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[2023] Big XII Network Season Preview

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And so we begin once again.

 

The eleventh season of the Big XII Conference begins on Thursday, and this year promises to be a thriller at the top and competitive throughout the rest of the field. Oklahoma, TCU, and Oklahoma State could all potentially be world-beaters. But with the defending Big XII champion Oklahoma Sooners and defending national runner-up TCU both replacing their starting quarterback and runningback, there is nothing set in stone. There's perhaps more parity from 4 to 9 (if not 4 to 10) than there's been in years. While it's not going to be a total free-for-all to see who makes a run at the conference title, it does promise to be yet another exciting year in the nation's most exciting conference. As always, the Big XII Network is here to let you know what to look out for as the season unfolds.

 

Fair warning: this preview is long even by our standards. Take your time with it, take some of it home in a to-go box to chew on later, consume it piece-by-piece--whatever your preference is, enjoy!

 

I. Projected Standings and Conference Title Odds

 

1. :ou: Oklahoma (10.6-1.4 overall, 8.1-0.9 Big XII) (+180)

2. :tcu: TCU (9.6-2.4 overall, 7.6-1.4 Big XII) (+210)

3. :okst: Oklahoma State (9.3-2.7 overall, 6.9-2.1 Big XII) (+400)

4. :baylor: Baylor (6.6-5.4 overall, 4.1-4.9 Big XII) (+1500)

5. :ttu: Texas Tech (6.5-5.5 overall, 3.9-5.1 Big XII) (+2000)
6. :kansas: Kansas (5.8-6.2 overall, 3.8-5.2 Big XII) (+2000)

7. :texas: Texas (5.1-6.9 overall, 3.7-5.3 Big XII) (+1800)

8. :wvu: West Virginia (4.6-7.4 overall, 3.4-5.6 Big XII) (+1500)

9. :isu: Iowa State (3.6-8.4 overall, 2.4-6.6 Big XII) (+2500)

10. :kstate: Kansas State (2.0-10.0 overall, 1.0-8.0 Big XII) (+4000)

 

Big XII Championship Game Prediction: :ou: Oklahoma (-3) over :tcu: TCU

 

II. Preseason Media Awards

 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: :okst: Amral Brown, RB, Oklahoma State

 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: :ou: Elijah Williams, CB, Oklahoma

 

OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: :kstate: Shane Kruse, QB, Kansas State

 

DEFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: :okst: Jurrell Jordan, OLB, Oklahoma State

 

III. Preseason All-Big XII Team

 

QB: :kansas: Christian Graham, Kansas

RB: :okst: Amral Brown, Oklahoma State

FB: :texas: Kualii Tuaolo, Texas

WR: :ou: Lucas Dykes, Oklahoma

WR: :okst: Samuel Barfield, Oklahoma State

TE: :tcu: Miguel Aguilera, TCU

OT: :isu: D'Neal Norris, Iowa State

OT: :texas: Bobby Drake, Texas

OG: :wvu: Mario Lawton, West Virginia

OG: :tcu: Antonio Logan, TCU

C: :ttu: Charlie Becker, Texas Tech

DE: :ttu: Curtis Jones, Texas Tech

DE: :ou: Jeremiah Melvin, Oklahoma

DT: :ou: David Kaiser, Oklahoma

DT: :tcu: Kwon Shaw, TCU

ILB: :kstate: Brendan Scherer, Kansas State

OLB: :baylor: Zachary McHale, Baylor

OLB: :isu: Paul Bryant, Iowa State

CB: :ou: Elijah Williams, Oklahoma

CB: :tcu: Patrick Ross, TCU

FS: :okst: Prince Pruitt, Oklahoma State

SS: :ttu: Robert Brantley, Texas Tech

K: :tcu: Ian Todd, TCU

P: :tcu: Evan Coon, TCU

KR: :ttu: Tyson Moss, Texas Tech

PR: :tcu: Griffin McHanna, TCU

 

IV. Bowl Projections

 

College Football Playoff: :ou: Oklahoma (vs. Penn State)

College Football Playoff: :tcu: TCU (vs. Auburn)

Sugar Bowl: :okst: Oklahoma State (vs. Georgia)

Alamo Bowl: :baylor: Baylor (vs. UCLA)

Orlando Bowl: :ttu: Texas Tech (vs. Boston College)

 

V. Heisman Contenders

 

Tier 1

 

None

 

Tier 2

 

:okst: Amral Brown, RB, Oklahoma State

:kansas: Christian Graham, QB, Kansas

:tcu: Taylor Cook, QB, TCU

:ou: Lucas Dykes, WR, Oklahoma

 

Tier 3

 

:ou: Elijah Williams, CB, Oklahoma

:tcu: Patrick Ross, CB, TCU

:okst: Samuel Barfield, WR, Oklahoma State

 

VI. First Draft

 

Every Big XII team will see some of its players take their game to the highest level. Which seniors are likely to hear their names called early on draft night 2024?

 

Baylor: William Travis, CB. While Garrett Powers and Zachary McHale in particular may be eyeing early entry, neither are particularly close to locks to make the leap. Baylor is way more reliant on its juniors and sophomores, and Travis is essentially the only senior who is likely to even sniff a practice squad, let alone a roster spot. But if he can replicate his 6-pick junior campaign, the small but rangy corner might earn a late flyer on draft day.

 

Iowa State: D'Neal Norris, OT. The Cyclones will have a few seniors hitting the draft, including Paul Bryant, Laurent Daniel, and Mark Barbour. None have quite as bright a future as Norris, though, who is on the preseason All-Big XII team. He's been a road-grader for Kofi McCullough the last couple of years, and he'll quite possibly have the opportunity to demonstrate that he can handle pass protection as well. He could potentially play either tackle position at the next level.

 

Kansas: Jamari Callahan, DE. While Christian Graham is the star of the team (we'll talk about him later), defensive ends tend to come off the board before quarterbacks do. Callahan hasn't quite matched the ultraproductiveness of his freshman season, but he has put together an impressive career overall. He is just half a sack away from the Big XII career record. He's played as a 4-3 edge rusher when he's really more of a 3-4 end; we'll see him play in his more natural role this year.

 

Kansas State: No Seniors. Kansas State fans are the rare fanbase that hopes not to hear anyone's name called on draft night. Their seniors are all going to go pro in something other than sports. The one player Kansas State needs back in 2024 is Brendan Scherer; they have a few guys who could go early and take a chance at being a late-round pick, but Scherer could be a day-1 or day-2 guy as a quintessential 4-3 mike linebacker. As a side note, Scherer came in with a reputation for versatility, which we haven't seen much in college--and aren't likely to see, since the defense is essentially built around him.

