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stormstopper

Conference Commissioner
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Everything posted by stormstopper

  1. So I got one right last week and it was the one everyone got right. But strictly speaking, it's better than the alternative of getting that question wrong while everybody else gets it right. Small victories!
  2. I've wanted to go to Paris for years and years now, and the Notre Dame fire adds a bit of urgency to that. Le Louvre and La Tour Eiffel are obviously on the list, definitely want to get in a PSG match, and if there's an architecture tour then I so want in, plus anything else that can fit in within that whirlwind timeline. I'm bringing Darman of course.
  3. College: Amral Brown. My current runningback does not meet the Walrus test (i.e. "is he better than Paul Gibbs). Amral is one of the better players named Brown in the history of the Big XII (he's no Brian or Sterling, but he's really good.) Pros: LaMont Sheriff. To serve and protect our backfield, keep the bad guys out, be easily marketable, and also to take him away from Detroit.
  4. Thanks! And I go back five years, which when I was setting up the formula in the first place seemed to have a stronger relationship with success than a four-year or two-year average. For programs that have been around less than five years I just use the average from all existing years, which is less precise but the best I have.
  5. Due to the easier accessibility of player stats thanks to @Jieret and everyone who helped put together the consolidated statsheet, the nerds at the Chicago Tribune's college football analytics department have a lot less work to do to put together the annual preseason ratings. That means that teaser time comes early as well in the form of our (hopefully annual) outlook ratings. As a reminder, the formula used takes into account past performance, recruiting rankings, and returning production. What you're about to see is where that as-yet-unreleased final rating compares to last year's performance as measured by readjusted margin of victory (which is opponent-adjusted margin of victory, but opponent-adjusted a second time)--not in comparison to their win-loss record. We'll also include which category each team does best in, weighted the same way that the preseason ratings formula is weighted. From worst to best, the outlook ratings go: Freefall (regression worse than 2 standard deviations below the mean, 6 teams) Bearish (regression worse than 1 standard deviation below the mean, 14 teams) Mildly Bearish (regression worse than one-third of one standard deviation below the mean, 27 teams) Steady (within one-third of one standard deviation of the mean in either direction, 42 teams) Mildly Bullish (improvement better than one-third of one standard deviation above the mean, 33 teams) Bullish (improvement better than 1 standard deviation above the mean, 19 teams) Skyrocketing (improvement better than 2 standard deviations above the mean, 1 team) One standard deviation corresponds to ~21.6 spots in outlook regression/improvement. This is NOT the preseason ratings, just the one-year trend. A really good team in 2022 with a bearish outlook in 2023 can still be expected to be better than a really bad team in 2022 with a bullish outlook in 2023, and last year's top teams are generally not gonna rate above "steady" just because they have no room to improve. AAC East Cincinnati: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Connecticut: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance East Carolina: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production USF: Bullish (no pun intended); Best Category: Recruiting Temple: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting UCF: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting AAC West Houston: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Memphis: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Navy: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Tulsa: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance SMU: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Tulane: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance ACC Atlantic Boston College: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Clemson: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Florida State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Louisville: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production NC State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Syracuse: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Wake Forest: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance ACC Coastal Duke: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Georgia Tech: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Miami (FL): Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting North Carolina: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Pittsburgh: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Virginia: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Virginia Tech: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big XII Conference Iowa State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Kansas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Kansas State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Oklahoma: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting West Virginia: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Baylor: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Oklahoma State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance TCU: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Texas: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting Texas Tech: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big Ten East Indiana: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Maryland: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Michigan: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Michigan State: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Ohio State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Penn State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Rutgers: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Big Ten West Illinois: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Iowa: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Minnesota: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Nebraska: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Northwestern: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Purdue: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Wisconsin: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance C-USA East Charlotte: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Florida International: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Marshall: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Middle Tennessee: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Old Dominion: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Western Kentucky: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Florida Atlantic: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting C-USA West Louisiana Tech: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Rice: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting North Texas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Southern Miss: Skyrocketing; Best Category: Returning Production UTEP: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production UTSA: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production UAB: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production MAC East Akron: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Bowling Green: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Buffalo: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Kent State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Miami (OH): Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Ohio: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance MAC West Ball State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Central Michigan: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production Eastern Michigan: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Northern Illinois: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Toledo: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Western Michigan: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance MWC Mountain Air Force: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Boise State: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Colorado State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance New Mexico: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Utah State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Wyoming: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance MWC West Fresno State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Hawaii: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Nevada: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting San Diego State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting San Jose State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance UNLV: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Pac-12 North California: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Oregon: Bearish; Best Category: Recruiting Oregon State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Stanford: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Washington: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Washington State: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Pac-12 South Arizona: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Arizona State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Colorado: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance UCLA: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting USC: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Utah: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance SEC East Florida: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Georgia: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Kentucky: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance Missouri: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting South Carolina: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Tennessee: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Vanderbilt: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting SEC West Alabama: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Arkansas: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Auburn: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance LSU: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Mississippi State: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Ole Miss: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Texas A&M: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Sun Belt East Appalachian State: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Coastal Carolina: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Georgia Southern: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Georgia State: Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Troy: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance Sun Belt West Arkansas State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Louisiana-Lafayette: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production Louisiana-Monroe: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance South Alabama: Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting Texas State: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Recruiting FBS Independents Notre Dame: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance BYU: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Army: Mildly Bullish; Best Category: Returning Production UMass: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting Liberty: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production New Mexico State: Steady; Best Category: Recruiting FCS* Delaware: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Eastern Washington: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Harvard: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Illinois State: Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance James Madison: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production Montana: Steady; Best Category: 2022 Performance New Hampshire: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production North Dakota: Freefall; Best Category: 2022 Performance North Dakota State: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production Northern Iowa: Steady; Best Category: Returning Production South Dakota State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: 2022 Performance Youngstown State: Mildly Bearish; Best Category: Returning Production *note: FCS ratings are less likely to be reliable due to their one-game non-conference schedule and only one year of data
  6. Kenyon Randall with more yards passing than rushing? Hey Lions, I think your LeCount dilemma has a solution...
  7. If your NFLHC team page is not up to date, please get it up to date ASAP. If your NFLHC team page is up to date, please treat yourself to something nice such as a pat on the back or a cookie.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      The Platonic ideal of a cookie is a made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookie imo. With just enough of a splash of vanilla to make it pop. Outside of that, Insomnia Cookies are always great. 

