You have to give the Big 12 Conference credit, they're definitely not a copycat league. The conference already announced they wouldn't be changing their name, and yesterday it was announced after the spring meetings they wouldn't change their logo, either.
Like it or not, the league is not the same as it was. The conference has an opportunity to create a new identity for itself and while I'm not necessarily a marketing expert, a great logo can go a long ways in creating that new identity. At the very least, it's never a bad idea to give the league's logo a little refresher from time to time, is it?
Right or wrong, it's interesting to compare the differences in the thought processes between the conferences in regards to their branding.
In 1993, Penn State began play in the Big Ten and the conference added the sly number 11 into their logo. Then upon adding Nebraska, debuted this, which is up for debate whether that was a good thing. (Hey, maybe the Big 12 has it figured out).
The Pac-10 gave its logo a refresher before the announcement to 10 teams, and then quickly followed that up by throwing in a "12" since starting next season, it'll now be the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah. The decision may have been slightly easier for the Pac-12, since they had already made the decision to change their name shortly after the new additions were announced.
The Big 12 has elected to leave good enough alone, however. I can't help but think it's an opportunity missed to help rebuild the image of the league as a whole, but then again, based on some of the decisions being made, maybe the image of the league wasn't as damaged as some of us like to think. That being said, I can't help but believe this won't keep suggestions like this from cropping up from time to time. That, however, is probably inevitable no matter what the Big 12 logo looks like.
So what do you say, should the Big 12 have changed the logo it or left it alone as they did?
Over the last month or so, promotional videos for season tickets sales have started rolling out. With it being a rather slow time of the year for interesting college football topics to discuss, why not take a look at a few?
I'm always amazed that fans don't jump all over these offers. The first one below is for Iowa State and it starts out with a message stating season tickets start as low as $99. For six home games including Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State, not to mention it's the Hawkeyes turn to visit Ames this year, as well. Are you kidding me - $99!
As for the video, very cool highlights. About the music though, yeah, maybe could have went with a different selection there. I'll let you be the judge.......
Next up is Missouri. The Tigers have three commercials that I could find, and I'll include all of them for your enjoyment. The commercials make no mention of ticket prices other than to say go to MUTigers.com so that's what I did. The cheapest I could find were (for the general public) $229. Not bad. They also have six home games with the best games being visits from Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech.
As for the videos, I love this first one. What better way to get a fanbase fired up to spend some money than by showing their team knocking of the then #1 ranked BCS team in the country.
As for the second video, not bad, but I could take it or leave it to be honest.
The third and final vid switches gear and features former Missouri player, assistant coach, and radio color analyst John Kadlec. Very cool, and I imagine even moreso for Missouri fans featuring a Tiger who has been around the program for more than 60 years.
Rivals (Tom Dienhart, specifically) published their list of the top 20 "hottest" college assistants today. The Big 12 was well represented with seven assistants making the cut. Looking at the list, it got me thinking (which isn't always a good thing, by the way). OK, so these guys are the hottest, but how about who's the best? Before I get started, here are the seven guys from the Big 12 Mr. Dienhart identified as the hottest assistants in the country.
It was interesting to see Manny Diaz at the top of the list of Big 12's assistants. Nothing against the guy because I have no doubt he'll do great things at Texas, but he's been a coordinator at the BCS level for all of one season. Granted, it was a very good one at Mississippi State where the Bulldogs gave up just 19.8 points per game in the SEC. Apparently, that's good enough to make him one of the hottest assistants in the country.
So who's the best? Today, let's start with the offensive coordinators. The best of the defensive coordinators will be coming in a second post tomorrow. And just for clarification, head coaches don't count, otherwise Texas A&M's Mike Sherman would definitely make this list (and probably Briles and Snyder for that matter). The "hottest" list has much to do with assistants that are next in line for a head coaching job, and since those three are already there, they won't be included.. That's are far as the hottest will go, however. This list is based on what each has accomplished on the field. Without further ado:
The Top Five Offensive Coordinators in the Big 12
1. Bryan Harsin - Texas
If you're looking for proof this guy knows how to call plays, just go back and look at Boise State's stats the last five seasons and you'll see all the evidence you need. There are those that would argue Boise State head coach, Chris Peterson, had a lot to do with that, and maybe so, but it's doubtful Mack Brown would have brought him in without a high level of assurance he could run the show on his own, if he indeed wasn't calling all the shots in Boise.
