Jay Beck

Jay Beck

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Tuesday, 02 August 2011 23:40

Stoops is Feeling Good

Confidence, you have to love it.  Bob Stoops is showing some and for good reason.  "We have high expectations, and I don’t shy away from them,” Stoops told a packed auditorium of Sooner Club members on  Monday. “My feeling is, it is about time. We need to win one (national championship).”

Dang, I have to say it's always a great thing when a coach speaks his mind especially these days when every coach is so guarded in their comments.

With the crew Stoops has coming back, it's hard to blame the guy.  As for putting pressure on his team, he hit the nail on the head with that, as well.  The preseason number one ranking should take care of that. “I’m not putting any more pressure on us. I love our team. They’ve had a great attitude. They’ve worked hard,” he said. “I expect us to be really good in all areas."

And how the heck do win a national title is the head man doesn't believe it himself?  Might as well come out and say it.  That confidence will no doubt rub off on the team.

Now, will they actually do it?  Well, if they get by Florida State on September 17th, you have to love their chances of going into Bedlam to end the season sitting at 11-0.SEC_media_guide

After visiting Tallahassee, there just aren't a lot of potholes on the road schedule where you could envision the Sooners stumbling.  The Red River Rivalry in Dallas won't be a cakewalk, but five games into the season, Texas will likely still be working out some of their issues, enough so that it's hard to picture this being a year when the Longhorns come out on top.

How about losing in Norman?  Never say never, but Oklahoma is 72-2 in Norman under Stoops so that doesn't look promising for any visitors.  Missouri and Texas A&M come to town both having beaten OU last season, but as that record indicates, Oklahoma is a different animal all together at home.

“At Oklahoma after about 10 years, it’s like, hey, you better win it,” Stoops said.

Yep, I'd say that's about right.  Not to mention, it'd be nice for someone to end the SEC's five year reign atop the BCS.

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:01

Jason Madson

Jason Madson

I'm recently married to a woman that doesn't like watching football, lucky for me she works all day on Saturdays! I'm a huge Missouri Tigers fan (I'll probably annoy quite a few people with my blind love for MIZZOU) and really enjoy the makeup of this conference as a whole. Things I want: A Playoff, Big 12 Conference expansion and a Big 12 Title game. Things I don't want: The Longhorn Network and to EVER live in the state of Kansas!

When I'm not watching or writing about Big 12 football I have somewhat of a life. I'm finishing school (Accounting/Biz Management) I like to landscape and I play Football on the weekends. Anything else you want to know? Ask!

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Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:00

Andrew Hammond

 

 

Andrew_HHey College Football Fans!!!

I'm Andrew Hammond from Wichita, KS. Despite my young age, I consider myself a college football savant who loves nothing better than watching college football on a Saturday (Or whatever day games are on now). I miss the days of the Bowl Alliance, The Big 8 and Miami playing in the Orange Bowl. You know, when the game wasn't run by the BCS/ESPN. Before QB's like Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez, there was Kordell Stewart and Steve McNair.

Not only do I blog about College Football, I've also talked about it on the radio since my junior year of high school. My radio work has been featured on Hot 107.9 Jamz and 1410 KGSO in Wichita, KS. Also in College at 88.1 KBTL at Butler CC and 90.7 KJHK on the campus of the University of Kansas. I'm always open for a spirited debate so if you wanna let me know your thoughts, I'm always welcomed to hear them.

 

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Tuesday, 02 August 2011 02:45

Longhorn Network Will Have to Wait

The Big 12 athletic directors had their much anticipated meeting in Dallas on Monday.  The results?  A postponement  by the conference for a year on the decision as to whether or not to allow high school games on the Longhorn Network.

From the Big 12's press release:

Today, the ADs of the Big 12 Conference unanimously agreed to establish a minimum one-year moratorium on the broadcast of any high school content (or any other content involving prospective student-athletes) via any medium branded as a Conference or member institution platform.

What's interesting is that  I don't remember anyone from the other nine schools, at least publicly, wanting to ban high school games for one season.  But the quick and easy way for now was to table it for a year and let the NCAA try and decide who's problem it's going to be.  So be it.

