Dallas Colleges: TCU Horned Frogs

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.

The media voted Oklahoma as the clear preseason favorite to win the Big 12.

But the league’s players give the slight edge to Baylor as the team to beat in the Big 12 this season.

This week, the Big 12 blog team anonymously polled 30 of the 39 players that attended Big 12 media days.

Oklahoma received 47 of 56 first-place media votes in the Big 12’s preseason poll, which was released last week. But 43 percent of the players polled said the defending Big 12 champion Bears were actually the team to beat in the league, narrowly topping the Sooners.

The players were asked several other questions about the league, including its most impressive coach, its most obnoxious team, and its most underrated player.

The results of the poll:

(Note: players were not allowed to answer their own school or any teammate in any of the questions)

Who is the team to beat this year in the Big 12?

Baylor: 43%

Oklahoma: 40%

Kansas State: 6%

Oklahoma State: 6%

Texas: 3%

Who is the league’s most impressive coach?

Kliff Kingsbury: 24%

Bill Snyder: 21%

Art Briles: 17%

Bob Stoops: 14%

If you could draft an opposing Big 12 player and put him on your team, who would it be?

Baylor QB Bryce Petty: 27%

Baylor WR Antwan Goodley: 15%

Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett: 12%

Kansas State QB Jake Waters: 12%

Who is the league’s most underrated player?

Waters: 10%

TCU DT Davion Pierson: 10%

Iowa State TE E.J. Bibbs: 10%

Other answers: Kansas State DE Ryan Mueller, Texas Tech LB Sam Eguavoen, Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma State LB Ryan Simmons, Baylor DE Shawn Oakman, Kansas State C BJ Finney, TCU CB Kevin White, Baylor RB Devin Chafin, Baylor RB Johnny Jefferson, Kansas State CB Randall Evans, Oklahoma State DT James Castleman

Who is the team you’re most fired up to play?

Texas: 24%

Kansas State: 21%

Oklahoma: 21%

Baylor: 10%

Who is the most obnoxious team in the league?

TCU: 21%

Baylor: 18%

Texas: 14%

Texas Tech: 14%

What program has the best pregame intro?

Oklahoma: 27%

Oklahoma State: 19%

Texas: 15%

Who do you predict will make the inaugural playoff?

(Note: Players were allowed to include Big 12 teams here)

Florida State: 20%

Oregon: 16%

Alabama: 15%

Other top vote-getters: Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Stanford

Predicting the 2014 season: Week 12

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
Our series of preseason picks for every single Big 12 game of 2014 continues today with Week 12. Not a good week to be the home team, evidently.

More Big 12 predictions for 2014.

Texas 28, at Oklahoma State 27: Even with the Pokes in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings, you knew this game was going to be a tricky one for Texas. The Longhorns find the end zone with 2 minutes left -- no controversial fumble this time, either -- and Charlie Strong's defense clamps down once J.W. Walsh crosses the 50, securing victory with a fourth-down sack off the edge on a risky blitz from Quandre Diggs.

TCU 35, at Kansas 15: TCU lets the Jayhawks into the red zone too many times early on, but keeps forcing field goals and rallies in the third on some big-time playmaking from Trevone Boykin, who notches a touchdown reception and a long touchdown run as a Wildcat quarterback. The missed opportunities in the first half cost KU a chance to capitalize off its win over ISU the week before.

Oklahoma 38, at Texas Tech 34: The Trevor Knight vs. Davis Webb duel, with the crown for the Big 12's second-best QB on the line, does not disappoint. Tech takes a double-digit lead into the start of the fourth quarter, but Knight flips the switch with heroics that can only be described as Sugar Bowl-caliber and connects with Taylor McNamara on third-and-goal for the go-ahead score in the final minute to clinch victory in a downright brawl.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Oklahoma -- 9-1, 6-1
2. Kansas State -- 7-2, 5-1
3. Baylor -- 7-2, 4-2
4. Texas -- 7-4, 5-3
5. TCU -- 7-3, 4-3
6. Texas Tech -- 6-4, 3-4
7. Oklahoma State -- 5-5, 3-4
8. West Virginia -- 4-6, 3-3
9. Kansas -- 3-7, 1-6
10. Iowa State -- 2-7, 0-6

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
The Big 12's head coaches are in Dallas today for Big 12 media days, but that doesn't mean they aren't busy as usual recruiting like crazy. The latest on each Big 12 program's recruiting efforts:

Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Bears are capitalizing on their 2013 success in a big way for the future: Baylor might have the nation's top 2016 recruiting class at this point with six verbal pledges. Baylor landed one of its most impressive victories in a long time Friday when offensive tackle Patrick Hudson, a top-20 prospect for 2016, flipped to BU after being committed to Texas A&M for nearly four months. But that's not all. Art Briles and his staff also landed receiver Tren'Davian Dickson and local defensive back Eric Cuffee this weekend and locked up a big-time talent last week in ESPN Junior 300 running back Kameron Martin.

Total commits: 6
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: We mentioned him in last week's Big 12 scorecard, and the big week is finally here. Running back Devine Ozigbo is set to announce his commitment on Tuesday at 2 p.m., and trimmed his list of 20 offense down to three: Iowa, Iowa State and Boise State. The three-star back is a top-100 recruit in the state of Texas and would be an important get for the Cyclones who could play right away for them.

Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: When you're able to get a player as talented as receiver Kevin Thomas on campus, you've got to lock him up. The Jayhawks did just that last week, securing a commitment from the three-star wideout from Texas powerhouse DeSoto High School, during his unofficial visit. Thomas chose KU over offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Nebraska and Clemson and is now KU's highest-rated pledge.

Total commits: 8
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Wildcat's newest commitment came from three-star defensive end Josh Little of Oklahoma City Millwood. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound lineman picked KSU over a handful of offers, including from Arizona State, Purdue, Washington State and Iowa State. Little hails from the same high school that produced All-Big 12 receiver Tyler Lockett and racked up 76 tackles and five sacks as a junior.

Total commits: 7
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: Former Sooners commit defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin has set a decision date for Sept. 15, and he still has OU in his final three. The three-star recruit from Houston Cypress Falls is down to OU, Texas and LSU. While Texas is currently in the lead, Lampkin is planning to give the Sooners one last chance to sway him with his official visit for the Sept. 13 game against Tennessee.

Total commits: 8
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Three-star offensive tackle Joshua Jones released his top five this weekend and Oklahoma State made the list along with TCU, Texas Tech, Purdue and Wake Forest. The big 6-foot-6, 271-pound lineman hails from Bush High School in the Houston area, and it wouldn't be a surprise if this comes down to an OSU-TCU battle.

Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: TCU landed its first verbal commit for the class of 2016, from defensive end Jonathan Marshall, during its final summer camp. The Shepherd, Texas, standout is 6-foot-3 and 256 pounds and had early offers from Oklahoma State and North Texas. It's possible another commitment could come Monday from three-star DeSoto (Texas) defensive tackle Bryce English, a former Texas commit who is set to choose between TCU, Arkansas, Arizona State and UCLA.

Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: Texas did not land any new commitments off its inaugural "Under The Lights" camp on Friday, but ESPN Junior 300 offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez came close to announcing a decision Saturday and has Texas and Baylor at the top of his list. The Longhorns also hosted a critical unofficial visit from four-star QB Kai Locksley and his father, Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. He's set to make a commitment to either UT, Florida State or Maryland during his season opener.

Total commits: 7
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: The Red Raiders got a big opportunity recently to ensure one of their top commits stays in the fold. Three-star running back Corey Dauphine, who has long been rumored to be considering a flip to Texas A&M or Baylor, took an unofficial visit to Lubbock and went home saying he felt 100-percent solid with his commitment. Dauphine could still take a trip to A&M in early August, but this was a big step in the right direction for Tech's chances.

Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: WVU's newest pledge should be a familiar name: Three-star QB David Sills. As a 13-year-old, he made a (very) early commitment to USC and then-coach Lane Kiffin. He went back on the market this year -- he didn't have much of a relationship with Steve Sarkisian -- and the Mountaineers won out for the standout from Eastern Christian Academy in Maryland. Stills is up to 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds and should be a fairly polished passer when he arrives in Morgantown after years of training with famed QB coach Steve Clarkson.
Our series of preseason picks for every single Big 12 game of 2014 continues today with Week 11. Oklahoma and Baylor, the preseason favorites in the Big 12, face off at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in one of the season's most anticipated games.

More Big 12 predictions for 2014.

at Kansas 35, Iowa State 34: One of the most entertaining games of the season goes largely unnoticed as the Jayhawks and Cyclones offenses go back-and-forth in the fourth quarter. A late Montell Cozart touchdown run followed by an interception by Ben Heeney cements the win for KU.

Kansas State 23, at TCU 20: Bill Snyder’s squad uses a Tyler Lockett kickoff return for a touchdown and a late TCU turnover to grab the road win over the Horned Frogs and further cement its place among Big 12 title contenders. Neither offense is stellar but K-State makes key plays and key conversions when they need them while TCU’s offense fails in those key moments, ultimately providing the difference as K-State improves to 5-1 in the Big 12.

at Texas 31, West Virginia 21: With UT treading water at .500 in Big 12 play, the Longhorns take on an “us against the world” mentality and begin what they hope will be late-season rally, starting with a home win over the Mountaineers. Longhorn running back Johnathan Gray finishes with 150 yards and two scores as WVU’s defense doesn’t have an answer for the Longhorns running game.

at Oklahoma 35, Baylor 24: The Sooners defense is stellar against Baylor’s offense, limiting the Bears to three touchdowns while forcing two turnovers that set up a pair of Sooners scores. OU's Trevor Knight outduels BU's Bryce Petty, throwing for two touchdowns and zero interceptions while Petty’s two touchdown tosses are offset by an interception and fumble. And four different OU defenders record sacks as OU harasses Petty into one of his worst games of the year. Ultimately, the hostile road environment at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is too much for Art Briles' group to overcome as the Sooners cement themselves in the driver's seat in the Big 12 title race.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Oklahoma -- 8-1, 5-1
2. Kansas State -- 7-2, 5-1
3. Baylor -- 7-2, 4-2
4. Texas -- 6-4, 4-3
5. TCU -- 6-3, 3-3
6. Texas Tech -- 6-3, 3-3
7. Oklahoma State -- 5-4, 3-3
8. West Virginia -- 4-6, 3-3
9. Kansas -- 3-6, 1-5
10. Iowa State -- 2-7, 0-6

Big 12 media days preview: Day 1

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
Big 12 media days have finally arrived. Here’s what to expect from Day 1 in Dallas:

Baylor Bears

Attending: Coach Art Briles, quarterback Bryce Petty, receiver Antwan Goodley, defensive end Shawn Oakman, linebacker Bryce Hager

Storyline: The Bears may have won the Big 12 championship last year. But do they have the staying power to defend their title? With stars such as Petty and Goodley, they just might. Petty turned heads last year with his precision and poise. He turned heads this summer as an Elite 11 camp counselor with his mental and physical toughness. In other words, Petty is the total package. The Bears have glaring questions, notably a secondary with virtually no experience. But with Petty at the helm -- and weapons like Goodley at his disposal -- the Bears will have their chance to repeat.

