Jay Beck

Jay Beck

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Thursday, 13 February 2014 17:27

Baylor selling gold chrome helmets for $2,000

If you have an extra $2,000 laying around, one of the coolest helmets worn by any team in the country this season can become a new piece on your mantel. And there's even an Art Briles autograph to go with it.

Baylor decided to sell the helmets worn against Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl as a way to celebrate their 2013 Big 12 title. The cost includes $700 to replace the originals with the remainder going to the Baylor Football fund.

"Our guys love it," Briles said in his office as he personally signed each and every one. "Our fans love it, and — fortunately — 17- and 18-year-olds love it. It's great for recruiting, and that's the game that never stops."

What is their not to love? If you're into the uniform craze that has swept through college football over the past few seasons, Baylor's gold helmets are/will be tough to top.

"That is a good looking helmet," Briles said.

Baylor debuted the helmets in their first Big 12 game of the season against West Virginia. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they also wore them against Texas Tech in addition to the Fiesta Bowl game.

If you're interested in purchasing one from Baylor, here's all the information you'll need but you'd better move fast as there are only a few remaining.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:20

Big 12 spring game dates

Signing day is in the books which means spring football is just around the corner.

In the Big 12, Baylor is the first to kick off spring practice in just under two weeks (February 28th) with TCU starting spring practice a day later.  Both teams will hold their spring games on April 5th.

Here's a look at the entire conference's spring schedule.  It may just be practice, but any football is better than no football.

Baylor

  • Start practice: February 28th
  • Spring game: April 5th

 

TCU

  • Starts practice: March 1st
  • Spring game: April 5th

 

West Virginia

  • Starts practice: March 2nd
  • Spring game: April 12th

 

Kansas

  • Starts practice: March 4th
  • Spring game: April 12th

 

Texas Tech

  • Starts practice: March 5th
  • Spring game: April 12th

 

Oklahoma

  • Starts practice: March 8th
  • Spring game: April 12th

 

Iowa State

  • Starts practice: March 10th
  • Spring game: April 12th

 

Oklahoma State

  • Starts practice: March 10th
  • Spring game: TBA

 

Texas

  • Starts practice: March 19th
  • Spring game: April 19th

 

Kansas State

  • Starts practice: April 2nd
  • Spring game: April 26th
Monday, 10 February 2014 16:11

Top five Big 12 nonconference games in 2014

Apparently teams are taking notice of the strength of schedule component in the upcoming college football playoff because after several seasons of less than stellar out of conference opponents, the Big 12 has solid slate of games outside of Big 12 play we can all look forward too.

There are still the usual clunkers but Florida State is there, and so are Auburn and Alabama. Take a look at the weekend of September 13th alone and you'll see Big 12 schools playing UCLA, Maryland, Tennessee, Duke, Arkansas and Iowa - all on the same weekend! It leaves you thinking what took so long for a playoff to become reality.

Here are the five best games coming up, at least from one guy's opinion. Tick, tock, six plus months and counting until August 30th.

1. Oklahoma State vs. Florida State - August 30th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX

The Cowboys went away from their schedule easy philosophy a bit last season when they opened with Mississippi State but things really get ratcheted up in 2014 when they take on Florida State who happens to be the defending national champions.

The Seminoles return Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and 13 starters from their national championship team to go along with a top five recruiting class. The Cowboys will also have to prepare not knowing exactly what FSU will be doing on defense with linebackers coach Charles Kelly slated to take over as defensive coordinator for the departed Jeremy Pruitt.

Oklahoma State will have a monumental task on their hands trying to knock off the Noles in the season opener, but if they can find a way, what a springboard it would be to the rest of the season.

2. Auburn @ Kansas State - Thursday, September 18th

If playing one of the teams in last year's BCS title game wasn't enough, Kansas State gets the chore of playing the loser when Auburn visits for a Thursday night tilt in Manhattan.

The Wildcats have plenty of holes to fill on defense this offseason and the newcomers will get put to the ultimate test against the Tigers who return eight starters on offense including quarterback Nick Marshall.

The good news is that K-State should have salty offense returning themselves and if they can hang with Auburn early, anything can happen given it's a pretty safe assumption to say the atmosphere inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium is going to be a bit electric.

