Dallas Colleges: Seth Doege

Texas Tech Red Raiders spring wrap

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
10:45
AM CT
2012 record: 8-5
2012 Big 12 record: 4-5
Returning starters: Offense: 5; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners: WR Eric Ward, RB Kenny Williams, TE Jace Amaro, DE Kerry Hyder, DE Branden Jackson, LB Will Smith, CB Tre Porter, DE Dartwan Bush

Key losses: QB Seth Doege, S Cody Davis, S D.J. Johnson, WR Darrin Moore, OL La'Adrian Waddle, RB Eric Stephens

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Passing: Seth Doege (4,205 yards)
Rushing: Kenny Williams* (824 yards)
Receiving: Eric Ward* (1,053 yards)
Tackles: Cody Davis (101)
Sacks: Dartwan Bush*, Kerry Hyder* (5.5)
Interceptions: Cody Davis (3)

Spring answers

1. Springing to safety. Replacing Johnson and Davis at safety was a huge concern since that kind of experience and talent isn't easy to find. But J.J. Gaines and Tre Porter, had a strong spring and that position looks to be in good hands. There may be some trouble with inexperience, but defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has to feel pretty good about the group.

2. More depth at quarterback. I don't buy that there's competition between Michael Brewer and Davis Webb. Brewer was consistently praised all spring, and coach Kliff Kingsbury remarked at how quickly he picked up the schemes and how well he kept the up-tempo pace. Webb, a true freshman, adds comfort as a backup, but this is Brewer's job.

3. A spring miracle in Lubbock. Injuries have just been a constant for the last few years. Every spring and fall, it's been surgery after surgery, injury after injury. Not this year. Apparently the Red Raiders' practice fields are not, in fact, cursed. Getting through the spring without any serious losses is a huge deal considering the school's recent bad luck.

Fall questions

1. Can they weather the storm? I've written about this in the past, but I'm curious to see how the young coaching staff handles the inevitable crises and issues that will come with a season of college football. Kingsbury's a first-time head coach in a big job and stocked Tech's staff with a ton of Red Raider alums. It's an interesting approach, but adjusting on the go in a season full of learning experiences will be interesting to watch.

2. Is there an identity crisis? Tech will air it out plenty, but the full identity on both sides of the ball is still forming and Kingsbury is still getting to know his team. The defense will play some three and four-man fronts and has a lot of strength on the defensive line, but both sides of the ball will adjust on the go to what works and what doesn't next season. Both sides could look different in December than it does in August.

3. Where will the running game factor in? Tech has a ton of strength at running back in Kenny Williams and SaDale Foster, along with DeAndre Washington and Quinton White adding some additional depth. The big question for any post-Mike Leach coach in Lubbock is how much they plan to run the ball. Kingsbury will throw it plenty, but can Tech break its streak of well over a decade without a 1,000-yard rusher? And how much will Brewer be asked/allowed to run? He's no Johnny Football, but he's got wheels and can keep Big 12 defenses on their toes.

Catching up with the Big 12 free agents

April, 29, 2013
4/29/13
11:30
AM CT
More than 250 players were drafted over the weekend, but not everyone who plans on playing in the NFL made it happen.

Minicamps aren't far away, but players can sign with teams as soon as the draft ends. Many did over the weekend. Here's a look at the Big 12's notable signings.
A few thoughts:
  • Collin Klein is the obvious headliner on this list, and I'm torn on him. On the one hand, there's nothing like playing quarterback, and that's the position he wants to play and loves to play. On the other, he hasn't looked like an NFL passer at any point in his career, and he did his future career a disservice by not letting scouts get a look at him at receiver or tight end. He's a big body and an athletic, tough guy. If he wants to play quarterback and only quarterback, then fine. That's up to him. If he really is open to doing something else at the next level, he should have done more work at other positions. I don't see him making an NFL roster as a quarterback.
  • Safeties Tony Jefferson and Cody Davis should definitely make their respective rosters, however, and I'll be intrigued to see what Jefferson looks like and says once he's in camp. He sounded pretty salty on Twitter over the weekend. "I can't even attempt to express how I feel right now. Y'all really don't know how hurt/confused I am!" he tweeted. "Y'all don't even understand the fire inside of me man." Him going undrafted was definitely the most shocking Big 12 development of the draft for me, but he'll have a whole lot of motivation and a lot to prove.
  • I have to think Jake Knott would have gotten drafted if not for his shoulder surgery and being limited in workouts for NFL teams. He makes his name on his smarts, instincts and toughness because he lacks speed and a ton of agility, but being banged up and not testing well certainly didn't bode well for him in the immediate future. Mildly surprised that somebody didn't start drooling over his game tape and take a shot on him in the sixth or seventh round.
  • First guy in this group to get paid big soon? My money is on Quinn Sharp, the do-everything special teamer.
  • Very surprised to see Darrin Moore and Meshak Williams go unsigned so far. Moore is physically gifted, but lacked production and didn't make a team fall in love with him. Williams, though? I get that he's not exactly ideal size, but for his effort and production, how does some team not at least bring him into minicamp? That's just insane.
  • Watching the Big 12 quarterbacks is always interesting. Doege didn't have great arm strength, but had solid accuracy. Crist had the big arm, but his decision-making and accuracy were lacking. We'll see if either of those guys can make a splash with a fresh start in a new spot.
  • One final thought: If I have to hear the phrase "chip on their shoulder" another time in the next week, I'm going to lose it. For the record, if you really did have one, I'm fairly certain that's something that would require surgery.

