Big 12: Kansas Jayhawks

We've been doing something different with the mailbag, including Twitter questions with the regular mailbag submissions. To submit a mailbag entry via Twitter, simply include the hashtag #big12mailbag. You also still can send in questions the traditional way here, too.

To the 'bag...

Trotter: At this point, I think it's only a matter of time before Grant Rohach is named the starter. He was clearly the best QB in the spring game, and coming off the way he played at the end of last season, momentum is in his corner. I know the Cyclones are high on the potential of redshirt freshman Joel Lanning, and Rohach will have to perform once the season begins to keep the job, but at this point, it's difficult envisioning anyone other than Rohach starting the opener against North Dakota State.

Trotter: Texas' Cedric Reed, Kansas State's Ryan Mueller, Oklahoma's Charles Tapper, TCU's Devonte Fields and Baylor's Shawn Oakman. On the next tier, I'd have Oklahoma's Geneo Grissom, Texas Tech's Branden Jackson, Iowa State's Cory Morrissey and Oklahoma State's Jimmy Bean.

Trotter: My two darkhorse picks at this point would be Texas Tech and TCU. Schedule is a big part of this, and Tech gets Oklahoma and Texas at home, and Baylor in Arlington, Texas. If the Red Raiders could escape a September Thursday night clash at Oklahoma State, then they could be a factor. QB Davis Webb has made tremendous improvement since December, and he's going to have plenty of firepower surrounding him. Assuming Fields is back to his old self, the Horned Frogs will again be a formidable defense. The big question, as always, is, can they score enough points? But if Matt Joeckel can step in at QB and direct what is essentially the same offense he had at Texas A&M to respectability, TCU could be a handful.

Trotter: Charlie Strong can't get destroyed by Oklahoma. Can't enter any fourth quarter without a legitimate chance to win. Can't lose more than three games. If he avoids those three potholes, he has chance to take Texas a step forward. To me, that's the litmus test.

Trotter: Anytime a team loses its leading tackler, it hurts. Fortunately for the Sooners, they're deep at linebacker, and can absorb a key loss there better than they'd be able to at some other positions. Jordan Evans played well as a true freshman, and shined in place of Shannon in the spring game. A linebacking corps of Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Dominique Alexander, sack-master Eric Striker and Evans would still be stout. Of course, it would be even better with Shannon.

Trotter: That's a tough question. It was startling how much the K-State defense suffered when Ty Zimmerman wasn't on the field last year, but I have faith Dante Barnett is ready to assume a leadership role in that secondary and stabilize the defense. I have less faith right now in K-State's running backs. So far this spring, no one has really emerged from a crop of backs with almost no meaningful experience. The K-State attack has always been predicated on a strong running game, so this is no small issue. Maybe freshman Dalvin Warmack can jumpstart the position when he arrives this summer. But running back looks like the biggest question on a solid-looking team with not many questions elsewhere.

Big 12 lunchtime links

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
12:00
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NBA playoffs start this weekend. This should get you ready for the fun!
Charlie Weis knew change was necessary.

The Kansas coach stepped away from the Jayhawks offense this spring after his team fielded one of the nation’s worst offenses. Weis hired former Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan to take over the offense as well as coach KU’s offensive line. They’re only 15 practices into the change, and there's a long way to go until the offense reaches its destination, but Weis has been happy with the results after one spring of drills.

“I think he’s blended in very well in our place,” said Weis, who had studied Reagan’s offense at Rice before luring him to Lawrence, Kan. “It gives the offensive line a little bit extra when they know the guy setting up the offense is also their position coach.”

The general theme?

[+] EnlargeTony Pierson
John Rieger/USA TODAY SportsKansas is hoping that John Reagan's simplified offense will mean more big plays for players such as Tony Pierson.
Less is more.

Weis has made a point of stepping away from the offense and allowing Reagan to take over that side of the football. He doesn’t sit in or look over the shoulder of his new offensive coordinator, or try to put his stamp on every little aspect of the offense. Instead, his role is being a sounding block and a resource for the Jayhawks’ new play-caller.

“I’ve moved away and let them do it,” Weis said. “He has a great resource where he can come to me, ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of that?” and I don’t step on his toes. I’m letting him do it, I’m not sitting with the offense, [saying] ‘Do this, do that.’ It’s been really good for him, and I think it’s been really good for me too.”