 

Oklahoma: Elijah Williams, CB. Simply put: dude's a stud. He had a quiet freshman season, a slightly noisier sophomore year, and an explosive junior year. If his senior year continues following the same upward trajectory, he's a first-round pick for sure. He can cover massive swaths of the field, he anticipates at a high level and closes in on the ball like a cheetah. He's basically like if you took Lee Davis and made him the size of a wide receiver. Oklahoma has a lot of draftable players behind Williams; I'd bet on Jeremiah Melvin being second off the board, unless Lucas Dykes declares early.

 

Oklahoma State: Amral Brown, RB. Sources inform the Big XII Network that the star senior tailback and Big XII Preseason Offensive Player of the Year is turning down a career in the PBA (as a human bowling ball) to pursue his dreams in the NFL. General managers will likely be comparing him to this year's #2 pick Solomon McLaughlin, #9 pick Simeon Wells, and #11 pick Maurice White, all of whom were bruisers in the Big XII like Brown. He performed at the same level as all three last season, and if he can repeat that performance he could very well be drafted just as highly as all three.

 

TCU: Finn Nielsen, WR. For all the sheer star power on this TCU roster, only a handful of their players are seniors who are likely to see their names called on draft day. Griffin McHanna has perhaps the highest ceiling of any player on the roster, but unless he can excel at either runningback or wide receiver he will struggle to find a spot. Enter Nielsen, who has been the most productive TCU receiver not named Jamel Beckham--and who has already smashed Beckham's school record for touchdown catches. Reliable and surprisingly explosive, he's the type of player who could get a mid- to late-round flyer and use that opportunity to stick on a roster.

 

Texas: Bobby Drake, OT. In the mold of Brandon Reamon before him, Bobby Drake does his best work out of the spotlight. He's something of an inverse to D'Neal Norris: a 6-7, 311-pound mountain of a man who has already had to demonstrate a versatile skillset and who has shown that he can pass protect with the best of them. He's protected Kyler Tackett's flank and he cleared paths for Simeon Wells. It would be surprising if he were on the board past the first two rounds and would be a good fit for a pass-first team that needs a right tackle.

 

Texas Tech: Curtis Jones, DE. A year after Samir Sample was drafted 8th overall by the Cardinals, his teammate is going to get a lot of long looks. Perhaps the more appropriate comparison, however, is Michael Bruce: both have spent time at multiple positions on the defense, and both were productive in college but never seen as early-round prospects. Jones will break the Big XII career sack record unless Jamari Callahan beats him to it. He is an adept pass rusher and run stopper. Barring a significant downturn without Sample next to him (which wasn't a problem his sophomore year), he should be high on every draft board.

 

West Virginia: Mario Lawton, OG. Guards are all the rage these days, and Lawton may well be about as good as they get--though we have yet to see him in action at the FBS level. We know from the spring game and his junior college tape that he's agile, the exact type of player you'd want pull blocking or getting downfield to level a linebacker and turn a run into a big gain. But how he'll handle adjustments at the line, how he'll match wits with opposing defensive linemen, how his skills translate in the actual run of play will determine whether he's a high first-rounder or if he falls to day 2.

 

VII. Big XII Career Record Watch

 

Passing Yards

  • Record: Eric Jennings, Kansas (11,709)
  • Challenger: Christian Graham, Kansas (9,508)

 

Passing Touchdowns

  • Record: Eric Jennings, Kansas (91)
  • Challenger: Christian Graham, Kansas (79)

 

Receiving Touchdowns

  • Record: Raheem Robinson, Oklahoma State (42)
  • Challengers: Finn Nielsen, TCU (30); Jeremy Bridges, Oklahoma State (25)

 

Tackles For Loss

  • Record: David Kaiser, Oklahoma (19, active)
  • Challengers: David Kaiser, Oklahoma (19, active)

 

Sacks

  • Record: Curtis Jones, Texas Tech (23, active); Anthony Ortiz, Oklahoma State (23), Hudson Adam, West Virginia (23)
  • Challengers: Curtis Jones, Texas Tech (23); Jamari Callahan, Kansas (22.5), David Kaiser, Oklahoma (15.5)

 

Interceptions

  • Record: Kyle Cunningham, Baylor (21)
  • Challenger: Sebastian Byrd, Oklahoma State (13)

 

Punt Return Touchdowns

  • Record: Griffin McHanna, TCU (3, active); Mike Mohr, Oklahoma (3), Jayden Tinsley, Baylor (3)
  • Challengers: Griffin McHanna, TCU (3), Ladarius McKinnon, Oklahoma (2)

 

Total Special Teams Return Touchdowns

  • Record: Raheem Robinson, Oklahoma State (4); Dan Rice, TCU (4)
  • Challengers: Griffin McHanna, TCU (3), Ladarius McKinnon, Oklahoma (2)

 

VIII. Spring Fever

 

Nine of ten Big XII teams played a spring game, but all have had an eventful several months since the end of the last college football season. Whose offseason left room for optimism, whose raised red flags, and whose did both?

 

Baylor: Baylor's spring game was a low-scoring slugfest, which either says great things about its defense or scary things about its offense. Or, you know, both. Curtis Sheppard was the only bright spot on the first-team offense, catching 5 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown pass for the Green Team's only score of the game. Maleek Abioye-Afua and Elki Denson both showed enough in spring practice (certainly not the game itself) to earn the boundary wide receiver spots; Curtis Sheppard will play exclusively from the slot. Both backfield members struggled: Caleb Olmsted managed just 145 yards and a touchdown, while Miles Street had 45 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, Zachary McHale was Zach the Ripper. He compiled 5 tackles (3 for loss) and a pair of sacks to at times singlehandedly stall out Green drives. The highlight of the day for Gold was a 25-yard touchdown score by freshman runningback Carlos Bowden; he finished with 56 yards and the one score on 14 carries.