The Broncos offense averaged 42 and 45 points per game the past two seasons. Granted, it wasn't always against BCS level competition, but Boise knocked off their share of heavyweights over the last several years, as well.
It's going to be fun to watch what becomes of the Longhorns' offense over the next couple seasons with the talent that will be available to Harsin at Texas. (Assuming he can find a QB capable of running the show, of course, which I have no doubt he will).
2. Chuck Long - Kansas
Some might raise an eyebrow at this, but how quickly people forget his days running the Sooner's offense. He was Oklahoma's offensive coordinator for some pretty good OU teams that averaged 38.9, 42.9, 34.8, and 26.9 during his time there (not liking that trend, however). Last season's Kansas offense didn't do much to help the perception about him, but it's amazing what some talent (or lack thereof) will do when to make a coordinator look good (or not so good). Long has been there, done that, with some pretty good football teams which is more than a lot of guys can say.
3. Neal Brown - Texas Tech
Tommy Tuberville brought Neal Brown to Lubbock for two primary reasons, he knew the spread offense that was previously run by Mike Leach, and his offenses at Troy were flat out explosive ranking third nationally in total offense during his final season there in 2009. In his first season with the Red Raiders, Tech's offense finished fourth in the Big 12 in both scoring and total offense, averaging 33.1 points and 460 yards per game.
4. David Yost - Missouri
Yost just completed his second season as the Tiger offensive coordinator after being Gary Pinkel's quarterback coach going all the way back to 1997 when Pinkel was still at Toledo. Yost's offenses have put up good numbers in his two seasons, but the upcoming season will be a big one as far as judging Yost's ability as a coordinator. That is because it'll be his first without first round NFL draft pick, Blaine Gabbert, quarterbacking the offense. Mizzou will be breaking in a rather inexperienced quarterback in James Franklin this year which will likely test Yost's play calling ability.
5. Tom Herman - Iowa State
Herman has been the coordinator for Paul Rhoads during his first two seasons in Ames. The numbers for the Cyclones haven't been particularly impressive, but that has more to do with Iowa State's talent level versus who they're playing than Herman's ability calling plays. In the two seasons under Herman, the Cyclones have averaged 21 points and 340 yards a game.
Go back two years earlier and you'll see why Herman got his opportunity to call plays at a Big 12 school. Herman directed the Rice Owls offense to a 10 win season in 2008. The offense averaged 41.6 points per game which was the eighth most in the country. Rice broke 50 school records under Herman's direction in two seasons (I had no idea there were 50 offensive categories to break).
The best of the rest:
Josh Heupel - Oklahoma. Yes, Sooner fans, Heupel will more than likely be in the top five before long. But calling plays for one game against UConn doesn't get him there just yet.
Todd Monken - Oklahoma State. The same can be said for Monken in Stillwater. With Weeden and Blackmon returning, the Cowboys are set up to have another huge season. Dana Holgorsen raised the bar for the Cowboys with his success last year, can Monken keep the ball rolling in his first year calling the shots?
Jay Norvell - Oklahoma. It was mildly surprising Norvell wasn't selected by Stoops as the play caller when Kevin Wilson left for Indiana since he served in that role at UCLA (also was coordinator at Nebraska but Bill Callahan called the plays). I can't see Heupel leaving in the near future, but if he does take a head coaching position sooner rather than later, you have to believe Norvell would be next in line given Stoops history of hiring from within.
Mike Sherman - Not included; already a head coach.
Art Briles - See Mike Sherman. Randy Clements and Phillip Montgomery serve as Briles co-offensive coordinators
Bill Snyder - See Mike Sherman and Art Briles . Dana Dimel and Del Miller serve as Snyder's co-offensive coordinators.
So, what do you think?Check back tomorrow for a look at the Big 12's defensive coordinators.
