NCF Nation: Wes Kemp

Big 12 position rankings: Receivers/TEs

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
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We're continuing our look at the postseason rankings for each position in the Big 12. Here's a look back at where the receivers ranked in the preseason.

In this position, unlike quarterback, depth is a major, major factor in these rankings.

More postseason position rankings:
[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesJustin Blackmon highlighted Oklahoma State's deep group of receivers this season.
1. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys boasted two-time Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon, but he wasn't the only weapon. The Cowboys had nine (!) receivers with at least 19 catches and 200 yards receiving this season. Insane. Life is good with Brandon Weeden at quarterback.

2. Baylor: Kendall Wright actually outperformed Blackmon and Ryan Broyles on the stat sheet, catching 108 balls for 1,663 yards. The Bears didn't have the insane depth of OSU, but the trio of Wright, Terrance Williams (59 rec, 957 yards, 11 TDs) and Tevin Reese (51 rec, 877 yards, 7 TDs) were all in the Big 12's top seven receivers.

3. Texas A&M: Ryan Swope emerged to become one of just four Big 12 receivers to notch 1,000-yard seasons. Jeff Fuller's season was disappointing, but he still finished eighth in the league in receiving, and Uzoma Nwachukwu was in the league's top 15 in receiving.

4. Oklahoma: The Sooners weren't quite as solid as they thought to begin the season. Broyles was as advertised, though his Biletnikoff-contending season was cut short by a torn ACL. The unit was productive, but came down with the drops late in the season. Broyles and Kenny Stills were both in the league's top seven in receiving, and Jaz Reynolds caught 41 passes for 715 yards to crack the top 10.

5. Texas Tech: Tech's top target, Darrin Moore, battled injuries all year, but Eric Ward emerged as the team's most consistent target, catching 84 passes for 800 yards and 11 scores. Alex Torres missed two games, but added 616 more yards.

6. Missouri: The Tigers' receivers had their production dip with a dual-threat passer in James Franklin who ran the ball more than his predecessor, but they were still pretty good, despite lacking a true big-time threat. T.J. Moe caught 54 passes for 649 yards and four scores. Tight end Michael Egnew added 50 grabs for 523 yards and three scores. L'Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas and Wes Kemp had unremarkable individual seasons, but their production added up to a good year for Mizzou's receivers.

7. Kansas State: Kansas State was better than most thought to begin the season, but the ground-based offense limited their receivers' ability to finish with big production. Chris Harper (40 rec, 547 yards, 5 TDs) led the group. Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett showed some good promise, too.

8. Texas: The Longhorns could get really good, really fast at this spot. The uncertainty/struggles at quarterback limited this group, but Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis could both mature into absolute stars. For now, though, they didn't quite crack the top 15 in the Big 12 in receiving. Both topped 40 catches and 600 receiving yards.

9. Iowa State: Darius Reynolds' size downfield will be missed, but Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz are tough covers working the middle of the field. Reynolds caught seven touchdowns, and Horne and Lenz both topped 38 catches.

10. Kansas: Yikes. The Jayhawks didn't have a receiver in the league's top 20, but D.J. Beshears led the team with 40 grabs for 437 yards and three touchdowns. He was the only Jayhawk in the Big 12's top 32 in receiving.

Instant analysis: Missouri 41, UNC 24

December, 26, 2011
12/26/11
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A mid-level bowl game on a rainy day in a location few consider a vacation spot led to a small crowd. But Missouri looked like it wanted to be in Shreveport, La., on Monday afternoon, dominating this game, and earning a solid win in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl over North Carolina, 41-24.

How the game was won: Missouri was the aggressor from the start, pounding North Carolina with a relentless running game and hitting simple throws when necessary. The Tigers scored on all five of their first-half drives and raced to a 31-10 halftime lead. Missouri forced a pair of first-half turnovers after allowing a touchdown on the opening drive. The rout was on early.

Turning point: North Carolina turned the ball over on consecutive snaps and when it looked up, Missouri led, 31-7. Giovani Bernard fumbled near midfield and Missouri marched 40 yards for a touchdown. Bryn Renner threw a perfect pass to Dwight Jones, but a hit jostled loose the ball, which ended up rolling off Jones' back and into Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden's hands. Missouri used seven plays to go 59 yards for a score and a 31-7 lead.

Stat of the game: Missouri's running game really couldn't be stopped in the first half. The Tigers outrushed North Carolina, 192-13. Bernard, an All-ACC first-teamer, had just 12 yards on eight carries in the half. The Tigers finished with 337 rushing yards -- just the third time this season the Tigers topped 300 yards on the ground. They did it against UNC, who entered Monday's game with the nation's No. 14 rush defense, allowing just more than 106 yards rushing per game this season.

Player of the game: Franklin. Missouri's sophomore quarterback was at his best, utilizing his underrated arm and great legs, and helping the Tigers keep solid balance. He finished with 142 yards rushing and 132 yards passing, accounting for three touchdowns.

Worst omen: Truman the Tiger. Mizzou's mascot shattered the crystal Independence Bowl trophy just hours before the game, but bowl officials told media at the game they hustled to find a replacement trophy from a "local jeweler." Missouri isn't expected to be forced to foot the bill for the trophy, which cost a "couple thousand bucks, at least," but the omen didn't seem to bother the Tigers in the bowl win.

Stat of the game II: Truman the Tiger fumbles: 1. Missouri Tiger fumbles: 0.

Unsung hero of the game: Missouri's offensive line. North Carolina's defense is littered with NFL talent, highlighted by defensive end Quinton Coples. The Tigers O-line blew them off the ball from the start, clearing huge holes and giving Franklin tons of time to throw.

Best call: Missouri gave up a 22-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive, but came back with a trick play you know it was itching to unleash. Facing a second-and-4 on the UNC 40, Franklin flicked a pass to his right, back to former high school quarterback and the team's leading receiver, T.J. Moe. He flung it downfield to a wide-open Wes Kemp for a 40-yard, game-tying touchdown. The trickery worked to perfection, and the execution was perfect, too.

