Jay Beck

Jay Beck

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Thanksgiving and football go together like potatoes and gravy. Can you really have one without the other? Not in my house at least.

Football has almost become a rite of passage for most football fans around the country. Whether you eat, watch football, then eat some more or simply watch football all day and then dive into the delicacies at the end of the day, football has become entrenched in one of our biggest and best national holidays. And the beauty of it is you can do it all while enjoying families and friends. What else brings people together like food and football?

turkey grillBut let's assume for a second you had a choice. Would you bypass the day at home if you had a chance at free tickets to watch your favorite college football team - from 50 yard line seats no less - but in order to do so, you would miss the Thanksgiving day feast?

Thinking, thinking, thinking, YES, of course you would!

Well, at least 42% of you would. That is how fans responded in this week's Discover Fan Loyalty Poll when asked if they'd give up the Thanksgiving dinner in favor of free 50 yard line seats. The other 55% of those polled responded with a thanks, but no thanks.

In a way, it's hard to blame them. Eating Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by friends and families while watching the game isn't exactly an easy thing to give up. I mean, we're not talking about an everyday thing here. Thanksgiving rolls around once a year and if you bypass that day, it's another 364 days until it happens again.

But on the other hand, how often to have a chance at free tix on the 50? Maybe never, right? If it's me, I'm off to the stadium like a bolt of lightning, after all, they'll be plenty of leftovers to enjoy for a solid night cap.

Discover also asked college football fans what's their favorite go-to food on the big day and to no one's surprise, turkey ruled the vote. Here's how football fans responded when asked what they'll be loading their plate up with come Thursday.

  • Turkey - 48%
  • Stuffing - 20%
  • Mashed potatoes - 7%
  • Cranberry Sauce - 2%
  • Something other - 12%
  • Unable to make up their mind - 3%


Each week, Discover also asks fans their top choice for the best team in the country and just like the polls, Alabama continues to lead the way with Florida State checking in a distant second. Here are the fans' top six choices.

  1. Alabama - 49%
  2. Florida State - 14%
  3. Ohio State - 5%
  4. Baylor - 3% (where's the love Big 12 fans?)
  5. Oregon - 3%
  6. Stanford - 3% (NOTE: poll was taken before their latest loss to USC)


The Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted twice a month by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 1500 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online. The Poll leads up to the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.

Disclaimer: I am a paid brand Blogger for Discover Products Inc. My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Discover Products Inc. and its affiliates.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 17:20

Big 12 power poll: week twelve

We're down to three weeks and the Big 12 rankings finally are starting to show stability.  That could all change, however, if the Cowboys find a way to take out Baylor this weekend.

Here's how things looks as we head down the home stretch.

1. (-) Baylor (9-0): Even missing three of their top offensive players wasn't enough to slow Baylor down as they racked up another 63 points in dispensing Texas Tech. The Bears now take the show on the road in what figures to be their toughest game to date. Up next: @ Oklahoma State.

2. (↑1) Oklahoma State (9-1): The Cowboys had relatively little trouble in taking care of Texas on their home field using a 14 point outburst just before half to put the game out of reach. Next? Baylor comes calling. All the talk is about Baylor's offense, but how many can the Pokes put up against the improved Baylor defense? Up next: Baylor.

3. (↓1) Texas (7-3): The Longhorns Big 12 title hopes weren't officially dashed, but they'll need plenty of help to get back on top. Not to mention, Texas looked like anything but Big 12 champions on their home field. The Horns will have a few extra days to get the train back on track before taking on Texas Tech on Thanksgiving night. Up next: bye.

4. (-) Oklahoma (8-2): It looked for a while like Paul Rhoads might be up to his old tricks heading to halftime tied at 10. It wasn't to be as the Sooners came out after half with their foot on the gas and never looked back thanks in part to 400 yards rushing. Things will be much tougher when they head north this week to take on a Kansas State team playing their best football of the season. Up next: @ Kansas State.