Kansas Jayhawks

Attending: Coach Charlie Weis, receiver Nick Harwell, tight end Jimmay Mundine, linebacker Ben Heeney, safety Cassius Sendish

Storyline: In two years, Weis has gone 1-17 in the Big 12, which is why his seat has begun to warm up. But despite the recent record, Kansas isn’t devoid of any talent. Harwell, Mundine and Tony Pierson form a competent pass-catching trio. Heeney is an All-Big 12 performer, and leads a defense that returns eight other starters. Still, Kansas won’t go into the season favored to win any of its Big 12 games. But the Jayhawks -- and Weis -- will have to fare better than they have.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Attending: Coach Mike Gundy, receiver Jhajuan Seales, linebacker Ryan Simmons, cornerback Kevin Peterson

Storyline: No team in college football got ravaged by graduation more than the Cowboys. In fact, Seales, Simmons and Peterson are three of just eight returning starters from last year’s 10-win team. Yet while inexperienced, Oklahoma State has recruited well and has talented prospects eager to prove their mettle. Will that be enough to stave off a rebuilding year? That will hinge heavily on junior quarterback J.W. Walsh, who won’t actually be at media days. Walsh was terrific in spot-starting duty two years ago as a redshirt freshman. But he struggled in 2013 with accuracy and decision-making, and eventually lost the starting job back to Clint Chelf. Now that Chelf is gone, the keys to the offense are Walsh’s again. Can he keep the Oklahoma State attack humming?

TCU Horned Frogs

Attending: Coach Gary Patterson, receiver David Porter, center Joey Hunt, defensive tackle Chucky Hunter, safety Sam Carter

Storyline: The Horned Frogs have been stout defensively since joining the Big 12. And this year should be no different with standouts like Hunter, Carter and defensive end Devonte Fields, who last week was named the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Yet even with all that defense, a sputtering offense has prevented TCU from winning many games. This offseason, Patterson brought in coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie to jumpstart the offense. If the Horned Frogs can finally begin to score, they could emerge as dark-horse threats to co-favorites Oklahoma and Baylor.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Attending: Coach Kliff Kingsbury, receiver Bradley Marquez, linebacker Sam Eguavoen, linebacker Kenny Williams

Storyline: In Kingsbury’s first season, the Red Raiders followed a familiar script. They got off to another hot start. But when the schedule stiffened, they crumbled again in November. Then, however, Tech went off script. In one of the biggest upsets of the bowl season, the Red Raiders knocked off Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. The win completely changed the tenor of the offseason. And the rapid development of sophomore quarterback Davis Webb has elevated the expectations for 2014. Webb threw touchdown passes on Tech’s first four possessions in the Holiday Bowl, and after putting on weight, was just as impressive during the spring. Kingsbury seemingly has the quarterback to take Tech to the next level. But does he have the defense? That will require Williams, Eguavoen and four junior college transfers along the defensive line to come up big.

Ranking Big 12 games: Part V

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
This week, we’ve ranked the Big 12 games, both in and out of conference, from Nos. 75 to 16.

Today we wrap up this series with the top 15 games:

No. 15: Kansas State at Oklahoma (Oct. 18): K-State toppled the Sooners in its previous trip to Norman. Oklahoma had best cover Tyler Lockett better than it did last season (278 receiving yards, three touchdowns) to avoid a similar result.

No. 14. West Virginia vs. Alabama in Atlanta (Aug. 30): A strong showing against the nation's preeminent program would bode well for coach Dana Holgorsen’s future in Morgantown.

No. 13. Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in Arlington, Texas (Aug. 30): Even if they don’t beat the defending national champs, a resilient performance would be a good sign for the young Cowboys for the rest of the season.

No. 12. Texas at Texas Tech (Nov. 1): The Red Raiders haven’t defeated Texas since Michael Crabtree’s catch in 2008. This could be a prime chance to end that streak and finally get off to a good start in November.

No. 11. Kansas State at Baylor (Dec. 6): K-State watched its national championship hopes vanish with emphasis in Waco, Texas, two years ago. The situations could be reversed this time around, but the Wildcats hope they’ll go into this regular-season finale with more on the line than the role of spoiler.

No. 10. Baylor vs. Texas Tech in Arlington, Texas (Nov. 29): In their past four meetings, these two sides have averaged more than 96 total points per game. This game has shootout written all over it, especially with Davis Webb and Bryce Petty at quarterback.

No. 9. Oklahoma at TCU (Oct. 4): The league’s two best defenses will be on full display here. The Horned Frogs have played tough against the Sooners in the past two years but have come up empty in the fourth quarter.

No. 8. Oklahoma at Texas Tech (Nov. 15): Texas Tech has traditionally struggled in November, but Oklahoma has traditionally struggled in Lubbock, having lost three out of four games there. Something will have to give.