What it means: Missouri will head to the SEC with some good momentum off a pretty average season. The day in Shreveport finished with an S-E-C chant from the Tigers fans who made the trip. The Tigers will face a huge challenge in a new conference next year, while North Carolina begins a brand-new era in the ACC. Interim coach Everett Withers is headed to Ohio State as a co-defensive coordinator, and former Southern Miss coach (and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator) Larry Fedora will now take over in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have constantly underachieved under Butch Davis with lots of NFL talent, and Fedora will try to change that.

Record performance: North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner broke Chris Keldorf's school record, set in 1996, for touchdown passes with his 24th of the season on the opening drive. That ball was caught by Dwight Jones, his 12th of the season, which tied Hakeem Nicks' school record set back in 2008.

Record performance II: Missouri's 31 first-half points were a Mizzou bowl record, and also an Independence Bowl record. The Tigers made it look easy.
Missouri's James Franklin had just 47 yards passing in the first half.

He had more than that in one drive that went 94 yards in nine plays to put Missouri up 17-10 in the third quarter.

He looked much more comfortable on that drive and has yet to throw an incompletion in the second half after throwing three interceptions in the first.

That included a pair of difficult throws, a 22-yard strike over the middle to Jerrell Jackson before a pretty, lofted ball over the top of the defense for a 25-yard score to Wes Kemp that gave the Tigers a lead.

Mizzou got a nice break on a bad long snap on a punt earlier in the quarter that set up the first touchdown, but Franklin has shown some great mental makeup in this half. It'd be easy to get discouraged after the kind of performance Franklin had in the first 30 minutes, and he did look uncomfortable before heading into the locker.

Since then, he's looked as good throwing the ball as he has all season. Certainly a welcome sight for Missouri, who's taken control of this game.
The Big 12 might be weak at the top of the running back heap, but it's definitely not at receiver. The conference has at least three of the top five receivers in the country, and the top two. They highlight a very strong group of receivers across the league, and I continue our position rankings with receivers today.

Remember that depth plays a big part of these rankings. We'll be ranking the top 10 individuals at each position later on before the season begins.

Other position rankings: 1. Oklahoma

[+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMIRyan Broyles finished the 2010 season with 131 catches for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Sooners have the nation's No. 2 receiver, Ryan Broyles, but found a handful of others to surround him in 2010 and should have a couple more in 2011. Sophomore Kenny Stills broke Broyles' freshman receiving record and looks like a budding star. Dejuan Miller came on strong before a season-ending knee injury, but he's back. The Sooners lose Cameron Kenney, but Trey Franks had a strong freshman campaign, and freshmen Justin McCay (redshirt) and Trey Metoyer could provide even more playmakers.

2. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys boast the returning Biletnikoff Award winner and 2011 favorite, Justin Blackmon, with a great group around him, too. Slot machine Josh Cooper returns for his senior year, and fellow senior Hubert Anyiam (the team's leading receiver in 2009) is hoping to return to form after being slowed by an ankle injury in 2010. Isaiah Anderson is a shifty speedster, while Michael Harrison and Tracy Moore offer a more aerial approach to receiving.

3. Texas A&M

The Aggies have the Big 12's No. 3 receiver, Jeff Fuller, who is arguably one of the top-five in the college game. But they also have the Big 12's most experienced receiving unit, with guys who won't be surprised by anything they see in Big 12 play. Juniors Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu are the team's second and third options, but fellow juniors Kenric McNeal and Brandal Jackson could be bigger pieces of the offense in 2011. Tight end Nehemiah Hicks should see his profile rise in his coming sophomore year.

4. Baylor

Top target Kendall Wright will likely end his career as the Bears' leading receiver for all four of his seasons on the field, and 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior Josh Gordon looks like the new Jeff Fuller. Terrance Williams, Lanear Sampson and Tevin Reese round out the Bears' top five, who all had at least 40 catches last season, and all return.

5. Missouri

Missouri still lacks a proven big-play threat, but has two pass-catchers who have some of the best hands in the game. Receiver T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew won't drop many passes, and combined to catch 182 for 1,807 yards and 11 touchdowns. Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson bring a lot of experience and both had at least 39 catches last season. If Marcus Lucas or Rolandis Woodland can become a consistent downfield threat, Missouri will rise up these rankings by season's end.

6. Texas Tech

Tech's top two receivers, Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis, must be replaced, but the Red Raiders have a few solid candidates to do it. Junior Alex Torres will likely lead the group, but fellow junior Austin Zouzalik and seniors Jacoby Franks and Tramain Swindall will be counted on for more production. Dark horse/juco newcomer Marcus Kennard could blossom into a household name across the Big 12 by season's end.

7. Texas

Sophomore Mike Davis and redshirt freshman Darius White are loaded with potential, but two of the team's top three receivers (James Kirkendoll, John Chiles) are gone, and no Texas receiver caught more than two touchdowns last season. Malcolm Williams and Marquise Goodwin are as different as two receivers could be, but both need to break out to help whoever becomes the Longhorns quarterback next fall.

8. Kansas State

Brodrick Smith will be back this season after breaking his leg in a loss to Nebraska. But two of the team's top three receivers are gone, leaving converted quarterback Chris Harper as the leading returner, though Smith might have held that title if he'd stayed healthy. Sophomore speedster Tramaine Thompson can make plays if he gets the ball with some space.

9. Iowa State

The Cyclones will be breaking in a new quarterback this season and they will need a playmaker to step up. Tight end Collin Franklin led team in receiving last season but he is now gone. Darius Reynolds looks like a possible candidate to fill the role, although incoming slot receiver Aaron Horne might rack up a few catches in space. Darius Darks and Josh Lenz should earn some more targets too.

10. Kansas

Converted defensive back Daymond Patterson is the team's top receiver, but the team's No. 3 receiver junior Bradley McDougald, moved to safety in the middle of the season. Tight end Tim Biere is one of the Big 12's best and led the team with four touchdowns last season. Chris Omigie and D.J. Beshears have some potential, and converted quarterback Christian Matthews keeps showing up in spring games. But all three, along with the rest of the group, would benefit from some consistency at the quarterback spot.
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- I hope you've enjoyed our coverage from Mizzou the past few days. If you aren't one of my most faithful readers, here's a refresher.
But not everything fit neatly into those stories. I've got plenty more on the Tigers from my visit to Columbia.