5. (-) Kansas State (6-4): The Wildcats are officially going bowling after holding off TCU on Saturday. After three straight losses to begin Big 12 play, K-State has turned it around with four straight victories. The duo of Daniel Sams and Jake Waters continues to work at quarterback. Now the attention turns to beating OU who won by 41 the last time they visited Manhattan. Up next: Oklahoma.

6. (-) Texas Tech (7-4): The Red Raiders were unbelievable during the first quarter against Baylor but unfortunately they still had to play the other three quarters. Even after four straight losses, you still have to feel good about the direction of the program as Kliff Kingsbury's first season comes to a close. Up next: bye.

7.(-) West Virginia (4-7): The Mountaineers had been limping along for most of the season but things officially went from bad to worse in losing to Kansas. The Jayhawks losing streak had to end sometime but here's guessing West Virginia didn't expect it to be against them. With bowl eligibility out of the picture, the Mountaineers can start making plans to spend the holidays at home. Up next: bye.

8. (-) TCU (4-7): What is the saying, close only counts in horseshoes? Too bad for the Horned Frogs because they came oh so close to knocking off Kansas State last weekend. TCU only has one more chance to go out with a win and it would be a big win at that with Baylor being the only team left on the schedule. TCU and Gary Patterson also have an extra week to prepare. Up next: bye.

9. (↑1) Kansas (3-7): Jayhawks win! How about that? It's been a while since anyone has been able to say that after a Big 12 game. Congrats to Kansas for getting the monkey off their back. Now, can they make it two in a row? Up next: @ Iowa State.

10. (↓1) Iowa State (1-9): The Cyclones looked to be in position to pull off the upset heading to halftime against OU unfortunately the second half started poorly and didn't get any better. With Kansas winning last week, it's Iowa State that now has the Big 12's longest losing streak at seven games. Up next: Kansas.

Baylor has passed its two toughest tests of the seasons with flying colors in wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

That's good, but the toughest test of the season awaits on Saturday when they travel to Stillwater to take on ninth ranked Oklahoma State in a game that will decide who's in the driver's seat for the Big 12 title.

The Bears were banged up in the victory over Oklahoma losing wide receiver, Tevin Reese, and their top two running backs, Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin. All three missed the game against Texas Tech.

The injury situation didn't get any better on Tuesday with the news that starting left tackle Spencer Drango will be undergoing back surgery today.

While there is no timetable for his return, it's probably safe to assume that having back surgery means that he will miss the rest of the regular season considering Baylor has just three games remaining on the schedule.

USATSI 7559907 117736234 lowresBryce Petty and the rest of Baylor's skill players receive most of the accolades for their incredible offensive production, but Art Briles has said time and again the key to BU's success rests with the guys in the trenches.

There's no way to know what impact Drango's injury will have on the group of front, but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize the timing and severity of the injury couldn't be worse. Baylor is about to face a fast and aggressive defense this weekend - on the road nonetheless - and disrupting the continuity the offensive line have developed this season won't make beating the Cowboys any easier.

Baylor showed its depth last week against Texas Tech at the skill positions, and now they'll be forced to do the same thing up on the line

Drango's backup is sophomore Pat Colbert who has seen some action this season largely due to the fact Baylor's second team has received plenty of playing time during their blowout wins. Our Daily Bears also threw out the possibility of moving starting right tackle, Kelvin Palmer, over to the left side and playing Troy Baker at right tackle where he started every game last season.

However they fill Drango's shoes, it's something that bears watching Saturday night, not only in the running game, but how a new left tackle is able to protect Petty's backside. 

Briles has said all along his team now has Big 12 depth and we found out last week he wasn't joking.  That depth, however, is going to be put to the test yet again in their biggest game of the season.


Baylor blacked out Floyd Casey Stadium for its Thursday night game versus Oklahoma which included all black uniforms - from head to toe - worn by the Bears.  It worked out well as they had little trouble in dispatching the Sooners in their 41-12 victory.

So, it worked for Baylor now maybe it will work against them?  Hmmm, maybe not.

An apparent attempt to blackout Boone Pickens Stadium for the upcoming Oklahoma State-Baylor game was met with a huge thud on twitter before the momentum even got started.




