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stormstopper

Conference Commissioner
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stormstopper last won the day on August 8

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About stormstopper

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    Tigerslayer, Duck Hunter
  • Birthday 06/05/1993

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CFBHC

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    Duke Blue Devils

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  • CFBHC Career
    Kansas Jayhawks (2014-Present)
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    Cleveland Browns Owner (2014-2016), Chicago Bears Owner/GM (2017-Present)
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    2x Big XII Champion (2014, 2018)
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  1. There won't be another week like this all season in the Big XII, with eight different games to keep track of over the weekend, across the country, and across hours and hours of what will be a splendid Saturday of non-conference play. The nation's most exciting conference will require multiple screens to keep track of--but it'll be worth it, so grab your snacks in advance and enjoy the marathon. Let's talk about (the first four of) the games! Friday Night California (0-0) at Kansas State (0-0) (+11.5) Kansas State and California open up their respective seasons on Friday night, each with something to prove. Kansas State's struggles have been well-documented here, but the Golden Bears are themselves coming off of consecutive losing seasons. There's good reason to expect more from both teams this year. For Kansas State, much of that comes down to Shane Kruse, who was widely expected to earn the starting quarterback on day 1 on his redshirt freshman season and accomplished exactly that. For California, the expectation is that a very talented offense won't underperform to the same degree as last season, where they ranked 120th in scoring offense despite having three future NFL linemen and three future NFL receivers. Calvin Levesque is the only receiver they lose, and between Spencer Sharpe and Marcus Hightower they have speed to burn. Sharpe put up decent numbers last season with 712 yards and 6 touchdowns and 13.2 yards per catch; Hightower struggled to 429 yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 drops, and just 11.3 yards per catch. Incumbent quarterback Nick Ellison just couldn't find his guys. He completed 57.5% of his passes for 2201 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. If they want to throw the ball nearly 60% of the time like they did last year despite Zachary McFadden averaging 5.1 yards per carry, then all that passing-game talent has to go to work. Kansas State's secondary is still a work in progress, but Sammy Schuler is dangerous, Ahmad Winston is always good for a pick or two a year, and linebackers like Brendan Scherer and Shawn Reyes have some ballhawking in them. And maybe freshman Mario Hamilton finds a way to make an impact--but he's also the only significant addition to a defense that ranked #124 in points allowed per game last year. The talent advantage belongs to California when they have the ball, and that's still mostly true when Kansas State has the ball (with one caveat). Cal's defense retains a lot of talent even without Blaine Lewis-Thompson: they return leading tackler D'Andre Phillips (37 tackles, 3 TFL, 1.0 sack) at mike linebacker, leading sacker Jamal Dorsey (31 tackles, 5 TFL, 8.5 sacks) at defensive end, and two of their three players with multiple interceptions (linebacker Mahamadou Holloway and cornerback Shaq Kimbrough, with 2 each). Defensive tackle Adam Gibson is capable of disruption as well. The caveat: they start a pair of freshman safeties, and that's something Kansas State can attack for all its worth. Jermaine Jordan will be testing the top level of the defense early and often, and if Shane Kruse can find him then there's a lot of potential explosivity there. But can the offensive line protect Kruse from a strong front seven long enough to deliver those throws? Can Gabriel Vinson prove enough of a threat on the ground to take the pressure off of the passing game? It wouldn't be unheard of, but it would be surprising. California might or might not be better than last year, but they're just as talented and I think that will be enough for them in Manhattan. California 35, Kansas State 21 Saturday Afternoon Tulsa (0-1) at #6/#8 Oklahoma State (1-0) (-18) Last time we saw Tulsa, they were taking one in the teeth from Oklahoma. Facing the third member of the Sooner State trio (a state nickname I'm sure neither of these teams appreciates me using), the Golden Hurricane will have no less uphill of a battle. Oklahoma State spent week 1 shellacking Arizona on the road behind a semi-balanced and fully operational offensive attack that they should be able to repeat in their home opener. Tulsa couldn't get much pressure on Oklahoma outside of defensive end Lardarius Rucker. Jordan Sparks (not that Jordin Sparks) and the linebacker corps were on their heels most of the time, and Amral Brown is an even bigger challenge for that defensive front. On the other hand, it's not the most favorable matchup for Oklahoma State because Brown's power-run style will bring him face-to-face with defensive tackle Kilohana Lealofioa'ana. Their offensive line isn't their strong suit, so there's going to be plays where Lealofioa'ana gets him in the backfield or forces him into traffic. However, you can definitely expect Ian Baldwin to come out firing. Tulsa's safeties are legit, but he can get the ball to Samuel Barfield and Jeremy Bridges in space below the safety level and let them work. Barfield was extraordinarily effective against Arizona, hauling in 7 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns, so look for him to make himself available. In general one expects Oklahoma State's offense to hum like the well-oiled machine it is, but I'm interested in what their defense does. Tulsa had massive turnover problems against Oklahoma, with Charles Palmer coughing it up three times--two of which went for defensive touchdowns. A few hours later, Amari Bradford had a pick-six for Oklahoma State against Arizona and Cael Bruce had a strip-sack that nearly forced another turnover. Tulsa's blocking was ghastly; they gave up 5 sacks and ran for 22 yards on 13 carries. Can Oklahoma State take full advantage? Bruce and Amir Pryor both have to be licking their lips. Jurrell Jordan didn't make the statsheet in his debut, but he's just waiting to make his introduction. And Sebastian Byrd and Prince Pruitt both saw Elijah Williams's dominant performance and probably want to one-up him. Oklahoma State's defense can make a statement here. I'm not saying they want to beat Tulsa by more than Oklahoma did--but I'm not saying they don't want to do just that either. #6/#8 