Just missed: 2012's best individual games

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
3:15
PM CT
We wrapped up our countdown of the Big 12's best individual games of 2012 earlier this week, but just like our top 25 players, let's take a look at a few games that just missed the list, in no particular order.

Baylor LB Bryce Hager vs. Kansas State: Hager was everywhere for Baylor's defense in the Bears' breakout game. Every snap it seemed like he was in Collin Klein's face, even though a lot of his play didn't show up in the stat sheet. He made 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. He's on this list for his disruption, though. He's a huge reason why K-State's offense had its worst outing of the year in this game.

Texas Tech QB Seth Doege vs. TCU: Doege was on the money against the Big 12's best defense, throwing for 318 yards and seven touchdowns on 30-of-42 passing, helping the Red Raiders knock off the Frogs, 56-53, in triple overtime. His toss to Alex Torres won the game, but he was on the money in the three overtimes, and helped Tech score 15 more points on TCU than any team this season.

Baylor QB Nick Florence vs. West Virginia: Florence is yet another strong performance in a legendary Big 12 debut from West Virginia. It was in a losing effort, but you can't just shrug at 581 passing yards and five touchdowns on 29-of-47 passing yards.

Kansas State CB Allen Chapman vs. Oklahoma State: Chapman was one of three K-State defenders to log five interceptions last season, but he nabbed three of them in a 44-30 win over Oklahoma State. Better yet, he returned one off of Wes Lunt 29 yards for a touchdown. He also had two pass breakups in the game, along with five tackles.

Baylor LB Eddie Lackey vs. Texas Tech: I love guys with a knack for big plays, and Lackey showed the potential in a huge spot for the Bears. Lackey made just five tackles, but he gave Baylor its first lead of the game on a 55-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the eventual shootout win in Cowboys Stadium. He hopped on a fumble in the red zone earlier in the game and ended Tech's comeback attempt by sealing the game with a second interception off Doege.

Iowa State LB Jake Knott vs. Baylor: This game goes on the list because of the pure guts from Knott, and performance in a tough spot. It doesn't hurt that the win over the Bears all but clinched a bowl berth for the Cyclones. Knott knew it would be the last game of his career, and he badly needed shoulder surgery, but he convinced trainers to let him suit up one last time. He made 11 stops and forced a fumble while Iowa State's defense stymied Baylor's offense, holding the Bears to just 21 points. When I think back on Knott's career, this game might be the one I remember most.

Assessing the Big 12's needs filled: Part II

February, 7, 2013
2/07/13
10:00
AM CT
Signing day has come and gone, but we'll have plenty of coverage looking more closely at each Big 12 team's class. This morning, we're looking at how each team filled its needs. We ran down the top of the Big 12 alphabet earlier today. Here's the second half:

OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Needs filled: The Cowboys once again lost both starters at defensive end, and junior-college transfer Sam Wren could have an immediate impact. ESPN 300 member Vincent Taylor is a big presence and might contribute early, too. In all, OSU signed six defensive linemen. In this offense, you can never have too many receivers, especially gifted ones. Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples will have some fun in Stillwater.

Holes remaining: The Pokes lost one starter at linebacker and will have two seniors on next season's team, but didn't sign a linebacker in this class. We'll see if they can make up for that with development and recruiting in 2014.

TEXAS LONGHORNS

Needs filled: Texas is getting some big upgrades on the offensive line, headlined by the nation's No. 1 center, Darius James. Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson are also top-10 tackles nationally and guard Rami Hammad and juco tackle Desmond Harrison fill out the class, which was one-third offensive linemen.

Holes remaining: Texas kept striking out with defensive linemen and ended up signing zero, despite losing Alex Okafor and Brandon Moore, and with Jackson Jeffcoat a rising senior. That could be a problem soon, but the Longhorns lost Daeshon Hall and missed out on Andrew Billings, who went to Baylor.

