Tag:Baylor
Posted on: October 4, 2009 9:42 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 9:43 pm
 

Thoughts on a football Saturday

It’s becoming apparent that Notre Dame has to beat USC in two weeks to go to a BCS bowl. I told you in Sunday’s story how lowly regarded ND is in the polls.

Here’s why: It has plenty of competition. Notre Dame is currently one of 30 one-loss teams in Division I-A. Twenty-three of the other 29 teams are from BCS leagues. Ten of the 29 are ranked. Six of those 10 have a victory over a ranked team. That's something Notre Dame doesn't have.

That means ND is one of 20 one-loss teams in I-A that are unranked. it is in a group with the likes of Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, Michigan, Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers, West Virginia, Stanford and UCLA. Four of those teams are left on ND’s schedule – BC, Pittsburgh, UConn and Stanford.

Given that the Irish play only one more team that is currently ranked (USC), the Oct. 17 game becomes make-or-break for a BCS bowl the way I see it. It’s 11-1 or bust. The pollsters and computers simply won’t get ND high enough at 10-2 because of the quality of the remaining schedule.

 Oklahoma has lost a pair of games by a point in the same season twice. Both have come in the last four years – 2006 and 2009 following Saturday's 21-20 loss to Miami. That followed a 14-13 opening-night loss to BYU.

In 2006, OU lost to both Oregon and Boise State by a point. In its history, OU has lost 299 games. Only 18 have come by a single point. That’s a one-point loss for every 16 losses. Since Sept. 16, 2006, four of the Sooners’ last 10 losses have come by one point.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had lost 26 games. Four have been by one point and two have been by two points.

  Which way LSU? All we can say is the that Tigers are still undefeated after sneaking out of Athens with a 20-13 victory over Georgia. Charles Scott’s game-winning 33-yard run with 46 seconds left was set up by A.J. Green’s excessive celebration penalty. You’ll read more about that from Tony Barnhart on Tuesday. My take? That kind of penalty should never decide a game. This one did.

“It was a want-to run,” said Scott who had been struggling this season. “I ran mad.”

He better run madder with Florida coming to town. I’ve trotted this out a bunch of times, but the winner of LSU-Florida has won the national championship in the last three seasons.

 All that stuff about USC slipping in the Pac-10? Maybe not. The 30-3 win at Cal re-positions the Trojans for BCS bowl No. 8 in a row.

 Anyone want to take a stab at the Florida State mess? One of the most trusted and knowledgeable beat writers in the South says it’s time for Bobby to go. For most of the BC game, it looked like Bobby Bowden had lost his team. Down 21-6, the Seminoles rallied to tie, only to lose late 28-21. That marks FSU’s first 0-2 start in the ACC. It is 2-3 for the first time since 1976.

--In the battle of point guards, Syracuse’s Greg Paulus had more turnovers (five interceptions) than South Florida’s B.J. Daniels. The former Duke guard lost to the current South Florida guard (they’re both quarterbacks, by the way) 34-20.

 Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards against Duke. Yes, you read that right.

 Stanford, 4-1, is off to its best start since 1995.

 Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher stuck it to Wisconsin fans by wearing a Brett Favre jersey during the Badgers’ 31-28 victory in Minneapolis. Let’s hope Goldy is not on scholarship because that would be a waste of good polyester.

 

Posted on: September 27, 2009 6:36 pm
 

Shocking news from Baylor

What a shame. Baylor just announced that quarterback Robert Griffin III is out for the season.

Griffin has what the school called "an isolated tear" of the ACL in his right knee. The injury occurred the first quarter of Saturday's win over Northwestern State. This has the potential to wreck Baylor's plans for a bowl.

The school with a 15-year bowless streak is now in danger of making it 16. The Bears gave one back on Sept. 19, losing at home to UConn. At 2-1, Baylor must now find four more victories in a schedule that includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Griffin was seen as the next big thing in the quarterback-laden Big 12. A big, big shame. No word on if the school is able to seek a redshirt season.


