Tag:Big 12
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 6:03 pm
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Oklahoma's Kellen Jones to transfer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's one less linebacker competing for a starting job with the Sooners this spring.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops confirmed on Thursday that linebacker Kellen Jones was leaving the program and will transfer.

"Kellen leaves the program in good standing, and we wish him the best," said Stoops.

Jones played in 12 games with the Sooners in 2011 as a freshman, playing both as a reserve linebacker and on special teams. He finished the season with 10 tackles.

He was expected to compete for a starting spot with the Sooners this fall alongside Tom Wort and Corey Nelson. Instead it looks like a door has been opened for guys like Joseph Ibiloye, Jaydan Bird and Aaron Franklin.

Jones began his college career at Michigan before transferring to Oklahoma before the season.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:54 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:59 pm
 

Pinkel: Border War renewal "going to happen"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Missouri kicked off spring practice yesterday, but with the Tigers preparing for their first season in the SEC East, Gary Pinkel also took the time this morning to appear on radio station 610 Sports AM in Kansas City. And he had some highly interesting things to say about his program's 120-year-old "Border War" rivalry with Kansas--namely, that the two schools will resume the series in the future, despite the Tigers' acrimonious leap to the SEC.

"You know we’re going to play again," he said. "We need to play a game in Kansas City. Every year we should play the first or second week in September ... It would be awesome. Basketball can do the same thing. Maybe not every year in Kansas City but certainly maybe four years there then home and away and go back there. It’s awesome.

"It’s going to happen. You all know it’s going to happen."

This would be news to Kansas, who reacted to the Tigers' defection from the Big 12 by insisting the Border War had come to an end, despite support from the Jayhawk players for continuing the series; 2012 will mark the first time since 1891  the two teams won't meet on the gridiron, disrupting the longest rivalry in any college sport west of the Mississippi River. The months between Missouri's announcement and now have yet to produce, at least publicly, any thaw in KU-UM relations from the Lawrence side of things.

But Pinkel is correct that some things speak more loudly than even anger and bitterness, and that one of them is cold, hard cash.

"Of course it’s going to happen. We’re going to make too much money doing it, first of all," Pinkel said (emphasis added). "And all the fans want it to happen ... I wish the Big 12 luck. I’d never wish Kansas luck. I can’t do that. That’s against my principles. But certainly I hope the Big 12 does really, really well. Let’s just move on. Gosh darn, it’s not that complex."

We admire Pinkel's "principles" here, since they illustrate why we're hoping the allure of splitting a huge Kansas City-fueled paycheck can bring the two teams back together on both the football field and the basketball court; it's not an exaggeration to say college sports would be better for it. But we also don't blame Kansas for being aggrieved, given the general "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya" vibe given off by the Tigers on their way out the league door.

Take this trailer (for lack of a better term) for the SEC leap posted to the Mizzou football YouTube channel Wednesday:
 


The voiceover isn't exactly inflammatory: "They say you rise to the level of competition ... That playing great teams only makes you better ... We're counting on it." But the implication is also clear: The SEC is just better than your conference, dude.

So here's a wish that Pinkel's prediction comes true sooner rather than later ... and our own prediction that it may take a few years for the wounds to heal well enough for that to happen.

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Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:48 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 10:48 am
 

Michael Harrison leaves Oklahoma State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Wide receiver Michael Harrison had been a candidate to earn a starting job on the Oklahoma State offense in 2012 but was suspended for the season in February. Now it seems that Harrison has decided since he can't play football in 2012, he doesn't want to play football in 2013 or any other year.

Harrison told head coach Mike Gundy he was leaving the Oklahoma State program last week.

“The NCAA suspended him,” Gundy told The Oklahoman. “I never suspended him, and then he chose to not play football. He made that choice himself. My recommendation to him was to finish school, because that's what you have to do. You can't go anywhere at this particular time…and then if he chooses to (leave), that's his call.

“I don't know what he wants to do. I just know that he's decided he does not want to play football anymore.” 

Harrison caught 20 passes for 255 yards and 3 touchdowns for the Cowboys last season.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 11:32 am
 

Chuck Neinas supports a four-team playoff

Posted by Tom Fornelli

He may only be an interim commissioner, and the Big 12 may have already started the process of finding his replacement, but Chuck Neinas is the latest conference commissioner to publicly voice his support of a college football playoff.

Neinas told The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel that he likes the idea of a playoff, and like Roy Kramer and Larry Scott before him, he also thinks sending conference champions would be the way to go.

“I like the idea, if you're going to take four, take four champions,” Neinas said. “They're not hard to identify.

“The selection process is one that would concern me. The easiest is taking four conference champions.”

Neinas also told Tramel he didn't see any downside to college football adopting a playoff format, explaining that college football needs to make changes to maintain what it has. 

