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An Assortment of College Sports Updates

We’re more than halfway through the fall, which means football and volleyball are nearing their end and basketball is more than on the horizon. Let’s take a look at some headlines across the Big 12 and state of Texas college sports.

RB Darrell Scott Transfers From Colorado
After being the top running back recruit in the class of 2008, Darrell Scott chose to attend Colorado over Texas, following his cousin to Boulder with the hopes of bringing Colorado back in to the national discussion. After disappointment throughout his college tenure (much of that due to injuries), Scott is expected to transfer to UCLA, and back to his southern California roots. Once again, he’ll be following his cousin, who transferred to UCLA the year after Scott got to Colorado. Did CU “buy-off” Scott during recruitment process by using his family members as the bait? Hm, brings up some interesting recruiting tactic questions, doesn’t it? Eyes Of TX is happy Scott has stayed far from Austin, or on the sidelines during the ‘Horns football games against the ‘Buffs.

#2 Texas Volleyball Loses to #8 Iowa State, But Rebounds Strong
After dropping only six games in 21 matches this season, the #2 Texas volleyball team had their first slip-up of the season, losing to Iowa State three games-to-two in early November. Despite the loss, the ‘Horns have rebounded for two more match wins, despite dropping another game against Texas Tech at home (the first game they’ve dropped at home all season). If the ‘Horns continue their strong play, they are legitimate contenders to face #1 Penn State in the post-season.

College Football Awards Watch
Heisman Trophy
The race for the best player in college football is once again dominated by offensive players. Some players – like Florida QB Tim Tebow and Texas QB Colt McCoy – were expected to be in the 2009 discussion, but others have surprised the football legions over the course of the season. Other top contenders for this year’s award include Alabama RB Mark Ingram, Houston QB Case Keenum, Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, and Boise State QB Kellen Moore. If Ingram continues his pace, he should be a lock for this year’s award, although since votes don’t have to be cast until after the conference championship games, Tebow, McCoy, and Ingram could give voters a final look in those games Dec. 5 weekend.

Biletnikoff Award
This should be a lock for Texas WR Jordan Shipley, honestly. The award, given to college football’s top wide receiver, is loaded with tier-two talent, but Shipley has already eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving on the year, and with 20 more catches could set the Texas single-season record for receptions. Another Big 12 nominee is Kansas WR Dezmond Briscoe, but with the Jayhawks mid-season debacle, he seems to be a long-shot to be this year’s award winner.

Wuerffel Award
The Wuerffel Award, given annually to a college football who displays exemplary community service, combined with academic and athletic success, will be awarded in February 2010. Texas WR Jordan Shipley is the only Big 12 representative, among 12 finalists.

Lombardi Award
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes were named as three of four finalists for the Lombardi Trophy, given to the country’s best lineman – on offense or defense. The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 9. Surprisingly, most of the award winners in its history have come from the Big 12 Conference (or previously the Big 8 or Southwest Conferences).

Thorpe Award
Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox, Texas safety Earl Thomas, and Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey have all been named as semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, given to the country’s top defensive back. The Big 12 and SEC both have three semifinalists up for the award this year. The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 10.

Lott Trophy
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Texas defensive end Sam Acho, and TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes are among eight semifinalists for the Lott Trophy, given to the country’s best defensive impact player based on athletic performance and personal character. The award finalists will be announced Nov. 24, and the winner announced on Dec. 13. Of note, a Big 12 player has never won the award in its five-year history.

Texas Safety Christian Scott Bowl Game Eligible?
There is speculation that Texas safety Christian Scott, who was suspended by the NCAA this fall for lack of progress against his degree, may become eligible for the ‘Horns bowl game in January. Head coach Mack Brown said he has been discussing the case with the NCAA, and if Scott does well academically this semester, it is a long-shot possibility he could play – although he confirmed it was a unique circumstance for the NCAA to consider. Scott has continued to practice with the team, and he was battling with starting safety Blake Gideon in fall camp, so his services could be helpful in the post-season.

