Dallas Colleges: Casey Pachall
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
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.
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 TCU sophomore started six games at quarterback this season. He’s playing wide receiver now and caught 11 passes for 100 yards against West Virginia. Coach Gary Patterson has even floated the possibility that Boykin will start returning kicks.
And he’s fine with all of that. Boykin just wants to do whatever can he to stay on the field and help the Horned Frogs.
So, again, what other roles does Boykin have in his arsenal?
“I could probably play safety. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a good corner, though,” he said. “I don’t think I have the feet or speed for it.”
Well, what about kicking?
“I’m not really a good punter,” Boykin said. “I mean, I played it in high school. It was more of a rugby-style thing. I think I had one 60-yarder. That probably was lucky.”
He doesn’t have a punt to his name in 2013 (at least, not yet), but he does have 1,176 passing yards, 303 rushing yards, 165 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
Add up his time as quarterback and receiver and he has touched the ball on 43 percent of TCU’s offensive snaps this season. Boykin likes having the ball in his hands, and he's glad those opportunities are still coming his way even if he’s once again the backup quarterback.
Back on Oct. 4, 2012, the day he learned that Casey Pachall was out and that he was TCU’s new starting quarterback, Boykin was actually practicing at running back. That came on a Thursday, so he had one walkthrough practice to prepare for his debut.
He now has 15 starts under his belt as a Big 12 quarterback. Boykin made his last one against Texas last month before giving way to a healthy Pachall in the first quarter. As much as the young backup is a competitor, he was fine with the decision.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” Boykin said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win the game. If that was me playing receiver or me playing quarterback, it really doesn’t matter.”
And a week later, Boykin was Pachall’s go-to target at receiver against the Mountaineers. In the past decade, he’s one of only two players -- the other being Michigan’s Devin Gardner, in 2012 -- to surpass 1,000 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same season.
“He makes TCU better wherever he plays,” Patterson said.
Boykin’s roommates, receivers LaDarius Brown and David Porter, give him grief about his skills at receiver, but Boykin believes years of playing quarterback prepared him as a pass-catcher far more than he’d realized.
“Just being in the film room as Casey, we just kind of clicked,” Boykin said. “Me knowing what a quarterback wants, I was just in the right spots at the right time.”
The same could be said of his performance against Iowa State last Saturday. Boykin lined up at quarterback for five carries. He scored touchdowns on three, including the 1-yard game winner in the final minute.
That wasn’t part of the game plan going in, he said. Just a game-time decision and, evidently, a fairly successful one. Boykin doesn’t know what’s in store for him this week at Kansas State. He’s ready for anything Patterson and the coaches put on his plate.
The situation he’ll face next year will be just as intriguing. Pachall graduates, but the Frogs have young backups in Tyler Matthews and Zach Allen plus incoming freshmen Grayson Muehlstein and Foster Sawyer.
Even if Boykin is the presumed starting quarterback entering next spring, Patterson said he’d still like to maximize his versatility in multiple roles. Boykin is talented enough to create mismatches all over the field.
That uncertainty might bother a more selfish athlete. Boykin enjoys the challenge. He’s having plenty of fun this year, even if he’s not the one behind center.
He still attends the quarterback meetings with Pachall and prepares knowing he could return to quarterback at any moment. But does he refer to himself an “athlete” now when people ask?
“I tell them I play quarterback,” Boykin said, “because that’s what’s on the roster.”
That’s not likely to change, even if the box score on Saturdays tells a different story.
Will Texas Tech rebound after losing to the Sooners? Kliff Kingsbury’s squad pulled out all the stops in their 38-30 setback in Norman. Fake punt returns, halfback passes, onside kicks, nothing was left on the table. Yet, they still lost. It had to be deflating for the Red Raiders. But TTU comes back home to Lubbock with the realization that its Big 12 title hopes remain intact with Oklahoma State, Texas and Baylor remaining on their schedule. If they simply win out and get some help with another conference loss by the Sooners, their title hopes would be well within reach.
Will Oklahoma State remind people it remains in the Big 12 title hunt? The Cowboys still control their destiny with the rest of the top half of the league still on their schedule. OSU can send a message that it has been forgotten during discussions about the Big 12 with a road win in a tough night environment in Lubbock. Multiple starters remain from the 2011 Big 12 title squad so don’t expect the Cowboys to sit back and watch the title be decided without having their say.
Will Roland keep rollin’? OSU running back Desmond Roland set a career high with 219 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his first collegiate start. What will he do as an encore against a Red Raider defense that has allowed 460 rushing yards in their past two games? TTU will likely try to take the running game away and force Clint Chelf to beat them with his arm.
Who will be the best running back on the turf at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium? Texas’ Johnathan Gray (93.71 rushing yards per game) and Kansas’ James Sims (84.14 ypg) sit at No. 2 and 3 among the Big 12 leaders for rushing yards per game behind Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk (124.14). Clearly, Gray has more help as he strives to make plays but Sims did rush for 176 yards against the Longhorns last season. It should be fun to see two of the Big 12’s top running backs in action on the same field.