“Looking at it very broadly, we've agreed, we've got to do something to maintain public interest. We want a vibrant postseason. We have to explore ideas that will make it better. There's obviously strong support of a four-team arrangement.”

So, to sum it all up, in the last few weeks we've had current, former or interim commissioners from the Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC and the Big 12 publicly support the idea of a four-team playoff. Three of those four have said they think having only conference champions be eligible is the best way to go about it.

So if I can read between the lines here, a college football playoff is coming, and only conference champions will be eligible.

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Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:08 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Oklahoma



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Oklahoma.

Spring Practice Starts: Monday, March 5

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Returning Starters: Eight offense, seven defense, both specialists

Three Things To Watch For:

1. Utilizing the Belldozer. One of the best things Oklahoma fans heard over the winter was that Landry Jones would be returning for another season. Still, we know what Oklahoma is going to get from Jones in 2012. What we can't be sure of is the role Blake Bell is going to play. In Oklahoma's final 6 games Bell rushed for 13 touchdowns and was seemingly unstoppable in short-yardage situations. You have to think that the Sooners are going to create more packages for Bell to utilize his abilities. Much like Florida did with Tim Tebow when Chris Leak was still around in 2006 and that worked out well for the Gators.

2. A shift in the defense. Mike Stoops is in as defensive coordinator and Brent Venables has left for Clemson. Here's what I feel confident in saying about the Oklahoma defense this season: with Stoops around, a talented secondary that was already one of the best in the Big 12 is going to get even better. The question is how Venables' absence will affect the linebackers and defensive line, with linebackers in particular being a Venables specialty. Spring practices will give us all our first clue as to how things will shake out.

3. Can a running back emerge? Dominique Whaley was a pleasant surprise for the Sooners in 2011, leading the team in rushing with 627 yards even though his year ended early thanks to a broken ankle. Because of that ankle, Whaley won't be participating in spring practice. Which means there are plenty of reps to go around for guys like Roy Finch, Brennan Clay, and incoming freshman Alex Ross. It would be a bonus for the Sooners if one of these backs steps up and shows they're capable of taking on a big role in the offense should Whaley have trouble coming back from injury.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:58 pm
 

VIDEO: The ears of Texas are bleeding

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Bad news, everybody, Jay-Z and Kanye West stopped watching the throne long enough to let a couple guys from Austin parody a song that has a title I can't type here. But don't take my word for it, witness the terrible crime against humanity for yourself.



I haven't seen a disaster like that take place in Austin since Garrett Gilbert was still wearing a Texas uniform.

Now, while that was truly terrible and one of the worst experiences of your life, it should be noted that it was meant to be terrible. The video's description on YouTube can tell you as much. So, really, while this is just another in a long line of terrible college-themed rap videos, the rappers themselves are wonderful.

Because they were trying to be awful. And they were. So good for them, I guess.

Hat tip: Kegs 'N Eggs

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:08 pm
 

Texas A&M is moving on from the Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Officially Texas A&M won't be a member of the SEC until July 1st. It appears the Aggies don't want to wait that long, however, especially now that the Big 12 buyouts have been agreed to. For evidence of this you need not look past the Twitter account of Texas A&M's equipment staff, who tweeted out this photo on Wednesday morning.



Not pictured are Texas A&M fans throwing out their cases of Shiner Bock in exchange for jars of moonshine, but change, unlike the effect of moonshine on the brain, is gradual. Give them time.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:01 am
 

The biggest shoes to fill in college football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


With teams having already started or starting spring practice over the next few weeks. there are a lot of players across the country who will be charged with replacing someone who has come and gone before them. It's an annual rite of spring in college football, when the senior quarterback from last season is putting the finishing touches on his final semester as a college student, and the sophomore who isn't even sure what he's majoring in yet realizes he's going to be majoring in Playbook 101 for the next few weeks.

Of course, while roster turnover is a common occurence in college football, there are bigger shoes to fill than others, and in this post we take a look at the ten biggest pairs looking for a new owner this spring.

10. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Ryan Broyles began re-writing the Oklahoma record books the moment he stepped on the field in his first game as a Sooner. He caught 7 passes for 141 yards against Cincinnati, both of which were freshman records. Four years later he finished his career having caught more passes than any other receiver in FBS history, pulling in 349 passes for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In other words, he's not the type of player that Oklahoma can just replace with anybody. This spring receivers like Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Metoyer will try to replicate Broyles' production in Norman. Whether it will be one of them doing it, or a group effort, Oklahoma will need it to happen if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.

9. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Understandably, USC fans were extremely excited by the news that Matt Barkley would be returning for his senior season, and many have pegged the Trojans as a title favorite because of it. What you don't want to do, however, is overlook the fact that the man who was in charge of protecting Barkley's blindside these last few years won't be back.

Though that's how life generally works for offensive lineman like Matt Kalil. As large as they are, they're often overlooked. Kevin Graf, Jeremy Galten, David Garness and Nathan Guertler will all be competing for the unenviable task of being the man in charge of making sure nothing happens to the most valuable piece of the USC offense.

