Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:20 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
We've reached the midway point of the college football season, and we can't think of a better time to hand out some mid-season awards. I mean, giving out mid-season awards two-thirds of the way through the season would be pretty stupid, right?
So taking a look at what has been a pretty good season for the Big 12 as a whole so far this season -- save for Kansas -- it wasn't that easy to come up with people to give these awards to. Plenty of players, coaches and teams all deserved consideration, and I realize plenty of people will disagree. So feel free to leave your choices in the comments.
Offensive Player Of The Year: Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor. There are so many good offensive players in this conference, but from my perspective, there is nobody whom I enjoy watching more every Saturday than Robert Griffin. He has track speed, but unlike a lot of quarterbacks in college who can run, Griffin prefers throwing the ball and he has one of the most accurate arms I've ever seen. Which is why he's completed 78% of his passes in 2011 for 1,950 yards, 22 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He trails only Russell Wilson with an efficiency rating of 205.7, and he's rushed for another 295 yards and another 2 scores. The man can do it all. Also considered: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State; Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma; Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Defensive Player Of The Year: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M. This wasn't the easiest of decisions, but after weighing a few options like Tony Jefferson and Arthur Brown, I went with Porter. Texas A&M's secondary may not be having the best season, but it isn't because Porter isn't doing his best to help out. The linebacker has 38 tackles this season, 9 1/2 for loss, and leads the entire Big 12 with 7 1/2 sacks. Also considered: Arthur Brown, Kansas State; Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, Jake Knott, Iowa State
Coach of the Year: Bill Snyder, Kansas State. Okay, so this one was easy. Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy are doing fantastic jobs with their teams, but that doesn't come as much of a surprise. Now, Kansas State being 6-0 and being ranked eleventh in the initial BCS rankings? That was not expected, but maybe it should have been. After all, Bill Snyder has pulled this off in Manhattan before. Also considered: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Surprise: Kansas State. Obviously this is Kansas State. As I said above, the Wildcats are 6-0 and a serious contender in the Big 12. Before the season started, most pundits had Kansas State pegged to finish somewhere around sixth or seventh. Heck, I even picked them as my sleeper team before the season began, and even that just meant fifth place. Also considered: Nobody
Disappointment: Missouri. I thought about putting Texas A&M here, but the more I thought about it, Missouri is more disappointing to me than the Aggies. I didn't think Mizzou would compete for a Big 12 title this season after having to replace Blaine Gabbert, but I didn't expect the offense to look so anemic under James Franklin either. The good news is the Tigers and Franklin looked very good against Iowa State last week, and hopefully that trend will continue. Also considered: Texas A&M, Kansas
Game Of The Year (So Far): Oklahoma State at Texas A&M. We all knew that Oklahoma was going to contend for a Big 12 title coming into the season, the bigger question was which team would challenge them? Well, this game would give us the early indicator, and Oklahoma State came back from a 17-point deficit on the road in College Station and let the Big 12 know that it's a team that came to play in 2011. Also considered: Arkansas at Texas A&M, TCU at Baylor
Game Of The Year (To Come): Oklahoma at Oklahoma State. It's called Bedlam for a reason, people. As if the rivalry between these two schools didn't mean enough, there's a chance that when Oklahoma comes to Stillwater on December 3rd, not could these teams be undefeated and playing for a Big 12 title, but for a berth in the BCS title game as well. There's a long way to go before then, but I'd love to see it happen. Also considered: Oklahoma at Kansas State, Texas A&M at Oklahoma
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma. Kansas State and Texas A&M will have something to say about it before it's over, but I think that this conference race will come down to the two schools from Oklahoma. So when I compare the two teams, I see two very strong offenses, but I only see one strong defense. Because of that, I have to go with the Sooners at this point, but I'm far from certain here. Also considered: Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Texas A&M
Tags: Arthur Brown, Baylor, Big 12, Big 12 Midseason Awards, Big 12 Midseason Report, Bill Snyder, Blaine Gabbert, Bob Stoops, Brandon Weeden, Iowa State, Jake Knott, James Franklin, Kansas, Kansas State, Midseason Awards, Midseason Report, Midseason Reports, Mike Gundy, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson, Ryan Broyles, Ryan Tannehill, Sean Porter, Texas A&M, Tom Fornelli, Tony Jefferson
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 10:05 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
You know, it had just been too long since we heard news about a school leaving or joining the Big 12, so thankfully the New York Times has come along with a report on some new developments.
Pete Thamel is reporting that a move that would see Missouri leave the Big 12 to join Texas A&M in the SEC is "inevitable and imminent."