Oklahoma State 42, Tulsa 17 Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0) (E) The battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy has been tightly contested its first two years of play, and the third so far isn't shaping up to be an exception to that rule. Iowa took the premier in Iowa City 16-13, and Iowa State got revenge in Ames with a 24-20 win last year. Round 3 has a little bit extra at stake as well for both sides: whoever wins will match last season's win total and start 2-0. Both teams have a third winnable non-conference game (Iowa State plays BYU whose offense struggled against Buffalo, Iowa plays Georgia State who has not had Evan Grant for a little while now). What's interesting is that Iowa's offense is in some ways right where Iowa State's was last year or the year before: young but with plenty of backfield talent. Redshirt freshman Ryan Corbin III, who took the job from senior incumbent Otto Kirkland, was effective in his debut against Western Kentucky. He finished with 267 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19-of-34 passing and added a 17-yard touchdown run. He'll need to show that he can get the ball to speedster DeMaurice Slone on a regular basis; he relied pretty heavily on tight end Alec Rowell and Iowa State's got a lot of different options to cover him (Paul Bryant, Ian Johnson, Mark Barbour or Laurent Daniel, you name it). Runningback Kedaveon Vaughn was wildly inconsistent last year as a true freshman, which shouldn't be surprising; he had 7 games over 100 yards on the ground and 4 games with 51 rushing yards or fewer. He was squarely in between both poles against Western Kentucky, with 84 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Iowa has a pretty solid offensive line bookended by James Stark and Mike Brown; their best lineman is left guard Coop Logan. Iowa State isn't a team that gets a lot of pressure, so that backfield's going to have room to operate. The coverage needs to be on point, unless Iowa's young backfield plays young. Even if so, though, I'm pretty confident in Iowa State's offense to rack up yards and points against an Iowa defense that is simply not suited to handling speed on the outside. Yes, Jacob Colbert is a very good defensive tackle. Yes, Elias French is a good, rangy linebacker in coverage. But I don't trust their defensive ends and outside linebackers to consistently be able to set the edge and keep Kofi McCullough contained, nor do I think the corners are up to snuff when it comes to keeping the Cyclone receivers under lock and key. Now that Vaughn Sheppard is doing things like completing 20-of-30 passes with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions, that matters. Iowa State makes up for their cornerback issues with their safeties; so does Iowa. But I think Iowa's safeties are going to be stretched thin in a way that Iowa State's safeties aren't, because there are at least some parts of the Cyclone defense that should be able to keep the play in front of them. Look for McCullough to feast, and look for Sheppard to complement him. This could be a shootout, but I've got Iowa State winning on the road. Iowa State 38, Iowa 28 Texas (0-0) at UTSA (0-1) (-8) The tenth and final Big XII team to debut will be Texas, hitting the road to San Antonio to rematch with the UTSA Roadrunners. Last year's game was a four-hour brush with death, as UTSA took a lead into the fourth quarter in Austin before the Longhorns were able to rally and win in double-overtime thanks to 167 yards and 2 touchdowns from Simeon Wells. The bad news for Texas: Simeon Wells isn't walking through that door. Of course, neither will Lucas Beckwith--the UTSA game was the second and final start he made in a Texas uniform. Texas recruited over him, and ex-TCU signal-caller Sam Milner won the job for this season as Beckwith transferred to Harvard. Outside of "Will Texas win this game?" the most important question the Longhorns can answer on Saturday will be "Is Sam Milner better than he was as a freshman?" He has to be if Texas wants to continue its bowl streak. He was a 54.7% passer as a freshman with 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions, he rushed for 2 touchdowns but fumbled 6 times (2 lost), and he only had two games with a passer rating above 120. He got his feet under him at Panola College and had a killer spring game, but this will be his first time facing FBS opposition in a while. There's more good news for him: he'll be facing a defense that couldn't stop the similarly styled J.T. Youngblood from going for 275 yards through the air and 60 on the ground with 2 total touchdowns in a 37-21 Hawaii win. Texas's wide receivers have been a problem for a few years now (so much so that Da'Quan Crockett is taking a remedial redshirt as a junior), but adding true freshmen Natrone Benjamin and Shaq Dixon ought to be value added. It's certainly speed added, which will be an advantage against a younger set of UTSA safeties. But that brings us to the the third-biggest question: Can Shaun Lyles be a #1 wide receiver? He had 728 yards and 5 touchdowns last year to lead all Texas receivers. That's not a bad season by any means, but it's a problem if you don't have anybody doing better than that. I'm not too worried about whether Lyles or Francesco Sewell will be a good bailout option this time around. UTSA's defensive line was incredibly productive last season, with 24 combined sacks from returning starters Larry Carroll, Eli Lalana, and Bruce Gerber; however, I have faith in Texas's offensive line to keep them at bay. I'm way more worried about how the receivers match up against corners Dillon Bradley and Joshua Finney, and how Sewell matches up with linebackers Paul Quick and Mike Huntley. That takes a lot of pressure off of safeties Darius Maddox Jr. and Captain Parker, who are talented but inexperienced. And above all, I'm worried about Texas's defense. Jamal Robinson's moving from defensive tackle to defensive end, Ted Stanford's moving from weak inside linebacker to outside linebacker, there's a lot of unproven guys across the depth chart, and UTSA is a team that isn't afraid to get physical. Jermon Bailey last year had 117 yards on just 3 catches, and that's before Texas lost cornerback Devon Braxton and strong safety Jaylin Dickens. Can Justice Gay and Logan Gallegos fill their shoes? Can they stop Bailey from burning them deep and stop Tyler Hansen from bruising them short and over the middle? They kept runningback Samuel Laws in check last year; can they do it again without Tristan Priest? Can Jamal Robinson and Zion Gaines pressure a good, mobile quarterback like Justin Radford and force him into bad decisions? I don't know. There's a lot of question marks and a lot of things that have to go right, and unless Milner is sizzling from the start then this isn't as good of a team as the one that nearly lost to UTSA at home last year. I'm taking the Roadrunners. UTSA 24, Texas 20
