Dallas Colleges: Austen Arnaud

Big 12 power rankings: Week 1

August, 29, 2011
8/29/11
10:51
AM CT
Oh, yes. It is game week.

Today is Monday, which means we'll kick off our weekly power rankings and continue doing so each week throughout the season.

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners are clearly the class of the Big 12 but will have to start proving it early with a hyped trip to Tallahassee to face a Florida State team that yours truly thinks is a bit overrated. Saturday, though? Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles will open the season at home against an underrated Tulsa team that won more games in 2010 than Florida State but will travel to Norman perhaps without its top playmaker, Damaris Johnson. G.J. Kinne is great, but he'll have to be spectacular for the Golden Hurricane to be a serious threat.

2. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys gave college football fans a treat with the return of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, who will kick off their encore seasons against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team that spawned Weeden's trust in Blackmon originally last season. The opener should be a snoozer, but next week's rematch of the Alamo Bowl against Arizona could produce big fireworks on a Thursday night national broadcast.

3. Texas A&M: This is an absolute coin flip. Until the teams meet on Sept. 24, I'll probably flip OSU and A&M depending on who was more impressive the previous week. The Aggies will have the best chance to impress with a Sunday nighter against an underrated SMU team coming to Kyle Field with a crowd that could get a huge boost from the prospect of a future in the SEC, which might be announced later this week.

4. Missouri: We'll get our first real look at James Franklin when the Tigers suit up against Miami (Ohio). After struggling early in spring camp during his competition with Tyler Gabbert, Franklin has only gotten better. This week will be big for the Tigers' offensive line, which has to find a suitable replacement for stalwart left tackle Elvis Fisher, a 40-game starter who will miss the season with a torn patellar tendon. The Tigers' first big test is just six days from Saturday, when they travel to Tempe, Ariz.,to play Arizona State.

5. Baylor: Baylor's new-look defense will get a pretty good test from TCU. The Bears are the Big 12's lone team matched up with a ranked opponent in Week 1. A win against the defending Rose Bowl champs with the nation's eyes watching a Friday night ESPN broadcast could be a big coming-out party for Art Briles and Robert Griffin III on a national scale.

6. Texas: obody knows what to expect from the Longhorns, but we might find out who'll be starting at quarterback for the Horns later today. The defense, which has led the Big 12 in total defense the past four seasons, should still be stout in spite of a young secondary, but an amorphous offseason depth chart will take shape this week.

7. Texas Tech: There are a lot of new faces on the field for the Red Raiders, but Year 2 under Tommy Tuberville will probably get off to a yawn-worthy start with FCS Texas State heading to Lubbock for the opener. Tech is a bit of a wild card that might be as good as the league's fourth-best team. This is probably as low on the power rankings as you'll see the Red Raiders all season.

8. Kansas State: The Wildcats caught a break with Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown being given limited immunity by the NCAA and avoiding eligbility issues from the mess at Miami, but we'll finally get a chance to see K-State's hyped transfers take the field. Arthur Brown emerged as one of the defense's top playmakers during the spring, but what will Bryce Brown have to offer? And has Collin Klein improved enough as a passer to help the Wildcats claw into the next tier of Big 12 teams?

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones might be better than this, but they're going to have to prove it. No one above them in the power rankings finished with a worse record last season. The Big 12 had only one team (Kansas) that finished with a record worse than 5-7. New quarterback Steele Jantz, replacing three-year starter Austen Arnaud, should be fun to watch.

10. Kansas: Improvement is the name of the game for the Jayhawks, who dropped a game to an FCS team in Week 1 last year. It's doubtful we'll see a repeat against McNeese State this time around, but how much better will Kansas be? We'll get a better sense when the Jayhawks tangle with an underrated Northern Illinois team in Week 2 and ACC foe Georgia Tech the next week.

Big 12 position rankings: Quarterback

June, 20, 2011
6/20/11
10:45
AM CT
We'll kick off our look today at the position rankings for each team in the Big 12 before looping back around to rank the top 10 at every position in the Big 12.