 

Iowa State: As much as offense was at a premium in Baylor's spring game, the opposite was true for Iowa State. Team Cardinal featured Vaughn Sheppard, Team Gold featured Kofi McCullough, and it was surprisingly Sheppard who got the best of the matchup by a margin of 35-24 (and it wasn't really that close). McCullough even had a solid day with 104 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 carries; it's just that Sheppard was that good. He threw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns on 29-of-47 passing, with Luka Snell (9 for 85 yards, 1 TD) and Ben Shearer (6 for 71 yards, 1 TD) being the biggest beneficiaries. Nat Donaldson-Douglas had Gold's only touchdown reception of the day; he'll earn the #1 wide receiver spot with Snell at flanker and Troy Spears coming out of the slot. The defensive line showed signs of life, with Curtis Hicks and Antoine Garvin each recording a sack for Gold and Taua Aloese recording a TFL for Cardinal. It's certainly encouraging that D'Neal Norris and Dillon Dooley mostly kept the Gold backfield clean and gave McCullough plenty of room to run.

 

Kansas: Christian Graham to Cameron Bowers was the story of this one in a 32-7 rout in favor of Blue over White. Graham threw for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns on 25-of-39 through the air, and Bowers was his primary recipient at 7 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sebastian Christy and Sebastian Thorpe also caught a touchdown each. There wasn't much that the second-team offense did effectively: Patrick O'Sullivan (the favorite to start in 2024) threw for 177 yards, a touchdown, and 2 picks while starting runningback Andre Black had 12 yards on 6 carries. Bryce Dubose will likely steal carries this year; he had 83 yards on 20 rushes. True freshmen Deon Evans and Naiquon Crosby both made the statsheet in the spring game (Evans in particular had a good day with 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack), and both were rewarded with a starting role at outside linebacker. There's a fair amount of talent on the Kansas defense; getting it all to come together will be the trick.

 

Kansas State: In a game that ended up being a pretty even match through the air and on the ground, White defeated Purple 30-21 thanks to Billy Shields's leg. The junior nailed all three of his field goals from as far as 44 yards out to provide the margin of victory. Despite the defeat, the Purple offense provided a sense of optimism: in his Wildcat debut, Shane Kruse threw for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns (though he also fired an interception right into the hands of Sammy Schuler). Jermaine Jordan looked excellent as usual, with 6 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. And a lot of Wildcats were making plays behind the line of scrimmage: Brendan Scherer had a sack and a tackle for loss, as did Zahir Moore; Preston Evans and Akiem Dupree had one or the other but not both. Gabriel Vinson's 77 yards and a rushing touchdown on 18 carries won him the starting job over Jaiden Givens, meaning that Kansas State will have an all-freshman backfield this fall. There's lots of upside, and whatever steps forward are taken this year will roll over into 2024 and beyond.

 

Oklahoma: The biggest story of Oklahoma's spring game was the battle for the starting quarterback job, and Nick Brohm's performance--despite the loss--appears to have sealed the deal and pushed him ahead of incumbent Eric Pope. He threw for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns on 23-of-38 passing; Pope had 240 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21-of-32 through the air. Both quarterbacks were tested by the respective opposing defenses, which is a good sign despite the 38-27 final scoreline. They have evident depth on the defensive line, with backups Damon Bolton and Dylan Riddle joining David Kaiser and Jeremiah Melvin on the statsheet. Nickelback Kahawai Kolone had a pick-six, and true freshman D'Andras Moore (who is likely to redshirt) had an interception as well. The surprise of the day was the performance of Tion Sproles, who had 7 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown for Crimson to show that maybe he's more than just a kick returner. Even the safety position showed some good signs, as Sebastian Graham had 4 tackles and forced a fumble from Jaiden Douglas. For his part, Douglas didn't have a good day--49 yards on 18 carries--and it looks like Kenyan Chatman (20 for 88 yards, 2 TD) will take some of his carries next season. Oklahoma will have a lot of options to work with as they look to make another playoff run.

 

Oklahoma State: In a battle of young versus old, the veterans took control by halftime and never let up in a 39-20 win for Orange over Black. Ian Baldwin led the way with 288 yards and 3 touchdowns on 24-of-39 through the air. The majority of that, as expected, was to top receivers Samuel Barfield (7 for 102 yards, 1 TD) and Jeremy Bridges (7 for 82 yards, 1 TD). But the run game was potent as well: Jamal Boyd and Barack Holmes combined for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 17 carries; in contrast, Amral Brown had 89 yards on 22 carries for Black. That's not enough to even threaten Brown's carries, but Boyd looks like a good heir apparent for 2024. The Orange defense frustrated Cutler Barker, who finished 13-of-24 for 137 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. One of those was to Sebastian Byrd and one was to Prince Pruitt, and that's not a bit surprising considering they've been active ballhawks ever since donning a Cowboy uniform. This is a team whose stars will need to shine if it's going to make the run it's capable of; they certainly shined in the spring.

 

TCU: In the most exciting spring game of the Big XII slate, Felix Luck's Purple team defeated Taylor Cook's White team in overtime, 37-34. But as was the case with Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma, the winning quarterback is not the one who will have the starting job. Cook was nothing short of brilliant, throwing for 350 yards on 23-of-37 passing with 3 touchdowns and an interception; Luck avoided any turnovers but had "only" 219 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20-of-28 passing. Essentially, the high ceiling Cook provides won out over the high floor Luck has demonstrated. Cook also demonstrated great chemistry with lead receiver Finn Nielsen (8 for 119 yards, 1 TD) and true freshman Landon Gladstone (4 for 102 yards, 1 TD); Gladstone is likely to redshirt this season. At runningback, it's Griffin McHanna who has won the starting job over Matteo Cates. Neither had a great day, but McHanna had 89 yards, a touchdown, and a lost fumble on 23 carries. Several of TCU's young starting defenders had a spring game to be excited about: freshman Dwayne Harvey had an interception, freshman Clinton Staton and sophomore Hooker Jackson each had 1.5 sacks, and sophomore Lardarius Pendleton had a sack, a tackle for loss, and a pass defended to go with his 5 tackles. TCU's big question mark is how the young defensive front will come together; the spring game is certainly a sign that this could be as complete a team TCU has had.

 

Texas: Ex-Horned Frog Sam Milner was electric in his first game in a Texas uniform, leading the Burnt Orange squad to a 31-0 victory over White. Milner was 22-of-27 for 329 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air and added 58 yards and 2 more touchdowns on the ground. It's a far cry from his freshman struggles at TCU, which (along with a strong offseason from Felix Luck) cost him his job and led to Milner's transfer. If it were a statline that he had recorded in regular-season average, it would have been a career-best in just about any category you could think of. Safe to say that's about as fresh of a breath of air Longhorn fans could ask for. It also has to be exciting to see Dontae Alford go for 100 yards on the ground; he has earned the starting spot in year 1 after Simeon Wells. Natrone Benjamin (6 for 102 yards) and tight end Francesco Sewell (6 for 100 yards, 1 TD) also had big days. Backfield and receiver were huge issues for the Longhorns coming in, and the spring game provides hope for every position in those groups. What's concerning is that the first-team defense didn't really make any impact plays: no sacks, no interceptions, not even a pass defended or tackle for loss. If Milner keeps up the level of play he demonstrated here, will it be enough to paper over that?