Posted on: September 5, 2009 6:19 pm
 

6 p.m. ET update on the day's action

Big day for the Big 12. Baylor and Missouri have double-digit leads. Oklahoma State leads Georgia 17-10. All three are playing BCS conference opponents. Stayed tuned.

 You got enough Tennessee? Nice debut by Lane Kiffin, even though it was a body-bag game against Western Kentucky.

 As inspiring as Navy’s effort was against Ohio State, that was a horrible call on the two-point conversion. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs took a three-step drop and threw into three Buckeyes. The ball was picked off and returned for a two-pointer.

At that point, Dobbs was the star of the game because of his arm and his feet. Navy’s electric qb should have been allowed to roll out and have a run/pass option.

 Ohio State showed absolutely nothing scheme-wise in getting ready for USC. Nor should it. Obviously, the playbook is being saved for the Trojans.

 Jim Tressel almost blew it by not going for the field goal on fourth-and-2 from Navy’s 15 with 6:30 left. in Navy territory. The Middies held. On the next play, Dobbs, my new favorite quarterback, threw an 85-yard touchdown pass.

Yes you read that right: A Navy receiver beat two Ohio State defenders down the middle for 85 yards.

This was almost a disaster for Tressel who was trying to vanilla his way into next week. 

 Someone will have to explain to me why, when you’re developing Terrelle Pryor, that backup Joe Bauserman gets a series. I know Bauserman is a hard worker, good athlete and former walk-on who earned a scholarship but those are valuable snaps, especially during the two-minute drill, that Pryor could use.

Can you condemn a guy for his eye black? It looked like Pryor was wearing those stickers below his eyes that read “Mike” and “Vick”.
Posted on: August 12, 2009 1:00 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2009 1:01 pm
 

Five risers and five fallers for 2009

Five risers

Baylor – (See stories on the site) Fifteen seasons without a bowl are about to come to an end if everything breaks right.

Houston – Ten victories for the Cougars are possible in wide-open Conference USA. Case Keenum (5,000 yards passing) is a Heisman candidate. There, I said it. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech had better watch out in September. The Cougars would take a split and have the talent to sweep.

Kansas – The Jayhawks have finished at the top of the standings once since 1968. Forty-one years ago they shared the Big Eight title and went to the Orange Bowl. In 2007, they went 12-1 and shared the Big 12 North title with Missouri. (The Tigers won the division based on its head-to-head victory over the Jayhawks.) No one is expecting KU to go 12-1 again, but it has the stuff to win its first outright title in anything (even a modest division title) since 1930. Nebraska has the easier conference schedule but the Huskers have to play in Lawrence.

Michigan State –  After Ohio State and Penn State, the Spartans might be the pick in the Big Ten. Third-year coach Mark Dantonio has the program trending upward after winning nine games in ’08. Even with the loss of quarterback Brian Hoyer and leading rusher Javon Ringer, there are expectations that Sparty will compete in the Big Ten. Michigan State doesn’t play Ohio State and gets Penn State at home. Linebacker Greg Jones might be the conference’s best defensive player.

Nevada – At last check, the Wolf Pack were the only team in the country to run the Pistol offense. That’s not a good matchup with still-emotionally fragile Notre Dame opening up at home against Nevada. Coach Chris Ault will pull everything out of the bag. Give me quarterback Colin Kaepernick (one of only five players ever to pass for 2,000 and rush for 1,000) and tailback Vai Taua (1,521 yards rushing) and I’ll take my chances.


Five fallers

Auburn – Gene Chizik recruited well and God knows he knows how to roll in a limo. But I’m having a hard time figuring out how new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn makes chicken salad out of chicken spit. The offensive talent isn’t there, just like it wasn’t for Tony Franklin last season. Chizik might do great things. They won’t happen in 2009, though. Look for a repeat of 5-7.

Buffalo – In the frat party that followed the Bulls’ MAC championship, a lot of folks forgot that Buffalo lost six games. It didn’t exactly roll over people. Seven of its 14 games were decided by six points or less. It was outgained in conference play. Point is, 2009 could go either way. This year, MAC rivals will not take the Bulls lightly.