TCU HORNED FROGS

Needs filled: The running backs were drained after last season, but the Frogs had one of the league's best hauls at the position, grabbing ESPN 300 member Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson, two of the best backs in Texas. The Frogs are also loading up on 6-foot, 200-pound linebackers who'll be able to cover in the open field. Paul Whitmill headlines that group, but the Frogs signed three linebackers with that profile.

Holes remaining: Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson are gone, and though LaDarius Brown and Brandon Carter will be there for 2013, you need a lot more big-time receivers than that to win in the Big 12. TCU signed four athletes, but no pure receivers in this class.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Needs filled: Receivers are always a must in this offense, and Tech got a pair of good ones in Dylan Cantrell and Justis Nelson. After Seth Doege graduated and Scotty Young transferred, Tech needed a quarterback to follow Michael Brewer and Davis Webb, the nation's No. 24 pro-style passer, could be that guy.

Holes remaining: The Red Raiders might be a little thin at defensive tackle after signing just one in this class. Kerry Hyder will be a senior and Leon Mackey graduated. Tech will have to develop that position and maybe put some weight on some defensive ends -- a position where Texas Tech is well-stocked.

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS

Needs filled: Defense, defense, defense. West Virginia needs some talent upgrades all over the field, and landed linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton and ESPN 300 member Darrien Howard. Hodari Christian is another talented linebacking prospect and Dontrill Hyman will try to have an immediate impact as a pass-rusher out of junior college. WVU signed four outside linebackers and two defensive ends.

Holes remaining: Where are the cover guys? WVU needs help in the secondary and got it in safeties Malik Greaves and Jeremy Tyler, but didn't sign a pure cornerback in this class.

Postseason position rankings: Quarterback

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
1:00
PM CT
Every year, we rank the top 10 players at positions across the Big 12 before the season and after. We'll kick off our list with the glamour position in the Big 12: Quarterback.

A quick note on the rankings: Only one player per team was allowed. I picked the best QB on the teams that shuffled throughout the season, and didn't include players who left the team or were ineligible to end the season.

1. Collin Klein, Kansas State: Klein is not your traditional quarterback and not the kind of guy the Big 12 has made its offensive reputation behind. What he is, though? A leader who showcases his toughness and a good enough passer to make K-State one of the nation's most efficient offenses and forces defenses to respect him on deep and intermediate throws. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,646 yards and rushed for 925 yards, accounting for 39 touchdowns.

2. Geno Smith, West Virginia: One would think if you win the Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honor, throw 42 touchdowns to just six picks and rack up almost 4,200 yards passing, you'd win it easily in the postseason. Not the case. Smith was fantastic this year and might be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft. Smith is clearly the Big 12's best "passer," but he's not quite the Big 12's best quarterback.

3. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones' experience is unmatched in this league, but he never quite got over the top as the Big 12's best quarterback. He was always solid, even if he might be vulnerable to a big mistake. He threw an interception in each of his final seven games at OU, but he also racked up 30 touchdowns and 4,272 yards. He threw for at least 3,000 yards in each of the past four seasons and leaves as the No. 3 all-time passer in FBS history.

4. Nick Florence, Baylor: Florence led the Big 12 in total offense by almost 40 full yards per game. Not only did he lead the league in passing yards with 4,309, he added almost 600 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. He filled in admirably for RG III, and it's a shame he had to burn his redshirt in 2011 after Griffin suffered a head injury.

5. Seth Doege, Texas Tech: Doege was second nationally with 39 touchdown passes and had a solid senior season. There were some rough games, sure, but he was third in the Big 12 with 4,205 yards. The biggest negative for Doege that bumped him down this list? A Big 12-high 16 interceptions.

6. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State: Only took one Oklahoma State quarterback for this list, but Chelf was the steadiest this season for the Pokes, and the only one who didn't get hurt. Chelf threw for 15 touchdowns and just six picks and averaged just under 200 passing yards a game. He also ran for 162 yards on just 31 carries.

7. David Ash, Texas: Ash had a really strong start and looked like one of the Big 12's best quarterbacks early in the season. He flirted with the FBS lead in passer rating before coming to Earth a bit late in the year and getting benched against KU and suffering a rib injury late in the year. He still threw for almost 2,700 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight picks.

8. Trevone Boykin, TCU: Boykin had to fill in for the Frogs' Casey Pachall, but had his biggest successes in two situations: Broken plays that required him to scramble and deep balls. The rest of the offense seemed to struggle at times, but Boykin definitely made it interesting. He completed just 57 percent of his passes and had 10 interceptions to his 15 scores, but he hung in there and helped carry the Frogs to a seven-win season.