The person said that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was “inevitable and imminent,” although a specific timeframe has yet to be set. Missouri’s Board of Curators will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 and applying to the SEC is expected to begin. While expansion is not listed on the agenda, there is an private session scheduled Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.As Thamel also says in the report, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said he expected Missouri to be a Big 12 member in 2012 and that the league would consist of ten teams now that TCU has joined. Well, if Mizzou does decide to leave for the SEC, it's possible that, like Texas A&M, it could begin play in the conference next season.
Also like the Texas A&M move, the SEC isn't expected to make any formal move on Missouri until it's assured there will be no legal ramifications. So the nation turns its leery eyes to you, Ken Starr.
As for what this move would mean for the rest of college football, if Missouri does leave then odds are that the Big 12 will move to replace the school in time for next season. Neinas has said that if Missouri did leave that the conference would move back to ten teams, and possibly twelve. Which isn't good news for a Big East conference that is currently scrambling to keep itself together.
After all, Louisville and West Virginia have frequently been mentioned as targets for the Big 12, and considering that Louisville is sitting out a Big East call to discuss raising exit fees, I guess we have a good idea of who the Big 12's first target will be.
Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 3:09 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Fans of offense
The Big 12 often gets flak for the lack of defense that is played in the conference, and for the most part it's criticism that's deserved. Of course, there's another side to that coin, and it's that the Big 12 is also home to some good offenses as well. Offenses that were fully on display throughout Saturday.
In five games between all ten teams in the conference, there was a total of 355 points scored, 45 touchdowns and 4,658 yards of total offense. That's 71 points, 9 touchdowns and 931.6 yards of offense per game. That is insane.
LOSER: The Baylor defense
Okay, and there's just genuinely bad defense too. There is little doubt what the strengths and weaknesses are with Baylor this season. The strength is Robert Griffin and the Baylor offense. The weakness is the other side of the ball, and it was evident on Saturday. Texas A&M racked up 681 yards of offense on Saturday, and Ryan Tannehill threw for 415 yards and 6 touchdowns. Robert Griffin, despite evidence to the contrary, is not perfect, and in order for Baylor to beat the best teams in the Big 12, Griffin can't do it all on his own. He's going to need his defense to step up and make plays from time to time, and it just didn't do that on Saturday. The result? A 55-28 blowout in College Station.
WINNER: Ryan Swope
Somebody had to benefit from all those yards that Baylor was giving to Ryan Tannehill and it was Ryan Swope. Swope finished the day with 11 catches for 206 yards and a school record 4 touchdowns. Swope is one of the most underrated receivers in the Big 12, and he's often overshadowed on his own team by Jeff Fuller, but he showed everybody why he deserves a lot more attention this weekend.
LOSER: David Ash's hold on the Texas quarterback job
For the first time since the Longhorns replaced Garrett Gilbert, Mack Brown and Bryan Harsin handed the reins to David Ash for a full 60 minutes on Saturday and got some mediocre results. Ash completed only 22 of his 40 passes for 139 yards with no touchdowns. More importantly, he turned the ball over three times. There's no guarantee that Case McCoy will see time next week because of it, but you can bet at the very least Malcolm Brown and Fozzy Whittaker will get a lot more than the 28 carries they split on Saturday.
WINNER: Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost
Coming into Saturday, Missouri's offense hadn't exactly been lighting up scoreboards the same way it has the last few seasons. Obviously, a lot of this had to do with breaking in a new quarterback in James Franklin. Coming into Saturday the Tigers were averaging 32.2 points per game, but if you took out the 69 points Mizzou scored against Western Illinois, that average dropped to 23 points per game. Against Iowa State Yost's offense blew up for 52 points and 583 yards of offense, with James Franklin totaling 5 touchdowns. No doubt Yost is hoping that becomes a trend for the last half of the season.
LOSER: Brandon Weeden's Heisman stock
I put Robert Griffin in this spot last week following a Baylor victory, and now Brandon Weeden finds himself in the same situation. Sure, Oklahoma State scored more points (38) than it ever had before during a trip to Austin, but Weeden's numbers on Saturday weren't very Weeden-esque. He finished the day with only 218 yards and a touchdown. Compare that to last week when he threw 288 yards and 5 touchdowns in less than a full half. The good news for Weeden is he has plenty of time to help people forget this performance.