Clemson – The Tigers will find a way to slip off the edge of the cliff, even coming off a 7-5 season. Start with a rookie head coach (in his first full season) Dabo Swinney. A life-size poster of C.J. Spiller is nice but where’s the beef? Baylor (see above) has more all-time draft picks. Tommy was never good enough. The Tigers are favored by some to win the ACC. When they don’t we’ll hear more chants of “1991, 1991 …” the last year Clemson won the league.

Miami – Just when the Canes seemed ready to turn the corner, here comes the schedule from hell. Miami could be a better team than ’08 and still come out of the first four 1-3. And how did AD Kirby Hocutt get roped into having to play Central Florida and South Florida on the road in the same season?

South Florida – There’s nothing wrong, exactly, with the Bulls. I’m just wondering when they’re going to quit teasing. In a wide-open Big East, South Florida could win it, or finish fifth. The program seems to have peaked after winning nine in both ’06 and ’07. Jim Leavitt has the league’s best offensive player (Matt Grothe) and best defensive player (George Selvie) this season. We’re waiting, coach.

Posted on: July 28, 2009 4:47 pm
 

Five things I believe about the Big 12 ...

Word to your mother from the Big 12 media days in Irving, Texas.

One quarterback’s virginity is another man’s autograph book. Heisman-winner Sam Bradford admitted to hearing about the Tim Tebow virginity question last week at the SEC media days.

“To me that’s crossing the line,” Bradford said on Tuesday. “There’s a line that should be drawn.”

In an ironic twist, though, Bradford endured his own “gotcha” moment. This one involving the opposite of virginity. A couple recently asked Bradford to sign their baby.

“I never pictured that happening before,” he said. “We were having dinner one night in Norman. A couple came over with their baby and sat him down on the table, a couple of months old.”

Where, it was asked, does one sign a baby? Will Ferrell scrawled his name on an infant’s forehead in Talladega Nights.

“I signed (its outfit),” Bradford said.

Bill Snyder’s biggest opponent is himself. The 69-year-old Kansas State coach is back for his second term. Snyder obviously had been getting antsy about getting back into coaching about the moment he “retired” three years ago.

This time he is taking on his own legacy as well as the rest of the league. From 1989-2005, he created the Miracle in Manhattan leading the once moribund Wildcats to a Big 12 title and several bowl games. This season he is trying to keep K-State out of last place in the Big 12 North.

Nothing compares to how bad things were when Snyder arrived in 1989. Bob Stoops was there with Snyder during his first six seasons.

“We go into that first spring I bet we had 45 guys in the room. We had four total d-linemen, two non-scholarship. We would be practicing and we’d have to take a five-minute break to hose them off, give them some water. The rest of the team would just stand around. Seriously. That’s how bad it was.”

Meet the new triplets, same as the old triplets. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy was part of the best offense in school history. Gundy was the quarterback, handing off to Barry Sanders and throwing to Hart Lee Dykes in 1988.

The best set of “triplets” since those days will lead the Cowboys this season. Zac Robinson is a sneaky-good dual threat quarterback. Kendall Hunter is a 1,000-yard back. Receiver Dez Bryant might be the nation’s best receiver.

“It’s hard to compare anybody to Barry Sanders to be honest with you,” Gundy said. “Kendall Hunter is very good but a future hall of famer is difficult to compare to. Hart Lee Dykes … don’t know if I’ve seen anyone like him.

“The quarterback spot, I’m not sure there’s much of a comparison. If I could go back and recruit, I’d recruit Zack Robinson and I wouldn’t Mike Gundy to be honest with you.”

This just might be the biggest Texas-Oklahoma game ever. Texas won the game last season but wants “revenge” for obvious reasons. The game used to be a window on the Big 12 and national championships. Last year’s screwy tiebreaker messed with everyone’s head.

With Oklahoma State in the mix this year, there is the possibility of another three-way tie. Meanwhile, we will wait until Oct. 17 in Dallas. Stoops was asked if Texas-OU can get any bigger?

 “I don’t know how it could,” he said. “The last eight, nine years it’s been as heated as it could be.”