Less is more translates to the field as well.

The offense has been simplified making things easier on the Jayhawks' playmakers. Less plays means less thinking and, hopefully, faster and more explosive playmaking from players such as dynamic running back Tony Pierson and newly anointed starting quarterback Montell Cozart.

“Because there are a lot less plays, you’re putting a lot less mental pressure on your players and putting more on the play-caller [Reagan],” Weis said. “Because there aren’t as many plays to choose from, the quarterbacks have a very good understanding where if they have a bad play at the line of scrimmage, they have the opportunity to put us in a good one.”

The simplified offense could help Cozart, who Weis named his starter on Thursday. Taking mental stress off of the shoulders of the sophomore could allow him to trust his football instincts to take over instead of overthinking while behind center and triggering KU’s attack.

The transformation from Weis’ offense to Reagan’s offense has come with a change in tempo as well. The Jayhawks focused on tempo this spring, but not for the reasons many would expect. KU doesn’t want to join Baylor and Texas Tech among the nation’s leaders in plays per game.

The Jayhawks do, however, want to inject added flexibility into the offense.

“[That's] the interesting thing with John’s offense,” Weis said. “So many places are just, ‘How fast can you snap the ball?’ That’s only one element. His [offense] is no-huddle, but they can play at a really fast tempo or they can play at a really slow tempo. He’s practiced a slow methodical tempo and one where you’re trying to snap the ball every 10 or 15 seconds.”

Sometimes the threat of being able to snap the ball quickly is just as beneficial as actually doing so. But having the ability to slow the pace of the game down is important as well, particularly if KU is looking to give its defense additional rest or change the overall momentum of the action.

“Most teams running no-huddle are ‘How many snaps can we get off?’” Weis said. “Well that’s great if you always feel like you have better players than the other team, then you’re just wearing them out. In his case, he can go either way. He can go that way or he can slow the whole thing down. It gives him a lot of flexibility.”

It’s a different era of offensive football for KU heading into the fall. And Weis is hoping addition by subtraction will pay dividends for the Jayhawks offense in 2014.
video
Kansas coach Charlie Weis’ decision to name Montell Cozart as his starting quarterback wasn’t a major surprise.

Those who watched Cozart separate himself from the competition during KU’s spring game could sense this was coming. The sophomore quarterback clearly was the best of the group, using his feet to make plays while also showing progress as a passer in new offensive coordinator John Reagan’s offense. He earned offensive MVP honors by accounting for two touchdowns.

[+] EnlargeMontell Cozart
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerMontell Cozart has been named the starting quarterback for the Jayhawks.
Weis' decision to hand over the future of KU’s offense to Cozart is the right one for several reasons.

First, Cozart has three years of eligibility remaining, giving him time to grow and improve, with some of his ups and downs as a young player likely to pay off later. Jake Heaps, his main competitor heading into the spring game, will be a senior in 2014. Cozart was pulled out of his redshirt as a freshman last season, starting three games and putting any freshman jitters in the past, allowing him to enter this season with knowledge of what to expect.

Second, Cozart brings the best combination of physical traits with his running ability and his passing skills continuing to develop. Earlier in the spring, Weis had talked of playing multiple quarterbacks and using them in different ways this fall, but Cozart’s progress as a passer makes that unnecessary. If he continues to develop as a passer, he could become the complete package behind center. And his spring performance showed he's the best option for now and the future.

Last, Weis' decision to name Cozart the starter just days after the spring game is a sign of confidence. The decision allows the sophomore to settle in as the face of KU’s offense, and it means the coach is confident that he has a quarterback. He said earlier in the spring that a lengthy quarterback battle that lasts deep into preseason camp means “you don’t have one.” If it all works out, Weis’ confidence will breed confidence in Cozart and among his teammates.

Cozart finished his freshman season with 227 passing yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games, so it’s not time to cement his spot on the preseason All-Big 12 team quite yet.

But naming Cozart as the starter could be remembered as the first step toward making KU’s offense the most explosive of Weis’ tenure.

Big 12's lunch links

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
12:00
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I'm guessing this is how Usain Bolt plays soccer.
Two seasons ago, the Big 12 sent an unprecedented nine of its 10 members to bowl games, prompting Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops -- among others -- to tout the depth of the league.

