Dallas Colleges: Ryan Broyles

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

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

Big 12 all-BCS-era team

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
After 16 years, the BCS era is finally over. Next season, college football will have a playoff instead.

With the BCS done, we've come up with our Big 12 all-BCS era team (1998-2013) below:


[+] EnlargeVince Young
Scott Clarke/Getty ImagesWith Vince Young at the helm, Texas won a national title and Rose Bowl.
QB: Vince Young, Texas (2003-05) -- Young led Texas to its first national title in 35 years with an unforgettable performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. The Heisman runner-up also became the first QB in college football history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season.

RB: Ricky Williams, Texas (1998) -- Williams was part of the BCS era for only one season, but what a season it was. He rushed for 2,327 yards and won the Heisman Trophy going away. Only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne has more career rushing yards than Williams (6,279).

RB: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2004-06) -- Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Peterson still was a beast in college. After rushing for 1,925 yards while leading the Sooners to the national title game, he finished second in the ’04 Heisman voting, even though there was still a stigma then in voting for a freshman.

WR: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (2007-08) -- Crabtree became the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver. In '08, he and QB Graham Harrell led the Red Raiders to an upset of Texas and a No. 2 ranking in the polls.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (2009-11) -- Blackmon became the second and only other two-time winner of the Biletnikoff. In his final two seasons, he finished with 233 receptions, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, and he helped propel the Cowboys to their first Big 12 title in '11.

TE: Chase Coffman, Missouri (2005-08) -- Coffman had a monster statistical college career for a tight end with 247 catches for 2,659 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns. He won the ’08 Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. Missouri won 37 games during the four years Coffman was in the lineup.

OT: Jammal Brown, Oklahoma (2001-04) -- Brown was a unanimous All-American and a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He became the fifth Sooner to win the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman.

OT: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State (2007-09) -- In Okung’s final two seasons, Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in rushing yards. The Cowboys were also third in the country in ’07 in fewest sacks allowed with Okung at left tackle. He was a unanimous All-American and Outland finalist in ’09 and became the sixth overall pick in the ’10 NFL draft.

OG: Cyril Richardson, Baylor (2010-13) -- Richardson became Baylor’s seventh all-time unanimous All-American. The Outland finalist was also a key piece on the nation’s highest-scoring offense this season.

OG: Justin Blalock, Texas (2003-06) -- Though a guard in the NFL, Blalock actually started 50 games for Texas, most coming at right tackle. He was a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and a consensus All-American in 2006.

C: Dominic Raiola, Nebraska (1998-2000) -- Raiola was the inaugural winner of the Rimington Award, named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, which recognizes the best center in college football. He was an Outland finalist and a consensus All-American.

APB: Darren Sproles, Kansas State (2001-04) -- One of the most prolific all-purpose performers in college football history, Sproles finished his career with 6,812 all-purpose yards. Among his 39 consecutive starts, his most memorable performance came in the ’03 Big 12 championship, when he had 235 yards rushing and 88 receiving, as K-State upset top-ranked Oklahoma 35-7.


DE: Brian Orakpo, Texas (2005-08) -- Orakpo captured the ’08 Nagurski Award as the most outstanding defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best college lineman or linebacker. He also was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American while piling up 11 sacks his senior year.

DE: Von Miller, Texas A&M (2007-10) -- Out of a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role, Miller led the nation with 17 sacks in ’09. He was a two-time All-American and won the Butkus Award in ’10 as the nation’s top linebacker.

DT: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (2005-09) -- There was no more dominant defensive player in college football during the BCS era. Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting in ’09 and won several national awards, including the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player)and Bednarik (defensive player of the year). He was also a unanimous All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

DT: Tommie Harris, Oklahoma (2001-03) -- Harris was a force from the beginning as a freshman on the OU defensive line. He won the Lombardi his junior year, and he was a two-time consensus All-American, garnering unanimous honors in ’03.

LB: Derrick Johnson, Texas (2001-04) -- Johnson was a menacing linebacker for the Longhorns, earning consensus All-American honors in ’03 and unanimous honors in ’04. He was also a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and won the Butkus (best linebacker) and Nagurski awards as a senior. Johnson finished his career with 458 tackles.

LB: Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma (1998-2001) -- Calmus played a major role in OU’s resurgence under Bob Stoops. He won the Butkus in ’01 and was a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik. A three-time All-Big 12 pick, Calmus led the Sooners in tackles in all three of those seasons.

LB: Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- Lehman too won the Butkus, beating out Johnson for the award in ’03. He also was Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, captured the Bednarik, was a unanimous All-American and played in two national championship games.

[+] EnlargeTavon Austin
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesWest Virginia receiver and returner Tavon Austin had a huge 2012 season.
CB: Terence Newman, Kansas State (1999-2002) -- Newman was a solid player for Bill Snyder his first three seasons, then broke out as a senior. Newman was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American and the Thorpe winner, given to college football’s top defensive back.

CB: Derrick Strait, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- A four-year starter, Strait finished with a school-record 52 career pass breakups. He also won the Thorpe, and was a unanimous All-American.