The North must rise again … or risk further embarrassment. The Big 12 North Division won only three of 19 games against South Division opponents in 2008. That’s the second time that’s happened in the last five years.

Only once in that span has the North had an above .500 record – 2007 when it was 10-9 against the South. That’s the year both Missouri and Kansas won 12 games.

When the league was formed in 1996, most of the strength was in the North with Nebraska and Kansas State in power. The North was a combined 24-14 against the South in 1996-97. How far have things slipped? Last year, all three North victories were against Baylor.
 

Posted on: June 29, 2009 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2009 12:09 pm
 

Picking the Big 12


The Big 12 South Division race, the Big 12 title game, the Heisman race and the national championship hinged on the conference's three-way tiebreaker. We found out about the 11-year-old rule when Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech each tied at 7-1 in the South Division.

Oklahoma "won" the tiebreaker because it finished the regular season as the highest-ranked team in the division  -- by .0128 of a point in the BCS standings. Instead of reliving the Austin angst, let's just say that one Longhorn suggested that if the tiebreaker rule wasn't changed in the offseason his school ought to pull out of the Big 12.

What's changed? Not much. The rule wasn't changed and Texas is still in the league. At the spring meetings, the Big 12 ADs accepted the coaches' vote that the tiebreaker remain the same. Why?

 One theory is that Texas probably doesn't get much sympathy from the other coaches because ... it's Texas. The school is perceived to have the best of everything so it didn't get much sympathy from schools that don't. Yeah, jealousy sucks.

 There is nothing to be gained for schools like Missouri, Iowa State, Colorado, Baylor, etc., so why change? Hey, the league got two teams in the BCS. To the other schools it doesn't matter who plays in those games as long as the money keeps rolling in.

 The tiebreaker makes sense. Why wouldn't you want your highest rated BCS team to win the tiebreaker? There was some feeling that the SEC tiebreaker is fairer.

In a three-way tie, the SEC drops the lowest-ranked team and decides things head-to-head. But since you're chasing a BCS title, the SEC tiebreaker potentially keeps the highest-ranked team out of a title shot.

The tiebreaker would have been a footnote on the national scene had not Texas and Oklahoma been involved. The rivalry was bitter enough without having to explain why the Horns lost out when they beat the Sooners on the field. Yeah, Oklahoma's fortune might cause a bit of consternation in Austin.

"They got a huge break," Texas' Colt McCoy said.

Like I said, nothing has changed. Texas and OU still hate each other. There is a good chance we could have another tiebreaker train wreck at the end of this season. Only the teams will change.


Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could all start the season in the top 10. The Red River Shootout on Oct. 17 shapes up as one of the most intense in the history of the rivalry. Just for controversy's sake let's assume the Horns win in Dallas, they still have to play in Stillwater on Halloween. If the Cowboys win they could win out until a Nov. 28 date in Norman. If the Sooners win that one, we're looking at another three-way 7-1 finish.

Who wins it in the BCS tiebreaker? In that scenario, you'd have to like Oklahoma again. The Texas loss would be six weeks old by then and beating Oklahoma State impressively would be the emphatic final statement for the computers the pollsters. That same thing happened last year when OU blew out Texas Tech.

Closer to the field, for the second consecutive year the Large Dozen remains the conference of quarterbacks. It sports a Heisman winner (Sam Bradford), a runner-up (Colt McCoy) and well as 2009 Heisman candidate Todd Reesing of Kansas. You can add Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, Baylor's Robert Griffin and Texas Tech quarterback du jour Taylor Potts as difference makers.

Just giving you a fair warning, Texas fans. Grow your hair out now. You might be pulling it out in December.

Picking the Big 12 ...


North Division

1. Kansas -- If this were Miami, Dezmon Briscoe, Kerry Meier and Reesing would be on the cover of every preseason mag in the country. Meier is the leading returning receiver in catches per game (10.8). Briscoe is second in receiving yards per game (108.2). Reesing already has led the Jayhawks to an Orange Bowl and is in line to become the school's best quarterback ever. Mark Mangino already has proven he can coach. If a new set of starting linebackers can tackle and if KU can beat either Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech (he is a combined 0-9 against the three) this could be a special season. The Jayhawks get the slight edge in the North because the Nebraska game is at home.