But last season, only six Big 12 teams qualified for bowls, as Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia had losing records while Kansas ran its bowl-less streak to five seasons.

In this week’s poll question, we ask: Which Big 12 team that didn’t qualify for a bowl last year has the best chance of getting back to one in 2014?

SportsNation

Which Big 12 team that failed to qualify for a bowl last year has the best chance of making one in 2014?

  •  
    17%
  •  
    2%
  •  
    40%
  •  
    41%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,491)

Until last season, the Mountaineers had made a bowl every year all the way back to 2001. But inconsistent play at quarterback and defensive injuries doomed them in 2013. West Virginia returns starter Clint Trickett and has added some interesting quarterbacks to the competition. The Mountaineers also appear loaded in the backfield and at wide receiver, and they added veteran assistant Tom Bradley to the defensive staff. But West Virginia plays a brutal schedule, which includes Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, and has road trips to Maryland, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas.

TCU had also been accustomed to going to bowl games annually, as the Horned Frogs hadn’t missed one since 2004. Injuries to defensive end Devonte Fields and quarterback Casey Pachall ravaged TCU early on in the season. The Horned Frogs also struggled offensively all year, prompting coach Gary Patterson to overhaul his attack and bring in Houston’s Doug Meacham and Texas Tech’s Sonny Cumbie to coordinate a no-huddle, spread attack. TCU lost All-American cornerback Jason Verrett off last fall’s team, but Fields appears healthy after undergoing foot surgery. The defense figures to be stout again.

Paul Rhoads had led Iowa State to two straight bowls before taking a step back last season. The Cyclones got off to a rough start with a stunning loss to Northern Iowa in the opener. They later dropped a one-point game on a Thursday night to Texas and never regained the momentum. The Cyclones never quit, however, and finished the season on a high note by routing Kansas and rallying to topple West Virginia on the road in triple overtime. Iowa State still needs several players to emerge defensively, but the offense could feature the best collection of skill players the Cyclones have enjoyed in a long time, headlined by running back Aaron Wimberly, wideout Quenton Bundrage and tight end E.J. Bibbs.

Kansas hasn’t been to a bowl since current Iowa State offensive coordinator Mark Mangino was its head coach. The Jayhawks did defeat West Virginia last season to snap their 27-game Big 12 losing streak, but that remained their lone Big 12 win. Kansas has added transfer Nick Harwell, who was second in the nation in receiving in 2011 at Miami (Ohio) and should give the Jayhawks a much-needed go-to receiver. Kansas also brings back 16 starters, including nine on a defensive unit that played several teams tough last season. Of course, after winning just nine games combined the past four seasons, the Jayhawks would seemingly have the longest road back to a bowl.

But we leave it to you to decide: Which of these four teams -- West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State or Kansas -- has the best chance of getting back to a bowl in 2014?
Even though almost 10 months remain until the next national singing day, teams across the Big 12 have jumped off to fast starts in putting together their 2015 classes.

To catch you up on all the recruiting storylines that have developed so far, we checked in with ESPN.com senior national recruiting writer Jeremy Crabtree and Big 12 recruiting reporter Damon Sayles for their takes:

Which team has impressed you the most with its 2015 recruiting?

Crabtree: With all of the questions West Virginia faced in the offseason and the product the Mountaineers put on the field in 2013, you would think they would be struggling out of the gate with the 2015 class. But it has been the exact opposite. WVU has 10 commitments, including from one of the best receivers in the country, Jovon Durante. West Virginia is selling kids on an opportunity to play early and make a big difference in getting the program back on track. Plus, it has gone back to its roots and mined the very familiar recruiting territory of Florida for some of its best pledges.

Sayles: As much as I like what Texas Tech and TCU have done so far, I have to tip my hat to what West Virginia has accomplished. The Mountaineers have a pair of ESPN Junior 300 players in safety Kendrell McFadden and Durante. The Mountaineers are recruiting the state of Florida well; five of the 10 pledges are from the Sunshine State. West Virginia is off to a fast start, and with the program fresh off a successful spring game, more big-time commits could be coming soon.

Who has disappointed?


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Big 12's lunch links

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
12:00
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Tap, tap. I can't wait for this 30 for 30.