3. Texas vs. UCLA - September 13th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX

How far has Texas fallen from being one of the nation's elite? By the looks of how they fared against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, a long ways. How fast can Charlie Strong turn the ship around? We will have a good idea as to the answer to that question before the Longhorns begin Big 12 play.

After opening with North Texas and BYU, Strong will face a stiff test from a UCLA team that many believe will open the season ranked inside the top ten.

Quarterback Brett Hundley returns along with 16 starters from a team that finished 10-3 last season.

Texas, on the other hand, will spend the bulk of spring practice trying to sort out their quarterback situation. They could go with experience - David Ash - or give one of the young guys - Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard - their shot. Either way, if they can find to knock off the Bruins it would be a solid beginning to the Charlie Strong era in Austin.

4.   West Virginia vs. Alabama - August 30th at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA

Looking at the 2014 schedule and seeing Alabama at the top probably won't help Dana Holgorsen sleep much this offseason. The Crimson Tide aren't coming off another national title, but that doesn't mean they won't be loaded again next season.

If there's any good news for the Mountaineers, it's that three-year starting quarterback A.J. McCarron has finally graduated. Florida State transfer Jacob Coker is a good bet to win the starting job but whoever is under center for Alabama will be making their first career start so there's that.

This is a bit of a dangerous game for WVU because getting manhandled on national TV in the season opener isn't exactly a way to build confidence but then again, if the Mountaineers can hang around into the second half, it could work the other way, as well.

5. Tennessee @ Oklahoma - September 13th

Few teams will enter the 2014 season with more momentum going their way than the Sooners following victories over Oklahoma State and Alabama to close the season.

This isn't the Tennessee of old but it is still a team with plenty of tradition which helped them land of the top recruiting classes in the country. They may not be at the level to beat OU on their home field just yet, but their name alone makes this one of the more intriguing games of the nonconference season.

Honorable mention:

  • Arkansas @ Texas Tech - September 13th
  • Iowa State @ Iowa - September 13th
  • Minnesota @ TCU - September 13th
  • West Virginia @ Maryland - September 13th

 

Sony gift card giveaway!

While you may be only dreaming about watching football next season, it's never to early to dream about what you may be watching it on.  HD television is great - no question about it - but have you checked out Sony's new Ultra HD 4K TV's?

  • Four times clearer than HD: Greater than eight million pixels, 4K is the highest resolution Sony has ever produced. Watching a football game on this TV is as good as good as sitting front row.
  • Everything enhanced: All content is viewed at the highest resolution possible with enhanced images reaching near 4K with Sony’s proprietary two-chip – 4K X-Reality™ Pro picture engine so you won’t miss a single moment of play.

 

Television viewing has never been better and Sony is willing to help out a new purchase by offering our readers a $100 Sony gift card. 

All you have to do is tweet at me, @jaybeck12 and @sonyelectronics.  In your tweet, tell us why you should be the winner of a $100 Sony gift card by February 28th.  On March 1st a drawing will be held and you could be $100 closer to owning a new Sony product! And just in time for March Madness!

You may also follow Sony on Facebook as well as Instagram.

So what are you waiting for?

Friday, 07 February 2014 01:37

Big 12 sending 25 players to NFL combine

The NFL released its official list of players invited to the 2014 combine scheduled to be held February 22-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

More than 300 players are scheduled to attend including 25 from the Big 12.

Baylor led the way with six player invites followed by Oklahoma with five and Texas with four.

Here's the list of Big 12 players that will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in Indy. (The complete list is here).  For everyone else, they'll have to wait until their school's pro day held on each campus.

Big 12 invitees to 2014 NFL combine

Player Pos School
Lache Seastrunk RB Baylor
Tevin Reese WR Baylor
Jordan Najvar TE Baylor
Cyril Richardson G Baylor
Ahmad Dixon SS Baylor
Demetri Goodson CB Baylor
Jeremiah George LB Iowa State
Cornelius Lucas OT Kansas State
Marcus Helt LS Kansas State
Trey Millard FB Oklahoma
Damien Williams RB Oklahoma
Jalen Saunders WR Oklahoma
Gabe Ikard C Oklahoma
Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma
Josh Stewart WR Oklahoma State
Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
Jason Verrett CB TCU
Mike Davis WR Texas
Jackson Jeffcoat DE Texas
Chris Waley DT Texas
Anthony Fera K Texas
Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
Kerry Hyder DT Texas Tech
Charles Sims RB West Virginia
Will Clarke DE West Virginia

 

The combine will once again be shown on the NFL Network this year and here's a rundown of the days each postion group will work out, as well.