Was it Coach Gundy that squashed the blackout? It might have been Coach Gundy.


Whatever the case, the attempted blackout for Saturday's game is officially dead, if it ever had a life.


It's probably safe to say you can expect to see plenty of orange in Stillwater on Saturday. As for the uniform ensemble the Cowboys will wear, we'll have to wait and see, but I'm guessing they'll be plenty of orange there, as well.

If you're surprised by this, well, then you haven't been paying much attention. Bill Snyder has done this throughout his coaching career albeit it often goes to a player the Cats have just played as was the case earlier this year when he sent a letter to NDSU quarterback, Brock Jensen.

On Saturday, Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro took a big hit against Baylor that left him down on the turf.  On Monday, Amaro received the following from Snyder who penned the note to Amaro sending his best wishes.

There's really not much to say except that's about as cool as it gets.

During Monday's Big 12 coaches call, Snyder was asked about such letters - not Amaro's specifically - but in a general sense.

"I appreciate opponents that prepare well and play well and show quality principles and values. The letters I've sent to players over the years, and coaches for that matter, just sharing my appreciation for what they do, how they've prepared, how they've played. It's just recognizing them for what they do," Snyder said.

Amaro and Texas Tech had played Kansas State the week prior and obviously he left an impression on Snyder as he does most of the opposing coaches he faces.  But for Snyder to take the time to write him a note takes it to an entirely new level. 

Sunday, 17 November 2013 16:25

Sorting out the Big 12 title chase

With another week in the books, you would think the Big 12 race would start to clear up a bit. Maybe it has, but even with the season down to just three weeks, there's more plausible outcomes than you can really wrap your head around.

Here's a few of the most likely scenarios as to how the Big 12 will race will play out, although calling a couple of these "most likely" is stretching the truth more than a little.

Cleanest scenario

Baylor wins out beating Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas capturing the league with a perfect 9-0 conference record.  That's nice, easy, and doesn't involve any brain cramping.

Clean, but still a tie:

Oklahoma State beats Baylor and Oklahoma to close the season. As for the Bears, after the loss to Oklahoma State, they finish the season with wins over TCU and Texas creating a tie atop the standings with 8-1 records.

In this scenario, the Cowboys would head to the Fiesta Bowl by virtue of their head to head victory over Baylor.

Baylor can still win the Big 12 even with a loss to Oklahoma State.

In order for it to happen, Oklahoma State would need to lose to OU and the Bears would need to close out with victories over TCU and Texas. This happening is entirely possible when you think about it.

Can Texas still win the Big 12 outright?

Yes, even after their loss to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns could still find themselves as Big 12 champs all by themselves.

How can it happen? If Texas beats Texas Tech and Baylor to end the season they'll finish 8-1. Considering the Baylor loss to Texas, the Horns would also need Baylor to lose to either TCU or Oklahoma State. If the Bears lose to Oklahoma State, then Texas would also need the Cowboys to lose to Oklahoma in the season finale.

Got it?

Is a three way tie possible?

Yes, although with the way the schedule shapes up, it's not likely.

For it to happen, Oklahoma would need to lose to Kansas State (giving the Sooners three Big 12 losses) which could open the door for a tie between Texas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor. It would also be possible if Baylor lost their three remaining games for their two be a three-way tie between OSU, Texas, and OU but now we're getting really crazy.  Does your brain hurt yet? Mine does.

How about a four way tie?

Yep, it's still possible believe it or not. Here's one scenario where it could happen and one in which Sooner fans would probably be happy with:

Texas - loses to Texas Tech, beats Baylor.

Baylor - loses to Oklahoma State, beats TCU, loses to Texas.

Oklahoma State - beats Baylor, loses to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma - beats Kansas State, beats Oklahoma State.

If the season played out like that, all four teams would finish with a 7-2 conference record. What was -at one time - the Big 12's favorite saying? "One true champion" thanks in a part to the nine game round robin schedule. Very true except when there's a four way tie.  Conference championship game anyone?