  2. That fourth quarter was frazzling, but Foster's feet don't stop. Our first Monday night win since 2018!
  3. Noticed a small error: the Eagles and Giants are both listed as the road team against each other when they play week 10, and both listed as the home team against each other week 16.
  4. Offense QB Eric Jennings - For at least a few more games he's the Big XII's all-time leader in passing yards and passing tuochdowns, putting up his totals with three years and change as a starter. He was the first major recruit I signed RB JAMES OTERO - The best player I've ever had. Won the Doak Walker his only year playing, and his 30 rushing touchdowns are not just a school single-season record but are still a school career record. Someone please free him from sharing a backfield with Aaron Shea. FB Thomas Todd - blocked for Otero in 2014. WR Malcolm Davis (split end) - Eric Jennings's #1 partner-in-crime and one of two 4000-yard receivers in Big XII history. Raheem Robinson is the other one. That's good company to be in. WR Richard Zimmerman (flanker) - The top receiver in the 2014 offense and a steady, reliable guy for Christopher Brooks. Nearly hit 1000 yards and caught 7 TDs, then graduated and went on to have a very nice pro career catching passes from Christian Skaggs. WR Timmy Sutton (slot) - The third-leading receiver in KU history, Sutton was never great but often good enough. I think if I had put him in the slot for his whole career he might have fared better. But there's a pretty big drop-off after Davis and even Zimmerman; Jonathon Robinson wasn't productive until late in his career, Chris Burgos left something on the table and then left us high and dry, and the only 1000-yard WR left is Sebastian Christy who has dropped 16 passes in 25 games. TE Jaime Bautista - An upset over Noah Hills, whom Bautista backed up for a couple of years before Hills declared early. Hills was an elite complementary player, but Bautista shouldered the load for the offense and was one of the two most productive tight ends in the country as a senior. He left as the second-leading receiver in KU history after Davis. LT Ben Goode - I don't care what they say, this man entered the draft as an 83 in my heart. LG Gregory Cooke - He was here a long time ago, you don't remember him. C Kyle Goodson - He's here right now, you don't know who he is but he's the only pro-eligible center I've had. RG Douglass Griffin - He was here less long ago than Cooke, but you don't remember him. RT James Johnson - He was the top lineman on the 2014 team and hung around in the NFL for a while as a backup (including on the Bears). Defense DE Jamari Callahan - He hasn't matched his excellent freshman season again, but he's still the best defensive end I've had and will most likely go down as one of the two top sack artists in the history of the Big XII (I don't think he'll catch back up with Curtis Jones). DT Albert Duke - Got him for just a handful of points out of Massachusetts and with him we've had some great defensive line play over the last few years. Got more than his fair share of sacks ripping up the middle of opposing lines. Now he's an Eagle and El Duque is still getting sacks. DE Noah Urlacher - The third defensive line teammate and the complement to Callahan, Urlacher was a juco product and a missing piece that fit like a glove. I believe the three of these guys are #1, #2, and #3 on the Kansas career sack list. Mike ILB Jamie Zuman - His impact was felt less on the statsheet and more on opponents' yards per carry. I think we allowed 4.2 or 4.3 yards per carry while he was here, and that number was a lot higher before and after he left. He ate runningbacks for breakfast. Will ILB James Carson - Leading tackler in team history and the other major recruit I signed in the class with Eric Jennings. He had 176 tackles (which is a record I don't think I'm ever going to have a player break) but the only non-tackle stat he recorded was a solitary fumble recovery. Of course, it was harder to record more than that back then if you weren't getting interceptions. OLB* Kameron Reaves - So we don't have much history at OLB, but Kameron Reaves played there for two years so I'm counting all his accomplishments for this. He is one of two players with 100+ career tackles for us and was part of the 2017 wave of guys who made Kansas exciting once again after the disaster of 2016. OLB Benjamin Lin - Benjamin Lin and Thomas Cooke were both really productive on the 2014 team; Cooke finished with 77 tackles and Lin had 82. The difference is that Cooke has more competition at his ILB position than Lin does at OLB. CB Ricky Rose - An All-American in 2014, Rose had 6 interceptions and a lot of them came at crucial times during that magical run. He was also a very outspoken, vocal leader on the sidelines who rallied his teammates at every opportunity. And then the man went pro and got paiiiid. CB Bradley Spurlock - Super Size is one of my favorite players ever. He was in the same class as Albert Duke and I think Noah Hills, plucked him from Indiana. He was the understudy to Devon Drummond but ended up being so much better. I'll never forget his