No. 7. Texas vs. UCLA in Arlington, Texas (Sept. 13): The BYU game will be Texas coach Charlie Strong’s first test. But this will be his debut on the national stage. This is a huge game in setting the tone for the Strong era and for this season, with Big 12 co-favorites Baylor and Oklahoma looming early on Texas’ schedule.

No. 6. TCU at Baylor (Oct. 11): These sides clearly care little for one another, underscored last season by Ahmad Dixon’s targeting ejection followed by Gary Patterson’s postgame rant. The Big 12 needs to regenerate rivalry games after conference realignment destroyed many of them. This one has potential.

No. 5. Baylor at Texas (Oct. 4): Texas linebacker Steve Edmond pumped more acrimony into this game by calling Baylor “trash” in the spring. The high-powered Bears will be eager to trash Texas in its own stadium.

No. 4. Auburn at Kansas State (Sept. 18): The Big 12 has several chances to land a marquee non-conference win, and this might be its best shot at such a victory. The Little Apple will be uncontainable for this Thursday night showdown. Hopefully for the Wildcats, Tyler Lockett will be, too.

No. 3. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (Dec. 6): The Cowboys might be down, and the Sooners might be up, but the Bedlam series always delivers in the drama department. Oklahoma State took Oklahoma to overtime in its previous trip to Norman and was in control until its fourth-quarter lead evaporated.

No. 2. Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (Oct. 11): The coach at either school has been defined by how he fares against his Red River counterpart. Just ask Blair Cherry, who went 9-2 in 1950 but was chased out of Austin after losing three in a row to Bud Wilkinson. Charlie Strong will be much better off if he fares better against the Sooners than Cherry or Mack Brown did.

No. 1. Baylor at Oklahoma (Nov. 8): This is the one most likely to decide the Big 12 title. The Bears may have defeated Oklahoma by 29 points last year, but they have never won in Norman. On the other side, this could be Oklahoma’s biggest conference bout since 2008, when Texas Tech visited and was ranked second in the polls.

Mailbag: OU running backs, TCU defense

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
In today's mailbag, we discuss TCU's defense, Texas' recruiting and Oklahoma's backfield.

To submit a future mailbag entry, simply go here.

Now, on to the 'bag:

Bo McKown in Charleston, West Virginia writes: Jake, just saw that you were a W&L grad. I play football for the Generals, but I'm also a huge WVU fan. I would love to hear your predictions for this WVU team this upcoming year. If we get decent QB play, I think we could win eight games. If the defense comes along nicely, I think we could put together a solid season. Thoughts?

Trotter: Always great to hear from a fellow General, Bo. I actually believe there’s a good chance West Virginia will be improved this fall. The addition of Tom Bradley to the defensive staff should really bring a calming influence to that unit. There’s also quality depth at running back, receiver, linebacker and in the secondary. But even if Clint Trickett plays well, I’m not sure where the eight wins come from. Essentially, the Mountaineers would have to win five games they probably won’t be favored in. That’s asking a lot. I’m much more bullish on the Generals’ 2014 outlook. Good luck on the upcoming season, Bo.

Mitch in Fort Worth, Texas, writes: Most of what I have read regarding TCU football for 2014 talks only of our new additions for the offense. I was wondering what you knew about new developments in our defense for the 2014 season (not including Devonte Fields returning).

Trotter: The TCU defense should be one of the best in the country. Kevin White looks ready to take over for Jason Verrett as the team’s No. 1 corner. Opposite White, redshirt freshman Ranthony Texada had a tremendous spring and will move into the starting lineup. Junior-college safety Kenny Iloka impressed during the spring as well and will boost an already stout group at safety that includes Sam Carter, Chris Hackett, Derrick Kindred and Geoff Hooker. Of course, the biggest development this offseason was Fields returning to form. He’s the X-factor. If he plays the way he did as a freshman two years ago, look out.

 Eric Robinson in Dayton, Ohio, writes: I read a lot about how Texas is getting bludgeoned on the recruiting trail by Texas A&M. Other than ego, why should Texas care? Shouldn't it be more concerned about what OU and Baylor are doing?

Trotter: They ought to care care, Eric, because those are players that might otherwise be going to Texas. The more talent the Longhorns get, the better they’re likely to be. And the Aggies are snagging players a lot of players that in the past would have ended up in Austin.

 Crimson runner in Tulsa, Okla., writes: Will OU's running game be a one-two punch with Alex Ross and Keith Ford?

Trotter: Maybe more like a three-headed monster. Incoming freshman Joe Mixon has really been turning heads this summer. The Sooners have recruited extremely well at the position. Mixon, Ford and Ross were ranked 53rd, 27th and 70th in the ESPN 300 coming out of high school. All three players figure to get carries, but it will be interesting to see who emerges as the primary running back. Ford showed promise as a true freshman. But a lot of people in Norman think it might be Mixon.

John Madison in Salt Lake City writes: Jake, there has been a lot of buzz around the Red Raiders and something great is growing in Lubbock. Writers and analysts have nodded to the great things happening there, but still Texas Tech is projected to finish 6th or 7th in the conference. Are they really still an underdog in all but three or four games?

Trotter: This might be the first mailbag entry by way of Salt Lake that wasn’t about BYU. The Red Raiders, John, still have much to prove. The win over Arizona State was very encouraging. But before that, Tech lost five straight to the top five teams in the conference by an average margin of more than 20 points. To finish any higher than sixth in the league, the Red Raiders are going to have to show they can beat some of those teams. I think they can this year. But that’s why you don’t see Tech getting picked higher this preseason.