    3. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      @thatfunk Please update your team page

    4. stormstopper

      stormstopper

      @Nmize0 Please update your team page

  8. Congratulations @Rome! Tough finish, Danger, but between the talent you have returning and the fresh blood you have coming in TCU will be on the short list of favorites for next year. And the year after that. And beyond.
  9. 2022 CFBHC National Championship Game: #6 TCU (13-2) vs. #1 Auburn (14-1) (-1.5) We move in circles Balanced all the while On a gleaming razor's edge A perfect sphere Colliding with our fate This story ends where it began Preseason #1 Auburn and preseason #2 TCU kicked off this season in New Orleans oh so many months ago. Since then, we've seen the landscape of college football shift over and over again. We saw players like Troy McMurray rise from obscurity to seize the nation's rapt attention, and known stars like Solomon McLaughlin rewrite the record books entirely. We saw North Dakota State and James Madison highlight an exciting season in the rapidly growing FCS. We saw teams like Nebraska and Kentucky and Colorado rise from obscurity to impact the national picture. We saw teams like Michigan, Georgia, Texas A&M, San Diego State, Clemson, USC, Alabama, and even the Big XII's own Oklahoma find themselves into contention, only to fall heartbreakingly short. And now the dust has settled, we return back to the Superdome in New Orleans, and the final two teams standing are the same two preseason favorites who started this season with a bang. TCU versus Auburn, with a first national title for either program hanging in the balance. It doesn't get bigger than this. When these two teams met at the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of the 2022 season), Auburn came out ahead--and don't let the 31-24 final score mislead you into thinking the game was close most of the way. The Tigers never trailed, led 24-10 heading into the fourth quarter, and only a late flurry by the Frogs brought the scoreline back into competitive territory. Auburn's offense was dominated, with presumptive top-ten draft pick Marcus Black throwing for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns while Sean Meade ran for 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Wide receiver Jariel Martinez (6 for 94 yards, 1 TD) was one of the few receivers to win a head-to-head matchup with William Cooper, and true freshman slot receiver Benjamin Hurd put up 85 yards and a touchdown on 4 catches to win the matchup against fellow true frosh Patrick Ross. Auburn's offense steamrolled, and TCU's offense was merely solid. But this is hardly the same TCU team that played in week 0. For instance, Felix Luck threw 41 passes against Auburn the first time around, completing 27 of them for 305 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That was a solid effort, but it was also borne out of a lack of faith in the run game that limited Martin Gifford to just 55 yards and a touchdown on a mere 12 carries. That's not TCU's strategy anymore. That's the only time that Gifford has not carried the ball at least 20 times in a game, and he's rushed for at least 100 yards seven times out of fifteen. He was instrumental in TCU's first win over Oklahoma when Felix Luck struggled. He's shown that he can torch a team that doesn't respect him, putting up 167 yards and 3 touchdowns on Iowa State and 138 yards and 3 touchdowns on Kansas. And he's allowed Felix Luck to evolve from a high-volume slinger into a quarterback who marries efficiency and volume as well as any TCU quarterback ever has. He will set the TCU single-season completion percentage record; he's currently a tick under 64.0%. His 148.1 passer rating is on pace for a school record as well. He's matched his own school record with 31 touchdown passes, and his career-best 1.5% interception rate isn't far off from the school record either. The tandem of Luck and Gifford is part of what makes this the highest-scoring offense TCU has ever had (which will remain true even if they are shut out against Auburn). But what separates them from, say, Texas is that they can hit you downfield as well. Finn Nielsen was the most consistently effective Horned Frog on offense against Auburn, reeling in 7 catches for 112 yards. That previewed a season in which he caught 60 passes for 925 yards and 9 touchdowns. Nielsen is surehanded, he gets yards after the catch, and he's been TCU's most effective wide receiver by far. He'll be lined up against Dennis Beach, who intercepted 4 passes (one returned for a touchdown) and batted down two in the regular season. His counterpart, senior Miles Key, had 5 picks and 3 pass breakups and will be matched up against Griffin McHanna primarily. TCU has to win one of those matchups, and they'll likely pin their hopes on Nielsen. Adding to that equation is tight end Miguel Aguilera (85 catches for 1102 yards, 9 TD), who had a solid game against Auburn but lost his only fumble of the season as well. None of Auburn's five options are perfect for covering him: either you bring Brett Combs out of run stop, you bring Francesco Tidwell out of the pass rush, you cover him with Brian Jensen, you bring free safety Daniel Joiner down and leave true freshman Jackson Smith on an island, or you cover him with true freshman strong safety Jackson Smith. Reading how the defense handles Aguilera will be crucial, because that will expose where Nielsen, McHanna, and even F.T. Grady can slide in to make plays. And Felix Luck will have to make that read quickly, because there's not a lot of time to breathe against this defensive front. That's particularly true thanks to true freshman right end Myles Wallace, who should be on every NFL team's radar for 2025 or 2026. He had a monstrous regular season with 11.