Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My preseason All-B12 ballot

Late last week I submitted my preseason All-Big 12 ballot, the results of which I believe are released during Big 12 media days early next week. I didn't spend quite as much time on it as I usually do but let's be real, the preseason ballot doesn't matter too much and even I don't take my own preseason ballot too seriously when I draft my postseason All-Big 12 teams.

What's more, I don't get a ballot for the real All-B12 team later in the year, this is all just discussion fodder. Let's have at it.

Preseason rankings

Honestly, I think much of the Big 12 looks fairly interchangeable and who finishes where from 3-9 or so is going to depend more on scheduling and injuries than anything else. That said, here's how I have the teams for now. I look forward to Philly Frog's shock...

1. TCU
2. Oklahoma
3. Texas
4. Kansas State
5. Texas Tech
6. Oklahoma State
7. Baylor
8. Iowa State
9. West Virginia
10. Kansas

Let's get the big one out of the way first, I like TCU's chances of putting together a top offense and defense more than I like Oklahoma's. During the 2015 season I really didn't appreciate how well Charles Tapper played (very well) and when you add that loss to the departure of Eric Striker and Devante Bond you have a huge hole in the Oklahoma defense.

Maybe they can replace Zach Sanchez with another sticky-fingered corner but I still have trust issues with Mike Stoops and have my doubts about his ability to consistently fashion defenses where all of the skill sets come together to form a dominant team concept. They'll probably be good, there's too much talent to be bad, but I don't know about great.

Meanwhile TCU is doing a standard "plug and play" reload on offense and look to have more than enough options to build a unit that can over stress defenses and get points on the board. Their defense should be back atop the league again.

Texas could finish in a variety of places but they'll probably have a dominant run game and, at least at times, a passing game with absurd and explosive talent. Defense will be better as well. This is the most talented team in the league, the best players are just too young to put it together for 2016.

Kansas State needs to find another corner and I'm going to be made to look stupid if they actually have to roll with Johnny D of Aledo opposite Duke Shelley. That kid needs to be hitting the weights and sitting in the safeties' meeting room, I'm not buying him at corner in the Big 12 and nickel is iffy as well given what the Wildcats ask their nickel to do.

If OSU can run the ball or rush the passer they'll be WAY better than this ranking.

Texas Tech is going to surprise people next year by not being atrocious on defense (though they still won't be too good) and the offense will be great again with Pat Mahomes at the helm. You gotta wonder if they'll snag Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham and end up with an amazing succession plan for his departure.

I'm expecting a free fall for Baylor with all of the chaos, Stidham and Cannon out, the D-line getting gutted by graduation/departures/suspensions, and Seth Russell playing on a previously broken neck. They could end up with another explosive offense and Seth Russell having a brilliant season but I'm betting on all these distractions winning out over a team of young men.

West Virginia should be good on offense and atrocious on defense, Iowa State could surprise, and Kansas will be Kansas.

All-Big 12 Defense

DL: Jordan Willis, Kansas State
DL: Will Geary, Kansas State
DL: Charles Walker, Oklahoma
DL: Josh Carraway, TCU
DL: Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia
LB: Malik Jefferson, Texas
LB: Taylor Young, Baylor
LB: Elijah Lee, Kansas State
DB: Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma
DB: Davante Davis, Texas
DB: Dante Barnett, Kansas State

DB: Denzel Johnson, TCU
DB: Steven Parker, Oklahoma
P: Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State

Kansas State has good players at positions where most other teams have question marks but TCU had the following tough omissions: Ranthony Texada (CB), Travin Howard (MLB), Nick Orr (WS or FS?), Aaron Curry (DT). So hopefully you can probably understand why I think TCU will be the top defense even though from this list you'd think I was all in on K-State. The Frogs personnel should fit together than any other team in the league and they'll be at least "good" at every position.

Taylor Young is a great player and I expect he'll still have a good year but it'll be interesting to see how he does without Andrew Billings protecting him. Oklahoma's Jordan Evans may make me look silly for leaving him off. If Oklahoma State had any of the following Texas CBs (Davante Davis, Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, Sheroid Evans if I knew he'd be healthy) I'd have them at least fourth in the league. Davis should be the best in 2016. Jordan Thomas' offseason troubles give me pause but he was just too good last year to leave off.