9. Sam Richardson, Iowa State: Richardson emerged from nowhere to win the Cyclones' quarterback job in the final weeks of the season and prompt a transfer from 2011's season hero: Jared Barnett. Richardson is a prototypical passer who also has wheels and threw eight touchdowns to just one pick in the Cyclones' final three games.

10. Michael Cummings, Kansas: Cummings stepped in for a struggling Dayne Crist, but didn't offer much after doing so and couldn't get KU over the hump to get a Big 12 win. BYU transfer Jake Heaps is likely to slide in front of Cummings on the depth chart next year after Cummings completed just 45 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and four interceptions. He did make some plays with his feet, though it was hard for the yardage to show that was the case because there were so many sacks.

Season report card: Texas Tech Red Raiders

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
1:41
PM CT
We're grading each Big 12 team's season right now, and we'll move on to the next team on the list: The Texas Tech Red Raiders.

OFFENSE: Texas Tech's offense goes as its quarterback goes. Seth Doege filled up the stat sheet this season, but his 16 interceptions were the most in the Big 12. The team raced out to a 6-1 start and 3-1 in Big 12 play, but the offense's inconsistency held the team back during its late-season slide. In three of their four losses to end the season, the Red Raiders failed to score more than 24 points. That's not good enough to win a ton of Big 12 games, and Texas Tech didn't. The offense rebounded and played well in the win over Kansas, but the defense's issues made it a dramatic overtime win. Eric Ward and Darrin Moore became the Red Raiders' first 1,000-yard receivers since 2008, and the Red Raiders' trio of backs combined for more than 1,700 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. That's pretty solid. The inconsistency and struggles late in the season make it hard to give this unit a great grade, but looking at the season as a whole, the Red Raiders still finished 14th nationally in yards per play and Doege's 39 touchdown passes were second nationally. The Red Raiders ranked just fifth in the Big 12 in total offense, which means that rank of 13th nationally looks a little different on a conference scale. GRADE: C

DEFENSE: This unit was the story of the Big 12 over the first half of the season. It led the nation in total defense for a time during the first half of the season after playing offensive juggernauts like Texas State, Northwestern State and New Mexico. The brunt of Big 12 play predictably brought the Red Raiders back down to earth. Nonconference schedule criticisms aside, there's no denying that this unit was much better. It was exposed in some spots in most of its losses, and didn't force a turnover from Oct. 20 until the final possession of the bowl win over Minnesota, a span of nearly six games. It's tough to win in the Big 12 when you do that, but you still have to give these guys credit for jumping from 114th in total defense a year ago to 38th this season. Kerry Hyder and Cody Davis had solid years, but besides that duo, there was little to write home about in regards to the personnel for this defense. GRADE: B-

OVERALL: The Red Raiders were aggressively average this season. They had Big 12 title hopes after romping against West Virginia in Lubbock and edging TCU in overtime, but K-State's 31-point win in Manhattan ended those pretty quickly. The late-season slide put a bad taste in the Red Raiders' mouths, but a bowl win helped. The pain over losing Tommy Tuberville was quickly healed by bringing home a program legend in Kliff Kingsbury. Last year's team got back to the postseason and didn't have to deal with an avalanche of injuries for once. We saw this was a better team, even if it was far from a great one. GRADE: C

More Big 12 report cards:

Big 12 sends eight to East-West Shrine game

January, 9, 2013
1/09/13
2:54
PM CT
The Big 12 will have eight players competing in the annual East-West Shrine game, one of a handful of games that serve as showcases for NFL scouts. Here they are:
Klein, of course, made waves when reports leaked that the Senior Bowl wouldn't be inviting him, but he'll get an opportunity to get in front of scouts at the Shrine Game, which takes place on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It'll be interesting to see what positions he gets work with, too.

We'll see what Doege can do for his NFL stock as well. More Big 12 players could be invited. We'll keep you posted.

Instant analysis: Texas Tech 34, Minn. 31

December, 29, 2012
12/29/12
12:12
AM CT


This Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas wasn't a pretty one. A fun first half gave way to a lackluster second half until the final minutes, when Texas Tech's offense shook awake and rallied for a 34-31 victory over Minnesota with a Ryan Bustin field goal in the final seconds.

Tempers boiled for much of the game, which is pretty rare in a contest between two teams with absolutely no history and few if any links among players on the rosters. Officials didn't do a great job of keeping the peace.

The Big 12 moved to 2-0 in bowl games, and the Big Ten fell to 0-1 with the loss in its postseason opener.

It was over when: Bustin busted a 28-yard field goal through the uprights to complete an unlikely comeback in the final minutes, much as Texas Tech did back in the 2006 Insight Bowl. This one was a whole lot less dramatic than the FBS bowl-record 31-point, second-half comeback of that postseason meeting with the Golden Gophers, but Seth Doege made it a ballgame when he hit Eric Ward on a short slant that turned into a 35-yard, game-tying score when the safety help went absent.