8. Mark Barron, S, Alabama

One of the problems with having a defense as strong as the one we saw in Tuscaloosa last season is that you're bound to lose players to the next level, and the Crimson Tide have no shortage of beasts making their way to greener pastures. Still, the Tide have a knack for churning out defensive lineman and linebackers, but safeties like Mark Barron don't come along all that often.

Barron made 231 tackles for Nick Saban in his four seasons, including 13 for a loss, while picking off 12 passes. Barron was the type of player that could defend the pass and the run, and he won't be easily replaced. Can Robert Lester or freshman Vinnie Sunseri step up and be the next stud in the Alabama secondary?

7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Based purely on production, there may be no larger shoes to fill in the country than Luke Kuechly's. There may not have been more than 3 plays run by opposing offenses in which Kuechly wasn't in on the tackle. Kuechly finished 2011 with 191 tackles. The next highest total on the Boston College defense belonged to Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74.

As our own Chip Patterson put it, "for Boston College, replacing Kuechly is like any other team replacing 2 1/2 players." Though it's been proven that it can be done, as Kuechly himself once had to fill the shoes left behind by Mark Herzlich. Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- who has a name that would be hard to replace -- will be the two linebackers looking to repeat the feat.

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Many casual college football fans never truly appreciated how amazing a player Morris Claiborne was for LSU in 2011 simply because opposing offenses weren't dumb enough to test him all that often. Throw in some Honey Badger exploits with a bit of Les Miles being Les Miles, and Claiborne gets a bit lost in the gumbo. Still, Claiborne truly was the definition of a shutdown corner for LSU, playing a pivotal role on one of the best defenses in the country.

While Tyrann Mathieu will be back in 2012, he's not the cover corner that Claiborne was, so it will be up to Tharold Simon to fill the role. One he seems capable of considering he led LSU with 10 passes broken up in 2011 playing mostly as a nickel back.

5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

I won't lie to you. Even when Mark Ingram will still in Tuscaloosa running through SEC defenses, I always felt that Trent Richardson was the best running back on the Alabama roster. Now both are gone, and Richardson will be harder to replace than Ingram was simply because Trent can't replace himself.

Can Eddie Lacy be the next Heisman finalist in the Alabama backfield? He showed some promise in 2011, and in an offense like Alabama's, the opportunities will be there. Still, even if Lacy is extremely talented, there are only so many shoes capable of doing this.

4. Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon, QB/WR, Oklahoma State

A bit of a cheat, I know, but the truth is that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon felt like extensions of one another for the past two seasons in Stillwater. Their success was as a duo. I mean, Blackmon caught 40 touchdowns over the last three seasons, which accounted for 53% of the 75 touchdown passes Weeden threw with the Cowboys.

Now we know that Oklahoma State is going to continue putting points on the board without them, but will the offense ever be as prolific when the combination is Clint Chelf or Wes Lunt to Tracy Moore? We'll get our first clues this spring.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Maybe you think that LaMichael James isn't all that hard to replace given the weapons Oregon has in the backfield. I can see your point, but I can also point out that James nearly doubled Kenjon Barner's rushing total (1,805 yards to 939) in 2011. I mean, this is a man who rushed for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry in 2011, yet we didn't think it was so amazing based simply on the fact we'd already seen him do similar things in the previous two seasons.

We just got used to it.

Yes, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas are extremely talented backs, but the fact is there's no easy way to replace a back who accounted for 5,888 all-purpose yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons as a Duck, all at the speed of light.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Will it be harder to fill RG3's shoes, or his socks? Neither will be easy. While we all know how talented Griffin was as a quarterback for Baylor in 2011 and the two seasons before it, it's his impact on the program that will leave the biggest impression. Baylor went from a perennial bottom-feeder in the Big 12 to a team that can call itself the home of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Nick Florence will be the favorite to replace Griffin this spring, but he'll never be able to have the impact on the Baylor program that Griffin did. Instead he'd be much better served to focus on replacing the production on the field. Something that won't be easy, either, but given Art Briles' history with quarterbacks and the way Florence performed in place of Griffin against Texas Tech, it may not be that far-fetched, either.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck didn't win the Heisman Trophy like Robert Griffin did, but that doesn't diminish the impact he had on the Stanford program. In the three seasons before Luck showed up in Palo Alto, Stanford was 10-26, including a 1-11 season in 2006. In Luck's three seasons the Cardinal went 31-8, played in two BCS bowl games and became a national program.

Stanford is essentially the school Notre Dame used to be, and it's all thanks to Luck. Of course, the question now is whether or not Stanford can maintain the success they had under Luck with a new quarterback. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will all enter spring practice looking to replace the most important player in the history of Stanford football, and that's a list that includes John Elway.

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