Spring game review: Kansas

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
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The time is now for the Kansas program under Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks head coach made several changes to his coaching staff this offseason, including the addition of new offensive coordinator John Reagan. Saturday’s spring game was unique, with the Blue team featuring KU’s first and second-teamers and the White squad featuring the third and fourth-teamers. In addition, all quarterbacks were live, meaning they could be hit, as KU tries to find its starting quarterback. Here’s what happened:

Best offensive performance: After entering the game alongside Jake Heaps as dual front-runners to start at quarterback, Montell Cozart was the best signal-caller on the field. The sophomore finished with 70 rushing yards and two touchdowns along with a game-high 58 passing yards, completing 6 of 10 passes. Cozart didn’t lock himself in as the Jayhawks starter, but Weis was pleased with what he saw.

[+] EnlargeMontell Cozart
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerMontell Cozart made several plays with his legs and showed poise in the pocket in Kansas' spring game.
"I was pleased to see him sit in the pocket,” Weis said. “We know he can bootleg and run on the edge, but it was good to see him show some poise in the pocket."

Best defensive performance: Linebacker Jake Love is a quiet playmaker alongside fellow linebacker Ben Heeney, who garners most of the headlines. Love finished with a game-high 10 tackles, including six solo stops. Love, who averaged 4.8 tackles per game in 2013, picked right up where he left off during the spring game. He could join Heeney to give KU one of the better linebacker duos in the conference.

Best debut: Receiver Nick Harwell’s final numbers were uninspiring. Four receptions for 31 yards won’t send fear into the hearts of Big 12 defensive coordinators. Those same coordinators would be wise to learn the name of the Miami (Ohio) transfer. His playmaking ability was evident and, if the spring game is any indication, Reagan’s offense is likely to try to put the ball in his hands often this fall.

Notable play: Cozart’s 60-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest run of the game and was a glimpse at the reason why he could have the edge in the quarterback race if he continues to develop as a passer. He’s far from a finished product, but the sophomore could be a playmaker for Reagan’s offense.

Developing storyline: Michael Cummings has been the forgotten name in KU’s quarterback battle, yet he looked like the second-best quarterback on the field, outperforming Heaps and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard. Cummings, playing on the White team, which featured third and fourth-teamers, led his squad on a 12-play, 74-yard drive against the No. 1 defense that resulted in the only points of the first half, a 26-yard receiver pass from Tre’ Parmalee to Andrew Turzilli. Cummings didn't finish with great numbers (3-of-10, 42 yards, INT) but looked like his name should be alongside Heaps and Millweard behind Cozart.

Biggest question answered: The Jayhawks have some playmakers emerging on offense to help offset the loss of running back James Sims. Harwell will be a threat at receiver, Tony Pierson is one of the Big 12’s most explosive threats when healthy and running back Brandon Bourbon more than held his own at Sims’ former spot in the backfield with 12 carries for 96 yards. KU’s offensive line and quarterback play will decide how explosive this offense can be, with multiple playmaking options starting to emerge at running back and receiver.

Quotable: “We still have questions, but we also have a lot more answers now than we did in the beginning of the spring. We've implemented a new offense and we still have a ways to go, but I think it's positive at this stage. We've got to continue raising the bar around here." -- Weis

Big 12 lunchtime links

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
12:00
PM ET
It's not like bringing a cat to the spring game but Kliff Kingsbury is still winning ...
Saturday, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and West Virginia all held their spring games. Below is a sample of the sights from each stadium:

IOWA STATE

KANSAS

OKLAHOMA

TEXAS TECH

WEST VIRGINIA

Big 12 lunchtime links

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
12:00
PM ET
Happy Friday, everybody. Here are the links...
We've been doing something different with Friday's Big 12 mailbag. From now on, we'll be including Twitter questions with the regular mailbag submissions. To submit a mailbag entry via Twitter, simply include the hashtag #big12mailbag. You also still can send in questions the traditional way here, too.

To the 'bag...
Trotter: So far, Oklahoma State running back/receiver Tyreek Hill, TCU safety Kenny Iloka and Kansas receiver Nick Harwell. With his speed, Hill could lead the league in all-purpose yards. Iloka is going to be a key piece in the best secondary in the Big 12. And Harwell should finally give the Jayhawks that go-to receiver they haven’t had since Dezmon Briscoe.