So really when you break it down, there's too many moving parts to feel good about any of the above scenarios.  If Baylor is truly as good as we all think they are, the Bears winning out remains the most likely to actually happen.  After that, it's anyone's guess as to how this will go down especially if Oklahoma State beats Baylor.

All we really know at this point is that as far the Fiesta Bowl goes, Baylor and Oklahoma State still control their own destiny while Texas needs some serious luck on their side. 

Baylor also has a shot at the national title game but that only happens if they win the Big 12 undefeated and even then, they'll likely need help to get there (which is another post coming this week). 

Really my only advice here is to enjoy the next three weeks wherever your fandom lies.  Three weeks, that's it.  That's all we have left.  Hard to believe, really.


Saturday night against Texas Tech, Baylor got punched in the jaw, got back up, and did what they've done all season. At the end of the night, it was another ho-hum 678 yard, 63 point performance.

The Red Raiders played like they were shot out of a cannon during the game's first quarter. They built leads off 14-0 and 20-7 and looked unstoppable on offense. And you know what? As well as they played, they still trailed after the first quarter, 21-20.

That's a testament to just how good this Baylor team is and can still be. Levi Norwood's 58 punt return for a score and the ridiculous interception by K.J. Morton of a Baker Mayfield pass at the line of scrimmage didn't hurt, either.

"The thing I was impressed about, this is what I told our players, it looks impressive if you're ahead of a team 14 at half. When you're down 14-0, down 20-7, you withstand that surge against a good team, come back and finish the way we finished as a team, to me that is impressive," Art Briles said following the game.

Bryce Petty was his usual dominant self tossing three touchdown throws of 40, 31, and 58 yards finishing the night with 335 yards passing without an interception.

"The whole thing to me falls on Bryce Petty and our offensive line. I think our offensive line is a dominant factor. I think Bryce Petty is playing as well as anybody in America right now," Briles said.

Speaking of that offensive line, it was once again the Bears' rushing game that drove a stake through the heart of another opponent. Baylor was without their top two backs, Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, but like last week, Shock Linwood stepped up and the Bears ground game didn't miss a beat.

Linwood finished with 184 yards on 29 carries and Devin Chaffin joined the party, as well, finishing with 100 yards on 11 carries.

Baylor ran the ball 57 times versus 31 passes but finished with nearly identical yardage, 340 yards rushing to 335 passing. It's that balance to go along with some of the best skill players in the country and that tremendous offensive line that make the Bears so hard to defend.

Defensively after giving up 27 points in the first half, the Bears surrendered just seven points after the break as their offense took over and pulled away. This isn't necessarily a great Baylor defense, but it doesn't have to be great with the tools they have an offense. It is, however, one that is improved and has the capability to create turnovers and keep Baylor in any game they play.

Now with Texas Tech and Oklahoma in the rear view mirror, Baylor moves onto what figures to be their toughest game of the season when they head to Stillwater next Saturday. Baylor struggled, at least by their standards, in their one true road test of the season in Manhattan against Kansas State. They'll face a similar environment in Stillwater leaving some to wonder if a tough road environment is the medicine needed to keep Baylor's offense in check.

The Big 12 title will on the line, and for the Bears, their national title hopes, as well. Baylor has passed the last two tests with flying colors, but like Kansas State found out last year, any time you take title hopes on the road late in late November, it can be a dangerous proposition.

The Bears should know all about that, however. It was them that dashed K-State's title aspirations - not to mention the Heisman campaign of Collin Klein - in a game that started this current 13 game winning streak. This time around the shoe is on the other foot with Baylor coming in as the team fighting for a national title.  What a difference a year makes, but for Baylor, hopefully the end result is much different.

Sunday, 17 November 2013 03:02

Twenty-eighth time's a charm for Kansas

It's over, finally.

The last 27 times Kansas has taken the field against a Big 12 opponent, they've walked away losers.

That changed on Saturday thanks to James Sims and a Kansas rushing attack that piled up 313 yards on the day, 211 coming from Sims alone. The Jayhawks beat West Virginia 31-19 for their first Big 12 victory under Charlie Weis.