We've been following his All-Conference teams, so let's keep the ball rolling with Mr. Phil Steele who released his All-American teams today. The Big 12 made a nice haul, especially on offense. Of the 12 spots on Steele's first team list, five of the players selected call the Big 12 Conference home. Oklahoma linebacker, Travis Lewis, was the only defensive player to make the first team giving the Big 12 six players overall.
|Kelechi Osemelee||OT||Iowa State|
If there was a surprise among the first team names, it has to be Oklahoma's Landry Jones being the top quarterback. That's not taking anything away from Jones who should be in for a huge 2011. The surprising aspect was that Stanford's Andrew Luck wasn't his top choice. Luck returned to Stanford for his upcoming junior year, but was widely projected to be the number one pick in the NFL draft should he have chosen to leave school early.
What isn't surprising was to see Justin Blackmon and Ryan Broyles on the list as two of the three first-team receivers. The duo combined for an unbelievable 242 catches, 3,404 yards, and 34 touchdowns last season. Those numbers will be tough to duplicate in 2011, but obviously they're both set to have impressive back-to-back seasons and will likely will battle for several end of season awards when the time comes.
After having six players named to the first team, the second, third, and fourth teams had a total of eight players selected from the conference. All-in-all, not a bad a showing for the Big 12 which is down two teams from last season.
Speaking of those other two teams, Nebraska and Colorado had three players named to the first team which included Jared Crick (DT) and Alfonzo Dennard (CB) of Nebraska along with Ryan Miller (OL) of Colorado being selected. Nebraska linebacker, Lavonte David, was also named to the second team.
Here is the rest of the Big 12 players that were selected. For a look at the complete list of All-Americans Steele recognized, please visit blog.philsteele.com.
|Jeff Fuller||WR||Texas A&M|
|Quinn Sharp||P||Oklahoma State|
|Cyrus Gray||RB||Texas A&M|
|Markelle Martin||S||Oklahoma State|
Kansas coach Turner Gill made the announcement on Tuesday that defensive coordinator, Carl Torbush, will retire from coaching to deal with his health issues. Torbush was recently diagnosed with low grade prostate cancer and felt it in his best interest to step aside while he goes through treatment. "I want to thank Turner Gill and the University of Kansas for the opportunity I had to work here," Torbush said. "It is with great regret that I am retiring, but I feel in my heart after a lot of thought and prayer that this is what is best for myself and my family at this stage in my life.
The good news for Torbush and his family is that the cancer was caught early and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. "I'm just thankful that we caught it now instead of later, because later it could have been a problem. Hopefully this will be completely cleared and three or four months down the road, I hope I'm completely healthy."
From the football perspective, there's no doubt this is a big season for the KU program as Gill will be looking for continued improvement that often happens between year one and year two after a new coaching staff is put in place. Systems and schemes are in place and there is now a foundation to build upon.
That's one big reason why Gill also announced that cornerbacks coach, Vic Shealy, and defensive line coach, Buddy Wyatt, will serve as co-defensive coordinators. "There's no question that I didn't leave from our staff because I knew we had people on this staff that were capable of being defensive coordinators. I kind of always had that in mind as far as when Torbush came and even with (Vic) Shealy and Buddy Wyatt if anything were to happen or if I needed to make a change that these two here (Shealy and Wyatt) would definitely be at the top of the list as far as being a defensive coordinators here."
Shealy will be the guy making the calls on Saturday with Wyatt assisting in the game planning during the week. Coach Gill also announced the Jaywhawks will be looking to hire a new linebackers coach, a position Torbush also coached in addition to his coordinator duties.
Shealy and Wyatt will benefit from already knowing the personnel something that was critical since fall camp will open in just over two months. Torbush also believes it'll be a defense in much better shape than last season. "There is no doubt, athletically, that we're better now than we were last year."
Best of luck to Coach Torbush as he goes through his cancer treatments. Here's hoping he makes a quick recovery and is back to his daily routine soon.
Not only will the Big 12 have a new look with 10 teams, but several teams are going to be sporting their own new looks with different coordinators on the sidelines this year, as well. Here is an introduction to the new faces that'll be calling the plays in 2011 around the conference. While they're all important, here are a couple that will be fun to watch when the season gets rolling in September.
Bryan Harsin (Co-Offensive Coordinator) - Boise State finished second in the country last season in both scoring and total offense averaging 41 points and 521 yards per game. Bryan Harsin was the man calling the plays for Boise and will now bring the Broncos scheme to Austin. He had been on the Boise State's staff for the past 10 seasons including the final five as the offensive coordinator.