» Saturday, Feb. 22: Tight ends, offensive linemen, special teams
» Sunday, Feb. 23: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
» Monday, Feb. 24: Defensive linemen, linebackers
» Tuesday, Feb. 25: Defensive backs

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:38

Compiled Big 12 recruiting rankings

Whether you love it, hate it, or are somewhere in between, signing day has become a national spectacle for college football fans.

There's plenty to get excited about but for as many four and five star recruits that never pan out to the walk-ons who become all-conference selections, trying to decipher whose has the best class is far more art than science.

That much we know. But what fun is all of it without putting some rankings to it. Everybody loves rankings, lists, or whatever as long as it gives us something to talk about.

In the Big 12, here's a look at where each team in the league finished nationally among the major recruiting service (it's worth noting there could be some slight movement in the coming days).

National Recruiting Class Rankings - Big 12

Team Rivals Scout 247Sports ESPN Avg.
Oklahoma 14 12 14 14 13.5
Texas 19 16 16 16 16.75
Oklahoma State 27 13 28 28 24
Baylor 34 24 26 22 26.5
West Virginia 37 40 36 37 37.5
Texas Tech 43 35 41 35 38.5
TCU 51 37 42 -- 43.33
Kansas State 47 57 49 -- 51
Iowa State 56 52 55 -- 54.33
Kansas  55 62 54 -- 57

*ESPN only ranks the Top 40 classes.

It's no shock to see Oklahoma and Texas have signed the top two ranked recruiting classes in the conference. That's par for the course in the Big 12. The only thing that may be concerning about it, however, is that neither team - or any team in the Big 12 for that matter, finished ranked among the top ten classes in the country.

That's probably splitting hairs because who really knows if the eighth ranked class is better than the 12th or 15tth rated class but even so, you'd love to see somebody out of ten teams crack the top five or ten.

Based on the average of the four recruiting services, six of the ten teams finished inside the top 40.

West Virginia looks to have put together a solid class especially considering they are coming off a 4-8 season.

Texas Tech is likely happy, as well, although they did suffer a couple last second defections.

I'm no recruiting expert, but I'd expect to see TCU finish ranked higher than the low 40's.   The competition is stiff in Texas but considering four and five star recruits grow on trees right outside their doorstep, I would think they would be able to land more than one four star guy.

Kansas State finished with the eighth ranked class in the Big 12 which is actually an improvement from ninth and tenth spots they regularly find themselves in. No worries for Kansas State, however.  All it probably means is that another conference title is probably coming sooner rather than later.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis had this to say about the Jayhawks 2014 class. "I'm very pleased with this recruiting class. Our staff had to show good patience and through hard work, we filled almost every pressing need."

Take that exact quote, put any coaches name behind it, and you can quickly summarize every recruiting class in the country. Kansas checked in with the lowest ranked class in the Big 12.

Iowa State won't wow anyone with their recruiting ranking, but they landed one of the top recruits in the Big 12 with wide receiver Allan Lazard officially signing on Monday. He's a local kid from Urbandale, Iowa with a load of talent. At least for one recruiting class, the Cyclones found out what it's like to be Texas with a top flight kid just miles from their campus.

All things considered, not a bad haul of recruits for most of the teams in the league. What do you think, are you happy, sad, angry, or jubilant with your squad's class?

The long wait for Kansas State's 2014 football schedule is finally over.  The school officially announced the schedule on Monday which is highlighted by a Thursday night tilt with Auburn that will be broadcast nationally by ESPN. 

The game is set for September 18th after it was originally scheduled to be played two days later on September 20th. Both teams had bye weeks the Saturday before which made the move possible.