2. Nebraska -- Bo Pelini is slowly building Huskerville back to its usual standards. Slowly is the key word because defense is Pelini's thing and the D showed astounding lapses last year. Slowly, because Nebraska has not had a first-team All-American on the defensive line in 12 years. Tackle Ndamukong Suh could break the streak. Some draft boards already have him in the top five. There is little room for error where Pelini is a turned ankle away from having real problems at quarterback. Zac Lee is the guy after Patrick Witt, who was being counted on, left before the spring. A lot of folks think Nebraska has the advantage in the North because of its schedule. I see road trips to Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Colorado, plus a home game against Oklahoma. Please tell me how that is favorable?

3. Missouri -- The Tigers will take a dip after back-to-back Big 12 North titles. Missouri knows it. The fans know it. The league knows it. The key is trying to make an 8-4 season seem like a success. Six-foot-five Blaine Gabbert takes over for Chase Daniel, only the greatest qb in Missouri history. He would be wise to spread the ball out to 1,000-yard rusher Derrick Washington and receivers Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The Tigers will score, just not as often. If the defense is shored up at all this team could be on the fringes of contending in the North. At times, the secondary looked like a fire drill. Linebacker All-American linebacker candidate Sean Weatherspoon passed up the draft and will chase the school's career tackles record as a senior.

4. Colorado -- Has Hawk Love turned into Hawk Doubt? Entering his fourth season in Boulder, Dan Hawkins has won only 13 games. The pressure is on to produce (hint: Big 12 North contention and a bowl game). Hawkins isn't backing down, saying this at the senior banquet: "Ten wins, no excuses." The quarterback situation is unsettled with son Cody Hawkins and Tyler Hansen maybe sharing the job again. Freshman tailback sensation Darrell Scott was upstaged by fellow freshman Rodney Stewart who led the team in rushing. Here's the scary thing: In a league with unrelenting offenses, CU has lost six of its top 10 tacklers.

5. Kansas State -- This isn't the old Big Eight for Bill Snyder. Back in 1989, he was taking over Kansas State from a zero position. This time he is chasing his own legacy. Not to diminish what Snyder accomplished, but back in the early 1990s, Missouri and Kansas were jokes and Oklahoma was sliding. There was no Texas to play two out of every four years. The Big 12 has more depth and strength than the Big Eight as Snyder tries for Miracle In Manhattan II. Snyder got K-State from dregs to the brink of a national championship game in nine years. Will the 69-year-old have that much time this time around?

6. Iowa State -- Iowa State swapped coaches with Auburn. Gene Chizik went. Paul Rhoads came. Rhoads, from nearby Ankeny, seems like he wants to stay awhile. He'll be looking up at the rest of the Big 12 North for a while. Ripping Wally Burham from South Florida to be his defensive coordinator was a huge get for Rhoads. The offense will have a chance with dual-threat Austen Arnaud at quarterback


South Division

1. Texas -- Mack Brown smiled when I told I had his pregame speech ready for the OU game. "We beat the Sooners last year, boys. Now let's go out and get some revenge!" Yeah, it's about that and a lot of things for Brown and the Horns. Except for perhaps some suspect running backs, Texas is loaded. Brown has his best team since the 2005 national championship crew. Hybrid defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle should be this season's Brian Orakpo. McCoy is driven not only by the tiebreaker but also his second-place finish in the Heisman. Still, it all boils down to Oct. 17 in Dallas.

2. Oklahoma -- Sam Bradford won the Heisman, became the first quarterback to win back-to-back Big 12 titles and got the Sooners to the national championship game. What is there left to accomplish? Plenty for Bradford who listened to family and advisors and put off the NFL. His body can fill out a bit and it doesn't look like there will be a Matthew Stafford to compete with in the draft this year. Oklahoma's questions are at offensive line and receiver. If this were anywhere else but the Big 12 South, the Sooners would be prohibitive favorites to repeat. With a break here or there, they still might end back up in the national championship game.