 

Texas Tech: Texas Tech was the only Big XII team not to have a spring game, so the only pieces of information we're likely to get from Lubbock before the season begins will come from their depth chart. We know that Dominique Dixon is unsurprisingly on track to redshirt; Grayson Gillette's receiving corps will be headlined by Atoshi Kanisawa and Graham Beck. Tyson Moss adds intrigue in the slot on top of his role as a returner; however, we don't really know how big of an impact he'll have there until we see him in game action. The big question was whether the defense would be in a 4-3 or a 3-4; the spring depth chart strongly indicates that a 3-4 is in the works. Hunter Beckham jumps over Sebastian Bolton and Levi Conte to earn the starting defensive tackle spot, and Anh Nguyen will be the starting mike. Shawntez Currie wins the contested right outside linebacker role, though Misael Villegas will get some action on blitz downs. This is the alignment that will give Curtis Jones and Josh Poe Jr. in particular to flash their strengths; if the offense struggles at all, they'll be the ones to carry the team until the ship is righted.

 

West Virginia: Just as they did last year, West Virginia flexed its defense in its spring game this year as Blue defeated Gold by a margin of 17-7. Even so, the Blue offense won because it was able to string together some explosive plays; Gold's defense was very much a break-don't-bend effort. Martin Lake only completed 23-of-40 passes and threw an interception to Preston Evans. He had two passes batted down, one by Evans and one by freshman linebacker Lavonte Jones (who also had six tackles, one for loss). But when he connected with his receivers, good things happened. Those 23 completions went for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. Who else would have been the primary beneficiary but Corey Easley (7 for 100 yards, 1 TD)? None of the other receivers separated themselves, though tight end Jermaine Barrow finished with 60 yards and a score on 3 catches. Kicking was an issue, with Mario Bales missing both of his field goal attempts and Zane McRae hitting from 33 and missing from 43. Perhaps the best news of the day for the Mountaineers was the performance of Mike Freeman. He racked up 102 yards on 19 carries, convincingly winning the starting job over Bryce Madison (who will still see some action as a third down back). If their offense can play at this level against defenses that often won't be as good as West Virginia's own, look out.

 

IX. Praise Portal

 

The debut of the transfer portal has changed the college football landscape. How has the nation's most exciting conference adapted? Who's coming, who's going, and what's the state of play afterward?

 

Baylor: Center Nathaniel Shank transferred to Notre Dame due to the emergence of Andrew Wheatley as a surefire long-term starter. They won't have much depth at the position, with senior Wilson Paz as the only other center on the roster. They were able to replace him with former NC State fullback Byron Drake, who will sit one year and play one in 2024 to bridge the gap between Baylor's two senior fullbacks and redshirting freshman Leonard Blalock-Goodrich. While free safety Daveed Hester explored his transfer options, he ultimately decided to return to Baylor as a third-string safety.

 

Iowa State: The Cyclones picked up cornerback Jaiden Mallory, who transferred from the defending national champion Auburn Tigers and will have one year of eligibility to be played in 2024. At that time, he'll almost certainly start immediately and bolster a cornerback unit that doesn't have a lot of P5-level talent at this point. He'll also provide mentorship to defensive backs like Malik Carradine who are expected to be an important piece of the puzzle in the future. They also retained punter Harrison Marcus, who will finish his degree while backing up Ben Groves.

 

Kansas: The Jayhawks picked up three transfers, all with one year of eligibility remaining to be played in 2024. Corey Felder-Lockhart (from Oregon) and Finn Dooley (from Purdue) will both provide some depth at defensive end, where the Jayhawks are seriously thin. One or the other could be pressed into starting duty if Kansas is unable to sign someone to play across from Eddy Cuevas. They also add South Carolina guard Jack Tabor, who will likely slot in at right guard where the line is at its weakest.

 

Kansas State: Kansas State also brought in three transfers with a year of eligibility remaining to be played in 2024. Former Tulsa free safety Andrew Hobson will compete for the starting job with redshirting freshman Tejay Tuttle; even if he doesn't win it, he'll provide emergency depth as he and Tuttle are the only two free safeties on the roster who won't exhaust their eligibility this year. They also add former Clemson guard Gregory Wagner, who will give Calvin Hyde more time to develop after Felix Horvath graduates and leaves a guard spot open. Thirdly, they nabbed former UAB receiver Alex Vereen, who adds more depth to the unit with Jhonny Palacios and Nathaniel Lewis-Abrams set to depart. On top of that, they retained the services of tight end Ivan Huff, who is buried on the depth chart but couldn't find a better fit than staying in his home state.

 

Oklahoma: Oklahoma had a particularly busy portal season, losing three players and gaining three. But first and foremost, they did not lose Eric Pope even though Pope lost the starting job. He'll stay on as a short-yardage option and push Nick Brohm for the starting job every week. Among the non-returners, though, are redshirt junior defensive tackle Troy Cason (Tulsa), junior defensive end Aiden McNally (Washington State), and redshirt senior free safety Jaden Foster (New Hampshire). Those are all positions where Oklahoma has a wealth of depth, and Foster is the only one who could even theoretically make them miss a beat. In the meantime, they pulled in a bit of linebacker depth with ex-Boston College will linebacker Kyle Bridges and ex-Nebraska mike linebacker Mekhi Williams. Both will have two years of eligibility, though it's hard to see either finding a starting role in Norman. Ex-Washington cornerback Kaden Carmichael is in the same boat with his two years, though the nature of the cornerback position means that he could see the field in a dime or quarter set. This is a lot of words just to say that the biggest news of all was that Eric Pope decided to stay.

 

Oklahoma State: No Big XII team saw more transfer attrition than Oklahoma State, who saw four players take their leave from the program. The biggest of those names was Barack Holmes, who had 1393 yards and 16 touchdowns in 14 games before being replaced by Amral Brown (with Jamal Boyd backing him up). Holmes will finish out his career as a Delaware Blue Hen. Linebacker Jonathan Christy heads to Georgia Tech, which shouldn't cause much problem with two other classmates at the will position and Lukas Snow in the pipeline. Center Elias Jarrett heads to Michigan, which could cause a minor depth issue next year behind Isamaeli Salanoa but not a major one. Defensive tackle Shaun Ali heads to Troy; the amount of quality young nose tackles Oklahoma State has ensures that they won't be affected in the slightest. The portal is not without its blessings, though, as fullback Michael Cassidy will transfer in from California with a year of eligibility to be served in 2024. Given that they did not have a non-senior fullback on the roster, Cassidy is an early breath of fresh air for next year.