"The chance to host a program like Auburn on ESPN's Thursday night telecast in what will be one of the best non-conference matchups in the country next year is a terrific and unique opportunity for K-State," athletic director John Currie said.

Auburn is coming off an appearance in the BCS national title game which they lost to Florida State, 34-31.  The Tigers return 14 starters from their 2013 team including eight on offense which finished ranked 12th in the country in scoring offense averaging 39.5 points per game.

In total, the Wildcats will have seven home games including visits from Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma State.  KSU will open the season at home against Stephen F. Austin followed by the first Big 12 game of the season at Iowa State the week following.

 

Kansas State 2014 schedule

Aug. 30 - Stephen F. Austin
Sept. 6 - @ Iowa State
Sept. 13 - BYE
Sept. 18 - Auburn
Sept. 27 - UTEP
Oct.  4 - Texas Tech
Oct. 11 - BYE
Oct.  18 - @ Oklahoma
Oct. 25 - Texas
Nov. 1 - Oklahoma State
Nov. 8 - @ TCU
Nov. 15 - BYE
Nov. 20 - @ West Virginia
Nov. 29 - Kansas
Dec. 6 - @ Baylor

 

 

Friday, 31 January 2014 15:17

Iowa State 2013 season review

There is no getting around the fact that 2013 was a disappointing season of football in Ames. The Cyclones had gone to a bowl game in each of the last two seasons but the chance of making it three in a row was over by midseason.

The offense was again abysmal leading to the dismissal of offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham following the season. Injuries played a big part in the offensive woes, but plain and simple, Iowa State needs to get better.

On defense, the Cyclones finished last in the Big 12 giving up 36 points per game, but in all honestly, those numbers don't paint the most accurate of pictures. If you take out three lopsided games against Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, the defensive numbers weren't terrible, but when you're offense is scoring 24 points a game, it was still far from good enough.

For as bad as the season turned out, there are still some positives to build on heading into 2014, along with plenty of areas that need improvement. Here's a look at some of the good and bad:

The good: For a team that was sitting at 1-9, it would have been easy for ISU to mail in the final two games of the season although it shouldn't come as any huge surprise Paul Rhoads wasn't going to have any of it. The Cyclones finished off the season in impressive fashion shutting out Kansas and followed that up with a huge come-from-behind victory over West Virginia to end the season. A final record of 3-9 may not be impressive but it beats the heck out of 1-11 and gives the Cyclones some positive momentum heading into the offseason.

The bad: A 3-9 record isn't exactly something Iowa State will be particularly proud of when they look back on the season. One has to wonder if the non-fumble call had gone ISU's way against Texas in the first Big 12 game of the season, what that would have meant for the rest of the season. Iowa State was the best team on the field that particular night but had nothing to show for it.

The good: Take a look at the depth chart for the Cyclones last game of the season against West Virginia. On offense, there wasn't one senior listed as a starter and even on the two-deep, there was only one.

On defense, they'll lose their best player in linebacker Jeremiah George and three of their four starters in a talented secondary, but there is still plenty of youth there especially in the front seven. With an influx of junior college talent to help ease those losses, there's plenty of reasons for optimism heading into next season.

The bad: The play at the quarterback position remained an issue in 2013. Sam Richardson finished strong in 2012 but an ankle injury severely limited him for a good chunk of the season. Grant Rohach saw the first action of his career as finished the season strong, but looking at the big picture, it remains clear the Cyclones need more consistent play from their quarterbacks if they're going to jump back into bowl contention in 2014.

The good: Aaron Wimberly, Quenton Bundrage, and E.J. Bibbs. For as ineffective as ISU's offense was at times in 2013, Wimberly, Bundrage, and Bibbs all had their shining moments and will be solid building blocks for Mark Mangino's new offense in 2014. Wimberly finished the season with 567 yards rushing, Bundrage with 676 yards receiving and Bibbs finished with 39 catches from the tight end position. With Jace Amaro leaving early for the NFL draft, Bibbs may very well be the best TE in the Big 12 next season.

The bad: Following Wimberly's 117 yard performance against Texas in the fourth game of the season, the Cyclones did not have a 100 yard rusher in a game the rest of the season. The injuries along the offensive line didn't help matters, but until the final two games of the season, ISU's offense went into hibernation not hitting the 300 yard mark during a three game stretch against K-State, TCU, and Oklahoma.