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 2 fumbles forced, a safety, and 35 tackles. He and middle linebacker Brett Combs are a ferocious 1-2 punch, with Combs adding 45 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, a sack, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Of their four combined forced fumbles in the regular season, two were against TCU in the opener. That's despite Wallace lining up against TCU's Tyson Chadwick. The Horned Frogs should also worry about Thomas Handy (even with a mere 2.5 sacks and 1 TFL in the regular season) lining up against Hayden Breaux. Auburn has a lot of different guys who can rush the passer, stop the run, set the edge, hurry the quarterback--anything and everything. TCU has one of the best offensive lines in the country to counter them. If they win that matchup up front, they will be in good shape on offense. Auburn is the #10 scoring defense in the nation--but they're also the #7 scoring offense, making them one of just three teams to rank in the top 10 in both categories. We've talked about how Marcus Black, Sean Meade, and company impacted the game the first time around. After that, though, both basically continued the same trajectory they set for the rest of the season. Black completed 65.9% of his passes for 3625 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions in the regular season; he also added 6 rushing touchdowns. He's not going to take you to the house with his legs for the most part--but his running ability makes him a great closer in the red zone. His arm is special. He can make every throw in the book, and he's good at finding his home-run threats. Jariel Martinez had drop issues during the regular season, with 4 miscues against 6 touchdown catches. But when he hung on, he averaged over 16.4 yards per catch in the regular season. Benjamin Hurd was more reliable, even if he was targeted less. He was even more explosive, averaging nearly 17.5 yards a catch. But their everydown threat, who only had 3 catches for 53 yards back in week 0, is Kelvin Andrade. He uses his speed to get just enough separation, to slither into just wide enough of a gap, and then once he makes the catch you have to tackle him immediately or he'll take as many extra yards as you give him. Roman Blackmon did a fantastic job on him last time. He'll need to do the same again, because the last thing TCU wants is for Auburn to feel like they can start lining up deep shot after deep shot. That's gotten TCU into trouble a couple of times, even if they've been able to survive it. TCU has to turn the deep ball into a low-percentage play, which is the case for most quarterbacks not named Marcus Black. That means they need the game of Ian Worley's and Anthony Easter's life. That means they need to limit Sean Meade, who seems to be rounding back into form after a major midseason swoon. Meade has played a complementary role similar to Gifford this season: he can take the top off a defense that doesn't bother to check him, but otherwise Auburn is satisfied if he can get 100 yards and a touchdown or two. Slowing him down, however, means that Auburn will have longer passing-down situations to deal with, which means they can't use the threat of a checkdown or a screen to draw the secondary closer to the line of scrimmage to open up the deep ball. But most importantly, they'll have to get into the backfield. The Horned Frogs have a number of guys who are capable of bringing pressure from all sides of the equation. Chance Herring is chief among that group, with 7.0 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. But they can also get defensive ends Aidan Morrell (5.0 sacks, 2 TFL) and Aidan McAlister (4.5 sacks, 1 TFL) around the edge, and they can get defensive tackles Kwon Shaw (6.0 sacks, 5 TFL) and Jasiah Pickens (5.0 sacks) to bring pressure straight up the middle. They got into the backfield in week 0, though, with Herring sacking Black and recording one of the team's three tackles for loss. This is a very, very good Auburn offensive line they're facing. The Tigers start four seniors led by left guard Charlie Cooper, along with redshirt freshman left tackle Julien Reagan. No matter where TCU brings pressure from, this is a unit that's capable of reading it and adjusting in real time--and, of course, it's capable of winning the physical battle as well. They allowed just 9 sacks during the regular season. TCU will need at least 1, and should hope to get at least 2. It's hard to say that this game will be decided in any one area or another. Everything's interconnected, and there are simply no obvious matchup advantages. Auburn's ability to stop the run will feed into TCU's ability to balance the offense, which will feed into Auburn's ability to anticipate the pass, which will feed into TCU's ability to stay on the field, which will feed into TCU's defense's ability to stay fresh, which will feed into TCU's ability to bring consistent pressure, which will feed into Auburn's ability to move the ball like they did in week 0, and so on. If this game comes down to kicking, you have to like Eric McCurdy--after all, he didn't miss a kick in the regular season at all, whereas William Finn has struggled from long range. If the game comes down to field position, whoever turns it over less will obviously be favored--but in the event of a tie, TCU's Evan Coon is a better punter than Auburn's Angelo McCollum. And if it comes down to returning, it's hard to bet against TCU's Griffin McHanna, who has 1313 kick and punt return yards this season and 3 punt return touchdowns. The TCU team that will show up on Monday night is lightyears ahead of the one that started the season. They're more balanced on offense. They're capable of running the ball, they're more efficient through the air, and Auburn has to respect both elements now rather than leaning on the pass like they did last time. Their defense had one of its worst games against Auburn. The last time the defense underperformed was the second game against Oklahoma; it brought its A-game for round three. I think they will do a better job of containing Auburn's speedy receivers and keep a similar level of pressure on the Auburn backfield. I think Felix Luck to Finn Nielsen will be a connection that's there all day. I think it will be a close fight, an exciting battle befitting of the nation's most exciting conference--and I think it will be a TCU win. #6 TCU 23, #1 Auburn 17
  10. Obscure records department: Donald Garrett has broken the Big XII career record for most wins by a QB (in which he threw the majority of his team's passes in that game) with fewer than 100 passing yards with his 7th such win. Chase Shapiro (6) was the previous owner of that record, then Mel Stover (5) when UCF was a Big XII member in 2013. The other quarterbacks to do so at least twice: Ralph McCrary (3), Jeremy Hubbard (2), and Nathan Burden (2). Of the 30 Big XII games won by quarterbacks who threw for fewer than 100 yards, 16 have been won by Texas Tech. This is also the fourth game in Big XII history in which a quarterback won with fewer than 100 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and at least one interception (Stover, Hubbard, and Burden had the others). It's the first bowl win by a Big XII quarterback who did not record a passer rating of 100 or better. It's the eighth-lowest passer rating in a win in Big XII history and the lowest since Kansas State upset Houston in 2018 with 28 yards on 4-of-9 passing from Aiden Higgins in 2018. So Solomon had even less help than normal but still decided he was going to put the team on his back and there was nothing anybody else could do about it.