More ou Football Injuries
The rash of season-ending injuries for the oklahoma sooners football continues, as three more starters will be out for the season. Players affected by the injuries include offensive lineman Brody Eldridge (neck), defensive end Auston English (ankle tendon), and offensive tackle Jarvis Jones (fractured heel). English is expected to have surgery in the near-term. With the season-ending injuries to quarterback Sam Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham, ou has been hampered throughout the season, although they remain one game shy of becoming bowl eligible.

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Filed under Big 12, Buffaloes, Cornhuskers, Cougars, Cowboys, Cyclones, Horned Frogs, Jayhawks, Longhorns, Mountain West Conference, NCAA Football, Sooners

NCAA Football: Week 4 Viewing Guide

Trying out a little something different this week, Eyes OF TX is going to post a weekly “viewing guide” for college football games for the upcoming weekend. In essence, these are the top games of the week, or those that most impact the top of the BCS rankings, the Big 12 Conference and/or Texas Longhorns. Check your local listings to confirm regional coverage.

Thursday
7:30 PM ET
Mississippi at South Carolina, ESPN
Ol’ Ball Coach and Ole Miss! Good chance to take a look at Ole Miss. They’re moving up the top 10 and will be taking on Alabama at home in a couple of weeks.

Friday
9:00 PM ET
Missouri at Nevada, ESPN
Mizzou is clinging to a top 25 ranking and will be hosting Texas a week after the ‘Horns play OU. This is a good chance to see what they’re about.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
Southern Mississippi at Kansas, FSN
Kick off the afternoon with a Big 12 game. It’ll be good to get a look at this Kansas team to see how they compare to the Kansas teams the Big 12 has seen the last few years. Kansas comes to Texas on November 21st.

3:30 PM ET
UTEP at Texas, FSN
Texas was tested more than anyone expected last week so hopefully they can put up some big numbers and show the country they are worthy of that #2 ranking.

Arkansas at Alabama, CBS
Alabama is knocking on Texas’ door and gaining a lot of traction with the voters. There’s a lot of talk about them playing like the best team in the country, so use commercial breaks to see what all the fuss is about.

Miami at Virginia Tech, ABC/ESPN
It’s too bad this game is up against the Longhorns timeslot because this is the best ACC matchup of the year. After this game you can tune out the whole conference until the winner of this game is losing the Orange Bowl.

6:00 PM ET
Florida at Kentucky, ESPN2
Can the Gators have two “down” games in a row? Not likely, but if they’re looking ahead to LSU this could get interesting. There’s no denying that it’ll be a tough couple of weeks for the Wildcats who face Alabama next week.

8:00 PM ET
Iowa at Penn State, ABC
The prime time game of the week will give us a look at the best off the Big 10 in a big spotlight. Iowa took down the Nittany Lions last year, knocking them out of the national title hunt. ABC has its second revenge game in a row!

9:15 PM ET
Texas Tech at Houston, ESPN2
Houston is on the rise and Tech is coming off a tough loss so this will be an interesting game to close out the night. Don’t count out the Houston offense, although the defense might need to show up for the Cougs to win. Potts looks solid for Leach’s program in his first year starting.

Credit to LilPete for pulling this together for Eyes Of TX.

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Recap: Week 2 in Big 12 Football

Big 12 Conference LogoWow, it was another big weekend to forget in Big 12 football last Saturday. Big time upsets, a few scares, and some teams maintaining their focus and continuing their string of non-conference wins. In fact, it’s only been two weeks, and the Big 12 is already being considered the most overrated conference in all of college football – ESPN has an interesting segment arguing the conference’s value at this point in the game. For the record, Eyes of TX would never hire Lou Holtz to represent the Big 12 – can you even understand him? – no wonder he gets taken to task by Mark May. Thanks, ESPN.

Let’s take a quick look back at week two in the Big 12 football.

