Tag: Texas Tech
Complete Big 12 preview for the 2018 season.
Oklahoma has a few key players to replace from last year’s squad, but coach Lincoln Riley’s team is the pick to win the Big 12 this fall. The Sooners have claimed the conference title three years in a row and hold an edge over Texas, West Virginia and TCU in the 2018 Big 12 predictions. The Mountaineers will have no trouble scoring points behind quarterback Will Grier, but the defense will be key in whether or not this team contends for the conference title. After eight teams reached bowl eligibility last season, it would not be a surprise to see the conference reach that level or if nine programs hit at least six victories in 2018.
Playing with a chip on their shoulder after last year’s 1-11 finish, the Bears should be able to get off to a better start and make a run at their eighth bowl bid in nine years. But staying healthy will be the key.
Coach Matt Campbell was a year ahead of schedule in getting Iowa State back to a bowl game. The program seems poised to maintain its momentum. The Cyclones should be better in the trenches on both sides of the football, and across the board, this is a deeper and more athletic team than the one that went 8-5 a year ago. Another trip to the postseason seems likely in Ames, and finishing in the upper half of the Big 12 is possible.
KU finished just 1-11 in 2017, with its only win coming in the season opener against FCS opponent Southeast Missouri State. Coach David Beaty’s record stands at 3-33 in three seasons, with his only FBS win coming against Texas in 2016. The stakes will be high in 2018. If KU struggles to start the season, the moves could come in a hurry.
K-State coach Bill Snyder has enough returning talent and experience to remain a factor in the Big 12, but it won’t be easy with two new coordinators and uncertainty at key positions. The Wildcats started slow in each of the past two seasons before finishing strong and winning bowl games. They will need to play well from the get-go, especially with Mississippi State on the schedule, to reach higher levels this season.
In Norman, they’re used to replacing All-Americans and continuing to win big. So downgrade the Sooners with caution. Sure, the coaches would like to be more settled at quarterback. And the schedule doesn’t offer the opportunity to ease into things, with UCLA visiting in Week 2, followed by the Big 12 opener at Iowa State the following Saturday. Still, if Kyler Murray or Austin Kendall takes hold of the quarterback position, the Sooners will again have the look of a Big 12 favorite and CFB Playoff contender.
Outside the program, all focus centers on replacing QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington, understandably. Inside, however, there’s a quiet confidence, with 12 returning starters and plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball.
A quarterback must emerge, but Oklahoma State coaches are excited about their options. The schedule offers two comfortable games – Missouri State and South Alabama – to get the quarterback some confidence, before Boise State arrives in Stillwater for an intriguing non-conference clash. If all goes well early, it could signal business as usual for the Cowboys.
Like always, TCU will field a good defense. But coach Gary Patterson and his staff have assembled what looks like the best offensive skill talent they’ve ever had. If the offensive line comes together, TCU will be closer to pairing an offense that can keep up with the Big 12’s best with a defense that can win games on its own. The last time that happened, in 2014 and ’15, TCU won 23 of 26 games, shared a league championship and nearly crashed the CFP.
Texas improved from five to seven wins in Tom Herman’s first season. Getting to a bowl game was a nice first step. Herman also established a culture and added some elite talent in his first full recruiting class. To challenge Oklahoma for supremacy in the Big 12, the Horns will have to show significant improvement on offense and hope that Todd Orlando’s defense doesn’t drop off too much despite key personnel losses.
Texas Tech’s defense got key stops consistently for the first time in years in 2017, but the offense often wasted away those opportunities, particularly in the red zone, where short-yardage situations and field goal tries often ended in disaster.
To take a step forward, the Red Raider offense simply has to get tougher on the ground, the quarterback — whoever wins the job — needs to be steady, the kicking game must take a huge step forward and the defense needs to stay on course. A veteran offensive line and a healthy kicker in Clayton Hatfield should help, but the quarterback’s success or failure will weigh the heaviest on this team’s season. Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job depends on it.