S: Roy Williams, Oklahoma (1999-2001) -- Nicknamed “Superman,” Williams was the Big 12’s most dominating defensive player until Suh came along. He won the Thorpe and Nagurski in ’01, and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American the same season. He also famously skied over the Texas offensive line to force the game-clinching interception to earn his moniker.

S: Michael Huff, Texas (2002-05) -- Huff became the first Longhorn to win the Thorpe, and was the leader of the ’05 national championship defense. He was also a unanimous All-American that season.

Special teams

K: Mason Crosby, Colorado (2003-06) -- Crosby was three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and twice was a consensus All-American even though he never won the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker. He was also the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior, and converted 66 field goals in his career.

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (2009-12) -- Sharp became the first three-time All-American in Oklahoma State history, and he earned All-American honors both as a punter and a kicker. He was twice named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. In his career, he made 50 of 59 field goals, averaged 45.9 yards per punt and missed only one extra point.

KR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012) -- Austin was in the Big 12 only one season, but he was unstoppable that one season. On top of being one of the most dangerous kick returners in the country, Austin had 1,289 yards receiving and 643 rushing, and finished second in the country in all-purpose yards.

PR: Ryan Broyles Oklahoma (2008-11) -- On top of being a prolific punt returner, Broyles was one of the most efficient receivers in college football history. He finished his career with an FBS-record 349 receptions, and was a two-time consensus All-American before a knee injury cut his senior season short.

Best WR tandems in Big 12 history

November, 4, 2013
The Big 12 has featured some prolific wide receiver tandems over the years.

Baylor’s Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, however, have a chance to top that list.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley, Tevin Reese
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsAntwan Goodley and Tevin Reese rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game.
This season, Reese is second in the Big 12 with 118 yards receiving a game. He trails only Goodley, who leads the league with an average of 128 yards receiving. They are a big reason why the Bears are on pace to break the FBS records for points (56.0) and yards (624.9) per game that were set by Army in 1944 and Houston in 1989.

But Reese and Goodley aren’t the only big-time duos in the Big 12 this year.

Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett have been lighting it up since returning from injury. The last two weeks the two have totaled five touchdown catches.

Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard lead the Sooners with five touchdowns apiece. Texas Tech’s Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant are fifth and sixth in the league in receiving. Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are beginning to warm up with Clint Chelf at QB. And Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have been stalwarts in this league for years.

But who are the best tandems ever to play Big 12? We lay it out below.

Tight ends were not included (sorry Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman). The tandems were evaluated on what they accomplished together, not on whether their careers simply overlapped (eliminating Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, for example); and, this is a list for duos, not singles, trios or quartets (apologies to Rashaun Woods, and the 2008 Oklahoma and 2010 Baylor receiving corps).

To the list:

1. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012): In their only year in the league, this tandem was one-two in the Big 12 in receiving, combining for 224 receptions and 2,914 receiving yards. Bailey himself had 25 receiving touchdowns; nobody else in the league had more than 13. Austin, meanwhile, also rushed for 344 yards in one game at running back. As Bailey tweeted out earlier Monday morning on this topic, “case closed.”

2. Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola, Texas Tech (2007): Crabtree got all the headlines in 2007 on his way to winning his first of two Biletnikoff awards. But out of the slot, Amendola quietly put up 109 receptions for 1,245 yards, as Tech went 9-4.

3. Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, Texas (2008): Shipley and Cosby starred on one of the three best Big 12 teams that didn’t win a conference title. The two each had 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit TDs from QB Colt McCoy, as the Longhorns finished the year 12-1, their only loss coming on Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown in the final seconds in Lubbock. The two were also prolific on special teams, with Shipley’s kick return touchdown sparking Texas’ 45-35 comeback win over Oklahoma.

4. Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State (2011): As with Crabtree-Amendola, Blackmon got all the attention on his way to a second Biletnikoff award. But Cooper was a pivotal piece in OSU’s first Big 12 title team, as he racked up 71 receptions out of the slot. Blackmon, of course, had a monster year with 121 catches and 18 touchdowns.

5. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Baylor (2011): Reese was actually the third wheel to this duo, which shined with RGIII at quarterback. Wright was an All-American with 108 catches, 1,663 yard and 14 touchdowns. Williams was big time, too, finishing fifth in the Big 12 in receiving before taking over the No. 1 role in 2012.

6. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (2010): Broyles led college football with 131 receptions on his way to becoming the all-time FBS leader in career catches. Stills broke OU’s freshman single-season receiving record, as the Sooners stormed back to capture the Big 12 crown after a pair of midseason losses.

7. Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2008): It might be difficult to remember now, but the Jayhawks used to play some ball. Meier tied Crabtree for second in the league with 97 receptions. Briscoe trailed only Dez Bryant with 1,402 receiving yards. This was an underrated duo.

8. Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett, Kansas State (1999): On one of the first passing teams in the Big 12, Morgan and Lockett shined. Morgan had 42 receptions for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns and was a first-team all-conference selection. Lockett, Tyler Lockett's uncle, was a second-team all-league pick for the Wildcats, who went 11-1 and finished the year ranked sixth in the polls.

9. Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani, Texas Tech (2005): Neither might be a household name around the Big 12 anymore, but these two were both first-team All-Big 12 selections in ’05 along with Iowa State WR Todd Blythe.

10. Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson, Oklahoma (2004): Clayton carried the moniker of best receiver in OU history until Broyles came around. Because of Adrian Peterson, Clayton’s numbers dipped in ’04, but he was still an All-American with 66 catches. Wilson led the Sooners with 11 TD grabs, as OU advanced to a second consecutive national championship game.

Jon Gruden: Older Landry Jones was 'bored'

April, 16, 2013
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones paid a visit to Jon Gruden's QB Camp, and you can see more from his visit on April 17 on ESPN, but Gruden also wrote about his time with Jones and his study of the Sooners star's tape.

His thoughts were a bit of a surprise, but he tried to explain some of Jones' issues later in his career.

Gruden says Jones got "bored" after peaking in his sophomore season, and Gruden says he saw complacency. The 2010 season, highlighted by a Big 12 title and BCS bowl victory over UConn, was definitely the peak of Jones' statistical accomplishments, throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. He never equaled his quarterback rating of 146.3 that season.

Without Ryan Broyles for the second half of 2011 and without him in 2012, it's hard to compare what he did statistically, and I'm sure you'd hear from Oklahoma coaches that he was better in some areas in 2012 that didn't show up statistically without a playmaker like Broyles.

Gruden says when he broke down tape from the later seasons with Jones and went through some of his mistakes, the answer was far too often that Jones was trying to do too much. That sounds like a player trying to work outside of the system and getting himself in trouble for doing so. Jones has the physical ability to do things and make throws a lot of guys can't make, but that doesn't mean he should always try to make them. He didn't "always" do it, but he definitely developed a well-earned reputation over his career as a guy prone to a backbreaking mistake at inopportune times.

You can see that with interceptions early in his career, but he also had costly fumbles returned for touchdowns in games that ended up deciding the Big 12 title: Kansas State in 2012 and Oklahoma State in 2011.

Defenses decided to often rush just three players, and Jones wasn't content to take checkdown throws, Gruden writes. Gruden points to some shortcomings in the offensive schemes that didn't help Jones, including a lack of tight-end play that resulted in a loss of balance and putting too much on Jones' shoulders, which might have contributed to some of his regression.

Really interesting analysis from Gruden, who adds a perspective I hadn't heard.

Big 12 stock report: Week 9

October, 24, 2012
Wild card options! Base rates! Default risk!

We're back with financial terms that make little sense out of context, but some Big 12 trends that make plenty of sense in context.

Let's get to it. Here's what's rising and falling this week:

Rising: Electrifying punt returns

The Big 12 hadn't had a punt returned for a touchdown in conference play all season, but Justin Brown changed that pretty quickly on Saturday, taking a punt back 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was the Sooners' first punt returned for a score since Ryan Broyles did the deed in Bedlam back in 2009, and Brown wasn't the only one with a big play in the special teams. Brown, a Penn State transfer, is averaging 19 yards a return this year, the best mark in the Big 12.

Falling: Penalties drawn by Big 12 teams

What a weird, weird stat this is. Iowa State has the most penalties committed against them in the Big 12 this season, with 45 flags for 397 yards, an average of 6.4 yards a penalty. The weird part? That's 44th nationally. Not a single Big 12 team has drawn enough penalties this season to make the national top 40. Another odd part of that stat? Arizona leads the nation in penalties drawn, with 69 for 688 yards. Oklahoma State accounted for 15 of those and 167 yards of penalties, but the Wildcats have had three games since in which an opponent committed double-digit penalties. Last year, four Big 12 teams were in the top 20 of penalties drawn, led by Kansas State, at No. 10.

Rising: Kansas State's turnover margin

The Wildcats are this year's Oklahoma State, apparently. K-State is +13 in turnover margin this year, with a six-turnover gap between themselves and the next-best team in the Big 12. That number ranks seventh nationally, but K-State is one of five undefeated teams that rank in the top seven in turnover margin.

Falling: West Virginia's offense

Your guess is as good as mine for why WVU's offense is struggling. Part of it is the inability to run the ball, but it's hard to not look past Geno Smith's inability to hit the deep ball the past two games. In his first five games, he was 22-of-33 on throws longer than 15 yards, but he was just 2-of-18 against Texas Tech. Last week, he was 0-5 with the first two interceptions of his season. Very alarming.

Rising: TCU's pass rush

True freshman Devonte Fields leads the Big 12 with 7.5 sacks, but he's not the only one making an impact. Sam Carter has three sacks and Davion Pierson has 2.5. The best sign for TCU's future there? All three players are freshmen or sophomores, and the Frogs are the only team in the Big 12 with three players in the top 10 in sacks.

Falling: Defenses vs. Oklahoma in the red zone

The Belldozer is taking care of business, but the Sooners have been unbelievable in the red zone this season, converting 32-of-33 trips for points, including 25 touchdowns. That scoring percentage (96.97) is tied with Clemson for the highest in college football, and will face a big test this week against Notre Dame, who is the nation's only team who has yet to surrender a rushing touchdown. What's most haunting about the red-zone stat? Blake Bell's fumble on a snap that hit him in the belly is the lone failure all season. That came in a loss to Kansas State, a game Oklahoma lost by five points.