 

TCU: The big news was Felix Luck deciding to take his talents to the west coast after losing the starting quarterback job to Taylor Cook. He will finish out his career as a UC-Davis Aggie, departing as TCU's career leader in passer rating (135.3) and completion percentage (61.3%) and setting school single-season records for yards (4155), touchdowns (32), and completion percentage (63.3%). TCU loses their best insurance policy if Cook struggles or is hurt, but they're willing to bet it all on the redshirt freshman phenom. Also on the outs is tight end Ron Sampson, who heads to Notre Dame. That might affect their depth slightly, but blocking tight end is so niche that it almost certainly won't affect the Frogs. They did not receive any transfers in.

 

Texas: Lucas Beckwith started two games before being benched, and was then recruited over in favor of Sam Milner. It's no surprise that he's out the door; he will begin his master's degree at Harvard. That's not a bad place to study, I suppose. His final stats at Texas: 30 of 55 for 308 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT; 8 carries for 42 yards, 1 TD. He is their only exiting transfer; Ahmad Fleming explored his options but ultimately decided to stay. He'll be a reserve runningback and backup returner. They bring in former Wisconsin punter Tristan O'Rourke (two years of eligibility), who ought to be able to start next year; they also add ex-Florida defensive tackle Luca Gleason (three years of eligibility), who will compete for a starting job next year at either defensive tackle or defensive end and who will provide long-term quality depth otherwise.

 

Texas Tech: Desmond Zimmerman tested the transfer waters, but he ultimately decided to return to Lubbock. Unless he sees usage as a short-yardage quarterback or a holder he won't see much usage on the field, but as a redshirt sophomore he'll have more opportunities to look around in the future.

 

West Virginia: The Mountaineers saw three players transfer out, including punter Willy McGuire (to Penn State) and kicker Mario Bales (to Stanford). Both lost their starting jobs to true freshmen, which means they weren't likely to ever get it back; the nature of those positions means depth doesn't really get tested there. They also lose Ricky Peralta to Yale, which might have a bit of an impact on West Virginia's depth at the position for this year with only two guys remaining who they'll want seeing the field under any circumstance. But they did get a big pickup in ex-Miami (FL) cornerback Jason Payton, who will sit one year and play two. He will likely play #2 corner or nickelback once he is eligible, depending on how Moussa Lacy develops.


X. Burning Questions

 

No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. No gameplan survives first contact with the season. What question will each team be grappling with as the season starts? What will be the difference between a worst-case and best-case scenario?

 

Baylor: Will juniors Caleb Olmsted, Miles Street, and Garrett Powers play up to their potential? At three of the most critical positions on the field, Baylor has a wealth of talent. At those three positions, though, the results have not been where they need to be. Caleb Olmsted did not improve from his freshman season to his sophomore season, completing 58.3% of his passes and throwing 17 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Miles Street was more of a mixed bag, improving to 4.5 yards per carry but finishing with just 966 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. And after a strong freshman season, Garrett Powers put up a Malik Dawson-level statline as a sophomore. That's the bad news. The good news is that they all have worlds of talent, so it's not like trying to win with Jason Vick at quarterback (even if he did try his hardest). Tap into that, and Baylor's a threat in the Big XII.

 

Iowa State: Vaughn or Kofi? When Vaughn Sheppard and Kofi McCullough were both freshmen, the Cyclones ran the ball 300 times and threw it 188 times. In the spring game, Sheppard's team threw it 47 times and McCullough's ran it 28 times. If the growth that Sheppard teased toward the end of last season is real, how does Iowa State take advantage of it without depriving their star runningback? They've struggled on both ends of the field since the departures of Clifford Wilcox, Arturo Pacheco, and Tom Oldham with a 6-30 record, 17.4 points scored, and 29.6 points allowed per game. The defense has some potential if Paul Bryant, Ian Johnson, Mark Barbour, and Laurent Daniel all ball out, but the offense has an opportunity to make a dramatic leap if the Cyclones can figure out that balance.

 

Kansas: What happens if Plan A fails? If Christian Graham delivers an Eric Jennings-like senior-year performance, Cameron Bowers turns out to be the second coming of Malcolm Davis, and underclassmen at defensive end, all four linebacker spots, and both safety positions are all able to step up and contribute from day 1, Kansas will be in good shape for this season. If any of that goes wrong--as Kansas's offense as a whole did during their 1-4 start last year--then there's not really much else for the Jayhawks to rely on. They don't have a run game unless Andre Black becomes a different person from last season's 477-yard "effort." They lost tight end Jaime Bautista, and there's no go-to second receiver if Bowers struggles. If Eddy Cuevas isn't able to fill Noah Urlacher's shoes, there isn't anybody else to go to; likewise, if either of Kansas's freshman safeties needs time to adjust to the college level, they don't have it. The only place where there's a margin for error is outside linebacker, which was not coincidentally the only real position battle Kansas had. The Jayhawks have found a Plan B before. But that's not something they can bank on this year.

 

Kansas State: How much progress can this group make? It wasn't that long ago that Kansas State opened the 2020 season with a 5-2 record, but it sure feels that way. They couldn't find the crucial sixth win that season, and they've gone 5-24 since then--but they've also developed a cadre of young, scrappy, and hungry players who will give the Wildcats the opportunity to make a run at their second-ever bowl game. Shane Kruse and Gabriel Vinson both impressed in the spring game, with Kruse inheriting the starting quarterback role from Julius Minnow and Vinson usurping the runningback job from Jaiden Givens. Between them and Jermaine Jordan on offense, Jonah Caruso, Brendan Scherer, Sammy Schuler, and a bit of Mario Hamilton and Daniel O'Hara on defense, there is star power layered atop a very deep team. If everything goes right, there are opportunities to find six wins on the schedule. But the fanbase isn't expecting that; they're just expecting that this team will at least show progress this year. It has to, because 2024 could be where the wave crests with Caruso and Scherer graduating afterward.