WVU fans were downright giddy for the 2018 team until departures and injuries hit the Mountaineer defense in the spring. Now, there’s a wait-and-see approach while defensive coordinator Tony Gibson tries to patch the holes.
With Will Grier and perhaps the nation’s best receiving corps, WVU will score. The only question is whether they’ll have to score 50 per game to cover for the defense.
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March Madness Round 64 Preview
Stephen F. Austin vs. Texas Tech
Texas Tech didn’t win the Big 12 regular-season or tournament title, but it did earn a favorable NCAA Tournament draw. The Red Raiders, third-seeded in the East region, will stay in the Lone Star State to open the Big Dance in Dallas, facing 14th-seeded and in-state foe Stephen F. Austin on Thursday.
Coach Chris Beard’s Red Raiders finished second in the Big 12 behind perennial champion Kansas and beat Texas 73-69 in their Big 12 Tournament opener before falling to third-seeded West Virginia 66-63 in the semifinals. Overall, Texas Tech enters the NCAA Tourney with a 24-9 record – its first 20-win season in 11 years and its most wins since a school-record 30-2 season in 1995-96. It also will be the second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last decade for the Red Raiders and their first since 2016 when coach Tubby Smith’s eighth-seeded squad was upended 71-61 in the first round by ninth-seeded Butler. Stephen F. Austin, located in Nacogdoches, Texas, also has punched its first Big Dance ticket since 2016 and got there by winning the Southland Conference tournament title as a third seed.
TV: 7:27 p.m. ET, truTV
ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (28-6): The Lumberjacks enter the NCAA Tournament – their fourth appearance in the last five years – with 10 wins in the their last 11 games, including a 59-55 upset win over top-seeded Southeast Louisiana in the Southland championship game. Forward T.J. Holyfield closed the Southland Tournament with consecutive double-doubles and averages 13.0 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game. Guards Shannon Bogues (15.4 points) and Kevon Harris (14.6) also average double figures with the latter shooting a team-best 43.2 percent from 3-point range, which ranked second in the Southland.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (24-9): The Red Raiders started 14-1 and were 22-4 a little more than a month later when they climbed to No. 6 in the national polls – the high-water mark in program history. But guard Keenan Evans, the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points, suffered a toe injury in a Feb. 17 loss to Baylor and totaled only 12 points in the school’s final four games in February, including a Feb. 26 contest at West Virginia where he sat out entirely, contributing heavily to Texas Tech’s four-game tailspin entering March. Evans has averaged 20.3 points in the Red Raiders’ three games since and is joined by freshmen guards Jarrett Culver (11.7, team-best 4.8 rebounds) and Zhaire Smith (11.2) in double figures on the season.
1. Texas Tech has won eight of the nine meetings over the last 21 years, but the two teams haven’t met since 2011.
2. The key matchup will be the Lumberjacks’ offense, tied for 35th nationally with 81.1 points per game, against the Red Raiders’ defense, which led the Big 12 and is tied for 17th nationally with 64.7 points allowed per contest.
3. In two of their last three NCAA tourney appearances, the Lumberjacks have notched first-round upsets as a 13th and 12th seed, respectively, beating West Virginia (70-56 in 2016) and VCU (77-75 in 2014).
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Oklahoma at Texas Tech
Sixth-ranked Texas Tech is experiencing a magical season and looks to retain its lead in the Big 12 when it hosts No. 23 Oklahoma on Tuesday. The Red Raiders are 15-0 at home this season and hold a one-game edge over Kansas in the conference race as they look to avenge last month’s road loss to the Sooners.
