hughes

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
2:00
PM CT
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 71 Camrhon Hughes
Sophomore offensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: Hughes, a four-star tackle from Harker Heights, Texas, turned down offers from Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech and chose Texas during a junior day visit in 2011. He enrolled early in the spring of 2012 and was joined at Texas by his younger brother, linebacker Naashon Hughes, after his first year in the program.

Career so far: Hughes has been a Longhorn for two years and has not appeared in a game. He redshirted in 2012 after sustaining a torn ACL during a pickup basketball game that summer, and Hughes did not appear on the depth chart at any point last season. He was a scout-team contributor and did not start on either offensive line in the spring game scrimmage.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Hughes is probably a third-string offensive tackle at this point and will try to work his way into the rotation as a backup to either Desmond Harrison at left tackle or Kennedy Estelle at right tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds, he's certainly not lacking for the size you want on the outside. If he can earn a backup job and play a good amount of snaps in relief of the starters, that would be a great start.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Texas has not been able to find much reliable depth at offensive line behind its starters in recent years, and you'd hope that trend will end under respected offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Hughes is one of those players who can get lost in the mix, backing up younger linemen, if he doesn't make a step in the right direction this fall.

Future expectations: Hughes has plenty of time to get his Texas playing career back on track, with three seasons of eligibility remaining, and the truth is he wouldn't have broken into the veteran-heavy lineup last season even if he were fully healthy and ready to go. The Longhorns are probably going to have a real question mark at left tackle in 2015 after Harrison graduates, and that's probably the job Hughes should focus on landing.
In the world of college football, staying stagnant puts you behind. If you aren't trying to get bigger, strong and faster on the field, you're lost.

But you're also going to suffer if the environment surrounding your program isn't sparkling and dazzling to look at.

That's why stadium expansion is running rampant and why video scoreboards are getting bigger, brighter and bolder. High-definition screens have grown and more entertaining videos and graphics have made it into college football stadiums.

Fans love what's happening on the field, but looking up and seeing all those detailed pixels rounds out the game-day experience.

But does size really matter? Do we really care how large JumboTrons are? Do fancy graphics bring you to more games?

For athletic departments, the answer is a resounding yes, or they wouldn't bother. A massive big screen also looks pretty nice on all those recruiting visits.

They might be obnoxiously big and a little unnecessary, but we love them all the same. Here are the 10 biggest and most entertaining scoreboards in college football:

Texas Memorial Stadium scoreboard 140701Karl Wright/USA TODAY SportsThe video board at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is 55 feet tall and 134 feet long.

1. Texas: Well, there's one thing that Longhorns fans can cheer about: That enormous video board that basically takes up one side of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The board stands 55 feet tall and is 134 feet long, measuring around 7,370 square feet. Texas' board has been the largest in college football since 2006 (see Texas A&M below) and has a beautiful pixel pitch (the distance between pixel clusters, is a measure of high definition) of 20mm and native resolution of 2064-by-848. Texas' gigantic LED board provides fans with a bodaciously big Bevo. That screen should also really make Charlie Strong's muscles pop!

Kyle Field videoboardsCourtesy of Texas A&M AthleticsTexas A&M's new scoreboard will be the biggest in college football.

2. Texas A&M: They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that's exactly what the Aggies are getting with their new video board at Kyle Field. Rival Texas had the country's largest video board. But with Texas A&M throwing $450 million into stadium renovations, it only made sense that the Aggies' brain trust best the Longhorns. This board could be No. 1, but since we haven't seen it live, second place is where it goes. The Daktronics 13HD LED video board will be the first in college football to have 1080 resolution (that's 1,080 lines that create the image). It will sit in the south end zone, measure 47-by-163 and have nearly 300 more square feet (7,661) than Texas' big board.

3. Arkansas: It might not have the largest square feet (6,286), but it's actually the longest video board in the country at 166.3 feet. And it stands 37.8 feet tall. With strong player introductions and graphics, there has been plenty to take Razorbacks fans' minds off of the subpar play exhibited by their team over the last two seasons. The massive SMARTVISION video display creates a dazzling backdrop behind the north end zone while standing atop Arkansas' indoor practice facility.

