1. Travis

    Agree on Baylor.

    Baylor is pretty much set at CB now. They’ve turned into some really good players. Their 4th or 5th best guys this year are starting for every Baylor D in the past, I think (except over Xavien Howard). Not a coincidence that the CBs are coached by Fran Brown, the highest paid assistant on staff, who has apparently been turning down some pay raises to stick with Rhule a little while longer.

    Safety is not as good as CB but they are still light years better than they have been.

    But as you point out, the real question is the OL, where they went from abhorrent to below-avg/bad this year. Rhule got a jump start on next year plugging in true freshman Connor Galvin in at LT mid-year. But they’ve signed about 12 OL over the past two years and for almost all of them, they haven’t seen the field. So it is just a matter of whether they pan out or not…

  2. quigley

    – Good review for each team
    – It’s ridiculous that the career decisions of 22 year olds who want to skip an exhibition game (bowls) are criticized. The “abandoned” teammates of the players who skip bowls aren’t the ones who are complaining. The teammates understand. The noise comes from coaches who covet control and need wins and fans who don’t have insight into the players’ situations.

    For OU:
    – Murray’s gone regardless.
    – I can’t see Riley going unless the administration at OU’s really becoming a problem. Administrations at that school understand the primacy the entire state places on OU football and generally leave it alone. Riley doesn’t seem to mind recruiting and is publicly saying the right things.
    – OL’s going to be fine if Bill Bedenbaugh stays. Keeping Evans would be better, but Bedenbaugh is the retention target every year. He’s replaced quality OL every year for five now. (BTW, Evans should go too as it’s unlikely he’ll look better next year when he’s with working next to three new starters).
    – Whoever comes in at DC will inherit a defense that returns ten starters and twenty out of 22 on the two deep. The upside to this defense is pretty high as recruiting has been pretty good, there were some players on the bench who need to be playing, and there were some who were out of position.

      • quigley

        – Jordan Parker at DB, either corner or safety, has shown competency in the past. Deserved more of a shot.
        – Deshaun White at MLB has much better hips and explosion than Murray. Murray is a liability at this point. He should have at least split time with Murray to give him a blow.
        – Any DE. K Mann isn’t good enough that he needs to be on the field 90 snaps a game. It seems he doesn’t play all out at any point because he knows he’s going to be on the field all day. Regardless of him trying to conserve energy, there are many snaps in the second half where he seems happy to get blocked.

        • ianaboyd

          I thought Parker got hurt? Murray and Mann weren’t great, I figured that things must be awful behind them. They played some bad guys at times in other spots, after all.

          I’m starting to think that McNeil’s biggest concern against Bama may be the run D. I don’t think playing 4-3 and outnumbering the run will do the trick if Bama wants to push it, their run blocking is vastly superior to that of Texas or the rest of the B12.

  3. System Poster

    Iowa State looks to have a couple of highly ranked running backs coming in and their usual supply of large wide receivers (plus it looks like a giant, four star receiver in their 2018 class) so our long, national nightmare of having to deal with an actually good Iowa State team will continue even if Butler and Montgomery declare. Also, looking at their recruiting shows that ole Pump Fake was designated as a pro style quarterback, which just goes to show how preposterous the whole DT/pro style designation is on the recruiting sites.

    Concerns about WVU on offense seem to be overblown. WVU goes as far as their defense takes them. They had their best year in the big 12 (by record at least) with a pretty mediocre quarterback. If they are able to avoid replacing seemingly their entire defense this year, they could be a pretty good team no matter how their QB situation shapes up.

    It seems like you have had good sources on TCU in the past. Is there any possibility that GP is fed up with Cumbie and might try to move on? He’s been there a long time to still not have recruited a viable starting quarterback.

    As you mention, Texas Tech looks to be signing their first high school tight end commit in a long time. Interestingly, he was recruited when Kliff was still in charge, so I think he had naturally arrived at the same conclusion as you which is that having versatile flex tight ends is the way to go in the Big 12 now. And you’re right, Tech is going pretty hard after a couple of Juco tight ends, including this guy who is visiting this weekend: https://247sports.com/player/travis-koontz-91368/

    • ianaboyd

      I think Iowa State’s run game will be fine. They can improve enough on the OL to make up for losing Montgomery, maybe even gain some ground because their other backs are also solid. Losing Butler is scarier and I don’t know who these other massive WRs are that you’re talking about. Their last two classes were more on the short and fast side of things, but all that means is that Campbell is close to executing his actual vision rather than making the most of what he had, so that’s something.

      Like you note, the DT/pro designations are totally worthless. Totally agree on West Virginia as well. If they play well on defense then Holgorsen can get points on the board. I dunno what weapons they will build around next year but I don’t doubt that they have some, waiting their turn.

      Eric Nahlin usually knows a lot about what’s going on at TCU but I haven’t asked in a while. Seems like the central question is why Robinson is leaving? Because they were replacing him or because he’s mad about how the season went and his relationship with the coaches?

      Koontz looks like the type they’ll want to plug in quickly to match their vision. The Michigan State and Pitt offers say it all. Tech was never chasing the same guy as those teams in the past.