How strong is OSU’s defense? The Cowboys are, statistically, one of the best defensive units seen in Stillwater in recent memory. Yet they haven’t seen anything like they will see against Texas Tech on Saturday. The Red Raiders feature a bag full of tricks and receiving corps full of treats unlike any other in the conference. Jace Amaro is an automatic mismatch, Eric Ward can make teams pay for leaving him in one-on-one situations, Jakeem Grant is slippery and fast and Bradley Marquez will hit you with a big play when you least expect it. Few envy the task of Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer this weekend.
Can Kansas State’s two-quarterback system continue to excel? Each week Bill Snyder is asked about his two-quarterback system and the Wildcats’ head coach commonly responds by saying both guys are good players who can help his team win. While far from colorful, his consistent message is dead-on accurate. Daniel Sams has caused havoc for Big 12 defenses all season and when West Virginia came out with a plan to stop Sams, Jake Waters promptly made the Mountaineers’ pay with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to spark KSU’s win. There's no reason to think the two-quarterback system won't continue to excel against Iowa State on Saturday.
Can WVU finally finish? Every week the Mountaineers show more and more signs that they are starting to find a rhythm. While many are quick to brush WVU off, the Mountaineers would have beaten Tech and K-State if they made key plays when it mattered in the fourth quarter. If they ever finally learn how to finish, they could finish the season with a strong final month, starting Saturday at TCU.
Will Casey Pachall look better in his second game back? Pachall didn’t look like the savior against Texas in his first game back from injury last Saturday but he still represents the biggest reason for hope as TCU tries to battle its way into a bowl game. If he looks like a healthy and confident Pachall against WVU and leads the Horned Frogs' offense to a high-scoring output, it would be hard to bet against Gary Patterson’s squad finding its way into a bowl game.
Someone help Quenton Bundrage: No, seriously, anyone? Bundrage keeps finding ways to make an impact on games despite not having another consistent threat alongside him in Iowa State’s offense. The Cyclones have been ravaged by injuries, but it would be interesting to see what the sophomore could do with someone alongside him forcing defenses to account for them. Regardless, Bundrage is a name to watch against KSU on Saturday.
Veteran Casey Pachall was back at quarterback. So was backup Trevone Boykin, who gained valuable experience in 2012 filling in for Pachall.
And Brandon Carter seemed primed to take over as the No. 1 receiver.
All of that, combined with a star-studded defense, made the Horned Frogs the players’ preseason pick to win the Big 12.
But somewhere along the way, it all went wrong. And as a result, TCU is in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
When did the offense begin to go south?
“I think everybody feels good going into (a season),” Patterson said. “You lose a starting quarterback -- but I don’t know if I can actually answer that question for you. Obviously, we’re not doing well, but I don’t feel like we felt like we were going to go south; but I’m not sure we did that. We just haven’t done what we needed to do.”
TCU (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) ranks 114th nationally and ninth in the Big 12 with an average of 320 yards per game. The Horned Frogs have 19 touchdowns. They have 18 turnovers, only one shy from tying for the Big 12 lead. And they have produced just five first-half touchdowns offensively all season.
The truth is, there were early signs this offense might have problems.
Before the first day of practice, starting right tackle Tayo Fabuluje quit the team. A few days later, guard Michael Thompson had to give up football due to injuries. That left the thinnest unit on the team with two less bodies.
The problems have only ballooned from there.
TCU actually put up 27 points in the opener against LSU. But that came on only 13 first downs and 259 yards of offense, as Catalon’s 100-yard kickoff return turned out to be TCU’s only first half touchdown.
After Pachall was picked off on the first play of the third quarter, Patterson replaced him with Boykin. And the quarterback position has been a disaster ever since.
The following week, Pachall was lost to a fractured forearm for five games. And although Boykin was more effective than Pachall the first two games, he struggled once he took over as the full-time starter.
Boykin ranks 15th in the Big 12 with an Adjusted QBR of 39.4 (scale of 0-to-100, with 50 being average).
Pachall, who returned from the forearm injury last week, hasn’t fared any better. He produced a QBR of just 13.1 in the 30-7 loss to Texas while completing only 38 percent of his passes.
But the offensive woes can’t all be pinned on the quarterbacks.
“When it’s not going well,” Patterson said, “there are a lot of ways to point fingers.”
Carter has been a major disappointment this season. While flanking Josh Boyce last year, Carter had 36 catches for 590 yards and six touchdowns, positioning himself to become TCU’s primary receiver after Boyce declared for the draft.
But since getting benched in the SMU game on Sept. 28, Carter has just four catches for 41 yards.
Without a true go-to guy, the Horned Frogs’ receiving corps has been wildly inconsistent. In the Texas loss alone, the Horned Frogs had seven drops.
With the passing attack posing little threat, defenses have loaded up to shut down James and Catalon. And for the most part, the two have been contained. Catalon ranks 10th in the Big 12 in yards per carry (4.95); James is 13th (4.75).