While it wasn't season anyone in Ames was hoping for as bad as it was, the Cyclones still managed to finish with some positive momentum. The three wins were the fewest in the five seasons Paul Rhoads has been the head coach, but it also prompted him to make changes to his coaching staff as he let go offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and running backs coach, Kenith Pope, following the season.

The hiring of Mark Mangino should pay immediate dividends on offense considering the talent returning in 2014, assuming of course, they can avoid the injury bug that plagued them for much of this past season.

With Rhoads looking to have secure his best recruiting class to in five seasons next week, help appears to be on the way. Combine that with some new blood on the coaching staff plus some servicable parts returning and it wouldn't be shocking to see the Cyclones back in the postseason in 2014.

Monday, 27 January 2014 15:50

Odds to win the national title in 2014

It's been four seasons since the Big 12 placed a team in the national title game. Not since Texas lost to Alabama following the 2009 season has a team from the Big 12 played the in the last college football of the year.

The scenario changes this year with the upcoming four team playoff set to being on January 1st of 2015 with the Rose and Sugar Bowls hosting the first semifinal matchups.

No longer will a team have to finish in the top two for a chance because fourth will be good enough.

If a team from the Big 12 hopes to find a way into the upcoming playoffs, Oklahoma seems to have the best chance to get there and win it all based on how they finished the season plus the return of nine defensive starters..

The odds makers appear to agree with that sentiment as they've instilled the Sooners with the fourth best odds of winning next season's national title at 10 to 1. Only Florida State (3/1) Alabama (6/1), and Oregon (6/1) have better odds at the moment.

Here's a list of the current odds being offered for the teams in the Big 12 according to Sportsbook.ag.

  • Oklahoma - 10/1
  • Baylor - 20/1
  • Oklahoma State - 50/1
  • Texas - 50/1
  • Kansas State - 60/1
  • TCU - 200/1
  • Texas Tech - 200/1

 

So what do you say?

Based on what we know now, it's hard to find much fault with the current odds.

Texas is the wildcard with Charlie Strong taking over in Austin. It's not crazy to think they make a big jump in year number one. Heck, if their defense had shown up early in this past season, the Longhorns could have been 8-0 before playing Oklahoma State. Of course, Oregon proved in the Alamo Bowl Texas still has a ways to go before they start talking about national titles again.

If you're looking for value among teams in the Big 12, Baylor may be your best play if only because their nonconference schedule is about is easy as it gets. The downside is the fact they have to travel to Texas and Oklahoma.

I wouldn't overlook the value Oklahoma State and Kansas State are getting at the moment, either. The Cowboys have to open the season with Florida State but considering it's the first game of the season, they'll have plenty of time to work their way back up the rankings. And if they somehow find a way to pull the upset, well, 50/1 would sound pretty darn appealing with a victory over the Seminoles already in their back pocket.

As for Kansas State, they have to host Auburn which won't be a walk in the park but you have to love the experience they have coming back on offense and if they can find some suitable replacements on defense, who knows. Crazier things have happened and with Bill Snyder putting the pieces together, anything is possible as far as the Wildcats go.

Friday, 24 January 2014 14:38

Big 12 returning starters in 2014

Baylor won the Big 12 in 2013 and Oklahoma State finished in a tie for second place with Oklahoma. One big reason for that is both teams benefited from a senior laden team which of course means they'll be plenty of holes to fill heading into next season.

Mr. Phil Steele has been hard at work breaking down all the returning starters for next season and yesterday on his blog, he published the results.

As you can see, Baylor and Oklahoma State have the fewest number of starters returning next season with each returning five starters on offense and four on defense. Does that mean they're going to finish ninth and tenth next season in the Big 12? Hmmm, probably not.

But anyway, here are how the numbers shake out for the Big 12 heading into 2014.