Texas Tech’s 21-4 start matches the second best in school history and the program is thriving in Chris Beard’s second season at the helm. “We are just a program that prides ourselves in getting up every day and going to work,” Beard told reporters. “The next game on the schedule is our biggest game. You have to give a lot of credit to our players. I think they have bought into this identity, and they are the ones executing it.” Oklahoma is sliding in the wrong direction with three consecutive setbacks and is coming off Saturday’s 88-80 loss to last-place Iowa State. Freshman sensation guard Trae Young had 27 points and nine assists in the first meeting, when the Sooners recorded a 75-65 home win over the Red Raiders.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (16-8, 6-6 Big 12): Young leads the nation in scoring (29.5) and assists (9.4) and has topped 40 points while becoming the favorite to win national Player of the Year honors. While he has registered 11 outings with 10 or more assists, his ball-handling and decision making are far from flawless as he is averaging 6.6 turnovers over the past 13 games. Junior guard Christian James (11.9 points) and freshman forward Brady Manek (11.4) are solid complementary players while senior forward Khadeem Lattin (7.8 points, team-best 6.7 rebounds) mixes it up in the inside and has a team-best 55 blocked shots.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (21-4, 9-3): Senior guard Keenan Evans (19 points) was the only player to score in double digits in last month’s loss to the Sooners and he has posted outings of 38, 31, and 26 during the squad’s current six-game winning streak. Evans has team-best averages of 18.4 points and 3.5 assists and he has scored 20 or more points on nine occasions. Freshman guards Jarrett Culver (11 points per game) and Zhaire Smith (10.6) are enjoying solid debut seasons, with Smith shooting a torrid 57.6 percent from the field.
1. Oklahoma has won eight of the last 11 meetings.
2. The Red Raiders are tied for 19th nationally in 3-point percentage defense at 31 percent.
3. Lattin has 229 career blocked shots, one shy of the school record held by Al Beal (1976-80).
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BIRMINGHAM BOWL STORYLINES
1. When Texas Tech and No. 24 South Florida meet in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field on Dec. 23, two of the top offensive teams in the nation figure to light up the scoreboard. Behind senior quarterback Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech ended the regular season ranked 17th in FBS in total offense (468.4 yards per game) and 26th in scoring offense, averaging 34.6 points. USF senior quarterback Quinton Flowers led the Bulls to an average of 508.6 yards per game, ninth nationally, and spearheaded the No. 16 scoring offense in the nation (38.3).
2. Flowers has the opportunity to end his collegiate career as one of the most prolific offensive players in American Athletic Conference and school history. Already the school record holder with 11,385 career yards of offense, Flowers needs just 47 more to become the conference all-time leader. Flowers also needs just 44 yards to break Marlon Mack’s school record for career rushing yards, one more touchdown pass for sole possession of first with 68, just 312 yards passing to break Matt Grothe’s single-season mark of 2,911 and with four scoring strikes would break his own single-season mark of 24 set last season.
3. In the final regular season game against rival Texas, Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury went with sophomore quarterback McLane Carter in place of Shimonek, who had started the opening 11 games of the season. But with Texas Tech down by 10 to start the fourth quarter, Shimonek entered the game and rallied the Red Raiders to a 27-23 victory with a pair of touchdown passes and 96 yards through the air. Kingsbury wasted no time in removing any doubt as to who would start the Birmingham Bowl, announcing three weeks out that Shimonek would get the call under center against USF.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN.
ABOUT TEXAS TECH (6-6, 3-6 Big 12): The Red Raiders became bowl eligible for the 38th time in school history with a victory against Texas in the regular season finale. The often maligned Texas Tech defense, which ranks 99th in the country in total yards per game allowed, came up with the big plays against Texas as it forced four turnovers overall to fuel the comeback and preserve the victory. After allowing 40 or more points in five of the opening nine games, the Red Raiders held their final three opponents to under 30.
ABOUT SOUTH FLORIDA (9-2, 6-2 AAC): Under first-year coach Charlie Strong, the Bulls can accomplish something never done in program history. With a victory in the Birmingham Bowl, USF can record consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins for the first time since the program was born in 1997. “It’s big,” Strong told reporters. “It allows our seniors to go out on a winning note. Then it prepares us now to step into next season, where you go from 11 wins (in 2016) to 10 wins. Now you’re sitting with new expectations, a new team and a new season, you can carry over from that. You can build off of what you’ve done those last two years.”