[+] EnlargeJames Franklin
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireJames Franklin may need to be more assertive if he wants to become a leader on offense.
Quarterbacks are the focus of spring for the Tigers, but there's no doubt, it's going to be a bit of an adjustment if James Franklin wins the job. That's no guarantee, and Tyler Gabbert has come on strong this spring, but Franklin is just a completely different type of person than the fiery Chase Daniel or uber-competitive Blaine Gabbert. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing. Offensive coordinator David Yost told me he wants each new quarterback doing things his own way, and that includes his demeanor and actions off the field.

"Blaine and Chase were different, and Blaine did a good job of not just copying Chase. He took what Chase did and tried to make it fit him and how he dealt with players, getting himself ready to play," Yost said.

Franklin will have to do something similar. Tyler Gabbert, who has come on strong of late in practices, is a much more heated competitor. "Sometimes you have to calm him down because he gets very, very 'on,'" Yost said. "He wants to make every throw. It’s great to have that, but you can’t let that affect the next play, so he’s kind of learning that."

Franklin is a much more easy-going type of guy. He's nowhere near as outspoken. It'll just be different. I believe it was Rene Descartes who said, "Different strokes for different folks." Seems to fit this scenario.

"I’m not too vocal as a quarterback. As a person, I talk a lot, but once I come on the field, I’m not as vocal. It’s something I hadn’t really done in the past, so it’s something I need to adjust to," Franklin said.

Coaches have told him that sometimes his silence, especially after negative plays, can come off as bad body language, so even if his head is clear, his actions have to communicate positive messages to teammates. Sometimes his quiet demeanor meant his teammates didn't even realize who had thrown them the ball in practice.

"They’d come back and say 'Hey, nice throw James' or 'Good call,' and I’m like, 'That wasn’t me, that was Ashton or that was Tyler," Franklin said. "To me, I’m thinking, 'How could they not know?' For one, I’m just a little bit taller and my skin is like 50 shades darker. But they’re just kind of in the zone, so if I’m more vocal and demanding of them, they kind of recognize 'hey, that was me.'"

The thing is, he has to do it naturally, and managing that balance will be a key for all three quarterbacks' development. Franklin can't just turn into an animated screamer overnight. That would only come off as disingenuous and be more counterproductive than anything.

"Being more vocal will help. Not only as a quarterback, but also as a person, because it should show you leadership and you demand things out of your offense.

  • You get the sense Yost could talk about Blaine Gabbert and what he's meant to the program for hours. I'm sure he could. But when it comes to influencing younger quarterbacks, it's easy to see why. "You’d go up for room check [the night before road games] and Blaine’s sitting in his bed with his iPod in and his computer on his lap watching cut-ups," Yost said. "Every week. That'd be at 11 o'clock and at meetings the next day I’d ask what he watched, and he'd tell me. I'd ask when he got to bed, and he’d say, 'Ah, it was about 1:30.'" Franklin roomed with Gabbert on the road, and his younger brother surely saw some of that.
  • Passing down lessons like that is nothing new. When Blaine Gabbert came into the program, he'd spend about two hours a day during the summer as a freshman with Chase Daniel watching tape. He wasn't watching the offense by then. He was looking at the defense. "Where are they moving? Backing up? Where can I get throws? When this guy does this, this opens up," Yost said. And because of those summer film sessions, "Blaine was way ahead of where Chase was in understanding defenses at the same spot in camp their sophomore years," he said. The idea, of course, is that continues with the younger quarterbacks.
  • Speaking of Gabbert, Yost loved how he blossomed into a "quarterback" after coming to Mizzou as a "thrower." "He was a tremendous, highly recruited thrower out of high school, but he bought into becoming a great quarterback," Yost said. He did it by first learning how to study film from Daniel and carrying it on once Daniel left and he became a starter. "People look and say, 'Well, his passing yards are down,'" Yost said. "But he became more of a quarterback because of how he prepared each week."
  • Part of the reason for that dip was Missouri's lack of a vertical passing game in 2010, which is are of focus this spring. Tyler Gabbert has the arm strength. Yost likes Franklin's deep ball a lot. But somebody's got to catch it. I did think it was funny that Yost cited my look at explosive plays across the Big 12 in our conversation. The number of plays longer than 20 yards didn't drop much for Missouri (73 in '08, 66 in '09 and 63 in '10), but the longer plays did. "We were still getting our 20-yard plays, but instead of having Danario [Alexander] take a 20 yarder to a 60-yarder, we were getting that 24-yarder. Even when you go back to 2008 when we had Maclin, the numbers were a lot higher than last year," he said. "Anytime you can get those, it takes off so much pressure. You could feel it last year. Guys were tightening up on us. We didn’t hit a lot downfield last year, and that was more disappointing than anything. We took some shots, and there were some games when we’d be at halftime and we’ve thrown the ball downfield eight times and we’re 0-for-8. Either we could have thrown it better, could have caught it, protected better and given him a better chance, there was a multitude of things. It wasn’t just one reason. But you hit those, it changes a game."
  • Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp have the ability to get vertical, even if they lack Alexander or Jeremy Maclin's straight-line speed. The potential is there for younger receivers such as Marcus Lucas and Wesley Leftwich, or older ones such as L'Damian Washington or Rolandis Woodland who have had modest careers thus far. But someone has to do it. Missouri has the rare opportunity to bring back every single receiver on its roster from last year, and it added Leftwich, who enrolled early and has 4.4 speed, according to Yost. But for Michael Egnew and T.J. Moe to be their most productive, someone has to stretch the defense.

Recruiting needs: Big 12 North

January, 26, 2011
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Signing day is exactly a week from today, and it's time to take a look at who needs what in its 2011 class.

Some schools have addressed these with their current class. Some haven't. Others are still trying.

We'll kick things off with the artists formerly known as the Big 12 North and examine the South later today.