Coliseum video boardCal Sports Media via AP ImagesThe scoreboard at the L.A. Coliseum is 150 feet by 40 feet (6,000 square feet).

4. USC: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is iconic in its own right, but the construction of its video board in 2011 gave the stadium a high-tech reboot. With a native resolution of 3,000-by-792, the Coliseum's board brings the Troy faithful one of the nation's best pictures at the size of 150 feet by 40 feet (6,000 square feet). It's currently the fifth largest video board in the country. What really gives it life is the raucous and impressively entertaining pregame player entrance that fills the board just before each home game.

Sun Life Stadium scoreboardAP Photo/Paul SpinelliThe scoreboard at Sun Life Stadium is the third largest in college football.

5. Miami: The Hurricanes and their fellow students might have to travel some 20 miles from their Coral Gables campus to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, but it's well worth it when they see what the stadium's big screen is packing. Before Texas came along, Sun Life owned the nation's biggest board. Now Miami sits in third place on the list, with a screen that measures 6,717 square feet (138.5-by-48.5). That's a very big Al Golden.

Arizona Stadium scoreboardChris Morrison/USA TODAY SportsThe scoreboard at Arizona is also Xbox compatible, making for an impressive game of Madden.

6. Arizona: The video board inside Arizona Stadium is 5,264 square feet (112-by-47), but there's more to it than just the size. When it was constructed 2011, Arizona's administration decided to make it more than just a fan experience; they created a player and recruit experience. This bad boy not only introduces players and coaches in high quality, it also is Xbox compatible. Is it necessary to play video games on a screen with 1,728-by-720 resolution? Absolutely not, but it's awesome just the same.

Mississippi State scoreboardCourtesy of Mississippi StateAs if one giant video screen wasn't enough, Mississippi State is building another across the stadium.
7. Mississippi State: Back in 2008, the school used $6.1 million to construct a true HD board that spans the roof of the Leo Seal M-Club Center in the south end zone of Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. This behemoth stands 152 feet wide by 135.6 feet tall, with a main HD screen stretching 111 feet by 47 feet. When that thing lights up at night and the cowbells are clanking, you feel like some mythical creature is going to slither out of that pigskin sanctuary.

Oklahoma Memorial Stadium scoreboardJackson Laizure/Getty ImagesThe video board at Oklahoma will soon be expanding from its already-impressive size.

8. Oklahoma: It's only natural that “Big Game Bob” has a big-game board. It's barely shorter in length than Arkansas' monstrosity (166 feet) and is very aesthetically pleasing with its 3,168-by-600 resolution. And soon it will get bigger. A planned $370 million renovation of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will make the video board 8,750-square feet, up from 5,146-square feet.

Spartan Stadium scoreboardAP Photo/Al GoldisIn 2012, Michigan State increased the size of its scoreboard by nearly tenfold.

9. Michigan State: Talk about an upgrade. When the school decided it was time to expand its puny scoreboard in 2012, the size grew from 567 square feet to a massive 5,300 square feet. It was a part of a $10 million project to upgrade the entire stadium's viewing experience. This gives a whole new meaning to The Big Green

Ohio Stadium scoreboardJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe scoreboard at Ohio Stadium also features 25 speakers on each side.

10. Ohio State: The Buckeyes' high-def Panasonic scoreboard measures 42 feet by 124 feet and has an array of 25 speakers on each side. You get great picture quality along with fantastic sound. The fans also are offered some pretty neat extras, like videos of student-athletes and teams, interactive features with former Buckeyes and quality player introductions.

Honorable mentions

Baylor: McLane Stadium's seating capacity might be shrinking, but the JumboTron is growing. The board at the new stadium will measure 47 feet high by 107 feet wide and will feature a 15 HD pixel layout this fall.

Minnesota: It measures 48 feet tall by 108 feet long, but what really sets it apart is the fact that it displayed YouTube sensation “Dramatic Gopher” to distract Wisconsin kicker Jack Russell last fall. The gopher went 1-for-2 in distractions on the day.

South Carolina: The atmosphere already is electric enough before and during games, but add a 4,464-square-foot crowing rooster and it’s quite the image.

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