Baylor Bears
Bye week. Can the Bears continue their good start this week in their first home game of the 2009 season? Connecticut has been one of the better teams in the Big East over the past few years, although their starting quarterback is out for this game in Waco, which is expected to bring more than 40,000 Bear fanatics to the season-opener. No dancing allowed, though. Next up: Connecticut (1-1)

Colorado 38 v. Toledo 54
The story in Boulder just keeps getting worse for head coach Dan Hawkins. Playing for the second time in five days, the Buffaloes looked horrendous against the Rockets. The Buffs defense gave up a whooping 624 yards of offense, more than 300 in both passing and rushing. Watching this game, it shouldn’t have even been this close – the Rockets thought they had it sealed at halftime, and Colorado crept back in to the game before the Rockets exploded for more points in the second half. The rushing game continues to be a struggle, only 95 yards the entire game, but running back Darrell Scott accounted for 85 of those yards on 12 carries, all in the first half. To their credit, the Buffs were throwing the ball trying to catch up all game. Think Hawkins might be out as coach next season? Don’t be so sure – former coach Dan McCarthy stepped up to defend Hawkins this week, and the cash-strapped CU athletic budget might not allow for a buy-out. Next up: Wyoming (1-1)

Iowa State 3 v. Iowa 35
Apparently the Hawkeyes got their wake-up call last week when they nearly lost to Northern Iowa. And, playing for the annual CyHawk trophy, the Cyclones were outplayed in this game from the start, and turnovers played a huge role in the result, as Iowa hawked five INTs in the game, four from starting quarterback Austen Arnaud and one from back-up Jerome Tiller. All told, the Cyclones only culled together 303 yards of offense. A tough loss for Iowa State, but they should be able to get back on track next week against Kent State, especially with a freshman quarterback expected to start for the Golden Flash. With a tough road schedule in 2009, this could be the Cyclones only chance for a road win this season. Next up: @ Kent State (1-1)

Kansas 34 v. UTEP 7
Who knew? The Jayhawks defense showed up in a big way in El Paso, and held the Miners to seven first downs on the game, only four yards rushing, and kept them scoreless until late in the 4th quarter. While quarterback Todd Reesing was 25-of-41 for 260 yards, with one TD and one INT, it was the KU running game that surprised coach Mike Price’s UTEP team this week, as senior running back Jake Sharp accounted for 104 yards and two TDs on only 16 carries to lead the Jayhawks to another solid victory. The return of suspended wide receiver Dezmond Briscoe didn’t hurt either, as he notched 8 catches for 154 yards on the day. This week, Reesing faces the only other D-I football program to offer him a scholarship – Duke – and he should have no trouble showing the Blue Devils how his SAT scores have helped him command the KU offense. Next up: Duke (1-1)

Kansas State 15 v. Louisiana-Lafayette 17
Ouch. While several Big 12 teams lost last weekend, this could be the most embarrassing. Wildcats coach Bill Snyder might be writing his own team’s obituary before his own. Despite outgaining the Ragin’ Cajuns by almost 100 yards on the day, the KSU defense gave up a late, 42-yard field goal for the win – the first of the Ragin’ Cajuns junior kicker’s career. Wow. Wildcats running back Daniel Thomas continues to be the highlight of Synder’s offense, as he rushed for 136 yards and one TD on 27 carries. With the resurgence of UCLA in the Pac-10, and head coach Rick Neuheisal leading the charge in L.A., you can bet (sorry, Rick) that the Wildcats are in for another tough ride this weekend. Next up: @ UCLA (2-0)

Missouri 27 v. Bowling Green 20
After looking amazing in his first career start, Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled in week two against Bowling Green, but managed to finally get things on track in the second half to lead Mizzou to the win in Columbus. Behind 20-6 in the third quarter, the Tigers’ offense picked up behind the strong running effort of Derrick Washington who had 120 yards on 23 carries, and one TD. Can you believe this stat – Bowling Green had more passing yards than Missouri. Yep, it’s true. Even the Tigers’ punter got used seven times on Saturday, after being used only 26 times all of last season. Gabbert’s still got some growing up to do, but fans can see the potential, and that should once again be on showcase this weekend against lowly Furman. Next up: Furman (2-0)