pick-six to seal the game against Missouri in 2019 on Senior Day. Overall he had 18 picks and took 6 back to the house. FS Richard Clemons - I've really only had two productive safeties ever, and the other played cornerback for a year. Clemons was higher-rated than Isaiah Heard and had more of an all-around game. SS Robert Medina - Funky Cold Medina beats out Noel Barfield for this spot, and that's not even a slight on Barfield. Medina was instrumental to the 2014 run, intercepting four passes (one for a TD) and being a great deterrent against teams that could have otherwise tried to stretch us over the top. Special Teams K Joel "The Tariff" Hawley - Hawley wasn't necessarily the most consistent of kickers (he had two years below 70% and two years above 90%). He didn't have the biggest kick in program history like Joshua Stewart did against Oklahoma in 2015. But he was the best kicker I had by percentage, had the most range, and was by far the most productive by volume. P Aden Evans - Get well soon buddy KR/PR Jeffrey Goss - He and Timmy Sutton each had two return touchdowns. One of Sutton's was important as we completed one of the greatest rallies in the history of CFBHC. But one of Goss's helped me beat Darman so he gets the nod.
  5. Both quarterbacks spent the game running for their lives. Edit: It's my boy Albert Duke with a sack! What it do, El Duque!
  6. table { width: 100%; border-spacing: 0; } table td { padding: 3px; } tr { background-color: #FFF; } tr:nth-child(even){ background-color: #EAEAEA; } table.boxscore tr { background-color: #fff; } table.boxscore td { font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 90%; text-align: center; border: 1px solid #D3D3D3; border-right: 0px; border-top: 0px; } table.boxscore td:first-of-type { border-left: 0px; } table.boxscore tr:first-of-type td, table.boxscore tr:last-of-type td { border-bottom: 0px; } table.compare td { font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 80%; text-align: center; } table td.block { height: 35px; text-align: center; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 100%; background-color: #00004c; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; } table td.teamspecific { width: 49%; min-width: 400px; display:inline-block; } table td.teamspecific td.stat{ text-align: left; } table td.teamspecific td.name{ text-align: left; } table td.teamspecific td.stat.name{ width: 11%; background-color: #BBB; font-weight:bold; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 80%; } table td.teamspecific td.label { width: 35%; background-color: #BBB; font-weight: bold; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 80%; text-align: left; } @media (max-width: 840px) { table td.teamspecific{ width: 100%; } } AP POLL Week #1 - 2023 Rank Trend Team Record Points 1 ↑1 TCU Horned Frogs (5) 1-0 149 2 ↑2 Oklahoma Sooners* (1) 1-0 140 3 -- Clemson Tigers** 1-0 140 4 ↑2 Texas A&M Aggies 1-0 121 5 -- LSU Tigers 0-0 118 6 ↑1 Mississippi State Bulldogs 1-0 116 7 ↓6 Auburn Tigers 1-1 101 8 -- Oklahoma State Cowboys 1-0 99 9 -- Tennessee Volunteers 1-0 91 10 -- Alabama Crimson Tide 0-0 90 11 ⁿ/ₐ Oregon Ducks 1-0 90 12 ↓2 Missouri Tigers 0-0 83 13 ↓3 Duke Blue Devils 0-0 78 14 ↑1 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 1-0 68 15 ↑2 Ohio State Buckeyes 1-0 62 16 ↓2 Penn State Nittany Lions 0-1 56 17 ↓1 Florida Gators 1-0 55 18 -- SMU Mustangs 1-0 50 19 ⁿ/ₐ Western Michigan Broncos 1-0 41 20 ↓1 Georgia Bulldogs 1-0 36 21 ↑2 Washington State Cougars***** 1-0 29 22 ⁿ/ₐ Notre Dame Fighting Irish****** 1-0 29 23 ↓1 Washington Huskies 0-0 24 24 ↓4 Miami (FL) Hurricanes 0-1 19 25 ↓4 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1-0 16 Dropped from Rankings San Diego State (#13), Michigan (#25) Receiving Votes Florida State (13), San Diego State (13), Michigan (10), Purdue (9), USC (3) *Oklahoma's highest rank was 1st **Clemson's highest rank was 2nd ***Alabama's highest rank was 6th, 2nd-highest rank was 10th, 3rd-highest rank was 10th ****Oregon's highest rank was 6th, 2nd-highest rank was 10th, 3rd-highest rank was 11th *****Washington State's highest rank was 12th ******Notre Dame's highest rank was 16th
  7. Editor's note: this will be a somewhat abbreviated week in review due to time constraints and the sheer number of games to preview next week. In 5 Big XII games this week, four teams made big statements with wins of 21, 34, 22, and 28 points. Iowa State won big as an underdog, they and the Oklahoma schools won big on the road, and Texas Tech won big with an entirely new offensive scheme. Kansas...did not win, and that is a statement in and of itself. Nevertheless, the big picture is that it was an impressive showing from the nation's most exciting conference--so let's talk (briefly) about the games. Thursday Night Iowa State 38, UAB 17 Balance of Power: Iowa State threw the ball 30 times and ran the ball 24 times, finding success in both aspects of the offense. Vaughn Sheppard completed a career-high 20 passes for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns without an interception; not the most explosive game but a marked improvement from his first two seasons. Kofi McCullough