He'll hope to improve an offense that was downright awful at times last season. Combining Boise's scheme with the talent on the Texas roster should produce immediate results, assuming Harsin can find a quarterback that's able to execute it consistently. And that's problem 1-A facing Harsin as he gets set to start his first season in Austin. Former Longhorn quarterback, Major Applewhite, will serve as Co-Offensive Coordinator, but it'll be Harsin that is calling the plays on game day.
Manny Diaz (Defensive Coordinator) - Mack Brown didn't hesitate making changes after last season's 5-7 collapse. Not only will Texas be running a new offense, but after defensive coordinator Will Muschamp bolted for Florida's head job, Brown was also forced to bring in a new guy on defense, as well. His choice was Manny Diaz who he was able to lure away from Mississippi State.
Diaz doesn't come to Austin with a wealth of experience but that hasn't stopped him from being thought of as one of the top up-and-coming coordinators in the game. He spent one season as the coordinator at Mississippi State following four seasons at Middle Tennessee State. He'll inherit a talented defense that gave up just over 23 points a game which fell short of some lofty expectations Texas had coming into the season. In his one season in the SEC, Mississippi State gave up just 19.9 points per game.
Diaz will be the sixth defensive coordinator Brown has had on staff since the 2003 season.
Phil Bennett (Defensive Coordinator) - Coming into 2010, Baylor hadn't been to a bowl game since 1994. That changed in Art Briles third season in Waco with the Bears being selected to play in the Texas Bowl. They did it, however, with a defense that gave up over 30 points a game and in their six losses, that number ballooned to over 46 points per game. That's where Phil Bennett enters the picture.
Bennett spent the past three seasons leading Dave Wannstedts's defense at Pitt. When Wannstedt was shown the door, Bennett packed his bags for Waco and will now lead the Bears defense, hoping to build on the momentum created under Briles.
Prior to his stint at Pitt, Bennett was the head coach at SMU for six seasons where he coached against Briles who, at that time, was the head coach of the Houston Cougars. This won't be Bennett's first go-around the Big 12, either. He's also be a defensive coordinator at Kansas State and Texas A&M, and served one season as defensive backs coach at Oklahoma, as well.
Chad Glasgow (Defensive Coordinator) - Somewhat similar to the situation at Baylor, Texas Tech is looking to revive a defense that finished last in the Big 12 in total defense giving up 456 yards per game. Chad Glasgow comes to Lubbock after spending the past 10 seasons on Gary Patterson's staff at TCU. He coached the safeties for a team that led the country the past three seasons in defense and finished number one in pass defense in 2010 giving up just 128.7 yards per game.
Glasgow plans to instill the same 4-2-5 scheme that the Horned Frogs used so successfully over the years. The Red Raiders were hit hard last season with injuries, but the flip side of that is that a lot of guys picked up a valuable year of experience. That extra experience coming back, combined with Glasgow now calling the shots, means the Red Raiders should be much improved on defense in 2011 if they can stay healthy.
Josh Heupel (Co-Offensive Coordinator) - Last season's offense offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, is now the head man at the University of Indiana. Bob Stoops didn't have to look far for his replacement. As Stoops often does, he promoted from within and tabbed quarterbacks coach and former OU standout, Josh Heupel, to run the offense.
Heupel will share the coordinator title with Jay Norvell, but it'll be Heupel calling the plays on Saturdays. Heupel has been part of Stoops' staff going back to 2005 when he returned to Norman after spending one season as the tight ends coach at Arizona. Heupel got his feet wet last season calling the plays in Oklahoma's Fiesta Bowl victory over Connecticut. The Sooners totaled 524 yards against the Huskies, 429 of that coming through the air in OU's 48-20 victory.
Todd Monken (Offensive Coordinator) - Todd Monken returns to Stillwater following four seasons as the receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He will inherit one of the country's most powerful offenses from 2010 with most of its key parts returning.
Much has been made about what would change with the Cowboys' offense that Dana Holgorsen made so successful in just one season. The answer is apparently nothing as Monken spent the better part of the spring learning Oklahoma State's offense rather than teaching his own.