Game ball goes to: Red Raiders wide receiver Darrin Moore. There weren't a ton of truly standout performances, but Moore caught a game-high 11 balls for 84 yards.

Stat of the game: This game was chippy from start to finish. A few media members on hand reported that there was some simmering tension after a contentious rodeo contest earlier in the week (which is just as silly as it sounds) -- and it showed up on the field. Nine personal fouls (five for Texas Tech, four for Minnesota) were handed out, and at one point, Minnesota faced a third-and-49 because of personal fouls. Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro was also ejected for throwing a punch. More on that later.

Stat of the game II: Texas Tech's interception on third down in the final minute to set up the game-winning score was its first forced turnover since Oct. 20. Before that, Texas Tech had been minus-12 in turnover margin in its previous five-plus games.

Unsung hero of the game: Cornerback Michael Carter, Minnesota. He picked off Doege twice and made five tackles to help Minnesota's defense pitch a shutout in the first 28 minutes and 50 seconds of the second half.

Second-guessing: Amaro's decision-making. Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant fumbled what was nearly a go-ahead touchdown out of bounds, but Amaro made it worse by punching a defender he had pinned on the ground. Even worse? He did so right in front of an official, who flagged him for a 15-yard penalty and forced Tech into a third-and-goal from the 16. The eventual result was a blocked field goal; Minnesota took a 31-24 lead with a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Amaro didn't help his case by clearly complaining on the sideline and leaving the field while signaling "Guns Up" to the fans.

What Texas Tech learned: New coach Kliff Kingsbury has his work cut out for him. Texas Tech's offense struggled in the second half and the team looked undisciplined for all 60 minutes. The Red Raiders didn't score in the second half until the final 70 seconds. Kingsbury is right when he says the program is far from broken, but it obviously needs to be broken of some bad habits developed down the stretch in 2012. It struggled to turn red zone opportunities into touchdowns, and silly penalties hurt Texas Tech all night. The Red Raiders were clearly the better team and showed it with the victory, which came despite a very poor performance and mistakes throughout. A few minutes of solid offense in the second half were enough to win this one, but it won't be enough to win many games in the Big 12 once Kingsbury takes over.

What Minnesota learned: Bowl games mean even more pain and another rough finish for the Golden Gophers, who lost their final three games of the season. Quarterback Philip Nelson showed a lot of promise for the future, but his late interception set up the Red Raiders' winning field goal. Minnesota has now lost five consecutive bowl games, and hasn't won one since the 2004 Music City Bowl.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas keys

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
1:30
PM CT


Let's take a look at three keys for tonight's Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

1. Grab a turnover or two. Texas Tech's defense has to be very, very frustrated by now. The last time the Red Raiders forced a turnover was all the way back on Oct. 20. Since then, the Red Raiders are 1-4 with the only win coming at home in overtime against 1-11 Kansas. That stretch has sent Tech to minus-12 in turnover margin, which is seven takeaways below any team in the Big 12 and tied for 110th nationally. If Texas Tech can't crack the streak and force a turnover, this one will turn into a game quickly.

2. Force the tempo. It might be a little odd for Texas Tech without offensive coordinator Neal Brown in charge of things. Offensive line coach Chris Thomsen has taken over as interim coach and receivers coach Sonny Cumbie is stepping up to call the plays. There aren't a lot of teams in the Big Ten who run with the tempo that Texas Tech wants, but Cumbie's got to be quick on the trigger and keep the Tech offense rolling. Schematically, Minnesota can slow down the Red Raiders, but going with a lightning pace in Brown's absence will give the Golden Gophers problems.

3. Don't forget about Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens. Texas Tech didn't win the game, but its 208 rushing yards against Baylor was nearly enough to knock off the Bears and helped Tech put 45 points on the board. Minnesota ranks 77th nationally in rush defense, and though Tech loves to throw it around the yard, some balance would no doubt help the Red Raiders. Against Kansas and Oklahoma State, Tech averaged fewer than three yards a carry, but the team posted nearly seven yards a touch against Baylor. Williams, Stephens and SaDale Foster all average nearly five yards a touch and combined for more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns. Cumbie's not a very experienced playcaller, but he's got to keep those guys active, too.

Pregame: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
1:00
PM CT
Minnesota (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten) vs. Texas Tech (7-5, 4-5 Big 12)

WHO TO WATCH: Texas Tech receivers Eric Ward and Darrin Moore. They are big targets in the red zone and caught 24 of quarterback Seth Doege's 38 touchdowns this season. Only two other teams have two receivers with double-digit touchdown catches. Tech's offense runs as Doege, Ward and Moore run. Additionally, tight end Jace Amaro has been cleared to play after missing the final six games of the season with a rib injury. He adds another dangerous asset to Texas Tech's offense, which ranked 12th nationally this year. West Virginia's Geno Smith is the only quarterback with more touchdown passes than Doege.

