Dallas Colleges: Colorado Buffaloes

States of strength: Texas RBs 

May, 15, 2014
May 15
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When it comes to running backs, the state of Texas is loaded. Ten running backs represent the Lone Star State in the ESPN 300. Of those 10, five are committed. A total of seven running backs in the state have reported FBS commitments.

ESPN 300 RBs from the state:

No. 50 Ronald Jones II: Ranked the nation’s No. 3 running back, Jones is an explosive, game-changing back who -- as scary as it might sound -- will only get better. Jones committed to Oklahoma State on April 6 and finished his junior season with more than 2,400 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.

Calm summer a welcome respite for Big 12

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
9:00
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Did you hear that on Monday? The sweet sound of silence? Not a single goodbye or hello for a conference that's gotten used to those over the past three years.

The ACC held a special celebration in New York City to welcome Pitt and Syracuse, while the old Big East officially died and gave birth to The American, an aptly named league stretching from Connecticut to SMU in Dallas, though San Diego State and Boise State bailed before the doors were open.

Around the Big 12, though? July 1 was exactly what it's supposed to be: The beginning of a holiday-shortened week with no real news to fill the no-man's land of early July in college sports. That's a welcome development for the Big 12, which hasn't enjoyed that kind of quiet in July since all the way back in 2009.

In 2010, Nebraska had already announced plans to leave for the Big Ten and Colorado for the Pac-12, leading to an awkward Big 12 Media Days in late July and an even more awkward farewell season. July 1, 2011 was the day the Huskers and Buffaloes were officially gone. Later that month, the Big 12 members played nice and put on an, uh, interesting show at Media Days while working on a grant of rights deal.

Before conference play even heated up, Missouri and Texas A&M were gone, leaving the Big 12 to hand out invites to TCU and West Virginia. The moves became official on July 1, 2012.

Which leaves us to this week. The Big 12 sees itself in a position of strength after signing a 13-year grant of rights deal, and the ACC signing a similar deal took attractive options like Florida State, Clemson or Louisville mostly off the Big 12's radar.

At Big 12 meetings in Dallas last month, every league administrator I talked to couldn't help but smile at how little (which is to say, almost nil) conversation centered around expansion. That was a new development for the Big 12, which has been largely centered on the issue for the past three years.

The Big 12 can't replace the tradition, proximity and quality that programs like Nebraska, Texas A&M, Missouri and Colorado left behind, but handed out $22 million to members this year and the league's meeting table is as cordial as it's ever been.

There's no denying the Big 12 suffered major losses in realignment and now sits with a name that doesn't match its membership. Still, for a conference a few steps away from death on two occasions, stability, big money and success on the field (90 percent of the league qualifying for a bowl in 2012 was the highest in CFB history) have changed the perception of a conference most viewed as doing little more than stalling on its deathbed.

TCU and West Virginia relished lifesavers out of a dying Big East and for TCU, a reunion with old Southwest Conference rivals. It was a rough first year for both programs, but the Big 12 is unlikely to add any members any time soon as college football exits the BCS era and enters the playoff era.

Travel issues have provided hiccups for the Mountaineers, and a leaky defense showed the transition would look a lot different than it did in WVU's dreams. A drug scandal at TCU wasn't a good look for the newcomers, and quarterback Casey Pachall's off-field troubles assured the Frogs a disappointing debut.

It wasn't perfect, but it worked. Those problems were microscopic compared to the major fractures that led to four members' departures. Those departures were major blows for the Big 12, but it survived, and this July, enjoyed the tranquility of a league with good football, big money and the knowledge of who'll be in its league for the foreseeable future.

That's a plot pretty close to the Big 12's best-case scenario for a league that lost four founding members in two years.
The NCAA released the Academic Progress Rate numbers for the 2010-11 school year this week, and the Big 12 did well, even though one school is flirting with some trouble in the future.

APR is a complex formula that's difficult to explain, but here's the explanation from the NCAA's website.
A Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team awards the full complement of 85 grants-in-aid. If 80 student-athletes remain in school and academically eligible, three remain in school but are academically ineligible and two drop out academically ineligible, the team earns 163 of 170 possible points for that term. Divide 163 by 170 and multiply by 1,000 to determine that the team’s Academic Progress Rate for that term is 959.

Yes, that's as unnecessarily complex as it sounds. Oh well. Anyway, it's a rolling four-year figure that's released each year, and teams that score below 925 and have a player who failed academically and left school can lose scholarships. Teams whose APR score drops below 900 face additional sanctions.

Here's how the Big 12's football teams did for the 2010-11 school year, courtesy of the NCAA website (includes Big 12 expats, because they were in the league at the time).

1. Missouri: 972

2. Kansas: 971

3. Oklahoma: 970

4. Nebraska: 966

5. Baylor: 956

T-6. Texas A&M: 946

T-6. Texas Tech: 946

8. Kansas State: 943

T-9. Colorado: 938

T-9. Iowa State: 938

11. Texas: 937

12. Oklahoma State: 928

Careful, Cowboys. Either way, everybody's safe this year.

If you're curious, West Virginia checked in with a score of 953, which would have ranked sixth in the Big 12. TCU, though, had a score of 973, which topped every Big 12 school. Very nice, Frogs.

You can see more data here.

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