“We gotta find a way to score points,” Patterson said. “Gotta find a way to move the ball.”
The Horned Frogs have four games left to find a way. If they don’t win out, they won’t go to a bowl.
“At this time of year, you don’t end up really being able to fix a lot of things,” Patterson said. “You are what you are, so how do we make it better? And that’s what we’re trying to get accomplished.
“If you don’t do that, then you go home for Christmas.”
The Wildcats are out of the conference title picture. So are West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas. But all five still cling to bowl hopes. Here’s a look at the chances each has of making a bowl game:
Kansas State Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Big 12)
Remaining schedule: Iowa State, at No. 15 Texas Tech, TCU, No. 10 Oklahoma, at Kansas
Chances of a bowl: The West Virginia win was huge for K-State’s bowl aspirations. Now all the Wildcats have to do is beat Iowa State and TCU at home, then take care of Kansas on the road in the Sunflower Showdown. K-State should be favored in all three of those games. Games at Tech and at home against Oklahoma aren’t automatic losses, either. The Wildcats suffered some tough losses during the first half of the season. But they are finally healthy again, and with the way QBs Jake Waters and Daniel Sams are playing, good bets to get to a bowl.
West Virginia Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4)
Remaining schedule: at TCU, Texas, at Kansas, Iowa State
Chances of a bowl: No team in the Big 12 has played a tougher schedule than West Virginia. The schedule lightens up quite a bit. But that doesn’t guarantee the Mountaineers will get bowl eligible. Even if they beat Kansas and Iowa State, they’ll still have to knock off TCU in Fort Worth or Texas at home. West Virginia is a two-touchdown underdog at TCU. And the Mountaineers will likely be heavy underdogs against Texas, too. West Virginia is still capable of wining either game. But the Mountaineers will have to play much better than they did Saturday in Manhattan to have a chance in either.
TCU Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4)
Remaining schedule: West Virginia, at Iowa State, at Kansas State, No. 6 Baylor
Chances of a bowl: The players’ preseason pick to win the Big 12 suddenly is in danger of just getting to a bowl. If you chalk up the Baylor game as a loss, that would mean TCU would have to win its next three games, including in Ames and Manhattan, to become bowl eligible. The Horned Frogs have the defense to do that. But do they have the offense to win three in a row? QB Casey Pachall is back. He’ll have to play well to get the TCU offense back on track -- and the Frogs to a bowl.
Iowa State Cyclones (1-6, 0-4)
Remaining schedule: at Kansas State, TCU, at No. 10 Oklahoma, Kansas, at West Virginia
Chances of a bowl: The Cyclones have suffered some tough losses, notably the one-point defeat at home to Texas. Now they have to win out to get to a bowl. With a road trip to Oklahoma on the remaining schedule, that’s just not happening.
Kansas Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4)
Remaining schedule: at Texas, at No. 18 Oklahoma State, West Virginia, at Iowa State, Kansas State
Chances of a bowl: To become bowl eligible, the Jayhawks would have to knock off Texas or Oklahoma State on the road. Kansas should be more focused on snapping its 24-game Big 12 losing streak.
This continues to be been a strange, unpredictable year for Big 12 quarterbacks. We’ve already seen 18 start at least two games. Only three schools -- Baylor, Kansas and Iowa State -- have started the same guy for every game, and even they've used multiple quarterbacks.
The following rankings judged how these QBs are playing right now as well as their full 2013 resumes. Deciding where to slot injured passers was tricky. You might not agree with all or any of these rankings, but this is how we'd size up the competition after nine weeks:
2. Case McCoy, Texas: The career backup has been a huge part of Texas' resurgence. In wins over Oklahoma and TCU, McCoy has Adjusted QBRs of 83.9 and 95.4. -- Jake Trotter
3. Davis Webb, Texas Tech: Webb hasn’t been perfect but he’s averaging 420.67 passing yards and 5.67 completions of 20 yards or more in TTU’s past three games. He’s been very solid for a true freshman. -- Brandon Chatmon
4. Daniel Sams, Kansas State: He might be too high at No. 4, but Sams is the best athlete of the bunch and already has 538 rushing yards on just 100 carries. Still has plenty to prove as a passer. -- MO
5. Blake Bell, Oklahoma: Great against Texas Tech and Notre Dame, bad against Texas. Has promising moments as a passer, firm grasp on the job and a chance to prove he's league's second-best QB. -- MO
6. Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech: The walk-on made waves while leading the Red Raiders to a 5-0 start before a knee injury sidelined him, but he threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his final three starts before the injury. -- BC
7. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State: Chelf finally has the job again, but he'll have to complete more passes to keep it. His completion percentage this year is less than 50 percent. -- JT
8. David Ash, Texas: Ash is throwing again, and could be cleared to return soon. But will he resume his starting role? The way McCoy is performing, probably not. -- JT