 

Oklahoma: Can a new-look backfield help them find that last gear? Losing one of the greatest runningbacks in the history of the Big XII hurts. But replacing him while also switching out Eric Pope in favor of Nick Brohm adds another wrinkle. There's upside there, of course: Brohm showed that he can be a brilliant passer, and that might be the extra edge they need to get over the top. The worst-case scenario is that he can't maintain the pace that Pope set last year--in which case, Oklahoma can turn to the best backup quarterback in the country, Eric Pope himself. In Oklahoma's best-case scenario, Brohm takes better advantage of having a wide receiver corps like Lucas Dykes, Chase Reardon, and Aiden Caldwell than the run-first Pope could. As long as Jaiden Douglas can be successful as a Greg Hadnot-like change-of-pace back who can occasionally take over games (his 2022 carries are a better omen than his spring game was), the ceiling for this team is a national championship.

 

Oklahoma State: Is this team ready to beat the big boys? Speaking of ceilings, what is the ceiling for Oklahoma State? They came in last season as the preseason #6 team in the country. An early loss to Texas Tech jostled them, a loss to TCU erased their margin for error, and back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma turned a possible playoff-caliber season into a 9-4 campaign. They closed the season on a high note with a 42-15 win over Stanford in the Alamo Bowl, but the sense of "what could have been" was palpable. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they basically get to run it back. Almost all of their key contributors return, a lot of their younger guys reportedly had monster springs, and they add guys like Cael Bruce and Jurrell Jordan to add some extra punch. The expectations this year aren't meaningfully lower than last; they are the preseason #9 now. Are they more able to fulfill them now?

 

TCU: Can a new-look backfield help them find that last gear? Hang on, I'm getting a sense of déjà vu here. Losing one of the most productive quarterbacks in school history hurts, and losing him at the same time as they lost steady-as-she-goes runningback Martin Gifford adds another wrinkle. There's upside, of course: Taylor Cook showed that he can be a brilliant passer, and that might be the extra edge they need to get over the top. This isn't quite an identical situation to Oklahoma's. For one, TCU doesn't have a fallback option if Cook struggles, because Felix Luck opted to transfer to UC-Davis rather than back up Cook. But that said, Cook is practically a can't-miss prospect just as Nick Brohm is, TCU has an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver, and both squads should be in great hands under center. Runningback is the bigger question mark. Griffin McHanna is shifting to the position after playing three years at wide receiver, with Matteo Cates playing a complementary role. Like with Oklahoma, TCU doesn't need them to blow the defense out of the water; they just need to be able to keep them honest. But, you know, if they do blow the defense out of the water then nobody's stopping them at all.

 

Texas: Will the streak live on? The Longhorns are the only Big XII team and one of the few teams nationwide to have made a bowl game in every season of their existence. That's a streak that's been maintained by narrow margins over the course of four straight seasons of 7-6 or 6-7 football, and this year their projection shakes out to 5-7. Even so, that means only one or two things have to break Texas's way for this to be an eleventh consecutive bowl season. For example, replacing Kyler Tackett with Sam Milner looks like it carries sky-high upside given Milner's spring game performance. If that game was any indication, Texas might have multiple playmakers in the passing game for the first time since Brad Davis was throwing to Roy Davis and Steven Maloney in 2018. That said, it also doesn't take much going wrong for the season to hit disaster-dominoes mode: the first-team defense isn't in good shape. It has a couple of players playing out of position and a couple of players pressed into a role larger than they were recruited for. Can the defense play well enough to give the offense room to work? Can the offense bail out the defense? With a road game at UTSA followed by four straight conference games leading things off, we will know sooner rather than later.

 

Texas Tech: What will Grayson Gillette provide under center? We've talked a lot about how Texas Tech will have to change schematically post-Solomon McLaughlin. But just as important as the scheme, if not more important, is how the players will actually perform. Hayden Dyer should be a capable runningback; he was certainly a quality returner and had a few big carries to complement McLaughlin before now getting his chance to start (more on him later). Regardless of how heavily they lean on him, they'll need redshirt freshman Grayson Gillette to make an impact. The Red Raiders have averaged 1395 passing yards and 6.25 touchdown passes a year over the past four years of Chase Shapiro and Donald Garrett. Before Solomon, the anemic passing attack led to just 17.3 points per game; post-Solomon, the offense is in danger of regressing to that level unless Gillette can top that production by a significant amount. But if he can get to a level where he can throw for 2200 to 2500 yards and 15 to 20 touchdowns (with Dyer playing a bigger role on the lower end of that scale), that ought to be enough offense to give Texas Tech a chance more often than not. Can he get there his freshman year?

 

West Virginia: Can the offense find efficiency? West Virginia thrived on its defense last year, holding opponents to 20.1 points per game (28th in the country) and scoring an okay-not-great 24.5 (70th). While the duo of Martin Lake and Corey Easley was productive, it proved an on-and-off connection at times. Martin Lake threw for 2881 yards and 22 touchdowns, with 5 more scores on the ground. He also threw 10 interceptions and only completed 58.3% of his passes. That number has to come up, but if it does then it'll bring all the rest of his stats into a better alignment as well. West Virginia converted on 37.1% of their third downs, which was on the low side of the middle of the conference. Cut the distance-to-go on third down and that number comes up. It didn't help that the inconsistency of the run game kept the Mountaineers off-schedule: Bryce Madison averaged fewer than 4.4 yards per carry and under 70 per game. Mike Freeman came in and immediately won the starting job; will his addition plus a year of development for Lake and Easley be enough to catapult this offense into above-average range?

 

XI. Breakout Player

 

To be eligible for this section, a player must 1) have been an active player last season or in a prior season at their current school, 2) not be listed in the MVP section of the spring preview, and 3) be expected to have an impact this season.

 

Baylor: Garrett Powers, ILB. One of the biggest recruits in recent memory, Powers backed up the hype with a big true freshman season. He had 42 tackles, 4 for a loss; he intercepted two passes and recorded two sacks, demonstrating a deadly level of versatility that made him the ideal centerpiece of a defense. His sophomore season, though, playing at will linebacker next to Thomas Morton, he did not record a single solitary stat at any point in the season. That leads us to now: he's returning to his natural position at the mike. The defense is structured much more like a traditional 3-4, and he has the ruthlessly effective Zachary McHale on his right side. Given the defense's vulnerability at safety, freshman-year Powers's re-emergence would eliminate an offense's ability to create enough time to attack the defense deep. They need him to step up.