WHAT TO WATCH: Can Minnesota compete? The two-touchdown line is one of the largest of the bowl season, but the Golden Gophers will have an opportunity to log their best win of the season since knocking off 7-5 Syracuse back on Sept. 22. The Golden Gophers lost three of their final four games of the season -- all by at least 16 points -- but all three losses came to bowl teams. Also, how will both teams handle the loss of big contributors -- wide receiver A.J. Barker (transfer) for Minnesota and cornerback Cornelius Douglas (suspension) for Texas Tech?

WHY TO WATCH: You might find a piece of the answer to the eternal question of how important quarterback play is. Tech's Doege has had his share of struggles, but he has been the guy all season for the Red Raiders and racked up 3,934 passing yards and is 12th nationally in passer rating. Minnesota, meanwhile, has played musical chairs with its quarterbacks all season long and sophomore Max Shortell was frustrated enough to transfer. Philip Nelson will get the start for Minnesota, but will he stay there? Texas Tech fans also can tune in to see how much screen time new coach Kliff Kingsbury gets during the game.

PREDICTION: Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 17. I don't think the Gophers can keep up with the speed and efficiency of Texas Tech's offense. The Red Raiders will have some defensive issues of their own, too, even though Minnesota ranks 111th nationally in total offense. Too much Red Raiders, though. Amaro returns in a big way, and Moore is a pest in the red zone for the Golden Gophers.

Bonus picks! Here's what Big Ten colleagues Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett have to say by way of a prediction:

Brian Bennett: The Red Raiders have an interim coach, and Minnesota has had a month to heal the many injuries that ravaged its offense late in the season, both of which are positives for the Gophers. I think Matt Limegrover will find some creative ways to use MarQueis Gray. Still, Minnesota lacks the weapons to go up and down the field against a high-scoring Big 12 team. Michael Carter and the Gophers' secondary will make some plays but not enough to stop Texas Tech, which pulls away after a close first two-and-half quarters. ...Texas Tech 31, Minnesota 17.

Adam Rittenberg: The Gophers' defense is much improved in Year 2 under Tracy Claeys, but you need a decent amount of offensive firepower to keep pace with Texas Tech. Like you, my concern is the lack of playmakers surrounding Nelson and Gray. Both men will see time at quarterback and help the Gophers take a first-half lead, but a Minnesota turnover changes the game and Texas Tech strikes for two fourth-quarter passing touchdowns to win. ... Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 21

Big 12 Super Seniors of 2012: Part II

December, 24, 2012
12/24/12
11:00
AM CT
We ran down the first half of my list of the Big 12's Super Seniors last week. Now, we'll tackle Part II. These guys have invested four or five years into their respective programs and earned a spot as one of the greats after providing some big-time senior leadership.

[+] EnlargeLane Taylor
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsLane Taylor's steady play has helped Oklahoma State's offense put up dazzling numbers during recent seasons.
Lane Taylor, OL, Oklahoma State: Taylor's seen a whole lot in his time at Oklahoma State, from a huge season-opening win that landed OSU on the cover of Sports Illustrated to Dez Bryant's suspension and the eventual arrival and departure of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. He broke through as a redshirt freshman to earn a starting spot in 2009 and he hasn't let go since. He's seen some fantastic offenses through the air and on the ground with talents like Kendall Hunter, Joseph Randle, Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. He'll leave as one of the most experienced linemen in school history and a consistent All-Big 12 performer.

Alex Okafor, DE, and Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: Both players worked their way past an odd incident in the offseason to earn team captain designation and both players have remained consistent and productive despite moving positions. Vaccaro's jumped around to nickel back and traditional safety and Okafor moved from defensive end to tackle to end but helped Texas' defense turn in some fantastic performances over the course of their careers. The Longhorns' defense wasn't what most expected this season, but it wasn't Okafor and Vaccaro's fault. They're a pair of super seniors.

Blaize Foltz, OL, TCU: The Frogs were a young, young team this season, but Foltz played the part of the old guy for the Fort Worth Tadpoles. He's been a constant along the offensive line for some big games since 2009. There were mammoth showdowns against Boise State, a win in the Rose Bowl and the entrance into the Big 12 this season. Along the way, he helped pick up some all-conference nods, too. The Rose Hill, Kan., native helped the Frogs weather that transition to the Big 12 and maintain their spot as one of college football's growing programs.