2014 Big 12 returning starters

Team Offense Defense Total
Kansas* 7 9 16
Iowa State* 10 6 16
TCU 7 8 15
Oklahoma* 5 9 14
West Virginia* 7 7 14
Texas 6 7 13
Texas Tech* 8 4 12
Kansas State* 6 4 10
Oklahoma State 5 4 9
Baylor* 5 4 9
* starting QB returning

 

You'll notice that seven of the ten teams in the Big 12 return their starting quarterbacks. It's also worth noting that of the three team Steele's indicates do not return their starting signal caller, all three return a guy that has starting experience.

David Ash is expected to return healthy from his concussion suffered this season at Texas. TCU's Trevone Boykin has plenty of starting experience filling in for the suspended/injured Casey Pachall over the past two seasons. And at Oklahoma State, Clint Chelf is gone, but J.W. Walsh has started his share of games over the past two seasons, as well.

That's in stark contrast to the quarterback situation the Big 12 faced this past season. Coming into 2013, only Ash, Pachall/Boykin, and Chelf/Walsh had significant playing time.

**Art Briles talked a lot about the improved depth on his team this past season. With the Bears needing to replace seven starters on defense along with some key pieces on offense (Tevin Reese, Lache Seastrunk, and Cyril Richardson), they'll need that depth to step up in a big way to compete for another Big 12 title.

**TCU has struggled in their first two seasons in the Big 12. Injuries have played a part in that. So has the fact the Horned Frogs have played a plethora of young guys over that time. Well, now those young have plenty of experience under their belts. If TCU's new offense can figure out a way to put more points on the board, they have to be considered the odds on favorite to make the biggest turnaround in 2014.

**You have to love the Sooners chances of competing for a national title next season. Nine starters return on what turned out to be a very good defense by season's end in 2013. And if Trevor Knight plays anything like did in the Sugar Bowl, there aren't many teams in the country that will be able to hang with OU.

**How big of a difference will Mark Mangino make calling the plays for Iowa State next season? We'll find out, but he has 10 of 11 starters back which is reason for optimism in Ames. The biggest question mark this spring will be to find out whether quarterbacks Grant Rohach and Sam Richardson are capable of running what Mangino wants to run.

**Kansas State should be one of the favorites in the Big 12 next season so long as they can find suitable replacements for seven lost starters on defense. The good news is that Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett return on offense.

**West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen may or may not be on the proverbial "hot seat" in 2014 depending on who you listen too.  The good news is that he returns 14 starters for next season.  What's the bad news?  Based on how the Mountaineers finished the season, I'm not sure the good news is actually good news.  To make a long story short, there's plenty to improve upon heading into 2014.

The Big 12's defensive coordinators will have plenty to prepare for next season with four new offensive coordinators stepping into new roles next season. Even so, it probably won't be anything they haven't seen before.

Of the four new play callers in the Big 12 next season, each already has a long history in the conference. Combined the four new coordinators have 46 years of previous experience in the Big 12 led by Mark Mangino's 19 years between stints with Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Here's a look at the new guys that will calling plays next season in the Big 12.

Kansas - John Reagan; previous, Rice offensive coordinator

Charlie Weis gave up some of the offensive game planning responsibilities midway through the 2013 season to his offensive assistants, Ron Powlus and Jeff Blasko. He then made the move a permanent one by hiring Rice offensive coordinator to run the Jayhawks offense next season.

Reagan is a former Kansas assistant under Mark Mangino when he was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. He will also serve as the Jayhawks offensive line under Weis in addition to his play calling duties.

John ReaganFor those thinking that Reagan will be a coordinator in name only, Weis has made it clear that it's Reagan's offense KU will run as he shift his duties to focusing more on the program as a whole.

"For those people who think I hired somebody to be just my manager, that's not what I'm doing. I think that I'll do a much better job of being the head coach with a guy like John being the coordinator. That's what I think," Weis said this past December.

If Reagan follows the same plan he used at Rice, Kansas fans will likely see a run first spread offense that features plenty of involvement from the quarterback in the ground game.

In Rice's 14 games this past season, quarterback Taylor McHargue, carried the ball 10+ times in nine games with a season high 20 carries coming against Tulane. The same goes for the 2012 season when McHargue averaged 13.5 carries per game.

Reagan's game plans will obviously be dependent on KU's personnel, but the move to Reagan as the play caller may not be good news for Jake Heaps as far as playing time goes. UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard and returning sophomore Montell Cozart seem better fitted to run Reagan's style of offense but that will play itself out this spring in Lawrence.