Predicting the 2014 season: Week 7

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
Our series of preseason picks for every single Big 12 game of 2014 continues with Week 7. The first battle between Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Texas coach Charlie Strong highlights the week.

More Big 12 predictions for 2014.

at Texas Tech 44, West Virginia 24: Lubbock, Texas, remains unkind to Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers as WVU drops its third straight game to the Red Raiders. Tech’s defense forces three WVU turnovers and quarterback Davis Webb adds another three touchdown passes to his season total and strengthens his resume in the race to earn All-Big 12 first-team quarterback honors.

Oklahoma State 31, at Kansas 21: Things seem to be going in the right direction for the Cowboys who respond to the surprising loss to Texas Tech with back-to-back wins over Iowa State and Kansas. Tyreek Hill is OSU’s star of the day with three total touchdowns in three different ways (rushing, receiving, kick return).

Oklahoma 20, Texas 13 (Dallas, Texas): OU rebounds from its loss to TCU with a hard-fought, physical win over the Longhorns. Both teams, having recommitted to the run after early losses, come in with a focus on winning the physical battle and running the football. Big plays are scarce and big hits are plentiful in a Red River Rivalry that is decided by an early fourth-quarter touchdown run by Sooners running back Keith Ford.

at Baylor 42, TCU 28: This game continues to rise on the queue of Big 12 rivalries after TCU takes an early lead but the Bears rally with 35 unanswered, turning McLane Stadium into a house party in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. For the second straight year, Gary Patterson is not amused by the Bears' antics.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Baylor -- 6-0, 3-0
2. Oklahoma -- 5-1, 2-1
3. Texas Tech -- 5-1, 2-1
4. Oklahoma State -- 4-2, 2-1
5. Kansas State -- 4-1, 1-1
6. TCU -- 4-1, 1-1
7. Texas -- 3-3, 1-2
8. West Virginia -- 2-4, 1-2
9. Kansas -- 2-4, 0-3
10. Iowa State -- 2-4, 0-3

Predicting the 2014 season: Week 6

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
Our series of preseason picks for every single Big 12 game of 2014 continues today with Week 6, featuring a rematch of last season's de facto Big 12 championship game plus -- yep, we're going there -- one gigantic upset.

More Big 12 predictions for 2014.

Baylor 38, at Texas 28: The last time they met in Austin, we got a 56-50 shootout. In Charlie Strong's four years as a head coach, his defenses have yet to give up more than 45 in a game. He comes up with a creative approach to slowing the Bears early on, but Bryce Petty has too much firepower at his disposal to lose this ballgame.

at West Virginia 42, Kansas 16: The Mountaineers jump on top early and cruise to their first conference victory thanks to a sharp showing from Clint Trickett and his underrated collection of wideouts. A few costly first-half turnovers are the difference for Kansas in a game that's much closer in the second half that the final score suggests.

at Oklahoma State 31, Iowa State 13: Desmond Roland rocked the Cyclones last season to the tune of 219 yards and four TDs. He doesn't match those numbers, but he does surpass 100 yards, and so does backup running back Rennie Childs. Kevin Peterson vs. Quenton Bundrage is a sneaky good one-on-one matchup, and the Cowboys' corner comes up big.

at Kansas State 45, Texas Tech 35: Tech's five losses in 2013 came by an average margin of 20.6 points. This one isn't that bad, but KSU doesn't hold back against a suspect Red Raiders secondary. It's a statement game for Jake Waters, who might be the Big 12's second-best passer.

at TCU 34, Oklahoma 20: The Sooners had to slip up at some point, and TCU has played them close each of the last two seasons. This time, the Horned Frogs' defense forces three turnovers, their Air Raid turns those opportunities into points, and Gary Patterson gets a win far more rewarding than his last upset of OU in 2005.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Baylor -- 5-0 (2-0)
2. Kansas State -- 4-1 (2-0)
3. TCU -- 4-0 (1-0)
4. Oklahoma -- 4-1 (1-1)
5. Texas Tech -- 4-1 (1-1)
6. Oklahoma State -- 3-2 (1-1)
7. Texas -- 3-2 (1-1)
8. West Virginia -- 2-3 (1-1)
9. Kansas -- 3-3 (0-2)
10. Iowa State -- 1-4 (0-3)

Preseason All-Big 12 team, honors released

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
Five days before Big 12 media days get underway, the conference has released its official preseason All-Big 12 team as well as its preseason award-winners, as voted on by conference media.

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was named Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. No surprise there. Oklahoma State RB/WR Tyreek Hill, the speedy juco transfer from Garden City (Kansas) Community College, received preseason Newcomer of the Year honors.

The more debatable award, preseason Defensive Player of the Year, went to TCU defensive end Devonte Fields. He played in just three games in 2013 due to a foot injury but was voted the league's top defender and newcomer in 2012 as a true freshman.

Baylor led the way with seven players on the All-Big 12 team. Kansas State had five selections on the squad, and Oklahoma received four. Only one Big 12 program -- Oklahoma State -- did not have at least one player make the team.

