Monday, August 4, 2014
The Season: The best of the Big 12
By Jake Trotter
This week, ESPN.com has launched The Season -- a project we've been working on the last month. After diligent research and debate, we have compiled who we think produced the greatest individual season for every FBS school, including the Big 12 programs.
Brandon, Max and I had a hand in putting together the list for the Big 12.
Nine of the 10 that ultimately made the list were the players I pushed for (I actually had Michael Bishop over Darren Sproles for Kansas State, for reasons I'll detail below).
You can read the list here. But here's a snapshot of the Big 12 players who delivered the season above all others.
Baylor: Robert Griffin III, QB, 2011
My take: This one was easy. Mike Singletary was a great player. But Griffin's 2011 season transformed the program, which will culminate with the opening of McLane Stadium later this month.
Iowa State: Troy Davis, RB, 1996
My take: Only Barry Sanders, Kevin Smith and Marcus Allen have rushed for more yards in a season than Davis. The only Iowa State season that comes close was Davis' 1995 season in which he rushed for 2,010 yards.
Kansas: Gale Sayers, RB, 1963
My take: Sayers' 1964 season was magnificent, too, when the "Kansas Comet" led the Jayhawks to a 15-14 upset over Oklahoma. How monumental was that win? Kansas has defeated the Sooners only six times since.
Kansas State: Darren Sproles, RB, 2003
My take: Sproles was fabulous player and had a fabulous season. But Bishop had the Manhattan Miracle one game away from the national championship game. He also finished second in the Heisman voting.
Oklahoma: Lee Roy Selmon, DE, 1975
My take: With so many great seasons to consider, Oklahoma was one of the toughest programs to sift through. But as good as Billy Sims, Adrian Peterson, Sam Bradford and Tommy McDonald were, none dominated the way Selmon did. He was the heart and soul of the Sooners' dominating run through the mid-1970s.
Oklahoma State: Barry Sanders, RB, 1988
My take: Forget college football. Sanders' 1988 season was one of the greatest in the history of sports.
Texas: Vince Young, QB, 2005
My take: Earl Campbell had the better career and was the better player. But Young had the better single season in 2005, strapping the Longhorns to his shoulders and carrying them to the school's first national title in 35 years.
TCU: Davey O'Brien, QB/DB/P/K, 1938
My take: How loaded was TCU at quarterback in 1935? O'Brien actually backed up Sammy Baugh, who would go on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Texas Tech: Michael Crabtree, WR, 2007
My take: Though the numbers weren't anywhere as good, I actually pushed for Crabtree's '08 season. But it's hard to argue against 134 receptions, 1,962 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.
West Virginia: Major Harris, QB, 1988
My take: The Mountaineers have enjoyed some remarkably talented players offensively in recent years in Pat White, Tavon Austin and Geno Smith. But none took West Virginia as far as Harris did.
Both Young and Sanders are in the playoff for the best season overall. You can vote for both by clicking here.