Cody Davis, S, and Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: There's no differentiating between these two, even on a team with tons of senior leaders. Davis was a national scholar-athlete and a nominee for the Campbell Trophy, or the Academic Heisman. Doege fought through knee injuries in high school and a wait to take over the quarterback spot at the school he grew up loving. Once he took the reins in 2011, he racked up 66 touchdown passes while Davis established himself as a four-year starter and never finished lower than second on the team in tackles over that four-year period. Making 352 tackles is no small task, and Davis still has one more game to go.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith always strives for more, even early in the season when he was on a record-setting pace in a five-game stretch that was definitely the best we've ever seen in this league. That attitude carries over to his teammates, and the artistic Smith is one of the brightest players in the league, too. That helped fashion him into one of the best leaders in the conference and a player any coach would love to have on his roster.

Best and worst of 2012: Texas Tech

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
11:15
AM CT


Time to continue our series on the best and worst moments of 2012 for each team in the Big 12. Next up: Texas Tech.

Worst moment: Big 12 champions? I think not

Texas Tech traveled to Manhattan, Kan., with high, high hopes at 6-1. The Red Raiders controlled their own fate with the only loss of the season coming to fellow one-loss squad Oklahoma. Seth Doege was red hot and traveled to face Heisman front-runner Collin Klein. A win would make Texas Tech the likely favorite in the Big 12 race and inject Doege into the Heisman race. Tech trailed by just three at half, but gave up two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to key an eventual 55-24 rout thanks to the eventual Big 12 champions. There was no doubt on this day who would control the Big 12 in 2012, and who deserved a spot at the Heisman table.

Best moment: Red Raiders run rampant on Big 12 beginners

Texas Tech rolled through its nonconference slate and opened up Big 12 play with a gutsy win on the road against Iowa State. A three-touchdown loss to Oklahoma was disheartening, but a week later, West Virginia injected a whole lot of belief into the Red Raiders. Tech hosted the nation's No. 5 team and Heisman front-runner Geno Smith, but ran the show from start to finish, knocking off the undefeated Mountaineers 49-14. Tight end Jace Amaro got the party started with a 39-yard touchdown catch, but Tech ran away with a 35-7 halftime lead and never let WVU get close. The triple-overtime win the next week at TCU is almost No. 1 on this list, but when people look back on the 2012 season, this is the Tech win they'll remember most. With the win, Tommy Tuberville improved to an amazing 6-2 versus top-five teams.

Meineke Bowl primer: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota

December, 13, 2012
12/13/12
1:00
PM CT


As the bowl season approaches, we're going to be looking a little closer at each game. We'll go down the Big 12 bowl schedule in chronological order.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL OF TEXAS

Texas Tech (7-5) vs. Minnesota (6-6)

Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas.

When: Friday, Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

About Texas Tech: Texas Tech could use a little good news. It's kind of been all bad lately. A promising season began at 6-1 and had more than a few Red Raiders dreaming of Big 12 title trophies. Then Kansas State delivered a systematic beatdown and Tech lost four of its final five games, the lone win coming at home in overtime against 1-11 Kansas. Then coach Tommy Tuberville left to take the head coaching job at Cincinnati, and OC Neal Brown followed him out the door to take the same job at Kentucky. The best news over that span? Texas Tech's bowl opponent is Minnesota. Let's look at these Gophers.

About Minnesota: Coach Jerry Kill is just 9-15 in two seasons as Minnesota coach, and this year's team doesn't have a win in Big Ten play over a team that's better than .500. One came over 6-6 Purdue and the other was over Illinois, who went winless in league play. All four losses in the final six games came by at least 16 points in a weak Big Ten that struggled in nonconference play. The Gophers improved this season to reach their first bowl game since 2009, but the Gophers haven't been to a bowl game that wasn't the Insight Bowl since way back in 2005.

Red Raiders to watch: Receiver Darrin Moore is the team's most talented player, but Seth Doege makes the offense go. If he has a good day, Tech can beat almost anyone. If he struggles, fans will be wondering if the Michael Brewer Era can get started a little early. Defensively, keep an eye on Kerry Hyder along the defensive line. He's been a huge help in revitalizing the nation's worst rush defense from a year ago, but safety Cody Davis is a playmaker and a scholar in the secondary.

Golden Gophers to watch: The Gophers' best player, A.J. Barker left the team and transferred to Houston recently, but sophomore Donnell Kirkwood added 848 yards on the ground to lead the team and scored five touchdowns. Barker's absence will be felt. Despite playing just eight games, he still leads the team in receiving by more than 300 yards and caught a team-high seven scores. There's been a revolving door at QB for the Gophers, which hasn't helped the receivers. Senior MarQueis Gray had a disappointing season, and Phillip Nelson took over to end the season after Max Shortell didn't make a huge impact and chose to transfer. Defensive end D.L. White may help pressure Doege. He was second in the Big Ten with 8.5 sacks.