Sooners evade upset, but much work to do

September, 2, 2012
Oklahoma has made a living in the Big 12 of late on the back of its offense. The Sooners have the raw talent on this year's team, but the pieces have a lot of gelling to do in the weeks to come, or Oklahoma may be depending on its defense a whole lot in 2012.

The Sooners scored just 10 points in the first three quarters of their 24-7 victory over UTEP that had everybody in the crimson and cream justifiably sweating.

The 10:30 p.m. ET road kickoff was a weird one, and the Sooners looked out of sorts from the start. The biggest problem? The offensive line. The unit lost starting center Ben Habern to retirement because of nagging injuries and starting guard Tyler Evans for the season after a knee injury. That left them looking to replace 59 starts on the line, and Saturday night, it showed.

Landry Jones looked good moving, but you can't count on a quarterback to put up good numbers if he's rarely given a chance to set his feet and throw. That was Jones' night.

His numbers dipped late last season after Ryan Broyles' injury, and coach Bob Stoops spent the offseason defending his quarterback, reminding all who asked that a quarterback needs support for success.

Jones, yet again, didn't get it. His receivers and backs dropped passes, and his offensive line often looked helpless against a defense that ranked 104th nationally in 2011.

He finished with just 230 yards on 22-of-37 passing with two scores and no turnovers.

For now, Oklahoma can chalk it up to a young line and young receivers still getting used to their first real action. It's still plenty of reason to be concerned. Can it change by Big 12 play? Certainly. Oklahoma won't be tested until Sept. 22. The Sooners face FCS opponent Florida A&M next week, then have a bye before their Big 12 showdown with Kansas State.

The offense will have to be straightened out by then, not to mention a special-teams unit plagued by mistakes including a missed field goal and a blocked punt that gave UTEP its only points of the night.

The brightest spot was the defense that pitched a shutout, even though it got help in the form of three missed field goals from the Miners. Nathan Jeffery's 177 rushing yards are a red flag for sure, but the Sooners defensive backs were solid from start to finish, and UTEP quarterbacks combined to complete just 7-of-26 passes for 48 yards. That's got to make Mike Stoops, the man in charge of revitalizing Oklahoma's secondary, smile. Not many big busts in the secondary that became a hallmark of the Sooners' 2011 failures.

At least he'll get back some major pieces on his defensive line back soon. Defensive tackles Casey Walker (illness) and Stacy McGee (suspension) were missing, and we'll see how OU defends the run next week and in three weeks against Kansas State, one of the league's best running games.

Oklahoma's naturally going to be disappointed with its debut. It should be. The Sooners would have lost to every Big 12 team except Kansas playing like they did tonight, and the Jayhawks might have come close.

There's lots of work to do, but as always at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops, there's lots to work with.

Big 12 did you know: Week 1

August, 31, 2012
Time for one of my favorite posts of the game week during the season. Every week, we look through the notes provided by the Big 12 and each Big 12 team to give you fun facts about every game heading into the weekend.

We also get interesting numbers and stats from our crack ESPN Stats & Information team. If you've forgotten them, you'll be reminded quickly. Let's get started.

Did you know ...
  • Landry Jones didn't throw a single interception when targeting Ryan Broyles last year. He threw all 15 while targeting other receivers. On passes not targeting Broyles, his 128.4 passer rating would have ranked 84th nationally among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts.
  • Baylor's seven-game home winning streak is the longest in the Big 12 and fifth-longest in the nation, behind Northern Illinois (15), Michigan State (14), Arkansas (11) and Michigan (8).
  • Tavon Austin gained 941 of his 1,186 receiving yards after the catch. That's the most of any player on a ranked team entering the season. Over 60 percent of those yards came on screen passes.
  • On throws longer than 15 yards last year, Geno Smith threw 15 touchdown passes and one interception, including eight scores to Stedman Bailey.
  • Smith was 17-of-31 last year when targeting Bailey more than 15 yards downfield.
  • In Big 12 play last year, Texas was 1-of-11 passing on third down in the red zone. That's the lowest percentage of any Big 12 team in the past eight years.
  • Longhorns quarterback David Ash completed 33.9 percent of throws longer than 10 yards last season. In losses, he was 6-of-24 for no scores and five interceptions.
  • Oklahoma State's average starting position last year was its own 36-yard line, thanks to forcing 27 of its 44 turnovers on drives that began on its opponents' side of the field.
  • The Big 12 has more Heisman winners (5) than any other conference since the league began in 1996. In 11 of those 16 seasons, the Big 12 has had a finalist finish in the top four in votes.
  • Last season, Baylor set or tied 101 school records for offense.
  • The Bears were the nation's only team to finish in the top 10 in rushing and passing offense.
  • Texas Tech has 20 new players on its two-deep. Ten redshirted last season and 10 are new additions to the team since last year.
  • Baylor is just 7-9 in season openers in Big 12 history.
  • Since leaving for the Big 12, Baylor has never lost to a former Southwest Conference opponent. It's 2-0 against SMU and 3-0 against Rice.
  • Iowa State's next win will be the 500th in school history.
  • Gary Patterson's next win at TCU will make him the school's all-time wins leader, with 110.
  • Kansas State has had nine 10-win seasons. Eight have come under Bill Snyder.
  • Oklahoma has had 33 10-win seasons. Ten have come under Bob Stoops.
  • Tommy Tuberville has won bowl games at three different schools. Only four other coaches have ever duplicated the feat.
  • Texas Tech beat Northwestern State 75-7 in the only meeting between the two teams, back in 2007.
  • SMU leads the all-time series versus Baylor, 36-35-7. Baylor won the last meeting back in 2005.
  • Iowa State is 8-1 in its last nine season openers. The Cyclones have met Tulsa just once, back in 1961 in Tulsa. ISU won, 27-6.