  11. Sugar Bowl: Texas Tech (8-4) vs. #12 Georgia (10-3) (-9.5) One last time, a living legend of the nation's most exciting conference will take the field. His final challenge: take on the nation's #1 scoring defense and come out on top. Most teams that face Georgia simply don't see the other side of 16 points. The Bulldogs have held their last three opponents, six of their last seven, and nine out of thirteen overall to 16 or fewer, and a lot of that has come as a result of several unsung heroes. Dominique Dawkins is the big name to know, and most of the time he's the glue that holds the whole unit together from the free safety spot. He made extremely little impact on the statsheet until the very end of the season, when he had a pick-six and two pass breakups against Georgia Tech and another interception in the SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Having Dawkins back there lets the rest of Georgia's defense stick to their assignments and attack more recklessly. It allows redshirt freshman cornerback Davion Mayo to gamble more, and that's resulted in 9 interceptions and 6 pass breakups for him. (No other Bulldog has more than two.) And it allows the trio of right end Omar Barner (9.5 sacks, 11 TFL), left end Jaylin Cox (6.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF), and right outside linebacker Brendan Benson (8.0 sacks, 6 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF) more time to get into the backfield and make their presence felt. This Texas Tech offense will test Georgia's defense up front. Texas Tech has a very good offensive line, and despite the productivity of that trio it's easy to see it matching up favorably with the Bulldog front. The main spot of worry is whether Cox can get penetration against the right side of the Red Raider line, but neither he nor left outside linebacker Nathaniel Snow has been all that productive of a run stopper. Certainly the Red Raiders will be ecstatic to have standout sophomore center Charlie Becker matched up against nose tackle Tanielu Aiavao. Winning those matchups up front is crucial for Texas Tech's offense for the obvious reason of springing Solomon McLaughlin loose. With Dominique Dawkins and strong safety Jarvis Bolton each likely to spend a lot of time down in the box, getting McLaughlin through that first level becomes even more important. After all, one of the hardest tasks in college football is stopping McLaughlin in space. He averages more than 6.0 yards per carry, even though there is no subtlety about this offense whatsoever. Yes, you'll stack the box and get him behind the line sometimes. But give him an inch and he'll take a mile. He's had a rush of 25 yards or longer in eight different games this season, a rush of 31 yards or longer in six, and who can forget the 86-yard touchdown run that highlighted his 307-yard performance against South Alabama early in the season? This season, he has rushed for a career-high 1,911 yards this season. He needs 89 yards to have the Big XII's first 2,000-yard rushing season since Sterling Brown and Trace Buchanan in 2013--and in 38 career games played he has never, ever, ever rushed for fewer than 100 yards. He's rushed for 73 career touchdowns, two short of two-time Doak Walker Award-winner Sterling Brown's conference record that was once thought unbreakable. Texas Tech would ordinarily look to get McLaughlin the ball because he's one of the best players in the country at any position. But with the potential to make history, this will be special. Whereas Texas Tech firmly believes that the forward pass was a mistake, Georgia embraces it cautiously but not wholeheartedly. The future of their offense is true sophomore quarterback Zeke Burkett, who accounts for 213.3 yards per game for them. He completes 65.6% of his passes with 17 passing touchdowns, 6 rushing touchdowns (almost exclusively on short-yardage), 7 interceptions, and 2 fumbles lost. Much of that is propped up by stellar out-of-conference numbers against four opponents who combined for 14 wins, however. Against SEC opponents (including Auburn in the SEC Championship Game), he's a 60.4% passer who averages 182.9 yards per game with 7 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and still 2 fumbles lost. Of those 7 passing touchdowns in SEC play, 5 have gone to true freshman Joel Dorsey (59 for 801 yards, 8 TD for the whole sesaon). Leonard Elam has been the other top target (61 for 783 yards, 4 TD), but he's also dropped 5 passes outright. Elam has only reached the 70-yard mark once against an SEC foe. Usually Elam lines up at split end, which is more likely to be the assignment of Nigel Wooten; that means #2 corner Jamie Blake is going to be the one to contain the speedster Dorsey. I like Texas Tech's secondary to be able to at least keep a handle on that side of the offense. Georgia will also try and keep things somewhat balanced via the efforts of junior runningback Grant McLean. He's carried the ball 280 times for 1,485 yards (5.3 yards per carry, 114.2 yards per game), 14 touchdowns, and 2 fumbles lost. Those are great numbers, but they're also inflated by Georgia's non-conference play. Against SEC foes, he's rushed for 824 yards on 187 carries--that's barely 4.4 yards a pop and 91.6 yards per game--and his touchdown in the SEC Championship Game broke a four-game scoring drought against conference opponents. The Bulldogs have a very good offensive line, led by left tackle Shane McCord. His matchup against Curtis Jones should be a treat to watch, but the matchup that ought to make more of an impact will be Samir Sample against the much weaker right side of the Georgia line. Sample has been a force, sacking the quarterback 8 times and blowing up the run in the backfield 16 times this year. He'll be lined up against a true freshman in Max Shaffer, and I don't think that's something Georgia's going to be able to handle. Try to run, and Sample will be there. Try to pass, and there will be traffic thanks to linebackers Josh Poe Jr. and Ralph McAdams--in addition to a strong if low-impact secondary. This game will come down to whether or not McLaughlin can claw through the Georgia defense, because I think Texas Tech's defense will have a good day against Georgia. And I believe in McLaughlin. I believe in Charlie Becker and the offensive line. I think they match up well against Georgia, I think they have the best player on the field, and I think Texas Tech will pull the upset in New Orleans. Texas Tech 28, #12 Georgia 21
