Dallas Colleges: TCU Horned Frogs
Baylor needed Oklahoma to top Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam Series, but when Saturday came to an end, the Bears were the new Big 12 champion. While Baylor didn’t add to its recruiting tally for the 2014 class, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas landed commitments throughout the week. The Cyclones picked up three pledges, while the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks added two apiece.
Here are some of this past week’s highlights:
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- Here's an excellent story from Jenni Carlson about where Oklahoma State WR Tracy Moore finds his inspiration. Efficiency ratings suggest Oklahoma State's offense is better than its defense. DT Calvin Barnett is looking forward to a trench battle.
- Oklahoma will be prepped for cold weather on Saturday. A win over OSU would help ease Charles Tapper's pain of losing his dreadlocks.
- Baylor has dedicated its full attention to Texas, not its bowl future. Can the Bears survive the first-half suspension of "nice guy" Ahmad Dixon?
- The Washington Post profiles Art Briles' career.
- Mack Brown says his coaching future should be "unimportant" to his players entering the finale. New AD Steve Patterson says he's "working on" resuming the Texas A&M rivalry.
- Iowa State needs to find a "quarterback whisperer" in its next OC, writes Bobby La Gessa of the Ames Tribune. ISU landed another junior college safety, Qujuan Floyd.
- Kansas State is in for a big-time matchup against a Pac-12 power in the Holiday Bowl. K-State makes some schedule changes for 2014.
- Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield had the most memorable debut of this Big 12 season. Could the Red Raiders face Minnesota in a bowl again?
- Reviewing West Virginia's troubles on the road two years into joining the Big 12. A WVU cornerback was charged with DUI.
- What's in store for Charlie Weis' coaching staff during Kansas' offseason?
- A closer look at new TCU offensive coordinator Doug Meacham's resume.
- Weather could be a factor in this year's Bedlam game. A preseason meeting set the tone for Oklahoma State's success. Mike Gundy doesn't see Oklahoma as a hated rival.
- Oklahoma has a midseason offense in time for its regular season finale. Brennan Clay has a chance to surpass 1,000 rushing yards on Saturday.
- Oliver Luck released a statement on the state of West Virginia football. Breaking down what Luck's statement means for WVU. The Mountaineers have a lot of work to do, writes Mike Casazza of the Charleston Daily Mail.
- Case McCoy says all the marbles are on the table for Texas this week. What if Texas had played an easy nonconference schedule?
- Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon is a planning a big second half against Texas for after sitting out the first half due to suspension.
- TCU is expected to hire Houston's Doug Meachem as its next offensive coordinator. The former OSU assistant was Houston's sixth OC in six years.
- Could Michael Brewer be a candidate for a post-grad transfer? Projecting where Texas Tech could wind up for a bowl game.
- New Iowa State junior college commit wants to start from day one.
- Kansas' AD believes in the direction of the program under Charlie Weis.
- Kansas State hasn't won a bowl game since 2002 and intends to end that streak.
Matt (Stillwater): Has Bedlam taken over as the Big 12's top rivalry?
Jake Trotter: Bedlam is a long way from overtaking the Red River Rivalry. However, there's no doubt that Bedlam has had more riding on it in terms of Big 12 titles the last five seasons. After the Iron Bowl, Army-Navy, Ohio State-Michigan and the Red River Rivalry, Bedlam has been right there with any rivalry in college football the last five years. It has a chance to only get better, if Oklahoma State can start winning on consistent basis.
Dustin (Tulsa): Is this Trevor Knight's breakout game or is the OSU D too strong?
Jake Trotter: It's a tough matchup for Knight. For one, Oklahoma State has the CBs to lock up OU's WRs on the outside one-on-one. That will allow OSU to add another body to the box, like it did against Baylor. Knight was terrific against K-State, but OSU's front seven is the best in the league. It will not be easy for the Sooners to move the ball.
Harry (Miami): I thought Iowa State was on an upswing. What happened this season? Too many young players? Lack of talent? Poor coaching? All of the above? Thanks.
Jake Trotter: All of the above.
BOXMAN (Everywhere): Assuming OSU and Baylor win, what bowl game do you see Baylor playing in?
Jake Trotter: Cotton Bowl.
Mike (Lenexa, Kan.): Who are your offense/defense players of the year?
Jake Trotter: At the moment, Bryce Petty and Caleb Lavey.
Steven (Atlanta): I'm a Texas fan, but I'm also a realist. Do you think our best defensive ends (Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed) will be able to apply enough pressure on Bryce Petty to give us a chance this weekend?