Nebraska 38 v. Arkansas State 9
Granted, it was Arkansas State, but the Nebraska offense looked unstoppable on Saturday, as the Cornhusker scored on five of their first 6 possessions to take 24-6 lead at halftime. Quarterback Zac Lee continues to impress, as he completed 27-of-35 passes for 340 yards and four TDs, completing passes to 11 different receivers. It’s funny, now, to think of Nebraska as a wishbone offense back in the day. Nebraska seems to be clicking on all cylinders, although they’ll get their biggest test this weekend at Virginia Tech. Next up: @ Virginia Tech (1-1)

oklahoma 64 v. Idaho State 0
Well, something sure clicked in Norman since week one. With stars Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham out, freshman quarterback Landry Jones used his work with the first team offense to absolutely decimate the Bengals in week two. Jones threw for 286 yards and three TDs – all to wide receiver Ryan Broyles – as ou put this game away early in the first half. The stout sooners defense held Idaho State to minus-2 yards in the first half, and only 44 yards of offense on the day, and the Bengals never made it past ou’s 49-yard line in the game. Running back Demarco Murray also rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries, scoring two TDs. The re-tooled offensive lane appears to be working for coach Bob Stoops in week two, but they will have a tougher test against one of the most proficient offenses in NCAA football the last few years in the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes this Saturday. Next up: Tulsa (2-0)

Oklahoma State 35 v. Houston 45
Whoops. Someone forgot to tell Oklahoma State that they play more than one game in a season. After defeating former #13 Georgia in week one, the Cowboys looked flat all game against the potent Cougars offense, which racked up 512 yards on the day, behind quarterback Case Keenum’s 366 yards passing. ‘Pokes quarterback Zac Robinson, on the other hand, threw for only 240 yards, including a TD and INT on the day. In addition, the Cowboys lost starting running back Kendall Hunter for the game in the second quarter, and standout wide receiver Dez Bryant also suffered through cramps all day while accounting for 85 yards on five catches. All told, the Cougars outplayed the ‘Pokes on their home turf (with a little luck to go along with their courageous play), and the Sports Illustrated cover jinx continued this week in Stillwater. Head coach Mike Gundy finally has a chance to get his team in rhythm and on track this week against Rice, and with a few key victories could bring the ‘Pokes back in to the top 10 by season’s end. Next up: Rice (0-2)

Texas 41 v. Wyoming 10
So, the altitude WAS an issue. In front of the third biggest city in all of Wyoming (the stadium) last Saturday, thriving at more than 7,000 feet above sea level, the Cowboys and their fans were jacked up and ready to play – and it was very evident from the get-go that the ‘Horns were either flat or pushing too hard, looking miserable in the first half on the offensive side of the ball. Thankfully, the defense showed up ready to play and basically pitched a shut-out as Wyoming only put points on the board after Texas special team’s mistakes – a blocked punt for TD and a missed fake punt conversion. Quarterback Colt McCoy turned it on the second half, and ended up 30-for-47 for 337 yards, three TDS, and an INT. While wide receiver James Kirkendoll might have led the team in receiving yards, it was the play of tight end/flex receiver Dan Buckner that raised some eyebrows in Laramie. Buckner ended the day with six catches for 86 yards and a TD, and it appears he has adapted to the position and has become a go-to outlet for McCoy. The defense really was the story of the game, giving the ‘Horns a chance going in to the second half, as they held Wyoming to 273 yards of total offense. This week, the ‘Horns secondary gets their big test against head coach Mike Leach’s lethal spread offense. Can the ‘Horns overcome last year’s disappointment – it’s the question everyone wants answered. ESPN’s College Gameday will be in town for the early season conference match-up. Next up: Texas Tech (2-0)

Texas A&M Aggies
Bye week. This year’s Big 12 mystery team suits up for their second game on Saturday against Utah State. After a big win in week one against New Mexico, the Aggies need to show they’re not a one-show circus. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson looks much more comfortable this year in the pocket, and the running game behind freshman Christine Michael looks solid. Two in a row, Ags? Yell practice might be paying off in College Station. Next up: Utah State (0-1)