Even though he didn't call the plays in the spring game, the Cowboys offense did combine for over 700 yards in the scrimmage which was hopefully a good sign for Cowboy fans that have their fingers crossed this year's version can equals last year's production.
This is Monken's second stint in Stillwater. He coached under Les Miles as the receivers coach while Mike Gundy was the then offensive coordinator. He followed Miles to LSU and was there for two seasons before moving on to Jacksonville.
As announced today, the Jayhawks will be looking for a new defensive coordinator after Carl Torbush has decided to retire from coaching after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kansas hasn't released the full details yet, but Torbush is expecting a full recovery. Let's hope that is indeed the case and best of luck to Coach and his family going forward.
UPDATE: Kansas coach, Turner Gill, announced cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy and D-Line coach, Buddy Wyatt, will assume the role as co-coordinators. Shealy will call the defenses on Saturdays.
Phil Steele followed up his All-ACC and All Big 12 teams with the release of his preseason All Big Ten team on Saturday. Four Huskers found their way onto the inaugural first team, none of which were any great suprise.
All told, Nebraska had 10 players named to the preseason squad which Steele takes four-deep for one reason or another (is being named 4th team All-Conference a complement? ) Here's a breakdown of the numbers of players selected by school (special teams not included):
|1st Team||2nd Team||3rd Team||4th Team||Total|
It's hard to get much more balanced than that in regards to players per school. Every school had between seven and eleven players recognized, with Minnesota and Indiana being the only exceptions with just two players each (by the way, that's not very good out of 96 players).
But back to Nebraska, the other Huskers that found their way onto the squad were:
Since I still cover the Big 12 for Turfburner as well, I can't help but make a couple comparisons as the Huskers get ready to change leagues. The first obvious comparison is at quarterback where Northwestern's Dan Persa is first team All-Big Ten followed by Kirk Cousin's of Michigan State. Let's just say it's hard to imagine the QB play in the Big Ten being as good as it was in the Big 12. Not to take anything away from Persa who's a very solid quarterback, but I have to believe he'd have a hard time cracking the top four in the Big 12 of Landry Jones, Brandon Weeden, Robert Griffin, or Ryan Tannehill.
But herein lies one of the big differences between the conferences - offenses in the Big Ten simply don't rely on their quarterback near as much as they do in the Big 12. Don't get me wrong, every team regardless of their conference needs a good starting quarterback, but the offenses in the Big Ten simply don't air it as much as most do the Big 12 and therefore just aren't going to put up the gaudy offensive stats you see in the Big 12.
*A couple other notes: it's great to see Rex Burkhead getting some love in the Big Ten. Depending on what the incoming freshman do, he could get a ton of work this season. If he stays injury free, it wouldn't be shocking to see him pushing for first team honors come seasons end.
*Michigan's Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez were listed as the third and fourth team quarterbacks. It'll be fun to watch these two play against the same competition all season. Robinson will be switching offenses and now running Al Borges' west coast attack which should be a huge storyline in the conference throughout 2011. Nebraska fans know all too well how that transition can go if not handled properly.
Martinez on the other hand, is going to be playing in an offense much more suited to his skill set than he was in previously. If he gets his complete mobility back, he could be in for a monster season, although he still has a lot to prove when it comes to consistency.
*Out of 20 offensive lineman named to Steele's squad, exactly one Husker made the cut and that would be offensive tackle, Jeremiah Sirles, who missed the entire spring while recovering from a should injury. How will this group hold up in the Big Ten? Yes, preseason teams aren't worth much more than the paper they're printed on, but if you're a Husker fan, you'd still like to see a few more guys on this list.
Here's the link to see the entire list of players that made Steele's All-Conference team.
The guru has spoken. Today, Phil Steele released his All Big 12 team on his website. There are few, if any, that study it closer than he does so it's always cool to hear what he has to say. He goes four deep on both on offense and defense with 12 players making it on each side. Below is a breakdown of the players who made it on offense and defense (by school) on his four-deep list:
|1st Team||2nd Team||3rd Team||4th Team||Total|
As you can see, A&M leads the way with 19 of their potential 22 starters being recognized on one of the four teams. Not a bad sign for Aggie fans and probably a good indication that TAMU is solid across the board. Kansas, Texas Tech, and Iowa State had the feweset players with the Jayhawks having only one player named to the first three teams.