All-Big 12 Team

QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
RB Shock Linwood, Baylor
RB Malcolm Brown, Texas
WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
WR Antwan Goodley, Baylor
TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
OL B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
OL Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech

DL Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
DL Devonte Fields, TCU
DL Chucky Hunter, TCU
DL Cedric Reed, Texas
LB Bryce Hager, Baylor
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
DB Sam Carter, TCU
DB Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia

PK Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
P Spencer Roth, Baylor
KR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
PR Levi Norwood, Baylor

There aren't many snubs to be found from this year's team. You can make a case for a bunch of other players -- TCU cornerback Kevin White, Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman, Texas' Johnathan Gray and Malcom Brown, West Virginia's Quinton Spain and Nick O'Toole. But based on 2013 performance, this list looks about right.

Any more exclusions stand out to you? Should Ryan Mueller or someone else win DPOY? Hit us with your complaints in the comments below.

Big 12's top 12 toss-up games

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
The computers have spoken. On Monday, we broke down the Big 12 title odds. Yesterday, we gave you in-depth win/loss projections. And now, courtesy of the recently released preseason projections from ESPN’s Stats and Information team, we're talking about the games that will decide the season.

As they stand today, ESPN's preseason predictions suggest the Big 12's biggest games this season won't really be close contests. In the Oklahoma's toughest game of the season, at home against Baylor, it's being given a 60.1 percent chance of survival as 4-point favorites.

The projections have pegged Oklahoma's chances of beating Texas in the Red River Showdown at 74.2 percent, with OU as an 8-point favorite. And Bedlam is decidedly in the Sooners' favor (70.9 percent, 8.5-point favorite) as well. So with that in mind, we're instead taking a closer look today at the 12 games that ESPN projections indicate will be true nail-biters.

Some of these might not seem like high-profile matchups, but in real life they'll go a long way toward deciding how the league standings shake out. Here are the Big 12's biggest toss-up games:

1. Kansas State at West Virginia (Nov. 20)
Projection: KSU, 50.9%

In 2012, K-State spanked WVU by a score of 55-14 for the second of the Mountaineers' five straight losses following a 5-0 start. Last season, the Wildcats needed a second-half rally with four unanswered TDs to end a three-game slide in Big 12 play. ESPN projections say KSU will enter this season's matchup mired in a four-game losing streak.

2. Texas Tech at Kansas State (Oct. 4)
Projection: KSU, 51.9%

This one wasn't close last season, as K-State ran for 291 yards in Lubbock to win 49-26, but it's a potential do-or-die game for the Wildcats simply because their next four games come against Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU. KSU is less than a 1-point favorite in the projections.

3. West Virginia at Iowa State (Nov. 29)
Projection: ISU, 52.8%

The best Big 12 game you did not watch last year was ISU's 52-44, triple-overtime victory in Morgantown. The Mountaineers might badly need this one: ESPN's projections peg them as favorites in only two of their games this season, and this is the season finale.

4. Texas at Kansas State (Oct. 25)
Projection: TEX, 53.1%

The Longhorns snapped their five-game losing streak to Kansas State last year, but they were fortunate that game was early in the season before KSU got on a roll. This game is a potential fork in the road for a Texas team projected to be 4-3 entering its trip to the Little Apple.

5. Texas at Texas Tech (Nov. 1)
Projection: TTU, 53.3%

Texas has won five in a row against the Red Raiders, who are projected at 5-3 entering this game but could easily be 7-1 or 8-0 if they win their close ones early on.

6. TCU at West Virginia (Nov. 1)
Projection: TCU, 54.8%

The battle of the Big 12 newcomers has gone to overtime in each of the past two years, and they've split those wins. The ESPN projections like TCU here, but only by a margin of 1.9 points.

7. Texas Tech at TCU (Oct. 25)
Projection: TCU, 55.9%

TCU won a 56-53, triple-overtime thriller in 2012, and Texas Tech got payback with a tough 20-10 win early last season to propel its win streak. If the Horned Frogs have their new (and somewhat Tech-inspired) offense rolling by the end of October, this could be a high-scoring affair.

8. Kansas State at Iowa State (Sept. 6)
Projection: KSU, 56.4%

That makes four Kansas State games on this list. The way K-State's schedule is built, the margin between 8-4 and 4-8 might be slight this season. This might seem like a gimme on the surface, but ESPN's projections say ISU is only a 2.5-point underdog.

9. Oklahoma State at TCU (Oct. 18)
Projection: OSU, 56.8%

These might be the two most unpredictable teams in the league in 2014. Either could finish as high as third or as low as seventh in the final Big 12 standings. ESPN's projections predict a five-game win streak for OSU (after losing to Florida State) heading into the matchup.

10. Iowa State at Kansas (Nov. 8)
Projection: ISU, 59%

Most assume this will be the battle for last place, and ESPN's projections agree. They have both KU and ISU with identical 2-6 records entering this contest, with each program starting 0-5 in Big 12 play.

11. Baylor at Oklahoma (Nov. 8)
Projection: OU, 60.1%

Probably our Game of the Year in the Big 12, and this time the Sooners will have home-field advantage. If the projections prove accurate, both teams would still be undefeated by this date. Baylor's average projected margin of victory in its first eight games before this showdown is 20.8 points.

12. BYU at Texas (Sept. 6)
Projection: TEX, 60.9%

We all remember what BYU did to Texas in Provo last season. The Longhorns will want revenge before they go up to Arlington, Texas, to face UCLA. Once again, do not sleep on the Cougars: ESPN projections say they're a 9-3 team in 2014.

ESPN projects Big 12 win-loss records

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
On Monday, we broke down the Big 12 conference title race predictions according to newly released projections from the ESPN Stats and Information folks. You know Oklahoma and Baylor are considered the big-time favorites to win the league. But what should the other eight teams expect?