We'll start at the most obvious position: Quarterback, a position that I'd argue is more important in the Big 12 than in any other conference.

Depth will be a huge factor in these rankings, though at quarterback, it's the toughest to gauge, considering how little we see of backup quarterbacks.

Here's how each Big 12 team ranks at the quarterback position:

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireLandry Jones leads the Big 12's deepest and best group of quarterbacks.
1. Oklahoma

Oklahoma learned the hard way in 2009 about the importance of the backup quarterback, but even in his limited experience, Drew Allen has impressed Bob Stoops after narrowly losing out on the backup job behind Sam Bradford in 2009. Landry Jones is a great one, and with his opportunities, has become a Heisman Trophy favorite. Could Allen have done the same if he had beaten out Jones in 2009? Blake Bell, the nation's No. 3 quarterback in the 2010 class, will likely be Oklahoma's No. 3 in 2011.

2. Oklahoma State

Brandon Weeden's profile spiked when he led the Cowboys to a comeback win over Colorado on a Thursday night game in 2009. He took over as the starter shortly after, but going into that game Weeden was a third-stringer. Alex Cate transferred after it became evident that Weeden would be the starter in 2010, and behind Weeden is Clint Chelf and two solid recruits: Johnny Deaton and J.W. Walsh, who was the nation's No. 10 QB (just outside the ESPNU 150) in 2011 and enrolled early.

3. Texas A&M

Ryan Tannehill is entrenched at the starting spot, with a lot of youth behind him. Matt Joeckel and Jameill Showers will try to hold off incoming freshman Johnny Manziel for the No. 2 spot this fall. Manziel was impressive during the spring, and will contend for the starting job in 2012, but he'll likely redshirt unless he wins the backup job.

4. Texas Tech

Seth Doege looks ready to grab the reins for two seasons, barring injury. Jacob Karam is probably ready to start in the Big 12 right now, he's just not as good as Doege. Behind them are two promising prospects with upside and development to do: Scotty Young and Michael Brewer. The Red Raiders are the last of the Big 12 teams who have truly solid depth at quarterback.

5. Baylor

Robert Griffin III will probably hold every school record for quarterbacks by the time he leaves Waco, but the Bears need to find a true replacement behind him. Nick Florence filled in well in 2009 when Griffin missed the final nine games with a knee injury, but he's a junior like Griffin and their eligibility will expire simultaneously. Redshirt freshman Bryce Petty and 2012 commit Jared Johnson could battle for the spot in 2013.

6. Missouri

The Tigers depth took a hit after Tyler Gabbert's transfer following spring practice, but expectations are high for sophomore James Franklin, who got a bit of experience in 2010 behind Blaine Gabbert. Senior Jimmy Costello quit the team after last season to focus on an impending fall enlistment in the Army, but rejoined after the Gabbert brothers' departures from Columbia. He's likely to be the backup, with Ashton Glaser and walk-on Ryan Howerton filling out the rest of the quarterback spots. Corbin Berkstresser, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound quarterback from Kansas City that ESPN ranked No. 43 at his position, will arrive in the fall, too.

7. Texas

How long until we see a quarterback make the kind of plays Garrett Gilbert made against Alabama in the national championship? Those kinds of long scores were rare last year, but the Longhorns will have a competition this fall that sounds like it's pretty open heading into camp. If Gilbert wins, he'll likely have a much shorter leash in 2011 than he did in 2010, before Case McCoy or Connor Wood gets a crack, and dark horse true freshman David Ash could make things interesting, too.

8. Kansas State

Collin Klein made a nice move toward winning the job with a strong spring game performance. But coach Bill Snyder says he still didn't see a ton of separation between Klein and his backups, Sammuel Lamur and Boston College transfer Justin Tuggle, who spent last year replacing Cam Newton at Blinn College in Texas.