Trotter: The Cyclones get K-State in Ames the second week of the season, which could be a dangerous game for the Wildcats, who might get caught looking ahead to that Thursday night clash with Auburn. Another team that must pay heed is Oklahoma. The Sooners go to Iowa State the week before hosting Baylor in a game that could determine the Big 12 crown. OU can't afford to be looking ahead, either.

Trotter: I'm going to set it at 1 1/2, and I think I would actually bet the over. The Jayhawks are going to be better this season, and quite possibly good enough to steal two conference wins.

Trotter: Right now, the Red Raiders have one on campus, and that's well below the national average. I don't see an issue. The way Davis Webb has improved in the last five months, he's going to be the guy the next three seasons barring something unforeseen. That would still give Jarrett Stidham three seasons of eligibility to be the starter, if he redshirted next year. Patrick Mahomes will get this chances, too. Seems like what TTU is going to do is be really good at quarterback the next six years.

Trotter: I have no inside info here, but if the game is at 11 a.m. again, hit me up in the fall and I'll share with you my shortcut to the Texas State Fair.

Trotter: It was a move that had to be made. Sams is too talented to be standing on the sidelines. He's not going to instantly become an All-Big 12 receiver. But if they can devise ways to get Sams the ball in space, the move could work out well. I see Sams getting a lot of his touches through flares, screens, reverses and maybe a handoff or Wildcat formation here or there. If they can get Sams the ball 10 times a game, that will only help the K-State offense. Think Trevone Boykin in TCU's offense late last year. That's how I see Sams best fitting in.

Trotter: Playing? Yes. Starting? No. I think Williams ultimately favors one side of the ball. The most likely scenario is he still keeps a major role at running back, then gives coordinator Matt Wallerstedt 15-20 plays at outside linebacker, which is more than I would have predicted at the beginning of the spring. Williams can really help the defense, but not at the expense of playing 130 snaps.

Trotter: Bob Stoops, Art Briles, Mike Gundy, Bill Snyder and Gary Patterson have ironclad job security. Paul Rhoads and Kliff Kingsbury have nothing to worry about, either, and Charlie Strong is too new to have to worry (though in Austin, that could change fast). That leaves Charlie Weis and Dana Holgorsen, whose seats are warmest among Big 12 coaches. I think Weis just has to show improvement this season. He can't go 0-12. Holgorsen is the most interesting to watch. Considering the brutal schedule, it's very possible West Virginia is better than last year and still goes 5-7, which might not be enough for Holgorsen to keep his job. But if the Mountaineers go, say, 7-5 against that slate, then I would think Holgorsen would be deserving of another year. West Virginia has been recruiting at an impressive clip, and the schedule will line up more favorably in 2015.


jrodxc07 in Dallas writes: Jake, love the blog, nice work sir. I think you could make a case for incoming Baylor receiver K.D. Cannon as Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Can you explain why you left him off your list?

Trotter: Appreciate it, sir. Cannon was actually on the poll for Offensive Freshman of the Year two weeks ago. The newcomer poll was for transfers, which is why you didn't see him there.


I only care about the Big 12 writes: Please go ahead and give us your way-too early power rankings? That is, if you haven't already...

Trotter: I actually released a power poll in January that went this way: OU, Baylor, K-State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Tech, TCU, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas. I'll be updating it, though, after spring ball concludes.

Spring game preview: Kansas

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
4:45
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Charlie Weis will face the biggest season of his tenure as Kansas coach in 2014. He has made several changes on his coaching staff with the hope of making drastic improvements in a program that has won four games during his first two seasons. KU holds its spring game on Saturday, the first glimpse at the Jayhawks' offense under new offensive coordinator John Reagan. Here’s what to watch during KU’s spring game:

When: Saturday at 1 p.m. CT

Where: Kansas Memorial Stadium

What to watch for:

  • Quarterbacks will be live: Weis isn’t playin’ around. If the quarterbacks want to win the job, they’ll get the chance to prove it. “The quarterbacks will not be in red,” Weis said of KU's protected jersey color. “Only one guy will have red on and that will be Tony [Pierson]. The quarterbacks will be live. The goal is for them not to get hit, but in the running game they are going to have the ball in their hands.” Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart have risen above the rest in the competition to start, and Weis said he would play both quarterbacks and use them in different ways if the season began today. Heaps is the better passer of the two, while Cozart has the ability to make plays with his feet.
  • [+] EnlargeNick Harwell
    Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsNick Harwell, who transferred from Miami (Ohio), could be the Jayhawks' top receiver in 2014.
    New offensive coordinator John Reagan’s offense: Some teams elect to go vanilla in the spring game. The Jayhawks aren't one of them. They aren’t planning to hold anything back on Saturday. “John asked me, 'What should I hold?' I said nothing,” Weis said. “Just go ahead and run it. Call plays the way you call plays. You're not really game-planning for this game.” Reagan’s offense will be on full display so it will be interesting to see if any new playmakers emerge alongside Pierson. The opportunity to become a big part of Reagan’s plans is staring every offensive player in the face. Some players will seize it during the spring game, others will not, opening the door for summer arrivals to make an impact.
  • Nick Harwell and hope at the receiver position: Harwell, a transfer from Miami (Ohio), is making a strong impression for the Jayhawks and looks like he could be a key piece in the offense this fall. No Kansas wideout had more than 12 receptions in 2013, so unless someone steps up at that position, it’s unlikely Reagan’s offense can soar in his first season. Harwell and Rodriguez Coleman appear to be the Jayhawks' most talented pass catchers so a strong spring game showing could help them cement their spots.
  • Can the defense take another step forward? The difference between KU’s defense in 2012 and 2013 was like night and day. Last season's version was faster, more athletic and more productive than the 2012 squad. Yet it can still get much, much better after finishing in the bottom half of the league in almost every defensive category. KU is hopeful it has upgraded the overall athleticism on the defense again, especially along the defensive line. And linebacker Ben Heeney is a great place to start as defensive coordinator Clint Bowen builds his defense.
  • Who replaces James Sims? For the first time since 2009, KU won’t have Sims to lean on offensively. The running back rushed for 3,592 yards during his four seasons as a centerpiece in KU’s backfield. Senior Brandon Bourbon gets the chance to solidify his role on Saturday before several other candidates arrive in the summer, including highly-regarded running back signees Corey Avery and Traevohn Wrench.

Athlon ranks the Big 12 coaches

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
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Athlon Sports has always been big on lists. And this week, Athlon’s Steven Lassan ranked all 128 FBS coaches. He also pulled out the top 10 Big 12 coaches.

As a disclaimer, this is NOT our list. This is Athlon’s. So forward all hate tweets and emails to them. Not me. I already get enough.

[+] Enlarge Art Briles
Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT/Getty ImagesArt Briles' status has grown in the eyes of Athlon.
Without further ado:

1. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

2. Art Briles, Baylor

3. Bill Snyder, Kansas State

4. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

5. Gary Patterson, TCU

6. Charlie Strong, Texas

7. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State

8. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

9. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

10. Charlie Weis, Kansas

Some observations:

  • Athlon prefers coaches who win conference championships. Briles, Snyder, Gundy and Stoops, the top four on this list, have won the past four Big 12 titles.
  • I went back and checked and noticed some interesting changes. Snyder was No. 1 in 2013, but dropped two spots this year (why, I’m not sure; K-State did win six of seven to close out the season). Mack Brown was No. 6 -- the same slot that Strong opened up here. Kingsbury moved up only one spot after going 8-5 in his first season.
  • In the eyes of Athlon, Patterson’s stock is falling. He was the No. 2 coach going into his first year in the Big 12 and was ranked third going into last season. On the flip side, Briles has made the biggest rise in the last two years, going from sixth to second after winning the Big 12 last season.
  • Athlon actually had Snyder fifth in 2012, which is hard to believe. We’re talking about one of the best coaches of all-time, right?
  • As you can see, I have a bigger beef with the 2012 and 2013 rankings than the 2014 one.
  • Kingsbury has the potential to ascend the most of anyone on this list. I don’t know that the No. 8 spot is completely unfair, considering he’s only been a head coach one season. But if he can turn Texas Tech into a Big 12 contender on a quasi-regular basis, he could jump several spots.
  • This is obviously not an easy list to compile. How do you weigh what Briles has done the last five years against what Snyder has the last 25? It’s all a matter of subjectivity.

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