3. Oklahoma State -- With apologies to Texas and Oklahoma, this could be the best offense in the Big 12, if not the country. Returning are a 1,500-yard rusher (Kendall Hunter), an All-American receiver (Dez Bryant), and a 65 percent passer with 25 touchdowns (Robinson). The problem remains defense. New defensive coordinator Bill Young is the Cadillac of his profession. Okie State will be better just because of his presence. Perrish Cox is developing into an NFL talent at corner and is one of the nation's best returners.

4. Texas Tech -- The Red Raiders slip back to the 8-4 level this season. You know the drill: Potts will throw for eight million yards. There will be a 1,000-yard receiver or two. Mike Leach will be his usual quote-machine self. However, last season was a once-in-10-year event. There is payback waiting at Texas, at Oklahoma State and at Nebraska.

5. Baylor -- Does any Big 12 school have more upside? Joe Pawelek is an All-Big 12 linebacker. Center J.D. Walton anchors the offensive line now that Jason Smith is gone. But let's be honest, the moment quarterback Robert Griffin followed coach Art Briles to Baylor (from his commitment to Houston), things took off. A sprinter with Olympic aspirations, Griffin gave up the Big 12 track season to concentrate on what should be his breakout season in Waco. If there is a one-man team in the league, this is it. Griffin also was the team's No. 2 rusher. With more weight and more knowledge, Griffin should become the most elusive dual-threat in the Big 12 since Vince Young. At stake is a 14-year bowl drought. That ties for the longest active streak among BCS schools.

6. Texas A&M -- One former Big Eight coach said it during the offseason: This is A&M. It should be able to go over to the Houston high schools and scrounge up a couple of defensive linemen. In Mike Sherman's second season, d-line is a good place to start. The one-time Wrecking Crew was Charmin soft as one of the worst defensive units in the country. After the non-conference games, the Aggies gave up less than 35 once. Once! Nineteen players had surgery in the offseason. The Aggies better get fat early. The season ends with Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas.
 

Posted on: June 5, 2009 3:36 pm
 

Predicting the bling ...

We're all Heisman candidates in June. Mom, dad, the plumber, the cat. Well, maybe not the cat.

This is the time of year to salute every swinging hick who dares to dream of a trip to New York. With that in mind, here are my Heisman rankings.

1. Colt McCoy, Texas -- It's his time. Among the Three Amigos, it's his turn.
2. Tim Tebow, Florida -- Voters will be wary of making Superman a two-time winner. There has only been one.
3. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma -- Back-to-back ain't happenin' either.
4. Jevan Snead. Ole Miss -- This year's Matt Stafford.
5. Jahvid Best, Cal -- No. 3 rusher last season, should be the nation's leading rusher in 2009.
6. Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech -- The hoss in Paul Johson's option offense.
7. Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 1
8. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State -- Cowboy No. 2
9. Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State --  Cowboy No. 3
10. Case Keenum, Houston -- 5,000-yard passer.

The others -- Arrelious Benn, Illinois; Eric Berry, Tennessee; Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas; Daryll Clark, Penn State; Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; Aaron Corp, USC; Noel Devine, West Virginia; A.J. Green, Georgia; Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma; Max Hall, BYU; Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; Tim Hiller, Western Michigan; Jerry Hughes, TCU; Colin Kaepernick, Nevada; Julio Jones, Alabama; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; MiQuale Lewis, Ball State; Jake Locker, Washington; Taylor Mays, USC; Kellen Moore, Boise State; DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma; Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State; Todd Reesing, Kansas; Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State;  Charles Scott, LSU; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Triumph the Insult Comic Dog; The Kobe and LeBron puppets; Zach Galifianakis; Conan O'Brien; Lassie; David Letterman; Iron Man; Alex Trebek, Tina Fey, shall I go on?

 

Bednarik/Nagurski Award (best defensive player): Jerry Hughes, TCU

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver): Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State

Broyles Award (best assistant coach):  John Chavis, LSU defensive coordinator

Groza Award (best kicker): Kai Forbath, UCLA

Ray Guy Award (best punter): Derek Epperson, Baylor

Lombardi Award (best lineman): Greg Hardy, Ole Miss

Mackey Award (best tight end): Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma

Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback): Colt McCoy, Texas.