9. J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State: His combination of moxie and leadership is hard to deny but his struggles connecting on deep passes led to Chelf replacing him in the starting lineup. He remains a valuable piece as the disposal of Mike Gundy’s squad, however. -- BC
10. Jake Waters, Kansas State: Juco transfer is starting to get the hang of Big 12 ball and his own offense, and coming off an impressive showing against West Virginia. -- MO
11. Casey Pachall, TCU: Pachall has only played in seven games over the last two seasons. It would be difficult for anyone to overcome that level of rust. -- JT
12. Clint Trickett, West Virginia: Trickett’s season has mimicked the roller coaster nature of WVU’s offense, but he did lead the Mountaineers to a win over Oklahoma State, the highlight of their season. -- BC
13. Seth Russell, Baylor: Getting mop-up time and experience in every game this season and has 427 yards on 60 percent passing. Would he start for a couple Big 12 teams? -- MO
14. Sam B. Richardson, Iowa State: Richardson has been banged up all year, and it's shown. At some point, the Cyclones may be forced to go with the healthier option in Grant Rohach. -- JT
15. Jake Heaps, Kansas: The BYU transfer just can’t seem to find any confidence or rhythm for the Jayhawks passing attack, forcing Charlie Weis to start drastically experimenting with KU’s offense. -- BC
16. Trevone Boykin, TCU: Dual-threat sophomore has his moments, but five touchdowns and nine turnovers in 2013. Back to backing up Pachall and could play some receiver. -- MO
17. Trevor Knight, Oklahoma: Knight won the job out of camp, but lost it to Bell two games in after moving the chains ineffectively. Bell's performance against Texas Tech means Knight will remain on the sidelines. -- JT
18. Michael Brewer, Texas Tech: Generally expected to be the Red Raiders starter heading into fall camp, Brewer has been surpassed by the true freshman quarterbacks. -- BC
19. Paul Millard, West Virginia: Started first two games for the Mountaineers before losing his job, got another chance late against K-State. -- MO
20. Ford Childress, West Virginia: The freshman quarterbacked West Virginia's worst performance of the year, a 37-0 loss to Maryland, before suffering a pectoral injury that could keep him out the rest of the year. -- JT
21. Grant Rohach, Iowa State: He’s come off the bench to replace Sam Richardson in ISU’s last two games but has yet to surpass 100 passing yards in the game. -- BC
22. Montell Cozart, Kansas: True freshman is now splitting snaps with Heaps and got half the reps against Baylor. Can make plays in the run game and be a spark. -- MO
23. Michael Cummings, Kansas: Cummings started five games in 2012 but has lost the No. 2 spot to Cozart, and is unlikely to play much going forward with Heaps also part of the offense. -- JT
24. Tyrone Swoopes, Texas: The 6-foot-4, 245-pound true freshman made his debut on Saturday and is a talented rusher, but he didn't attempt a pass. If McCoy goes down, he'll have to take over. -- MO
25. Tyler Matthews, TCU: The Horned Frogs got so desperate for production they turned to the redshirt freshman on multiple occasions, yet he’s seen very limited game reps and hasn't completed a pass this season. -- BC
1. No game, no problem
Think back to Sept. 7, when Texas got a late kickoff in Provo, Utah, due to a severe weather delay of 1:50. The defense played flat, Daje Johnson got hurt immediately, David Ash got hurt later, and BYU was flat-out more physical than Texas. This time, Mack Brown, his staff and players faced a game delay of more than three hours and were perfectly fine with the setback. Texas held onto and built upon its lead entering that long break, without giving up any more TCU scores. Players killed time with meetings, listening to music and eating, but once the game resumed it was same old Texas.
2. Front seven setting the tone
To heap all the praise on the defensive line wouldn't be too fair when you recognize how well these Texas linebackers are playing and how far they've come. Dalton Santos and Steve Edmond were both treated like scapegoats for the rest of the defense's troubles but are playing some great football right now. Together, they made life difficult for Casey Pachall in only the second career Big 12 start he's made. That Texas defensive line is playing lights out right now, and that'll need to continue over the final stretch.
3. Here comes Swoopes
Well, here we go. Texas burned the redshirt of the former four-star recruit with less than 5 minutes left against TCU. The results were more than modest -- 29 total yards on the eight plays he ran -- but what this means for the future is significant. We'll delve more into this on Monday, but just believe they wouldn't be taking this step if they didn't think he could help, and that he could use all the bonus snaps he can get. What does this mean for David Ash's long-term health? Brown isn't going into it other than to say Ash won't play against Kansas next week. But one thing is for sure: If that's the only time we see Tyrone Swoopes this season, it's a real shame for all involved, especially those who wholeheartedly believed Swoopes should redshirt.
1. TCU: The Horned Frogs have watched quarterback Casey Pachall and defensive end Devonte Fields, arguably their top players on each side of the ball, go down. Pachall (forearm) could return soon but Fields (foot) is lost for the season. It’s easy to imagine the Horned Frogs offense, which has looked lost and has averaged just 97.4 yards in the first half in the past five games, as much improved with Pachall under center.