Kansas also ended the Mountaineers hopes of playing in a bowl game this season. West Virginia needed to win its last two games to keep alive their bowl streak which dated back to the 2002 season. The Mountaineers now join TCU, Kansas, and Iowa State as teams from the Big 12 that will be home for the holidays come December.

Kansas started true freshman quarterback Montell Cozart for the first time this season. He only threw the ball 12 times completing five for just 61 yards. He did add 60 yards rushing, however, complementing Sims whose 211 yards were a career high and the 14th time he has rushed for over 100 yards during his KU career.

During the Jayhawks last Big 12 win over Colorado in 2010, Sims also played a huge role rushing for 123 yards and four touchdowns when he was just a freshman. “I feel like this one is better,” Sims said. “Because when we got on top, we stayed on top.”

The Jayhawks now head to Iowa State next Saturday night to play the Cyclones, a team also searching for their first Big 12 win of the season. The Jayhawks then finish the season at home against instate rival Kansas State.

However those two games play out, KU is already assured of winning two more games than they won in 2012. And if they beat Iowa State, they'll avoid finishing with the worst record in the Big 12 for the first time since the 2008 season when they won four league games.

Saturday's win was a step in the right direction, albeit a small one, but after 27 straight conference losses, the monkey is officially off their back.

“Let’s start with the kids who have been here five years and gone through multiple coaches and everything with that,” Weis said. “They’re the ones that you feel best for. But I also feel good for all our students and fans that endured those losses.”

Below is a video of the postgame celebration. Watch until the end, and you'll see the goalpost come tumbling down

#10 Oklahoma State (8-1) @ #24 Texas (7-2)

  • Game time: 2:30
  • TV: FOX
  • The Spread: Texas +3


Oklahoma State began this season as the preseason favorites to win the Big 12. Then came the collapse in Morgantown to open Big 12 play when the Cowboys didn't look like favorites to win anything.

Since then all the Pokes have done is change quarterbacks - again - and won five straight to put themselves right back in the thick of the Big 12 race.

Texas, on the other hand, went through an even more dramatic turnaround that included two lopsided losses, the firing of their defensive coordinator, and the loss of the starting quarterback to a likely season ending concussion. Through all that, Texas somehow managed to pick themselves up off the mat and win six straight Big 12 games leading to Saturday's showdown with the Cowboys.

The Longhorns enter Saturday's game minus two key pieces that played key roles in their resurgence, running back Johnathan Gray and defensive tackle Chris Waley. Both were lost to season ending injuries last week during the overtime victory over West Virginia.

The good news for Texas is that they still have Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron in the backfield. Brown has seen plenty of action over the last four weeks even with Gray in the lineup. Over the last four games, Brown has carried the ball 88 times for 379 yards and seven touchdowns leaving Texas is good shape in the running game.

The Cowboys muddled their way through and easy victory over Kansas following impressive wins over Texas Tech, Iowa State, and TCU. The move back to Chelf at quarterback has provided stability, but this is still far from the same offensive unit we became accustomed to over the past several season.

Keys to the game:

1. Texas has improved immensely in defending the run since Greg Robinson took over as defensive coordinator but you can bet the Cowboys will test the interior of UT's line especially with Waley sidelined. If the Longhorns can keep Desmond Roland and company under control, that opens the door for.....

2. Texas' pass rush. The Longhorns' defense is second in the Big 12 with 26 sacks. On the flip side, the Cowboys have only surrendered eight sacks on the season. If UT's run defense can force the Cowboys into obvious passing situations, can their rush get home? The Cowboys have been superb in keeping their quarterback's backside clean this season and they'll need it to continue to give the Chelf the time he needs to move the ball through the air.

3. Is Josh Stewart playing? Stewart left the game last week against Kansas with an ankle injury and his status for Saturday's game is still up in the air. If he's on the field, it goes with saying, the Pokes offense will benefit.

4. Winning on third down. The Cowboys defense leads the Big 12 allowing opponents to convert just 29.6% of their third down opportunities including 0-for 29- when their opponents have faced third and seven or longer. If that number remains 0-for-something after Saturday, advantage Oklahoma State.