Jake Trotter: No question. Watch the TCU game. The Frogs got pressure all game.
Patrick (Waco): Who gets the edge in the trenches between Texas and Baylor?
Jake Trotter: Interesting question. Up the middle, Baylor has the advantage on offense. But can its tackles block Reed and Jeffcoat? On the other side of the ball, I think Texas could have success pounding the ball inside.
Handel (Canton): The 2014 Big 12 MVP will be?
Jake Trotter: Petty would have to be the early favorite, right?
Justin (Stillwater): With the season nearing completion, who's your Big 12 head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator of the year?
Jake Trotter: As of today, Art Briles, Philip Montgomery and Glenn Spencer.
KD (Houston): I might have missed it but what's your take on Gary Patterson's rant?
Jake Trotter: I get what Patterson was trying to do, but the timing of it was poor, with Briles having suddenly lost his brother just a couple days before.
Shawn (OK): With the addition of TCU and WV are you surprised that those teams are struggling, even in these last two years the Big 12 has been down?
Jake Trotter: To this degree, yes. There was always going to be an adjustment. But I never expected either team to miss out on bowls in their second seasons in the league.
Larry (Arvada): How much do you HATE WVU... and feel that WVU does not deserve to be in the Big 12... your columns and writings seem to point that out.
Jake Trotter: Why, because I put West Virginia last in the power rankings? That's what happens when you lose to Kansas and Iowa State to finish out the season. Just calling it like I see it.
Team of the week: After trailing by three scores for most of the game, Iowa State came roaring back with 17 straight points in the fourth quarter and ultimately prevailed 52-44 in a stunning, triple-overtime comeback. Freshman QB Grant Rohach was terrific in his second career road start, accounting for five touchdowns, including the winning toss on the first play of the third overtime. The defense forced four turnovers to help spearhead the rally. And punter Kirby Van Der Kamp converted a fake punt into a huge first down, igniting the comeback early in the fourth quarter. As a result, Iowa State finished off an otherwise disappointing season with a thrilling road victory and a two-game winning streak to build on for 2014.
Big (offensive) men on campus: Kansas State running back John Hubert and Iowa State wide receivers Quenton Bundrage and Justin Coleman.
Hubert unleashed a monster performance in his final Sunflower Showdown. The senior rushed for a career-high 220 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, as K-State defeated Kansas 31-10 for a fifth consecutive victory in the series.
Together with Rohach, Bundrage and Coleman fueled Iowa State's comeback with huge catches down the stretch. After Van Der Kamp's fake punt conversion, Bundrage hauled in a 62-yard touchdown grab to cut West Virginia's lead to 10. Later, Coleman's 19-yard scoring reception tied the game with a minute left in regulation. And on the first play of the third overtime, Coleman reeled in another touchdown, which proved to be the game winner.
All told, Bundrage and Coleman combined for 12 receptions, 184 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Big (defensive) men on campus: Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett and Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.
Lackey played a hand in two turnovers that ultimately led to defensive touchdowns. With the Horned Frogs driving at the end of the second quarter with a chance to take the lead before halftime, Lackey charged up the middle and tagged TCU QB Casey Pachall's legs. The hit forced Pachall's pass to be behind his intended receiver, and Orion Stewart intercepted it and raced 82 yards for a touchdown. Then on TCU's first possession of the third quarter, Lackey picked off Pachall and dashed 54 yards for another score, putting the Bears up 34-17. Lackey added six tackles and a sack in Baylor's 41-38 win.
As good as Lackey was, no player was more dominant than Verrett. Matched up one-on-one with Baylor's Antwan Goodley the entire game, Verrett checked the Big 12's leading receiver to just one reception for 12 yards. As a result, Baylor finished with a season-low 206 passing yards.
Jeffcoat also flourished in his final home game, recording a game-high three sacks as Texas shut down Texas Tech's passing game. Jeffcoat also had seven tackles and a quarterback hurry, solidifying his candidacy as an All-Big 12 defensive end.
Special-teams player of the week: Tech punter Ryan Erxleben produced one of the special-teams plays of the year in the Big 12 in Austin. On Tech's second possession, Erxleben took off on a fake punt and raced 51 yards down the sideline for a touchdown, giving the Red Raiders an early 7-0 lead. After the game, coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed Erxleben called the fake on his own. It proved to be Tech's longest rush of the season, but pretty much its only highlight in the lackluster loss to the Longhorns.