Here's a complete list of the offensive and defensive first teams (no special teams included):
|RB||Cryrus Gray||Texas A&M|
|WR||Justin Blackmon||Oklahoma State|
|WR||Jeff Fuller||Texas A&M|
|OG||Lonnie Edwards||Texas Tech|
|OG||Lane Taylor||Oklahoma State|
|OT||Kelechi Osemele||Iowa State|
|OT||Levy Adcock||Oklahoma State|
|DL||Tony Jerod-Eddie||Texas A&M|
|LB||Arthur Brown||Kansas State|
|CB||Coryell Judie||Texas A&M|
|S||Markelle Martin||Oklahoma State|
A couple quick thoughts:
*How does a true freshman that didn't partake in spring practice get named first-team All Conference (Texas running back, Malcolm Brown)? Granted, the kid is supposed to be a superstar, but how about naming someone who's actually played a down at the college level first. I'll take James Sims, Eric Stephens, Joseph Randle, Jeremy Smith, Brennan Clay, Roy Finch (who didn't make his 4-deep). If you're taking a freshmen, I'll go with Ronnie Daniels, Brandon Williams, or Darrian Miller, all who were on campus this spring and all who impressed their coaches.. And that's not knocking Brown, he'll be good, if not great.
*It's hard to argue with Landry Jones as the top quarterback, although you can pretty much flip a coin between the top four guys, Brandon Weeden, Robert Griffin, and Ryan Tannehill.
*Neither of Missouri's new cornerbacks, E.J. Gaines or Kip Edwards, were to be found on his 4-deep roster. I'd be shocked if one or both of those guys don't find themselves on some all-conference lists at season's end. The same goes for Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State, who did make Steele's second team as a kick returner.
*Looking at all four teams, it's easy to see the Big 12 is really deep at receiver. The obvious guys are Blackmon, Broyles, and Fuller, but there are 8-10 guys behind them, if not more, that can play some serious ball. He has Mike Davis from Texas on his fourth team which goes to show you there is some serious depth there. Sure, he needs a quarterback to get him the ball, but he'll definitely be a guy to keep an eye on this year in Bryan Harsin's new offense.
When does the season kick-off, by the way?
If you missed it above, here is the link again to the entire roster of players who made Steele's All-Big 12 team.
Ten teams. No championship game. Round robin schedule. The Big 12 will definitely have a new look heading into their 16th season of existence.
The conference will argue not having a championship game is a good thing. I beg to differ, especially looking back as some of the great games that have happened over the past 15 seasons.
What do you say - what was the best Big 12 Championship game ever? (Log in to leave a comment and don't forget to vote in the poll in the right column).
5. 2001 Colorado 39 Texas 37
As good as this game turned out to be, to fully appreciate the magnitude of the game, you have to take a step back to realize how each team got there because just a week earlier, it looked like neither team had much of a chance to make it to Texas Stadium. That all changed when Colorado shocked second ranked and undefeated Nebraska the Friday after Thanksgiving, 62-36, creating a tie in the Big 12 North and by virtue of the win, claimed the tiebreaker and a chance to play for the title.
Texas needed help the final week of the season as the Longhorns had already fell to Oklahoma earlier in the year and looked destined to be on the outside looking in. That all changed when Oklahoma State, 3-7 at the time, pulled their own shocker but knocking off fourth ranked Oklahoma 16-13, giving the Big 12 South title to Texas.
As for the game, Colorado jumped out to 29-10 lead in the second quarter helped out by a couple Chris Simms interceptions and a fumble. Simms was knocked from the game and the Longhorns put in some guy named Major Applewhite who immediately threw a 79 yard TD pass that cut the Buffalo lead to 29-17 at half.