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NCAA Football 2017 Season
Big 12 Conference Preview
The race to win the Big 12 in 2017 took an interesting turn this offseason. The Sooners will be under the direction of new coach Lincoln Riley after Bob Stoops retired in June. Riley will continue to direct Oklahoma’s high-powered offense, which is good news for the Heisman hopes of quarterback Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma State and Texas are expected to contend also. Kansas State, West Virginia and TCU completes the top 6. Iowa State and Baylor are two sleeper teams to watch in 2017. The new season of fantasy college football kicks off Saturday August 26 at FanPicks
Kansas St. Wildcats
The Wildcats will have serious experience and firepower on offense this season. If they can develop a few players on defense and improve against the pass, they could be one of the Big 12’s biggest threats to dethrone Oklahoma.
Oklahoma St. Cowboys
There are a lot of optimistic references to 2011 in Stillwater, with the look of this team bearing an obvious resemblance to that squad — at least on paper — with the array of offensive playmakers and the promise of an opportunistic defense. Now, can it look and perform like that squad, which won the Big 12 and finished decimal points out of the national championship game?
The Cowboys will have to manage trips to Pittsburgh and West Virginia, but the rest of the schedule sets up nicely. And they’ll have to find a way to beat Oklahoma, which has blocked their path the past two seasons.
Tom Herman is 22–4 as a head coach and is 6–0 against teams ranked in the AP top 25. He may also be a master of timing. At Houston, he took over a veteran team coming off an eight-win season and went 13–1 in his first year.
Now, Herman takes over a Texas roster returning 37 of the 44 in the two-deep from last season, stocked with back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes under former coach Charlie Strong. On his way out, Strong said whoever was coaching the Longhorns in 2017 would win 10 games.
Texas fans can’t take any more hype, only to be let down again. But things may be set up for Texas and Herman to crash the Big 12 party this season thanks to UT’s veteran roster, including experienced offensive and defensive lines and a laser-accurate quarterback in Shane Buechele.
The Sooners enter 2017 as the favorites to win a third straight Big 12 championship. Still, the push is for much more. QB Baker Mayfield and the standout offensive line give them a shot, although reliable weapons must develop, and the defense must prove capable.
There will be a challenging road schedule that features a September 9th visit to Columbus to meet an Ohio State team that thumped Oklahoma in 2016. And there are trips to Kansas State and Oklahoma State, two of the other top contenders in the Big 12. And, if all goes well, there’s a rematch with someone in the resurrected Big 12 Championship Game.
West Virginia Mountaineers
As head coach Dana Holgorsen said throughout the spring, West Virginia has talented players. Will Grier at quarterback, Ka’Raun White at receiver and Justin Crawford at running back comprise a trinity that’s tough to beat. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline should be able to build a decent front with guard Kyle Bosch as the anchor.
On defense, though, questions swirl around the line and at corner. Expect the opposition to test the WVU front early and often in 2017. Also, uncertainty at corner might give blitz-happy defensive coordinator Tony Gibson pause. In addition, there’s concern as to whether those in key positions coming off injuries will return to prior form.
Overall, though, WVU has plenty of confidence coming off a 10-win season and enough talent to challenge in a watered-down Big 12.
TCU Horned Frogs
The Air Raid-based Frogs will go as far as their quarterback takes them. Improvement from Kenny Hill is a must if TCU wants to return to its winning ways, let alone compete for the Big 12 championship. There are tools to work with on offense, but the best of them may still be a year away from making a legitimate impact. At least head coach Gary Patterson is likely to put out a sound defense. Experience is on his side this year, and that typically has meant good things.
Considering all of the turnover and culture change this program is undergoing, finishing above .500 and earning a bowl bid would be an impressive debut for new head coach Matt Rhule and the Bears. There are too many holes and question marks for Rhule to match the back-to-back 10-win seasons he had in his final two years at Temple. But Baylor — which returns 10 starters from a team that went 7–6 — is good enough to reach a bowl game for the eighth consecutive season.