2. Texas: Another team that has lost a major contributor on both sides of the ball, the Longhorns hope to get quarterback David Ash (head) back at some point this season and have lost defensive leader Jordan Hicks (Achilles) for the season. Add in nicks and bruises to playmakers Daje Johnson and Mike Davis and success has been much harder to come by for Texas.
3. Oklahoma: The Sooners lost linebacker Corey Nelson (pectoral) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (back), two of their top defenders, in back-to-back weeks. Nelson's leadership is sorely missed and Phillips' strength in the middle is hard to replace. OU is still scrambling to replace the duo, which is a scary thought with Texas Tech and Baylor set to test the defense.
1. Baylor (6-0, 3-0 Big 12, last week 1): The No. 8-ranked Bears got some major help in the national title picture over the weekend, as LSU, Louisville, Texas A&M, Clemson and South Carolina all got knocked out of the mix. That really leaves only Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Missouri, Ohio State and Miami (Fla.) ahead of Baylor in the pecking order at the moment. Missouri will have to beat Alabama to get the title game, and Baylor has a decent chance of passing the Buckeyes, due to the weakness of the Big Ten. The Bears, however, have virtually no shot of passing Oregon or Florida State. Those are the two teams Baylor fans need to begin rooting against.
2. Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0, LW 2): The faith Kliff Kingsbury showed in true freshman QB Davis Webb on Saturday was extraordinary. Webb’s second-quarter fumble at the West Virginia 1-yard line completely changed the complexion of the game, but that didn’t shake Kingsbury’s confidence in his quarterback. And, even though Texas Tech’s defense had shut down West Virginia on four straight drives and led by a field goal, Kingsbury put the game on Webb’s arm by calling two third-down pass plays in the final two minutes. Webb completed both passes, which should also give him plenty of self-confidence heading into this weekend’s road tilt at Oklahoma.
3. Texas (4-2, 3-0, LW 3): Was the dominant performance against Oklahoma a one-game anomaly? The Longhorns have the talent to make a run at the Big 12 title. Maybe they have the identity now, too. If Texas keeps pounding the ball between the tackles with Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown, that will continue to set up one-on-one opportunities for Mike Davis downfield. As the Sooners found out, such a formula could make the Longhorns formidable the final month and a half of the season.
4. Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1, LW 5): The Cowboys finally turned the offense back over to Clint Chelf and not a moment too soon, as J.W. Walsh threw another two interceptions in the first quarter. But, in reality, Oklahoma State’s offense would be best off utilizing both quarterbacks going forward. The Cowboys hit their stride offensively last season only when they used Chelf as the base quarterback, then brought in the Walsh package in certain situations. Chelf’s arm strength can get the ball to Oklahoma State’s talented receivers downfield, which, in turn, opens up the running game. But Walsh brings savvy, toughness and leadership -- and he can make plays with his legs. Perhaps that quarterback blend will finally ignite this offense, which looks pretty rough at the halfway point of the season.
5. Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1, LW 4): The Sooners’ downfield passing game continues to be incompetent, as Oklahoma completed just two passes longer than 16 yards at Kansas. One of those was a reverse pass from Lacoltan Bester to Sterling Shepard. That’s two straight games in which QB Blake Bell has completed only one pass downfield. The Sooners were able to grind out 235 yards on the ground, but that was against a Kansas defense missing its best player (linebacker Ben Heeney). If the Sooners can’t complete passes downfield against man coverage, they have little chance of getting to double-digit wins.
6. West Virginia (3-4, 1-3, LW 7): West Virginia has begun to show some life offensively. The Mountaineers gained 473 yards of offense against a Texas Tech defense that has been pretty solid. At one point, the Mountaineers scored on five straight possessions. Clint Trickett is all over the place with his throws, but at least he makes things happen. Running back Charles Sims is a star, and backfield mate Dreamius Smith is legit, too. The schedule also eases up considerably for the Mountaineers, as West Virginia has already faced four of the top five teams in the league. If the offense keeps developing, this could still be a bowl team. That wouldn’t be a bad season, either, considering the offensive firepower the Mountaineers had to replace from last season.
7. Kansas State (2-4, 0-3, LW 8): The Wildcats have not played poorly despite their 0-3 start in the league, but with Oklahoma and Texas Tech still on the schedule, K-State almost has to beat West Virginia at home this weekend if it’s going to advance to a bowl. The good news is that starting receivers Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson are expected back, which should be a big boost to QBs Daniel Sams and Jake Waters.
8. TCU (3-4, 1-3, LW 6): The Horned Frogs are beginning to stake their claim as one of the worst offenses in Big 12 history. Switching coordinators or switching quarterbacks -- Gary Patterson tried both Saturday -- isn’t going to make any difference, either. Even with the best defense in the Big 12, the Horned Frogs will be in danger of missing out on a bowl game if they don’t beat Texas this weekend. QB Casey Pachall is close to returning, but not even he can salvage this dumpster fire of an offense.