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 2

August, 30, 2012
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got a beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Tomorrow, I'll reveal the No. 1 player in the Big 12 to begin the 2012 season.

Next up on the list:

No. 2: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

2011 numbers: Completed 355-of-562 (63.2 percent) passes for 4,463 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Most recent ranking: Jones was ranked No. 13 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jones: I've said it before, I'll say it again: Every time Jones' name comes up, the conversation inevitably turns to what Jones is not, rather than what he is.

He's not Sam Bradford. He's not unflappable. He's not careful enough.

All true. Still, it's unfair. Jones has had a crazy career already, and should break plenty of Oklahoma's passing records this season. That's what happens when you're a four-year starter. Yes, Jones has thrown too many interceptions (41) in his career. Yes, last season was a disappointment. He completed a lower percentage of his passes and threw more interceptions and fewer touchdowns on fewer attempts than when he was a sophomore in 2010. His numbers dipped when Ryan Broyles left, though the importance of his touchdown drought late in the season was overstated, considering the success of the BellDozer.

Bob Stoops defended Jones' late-season slide this offseason when he mentioned Jones' failure to get much support. Stoops is absolutely right. His receivers looked lost without Broyles, and the drops had to be infuriating.

Count me among the believers in Jones, and the believers in his new receivers. They're a better unit than last year, and Jones' numbers will show it in 2012.

He's not the greatest quarterback to ever play for Oklahoma. Still, he's one of the nation's best quarterbacks, and might state his case as the Big 12's best by season's end.

Keep watching.

The rest of the list:

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 1

August, 30, 2012

Here's what I'm keeping an eye on in the Big 12 openers this weekend:

1. Close calls. It happens to somebody every weekend. You never know who, but some heavy favorite is going to get locked in a tight game. You can't really read into it too much later in the season, but you always know there's going to be drama somewhere when teams take the field after nine months off. Who's it going to be? Look out for unexpected excitement on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTexas will be counting on improvement from quarterback David Ash this season.
2. David Ash. No single player has more power to reshape the Big 12 preseason landscape. He might look like a whole new quarterback this season, or he might show the same old mediocrity. The odds probably favor the latter, considering how little experience Ash had in practice before starting last season. How much better will he be?

3. West Virginia's offense. The Mountaineers struggled with consistency last season, for those of you who didn't see WVU play a game last season before its Orange Bowl coming out party. For one, tune in to see how they look in Week 1. For two, I'm betting some of you have legitimately never seen Geno Smith, Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey play before. Change that on Saturday. The Mountaineers are the only Big 12 game going at noon ET.

4. The youngest gun in the Big 12. Wes Lunt surprised a lot of folks when he beat out two older players to win the Oklahoma State quarterback job. He's got great running backs and should have some good targets. Few people have ever seen Lunt play in this offense. That changes this weekend.

5. Iowa State's quarterback(s). Steele Jantz has been named the starter, and he'll have a long leash, but how will he look? We didn't see much of him late in the season, and it's been a long time since this was really his team. It will be to start the season, but Iowa State's receivers need to help him out. Jantz needs to help himself out and control his turnovers, too. Nothing would put backup quarterback Jared Barnett on the field faster than turnovers.

6. Baylor's running back logjam. This one should be interesting. There's no telling just yet what Baylor will do, but it hasn't used a real committee since 2009, when it didn't have Robert Griffin III. Since then, the Bears have had a pair of 1,200-yard rushers, and Terrance Ganaway won the Big 12 rushing title last season. Will Lache Seastrunk, Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin form a committee? Or will a featured back emerge. Ganaway broke out in a big way last season against TCU.

7. Kansas' new faces. I've got no idea what to think of Kansas this season. It's anybody's guess. Nobody's seen a complete overhaul this offseason like KU has. Charlie Weis saw a lot of work that needed to be done when he got to Lawrence and he did it. Big upgrades at quarterback and along the defensive line are the biggest change, but suspensions will keep running back Darrian Miller off the team forever, and James Sims for three games. What's Kansas look like? Here's guessing Dayne Crist holds the answer to that question.

8. Collin Klein's arm. Klein put in a lot of work this offseason to progress as a passer, and threw for 480 yards and six scores in the spring game. That's about all we've seen of Kansas State this offseason, but that was against the Wildcats' second-team defense. That said, it was more than a third of Klein's production through the air in all of last season. How much better has he gotten this offseason? We'll get a preview this weekend.