  12. Texas Bowl: West Virginia (6-6) vs. LSU (7-5) (+3.5) After a down year following the early departures of offensive supernovas Mohammed Foster and J.C. Weldon, West Virginia is back in a bowl game on the strength of a stout defense. To finish their season on a high note and win their first bowl game since 2019, they'll need to out-defense a similarly stingy set of Bayou Bengals--who come in without one of their anchors on that side of the ball, as Tyrone Rivers has opted to sit out the Texas Bowl to protect his draft stock. Make no mistake: without Tyrone Rivers, this LSU front is still intimidating. He had 7.0 sacks, 6 rushing tackles for loss, and a fumble forced and recovered--but he also was far from the only productive member of the front seven in opposing backfields. LSU has a lot of talent there, and a lot of young talent. Redshirt freshman left end Maximilian McKinley, in addition to having a mouthful of a name, is second on the team in sacks with 6.0 (and 4 tackles for loss against the run). Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Isaac Escamilla has another 2.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. But the player who should be on everyone's radar is redshirt freshman outside linebacker and edge rusher Leonard England. They list him as a jack linebacker, but in reality he's a jack-of-all-trades linebacker. He has 4.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss as a rusher, and 3 interceptions and 2 pass breakups as a cover linebacker. He and redshirt freshman inside linebacker Jesse Fortner have 7 of the team's 11 interceptions. Yes, LSU does have players on defense who aren't redshirt freshmen. None other than Rivers have made star-level impact, but all are capable, athletic players who will present tough matchups to a West Virginia offense who matches LSU's defense in youth. Big XII Freshman of the Year Corey Easley (64 for 971 yards, 7 TD) is going to spend a lot of time working against cornerback Clay Vereen, against whom Easley will give up size but not speed. Dealing with speed is what the safeties are there for, though. Jeremy Whitehead and Timothy St. John are as good of a cleanup crew as you could ask for, and most teams don't even bother to try to test them deep as a result. If West Virginia can get Easley and fellow freshman Christian Nash (53 for 680 yards, 7 TD) the ball in space, that's possibly a recipe for success. Doing so in an accurate fashion hasn't always been Martin Lake's forte, though. He's completed 59.3% of his passes this year, though even dealing with bouts of inaccuracy he's still thrown for a solid 2,721 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He's also rushed for 5 touchdowns on essentially only short-yardage situations, giving West Virginia an edge in the red zone or on 4th down. West Virginia's going to need to throw the ball because Bryce Madison (193 for 860 yards, 7 TD) has spent most of the year acclimating to the college level. The LSU secondary and coverage-capable linebackers will be a challenge. But LSU will have to deal with the same thing on the other end. While the Tigers' offense doesn't necessarily mirror that of the Mountaineers', both produce strangely similar outputs. LSU quarterback Jamel Woodson is a 61.2% passer who's thrown for 2,755 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Runningback Marcus Branch is in the same acclimation period as Madison, with 203 carries for 943 yards and 7 touchdowns. The difference between the two offenses can be explained almost entirely by Martin Lake's feet: West Virginia has scored 36 more points this season, and Lake has rushed for 5 touchdowns. LSU has a lot of talented receivers, but only two who are truly threatening. Jarvis Heard has 917 yards and 9 touchdowns on 66 catches, highlighted by a 180-yard, two-touchdown mauling of Vanderbilt in a 27-20 win week 12. The good news for West Virginia is that they have Lamont Carson on him, who will be playing in his final game as a Mountaineer before heading off to the pros. The bad news is that if Carson can't handle that one-on-one matchup, it's tough to see their safeties being able to keep up with Heard's speed. Preston Evans (5 INT) is capable of those big plays, but he's also capable of big misses as well. Then account for tight end Ibrahim Covington (59 for 734 yards, 6 TD) and a shallow West Virginia secondary will be fully tested. The big question: will West Virginia's defensive front give LSU enough time for Heard to get open? LSU has a very good offensive line, but they're more middle-of-the-road than one would expect in allowing sacks. West Virginia has Aaron Pagan (8.0 sacks, 8 TFL) ready to wreak havoc in the backfield, but he'll be lined up against a brick wall named Brendan Lowe. The Mountaineers may have more luck on the other side if Elvis Cornejo (4.5 sacks, 4 TFL) can win his matchup against true sophomore Brian Vandyke. They would also love for Riley Reardon to flash some pass rushing: he has 8 tackles for loss but just 1.0 sack on the season. That essentially leaves Pagan as West Virginia's only true pass rusher, and I don't like how he matches up against Lowe and the LSU offensive line. I certainly don't like how West Virginia's offense matches up in the trenches against LSU's defensive line, even without Tyrone Rivers. The Tigers' offense has been hit-or-miss a lot this season, but so has West Virginia's--and I think LSU's defense will be able to do just enough to carry the day. LSU 20, West Virginia 17
  13. Texas did a great job against the run but couldn't keep Morrison contained and couldn't really make any explosive defensive plays. One sack, no other non-tackle statsheet plays. Tackett was okay (that would be a good title for his chapter in the Big XII history book), Wells was good. If they had a receiver who could go make plays downfield then this season could've been totally different for them. Simeon Wells ends his career with the second-highest career rushing yardage total in Big XII history, eking his way across the 6K mark. He had 1173 carries for 6006 yards, and 63 touchdowns.