9. Iowa State (1-5, 0-3, LW 9): After three straight promising performances, the Cyclones took a step back in Waco, Texas. Nobody expected Iowa State to win, but to get completely annihilated was disappointing, as coach Paul Rhoads called the game a “fiasco.” Now, yet again, the quarterback position has become a moving part. Sam B. Richardson is so banged up the Cyclones considered shutting him down for the season. Rhoads replaced Richardson with Grant Rohach in the second quarter to no avail. The No. 1 obstacle that’s kept Iowa State from becoming more than a .500 program has been the inability to find a long-term answer at quarterback. Dating back to last November, the Cyclones have put their chips on Richardson being that answer. Now, who knows what direction they'll go.
10. Kansas (2-4, 0-3, LW 10): Now that the Jayhawks have burned the redshirt of freshman QB Montell Cozart, they might as well turn the offense over to him. Jake Heaps just isn’t getting it done, as he completed five of 13 passes for 16 yards against Oklahoma. Sixteen yards. It’s not all on Heaps: The Kansas receiving corps is terrible. But that’s all the more reason to go with Cozart, who can at least make plays with his feet.
Or so I thought.
I assumed Tyler’s bride-to-be was getting on his case about focusing on his picks instead of his wedding. Sure, getting married is a big deal. But being the guest picker? Way bigger deal.
Turned out, my correspondence kept getting dumped into his spam folder. And once this was cleared up, Tyler pleaded for another early wedding present. What can I say? I’m a romantic.
So I missed out on my chance to be the guest picker last week, and Trotter let me have it in the Week 7 predictions. You'll have to excuse me for making my wedding a bigger priority than being the guest picker. As they say, a happy wife is a happy life, and as a K-State fan, I need all the happiness I can get. Fortunately, Jake gave me a second chance to get my priorities straight before I tie the knot.
When I thought Tyler was blowing off the blog, Curtis from Washington D.C., stepped in as the guest picker. It was a rough week for Curtis, whose Sooners took it on the chin in a Red River wipeout. I just hope he was stuck in that military office with no TVs so he didn’t have to witness it.
This weekend, the Big 12 team will be canvassing the conference landscape. Brandon will be in Stillwater for TCU-Oklahoma State; Max will head to Waco for Iowa State-Baylor; and I will be reunited with my favorite league mascot -- “The Mountaineer” -- in Morgantown for Texas Tech-West Virginia. Have the deer jerky ready, Jon.
Congratulations, too, to Tyler and his bride, who will be honeymooning in France.
To the Week 8 picks:
Trotter last week: 3-1 (.750)
Guest picker (Curtis in Washington D.C.) last week: 2-2 (.500)
Trotter overall: 33-11 (.750)
Guest picker overall: 19-8 (.704)
Texas Tech 21, West Virginia 20: Last season, the Mountaineers were in a spot similar to where Tech is now. And the Red Raiders thrashed West Virginia in Lubbock, sending the Mountaineers into a tailspin that lasted the rest of the season. As a result, the Red Raiders are very aware just how precarious this 1,500-mile road trip back is. Tech, however, appears to have more staying power than last season's Mountaineers, who were really just a three-man show. These Red Raiders have more defense and more depth, and sneak out of Morgantown with their biggest win of the season yet.
Tyler’s pick: Eventually, Kliff Kingsbury is going to turn Tech into a team that can consistently compete for a Big 12 championship. His youth and coaching style will be a magnet for blue-chip recruits. Unfortunately, inexperience trumps hype here. West Virginia, 34-31
Oklahoma State 16, TCU 13: If the Cowboys couldn’t move the ball against West Virginia or Kansas State, why would anyone have confidence they’ll be able to against the best defense in the Big 12? Cornerback Jason Verrett and Co. will have Oklahoma State’s receivers on lockdown, not that QB J.W. Walsh has been able to get them the ball anyway lately. The problem is, TCU can’t score, either.
Tyler’s pick: TCU fans can't wait to have QB Casey Pachall back, as the offense continues to struggle without him. TCU's defense keeps the first half close, but Oklahoma State pulls ahead with Jeremy Smith rushing for 100 yards and a score. OSU, 24-17
Oklahoma 30, Kansas 17: Bob Stoops is 14-0 the week after Texas with an average margin of victory of 27 points. Stoops, however, doesn’t have Josh Heupel, Jason White, Sam Bradford or Landry Jones at quarterback this time. And Texas showed this Oklahoma defense isn’t anything special without linebacker Corey Nelson or tackle Jordan Phillips, who are both out for the season. The Sooners win. But their problems on either side of the ball remain very evident as Kansas keeps this one relatively close.
Tyler’s pick: After Oklahoma takes out its frustrations, Charlie Weis calls the Jacksonville Jaguars to see if they'll be needing a new offensive coordinator. OU, 54-3
Baylor 66, Iowa State 28: The scariest part for the rest of the Big 12 about Baylor’s win over K-State last week? The Bears were sluggish offensively -- and they still scored 35 points. Who knows if this is the best offense in Big 12 history? But it certainly is the fastest scoring. Iowa State is one of 11 teams in college football that has yet to allow a touchdown in three plays or fewer. That changes Saturday.