The following are the win-loss result projections for each and every Big 12 team in 2014. Remember, these are just preseason projections based on a lot of number crunching. New projections will be released weekly during the season.

Take note of the projected win totals on the right. OU and Baylor are each projected for close to 10 wins, while Oklahoma State leads a group of five teams that all seem likely to be in contention if one or both of the Big 12 favorites falter.

Here's how the ESPN preseason projections see this Big 12 season playing out:

Baylor: The defending Big 12 champs are projected to win 9.6 games with a 5.3 percent chance of going undefeated. The Bears have at least a 75 percent chance of winning all but three of their games: Texas (61.1 percent), Oklahoma (39.9) and Oklahoma State (69.4). Baylor is favored by 2 TDs or more against seven of its foes, including Kansas State and TCU.

Iowa State: ISU is projected to win 4.7 games -- essentially a 5-7 season projection -- and the computers see four of its Big 12 games as being especially winnable: Kansas State, Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Cyclones are favored in two nonconference games and projected to be 10.2-point underdogs to Iowa in the annual rivalry game.

Kansas: ESPN's projections have KU winning 3.3 games, which is fewest for any program in Big Five conference (Purdue and Wake Forest were tied at 3.6) and third-fewest among all FBS teams. The Jayhawks' best bets for wins are against Southeast Missouri State (91.4 percent), Central Michigan (64.5) and Iowa State (41). They're projected to be double-digit underdogs in every other game.

Kansas State: The Wildcats are projected for 6.1 wins, but ESPN's data sees a schedule loaded with games that can go either way: K-State is considered a slight favorite against Iowa State, Texas Tech and West Virginia and a slight underdog versus Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU. As for the big battles, KSU is seen as a two-TD dog against Auburn, Oklahoma and Baylor.

Oklahoma: ESPN preseason projections see 9.6 wins but suggest Oklahoma will be favored in all 12 games and a serious playoff contender. OU's chances of winning dip below 75 percent for only five contests: TCU (69.6 percent), Texas (74.2), Baylor (60.1), Texas Tech (67.5) and Oklahoma State (70.9). Gotta like those odds.

Oklahoma State: The computers like this team more than a 7.6-win projection might suggest. These ESPN projections give OSU only an 8.6 percent chance of upsetting Florida State in the opener, but the Cowboys are then considered favorites in their next nine games before wrapping up with Baylor (30.6 percent) and OU (29.1).

TCU: The Horned Frogs' projection is almost exactly 7-5, with five of those wins coming by double digits. The defining stretch hits at midseason following projected losses to OU and Baylor. TCU is seen as a slight underdog to OSU but projected for very-close victories over Texas Tech, West Virginia and Kansas State in consecutive weeks.

Texas: Charlie Strong's debut season gets a projection of 6.9 wins. In addition to the trio of top-10 games in which they are underdogs (UCLA, Baylor, Oklahoma), the Longhorns are not projected to be favored vs. Texas Tech (46.7 percent) and Oklahoma State (34.3). Two more tough ones: Texas is a 1.2-point favorite at K-State and a 4.3-point favorite against BYU.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders' 7.1-win projection is very similar to TCU's, and beyond an easy one vs. Kansas (87.9 percent favorite), every Big 12 game is projected to be within single digits. Tech is projected to be an underdog against OSU, Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor, though the K-State game is basically a toss-up (48.1 percent). TTU is actually projected to have a better chance vs. OU at home (32.5 percent) than against Baylor at AT&T Stadium (22.8).

West Virginia: ESPN's computers have little love for the Mountaineers in the preseason projections: 4.6 wins and underdogs in all but one Big 12 contest (KU, 78.4 percent favorite). In fairness, three games look extremely close in the projections: Kansas State (49.1 percent), Iowa State (47.2) and TCU (45.2). WVU's chances of stunning Alabama in the season opener have been set at 5.9 percent.

Take Two: TCU offense vs. WVU defense

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
It's Take Two Tuesday time, when we give diverging opinions on a topic related to the Big 12.

Today's Take Two topic: which previously beleaguered unit will be more improved due to offseason coaching changes -- the TCU offense or the West Virginia defense?

Take 1: Max Olson -- TCU offense

When Gary Patterson set out to completely reshape how his Horned Frogs move the football, he found two guys who checked all the boxes in Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie.

They’re the protégés of two of the Big 12’s most successful Air Raid coaches (Mike Leach and Mike Gundy), they aren’t first-time OCs, they know the conference well, and they know how to recruit the state of Texas.

Meacham, the play caller, should probably be Oklahoma State’s OC today but instead put in a year at Houston where he coached up freshman QB John O'Korn to conference rookie of the year honors. Cumbie gets a chance to coach quarterbacks and brings plenty of knowledge about this scheme -- both coaching it and playing in it -- after working under Leach and Kliff Kingsbury.

Will TCU instantly become a 40-points-per-game offense because of the two new guys in the room? No. This is a complete offensive transition and that’s never easy, especially when you’re trying to mesh those philosophies with Patterson’s preferences in the TCU run game. Plus, you know, the fact the likely starting QB (Matt Joeckel) didn’t get on campus until June.

But this is a long-term commitment, and it’s going to put the Frogs in position to develop into a true annual contender in the conference.