Will that appease the other nine schools?  For now, sure, but it's anyone's guess as to what happens should the NCAA say it's within the rules to televise games of potential recruits on a school's network.  It's likely the Big 12 implosion that some fans were hoping for today would begin in earnest.

The fact of the matter is it gives everyone a chance to catch their breath before another potential Armageddon was about to ensue.  The entire school owned network idea is new for everyone and the moratorium will allow everyone to see just how the whole network deal plays out in year one.

It also allows all the other schools (there are nine other schools, right?) ample time to form Plan B should that ruling ever actually come down allowing high school games to be televised.  After last year's near collapse, it's hard to imagine that each and every school hasn't already had those wheels in motion for some time.

It also lets the Big 12 slide on having to make a decision against its biggest member and puts the onus on the NCAA.  If the NCAA agrees with Texas A&M that the network is an athletic representative of the institution and bans the showing of high school games, the NCAA is the bad guy and not the Big 12.

That might seem way off base and yes, it's only my opinion, but all the Big 12 needs to do is stand up and say there will never be any high school events on any school controlled networks.  (Seems easy enough, although I realize implementing new rules in the league isn't simply done by making them up as you go).   Of course, that again, might make one rather important member of your conference not very happy if the Big 12 stood its ground independent of any NCAA ruling.

So the soap opera that has become of the Big 12 and the Longhorn Network, along with the rumors swirling around realignment will continue, albeit likely at a slower pace than we've seen the last few weeks.  And at the rate the NCAA makes decisions, the Big 12 may be safe for while simply because the NCAA has been known to have trouble making up its mind.

The other nugget of information to come out of Monday's meeting had to do with a second game being aired on the Longhorn Network.  As long as that game is a Big 12 conference game, both schools and the Big 12 will now have to give the OK for it to be aired on the LHN.  And the other eight schools would also receive some sort of financial compensation when and if it happens.

This is a solid move, at least looking at it on paper.  If Texas and ESPN can convince another school and the Big 12 to air one of its game on Bevo's Network and everyone gives it the thumbs up, then why not?

It does raise the question about why another school would be willing to agree to it, however.  After the 2011 season, every Big 12 game is going to be televised so from an exposure standpoint, there would really be no reason to ever do it.  Granted, ESPN has some pretty deep pockets, but it's hard to imagine them forking over a truckload of coin to the rest of the league so they can televise just one additional game (I take that back, it's probably not that hard to imagine).

All told, it looks like the fire drill of the last two weeks is over  for the time being.  Now we can finally start focusing entirely on football with most camps around the country opening this weekend.  At least let's hope so.

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 00:50

Green Dropping Hints on NU's Offense?

There has been a lot of talk among Husker fans this offseason about what to expect from Nebraska's  offense now that former running backs coach, Tim Beck, is the new offensive coordinator.

It's been said to be an attacking style offense, there's been rumors of a no huddle attack, plays coming in via hand signals, and controlling the tempo.  How Nebraska goes about all that remains a mystery and likely will stay that way until the sometime into the first few weeks of the season.

Cody_Green2That doesn't stop anyone from continuing to look for clues, however, as to what to expect from the Huskers in 2011.  Former Husker quarterback, Cody Green, may have helped the cause by dropping a little nugget of knowledge in his interview with the Tulsa World over the weekend after signing his paperwork to officially become a member of the Hurricanes .

"The new offensive coordinator switched up the offense from what I was recruited to do," Green said. "It started changing at the beginning of last year and it fully changed in the spring. They're going to be predominantly more of a run team, even more than they were last year."

Even more than last year?  Wow, that might be hard to do.  The Huskers ran 916 plays last season, 634 of those played qualified as a rush (includes 29 sacks).  I'm no math major but that's 69.2% of their plays.

Just for comparison sakes, those 634 rushing attempts by the Huskers were more than any team in the Big Ten, predominantly known for some of its power rushing attacks.  Illinois and Wisconsin led the Big Ten in attempts with 619 and 584, respectively.  The Huskers also outgained Illinois by 267 yards who happened to lead the B1G in rushing.