Tyler’s pick: As a K-State fan, I am required to comment about how amazing Bill Snyder is. Since K-State is off this week, we will add the Snyder love here. Last week, he showed the country how to beat Baylor. Unfortunately for Iowa State, Snyder doesn't coach the Cyclones. If Snyder coached the talent Texas and OU had, he’d have five national championships. Baylor, 58-35
No major conference has dealt with more insecurity behind center than the Big 12. Good luck naming the second-best quarterback in the Big 12 behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty, or even naming off all 18 who have made starts.
“This year, it seems like everyone is kind of juggling one to try to find answers and two to try to keep them healthy,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I know Texas Tech is dealing with it, we’re dealing with it, TCU has dealt with it, Texas has dealt with it, Kansas State has dealt with it.
“So just until guys get established and remain healthy, that’s just the reality of college football. The next guy has got to get ready to go in there and play at the highest level possible to try to get a win.”
Kansas State became the seventh Big 12 team to give a second quarterback a start Saturday when Daniel Sams got the nod over Jake Waters against Baylor.
Thus far, injuries have been more at issue than ineffective play. TCU’s Casey Pachall, Texas’ David Ash and Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight lost their jobs when they went down with injuries, and that could be the case for Texas Tech’s Baker Mayfield as well.
Oklahoma State pulled Clint Chelf for J.W. Walsh in the opener, and Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is sticking with him. Same with Blake Bell, who’s holding onto his job despite the return of Knight.
And then there’s the situation at West Virginia, where Holgorsen has been dealing with a quarterback calamity all season long. Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Clint Trickett have each started two games, and the job is still very much up for grabs.
“Unfortunately by the time we settle on somebody, then he gets hurt and you’ve got to put somebody else in there,” Holgorsen said. “That’s not an excuse. Whoever is going to be our quarterback this week, we’ve got to get him prepared to play and we’ve got to get him to where we’re playing at a higher level than what we’ve got out of him.”
This isn’t exactly unprecedented for the Big 12. During its 12-team era, two seasons were especially chaotic: 2005 and 2009. In both years, eight Big 12 teams started at least two quarterbacks. In both years, Texas rolled through the conference thanks to Heisman finalist-caliber quarterbacks Vince Young and Colt McCoy.
But take note of this: A team with multiple starting quarterbacks has not won the Big 12 Championship since Kansas State in 2003.
“We just have two young guys that are competing in a very positive way to be the No. 1 quarterback, and both of them have demonstrated the capabilities beyond the field and deserve to play,” Synder said.
There was a three-season stretch in this conference, from 2006 to 2008, when no more than four backups earned a start in a single season. In 2011, only Texas and Iowa State tried multiple starters.
ISU coach Paul Rhoads is now one of the three Big 12 coaches who hasn’t needed his No. 2 guy this fall thanks to the solid play of Sam B. Richardson. He doesn’t consider the problem facing his colleagues to be an unexpected one.
“With the number of new quarterbacks in the league, first of all, and then the game is physical, the game is violent and teams’ quarterbacks are more active in their offenses in these leagues,” Rhoads said. “There’s going to be some vulnerability. So no, not surprised.”
This is a problem everywhere. Forty percent of FBS schools have started two quarterbacks. Seven SEC, seven Big Ten and five ACC schools have rolled out more than one starter. The national number of 184 total starters is ahead of the 2012 midseason total (170), which finished at 210 starters by season’s end.
What all that uncertainty creates, at least in the Big 12 landscape, too many unpredictable conference title contenders ... and one great advantage for Baylor.
Petty is No. 1 in the Big 12 in every passing statistic. But it’s a good thing his backup, Seth Russell, already has 30 attempts, 381 yards and three scores on his 2013 resume.
Considering how this season is already playing out, the Bears just might end up needing him.
Even without All-American defensive end Devonte Fields, who is out for the year with a foot injury, the Frogs haven’t endured a drop-off defensively. Led by cornerback Jason Verrett and safety Sam Carter, TCU covers the pass as well as any team in the conference.
The offense, however, can’t score.
Going into the season, the Horned Frogs had hoped the return of quarterback Casey Pachall, who sat out most of last season, would ignite an offense that struggled in 2012. But after getting replaced by Trevone Boykin in the opener against LSU, Pachall suffered a broken forearm in Week 2.
Since taking over full time for the second straight season, Boykin has been wildly inconsistent, and is 10th in the league among qualified quarterbacks in Adjusted QBR (46.7). The receivers haven’t been much help, either. Brandon Carter has failed to live up to the role of No. 1 receiver and has only 14 receptions and no touchdowns.
As a result, the Frogs have been shut out in the first half in two of their three conference games. And TCU is ninth in the league in passing and eighth in rushing.
Pachall could return from his injury by the end of the month, but by then it might be too little too late. If the Frogs don’t knock off Oklahoma State and Texas over the next two weeks, they will effectively be removed from the Big 12 race.