had a career day as well with 137 yards and 2 touchdowns (which could have been 3 if Quincy Ward didn't vulture him) on 22 carries. The Cyclones were up 21-7 at the half and never looked back. Spivey Sense: Iowa State put extra DBs on the field to counter UAB's passing attack, and it worked. Corey May was held to 18-of-35 passing for 209 yards, one touchdown, and an interception to Antoine Spivey on 3rd-and-long in dime coverage. Spivey also had a pass breakup and appears to be adjusting to his role very well so far. Iowa State also has to be happy with the play of Ian Johnson, who had 7 tackles (1 for loss) and a pass breakup to lead the team in both pass coverage and run coverage. Next Up: Iowa State stays on the road to take on in-state rival Iowa as they look to start 2-0 for the first time since 2019. Friday Night Boise State 20, Kansas 16 Weight of the World: Christian Graham threw for 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it took him 26 completions on 45 attempts to get there. Runningbacks Andre Black and Bryce Dubose combined for 21 yards on 11 carries, leaving the whole offense to the passing game. It wasn't enough. Graham connected early and often with tight end Mark Poole (9 for 125 yards, 1 TD) but couldn't find his receivers often enough to stretch the field and put more points on the board. Going kicker-optional, Kansas went 1-for-3 on fourth downs but converted both of their two-point attempts. Nuke: Naiquon Crosby had a stellar debut, recording 5 tackles (2 for loss), 1.5 sacks, and stripping CeeCee Henderson--it would have been a huge momentum swing if only the ball didn't bounce directly to a Boise State offensive lineman. He was consistently in the Bronco backfield, and that led to a few passes into traffic--including a Javier Blount interception and two Shaq Stewart deflections. But they still gave back 250 yards through the air to Ian Hansen and 104 yards on 19 carries to Henderson. A very good defensive effort wasn't quite good enough. Next Up: Kansas is on bye week 2 before opening up conference play with Oklahoma. They will look to avoid their first-ever losing streak to the Sooners. Saturday Afternoon Oklahoma 48, Tulsa 14 Battery Recharged: The debuts of Nick Brohm and Jaiden Douglas in the Oklahoma backfield were best described as perfectly solid. Brohm finished 19-of-32 through the air for 204 yards and a touchdown, and he showed his ability to get out of the pocket with a rushing touchdown as well. He spread the ball out between his receivers; Lucas Dykes was the most explosive with 52 yards and a touchdown on 3 catches, but Chase Reardon had a team-high 5 catches for 55 yards. Douglas was more efficient (relative to position) with 117 yards and 2 scores on 22 carries. Who Needs Offense: Even though nobody on the offense individually lit the world on fire, the defense showed exactly why this team is scary. They gave up 14 points, and countered by scoring 14 points without the offense touching the ball. Elijah Williams had a pick-six and two pass break-ups. (Hot take: he is really good.) Tulsa quarterback Charles Palmer also threw an interception to Kahawai Kolone, and Palmer completed the trifecta by losing the ball to a Max Abel strip--and Jeremy Small capitalized by recovering the fumble and taking it to the house. For good measure, they held the Tulsa run game to 22 yards on 13 carries in a dominant effort. Next Up: Oklahoma's next game is their home opener, as they take on a Virginia Tech team that downed West Virginia in their own opener. Saturday Evening Oklahoma State 42, Arizona 20 Baldwinning: Remember when Ian Baldwin was in a slump over the second half of last season? Yeah, me neither. He torched the Arizona defense to the tune of 311 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25-of-38 passing, recording a 160.6 passer rating to land in the #1 spot among Big XII quarterbacks this week. If Samuel Barfield was open, Baldwin was finding him; he finished with 7 catches for 100 yards and 2 scores. Albert Wenzel stepped up big as well with 5 catches for 85 yards and a score; he's a player to watch as a third receiving option. And Amral Brown did Amral Brown things, picking up 118 yards and 2 scores on an efficient 21 carries. The Defense Has B's Too?!: The biggest contributors on the other side of the ball were Amari Bradford and Cael Bruce, adding more stingers to the orange-and-black B-hive. Bruce made his Cowboy debut with 3 tackles (2 for loss) and a strip-sack of Christian Noonan that the fellow newcomer was able to land on himself. Noonan played with fire a bit too much, though, trying to throw as he was hit by Amir Pryor. That pass fluttered in the air, settled in the arms of Bradford, and the junior linebacker took it back to the house. Arizona scored just 10 points before fourth-quarter garbage time, and Oklahoma State left Tucson with a statement win. Next Up: After watching their biggest rival knock the stuffing out of Tulsa, Oklahoma State will get their turn to do the same thing in Stillwater week 2. Texas Tech 42, Nebraska 14 Livin' to Dyer: Hayden Dyer has waited and waited and waited for his opportunity to be the