9. Iowa State

James Capello transferred after the spring, but Iowa State's race has likely boiled down to two men: Jerome Tiller and Steele Jantz. Jantz, a juco transfer, is the wild card and Tiller will need to show that his struggles in spot duty last season were temporary. He didn't show the progress you'd expect from a maturing player when he played for an injured Austen Arnaud in a few games early and late in 2010. Jared Barnett is still battling in Ames, but him winning the job would be a huge upset.

10. Kansas

The Jayhawks could use a couple more years of Todd Reesing. The Jayhawks saw a huge drop off at the quarterback position in 2010, as Jordan Webb, Quinn Mecham and Kale Pick all got time under center. Kansas will likely run its offense through a strong group of running backs, but unless newcomer Brock Berglund shows potential and proves he's the best of the group, expect Kansas to remain near the bottom of the Big 12 by the end of 2011.

Which Big 12 player has the most impact?

May, 12, 2011
5/12/11
1:06
PM CT
We'll do this category a bit different. We're all about the wild cards here on the Big 12 blog. Fear of the unknown? How about the anticipation of the unknown?

In this poll, pick the unknown player that will have the most impact on the 2011 season. (alternate title for this poll: What can Brown do for you?)

Malcolm Brown is one of the nation's top running backs in the 2011 class, and appears to have an opportunity with a pair of underachieving seniors as the featured backs on campus. Can he be the guy to bring the Longhorns running game to life?

Bryce Brown was once a five-star running back prospect just like Malcolm Brown. But his career took a detour to Tennessee before he transferred back closer to his home in Wichita. Is he the answer to replace Daniel Thomas, running behind an offensive line that must replace three starters?

Sheldon Richardson is another former five star who had to go to junior college and committed to USC before re-committing and signing with Missouri. He's expected to be on campus this June, but once he arrives, will he be a game-changer?

Steele Jantz, aside from possessing the league's most intimidating name, is entrenched in a four-man race to be Iowa State's new quarterback. Is he the man to replace Austen Arnaud?

Arthur Brown, like his brother Bryce, was once one of the nation's top recruits, but signed with Miami. Also like his brother, he's back closer to home and made a big impact this spring. Will that continue through to the fall?

NU secondary ready to see Jones again

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
1:00
PM CT

Nebraska's secondary won't see the same Landry Jones on Saturday, but Jones won't see the same Nebraska secondary, either.

"Last year when we played him, he was a young quarterback just learning the system and everything," defensive back DeJon Gomes said. "One of the biggest things we took away from that game is he’s a competitor and he’s going to do the best he can to get his team into a situation to win."

And one more thing.

[+] EnlargePrince Amukamara
Eric Francis/Getty ImagesPrince Amukamara and the Nebraska secondary have had success against Oklahoma in the past.
"He also likes throwing the ball. That’s good for our secondary," Gomes said.

No kidding. Jones has racked up 527 pass attempts in 2010, in part because of Oklahoma's hurry-up offense and in part to find more success as a sophomore passer.

No quarterback in the Big 12 has more than 500, and Dominique Davis at Eastern Carolina is the only quarterback in America with more attempts than Oklahoma's Jones.

The Blackshirts picked off Jones five times in Lincoln in 2009 -- including three by departed safety Matt O'Hanlon -- though Huskers coach Bo Pelini tossed a wet blanket on talk of that game having any relevance over a year later.

"It's a different time, different place, different offense, new challenges," Pelini said. "The furthest thing from my mind is what happened in that game last year."

What does matter is what's happened this year. Nebraska has put together the No. 2 pass defense in the country, allowing just 144 yards a game. Jones averages almost 330 a game, good for No. 3 nationally.

"It’s going to be an exciting game, especially with them having one of the top offenses in the country and us priding ourself on defense," Gomes said. "It’ll be a fun one to watch."