Steven Parker over Nick Orr was a difficult choice in rewarding the league's rangiest cover safety and West Virginia's Dravon Askew-Henry is also worth mentioning here. D'Vonta Hinton is going to have a good year (I'm betting on >100 tackles) and surprise people and some of the Cyclone defenders probably will as well. DT Demond Tucker is disruptive in spurts and FS Kamari Cotton-Moya might be one of the better +1 defenders in the league.

My money is on Noble Nwachukwu for "most likely to make me regret listing him."

Before Oklahoma fans just throw their laptops in a fury, I think the OU nose tackle rotation is quite good and a team strength but neither Matt Romar nor Jordan Wade impress me quite as much as Will Geary. The Sooner defensive backfield will probably be one of the top three in the league, again I'm just worried about getting enough disruption up front to run roughshod over the league.

Defensive Player of the Year: Malik Jefferson, Texas

Read up on him here, he's a hybrid freak who should go wild this year as a true sophomore surrounded by a better, more experienced supporting cast.

All-Big 12 Offense

QB: Pat Mahomes, Texas Tech
RB: Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
RB: Mike Warren, Iowa State
FB: Winston Dimel, Kansas State
WR: Kavontae Turpin, TCU
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State
WR: Allen Lazard, Iowa State
TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
OL: Connor Williams, Texas
OL: Adam Pankey, West Virginia
OL: Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OL: Kent Perkins, Texas
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
PK: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
KR/PR: Byron Pringle, Kansas State

I think Baker Mayfield may be the second best offensive player in the Big 12 but I'm rolling with Mahomes who has a tad more natural talent and dedicated his full energies this offseason to football rather than baseball for the first time.

Warren over Joe Mixon was a bit tough as I think a lot of the Sooner back and I also think Texas' Forewarrened combo (Chris Warren, D'Onta Foreman) will be dominant this year but splitting carries may keep them off the end of year lists.

Being required to list a fullback rather than a fourth WR is frankly ridiculous at this point in the league's history but Winston Dimel will probably actually have a fairly big impact on the 2016 season. Texas TE/H-back Caleb Bluiett is another mobile blocking surface that should have a good year.

I was tempted to list RB/WR Kavontae Turpin as the TE since he serves in a similar role for TCU in helping them attack the extra man in the box but I think enough of Mark Andrew to give him the nod instead. Anyways, I still have Turpin on the list. It's very possible that Turpin will be a turbo-charger to the TCU attack rather than the main engine and thus not quite put up big enough numbers to make the end of year list but I think he's the difference in them having another strong offense rather than just an okay one as they recover from losing Doctson, Boykin, Green, and all those OL.

It feels wrong not to have a Red Raider or Bear WR on this list but it's hard to say who exactly they would be. KD Cannon would have been a shoo in but there are too many rumors swirling about him transferring and he just had knee surgery. If he's healthy and on he'll probably be on this list at the end of the year. Dylan Cantrell would be a fun choice for Tech but I'm just not sure who they plan on featuring up in Lubbock.

If Texas really gets their passing game going then John Burt will end up on this list at the end of the year, he's one of the more talented WRs in the conference the average fan just doesn't know it yet because the Longhorns couldn't throw the ball last year.

I think Lazard and Warren are both really good players who will get a ton of touches this year.

On the O-line I overcame the temptation to make the typical cop out and list all tackles and a single center and actually fielded a real OL with two tackles, two guards, and one center (unless Perkins stays at RT for Texas). I did put two left tackles on here but whatever, I'm not a saint.

Offensive Player of the Year: Pat Mahomes, Texas Tech

Strong runner, phenomenal improviser, and fully in command of Kingsbury's explosive offense heading into year three in the program and year two as "the guy."

Newcomer of the Year: Byron Pringle, Kansas State

Definitely the most likely guy I'm aware of to have a big inaugural season. The K-State passing game will be miles better this year, whether Ertz takes over or Hubener stays at the helm, and Pringle is the best WR on the Wildcats' roster. He also handled returns in their spring game and you know the Wildcat return men are always set up for big success.

Alright, let the outrage begin! (Glances over at the Sooner fan corner)


  1. Mark Andrews with an "s" at the end.

  2. What's the justification for WVU being atrocious on defense? They lose a lot of talent and experience, but the two deep is stocked with upperclassmen who have been in the system for years. It includes a 3 starters who were four star recruits in Henry, Douglas, and Howard. WVU's (arguably) best recruits last year, Ferns and White, are also guys who are on the defensive side of the ball.