  14. Orlando Bowl: Texas (6-6) vs. #16 Virginia Tech (10-2) (-14) It's hard to find a more dominant team in its last four games than Virginia Tech. In games against Iowa State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia, the slimmest Hokie margin of victory has been 21 points. Nobody's scored more than 17 in that span against them, and nobody's held them under 31. They've outscored opponents 137-46, and that's a big part of the reason that they enter this game #7 in the country in point differential. Their defense is about as stingy as they get. If Texas wants to end the season on a high note and avoid a second straight sub-.500 season, they'll need one of their best offensive performances of the season in the final act of the story of Kyler Tackett and Simeon Wells. The bad news: that's something that's come to them inconsistently for the entire season. The good news? Their last two games might just be a turning point. Tackett has been an accurate passer his whole career, if an inexplosive one. His career 65.7% completion percentage is a little more than one-tenth of one percent shy of Brad Davis's school record, and an 18-of-25 day (he averages 17.0-for-25.4, or 66.9%, this season) would be enough to put him ahead. But he's only thrown 11 touchdown passes in 10 appearances this season, and he's averaged 206.7 passing yards per game. He's not necessarily a hit-or-miss player; he's just firmly a complementary option for this team and never a primary one. Simeon Wells is the one who's been the primary option, and he's been hit-or-miss. When Tackett was reinserted as the starting quarterback, Wells entered a 6-game stretch where he averaged 93.2 rushing yards per game on 4.6 yards per carry with 4 rushing touchdowns. But since then, in his final four games, he's been able to break off some big runs again. During that stretch, he's averaging 146.0 yards per game on the ground on nearly 6.3 yards per carry with 7 touchdowns. He put up 192 yards on Kansas State (and Texas needed every single one). He had 150 in the win over Baylor and 137 in the near-miss against Texas A&M. This is the version of Wells that will make an NFL organization happy when draft season comes around. Riding the hot hand (hot foot?) of Wells will be important to the Longhorns, and Iowa State gave them a model on how to do so with Kofi McCullough putting up 170 yards on them on 33 carries (5.2 YPC). They also provided a model how not to do so, as the Cyclones did not find the endzone in a 31-9 loss. Virginia Tech has a solid defensive line, and defensive ends Jabari Jean (8.5 sacks, 7 TFL) and Mahamadou Chavis (6.0 sacks, 7 TFL) are good at getting penetration and disrupting the line of scrimmage. Chavis is the one to watch here considering that he's not going to be lined up against left tackle Bobby Drake. You also have to be aware of linebacker Theodore Aikman, with a team-high 39 tackles and 4 more tackles for loss. If Texas can wall off the non-Aikman defenders and make him try to tackle Wells in space, I like Wells in that matchup. But if Wells is seeing pressure from all sides, that's going to be trouble. Virginia Tech is capable of bringing that level of pressure. And you can't talk about Virginia Tech's defense without talking about Trevor McKinney. The true junior is a singular threat in pass defense, with 8 interceptions and 13 passes defended. He and Lucas Freeman cover for a rather weak pair of safeties--if Tackett stays accurate and is able to hit his receivers in stride and in space then this is a pass defense that can be beaten. If Shaun Lyles and Da'Quan Crockett can't get any separation, though, it'll be a long day. Can Texas stop Virginia Tech's offense? They did all right against a similar offense when they played Texas A&M. They held Nathan Singletary under 60% passing with one passing touchdown, but also yielded a rushing touchdown to Singletary and another rushing touchdown to Jonah Ponder. The pair combined for 158 yards on the ground. Beckett Morrison is a similar quarterback to Singletary: able to make plays on his feet even though he'd prefer to make them with his arm, accurate enough but not uncannily accurate, safe with the ball but still able to make a few big throws. Morrison has 27 passing touchdowns to 6 interceptions this season on 63.7% passing and a 154.9 rating. But Virginia Tech also relies more on him than A&M relied on Singletary and certainly more than Texas relies on Tackett. Runningback Julius Whitaker averages just 80.9 rushing yards per game on under 4.2 yards per carry. But they do have three different 600-yard receivers, led by freshman Leolani Pita (55 for 811 yards, 8 TD). Ordinarily, that would be a matchup Texas could live with. With Devon Braxton opting to sit the bowl game out to protect his draft stock, though, the Longhorns' secondary depth is strained. That puts more importance on Makai Turner and Jaylin Dickens, who have combined for 1 pass defended and 1 fumble forced. Expect Virginia Tech to try and exploit that matchup. And expect them to hold their own against a tough Texas defensive line: left tackle Kai Hagen and right guard Cole Fay are both going to be drafted in a few months, and their offensive line as a whole allowed just 8 sacks in the regular season--only six teams in the country allowed fewer. I think Texas is going to give Virginia Tech all they can handle for as long as they can, and if it weren't for Braxton sitting out then I would be tempted to pick Texas to win outright. But I don't think they're going to have enough in the tank to stop the Hokie offense without their best defensive player and I don't think Simeon Wells and Kyler Tackett will be able to make up the difference by themselves. #16 Virginia Tech 34, Texas 21
  15. Elite Eight, probably. Sweet Sixteen would definitely be disappointing--wouldn't mean a failure of a season but would mean we left something on the table. I think even an Elite Eight would feel like a what-could've-been to some degree but I never consider Final Four Or Bust to be reasonable.