Another stat worth pointing out is the number of plays ran during the season between the teams in the Big Ten and the Big 12.  In the B1G, three teams ran more than 900 plays on the year.  In the Big 12, there were seven teams above that mark and three of those were above 1000 plays led by Oklahoma's astonishing 1211 snaps from scrimmage.

Granted, there are a lot of variables that can affect that.  You could probably make the argument that the defenses in the Big Ten are better, therefore the offenses run fewer plays.

Fair enough, but the fact of the matter is, if Nebraska truly runs the ball more than last year, it would be mildly surprising if for no other reasons than they might not get enough plays from scrimmage to get there.

Bo Pelini and Tim Beck may very well laugh at the comment, however.  It's no secret Pelini and OU coach, Bob Stoops, have been known to put their heads together from time to time. And given Beck's background helping Mark Mangino run Kansas's offense in 2007, maybe they plan going as fast as they can while running as many plays as they can.

But knowing Pelini's penchant for good defense, that's doubtful to be the case.  A good ball control offense that can put points on the board sounds more like it.  Combine that philosophy with the fact Taylor Martinez happens to be pretty good with his feet while maybe struggling slightly finding receivers, and maybe Green's assessment isn't that far off.  It won't be long before we get to see for ourselves.

(H/T to the guys at Big Red Network for spotting the Green interview).

Monday, 01 August 2011 07:23

Games of the Year

Over the past week, sportsbooks around the country have been releasing a few of their early season odds (total number of wins, and odds to win conference and national titles).  Now comes one of my favorites, Game of the Year betting lines (as it’s referred to by sportsbook.com).

Without any of the teams even having started fall camp, the odds makers have released the point spreads on a select few games, many of which are expected to be among a handful of best games played this season.

Twelve games within the Big 12 were included among the 115 or so that were listed..

Date Game Line
9/10/2011 Iowa @ Iowa State ISU +7
9/10/2011 BYU @ Texas Tex -6
9/17/2011 Oklahoma @ Florida State OU -1
9/24/2011 Oklahoma State @ Texas A&M A&M -3
10/1/2011 Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (in Arlington) A&M +1
10/8/2011 Oklahoma vs. Texas (at Cotton Bowl) OU -8
10/15/2011 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tex -2
11/5/2011 Texas A&M @ Oklahoma OU -10.5
11/12/2011 Texas @ Missouri Pick 'em
11/24/2011 Texas @ Texas A&M A&M -4
12/3/2011 Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State OU -4
12/3/2011 Texas @ Baylor Tex -4.5

 

Ask yourself one question, what will be the game of the year in the Big 12?  Two games come to mind for me:  1) Texas A&M at Oklahoma and 2) Oklahoma at Oklahoma State.  It’s interesting to see what I think should be the game of the year, A&M and Oklahoma, is the only game among the twelve listed with a double digit point spread with the Sooners being 10.5 point favorites over the Aggies.

fireworksOf course, based on that logic, the actual game of the year will be Texas at Missouri which is currently listed as even on the point spread.  So as much as you have to take these lines with a grain a salt, it is interesting to try and read the tea leaves about what the odds makers think heading into the year.

If you ask me, the so called experts love Oklahoma, like Texas, and aren't as high on Oklahoma State.  The Cowboys are listed three times and are the so called underdogs in all three games, two of which are away from home.  In one of those road contests, the Pokes are two point underdogs to Texas who we all know is trying to rebound from last year's 5-7 season.

The Sooners are included five times and are the favorites all in five games including the road contests at Florida State and Oklahoma State.  And then there is the aforementioned double digit spread against the Aggies.

As for Texas, the Longhorns are listed in six different games and are the favorites in three, underdogs in two, and are even in another.  The Longhorns line at Missouri is listed at zero even though the Tigers are returning 18 starters and are tough to be at The Zou in Columbia.  The Longhorns are four point underdogs in College Station and eight point underdogs in the Red River Rivalry.  Even with all the questions surrounding Texas heading into 2011, it appears in the wagering world at least, the Longhorns are still getting a decent amount of respect.