WINNER: Believers in Bill Snyder
Let's be honest, nobody expected Kansas State to be 6-0 at this point in the season. A lot of people didn't expect the Wildcats to be 6-0 even after they started the season 5-0, as Kansas State opened the week as 3 1/2-point underdogs on the road against Texas Tech. Yeah, well, Bill Snyder doesn't care. The style of offense he runs may seem a bit old fashioned, but it works, and Kansas State is a contender to win the Big 12 whether you're willing to believe it or not.
WINNER: Ryan Broyles
It was just another night for the Oklahoma receiver, as he caught 13 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. His first touchdown catch of the night was the reception number 317 for Broyles in his career, and it moved him past Taylor Stubblefield for the most receptions by any player in NCAA history. Broyles finished the night with 326 career receptions, and he's still got seven games to go. He could pass 400 by the time he's done.
Tags: Baylor, Big 12, Bill Snyder, Brandon Weeden, Bryan Harsin, Case McCoy, David Ash, David Yost, Fozzy Whittaker, Garrett Gilbert, Iowa State, James Franklin, Jeff Fuller, Kansas State, Mack Brown, Malcolm Brown, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Robert Griffin, Ryan Broyles, Ryan Swope, Ryan Tannehill, Taylor Stubblefield, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tom Fornelli, Western Illinois, Winners And Losers
Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 10:53 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
KANSAS STATE WON. Kansas State used some smoke and mirrors to beat Texas Tech on Saturday night, and by smoke and mirrors I mean special teams and turnovers. Texas Tech actually outgained the Wildcats 569 yards to 341 on the night, including a 388 to 94 advantage at halftime, but it didn't matter. Kansas State won thanks to two blocked field goals, a kick return for a touchdown, and 4 turnovers by Seth Doege. One of which was a pick-six by Nigel Malone only 37 seconds into the game. The result of all this was Kansas State's first win in Lubbock since 2000, and bowl eligibility after only six games.
WHY KANSAS STATE WON. As I said above, it was special teams and turnovers. What really killed Texas Tech on Saturday night, though, was that three of Doege's turnovers came on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. All three came in Texas Tech territory, and although Kansas State was only able to get 7 points out of them, it was the points those turnovers kept off the board for Texas Tech that made the difference.
WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. After kicking a field goal with 2:32 left to cut Kansas State's lead to 41-34, Texas Tech recovered an onside kick to keep hope alive. Unfortunately the Red Raiders couldn't go anywhere, and when Doege's pass to Aaron Crawford on 4th and 4 fell incomplete the Wildcats just had to run out the rest of the clock.
WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. On a day when a few surprise unbeatens like Michigan, Illinois and Georgia Tech all suffered their first loss of the season, Kansas State survived a tough road test. With a game against Kansas next weekend, which is a rivalry game that may not be as easy as you'd think, there's a strong chance that Kansas State will be hosting Oklahoma in Manhattan in two weeks with both teams undefeated.
WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. This could have been a big win for Texas Tech following last week's home loss to Texas A&M, but the Red Raiders just beat themselves in the fourth quarter. Now Tommy Tuberville's team is off to a 1-2 start in the Big 12 with road games against Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri, plus a game against Oklahoma State still left on the schedule. Those two wins that Tech needs to get to a bowl game aren't going to come easy.
THAT WAS CRAZY. As great as Kansas State's special teams units were in this game, with the two blocked field goals and the kick return, they also made some dumb mistakes. A missed extra point and failure to recover an onside kick could have cost Kansas State the game.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With Missouri locked into the Big 12 for another year, the SEC is in turn all-but-locked into a 13-team schedule for the 2012 football season. But as the league is finding out, scheduling with unbalanced divisions is easier said than done.
Larry Templeton, chair of the conference's "transition committee" for Texas A&M's move to the SEC, told the Birmingham News Friday that the league is considering three "conceptual scheduling options" for a 13-team slate. The "least disruptive" plan would be the have the incoming Aggies play four teams from the West and four teams from the East.
The other options, Templeton said, are for the SEC to play the NCAA-mandated intra-division round-robins -- with West teams playing six divisional games and East teams five -- or to simply assign the Aggies eight games regardless of divisional affiliation.
There's a major issue with the divisional round-robin plan, though. "I'm not prepared to say we wouldn't do that," Templeton said. "But mathematically, I don't think it can be done." By which he means that it can't--in a 13-team conference, it's mathematically impossible for every team in a seven-team division to play all other divisional opponents in an eight-game schedule.
The 13-team MAC has worked around this problem by having some members of its seven-team division only play five divisional games, a move that has required an NCAA waiver from the bylaw demanding a round-robin.