  16. Three games decided by a combined nine points, the third in overtime. TCU-Oklahoma as a series this year was legendary, and this has the potential to be the biggest rivalry in the Big XII going forward. Congratulations on a phenomenal season Haff, and best of luck to Danger in bringing the national championship back to the nation's most exciting conference!
  17. College Football Playoff Semifinal: #2 Oklahoma Sooners (13-1) vs. #6 TCU Horned Frogs (12-2) (+1) TCU took round 1 in Norman. Oklahoma got revenge seven weeks later in Arlington. And yet, that would prove not to be the last word. The saga of these two teams comes down to the threematch in Atlanta, winner-take-all. Whoever wins will take on Auburn for a chance at the national championship. Whoever loses will head home wondering what could have been. It's the first threematch in college football history. It's two of the best teams in the country. It's the nation's most exciting conference. In the opening round of the playoffs, both teams faced off against undefeated squads and utterly torched them. Oklahoma routed San Diego State 38-13, then the next day TCU obliterated Clemson 38-6. The truly great teams step up their game when it matters most, and both of these teams did so in round 1. What's more is that both of those offenses they faced could be treated as a dry run for the offenses in this semifinal matchup. David Edmondson is a stand-and-deliver pocket guy like Felix Luck, and Oklahoma shut him down. Akiem Williams III is a true dual-threat like Eric Pope, and TCU shut him down. That perhaps points more toward a game like the regular-season matchup that saw more turnovers than touchdowns, as opposed to the more offensively successful rematch. Neither team drastically changed their offensive approach the second time around, and neither is expected to do so in round three. Sure, both defenses have a general idea of what their foe is going to do. The challenge is stopping it. If you're TCU, that means taking down Maurice White before he can turn a small play into a big one. They were able to do so the first time around: Chance Herring and Jasiah Pickens were disruptive at the line of scrimmage, and they held White to 70 yards on 18 carries. But even stopping White isn't enough: Eric Pope averages 12.6 yards per completion, completes 66.1% of his passes, and has thrown 27 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. With Lucas Dykes, Rangi Salanoa, and Aiden Caldwell out running the routes, Pope is dangerous. But he's usually at his best when White forces the defense to respect the run, which opens up everything downfield. The counterpoint: Pope's explosiveness has actually been trending down lately. He's been at 11.1, 10.7, 10.6, and 11.3 yards per completion over his past four games after having averaged 13.3 yards per completion over his first nine (including nearly 16.5 against Baylor). A lot of it seems to hinge on what kind of day Rangi Salanoa is going to have: the speedster has had 3 games of 25 yards or fewer and 2 games of 120 yards or more. He managed just 23 yards in round 1 against TCU, but had a decent 64 yards and a touchdown on 5 catches in the conference championship game. How he fares against William Cooper, who is behind only teammate Roman Blackmon on TCU's career interceptions list, will be crucial. We know that TCU will come after the run. We know they're capable of stopping it. If they take away the run and take away the explosiveness of the Salanoa-to-Pope connection a second time, though, Oklahoma will be in trouble. At the same time, we know that Oklahoma is capable of stopping TCU cold on defense themselves. Felix Luck has completed just 32 of 61 passes against them for 345 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 turnovers in 2 games. Martin Gifford had a difference-making first game with 109 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, only for Oklahoma to hold him to 68 yards, a touchdown, and a fumble on 22 carries in round 2. The Sooners have often been content to go back into coverage and let the opposing offense try to force something that isn't there, but they have taken on a more aggressive bent in recent games. Jeremiah Melvin dominating his matchup against freshman tackle Hayden Breaux was crucial to the Sooners' win in Arlington, and TCU has to get more assistance from right guard Josh Carlisle to shore up that side of the line. The combination of David Kaiser (6.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 1 FR, 1 safety) and right end Max Abel (6.0 sacks, 4 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR) means that Oklahoma can still disrupt the whole of the offensive line--but that right edge is where the game could be won or lost. If TCU's in too much trouble in the backfield, it'll be up to tight end Miguel Aguilera (82 for 1054 yards, 8 TD, 1 drop, 1 fumble lost) to be a safety net. TCU hasn't been able to get that much out of Finn Nielsen against Oklahoma, nor have they had a ton from Griffin McHanna, F.T. Grady, or Rodrigo Marroquin in general this season. But Aguilera's led the team in receiving in 11 out of 14 games. Part of that is an element of Luck's security with the ball given that he's thrown 5 interceptions on 420 passes, but Aguilera's a true playmaker. Oklahoma will have to have someone on his hip like glue, and even that might not be enough to stop him--only to slow him down a bit. A wild card to look out for in this game will be non-offensive touchdowns. Oklahoma has scored 5 touchdowns on defense and 4 on special teams--including two blocked punts that they housed. Elijah Williams has intercepted 5 passes and taken three of them back for a score, making him one of the most dangerous defensive players in the country. TCU holds its own in that category, though: Cooper has the team's only defensive touchdown this year, but Griffin McHanna is one of the most dangerous returners out there with 3 punt return touchdowns this season alone. I think this will come down to whichever team wins the battle in both trenches. Oklahoma still has that go-to matchup of Jeremiah Melvin against Hayden Breaux that has resulted in 8 tackles, 3 rushing tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks in two games. But the Horned Frogs have so many different guys who can win their matchups one-on-one or just eat the block long enough for someone (usually Chance Herring) to come in and make a play. They didn't look very good in round 2 (nor the week before in giving up 181 yards to Solomon McLaughlin), but that unit completely turned things around in destroying Clemson's rushing and passing attacks. I think we saw the form of TCU that can and should beat anyone in the country, and if they can hang onto enough of that momentum I think they will win this game. #6 TCU 23, #2 Oklahoma 17