Scrapping the statistically unpleasant offense of 2013 for this new look not only improves TCU’s chances of inking big-time skill players from the DFW area. This change can also help make TCU’s defense quicker and better adjusted in practice. It’s a win-win all the way around.

Take 2: Jake Trotter -- West Virginia defense

I love the moves Patterson made to boost the TCU offense. Cumbie and Meacham both have impressive offensive coaching resumes in the league and should instantly impact the Horned Frogs’ previous dilemma of scoring points.

But I believe the West Virginia defense will show more improvement this season given the moves the Mountaineers delivered in the offseason. But, even more crucial, given the players West Virginia has coming back.

TCU has a couple of nice pieces offensively, and possibly a big one that has enrolled this summer. Trevone Boykin is a valuable weapon, whether a situational quarterback or receiver. B.J. Catalon is one of the better backs in the league. Jordan Moore was one of the Horned Frogs’ best playmakers in the spring after swinging over to receiver from running back. TCU could also be primed for a major boost from Joeckel, who has more experience operating the Meacham/Cumbie offense than anyone else on the Horned Frogs roster. But the offense also has many holes to fill. The line was dreadful in 2013, and the offense is devoid of any all-conference-caliber receivers, at least on paper.

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers have fewer holes on their defense. They also made a hire in Tom Bradley that was as impressive as any made elsewhere in the league. Bradley coached alongside Joe Paterno at Penn State for more than three decades. As defensive coordinator from 2004-09, Bradley coached the Nittany Lions to six straight top 15 national finishes in total and scoring defense. He was also part of two national title teams and has coached in 26 bowl games.

Bradley brings a ton of experience to the Mountaineers defense. He has a great professional and personal relationship with new coordinator Tony Gibson. Athletic director Oliver Luck also noted that Bradley instantly brought a calming confidence to the team over the spring.

Gibson and Bradley will have some pieces to work with, too. All four linebackers come back to anchor the Mountaineers’ 3-4 attack, which is expected to put more emphasis on rushing the quarterback than previous West Virginia defenses under Keith Patterson and Joe DeForest.

The Mountaineers also return plenty of experience in the secondary, notably safety Karl Joseph and cornerback Daryl Worley, who both have All-Big 12 potential. The defensive line is the biggest question mark. But West Virginia partly addressed that by adding Gardner-Webb transfer Shaquille Riddick, who was an FCS All-American defensive end in 2013.

West Virginia has not finished better than eighth in the Big 12 in total defense since joining the league -- though injuries played a part in the disappointing finish in 2013. But under the new Gibson/Bradley regime, with more depth and an experienced core of players, the Mountaineers should be much improved defensively in 2013.
Our series of preseason picks for every single Big 12 game of 2014 continues today with Week 3. Several quality non-conference matchups highlight the week.

More Big 12 predictions for 2014.

Baylor 59, at Buffalo 24: The Bears cruise to their third straight win to start the season. This 2014 version of Baylor has yet to be tested, but its offense looks just as good as the 2013 version and the defense is getting more and more seasoned each week.

at Iowa 21, Iowa State 17: The Cyclones and Hawkeyes tend to play great rivalry games and this season is no different. But the Cy-Hawk Trophy remains in Iowa City after ISU’s defense cannot stop Iowa’s fourth quarter drive to win the game.

at Maryland 45, West Virginia 44: The Mountaineers suffer their second loss in three games as the Terrapins win a high-scoring affair at home. One of the bright spots in the loss is the play of running backs Wendell Smallwood, Rushel Shell and Dreamius Smith, as each WVU running back finds the end zone in the defeat.

at Duke 38, Kansas 24: The Jayhawks offense, under new coordinator John Reagan, shows some explosiveness against Duke, particularly receiver Nick Harwell, but the inexperience of Montell Cozart shows up at the worst time with two second-half interceptions.

at Texas Tech 38, Arkansas 30: Quarterback Davis Webb continues his strong start with four touchdowns against the Razorbacks, but question marks about the defense continue to weigh on Kliff Kingsbury’s squad with Big 12 play looming.

at TCU 31, Minnesota 14: TCU’s defensive line looks dominant against Minnesota as defensive tackle Chucky Hunter controls the interior and defensive end Devonte Fields chases down the Golden Gophers running backs.

at Oklahoma State 56, UTSA 35: Cowboys’ receiver Jhajuan Seales starts to put Big 12 defensive coordinators on notice with over 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the first half of the Cowboys’ blowout win.

UCLA 28, UT 21 (Arlington, Texas): UCLA’s Brett Hundley proves to be too much for the Longhorns defense despite a couple of key Bruins turnovers that keep UT within reach throughout the game. Hundley throws for one touchdown and runs for another in the fourth quarter to secure the win for UCLA.

at Oklahoma 41, Tennessee 20: The Sooners jump on Tennessee from the outset with a Sterling Shepard catch-and-run for a touchdown on OU’s first drive, followed by a Eric Striker forced fumble on Tennessee’s first possession, putting the Vols behind by two touchdowns midway through the first quarter. The Sooners never look back on their way to a double-digit victory and undefeated nonconference start.

Current Big 12 standings

1. Baylor -- 3-0
2. Oklahoma -- 3-0
3. Texas Tech -- 3-0
4. Kansas State -- 2-0 (1-0)
5. TCU -- 2-0
6. Oklahoma State -- 2-1
7. Texas -- 2-1
8. Kansas -- 1-1
9. Iowa State -- 1-2 (0-1)
10. West Virginia -- 1-2