COLORADO

Cornerback: Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith were pretty reliable for the Buffaloes, but both are headed to the NFL, and the Buffaloes could definitely use some depth behind their first-year starters. It's not quite as pressing of an issue considering their move to the less pass-happy Pac-12, but they still like to sling it out west.

Receiver: Colorado isn't exactly starving anywhere on offense, but receiver sticks out a bit. Toney Clemons was good, but maybe not quite what the Buffaloes hoped he'd be in 2010, but they caught a break in getting Paul Richardson back after a great freshman season. The Buffaloes need some complementary pieces around Clemons and Richardson to replace departed pass-catchers Scotty McKnight and Travon Patterson. Next year, that should be tight end Ryan Deehan and receiver Will Jefferson.

IOWA STATE

Receiver: It's been a struggle for Iowa State in recent years, but they have to get better outside to help out their quarterback. Sedrick Johnson's transfer only worsens the Cyclones depth at the position, but Jake Williams and tight end Collin Franklin, the team's leading receiver, are gone. Shontrelle Johnson looks ready to become a big factor in the offense, but the Cyclones filling the space at receiver will make it easier for Johnson to replace running back Alexander Robinson.

Safety: Both starters, David Sims and Zac Sandvig, are gone. So is the Cyclones top reserve at the position, Michael O'Connell. Sims was a top-notch talent that will be tough to replace, but Iowa State needs more depth here. They should be solid at corner with Leonard Johnson, Ter'ran Benton, Jeremy Reeves and Anthony Young, which could make the new safeties' jobs easier.

KANSAS

Defensive line: KU is losing three of four starters on the line, including the team's only All-Big 12 talent, defensive end Jake Laptad. Turner Gill wants more speed, and this is a place to install it. Tackles that tip the scales at 320 pounds aren't too necessary in this league, but speed on the edge can go a long way in stopping the pass.

Quarterback: Neither Jordan Webb or Quinn Mecham look like long-term answers at quarterback for the Jayhawks. Mecham will be a senior, and Webb might develop into a better player as a sophomore next year, but Kansas needs other options. The Jayhawks hope Brock Berglund, the top-rated recruit in Colorado, is the solution to the problem.

KANSAS STATE

Running back: I hear your cries for Bryce Brown, Wildcats fans, but K-State can't expect to hitch their wagon to the former blue-chip recruit turned Tennessee transfer in the same way it did for Daniel Thomas. Thomas and his backup, William Powell, are gone, and the Wildcats need some depth at running back to show up.

Interior offensive linemen: K-State loses both guards and its center from an offense that produced the Big 12's leading rusher in 2010. Don't expect them to do it again in 2011 without Wade Weibert, Kenneth Mayfield and Zach Kendall, as well as Thomas and Powell, but finding some new talent behind them will help them come close.

Cornerback: David Garrett emerged as a budding star in 2010 ready for a breakout senior year in 2011, but the Wildcats lose Terrance Sweeney and Stephen Harrison, as well as safety Troy Butler. Like we've mentioned earlier, good secondaries are a must for success in the Big 12, and K-State had one of the league's worst in 2010.

MISSOURI

Receiver: Missouri has some good ones ready to suit up in 2011, namely Wes Kemp, Jerrell Jackson and T.J. Moe, but the Tigers don't have a true gamebreaker. They have some younger players in Marcus Lucas and Jimmie Hunt who they hope will develop into big-time, All-American caliber receivers, a la Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander. In Missouri's system, though, adding a few receivers is always a good idea. They certainly don't need any more running backs.

Defensive backs: Mizzou doesn't have any huge holes that need to be filled with recruiting, but the Tigers lose both corners, Carl Gettis and Kevin Rutland from their 2010 team. Kip Edwards and E.J. Gaines look likely to fill those roles, but the Tigers could use some depth and keep recruiting in the secondary to help add some talent around Tavon Bolden and Matt White, safeties who will replace departed Jarrell Harrison, who actually had to play some linebacker in 2010 because of injuries.

NEBRASKA

Every kind of kicker: Alex Henery, the team's punter and kicker is gone. So is kickoff specialist and lover/producer of touchbacks, Adi Kunalic. Fan favorite Henery was hardly underappreciated by the Nebraska faithful, but they'll miss him even more if the Huskers can't find a suitable placekicker and punter. Bo Pelini was reportedly after Wake Forest commit Mauro Bondi this week.

Receiver: Niles Paul and Mike McNeill are gone. The Huskers need Brandon Kinnie to come through with another good year and it'd be nice if Quincy Enunwa broke through in 2011, but Taylor Martinez needs some more help at wide out, and a couple new recruits could provide it as Martinez's passing prowess matures.

C'mon, man: Big 12's most bizarre plays

January, 25, 2011
1/25/11
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We saw plenty of great moments and great games across the Big 12 in 2010.

We also saw a lot of weird moments.

So with a nod to the guys at Monday Night Football, here are the five biggest plays of 2010 that made everybody give a hearty, "C'mon, man!"

1. Needed: Onside kick practice. Texas Tech's players were standing and staring, which is rarely a good idea on the football field, but usually acceptable in kick coverage. Not this time. The Red Raiders tried an onside kick, but it didn't travel the necessary 10 yards for a Texas Tech recovery. So, while three Red Raiders hovered over the ball, Baylor's Terrance Ganaway picked it up and outran the Red Raiders for a 38-yard touchdown. That was bad (and rare) enough, but Texas Tech gave up a touchdown on a desperation onside kick against Iowa State a week earlier, too. Jeremy Reeves caught it and returned it 42 yards to ice the 52-38 win. Here's hoping Tech puts in a few more onside kick reps this spring, and a YouTube video titled "Texas Tech onside kick goes horribly wrong" doesn't rack up almost 4.5 million views again in 2011.

2. Victory formation isn't supposed to go like that. Oklahoma State looked ready to trot off the field as 41-38 winners over Troy in their second game of the year. Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden lined up in the victory formation, but fumbled the snap, unbelievably giving the ball back to Troy on their 34-yard line with just under a minute to play. Lucky for Weeden, his teammate, Justin Gent, sacked quarterback Corey Robinson on the next play, and Orie Lemon recovered Robinson's fumble to end any notion of what could have been one of the most embarrassing losses in recent history. In Weeden's defense, he was playing with a ruptured tendon in his thumb, which meant pain during any snap under center, but it'd be tough to find a worse time to fumble a snap than in that situation.