Butkus Award (best linebacker):  Brandon Spikes, Florida

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman):  Ciron Black, LSU

Rimington Trophy (best center): Kristofer O'Dowd, USC

Eddie Robinson Award (coach of the year):  Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

Thorpe Award (best defensive back): Eric Berry, Tennessee

Doak Walker Award (best running back):  Jahvid Best, Cal

 

 

Posted on: March 13, 2009 12:01 am
Edited on: March 13, 2009 12:11 am
 

The Big 12 Tournament blows up

No one was counting much on Dexter Pittman -- including his teammates.

"Dexter Pittman," Texas guard Varez Ward pondered Thursday afternoon,  "If he had played like that all season, no telling what our record would be."

It's hard to put much stock in a 6-foot-10, 300-pound foul-prone quasi-tight end who gets winded easily. But there was Pittman becoming the most outstanding player midway through the Big 12 Tournament.

Like most tournaments, the Big 12's was expected to be mostly chalk. Kansas and Oklahoma were the favorites. Going into Friday's semis, though, it might be the wildest postseason tournament in the country.

 Only one of the top four seeds (Missouri) advanced to the semis for the first time in tournament history.

 Kansas became only the second No. 1 seed in tournament history to lose in the first round. Ninth-seeded Baylor did the deed. No. 2 seed Oklahoma also slept in its own bed Thursday night, the victim of an upset to Oklahoma State.

 A kid named after a former Chicago Bears linebacker (Texas Tech's Mike Singletary) set the scoring record with 43 points against Texas A&M on Wednesday.

 No. 7 seed Oklahoma State finally broke through against Oklahoma this season with a last-second 71-70 victory.

Pittman, though, resembles King Kong in more than stature to this point. The Longhorns find themselves meeting Baylor -- Baylor? -- in one semifinal after Pittman went off against Kansas State on Thursday. A day after scoring a career-high 26 against Colorado, Pittman erupted for 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against the Wildcats. That's 45 points and 30 rebounds in two games for a guy who averages 10 points and five rebounds.

“There’s no question he played his best overall game,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said afterward. “It’s really neat, because he’s just getting started.”

Problem is, no one knew if Pittman would ever get started. He came to Austin three years ago 70 pounds overweight. Not only was food a problem, so was stamina. Until lately. Pittman has asserted himself late averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in the last five games. His go-ahead layup with 74 seconds left was eventually the winning basket.

The big fella dominated in a grinder that featured almost as many fouls (41) as field goals (42). Texas will take on Baylor in one semi with a hint of desperation. While the Horns are safely in the tournament, the Bears are trying to make a miracle run to an NCAA berth.

Why not? Baylor is across the street from the building where coach Scott Drew's brother Bryce made his miracle shot to beat Ole Miss in 1998. This year's difference maker for the Bears is the coach's 2-3 zone which bothered both Nebraska and Kansas.

The other semi matches Missouri against the Cowboys. Okie State had lost the previous two Bedlam games to Oklahoma this season. It held on this time when the timekeeper didn't start the clock with 2.3 seconds left on Oklahoma's last possession. National player of the year Blake Griffin looked like he was fouled going up for a desperation last-second pass. Officials ruled that time had expired after OU scrambled to get a last shot.

Oklahoma State also survived with guard Byron Eaton scoring 16 points before he moves on to ... football. Eaton is a senior in basketball but has a year of athletic eligibility left. Don't be surprised to see the guard transform into a fullback in the fall.

Meanwhile, the league's top two seeds go into the NCAA Tournament somnambulant. Oklahoma has won two of its last six. Kansas has lost two of its last three.

"We're not very tough," Kansas guard Sherron Collins said, "if we can't come back from this."

We'll see. The Big 12 upsets could have all kinds of repercussions.  Oklahoma's shot at a No. 1 seed is all but gone. Kansas was hoping at least to get placed in Kansas City for the first and second rounds. That virtual home-court advantage could be in danger as well.

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com