Iowa St. Cyclones
The Matt Campbell era got off to a rough start, with a Week 1 loss to Northern Iowa followed up by a lopsided defeat to rival Iowa. But by the end of the year, Iowa State was competing with the best of the Big 12.
Now comes the most difficult task for the second year head coach: winning some of those games and getting Iowa State back to the postseason for the first time since 2012. To make that happen, the Cyclones will have to show significant improvement in the trenches — on both sides of the ball.
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger understands that his offseason contract extension and raise for head coach David Beaty — 2–22 in his first two seasons — will look questionable to some. Beaty’s pay raise — he went from $800,000 annually to $1.6 million in 2017, with a $100,000 bump each season — is further proof, however, that Zenger sees progress outside the team’s wins and losses. Beaty has improved the team’s roster numbers after a scholarship crunch his first season and also built up some positive recruiting vibes. In 2016, bowl eligibility is unlikely given that the rebuild is still in its early stages, but improving on a two-win season should be an expectation, especially after Zenger gave Beaty the offseason vote of confidence.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech has a lot to prove in 2017. There are glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed — specifically the run game, offensive line and one of the worst defenses in college football. Even in an area where Texas Tech typically succeeds — throwing the football — the Raiders are tasked with replacing arguably the best quarterback in school history (Patrick Mahomes) with a player who has never started at the collegiate level.
All of this uncertainty on the field will add to the uncertainty with the coaching staff. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is back for the fifth season at his alma mater, but the former record-setting quarterback is no doubt in a precarious position. A 13–23 record in Big 12 games simply is not good enough.
NCAA Preview 2016
NCAA fantasy football is getting closer. Are you excited as i am? Get ready to play CFB at FanPicks (click to play). With the impending kickoff in Sydney, Australia August 26th, FanPicks will cover every NCAA conferences and their teams for the 2016 season. If you’ve missed the ACC Coastal NCAA preview, click here. The NCAA BIG 12 is composed of ten programs which have won 18 national titles including three since it’s inception.
Oklahoma leads in BIG 12 championship title with nine. Not only are the Sooners the greatest school within the conference, but they also have the third-most national championship title since the poll era (1936-present) with seven. The 2005 Rose Bowl BCS Championship was the last BIG 12 conquest. The Texas Longhorns were crowned champions. Labelled “The game of the century”, the Longhorns defeated USC 41-38.
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Baylor shocked many with the decision to fire head football coach Art Briles. He helped turn an underwhelming program into a national power. Shortly after the decision, Baylor released the full findings of an investigation into the football program and athletic department’s handling of various sexual assault accusations against members of the BU football program. Baylor has lost a bunch of promising recruits in the wake of that sexual assault scandal, but the Bears suffered their biggest roster hit when talented sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham announced he was transferring.
Iowa State’s Mike Warren emerged as one of the top running backs in the league last season, finishing fourth in the Big 12 with 1,339 rushing yards despite getting just nine carries in the first two games. The new coaching regime is very familiar with Warren, and not just because he gained 126 yards when the Cyclones faced Toledo last September. Warren originally committed to new coach Matt Campbell and Toledo out of high school before later flipping to Iowa State.
LaQuvionte Gonzalez, the 5-10 junior receiver transferred from Texas A&M with a 4.4 speed and a 41-inch vertical, could provide a big-play threat for the Jayhawk. Kansas coach David Beaty was his position coach at A&M and promises to get creative with Gonzalez to get him the ball in as many ways as possible. In 16 games with the Aggies, he had 26 catches for 317 yards and two touchdowns.
KSU has been at its best when coach Bill Snyder has been able to have a quarterback that is a dual threat and is the catalyst for all things successful in the offense. So when the team was down to Joe Hubener to run the offense last year after injuries to Alex Dalton and Jesse Ertz, the offense sputtered badly as Hubener completed below 50 percent of his passes but did show dual threat ability. If the spring game is any indication, things are totally up in the air. With Ertz and Dalton back, the battle is on, but it was the forgotten Hubener who showed the best in the spring game, throwing for over 300 yards and having significantly more accuracy. No matter who gets the mantle of the starting gig, he’ll have to be big, big, big for KSU to achieve whatever goals they have in sight.