3. Creative losing will key a coaching search. Listen, I respect my man Herm Edwards when he rather emphatically states that coaches and players should "Play to win the game." But when you're up 45-17 in the fourth quarter and you've got a running back in Rodney Stewart who ended up with 175 yards on the day, there's no other way to put it: Run. The. Ball. Dan Hawkins' puzzling refusal kept the clock stopped more than it should have been, and the Buffaloes did plenty more turning it over late in the game than moving the ball. Somehow, Colorado turned that 28-point lead into a seven-point deficit with less than a minute to play. "We just didn't want to be one-dimensional," Hawkins said. What? His explanation didn't cut it, and because of the meltdown, Hawkins never coached another game for the Buffs.

4. Throw it to Mom in the stands, man. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert shredded a soft Iowa zone defense for 434 yards in the Insight Bowl, and the Tigers looked in complete control with a 24-20 lead and a drive that had reached Iowa territory. With less than six minutes to play, Gabbert was flushed to his left and tried to throw across his body to receiver Wes Kemp. Iowa's Micah Hyde picked off the ill-advised pass, reversed field and returned it 72 yards for a game-winning pick six. Gabbert admitted after the game that he got "greedy," but the probable first-round pick would probably throw that ball away 90-plus times out of 100 if he had it to do over again.

5. Filling up the stat sheet: Not always good. Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson rallied his team from a 35-21 fourth-quarter deficit on the road against Oklahoma State, and got the ball back on his own 29-yard line for a possible game-winning drive with just more than a minute to play. He'd already thrown three interceptions -- along with 400 yards and five touchdowns -- but his fourth pick of the game cost the Aggies. He overthrew a well-covered receiver, and Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis made an easy interception, returning the ball 28 yards back to the Aggies' 40-yard line. Oklahoma State won the game shortly after on a 40-yard field goal from Dan Bailey. If Texas A&M wins that game, they also win the Big 12 South outright.

Honorable mention: Iowa State reserve punter Daniel Kuehl's attempted pass against Nebraska on the Cyclones' fake extra point in overtime for the win.

To those five, I think we can all say: C'mon, man.
The Big 12 bowl season is over, and we weighed in on what was an overall disappointment on Wednesday. There were plenty of good moments to come with the bad, though.

Here's the best and worst of the Big 12 bowls after the 2010 season:

[+] EnlargeRyan Broyles
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesRyan Broyles had 170 yards on 13 catches against the Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl.
Best player: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma. Broyles caught 13 passes for the second consecutive bowl game, racked up 170 yards and scored a touchdown in Oklahoma's 48-20 win over Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl.

Best team performance: Oklahoma. The Sooners shut down Connecticut running back Jordan Todman early in the game and poured it on with plenty of offense late in the game. With their win over Connecticut, the Sooners also ended a five-game BCS bowl game skid.

Best offensive play: Broyles. Up 34-20 and on Connecticut's six-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, Broyle's caught a high pass from Landry Jones on the right side of the end zone. He jumped out of bounds to make the catch, but unbelievably reached a foot back and tapped the red paint in Oklahoma's end zone for the score on his final catch of the night.

Best defensive play: Coryell Judie, DB, Texas A&M. On LSU's opening drive, Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson tried to loft a ball down the right sideline for a score, but Judie flew up from a zone underneath the receiver and snagged an interception with one hand to keep the Tigers off the board early.

Worst play: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. The Tigers looked in complete control late in the fourth quarter, driving deep in Iowa territory with a 24-20 lead. Gabbert rolled to his left, and tried to loft a pass across his body to receiver Wes Kemp. He under threw it, Iowa's Micah Hyde intercepted it and returned the pick 72 yards for the final score, 27-24.

Worst team performance: Nebraska. Few gave Washington a chance after Taylor Martinez and the Huskers stomped the Huskies in Seattle 56-21 in September. The Huskies entered as two-touchdown underdogs, and outdid the Huskers in about every way possible, running the ball well and throwing the ball efficiently with Jake Locker.

Most harmless salute: Adrian Hilburn, WR, Kansas State. With his team trailing by eight in the final minutes of the Pinstripe Bowl, Hilburn caught a short pass and took it 30 yards into the end zone, setting up a possible game-tying two-point conversion. But after the score, he flashed a salute to some Kansas State fans in the stands. An official told Hilburn "Wrong choice, buddy." and tossed a flag that cost the Wildcats 15 yards. Carson Coffman's long pass for the conversion fell incomplete and K-State lost.

Second-most harmless salute: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. Blackmon gave one to Philadelphia Eagles' receiver/punt returner DeSean Jackson. After toasting an Arizona defender for an easy 71-yard score, Blackmon cut across the goal line, delaying his touchdown that opened the game's scoring. He wasn't flagged, but he did catch a cheap shot from a Wildcats defender later in the game, presumably for the premature celebration.

Best unsung hero: Dan Bailey, K/P, Oklahoma State. Bailey was forced into punting duty because Quinn Sharp was academically ineligible. All five of his punts were solid, and he pinned one inside the 20-yard line. He also hit all three of his field goals, two of which came from beyond 40 yards and another that was from 50.

Best out-of-nowhere performance: Hilburn. The senior receiver had a career-high 84 yards with his 30-yard score. His five catches were the most receptions he's had in a game in all but one match during his two-year stint as a Wildcat. His salute got plenty of attention, but it overshadowed a game in which he was K-State's leading receiver and made one of the biggest plays of their season.

Biggest fade into Bolivian: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska. David finished the Big 12 season with four double-digit tackle performances in five games to lead the league by 19 stops. But against a Washington team bent on running the ball, he made just seven stops, and one for a loss. Those seven tackles were the fewest David made since he notched five against Washington earlier this season.

Worst break: Michael Hodges, LB, Texas A&M. The Aggies senior linebacker, leader and leading tackler was playing his last game after earning his spot the previous year as a former walk-on. But with a 10-0 lead, Hodges sprained an ACL and couldn't return. After his injury, A&M was outscored 41-14.