Play of the week: After falling behind 34-17 on two Baylor defensive touchdowns, TCU made a furious rally and drove into field goal range with a chance to either win or send the game to overtime. Instead, with 18 seconds to go, quarterback Pachall's pass to Brandon Carter was tipped away by Baylor nickelback Sam Holl and into the arms of Terrell Burt for the game-clinching interception to seal Baylor's victory.
Stat of the week: By holding Baylor to 370 yards of offense, TCU snapped the Bears' 37-game streak of at least 400 yards of offense. Ball State now holds the longest FBS streak at 12 games.
Quote of the week: "Gary Patterson lives in Fort Worth. If he's got a problem with me, that's where I live."
-- TCU coach Gary Patterson, after a pair of heated exchanges with Baylor coach Art Briles
- A breakdown of the stats and trends between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Blake Bell has found a sounding board in his brother, an OU tight end.
- Baylor's offense has taken a detour in recent weeks, writes John Werner of the Waco Tribune. Offense gets a C- in grading out the win over TCU.
- Texas still appears to be in the picture for three bowl games going into its showdown with Baylor. Texas A&M is still ranked ahead of the Longhorns in the Dallas Morning News' latest Best in Texas poll.
- Kliff Kingsbury is not stressed by how he's handling his trio of quarterbacks entering the bowl game. Despite the defense's struggles in the loss to Texas, Will Smith was all over the place.
- Signs that TCU would struggle in 2013 became evident in August, Stefan Stevenson writes in his review of the Horned Frogs' rough season.
- In case you missed it, Iowa State fired two assistant coaches on Sunday. Paul Rhoads has a plan to get ISU back to a bowl in 2014.
- Kansas coach Charlie Weis is ready to move on and shift his focus to a senior-heavy 2014 team. Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard's tenure with KU is now over.
- Dana Holgorsen says 2014 started on Sunday and West Virgnia's recruiting needs to get better. The loss to Iowa State was a microcosm of the Mountaineers' season.
- Bill Synder says Kansas State needed to use QB Daniel Sams more against Kansas.
1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, last week 1): The Cowboys have a chance to state their case as the Big 12’s top program of the last five seasons. Beating Oklahoma to win a second Big 12 title in three years would convey a very compelling argument.
2. Baylor (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, LW 2): Baylor’s two worst offensive outputs have come in the last two weeks. Is America’s top offense running on fumes? The friendly confines of Floyd Casey Stadium -- for one final game -- should give QB Bryce Petty & Co. the refueling they need.
3. Texas (8-3, 7-1 Big 12, LW 3): For all their issues and injuries, the Longhorns remain in the mix for an outright Big 12 title and automatic BCS bowl berth heading into this final week of the season. Ironically, if Texas somehow upset Baylor, this would actually be one of Mack Brown’s better coaching performances.
4. Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, LW 4): Nobody before the season predicted these Sooners, with a young defense and a new quarterback, would contend for a national championship. A victory at Oklahoma State and another 10-win season would make this a solid season in Norman.
5. Kansas State (7-5, 5-4 Big 12, LW 5): Even after a 2-4 start, Kansas State still managed to finish ahead of where it was picked in the preseason for a third straight season. Going forward, the media should automatically bump K-State up two spots when filling out Big 12 preseason ballots, to account for the “Bill Snyder effect.”
6. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 Big 12, LW 6): After another November slide, the Red Raiders are likely headed back to the Texas Bowl for the second straight season. Tech has had several memorable moments in Kliff Kingsbury’s first season. The 41-16 loss at Texas was not one of them.
7. TCU (4-8, 2-7 Big 12, LW 8): In their final game, the Horned Frogs finally showed what could have been this season. While the TCU defensive backs locked up Baylor’s receivers, senior QB Casey Pachall looked the sharpest he had in two years, even with the two pick-six interceptions. Take away those two plays and the fumble at the TCU 1-yard line, and the Frogs might have won this game going away. Yes, TCU finished with its worst season since going 1-10 in 1997. But if defensive end Devonte Fields can return to his freshman form, and TCU can figure out the answer at QB, the Frogs could be a force next year.
8. Iowa State (3-9, 2-7 Big 12, LW 9): Coach Paul Rhoads proved those who have wanted him out to be ridiculous. Despite all the tough losses, the Cyclones never quit on their coach, even when down 17 points in the fourth quarter on the road in Morgantown. With a little bit of luck, especially around the goal line, the Cyclones have the pieces to return to a bowl next year.