As for games they missed, it would have been cool to see a couple more Missouri and Oklahoma State games, including the Cowboys trip to Columbia.  What about Oklahoma State at Texas Tech on November 12th? You'd have to guess Oklahoma State would the the favorite at this point, but getting out out Lubbock with a win two years in a row won't be easy.  For the rest, I guess we'll have to wait until the season gets going which by the way, is just over five weeks away.

So what do you think?  Are there any surprises above?

 

Friday, 29 July 2011 10:06

Five Names to Know on Defense

The Big 12's media contingent has released their preseason All-Big 12 team.  These are the guys you already know because after all, they've made their mark in the conference and are back for more.  But they aren't the only ones you should be paying attention to.

Here are five names that you may or may not already know, and if not, you likely will by the end of the season.  Their opportunities have been limited to this point, but that is going to change come the first week in September.

Ahmad Dixon, sophomore – nickelback – Baylor

As a true freshman last year, Baylor defensive back finished with only 16 tackles on the year.  Expect that number to go up, a lot, in 2011.  Dixon is described on Baylor’s website as “Highest-rated signee at Baylor in recent memory (No. 15 national recruit by ESPNU 150).”  Now, we all know being a highly-rated recruit doesn’t guarantee a thing, but it’s not every day a guy with his potential decides Baylor will be his school of choice.

The former Texas Longhorn commitment expects to be a very big piece of Phil Bennett’s new defense he implemented over the course of the spring.  At Big 12 media days on Monday, Art Briles described Dixon as a dynamic player that will make a lot of plays for the Bears.  A little over a month from now, we’ll be able to see for ourselves.

Arthur Brown, junior - linebacker – Kansas State

uspw_5441104There’s a good chance you know this guy’s name even though he has never played a Big 12 game.  The Miami transfer is a Kansas native that tore up KSU’s scout team last year and now gets to do it for real against the Big 12.

Kansas State didn’t have the speed or depth to compete consistently in the Big 12 last season and gave up over 230 yards rushing per game as a result.  Expect that number to go down significantly in 2011 and Brown will likely be a big reason why.

Toben Opurum, junior – defensive end - Kansas

You may remember Opurum leading the Jayhawks in rushing during his freshman season in 2009.  In 2011, you’re likely to hear Opurum’s name after sacking the quarterback.  After switching to linebacker last season, he looks to finally have found a home at defensive end.

Turner Gill has been looking to get more speed on the field and moving a running back to rush the quarterback is one way to accomplish it.  Gill said after spring practice, I think Toben (Opurum) is going to be a guy to be reckoned with in the Big 12. I think he's going to be a guy people are going to be talking about as time goes along."

Aaron Colvin, sophomore – safety – Oklahoma

Colvin played in all 14 games as a freshman finishing with 34 tackles on the year.  The cornerback has moved back to fill one of the vacated safety positions left in the Sooner backfield, however, and by all accounts the transition has been a smooth one. "But right now we feel comfortable and he feels comfortable. It’s really amazing how he’s caught on, a very instinctive player. He’s a playmaker. We’re excited right now about him at the strong safety position," said defensive coordinator, Brent Veneables.

Oklahoma has a, you could say solid, history of dominant players at the safety position.  Colvin is still experienced, but looks to be on the right path.  “He's as talented a guy as we've ever recruited (at cornerback),” Stoops said last fall. “He runs (well). He's strong. He's smart. He has a feel for it. Plays the ball well. Whoever was ranking stars on that guy missed it. Missed it by a long shot.”

Jackson Jeffcoat – sophomore – defensive end – Texas

Jeffcoat played in eight games as a true freshman finishing with 15 tackles.  He showed flashes of his potential, however, with 6.5 of those tackles coming behind the line of scrimmage including 2.5 sacks.