Best atmosphere: Cotton Bowl. Two of the country's best fan bases made themselves known, packing Cowboys Stadium and staying loud for most of the game. Texas A&M and LSU sold out the game just days after the matchup was announced, and brought their excitement to JerryWorld.

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 11

November, 15, 2010
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Best offensive player: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State. For all of Texas' struggles this year, the secondary has still been pretty good, ranking second in pass defense this year. Well, before they ran into Weeden, who torched them for 409 yards through the air on 29-of-43 passing, including a gorgeous 67-yard rainbow to Justin Blackmon for a touchdown.

Best defensive player: Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma. More good performances this week than any other this year, but Carter owned the back line against a dangerous passing attack, helping keep Texas Tech at just seven points. Carter made 17 tackles, the most of any Oklahoma defensive back since Brandon Everage in 2002. He also had a pass breakup. Honorable mention: Orie Lemon, LB, Oklahoma State; Michael Sipili, LB, Colorado; Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska; Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

Best team performance: Texas A&M. The Aggies pitched a second-half shutout against a big-time Baylor offense and earned a 42-30 comeback victory on the road against the Bears to keep their slim South hopes alive. Honorable mention: Oklahoma.

[+] EnlargeColorado wide receiver Paul Richardson
AP Photo/ Matt McClainColorado wide receiver Paul Richardson averaged over 24 yards a catch in a win over Iowa State.
Best offensive freshman: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado. Richardson's becoming a consistent target opposite Scotty McKnight, and the lanky 6-foot-1, 175-pounder caught five passes for 121 yards in a win over Iowa State. Honorable mention: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma.

Best defensive freshman: Tre Walker, LB, Kansas State. Walker repeats this week, once again leading the Wildcats in tackles with 12. He also picked off a Blaine Gabbert pass and returned it 17 yards.

Classiest gesture: Dan Hawkins. He said in his farewell news conference he'd be his team's biggest fan down the stretch, and he made good on his word on Saturday, watching the game from a low-key perch on a balcony outside the offices he occupied for four-plus seasons in Boulder. You won't see many other coaches do that.

Best play: Weeden-to-Blackmon. Texas cornerback Aaron Williams covered the play perfectly, but Weeden hit a pinpoint pass over the top right into Blackmon's arms for a game-changing 67-yard touchdown that put Oklahoma State up 16-3 in the second quarter.

Most underrated play: Wes Kemp, WR, Missouri. Kemp hit the key block that freed up the last few yards of Blaine Gabbert's 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He decleated one defender, and blocked another on his follow-through to help give the Tigers an early 14-7 lead.

Most heartbreaking play: Terrance Frederick, Texas A&M. Frederick returned a blocked field goal 71 yards at the end of the first half, but went out of bounds at the 1-yard line after time expired, meaning his play was all for naught.

Worst play: K-State's fumblerooski. The Wildcats version was slow to develop, but John Hubert got the ball from under his legs, ran to his left and fumbled. Missouri's Jacquies Smith recovered the ball. Dishonorable mention: Kansas State's goal-line fumble at the end of the first half with a chance to tie the game.

Worst quarter: Texas' second quarter. The Longhorns hung around early, but got outscored 23-0 in the period. Playing starters vs. starters, we could have played this one through Tuesday and the Longhorns might not make up a 23-point deficit on Oklahoma State, even if the Cowboys offense wasn't allowed to play.

Best game: Texas A&M 42, Baylor 30. The Aggies rebounded from a terrible start that featured Robert Griffin III's longest run of the season, a 71-yard touchdown to earn a dramatic win in the Battle of the Brazos and set up a huge game against Nebraska in College Station on Saturday.
Blaine Gabbert ran the ball 22 times against Nebraska, most of the time because he had to with his receivers blanketed down field.

Though his understudy, freshman James Franklin, has earned the reputation of a runner, Gabbert showed off his wheels with a 32-yard touchdown run that put Missouri up, 14-7, against Kansas State in the second quarter.

That game against Nebraska is his only game this season with more than nine carries, but he took over as the game's leading rusher with his long run, aided by a huge block from receiver Wes Kemp near the goal line.

In addition to his six carries for 53 yards and a score, Gabbert has completed 9-of-11 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. The junior should be in for a big day if he keeps this up.

Nothing but Huskers domination in first

October, 30, 2010
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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Missouri decided to take its first shot downfield on the final play of the first quarter.

It was intercepted.

The Blackshirts are suffocating every aspect of Missouri's offense, and big plays have paced Nebraska's offense to a 24-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

Nebraska running back Roy Helu had 142 yards and two touchdowns on his first three carries, and Nebraska outgained the Tigers 256-48 in the first quarter.

Blaine Gabbert has alternated between getting pressured right away and waiting for receivers who can't get open -- and then fleeing pressure. The one time he got loose down into Nebraska territory, the run was called back by a face-mask penalty on receiver Wes Kemp on a block.

Missouri forced a three-and-out to open the quarter, but right now, there doesn't look like much reason to believe Missouri can mount a comeback after the way Nebraska has dominated early.

Missouri rolls over Texas A&M into OU

October, 16, 2010
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Missouri entered Saturday's game against Texas A&M looking for a win in the same stadium where a 6-0 start was derailed four years ago during the Tigers' last visit.

It did that and plenty more, pitching a first-half shutout against one of the Big 12's best offenses and rolling to a 30-9 win at Kyle Field.

Brad Madison
AP Photo/Pat SullivanThe Tigers' defense smothered the Aggies most of the afternoon.
Missouri didn't need big plays. Its longest play was 45 yards, and the next-longest went for 28.

It didn't need turnovers; neither team committed one.

Missouri was three touchdowns better than Texas A&M and the Tigers spent 60 minutes proving it.

"You earn respect," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said of his defense, which limited Texas A&M to just 130 yards of offense in the game's first 35 minutes, and led 23-0 early in the third quarter. "That's just what you do."