9. Kansas (3-9, 1-8 Big 12, LW 10): Hey, at least they beat West Virginia.
10. West Virginia (4-8, 2-7 Big 12, LW 7): The Mountaineers capped off another depressing season with an epic fourth-quarter collapse. Good thing no one was there to see it. Well, almost no one. Saturday featured the third-smallest crowd in Milan Puskar Stadium’s 33-year history, and the smallest since 1992.
1. Patterson has no love for Baylor: While the Baylor players were talking about getting an emotional win for coach Art Briles, who lost his brother earlier in the week, TCU coach Gary Patterson was railing on Baylor; specifically, Briles and Bears safety Ahmad Dixon, who was ejected after targeting TCU's Trevone Boykin. Said Patterson, among many other things, referring to Briles and Dixon: "If that's what class is, I don't want to be it." This old Southwest Conference rivalry just got kicked up another notch.
3. Baylor only barely still alive for a BCS at-large bowl: With Wisconsin falling to Penn State and Clemson losing at South Carolina, the door cracked a little wider for Baylor to sneak into a BCS bowl game, even if Oklahoma State wins next weekend. But only just a little. Assuming the Orange Bowl sticks with its ACC ties and takes Clemson, as expected, there's really only one scenario that gets Baylor an at-large. That would entail Bowling Green knocking off Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game. If that happened, AAC champion Central Florida likely would end up in the Fiesta, freeing up the Sugar to take Baylor.
4. League in line for some intriguing bowl matchups: Even if it fails to get a second BCS bowl team, the Big 12 could be in for some compelling non-BCS bowl games. Here are some possibilities: Baylor-LSU in the AT&T Cotton; OU-Oregon in the Valero Alamo; Texas-Nebraska in the Buffalo Wild Wings; K-State-Stanford in the National University Holiday; and Tech-Michigan in the Heart of Dallas. I could get on board with all five of those matchups.
5. Big 12 newcomers end second seasons very differently: TCU and West Virginia finished their seasons with losses. But both finished in very different ways. The Horned Frogs overcame three crushing turnovers (two pick-sixes and a fumble at their own 1) to take ninth-ranked Baylor to the wire. The Mountaineers blew a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead before falling to Iowa State in triple overtime. Without West Virginia, the Cyclones would have ended their season with just one conference win, and Kansas would have ended the year without one, as the Mountaineers lost to both to close out the year. Neither TCU nor West Virginia will be going bowling in their second seasons in the Big 12. But Patterson will be feeling a lot better about the way his team finished out the season than West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen will about his.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Before Baylor's game at TCU, Bears running back Lache Seastrunk pulled his head coach to the side.
“Coach Briles, I know you lost somebody,” Seastrunk told him. “But you’ve gained 99 of us.”
On Wednesday, Art Briles lost his brother, Eddie, who died unexpectedly from a head injury after falling in the bathroom of his home.
On Saturday, Briles’ football family gave him a win to ease the pain of that loss, if only for a little bit.
Keeping their Big 12 title and BCS bowl aspirations alive, the ninth-ranked Bears (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) held on to defeat TCU 41-38 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in a thriller that came down to the final seconds.
“That just showed we're a tough football team,” said Briles, who declined to speak directly about his brother, but spent time outside the locker room emotionally hugging players, boosters and administrators. “You want to be in a room full of fighters and believers, and that’s what we have.”
This week required some fight from the Bears.
They suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, as Oklahoma State emphatically bounced them from the national title picture with a 49-17 victory in Stillwater.
Four days later, Eddie -- a nurse in Haskell, Texas, and Briles’ only sibling -- passed away, leaving behind a wife and two children.
Eddie actually appeared in a "College GameDay" feature last weekend, and spoke to ESPN.com for a feature story on his younger brother earlier this month. Their parents, Dennis and Wanda Briles, and their aunt, Elsie "Tottie" Kittley, died in a car accident while traveling to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to watch Art play for the University of Houston on Oct. 16, 1976.
“(Winning for Coach Briles) was the emphasis of the week for sure,” Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said. “Every guy in that locker room loves him like their own dad. It hurts you to see him hurt. I think this win was huge for him and that’s what we wanted to do.”
The win didn’t come easily.
TCU (4-8, 2-7), without enough wins to have a chance of qualifying for a bowl, turned Baylor into its de facto bowl game.
Due to an array of injuries and suspensions, the Horned Frogs had struggled offensively all season. But with an extra week to prepare, they saved their best performance for last. The Horned Frogs outgained the nation’s top statistical offense by 40 yards. Yet, after a flurry of turnovers, they found themselves still trailing Baylor 34-17 early in the third quarter.