guy, and he made it count in his first game as a starter. He finished the game with 21 carries for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a run where he outraced a would-be tackler to the boundary, turned the corner, and raced 40 yards downfield for the score. For the first time in a while, Texas Tech was effective through the air. Grayson Gillette went 19-of-33 for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns, which is the first 200-yard and 2-touchdown game by a Texas Tech quarterback since Christian Barkley's final game in 2018. Two for the Record Book: With two sacks of Nebraska quarterback Lucas Elizondo, Curtis Jones has become the Big XII's all-time sack leader with 25.0 sacks. He broke the tie he was in with legendary defensive linemen Anthony Ortiz and Hudson Adam, and extended his lead over fellow senior Jamari Callahan to 2.5 sacks. That just part of the outstanding defensive ballgame the Red Raiders played: Zac Huntley had 1.5 sacks in his first game post-Samir Sample, Robert Brantley had 2 pass breakups, and Austin Callahan recorded his first interception since his record-setting freshman season--and took it all the way back for a touchdown. Next Up: Texas Tech will be home for quite a while, with their first road game not being until week 5. The Red Raiders will host Marshall in Lubbock week 2. Byes:
  8. Almost forgot about this, could we get that info when you get a chance @Soluna?
  9. Did a Falcon say something about Justin Davis's momma? Goodness gracious.
  10. Saturday Evening #11/#8 Oklahoma State (0-0) at Arizona (0-0) (+13) Oklahoma State opens up in primetime on the road against an Arizona team that last year allowed just 19.4 points per game--and scored even fewer. The Wildcats finished 5-7 in large part due to not having a capable quarterback: Adam Slone finished with 7 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, and he lost his job over the offseason to junior college transfer Christian Noonan. Noonan ought to be an improvement over Slone, but he won't fix the Arizona offense overnight. The receiving corps is mostly the same as last year's, and that unit had 10 drops compared to their 7 touchdown catches. Zion Carroll led them all with 439 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns, and he's the top man on the depth chart this year. Last year, the run game had to take precedence over all--and Josiah Smallwood made it work as well as he could with a surprisingly good true freshman campaign. He ran for 1215 yards and 16 touchdowns on 4.7 yards per carry, and Oklahoma State will have to be prepared for him. Look for Amir Pryor to take point from the nose tackle spot, with Cael Bruce crashing inward as well and freshman linebacker Jurrell Jordan coming off the edge. But they'll be going head-on against a tough Arizona offensive line, which is perhaps the strongest unit of the whole team. If Oklahoma State overcomes that matchup, the rest of the game will be a cinch. They can probably afford to stack the box and engage the linebackers in the run stop effort, because Sebastian Byrd, Prince Pruitt, and company can probably handle the passing game without a lot of help. I don't expect Arizona's offense to look great in this one, but if their defense were similar to last year's defense then they'd have a fighting shot. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they lost a ton on that side of the ball. Gone are Eric Hall, Shamar Chavis, Tyler Toney, and Darnell Herron: that's 9 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 11.5 sacks, and 8 tackles for loss of production lost. They still have a solid front line with Tyriek Humphrey (8.5 sacks, 4 TFL) and Gabriel Darwin-Turner at defensive end, and last year's top two tacklers in Adam Norman (31 tackles, 2 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD, 2 FF) and J.T. Raji (32 tackles, 3 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF) are back to lead the linebacker unit. That will make Amral Brown's life difficult in his opener. But Ian Baldwin could have himself a game against a less inspiring secondary. Samuel Barfield and Jeremy Bridges should both win their matchups on the outside, and if Albert Wenzel, Misael Farias, or tight end Mark Westbrook steps up as a third option then Baldwin will have a field day. I don't expect it to come easy for the Cowboys, but I don't expect them to give Arizona much room to breathe and I think they'll win easily in the desert. #11/#8 Oklahoma State 24, Arizona 10 Nebraska (0-1) at Texas Tech (0-0) (-2.5) Closing out this week's slate will be two teams with as many question marks as anybody else after winning a combined 20 games last season. After graduating Sean Connell and Franklin Riggins, Nebraska welcomed a challenge from defending national champion Auburn, and it couldn't have gone much more poorly than it did. Freshman quarterback Lucas Elizondo threw for 134 yards and 2 interceptions on 15-of-34 passing, Hakeem Nixon had 45 yards on just 11 carries, and Auburn rushed for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 35-3 walkover. Elizondo will get another shot against Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders will try and keep him off-balance and under pressure to coax a similar performance out of him. Curtis Jones can break a tie for the Big XII sack record with even a partial sack, and Zac Huntley will make his debut on the other side of the defensive line. Nebraska will probably try to lean more on Nixon this time around, so the two ends keeping him contained on those edge runs will be crucial. It's then up to Austin Callahan and Shawntez Currie to clean things up on the outside. If Nebraska tries to throw, their receivers have the advantage over the Red Raiders' cornerbacks; Calvin McKay and Alshon Collier are both very talented players. McKay put up 1095 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as Connell's favorite target. But if Elizondo can't find them, it won't matter. For Texas Tech, Hayden Dyer ought to see the most action he's seen in his five-year career. Looking at Nebraska's game against Auburn, the best thing they did was hold Dominick Sherman to 14-of-26 through the air and intercept him once. The secondary may not look good on paper, but Marc Brice had 7 interceptions last year, Kayden Gibbs had 6, and freshman safety Javon Hargrove had a brilliant game against Auburn (1 INT, 1 PD, 1 FF, 7 tackles) so it's not something to sleep on. With Grayson Gillette being the first quarterback Texas Tech's relied on as an actual passer since Chase Shapiro in 2019, that's good reason to ease him in slowly. The defensive front couldn't get any push at all against Auburn's line, and they probably won't against Texas Tech's either. Their best players are true freshmen; Damiano Fiorelli was the only Cornhusker with a tackle for loss. Dyer has speed to burn, he's showed flashes of explosiveness as a complementary runningback and as a returner, and Nebraska will have their hands full trying to contain him. I think Nebraska will give the Red Raiders a better fight than they gave Auburn, but it's a very thin team that Texas Tech can and should beat. Texas Tech 28, Nebraska 17 Byes: Kansas State (0-0), West Virginia (0-1), Baylor (1-0), #2 TCU (1-0), Texas (0-0)
  11. Saturday Afternoon #4 Oklahoma (0-0) at Tulsa (0-0) (+21) Oklahoma will be the fifth Big XII program to open their season away from home (including West Virginia at a neutral site), with Oklahoma State this week and Texas next week still to join them. This will be the first time either of the two Big XII schools from Oklahoma have faced their AAC in-state foe, who themselves are coming off of a 10-win season and a conference championship game appearance. They return a lot from that team, including starting quarterback Charles Palmer (63.8% passing for 3725 yards, 32 TD, 8 INT and a 143.4 passer rating last season), wide receiver Arona Seau (80 catches for 1120 yards and 10 TD), and two other 600-yard receivers on the offensive end. An already mediocre run game will take a step back with Victor Colbert's graduation and replacement with Timothy Lima. Their biggest loss on offense is tight end Charles Newsome (56 for 682 yards, 7 TD, all second or tied for second on the team) who declared early for the NFL draft. They'll have to throw this year, and against Oklahoma their best chance is to try and buzz the tower against freshman safeties Ian Willis and Sebastian Graham. They want to get the ball to Arona Seau while he's outside of Elijah Williams's zone, because Elijah Williams is one of the best corners in the country and will not allow much to happen in that zone. Oklahoma's linebackers are also adept at defending the pass, and lacking a good tight end to match up with that group will be more trouble for Tulsa. They have a solid enough offensive line, but solid enough to buy time against Jeremiah Melvin (10.5 sacks, 6 TFL, 2 FF, 1 FR last year), David Kaiser (6.5 sacks, 9 TFL, 1 FR), and Max Abel (6.0 sacks, 4 TFL)? This is a defense that has the recipe to make any pass-first team struggle, and Tulsa fits the bill. Can Tulsa impose the same difficulties on Oklahoma's new-look offense with Nick Brohm and Jaiden Douglas at the helm? Lardarius Rucker had a productive true freshman season with 8 sacks and 9 tackles for loss, and Kilohana Lealofioa'ana figures to improve from 3.5 sacks and 4 TFL heading into his junior year. But that won't help if Oklahoma gets the ball to their receivers in space without getting the safeties involved and without giving Tulsa's pass rush time to get home. Tulsa didn't have anyone with more than two interceptions last year, and the safeties are the only potential ballhawks on the team. I think Brohm will look to connect with Lucas Dykes as often as possible, but Chase Reardon, Aiden Caldwell, and Tion Sproles will all test the Tulsa secondary and I don't think they have an answer for that. If the new backfield struggles, this game might be close for a while. But this ought to be a comfortable Sooner win. #4 Oklahoma 35, Tulsa 17
  12. GG. I had a bad feeling about this one going in. But no, you still can't have them.
  13. There was a wider spread of opinions on Michigan. They were ranked on fewer ballots but were significantly higher on average when they were ranked.