The Tigers did plenty of it, sending a Texas A&M team with big dreams to a third consecutive loss -- the first of the season on its home field, marring one of the team's preseason goals of going undefeated at Kyle Field. The Aggies' vaunted 12th Man headed for the exits early in the Tigers' win, but the pocket of black and gold stood in the southeast corner of the stadium waiting to celebrate with its still-undefeated team. Now, the Tigers head back to Columbia for a homecoming showdown with Oklahoma, a team that kept Missouri from achieving BCS dreams with three victories in two years over the Tigers during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

"You could see it in everybody's eyes today, that they were in the zone," said Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

He says he has game tape of the Sooners on his cell phone, and film study starts on the flight back home.

But for at least a few minutes -- 12 hours for the rest of the team, Pinkel said with a smile -- Missouri can savor its best performance of the year, waiting to fix what minuscule mistakes it made in this masterpiece for a few more hours.

"Trust me," Pinkel said, "I've got a list of things."

[+] EnlargeBlaine Gabbert
Thomas Campbell/US PresswireMissouri's Blaine Gabbert threw for 3,186 yards and completed 63.4 percent of his passes last season.
Gabbert, playing with a hip pointer and a previously undisclosed rib injury Pinkel perhaps mistakenly alluded to after the game, lined up against a defense that flustered and frustrated a Heisman hopeful in Ryan Mallett a week ago. The junior completed 31 of 47 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, both season highs.

T.J. Moe, Wes Kemp and Michael Egnew combined for 26 of those completions and 305 yards, along with all three touchdowns.

"Really, distributing the ball to all our receivers left the defense unbalanced," Gabbert said. "We were just focusing on what they were giving us, just taking completions. Those guys were my completion guys today and they made a bunch of plays."

They did it without much pressure from the offense on the opposite sideline. The defense didn't allow the Aggies to take a snap on the Missouri side of the field until the second quarter was more than halfway over, winning the field position battle easily. By then, Missouri already led 13-0.

Perhaps most impressive was the defense's effort came without the aid of sophomore defensive end Aldon Smith, who entered the game as the Tigers' best defensive talent. He didn't make the trip, missing his third consecutive game with a broken fibula.

"I don't know how many superstars we've got -- great, great players," Pinkel said. "But we've got a lot of good players, I guarantee you that. And when we play well, we're pretty good."

Never better than on Saturday. And for all the superstar talent on teams past, Pinkel's team is 6-0 all the same, likely headed for a top-20 matchup with Oklahoma next Saturday, a team Pinkel has never beaten.

"I'm glad it's in The Zou," Pinkel said. "We're excited."

Big 12 predictions: Week 6

October, 7, 2010
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Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

I'm making my way to Manhattan, Kan. today for tonight's game between the Wildcats and Huskers, but I'll be back in Dallas in time to see the Aggies and Hogs go at it in The House That Jerry (or some guys he paid) Built.

Last week was a rough one for the Big 12 Blog, with my missed picks equaling my total from the previous four weeks. You knew the breakdown had to come sometime.

I missed my upset pick of Texas A&M over Oklahoma State and whiffed on a couple of swing games in Ames and Boulder.

Here's how I stand:

Last week: 2-3 (.400)

Overall: 41-6 (.872)

Let's get to this week's picks:

THURSDAY

No. 7 Nebraska 31, Kansas State 21: This thing smells like another possible upset, and Kansas State should be able to move the ball pretty well with Daniel Thomas, but the Wildcats don't have the talent or speed in the front seven to slow Taylor Martinez's legs. Look for defensive backs Emmanuel Lamur, Troy Butler and Tysyn Hartman to make a lot of tackles, on Martinez and receivers Brandon Kinnie and Mike McNeill. That's not a good thing. Martinez wasn't rattled in the passing game in his first road start, and him throwing a couple of costly interceptions is the only thing that turns this in Kansas State's favor.

FRIDAY

No. 22 Oklahoma State 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 20: The Sun Belt has some good teams. The Ragin' Cajuns are not one of them. Georgia lost at Colorado on Saturday night, but beat these guys 55-7 in Athens for its only win of the season. Puntos, puntos, golly.

SATURDAY

Baylor 27, Texas Tech 24: This is definitely the toughest pick of the week. Comparing the depth charts, Texas Tech looks like the better team, but Baylor is getting it done and has all the momentum and confidence. Texas Tech looks lost on defense and inconsistent on offense. In 2008, the Bears almost took down the best Tech team in recent history, losing 35-28 after taking a lead into the fourth quarter. They almost did it again in 2009 in Cowboys Stadium. With Robert Griffin back, they get it done this time. Enjoy the corny dogs, Bears.

No. 11 Arkansas 38, Texas A&M 28: Come back later today for a video of me explaining my pick of the week.

No. 24 Missouri 41, Colorado 17: Colorado says it's sick of getting blown out by the Tigers. They'll still be sick on Saturday night after hitting the road for the first time since a 52-7 loss at Cal. All of the Buffaloes' wins have come over mediocre teams. Missouri's running backs have carried the load so far this year, but Blaine Gabbert has his first big game, staying away from big-time corners Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown in favor of more bubble screens to the flats and underneath routes to T.J. Moe and Michael Egnew. The Buffaloes can stop Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson. Good luck with the rest of the Tigers' offense.

No. 10 Utah 24, Iowa State 21: I really do think Iowa State has a great chance to upset the Utes. I just don't have the guts to pick it. Iowa State's offense is better, but it's not "hang 52 points every week" better. Two of the Cyclones' touchdown drives were less than 40 yards, and another score came on an onside kick return. One other scoring drive was a one-play, 61-yard run by Shontrelle Johnson. Can't count on those every week.

Idle: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas.

Missouri stumbles at start

September, 4, 2010
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Missouri hasn't started its season like it had envisioned, trailing Illinois, 3-0, at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers went three-and-out on their first possession before punting it away to Illinois and its redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

The Fighting Illini marched 64 yards in 17 plays on a drive that lasted over nine minutes, but the Tigers stopped the drive inside the 10 to hold Illinois to a 21-yard field goal.

The Tigers looked like they had shed the early offensive troubles, moving the ball with 14 and 19-yard completions to receivers Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp.