Offensive MVP: It’s not easy finding an offensive MVP for TCU. But running back B.J. Catalon has been the Frogs’ steadiest performer. He leads the offense with 313 rushing yards, an average of 5.5 yards per carry and five touchdowns. Catalon also returned a kick for a touchdown against LSU.
Defensive MVP: One of the bright spots for TCU has been Verrett, who is a strong candidate for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Even though opposing quarterbacks try to avoid throwing his way, Verrett leads the Big 12 in passes defended. He’s also been a sure tackler against the run.
If the second half of the Big 12 season is anything like the first, who knows what might happen? Good luck guessing which game will ultimately decide the conference race, too.
Before the season, Bedlam looked most likely to be that game. Now, another showdown the very same day could end up overshadowing it.
Bedlam decided the Big 12 in 2011. It decided the Big 12 South in 2010. But will anything more than bragging rights be on the line this time? That will depend on whether either team can solve quarterback problems that plagued both in their losses.
Oklahoma State is in a similar raft. J.W. Walsh took the starting job from Clint Chelf two series into the opener against Mississippi State. But the past two games, including a loss at West Virginia, have seen the Cowboys flatline offensively. Oklahoma State, in fact, failed to get a single first down the second half against Kansas State until a late game-winning drive. Like the Sooners, the Cowboys can’t run the ball lately, because they can’t get anyone to take their downfield passing game seriously.
That hasn’t been a problem in Waco, which is one of the reasons why Baylor has ascended to conference favorite status. Every one of Tevin Reese’s six touchdown receptions has gone for more than 40 yards. Five of Antwan Goodley’s six touchdown catches have gone for at least 60. As a result, 32 of Baylor’s 40 touchdown drives have taken less than two minutes.
While Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could still turn things around, Texas and Texas Tech could wind up being the biggest roadblocks to Baylor’s first Big 12 title.
Despite playing two true freshmen quarterbacks, the Red Raiders have spread the ball around as well as anyone in the league, claiming four of the Big 12’s top eight receivers. Tech also leads the conference in third-down defense. Back-to-back road trips to West Virginia and Oklahoma the next two weeks will shed more light on whether the Red Raiders are ready to contend.
A week ago, virtually everyone had written the Longhorns off as possible Big 12 contenders. Then they pulled off the biggest Red River upset in 17 years to move to 3-0 in the league standings. Texas’ rushing attack looked formidable, and quarterback Case McCoy looked poised. If that continues, who knows? Maybe Texas will be playing for the conference title at Baylor in the season finale.
The season’s first half is done. Much is yet to be decided.
But as we gear up for the second half, below is a breakdown of the Big 12 at midseason:
Offensive MVP: Baylor junior quarterback Bryce Petty has picked up where Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence left off, posting an Adjusted QBR of 95.1. That’s second only to Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. Thanks in large part to Petty’s precision passing, the Bears led the nation with a scoring average of 63.4 points per game.
Defensive MVP: The Horned Frogs haven’t had the kind of the season they’d hoped for so far. But that’s to no fault of cornerback Jason Verrett, who has been lights out. Even with opposing quarterbacks leery about throwing his direction, Verrett leads the Big 12 in passes defended. And even with a tender shoulder, he has continued to be one of the surest tackling cornerbacks in the league.
Biggest Surprise: The Red Raiders were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12. But seven weeks into the season, they join Baylor as the league’s only teams still without a loss. Amazingly, Texas Tech has gotten to 6-0 rotating true freshman quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, who, despite some rocky moments, have been solid.
Biggest Disappointment: In ESPN.com’s preseason player poll, the league’s players tabbed TCU as the team to beat. The Horned Frogs, however, have already been defeated three times. TCU has faced a difficult schedule, and the injuries to quarterback Casey Pachall and defensive end Devonte Fields have really hurt. But at the season’s midway point, the Frogs are already just one loss away from falling completely out of the conference title hunt.
Newcomers Of The Year: West Virginia running back Charles Sims was the Big 12’s preseason pick for newcomer of the year, and for good reason. But the impact of Texas Tech true freshmen quarterbacks Mayfield and Webb has been greater. Mayfield is 5-0 as a starter. Webb, who quarterbacked Tech to a win over Iowa State over the weekend, also threw the game-winning touchdown pass to beat TCU.
Coach Of The Year: In his first year as its coach, former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has resurrected his alma mater. The Red Raiders have already taken on the personality of their cool, confident coach, who has Tech at 6-0 for the first time since 2008.
Best Game: Most of the intriguing matchups in the Big 12 will come later in the season. But so far, the most entertaining game in the league has been Texas’ 31-30 victory at Iowa State. Yes, the game had some questionable officiating. And some questionable low blocking. But it was also wonderfully compelling, from Texas coach Mack Brown staving off disaster to Paul Rhoads rallying his team during a fiery postgame news conference.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.
Play Podcast Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Play Podcast Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.
Play Podcast Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.