  14. Thursday Night Iowa State (0-0) at UAB (0-0) (-11) Beating a UAB team that's expected to contend for the Non-Rice C-USA West championship will be no small task for Iowa State, especially on the road. In fact, this may even wind up being their toughest non-conference test if the Blazers perform up to expectation. UAB doesn't necessarily have any one player who stands out, other than left tackle Sam Duvall who is being looked at as a potential early-round draft pick this year or next. Duvall will be blocking up front for returning redshirt senior runningback Lorenzo Deaton, who had 1346 yards and 16 touchdowns on 266 carries (5.1 YPC) last season. They had one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country in Elijah Currie-Madison, who completed 68.6% of his passes for 3,071 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions along with 388 rushing yards and 2 scores on the ground--and then lost the starting job to junior college transfer Corey Mays. Expect Mays to be just as much of a dual-threat, and expect UAB to run the ball against an Iowa State defensive line that's pretty much Taua Aloese (16 tackles, 4 for loss, 1.0 sack, 1 FF last year) and not much else. What the Cyclones do with Ian Johnson and Paul Bryant will be crucial; last year, Johnson was everywhere with 4 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, a forced fumble, and 63 tackles (just 2 for loss). Bryant added another interception, 3 pass breakups, 2.0 sacks, and 29 tackles. This is to say that they can opt to take the short passing game away by committing their linebackers into coverage, or they can try to use them as reinforcements against the run and deny the blockers up front their greatest strength. Either way they handle it, having Mark Barbour and Laurent Daniel back deep should give them comfort even if their cornerback corps is not likely to be reliable. The Cyclones start five seniors on defense (six depending on their alignment); in contrast, UAB starts four freshmen including true freshman at mike linebacker and strong safety. They're talented players and surrounded by some solid, deep veteran guys as well, but you never know how someone will take to their first game. Expect Iowa State to test them all. Kofi McCullough running behind D'Neal Norris to the outside is a matchup advantage against this defensive line, and if redshirt freshman outside linebacker Austin Hayward and true freshman mike linebacker Andrew Cunningham aren't quick to diagnose the issue then McCullough's explosiveness will quickly become a problem for UAB. If they bite too hard, then it's up to Vaughn Sheppard to make them pay. This publication is optimistic about Sheppard given the progress he's seemed to have made since late last season, and if he can spread the ball out to his generally small and speedy receivers, they can pick on the UAB secondary. I think both backfields are going to largely have free rein behind their respective offensive lines, and I think Iowa State's greater potential for explosiveness will be the difference-maker. I'll take the Cyclones. Iowa State 34, UAB 28 Friday Night Boise State (0-0) at Kansas (0-0) (-9) Former Texas coach AzulCaballero begins a quick two-game tour of the Big XII as Boise State makes its first-ever trip to Lawrence before going back home to face Baylor. Both teams are looking to improve on losing 2022 campaigns; the Broncos finished 4-8 while the Jayhawks climbed out of a 1-4 start to claw their way to 6-7. And both teams intend to build their offense around their skill players. For Boise State, that means wholesale change. Ian Cannon and Devon Cannon (no relation) are out of the starting lineup; Ian Hansen and CeeCee Henderson replace them. Between the 6-5 Hansen at quarterback and the 6-1 Henderson at runningback, look for the Broncos to go for a bruising style of play. They'll run up the middle, they'll ask Hansen to stand and deliver through pressure (and there will be pressure), and they'll ask senior 6-3 wide receiver Major Linton to out-muscle the 5-10, 164-pound Javier Blount on the outside. He did that well last year, amassing 650 yards and 7 touchdowns on 43 catches; the only receiver to outperform him on the team was tight end Atamu Niumatalolo, another big target at 6-5 who had 770 yards and 8 touchdowns on 52 receptions last year. Expect them to try and pick at a shallow Jayhawk corner set early and often, especially if they can get the run established. And expect Kansas to counter by flooding the pocket. There's a lot of talent in the Kansas front: defensive end Jamari Callahan has an opportunity to break the Big XII career sack record, and junior Abdoul Mayo moves up to #1 on the defensive tackle depth chart beside him. The question is whether the youth on the Kansas defense can hold up. Between Eddy Cuevas at defensive end, Naiquon Crosby and Deon Evans at outside linebacker, and Shaq Stewart and David Finley at safety, nearly half the defensive starters are freshmen. On top of that, inside linebackers Adrian Henderson and Evander Lawton are sophomores. If they hit the ground running, this defense is dangerous to all they face. If they struggle out of the gate, this defense is dangerous only to Kansas. Fortunately for the Jayhawks, they also have Christian Graham. The redshirt senior is on pace to break many of Eric Jennings's school records, and despite losing tight end Jaime Bautista he gains a new primary target of Cameron Bowers. They have to like his matchup against the Boise secondary as it's no deeper than the Kansas receiving corps, but they will have to keep some dangerous Bronco blitzers out of the backfield themselves. They didn't have a lot of guys who got home often, but they have a lot who are capable of it: Javorius McNeil (2.5 sacks, 3 TFL) at outside linebacker, Aboubacar Chester at the same position on the other side, Elijah Aponte and Jon Snell at defensive end, and John Clay up the middle at defensive tackle. Kansas's offensive line is in better shape than it was recently, with Walter Munoz and Armani Bello forming a couple of elite bookends and Kyle Goodson manning the middle. Can they hold up? If so, the Jayhawk passing offense will give them a fighting chance. If not, it'll be a long day in Lawrence. And if Hansen, Henderson, Linton, and Niumatololo all show out, Boise State could be trouble for a lot of their foes on the schedule. I'm taking the Broncos. Boise State 27, Kansas 22
  15. Excluding our own: Titans-Steelers ought to be a banger, and a potential AFC playoff preview. I think Seahawks-Packers, Ravens-Jaguars, Panthers-Jets, Saints-Washington, Falcons-Dolphins, and Colts-Bills ought to all be interesting measuring-stick games. as well.
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