Gabbert fumbled on a quarterback keeper two plays later, but Missouri forced a fumble from Scheelhaase to regain possession.

A Missouri running back didn't carry the ball until the quarter's final play, when Kendial Lawrence rushed for two yards.

T.J. Moe has already equaled his reception total from 2009, with a pair of receptions totaling 15 yards.

Big 12 preseason power rankings

August, 10, 2010
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1. Texas: Texas' big-time freshmen receiving recruits Darius White and Mike Davis are on campus to compete with the remainder of the Longhorns receivers after the departures of Jordan Shipley and Dan Buckner. Whoever develops solid chemistry with quarterback Garrett Gilbert first should have a nice advantage heading into the season. Very few questions surround the Longhorns on defense, who also have exciting freshman Jordan Hicks competing for playing time at linebacker.

2. Oklahoma: Honestly, my gut tells me to slide the Sooners above the Longhorns based on coach Bob Stoops comments at media days, but I'll give the champs their due entering the preseason. Oklahoma loses its top three blockers from a season ago, and any growth from Oklahoma's eight-win team last season will have to start on the offensive line. Stoops believes it will. If it does, look for the Sooners and Longhorns to switch positions if Oklahoma earns wins against Florida State and Cincinnati while Texas beats up on Rice and Wyoming. A convincing win at Texas Tech might keep the Longhorns on top.

3. Nebraska: The Huskers quarterback issues can't end soon enough. The Big 12 blog's pick: Zac Lee. With its offensive line and quality running backs, Nebraska will be able to run the ball. If Lee can establish himself as the best passer of the group, his skills will better serve the offense than the more athletic Cody Green and Taylor Martinez. We won't know very much about how good the defense will be again this year until the Huskers' date with Jake Locker and the Washington Huskies on Sept. 18 in Seattle.

4. Missouri: A solid contender in the North, Missouri's key to hopping over the Huskers lies in the secondary. That group returns all four starters and has another experienced player in junior Kenji Jackson entering camp as a new starter at safety. If it solidifies, Missouri will be a force that spends most of the season in the top 25. Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp should share the spotlight catching balls from Blaine Gabbert along with slot man T.J. Moe and tight end Michael Egnew.

5. Texas A&M: The Aggies have the conference's best player, but its worst defense. Both will need to improve for the Aggies to earn a South title. On defense, new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will have to build around tackle Lucas Patterson, linebacker Von Miller and safety Trent Hunter. Three freed-up offensive line spots -- which might all be filled by freshman -- will have to be solid and consistent for the offense to remain one of the Big 12's best, despite the Aggies' talent at the skill positions.

6. Kansas State: Running back Daniel Thomas led the Big 12 in rushing with almost no help from the quarterback spot last season, so the competition between Carson Coffman, Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamurisn't immensely important to Kansas State's success. No doubt, they'll be a lot better with great play from one of those three, but they won't be a bad team without it. Two of the Wildcats' top four tacklers will be junior defensive backs in 2010, Emmanuel Lamur and Tysyn Hartman.

And yes, I am very proud that I'm still batting 1.000 in not mixing up Sammuel and Emmanuel Lamur. Stay tuned, though.

7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have a great chance to move up this poll after hosting Texas on Sept. 18. Whoever wins the quarterback competition between Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffieldshould excel, which not every team in the Big 12 with a quarterback battle can say. Tech's aggressive new defense will have to limit big plays to see success in the first year under coach Tommy Tuberville and defensive coordinator James Willis. A convincing opening-week win against SMU will look better in December than some Tech fans might think after the team's Sunday, Sept. 5 debut.

8. Oklahoma State: One of the conference's wildcards, the Cowboys bring back just eight starters from last season, and will showcase a radical new offense in Dana Holgorsen's version of the Air Raid. Oklahoma State's receiving corps, led by Hubert Anyiam and Tracy Moore, is extremely underrated and could surprise plenty of folks in 2010. Their first real test comes Sept. 30, when they'll get a chance to knock off media darling Texas A&M in Stillwater.

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones nonconference schedule has made plenty of headlines this offseason, and Iowa State isn't shying away from its dates with Northern Illinois, Iowa and Utah. The legal issues surrounding defensive star David Sims appear to be resolved with an opening-game suspension, and running back Alexander Robinson looks ready for another big season after rushing for over 1,000 yards in his 2009 breakout season. Iowa State will need to steal a few games like last season to qualify for a second consecutive bowl game.

10. Baylor: Freshman safety Ahmad Dixon is impressing early in camp with a few big hits, and is making good on his status as one of the best recruits in Baylor history. Another -- Robert Griffin -- is already dealing with the pressures of delivering a bowl game to Waco. Coach Art Briles will need more players like Dixon and Griffin to move the Bears goals past just making a bowl game.

11. Colorado: The only team to move up from its position in the post-spring power rankings, Colorado simply brings back more talent than Kansas, and added two new receivers in UCLA non-qualifier Paul Richardson and Travon Patterson, whose transfer from USC was finalized on Monday. The offensive line has a lot of talent in Nate Solder and Ryan Miller, but the other three members will have to improve if the Buffs are going to rush for more than 1,055 yards like in 2009 (11th in the Big 12) and give up fewer than 43 sacks, 11 more than any other team in the Big 12.

12. Kansas: Losing your three best players from a team that finished last in the Big 12 North a season ago -- plus implementing a new coaching philosophy -- is a recipe for a rebuilding year. That's where the Jayhawks sit to begin 2010. They've got good young talent in linebacker Huldon Tharp and receiver Johnathan Wilson, who are both sophomores, but they face major questions at quarterback with inexperienced candidates Jordan Webb and Kale Pick battling for the No. 1 spot. Last season's leading rusher, Toben Opurum, is also nowhere to be found on the depth chart after battling injuries throughout the spring. The Jayhawks were the only team in the conference to return all five starters on the offensive line, but a season-ending injury to tackle Jeff Spikeseliminated that status. Brad Thorson, who played both guard and tackle last season, is also recovering from a broken foot. A win against Southern Miss and a competitive loss to Georgia Tech would earn the Jayhawks some more respect.

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