  4. Will

    I thought the reaction of WVU fans was kind of split on Grier, but maybe that’s just the writers and not the fanbase itself. I’ve seen some anger but plenty of folks recognize he’s gotta do right by his family (hey, did you know he has a daughter? So glad that storyline is over).

    I’m inclined to agree with your general points on WVU. The offense has had a pretty high floor since 2013. The run game comes back and McKoy finished the season on fire. They got 4-6 WRs/TEs that they redshirted this year, I suspect they find a couple kids ready to contribute.

    The returning experience in the secondary is reminiscent of Gibson’s best defenses, so there’s reason to be optimistic on that side of the ball. Just “flipped” a JuCo corner from LSU to help out too.

    8 wins next year seems entirely manageable again. With some breaks maybe it turns into something more.

    I am really pumped to see Kyler go against Bama.

    • ianaboyd

      I think I’m high on WVU for next year. Long and Stewart are back, as is Campbell or anyone who can be better. The Stills bro’s are still around and maybe most important is Robinson and the CBs. It’s really nice having experience back there.

      I dunno on Kyler vs Bama. I’m not sure if this is gonna be like Bama 55-50 or Bama 55-20. I think I’m leaning toward the latter.

      • quigley

        OU’s OL is likely too good for the Sooners to be held to 20. OU played three “good” defenses in 2018.Number of scoring drives / total drives (non-end of half possessions):
        UT x 2 (7/12 and 7/10), Iowa St (7/10), TCU (8/11).
        That’s scores on 29/43 = 67% for 44 pts/game.

        Alabama’s defense is better than those three, but the 2017 Georgia defense is, I think, a reasonable comparison for 2018 Alabama on defense. OU went 6/12 in regulation in the 2017 Rose Bowl. Based on these data, I anticipate OU get to about 40.

        There are a few scenarios for a Sooner victory (you’ll notice that none of these paths involve significant improvement of the OU defense):
        – Tua’s really hurt, and still plays. Like in the SEC-CG, he’s ineffective. This allows OU to get up 2 – 3 scores, the Tide abandon the running game, and OU hangs on in the fourth quarter.
        – OU’s OL doesn’t allow the Tide DL to dominate like they’ve done all year. This exposes the Bama DB’s. The Tide blitz, and Murray punishes them passing and running the ball.
        – Turnovers. Bunch of people in Alabama voted for Roy Moore so we know that they aren’t immune from error.

        – FEVER DREAM: We know Riley has at least experimented with a two QB system (Ohio St 2017, Texas 2018).
        Austin Kendall is an underrated athlete and may be equivalent to Ehlinger as a QB (without the game reps). With Kendall, Murray, and a RB in the same backfield, the Sooners unveil a new version of the QUAD option:
        (1) direct snap to Kendall
        (2) traditional RB run
        (3) traditional QB pass OR run play with Kendall
        (4) lateral pass to Murray as QB1 is breaking to the edge. Murray then still has QB run – pass option with OU’s WR single covered because the safety is required to contain Murray running the ball.

        The Sooners befuddle the Tide with Kendall throwing for 300 yds and Murray throwing for 200 yds and running for another 150. Book it.

        • ianaboyd

          You lost me at “Kendall Austin is as good as Sam Ehlinger” on that last section.

          I’ve got tons and tons of thoughts on this game I’ll try to publish somewhere. Perhaps on this very blog.

          I think Bama is another animal beyond Texas or TCU this year, they can put like 4 DL on the field who are all close to being as good as the best DL for either TCU or Texas. I think they can stuff OU’s 3-play run game from nickel, but I don’t know if they can do it from dime or if they can cover Kyler and the pass game from nickel.

          Totally agree that if Alabama doesn’t run the ball at least 30x that we should all lambast Saban and his staff. They were running H counter on Georgia for like 7 a pop and should have run that and OZ many more times. Dawgs couldn’t stop it. They had whatever they wanted in that game and were held under 50 because of drops and Tua mistakes.

  5. quigley

    – OU’s best defensive backfield this year would’ve been: Motley, Norwood at CB, Brown at NB, Parker at deep safety, and Barnes at run support safety.
    This group could at least cover and had some experience. Parker had shown that he was responsibility sound, had speed, and could tackle. He did get hurt midway through the season.

    – In the 2014 Sugar Bowl vs OU, Alabama ran 25 times and dropped back to pass forty times (McCarron scrambled ten times). If they’d inverted their run/pass ratio, they win.

    This time, the Tide SHOULD have six drives where they cover > 60 yards for TDs in 5 – 8 plays with only one or two passes (Georgia had four last year). If Alabama’s backs have less than thirty carries, regardless of score actually, they ENTIRE offensive staff should be canned (Georgia’s backs had 29 last year).

    • ianaboyd

      I like some of those DBs okay. They need to hire a new DB coach to make the most of getting those guys back. Brown and Norwood (the tre’s) are football players that could really be good with some help. It’s obvious how much McNeil has taught them in limited time, they need more McNeils on that staff.

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