Colorado maintained control of the game through three quarters and led 36-20 heading into the fourth. Texas added a field goal and then Gary Barnett call for a fake punt than turned into a near disaster for Colorado. The pass from the punter was picked off and returned 54 yards for a score and Texas now trailed only 36-30 with nine minutes to go. Colorado was able to add a field goal, however, for a 39-30 lead that would end up being enough for the championship. Texas added a touchdown with 30 seconds remaining but couldn't recover the ensuing onside kick
4. 1996 Texas 37 Nebraska 27
Texas came into the first ever Big 12 title game sitting at 7-4, suffering three losses during the year to teams ranked in the Top 20 (#9 Notre Dame, #19 Virginia, and #8 Colorado), after starting the year ranked #8 themselves. They also lost in Dallas against the Sooners, getting upset by an Oklahoma squad that finished the year 3-8.
Nebraska came into the game ranked #3 in the country after running off nine straight victories following the upset loss in Tempe to Arizona State. The loss to ASU ended Nebraska’s 26 game winning streak after winning back to back National Championships the prior two years. A victory in the Big 12 title game would have pitted Nebraska against #1 Florida St. in the Orange Bowl and a chance at a possible third straight National Championship.
With Texas a 21 point underdog, the game would be back and forth the entire way with Texas holding a 20-17 halftime lead. After a 47 yard field goal by Phil Dawson gave Texas a 23-17 third quarter lead, Nebraska scored the next 10 points of the 2nd half, putting itself up 27-23. Texas QB James Brown (353 yard passing for the game) then found Wayne Garrity for 66 yard TD putting Texas back in front, 30-27, setting up the dramatic play of the game.
With Nebraska’s defense needing a stop to give the ball back to Scott Frost and the Husker offense, Texas faced a 4 & 1 at its own 29 yard line with 2:38 to go in the game. With nothing to lose, John Macovich decided not to punt and had James Brown fake a hand-off and roll left where he found a wide open Derek Lewis for a 61 yard gain that sealed the upset for Texas.
3. 2003 Kansas State 35 Oklahoma 7
This game doesn't make the list because it was necessarily a great game, but rather because of the shock value it provided. Oklahoma came into the game at Arrowhead Stadium undefeated and ranked number one in the nation. They had been pounding teams into submission all season leading some to whisper the Sooners just may be one of the greatest teams off all time. Scores like 65-13 over #11 Texas, 52-9 over #14 Oklahoma State, and 77-0 over Texas A&M backed up some of those opinions.
Oklahoma faced a Kansas State team that came in with a 10-3 record after stringing together six straight wins and were ranked #13th in the country. The Sooners still entered the contest as 14 point favorites.
Right out of the gate it looked like what most expected after OU scored on a 42 yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead. After that initial score, the Oklahoma steam engine officially derailed and Kansas State rolled off 35 straight points while the Sooners wouldn't see the end zone the rest of the night. El Roberson threw three first half touchdowns and OU couldn't do anything to slow down who Darren Sproles who gashed the usually tough OU run defense for 235 yards.
Oklahoma still managed to remain in the top two teams in the BCS standings, however, and made it to the title game where they fell to LSU, 21-14. Kansas State went on to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champs but fell short against Ohio State, 35-28.
2. 2009 Texas 13 Nebraska 12
This game is still fresh in most people's mind. One second being put back on the clock - Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh terrorizing Colt McCoy most of the night - Nebraska's offense totalling exactly 106 yards of offense - were just a few of the highlights, or lowlights, depending on your viewpoint.
The Longhorns came into the game needing a win to take on Alabama for the BCS Championship. The Texas offense, led by senior Colt McCoy, had been dominant most of the season averaging well over 400 yards and 40+ points per game. The Huskers' defense had become equally dominant the second half of the season in year number two under head coach Bo Pelini, but could they slow down McCoy? Yes, as it was the Blackshirts who would have the upper hand causing McCoy to have one of his worst performances of his Longhorn career.
The Huskers defense dominated all night, sacking McCoy nine times including 4.5 of them coming from Suh. Texas' defense was equally as impressive, however, holding a stagnant Nebraska offense to 106 yards. Nebraska didn't get a first down their first seven possessions of the game and tallied only five all night. There were also a total of 17 punts between the two teams.
The game will be remembered for the final two plays, however. Texas faced a 3 and 13 from the Huskers 29 yard with nine seconds remaining. McCoy rolled right and was forced to throw the ball away as the clocked ticked down. After the ball landed out of bounds, the clocked showed no time remaining, Nebraska celebrated, but the officials eventually ruled that one second should be put back on the clock. That allowed Hunter Lawrence to kick a game winning 46 yard field goal and kept the Longhorns national title hopes alive, giving Mack Brown his second Big 12 title.