9. Oklahoma's young receivers. Kenny Stills will be the only eligible receiver on Saturday night who has ever caught a pass in a Sooners uniform. Freshman Trey Metoyer and Penn State transfer Justin Brown will start alongside Stills, and we know they'll have a good quarterback in Landry Jones. owever, what can juco transfer LaColton Bester, and freshmen Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard do? Shepard has already drawn comparisons to Ryan Broyles.

10. Texas Tech's health and new defense. Tech already lost one of its most talented special teamers in camp, Aaron Fisher, but can the rest of these guys finally stay in one piece? Art Kaufman has a new defense in place, and we'll get our first look at Eric Stephens on Saturday after a horrific knee injury ended his 2011 season.

Timeline for Texas, OU to win BCS titles?

August, 15, 2012

Colleague Travis Haney put college football's blue bloods under the microscope this week Insider, projecting when each team will be best suited to make a run at the national title.

You'll need Insider to see the full thing, and I'd encourage you to do so, but in the Big 12, there's no doubt about which programs carry the banner of national power.

When will Oklahoma be in position to win a national title?

You won't have to wait too long. Haney correctly notes that expectations inside and outside the program are measured after last year's debacle, but the team could be in position to win the whole thing in 2012. The Sooners clearly have the talent to do it and a preseason top-five ranking to match.

Landry Jones is back, and despite his criticisms, he's still got loads of experience and can handle the rigors of the season, but everything around him will have to be perfect for the Sooners to make a run. The offensive line suddenly became a big question mark with the losses of Tyler Evans and Ben Habern, and the receivers are a big question mark, too, after last season's post-Ryan Broyles struggles.

Still, for the Sooners, the time is now for an eighth national title and a second under Bob Stoops.

As for the Longhorns? They may prove that 2012 is their breakthrough year, but if you're wanting a national title, keep your eyes on 2013, Haney writes.

I wholeheartedly agree there. Oklahoma State and Texas are going to be scary in 2013, but particularly the Longhorns, whose running game is only going to get better and better.

Recruiting expert Tom Luginbill weighed in, too, and says Texas' recent recruiting and newcomers to the coaching staff have the pieces in place for a very, very bright future.

Big 12 preseason position rankings: WR

August, 15, 2012
Time to move on with our rankings of the top 10 players at each position in the Big 12. Today, we're covering receivers. This is a pretty good class, but it's pretty clustered to only a few teams. Look for Oklahoma State to have one or two guys on this list by season's end, but right now, I couldn't reason putting any of them on the list over the guys who made it. There's a bit of a drop-off after the league's top five receivers, too.

Remember: This isn't a prediction or projection. This is where it stands to start the season.

My only rule for this list: No freshmen or newcomers. You don't know until you know.

More position rankings:
1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia: Austin's speedy and shifty, and will give Big 12 defenses headaches every week this season. The Mountaineers' offense is predicated upon getting him the ball, and when he gets it, he does some special, special things with it.

[+] EnlargeTavon Austin
J. Meric/Getty ImagesTavon Austin caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight scores last season.
2. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia: Bailey, though? He's the only guy in the Big 12 who had more receiving yards than Austin last season. Coincidentally, they're on the same team. Bailey's a more traditional receiver to Austin's hybrid receiver/running back type of role, and he loves to stretch the field. Fortunately for him, he's got a QB in Geno Smith who loves to get him the ball. He caught 72 balls for 1,279 yards and 12 scores last year.

3. Kenny Stills, Oklahoma: Stills may make a run at the No. 1 spot on this list in the postseason, but he's got to prove it without Ryan Broyles. He's still searching for his first 1,000-yard receiving season, but he's going to be the only player with legitimate Big 12 experience on this team to start the season. How much help will he get from freshman Trey Metoyer and Penn State transfer Justin Brown?

4. Josh Boyce, TCU: Boyce was 2 yards away from 1,000 yards last season, but he's an aerial threat who's also a solid route-runner and he has great hands, too. He's got a great QB in Casey Pachall and a nice supporting cast in the passing game. TCU won't be blowing out many teams this year, and I'd be shocked if Boyce didn't easily clear 1,000 yards.

5. Terrance Williams, Baylor: Williams might challenge for the No. 1 spot, too. He was overshadowed by Kendall Wright last year, but he's got the pleasure of being No. 1 on Mel Kiper's list of draft-eligible receivers for next year's draft. Nick Florence still has a bit to prove, but I wouldn't rule out a 1,500-yard season for Williams in 2012.

6. Eric Ward, Texas Tech: Ward came out of nowhere in the midst of injuries to Tech's receivers last year and racked up 84 receptions for 800 yards. His physical skills won't wow you, but you simply don't argue with production.

7. Tevin Reese, Baylor: Reese is a true speedster who'll probably shoot up this list by season's end with the departure of Kendall Wright. Florence already has chemistry with the undersized junior, who plays a heck of a lot bigger than 5-foot-10, 165 pounds.