    I have no doubt that there is going to be a drop off from last year, but I think you are overstating the effect.

    Notably, you have Texas Tech's defense as "not being atrocious." Tech was 121 S&P defense last year and WVU was 28. You really think there's going to be that large of a swing?

    Thanks for the write up. Feels like an eternity until September 3rd and it is nice to have a reason to talk football.

    1. From the sounds of it, not only is WV having to start over with almost the entire defensive backfield (which is very tough in the B12) but they lack man coverage defenders.

      When you're replacing most of you defense, including the pieces that made it work, you can see a steep drop off.

      They probably won't be as bad as Tech last year but they also won't be as good as Tech was on O.

  3. No outrage from this Sooner fan.

    I've said TCU is a top 10 team (pending QB sorting out but 2 reasonable choices). The Frogs have only 4 true road games (WV, KU, Baylor, and UT) and catch OU in Ft Worth after the Sooners have Ohio St, Houston, and just before UT.

    OU's recruited well for DL and LB. Now they have to show it. There are several good choices for boundary corner for the Sooners. The book on Mayfield is allow him time in the pocket because he's not tall enough to see out of it anyway. Prevent the scramble as much as possible.

    1. "The Frogs have only 4 true road games (WV, KU, Baylor, and UT) and catch OU in Ft Worth after the Sooners have Ohio St, Houston, and just before UT."
      Ooh, good catch.

      "The book on Mayfield is allow him time in the pocket because he's not tall enough to see out of it anyway. Prevent the scramble as much as possible."

      Clemson did that well by dropping 7, rushing 3, and spying him with Jayron Kearse. Texas handled him though by blitzing and trusting their rushers to track him.

      Probably Mayfield will torch most of the league but there are ways to get after him. I do think it's dangerous to assume their protection won't be a lot better though.

  4. Im just curious if you are aware you said one of the reasons you were worried about OUs defense was replacing Charles Tapper and then you put the guy that will replace him, Charles Walker, on the all Big 12 Defensive Team. That seems rather silly to me. Also, did you watch Big 12 football last year? Baker was 4th in the heisman race and i dont even think Mahomes sniffed the list. There is no way in hell you can really sit here and tell me that you would chose Pat Mahomes over Baker Mayfield as your QB if you were picking teams.

    1. "Im just curious if you are aware you said one of the reasons you were worried about OUs defense was replacing Charles Tapper and then you put the guy that will replace him, Charles Walker, on the all Big 12 Defensive Team. That seems rather silly to me."

      Well last year OU was regularly able to put both Walker and Tapper on the field together, this year that won't be possible.

      "Also, did you watch Big 12 football last year?"

      LOL, I caught a couple of games...

      "Baker was 4th in the heisman race and i dont even think Mahomes sniffed the list. There is no way in hell you can really sit here and tell me that you would chose Pat Mahomes over Baker Mayfield as your QB if you were picking teams."

      It was close, I think Mayfield is a phenomenal QB for this system and this league but Mahomes has a chance to be one of the most dominant players in the country next year.

      Mayfield was better last year, I think Mahomes can sneak past him.

  5. Ian:

    I stand amazed.

    And I'll say that if Kenny Hill is the guy that Kevin Sumlin wanted him to be, then this season could mirror what the Frogs did in 2014.

    We should all give up after 2016, though. Texas looks pretty stout going forward, as long as they keep signing plus guys at QB each year. Don't laugh, it might happen.

    1. I think Kenny Hill is pretty good, if he's made progress in gaining the emotional strength necessary to handle the pressure without cratering off the field I think he'll have a good year.

      Also if he isn't passed up by Foster Sawyer, who I've heard TCU coaches think has pro potential down the line.

      Texas is in position to reclaim the conference if Buechele pans out. Oklahoma ain't going nowhere though, nor is TCU.

      Baylor's all in as well. They can't replace Briles but they aren't going to end up with another Kevin Steele, either. Pretty sure it was intentional on their part to leak out that they offered Herman $6 per year to draw in other candidates.

    2. Thanks.

      I am Philly Frog, by the way.

  6. Hello!! I'am glad to read the whole content of this blog and am very excited.Thank you.
    Thank you for your service, Barry.