  18. BaldWINNING! That's one heck of a way to bust out of a slump--a career-high 212.8 passer rating for Ian Baldwin.
  19. Alamo Bowl: #22 Oklahoma State vs. #23 Stanford (+0.5) This will be an Alamo Bowl to remember. The last time we checked in on Troy McMurray, the most exciting non-Big XII player in the country, he was busy dazzling the college football world with three touchdowns in a spirited but losing performance against an Oklahoma team that's now two wins away from a second national championship. Since then, all McMurray has done is more of the same. He's been a one-man army carrying Stanford to an 8-4 record and a tie for first place in the Pac-12 North (though the tiebreaker was won by Oregon). And in what amounted to be a two-man race, he beat out Solomon McLaughlin to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy. One might think this McMurray kid's pretty good at this, huh? Preparing for the Stanford offense is about as tough as it gets because McMurray is so good with his arm and with his legs. He completed 71.2% of his passes for 3,014 yards during the season, and added 868 yards on the ground on nearly 8.6 yards per carry. He's an explosive runner, having had a carry of 30 yards or longer in six games this year (and a carry of 20 yards or longer in nine games). He's a red zone closer, having accounted for 35 total touchdowns. What's underrated is his savviness: on 323 pass attempts and 101 rush attempts, McMurray has turned the ball over just four times all season. When he scrambles, he doesn't end the play with an off-balance throw into traffic and into the hands of the defense; he makes the big play if it's there and the safe play if it isn't. McMurray's play elevates the rest of his teammates. Not much was expected out of Bryce Newby coming into this season; with McMurray there to keep the defense misdirected, though, he racked up 1143 yards and 15 touchdowns on 4.9 yards per carry. The Stanford offensive line is okay, but McMurray's hard to catch and therefore hard to sack. Stanford's leading receiver, Jake Britton (57 for 881 yards, 8 TD, 1 drop), is a true freshman. Their second-leading receiver, Aboubacar Oates (48 for 842 yards, 8 TD, 4 drops) is a true freshman. Their third-leading receiver, Shia Golden (41 for 504 yards, 7 TD, 1 drop) is a true freshman. Their fourth-leading receiver, Nijrell Delmas (31 for 301 yards, 1 drop), is a true freshman. They're all talented true freshmen, but catching McMurray's passes makes their potential shine through. That also means that there's a (usually) single point of failure: slow down McMurray, and Stanford's offense stalls. Just ask USC, who held McMurray to 143 yards passing and turned him over twice--and even though the one-year wonder still put up 109 yards on the ground and two total touchdowns, Stanford only managed 17 points. Or ask Oregon, who held him to 160 yards on 14-of-27 passing, forced and recovered a fumble from him, and kept him out of the endzone entirely. Stanford only managed 10 points. Those are two of the three games in which McMurray's been held under 200 yards. The third one doesn't fit the pattern at all: he threw for just 150 yards, but Bryce Newby slaughtered the Cal defense as Stanford won 42-35. But if Newby's the one who beats you, you weren't going to win that day anyway. So how do you stop this offense if you're Oklahoma State? It's going to be about operational discipline. Sometimes they've been able to limit opposing mobile quarterbacks (Kyler Tackett, Caleb Olmsted). Other times, they've given up yardage in chunks to them (J.T. Youngblood, Martin Lake). And still other times, they've shut down the opposing quarterback only to bleed yardage elsewhere (Eric Pope and Maurice White). They have a defensive front that's capable of getting into the backfield, with nose tackle Amir Pryor and defensive end Kahoni Vaaelua accounting for 7.0 sacks apiece. They're generally going to use their linebackers in coverage and run stop as opposed to pass rush, and like their Sooner counterparts they have a lot of players who can make plays in coverage. After Sebastian Byrd dominated last season, he's only had 1 interception this year. However, guys like sophomore safety Prince Pruitt have stepped up in a big way. Pruitt leads the team with 5 interceptions and 4 pass breakups, and his omnipresence allows everyone underneath him to get just a little more aggressive because they know he'll be there to back them up. But the most reliable way of beating Stanford's offense is just to outscore them. The Cardinal are 7th in the country with 32.4 points scored per game, but they're also 85th in the country with 25.3 points allowed per game. They have some good defensive backs, even if none of them have more than 2 interceptions all season. They have a couple of good defensive ends, even if both have just 4.0 sacks apiece this year. Their most productive player has been freshman outside linebacker Roman Winkler with a team-high 38 tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. Winkler's good when he's in the right place at the right time, but he's also not always in the right place at the right time. The linebacker corps is slow in pursuit and prone to giving up big plays. True freshman defensive tackle Kofi Hyde goes through a lot of teachable moments each time out. That's particular trouble when facing Oklahoma State, especially when the Cowboys know coming into this game that they need to rely on Amral Brown. Ian Baldwin hasn't been himself since the TCU game, and that's now more than half the season ago. In that timespan, he's averaged just 210.9 passing yards per game with 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 7 games. But fortunately for the Cowboys, Amral Brown has been a battering ram against every opponent he's played but West Virginia. He's scored a rushing touchdown in every game he's played this season, and he's only had one game where he failed to rush for at least 105 yards on 5 yards per carry. He's as reliable as they get, he's got above-average explosiveness, and he's more than enough to keep the wheels of an offense turning. I think Oklahoma State has at least a decent answer for Troy McMurray, but Stanford will not have an answer for Amral Brown. That will be the difference. #22 Oklahoma State 41, #23 Stanford 38
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