8. Darrin Moore, Texas Tech: Moore is anything but undersized. He's still suspended after an offseason DUI and had a rough 2011 marred by injuries, but if he's full strength, he's going to be scary. The 6-foot-4, 216-pounder missed some time but tried to play through some ankle and knee issues last year and caught 47 balls for 571 yards and eight scores. He missed three games last season.

9. Jaxon Shipley, Texas: Shipley made a big impact in Texas' offense last season, despite the position's struggles. He's got an unbelievable knack for the position and instincts you don't see often from a true freshman. As a sophomore, he'll probably remind us even more of his older brother, Jordan, and certainly grow from grabbing 44 balls for 607 yards and three touchdowns.

10. Alex Torres, Texas Tech: Torres is coming back from a torn ACL, but he's been a constant in this league. Unfortunately for him, injuries have been a constant in his career. Last year, it was his back before the knee. He's still never surpassed his 806-yard freshman year, but the pieces are in place for him to do it as a senior this season.

Big 12 position rankings: Quarterback

August, 3, 2012
We'll be walking through the top 10 players at each position in the Big 12 before the season, but we'll start with the most important, especially in this league.

Let's do this:

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia: Smith put up huge numbers (4,385 yards, 31 TD, 7 INT, 65.8 completion percentage) and did so efficiently last season. Both of his top two targets are back and the adjustment to Big 12 defenses shouldn't be too difficult.

2. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones and Smith will go head-to-head all season for honors as the Big 12's top passer. Who comes out on top is anyone's guess, but Jones regressed last season, and his receivers let him down after Ryan Broyles' season ended with a knee injury. He'll try to bounce back with just one reliable target (Kenny Stills) to start the season. The rest of the receiving corps is loaded with potential, but very inexperienced.

3. Collin Klein, Kansas State: Clearly, I'm taking more than just passing acumen into account here. Klein is the Big 12's No. 2 returning rusher, and also threw for just under 2,000 yards last season, adding 13 passing touchdowns to the 27 he scored rushing. We'll see how much better he is as a passer this fall.

[+] EnlargeCasey Pachall
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty ImagesTCU's Casey Pachall could be poised for a big year with a stable of talented receivers.
4. Seth Doege, Texas Tech: I refuse to hang last year's failures on Doege's shoulders. Absolutely not. He played well, at least as well as he could. The running game struggled and offered almost no support after Eric Stephens' injury. The defense was a disaster and there were injuries all over the place. Doege still went for more than 4,000 yards, 28 scores and just 10 picks. Don't be surprised if Doege throws his hat in the ring as the Big 12's best passer by season's end.

5. Casey Pachall, TCU: Pachall didn't have eye-popping numbers, but only because TCU rode on the shoulders of its trio of running backs. Still, Pachall's numbers are going to be better this year, and he's got great targets in Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter, not to mention youngster LaDarius Brown.

6. Nick Florence, Baylor: I like Florence to have a big year with really good receivers, but he's got too much to prove for now. He looked good in spot duty for RG3 against Texas Tech last season, but his senior season will look much, much different than his inconsistent freshman year all the way back in 2009.

7. Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State: The Big 12's only freshman quarterback is a true freshman, and Lunt earned this spot by beating out some really tough competition in J.W. Walsh and Colton Chelf this spring. Amazing stuff, and his coaches know good quarterbacks. Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden have established quite the QB tradition in Stillwater. Here's guessing Lunt continues it.

8. Dayne Crist, Kansas: Crist's college career hasn't been what he imagined after coming to Notre Dame as one of the most highly recruited signal-calling prospects in his class, but he's got a chance to start something special at Kansas in his senior year, reunited with former coach Charlie Weis. Crist won't have the weapons some of the other guys on this list have, but he gives KU a big, big upgrade at the position.

9. Steele Jantz/Jared Barnett, Iowa State: These two have to cut down the turnovers, but they've both shown the ability to be playmakers. There's no guessing who wins this legitimate battle in the fall, but coach Paul Rhoads isn't afraid to bench either one if the turnovers don't stop.

10. David Ash/Case McCoy, Texas: Mack Brown insists it's still a contest. My jaw will be on the floor if Ash doesn't trot out on the field for the first game of the season. Ash has some potential and promising targets in Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, but he hasn't shown the big-play ability of Jantz or Barnett. Expect Ash to move up this list by season's end, but for now, it's all just potential.
Colleague Travis Haney took to his blog to rank the nation's top 10 receiving corps, and no surprise, three Big 12 teams cracked the list.

This year's crop of receivers aren't as loaded as 2011, when the Big 12 nearly swept all three finalist spots for the Biletnikoff Award, but the group in 2012 is still solid. That's clear when you run down Haney's list.

No. 2 is West Virginia, behind only USC. Couldn't agree more with this. USC's Robert Woods is more physically gifted than WVU's Stedman Bailey or Tavon Austin, but don't be surprised if one (or both) of the Mountaineers' duo outproduces Woods.

They're the only teammates other than Woods and Marqise Lee to both top 1,000 yards and return this season. Nice.

Baylor checked in at No. 6 on the list, offering a little more confirmation of what I've said all offseason. Yes, Baylor doesn't have RG3. It doesn't have Kendall Wright.