Texas Tech 55 v. Rice 10
Has there ever been a quarterback that has thrown 10 TDs in a game? And, if not, has head coach Mike Leach called the Guinness Book of World Records to have them come to town for the fireworks? Geez. Well, the Red Raiders got their offense on track in week two, as quarterback Taylor Potts nearly tied a school record for TDs thrown with seven against the struggling Owls. With three quarterbacks playing for Rice, the Owls couldn’t get much of an offensive rhythm, managing only 257 yards on the day. Potts’ ended the day with 456 yards, and he completed passes to 13 different wide receivers, including his high school teammate Lyle Leong, who caught three TD strikes. The defense looked solid, but not remarkable – especially after losing NFL talent off the defensive line since last year. Once again, Potts didn’t have to deal with any pass rush, and it will be interesting to see how Potts reacts under pressure from the front seven and his first road game in a hostile environment in Austin. Next up: @ Texas (2-0)

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Other Texas-state Football Week 1 Recaps

In addition to the Big 12 Conference’s opening weekend of football, here are the outcomes of other Texas-state football squads that opened their 2009-2010 campaign over the Labor Day holiday, as well as what teams they’ll be facing this Saturday.

Conference USA

Conference USA
Houston 55 v. Northwestern State 7
It’s like Andre Ware was back in red and white! Houston quarterback Case Keenum completed 23 of 30 passes for 359 yards, four TDs, and no picks to absolutely demolish the demons. No need to run when you can throw, as the Cougars racked up 91 yards rushing. Can their pass-happy offense stand up to Okie State’s stout defense? We’ll find out Saturday.
Next up: @ Oklahoma State (1-0)

Rice 24 v. Alabama-Birmingham 44
The Owls defense got taken to the barn on Saturday, to the tune of 516 yards of UAB offense, in their opening game loss. Rice gave up 295 yards rushing and 221 yards through the air – not a good sign going to Lubbock next week – and the Owls look undecided at quarterback between Nick Fanuzzi (12/20, 154 yards, 1 TD) and John Thomas Sheperd (10/22, 81 yards, 1 INT).
Next up: @ Texas Tech (1-0)

Southern Methodist (SMU) 31 v. Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23
SMU scrapes by, as the Mustangs scored on fourth-and-one with 7 minutes to play to overcome a 9-point deficit and win their home opener. Running back Shawnbrey McNeal looked solid, rushing for 158 yards on 19 carries and accounting for one TD, while quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (could this be the second best Texas-state quarterback name behind Texas’ Colt McCoy?) completed 23 of 45 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Next up: Alabama-Birmingham (1-0)

Texas El-Paso (UTEP) 17 v. Buffalo 23
Even though UTEp outgained the Bulls on offense, Buffalo was efficient and capitalized on UTEP mistakes to take the lead in the second quarter and hold on for the win in west Texas. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw 45 attempts, completing 27, for 233 yards but no TDs.
Next up: Kansas (1-0)

Mountain West Conference
Mountain West Conference
Texas Christian (TCU) – no game in week one
Next up: @ Virginia (0-1)

Southland Conference
Southland Conference
Sam Houston State 28 v. Western Illinois 35
One yard. One measly yard – and a bit of pass defense by SHS – and this game potentially ends differently. SHS drove to the WIU 1-yard line with 21 seconds to play, down by seven, but couldn’t score on three straight plays to end the game and the Leathernecks pull out the victory in Huntsville. Just criminal, if you know what we mean.
Next up: North Dakota State (0-1)

Stephen F. Austin (SFA) 23 v. Southern Methodist (SMU) 31
A tough night defensively for the Lumberjacks, as SFA had more total yards of offense than the Mustangs (460 to 355) but couldn’t come out with a win. Quarterback Jeremy Moses threw 52 times for 391 yards and 2 TDs, but also completed five passes to the Mustangs for INTs.

By the way, who the heck is SFA’s next opponent – Texas College? The Steers have no logo and play only five football games on the year (wrap it up in October) – watch out, Texas College, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder might come calling next year.
Next up: @ Texas College (0-1)

Texas State 48 v. Angelo State 28
Texas State quarterback Bradley George threw for 328 yards and three TDs in the win, while the Bobcats racked up 463 yards in total offense.
Next up: Bye

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
North Texas 20 v. Ball State 10
North Texas put up 512 yards of offense on the road for the win, including quarterback Riley Dodge’s 216 yards passing and one TD, as well as 296 yards on the ground from Cam Montgomery, Dodge, and Lance Dunbar.
Next up: Ohio (0-1)

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