Jeffcoat’s production was limited after missing four games with an ankle injury.  He’s speed rusher that will likely give left tackles around the Big 12 nightmares when Texas comes to town.  If you check the Big 12’s sack leaders throughout the year, here’s guessing Jeffcoat’s name will be somewhere on the list.

Also looking to make their mark:

These guys could very well have been included in the top five, but either way, they should be making a strong impact in 2011, as well.

Caleb Lavey, sophomore – linebacker – Oklahoma State.  The Cowboys leader on defense last season, Orie Lemon, is gone to graduation.  Someone has to replace his 133 tackles.  Levey should be that guy.

E.J. Gaines, sophomore – cornerback – Missouri. The Tigers need to replace both of last year’s starters at cornerback and they love the playmaking ability Gaines displayed througout spring practice. He saw limited duty in 2010 finishing the year with 26 tackles.

Justin Gilbert, sophomore – cornerback – Oklahoma State.  The last time you saw Gilbert he was taking a kick off to the house in the Bedlam game versus Oklahoma.  Now he’ll have the ability to show his talents on defense full-time and should be a key piece to an improving Pokes defense.

Kony Ealy, RS freshman – defensive end – Missouri.  The Tigers are loaded at the end position and Ealy only adds to the depth.  He’s second team now, but expect Missouri coaches to find some way, any way, to get this guy on the field.

Jordan Hicks, sophomore – linebacker – Texas.  Hicks started to show what he’s capable of during his freshman season making 23 tackles.  He missed spring practice with a foot injury but expect the sophomore to be a shining star in Manny Diaz’s defense in Austin.

Also, Five Names to Know on Offense.

It's that time of the year.  Media days are now in the rear view mirror and this time next week, fall camps will be officially underway and there will be some actual football news to talk about.  Here is a quick spin around the web at some of what was happening in the Big 12 and elsewhere this week.

There was a whole lot of talk about the Longhorn Network this week.  Here's a good read from Richard Justice, columnist for the Houston Chronicle.

Texas could use a few offensive lineman and this true freshman might help matters.  Bevo's Corner looks at Garrett Greanlea.

Sportsbizmiss has a good interview with Texas A&M athletic director, Bill Byrne.

Crimson and Cream Machine has some interesting thoughts on what could become of the Longhorn Network.

The Heroes Game? What is that you say?  Oh, just the Nebraska-Iowa game otherwise known from here on out as the Nebraska-Iowa game.

Husker Corner has a look at the Huskers quarterback situation.

The Big 12 has a new slogan, "This is how we play."  Clone Chronicles has some commentary as it relates to Iowa State.

Kansas landed not one, but two, quarterback recruits this week.  Nice work by Turner Gill and his staff.

Cowboys Ride for Free discuss the new taunting penalty.  The rule will for sure create some controversy this season, which is probably one good indication there's no need for the rule.

Holy Turf has a look at where the Big 12's undrafted free agents ended up now that the NFL lockout is over.

And to finish off the week, always be on the look out for the attacking praying mantis.

Thursday, 28 July 2011 23:38

Oklahoma State Shows-off New Uni's

We've been hearing about Oklahoma State getting new uniforms for the better part of the offseason. Well, for those of you uniform aficionados out there, the wait is officially over. On Thursday, the Cowboys revealed the new look(s). Not bad, not bad at all. I'm not sure if they classify as the Oregon of the Midwest, but they're probably not that far off.  I'm more a traditionalist when it comes to this stuff and would choose the old school looks over the new more times than not, but I have to say, these are sharp.

But seriously, is it necessary to have 48 different combinations? I'm not sure who the equipment manager is in Stillwater, but that man needs a raise.

Complements of the Oklahoma State athletic department, here is a slide show they put together showing some of the new looks.

 

And another question this brings up, who gets to choose what they wear on Saturday?  Do they hold a spaghetti cookout on Wednesday night where they hold a team vote?

So what's your favorite?  I have to go with the black helmets with the black jerseys.  That combo looks so good the pant color wouldn't even matter, any of the four choices would work.

But enough with the fashion updates for now.  We will be back to the regularly scheduled football updates shortly.

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