5. The turnover margin. Both Oklahoma State and Texas have benefited this season from taking the ball away more than they give it away. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 with a +11 mark in turnover margin. Texas is right on their heels with a +9 mark. If the game remains close as expected, whoever wins this battle very well could and should win the game.

The Prediction:

The stakes can't get much bigger for Oklahoma State on Saturday. A win by the Cowboys and their march toward the Big 12 title continues. A loss all but eliminates them (even if not mathematically) from the championship chase.

The stakes are equally as big for Texas although since they have yet to lose a conference game, their margin for error is greater than that of the Cowboys. Even so, Texas would love nothing more than to remain in total control of their destiny and a win would accomplish that feat heading into their bye week.

These teams are near mirror images of each other on offense. Both can move the ball on the ground while their passing attacks have been hit and miss for most of season. Defensively, it's the same story. Both teams thrive on taking the ball away and have run defenses capably of slowing the other down.

What will be the difference on Saturday? The quarterbacks.

Each team will try and run the ball first Saturday, but who wins the battle between Chelf and McCoy is going to win the game. Reluctantly, I'm giving the edge to McCoy. Say what you want about the guy, but the fact is he's won some big games for Texas over the years.

Add another win to the list. In a game that won't be decided until the game's final minutes, UT's senior quarterback finds a way to keep the Texas train chugging forward with a late touchdown drive giving the Horns their seventh straight victory. Texas 31 Oklahoma State 27.



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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 23:51

Art Briles, Baylor agree to contract extension

Man, it's a good time to be a Baylor Bear.  With the football team riding an 8-0 start all the way to a number five ranking in the latest BCS poll, the Bears now have the man responsible for it all locked up for another 10 years.

On Wednesday, the school approved an extension through the 2023 season for head coach Art Briles essentially adding three years to his current deal that was put in place last year.  The new deal will reportedly pay Briles over $4 million per season. 

Chip Brown from Orangeblood.com even put the new deal at $4.5 million which would make Briles the fourth highest paid coach in the country just behind Bob Stoops and ahead of Urban Meyer.  Yes, at Baylor.  Unbelievable, isn't it?

It's a great thing to see Baylor taking care of Briles.  The turnaround he's accomplished at Baylor will go down as one of the greatest in college football history. Baylor was once an afterthought in the Big 12 and now they're on the cusp of not only winning the league, but playing for a national title.

However this season plays out, the foundation is in place and Briles has been the catalyst behind it all. Prior to Briles coming to Baylor in 2008, the Bears cycled through four coaches who managed to win all of 11 Big 12 games in the first 12 years the conference existed. Those 11 wins included just three against teams from the former Big 12 South and included four winless seasons in Big 12 play.

Just six seasons later, Baylor is set to move into a brand new stadium and are on a currently on a 12 game winning streak. There is talk of BCS bowls and national titles to go along with the Heisman trophy already mounted in their trophy case.

With the recent success, other schools are likely - if they haven't already - to come calling attempting to lure Briles away from Baylor. Not that is was likely before, but the new deal makes it even more unlikely he'll finish his career anywhere but in Waco.

Briles was born and bred in Texas and has found a home that will soon have the facilities and resources to compete with the Texas' and A&M's of the world. Not to mention, his connections in the state stretch far and wide meaning he'll have the recruiting ties to continue to lure the top high school athletes in Texas to Baylor.  Oh, and averaging 61 points a game doesn't hurt his recruiting pitch, either.

Here are a string of tweets about the Briles extension from David Smoak who does a great job covering Baylor for ESPN-Central Texas, 1660 AM in Waco.







Now all Briles has to do is go win a Big 12 and national championship.  The Bears finish with Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Texas. 

It won't be an easy road but Briles has gotten the Bears this far so I'm guessing he'll figure out a way to steer the ship the rest of the way home.  And even if the Bears stumble down the stretch, the future looks bright and Baylor has Briles to thank for that.  Actually, I think that's what just happened on Wednesday.

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