If history repeats itself, it'll be a lot more fun for Huskers fans than Oklahoma fans when it comes to passing the ball. On the way to that No. 2 ranking, the Nebraska secondary has ruined the days of a handful of good quarterbacks. A sampling:
Only Iowa State's Austen Arnaud, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M managed decent days against the secondary. Part of Weeden's success was in finding receiver Justin Blackmon, one of the nation's best, for 135 of his 283 yards and both touchdowns. Only Tannehill got a victory with his success, however moderate (19-29, 172 yards).

Jones has another of the nation's best receivers, Ryan Broyles, to throw to, but even Broyles could only manage eight catches for 74 yards in 2009, one of his lowest outputs of the season while healthy.

"They have a trigger man who can get the ball to everybody," Pelini said of Jones. "They stretch the field on you. It's a good challenge for us."

It could be an even bigger challenge for Jones.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 12

November, 15, 2010
11/15/10
9:00
AM CT
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

1. Nebraska (9-1, 5-1, last week: 1) The Huskers did it ugly against Kansas, but they did it, and that's all that really matters. The offense will have to be sharper in College Station next week to beat the red-hot Aggies.

2. Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1, LW: 2) The Cowboys took care of business in Austin, and are inching toward a first-ever trip toward a Big 12 title. Don't be looking for a slip-up in Lawrence next week, but hype is building for what should be a heated Bedlam battle in Stillwater in two weeks.

3. Oklahoma (8-2, 4-2, LW: 3) Bob Stoops-coached teams at Oklahoma continue their home dominance, but Owen Field will remain quiet for the rest of the season. The Sooners have to get by Baylor in Waco next week to still have a chance to play for the South title in Stillwater a week later. That's not as easy as it used to be.

4. Missouri (8-2, 4-2, LW: 4) Blaine Gabbert redeemed himself in a big way, but the Tigers defense made plays everywhere against Kansas State. Good luck finding a team that loses with a 4-1 advantage in turnovers and a defensive touchdown. This week, even with Iowa State missing senior quarterback Austen Arnaud, Missouri's trip to Ames won't be easy.

5. Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2, LW: 5) The Aggies are the league's hottest team, but it's hard to move them above any of the four teams higher than them. That'll change if Mike Sherman's team can knock off Nebraska this week. Texas A&M played one of its best halves of the year in its comeback win against Baylor. And by the way, how does that last-second loss to Oklahoma State back in the conference opener look now? A lot more impressive.

6. Kansas State (6-4, 3-4, LW: 6) Kansas State burned itself with costly fumbles, but the Wildcats would be well-served to ride Collin Klein to the finish line in 2010. A second dynamic running threat adds a lot more to the offense than a second average-at-best passer.

7. Baylor (7-4, 4-3, LW: 7) Baylor's offense got deadlocked by Tim DeRuyter's defense in a frustrating loss, but the Bears will try to go out with a bang against Oklahoma in their season finale this week.

8. Texas Tech (5-5, 3-5, LW: 9) Texas Tech didn't move up as much as the four teams below them moved down. The Red Raiders looked pretty helpless in Norman, but that's nothing new for Texas Tech or anyone. The Sooners haven't lost a Big 12 game at home since 2001. A late switch back to Steven Sheffield didn't help much, either. Expect Taylor Potts to start again next week.

9. Iowa State (5-6, 3-4, LW: 8) The loss to Colorado was crushing, but not as crushing as losing Arnaud. Expect Paul Rhoads' team to rally around experienced backup Jerome Tiller this week and give Missouri a tough time with a bowl berth on the line.

10. Texas (4-6, 2-5, LW: 10) Don't think a lopsided win against Florida Atlantic is a given for the Longhorns. Howard Schnellenberger's Owls gave Sun Belt leader Florida International its only conference loss of the season, 21-9, and have won three in a row.

11. Colorado (4-6, 1-5, LW: 12) The Buffs won a big one for Brian Cabral, and might tap into something down the stretch. If Kansas State turns it over like it did against Missouri, Colorado might string together a two-game winning streak.

12. Kansas (3-7, 1-5, LW: 11) Kansas is getting better, but the season's finish will be tough against Oklahoma State and Missouri.

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