Did you know: This game is loaded with fun facts, though the first isn't so fun. The 13-point line in this game (Texas Tech is the favorite) is one of the highest of the bowl season, muddled in the middle of some of the highest. Oklahoma State vs. Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl is the highest, but depending on who you ask, Tech vs. Minnesota is No. 2. These two already played a classic in the 2006 Insight Bowl, when Texas Tech rallied from a 38-7, third-quarter deficit and outscored Minnesota 24-0 in the fourth quarter of a 44-41 overtime win that resulted in Golden Gophers' coach Glen Mason getting fired.

Big 12 Upset Alert: Bowl edition

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
11:14
AM CT
Every week through the season, we looked at one game that might go the opposite way experts expect. That won't stop in the bowl season.

My pick: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota

On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Texas Tech is a two-touchdown favorite against the Golden Gophers, who went just 6-6 this season, winning two of their final eight games and losing star receiver A.J. Barker late in the season amid allegations that he was mistreated.

The line makes sense. Still, this upset alert is all about Texas Tech. Have we seen much evidence that the Red Raiders could beat anyone by double-digits at this point in the season? Tech raced out to a 6-1 start, including a blowout win over West Virginia followed by a triple overtime win in Fort Worth against TCU.

Since then? The Red Raiders were blasted by 31 and 38 points by Kansas State and Oklahoma State, solidly beaten at home by Texas and lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Baylor.

The one win came at home in an emotional game on senior day -- in overtime against 1-11 Kansas. Tech blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to reach overtime.

I'll give Tech credit. There may be some added motivation in playing in a bowl game after coming off a 5-7 season a year ago.

Still, it was an unassuming finish to a season that held so much promise, and there's certainly no guarantee that Texas Tech will rediscover its midseason magic for the bowl season. Seth Doege and his deep, talented receiving corps should win this game. It's a good matchup for the Big 12 and a game the Raiders have no excuse to lose.

Just don't be all that surprised if it happens.

Tracking the Big 12 awards races: Week 14

November, 29, 2012
11/29/12
4:00
PM CT
We've got one week left of games, and one chance left to jostle for position before voting on these awards. Here's how I slot it heading into Week 14:

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was off this weekend, but he can wrap this award up with a solid performance and a win against Texas. A rough game, though? That's three to end the season. If it happens and Kansas State loses, Klein opens this up to legitimately four or five players, in my opinion. Voting would be fascinating. I'd probably still pick him to win, but I bet it would be close.

2. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor: Williams is in a tight race with Marqise Lee for the Biletnikoff Award, but he's definitely in the mix for this, too. He gets the last word vs. Lee, and will take on talented Oklahoma State cornerbacks. He caught seven balls for 175 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech, his first 100-yard game in three outings.

3. Tavon Austin, WR/RB/KR, West Virginia. Sticking with Tavon in this spot, but the competition is really getting tight. You could make a case for Stedman Bailey, Geno Smith or Landry Jones all in the top three. Austin turned the Iowa State game in WVU's favor with a 75-yard catch and run, and caught six passes for 99 yards, adding 74 yards on 14 carries on the ground. He also scored a two-point conversion.

Honorable mention: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma; Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia; Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia; Nick Florence, QB, Baylor; Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech; Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State; James Sims, RB, Kansas

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Devonte Fields, DE, TCU: Fields turned in a big game in a win against Texas, notching two tackles for loss, a sack and four tackles. He now has 17.5 tackles for loss this season, 2.5 more than anybody in the Big 12. He also leads the league with nine sacks. Let me reiterate: This is a true freshman we're talking about. Good grief.

2. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: Okafor is banged up and missed time against TCU, but he's third in the league with eight sacks, even though he didn't register a sack against the Frogs.

3. Meshak Williams, DE, Kansas State: Williams was off last week, but he stays on the list and sits second in the league with 8.5 sacks, and is fourth in the league in 11.5 tackles for loss.

Honorable mention: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State; Jason Verrett, CB, TCU; A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State; Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma; Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: The SnyderCats were off last week, but Snyder can wrap this award up if he wins a Big 12 title by beating Texas on Saturday night in Manhattan.

2. Gary Patterson, TCU: The Frogs have dealt with more injuries than anyone, and at key positions on offense. The defense has developed into the Big 12's best, despite all the youth, and the offense has kept rolling without Casey Pachall and Waymon James. TCU's not going to win the league, but finishing above .500 in its first year in the Big 12, with those circumstances? Nothing short of amazing.

3. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: The Cowboys nearly came away with a huge upset at Oklahoma last week, and Gundy has dealt with major injuries and still kept his team rolling. They lost a ton of talent from last year's team (and this year's) and could still win eight or nine games.

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