Iowa State - Mark Mangino; previous, Youngstown State tight ends coach

Paul Rhoads let Courtney Messingham go after two seasons of calling the plays for the Cyclones.   Iowa State averaged just over 24 points a game in those two seasons which isn't exactly lighting up the scoreboard, per se, so it's no surprise Rhoads was looking for a change.

mangino-markRhoads had a couple options on his current staff to replace Messingham, but instead went out and plucked Mark Mangino out of the coaching abyss. Mangino had been out of coaching for three seasons following his departure from Kansas. He then returned to the game at his alma mater, Youngstown State, last season as the tight ends coach.

As far as experience goes, Mangino's hire has to be considered a home run for the Cyclones. The guy helped Oklahoma win a national title as their offensive coordinator and he put together some fairly prolific offenses while at KU. His Orange Bowl winning 2007 Jayhawks average over 43 points per game.

Now he's back in the Big 12 and although ISU is still in need of some talent upgrades, he has some key pieces to work with including running back Aaron Wimberly, wide receiver Quenton Bundrage, and tight end E.J. Bibbs. He'll also have one of the top wide receiving prospects in the country, Allen Lazzard, arriving as part of the upcoming recruiting class.

If Sam Richardson or Grant Rohach can develop some consistency at the quarterback position, the Cyclone offense has a chance to be one of the most improved units in the Big 12 next season with Mangino pulling the strings.

TCU - Doug Meacham; previous - Houston offensive coordinator

Doug meachamIt's no secret TCU's offense has struggled since joining the Big 12. Casey Pachall's suspension in 2012 and broken forearm in 2013 played a part in the struggles, but either way, it's clear Gary Patterson wasn't happy with the direction of the offense. He switched play callers midway through the season this past year and following the season, he decided to go in a new direction entirely.

Enter Doug Meacham who was hired after one season as Houston's offensive coordinator following eight seasons coaching tight ends and then receivers at Oklahoma State.

Meacham worked under Larry Fedora and then Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken while in Stillwater and his familiarity with the Cowboys passing attack was one of the reasons Patterson saw fit to bring him on board.

That doesn't mean, necessarily, that he's going to instill the exact offense they used in Stillwater but you can bet they'll lean on his expertise to help spice up an offense that has finished 8th in scoring offense in each of the past two seasons in the Big 12.

Patterson also brought in Sonny Crumbie from Texas Tech to coach the quarterbacks along with naming him co-offensive coordinator. Between Meacham's experience at Oklahoma State and Crumbie's time playing quarterback under Mike Leach, you can expect the Horned Frogs to debut plenty of new schemes in 2014.

Texas - Joe Wickline; previous - Oklahoma State offensive line coach

With the hiring of Charlie Strong, everything is going to be new in Austin next season with the former Louisville coach retaining just one coach from Mack Brown's staff that being tight ends coach, Bruce Chambers.

Joe WicklineAs for what to expect from the offense, well, nobody is exactly sure. Strong tabbed former Oklahoma State offensive line coach, Joe Wickline, to be his offensive coordinator. Wickline is generally considered to be one of the best offensive line coaches in the country although he doesn't have much experience calling plays not having done so since his days at Delta State in the mid-80's.

Strong also brought his offensive coordinator at Louisville, Shawn Watson, along with him to Austin. Watson will coach the quarterbacks but he'll also likely have significant input into the offensive game plan each week, as well.

What that means for UT's offense remains to be seen but it's likely it will be a collaborative effort utilizing Wickline's expertise in the Oklahoma State offense with Watson's West Coast principles.

All Strong has said thus far is that he wants to be balanced on offense so don't count on Texas throwing the ball 50 times a game. “You can talk about all those teams that throw the ball around, but at the end of the day, if you can't line up and run downhill and punch somebody in the mouth, then you are going to have issues,” Strong said.

Whatever schemes they use, having Wickline's expertise coaching the offensive line should pay immediate dividends in Austin. It is always said a successful offense starts upfront so having Wickline on staff is a good place to start.

As for the play calling, we'll soon find out.

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