It has a lot more than nothing, though. Nick Florence will be able to get Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese the ball. Don't be surprised if both flirt with or surpass 1,000 yards, with Florence divvying out the receptions liberally.

Oklahoma is the only other Big 12 team on the list -- at No. 8 -- despite the loss of Ryan Broyles. Kenny Stills has all the physical measurables you could want, but still has to prove he can be the No. 1 target. Last season, he played in the slot where Broyles made his living, which was unfamiliar. We'll see how the Sooners use him now.

Haney got an up-close look at newcomer Trey Metoyer in the spring game, but he's still got to prove he can be what everyone around the program believes he can be. I'm betting (quite confidently, I might add) that he's going to do it, but it'll be fun to watch him this season.

It's a good list. I'd agree with all the selections. TCU (Josh Boyce, Skye Dawson, Brandon Carter) and Oklahoma State (Isaiah Anderson, Tracy Moore, Josh Stewart, Charlie Moore, Blake Jackson) can ascend to elite status this season, but just have to prove it.
The Biletnikoff Award, given annually to college football's best receiver, has released its preseason watch list. Eight players from the Big 12 cracked the list. Here they are:
It's an OK list, but how does the award include Texas' Mike Davis and not Jaxon Shipley? Shipley's the better player now, and will be in the future. That's a shame. Neither is a real contender for the award this year, so I don't know if it's fair to consider Shipley a snub as much as Davis a surprising addition. If you include one, you've got to include the other. That, or neither.

Other than that snub complaint every other player on the list certainly deserved their spot.

The Big 12 was loaded at receiver last season, and could have swept the list of three finalists, but Big 12 receiving champ was snubbed in favor of USC's Robert Woods and Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, who led the league in receiving before tearing his ACL.

Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon became the second player ever and second from the Big 12 (Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, 2007-08) to win the award in two consecutive seasons.

Assessing the contenders: Oklahoma

July, 6, 2012
To begin the season, I see six teams with a legitimate chance to win the Big 12. Today begins a series looking at why each team will or will not win the league. We'll start with the prohibitive favorite, Oklahoma.

Why the Sooners will win the Big 12

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireLandry Jones gives Oklahoma experience at quarterback, but he'll be throwing to several untested targets this season.
1. They've been there before: Never, ever underestimate the importance of experience. Oklahoma lost a lot from last season's team, but it still boasts essentially a four-year starter at quarterback in Landry Jones, receiver Kenny Stills, and defenders like Tony Jefferson, Tom Wort, and Demontre Hurst. They were all key cogs in a 2010 title run that included a gutsy comeback on a neutral site against a very good Nebraska team. Oklahoma has a lot on its to-do list, but outside of a trip to West Virginia, the Sooners won't encounter anything too foreign this season.

2. Its secondary is fierce, and revitalized: Texas probably has the league's best overall secondary, but Oklahoma's not far behind. Cornerbacks Hurst and Aaron Colvin are solid, and safety Tony Jefferson might, by the end of the season, have a case for being the league's best overall defender after moving back to safety from nickel back. Fellow safety Javon Harris re-emerged this spring after a midseason benching, but still must prove he can prevent the big play in the fall. The best news of all for the unit? Coordinator Mike Stoops is back in Norman coaching them after nearly a decade as the Arizona head coach.

3. Oklahoma has more talent than anyone else: This one's pretty simple. If you line up every team in the league, truly examining everybody's two-deep, Oklahoma stands tall as the league's best team, especially at important positions like quarterback and the secondary. There are some questions along the defensive line, but the Sooners have solid athletes with potential. The same is true of the receivers, and running back will be a strength, even if Dominique Whaley isn't 100 percent next season. The linebackers are loaded again, and so is the offensive line, which might be the most important aspect of this year's team. If these games were played on paper, Oklahoma would be the champs.

Why the Sooners won't win the Big 12

1. Does Landry Jones have enough help? Ryan Broyles is gone, and Oklahoma's passing game seemed to self-destruct when he was gone. There's a lot of talent back, but offseason suspensions mean Stills will be flanked by a horde of freshmen targets. Can Trey Metoyer, Sterling Shepard, Durron Neal and Courtney Gardner be enough? And can Jones string together enough solid games to lead Oklahoma to a Big 12 title? The solid offensive line gives some reason to believe he will.

2. There won't be enough pass rush: Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander were an absolute terror last season, even though both were plagued by injuries, and Lewis' season shut down early. Now, they must be replaced. R.J. Washington and David King have plenty of potential, but Lewis and Alexander were mostly experienced, known entities. Washington and King have never been relied on as heavily as they will be this season. Can they handle the load? Oklahoma's Big 12 title hopes -- and defensive passing statistics -- probably depend on it.

3. The pool of Big 12 title suitors is too deep: Oklahoma's the best team on paper, sure, but the Big 12 is going to be brutal, and wide open. Nine (maybe 10) teams could legitimately beat the Sooners. That's just one game. Five others (we'll get to them later in the series) have the chance to prove they're better than the Sooners over the course of a 12-game schedule. Will they do it? Ultimately, that might be up to the Sooners.