 

Iowa State: Vaughn Sheppard, QB. I'm about as high on Vaughn Sheppard as anyone, probably even moreso than his own mother. Why? Because toward the end of last season, Iowa State changed up their offense and suddenly a light bulb seemed to flick on in his head. Albeit on relatively low volume, Sheppard threw for 8.2 yards per attempt, 5 touchdowns to no interceptions, and a 64.6% completion rate over the last three games of the season. For the first 9 games of the 2022 season, those numbers were 6.4 YPA, 7 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, and 56.2% passing. Each of those last three games was among the four best performances by passer rating that he's posted in his career. Then, he threw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns in the spring game. It's not a large sample size, but a junior-year leap forward would match up with the leap Clifford Wilcox made as a junior after enduring the same underclassman struggles that Sheppard did.

 

Kansas: Abdoul Mayo, DT. Kansas's starting nose tackle isn't the star of the team, the star of the defense, or the star of the defensive line--but he's the best Jayhawk to take an expanded role this season after playing alongside Albert Duke his first two years. Mayo had 20 tackles (4 for loss), a sack, and a fumble recovery last year; this year, Kansas will need him to be even more involved than that. There are three true freshmen and two redshirt sophomores joining him and Jamari Callahan in this defensive front; that's a lot of youth, and Mayo has to make it as easy as possible for those guys to fill gaps and make stops. This conference loves its power runners, and anything up the middle that Mayo can't slow down is liable to hit the second level. He doesn't have to be Jeremy Miller or David Medley--but he does have to be pretty dang close.

 

Kansas State: Sammy Schuler, CB. Poteet's petit pigskinner steps into a role much larger than his 5-foot-10 frame: he has to anchor the entire Kansas State secondary in a year where they're expected to be a stronger unit than they've been in a long time. Schuler didn't have a particularly explosive freshman or sophomore season; he's had a total of 4 interceptions and 2 pass breakups for his career. But junior year is so often when a player comes into his own (which is why so many guys in this list are juniors), so a breakout season for Schuler wouldn't be a surprise. The front of the defense is in good shape; you don't have to worry about Brendan Scherer, and Jonah Caruso at least ought to make an impact on the line. That could make the defense a decent-if-not-great unit. But if the secondary can turn into a legitimate strength as well, that will give them a fighting chance against the bulk of the conference and a real path to six wins.

 

Oklahoma: Jaiden Douglas, RB. We only saw Jaiden Douglas once in regular-season play, but that's good enough for me to include him in this section. He had 10 carries against Iowa State and made the most of them, recording 84 yards and 2 touchdowns in relief of Maurice White in a 52-24 wind shearing. Chances are that he won't average 8.4 yards per carry and 5 carries per touchdown now that he's a full-time starter, but (as mentioned before) he will have big shoes to fill with Maurice White gone. Ideally, though, he also won't make a habit out of rushing for 49 yards on 18 carries as he did in the spring game. With the full first-team offensive line blocking for him, I expect him to perform significantly better than that. They don't need him to be Maurice White, but for the second time I'll compare his role to Greg Hadnot's. Hadnot kept defenses honest for Norris Brooksheer, but had a mean streak when he needed one. That's where Douglas needs to land.

 

Oklahoma State: Samuel Barfield, WR. Yes, Barfield was the team's leading receiver last year. Yes, he's coming off of a season in which he had 70 catches for 1011 yards and 9 touchdowns. But yes, he fits in this category nonetheless for a pair of reasons. First of all, his actual role is expanding: he was the #2 receiver last year, and he's been promoted to #1 now. Second, though, he demonstrated that he still had a lot of room to improve and a sense of consistency to develop. He started the 2022 season on a hot streak, with 35 catches for 583 yards and 7 touchdowns in his first six games. After that, he hit a wall and so did Ian Baldwin. (Chicken or the egg?) He had at least 80 yards in his first six games and at least one touchdown in his first five. The last six games of the regular season, though, he topped out at 69 yards and couldn't find the endzone even once. It was a tale of two Barfields. The good news is that the bowl game was a redemption tour for him, as he hauled in 8 catches for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. He doesn't have to have a shimmering performance every game; there's a lot of different players who can step up. But if he can be a reliable target game-in and game-out, that's an ace in the hole for Oklahoma State.

 

TCU: Richard Farrell, OLB. As a redshirt junior, Farrell is the second-oldest starter on the TCU defense. (Let that sink in for a second.) William Cooper would have been the easy choice for this slot if Patrick Ross didn't leapfrog him for #1 corner, so Farrell it is. He's entering his third year as a starter; he had 38 tackles (6 for loss) and 2 sacks as a freshman, and followed that up with a less impressive 20 tackles (1 for loss) and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore. Without Chance Herring or Elliot McElmore now, though, Farrell has to be the one taking the lead on defense. He and Kwon Shaw will be the only returning starters in the defensive front. Every single player on this team is talented for sure, but it'll be his job to provide leadership in the locker room and on the field. He'll be responsible for a larger share of the pass rush since Blake Burns is more of a cover linebacker and both defensive ends are freshmen. But if he can be the one to fly around the field, setting the edge and making tackles in space, this defense goes from elite to nigh-impenetrable.

 

Texas: Francesco Sewell, TE. Pass-catcher has gone from a position of strength in the days of Harry Whiteside, Roy Davis, Will Holly, and Steven Maloney to a weakness at Texas in recent years. Francesco Sewell is one of a number of players who could change that now that Sam Milner is in town for a year. Shaun Lyles is already established as the #1 guy, having been the only Longhorn to reach 500 receiving yards last year. Da'Quan Crockett is taking a redshirt year due to his slower-than-expected development. That leaves Sewell as the player who can evolve into that top complementary target from the tight end spot. The redshirt sophomore only had 35 catches for 434 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. But he's earned solid reviews for his work ethic in spring practice, and that amounted to a stellar spring game performance with 6 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the 31-0 win. The connection between Milner, Lyles, and Sewell ought to be the greatest source of optimism in Austin right now, because getting the offense to operate in fourth gear from day 1 could be everything for this season.

 

Texas Tech: Hayden Dyer, RB. Dyer has certainly waited his turn for this opportunity, starting for the first time as a redshirt senior. But he hasn't been sitting on his thumbs this whole time or anything like that. For his career, Hayden Dyer has amassed 1,850 yards. It's just that most of those yards have been for things other than rushing. He's had 1,042 yards returning kicks, 542 more returning punts, and even 73 yards as a receiver. But when he's been called upon to run the ball, he's done well with it. He had 6 carries for 28 yards in 2021, and had three separate appearances with at least 5 yards per carry and a touchdown in 2022. His single best performance came in the upset of Oklahoma State, where he had 7 carries for 105 yards and a 56-yard touchdown run. He's strong but very shifty, and if you don't bring him down early then you at the very least can't let him turn on the afterburners or you'll be seeing taillights down to the endzone. At least until Gillette has his bearings, it seems likely that Dyer will be asked to be the bigger part of the offense due to his experience and his higher floor. He's not going to be Solomon McLaughlin, but that doesn't mean he's not dangerous in his own right.