Over the course of four possessions, TCU fumbled at its own 1-yard line, then Pachall threw two interceptions that Orion Stewart and Eddie Lackey returned for touchdowns.
"I made quite a few mistakes that cost us the ball game,” Pachall said. “I gave them 14 points, just handed it over on a platter."
But TCU didn't go down without a fight, either.
And the turning point came on its following possession. Baylor senior captain and safety Ahmad Dixon was ejected for a targeting penalty on Horned Frogs wide receiver Trevone Boykin, seemingly igniting a heated exchange between Briles and TCU coach Gary Patterson on the field.
Briles avoided addressing the exchange after the game. But Patterson didn't.
“To come across the field to me. ... He's picking on the wrong guy,” said Patterson, who didn't refer to Briles by name. “You're not going to come across to me. You can go correct your player, not me.
"If that's what class is, then I don't want to be it."
The penalty ultimately ignited the Horned Frogs, too. TCU scored touchdowns on its next two possessions, thanks to a Pachall 4-yard touchdown scamper, then a 16-yard scoring toss to Josh Doctson at the back of the end zone.
After Petty found Levi Norwood for a touchdown, TCU came right back again with Pachall’s touchdown strike to David Porter, trimming the deficit to 41-38.
The Horned Frogs got the ball back again with 1 minute, 23 seconds remaining and moved the ball all the way to the Bears’ 23. But two plays later, Pachall’s attempt to Brandon Carter was tipped away by Baylor nickelback Sam Holl, and into the arms of Burt in the end zone.
“This win really showed the character of this team,” Holl said. “We were all playing for Coach Briles. He’s family. He’s going through a rough time right now.
“So we really wanted to get this one for him.”
- The Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton cautions that seeking a replacement for Texas coach Mack Brown could be ill-advised. The Longhorns haven't given up on the Big 12 title. Texas Tech will be starting two true freshman DBs in Austin. Tech has rekindled discussions about building an indoor practice facility.
- The Topeka Capital-Journal's Ken Corbitt profiles record-setting Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who has fulfilled his family legacy. Charlie Weis is sticking with Montell Cozart as his starting QB for the "Sunflower Showdown," the Lawrence Journal-World's Matt Tait reports.
- Oklahoma State showed TCU the way to stop Baylor's offense, in the opinion of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson. TCU coach Gary Patterson lauds the Baylor defense. The Dallas Morning News breaks down the past five Baylor-TCU games.
- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads has a history with West Virginia, writes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Bob Hertzel. Iowa State punter Kirby Van Der Kamp has gone from unknown to NFL prospect, according to the Des Moines Register's Tommy Birch. West Virginia QB Clint Trickett reveals he kept quiet about a concussion earlier this season against Kansas State.
- The Tulsa World's John E. Hoover explores how Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf saved his season. The Cowboys' win over Baylor is paying off already on the recruiting trail. Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin has been battling through pain, according to the Tulsa World's Eric Bailey. Most of the Sooners watched Oklahoma State's win over Baylor, and came away impressed.
1. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, last week 2): If the College Football Playoff era had come a year earlier, Oklahoma State would be a serious contender for inclusion. The Cowboys have been on fire for more than a month now, and could ascend to as high as fourth in the BCS going into Bedlam should Auburn, Missouri or Clemson fall in rugged games this weekend. Either way, there might not be a better one-loss team in college football right now than the Cowboys.
3. Texas (7-3, 6-1 Big 12, LW 3): The Longhorns still have a shot at an outright conference title, but they have to play much better than they did against Oklahoma State, which thoroughly whipped the Horns in Austin. Then again, Oklahoma State has been whipping everybody lately. Baylor no longer looks so invincible. And Tech, Texas' next opponent, hasn’t won a game in November in seemingly forever. This season hasn’t gone the way the Horns had hoped. But the chance remains for a special finish that, at the very least, would close the Mack Brown era with a good taste in everyone’s mouth.
4. Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, LW 5): Did the Sooners uncover -- well, re-uncover -- their QB of the future in Manhattan? Trevor Knight was splendid in his first career road start, with his running, decision-making and, in several cases, throwing. If Knight plays this way in Stillwater, Bedlam could get interesting.
5. Kansas State (6-5, 4-4 Big 12, LW 4): The Wildcats squandered an opportunity to show they belong in the upper tier of the Big 12 against OU. Now they’re all but locked into the National University Holiday Bowl, which isn’t so bad for a team that once was 2-4.
6. Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4 Big 12, LW 6): The Red Raiders have a prime opportunity to get off this 1-10 November slide on Thanksgiving in Austin. Tech played well in Arlington against Baylor, except for the turnovers. If the Red Raiders can limit the turnovers at Texas, they should be in the game in the fourth quarter with a chance for a huge victory to end the regular season.
7. West Virginia (4-7, 2-6 Big 12, LW 7): This season will end without a bowl. But at least the Mountaineers can hang their coonskin caps on what might wind up being the upset of the season in college football.
8. TCU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12, LW 8): Since TCU failed to qualify for a bowl, the Horned Frogs have turned their season finale against Baylor this weekend into a de facto bowl. TCU has talent coming back in 2014, with only six seniors graduating. If the Frogs can play Baylor tough, that will leave them feeling even better about their prospects for 2014 after a disastrous season.
9. Iowa State (2-9, 1-7 Big 12, LW 10): The Cyclones gave their fans a reprieve from a miserable season with a solid performance in a shutout of the Jayhawks. After throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns, Grant Rohach might have taken command of the QB spot over the injured Sam Richardson going into 2014, too.
10. Kansas (3-8, 1-7 Big 12, LW 9): Back to the cellar.
- Expectations were high for Kansas running back when Brandon Bourbon arrived in Lawrence, Kan. but he's just now starting to make an impact, writes Mike Vernon of the Topeka Capital-Journal.
- TCU coach Gary Patterson sees similarities between the 2008 Horned Frogs season and this year.
- West Virginia needs several facility improvements as the Mountaineers try to step it up and compete in the Big 12, says coach Dana Holgorsen. Dave Hickman has the story for the Charleston Gazette.
- The relatively unknown Dylan Schellenberg is preparing to replace Ty Zimmerman in Kansas State's secondary, writes Joshua Kinder of the Manhattan Mercury.
- Baylor's rotation at defensive tackle has helped the Bears remain fresh and play fast, writes Brice Cherry of the Waco Tribune.
- Writing letters sits alongside winning as a part of Bill Snyder's legacy at Kansas State, writes The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson.
- Quarterback Trevor Knight is poised to start for Oklahoma against Kansas State, writes Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman. Knight will start and two other Sooners will miss the game.
- The Bears are looking to reverse their fortunes at Oklahoma State, writes John Helsley of The Oklahoman.
- The Cowboys decision to make changes in the backfield have paid off, writes Kelly Hines of the Tulsa World.
- Checking out OSU-Baylor on the DVR could be the perfect "welcome home" gift for Iowa State fans who brave the cold weather to watch senior night for the Cyclones, writes Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribune.
Texas, at No. 8, still holds the top spot from the conference. Baylor is No. 16, followed by Oklahoma (No. 22), Oklahoma State (No. 27) and Texas Tech (No. 35). Per our Big 12 rankings, West Virginia holds down the sixth spot in the conference, followed by Kansas, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas State.
Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:
Trending up: This is right around the time when Oklahoma sees a spike in its recruiting, and the timing has been right on schedule. The Sooners have landed five commitments in the month of November, the latest being junior college outside linebacker Devante Bond (Roseville, Calif./Sierra College). In previous years, Oklahoma has started slow and finished strong in recruiting, and there are still a few top-ranked players available. Among the ESPN 300 athletes are cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks).
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- Baylor tackle Spencer Drango will miss the rest of the regular season as the injuries start to pile up in Waco, writes John Werner of the Waco Tribune.
- Could Texas come after Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy? The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel ponders the question.
- Senior night promises to be emotional at Iowa State, writes Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribune.
- West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen sounds confident he has the support of athletic director Oliver Luck, writes Dave Hickman of the Charleston Gazette.
- One Kansas senior describes the Jayhawks' win as feeling like "a kid on Christmas morning." Rustin Dodd of the Wichita Eagle has the story.
- We've seen KU all-purpose wizard Tony Pierson for the last time as he continues to deal with concussion symptoms.
- Kansas State coach Bill Snyder doesn't discuss injuries, but it seems unlikely Ty Zimmerman will play against Oklahoma, writes Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle.
- OU linebacker Dominique Alexander has learned quickly after being thrown into the starting lineup, writes Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World. Sooners receiver Sterling Shepard appears poised to return after missing the game against Iowa State.
- Boone Pickens Stadium will be sold out for the first time ever when Baylor visits Oklahoma State on Saturday, reports Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman.
- Dartwan Bush's return has helped Texas Tech's defense and Kerry Hyder in particular, writes Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal.
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