Oklahoma is the overwhelming preseason pick to win another Big 12 title. With quarterback Baker Mayfield among seven returning starters on offense, the Sooners got 24 of 26 first-place votes in the preseason media poll released last Thursday. Mayfield’s fearless attitude and fiery approach instantly rubbed off on the Sooners, who averaged 47.6 ppg after an Oct. 10 2015 loss to Texas. After finishing fourth in the Heisman voting, Mayfield should start this season on the short list of MVP front-runners.
Oklahoma State’s hopes of returning to Big 12 title contention rest on quarterback Mason Rudolph’s shoulders. After a solid season splitting time with J.W. Walsh, Rudolph is finally the unquestioned leader of the offense. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior passed for 3,770 yards, 21 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He had six 300-yard games (three with more than 400 yards), but his 71.5 adjusted QBR leaves plenty of room for improvement.
The TCU Horned Frogs look like a team that could be one of the best in the Big 12 and possibly in the country this year. However, it looks like they will go forward without possible starting running back Shaun Nixon. TCU head coach Gary Patterson announced today that Nixon suffered an undisclosed injury and would miss the entire 2016 season because of it. Despite that, TCU’s offense has been among the nation’s best since co-coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie arrived two seasons ago. Quarterback Kenny Hill is expected to thrive again this season.
Texas benefited from Baylor University’s scandal. With recruits leaving the program here and there, the Longhorns were able to land five-star Devin Duvernay. A blazing-fast wideout who has been timed at 10.27 in the 100-meter. Duvernay’s big-play potential should help a very young UT passing game as it adapts to the new scheme of offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
In his first season as the full-time starter, quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished fourth in the country with 357.9 passing yards per game last year. He also tossed 36 touchdowns (tied for the Big 12 lead with Baker Mayfield) while rushing for 456 yards and 10 scores. The Red Raiders graduated key players at every other position offensively from last year’s dynamic scoring attack. But with Mahomes, Texas Tech could still feature its best offense yet under coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Mountaineers Quarterback Skyler Howard had an inconsistent 2015 season. He passed for 3,145 yards and 26 touchdowns, but despite a QB-friendly system, he also threw 14 interceptions and surpassed 300 yards just twice. Accuracy was an issue, as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in four of his 13 starts, and his 55.3 adjusted QBR was seventh in the Big 12. But there is reason for optimism. Howard ended the season by setting Cactus Bowl records with 532 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in a 43-42 win over Arizona State.
BIG 12 Conference tournament fantasy preview
With Kansas, the nation’s # 1 team and favorite to take the Big 12 conference tournament, it’s a great time for college hoop fans and fantasy enthusiasts to do some deep research and monitor the games ahead of the NCAA Tournament. FanPicks is proud to give you this Big 12 conference tournament fantasy preview in order to give you a head start breaking down the favorites and underdogs to look out for.
The Kansas JayHawks have not lost since January 25th but had their revenge against the Iowas State Cyclones in the season finale, finishing off their season on a strong 11 game winning streak. The Big 12 conference, questionably the toughest out of all of them has 6 teams in the TOP 25, showing nothing but fierce competition all year long.
Even though the JayHawks are nice favorites to win it, they will have to go through Oklahoma and West Virginia. Kansas’ top prospects and NBA potentials Cheick Diallo and Wayne Selden Jr. will be expected to outperform their opponents as they’ve had all season long.
With their lone loss to Kansas in the last game of the seasons, lookout for the Longhorns in the ncaa tournament as they finished off their season with 3 wins out of their last. Unfortunately for them, they will have to wait their NCAA tournament seeding on Sunday as they were unable to stop Baylor’s Taurean Prince’s tremendous play today in the conference quarters. Prince will be a force to watch out for during the tournament and is also an NBA prospect.