Thanks to the math and the "least disruptive" nature of the 4-4 split for Texas A&M, the SEC will likely require that same waiver in the near future. Why would that split be so much less disruptive? Templeton declines to spell it out for the News, but as explained in this blog post at Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold, that's the plan which allows the SEC to complete all of the cross-divisional home-and-home rotations that began this year.
For instance, this week Florida travels to Auburn and South Carolina visits Mississippi State. By assigning the Aggies four West games and four East games (and canceling the new cross-divisional rotations scheduled to start in 2012) the SEC would maintain enough flexibility to keep the return trips like Auburn's to Gainesville and Mississippi State's to Columbia intact.
Per Anchor of Gold, that plan would also necessitate A&M hosting all of their East games and going on the road for all of their West games. Assuming the SEC would limit their travel costs as much as possible (and not send them to Auburn or Alabama, the two most distant West campuses), A&M's initial SEC schedule would look something like: at Arkansas, at LSU, at Ole Miss, at Mississippi State, vs Georgia, vs. South Carolina, vs. Vanderbilt, vs. Florida.
That schedule would be so different from the rest of the West's, there's no question it would damage the division's competitive balance--and cause more than a few complaints if/when it affected which team won the division's eventual championship. But because of the importance of those cross-divisional return games (and the fairness of completing the rotations), it remains the "least disruptive" scheduling path for the SEC ... and the one it's most likely to pursue.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last week the Kansas City Sports Commission took out an ad in the Kansas City Star so that it could publish an open letter to Missouri asking it to stay in the Big 12 and not leave for the SEC, as many believe the school plans on doing. Well, now the mayor of Kansas City is getting onto the letter writing bandwagon as well.
Sly James, which is a great name for a mayor, sent his letter to chancellor Brady Deaton and the Missouri Board of Curators last Friday. Much like the letter from the K.C. Sports Commission, it asked the school to stay in the Big 12.
The University of Missouri fan base is abundant in the Kansas City area. More than 20,000 MU alumni call this area home, and the local chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association has the third-largest membership in the nation.You can read the full letter here.
To be honest, I'm feeling kind of left out here. My primary responsibility here on the Eye On College Football blog is to cover the Big 12, so I feel like I should write a letter to Missouri myself. So here it is.
Listen, I don't want to lie to you, Missouri. I didn't go to your school, and I don't live in Missouri, so your tradition and history don't really mean all that much to me. So if you go to the SEC the only thing that will change for me is that I'm not going to watch as many of your games as I have the last few seasons. If you stay in the Big 12, that's cool too. I have nothing against you.
Just make up your mind and do it soon so we can all move on. I'd much rather be covering actual football right now, and with that in mind, don't even think about making an announcement on a Saturday during the season.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 10:40 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As the Big East pursues a conference model that includes 12 football-playing schools, one obstacle that seems to be holding up the process is the league's exit fees. With an unknown future, the six remaining football schools have been noncommittal towards increasing the exit fees, which would make it more difficult to leave. At the same time, potential Big East targets such as Navy and Boise State would like to see some more commitment from the conference before joining.
According to a Sporting News report the conference has scheduled a call on Friday that would include a vote on "dramatically increasing the exit fee for universities wishing to leave for other conferences."
A source close to the league told Sporting News the meeting will ask schools to approve a change in the league bylaws that would require a school to pay three times its annual share of league television revenue in order to depart.The report also includes a detail that Louisville may decline to participate in the call. The Cardinals have been the most realistic defector of the remaining six, as they have targeted as a potential replacement for MIssouri should the Tigers leave the Big 12. Louisville's vote is not needed to issue a change in the withdrawal fees, Big East bylaws require just a 75 percent vote for approval.
Until the exit fees are raised, it will be near impossible to convince other schools to join arguably the most volatile conference in FBS play. However, the addition of the service academies would be a big step forward towards securing the league's future. Once you get the service academies you can start working towards bringing in programs that would help maintain the Big East's status as a BCS automatic qualifier.
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Posted on: October 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 3:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
CBSSports.com senior college football writer Dennis Dodd didn't come back from Dallas having seen a classic--but he did come back with an opinion on Oklahoma's national title credentials (and fried gum). In this edition of the Doddcast, Dodd joins Adam Aizer for a look back at the Red River Rivalry, a look forward to Week 7's Michigan-Michigan State clash, what's next for Missouri in conference realignment, the Heisman race, what that ... substance ... actually was on Texas A&M's buses, and more.
To listen, click below, download the mp3, or open the player up in a new window (or tab) by clicking here. And if you want to make sure you don't miss the next edition of the Doddcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.