 

West Virginia: Elvis Cornejo, DE. Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has entered the building. The redshirt junior had a bit of a modest sophomore campaign with 19 tackles (4 for loss) and 4.5 sacks, but he should have plenty of opportunities with Riley Reardon and ballyhooed freshman Dominic Acuna lining up along the defensive line with him. Acuna replaces Aaron Pagan, so it's not as if all the attention was focused on Cornejo before; however, this is the year that the Williamson, WV native ought to be able to put it all together. Like with Richard Farrell, part of his role also has to be leadership. He and Riley Reardon are the elder statesmen of the defensive front, with freshmen like Acuna, Hudson Collins, and Lavonte Jones all playing prominent roles in this unit. Acuna and Jones could be year-one studs, but it won't mean much if offenses feel that they can pick on Cornejo's side of the line. An improved Cornejo gives the defensive line a pincer-like quality, keeping the backfield contained and away from the sideline while funneling plays into Reardon and Jones where the defense is strong. That's how a top-30 scoring defense can get even better even after losing Aaron Pagan, Lamont Carson, and Nathan Wilks.

 

XII. All-Name Team

 

Last, but not least, a bit of fun to close out the preview. All players selected must be in the two-deep or otherwise a possibility to appear on the statsheet unless their name is too good to exclude, and this year will exclude anyone from last year's list unless there are truly no other worthy options. Otherwise, the criteria are entirely arbitrary. Nicknames do count toward your score.

 

QB: Grayson Gillette, Texas Tech

RB: Kofi McCullough, Iowa State

FB: Illanipi Thompson, Iowa State

WR: Elki Denson, Baylor

WR: Joel De La Cruz-Venegas, Kansas State

TE: Demetrius "Two-Way" Clay, Iowa State

OT: Zontavius Greer, Oklahoma

OT: Juan "Don't Draft Me" Bustamante, Oklahoma

Bonus OT: Devin Otero, West Virginia

OG: Isaraelu Iosefo, Texas

OG: Aneterea Mata'afa, Iowa State

C: Mark Butt, TCU

DE: Jamari Callahan, Kansas

DE: Cael Bruce, Oklahoma State

DT: Hooker Jackson, TCU

DT: Kwon Shaw, TCU

ILB: Lardarius Pendleton, TCU

ILB: Anh Nguyen, Texas Tech
OLB: Naiquon "Nuke" Crosby, Kansas

OLB: Shawntez Currie, Texas Tech

CB: Kahawai Kolone, Oklahoma

CB: Sammy Schuler, Kansas State

Nickel CB: Moussa McCullough, TCU

FS: Prince "Who Was Promised" Pruitt, Oklahoma State

SS: Logan Gallegos, Texas

K: Tyler Leggett, Oklahoma

P: Bob Self, Texas Tech

LS: Mahamadou McCloud, Baylor

LS: Rory Rowley, Iowa State

KR: Aboubacar Major, Baylor

PR: Aheahe Vainu'upo, Baylor

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@smackemz I promise I'm way higher on West Virginia than my computer is!

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2 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

If Milner keeps up the level of play he demonstrated here, will it be enough to paper over that?

 

 

Yes :ph34r:

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4 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

@smackemz I promise I'm way higher on West Virginia than my computer is!

I've run out of likes so *laughing emoji*

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14 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

None of the other receivers separated themselves, though tight end Jermaine Barrow finished with 60 yards and a score on 3 catches

 

I'm hoping that since the whole unit will be back together we will have better results in real games.  I split my receivers between the 2 teams, which probably hurt both squads a little bit.  

 

This is a great media piece.  Welcome to 2023!

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But honestly I would not be surprised to be 5-7. I’m just trying to avoid the first losing regular season in Austin 

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This is glorious

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22 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

5. :ttu: Texas Tech (6.5-5.5 overall, 3.9-5.1 Big XII) (+2000)

This is about what I expect I'll be able to accomplish this season.  Definitely a rebuilding year for sure.

 

27 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

Orlando Bowl: :ttu: Texas Tech (vs. Boston College)

This would be an interesting matchup.  I just hope to make a bowl
 

35 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

Texas Tech: Curtis Jones, DE. A year after Samir Sample was drafted 8th overall by the Cardinals, his teammate is going to get a lot of long looks. Perhaps the more appropriate comparison, however, is Michael Bruce: both have spent time at multiple positions on the defense, and both were productive in college but never seen as early-round prospects. Jones will break the Big XII career sack record unless Jamari Callahan beats him to it. He is an adept pass rusher and run stopper. Barring a significant downturn without Sample next to him (which wasn't a problem his sophomore year), he should be high on every draft board.

 

28 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

Sacks

  • Record: Curtis Jones, Texas Tech (23, active); Anthony Ortiz, Oklahoma State (23), Hudson Adam, West Virginia (23)
  • Challengers: Curtis Jones, Texas Tech (23); Jamari Callahan, Kansas (22.5), David Kaiser, Oklahoma (15.5)

I really hope that Curtis Jones continues this trend and makes a push for a 1st round selection!
 

32 minutes ago, stormstopper said:

Texas Tech: What will Grayson Gillette provide under center? 

This is the make or break of my season is finding out what Grayson can do.  I hope he plays well with the supporting cast that we've assembled, but I have no idea what to expect.  

 

Thanks for this fantastic writeup Storm!

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1 hour ago, stormstopper said:

@smackemz I promise I'm way higher on West Virginia than my computer is!

Actually - when will you post your human projections?

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Wow this is incredible. I am gonna have to dig in over the next day or two before I can comment but outstanding work

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I'll have more in depth responses in the future, but here's to Finn Nielsen and the WR corps of 2019 being drafted highly!

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Just...wow...I finally finished getting through that! What a well done piece! Geez, I feel like I know a ton about the Medium 12 now, and am PUMPED to watch you all in action!

 

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23 hours ago, Ahven D'Gale said:

Just...wow...I finally finished getting through that! What a well done piece! Geez, I feel like I know a ton about the Medium 12 now, and am PUMPED to watch you all in action!

 


Medium 12? BLASPHEMY 

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