And the winner is.........
1. 1998 Texas A&M 36 Kansas State 33
Bill Snyder had the Wildcats at 11-0 and on the verge of playing for their first ever national championship. Texas A&M entered the contest at 10-2 and ranked 10th in the country. Despite the Aggies' success, they were still 17 point underdogs to Kansas State whose powerful offense was led by quarterback, Michael Bishop.
After three quarters, the game went just as most people expected it would with K-State holding a 27-12 lead. But two Brandon Stewart touchdown passes, the last going to running back, Sirr Parker, pulled the Aggies within two points with just over a minute to play. The Aggies had to go for two and Steward found Parker, again, on a roll out pass giving A&M the conversion and sending the game to overtime.
After the teams traded field goals in the first overtime, KSU added another one in the second overtime, taking a three point lead with A&M's possession yet to come. That set up the dramatics. The Aggies faced a 3 and 18 but Stewart hit Parker on a quick slant who then took it just past the pylon for the winning TD setting of pandemonium for the A&M fans and crushing the Wildcat backers who just a few minutes earlier, thought the outcome was nearly sealed.
These were good, but not quite top five:
2000 Oklahoma 27 Kansas State 24 The Top ranked Sooners held off seventh ranked Kansas State setting up Bob Stoops's first national chamionship in only his second year as the Sooners' top man.
2005 Texas 70 Colorado 3 - Are you serious, Colorado? (This, by the way, wasn't close to being top five. But a 67 point differrential in a championship game couldn't go without mentioning). If anyone was looking for evidence the balance had shifted to the south division, this is probably it. Colorado had won the tiebreaker in the north over Nebraska and Missouri, all who finished 4-4 in the Big 12.
2010 - Oklahoma 23 Nebraska 20 - The Huskers jumped out to a 17-0 lead but then turned the ball over four times and the Oklahoma defense held the Huskers scoreless in the second half, sacking Taylor Martinez seven times in the process.
It would be great if the football season were closer so we wouldn't have to discuss exciting topics like "APR" scores, but that's unfortunately what we're left with the week before Memorial Day. So let's get to it.
Yesterday the NCAA released it's annual Academic Progress Rate reports, and as far as the Big 12 football teams go, everyone appears to be in decent shape.
For those like myself who don't exactly follow the APR scores all that closely, wikipedia tells me it's a metric established by the NCAA to indicate the success of collegiate athletic teams in moving student athletes towards graduation. A little deeper research from the NCAA's website says it is a term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates. So basically, it's a measure of whether players within a program are academically eligible and are staying in school.
The scores are measured over a four-year cycle and if a program's scores falls below 925 over that period, penalties can be assessed including losing scholarships and having restrictions put on their practice time and competition.
Here's a rundown of how the Big 12's schools fared for the 2009-2010 academic year. Keep in mind, this is just for one year and is not the number used to determine penalties. For those that are interested, you can find all the information here for schools as a whole, and also sport and year specific. The numbers below are for football programs only.
|School||APR Score 2009-10|
Nice job, Missouri!
The following is a chart showing each football programs' scores since the program was started by the NCAA in 2005. These are the multi-year averages that are used in determining penalties, if necessary.
As you can see, Colorado was the only school hovering near the 925 mark, but that was still an improvement over the 920 the school received in 2008-09 which resulted in a five scholarship reduction for the football program.
When comparing years, all the schools look to be holding steady with no major shifts in any of the schools' scores, and only three schools had a decrease from the year prior, and all three were minor at that.
Academic Progress Rates for Big 12 Football:
The national average for football came in at a 946. If you look at the ten teams that will be around the conference next season, four of the ten are above the national average. And with Colorado leaving, Iowa State assumes the position at the bottom of the totem pole with a score of 932 but if their one year score of 946 is any indication, the Cyclones are on the way up.
Now back to some football, hopefully.
General College Football
Saturday Down South (SEC)
Holy Turf (Big 12 and SEC)
Eye and Eer (Ohio State & West Virginia)
Big 12 team sites are on the team specific pages